monthly round-up

Where has July gone?? Lakes here in Finland are cold, barely warm enough for a quick swim. And it’s not just my imagination: apparently this July has been coldest in 10 years. Luckily, I have Worldcon to look forward to in August (and my birthday)! Also, in the action heroine front Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron has just hit the theatres.

My Hugo reading continued in July; I read the rest of the Hugo novellas. I reviewed 6 books and novellas. Once again it’s hard to choose the best book, especially between Jemisin and McGuire. Neither of them are feel-good or easy reads. ”The Obelisk Gate” is the second book of a trilogy with massive Earth-shattering events while ”Every Heart a Doorway” is far more personal and intimate novella and also a stand-alone story. I also really enjoyed Kij Johnson’s ”The Dream-Quest of Vellitte Boe” and the two other Huge novellas I read this month. Both Lackey’s fairy-tale twisting fantasy book and Tilton’s Babylon 5 book were very good entertainment.

Challenges: 4 for Pick&Mix and one action heroine book (that’s Susan Ivanova taking the Raiders head-on)

Seanan McGuire: Every Heart a Doorway
N. K. Jemisin: The Obelisk Gate
Kij Johnson: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Mercedes Lackey: One Good Knight
Charlie Jane Anders: All the Birds in the Sky
Lois Tilton: Accusations

Best of the month: I’m going to go with

June went by quickly. I read a lot of comics and also five books:

Mercedes Lackey: The Fairy Godmother is a great beginning to a light-hearted series.
Michael Flynn: The January Dancer starts a science fiction series.
Seanan McGuire: Reflections is a great continuation to Indexing.
N. K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season has great world-building and characters.
C. T. Phipps: The Rules of Supervillainy is very funny book and made for us who love superhero stuff.

Once again, it’s hard to choose the best book this month, but I’m going to go with

I’m already listening the sequel, the Obelisk Gate.

May is gone and Finland greeted June with… sleeting.
I ended up reading quite a lot of comics in May and the trend will continue. And I saw Wonder Woman! It’s not perfect (what movie is??) but I really enjoyed it and plan on seeing it again. Has anyone watched it in 3D?

I reviewed 7 books. I managed to complete my Pick&Mix challenge so I upgraded it to 40 books. I’ve also now completed my Graphic novel challenge and upgraded that to the next level, too.

Overall, May books weren’t as good as previous month’s books, though. Still it was hard to choose the best one between a Modesty Blaise adventure and Indexing.

1, Peter David: Double or nothing (p&m)
2, Seanan McGuire: Indexing
3, Michael Jan Friedman and Christie Golden: the First Virtue (p&m)
4, Glenn Song: The Mechanical Bird: A Tale of Two Ladies
5, Pierre Pevel: The Cardinal’s Blades (p&m)
6, C. Hope Clark: Lowcountry Bribe
7, Peter O’Donnell: A Taste for Death

But for nostalgia and sheer fun, I’ll choose:

I also read Marvel’s Secret Wars and several tie-ins to it. Next month, I’ll continue my Marvel reads with a few older selections and… more Secret Wars. What can I say: I really like alternate settings.

On the book (and novella) front, I’ll have to dig into the Hugo reads I haven’t read yet.

Where has April gone? It was still snowing here in Finland yesterday, but hopefully summer is coming.

I read and reviewed seven books:

1, Kerry Greenwood: Murder and Mendelssohn
2, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Blades
3, Dan Koboldt: The Island Deception
4, Leigh Brackett: the Hounds of Skaith
5, Leigh Brackett: the Reavers of Skaith
6, John Vornholt: Quarantine
7, Anthea Sharp: The Dark Realm

I’ve now read all the Brackett books I have. They were also in my Author, Author reading challenge so I’ve read 4 out of 8 books for that. They were more brutal science fantasy, than I’m used to, but otherwise very exciting. I also read one book for the Pick & Mix challenge.

Fortunately, I enjoyed all of them and once again it’s hard to choose the most enjoyable book, especially since they were in different genres. A new (to me) Phryne Fisher mystery is always a delight but I’m going to have to go with City of Blades. The third book in the trilogy is out and fortunately I’ve heard that it’s just as good!

I read some comics, too, but didn’t review them. In May, I will dive into Marvel’s Secret Wars.

Is it April already? Well, Hugo eligibility reading is over and I’m waiting to see which works will make it to the lists. I ended up reading quite a lot of comics in March and even reviewed some of them. Mockingbird vol. 1 was my favorite comic this month.

