Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Covers With…

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point, ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  

This week’s topic is: Books with [___] On the Cover, which means can we can pick and choose any element or color or whatever strikes our fancy. I have been torn between my favorite color on book covers, which is burnt orange, and the image of spaceships or space stations, which never fails to draw my attention – and since I was unable to decide, I listed them both. Two for the price of one, special offer! 😉

Covers with elements in burnt orange:

Covers with spaceships (or space stations):

And now I’m curious to see which covers you will pick up for your TTT!

Reviews

FANDOM BOOK TAG

And here is another intriguing tag I found online, which somehow mixes my interest with TV series with my love of books: as usual I owe the inspiration for the tag to a fellow blogger and her quite comprehensive list of bookish tags.

What I like about this tag is that it allowed me to revisit some of the books I read approaching them from some unusual angles… 🙂

DOCTOR WHO: A BOOK WITH A (MOSTLY) BLUE COVER

The Doors of Eden, by Adrian Tchaikowsky

MARVEL: A BOOK WITH A (MOSTLY) RED COVER

THE SIMPSONS: A BOOK WITH A (MOSTLY) YELLOW COVER

RECURSION, by Blake Crouch

SUPERNATURAL: A BOOK WHERE THE MAIN CHARACTER COMES BACK TO LIFE

SHERLOCK: A BOOK FEATURING A PSYCHOPATH/SOCIOPATH

ONCE UPON A TIME: A BOOK INSPIRED BY FAIRYTALES OR IS A RETELLING OF FAIRYTALES

BREAKING BAD: A BOOK REVOLVING AROUND DRUGS

GAME OF THRONES: A BOOK FEATURING DRAGONS

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: A BOOK REVOLVING AROUND AN AGENCY OR A SECRET GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION

CHARMED: A BOOK ABOUT SISTERS

(I cheated a little with this one…)

GRIMM: A BOOK THAT FEATURES A MONSTER

THE WALKING DEAD: A BOOK ABOUT ZOMBIES

STAR TREK: A BOOK FEATURING ALIENS OR THAT TAKES PLACE IN SPACE

THE HUNGER GAMES: A BOOK IN WHICH KIDS/TEENAGERS ARE MURDERED OR DIE

PERCY JACKSON: A BOOK BASED ON ANCIENT GREEK MYTHS

Reviews

THE WEATHER TAG

Every time I see an interesting bookish tag I can’t help but scheduling it for one of my next posts: I encountered this one on the site of fellow blogger Bookstoge, and I immediately liked the comparison between books and weather phenomenons, so here are my answers…

SUNSHINE:  A BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove

Firefly is one of my favorite TV series, and one of the most unfortunate since it was canceled before it had been given the chance to truly fly.  Luckily for me, and for the many fans that still care about Serenity and its crew, there is a series of books, now numbering to six and with a seventh expected for later this year, that manage to recapture the adventurous fun mood of the show.

RAIN:  A BOOK YOU COULDN’T PUT DOWN

Empire of the Vampire, by Jay Kristoff

Simply mention the word ‘vampire’ and I immediately pay attention: this is one of the horror tropes that most fascinate me. Learning that one of my favorite authors was penning a new series focused on a world dominated by these monsters was a huge incentive for me to read this first book as soon as it became available, and I was more than captivated by its dark, dreary background and by the story’s compelling main character.

WIND:  A BOOK THAT BLEW YOU AWAY

The Shadow of the Gods, by John Gwynne

John Gwynn is one of the epic fantasy authors that compel me to read their works without even looking at the blurb, because I know that I will be enthralled by whatever story he chooses to tell. In this particular case we have a Norse mythology-inspired story following the journey/quest of a number of fascinatingly flawed characters in a world where the vestiges of the gods who once ruled are still able to wield great power and are therefore sought with any means. Both gritty and emotional, I believe this is the best Gwynne book so far, and the sequel is almost here!

HURRICANE:  A TRAGIC BOOK

The Hunger, by Alma Catsu

This was my first encounter with the tragedy of the Donner Party, which is not so well-known outside of the USA – even though, since then, I happened to find several references to the story. The caravan of hopefuls who tried to travel from Missouri to California in the mid-19th Century, was lost in the inclement weather conditions of the Sierra Nevada, and the few survivors had to resort to eating the flesh of their dead to keep alive.  This was both a tragic story and an in-depth examination of human nature under stressful conditions.

