Review: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Against the Quiet #1)

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

I have had this book on my TBR for a few years, but when I heard the rerelease is even weirder and queerer and more indigenous, it shot up my TBR. And I’m very grateful I got the opportunity to read it, because Biopunk/New Weird in the vein of Vandermeer with mushrooms and queer pirates and some noir vibes early on is exactly up my alley. And it was a shockingly fast and easy read, too – I finished it in two sittings.

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Review: Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman

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I loved The Breath of the Sun and its prose so much the author landed on my auto-buy list. How could I not try Dead Collections as soon as I could get my hands on it? Especially with this gorgeous cover, especially when the premise is “trans archivist vampire”? Luckily, it was very much not another highly anticipated disappointment, but delivered exactly what I wanted – quiet, messily queer literary fantasy with excellent prose.

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Mini Reviews: The Will To Battle, The Thousand Names, Witches of Lychford, Of Charms Ghosts and Grievances

It’s again time for another round of mini reviews to catch up on my backlog – this time two novels I finished back in March but couldn’t give full reviews to, and two novellas. Once again without any DNFs or books I’d dislike 😊

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March 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

I got so excited about Bingo I almost forgot to post the March wrap-up. But in March, the last month before the start of the new Bingo, my goal was to finish as many books I was in the middle off as possible (obviously, aside from Les Misérables, which is a yearly challenge). I got the amount down from 8 to 5 or 6, which is decent, especially since a lot of it was nonfic I still wasn’t quite in the mood for.

I also finally managed to post the 2021 Bingo wrap-up!

Read:

  • The second part of Les Misérables, or another 300ish pages. The infodumps were testing my patience. Not at half yet, but getting close!
  • Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee (ARC): Really really liked it, especially the reluctant and sometimes cowardly protagonist. Good worldbuilding too.
  • The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer: Enjoyable. Plot didn’t move as much as I hoped, but overall it did its job.
  • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler: Finally finished it after a two years break. I still don’t know why I paused, it’s good and a fast enough read. Now, only need to find the time to continue the series.
  • Half a Soul, The Lord Sorcier, and The Latch Key by Olivia Atwater: Tried it some time ago in too grumpy of a mood, retried it this month, and absolutely loved it. Since the series is getting republished and I can’t get the sequels until April 5th, I went straight for the novellas.
  • Foreigner #1-2 by C.J. Cherryh: Mostly started it because I had lots of time until Bingo with nothing to read and Dia suggested I might like it. The first book was too meandering, the second is a lot better so far. But I’m not reviewing until I’m done with book 3.

Books read in 2022: 16 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳🥳

2022 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Initial Plan and First Impressions

Official announcement thread HERE

So! The time for the new Bingo has finally arrived! The time when we excitedly, foolishly make plans, only for the card to look completely different when the turn-in time comes around. Having the moderator privilege of being able to peek at the card early means that I was able to plan in advance, so here’s my plan for this year. Like the last few years, I’m not trying for hard mode, or doing a themed card, or a double – just your ordinary Bingo, especially since I’m finding this year’s card a lot more difficult.

We’ll see what it looks like by the time I’m done!

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2021 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts

Official announcement thread with square definitions
Date finished: November 20

I really, really liked the 2021 card and I’m quite sure that this is the earliest I managed to finish a Bingo yet. For the last couple years, I know I always finished in March, and I’m not sure I managed much earlier before that either – especially the times when I did two cards. As much as I hoped it wouldn’t, writing this huge wrap-up still took nearly until the next Bingo.

Links, as always, lead to longer reviews.

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Review: Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater (Regency Faerie Tales #1)

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A proper mood is everything when you’re a mood reader.

I have first attempted to read this book about a year ago. But being too grumpy and sick to death of the “women MUST get married” trope at the time, I had to shelve it again because forcing myself to finish would have been unfair to both the book and me. I reluctantly put it on the shortlist again in January when I got it as part of the “get 12 people to recommend you one book each” challenge (well, 16 in my case). In the end, I was right and so were my friends – in a better mindset now, I absolutely loved it.

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Mini Reviews: The Missing Page, Seven Endless Forests, In the Watchful City, Phoenix Extravagant

Despite the January and February slumps, I’m still reading at a faster pace than I can write full-length reviews. So here’s another round of shorter, more condensed ones to hopefully help me catch up at least a little.

All of them are books I enjoyed a lot, and hopefully I can convince you to try one or two as well 😁

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February 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

For most of February I still struggled to read, much less review. At least I managed to read more than in January, and finally finish the 2021 yearly wrap-up (please check it out!), but keep up with reviewing most of what I read, not so much. Mini reviews to come very soon.

Read:

  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas (ARC): Some pacing problems, but handles its themes pretty well. Plus as a graphic novel it’s a really quick read.
  • The Missing Page by Cat Sebastian (non-SFF): A very fun mystery/romance.
  • In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu: I like experimental books, so of course I loved this. Did not expect poetry in between.
  • Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke: A fun Norse/Arthurian slump-breaker of a book. Standalone epic fantasy(!), fast paced, with a lot happening.
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (reread): Prompted because someone else was reading it for the first time. A sure sign that I’m not okay when I go reread this damn book…?
  • Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge: Surreal, melancholic, unsettling, and wonderfully well-structured. Really liked it.

Books read in 2022: 8 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳🥳

Review: Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge

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I’m not sure how long have I had this on my TBR. But I have long enjoyed books that are off the beaten track, and this fit my type to a T. Strange, certainly, and melancholic, and unsettling and beautiful, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh and surreal read.

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