1, Mockingbird vol. 1: I can explain
2, Star Trek: Deep Space 9: The Maquis
3, Silk vol. 0: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon
4, Silk vol. 1: Sinister
5, Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman

Challenges: Pick&Mix: 13 (out of 20), Graphic novels: 7 (out of 24)
So many of the comics could be put on the action heroine challenge, so I upgraded the challenge from 10 to 15 works. Currently I’ve read 8 books with an action heroine lead.

I also read and reviewed 5 books and a novella last month. I really liked all of them:

1, Yoon Ha Yee: Ninefox Gambit
2, Ada Palmer: Too Like the Lighting
3, Lois McMaster Bujold: Penric’s Mission
4, Elizabeth Bear: Karen Memory
5, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Stairs
6, Jim C. Hines: Revisionary

Best of the month: It’s hard to choose a favorite. Revisionary is the last book in a series I’ve enjoyed a lot. Three books, from Yee, Palmer, and Bennett, are first books in their series. And Penric’s Mission is a lovely, wonderful Bujold fantasy story. Bear’s standalone Western steampunk book is also great. But I’m going with Penric’s Mission.

April: I’m currently reading Kerry Greenwood’s newest Phryne Fisher mystery. Well, actually it came out a few years ago and I didn’t realize until now. I’m also reading City of Blades, Bennett’s next book and then I’ll be reading the rest of the Leigh Brackett books I have.

I had only a sporadic internet connection in February, apparently thanks to my Windows 10. The “feature” has already continued in March. 😦

Challenges: Pick&Mix: 7, none of the others. I read a bunch of comics but didn’t really have much to say about them.

Books read:
1, Jim C. Hines: Unbound
2, Becky Chambers: A Closed and Common Orbit
3, Genevieve Cogman: The Masked City
4, Genevieve Cogman: The Burning Page
5, Lois McMaster Bujold: Penric and the Shaman
6, Diane Carey: Red Sector

I’m continuing my Hugo reading (couple of more books to go still). I ended up reading five books and a handful of novellas and short stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona novellas “Penric and the Shaman” and “Penric’s Mission” even though the latter ended very abruptly.

I enjoyed all of the books I read. The biggest disappointment was the Star Trek: TNG book “Red Sector” because I was looking forward to spending time Picard and his crew but they ended up showing in only a couple of chapters and the main character was a new character. Otherwise the book was good.

Becky Chambers’ “A Closed and Common Orbit” was quite different from her first book but I enjoyed it almost as much. Genevieve Cogman’s “The Masked City” and “The Burning Page” continued the series well, giving Irene and Kai wild rides across alternate dimensions. Jim Hines’ “Unbound” was another very good entry to his Libriomancy series and I’m already listening the next (and final) book in his series. Perhaps the best one was Chambers’ book.

I’m going to try this round-up thing and see how it goes.

Both Andrea’s Vintage SF month and Carl’s Sci-fi Experience ended at the end of January. I read 4 books for the Vintage not-a-challenge and for the Experience I read 11 books and two comics. Once again, both events were very enjoyable. I’m already looking forward to them again!

Challenges: Pick&Mix: 4 books, Author! Author!: 2 books, Graphic novel: 2.

Books reviewed with a link to my review:
1, John Gregory Betancourt: Infection Star trek: TNG
2, Isaac Asimov: End of Eternity Star trek: TNG
3, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Vectors
4, Leigh Brackett: The Sword of Rhiannon
5, Leigh Brackett: The Ginger Star
6, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: the Falls
7, Leigh Brackett ed.: The Best of Planet Stories #1
8, Emmi Itäranta: The Weaver/ The City of Woven Streets

I ended up reviewing 8 books in January so that was a very good start. Of course, the Leigh Brackett books were shorter than modern ones. Reading four much older books was an interesting experience. With Asimov’s End of Eternity I ended up so frustrated when he could think of Earth millions of years in the future, but not a single society were women would be actual human beings who matter rather than ornaments and sex objects. Brackett had a few more women, at least. But, as is usual in pulp, all her characters have very tightly defined roles. Then reading (or listening rather) Rusch’s Falls where women were space ship captains, police, and engineers was a relief. So, I don’t know how much “classics” I’m going to read in the future. Fortunately, I liked the Planet stories a lot.

I’ll certainly finish Brackett’s series later when I get through the books I might nominate for a Hugo. (This year I’m going to the Worldcon for the first time and I’m already excited!) So, the next month and a half I’ll be reading much newer stuff.

Best of the month: Fortunately, I liked most of the books I read in January so it’s hard to choose a favorite but I’m going with Rusch’s Falls.