My Favorite Books Of 2020 Part Two: Fantasy And Other Genres

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Here is the second installment of my favorite books of 2020 wrap-up. If you like Science Fiction, check out the the first part of this post, which are my favorite sci-fi reads of 2020.

Favorite Fantasy Books

1) The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was beautifully written and the story/characters/themes were all awesome. Alix E. Harrow is a new author to watch for!

2) The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

This whole historical fiction trilogy was so extremely well-written, with such amazing, multi-layered characters, and important themes, that I really liked this trilogy even if I’m tired of the ‘teen girls in a school’ trope. I’ll check out more books by Libba Bray.

3) Elantris (Elantris #1), The Emperor’s Soul and The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson’s books are Epic in every sense, with fascinating story worlds and awesome, multi-layered characters. I plan to read all his books, I repeat, all of them! I hope to read faster than the velocity in which he writes masterpieces, but I probably won’t manage that. 😉

4) The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) and The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman

This was a bit slow in the beginning, but I liked the story world and the characters a lot and especially how the books were an interesting mix of historical, paranormal fantasy and mystery. I will go on reading this series for sure.

5) The Deathless (The Deathless Trilogy #1) by Peter Newman

This is an extremely interesting and well written first book of an original fantasy series. The world is intriguing and the characters are relatable and multi-layered. I enjoyed reading all POVs.
I’ll be continuing this trilogy for sure. The Audiobook narration was excellent too.

6) Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds #1) by Emma Newman.

A very interesting story world, with well developed characters. The plot started a bit slow but it built up to a first book I could not put down, I plan to be continuing this series in 2021.

7) Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss.

Beautifully written epic fantasy novella with themes such as love, honor, loyalty, heroism, that make it transcendent and relatable to human experience at the same time. One of my favorites in the Tor.com Collection: Season 1 so far. The Audiobook narrator also fitted extremely well for this particular story.

8) The Last Witness by K.J. Parker

This was masterfully written. A perfect, self contained in its form Novella, that handled profound themes like social injustice, suffering and so many others. With an unlikable but extremely interesting and multi-layered main character.

9) The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Characters, theme, pacing and plot, everything in this standalone worked extremely well together to turn this historical fantasy into a really entertaining, and impossible to put down story. I’ll be reading more by this author for sure!
I would like to thank NetGalley and Erewhon Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

10) The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1) by Theodora Goss

I had this book in my radar since I read “Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems” by the same author and wanted to read more by her. This was well written, extremely entertaining and impossible to put down. I’ll be continuing this series for sure. And the Audiobook narration was awesome too.

11) Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

I’m heard the GraphicAudio dramatized Audiobook version of this book.
The Audiobook made this already very entertaining story come alive in an awesome way. I’ll surely continue this series and read more books by this author.

12) Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

This ‘Gedankenexperiment’ was really entertaining! It has ‘Victorian Dragons’ and all original situations that would arise from the juxtaposition of a Victorian and a Dragon society. I really liked and wish it would be a series instead of a standalone so I could read more stories with Victorian Dragons. This is my first book by this author but I’ll be checking out her other books.

Other Genre Favorites

Contemporary Mystery Thriller: 13) The Lion’s Den by Katherine St. John

I usually don’t read Contemporary Thrillers but the blurb was interesting enough that I picked this book on a whim. This was a very interesting mystery with a dash of romance, it was really entertaining and I could not put it down.

Historical Fiction: 14) What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

I’m always happy when I read a story set in Jane Austen’s universe that follows her characters loyally, and this goes further by developing Kitty’s character in a delightful way.

Modern Gothic: 15) Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I read this, “The Beautiful Ones” and “Gods of Jade and Shadow” by this author in 2020 and they were all great reads that I recommend, but this book was my favorite of the three. It took a really unexpected turn, which made it even more interesting and original, in a way that I could not put it down. Like Brandon Sanderson, I also want to read all books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

 

 

 

 

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

Are you new to blogging, and do you want step-by-step guidance on how to publish and grow your blog? Learn more about our new Blogging for Beginners course and get 50% off through December 10th.

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

My Favorite Books Of 2020 Part One: Science fiction

Image by Genty from Pixabay

I read 188 books this year! As far as I can remember this was the year of my life when I’ve read the greatest number of books.

A part of that, but not all, was due to lock down. This year I exchanged my Saturday’s going out shopping for reading, but in reality this staying-at-home trend was happening to me before lock down already and the pandemic just gave me a very strong reason to avoid crowds.
The truth is that I was already tired of the idea of shopping as a leisure activity and lock down gave an extra push to the idea of a no-buy or at least a ‘reduced-buy’ year, the few exceptions being books and of course, textile masks.

Therefore, due to the great number of books read, I’ll divide this year favorite’s wrap-up in two posts:

This first part will be all Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA Sci-fi and Space Opera books and the next will have my favorite books in other genres. Mostly fantasy, epic and historic, since I’ve been out of paranormal mostly for one year now, but with also the occasional romance, thriller and ever so rare contemporary.

