Quarter Year Crisis Book Tag

Today I’m doing a Booktube Tag created by Roisin’s Reading. Don’t forget to check her very interesting YouTube channel!

End of April is a bit late for this tag but I have seen this just now, so better late than never, right?

Questions:

How many books have you read so far?
As of 4/28/2022, 41 Books.

Have you already found a book you think might be a 2022 favorite?

I’ve been extremely lucky to find so many favorites by Aliette de Bodard, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, T. Kingfisher and Nghi Vo that I could already make a long post about my favorite books of the year.
I will though probably wait and make a series of four posts in the end of 2022 on my favorite Novellas, and in the Fantasy, Science Fiction and other genres like in 2021. Or I will make posts about each of these authors and the books by them that I really liked.

1 star books / least favourite book of the year?

I didn’t rate any book 1 star yet this year, since I very rarely do that.
When I see that a book will be not at all for me I usually prefer not to finish it than to force myself to finish it and give it a very negative review. Life is too short to continue reading books you don’t really like.

Most read genre so far?
Fantasy and Science Fiction have been quite equilibrated so far as my two favorite genres.

A book that surprised you?
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo.
This was the first book I read by this author, but I’ll be reading others in the future surely, because I could not put this amazing book down!
It had wonderful multi-layered characters. And an extremely original story world, with an earned and beautifully written character journey.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book that’s come out in 2022 already that you want to read but haven’t yet?

Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture #2) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, that I’ll be reading now in May.

One goal you made that you’re succeeding at

I’ve been quite successful at my goal of Reading books by my favorite authors.

One goal you made you need to focus on

Reading the physical books I own. I have read two grahic novels and one nonfiction physical book so far, but physical books often get to the bottom of my priorities while I’m prioritizing reading my e-book ARCs by NetGalley, e-books borrowed on the library and my audiobooks on Storytel.
I might pause my audiobook subscription for a couple of months in August and September so that my physical books can become a priority once again.

New to you Booktubers/bookstagrammer/booktokers for 2022 you recommend?

Not exactly new, but one of my favorite Booktubers is Thomas@SFF180 He is always presenting new book releases with brilliant good humor.

And since I’m a book blogger I will recommend a couple of book blogs that I often take a look at:

One is the blog Cathy’s Reading Bonanza by Cathy

And the other is To Other Worlds, the blog by Para (wanderer)

***

If you feel like doing this tag, consider yourself tagged!

2022 r/fantasy Book Bingo Challenge TBR

Here is this year’s challenge bingo card that you can download here. At the moment I don’t know who created this card so let me know in the comments.

And this is my initial TBR for this yearly challenge. I won’t be describing each of the prompts, so for a better challenge description look here.

I might need to change a couple of books because one of the rules states that “You may not repeat an author on the card” and I thought of books by Adrian Tchaikovsky for four of the prompts. I wrote the books I thought about here even if they won’t be my final choice but I plan to read all of those anyway and I recommend them too.

A couple of my book choices may be not speculative fiction, but as usual I will either change my final choice or not submit a card next year since I always participate in this challenge in a low key way.

First Row Across

A Book from r/Fantasy’s Top LGBTQIA List:
The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura #1) by Martha Wells
I want to start this series since years.

Weird Ecology:
(Semiosis Duology #1) by Sue Burke
This has been in my TBR for a couple of years now and it qualifies for hard mode since it isn’t written by Jeff VanderMeer or China Miéville.

Two or More Authors:
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I have the third book in this trilogy since years in my list of series to finish, so I might just finally read it.

Historical SFF:
The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray.
The setting here is New York City 1926, so this probably qualifies for hard mode.

Set in Space:
This is probably the easiest prompt in this bingo board for me. I might read Mickey7 by Edward Ashton.

Second Row Across

Standalone:
The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

Anti-Hero:
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1) by Jonathan Stroud

Book Club OR Readalong Book:
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Cool Weapon:
I have no idea yet, but I think many of my fantasy books will be fine for this prompt.

Revolutions and Rebellions:
I also still have no idea yet, but I think I’ll just find it along the way too.

Third Row Across

Name in the Title:
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Another book I have since years in my TBR.

