Tag: 5 Star Predictions Round 2ish

I know I have done this before – and then promptly never read the books I listed, so we’re all just going to pretend I am doing this for the first time. I was tagged by Rachel and I think it might be a good opportunity to get excited about some of these million unread books on my shelves because so far this year, my reading has been overwhelmingly digital (ebooks and audiobooks) and I want to get my physical TBR down to a manageable size (she says, while buying new books all the time).

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

36332136I recently read and LOVED The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and wanted another myth retelling. I needed a new audiobook for my walk to work and this one has intrigued me since it came out. I haven’t read Beowolf and in fact I know next to nothing about the plot but I am super excited about this one. It sounds absolutely brilliant and like something I could really adore.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

36510722I adore Moreno-Garcia’s writing, without ever having read one of her novels. Her short stories are consistently the best thing in the anthologies I read and I really need to get to her stuff. I was lucky enough to receive a NetGalley-ARC for this and I could not be more thrilled. There is something about her imagination and her imagery that just speaks to me and I hope to adore her novels as much as her shorter works.

Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovic

34511802I adore Abramovic’s art and I hope that will translate into loving her memoir. I haven’t been reading enough non-fiction these last few months and it shows – I do miss it and need to get back into the groove. This one seems like an obvious choice.

 

 

When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy

38821165Everything I hear about this book makes me more excited and simultaneously more scared to read it. I am sure I will love it but I am also sure it will be harrowing. So part of me including this is to finally push myself to read this. I read the first page a while ago and really meshed with the writing style.

 

Monstress Vol. 3 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

41952016I don’t know why I haven’t read this already. I gave the other two volumes already published five stars – I adore everything from the seriously stunning art, to the female centric narration, to the darkness underneath the beauty. I cannot see myself not loving this.

 

May 2019 TBR: It’s Wyrd and Wonder!

ww-2019-dragon-banner-all-capsI am so excited!

Last year I tried to participate in Wyrd and Wonder but got sidetracked, something that is likely to happen again but I still want to try. I have been reading a lot of fantasy and related genres these last months and I am always up for more. You can find the sign-up post here in case you also want to participate in this fantasy goodness.

I am trying to keep my TBR to a manageable size because I still have plenty of Women’s Prize books left to read before the winner is announced (I am determined to make it through the longlist until then!) but I also always get super excited when thinking about books I could potentially read. I had decided to go with one book per medium – and then my copy of Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse arrived and I couldn’t not include this.

Hard Copy: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

32200595I am determined to finally finish this series – while I did not love the second book, I do love Schwab herself. She has such a lovely online presence! I also really enjoy her imagination, even if her characters don’t always work for me. Even though this is super long, her writing is readable enough that I should be able to breeze through it, once I get properly started.

Hard Copy: Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

37920490

I read the first book in this series the moment it came out last year and have been excited for the sequel ever since. It reignited my love for Urban Fantasy which has been dominating my reading this last year. I just adore what Roanhorse is doing with the tropes of the genre and the basis in Native American mythology is breathtakingly done.

 

Audio Book: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

29774026Speaking of long books, the audio book for this is 26 hours long (which always feels like I am really getting something for my money!). I recently moved and now walking to work takes me half an hour, so I get a reasonable amount of reading done this way. Shannon’s feminist dragon fantasy is awesome so far, but also a bit confusing with its big cast of characters – apparently I did not pay proper attention in the beginning because I only remember one of the main characters, so I will have to restart the audiobook.

Kindle Book: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

41118857I was lucky to snag my first ever Edelweiss Arc for this one and I cannot even tell you how excited I am to get to it. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and I cannot wait to see where Kuang takes her story next. It will be absolutely brutal, I am sure, but also amazing and I personally am here for it.

 

Graphic Novel: Monstress Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

41952016I have not been reading graphic novels much lately but I do love the medium. And I particularly love what Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are doing here. The art is stunning and the world-building intricate and everything about this just works for me. (I have heard people find it very hard to stomach in its graphic depiction of violence so this might not be a series for everybody though)

But who am I kidding; I will probably just keep reading Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling books until I reach the end of the series as published so far.

*Image Credit:  Dragon – by  kasana86.

Favourite Fiction Books of 2018

I have already talked about my least favourite books and my favourite non-fiction books of the year. Today I can finally talk about the fiction books I loved the most this year. These are books I read this year but not necessarily ones published this year. I have tried putting them in order of preference, but this order might have been a different one had I done it another day.