BLIZZARD:  A BOOK YOU HAD HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR

Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse

I “met” this author through her Sixth World Series, and I was eager to explore her new work focused on pre-Colombian cultures: Black Sun exceeded even my wildest expectations in depicting a violent but fascinating world imbued with magic, political machinations and family feuds, and peopled with fascinating characters.  The second book in the saga is forthcoming and I’m sure that it will meet and surpass my expectations just as its predecessor did.

TORNADO:  A BOOK YOU DIDN’T LIKE AT FIRST BUT ENDED UP LOVING

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

RED RISING, by Pierce Brown

While I enjoy a good tale of vengeance, Red Rising did not seem to be exactly tailored to my tastes, mostly because I struggled to connect with Darrow, the main character who goes against the caste system implemented in this remote future where society is modeled on the ancient Roman Empire. And yet, little by little, he and his quest won me over and I ended up rooting for his fight against such an inhuman system.

Want to battle the elements with some good books? Then share your weather-inspired favorite stories!

Reviews

THE “WOULD YOU RATHER” TAG FOR BOOK LOVERS

Time to entertain myself once again with a bookish tag that I stole… ahem… borrowed from HERE!

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A FRIEND WHO LOSES YOUR BOOKS OR ONE WHO DOG-EARS THEM?

No third option? I hate both of them! 

Well, if I have to choose, I’d go with the dog ears: a slightly manhandled book is far better than a lost one, although I would have to question my wisdom in having befriended someone who does not respect books…

WOULD YOU RATHER SECRETLY LOVE A BOOK EVERYONE ELSE HATES OR SECRETLY HATE A BOOK EVERYONE ELSE LOVES?

Neither, because I tend to be openly vocal about my likes and dislikes, so there would be no secrecy involved 😉

WOULD YOU RATHER BE STUCK ON A VERY LONG PLANE OR TRAIN RIDE WITHOUT A BOOK?

Me? Caught in any situation without a book? Not in a million years!

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE DINNER WITH YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR OR YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER?

The author, no doubt, because with the character, who is imaginary, I might end up having an equally imaginary dinner, and a girl needs food! 😛

WOULD YOU RATHER DATE A CHARACTER YOU HAVE A CRUSH ON OR YOUR CRUSH FROM REAL LIFE?

Of course I’d go for real life – for obvious reasons – although I guess I’m a little too old for crushes…

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE YOUR FAVORITE BOOK TURNED INTO A MOVIE OR YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE TURNED INTO A BOOK?

Many of my long-time favorite books have been turned into greatly successful movies or TV series, so my hope is that other beloved books might find their way to the big screen, or to TV should a series be in the works. If someone from Hollywood is listening there is, just to mention one, a certain space opera saga from Lois McMaster Bujold… 😉

WOULD YOU RATHER READ A BOOK WITH AN ANNOYING CLIFFHANGER OR ONE WHERE YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER IS KILLED OFF?

I would have to go with the cliffhanger, because the death of a favorite character is never a pleasant experience… (RIP Ned Stark)

WOULD YOU RATHER LOSE THE ABILITY TO READ ANY NEW BOOKS OR THE ABILITY TO REREAD BOOKS YOU’VE ALREADY READ?

I’m starting to think that the person who created these questions must possess more than a streak of sadism…

Anyway, books I’ve read remain a very fond memory, but I could not give up on new ones. Ever.

WOULD YOU RATHER LIVE IN A LIBRARY OR A BOOKSTORE?

Bookstore. See above.

WOULD YOU RATHER LOSE YOUR PLACE OR GET A PAPER CUT EVERY TIME YOU READ A BOOK?

Given that I always use an e-reader, I can’t lose my place because the appliance has far better memory than I do, and paper cuts are out of the question. Unless e-readers gain sentience and decide to zap our fingers now and then to remind us of paper cuts… 

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE TO ALWAYS READ IN THE DARK OR ALWAYS READ BOOKS WITH TINY TEXT?

Again, e-readers are a bookworm’s best friends, and they can be used in the dark. And tiny text is not an issue, since you can increase the font – which I always do because old age and tiny text don’t get along well… 😉

WOULD YOU RATHER READ BY A FIREPLACE OR ON THE BEACH?

