Thanks to the publisher (Tordotcom) for the ARC of this book.
I have been teased with how good this book is since long before I got a chance to read it. Too long. So when I started it and didn’t click with it immediately, I was a little worried it would be yet another highly anticipated disappointment. Or my unreliable reading mood. But it won me over eventually, and I ended up having as much of a blast as with A Marvellous Light.
October was another pretty good month. Not one single DNF. As a reward for having finished Bingo in September, I got myself paperbacks (cheap, visibly used, mismatched, but they’ll do) of the first half of Dunnett’s Niccolò series and reread the first book immediately to refresh my memory. I also briefly got lucky and got up to the coveted 80% on Netgalley, but then a few requests I’ve given up on got approved and, well. But that’s how blogging is! 😂 And the books are great so I can’t complain.
Niccolò Rising by Dorothy Dunnett (reread): Just as good as I remembered, and even more fun. The ostrich subplot is just the best.
The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Expected a weird western, got something mostly about fae. Disappointing.
His Quiet Agent (reread) and Agents of Winter by Ada Maria Soto: One of my favourite fluffy hurt/comfort romance series. Even if it’s contemporary, it hits all the tropes I like and the characters are asexual.
The Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman (ARC): A very heavy novella about PhD magic students, trauma, and academic abuse. Quiet and low-key in Fellman’s usual style. Good, but oof.
Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling: Creepy little gothic novella. Suits the season well.
The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliott (ARC): Kind of underwhelming. I’d say there was too much infodumping but really, I just didn’t vibe with it.
Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (ARC): Nothing groundbreaking, but very light and fun and easy to read in large chunks. Loved the disaster protagonist.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: Based on the cover and the first few chapters, I expected more horror vibes and less quirky adventure than the book ended up being. And a lot of it didn’t click with me.
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (ARC): Took a while to hook me but I’ve been enjoying it very very much.
Thanks to the publisher (Tor) for the ARC of this book.
Well, this was fun! I confess: I still haven’t read Winter’s Orbit, but something about description of Ocean’s Echo intrigued me enough to request it. And I was right. Sometimes all you need is some light, queernorm sci-fi. Even though Ocean’s Echo has its flaws, it simply clicked for me.
Once again, it’s time for a quartet of mini reviews. This time, I liked three out of four books and felt meh on one of them, which is really not a bad ratio given how some of those roundup posts tend to go. Three novellas, one short novel, three SFF books, one not. I see a pattern here. I also admit I bought the last novella, Kundo Wakes Up, solely because I like to have four books before I post and I wasn’t willing to wait until I either DNF’d something or stumbled into a novella randomly again, but given that 1) I had planned to read it since release and 2) I liked it, this is not at all a bad thing.
This month’s batch of mini reviews, finally big enough to post, came out very varied. A book I liked but couldn’t give a full review to because I was on a vacation book binge, a pretty good novella that’d get a mini review anyway, a novel so mediocre that I didn’t have much to say, and a grumpy unexpected DNF. For once, more novels than novellas.
Thanks to the publisher (Ace) for the ARC of this book.
Unnatural Magic was, until now, my oldest unread ARC. I remember I picked it up once and put it down again very soon, not in the mood. But I’m glad that I tried again because I really really enjoyed it. The worldbuilding had a few interesting twists, the main romantic subplot hit my specific buttons, but unfortunately, it was plagued by a mess of a plot.
June was without a doubt a great reading month. I didn’t think so, since the second to last book I read, Scarlet Odyssey, took me forever, but looking back, 4 novellas, 3 novels, 1 DNF and 16/25 done with Bingo three months in is not bad at all.
Spear by Nicola Griffith: Possibly my fave Arthurian book so far. Very queer and very very well-written. The afterword about the author’s writing process made it even better.
The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter (ARC): Gothic fantasy, rather dark and murdery but I enjoyed it a lot. Very feminist as well.
Aurora’s Angel by Emily Noon (DNF 13%): That’s an early DNF even for me, but the clunky, awkward dialogue was a complete dealbreaker. A shame because I was looking forward to it.
Of the Wild by E. Wambheim: Cute, fluffy novella about a fae shapeshifter and his found family.
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki: Not perfect, the tonal disonnance between the POVs at the start is irritating, but it’s full of heart and donuts and was impossible for me to put down.
Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi: Read it pretty much because I was looking for a book with antelopes in it. Really good worldbuilding, but the plot is exactly the kind of multi-POV epic fantasy I struggle with.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia: Good ideas, but the execution was a bit of a mess. Should have been a novel with how much it had going on.
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller: Went into this one pretty much blind. Let’s see where it goes!
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee: Got reminded that I never finished the series and I wanted a lighter read…but…the sibling interactions are so full of secondhand embarrassment I might just DNF.
Still behind on two reviews from the April reading frenzy, plus with a more recently read anthology and another DNF, it’s time for mini reviews yet again. All of them were read (or, in the case of Aurora’s Angel, attempted) for this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo, respectively the Revolutions & Rebellions, No Ifs, Ands or Buts, Short Stories, and Shapeshifters squares.
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.
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.