Author Uses Initials:
Swordheart (The World of the White Rat) by T. Kingfisher

Published in 2022:
Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I read the first book in this duology in March and I want to continue it asap.

Urban Fantasy:
The Nightjar (The Nightjar #1) by Deborah Hewitt. I don’t know much about this book but let’s try a new author for this prompt.

Set in Africa:
Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1) by Tade Thompson. Yet another case of a book I have had for years in my TBR.

Fourth Row Across

Non-Human Protagonist:
Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I read the first book in this series awhile ago, but I want to continue it this year.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey:
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Yet another case of a book that has been in my TBR for years now.

Five SFF Short Stories:
I have a lot of anthologies I want to read so I hope to read one of them for the hard mode of this prompt.

Features Mental Health:
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. This seem to be an interesting mixture of Contemporary and Sci-fi.

Self-Published OR Indie Publisher:
Death Trace (Hound of Hades #1) by Zoe Cannon

Fifth Row Across

Award Finalist, But Not Won:
The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky- finalist for the BSFA award 2021, didn’t win. I know this is now my third book by this author but until I find better choices for these prompts, this will be my choice.

BIPOC Author:
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger.

Shapeshifters:
I still have no book for this prompt but I often come across shifters in my fantasy books. I would recommend here The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky since it also has shifters.

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts: It’s difficult to find a title that does not include the following words: the, a/an, and, or, if, of, but. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon did the trick though.

Family Matters: I can’t think of any SFF book for this prompt at the moment so I hope to come across it as I read my books this year. As a no SFF book I could think of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield but yet again, even if I read this book, it would not fit as a final choice.

I hope though that I could inspire you to participate in this challenge even if in a low key way like me.

2021 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

I participated in this challenge in a low key way in 2021. More information about this challenge can be found here.

Here is the 2021 r/Fantasy Bingo Card made by u/eriophora.

BINGO CARD

First Row Across:

✔️Five SFF Short Stories

I did this one hard mode. I read The Midnight Circus by Jane Yolen with an introduction by Theodora Goss.
Rating: 5 stars! A book with beautiful prose, some of the stories were extremely sad and heart breaking, but the exquisite writing style made me not able to put this short story collection down. The stories were original and heartfelt, I want to read more books by this author in the future. I recommend this anthology if you like fairy tales with a modern, original twist. This author and Theodora Goss are especially talented for fantasy with mythical themes.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

✔️Set in Asia

I read Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee
Rating: 2 stars.
This book reminds me of The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi where the world was interesting and there were loads of action but I had difficulty caring enough to go on reading even though.
I can’t explain why really… I continued this book but I won’t continue the series.

✔️First Person POV

I read The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest.
Rating: 3 stars.
Fantasy with a very interesting world and powerful themes.

*Spoiler alert: The only thing I didn’t like is how slow the plot moves for the main character, the story feels stretched with so many side characters storylines. I do care about the side characters but each of them gets a subplot full of new questions of their own and it becomes too much altogether.
*End of Spoiler

Even though, I’ll continue this series.

Second Row Across:

✔️Book Club OR Readalong Book

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Rating: 4 stars. I liked the dialect, the characters (especially Mami) and the plot. It was a fast, original read and I could not put it down.

✔️New to You Author

I haven’t heard anything about this author before deciding to pick up this book, so I think this qualifies for hard mode.
I was pleasantly surprised with Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Rating: 4,5 stars. This was a very beautiful book that I wanted to take my time and hear slowly. I wish it had been longer. I’ll keep an eye for more books by this great author.

✔️Gothic Fantasy

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Rating: 4 stars.
Very atmospheric, and with gothic elements quite present in the plot. I liked all the characters,
spoiler alert
even if all of them were really unnerving either by being toxic, quite messed up or way too passive/slow to act and very emotional and dramatic at the same time. end of spoiler
I could not put it down.

✔️Backlist Book

The Well of Ascension (The Mistborn Saga #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4 stars.

I liked this book but I think that some great concepts had to be more fleshed out. Most of the creatures are very much only monsters with details so disgusting that you don’t want to hear much about them.
I missed the fleshing out that the non-human sentient beings have in Stormlight and that make them beings with a culture and objectives of their own, not only monsters to be killed because they are bent on wrathful destruction all the time. The whole idea of “non-human creatures are evil and we have to kill them all so we survive” is not the best kind of story. It might work in a middle grade book, but I expect more from Sanderson after Stormlight, therefore this doesn’t get five stars.

