Book recommendations and update

Hellooo! How have you been? Yes, I missed you all a lot, I’ve just been super busy over here. Mainly trying to find a home for my newest creation (approximately 13,000 words of fantasy oddness, which is a difficult length to find a home for. I’ve had a very encouraging rejection, which was fantastic, but am now left trying to find a new home for it)(so if you know anywhere that likes this length, do let me know!).

Reading: I am currently between books *gasp* I have just recently finished the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab, which consists of A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light

Now this series is excellent. The worldbuilding is detailed, deep, and pleasing. I loved the mechanics of the magic, the set-up of the different Londons and the uniqueness of each London, so absolutely a part of the world it was in but intrinsically connected to the others. The characters – bloody hell, but VE Schwab makes the reader care about every single character. Even the background ones that only walk on for a few sentences. Even the villains. I could attempt to list my favourite characters, but it would be a very long list consisting of every name that I can remember. (For anyone who wants to know, my absolute favourite was Holland closely followed by Astrid Dane, Lila Bard and Maris who all tie in second). Each one is compelling and flawed and so very painfully human, with their own stories hovering just out of my sight. The plot is tight, well structured and yanks you along with it. V.E. Schwab successfully built a world in which things felt new, which as someone who reads large amounts of fantasy, was really really fun. And the story itself is… Well, it was akin to having my heart in someone else’s hand, knowing that at any second they might crush it or send it soaring. And it did both so so brilliantly. Also, there were some lovely queer characters who SPOILER WARNING SPOILER WARNING get to have a mostly happy ending yay(as much as anyone does in this series. Also, I would have liked them to have more pagespace)! END SPOILER and a cross dressing thief. I HEARTILY recommend this series. And if you have read it already, come and weep in the comments with me. A huge thank you to my friend who lent me these, as I am way to skint too buy them for myself at the moment.

I should probably note that I use the word ‘queer’ as an umbrella term, and that it’s one that I use for myself because I can’t be arsed to get into specifics of my sexuality all the time. It’s meant in a super friendly way, but if it’s upsetting anyone do let me know.

So, continued update! I have a massive “to read” pile. Here are a few 0f the things on it:

  • The Knowing by Kevan Manwaring – really looking forward to this as, disclaimer, I know the author and chatted about it a bit when it was being written.
  • The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth – I have to read this out loud to understand it, but excited!
  • The Long Woman also by Kevan Manwaring
  • Keeper of the Dawn by Diana L Gunn
  • The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (I’ve read this before, but I was ill so I’m reading it again)

I also have a pretty big backlog of books that I’ve read, but not managed to review yet. Here are a few of those:

  • The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Among Others by Jo Walton
  • Ganymede by Cherie Priest
  • Β Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
  • Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’m unlikely to get to all of these, so I’m likely to review them a bit at random. If there’s any that you’d really like a review on, leave me a comment. I’ve also just finished a re-read of Kate Tempest’s Hold Your Own, which is mindblowing and brilliant. I’ll try to get back to you with reviews sooner this time!

The Grand Return, plus sketchdump

Hello! Today was going to be my day of coming back after being ill, chatting about the upcoming reviews and books I’ve been reading and stuff I’ve been writing and books that I’m looking forward to reading.

Instead, everything is insane. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/apr/18/corbyn-cressida-dick-met-police-a-gun-may-not-have-saved-pc-killed-in-westminster-terror-attack-says-new-met-chief-politics-live

So, I give to you this sketchdump of foolish fantasy stuff that I did while hanging out at my friends’ house being not-quite-ill anymore. Enjoy it, have a giggle, don’t take it too seriously. Maybe it will cheer you up a bit. Click on the images to view them big. The normal reviewing stuff will be back shortly.

Aside

Illness…

Hello! I have been away and also been ill, so I’m unlikely to get any reviews up this week. I have read an ENORMOUS amount of wonderful books though, so I promise I have lots I want to tell you all about. Lots and lots of books πŸ™‚ steampunk American civil war, dragon-people, future-primitive fantasy queens, Austen-esque dragons, faeries, sci-fi, water-circuses, VE Schwab, and some amazing fiction YA. At least some of that will go up here.

In the meantime, I throw at you this wonderfully ridiculous song that has been stuck in my head all damn week. It’s going to be stuck in YOUR head now! Hah!

Aside

Gablarghleurgh AKA tis the season of tax return

It’s nearly April! You know what that means for all us self-employed? Tax Returns. Oh joy. Oh rapture.

I’ve just started slogging through my accounts. This is me about now (with a bit less stubble).

One day, one day I will have money and I will pay someone else to do this for me!!!!!!! Until then, I will continue to lock myself away, yell at paper, cry, attempt maths, and prove my adulthood by not just burning all of it and pretending it never happened…

More reviews on their way!