Wherever I can sit comfortably. But I have to say that the fireplace looks like a perfect setting for losing oneself in a book.

Well, that was fun. If you enjoyed the… challenge, borrow the tag and share your answers!

Reviews

CHARACTERS OF THE YEAR BOOK TAG

Time for a new bookish tag, which is something I have come enjoy quite a bit. I found this one HERE, with many thanks to the blogger whose post inspired me: the past year is not so far away yet, so it’s going to be easy to find some answers to the questions!  I made a few adjustments to the questions’ list to suit my reading material, but otherwise I had great fun in finding the right characters for the various topics.

FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Caitlin Hendrix (Unsub series by Meg Gardiner)

Former police officer, then recruited by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, she gives chase to serial killers with great determination, managing to overcome her flaws and the dark shadows of her past: the combination of strength and frailties turns her into a very compelling character.

FAVORITE MALE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Derossi Vargo (Rook & Rose series by M.A. Carrick)

On the surface, he looks nothing more than a crime lord with high social aspirations, but there is much more than that under the thick skin he presents to the world: this is a character made of many shades of grey that turn him into a very intriguing figure.

MOST RELATABLE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Pounce, tiger-analogue nanny-bot (Day Zero by Robert Cargill)

Strange as it might seem, I fell head over heels for this thinking automaton that the story shows is more than the sum of its parts, especially when it comes to the love and fierce protectiveness it feels for young Ezra, the human child to whom it’s been a companion. I found it impossible to resist Pounce’s charm!

COUPLE OF THE YEAR

Elinor Tregarth and Sir Jessamyn the dragon (Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis)

A very unusual couple, I will grant you that, but when you take into account Elinor’s strong-willed stance and Sir Jessamyn’s dragonish cuteness, it does not look so strange after all… 🙂

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR

James Harris, vampire (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix)

Harris is not only a ruthless predator, he knows how to play his environment’s social rules so he can keep claiming victims undisturbed, with the unwitting complicity of the people he surrounded himself with. Totally despicable, even for a bloodsucker…

MOST DISLIKED CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Colonel Carl Butler (Planetside by Michael Mammay)

He started as a quirky character who did not care to follow rules to the letter, which gained him my initial sympathy, only to end as a cold-blooded killer without understandable motivations. Thanks, but no, thanks.

SIDEKICK/NON-MAIN CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Lock – short for “the Locksmith” (The Phlebotomist, by Christ Panatier)

A middle-aged ex marine with an apparently unflappable attitude even in the direst of situations and a master technician who provides a solution to most problems.

NON-HUMAN CREATURE OF THE YEAR

The Gullaime (The Tide Child Trilogy by R.J. Barker)

This one needs no explanation: if you read this series you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t… what are you waiting for? 😉

TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Ursala from Elsewhere (The Rampart trilogy by M.R. Carey)

She’s something of a traveling physician by trade, but she won me over with the way she – through her gruff and no-nonsense disposition which hides a big heart – leads her young charges through the dangers of a profoundly changed world.

As usual, I’m not tagging anyone: just feel free to dive in and share your favorite characters from last year!

Reviews

THE GOOD INTENTIONS TAG

Bookish tags are one of my guilty pleasures, and I’ve always found it impossible to resist their lure: in this particular case, instead of finding an intriguing challenge while browsing, I’ve been directly tagged by fellow blogger Lynn: how could I resist such an invitation? 😉

So here it goes – let’s start with the questions!

Exercise more : This is a book that is a real chunkster, in fact you will need help to even pick this book up:

BOOKBURNERS – Volume 1 (Various Authors)

From the first time I’ve seen the synopsis for this collection of stories from various authors I’ve been curious to read it: a series of novels about a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad, defined as a cross between Supernatural and The Da Vinci Code, does sound like a good premise, doesn’t it?  What kept me from starting it, so far, has been the page count which amounts to 700, give or take a few, and that always made me think twice before committing. But maybe 2022 will be the year I finally take the plunge…

Lose weight : A book that is not a chunkster; a short story or novella.  A book you could probably read in one sitting:

PENRIC AND THE SHAMAN (Penric and Desdemona #2), by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve read only the first novella in this series by one of my favorite authors (probably I mentioned her Vorkosigan Saga once of twice in recent times… 😀 ), but never moved beyond that: it’s high time I do something about it, before Miles sends some ImpSec operatives after me!

