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?

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: Rosewater by Tade Thompson

38362809Verdict: Strange, hard work, really really cool.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Published by Little, Brown Book Group UK / Orbit

Find it on Goodreads.

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.

Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.

I am really unsure about my feelings for this one, except for this: it is pretty damn cool. And I cannot wait to see where Tade Thompson takes this story next.

Rosewater is a town in future Nigeria, built around an alien biodome which opens once a year to heal everybody in the vicinity of the opening. Since the aliens have landed, some people have started developing powers. One of those superpowered individuals, and possibly the strongest, is Kaaro, the main character of this brilliant novel. We follow Kaaro’s story, unchronologically and confusingly. I actually had to start the book over because I tend to not read chapter headings and had not realized that the book is set in different timelines.

Tade Thompson does not make it easy for the reader to follow the story – every timeline is told in present tense, even when Kaaro remembers doing something. There is a in-story reason for this stylistic choice (my favourite kind of stylistic choices are informed by the narrative, so I adored this) but this doesn’t make it any less confusing. The reader is along for the ride and either figures stuff out on their own or they don’t. For me, that worked really well – I like when authors trust their audience this way. And while I am still not completely certain to have grasped everything, what I understood of the story was quite brilliant.

I really liked how the framing of the story from Kaaro’s perspective colours the book – especially because he is not a particularly great person which only becomes obvious after a while. He does not feel the need to be a good person or to save the world or to do anything really, and as such he makes for a very interesting protagonist. The way other characters react to him shows more of his personality than his own narration  – which I just found so cool.

So yes, I thought that this was a lot of work but I found it very rewarding in the end. I enjoy Science Fiction that feels different and books told in interesting perspectives, so this was always going to work for me.

I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK in exchange for an honest review.

Most anticipated releases 2018 – mid-year edition

There are way too many brilliant books coming out this year. I keep buying books faster than I can read them and then I keep looking at other books that I want to read. But, just look how brilliant these books all sound! Below is a (probably) incomplete list of books I am excited about, in no particular order.

Foundryside by Robert Bennett Jackson (Published by Crown Publishing, August 21st)

Foundryside RD4 clean flat

I adored Robert Bennett Jackson’s The Divine Cities trilogy so very much when I read it last year and I cannot wait what he comes up with next. (This might be the one I am most excited about)

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Published by Scribner, October 16th)

29430746This just sounds absolutely brilliant. I do love memoirs that blend the personal and the political, so this sounds right up my alley. That is has been blurbed by Roxane Gay obviously did not hurt my excitement.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung (Published by Catapult, Oktober 2nd)

30297153It is no mystery how much I enjoy memoirs written by women and this one focussing on adoption and identity sounds absolutely like my type of book.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (Published by G. P. Putnam’s Group, September 25th)

Small Spaces coverI would read Katherine Arden’s shopping list if she decided to publish it. As The Winter  of the Witch has been delayed until early 2019, this will be my yearly fix of her wonderful writing. I don’t usually read Middle Grade but again, it’s Katherine Arden.

Find it on Goodreads.

Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Published by Orbit, September 18th)

38362809I adored Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne and cannot wait for this one. I am lucky to have an E-ARC and trying very much to not read this already.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Published by Granta, September 20th)

38922230I have an ARC for this and I am very excited to get to this. Sarah Moss seems like an author I would adore and I really need to get to her books.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

 

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse (Published by Saga Press, June 26th)

36373298This just sounds brilliant and kickass and like something that I could love.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

 

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri (Published by Orbit, November 13th)

39714124I don’t know what it is about this book but i just sounds absolutely wonderful. I really have not been reading enough fantasy. Also, yay for adult fantasy written by women.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Which books are you excited about for the rest of the year? Do tell me!

 

ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III

It is time again for me to post a round-up of all the ARCs I have received on NetGalley; at least this time it took me three months for such a post to be necessary which I am counting as a win. I really am trying to be a bit more selective when it comes to requesting ARCs. You can find my earlier round ups here and here.

Still to be read:

39899065The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Publication Date: June 28th, 2018

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Blurb (from Goodreads): A vivid, touching and original debut, following the effects of an extraordinary catastrophe on very ordinary people.

In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories.

Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped ‘the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow.

Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.

On their separate journeys, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. But neither could have guessed at what you gain when you lose your shadow: the power of magic.

A breathtakingly imaginative, timeless story that explores fundamental questions about memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human when your world is turned upside down.

Why I requested it: I have been intrigued about this for what feels like ages. It sounds absolutely magical and I cannot wait to see whether it is.

Continue reading “ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III”

Novella Mini-Review: The Murders Of Molly Southbourne – Tade Thompson

34417038Verdict: Creepy, compulsively readable, unputdownable

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Date read: January 24th, 2018

Published by tor, 2017

Find it on goodreads.

Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne.

The rule is simple: don’t bleed.

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.

Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

I read this in two sittings. That might not sound impressive due to its shortness, but I hardly ever read books, however short, this quickly. But I could not put this down, I needed to keep reading, and I needed to see where Tade Thompson would take this story next. He takes an already brilliant premise and then manages to make the execution an allegory for growing up female in a way that I found surprising. He does not shy away from the most disturbing parts of his premise (like: what happens to the mollys born when Molly is very young?) and the phrase “a slow-growing molly” gave me actual chills.

I don’t read horror often (or at all) but this had me craving more which is quite possibly the highest praise I can think of. While not without its flaws (the novella format does limit the length), I cannot WAIT for the next book in this series to drop. I need to know more about this world and mostly about Molly’s mother, who I found highly interesting and not quite fleshed out enough.

This was a very good start for my forray into the world of novellas.

First sentence: “I wake into a universe defined by pain.”

 

PS: I did have nightmares because of this, make of that what you will.

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.

 

Reading List: Novellas

Another one of my resolutions for this year was to read more novellas. And as quite a few of the ones I had been eyeing were fairly cheap for my Kindle, I decided to go ahead and purchased an unreasonably high number of novellas to read over the next couple of weeks. This approach has advantages: I love reading on my Kindle and the books were cheap. The disadvantage is that if I happen to love the books, I will want to have print books of them. I guess I am doing a good deed for the publishing industry here. So without much further ado, here is a list of novellas I am looking forward to reading (I did a similar list for my Science Fictions reads.)

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

327589011

This sounds so brilliant. A socially awkward murderbot? With an affinity for crappy TV shows? Sign me up.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

25667918

I have previously tried to read a book by Nnedi Okorafor and did not enjoy this. However, I have heard nothing but great things about this trilogy. Also, this is only 98 pages, so I figure even if I don’t love it, I will be able to finish it quickly. It did win the Hugo Award, so I assume it’s brilliant. Also Nnedi Okorafor has the best hair.

The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion by Margaret Killjoy

32606889

I added this a while ago because someone over at Goodreads whose taste I trust, reviewed this very favourably. I might be super scared reading this but sometimes I like that (and I did say I wanted to branch out in my reading). I will have to read this during the daytime though.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

34417038

Again, I will be scared. But this book (and its brilliant cover) has intrigued me for months. I figured, I might as well go for it.

The Black Tides Of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J. Y. Yang

33099588

I heard nothing but amazing things about this. It sounds challenging and different and absolutely beautiful.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

31445891

Two things: Alternative history. People riding hippos.

 

As you can see, I am going full on genre fiction here, two horror books, two science fiction novellas and two fantasy books. I am planning on getting to more literary novellas later this year, hopefully including a couple of classic German novellas then.

Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts! Also, if you have any recommendations for me, these are always welcome.