Top Five Wednesday: Favorite SFF Creatures (#T5W)

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday blog post prompt is: favorite creatures from science fiction and fantasy books!

Here are my top five:

  1. Dragons I really like dragons. Dragon shifters are okay, but they’re not my favorite. I prefer stories where dragons are sentient creatures who bond with humans. I don’t really think dragons should talk, but I’m cool with them communicating telepathically. I don’t have any favorite dragon books, at the moment. Lately, I’ve been really digging the idea of tiny dragons, like the adorable dragons in The Tea Dragon Society (which I got for my niece for Christmas).
  2. Elves / Fae–I suppose I should clarify that I mean elves like Lord of the Rings elves, not like Santa’s little helpers. I’m lumping elves and fae together here because I’d be hard pressed to draw a line defining the difference between elves and fae. The way that most authors handle them, the two types of creatures usually end up seeming very similar. As for favorite books featuring fae or elves, I really like some of the stories in Robots vs. Fairies, and I liked the world-building in An Enchantment of Ravens and The Cruel Prince. And, I also really like my own books. ūüėČ
  3. Robots (like Murderbot) The other half of Robots vs. Fairies also make my top five list. That’s another reason I like that collection of short stories. I especially like robots when they’re done like Murderbot in All Systems Red. I suppose the droids from the Star Wars movies would also fall into this category. I love it when an author can manage to pull off cool autonomous, sentient robots who have personalities, but still have some real-world, logical science behind them.
  4. Mutants (like X-Men)–I love humans with superpowers. I love all the freaky and cool ways that mutant superpowers manifest in the X-Men comics.I also like stories that include humans with mutant-like super powers, like in Anne McCaffrey’s Talents series. (Side note: I’m planning to do a re-read of that series at some point because I want to see if it lives up to my memories of how much I loved those books, starting with To Ride Pegasus and going all the way through the spin-off series featuring The Rowan and her children and their children.) I’d also lump the Bene Gesserit (from the Dune series) and the Jedi (from Star Wars) into this category as well. Basically any time you have a human who is able to do super-human stuff, but not including alien superheroes like Superman and (some of) the Avengers. They have to be (essentially) Earth-humans that have mutated or evolved to do things “normal” humans can’t do. I also like this because these stories can play with that whole “what is normal and who gets to decide what’s ‘normal’ anyway” theme that I love.
  5. The Stone Eaters This one is pretty specific because it’s only been done in one series (that I know of), but N. K. Jemisin’s creatures who look like humans but are made of stone are super cool. I love how they can move through the earth’s crust and communicate with the obelisks. The back-story that you get about these creatures in book three makes them even more interesting. They’re so unique that I think they’re probably my favorite, at the moment.

What do you think? Which creatures are your favorites? Let me know in the comments what I missed, or if you also like any of the ones I listed!

Top Five Wednesday: Independent Ladies (#T5W)

This week’s¬†Top Five Wednesday¬†is all about our favorite leading ladies — specifically the ones who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest. This doesn’t mean there can’t be a romantic plot or sub-plot. It just means that for these characters, priority number one is kicking ass, saving the world, and getting shit done. Oh yeah. Let’s do this!