Aside

Midweek update

Hah! I title that as if it’s something I do regularly!!! Oh dear…

Anyway, here’s a little looksie at what I’m up to. We have:

Reading: Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga, Warrior Women by Robin Cross and Rosalind Miles, Mosswitch and Other Stories by Sara Maitland. As you can tell, I am once again attempting to educate myself with history (and I guess science??? Mosswitch is fiction with sciencey inspirations). We’ll see how it goes this time (I think I may just have to admit that the reason history makes me so cross is not to do with finding the right book and absolutely to do with all the inherent biases and general shitness of people. That said, I am discovering some incredibly brilliant people so there’s that too) (I’m also terrible at remembering dates, which does not help. But I have a great memory for useless Potter trivia…)

Writing: So. Nearly. Ready. To. Submit. Story. It. Is. Painful. How. Close. I. Am. And. Then. I Can. Forget. All. About. It. For. At. Least. A. Month. And write something else entirely, which, in all honesty, I love the story I’ve been working on but I’m so so ready to be working on something else so I’m going to be very happy when it’s away and I have so many ideas (and do cross your fingers for me getting accepted – it’s a very different beast from The Life and Times of Angel Evans but, I hope, still enjoyable and good).

Other thoughts: Period pants, yes or no?

Favourite song this week:

And that’s me!

Locus poll and survey

Soooooo, here I must admit that I do not usually pay much attention to awards: I have a tendency to quietly live beneath a rock and emerge only briefly for basic necessities or if my friends poke me. I find new books by a) wandering into bookshops or libraries and browsing b) recommendations from friends, or c) mystical messages from the great beyond communicated to me via carrier pigeon, smoke signals or messages in bottles left outside the aforementioned rock…..

HOWEVER, something rather exciting has happened! Which is that The Life and Times of Angel Evans (my debut novelette) is on the Locus Award ballot *insert expressions of disbelieving excitement here* and and and I don’t really know what to do with that information – it has reduced me into a weird mess of nervous excitement because people read my work and liked it!!!!!!!

Ahem. So, I’m off to actually vote in the Locus Award ballot-ma-thing. And if you have read and enjoyed The Life and Times of Angel Evans, please do consider voting for it (it’s in the category Best Novelette). Click here.

If you haven’t read it and you would like to (it’s got magic, a ghost, dead prophets and the end of the world), click on the image to the right of this post and you’ll be redirected.

Thank you to everyone who’s read, reviewed, critiqued and enjoyed – it’s wonderful that Angel Evans has come this far πŸ™‚

I’m now returning to my rock – reviews again next week πŸ™‚

Books I got at Christmas

Hello all, and a happy new year to you! I thought, just for fun, that I’d put up a little list of the books that various friends and family have given to me for Christmas (thank you friends and family!). I may not review all of them, but maybe you’ll see something you like the look of anyway.

  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor. Thoughts: I’ve just finished this and there’s a review upcoming – definitely read it!
  • Hurricane Heels by Isabel Yap. Thoughts: super excited about this one, and very glad I held off on buying my own copy (although I could have just given the extra one to a friend).
  • Memoirs of a Spacewoman by Naomi Mitchison. Thoughts: I’m looking forward to this – it seems like it’s going to be both thoughtful and funny (always a good combination).
  • Saints and Adventurers by Frances Gapper. Thoughts: I’ve not had much of a look at this, but it’s published by The Women’s Press so chances are I’ll enjoy it.
  • What If? by Randall Munroe. Thoughts: FINALLY MY OWN COPY! THANK YOU, OH AWESOME ONE WHO GIFTED ME THIS πŸ™‚
  • Utopia by Thomas More, Introduction by China MiΓ©ville, Essays by Ursula K. Le Guin. Thoughts: I’ll need a quiet week for this one, but it should be interesting.
  • The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A.C. Wise. Thoughts: I’ll probably save this one for when I need cheering up. It looks like a cheering up sort of book.
  • The Faber Book of Utopias edited by John Carey. Thoughts: another one that will need some free time for reading, but pretty excited for it πŸ˜€
  • The Second Mango by Shira Glassman (technically a pre-Christmas present). Thoughts: so. damn. lovely. I will probably review this properly at some point, but I can tell you that it is awesome. Feel-good fantasy brilliance with lesbians, Jewish culture, food intolerance and a horse that is sometimes a dragon…

And there we have it! I also did some re-reading over the holidays, notably Witch Child by Celia Rees (which I have loved since I was about thirteen and still do), Sorceress by Celia Rees (sequel to the above) and The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, which was just as wonderful and brilliant as the first time I read it.

Until next time, take care and enjoy this picture of me stealing my friend’s fantastic hat – it has lights!

Meredith debonnaire with fab hat

Previous Older Entries