Eat healthy : A book that is good for you.  This is a book that made you feel so happy that you wanted to give it a big hug:

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET (Wayfarers #1), by Becky Chambers

It’s no mystery that I prefer stories where conflicts spice up the plot, but now and then we all need a breath of fresh air, a ray of hope – particularly when troubled times are upon us – and the first Wayfarers novel from Becky Chambers provided exactly that, a sense of family and deep caring for each other that made the crew of the titular ship and their interactions a real joy to behold.

Fulfill your ambitions : A book that has a lot going on.  Plenty of different threads, points of views and action but everything eventually comes together in a very satisfactory fashion:

THE ILLUMINAE FILES trilogy, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This space opera series combines a great number of intriguing elements: nasty corporations that don’t flinch at genocide to further their goals; a ship filled with refugees on the run for their lives; a very advanced A.I. whose decisions can have horrible consequences and whose personality is a mix of high intelligence and childish naiveté; and a group of young protagonists whose courage and inventiveness made me change my attitude toward YA characters. And much, much more – all combined into an electrifying story…

Spend more time with the family : A series of books that you love and that has developed more than you ever anticipated:

THE EXPANSE, by James S.A. Corey

I stumbled on the first volume of this series, Leviathan Wakes, by accident and now, some 10 years later, this amazing space opera saga reached its end with book 9: this is one of the cases in which I’ve waited with increasing expectations the publishing of each new book, while the crew of the Rocinante transformed from “mere” characters into people I perceived as real and three-dimensional. And now that the TV show inspired by the series has also reached its final season, I know I will miss this story and and its protagonists, but I also know it’s been a fantastic journey.

Tick off an item from your bucket list : Reduce the tbr.  Choose a book from Mount TBR that you would like to read this year:

Not one, but rather two:

RUIN and WRATH, books #3 and #4 in John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen

I discovered John Gwynne’s works through the first volume of his second saga Of Blood and Bone, and after enjoying it immensely I decided to backtrack to his previous series, The Faithful and the Fallen, but there has been a long hiatus between the second book and the next one in line – my fault, I am far too easily distracted! – and I need to complete the task because there is a new series out and it deserves my undivided attention.

Save money : A book that was an absolute bargain – you would have to be crazy in fact not to have bought this book:

To be truthful, I cannot think of any book to mention since to me books don’t represent an expense, but rather an investment – and one whose value often increases with time…

Get Organised : A book with a glossary, maps, useful words, lists of people – this book is one helpful book, it wants you to know ALL the things and it’s not afraid to use footnotes and other devices to help you do so:

The best example would (of course!) be Tolkien’s THE LORD of THE RINGS – one book to rule them all…

Enough said 😉

Start a new hobby : A book that is outside your comfort zone.  Perhaps everyone was raving about this book, maybe it was over-hyped, you hesitated to pick it up in fact, but when you did – you loved it:

BECOMING SUPERMAN, by J.M. Strackzynski

As I wrote in my review, I rarely read biographies, but I was intrigued by this one because of my admiration for the writing skills of the author, the creator of the SF series Babylon 5 (for me, the best EVER) and wanted to know more about him: what I discovered was the tale of a terrible childhood and the way in which stories and imagination kept JMS sane throughout it all, turning him into one of the best creative minds I ever encountered.

What are your good intentions for 2022? Don’t be shy, let us know! 😉

Reviews

2021 Best Reads

The new year just started, but that’s no reason to forget what I read last year and see how well my bookish choices fared: in my case, 2021 was indeed a very good year (to quote an old Sinatra song only an ancient crone like me remembers… 😀 ), with a preponderance of high ratings for the books I picked up. 

Focusing on the best of the best – i.e. the 5-star ratings – I divided them between SF, Fantasy and New Discoveries, where I listed authors I read for the very first time and whose books I greatly enjoyed, prompting me to look for their other works in the future.

SCIENCE FICTION

FANTASY

BEST NEW DISCOVERIES

An amazing list, indeed… And that only for titles that earned a 5-star rating, because there are equally worthy ones in my 4- and 4,5-star reads, but in that case the list would have been far too long.

What about you? What were your best and most engaging reads last year?