Zane was also a very promising character but he doesn’t get the fleshing out he deserved so the reader would understand better what was happening to him and what of that was connected to the Cosmere, you can mostly draw your own conclusions and wonder about the story behind it. An idea would be a Novella about Zane’s journey to the extremely powerful Mistborn he became, he would be the perfect unreliable narrator.

A very entertaining book, but the Stormlight series, with its fleshed out characters, non-human sentient beings, and world is still my favorite.

Third Row Across:

✔️Mystery Plot

Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Rating: 5 stars!
This hidden gem is not talked and hyped enough, the story is full of edge-of-your-seat tension, many layered characters and the best writing ever.
I could not put this down!

✔️Comfort Read

Diamonds and Daggers (Vampire Knitting Club #11) by Nancy Warren.
Rating: 4 stars. Again a very entertaining mystery with paranormal fantasy elements. This whole series was my main comfort read in 2021.

✔️Published in 2021

ReDawn (Skyward #2.2) by Brandon Sanderson, Janci Patterson
Rating: 5 stars!
This packs a punch! I don’t want to say much because Novellas are so easy to spoil but all Skyward Flight Novellas are a wonderful addition to the series.

Fourth Row Across:

✔️Latinx or Latin American Author

My chosen book has only 571 ratings at the moment which it’s a pity since this series does deserve more eyes on it.
Prime Deceptions (Chilling Effect #2) by Valerie Valdes

Rating: 5 stars!
With a plot that goes, happens and explodes and funny, relatable characters, this was a very entertaining sequel. The Spanish expressions are as extremely funny to hear on the Audiobook as they were to read on the book. And it even has a Portuguese dialogue, we always need more of that. I need more books in this series too! Thankfully the next book in the series will come out now in 2022.

✔️Genre Mashup

The Boundless (The Deathless Trilogy #3) by Peter Newman. Rating: 5 stars!
I would say that this series is fantasy with horror elements. This third and final book was awesome and beautifully epic in so many ways. The characters are rarely done in such relatable ways and I really liked how this story wrapped up. One of the best fantasy series I ever read!

Fifth Row Across:

✔️Trans or Nonbinary Character
The Vela (The Vela #1) by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, S.L. Huang.
Rating: 5 stars! This serial has four things I really liked:

1) Great writers collaborating in a cohesive and well done narrative,
2) Well done, many layered, characters,
3) A surprising and fast paced plot that never gets boring and
4) Food for thought of extreme, utmost importance. Many of the questions this story asks could be translated to our current world situation and how we handle world problems like refugees and climate change.

This serial packs a punch. I liked how it made me think about a lot of important things and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone while reading a very entertaining science fiction story with fast paced action. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

✔️Debut Author

Machinehood by S.B. Divya
Rating: 3 stars.
This had a very good premise and ideas but the narrative style wasn’t unfortunately for me. I would recommend this to people who like science fiction technological thrillers and are OK with a narrative in Michael Crichton’s style.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I will again be participating in a low key way in next year’s challenge.

5 Books I Have In My Shelf – Graphic Novels

I started a new series here in the blog to talk about the books I already have on my shelf. I want to share a brief review of the ones I read and talk about my plans with the ones who are still unread. I’ll do these five books at a time too, otherwise these posts would get really long.

I have usually no hurry in reading my physical books since it is fine for me when part of my shelves remains there for a rainy day (in case my e-reader or cellphone runs out of battery). I buy more nonfiction than fiction books too, since I consider a physical copy more important when you want to learn about a topic than when you only want to read a story.

And with graphic novels, I really like to collect them. I like to have a collection of different drawing styles and even if the art isn’t always the best, I still like this format ways of ‘showing’ stories. After nonfiction books, graphic novels are the books I mostly like to buy in physical form.

In this post I’ll talk about three graphic novels/comics that are more mainstream and two that are less known and less talked about than they should be.

