July 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

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July has been an interesting, unusual, out-of-character month. I don’t go on binges, I don’t read novellas unless forced to for a reading challenge, and I have never been interested in Westerns until the end of this June. Yet I have:

  1. Read or attempted to read 6 westerns
  2. Read 8 novellas
  3. Binge-read a series that’s part of a subgenre I normally avoid (Urban Fantasy)
  4. DNFd 4 books

I think I only read one book that wasn’t on a theme. Unfortunately, all of this has two side effects: I have completely neglected the Bingo challenge and generally wrote fewer reviews, as I plan to merge Weird Westerns and LGBTQ+ novellas in two more comprehensive posts (soon!).

As far as non-review posts go, I did a Top 5: Weird Literary Fantasy list.

  • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen (reread): The first book on my journey through the Weird West. It stands up to a reread very well, and I loved that it tackles the racism and sexism of the era…but I completely forgot how much sexual violence is there 😬
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins: I was enticed by the cover and the premise (books made out of memories! Romance!), but even though I did enjoy it, I’m not happy at the number of abandoned plot threads and the abruptness of the ending.
  • Unsouled by Will Wight (DNF): Very much not for me, but may appeal those looking for books about magic systems and protagonists growing more powerful.
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson: Literary novella, fantastic. I wasn’t quite sure of it right until the end, but as all the pieces clicked into place…wow.
  • Territory by Emma Bull: Weird Western slice of life. Sadly, another book that suffers from abruptly abandoning plot threads. And it felt….bland. Oh well.
  • A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (DNF): The writing style was good and the worldbuilding interesting and one of the protagonists was the fun kind of trigger-happy sociopathic prick, but the homophobia/racism/transphobia of the world were just too much. Uncomfortable and unfun.
  • Passing Strange by Ellen Klages: Another wonderful novella, this one depicting the queer women’s subculture of 1940s San Francisco. The magic is almost incidental, but it doesn’t matter. It’s great.
  • Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: Not the typical Western, perhaps, but I haven’t encountered a book that’d be as much of a pageturner in a mortal age. I’d read it in one sitting if it wasn’t nearing 3 am…
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (reread): This time in paperback. Still as good as the first time.
  • The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (DNF): A cross of Weird Western and New Weird, more interesting in theory than in practice. Nothing outrageously wrong with it, I was just…bored.
  • Los Nefilim series by T. Frohock: Yes, the whole thing – three novellas and the novel. One after the other. And I don’t even normally read UF! The worldbuilding and the characters are A+ and I could not stop. Features a rarity: an established couple. To be precise, a gay established couple with a kid.
  • Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson: What the fuck. It’s not often that the book confuses the everloving daylights out of me to that extent, but what the fuck. And the ending just confused me further.
  • Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox (reread): Reread it to reset my brain after Sorcerer of the Wildeeps broke it. Still good, still don’t like graphic sex scenes.
  • Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord (ARC, DNF 12%): Decided to pull the plug after a month or two of not picking it up. No specific reason. If you want Reneissance-inspired worlds, family rivalries, and political scheming it may be worth a try.
  • Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett: Basically post-colonial, f/f Shakespeare fanfiction telling the story of Miranda after the end of The Tempest. Excellent, and super adorable.

Currently reading:

  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (12%): I’m leading a bookclub in August, so I have to finish it quick. So far, I’m enjoying it very much.
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (40%): It’s so long!
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (48%): See above. Damn chonkers.

Books read this year: 40 (+ 11 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 9/25 (36%)

6 thoughts on “July 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up”

  1. wow you’ve had a productive month! I saw the priority of the orange tree when I was travelling abroad and wanted to buy it but the book was too thicc and heavy so I had to put it back. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it tho

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too thicc and heavy is about right. I’ve been telling pretty much everyone to actually read it in ebook (or audio, if they are so inclined) because physical is…insanely impractical.

      Like

    1. So far…it’s interesting as far as learning about westerns goes, which is what I picked it up for, and it’s not a hard read (just slow) but I prefer modern, SFF reimaginings for a reason. They have more freedom to play with or sidestep the prejudices of the era…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s an impressive amount of reading done! Congrats! I feel you about Sorcery of the Wildeeps, after seeing it getting so much praise, I finally started reading last year…and I tried, I really tried, but I finally gave this a rare DNF for me. I just could not for the life of me figure out what was happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kept going in hope that it’d be like A Taste for Honey and the ending would make it all fall into place, but it just…didn’t. Shame, I really liked the style and the world and the characters.

      Like

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