Reviews

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING BOOK TAG

When I see an interesting bookish tag I can’t resist, and this particular one – which I borrowed from fellow blogger Susy – had the additional attraction of featuring LOTR characters as inspiration for the tag’s questions. And as a big Tolkien admirer I certainly could not let this “challenge” go unanswered! 🙂

So here we go…

GANDALF – A BOOK THAT TAUGHT YOU SOMETHING

 

It taught me not to give up too easily on a series which looks interesting but does not grab my entire attention with the first book: sometimes it’s just a matter of “right book, wrong time”, and perseverance often pays off handsomely. I did not move forward immediately with this saga and my interest in it was only rekindled through the author’s sequel trilogy, which led me to retrace my steps and acknowledge that the Powder Mage series is indeed an amazing read.

FRODO – A BOOK THAT LEFT A MARK ON YOU

When I discovered Martin’s ASOIAF saga, in 2002, I had not been reading fantasy for a very, very long time: after reading and enjoying Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings I looked for similar stories and had the misfortune of settling on Terry Brook’s first Shannara book, which proved quite disappointing, to be diplomatic about it, so I decided to stay off the genre. That is, until I kept finding mentions of Martin’s series on the Usenet groups I frequented and decided to give it a spin: this story was so different, so deeply involving, that my faith in fantasy was completely restored.

LEGOLAS – A BOOK YOU FINISHED IN ONE SITTING

A story about nuns in space was intriguing enough, but once I started this very unusual novella where the “convent” is nothing less than a living ship – one of my favorite themes in SF – I could not put it down until I reached the end, knowing that I would have loved to read much more about these courageous nuns and their mission.

GIMLI – A BOOK THAT FEATURES AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP

The friendship portrayed in this novel from the Vorkosigan saga is more than unlikely: Miles Vorkosigan discovers that his father’s enemies have created a clone of him for some dastardly plot and that the clone – who ends up getting the name of Mark – hates him because the poor guy was subjected to painful modifications to turn him into the exact copy of Miles. And yet Miles being Miles – and the product of his mother Cordelia’s teachings – feels compelled to extend the hand of friendship to Mark and show him that there is a family ready to accept him. It’s a long, hard road, but a very emotionally satisfying one.

MERRY – A BOOK THAT PLEASANTLY SURPRISED YOU

Who would expect that the story of a siege would turn into an amusing, tongue-in-cheek chronicle told by a somewhat unreliable character who manages to fend off attack upon attack through sheer inventiveness? Well, that’s exactly the surprise that awaited me when I opened this… impulse choice that turned out to be a fantastic read.

PIPPIN – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH

Any book by John Scalzi is bound to contain a measure of his trademark humor, but this collection of short stories offers a distillation of his quirky way of making you laugh through the most unexpected narrative choices, like – for example – a mock interview with ex-planet Pluto, quite peeved at being demoted from planetary status.

BOROMIR – A BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU THINK ENDED TOO SOON

This series about the reluctant vampire Fortitude Scott and his sidekick, the kitsune Suzume Hollis, did not move beyond the fourth book for the “simple” reason that the author did not seem able to find a publisher interested in the books, even though there were a few more already planned. Which made me wonder if publishers looks at online reviews by readers before making such scatter-brained decisions… 😦

SAM – A BOOK WITH MEMORABLE SIDE CHARACTERS WHO STOLE THE SHOW

Where thief Kinch is the undisputed protagonist of this first foray into fantasy by horror author Christopher Buehlman, I found that his traveling companion Galva, a skilled warrior on a mission of rescue, was not given enough room to expand as she deserved, and I hope that this situation might change in the next book(s) because she’s too intriguing a character and should be explored in greater depth. 

ARAGORN – A GOOD BOOK WITH A BAD/AVERAGE COVER

The cover for this breathless thriller does not give any indication about its story, and I’m painfully aware I might have missed it completely if not for the review of fellow blogger Mogsy who – as it often happens in our bookish community – pointed me toward a very engaging read, the first book in a quite promising series.