Let’s start then,

Favorite Science Fiction books of 2020:

1) Meet Me in the Future: Stories by Kameron Hurley

I would like to thank NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing me with the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was a page-turner, interesting story collection. The stories were very original and I could not put it down. I surely will want to read more books by this author in the near future.
My favorite short stories were “Elephants and Corpses”, “When We Fall”, “The Red Secretary”, “The Fisherman and the Pig”, “Tumbledown”, “Warped Passages”, “Our Faces”, “Radiant Sisters,…” and “The War of Heroes”.

2) The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

I read book #2 to book #5 of this awesome series this year and I really loved it, especially the fifth book, “Network Effect”, which was a novel and not a novella. I will surely continue reading the next sequels. All characters are so likable that I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

3) Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

This Post Apocalypse Dystopia with clones was brilliant and the best Sci-fi I’ve read for a long while, and I’m happy that I came across this book though the Lady Vaults Goodreads group, which is unfortunately now not active anymore. This was first published in 1976 but it has aged remarkably well. I’ll read more books by this author.

4) Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

This was a very original Novella, and I’ll go on reading this series for sure.

Note: At a certain point I was upset at how people touched Binti’s hair all the time, and just felt like shouting: “Leave her hair alone for God’s sake!” Then I could understand why book titles like “Don’t touch my hair.” exist.

5) Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #4) by Lois McMaster Bujold.

This book proved that a story with important themes can be an entertaining page-turner too. And now I understand why so many people recommend the Vorkosigan Saga which I intend to go on reading for sure. This book is the start of the chronological order of the Vorkosigan Saga.

6) Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson.

This was awesome, and I’ll be continuing this series soon. Brandon Sanderson has been one of my favorite authors this year and I plan to read all his books eventually. I have other two books by him among my next post’s favorite fantasy books too.

7) Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty.

This was a great science fiction mystery story, with clones in a futuristic Locked-room mystery story, and the Audiobook narration was five stars too!

8) Starfarers (Starfarers #1) by Vonda N. McIntyre.

I really liked the writing style of this book and will surely go on reading this quartet. I read the fourth book a long time ago, but even knowing how it will end I am still interested in this story’s characters journey.

9) Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect #1) by Valerie Valdes.

I liked that Captain Eva Innocente was unapologetically foul-mouthed in Spanish when life yet again didn’t give her a break. This made me laugh and it was so very much relatable.
A very humorous an entertaining space opera by a Latinx author! I’ll be reading the next book in this series, Prime Deceptions, next year for sure.

10) The Nemesis (The Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid.

This was a great finale for this trilogy, with all the feels, twists and suspense until the very last page. After this, and the awesome Insignia trilogy, Kincaid has become an auto-buy author for me.
The Audiobook narration by Candace Thaxton was also unforgettable and a five stars experience.

And lastly:

11) The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon.

This starts with a slow pace but it builds up, escalates into high stakes and it pays off in so many well developed and well written ways! Impossible to put down. I’m in this series bandwagon now for sure. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, “The Mask Falling” to be released in February 2021.

Stay tuned for the second part of this wrap-up still now in December! (I hope…)

2020 Was A Weird Year. A Wrap-Up Of My Yearlong Reading Challenges.

I started 2020 with a lot of good intentions and many yearly reading challenges, it all went well until March, and then… I think you can complete that phrase for me 😉

This was a strange year in the sense that even if I read a lot of books, a total of 177 by the end of November now, I was mainly mood reading and not managing to stick to my challenges TBRs. And even though I had partial success at my yearly reading challenges, a portion of the prompts was left undone.

Here it comes to the choice that was left for me, should I forget about the prompts left undone or keep them in my TBR? My choice was to keep them.

Exactly! No one gets left behind!

Therefore I plan on mostly not starting new yearlong reading challenges in 2021, (apart from exceptions like the r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge) but to continue most of the unfinished challenges I started in 2020.

My 2020 Challenges:

1) Start on Your Shelf a Thon #StartOnYourShelfathon

This Readathon, hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond was about reading the books you already own, be them physical books, ebooks, or Audiobooks, and in this I was most successful. I included Netgalley ARCs in my challenge too, so I would keep the reviews coming.

My goal was to read 25 Physical books, 25 Ebooks, 5 Audiobooks and 10 Netgalley ARCs.

I met all goals, also surpassing the number of planned ebooks up to 50 ebooks.
I’ll be continuing this challenge in 2021 with similar goals, only that instead of 25 Ebooks I’ll plan 40 instead. I will also plan to read at least one Netgalley ARC per month.

Therefore for 2021 my new goals for this challenge will be:

25 Physical books,
40 Ebooks,
5 Audiobooks and
12 Netgalley ARCs

 

2) Popsugar Reading Challenge 2020

I was partially successful in this challenge. I planned to read 20 books for this challenge and I met my goal, but other 20 prompts were left undone. I still plan to read the books I chose for those other prompts though, this makes more sense to me than starting a new Popsugar Challenge in 2021. So I’ll probably read the leftover books next year.

 

3) A to Z Challenge

I was quite successful in this challenge, and of all letters, I still have Q, Y and Z left. I DNFed the book I chose for Q, due to accidentally reading a major spoiler in a prologue someone had written to ‘praise’ the book.
I still plan on reading the books for Y and Z in December, even if one of them is Dystopia and I mostly steered clear of the genre this year.
I may do this challenge again next year, I’m not sure though.

