Most anticipated books of the first half of 2020

There will be so many incredible sounding books released next year that I have been thinking about this post for weeks. As usual, I will for now concentrate on the first half of the year and hopefully write another post some time around June when more books will have been announced. I have tried to no go totally over-board and only include books I am sure I want to get to. You can find more books on my radar on my Goodreads.

I will mostly focussing on books that aren’t part of ongoing series but there are plenty of those I am excited about; for example: Headliners (London Celebrities #5) by Lucy Parker, Dirty Martini Running Club #2 by Claire Kingsley, Shorefall (Founder #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett, Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4) by Nalini Singh (hands down my most anticipated release of the entire year).

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey (Knopf/ January 7th, 2020)

45754997Miranda Popkey’s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt–written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women–the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage–and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.

Everything about that blurb appeals to me – that it has been praised as similar to Sally Rooney alone would have been enough to make me excited though. Continue reading “Most anticipated books of the first half of 2020”

A to Z Book Tag – Fantasy Edition

ww-2019-dragon-banner-all-capsI was tagged for this ages ago and cannot even remember by whom (I am SO sorry!), but figured this would be a good way to talk more about fantasy given that I am trying to participate in Wyrd and Wonder, a month long fantasy readalong, this year. You can find the sign-up post with all the necessary information here.

Author you’ve read the most books from

Terry Pratchett for sure. I have read 23 or so books in the DiscWorld  series and plan on reading all of them in my lifetime. I am taking my time because the thought of not having any left to read is making me too sad – I love these books and everything they do.

Best sequel ever

23909755While it might not be THE best sequel ever, I thought the second book in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities trilogy, City of Blades was awesome – and I didn’t even mind (and actually actively enjoyed) the change in main characters, something that hardly ever works for me.

 

 

Currently reading

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I am currently reading Samantha Shannon’s feminist dragon high fantasy novel The Priory of the Orange Tree. I am enjoying it immensely but I also think that maybe it is indeed a bit too long. I am a bit more than one third into the book and it feels surprisingly low stakes for a book featuring the possibility of a world-ending war. But, the worldbuilding is exquisite and the focus on female voices is obviously something I adore. Continue reading “A to Z Book Tag – Fantasy Edition”

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

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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.

Tag: Spring Cleaning

I went through my drafts to find a tag I want to do because I have not finished a book in days and I don’t think I will anytime soon. Given that I just moved and therefore organized my shelves and got rid of quite a few books this tag seemed appropriate. I was tagged by Sarah whose wonderful blog you should all check out.

THE STRUGGLE OF GETTING STARTED: A BOOK OR SERIES YOU STRUGGLE TO BEGIN BECAUSE OF ITS SIZE

32200595I am very good at starting series and not good at all at finishing them. The first answer that comes to mind is therefore A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab, not only is it the last book in a series, it is also ridiculously long. I am hoping to finally tackle it in May, when Wyrd and Wonder is taking place.

CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET: A BOOK OR SERIES YOU WANT TO UNHAUL

Honestly? At the moment none. Like I said, I got rid of so many books recently (mostly books I owned for years and that don’t appeal to me anymore) and at the moment I am super pleased with my collection.

OPENING THE WINDOW AND LETTING FRESH AIR IN: A BOOK THAT WAS REFRESHING

36136386I adored Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends enough to be super excited about literary fiction after months of only reading fantasy. Rooney is a genius and everything about her writing excites me.

WASHING OUT THE SHEETS: A SCENE THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD REWRITE

33368868I recently read Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden and while I hated the vast majority of the book, the ending nearly made me throw the book (or my phone). It is a special kind of awful. Rachel’s review is mostly about the ending of that book, if that gives you any indication of just how horrible it was.

THROWING OUT UNNECESSARY KNICK-KNACKS: A BOOK IN A SERIES YOU DIDN’T THINK WAS NECESSARY

Did I mention that I am horrible that finishing series? What I meant is that I often only read the first book. However, I am currently making my way through Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and that has been a brilliant but sometimes uneven experience. She does a great job at always moving the main story along, but some books are weaker than others (Blaze of Memory for example was boring to no end).

POLISHING DOORKNOBS: A BOOK THAT HAD A CLEAN FINISH

Again, Conversations With Friends is the obvious answer here. The ending is pitch-perfect. Enough so that I have listened to the last chapter twice since finishing the book. Just thinking about it makes me giddy.

REACHING TO DUST THE FAN: A BOOK THAT TRIED TOO HARD TO RELAY A CERTAIN MESSAGE

I don’t usually mind politics in books at all – even if they are included in a way that others perceive as heavy-handed, but I do think that Tolstoy’s books and short stories got weaker the older he got. He argued that only morally worthwhile books can be considered great, which is premise I don’t totally agree with but something that becomes painfully obvious when reading his works in publication order.

THE TIRING YET SATISFYING FINISH: A SERIES THAT WAS TIRING BUT SATISFYING TO GET THROUGH

 

I am not quite sure whether I understand this prompt correctly but the series that came to mind is N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy – it becomes painfully obvious early on that the series can only end in heartbreak and I was scared for my heart and for these characters I adored throughout the final book.

I tag Rachel, Naty, Hadeer, Ayunda, and Emily. As well as everybody else who wants to do the tag.

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: November 2018 or Genre Fiction is the best

I had a pretty horrific month, personally. But my reading recovered from the abysmal month that was October, which is at least something; within 10 days I had read as much as I had read in the whole month before.

Books I read in November:

  1. The Outcast Hour ed. by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson: 4 out of 5 stars
  3. Vengeful (Villains #2) by V. E. Schwab: 4 out of 5 stars
  4. Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor: 2 out of 5 stars
  5. Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  7. Wild Fire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  8. Broken Magic (Chronicles of Amicae #1) by Mirah Bolender: 3 out of 5 stars
  9. The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: 4 out of 5 stars
  10. Be With Me Always by Randon Billings Noble: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  11. Sadie by Courtney Summers: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

Continue reading “Wrap Up: November 2018 or Genre Fiction is the best”

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

40139338Verdict: Glorious.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Published by Titan Books, September 25, 2018

Find it on Goodreads.

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

I adored this, thankfully. I had been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced ages ago because Vicious is by far my favourite book Schwab has written. This seems like a series she has written for herself as a reader and it shows, there is just something gleefully, unapologetically Schwab here, that I for one happen to adore (and I am obviously not alone in this).

This series is set in a world where specific near-death experiences lead to people becoming super-powered. The first book follows two former friends (Eli Ever and Victor Vale) with super powers as they plot and set their powers and other people’s powers against each other. This book follows directly after the ending of the first one. Again the book is told unchronologically and leads towards an inevitably and action-packed conclusion. Unchronological storytelling is one of my very favourite things in books, so I was always going to enjoy this.

I had an incredible amount of fun reading this. I do think that sometimes the characters do not feel like real people, which in the end I did not mind because it fits the overall mood of this book. Especially the two newly introduced female characters are over the top in the best way possible. Marcella’s behaviour in particular filled me with giddy glee and I loved the way she chews the scenes – I could practically see her every move. I am often a fan of over-powered women in my speculative fiction and her and her unapologetic egotism just really tickled me.

I also have some theories and therefore really hope that there will be further installments of this series to prove me right. I find the world Schwab has created here wonderful and there is so much potential for further stories set in it. She left just enough loose ends to make me hope for more and resolved enough for this book to stand on its own.

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I read this as part of Sci-Fi Month: you can find further information and other people participating here.