GOLLUM – A BOOK THAT HAD GREAT POTENTIAL BUT DISAPPOINTED YOU IN THE END

Having enjoyed my previous encounters with McCammon’s works – particularly with Swan Song – I had great hopes for this story of an alien invasion and of the humans’ struggles to survive and, if possible, fight back, but for a number of reasons the narrative and characterization felt flat and uninspiring, with some sadly cringe-worthy dialogues. A huge disappointment indeed… 

Reviews

INTERGALACTIC BOOK TAG

Time for another of my beloved tags, taken from THIS very useful list: this one probably intended to use the space inspiration only as an inspirational guideline, but since SciFi Month is quickly approaching and I want to remind everyone that it’s one of the most intriguing events in the blogosphere, I will focus my answers on SF books only. Take it as an “appetizer” for the great SF “meal” that will start on November 1st.

SPACE: NAME A BOOK THAT IS OUT OF THIS WORLD – THAT TAKES PLACE IN A WORLD DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN.

That’s an easy one for a dedicated SF reader, since a great number of stories takes place away from Earth, but if I had to choose one particular extra-terrestrial world I would pick Donovan, one of the most dangerous, scary and awe-inspiring places I ever read about.

BLACK HOLE: NAME A BOOK THAT COMPLETELY SUCKED YOU IN.

Again, there is a long list of books that fulfill this requirement, and among them there is certainly the Red Rising trilogy, one of the most gripping, hair-raising stories I remember reading.

LIGHTSPEED: NAME A BOOK YOU ARE ANTICIPATING SO MUCH THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD TRAVEL AT LIGHTSPEED TO GET TO IT.

No need to think it over on this one: the final installment in The Expanse, my favorite space opera series. Leviathan Falls will come out next month, but it seems far too long a wait all the same…

NEBULA: NAME A BOOK WITH A BEAUTIFUL COVER.

Too many of these to be able to pick only one, but I have to say that among those that stand out there is The Doors of Eden, a multi-layered adventure from the very prolific mind of Adrian Tchaikovski.

GRAVITY: NAME YOUR FAVORITE ROMANTIC PAIRING THAT SEEMS TO HAVE GRAVITATIONAL PULL TO EACH OTHER.

*OUCH* this is a difficult one, since I’m somewhat allergic to romance in my reading, but if I have to mention a couple I enjoy reading about it could be Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan, created by Lois McMaster’s Bujold: their story is devoid of the usual trappings of romantic involvement and for that reason it feels real and believable. And to top it all, they are the parents of the incomparable Miles!

THE BIG BANG: NAME THE BOOK THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON READING.

Oh my! That’s an impossible question: from what I’ve been told, I’ve always had my nose in a book as soon as I learned reading, so I have no idea where I started. But it must have been a good one, since I never stopped 😀

ASTEROID: NAME A SHORT STORY OR NOVELLA THAT YOU LOVE.

Any one from the Murderbot Diaries. To know Murderbot is to fall in love with this series-loving, grumpy sec-unit learning what it means to be a person.

GALAXY: NAME A BOOK WITH MULTIPLE POVS.

One of the best series I recently read dividing its focus on various characters (one of them a delightful sentient spaceship) is Gareth Powell’s Embers of War: if you have not read it yet, I can highly recommend it 🙂

SPACESHIP: NAME A BOOK TITLE THAT WOULD BE A GREAT NAME FOR A SPACESHIP.

Megan O’Keefe’s The First Omega: it sounds both intriguing and ominous and it somehow reminds me of the spaceship names found in Iain Banks’ Culture novels…

And now it’s your turn: sounds like a good way to summon the right mood for SciFi Month, doesn’t it? 😉

Reviews

THE SERIAL READER TAG

A good tag is always a powerful lure I’m unable to resist, and once I saw this one on fellow blogger Imyril’s site, I knew I had to post my own list as soon as possible. Series, as I said in my comment to Imyril, are our blessing and curse: blessing because they offer continuing stories we love to get lost into, particularly when we form strong attachments to characters; and curse because there are far too many of them around!  Seriously, who can successfully manage all the intriguing series that keep being published? Still, we keep trying to do our best so… keep them coming, dear authors! 😀

From which series are you reading or did you read the spin-off series?

