Hey there! Another night, another post. This one will be a bit different. As writers, we tend to spend a lot of time in our own worlds, but it’s necessary to step out of them once in a while and refill the well. I do not read nearly as much or as often as I should like to, but looking back over this year, I’m amazed at how much I did actually read. I might be in the middle of more books than I’ve finished, but each one has something to offer that keeps me coming back when I need to step into another writer’s world for a bit. In no particular order, here are the books I’ve read/been working through this year.
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
I’d seen teasers of this book during Fall ’18 throughout book Twitter and it may have been the first book I’d ever pre-ordered based on internet word-of-mouth. Or ever. I don’t think I even pre-ordered the Harry Potter books when I was in HS. But Anastasia in space? I couldn’t pre-order fast enough! Anastasia was my favorite non-Disney princess growing up, and as an avid fan of science fiction and YA SFF, this was a crossover I could not pass up. The world-building in this book is expertly done, vivid and dream-like. The characters are wonderfully flawed and yet you can’t help rooting for them through everything. Of all the new reads on this list, this one might have been my favorite.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
In this stand-alone novella from Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, my favorite side character gets a small story for herself. I’d read it a few years ago but was feeling a reread early in the year. It has a very particular vibe that suited a mood I was in. Auri’s adventures in the Underthing are exciting and heartbreaking and magical all at once.
The Martian by Andy Weir
I loaned my hardcover copy of this book to a friend a few years ago and he still has it. Which is wonderful! I love sharing books I love with people I love! But I was itching to reread it this fall, and so, with a birthday gift card to Barnes & Noble, I got myself a new copy, paperback this time. I read it to my husband when we traveled. I hate being that person that says “the book was better than the movie, read it!” because not everyone has the attention span/time to read a whole novel and each medium has its strengths. I actually love the movie adaptation, but there were so many more funny things in the book that didn’t make the cut and I do urge you, if you’ve seen the movie, and you have the time for it, please read the book. It’s so entertaining.
A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy by Alex White
The second book in their Salvagers trilogy came out in December of 2018. I’d read the first book, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, over the summer and couldn’t wait to see what shenanigans the crew of the Capricious would get into next. This was another one my husband and I read together. It was the second book I’ve ever pre-ordered. An exciting blend of science fiction and magic, a diverse cast, and a heart-pounding thriller of a plot has me anxiously awaiting the final book The Worst of All Possible Worlds out next summer.
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
Book 4 of his Wheel of Time series. I read it a few years ago and have been slowly working my way through my second read of the series. Technically I started this one in 2018, but I finished it in January so it counts as a book I read/finished this year.
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
Book 5 of his Wheel of Time series. I had a reward or something for a free Audible version of any book in my Kindle library. So of course I went and used it on the longest book in my library. Well, one of the longest. It was the next one in the series anyway, and it made my commute to and from work fly by. It also made the day fly by when I was busy.
Orbital by Andrew Mayne
The sequel to Station Breaker, this was a book I read on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. The story follows David Dixon, astronaut and international fugitive. It’s a heart-pounding science fiction suspense thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning.
Murder Theory by Andrew Mayne
Book 3 of Mayne’s Naturalist series with protagonist Dr. Theo Cray. Another Kindle Unlimited feature that hooked me with the first book of the series. Theo is a computational biologist and amateur (read: accidental) detective. A modern day Sherlock Holmes finding patterns in chaos and using them to stop serial killers. In this third installment, Theo may have met his match. The ending nearly made me throw my tablet out a window. Thankfully, the series continued in:
Dark Pattern by Andrew Mayne
Book 4 of Mayne’s Naturalist series with protagonist Dr. Theo Cray. He’s back, but his grip on his sanity is slipping as he hunts for a new serial killer who has been killing for decades. As the case progresses and his leads keep dissolving, he devolves himself. How can he stop the killer like this? Can he come back from the abyss? This one had me at the edge of my seat til the very end.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
I’d been wanting to learn more about Norse mythology and I’d also wanted to read something of Gaiman’s cause I’d heard he was very good. Decided to kill two birds with one stone when I found this one free to read on Kindle Unlimited at the start of the year. While I enjoyed the mythology and the tales within, I can’t say I really see what all the fuss is about Gaiman. Maybe I’ll try one of his original novels next time, but I was just unimpressed. It was a good story.