So with little further ado, let talk about my physical graphic novel books:

Lore Olympus

Lore Olympus: Volume One (Lore Olympus Volumes #1) by Rachel Smythe

Rating: 5 stars! In the first place, I must give potential readers a warning about sexual violence content in the book. By being a Gen-Xer, I forgot to talk about that when I recommended this to a younger friend and it didn’t go well. Apart from that I considered this Webtoon so outstanding! I couldn’t stop reading this.

It has very important themes (and again, a few triggers). The plot contains all the nuances and feels while being an amazing retelling of Greek mythology (which will be fresh even if you already read tons of Greek Mythology) and the characters are multi-layered and carefully done.

This deserved to be the winner of the Goodreads Choice awards 2021 in the Best Graphic Novels & Comics category.

I’ll probably buy the next volumes in this series when they come out.

The Tea Dragon Society & Adulthood is a Myth

The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Kay O’Neill

Rating: 5 stars! A heart-warming story with important themes and adorable art. And the tea dragons are so extremely cute! I have only the first volume of this series in physical form, but I have plans to get the other two volumes too. As it was, I received an arc of volume two and three in this series from NetGalley and therefore I would like to thank them and the publisher.

All three volumes in the series were five stars for me.

Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles #1) by Sarah Andersen

Rating: 5 stars!This was the Goodreads Choice Award Winner in the Best Graphic Novels & Comics category in 2016 for a good reason. It’s hilarious and so relatable. My only complaint: it’s too short! I could read one thousand pages of this! 😉 I have only the first volume of this series in physical form, but I have plans to get the other three volumes too.

Earthsong Volume One and Two By Crystal Yates

Earthsong Vol 1 (Earthsong Saga) by Crystal Yates.

Rating: 5 stars! This doesn’t get at all the hype it deserves, so I consider it a hidden gem.

I own the first two volumes of this series in physical and the last three in digital form. You can read this as a web comic too.

I liked the first two volumes more than the last three, because the author could have fleshed out the story in better directions. The story world was original though, and I liked all the characters, especially Nanashi.

Trying Human Volume One and Two by Emy Bitner
Trying Human Volume 3 and Artbook Volume Two by Emy Bitner

Trying Human (Volume #1) by Emy Bitner

Rating: 5 stars! You can also read this as a web comic

I have the first three volumes of this in physical form and I plan to buy the next ones when the author releases them. This is a very original story about aliens and abductees. It’s out of the beaten track.

Let me know in the comments if I should go on talking about my owned graphic novels in my next post or if you would prefer to read about my science fiction, young adult or fantasy books.

Bookopoly 2021 Wrap-Up

In September 2021 I lost track of posting about my Bookopoly Challenge even if I did continue with it.
Now I’m a bit late for my last year Bookopoly Wrap-up, but it’s better late than never, right? Therefore in this post I will do a recap with my rating and reviews.

You will often read in this post that I won’t continue this or that series, but I must pick up the book series I continue reading with a lot of care. Continuing a series is a lot of commitment, therefore I learned to only do that when the first book is a four or five star book for me.

My last year TBR Rolls were:

6st Roll: 6, Read a book published the first time between 2000 and 2010
The Love-Artist by Jane Alison, this was an historical fiction that had been for ages in my TBR.
3 stars. Well written but very slow paced. If you like character driven historical romances this might be for you.

7th Roll: 4, 3rd Lavanda space – YA mixed with other genres.
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
No rating. Very much an YA book with all YA tropes checked. I am not the right audience for it, so I won’t rate it. This might be a book for someone who wants YA with a dash of romance and horror.

8tht Roll: 4, Orange Bookshelf – Pick a TBR card.
Axiom’s End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis
3,5 stars. I could not put this down, it was an entertaining contemporary sci-fi. I will be eventually continuing this series.
Spoiler Alert:
I won’t rate it 5 stars though because the end wasn’t as good as the beginning of the book and for me the interspecies romance between an alien and young girl seemed too cliché. The end felt not as original as the beginning of the book.
End of spoiler

9th Roll: Read a book published the first time between 2010 and 2020:
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie since it was published in 2013.
No rating. This is one of those books that I recognize as intellectually worthy and I see that a lot of effort went into writing it, but it’s a book that requires a much more patient reader than me.
The slow plot advancement was tiresome and the emotionless character narrative sounded distant, so I wasn’t invested. I’m happy that I read this first book but I won’t continue this series.