 

4) Global Voices

This challenge is from the “2020 & 2021 Reading Challenge” Goodreads group.

Its description is: “For this challenge, you will read books from authors around the world, with a special emphasis on underrepresented, marginalized, and #ownvoices authors.

I managed to read 13 of the 20 prompts  and some of them, like “Latin American Authors” or “Book featuring a protagonist who identifies as Gay or Lesbian”, were met by multiple books.

5) Genre Bingo

The main goal of this challenge from the “2020 & 2021 Reading Challenge” Goodreads group was to read genres that you don’t pick up often by yourself. I read 20 prompts but around six genres are still left.

6) Listopia

Also a challenge from the “2020 & 2021 Reading Challenge” Goodreads group where you read books from Goodreads user-created lists. This had the weaker result of all my challenges. I managed only 7 of the 24 prompts I set as a goal.

This had to do a great deal with the fact of many of my choices being Epic/Grimdark Fantasy, genres I do occasionally like to read but not as often as Science Fiction or Space Opera. I still plan on reading the leftover books, so I’ll continue this challenge next year.

And lastly,

7) SFFBC Short Fiction Challenge

I read 9 Novellas and 3 short fiction collections/anthologies for this Goodreads group challenge and was happy enough with the result. I plan to continue and go on reading novellas and short stories for this challenge next year.

***

Setting an yearly limit to to my reading goals doesn’t always pan out but this doesn’t matter. The important thing is to read more widely and to go on reading next year.

Would you like to read a more detailed wrap-up for one or more of the challenges above? Let me know in the comments!

Space Opera September Wrap-Up

 

This is my Wrap-Up for Space Opera September created by #booktubeSFF

Prompts:

1: Read a space opera novella 

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

A five stars read for me! This was a bit slow paced the first two thirds of the book, but perhaps this was due to the contemplative nature of nuns who would think all ramifications of their actions towards religion, God and the greater good?

The characters were very interesting and multi-layered and you get to know and relate to each of them closely. I especially liked to read about the Mother Superior.

This Novella also had very important themes which made it to transcend the space opera conventions into a deeper contemplation of politics, freedom and society.

2A: Read two space operas by women

Starfarers (Starfarers #1) by Vonda N. McIntyre

5 Stars!

I really liked the writing style of this book and will surely go on reading this series! It’s about a spaceship with a multi-partner relationship, hobbit houses and small pet horses (cuteness overload!).

I consider this a precursor of Becky Chambers and her feel good spaceship with good vibes books.

Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect #1) by Valerie Valdes

5 stars!

I liked that Captain Eva Innocente was not unapologetically  foul-mouthed when life yet again didn’t give her a break. This made me laugh so much and it was so very much relatable. Trouble seemed to find her wherever she went.
A very humorous an entertaining space opera by a Latinx author! I’ll be reading the next books in this series for sure.

 

3: Read a space opera published before you were born 

The Ship Who Sang (Brainship #1) by Anne McCaffrey

3 stars. I think the ideas in this book were probably ground breaking when it was written, but I could even tough not get invested enough in the story.

4: Read a space opera 500 pages or longer

Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate #1) by Megan E. O’Keefe

3 stars. I couldn’t get into this book so much, perhaps due to this being the sixth sci-fi or space opera book I read in September.

I need a break from the genre even if I love it and later I’ll come back to this book again and see if I enjoy it more.

 

I’m planning to go on reading books for #Latinxathon and October is the month when I read Mystery, Thriller and Gothic books galore!

Stay tuned for my next month’s wrap-up reviews! 😉

September, a month with 3 awesome Readathons! #SpaceOperaSeptember #Latinxathon #LatinxBookBingo

I’m participating in three Readathons in September:

Space Opera September,

LATIN-X-ATHON  and

Latinx Book Bingo

I won’t describe the readathons here in detail as its creators do a much better job at it. For more detail on these Readathons please check the creators channels, they have awesome content!

I’ll only say that Space Opera September is a Readathon focused on reading Space Opera and #Latinxathon on reading books written by #Latinx authors. Being a Latinx (Brazilian) myself, I feel extremely happy to read more books from other Latinx  authors, which are sometimes forgotten while reading other popular books.

Without much other ado, here are my TBR choices:

Space Opera September:
1: Read a space opera novella

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

2A: Read two space operas by women 
  1. Starfarers (Starfarers #1) by Vonda N. McIntyre
  2. Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect #1) by Valerie Valdes
3: Read a space opera published before you were born

The Ship Who Sang (Brainship #1) by Anne McCaffrey

4: Read a space opera 500 pages or longer:

Velocity Weapon (The Protectorate #1) by Megan E. O’Keefe

 

#Latinxathon and #LatinxBookBingo

On the #Latinx readathon  I want to read a classic BIPOC Brazillian author, Machado the Assis, read a couple of new to me Latinx authors, and catch up my reading on books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

As it comes to new to me authors, I’ll be reading a humorous space-opera by Valerie Valdes and, if there’s time, a dark retelling by Anna-Marie McLemore.

