Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Colors

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 required some changes from my usual way of finding books to list, because I normally pick examples from the titles I blogged about since the start of my “adventure”. This time, however, there were not enough examples to fill the ten places required by the meme, so I decided to list books that I have not read or reviewed but that are either known to me because they are famous (and I might read them yet one of these days…) or because I know their author by fame of by having already read some of their works, only none with colors in the title. 😉

And I tried to offset my lack of actual knowledge of the the books themselves by doing something special…

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spring Cleaning

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.  

My TBR does indeed need an energetic spring cleaning, because I tend to amass books as if there was no tomorrow – and the fact that they take up no space at all on the shelves, since they are ebooks, turns me into an irresponsible hoarder…

So I’ve looked at the books that have been on my TBR for a very long time and that I need to read before I forget why I added them to my TBR. In truth I DO know why I acquired them: some fellow blogger’s  review piqued my interest and showed me that I might very well enjoy that particular story, so why did I not jump straight in? Because I’m too easily distracted, that’s why! 

Let’s hope that I can soon make my amends to these poor “orphans” I neglected for so long – here are some of them, with the indication (barring any mistake on my part) of the date in which they were added to my TBR:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo  (October 2015)

An intriguing magic system and a dangerous heist: now that Leigh Bardugo’s previous saga has been optioned for a Netflix series that will air soon, reading this book has become one of my priorities. Just the word ‘heist’ should be enough to make me dust off this one ASAP!

The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding (December 2018)

This looked like a classic fantasy quest and a very engrossing book, and probably one of the reasons I have not started it yet it’s because it’s a big tome – not that I have anything against big books, on the contrary, but I’m still on the fence about this one. For no reason at all…

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell (April 2016)

I’ve been wanting to read something by Bernard Cornwell since forever, and his historical fiction series have always looked very intriguing, but so far I have not managed to pick up this one, although the story itself is very fascinating. Probably knowing that I might find myself enmeshed in another engrossing and time-intensive series is the main reason for my continued hesitation.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (January 2017)

Many of my fellow bloggers sang high praises for Brent Weeks, which of course made me curious: what prevented me from satisfying that curiosity so far? I have no idea….

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (March 2016)

This book’s main attraction for me resided in the fact that commenters described it as “genre-defying”, given its mix of SF, Fantasy and Dystopian, and I always enjoy stories with blurred borders between genres. Moreover, it might be a good addition for the next SciFi Month this November!

Farlander by Col Buchanan (November 2011)

Another mixed SF/Fantasy offering sporting one of my favorite themes: a guild of assassins and a young apprentice learning the “trade” during perilous times. Given that this is one of the oldest additions to my TBR I will have to hurry up and… dust it off, so to speak, as soon as possible.

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (May 2017)

Two or three years ago I read – and enjoyed – the first book in the Invisible Library series, but never moved further than that: my fellow bloggers agree on the series’ narrative value, so I must make an extra effort to keep up with the author’s production.

The Paladin Caper by Patrick Weekes (November 2015)

The final book in the Rogues of the Republic series I enjoyed very much: a mix of Fantasy and tongue-in-cheek humor that always amused me. Honestly I have no idea why I did not finish the series, but I will have to keep this one in mind when I am in need of something delightfully funny to amuse me.

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (August 2018)

This author is one the most appreciated among my fellow bloggers, and I’ve been looking at this first book in the Greatcoats’ series for some time: the Four Musketeers’ vibe that I get from it should have proved irresistible, but so far I seem to have been able to ignore its siren song…

Firefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (June 2016)

The reviews I’ve read about this novel – and the others in the series – unanimously speak of a story that requires a tight focus from the reader, so I have kept procrastinating while waiting for the… perfect moment in which to let myself be carried away with it. I should keep this one in mind for the already mentioned SciFi Month this fall, as well.

It will be interesting to see, by the end of the year, how many of these books I have actually managed to read… 🙂

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Bookish Valentine’s Day

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. 

Even though romance is quite low on the list of themes I enjoy in my books, I wanted to find a way to follow the parameters of this week’s Love Freebie in honor of Valentine’s Day, and after some thought I decided that listing the book series that are closer to my reader’s heart would be a more than acceptable compromise.

