I’m in a bit of a hurry to get this one done as, naughtily, I no longer have any scheduled posts ready to go! So not much commentary, just a list for this week’s theme: “Ten Bookish People You Should Follow On Twitter/Instagram/Youtube/Snapchat/Facebook”. And I’ll go with “people I enjoy following”, since I have no real idea what people like in blogs!
- Cait @ Paper Fury. Hilarious, and calls people pineapples.
- Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm. I think I’ve been following Charnell since I started blogging!
- Kaja @ Of Dragons and Hearts. Some awesome conversations, and also an interesting perspective as she works as a translator.
- Ryan @ SpecFic Junkie. Can’t miss out my book bestie.
- Robert @ Bastian’s Book Reviews. Shares my regard for Jo Walton’s work, not to mention running a good bookclub.
- Kristen @ My Friends Are Fiction. Check out the Lego book covers!
- Mogsy (and the others!) @ Bibliosanctum. I have been steered to some awesome books by this blog.
- Chuckles @ Chuckles Book Cave. We actually don’t share much of a taste in books, but her reviews are still interesting. (And I often pass on recs to people who do like the same genres.)
- Lynn @ Little Lion Lynnet’s. Okay, more a writer than a reader at times, but we have had so many good conversations about books.
- You! Well, maybe? I always like discovering new blogs! Comment and I always comment back.
And now I’d better run away and do half a dozen other things!
This week’s Top Ten via The Broke and the Bookish is “recent five star books”. Annoyingly, I don’t enter my ratings on Goodreads immediately, so this was more fiddly than I expected!
- A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan. No surprise here, really; the first time I read it, admittedly I gave it three stars, but I appreciated it far, far more this time.
- Carry On, Rainbow Rowell. Simon and Baz and Penelope, ’nuff said.
- Vicious, V.E. Schwab. Possibly my favourite of Schwab’s books so far (I found ADSOM enjoyable, but not perfect). Must make my partner read this one…
- The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope. Another reread; I liked this even more than I did originally. It tweaks the ballad of ‘Tam Lin’ and makes a new story — one I really enjoyed.
- City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett. Pretty much perfect, and possibly even stronger than the first book… Apparently I didn’t read anything worth five stars between City of Stairs and this sequel, because that’s actually the next one as I go back! Though I’m seeing a lot of fours.
- The Grey King, Susan Cooper. No surprises there: I normally do a reread around Christmas every year or two, and this was an on-year. Let’s just take it as read that The Dark is Rising and Greenwitch would make the list too…
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker. From vague reviews and such, I figured this would be really depressing and not my thing. I was wrong.
- A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin. Another reread — and you wouldn’t be surprised to note that The Tombs of Atuan would make the list too.
- The Mirror World of Melody Black, Gavin Extence. Gets some stuff very right about mental illness.
- The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium, Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie. The final couple of pages were just evilly good, and the art was beautiful throughout.
Should be interesting to see what other people have! I had to go back to September 2015 to get ten. What about you? Do you give out five stars often?
This week’s theme is “Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While”. I can do that, right? Right!
- The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison. I’m never going to be over this book, or feel like I’ve said enough about it. It probably dethroned my previous fairly longterm favourite. I would rather reread it right now than reread The Lord of the Rings, and believe me, nobody expects me to say that.
- Carry On, Rainbow Rowell. Okay, I haven’t talked about it enough because my review hasn’t gone up yet. But STILL. I loved it and I loved what Rowell did with the starting material and I can’t get over Simon and Baz.
- Seaward, Susan Cooper. It’s like The Dark is Rising grew up and discovered sex. Except not in any crude way, it’s just that attraction is a thing for the main characters and it shapes what they grow through. A magical journey for a different stage of adolescence.
- Century Rain, Alastair Reynolds. I haven’t talked about this much because it’s been so long since I read it, but I’m rereading it right now, so there’s that. It’s actually the book that made my sister into a reader after she totally lost interest.
- Sunshine, Robin McKinley. I have to confess, I’m actually a little scared to reread it in case it isn’t as awesome as I remember.
- My Real Children, Jo Walton. I feel like I didn’t talk about this enough when it came out, though I loved it. I might even love it more than Among Others, in that it might have more to say to an adult version of me, whereas Among Others talks to the teen I was.
- Vicious, V.E. Schwab. I don’t anyone in my day to day life who has read it, and my partner hasn’t read it (yet). CAPSLOCK WITH ME.
- The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. I love this book and I want to read it again. It’s just so magical. And people often say “but I don’t like circuses”, and guys, it doesn’t matter.
- Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey. I always tack disclaimers on this one because of the sex and BDSM, which often makes people look at me like “what weird things are you into?” But I love these books for the politics and the world and Joscelin, who is not at all kinky unless paladins who are meant to be celibate but fall in love are your fetish. (More power to you, if so.)
- Bloodshot, Cherie Priest. I haven’t fallen for any of Priest’s other books as much as the duology this kicks off. And there’s no series I can think of that I want more of so powerfully. Must reread soon. (My partner tried and was bored. Aaah.)
I could probably think of a ton more books to flail about. This is a good topic!
This week’s prompt from The Broke & The Bookish is about your TBR for spring! I do have a March TBR up already, so this isn’t a binding promise to read these particular things… just a hope.
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. I hear so many good things, I really should check this out. And I’ve had it ages now.
- Different Class, by Joanne Harris. I always enjoy Harris’ work, and I got this as an ARC, so I really should get around to it.
- False Hearts, by Laura Lam. Again, got it as an ARC. I should also read Pantomime and Shadowplay, but since False Hearts is out soonish, I should read that first.
- Lyonesse: Suldrun’s Garden, by Jack Vance. I have had this hanging around on my list for aaaaaaaaaaages.
- The King’s Peace, by Jo Walton. I really want to reread this, and soon.
- Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente. I wanted to read this anyway, ’cause Valente, and then I read a bit of the prologue and ohhh, must fit it in soon.
- The Copper Promise, by Jen Williams. And the second book, since the third is coming out soon.
- Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire. I want this so badly, I can’t wait for it to be out.
- Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds. Doing an epic Reynolds Reread with my sister, and this one is first up.
- A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab. I am very much converted to the Schwab Supporter Camp or whatever we’re gonna call ourselves. I must get round to reading this noooow.
What’s everyone else itching to get their hands on, or excavating from their TBR Mountain?
This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get”. Hold on to your hats, let’s see if I can even make ten…
- The Darkling, from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. All I hear is ‘wah, wah, wah, waaaaah’, sorry.
- Mal, from Shadow and Bone. Wait, you only like Alina when she’s helpless and dependent on you? Really? Why am I the only one seeing this?
- Dorian, from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I didn’t get the appeal of him in the first book, and I still don’t see him as a potential romantic match. Sorry not sorry!
- Gale Hawthorne, from The Hunter Games by Suzanne Collins. At least not after the second book or so, when he started getting all militant. He was a fine character but Peeta won hands down, for me. (Though if I’m on a team, it’s just plain ol’ Team Katniss Can Kiss Who She Likes).
- Draco Malfoy, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I never understand people shipping him with Harry or Hermione. Even if he’s not the worst, he’s a coward and a bully.
- Severus Snape, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Okay, I never got to his redemption stuff, but really? Snape?
- Simon, from The Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong. Okay, he wasn’t a bad character, but I hated the misdirected romance with him. Derek, darn it!
- Lancelot, from Arthurian Legends. This one is cheating because there are so many versions, and the one that inevitably jumps to mind is one that nobody is meant to like — Bernard Cornwell’s version. I don’t care! Lancelot’s whole character just doesn’t appeal, though one or two authors — Steinbeck, Guy Gavriel Kay — have had a light enough touch to make me sympathise.
- Lin Chung, from the Miss Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. No, not really, I still love him. I just wish Phryne would sleep with someone else for once, it’s getting really out of character. As I type this I’m reading Death By Water, and she’s had at least three opportunities to flirt and hasn’t really taken them. Whyyyy!?
- Katsa, from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I got it a bit more the second time I read it, but I still don’t adore the character.
Okay, so I did hit ten. But mostly I seem to follow the crowd…
This week’s theme is Top Ten Books for if you’re in the mood for [x]. I’m gonna go with complex fantasy worlds!
- Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. All kinds of stuff here — politics, magic, storytelling, music, love…
- The Bards of Bone Plain, Patricia A. McKillip. Gorgeous, and lots to bite into.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth J. Dickinson. If you’re sick of fantasy stories in which queer people suffer, maybe not, but I love the fact that this makes being an accountant seem exciting.
- A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan. Dragons! In a semi-historical-ish setting. Just read it; I love it.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. I know it’s a hell of a read, but there’s a lot of rich detail, careful characterisation, as well as throwbacks to Victorian fiction.
- California Bones, Greg van Eekhout. Unusual magic system? Got it right here!
- Warbreaker, Brandon Sanderson. I’d say Elantris, but I’ve somehow started and not finished reading that twice now. Either of these books seems to have very intriguing settings, though.