LATIN-X-ATHON  TBR
VOICES: Read a book by a Black and/or Indigenous Latinx author

A Mão e a Luva by Machado de Assis
Machado de Assis is imho the greatest classic Brazilian writer, and, acording to Wikipedia, “a mulatto from a poor family”.

Brazil is a non-Spanish speaking country, therefore I will read this book in its original language, Portuguese.

ROOTS: Read a translated book or a book featuring more than one language

Here I will read a book that I’m also reading for Space Opera September and that is Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect #1) by Valerie Valdes.

This humorous space opera book has many funny expressions; like for example “sinvergüenza” (something like Scoundrel but in the context of the story extremely hilarious) in  Spanish (I guess?), that reminds me of the same expression in Portuguese, sem vergonha, and makes me laugh so, so much.

HERITAGE: Read a book written by an author from a non-Spanish speaking Latin American country (or heritage):

Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis

I’ll be gladly reading another book in my mother language.

 

LATIN-X-BOOK-BINGO

I hope I’ll have enough time during the Readathon to read these other books, but even if time isn’t enough I’ll surely read these books in my near future.

Any book  by a Latinx author:

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rec by a Latinx reader:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

On cover rep:

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Never before read Latinx author:

Nocturna by Maya Montayne

Queer rep:

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

 

And you, are you also participating in one of these Readathons?

 

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag! (2020)

 

I’m probably the last person in the internet to post The Mid Year Book Freak Out tag this year. Things have been busy and when I eventually found this blog post half done in my scrivener Blog Posts file, I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to finish what I had started more than a month ago.  😉

So here it goes:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

This is a very difficult question because I have read so many 5 star books this first half year. So I’ll name two favorite ones:

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #4) by Lois McMaster Bujold – This book proved that a story with important themes can be an entertaining page-turner too. And now I understand why so many people recommend the Vorkosigan Saga which I intend to go on reading for sure!

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson – This was awesome, and I’ll be continuing this series.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.

Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells – This was awesome and I could not put it down. Perhaps I’ll have to reread all Murderbot books to make up for having to wait for the next book in the series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) by A.K. Larkwood – This seems to be a very original fantasy book and I’m looking forward to it.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

The Nemesis (The Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid – I’m waiting for this book since I read The Empress (The Diabolic #2) in April 2018 and the book finished with a plot twist I wasn’t expecting. So let’s see how this story will go on.

5. Biggest disappointment.

I had two:

Spin (Spin Saga #1) by Robert Charles Wilson.

and

The Outside (The Outside #1) by Ada Hoffmann.

Both disappointments had to do with the fact that those books took way too long to give answers to my reader’s questions. I’m not the most patient of readers, and if the book doesn’t get me hooked I won’t read it indefinitely. I set both books aside and maybe one day I’ll finish them, or not.

6. Biggest surprise.

The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis
I started this book not knowing much about it, but it completely surpassed my initial expectations. It is an extremely clever retelling of Tristan and Isolde with multi-layered, interesting and relatable characters, and a story world I want to read more about. I’ll be continuing this series for sure!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Libba Bray is my new favorite author of 2020. I am reading her entire Gemma Doyle series this year.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I’m too old to have fictional crushes. 🙂

9. Newest favorite character.

Gemma Doyle surely, because she is always taking care of other people and trying her best.

10. Book that made you cry.

I wasn’t crying, but a book that has all the feels was Leave Me by Gayle Forman, because it talks about an overworked and unappreciated mother and this is a very important and not talked about enough theme nowadays.

11. Book that made you happy.

The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Katie O’Neill. This graphic novel series has such sweet illustrations and important themes that you feel like framing all pages and putting them on your walls for coziness sake. 🙂

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I received an arc from NetGalley of The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Katie O’Neill and this was so beautiful I might buy a physical copy for me eventually.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Oh, so many! To answer this properly I would have to post at least thirty books that I still would like to read for this or that yearly challenge, but this year I’ll try not to get stressed about it and I won’t care (much) if I don’t complete my challenges at all.

Meanwhile I am mostly mood-reading and looking for hope-filled books while steering away from anything Dystopian. I think that after this year we all deserve patience and endurance hero medals right?

Take care and read good books.

Have I read these Popular books? The BOOKTERNET ‘All Star’ Charity Challenge #BookternetGivesBack

The BOOKTERNET ‘All Star’ Charity Challenge #BookternetGivesBack is a a book community tag challenge to raise money for COVID-19 relief created by Rachael Marie and A Frolic Through Fiction.

In this post I won’t explain the challenge in detail, for this I recommend checking out both creators Youtube channels. Basically in this tag a list of books/series and authors extremely popular on the Youtube book community, aka Booktube, is discussed and you comment if you read them or not and which were your main impressions of these books/series/author’s works.

Needless to say the graphic image below also belongs to the tag creators and I only changed the check marks to indicate which books/series and authors I read.

#BookternetGivesBack
#BookternetGivesBack

So, without much further ado, let’s start:

Angie Thomas

I haven’t yet read On The Come Up or The Hate You Give. I probably won’t read them tough, because I don’t read Contemporary, but never say never, right?

