May 2021 TBR: It’s Wyrd and Wonder!

IMAGE CREDITS: images by Svetlana Alyuk on 123RF.com

May is Wyrd and Wonder month – and I have at least tried to participate for the last three years and I am very excited to be part of it again. Wyrd and Wonder is a month long fantasy readathon hosted by Lisa of Dear Geek Place, imyril of There’s Always Room for One More, and Jorie of Jorie Loves a Story. I particularly like the sense of community this event gives me and that I find new people to follow every year.

I am famously not great at following TBRs and my mood reading often leads me down different paths than I anticipated but I am very excited about fantasy at the moment and hope this’ll keep for this month at least. I have some super exciting books I could potentially read and I genuinely hope to be more active this year. My daughter will maybe start day care soon (depending on how the covid cases in my hometown develop), so I might be able to sit down and blog at least a few times this month. I might also be able to read an actual physical book with pages and everything.

I am currently in the middle of three fantasy books which I am going to prioritize. I am enjoying all three of them but especially For The Wolf which is just as good as the blurb made it sound and at the moment on track to be a five star read for me. Dead Witch Walking is fun and the first in a long series – and I would love to get stuck in a longer series again, filling the Kate Daniels and Psy-Changeling shaped holes in my heart. Big Bad Wolf is a lot darker than I anticipated but I am loving the world building if sadly not the romance.

Below is an additional list of books I am excited about that I could potentially read this month. Looking at these books makes me wonder why I ever read anything else but fantasy. I will probably prioritize The Bone Shard Daughther by Andrea Stewart as it is the group read and Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – have no excuse to not have already read that and I am certain I will adore it.

Books written by men in 2019 that I am now excited about

I didn’t read any books written by men in 2019. And mostly it really didn’t change that much about my reading choices. But now that 2020 is nearing, I am actually really looking forward to reading men again. Because there are some really exciting books I missed last year or series that finished.

41880609On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

I heard nothing but great things about this book. Apparently it is partly told in second person narration which is one of my all-time favourite things (I have even written a recommendation post), and if I am being honest I am sold by that fact alone. The language is supposed to be stunning and the story told fragmentally – I cannot see myself not loving it.

Mark Lawrence – Grey Sister and Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2 & #3)

I really enjoyed parts of the first book in this trilogy when I read it last year and the consensus seems to be that the second and the third book are genuinely great as well. I am a big fan of kickass women in fantasy, so even though I do not particularly love the “magical school” trope, I am super invested in this series and especially the worldbuilding.

42389859._sy475_October Man by Ben Aaronovitch

I love this series and cannot wait to get stuck in the world again. I really enjoyed how Aaronovitch finished the first part of his series and am very excited to see where this goes next. The book is also set in Germany which is bound to be interesting for me.

 

41088576Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Hands down the most difficult book to not read the moment it came out, this is the beginning of the second trilogy in Hidden Legacy series. I have adored pretty much everything I have read of this author duo and cannot imagine this being different. I still haven’t read the novella set between the two trilogies and will probably be doing that as soon as 2020 starts.

37589179._sy475_Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

I love Jeff VanderMeer’s writing and I am planning on eventually reading everything he has ever written. This book is set in the same world as Borne, the first book I read of his and one that has stuck with me to an incredible degree. Especially considering that I didn’t adore it as much while reading it (review). His imagination is just wonderful though and I don’t want to stop reading his work.

43682552How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

This memoir sounds incredible – Jones is a poet and apparently mixes poetry and prose for this book and I am personally here for that. Everything I have heard about this book makes me certain I will love it and I cannot wait to pick it up in 2020.

Are there any books you are planning to pick up in the new year? Have you read any of these that I should prioritize?

Review: Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) by Ben Aaronovitch

36534574Verdict: Great, as always

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Published by Gollancz, November 2018

Find it on Goodreads.

The seventh book of the bestselling Rivers of London urban fantasy series returns to the adventures of Peter Grant, detective and apprentice wizard, as he solves magical crimes in the city of London.

Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice.

But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan. A plan that has its roots in London’s two thousand bloody years of history, and could literally bring the city to its knees.

To save his beloved city Peter’s going to need help from his former best friend and colleague–Lesley May–who brutally betrayed him and everything he thought she believed in. And, far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch….

This is one of my all-time favourite series – and this installment was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint, as usual. There is just something charming and compulsive about this series that makes me very happy.

I won’t write about the plot so much, because doing so invariably would spoil the books that came before (and what twists and turns there were) except to say that I found the way the story went and how some parts wrapped up highly satisfying. I know that there is a novella coming out in a few months (I am so glad!) but except for that I do not know where the story will go next – but wherever it is, I am sure I will be reading it.

The best part, as always, is Peter’s wonderful narration, this time aided by the absolutely brilliant Kobna Holdbrook-Smith who narrates the audiobook to perfection. I felt a bit spoiled, having pre-ordered the paperback and then buying the audiobook but it was definitely worth it. Peter’s tone and his sense of humour are as brilliant as ever – but what I appreciate most is that he is a genuinely good person, always striving to be better. This is something I am always looking forward to in my reading, especially in a genre saturated by anti-heroes, and something I needed at the end of the long year that was 2018.