  1. First on my list is Sassinak, the title character from Anne McCaffery and Elizabeth Moon’s book of the same name. (And if you didn’t guess this already, you probably haven’t been reading my blog for very long… Welcome!) This book opens with Sassinak and her childhood best friend having a blast at a festival just before planet pirates descend on their colony and kill all the adults and enslave all the children of a manageable age (old enough to fend for themselves, but young enough not to fight back — basically pre-teens like Sassinak). Through the rest of the book we get to see her grow up and fight for her dream of becoming a Fleet Captain and getting her own ship to hunt down planet pirates. Along the way she has several liaisons with various side characters, but she never loses focus on her goal. Sassinak was my first favorite “strong female character,” and she maintains a special place in my heart to this day.
  2. Next up is Charlotte Holmes from Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series (first book is A Study in Scarlett Women). This series is set in the original Sherlock Holmes time period (Victorian England?), but in this series Sherlock is actually a woman named Charlotte, and she’s delightful. Of course, because this is the “bad old days” of the patriarchy, she has to hide her genius behind a pseudonym (Sherlock). Some people may think she’s cold and calculating or just plain “odd,” but she is in love with someone. Regardless of her feelings, nothing gets in the way of her desire to solve all the mysteries (and eat all the cake). I LOVE this series. Charlotte is my favorite version of Sherlock (yes, even better than BBC Sherlock). At some point, if we ever do a T5W of characters we’d like to be friends with, she’d definitely make my list.
  3. Now, let’s talk about two independent ladies who I love that appear in a book I did not like: Alice and Julia from The Magicians series by Lev Grossman. There are many reasons I didn’t like these books (and yet I LOVE the TV show), but the biggest reason is the awful way these two characters are treated in the books. For starters, Alice is smarter than everyone and completely focused on achieving her goal, even with the distraction of being the love interest of the main character, Quentin. (Oh how I hate Quentin as a main character in the books. The TV show did a much better job with his character.) But then, at the end of book one, (*spoiler alert*) Alice dies for sort-of no other reason than to enhance Quentin’s plot. The author “fridged” her. I could have accepted what happens to Alice, but then, just as we begin to realize how bad ass Julia is, and start to love her at least as much, if not more than Alice (*spoiler* Julia didn’t get in to Brakebills, but that did not stop her from learning magic and becoming at least as good, if not better at it than the others), the author doubles down on his awful treatment of female characters with an ending to book two that is completely unforgivable. It nearly made me DNF the series. I’m still not over it. Guys (and I do mean guys because it’s mostly male-identifying authors who keep doing this), please quit it with the rape as a plot device. I’m not even going to apologize for spoilers here because you should be warned about this ending. It’s not just rape, it’s rape that is supposed to somehow “inject” (literally) our female main character with god-like powers. Nope. No thank you. Alice and Julia are awesome. I’ll keep enjoying them (and Margo) in the TV show, and pretend the books never happened.”
  4. My next top five favorite independent lady is a classic, and possibly the original independent lady, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In a time period where the only realistic goal for young ladies was pretty much “find a rich and tolerable man and marry him,” Elizabeth Bennet was determined to marry for love. She turned down an “advantageous” proposal from a cousin who was set to inherit her father’s property when he died. She even declined Darcy’s initial proposal because he was behaving like an ass. Hers is a “quieter” independence. She’s not out killing monsters, learning how to wield magic to save the world, or having any other dramatic adventures. But she’s still a risk taker who stuck to her principles and went after what she wanted, and for that she’s earned a spot on my list.
  5. Last, but most definitely not least, on my list of favorite independent ladies is definitely Kiva from John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire. Kiva was hands-down my favorite character in this book. She’s smart and crafty, and she’s out there, making stuff happen. One of the coolest aspects of this character is that she gets to have casual hook-ups with any willing partner the way that a male main character would. No shame. No moralistic repercussions. She’s just out there doing her thing. I love it and can’t wait to see what happens next for her, and the other characters in this series.

That was fun. Now I better get back to the writing cave and work on writing the adventures of my current independent leading lady in my Modern Fae series. Let me know in the comments if you agree / disagree with my selections, above, and tell me who’s on your list.

Top Five Wednesday: Nostalgic Ships (#T5W)

This week, for¬†Top Five Wednesday¬†we’re talking about the first fictional couples we ever got butterflies over and the couples we used to be really into when we were younger.

“Younger” for me encompasses a pretty large swath of pop culture. So, for this post, I’m going to focus on the couples I swooned over at any point prior to graduating college.

I had a hard time coming up with examples from books. Almost all my nostalgic ships are from movies or TV shows. Maybe there weren’t many ship-able couples in the books I read.