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

This was a very entertaining series. I read it until book #3, Ignite Me. Eventually I’ll go on reading this series.

Leigh Bardugo

I really liked the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and also the Six of Crows duology. I considered King of Scars quite a let down so I’m not sure if I will go on to read the next book in the King of Scars Duology. Another book of hers that I really liked was The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, this short story collection was very nicely illustrated, and the tales were awesome. Apart from that I also plan on reading Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1). Since this author’s works inspire me so much I even bought a year-long journal called The Severed Moon, which has a collection of writing prompts inspired in the magical world of her books.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This was a very entertaining series, which I liked and read really fast, but it also happened that two persons I recommended this book to didn’t like it at all. I plan on reading more books by Holly Black since I really like her morally gray characters.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I haven’t read this book yet, but I bought it and it’s on my TBR.

Victoria Schwab.

I read the first book of the Monsters of Verity duology, the first book of The Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and the first book of the Vicious duology. I do like her books, but I don’t consider them especially memorable or a series I have to go on reading immediately and that is probably why I have started three of her series but haven’t continued any of them.

I plan on reading Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2), and Vengeful (Villains #2) eventually tough.

I started The Archived but set it aside after 100 pages, not sure yet if I really want to finish it. I do read YA, but when the teen drama and problems are the main aspect of the book and are more present than the story world/plot itself than it’s not my taste.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles)

I liked the way the sci-fi elements were used in this retelling, even if the writing style was quite off. Perhaps I had too many expectations on the book due to all the hype. I never finished the second book in the series, Scarlet, tough and I’m not sure if I still want to do that.

Adam Silvera

I haven’t read any of his books yet. I hope eventually to get to it.

Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments was a very entertaining series, something good to read in summer when you just want to relax in the sun, (or shadow like me). I say that this series is pleasant like using old Havaianas on a summer day. 😉  The fourth book in the series, City of Fallen Angels, wasn’t especially memorable tough so at the moment I don’t really plan on reading the next two books in the series?
My favorite series by her so far is The Infernal Devices. I liked the steampunk historical setting and also the characters of this trilogy more. I’m not sure about reading Chain of Gold yet, let me know if it’s worth it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I have this in my TBR because everyone raves about this. Not sure tough because it’s Contemporary?

Laini Taylor

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series was OK, even if full of ups and downs, and with a third book that didn’t really wrap-up in a way I considered satisfactory, (Zuzana and Mik were my favorite secondary characters of all time tough).

Strange the Dreamer was a three star read for me but I’ll probably still read its sequel, Muse of Nightmares.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Warning: I’m spoiled for badly written and boring sci-fi after this series. I haven’t read all the books in this blog post, but I can say with great certainty that this is probably my favorite series on this list! I liked its sequel, Gemina, very much too and plan to read Obsidio still this year.

I also have Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) by these authors in my TBR.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I didn’t like the first book of this series and decided not to continue it. The premise is interesting but this book is so hyped that I expected much more  and was completely underwhelmed, adding to that I also didn’t like the writing style.

Sarah J. Maas

I got tired of the Throne of Glass series on book 3. I did read book 4, but lost steam and didn’t go on reading this series so far. I might, I’m just not in a hurry. I have the feeling that this series would have been a good duology or trilogy, but it has been stretched so much that I stopped caring enough to go reading.

The same happened with A Court of Thorns and Roses. I really liked its second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, and finally the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, was a good wrap-up on the story arc. This is tough planned to be a six book series, so I wonder if it will have the same problem of being overextended.

No idea either if I will read her next book, House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1). I’m still waiting for the reviews to decide.

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This is in my TBR too, I’m just not in a hurry because that is again an YA series and I have more than enough YA books to read for now.

Seanan McGuire

I read the first of the YA Novella series Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1), and two of her paranormal fantasy series books: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) and A Local Habitation (October Daye #2) by this author and in all three books I had this sense of everything being rushed-up and the world building and story not being developed enough to fulfill its premise, so I guess this author’s books aren’t for me.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

This is in my TBR as well, even if I wonder if Grimdark is something I really like. I read and watched Game of Thrones, but this was very much an exception, when there is too much violence I tend to set books and TV series aside especially on these days of lock down, so let’s see.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I almost never read Romance and even less Young Adult Romance, so I probably won’t pick up this one.

 

And you, do you think that hyped books are the best or the worst? Which of these books would you recommend me to read first? Let me know in the comments.

OWLs Readathon 2020 Wrap-Up #magicalreadathon2020

In April I participated in the OWLs Magical Readathon created by Book Roast 

I’m quite happy with my results, since I not only managed to get the OWLs to be a Journalist/Writer, but also to be a Seer. Additionally, I also did the Animagus Training OWLs .

My Seer OWLs were:

Ancient Runes:

Heart Rune: Heart on the cover or in the title
Heart of Iron (Ashley Poston) – Rating: 3,5 stars
This was an entertaining YA sci-fi book, with sympathetic pirates and romances. I’ll probably go on reading this series.