Wolf’s Search by Jane Lindskold
I’ve been a fan of Jane Lindskold since I first read Through Wolf’s Eyes when I was in high school. Her worldbuilding really struck a chord with me, and I’m a sucker for wolves in a fantasy setting. Give me a feral girl raised by intelligent, telepathic wolves and I am in love forever. Firekeeper’s story spanned 6 expansive volumes and I was sad when the final book came out over a decade ago. Imagine my delight when she announced on her blog that she was working on a new Firekeeper story! She decided to self-publish this time around (two new books!), and of course I bought this one as soon as it became available. I was so happy to be back with Firekeeper and Blind Seer and I am looking forward to the second half of their new adventure.
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
Another book I’d learned of through Twitter word-of-mouth. Gabriel Picolo’s art is amazing, and I’m a huge fan of his style and particulary how he draws the Teen Titans. I loved the OG series on CN when I was in high school and always wished we could have had more. BB and Raven were one of my first OTPs and I craved more content of either of them. The internet led me to Picolo, who I learned was illustrating a new comic all about my favorite goth girl, which led me to buying my first DC graphic novel when Raven came out over the summer. I can’t wait for Beast Boy next fall.
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Take a classic story, set it in space, you’ve got my interest. Take that same story, gender swap the hero into a heroine? You’ve got my attention. This book is so very entertaining, I don’t know why I’ve been reading it in fits and starts. I’m pretty sure I’m like 75% of the way through it too. I’ve gotta finish reading it in time for the sequel. Although, knowing there’s a sequel is probably half the reason why I haven’t finished it yet. I’M NOT READY. It’s also no small measure of inspiration for my NaNo project. Classic tale set in space with a gender swapped MC? Yaaas.
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
I read somewhere that it’s important to read outside of your preferred genre, and also that romance books are great lessons in crafting a story. This one was on Kindle Unlimited with a free Audible narration so I downloaded it and listened to it at work one morning while I was running reports. One of these days I’ll go back and finish it. Probably.
Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-Of-This-World Novels and Short Stories by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest
I have a nasty little habit of buying these books on craft and letting them collect dust on my bookshelves. For some reason, this one actually enticed me to read it. Granted, that was the idea when I bought it; it had valuable resources and guides that I desperately needed for my various worlds. It was split up into four parts, the first 3 were different views on writing science fiction and each one helped me realize things I do well and gave me encouragement to fix the things I struggle with. The fourth part, which is really the bulk of the book, is a reference guide for various topics in fantasy like magic, commerce, weapons and armor, and different cultures. I’ll probably delve into that when I go back to my fantasy WIP, but first I’ve got a handful of SF WIPs to finish.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The sequel to Schwab’s Villains series came out this summer and I went with my friend to the bookstore when she went to pick it up. It was another book I’d learned of from Twitter and she seemed surprised that I knew of it. She loaned me her copy of the first book, Vicious, and I finally started reading it a few weeks ago. I’ve been working my way through it before bed. Honestly, I’ll probably finish it this weekend, and then bug her for Vengeful when I’m over at her place for NYE, haha. I love me a dark SFF with morally grey MCs.
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 edited by John Joseph Adams with a foreword by N.K. Jemisin
Back at the beginning of the year when I wanted to focus on improving my short story craft, I realized I didn’t know much about what short stories in SFF looked like. I browsed a handful of collections at the bookstore and settled on this one. I read about half of the stories in this one in a sprint that first weekend I’d brought it home, but since then it’s been on my bedside table, getting buried under other novels on this list. I’ll get around to finishing them eventually.
The Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan
I just got this book as a Christmas gift from my husband. I’ve read the first chapter so far, so that means I’m currently reading it and it made this list. This was the first book Jordan ever sold, but it was never published until a decade after his death. It was a precursor to his Wheel of Time series and I’m so excited to see how his world took shape.
I figure if I am going to include a graphic novel on this list, I can also include the manga I’ve been reading. Probably no surprises here.
Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest by Hiro Mashima
Eden’s Zero by Hiro Mashima
Hero’s by Hiro Mashima
Skip! Beat by Yoshiki Nakamura
Noragami by Adachi Toka
Awakening by me (Hey it totally counts, you know how many times I had to read it while editing? Ha!)
Wow, I finished more than I thought. Granted, some of those were re-reads, but they still count. I’ve gotta hurry up and finish those handful on my “Currently Reading” list so I can start whittling down my TBR pile. (This is a joke, you see, for the TBR pile cannot be whittled. It is endless, eternal.) I’ve got more books to buy next year, too. Or this weekend. Cause you know, Barnes & Noble gift card. It’s burning a hole in my pocket.
Anyway. That does it for this Friday night post. It is Friday, right? I went to work for a few hours this morning but there was no one in the office. It was weird. And now it’s the weekend. Didn’t I just have 3 days off? Heck, I’m not gonna complain. More time to play with my gifts and get back to working on The Stars’ Favored Son.
Have a great night! See you tomorrow!
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