- Sunshine, Robin McKinley. Want vampires, only actually weird? Magic? Alternate world post-apocalyptic stuff? Go!
- Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb. Okay, it’s the start of an epic series which shows no sign of closing, but come on. Here Fitz is endearingly young and things are not, yet, quite as dark as they will get…
- Magician, Raymond E. Feist. Makes this list from pure nostalgia, really — Arutha searching for the cure for Anita in Silverthorn was just, oh, the most romantic thing when I was a teen. Also a major major epic world, with a lot going on.
What would you add to my list? Gonna try anything I’ve included?
This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is about books you’ve enjoyed recently that weren’t in your typical genre. Well, I’m not sure I have a typical genre, so I’m going to go with books I didn’t think I was going to enjoy quite as much as I did!
- Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo. From what I’d read about the Russian-ish setting and so on, and the liking other people had for the Bad Boy Darkling, I was really prepared to dislike this. And then I read it in an hour. Oops.
- Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood. I tried to read it once before, and bounced off with many complaints about the writing. Then in the last year I had another go and… loved it and devoured all the books as fast as I could get my hands on them.
- Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie. Okay, everyone told me I’d love it, but after my partner wasn’t 100% sold on it, I was a bit doubtful.
- The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley. Same with this one. My partner didn’t even finish this one, I think.
- The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart. This was another reread job — the first time I read it, the misogyny really set my teeth on age. I appreciated it more the second time.
- The Mirror World of Melody Black, Gavin Extence. I was fully prepared for this to be a disappointment after how much I loved The Universe Versus Alex Woods, and especially after seeing some early reviews. They were all wrong. It was great.
- The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle. It just… didn’t seem like the kind of YA read that was gonna be my thing. And then I four-starred it.
- A Taste of Blood Wine, Freda Warrington. I expected silly indulgent vampires. I got a lusciously indulgent vampire story that didn’t dodge the issues, nor humanise the monsters.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs. This either looked too creepy or too young for me, but I ate it and the second book up.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson. After the complaints about the queer tragedy and appropriation and such, I expected to be horrified. Instead, I loved it.
This week’s theme is all about music — and one of the suggestions is “10 songs I wish were books”. Well, let’s see…
- Suzanne Vega’s ‘Gypsy’. Please do not ever look for me, but with me you will stay / and you will hear yourself in song blowing by one day.
- Dar Williams’ ‘The Ocean’. I didn’t go back today, I wanted to show you / that I was more land than water / I went to pick flowers, I brought them to you / Look at me, look at them, with their salt up the stem.
- Danny Schmidt’s ‘Firestorm’. I used to flap my tongue like fists of flint against the granite fools / Until sparks blazed in my eyes, it’s true / But now I’m done with that, I haven’t / Torched the woods to kill one rabbit / Not for years, not until they came and fucked with you.
- Show of Hands’ ‘Haunt You’. I’ll haunt you / Sleep in fear / Whisper curses in your ear / I’ll course right through your heart of steel.
- Jon Boden’s ‘Beat the Bounds’. Sat behind the broken wheel / soft-top gone, nothing left to steal / broken shades upon her eyes / oblivious to cloudy skies.
- Fairport Convention’s ‘Matty Groves’. “A grave, a grave,” Lord Donald cried / “To put these lovers in / But bury my lady at the top / For she was of noble kin.”
- Heather Dale’s ‘Lady of the Lake’. And their touch was like a lover’s / Clear and sweet, drenching and unfolding / With no need for air or sunlight in the deep / And in the passions that they bared / In pledges won and secrets shared / They’d stand together in what destiny would bring / And crown a king.
- Heather Dale’s ‘Confession’. She’s given up the veil, the vows she’d sworn / Abandoned every effort to conform / Without a word to anyone she’s gone her way alone / A dove escaping back into the storm.
- Dar Williams’ ‘This Was Pompeii’. I am thinking about a teacup / Suspended and half-served / and all the scholars know is that it’s perfectly preserved.
- Thea Gilmore & Joan Baez’s ‘The Lower Road’. From the fruit on a poplar tree / To the bruise round a band of gold / From the blood in a far country / To the war of just growing old / We travel a lower road / And it’s lonely and it is cold.
I listen to folk music a lot, so there’s a whole wealth of songs which tell stories. And sometimes I’d like a glimpse deeper…
This week’s theme is a Valentine’s Day related freebie, so I’m going to put together a list of fictional romances I have loved! And probably no one will be surprised by my choices.
