Top 10


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book.

1, The next book in the series
By far the most common reason for me to pick up and actually read a book is that it’s the next book in a series I enjoy.

2, Familiar author
When I know and (mostly) enjoy the author’s work, I tend to read more from them.

3, Reviews
When I don’t know the author I’ll read some reviews from GoodReads or Amazon or other bloggers. They don’t have to be favorable but the book must have something to interest me.

4, Genre/subgenre
I’m quite picky about the (sub)genres I read.

5, Interesting description
The best way to get me to pick up a unfamiliar author’s book is with a description which tempts me.

6, Part of a tempting bundle
I’ve bought more than a few bundles which are from genres I enjoy, even when they don’t have any familiar authors.

7, Dinosaurs
Not many fiction books have dinosaurs and I’d love to read more of them.

8, Heist
They’re also not very common in SFF books.

9, Tie-in books
I read novels from various franchises, such as Star Trek and Star Wars.

10, The book has a trope I enjoy
Such as enemies forced to work together (e.g. X-Men and Magneto) or an eclectic group of characters become friends/family (X-Men, Firefly, Farscape…).

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top 10 books in my spring TBR.

It was snowing here in Finland just a couple of days ago so talking about spring seems more than a bit premature. But here goes:

1, Q-Strike by Greg Cox
First, I’m going to finish the Q Continuum trilogy.

2, Fahrenheit’s Ghost by Trish Heinrich
The next book in the Vigilantes historical superhero series. It’s also the start of a new series, Pandora Project.

3, The Triangle by Dan Koboldt Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Wrigley
I got an ARC from Serial Box! It’s set in the Bermuda Triangle where a team of shipwrecked experts must find out the secrets of the place.

I’ve got a lot of unread ebooks and I’m not sure which ones I’m going to read next but I do know which of my unread printed books I’ll read.

4,Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The first book in the Lady Astronaut SF series.

5, The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
And the next book in the series.

6, Lady Astronaut of Mars Mary Robinette Kowal
This is a novellette set in the same world and it’s available for free here: https://www.tor.com/2013/09/11/the-lady-astronaut-of-mars/

7, Desperate Hours by David Mack
The first Star Trek: Discovery book which is apparently set on starship Shenzhou so we’ll get more captain Georgiou!

8, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Alternate history where Dracula is Queen Victoria’s husband!

I’ve also got a couple of audio books I haven’t listened yet and currently I’m thinking of listening these next:

9, Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
I’ve loved Huff’s other fantasy books.

10, Einstein’s Secret by Irving Belatche
Another alternate history book which sounds very interesting.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit .

There are a lot of places I’d love to visit, especially those fantasy and SF places which don’t, yet, exist. I’ve only traveled to a few places and these days I don’t really care for the travel itself. I’d love to go someplace and spend couple of months there, at least. But on our Earth I’d like to visit…

1, Venice
For a long time I’ve wanted to visit Venice. Donna Leon’s mystery book are set in Venice but also several fantasy books have been inspired by Venice, such as the Masked City by Genevieve Cogman.

2, Rome
I’ve been to Rome a couple of decades ago and I’d love to visit it again. Many ancient history books are set in Ancient Rome, such as the Roma Sub Rosa series by Steven Saylor.

3, the Valley of Kings
Many places associated with ancient Egyptian history fascinate me. I’d love to travel all over Egypt. I picked the Valley of Kings because it’s probably the easiest today for tourists. Of course, my main inspiration comes from Elizabeth Peters’ great historical mystery series with Amelia Peabody-Emerson as the main character.

4, San Francisco
A lot of fiction is set in San Francisco and I’d love to see it, although I know that none of the fae people from Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series are really there. It’s also close to Sunnydale.

5, New York
I recently had the great pleasure of visiting New York for a week and a half and it was a blast! I’d love to visit again. I know that the Avengers Mansion and Baxter Building aren’t really there but someone is building something that looks a lot like Avengers Tower from the movies.

5, Melbourne
Kerry Greenwood makes Melbourne feel very interesting in her Phryne Fisher series and lots of the places in the books are real.

6, Sherwood
While I’ve visited London a couple of times, I’ve never been to Sherwood forest. Even though I know that is has a lot of Robin Hood related tourist stuff, I still want to visit.

7, London
Another obvious choice. Many books are set in London. Even though the London Below doesn’t exist, like in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, it’s still a great place to visit.

8, Transylvania
Another place which has fascinating fictional history and it seems to be a very beautiful place, too.

9, Alexandria
I couldn’t resist adding another Egyptian city. Founded by Alexander the Great, I’ve always wanted to visit it.

10, Paris
Another favorite place for writers to use as a setting. I’ve actually visited it once, just long enough to visit the Eiffel Tower and Versailles. I’d love to go there again!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.

