May 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

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May has been a surprisingly decent reading month (if a bit slow with reviews) despite how hectic it was when it came to classes. I have pretty much neglected the Bingo challenge and instead read whichever random book I fancied at the moment, which was probably for the best. Length-wise it was probably the most diverse of all, with everything from a short story anthology, to novellas, normal length novels, and a thousand page brick.

All in all, a good month.

Books finished:

  • The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander: Short but beautiful. Read it if you’re interested in radium girls, elephants, pretty prose, and non-linear stories.
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson: Wanted an epic, got an epic, forgot how little patience I have for epics and almost regretted it a third through. Still enjoyed it overall but yeah. Decent enough, but not great.
  • Yet another reread of The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles. I need to get around to the sequels. Badly.
  • Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by Aliens by Eleanor Arnason: Some of the most creative worldbuilding I’ve seen, plus challenging assumptions about sexuality. Excellent.
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (ARC): I would say GO READ THIS NOW because it’s amazing and totally my type and the definition of achingly beautiful but it’s not out yet sooooo yeah. But worth a preorder for sure!
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: That…did not go well. I usually like literary fantasy, but The Buried Giant was lacking in any elements that make a story interesting. Aside from the theme, there was nothing. I was bored to death. If you can do audio (I can’t), it may provide good material to relax or fall asleep to, otherwise not recommended.
  • A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton: Sweet, adorable f/f romance novella about a rekindled friendship that turns out to be something more.

Currently reading:

  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Worth reading just because it’s set in 1920s Mexico. Also, if you like the trope of a god being helped by a girl who takes no shit, this is very likely a book for you.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: Very slow going because the paperback is A LITERAL BRICK. So unwieldy.
  • Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones: I’m finding the prose and the ultra-polite way the characters talk somewhat dry and hard to read, but I guess that’s the historical aspect. It’s a bit frustrating regardless.

Books read this year: 24 (+ 7 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 5/25 (20%)

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Review: Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox

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Every once in a while, I get a mad compulsion to read a book. I hear of something, and it won’t give me peace until I go and read it – and without a fail, those books prove to be my favourites. So it was with The Name of the Wind all those years ago, or The Curse of Chalion, or more recently The Gray House. And so it is here.  Outside of my usual wheelhouse or no, I had to have it and yet again my instinct has proven correct. I wanted to yell about it from the rooftops before I was halfway through. I finished it in less than a day. It satisfied the craving for more Witchmark left beyond perfectly.

“Of course I could have turned them out into the fields, to laugh and cry like that with no roof to shield them. Maybe in another world, that would be best, but…” Archie got up stiffly, muscles aching from holding Rufus against the trunk of the apple tree the night before. “Not in this one. In this world, love needs shelter. And as long as the rectory’s standing, I’m going to provide it.”

If you’re looking for extremely well-written, atmospheric m/m romance with a slight fantasy twist this is very likely a book for you.

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Review: Witchmark by C.L. Polk (The Kingston Cycle #1)

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Witchmark ended up being the book that finally got me out of my March reading slump. It’s a charming, easy read, that hit precisely the right spot.

The plot is one third murder mystery, one third romance, and one third historical fantasy, which makes for a lovely mix. In a world where lower-class witches are persecuted and shut into asylums or enslaved, Miles only wants to lie low, be free, and work as a doctor in a run-down veterans’ hospital…until a mysterious stranger brings in a dying patient who knows who and what he is. Then, of course, things get complicated.

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2019 Big Webcomics Catch-Up: Tapas, Part #1

Introduction and index here

Previous post: Introduction – Next post: Tapas, Part #2

Tapas (formerly Tapastic) is one of my favourite platforms for webcomics. Before I finally set up an RSS feed and stopped relying on bookmarks last year, I had two big problems: discovering new comics to read and keeping track of which comic updates when, which are active, and so on. I could never remember for more than a couple. So stumbling upon a site that had many comics in one place, some sorting, and alerted you when they updated? It was a fucking godsend.

Since I followed so many comics on there, I will be splitting this part of the catch-up into three posts, last one of which will be dedicated to comics that have stopped being active before I fell off the wagon last June. Comics from my RSS feed (there’s even more of those) will be split in a similar way. There will be separate posts dedicated to complete comics, favourites, etc as well.

Now, onto the comics themselves (in alphabetical order).

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Review: Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

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This book was so much fun.

Halla wanted to be the sort of person who yelled at her cousin and forced him to acknowledge that she had a choice in the matter. Unfortunately, it seemed that she was the sort of person who ran up the stairs to her bedchamber, grateful for the reprieve.

This was a depressing discovery.

Halla is a housekeeper. When her uncle dies and she inherits his estate, his relatives are not happy and lock her in her room, planning to marry her off to her cousin (with clammy hands). Planning to kill herself to escape them, she draws an old sword…and summons Sarkis who has been trapped inside.

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Review: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles (A Charm of Magpies #1)

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I don’t know much about romance. I used to avoid it quite religiously until a couple years ago and even after I got over my fear, recommendations were rare. But honestly? I think I need to put in the effort and actively look for more of it because this was amazing and I devoured it near-instantly.

“You know,” he added, “there are a number of recommended methods of dealing with ghosts – salt and iron, harmonic resonance, some people swear by exorcism, and not just priests – but that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone try a left hook.”

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Review: In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

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I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was just plain lovely.

The Vanishers had broken the world. They had taken and enslaved as they’d wished, leaving constructs and plagues as their legacies. Their magic was all chains and knives and diseases, everything that bound and broke and devastated. Even their rare healings had been double-edged, leaving people riddled with tumors and shriveled elements.

In the Vanishers’ Palace is, at its core, a delightfully queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in alternate Vietnam. Yên is a failed scholar, assisting her healer mother, but thought to be fairly useless. When her friend and a daughter from an important family, Oanh, falls gravely ill, she is exchanged for a cure from the dragon, Vu Côn, expecting to be killed, but instead becoming a teacher to her children.

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