So I picked up 5 each among my favorite Fantasy and Science Fiction series, to balance out the mix. For Fantasy the winners are:

Powder Mage – Brian McClellan

The Wounded Kingdom – RJ Barker

Blackthorn and Grim – Juliet Marillier

The First Law – Joe Abercrombie

Of Blood and Bone – John Gwynne

On the whole these are all quite… energetic series, with a good share of battles, duels and recklessly spilled blood, which might not look very fitting for a Valentine’s Day celebration, but they all managed to transport me in another time and place and made me care for their characters, which is reason enough to sustain my deep affection for these stories.

Moving over to Science Fiction, my choice fell on these:

The Expanse – James S.A. Corey

Donovan – W. Michael Gear

The Murderbot Diaries – Martha Wells

Embers of War – Gareth Powell

Vorkosigan Saga – Lois McMaster Bujold

There is a little more lightness here, mostly thanks to the tongue-in-cheek humor coming from Murderbot and to Miles Vorkosigan’s happy recklessness, but these series still delight me for their wonderful combination of drama and humor and I know they will always be at the top of my lists.

And now it’s your turn: where did you lose your bookish hearts? 😉

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

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. 

Looking back on my 2020 reads, I saw that I added a good number of authors I never read before, and that some of them introduced me to series I either did not know about, or had not started yet.

So, without further ado, here are (in no particular order) the ten new authors who brightened my TBR in the past year:

Becky Chambers, Michael Connelly and Vivian Shaw get the lion’s share in this department, since the covers I listed are simply place-holders for the rest of their respective series, two of which still have several books to explore… But that’s for the (hopefully near) future! 😉

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

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. 

One of the most common (and enjoyable) activities for a book blogger is the compilation of a list of “wanted” books: just by reading the recommendations of our fellow bloggers we are able to add a considerable number of books to that list, further enlarged by the discoveries we make on our own.

But no matter how good we are in making inroads in our TBRs (and I’m afraid I’m not…), there is always a great number of titles that we are unable to get to, and more often than not contemplating the milestones of that “road not taken” makes us regret those missed opportunities.

In 2020 I posted a list of titles I wanted to read without fail, only to realize once again, not that he new year has started, that the road to Hell is, as I’m fond of saying, paved with unread books. Here are my missed chances:

Happily enough, since the start of 2021, I managed to read two of them: Best Served Cold and The Spider’s War: should I consider this a hopeful start for my list of missed 2020 books? Keeping my fingers crossed…

Reviews

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2020

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. 

The end of the year is always the time to review our reading achievements, and before I go into some year-end statistics I’d like to showcase the 10 books that I most enjoyed, although this list proved something of a difficult choice, since the books that earned a well-deserved 5-star rating were much more than that.  So I decided to line up the ones from my two ever-favorite genres that truly shined, and here we go:

FANTASY:

This year, Joe Abercrombie earned the lion’s share of the 5-star ratings for Fantasy, which does not mean that the two other competitors – John Gwynne and RJ Barker – did not amaze me with their books: it’s just that I went on something of an “Abercrombie Rampage”, that’s all 😉

SCIENCE FICTION:

Here I can show more variety, author-wise, and this year saw the return of a couple of series I enjoyed and the appearance of an unexpected “outsider” in the form of a TV tie-in book that, surprising for its kind, turned out to be an amazing, quite enthralling read.

And now it’s your turn: which were your favorite books this year? Inquiring minds want to know… 😉

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles – #SciFiMonth

ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com

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. 