10th Roll: 3 Roll: 4, 2nd Dark Blue space – Paranormal fantasy/romance/mystery or Magical Realism.
Incubus (Fairwick Chronicles #1) by Carol Goodman.
4 stars. This paranormal fantasy had really well done characters and story world. The plot was above the average, and really interesting for Paranormal.
It’s adult romance too with steamy scenes. I’ll be continuing this series.


11th Roll: 2, First Yellow Space: Fantasy (Adult or YA)
The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner
3 stars. This had slow-paced character-driven, and cozy narrative style. The plot moved way too slowly for me though, so I won’t continue this series.

12th Roll: 2 Third Yellow Space: Fantasy (Adult or YA)
The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6) by Genevieve Cogman.
4 stars. A very entertaining book that I could not put down. Why didn’t this book get five stars then? I expected more depth on the relationship between Irene and Kai. We know they care about each other but apart from going from one danger to another we don’t get much interaction or scenes that show their relationship. I like the bits about Irene’s family and past, but we need more characterization than that as well.

13th Roll: 3, 1st A to Z Challenge Space
N- Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen
4 stars. This was really entertaining and impossible to put down. A young adult book with edge of your seat action too.
I’ll surely be continuing this series. I didn’t rate it five stars though because the secondary characters, specially the girls, could have used a lot more fleshing out and characterization, and as it was they were one dimensional, either the love interest or the irrational crazy villain and the book would have been even better if they had been multi-layered.
I talk more about this book in my A TO Z CHALLENGE Wrap-Up 2021 – Part 2 post.

14th Roll: 2, Numbers Challenge Space – Books with Numbers in the title/cover.
I first tried to read Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir
No rating. This story felt so ‘told’, sometimes going too fast and just glossing over the years and sometimes taking forever with details and description, without any worry about structure or pacing somehow. I didn’t finish this, therefore no rating.


But then I picked instead The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin
5 Stars! This was so surprising and original! I’ll be soon reading more books by this author.
Spoiler Alert:
The story world is very interesting and the political intrigue and main character interaction with the enslaved gods keeps you intrigued for sure.
I like the gender roles swap in the Darre culture very much and how is shown that other kingdoms hate and want to destroy the Darre solely due to that. They are like Amazons but with men in a nurturing role, very interesting since the Amazon’s myths mostly say that there weren’t any men in their society, with the Amazon’s occasionally meeting with men outside their kingdom only to get pregnant and afterwards abandoning them with the baby girl or leaving their baby boys behind with their fathers. But Darre is a compromise where the women are warriors and are powerful and the men are mainly involved in their nurturing role. Food for thought.
I also very much liked the ending.
End of spoiler.

15th Roll: 4 Third Pink Space: Science Fiction (Adult or YA)
I picked YA Sci-fi for this. The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
4 stars. It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling anything.
Spoiler Alert:
I liked this book even if romance between an ‘Earthling’ and an alien is not one of my favorite tropes in sci-fi. The romance itself was cute and one of the best I’ve read this year, even if a tad too much sometimes, but then again I’m not the best audience for YA romance, so it was probably me.
I really liked how music and books were important to the characters and how well the author talked about the main character’s feelings of exclusion and of being a minority when a lot of people had prejudices against her and when politics act against minorities. It was so well described and characterized how this made her feel weary of the whole humankind and socially anxious, it was quite brilliant! This gave the main character more layers and gave this story a very important central theme.
End of spoiler.

So these were the books I read in 2021 for this TBR Game challenge.
This year I don’t want to loose track of this challenge and eventually do a wrap up with eleven books like this time, so I’ll be posting my next wrap-up post around July.

Stay tuned to the next Bookopoly Wrap-up posts.

Challenge TBR: Reading 22 Books by My Favorite Authors in 2022

Apart from my usual yearly challenges, which I will soon be talking about here in the blog, I decided to read more by my favorite authors in 2022.
Why? First, I want to read as much as possible of these authors backlog because I’m sure most books will be five star reads, and second because in 2022 I’m following Niki Hawkes mantra that states “Read the best books first.”

