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?

Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month

I had a surprisingly good reading month, numbers-wise – normally September is not that brilliant for me, but this time around I actually read ten books. Most of them were middle of the road though.

Books read in September:

  1. The Fire This Time ed. by Jesmyn Ward: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon: 3 out of 5 stars
  3. Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Rosewater by Tade Thompson: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. The Corset by Laura Purcell: 3 out of 5 stars
  8. River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Vanishing Twins: A Marriage by Leah Dieterich: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  10. March: Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Yadin & Nate Powell: 4 out of 5 stars

I also DNFed The Sisters of the Winter Wood because I could not get on board with the prose, the poems, or the structure of the story. The thought of having to pick that up and reading another 400 pages made me very unhappy; so I put it down.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month”

Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

35702180Verdict: Holy cliffhanger

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Published by HarperVoyager UK, 2017

Find it on Goodreads.

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

There are many things to love about this book, most of all: assassin nuns. Like, how was I supposed to not read a book about assassin nuns? Especially one that starts with one of the best first sentences ever: “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.” Mark Lawrence unapologetically delivers on the premise of kickass nuns. The book is filled to the brim with wonderful strong, flawed, real women and made my heart soar.

This book follows Nona, who has been sold (or rather given away for free) to a man whose job it is to pick up children with special abilities and who delivers her into the care of a man managing a fighting club. We meet Nona when she is about to be hanged for (nearly) killing a noble son and is thankfully rescued by one of the aforementioned assassin nuns and taken into the convent.

While the first 100 pages and the last 100 pages were absolutely brilliant, I found the middle for long stretches to be too long. I am not the biggest fan of plotpoints that could have been resolved by just talking to one of the responsible adults – and the nuns have never given Nona any reason to distrust them. I also never could keep the nuns straight in my head which made some of the more emotional points a bit flat. I usually do not have to keep referring back to the glossar and the dramatis personae but I had to do that here which did take some of the enjoyment out of the book for me.

But one thing is for certain – I cannot wait to see where the story goes next because the foreshadowed events are epic without end. I am a big fan of over-powered fantasy protagonists (especially if they are women) and this series delivers on that front.

2018 Book Haul #3: All these books are beautiful.

It has been a while since I posted my last book haul but if I wait any longer to post this one, writing it would take forever. Because I went overboard. But I have also read quite a few of the books I bought already, so that’s at least something.

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

29213247Blurb: So sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad?
She asks herself these questions over and over here, turning them into a darkly mesmerising and strangely uplifting reading experience through coruscating honesty and a total lack of self-deceit.
Sexually confused, a recovering addict, suffering from an eating disorder and marked by one very strange sex fetish: Broder’s life is full of extremes. But from her days working for a Tantric nonprofit in San Francisco to caring for a severely ill husband, there’s no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. When she started an anonymous Twitter feed @sosadtoday to express her darkest feelings, her unflinching frankness and twisted humour soon gained a huge cult following.
In its treatment of anxiety, depression, illness and instability; by its fearless exploration of the author’s romantic relationships (romantic is an expanded term in her hands); and with its inventive imagery and deadpan humour, So Sad Today is radical. It is an unapologetic, unblinkingly intimate book that splays out a soul and a prose of unusual beauty.

Why I bought it: I adored The Pisces so much (my gushing review is here), I needed to read this ASAP. And I also loved it. Continue reading “2018 Book Haul #3: All these books are beautiful.”