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 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.
Fantasy: 31
Science fiction 28
One multiple author short story collection with both SF and f stories (Fiction River: Tavern Tales)
Mystery: 9
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.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Winter TBR .

All of them! I’d love to be able to read all the books now.

Alas, I’m not the Flash nor do I own a time-traveling device so I can’t. So, these are the books I’m currently planning on reading next. I usually don’t reread much but this winter I feel I want to do some rereading in addition to reading new books.

1, Shadow by Anne Logston
Logston’s fantasy books are short, funny, and delightful. I need more of them in my life. However, she apparently doesn’t write anymore so I’m going to reread some of them.

2, Searching for the Fleet by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The next book in her Diving science fiction series.

3, Abaddon’s Gate by James. C. A. Corey
The third book in the Expanse SF series. But it’s another 500+ page and I haven’t got much reading time over the holidays so it’s going to have to wait for a while. (Except that I’ve already started it; I need to know what happened after that cliffhanger ending of Caliban’s War.)

4, The Final Frontier edited by Neil Clarke
A SF short story collection about exploring space. Apparently inspired by Star Trek.

5, Inspector Hobbs and the Blood by Wilkie Martin
The first book in a cozy murder mystery fantasy series.

6, The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
I’ve greatly enjoyed Huff’s previous books and I really want to try this new series.

7, Super Sales on Super Heroes by William D. Arand
Another first in a series, this time a humorous superhero series.

8, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A rereading of a fantasy series I really liked when I was younger.

9, A Star Trek: TNG book
Another reread. I haven’t yet decided which one.

10, The Descent of Monsters by J. Y. Yang
The third novella in the Tensorate fantasy series, happily also available in the library.
I also need to read more of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series, more Aliette de Bodard, and I still haven’t gotten the newest books from Steven Brust.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is a freebie .

I chose favorite media tie-in books.

I love a lot of science fiction and fantasy stuff: Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel and DC comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, various roleplaying settings etc. I’ve read quite a lot of books from them, most from Trek and Wars but also from others. However, the quality of the books varies quite a lot. So, I’ve listed my favorites from various fandoms.

1, Star Wars: Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn
The first SW books I really enjoyed a lot were Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and the Last Command. He managed to capture the fun and adventure of Star Wars pretty much perfectly.
I haven’t yet read the new Thrawn book, but I’ve heard good things about it and hopefully I’ll get my hands on it next year.

2, Star Trek: TNG: Dark Mirror by Diane Duane
I’ve read a lot of Star Trek: TNG books but the one that really stands out is Dark Mirror which is set in the Mirror universe. It was written 1993, years before Deep Space 9. In this book Enterprise-D is sucked into the Mirror universe and our beloved characters try to survive while the explore this ruthless new universe.

3, Buffy the vampire slayer: Lost Slayer by Christopher Golden
It’s always a joy to return to the Buffyverse. This is an alternate universe where Buffy is sent five years to the future at the beginning of season four. She’s been away and her friends have had to battle vampires on their own.

4, Star Trek: DS9: Day of the Vipers by James Swallow
I haven’t actually read many DS9 books but what I’ve read I’ve enjoyed. Especially the Terok Nor -trilogy which is the history of the DS9 station before the show. It was built by the Cardassians who called it Terok Nor.

5, Forgotten Realms: Songs and Swords series by Elaine Cunningham
I’ve read a lot of FR books because I’ve been a pen and paper gamer for a couple of decades. The best of them is Cunningham’s series starting with Elfshadow, although the second book in the series, Elfsong, is my favorite.

6, Flash tv-show: the Haunting of Barry Allen by Clay and Susan Griffith
I love the Flash and this book captures the spirit of the show and especially the relationships between the main cast. The story is fast-paced and has humor, just like the show. It’s a crossover with Arrow.

7, Arrow tv-show: Generation of Vipers by Clay and Susan Griffith
I’ve enjoyed the Arrow show over the years and this second book in the Flash/Arrow crossover duology captures the spirit of the show very well. It focuses on the Arrow team and only Barry and Cisco from the Flash make a significant appearance.

8, Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman
One of the first overtly fantasy books I’ve read. It’s the first book in the original Dragonlance trilogy set in a roleplaying gaming setting. A group of friends and acquaintances take on an epic quest. I think younger readers are likely to like it more.

9, Star Trek: Titan: Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
I’ve read the first four books in this series and enjoyed them. This series focuses on USS Titan where William Riker is the captain and his wife Deanna Troi is the counselor. It has a multi-species crew in a way that the tv-shows never could do.

10, Babylon 5: The Psi Corps trilogy by Gregory J. Keyes
“Dark Genesis: The birth of Psi Corps”, “Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant”, and “Final Reckoning: the Fate of Bester” tells the story of Alfred Bester; his rise among the Earth’s Psi Corps all the way to his fate several years after the show.

There are many tie-in novels I’d love to read, such as Richard Castle’s Nikki Heat books (which he’s writing in the show!), and newer Star Trek and Star Wars novels. I’ve also got high hopes for the upcoming Firefly books.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Cozy/Wintry Reads .

I’m not a winter person at all, I love summer and to some extent spring. But if you want to read about winter and Christmas here are some recommendations:
1, The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Winter all the time and never Christmas.

2, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Partly in the frozen north.

3, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle
This Sherlock Holmes short story is set during Christmas time.

4, The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

5, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The ultimate Christmas tale.