There were some genuinely heartbreaking and heartwarming scenes in this book (the dancing! It made me teary eyed) and the ending was so very wonderful – I cannot wait for my partner to read this book so that I can squeal at him.

If you like Urban Fantasy and haven’t checked this out, I highly recommend you do – I love Ben Aaronovitch’s mix of police procedural and highly inventive fantasy, his characters are wonderfully drawn and realistically diverse (it is set in present-day London after all), and his storylines (especially the overarching ones) are exciting and well-thought-out.

 

Wrap Up: December 2018 or there goes the year.

I cannot believe the year is over. It feels like it went both super quick and super slow. My reading in December was a bit erratic because the first half I felt mega burned out (mostly due to work) and could not concentrate on anything difficult, then there was Christmas were I did not get any reading done – and then I had a few days to wrap up all the books written by men I was still reading.

Books I read in December:

  1. Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko: 5 out of 5 stars
  2. Dopesick by Beth Macy: 5 out of 5 stars
  3. Angel’s Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Archangel’s Kiss (Guild Hunter #2) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter #3) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter #4) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  7. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  8. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1) by Theodora Goss: 3 out of 5 stars
  10. Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  11. New Suns ed. by Nisi Shawl: 2 out of 5 stars
  12. Doggerland by Ben Smith: 3 out of 5 stars
  13. Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) by Ben Aaronovitch: 4 out of 5 stars
  14. Heavy by Kiese Laymon: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

I adored Vita Nostra – every single second of reading this was a pleasure. Dopesick was another book that I appreciated immensely – it is wonderfully researched and impeccably told. Both books made my best of the year lists.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: December 2018 or there goes the year.”

Have I read my most anticipated releases of 2018?

I have written about my most anticipated releases twice this year, for the first and for the second half of the year. Let’s see how many of those I have actually read (and which I have enjoyed).

In my first post, I named 13 books that I was super excited to get to.

  1. Brave by Rose McGowan. I have neither read nor bought this book because before I could, she started showing TERFy tendencies, which I just cannot support. I have since seen some reviews that make me think not reading this was the right decision.
  2. Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot. I loved this book so very much.
  3. Folk by Zoe Gilbert. I read this before it came out and it was ok. And now I cannot really remember much of it, to be perfectly honest.
  4. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. Again, I loved this book. I knew from the very first chapter that I was in for something extraordinary.
  5. The Sea Beast Takes A Lover by Michael Andreasen. This collection of short stories did not quite work for me, but I did enjoy some stories.
  6. Not That Bad ed. by Roxane Gay. Of course I loved this.
  7. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh. This has possibly my favourite cover of the year and I really enjoyed this interesting book.
  8. Florida by Lauren Groff. She is becoming one of my favourite authors and this collections was no exception.
  9. Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch. I have not yet read it but will definitely do so before the end of the year. I have waited too long for this book to not pick it up soon.
  10. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I loved this just as much as I thought I would. Slow-paced, wintery fairy-tales are my jam.
  11. Sick by Porochista Khakpour. Biggest disappointment of my reading year.
  12. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. The release date was moved to January but I have an ARC and want to get lost in this wonderful world, possibly during my (short) winter break.
  13. Vengeful by V. E. Schwab. I had so much fun reading this and it made me excited again for Schwab’s writing in a way I hadn’t been in a while.

I actually did okay here. There are only three books I haven’t read yet (and one of those is no longer on my TBR), I also enjoyed the majority of the books on my list, with four of them getting five stars.

Let’s take a look at my second list, with only eight titles on it.

  1. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet. I enjoyed this a lot but it did not reach the heights of his Divine Cities trilogy yet. Still, I am excited to see where he takes the story next.
  2. Heavy by Kiese Laymon. I am embarrassingly enough still reading this. I started it at a really bad moment and while I think it is brilliant, it also deeply sad and I cannot quite get myself to pick it up.
  3. All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I am still super excited about this but the book is only out in hardback and still very expensive. It will be one of the next books I buy though.
  4. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. Another book that isn’t out in paperback yet and a bit too expensive.
  5. Rosewater by Tade Thompson. I really enjoyed this even if it confused me.
  6. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. I did not love this and I am unsure whether Moss’ writing is quite for me.
  7. Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved this and it started my binge-reading of Urban Fantasy. I cannot wait for the next one!
  8. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. I got an ARC of this the day it released and I am super excited still. But I am also drowning in arcs at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get to it before the end of the year though.

Again, around three books I have not got to which isn’t too bad considering how absolutely abysmal I am at setting myself TBRs.

How did you do with your most anticipated releases of this year? Did you manage to get to them?