  1. Meg and Calvin (A Wrinkle in Time) — As an inch-thick-glasses-wearing smart girl with not-quite-curly and definitely-not-straight hair, I identified with Meg so much. Calvin was the best pre-teen hero I’d ever seen in a book because he appreciated Meg for who she was and loved her without her having to have some stupid makeover that gave her contacts and made her hair magically straight (I’m looking at you, Princess Diaries). My favorite books in this series are the ones with Meg and Calvin, or the ones that feature their daughter, Polly. I loved that when the series continued with the next generation of Murry-O’Keefes we got little glimpses of Meg and Calvin’s grown-up happily-ever-after. They were #RelationshipGoals before hashtags were invented.
  2. Han and Leia (Star Wars) — “I love you.” “I know.” Why in the hell does that get me every time? I love their banter. I love their opposites attract relationship. They were probably the first on-screen couple that I was completely invested in seeing live happily ever after (only to fast forward forty years and have their stupid son Kylo go and ruin their HEA). Regardless, their relationship is probably what gave me my soft spot for ‚Äústuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder(s)” and rebellious princesses who get shit done.
  3. Sarah and Jareth (Labyrinth) — Honestly, what fantasy loving teen didn’t ship these two? I loved this movie so much that I can still recite¬†her little speech about “dangers untold and hardships unnumbered” by heart. The masked ball scene alone is super swoon-worthy. So she doesn’t exactly end up with him at the end of the movie. You know she’s going back now that her baby brother is safe and all the goblins love her. “If you miss us…”
  4. Andie and Duckie (Pretty in Pink) — I know. He basically stalks her for the entire movie, and she turns him down repeatedly. It’s not exactly a good example for “no means no,” and I can see that now. But back when I, as an impressionable pre-teen, watched this movie at a friend’s sleepover party, Duckie was my instant fave. His whole lip sync was irresistible to pre-teen (and teen) me. Meanwhile, Blane always came off as a douchebag, even when I didn’t really know what that meant. I always thought he was a preppy jerkface who just didn’t get Andie the way that Duckie did.
  5. Rogue and Gambit¬†(from the X-Men Comics) —¬†I started reading the X-Men comics in college. I didn’t really know where to start, so I just picked the relationships I wanted to follow and then followed characters and pairs around through all the relevant comics where they appeared. Rogue and Gambit were a pair that I loved. I tried to read everything I could get my hands on that had them in it. I know they’re planning on making a Gambit movie at some point in the future (maybe), and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get some more Gambit and Rogue at that point (if they ever decide to make that movie).

I hope you have enjoyed this trip back in time to 80s and 90s nostalgic romantic pairings in pop culture. I’m sure there are some I’ve missed. So, I’m looking forward to checking out everyone else’s posts and BookTube videos. Let me know in the comments if you did a T5W post this week that you think I should check out.

Top Five Wednesday: Top of my TBR (#T5W)

What’s this? Another TBR post? Well, as it turns out, the topic for this week’s Top Five Wednesday discussion is sharing the top five books on your TBR. As I explained in my post earlier this week, I just created a pretty ambitious TBR for the first half of 2019 that includes over thirty books! I’ve already read a few so far this year, and I have a few more in-progress. So, what I focused on for this post are the top five that I plan to start next.

The top five books on my TBR are:

I currently have I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara and The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas out on digital loan from the library. I haven’t started either, and I can’t turn my Kindle off airplane mode until I finish reading them. So those two are definitely at the top of my TBR.

But the very next book I read will likely be, The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (aka the second book in The Queen’s Thief series). I think my reading buddies will be ready to start this one any day now. I’m looking forward to this re-read because, as I realized while re-reading the first book, I’ve forgotten a lot of what happens in this series.

I also want to get started on at least one of the six books I put on my Kindle backlog bust reading list. I think that’s probably going to be¬†Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I thought I might want to start with Vengeful, but my attention is very scattered at the moment. So, I think I’m going to put that one off for a bit longer and read something shorter and fluffier instead. Brightly Burning is billed as “Jane Eyre in space,” and while I’ve never read Jane Eyre, I think an angsty YA space opera sounds pretty good right now.