- Gawain and Dame Ragnell. Sarah Zettel’s Camelot’s Shadow is the only contemporary book I can think of that uses these two in the way I’d like. I love that, in the original(? oldest extant might be a better word) medieval version, it’s all about equality. Gawain gives Ragnell a choice about her own life, her own body. How can that not appeal?
- Roux and Vianne, from Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. I used to think of this book as a guilty pleasure, but having given that whole concept up, I have to cop to this one (and why not?). The undemanding connection between these two really works for me — and reminds me of a favourite song, Suzanne Vega’s ‘Gypsy’.
- Joscelin and Phèdre, from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. I want a Joscelin of my own! Okay, they take some time getting there, but they come to an understanding and they are devoted to each other.
- Pilar and Loup, from Jacqueline Carey’s Santa Olivia. They’re just… adorable. Puppy love and all.
- Anluan and Catrin, from Juliet Marillier’s Heart’s Blood. A lovely Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I really believed in the way these two damaged people came together.
- Marco and Celia, from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. This book is just… gorgeous. I need to reread it.
- Lord Peter and Harriet, from Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison. Well, the whole series, of course. The patience he has with her, and the way they finally, finally get together… “If I should once give way to Peter, I should go up like straw.”
- Kate and Curran, from Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites. Again, the whole series. They’re just… such good banter and also passion and irritation and… yep.
- Phryne and Lin Chung, from Kerry Greenwood’s Away With the Fairies. I might wish for Phryne to flirt with someone else again, but I do enjoy the bond between these two.
- Simon and Baz, from Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. Okay, I haven’t even read it yet, but I’ve peeked, and eeeeh.
And of course, every Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Susanna Kearsley romance feels perfect as I read it — they just don’t tend to stick in my head separately the way these do.
This week’s theme from The Broke and Bookish is about past and future settings, so I decided to pick out ten historical/alternate history settings which I’ve loved. I’m pretty eclectic and a good story can get me interested in just about any period, so this might be a rather mixed list…
- Farthing, Jo Walton. This alternate history is set post-WWII, and asks, what if we compromised with Nazi Germany? What happens then? What societal creep, what slow insidious curtailing of freedom? It’s a heartbreaking trilogy, full of characters to love and hate, and I think Jo does a great job evoking that version of Britain.
- The Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood. I never thought of Australia as a setting I’d like to read about, but I am greatly enjoying this whole series, and the era. I have ghostwritten a book with a flapper heroine, so that might help with my fascination with Phryne and her Melbourne.
- Arthurian Britain, in all kinds of books. Or post-Arthurian, in the case of The Buried Giant. It’s quite a wide field, really; some people have a Romanised Arthur, some a very Saxon Arthur. There’s some great stuff which contextualises Arthur in various historical periods — Bernard Cornwell being a good example of an anti-Saxon, post-Roman Arthur.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. The way the magic is integrated into the early nineteenth century and its history works perfectly for me. It’s a long book, but so rich in detail and care that I don’t mind a second of it.
- Voyage of the Basilisk, Marie Brennan. That whole series, really — and some other books featuring the exploits of women in that sort of period, like Mary Robinette Kowal’s Regency fantasies. Finding a bigger place for women in history? A+++.
- The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff. Whatever inaccuracies there might be in Sutcliff’s work, it feels right. I’ve always loved her Roman/post-Roman Britain books, and pretty much everything she writes has a fantastic sense of time and place. The Eagle of the Ninth I’ve always loved especially, because it takes a historical mystery and examines it, tries to explain it through fiction.
- The Bearkeeper’s Daughter, Gillian Bradshaw. Along with Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sailing to Sarantium and the sequel, this book opened my eyes to the possibility of historical fiction set in Constantinople. This wasn’t a period of history I knew well or thought much about, but now I’d happily pick up more books set there.
- Dissolution, C.J. Sansom. And other medieval/renaissance detective stories, like the Cadfael books, too. But this one felt especially rooted in the time period, shaped by the politics and issues of the time.
- Outlaw, Angus Donald. Okay, that book itself wasn’t one of my favourites, but that whole period dealing with Robin Hood? Like the Arthurian stories, I love it when writers choose to make Robin Hood feel as real as possible.
- Greek/Roman settings. That encompasses Rosemary Sutcliff’s work in some ways, and Jo Walton’s Thessaly books too. It’s just a great period of time with all kinds of things going on, where you can introduce mythic elements or figures that have become legendary now, at the same time as peopling the streets of Rome or Pompeii with ancient people.
So yeah, quite a mixed bag. Looking forward to seeing what other people have this week!