Astronomy:

Night Class: read a majority of a book when it’s dark outside
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan – Rating: 4 stars
I considered this a character-driven book, and quite a slow-burn for YA.
Holding on with the slow way in which the story unfolded was rewarding tough, since I liked the writing style and the character development. I’ll be following up this series just to see where the characters will go.

Divination:

Third Eye: pick a book randomly from your TBR
I read a book chosen by #bookspin on Litsy. The chosen book was The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman. – Rating: 4 stars
This was a bit slow in the beginning, but I liked the story world and the characters a lot and especially how the book was an interesting mix of historical/paranormal fantasy and mystery. I will be following this series for sure.

My Journalist/Writer OWLs were:

Muggle Studies

Book from the perspective of a Muggle. Contemporary

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale- Rating: 5 stars!
This was a page-turner, super entertaining mixture of contemporary romance and mystery.

History of Magic

Witch Hunts- Books featuring Witches/Wizards

I changed my mind here and decided to read a Novella, The Witch’s Curse by Megan Linski. Rating: 3 stars.
This was an entertaining fantasy Novella that I read in one sitting.

Care of Magical Creatures

Hippogriffs: a creature with a beak (e.g. birds) on the cover
I also changed my first choice here to Wrath and Wing (Ena of Ilbrea #0) by Megan O’Russell. Rating: 3 stars.
This was an entertaining fantasy Novella too, and it’s the beginning of a series that could be interesting.

Animagus Training OWLs

Arithmancy

Read a Book Outside of Your Favorite Genre- For this I decided to read an epistolary Novella.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone- Rating: 3 stars.
This book had a very original premise.
The writing style was quite different than what I usually read, no idea if it would be too flowery or just poetic for a native speaker. I considered it beautifully written.
I had a hard time immersing myself in the story tough, because of the way it is written, epistolary, and the constantly changing settings, that put too much distance between me as a reader and the characters. I also need more plot happening to keep me really invested in a story.
All that said, I’ll probably reread this book (in times quieter than in the middle of the corona crisis), to see if I manage to concentrate better on the beautiful prose and to see if my opinion on it changes for the better.

Potions

Books Under 150 Pages- I exceptionally read two Novellas for this prompt, first I read The Emperor’s Soul (Elantris) by Brandon Sanderson – Rating: 5 Stars! An awesome Novella, the more I read Brandon Sanderson, the more I want to keep reading.

I also read what I was previously planning for this prompt which was one of the Novellas of the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, that I have as an Audiobook;  Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss.- Rating: 5 Stars!

A beautifully written epic fantasy novella with themes such as love, honor, loyalty, heroism, that make it transcendent and relatable to human experience at the same time. One of my favorites in the Tor.com Collection: Season 1 so far. The Audiobook narrator also fitted extremely well for this particular story.

Transfiguration

Book/Series that has Shapeshifting. (This unfortunately didn’t work out so well for me)

I started reading Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa, but I set it aside because I didn’t like its mostly helpless female main characters. I picked up this book as a second attempt to read this author, since I also didn’t like her Iron King series so much due to the same issue. It didn’t work for me, so I decided to change my choice for this prompt and read Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent – Rating 2 Stars
This was a page-turner book, with all the tropes of the paranormal romance genre. Unfortunately, if you are tired of the genre like me, this probably won’t be original enough to bring you back.

The reasons why I didn’t like it are the following ones:
*SPOILER ALERT* In the next lines there are a couple of end of the story spoilers, and a bit of a rant too, so *RANT ALERT* 😉

1) Stereotypical Brazilian characters who speak Spanish all the time.
Imo it’s completely OK if you as a writer want to make your villain Brazilian, but at least research a bit and stop making them curse and speak all the time in Spanish. Miguel and his brother were cardboard characters who always repeated the same cliché things… in Spanish.

2) The end of the story: Faythe conforming to her bossy father’s wishes and going back to her world wasn’t a great ending to her story. What about her previous choices? I wished that she didn’t have to give up everything she had chosen previously to stay with Marc. It was also quite weird the whole thing with her being used to be in a cage for weeks because her own father had done that to her previously.

3) The whole idea of very few female Shifters versus male Shifters. So your hot ex-boyfriend would stay around waiting for five years because he has no other alternative. Yeah… It was a bit difficult to suspend my disbelief there.

Have you participated in the OWLs Readathon too? Which was your favorite book?

R/fantasy 2019 Bingo: Final Wrap-Up

In April 2019 I was planning to post quarterly updates on this challenge, but after my first quarterly update in June 2019, I completely forgot about it. Anyway, now that the Bingo Challenge is finished , I decided to post this complete Wrap-up because late is better than never… Therefore, here is my final Wrap-up on this yearly challenge created by Lisa from WayTooFantasy

Like the last time I participated in 2018, I did not complete the 25 reading prompts for all bingo squares, since what happens is that I often read more than one book for the same prompt, and tend to procrastinate on a couple of prompts.

This time only three prompts weren’t completed, and they were:

1)Self Published SFF Novel

2)SFF Novel by an Australian Author and

3)Lit RPG

but that doesn’t really matter much, since I’ll eventually get to read the books I had planned for them and post the review here on the blog. I might even swap one of the squares of the new bingo card for one of these last years’s squares, let’s see.