6, Murder under the Christmas Tree edited by Cecily Gayford
A delightful mystery short story collection which includes among the ten stories the above-mentioned Holmes story and The Necklace of Pearls by Dorothy Sayers.

On other hand if you want to escape winter (like I do) to a hot climate:
7, Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Set in Victorian Egypt, it’s a wonderful historical mystery with lots of humor and the beginning of the delightful Amelia Peabody series.

8, Murder in the Place of Anubis by Lynda S. Robinson
A murder mystery set in the time of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

9, No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Another delightful mystery series set in Botswana.

10, Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The first book in a delightful mystery series starring Phryne Fisher. Set in 1920s Australia.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Platonic Relationships In Books (friendships, parent/child, siblings, family, etc.) .

Many SFF books and series have a romance between the two (or more) central characters. But most of my favorite relationships are platonic, so it was very difficult to choose just ten.

1, Miles and Aral Vorkosigan by Lois McMaster Bujold
Aral is a mighty figure in the Vorkosigan science fiction series: a military genius, admiral of a space fleet, a man with a very strong moral compass. His son Miles is born with physical deformities because of a toxin he and his mother were exposed to before he was born. Miles is always trying to please his father and to even surpass him.

2, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garwin by Peter O’Donnell
Modesty and Willie are former criminals whose hard life has knit them together, closer than friends or lovers. They can always depend on each other.

3, Cutter and Skywise by Wendy and Richard Pini
The young, hotheaded chief of Wolfriders is best friends with Skywise “brothers in all but blood”.

4, Temeraire and his captain Will Laurence by Naomi Novik
Laurence was a sea ship captain when he accidentally got a dragon egg and the dragon who fledged from it imprinted on him. So, Laurence became the captain of a huge dragon – a position which isn’t appreciated by his family or the society at large. Fortunately, being friends with Temeraire and the other dragons and their captains has its own rewards.

5, Toby Daye and the sea witch by Seanan McGuire
McGuire has several great relationships in her series. Toby has her strange mother, her liege lord, her death omen/sister, and a lot of friends. But my favorite is her relationship with the Luidaeg. For many fairies, the sea witch is a terrifying figure, old and very powerful. She’s also Toby’s aunt and helps her often, but always for a price. If Toby has nothing more to offer, she must agree to help the sea witch in the future. Toby has made quite a few such promises already…

6, Blackthorn and Grim by Juliet Marillier
They’re both convicts who had a chance to escape and took it. In the awful prison they were in, Grim latched on to Blackthorn as his lifeline and now follows her. They both have pasts which they’re reluctant to reveal to anyone, even each other. But they’re loyal to each other to death.

7, Buffy and Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
They stick together through everything.

8, Sam and Frodo by J. R. R. Tolkien

9, Penric and Desdemona by Lois McMaster Bujold
Their relationship is, of course, quite different because Desdemona is an elemental spirit trapped inside Penric (called demons in this world). However, they’ve developed a strong friendship beyond their bond.

10, Shadow and Donya by Anne Logston
It’s been a long time since I read Logston’s books, but I still remember the great friendship the elven thief Shadow had with Donya who is a human noblewoman. I need to reread this series soonish.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Yesterday, the topic was Top 10 Villains.

Top 5 Wednesday had the same topic a few weeks ago so I’m not going to include the same creatures/people.

1, the Nagzul by J. R. R. Tolkien
The nine Ringwraiths are terrifying villains: ruthless and relentless.

2, The Gentlemen from Buffy the vampire slayer
In the episode “Hush”, these nasty fairy tale villains took over the town and nobody could speak.

3, The evil queen from Snow White
The queen is a master of disguises and poisons. I also quite enjoyed her in the Once Upon a time TV-show.

4, Dondo dy Jironal by Lois McMaster Bujold
The main villain in the Curse of Chalion is really the curse but it has a couple of memorable villain characters, too: the dy Jironal brothers. The older of the brothers is the chancellor, a very close confidant of the roya (the king) but his younger brother Dondo is the one I really loath. He’s a lecherous womanizer, a drunk, and a betrayer who tries to court the young princess Iselle.

5, Simon Torquill by Seanan McGuire
McGuire has lots of interesting villains. Simon starts out as pretty much Toby’s arch enemy because Simon changed her into a fish for 14 years. He’s also the twin brother of Toby’s liege lord. He’s a pretty remote figure for most of the series until The Brightest Fell where we learn quite a lot about him.

6, Lien by Naomi Novik
The Temeraire series has also my interesting villains but my favorite is the Chinese dragon Lien who allies herself with Napoleon. She’s an albino dragon and even though she’s of royal lineage, she’s still looked down up because of her coloring.

7, Cardinal Richelieu by Alexandre Dumas
The Cardinal is perhaps the epitome of scheming villain. He’s the true power behind the throne and so untouchable without unshakable evidence.

8, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar by Neil Gaiman
There a pair of very eccentric assassins from Neverwhere.

9, Loki from Norse mythology and Marvel
Mischievous Loki is usually really fun.

10, Dr. Doom by Marvel comics
Victor von Doom is a genius scientist and a sorcerer. He rules the small nation of Latveria and thinks that he’s a good ruler (or at least nobody else could do as good a jo). He’s also a megalomaniac who can’t give up a grudge. He’s been a god at least twice. What makes him interesting is that he can ally himself even with his archenemy Reed Richards when needed.

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