11) Florida by Lauren Groff

36098092I adore, adore Lauren Groff’s writing and her newest short story collection was one of the best things I read this year. I am slowly making my way through her back catalogue because I love the way she structures her sentences and her stories. These stories center (as the title indicates) on Florida, but more so they center women and their difficult relationships to themselves and their children. Beautifully done. Full review here.

10) Hidden Legacy Book 2 and 3 by Ilona Andrews

And this is where I cheat a little. I obviously adored reading many of Ilona Andrews’ books this year and this second series written by the duo made me very happy indeed. I adore the worldbuilding and I appreciate the central couple, which all things considered is surprisingly drama free and honest in their interaction.  My series review can be found here.

09) Kate Daniels’ Book 3 and 4 by Ilona Andrews

I adored my whole reading experience of this series, which I read completely this year and couldn’t not put it on my favourites list. I most of all loved books 3 and 4 which I read on two consecutive days, reading way too long into a night (something I don’t really do all that often because I need my sleep to properly function at work). These books are wonderfully plotted with a brilliant world and a relationship at its heart that I rooted for way too much. My two series reviews are here and here.

08) Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

36396289My favourite of the Man Booker longlisted books I read this year, I cannot believe this nearly went under my radar (I blame the cover which I do not like and which everybody else seems to weirdly love). Johnson retells an ancient myth and thoroughly modernizes it. I loved her prose and her play with perspectives (I do love a well-done second person narrative) and thought this was impressively done, even if the ending makes quite a lot of the subtext text and consequently loses some of its magic. My review can be found here.

07) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

38606192This book made me very, very happy. I love fantasy books inspired by fairy tales and when they are set in the winter, I am in love. I adored this. My review can be found here.

 

 

06) A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel

16158505By far the best short story collection I have read this year. And my favourite cover. I love the way Ramona Ausubel’s language flows and how she constructs her beautiful but dark stories. (review here)

 

 

05) Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

38633526I cannot believe I left this book off when I excitedly published this post 20 minutes ago. Because I loved this so! It is so very custom-made for me that I cannot comfortably recommend it because I am so not objective, but believe me when I say it is brilliant and special and so so very worth reading. I am currently mostly positive that the next book will be translated into English as well and I cannot wait to spend more time in this world. My full review is here.

04) Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

35412372One of the first books I finished this year – and what a start that was. Emezi’s debut novel explodes on the page into something stunning and beautiful and very different. Their story is intimate and violent and apparently at least partly autobiographical in the best possible way. My review can be found here.

03) Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

33540347The only comic series I am currently properly following, something about the collaboration between Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda really blows me away. The art is stunning and the story intriguing. It is a bit complicated to follow but all the more rewarding I find. I have heard people saying they cannot stomach the brutality of the story line, but for me it works extraordinarily well – the grimness of the world is juxtaposed with the stunning brilliance of the art. (Review here)

02) There There by Tommy Orange

36356614I adored this book from the very first page. Something about Orange’s prose just clicked with me and I was very impressed with the way he constructs his characters and their voices. I cannot wait to see what he does next. My review can be found here.

01) The Pisces by Melissa Broder

37590570It feels like I just cannot stop talking about this book. Of all the books I have read this year, this one sticks out the most. It might not technically be the best book I read but it is for sure my favourite. I just loved everything about this, but most importantly I found Lucy an incredible protagonist. My full review is here.

What were your favourite books of the year?

Wrap Up: August 2018

I had a good reading month but a quite difficult work month. I struggled a whole lot with my PhD the second half of the month and buried myself in quick and easy reads to avoid thinking about it. But I had a meeting with my thesis supervisor last week and now I am feeling like I am on the right track again (for the first time in months, I might add).

Books read in July:

  1. Foundryside (The Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda: 5 out of 5 stars
  3. Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. I Hate Fairyland Vol. 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. There There by Tommy Orange: 5 out of 5 stars
  7. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J. R. Ward: 2,5 out of 5 stars
  8. Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2) by J. R. Ward: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Everything Under by Daisy Johnson: 4,5 out of 5 stars

Continue reading “Wrap Up: August 2018”

Review: Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

33540347Verdict: Simply stunning.

My rating: 5 put of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Published by Image Comics, 2017

Find it on Goodreads.

Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.

In this second volume of Monstress, collecting issues 7-12, Maika’s quest takes her to the pirate-controlled city of Thyria and across the sea to the mysterious Isle of Bones. It is a journey that will force Maika to reevaluate her past, present, and future, and contemplate whether there’s anyone, or anything, she can truly trust–including her own body.

This is, simply put, absolutely stunning story-telling, on all possible levels. There is a reason why Marjorie Liu won the Eisner Award this year (as the first woman, I might add incredulously in the year 2018).

Picking up after the events of the last volume and not losing even the slightest bit of steam, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda build on their already impressive worldbuilding, adding new cultures and more depth to this world that already feels much bigger than what we have seen so far. And also kickass female pirates.

The storytelling is layered and complicated – the world here is ravaged by ages of war and prejudice and hate against each other, with no race being wholly innocent in the matter. The authors do not shy away from gruesome pictures and elements of war in a way that never feels gratuitous. This complicated tapestry of people is exemplified in our main characters, Maika is difficult to like but easy to root for, her companions equally complicated with motivations that not always point in the same direction.

But nothing of the above points would work as well as it does without Sana Takeda’s absolutely brilliant art. It is intricate and sweeping and oh so very beautiful. I don’t know if I have ever read a graphic novel that was quite as visually stunning (maybe Sandman, maybe not even that). If you have any interest in feminist, complicated, dark, beautiful comics – you really should be picking this one up. I will be reading this until the very end.

Impromptu “I am three books behind on my reading challenge”-TBR

The last few weeks have been rough, reading wise. I am as of today three books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge and I really want to change that. Luckily, it’s a bank holiday tomorrow, which means I have a whole day I can dedicate to reading and hopefully catching up at least a little bit.

I am currently in the middle of six books, which is also stressing me out, so I will try and finish at least one, hopefully two of those books in the next 26 hours. I will prioritize the books I am actually excited to read and see from there.

My TBR

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

36187690I am a bit further than half way through this book and enjoying it immensely. It is not perfect (sometimes the characters behave a bit too prop-like for my taste) but it is beautifully written and very readable.

 

 

Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay

35068524This is brilliant. I adore everything about this anthology. I have around 80 pages left of this, so I will definitely be finishing it.

 

 

It by Stephen King

36320307There is no way I am finishing this any time soon but I am hoping to at least make a dent. I am currently around 11 hours into the 44 hour long audiobook and while I still think that the book is too long, I have found my rhythm with it and am actually mostly enjoying it.

 

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

33540347I have not been as good at reading graphic novels as I would like. It is a genre I enjoy while I read them but somehow I am never compelled to pick one up. I love the art and the story of this though and I will definitely be picking this up during the next hours.

 

I am also allowing myself to pick up anything else that I might be interested in because I think part of the reason for my slump is that I am trying to structure my reading too much. (I mean the main reason is that work has been ridiculous, but that I cannot change.)

I will try and update my reading progress over on Twitter, so do join me over there if you would like to see me fail miserably or succeed wonderfully (not sure what it’ll be).

How is your reading month going? What do you do when you happen to be behind on your reading challenge?

Wrap Up: January 2018

I had a pretty good reading month. I am still playing catch-up with all the ARCs I have to read (there are so many books coming out in February and March!) but still managed to read a few of my already owned books. I have also not read a book yet that I haven’t liked.

These are the books I read this month:

  1. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi: 5 out of 5 stars.
  2. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy: 4 out of 5 stars.
  3. Folk by Zoe Gilbert: 3 out of 5 stars.
  4. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: 4 out of 5 stars.
  5. Monstress Vol. 1: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (reread): 5 out of 5 stars
  6. Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: 4 out of 5 stars
  8. The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. The Starlings by Jo Walton: 3 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the month:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, hands down. It is just stunning and I absolutely adored every second of it. I am very excited for more people to read this.

Stats (ish)

I read 9 books with 2400 pages and gave them an average of 4 stars. Of the 9 books, two were written by men, 6 by women and one by a person identifying as gender-nonconforming. I read two memoirs, two short story collections, one graphic novel, on literary fiction novel, one science fiction book, one novella (horror), and one mix between crime and fantasy.

I like that mix. I have been craving mostly genre fiction and memoirs. And will continue to read in this vain.