The first one that come to mind are Rooks and Ruin (on the heels of the very successful Swords and Fire) by Melissa Caruso: I enjoyed book 1, The Obsidian Tower, very much, and look forward to learning more about the very intriguing main character.  Then there is Six of Crows (a spinoff of Shadow and Bone) by Leigh Bardugo: I recently read it after watching the first season of the main trilogy on Netflix, and I have to say that both story and characters of this spinoff are far more interesting than the ones of the main work.  And then there is  Gods of Blood and Powder (the continuation of the Powder Mage trilogy) by Brian McClellan: the first book in this series convinced me to go back to the original trilogy, which I had not continued after book 1, and to enjoy both – and I hope the author will choose to write more stories set in this world…

With which series did the first book not sell you from the start?

Promise of Blood (book 1 of Powder Mage), by Brian McClennan: as I said above, the first book in this trilogy, although I did like it, did not compel me to keep on reading, but once I started the new series, set a few years after the previous one, I felt the need to… feel the blanks, and discovered that my lukewarm reaction to Promise of Blood must have been a matter of passing mood, because once I returned to it I was completely sold, and very happy to have returned to a compelling narrative.  Giving books a second chance is always a good reading policy 😉

Which series hooked you from the start?

A Time of Dread (book 1 of Of Blood and Bone), by John Gwynne: this was my very first book by John Gwynne and it was the one that instantly turned me into a fan of the author, one who really knows how to write compelling epic fantasy and to bring you back asking for more.  That first book led me to start reading the “prequel” series The Faithful and the Fallen (I’m terribly behind, I know, but I will get there one of these days…) and to grab the new work, The Shadow of the Gods, without even looking at the synopsis.  Hook, line and sinker…

Which series do you have completed on your shelves?

The Vorkosigan series, by Lois McMaster Bujold: if you are a fan of Miles Vorkosigan, you will understand how this is one of my most prized possessions.

The Dagger and the Coin, by Daniel Abraham: recently finished (which makes me feel quite accomplished), and just in time before the arrival of a new fantasy trilogy whose first book, Age of Ash, has already been announced. Can’t wait!

Blackthorn and Grim, by Juliet Marillier: another bookish love-at-first-sight. Since then I have not managed yet to read other works by the talented Juliet Marillier, but I certainly will soon, because I love how she weaves there stories.

The Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: adrenaline-infused space opera focused on young characters who never, ever, fall into the dreaded “YA traps”. What’s not to love? 😉

Which series have you read completely?

The ones mentioned above, plus a few others like Gareth Powell’s Embers of War; Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight Chronicle; Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War, and so on…

Which series do you not own completely but would like to?

The Tide Child, by RJ Barker: the reason I don’t own it  – yet – is that it’s not complete and so far I’ve read the first two books as ARCs kindly provided by Orbit. As soon as the series is complete (and I guess it will not be long…) the books will go join my other “possessions”.

Which series do you not want to own completely but still read?

Well, if I keep reading a series it means I enjoy it, so why would I not want to own it? And call it “mine, my own, my Preciousssss…”?

Which series are you not continuing?

Sadly, it’s Seanan McGuire’s October Daye:  much as I enjoyed this UF series in the past, once I reached book 13 I fell prey to the dreaded reader fatigue, mostly because it seemed to me that the continuing story had become somewhat formulaic and had nothing new to say about the characters and their journey. Book 13 ended up as a DNF and I had to bid a bittersweet farewell to Toby & Co., although who knows? I might change my mind in the future…

Which series did others love and you did not?

The first one that comes to mind is Andrew Maine’s The Naturalist: I read the first book and did not enjoy many of its over-the-top narrative choices or the sudden changes in the main character – and here I’m quoting from my own review – who turns from a once-reclusive professor into a killer-stalking Rambo. I can suspend my disbelief quite easily, but in that case the effort was a little too much…

Which series you haven’t started yet are you curious about?

In recent times I’ve been looking with increased interest at Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon cycle: it has been recommended to me by a few fellow bloggers in the past, and now that I’ve started watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix, a series drawn from Cornwell’s works, I feel compelled to read the books. There are 13 of them, and I have to ignore the pained cries from TBR, but I really want to read them!

Which series would you like to re-read?

Re-reading is a luxury I can’t seem to afford: you all know the sad mantra of the book lover, of course, about “too many books, too little time”, so I doubt I will be able to indulge in any kind of re-read. Should I find that possible (a girl can dream, can’t she?) I would certainly start with James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, and then revisit the Dune saga by Frank Herbert, particularly the last two books that I remember as somewhat confusing…

And so, dear Serial Readers: what is your usual M.O.? 😉