Last, but possibly most important, I have to keep up with my RITA reading. As I said in my previous post, I have seven books to read in seven weeks. I’ve finished one already. But rather than wait, I’m going to keep plowing through them so that I don’t get behind. I’m awful at keeping secrets, and it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut about what I’m reading. But, I’m a professional, so that’s what I’m going to do. My lips are sealed.

There you have it. The top five books on my TBR. Are any of you also doing a Queen’s Thief re-read before book six comes out in March? Or are you planning to read any of the other books on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Anticipated 2019 Releases (#T5W)

It’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday blog post! This week’s topic is “most anticipated 2019 releases.” There are so many good books coming out in 2019!

These are the books coming out in 2019 that I am most excited to read right now (listed in increasing order of excitement, with #5 = most excited!):

  1. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee — Release scheduled for January 2019. This is a middle grade book, but it’s written by the author of the Ninefox Gambit series and is part of this new, expanded Rick Riordan multi-cultural universe. I really liked Ninefox Gambit and have been trying to get to the rest of the series for months now. But this book looks so damn good, I’m willing to try yet another middle grade, even though we’ve already determined that rarely ends well because I’m no longer in touch with my pre-teen self.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by¬†Roshani Chokshi — Release scheduled for January 2019. I’ve yet to land on a favorite book by Roshani. I like her writing, but my absolute favorite story of hers isn’t one of her books. It’s a short story she wrote called¬†The Vishakanya‚Äôs Choice that I read in volume one of the Booksmugglers’ Quarterly Almanac. I think it’s because she leans more poetic in her writing, and I love a good plot. This one is a treasure hunt with a secret society and being comped to National Treasure. So, it sounds like something I’m going to love.
  3. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells — Release scheduled for July 2019. I was lucky enough to read an early version of this manuscript because I met Rebecca at a writing workshop (Madcap) and offered to be a beta reader for her. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book so I can see the final version and get back to this world. If you like dragons, you have definitely got to add this to your TBR.
  4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern — Release scheduled for November 2019. It’s no secret that I LOVE The Night Circus and that I’ve been patiently waiting for another book by this author. I barely read the book blurb before adding this to my TBR on Goodreads. I have a feeling this is going to be #1 on my Christmas wish list next year.
  5. The Return of the Thief by¬†Megan Whalen Turner — Release scheduled for March 2019). Another author and series that I LOVE is The Queen’s Thief series. I still haven’t had a chance to read book five (released last year) because I’ve been meaning to do a full re-read of the series. I guess that means that re-read will be happening starting in January. Who’s with me?

I’ve created a spread in my bullet journal to keep track of all the awesome new releases… as well as the 2019 Book Riot Read Harder tasks.

Yep. That’s right. I’m thinking of participating in #ReadHarder again this year… Stay tuned for a future post on my 2019 reading goals. I’ve been thinking about what I want next year to look like in terms of reading and everything else. At some point between now and the end of the year, I’ll formulate my thoughts into a blog post.

Let me know in the comments if you know of any new releases that you think I’d love and that I should add to my 2019 new release BuJo spread. And let me know if you’re up for a Queen’s Thief series re-read (or if you plan to read it for the first time to get caught up before March).

Happy reading!

Top Five Wednesday: Books to give my husband as gifts (#T5W)

It’s Wednesday! Time for another Top Five Wednesday post! This week the topic is¬†“Books to Give _____ as Gifts.” I’m filling in the blank with my husband. I feel pretty safe doing this because 1) I’m not actually getting him any books for Christmas, and 2) should I decide to change my mind about that, he probably won’t read this blog post anyway.

Doing a top five list on books I would buy for my husband may seem incredibly specific. But, this list would also work for any incredibly difficult people to buy for on your shopping list. Particularly, ones that prefer to read only non-fiction or hard sci-fi. If the person you’re trying to find the perfect book for is really into learning new things and following their curiosity, but prefers all the world-building in the novels they read to be grounded in reality, this list may give you some gift-giving ideas.

