Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (Vine Witch #1)

Image result for vine witch

goodreads

ARC received from the publisher (47North) in exchange for an honest review.

In some ways, this is the perfect book to read in autumn. There are witches, there is wine, there are sinister curses, romance…in short, it sounds fantastic. But even though I was suitably enchanted by the atmosphere and the concept in the beginning, the plot did not live up to its promise.

Continue reading “Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (Vine Witch #1)”

October 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

covers-2019-october.png

October was an excellent month for both reading and reviewing. Aside from this last week, it was the first time I was able to maintain always having at least one review scheduled and mostly posting three times a week. Considering that I barely managed one, maybe two posts a week before and used to be in an eternal state of massive backlog, I think I can say I’m proud of myself.

It has also been the best month for views, mostly thanks to Keikii, who kindly made me do a guest post on my favourite subgenre: Slice of Life SFF.

I finished:

  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (mini review): While I loved Tess of the Road, this wasn’t quite it – I found it very bland, slowly paced, and predictable.
  • In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan: After all Sara’s yelling, I had to give it a try and it did not disappoint. On the surface, it’s a satirical deconstruction of portal fantasy tropes, but with a lot of heart and feelings underneath. Recommended.
  • Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (ARC): One of the most highly anticipated releases this year for me. Unfortunately, I ended up struggling. And what’s worse, I can’t even say why.
  • Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović: First book that made me feel at least halfway represented (set in Montengro, which is…eh, close enough). While it started off incredible, it slowly descended into every YA trope I hate. And the ending was last minute cliffhanger for the sake of cliffhanger bullshit.
  • My Beautiful Life by K.J. Parker (ARC): I usually love K.J. Parker’s short fiction but I just didn’t feel that one. Too much plot for a novella this length, distant narrative style, a few immersion-breaking bits…
  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater: Loved it. Quiet, thoughtful magical realism about a family of saints. Lovely prose. Couldn’t be more of a me book if it tried.
  • The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (ARC): Review yet to be finished, but in short, I have mixed feelings. The atmosphere and setting were wonderful, but it completely lost me on the plot and some…rather clumsily written bits. As in, a character literally says “I am dead” before dropping dead kind of clumsy.

Reviews from my backlog:

  • Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  • A mini review post containing reviews for Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, Half Lost  by Sally Green (DNF), and The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  • Vita Nostra by Sergey & Maria Dyachenko (reread)
  • The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Currently reading:

  • The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells, which I’m enjoying very much. A broken cinnamon roll of a protagonist, a fascinating world…whenever I pick it up, I can’t stop. I might finish it later today, or tomorrow at tha very latest.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Perpetually. I should pick it up and finish it soon.

Books read this year: 62 (+ 16 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 19/25 (76%)

Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Image result for all the crooked saints book cover

goodreads

A desert is a lot like an ocean, if you replace all of the water with air. It stretches out and out and out in unfathomable distance and, in the absence of sunlight, turns to pure black. Sounds become secrets, impossible to verify as true until the light returns. It is not empty merely because you cannot see all of it. And you know in your heart that it isn’t—that it is the opposite of empty once it is dark, because things that do not like to be watched emerge when all of the light is gone. There is no way to know the shape of them, though, until your hand is on them.

Where do I even begin. This is one of those book that feel practically tailor-made to my preferences. It’s my catnip, pure bait – slow-paced, magical realism kind of deal with lovely prose. It would be more of a surprise if I didn’t love it. I have been warned that the author was seriously ill while writing it, that it’s different, that people generally like it less than the others. And after finishing I’m like, are you kidding? As the book itself says, perfection is an impossibility. But it sure came damn close.

Continue reading “Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater”

Review: My Beautiful Life by K.J. Parker

goodreads

ARC received from the publisher (Subterranean Press) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always been interested in reverse stories, where the ending (in this case, the death of the narrator) is known from the start, and then they slowly work its way towards it. Where the question is not what happens as much as how it happens. And I have enjoyed what I read of K.J. Parker so far.

I’ve done some truly appalling things in my life. I’m bitterly ashamed of them now. Saying I did them all for the best—and saying, those things weren’t my idea, other people made me do them, is just as bad; admitting that I’m a spineless coward as well as morally bankrupt. I’m a mess, and no good nohow.

But despite the catchy opening, I was not…quite satisfied with what I got.

Continue reading “Review: My Beautiful Life by K.J. Parker”

Review: Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović (Hibiscus Daughter #1)

Image result for wicked like a wildfire

goodreads

It was bad luck to name a daughter after the thing that first sparked the gleam, Mama said. So I was Iris, for a flower that wasn’t hibiscus, and my sister was Malina, for a raspberry. They were placeholder names that didn’t pin down our true nature, so nothing would ever be able to summon us. No demon or vila would ever reel us in by our real names.

I have a lot of conflicted feelings about Wicked Like a Wildfire. The first half (roughly) was wonderful – gorgeous prose, languid, slice of life kind of pace, plus I have never read a fantasy book set in an ex-Yu country before. The last half I liked…less. The ending, the least. And I think it’s a damn shame.

Continue reading “Review: Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović (Hibiscus Daughter #1)”

Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Image result for rivers solomon the deep

goodreads

ARC received from the publisher (Saga Press) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have first heard of the book on twitter and got curious when I learned it was inspired by a song. At the time, I haven’t read any of Solomon’s books (though my friends have recommended me An Unkindness of Ghosts plenty) nor have I heard of Clipping. But I went and listened to The Deep – it was not my usual type and yet I liked it. I liked it a whole lot.

And the ever-important question: Was the book any good? Hell yes. Though I was a bit unsure at the start, it did pretty much exactly what I expected from the song, and more.

Continue reading “Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes”

Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book (and Series) Titles

I’ve been aware of the Top Ten Tuesday challenge for a while, but never actually did one myself – well, until now! This week’s prompt seemed interesting, so even though I’m a day late on it, I’m going to give it a try (also thanks to Keikii for alerting me to it).

Books are in no specific order.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book (and Series) Titles”