A surprising number of my favorite books and comics are in this category. I ended up choosing these:

1, Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear
Ratings: 691. The third book in the Promethean Age series which has two duologies and one stand-alone book, so far. This book is the first one of the second duology, set in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. However, the duologies can be read in any order. The main characters are William Shakepeare and Christopher Marlowe who get mixed up in the schemes of the fairy court, including Morgan Le Fay.

2, Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock
Ratings: 917. A beautifully haunting fantasy book about former exorcist Lucien who is trying to make amends for his past mistakes.

3, Buried Deep by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Ratings: 747. The fourth book in her wonderful science fiction series, Retrieval Artist. The series has quite alien-feeling aliens and this book focuses on the Disty who inhabit Mars. It’s one of my favorites in the series because we get to see Disty’s culture more and how it’s really different from humans.

4, A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan
Ratings: 381. The third book in Brennan’s Onyx Court series. It’s a historical fantasy series with each book set in a different time but in the same place: London. The faerie characters, being immortal, are mostly the same but the humans change. This one starts during the great London fire 1666.

5, Serpent’s Sacrifice by Trish Heinrich
Ratings: 63. The first book in a superhero trilogy set in 1960s America with a female main character.

6, Demon and the City by Liz Williams
Ratings: 826. The second book in mythical urban fantasy series set in near future China and filled with gods and demons.

7, Christopher Golden: The Lost slayer
Ratings: 816. The omnibus edition of the four books. One of the best Buffy the vampire slayer stories I’ve read.

8, Twin-Bred by Karen Wyle
Ratings: 140. Thoughtful SF about how humans and one alien species could maybe live together.

9, Shadow by Anne Logston
Ratings: 268. Delightful fun fantasy about a free-spirited elfwoman who is also a thief.

10, Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai
Ratings: 187. A beautiful and haunting fantasy book where Sorykah Minuit has a secret that could kill or enslave her: when she’s scared or sad, she involuntarily changes into a man. Sorykah can remember almost nothing about that man’s life and the man doesn’t remember Sorykah. She also has twin babies that she must care for.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List.

My list is a huge, huge thing (I have 1417 books in my to read shelf on GoodReads) and I don’t know I’ll ever get around to reading all of them. However, these books have recently caught my eye mostly through recommendations or reviews from other bloggers:

1, The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde
I read the first novella in this series, ”the Jewel and Her Lapidary” and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I’m very interested in reading the next story.

2, Genrenauts by Michel R. Underwood
This sounds like a lot of fun, agents who find and fix broken stories. Luckily, it’s part of the current SFWA fantasy bundle at https://storybundle.com/fantasy so I’m going to get it.

3, Shadows over Baker Street edited by Michael Reaves
Sherlock Holmes and Watson vs Lovecraft horror. A short story collection.

4, The Geneva Decision by Seely James
A thriller with an action heroine lead.

5, Queen Zazzau by J. S. Emuakpor
Mythological fantasy book that sounds very interesting.

6, Sherlock Holmes: the Breath of God by Guy Adams
Another supernatural Holmes story and the first in a series. I actually ended up adding this because I recently read the first Firefly book by James Lovegrove and when I looked up what else Lovegrove has written, this same up. Apparently, Lovegrove continues this Holmes series.

7, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
A historical magical realism story. Honestly, I don’t really care for magical realism but this one is apparently a story about stories.

8, The Pendragon Legend by Antal Zerb
Apparently, it’s a King Arthur tale set in modern times by a Hungarian author. It’s been way too long since I last read a King Arthur book. It has been translated into Finnish and so it’s available in the local library which greatly increases the odds that I’ll read it.

9, The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang
The third book in the Tensorate fantasy series. I enjoyed the first two novellas in this series and will continue with it.

10, Aurelia by Alison Morton
The fourth book in the thriller series set in alternate universe where Rome’s legacy continues to modern day in a nation called Roma Nova. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first two books and will continue with the series.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Best New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018.

I ended up reading 27 new authors last year from 80 books read. Happily, I also found some authors I’m going to continue to read:

1, Martha Wells: All Systems Red
The first Murderbot novella was fun and enjoyable. I’ve already listened to the next book, Artificial Condition, and enjoyed it just as much.

2, Juliet Marillier: Dreamer’s Pool
The lush fantasy world and rich characters in Marillier’s trilogy drew me in and I’ve already finished the series.

3, James S. A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes
The wonderful science fiction TV show Expanse is based on this series. I enjoyed the book as much as the TV show and I’ve already read the second book.

4, J.Y. Yang: The Black Tides of Heaven
The fantasy world in the Tensorate series isn’t based on Western models. I find it fascinating and I’ve already read the second novella.