And, as an added bonus for anyone who knows my husband and is inclined to buy him a present for Christmas, you are free to take any of these ideas. I know he’s particularly difficult to buy things for. So, consider this my gift to you. You’re welcome. ūüôā

To give you a sense of my husband’s taste in books, most recently, he read and enjoyed the first two books in the Expanse series (Leviathan Wakes¬†and Caliban’s War), as well as Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill. He also reads a lot of non-fiction, but I’m keeping this list focused on sci-fi novels that I think he would enjoy, based on ones I know he’s read and liked (recent and past), plus his favorite sci-fi authors (like Neal Stephenson).

Here are my selections for the top five books I think my husband (or anyone who loves hard sci-fi) would enjoy:

  1. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers — Technically, this is the third book in a series of loosely connected books. I’ve read the first two in this series, and I think my husband would enjoy both of those books (the second maybe more than the first). But, I already have those books. So, I’d recommend this one for him, especially because I’ve heard this one is slightly different and possibly the best, yet. One of the things I love about these books is how they wrestle with tough questions and meaty themes, but are ultimately optimistic about humanity. He really likes meaty themes, and sometimes he could use a dose of optimism in light of the state of “general world suck.”
  2. Moon of the Crusted Snow by¬†Waubgeshig Rice — I love finding new takes (especially from under-represented authors) on “the same old” sci-fi and fantasy novels. In this case, a crumbling post-apocalyptic society. My husband is a fan of post-apocalyptic books, especially when they have plausible apocalypses and deal with the gritty reality of survival. For example, he really liked The Dog Stars and also The Water Knife. This one sounds like another that he would enjoy.
  3. Walkaway by Cory Doctorow — My husband has read, and really enjoyed, several other books by Cory Doctorow, and I’ve been hearing that this one, Cory’s latest, is maybe his best yet. This is another spin on the post-apocalyptic novel, but likely to be unique because Cory Doctorow is kind of known for spending a lot of time thinking about the intersection between the future of technology and society. And since he knows a thing or two about technology, and the culture surrounding technology, he usually comes up with some pretty plausible stuff.
  4. I Still Dream by James Smythe — I found this on The Guardian’s best of 2018 list. Their lists have, in the past, been a good source for finding books that my husband might like. This one is about artificial intelligence, which is something I know he’s interested in. I also got a lot of Diamond Age¬†(by Neal Stephenson) vibes from the blurb. It may be because of the young and brilliant, female protagonist. I’m not sure how available this book is in the U.S., but I think there is a high probability that he would like it.
  5. Gnomon by¬†Nick Harkaway — I wonder if this one isn’t a little too “on the nose” to be a hit with my husband, but I’m including it anyway because it’s got all the markers of being a book he would really enjoy. It sounds like it’s kind of a 1984¬†-type story of government surveillance, but the blurb also reminds me of The Circle (another book my husband liked), and it appears to maybe have a sort of code for the reader to uncover along with the main character. So, while it appears to have a lot of themes that I feel are maybe getting a bit overdone at this point, I think it has unique enough aspects to be something he’d find interesting.

If you have other suggestions that you think he might like, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what else might be a good choice, just in case I do decide to buy him a book or two for Christmas. ūüôā

Top Five Wednesday: Book Wish List (#T5W)

I think we’ve established that I have more than enough books on my Kindle, on my bedside table, and on my TBR shelf. I probably have enough to keep me reading for years without ever buying another book. Yet somehow that does not seem to stop me from buying more, or putting more on my wish list.

This week’s “Top 5 Wednesday” topic, inspired by the holiday season, is asking about the top five books on your wish list. Narrowing my list down to just five was challenging. Luckily, a lot of the books on my list don’t release until 2019. So, I excluded those (for now…they’ll probably show up in a future T5W post…). Since the spirit of this list is about gift giving, and giving print books is usually more fun than giving/receiving ebooks, I decided to keep my top five focused on the books I wouldn’t mind having in print.