Lastly, to make this post shorter, I won’t repeat the reviews from my June update here, so please take a look in that post for the books where a link to the June quarterly update is provided.  

Row 1

Slice of Life / Small Scale Fantasy

I was setting aside the book I chose for this prompt, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater after a few pages. I can’t really explain what happened and I’ll eventually pick up this book again to give it a second chance. Instead, I read Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor.

Rating: 3 stars. This took long to unfold. It wasn’t so bad that I DNFed it but it was slow, really slow. It had the flaw of a couple of books I read recently, too much play-by-play, repetitions, and the pace drags. If 100 or more pages of filler had been cut out of it, it would have been a five star book.

 A SFF Novel Featuring a Character With a Disability

Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman

Rating: 4 stars. This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction.

SFF Novella

Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) by Matt Wallace JunePlease see my June 2019 Post with my first quarterly reviews.

Witches of Lychford (Lychford #1) by Paul Cornell

Rating 4 stars: This was a novella that could have been easily a novel, but perhaps the other books in the series will flesh out the very interesting characters a bit more. I heard this as part of the Tor.com collection Audiobook and the narrator was good too.

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Rating 3 stars:  This was very well written. With as much action and violence as a Quentin Tarantino movie and very interesting characters. Not exactly for me, but I could imagine fans of stories full of action enjoying it.

Novel Featuring Twins

I was reading  The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1) by J.Y. Yang for this bingo square and my review is in the June 2019 Post

Row 2

Novel Featuring Vampires

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris June

June 2019 Post

Tantalize (Tantalize #1) by Cynthia Leitich Smith

This was an entertaining, page-turner, first book of a series. Only the end was a bit rushed up.

On a second note, the end if this book was quite tragic too. To me the MC and her caretaker uncle seemed to be emotionally lost people. Especially the main character was a very lonely teen without proper guidance and support from anyone in her life, so she just started to lean on the seductive new chef which was slowly turning her into a vampire.

This fictional thing could be compared to real life problems of teen girls who get drug addicted or too attached to bad people due to lack of parental support.

I considered the end tragic for this reason, but I  was intrigued by the plot thematic layers that turned a girl becoming a vampire not to a romantic thing, as many other YA books, but rather to a Machiavellian murder.

Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook / Audio drama

Audiobook: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E. Taylor (Author), Ray Porter (Narrator) 

June 2019 Post

I was hearing more Audiobooks last year. My plan is to make a blog post only featuring Audiobooks in the near future.

Graphic Novel: The Wicked + The Divine (Single Issues) by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Cover Art), Matt Wilson

Rating: 3,5 stars. I read most of the 45 single issues of this graphic novel. This was an entertaining, page-turner graphic novel that I could not put down, even if now and then things were not so well explained, or fleshed out.

SFF Novel by a Local to You Author

Dream a little dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier

Rating: 4 stars. This was an entertaining page-turner, and a light, humorous book. I’ll be reading the next in the series for sure.

SFF Novel Featuring an Ocean Setting

Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland

Rating: 3 stars. Beautifully written even if slow-paced. The ending was nicely wrapped-up too.

Cyberpunk

Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1) by Richard K. Morgan

June 2019 Post

Row 3

2nd Chance

I chose Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa for this prompt because this was a second chance I was giving to books by this author after not really enjoying her Iron King series. I set this aside after a few pages. Call me heartless, but I don’t really like when the MC is a victim who has no resources against her oppressors. I think that this type of story might work better with a younger audience, so I’m probably not the target audience for her books.

Afrofuturism

The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death #0.5) by Nnedi Okorafor

Rating: 3,5 stars. I’m not really sure about how to review this book. It was very original, but its pacing was all over the place, sometimes dragging, sometimes rushed up.

SFF Novel Published in 2019

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 3,5 stars. Kind of the same uncertainty on this review. I liked the characters in this book a lot, but perhaps I’m the wrong audience for too much action? This isn’t the first time a book full of action made me tired of it.

Middle Grade SFF Novel

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand (Author), Sarah Watts (Illustrator)

Rating: 2 stars. This was interesting, not much is explained and I’m not sure I would read this for young kids. (It seemed more directed towards young adults than middle-grade.)

A Personal Recommendation from r/fantasy

I read two books for this prompt. Elantris and The Emperor’s Soul, a Novella, by Brandon Sanderson. Both were 5 stars reads for me, since I really enjoy this author’s books and plan to read more on them in the future.

Row 4

Any r/fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR r/fantasy Read-along Book

Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Rating: 3 stars. This was long and full of action. I somehow could not really get immersed in this book.

Media Tie-In Novel

I read three books that fit this prompt, and the reviews are in my June blog post.

1)Children of the Nameless (Magic:The Gathering) by Brandon Sanderson

2)Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet #1) by Philip Reeve

3) The Circle by Dave Eggers

Novel Featuring an AI Character

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente.

Rating: 4 stars. This novella’s writing style was towards stream of consciousness, and this was in any case food-for-thought.