With such a peculiar theme for this week’s TTT it was not difficult to tailor it to suit the SciFi Month parameters: as a source of inspiration I looked at SF titles on the dedicated Wikipedia page and found an amazing number of books whose titles could be perfect for a song – and let me assure you that the choice was far from easy…

With the exception of Walter Tevis’ THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (which was also filmed in 1976, starring David Bowie), I have not read any of these books, so if you’re as curious as I am about the stories they tell, you can click on the title and explore their relative Wikipedia page: what these books have in common is that they are all quite dated (the more recent one was published in 1981), detail that came across quite clearly as I was searching for their covers and the artwork in some of them spoke of past times, indeed…

So, here is the list of my SF-themed songs: enjoy!  🙂

CREATURES OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, by Roger Zelazny (1969)

THE END OF ETERNITY, by Isaac Asimov (1955)

A FALL OF MOONDUST, by Arthur C. Clarke (1961)

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, by Walter Tevis (1963)

ON WINGS OF SONG, by Thomas M. Disch (1979)

ONE MILLION TOMORROWS, by Bob Shaw (1970)

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, by Ray Bradbury (1962)

TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, by Robert A. Heinlein (1973)

WAVE WITHOUT A SHORE, by C.J. Cherryh (1981)

WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME, by Marge Piercy (1976)

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me

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.

It’s no secret that since I started book blogging most (if not all) of the recommendations I get come from my fellow bloggers, particularly those whose preferences are close to mine – although I have to admit that sometimes those very recommendations asked me to take a leap of faith and move away from my comfort zone, and when I did I was always rewarded with some amazing novel I would not have otherwise known.

So, besides listing a few of the books I read – and loved – thanks to other bloggers’ suggestions, I want to celebrate my fellow book lovers and their unending source of great advice 🙂

RED RISING, by Pierce Brown
DREAMER’S POOL, by Juliet Marillier
ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
CERTAIN DARK THINGS, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
KILL CREEK, by Scott Thomas
THE HUNGER, by Alma Katsu
FIREFLY: BIG DAMN HERO, by James Lovegrove
THE WICKED KING, by Holly Black
RECURSION, by Blake Crouch
BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL, by R.S. Belcher

And this is just a small sample of the books I encountered thanks to some very inspired reviews I read: what about you?

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Inspiring Fantasy Covers

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 was a Cover Freebie, so I choose to list the most inspiring Fantasy covers.

We keep telling ourselves that we should never judge a book from its cover, but we also acknowledge that more often than not it’s the cover that draws us to a given book, in the hope of discovering that beauty is not just skin-deep, or rather, cover-deep…

Here are some of the books whose covers, together with their promise for a wonderful story, enhanced my reading experience:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N. K. Jemisin

Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch

Half a War – Joe Abercrombie

The Last Stormlord – Glenda Larke

Dreamer’s Pool – Juliet Marillier

Promise of Blood – Brian McClellan

A Time of Dread – John Gwynne

Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff

Foundryside – Robert Jackson Bennett

The Spider’s War – Daniel Abraham

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books that should be adapted into Netflix shows/movies

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.  

In one of my more recent posts I complained about Hollywood’s apparent inability to come up with enough original stories and the studios’ tendency of focusing on sequels, prequels and reboots when there is a TON of amazing books from which to draw inspiration. Maybe those studios executives don’t read enough…?

Anyway, the appearance – and success – of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and their brethren gives us much hope about the possibility of seeing our favorite stories translated for the small screen (which, given the average size of new television sets, is not so small anymore…).

In the aforementioned post, I expressed my hope that Megan O’Keefe’s Protectorate novels would be picked up for a TV series, but there is a long list of other books I would love to see developed with the same level of care and skill as is happening, for example, with James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, stories that are not solely confined to the Science Fiction realm, but also come from Fantasy or Horror. And there is a great deal more than just ten, listed in no particular order, so apologies for ignoring the rules this time! 🙂

 

EMBERS OF WAR by Gareth Powell
DONOVAN by W. Michael Gear
THE MURDERBOT DIARIES by Martha Wells
OF BLOOD AND BONE by John Gwynne
THE FIRST LAW by Joe Abercrombie
THE POWDER MAGE by Brian McClellan
THE NEWSFLESH by Mira Grant
THE ILLUMINAE FILES by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
OLD MAN’S WAR by John Scalzi
BLACKTHORN AND GRIM by Juliet Marillier
THE WOUNDED KINGDOM by R.J. Barker
RED RISING by Pierce Brown
REVELATION SPACE by Alastair Reynolds
GENERATION V by M.L. Brennan
THE PLAYER OF GAMES or USE OF WEAPONS by Iain Banks

 

 

I hope that some streaming platform executives are listening right now…