So here are the books I’ll make a priority this year:

By Adrian Tchaikovsky:

1-The Doors of Eden
2-Dogs of War (Dogs of War #1)
3-Shards of Earth (The Final Architecture, #1)
4-The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall, #1)
5-Guns of the Dawn
6-The Expert System’s Brother (Expert System, #1)
7-Elder Race

I don’t know if I will really manage to read seven books by the same author in one year, but I’ll do my very best. 🙂
So far though, I started this part of the challenge well and I already finished The Tiger and the Wolf, and the two Novellas: The Expert System’s Brother and Elder Race now in the first two weeks of January. All three books were five star reads for me.
Stay tuned for a blog post focused on all the books I read by this author when I finish reading all of these.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia:

8-Velvet Was the Night
9-Signal to Noise
10-Love & Other Poisons

I slowly run out of books to read by this author so I hope she comes out with a new book next year. A blog post focused on all the books I’ve read from this author is in my future plans too.

By Brandon Sanderson:

11-Secret History (Mistborn, #3.5)
12-Cytonic (Skyward #3) – Planned br February
13- Evershore (Skyward #3.1)
14- Legion (Legion #1)
15- Skin Deep (Legion #2)
16- Lies of the Beholder (Legion #3)
17- Dawnshard (The Stormlight Archive, #3.5)
18- Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4)
19- Firstborn.

Last year I read around nine books by this author and this year I’m planning to read even more books by him. A lot of these are Novellas so I think I can be confident and even overly ambitious. 🙂

By Peter Newman:

20-The Vagrant (The Vagrant #1)
21-The Malice (The Vagrant #2)
22-The Seven (The Vagrant #3)

In 2021 I finished the The Deathless Trilogy and really liked it, so I’ll try his previous trilogy too.

And which are your favorite authors? Let me know in the comments.

The Best Books of 2021 Part Three: Science-Fiction

I had many Science Fiction favorite books in 2021.

I’ve already talked about my favorite Sci-fi Novellas in my 2021 Novella Favorites post and about The Final Six (The Final Six #1) by Alexandra Monir in my A to Z Challenge Wrap-up post so I’ll not repeat myself here but only write about the books I haven’t recently reviewed.

The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War #2) by John Scalzi

This was very interesting and I liked it as much or even more than the first book in this series because it talked more about the Special Forces. And stories with humans developed by technology are among my science fiction favorites since I read Brave New World.

I’m curious about how this series will resolve its bigger scope questions so I’ll continue it for sure.

The Vela (The Vela #1) by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, S.L. Huang

This serial has four things I really liked:

1) Great writers collaborating in a cohesive and well done narrative,
2) Well written, multi-layered, characters,
3) A surprising and fast paced plot that never gets boring and
4) Food for thought of extreme, utmost importance. Many of the questions this story asks could be translated to our current world situation and how we handle world problems like refugees and climate change.

This serial packs a punch. I liked how it made me think about a lot of important things and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone while reading a very entertaining science fiction story with fast paced action.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Prime Deceptions (Chilling Effect #2) by Valerie Valdes

With a plot that goes, happens and explodes and funny, relatable characters, this was a very entertaining sequel.

The Spanish expressions were as extremely funny to hear on the Audiobook as they were to read on the book. And it even has a Portuguese dialogue, we always need more of that. And I need more books in this series, which is great because a third book is scheduled for August this year.

The Chimera Code by Wayne Santos

A very original and interesting science fiction story world with fantasy elements, multi-layered characters and well written and fast paced battle scenes. The Audiobook narration was very well done too.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold

I am really enjoying this series so far and will continue it for sure.

I like the writing style, the multi-layered characters and surprising situations. This is the second book I read by Bujold that balances fun and important themes in a masterful way.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

I liked the dialect, the characters (especially Mami) and the plot. It was a fast paced urban fantasy dystopia, and in any case an original read that I could not put down.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

This was a poetically and beautifully written Apocalyptic book with Anishinaabe cultural elements that I wanted to take my time and hear slowly. I wish it had been longer. I can fully understand why this book was an John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction Novel (2019). I can’t understand why it wasn’t a winner though. I’ll surely keep an eye for more books by this great author.

Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

This was a great sequel that expanded the already awesome story world in the first book of this series and introduced new interesting characters and plot developments.
I will not write more not to spoil anything, but I’ll surely continue this very surprising series now in 2022.

And you? Did you have a favorite book last year that you would recommend to everyone? Let me know in the comments.

The Best Books of 2021 Part Two: Fantasy

Books By Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archive
Words of Radiance and Oathbringer were very good sequels.

Words of Radiance is centered in one of my favorite characters, Shallan, and the world of Roshar and the Cosmere Universe was again a place so fascinating that the 1087 pages went by extremely fast. I did a mistake though by starting Oathbringer right after finishing the second book and that was probably too much reading in a series all at once.
Please don’t ‘hate’ me, I did like Oathbringer a lot too, only that I considered some of the character developments of Dalinar quite jarring with the character he seemed to be on the first two books of the series. I also got the impression that his arc wrapped up too neatly and too fast at the end without enough foreshadowing. There were too many battle scenes and not enough character interactions, and I missed more character and relatioship development between Shallan, Adolin and Kaladin. It all got decided too quickly for me.
Maybe these impressions will change once I have reread this series with some breaks between the sequels. I usually don’t reread books but this series, with its fascinating world, qualifies for this surely.
Still a great series that I’ll go on reading for sure.

Warbreaker

I heard the GraphicAudio dramatized Audiobook version of this book and I must say that this is one of my favorite fantasy books of all time now.
This was awesome epic fantasy, full of cute, witty and beautiful moments, and very surprising twists! The characters were also so unforgetable, I will happily read sequels to this book when they happen to be published.

The Deathless Trilogy by Peter Newman

In 2021 I read the second and third books of this awesome trilogy.

Peter Newman is again an author that deserves much more recognition and reviews. The series story world is intriguing, the characters relatable and multi-layered. I enjoyed reading all POVs.

The Ruthless (The Deathless Trilogy #2)

I liked the writing style a lot. It had a bit more horror than I’m used to in my fantasy reads and the plot moved a bit too slow but I was continuing this series because I really wanted to know how this would end. The Audiobook narration of Emma Newman was awesome, she’s one of my favorite audiobook narrators.

The Boundless (Deathless, #3)

This third and final book was awesome and beautifully epic in so many ways. The characters are rarely done in such relatable ways and I really liked how this story wrapped up. One of the best fantasy series I ever read!
And again a trilogy which is a serious candidate for a reread.

House of Dragons (House of Dragons #1) by Jessica Cluess

This YA book was so entertaining that I could not put it down. Jessica Cluess has become an auto-buy author for me because all her books become my favorites! I’ll continue this series next year for sure.
I also read the Kingdom on Fire trilogy by her and it was so well done.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin

This was so surprising and original! I’ll be continuing this trilogy for sure and will soon read more books by this author!

Spoiler alert: The story world is very interesting and the political intrigue and main character interaction with the enslaved gods keeps you intrigued for sure.

I like the gender roles swap in the Darre culture very much and how is shown that other kingdoms hate and want to destroy the Darre solely due to that. They are like Amazons but with men in a nurturing role, very interesting since the Amazon’s myths mostly say that there weren’t any men in their society, with the Amazon’s occasionally meeting with men outside their kingdom only to get pregnant and afterwards abandoning them with the baby girl or leaving their baby boys behind with their fathers. But Darre is a compromise where the women are powerful and warriors and the men are mainly involved in the nurturing role. Food for thought.

I also very much liked the ending.
End of spoiler

Stay tuned for my favorite science fiction books in my next blog post.

The Best Books of 2021: Fantasy of Manners

I have an incredible number of favorite books this year, therefore, so that none of the following blog posts becomes extra long, I’ll write three different “favorites of 2021” posts.

This first post has fantasy of manners books, the next will have fantasy books with other subgenres and the third will have my science fiction favorites. Fantasy of manners seems to be a somewhat fluid subgenre and perhaps some of the books I’ll talk about in my next blog post could belong in this subgenre too, but in the interest of not making this post way too long I’ll group them in the broader fantasy genre together with my epic fantasy books.