 SFF Novel That Has a Title of Four or More Words

An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat HowardJune blog post.

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will be following this series for sure. The Audiobook narration, by Amy Landon, was five stars too.

Retelling!

I set aside my first choice for this prompt, which was Deathless (Leningrad Diptych #1) by Catherynne M. Valente, because I didn’t feel immersed enough in the story and I didn’t want to repeat authors in the reading prompts. So, instead I read:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein, and the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.

Row 5

The Final Book of a Series

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews

Rating: 5 stars. This was amazing, a great final book for this awesome series. I could not put it down.

#OwnVoices

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse.

Rating: 4 stars. This was very interesting, I don’t consider it YA due to the amount of violence tough. The heroine is not at first sight likable, mainly because I have not seen enough layers to understand her well enough but I hope that the next book in the series shows more of her journey. The love interests are also shown superficially, but hopefully I’ll get deeper arcs in the next book too. Since the character’s presentations mainly skipped the surface in this first book, I hope we get deeper developments in the next book of the series.

I’ll give it 4 and not 5 stars due to the reasons I already stated and because I missed more depth in the story world, a lot of things I would have gladly know more about went unexplained or were shown in a superficial way. The plot also moved in all directions, as if the story was starting anew at every chapter.

Perhaps my impressions of the story world were like this because I am not familiar with Native American Culture. I would have gladly read a glossary with explanations about the Native American cultural references used in the story.

In any case, this book was a very original page-turner that I could not put down.

Five SFF Short Stories

Now in 2020, I am making a Short-Story Challenge where I plan to read at least 52 short stories from different anthologies/collections. And the resulting Wrap-up blog will be posted in December this year.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 (Science Fiction Hall of Fame #1).

This anthology has been a mixed bag for me so far.

A couple of stories were awesome and extremely original, and a few had lines filled up with misogyny. I don’t enjoy reading such stuff at all, and my tolerance for an author’s horrible attitude towards women is really low, to the point that  more than one book with that kind of flaw by the same author is reason enough for me to avoid the works of such author in the future.

I am even tough planning to read the whole anthology and take note of the authors who positively impress me to read more by them in the near future.

5 Stories:

Nightfall • (1941) • novelette by Isaac Asimov – 5 stars! Isaac Asimov shows again why he is one of my favorite authors!

The Weapon Shop • [Weapon Shops of Isher] • (1942) • novelette by A. E. van Vogt– I didn’t like this so much due to a couple of misogynistic lines.

Mimsy Were the Borogoves • (1943) • novelette by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as by Lewis Padgett ] –Very interesting story- 5 stars!

Huddling Place • [City] • (1944) • shortstory by Clifford D. Simak

Don’t get to attached to your comfort zone…

Arena • (1944) • novelette by Fredric Brown – There is an episode of Star Trek that reminds me of this story a lot.

 

I’ll soon post a TBR for the R/Fantasy Bingo Challenge of 2020. Stay Tuned!

 

 

OWLs Readathon 2020 #magicalreadathon2020 – My April TBR

My social distancing April has now started and with it the entertaining OWLs Magical Readathon created by  Book Roast

So I thought, why not? My days are now more busy than when schools were open, since at the moment I’m replacing the teachers of my two boys (and this makes me think that teachers deserve our eternal gratitude and respect), but, at the same time, this only makes reading fiction even more important for me right now, as a way of relaxing and escaping the new reality for an hour every night.

All that said, in this Readathon you can choose different careers in the magical world. The two careers I would go for would be Journalist/Writer, Rita Skeeter being my heroine 😉 or Seer, due to the snazzy robes they get to wear, crystal balls being also such cool decoration objects too.

If I decide to be a Journalist/Writer, My OWLs would be:

History of Magic

Book featuring witches and wizards: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book #1) by Katherine Howe.

Muggle Studies

Contemporary: Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

1 other subject of your picking:

Which could be Care of Magical Creatures– Hippogriffs: a creature with a beak (e.g. birds) on the cover – This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar (Goodreads Author), Max Gladstone

Or Herbology – Mimbulus Mimbletonia: title starts with an M- Mirage(Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Or, if I decide to be a Seer, my OWLs would be:

Ancient Runes:

Heart Rune: Heart on the cover or in the title
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Astronomy:

Night Class: read a majority of a book when it’s dark outside
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan

Divination:

Third Eye: pick a book randomly from your TBR
I will be reading a book chosen by #bookspin on Litsy. In the second of April, the Litsy user @TheAromaofBooks makes a draw of a number between 1 and 20 and the book number chosen on my 1-20 list gets to be ‘The Chosen One’. Since this looks like something that Professor Trewlaney would do, I’m all for it.

Regardless of my career path I will try to make an

Animagus Training, OWLs:
Arithmancy

Read a Book Outside of Your Favorite Genre- I’ll be reading Historical Fantasy for this prompt: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

Potions

Books Under 150 Pages- I’ll be hearing one of the Novellas of the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, that I have as an Audiobook.

Transfiguration

Book/Series that has Shapeshifting
Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa

 

Are you participating in the Magical or any other Readathons this month? If yes, leave your link below.