Most Anticipated Books of 2018 (so far)

I have seen a couple of blogposts and Youtube videos floating around where people talk about their Most Anticipated Books of 2018. This coming year feels like the first year where I actually have a few books I am looking forward to reading. Normally I have maybe a handful books I know will come out soonish but currently I spend so much time looking at books that I have a proper list to share. The list is ordered by publication date and I have tried to write one or two sentences explaining why I want to read each book. The links lead to the goodreads pages.

McGOWAN_BRAVE_HC_TEST2.inddBRAVE by Rose McGowan

January 30th, HarperOne

There is no way I am not reading this. I love memoirs written by women and this sounds timely and important.

 

35840657Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot

February 6th, Counterpoint Press

A memoir? Written by a woman? Who grew up on a Native American Reservation? Blurbed by Lidia Yuknavitch and Roxane Gay? There is no way I am not reading this.

35892355Folk by Zoe Gilbert

February 8th, Bloomsbury Press

These interconnected short stories set on an island and playing with myth and fairy tales sound right up my alley. The cover is also absolutely stunning.

35412372Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

February 13th, Grove Press

I am currently reading this and it is blowing my mind (which is why I am including this). This heartbreaking story of mental illness is approached differently to what I have read before and I have already so many thoughts.

36262478The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen

March 8th, Head of Zeus

Fantastical short stories that play on fairy tales – yes, still exactly my cuppa. In fact I have included this in my five star prediction post.

 

35068524Not that bad edited by Roxane Gay

May 1st, Harper Perennial

It is no secret how much I admire Roxane Gay and her thoughts. While this anthology of first person essays written about rape and rape culture will for sure make me angry and sad, it sounds important.

35448496The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

May 31st, Hamish Hamilton

The blurb is vague but sounded intriguing and the cover is just absolutely stunning. This sounds like an introspective, feminist work with maybe a speculative element and I am so here for that.

Florida 36098092by Lauren Groff

June 5th, Riverhead

I adored Fates and Furies, and I love short story collections, this was a no brainer, really.

 

Lies Sleeping (Peter Grant #7) by Ben Aaronovitch

June, Gollancz

This is one of the very few series I keep up with. I just love Ben Aaronovitch’s brand of urban fantasy and I cannot wait for this.

36896898Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

July 10th, Del Rey

I really enjoyed Uprooted and this sounds similar (in a good way). I like fairy tale retellings so very much and Naomi Novik manages to hit the language just perfectly.

32600407Sick by Porochista Khakpour

August 8th, Harper Perennial

This memoir about Porochista Khakpour’s struggle with illness sounds right up my alley. I am very much in the mood for non fiction lately and I wish I could read this already.

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

August 14th, Del Rey

It is the last part of the brilliant Winternight trilogy. Do I really have to say more?

Vengeful (Villains #2) by V. E. Schwab

September 25th, Tor

Vicious is my favourite of V. E. Schwab’s books. I just adored it so much and I just cannot wait to read the next book in a series that I did not know would be a series.

 

 

What are your most anticipated books for the upcoming months? Let me know because obviously my TBR is not big enough already.

Friday Favourites – Series Edition #1: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

I like talking about the things I like (who doesn’t, I guess), so I will be trying to post about my favourite book related things regularly (I will aim for every second friday but I’ll have to wait and see if I can manage that). I will talk about my favourite authors and why they rule, about my favourite genres and why they make me happy, my favourite books and why they stick with me. And so on and so forth. There are so many things I love about books, I am sure I will be able to go on for a while. So without further ado, here’s this week’s thing I love:

 

The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

I am chronically bad at sticking with series (this is true both for TV shows and for books). It is rare that I love a series enough to not only stick with it but also to eagerly await the next installment without losing the will to keep reading. This is such a rare series. I adore everything about it and I cannot wait to read the next book (which will hopefully come out next year – making it one my most anticipated books).

Peter is one of the best protagonists I have ever encountered and his voice is just perfectly suited for the stories told. He is capable without being over-powered, he is optimistic without being unrealistic, and most importantly he seems like a genuinely nice guy. But he isn’t the only great character in the books; especially Guleed holds a special place in my heart and their interaction is just lovely. The Rivers are brilliant and all fully-fleshed out (and their family-dynamic is so realistic!).

I adore the way Ben Aaronovitch is slowly fleshing out his world – he is taking his time and it feels that much more real this way. Every book adds a new layer and I cannot wait to see where this series will go. While fleshing out his world he is also always adding new layers to his characters making them interesting and changing and oh so very brilliant.

I just love love love this series and the wait between the installments is kind of killing me. I am a bit jealous of my partner because he is only reading the 4th book now and has more to read after. I am also sometimes jealous of his single-mindedness when it comesto books – he can read one book after another of any series and I sometimes wonder how that changes one’s opinion on books. You can get so much more immersed into a world if you do not take extensive breaks between each installment.

What are your thoughts on this series? Have you read any of the books? What are some of your favourite series? How do you read series – one book after the other or with breaks inbetween?