Given that, right now the top five books on my wish list this year are (in no particular order):

  1. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson — I’m super curious about this book. It sounds like something I would love. But I’m skeptical. No offense to an author who is clearly a beloved fantasy writer, but I’ve been a little unsure about white male writers writing young female main characters of late. I’ve been burned before. So, I’m hesitant to spend money on this when I might not like it. Also, I don’t love the cover, which is kind of a maker or break it print buy thing for me. My solution to this is that I’m waiting for it to come out in paperback, be available at the library, or for someone to get it for me.
  2. The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi — I loved the first book in this series and am really excited to find out what happens next, just not $13.99 on Kindle worth of excited. Especially not when I have a pile of other great stuff to read. So, like Skyward, I’m waiting for it to be available in paperback, or at my library, or to go on sale, or for someone to get it for me.
  3. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle¬†— Somehow I never read this book. I was reading a blog post recently on Tor’s website talking about how it’s the 50 year anniversary of this book and how well it’s held up. The article really made me want to read this book. Unfortunately, because it’s an older book, it appears you can only get it in print. No digital options are available. So, I added this to my wish list.
  4. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The rise and reign of the unruly woman by Anne Helen Petersen¬†— I recently listened to a Smart Bitches podcast interview with the author of this book and immediately added it to my wish list. Non-fiction is an automatic print read for me, unless I can get it on audiobook from the library. Reading non-fiction in a digital format annoys me. I think it’s because I’m a very visual reader who can flip back to find a passage in print a book super fast because I remember where it was physically on the page and in the text. I can’t do that as well in digital, and its something that I find useful when reading (or referencing) non-fiction.
  5. The Bullet Journal Method by¬†Ryder Carroll — I’m a bullet journal nerd and this book looks great. I’m always looking for inspiration and ideas for how to organize and track things better. This would make an excellent present for any paper-planner person in your life. I put it on the wish list I sent to my “The Broke and The Bookish” secret Santa. But, if I don’t get it from them, I may just have to buy myself a copy.

If you happen to be someone I exchange gifts with, and you don’t know what to buy me, you can always check what books are on my “want to read” list over on Goodreads. Those are the books I don’t own yet, but that I’ve marked as ones I want to read. Some more than others. Conversely, if you’re looking to rule out something I may already own,¬†just have a look at my tbr-Kindle or tbr-paper shelves. If it’s on one of those, then I already own it.

What books are on your wish list? Definitely let me know, especially if we exchange presents. Also, let me know if you’ve added Eve of the Fae or Vivian’s Promise to your wish list this year, or if you’re planning to give a copy as a gift, because that would be awesome, and I would love to know about it! ūüôā

Top 5 books I almost forgot I want to finish before the end of 2018 (#Top5Wednesday)

It’s Wednesday again and time for another Top 5 Wednesday post. This week, we’re supposed to be talking about books we want to read before the end of the year.

I was going to skip this one because I sort of already did this with my end of year TBR. Then I sort of did it again with my Tome Topple TBR. But several other books have popped back up on my radar due to podcasts, end of year best of lists, Goodreads choice awards, etc. So, in an effort to not repeat myself, and because my TBR is insane right now, I thought I’d make this list about five books that I almost forgot about, but really want to read before the end of the year.

Here are the top five books I almost forgot that I want to read this year:

I’ve been really enjoying the “Lady Sherlock” series by Sherry Thomas. So, when I realized that I had the first book in her YA fantasy, The Burning Sky, on my Kindle, I boosted it to the top of my TBR. That was sometime earlier this year, and I haven’t had a chance to read it, yet. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze this in before the end of the year.

I’d almost forgotten about¬†Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I bought this when it was on sale because I try to read any YA sci-fi that sounds like it might be a space opera. Recently, I’ve been watching Alexa’s YouTube videos on writing and publishing, and now I’m even more curious about how I’ll like her book. I have to say, based on her writing advice and how she talks about her books, I’m sure it will be romantic and melodramatic, but I’m skeptical about her world building skills. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised?