Most of the following books were five stars for me or even if four stars, original enough that they secured a place among my favorite books of 2021. In this post I’ll talk about three of my favorite fantasy of manners authors: Emma Newman, Genevieve Cogman and Theodora Goss and their wonderful series that I surely recommend.

Emma Newman

The two Novellas, Brother’s Ruin, and Weaver’s Lament by Emma Newman were a very interesting beginning to a new series that I sincerely hope one day will be continued.

I also read four books in the Split Word series by this author that were extremely well written: Any Other Name, All Is Fair, A Little Knowledge and All Good Things.
This series was one I could not put down. It had very important themes and was heart-wrenching at times. In any case, one of the best book series I’ve read in a very long time. Emma Newman is an awesome writer and her audiobook narration of this series is perfect too!

Genevieve Cogman

In 2021 I read five books in the The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman: The Burning Page, The Lost Plot, The Mortal Word, The Secret Chapter and The Dark Archive.
This series was very entertaining, I especially liked the fourth book in the series, The Lost Plot, but I was disappointed by the seventh book, The Dark Archive because yet again every time a ‘personal character moment’ was about to happen it seemed to be quickly looked over, and instead a life or death action scene intruded. At a certain point I was tired of not getting more depth in the relationships between the characters.
Perhaps I was just tired of the series after reading too many books of it one after another, therefore I’ll give this series a second chance and I’ll be reading The Untold Story (The Invisible Library #8) eventually, but this time I’ll be definitely done with the series if this book doesn’t surprise me with some character arcs resolution. Even though this is an extremely entertaining series and I surely recommend it.

Theodora Goss

I also continued the The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series by Theodora Goss by reading European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.
I plan to read the third book of this trilogy, The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl.
A friend of mine didn’t like the character commentaries interrupting the narrative in this second book, and that may indeed need some time getting used to, but I considered them extremely funny and very original. As if the ‘writer’ herself -in this case one of the characters- would not take herself very seriously, and it was right down hilarious when the other characters told her she wasn’t telling the story the right way or when the character herself ‘advertised’ her other fictitious books in the middle of the narrative.
This series is a very surprising and well done retelling and I will surely read more books by this author in the future.

Stay tuned for my next blog posts with my other favorites of 2021.

Reading Goals 2021 End of the Year Update -Part 2

2021 is ending and again I had a very productive reading year. My first thoughts on my yearly reading goals are here.

Read 100 books on the Goodreads Challenge

I was very successful in this challenge by reading 175 books, of which around 75 were Audiobooks, around 21 were physical books and around 38 were e-books. Sorry if my numbers don’t add up completely, I don’t keep a spreadsheet because that’s too much work.

I did however DNF around ten books.

And my average book length was 293 pages.

More details on what I read here

Get the feedback ratio up to 80% on NetGalley

I was very unsuccessful in this, even if I read seventeen ARCs in 2021. I could not stop asking for new ARCs, and therefore I still have a ratio of 65%.
Once there was a cartoon with a villain’s minion in it who would always swat his own head with a flyswatter and say: “Bad, bad frog.”

That is me. 🙂

I will indeed try not to ask for new ARCs in 2022 before I get to read my old ARCs, but it does happen…

Series | catching up or finishing 10 series

Ten series was a bit way-too-ambitious indeed, but I finished five series:
The Split Worlds with 5 books, The Deathless Trilogy and The Mistborn Saga first trilogy and two longer series: The Invisible Library with 7 books and the Vampire Knitting Club with 13 books.

I did a good progress in other five series that I hope to finish in 2022 though. Next year I’ll continue to read my series but I’ll be happy if I manage to finish six to eight of them.

2021 I Just Have To Read More Of That Author

I managed to read ten books by Brandon Sanderson this year so I consider this challenge a complete success. I’ll talk more about his books in my next favorite-books-of-the-year post. I also managed to read six books by Emma Newman and all of them are among my favorites of the year too.

I will do this challenge next year with the authors Adrian Tchaikovsky, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Peter Newman.

I will continue to read books by Brandon Sanderson because at this point he is one of my favorite authors. I wish I had more fantasy books by Emma Newman to read too. I might pick her science fiction books this year too, even if I still prefer her historical fantasy.

I’ll be soon posting my favorite books of the year. See you soon!