5, Max Gladstone: Three Parts Dead
Yet another fascinating fantasy world. I’m going to read the next book in the series soon.

6, Curtis Craddock: An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
This is a Three Musketeers style of story set in a steampunk world and I enjoyed it through, so I fully intend to continue with the series.

7, Robert Van Gulick, translator: Celebrated cases of Judge Dee
This book wasn’t one of my favorites last year, but I’m not very familiar with China during the Tang dynasty. While I didn’t fall in love with his writing style, I’m very interested in finding out more about this period. Luckily, quite a few of van Gulick’s historical mystery series have been translated into Finnish and they’re not very long so I intend to read at least a few of them.

8, J. Tullos Hennig: Greenwode
This is a reimagining of Robin Hood in a fantasy world and Robin is gay. I’m a sucker for Robin Hood stories and interested in finding out how Henning intends to do the actual robbing from the rich and giving to the poor part. Greenwode was a prequel to that with a very young Robin and we didn’t even get to see the Merry Men yet. Marian is Robin’s sister.

9, Madeline Miller: The Song of Achilles
Unlike the other books on this list, this is a stand-alone. It’s a historical story with a small smattering of fantasy. The story is told from the POV of Patroclus, Akhilleus’ best friend and lover. Miller has a new book out, Circe.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Best Books I Read In 2018.

As usual, thankfully, I’ve read a lot of good and some great books last year, so it’s, again, quite difficult to pick the best. Luckily, GoodReads is a very good resource because it handly shows me what books I’ve rated the best. My average rating was 3,4 so not very high, though.

I read 80 books and novellas, and 27 comics. I gave just two books five stars from five:

1, City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

2, The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
Both are the final books in their trilogies. They were highly enjoyable series overall, both mixing science and fantasy in unique settings.

50 books and comics got a four star rating so picking just eight of them is going to be a lot harder. On the other hand, I didn’t give anything one star so it was a great reading year.

3, Blackthorn and Grim series by Juliet Marillier
I rated the whole lush fantasy series a solid four. “Dreamers Pool”, “Tower of Thorns”, and “Den of Wolves” are beautiful tales full of hardship but also of friendship and loyalty. And a smattering of faeries.

4, The Expanse series by James C. A. Corey
The first two books of the Expanse science fiction series, “Leviathan Wakes” and “Caliban’s War” were also solid fours. I’ve seen the first two seasons of the tv-show, as well, and the books more than live up to the show.

5, The Vigilantes series by Trish Heinrich
This new superhero series set in 1960s USA was another solid four stars. “Serpent’s Sacrifice”, “Serpent’s Rise, and “Shadow Dreams” are great entertainment and well worth reading for anyone who likes superheroes.

6, Artemis by Andy Weir
I loved Weir’s “the Martian”. “Artemis” is quite different in style because of the first-person narration of Jazz, the foul-mouthed smuggler on the Moon’s only city, Artemis.

7, The Tensorate fantasy series by JY Yang
“The Black Tides of Heaven” and the “the Red Threads of Fortune” are set in a unique fantasy world and are quite different from each other.

8, All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Like many other readers, I thoroughly enjoyed the first adventures of the Murderbot who just wants to be left alone and view the shows it likes.

9, The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
The fourth book in the delightful Invisible Library series was just as good as the previous ones. Librarian Irene and her apprentice Kai need to go undercover is a city which greatly resemble 1930s Chicago.

10, Perfiditas by Allison Morton
This is a tight thriller set in an alternate world where Rome’s legacy still lives in a state called Roma Nova. It’s the second book in the series.

Special mentions go to Rogues of the Republic fantasy series by Patrick Weekes and the very entertaining Flash/Arrow crossover “The Haunting of Barry Allen” and “Generation of Vipers” by Clay and Susan Griffith.

Best comics were the Birds of Prey series by Gail Simone.

In 2018 I read 80 books and novellas.
Genres:
Fantasy: 31
Science fiction 28
One multiple author short story collection with both SF and f stories (Fiction River: Tavern Tales)
Mystery: 9
Superheroes:8
Thrillers: 2
Historical adventure: 1 (Prisoner of Zenda)

Many people seem to put superheroes in the science fiction slot but if your definition of SF ist that it should be at least marginally possible, then most superheroes are fantasy. The Avengers book I read had Scarlet Witch and other magic users which put it squarly into fantasy. But truthfully, none of the superpowers are really possible unless they’re just some sort of tech and even then Iron Man’s armor is unlikely to be actually possible. In that way, they’re actually close to Star Wars which I’m inclined to put in science fantasy. But currently I count superheroes as a separate (sub)genre.

This year, I feel that I want to read more humor. So, I’m going to read Pratchett and probaby Wodehouse as well. It’s been too long since I last read Wodehouse. I’m also woefully behind with Fiction River series.

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