In contrast, the YA sci-fi that I’m most excited about right now is Light Years by Kass Morgan. I’m a big fan of the TV show The 100, but never read the books. So, when I saw that the author had a new series coming out, also sci-fi, I was all over it. I’ve got this book queued up on my hold list at the library, just waiting for me to release it so it can land on my Kindle.

Then, I just saw the trailer for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, and it looks amazing. I happen to have a signed copy of this book sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me to dive into it. Maybe I’ll grab that today after I finish Seafire. Seems like a good pairing because I know Natalie and Julie are friends.

Another book that I was recently reminded of is Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone. This book is not like anything that normally makes it onto my TBR. However, I’ve been hearing so many people gush about this book that I snatched up a copy months ago, when it was on sale. Then, over the weekend, I listened to an interview with the author on one of my favorite podcasts, and that conversation bounced this back up to the top of my TBR. Or at least to the top five, anyway.

Now, I better get back to finishing my NaNoWriMo novel, or I’m never going to have time to read all these books! Which reminds me… If you’re looking for a fun, fast, winter-themed fantasy read to add to your end of year TBR, you should check out Eve of the Fae. ūüôā

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Largest Books on my TBR

It’s Wednesday! Time for a Top 5 Wednesday List! This week’s topic is “Longest books on your TBR” because there’s going to be a #TomeToppleReadathon later this month. Yay!

For this list, I’m only counting books that I actually own, and I’m excluding any multi-book compilations (like The Inheritance Trilogy, or the Southern Reach Trilogy) that I purchased in one ebook bundle or bound set. The individual books within these multi-book bundles may or may not all be over 500 pages.

That leaves these as the top five longest books on my TBR:

The funny thing is, I have no plans to read any of these anytime soon. It’s not that I don’t want to read them…well, most of them, anyway. I just don’t want to read them right now. I’m still excited about the Neal Stephenson books (Reamde and Anathem), but I’m just not in the mood for his writing style right now.

I really want to read The Wise Man’s Fear, but what’s the point when I don’t even know when book three will be available? I’m just going to have to re-read the entire series, anyway. So, I’m saving that.

I also really want to read Kushiel’s Dart, but not enough to bump it ahead of the rest of my end-of-year TBR. I’m going to save it for a different Tome Topple event.

And then there’s City on Fire… I got this in my Indiespensible subscription box. Unlike the others, this one I actually have on paper, and not just paper, but hardcover special edition in a sleeve and everything. It may even be signed. I really should just un-haul this or give it as a gift. I’m probably never going to read this book. But, who knows.

Sad to say, but none of these would make it onto my Tome Topple TBR. Not that I really have time to participate… This month’s¬†Tome Topple Readathon starts at midnight (in your time zone) on November 16th and ends at 11:59pm (in your time zone) on the 29th of November.

If you read my blog, you know my November is already pretty booked up with NaNoWriMo. I think I’m going to participate by reading at least one of the “tomes” on my end-of-year TBR (see previous post), specifically Our Dark Duet and/or Muse of Nightmares. I probably won’t finish one, let alone both, of these 500+ page books during Tome Topple. But, I thought I’d make a Tome Topple TBR anyway…

If I had more time to read, this would be my full Tome Topple TBR:

As you can see, I’m a little bit behind on the Throne of Glass series. Looking through the books over 500 pages on my Kindle reminded me of that. So I added Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. At this point, I really need a refresher on what happened in the first four books, because I’m not sure I remember where things left off. How sad is that? This was once one of my favorite series… Since the last book in the series (Kingdom of Ash) just came out, it’s probably time to get caught up.

I also added Jade City to my pretend Tome Topple TBR because I’ve been meaning to read this book all year and haven’t gotten around to it. This was one of the Hugo/Nebula nominees that I wanted to try to read before the awards were announced. At this point, it’s not likely I’ll get around to reading it until next year. But, it would definitely be in my top five for Tome Topple.