Currently Reading:

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell

How I Lose You by Kate McNaughton

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) by James S. A. Corey

(Some of the) Blog posts I loved:

Rachel’s list of her ARCs inspired me to write a similar post of my own and caused a bit of book envy.

Stuart’s list of classics he still needs to read made me remember similar goals I have.

Callum recommends brilliant family dramas (and has an all-around impeccable taste).

I loved JW’s post on spoilers and have been thinking about what constitutes a spoiler since.

I also really enjoyed Rick’s post about reading and Virgina Woolf.

I love reading about people discovering new favourites; especially when those are books I loved as well. Go and check out Sarah’s review of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.

I really enjoyed Rita’s Alphabetical and think you all would, too.

How was your reading month? And do link me your favourite blog post you have written this month.

 

Look what came in the post

This week I broke down and bought some books although I am on a self-imposed book buying ban. I have too many unread books already and quite a few NetGalley arcs to get to – but sometimes you still have to buy some books! So, here they are, first the ones that I haven’t read yet and then the ones I had arcs for and wanted to own to look pretty on my shelves.

City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2) – Robert Jackson Bennet

28436115The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

This one is the reason why I bought books in the first place this week. I absolutely adored the first book in this series – City of Stairs – and just had to know how the story continues. And then the book arrived late. And then I started a different fantasy book already. And now it is smiling at me from my night stand and testing my resolve. I am beyond excited to get started with this.

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3) – Robert Jackson Bennet

31522139Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing.

So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve.

Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And perhaps most daunting of all finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.

I am squinting very hard as to not read the synopsis I just pasted above. I do not want to spoil the second book for me. I am a bit annoyed at myself that I – again – managed to buy books in the same series in different editions but at the same time I don’t want to get too hung up about it because I try to still see whats inside the books as way more important than their covers.

Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood – Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

33540347This is the second volume in the brilliant Monstress series. I adored the first book and had this one pre-ordered for months. I haven’t been reading that many graphic novels lately but want to remedy that. I love the artwork done by Sana Takeda and I adore how very feminist this work is at its core.

My review for the first volume can be found here.

 

 

 Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch – Kelly Sue DeConnick & Taki Soma

29972029A few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords results in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. But what happened on Earth that this new world order came to pass in the first place? Return to the grim corridors of Auxiliary Compliance Outpost #2, to uncover the first clues to the history of the world as we know it…and meet PRESIDENT BITCH.

Again, I am very excited to finally have this in my hands. I loved the first volume when I read it forever ago. Again, super feminist graphic novel, which is something I usually enjoy.

 

Stay with me – Ayobami Adebayo

31349579Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

This is one of the books I had an arc for but wanted to have for my shelf. I adored this book and was very pleased to see it short listed for the Bailey’s Prize for fiction, even if it ultimately did not win. You can find my gushing review here.

Little Nothing – Marisa Silver

29429934In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and disgust from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no further than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local doctor and freak sideshow proprietor, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates persecution for Pavla. Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as this outcast woman is hunted down and incarcerated for her desires, her body broken and her identity stripped away until her soul is strong enough to transcend all physical bounds. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly shocking and original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.

I adored this. It ticks all my boxes: lyrical writing, fantasical retelling, matter of fact story telling, wonderfully drawn characters. My review for this wonder of a book can be found here.

Blissful Basil – Ashley Melillo

29502542Experience the happiest side of life through beautiful, nourishing foods.

Ashley Melillo believes in enjoying a wide array of wholesome foods in order to thrive—physically, mentally, and emotionally. For her blog, Blissful Basil, she finds innovative ways to use plants for fun, flavorful dishes that keep her readers coming back. Her gorgeous debut cookbook brings brand-new recipes, plus a handful of signature dishes, from her kitchen to yours.

Blissful Basil focuses on bringing out the best flavors of whole foods and features more than 100 plant-based dishes that will delight vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. What’s more, most of the recipes are free from gluten, soy, and refined sugars.

This is, hands down, the best cookbook I have ever seen, own, or tried recipes from. Since I had the pleasure to receive an arc for this, I have tried and loved many of the recipes here. Some becoming favourites of my partner and me. Especially the vegan Chili is absolutely to die for and has impressed many of our friends so far. You can find my review here.

I am so glad to finally own the book because it is even more beautiful this way. I adore the pictures accompanying the recipes and I cannot wait to try more dishes.