Are you planning on participating in Tome Topple this month or are you too busy with NaNoWriMo? Are any of these books on your TBR? Let me know in the comments…

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Books Featuring Witches

It’s another Wednesday in October. Last Wednesday we talked about monsters. Since I love top 5 lists, and Top 5 Wednesday is awesome, I decided to it again. This week’s topic is about favorite books featuring a paranormal creature of your choice. So, let’s talk witches!

You thought I was going to pick Fae, huh? I considered it. But it’s nearly Halloween, and I have witches on my mind (possibly for costume-related reason but maybe also for book-related reasons…). So, I’ll save Fae for later. Today let’s talk about humans who use magic.

First, I feel like I need to draw a fine line between witches and magicians. Both are magic wielding humans. But to me, magician magic feels more like a showy thing, something that maybe someone has an aptitude for, but has to learn and study to figure out how to do it. I love magician magic, especially schools for magicians, warring magicians, and evil magicians. All excellent fantasy tropes that will most often result in me clicking “add to shelf” on Goodreads. But I associate magicians with classic fantasy. They’re not “paranormal” to me.

Witch magic, on the other hand, seems more primal. Like you’re born with the ability and you just figure it out. Or you have a family tradition that’s passed down with a spell book or something. Witch magic feels more like a practical thing for some reason. It also always seems to involve a lot of blood.

I’d also like to point out, most of the so-called magicians we see in fantasy are men. Which is a bummer. If a woman wields magic in a fantasy world, she’s usually a witch. I refuse to buy into this gendered nonsense. This is why I’m drawing my fine line between magic as a discipline and magic as a primal skill (I feel like The Magicians series, books and show, come the closest I’ve seen to a similar distinction).

In general, I want more¬†female magicians in fantasy, especially of the evil magician and warring magician varieties. So if you have good recommendations (aside from Uprooted and The¬†Night Circus, both of which I’ve read and enjoyed), let me know in the comments. And, similarly, I’d also like more male witches. Maybe as love interests for paranormal heroines (that may or may not be a hint for a future Modern Fae book…).

I think as a kid I read more “witch magic” books, especially ones where you find out you’re a witch on your sixteenth birthday (loved those). But, as an adult, I seem to find myself more often reading “magician magic” books for some reason. I like both types of magic. Honestly, I like all magic. But, I’m going to drop some of my favorite witchy books below, and then you can tell me in the comments if you have any recommendations for me based on my witch/magician rant and my faves. Deal? Cool.

When I think of witches, here are the top 5 books I think of:

  1. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton — This is the witchiest book I’ve read since…I don’t know when. It’s great. Only a handful of characters in this book are dabbling in witchcraft, but the entire book feels witchy. That’s why I’m giving it the number one slot on my list. If you like witches, you should definitely check this one out.
  2. Signal to Noise by¬†Silvia Moreno-Garcia — Mixtape witches! This book is told in alternating sections between past and present. The witchy bits are mostly in the flashback sections, but if you ever imagined that you and a group of your friends stumbled on a way to do magic, and if you also happen to really like High Fidelity (source of my love of top five lists) you should check out this book.
  3. Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling — The fundamental witches and wizards series for the modern age. Books one through seven, that is. I’m less invested in all the various spin-offs and side-stories.
  4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell — The thing I like best about this book is how the magic works. I love that their spells are song lyrics. I also love that this is basically a Harry Potter / chosen one spoof and that it grew out of a side story in possibly my favorite Rainbow Rowell book (Fangirl).
  5. Dune (series) by Frank Herbert — You may be asking yourself why I’ve included a sci-fi book on a list about witches. Fair question. But, if you’re asking that, then you probably haven’t read this book. The¬†Bene Gesserit, a group of females with special spice-enhanced powers, are called witches throughout the book for the sort-of magic they practice. There are good ones and evil ones and they are all highly political. Basically, they’re space witches, and I love them.

That’s what I’ve got. What do you think? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.