Kate rides again…

Here is one that I missed for my post of most anticipated books releasing in 2023

Magic Tides (Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years, #1; Kate Daniels, #10.5)
by Ilona Andrews

Kate and Curran have moved to Delaware with Conlan, trying to keep a low profile. They are renovating a house—well, who are the kidding, it‘s a fort—and one of the people working on their house has a problem. Kate goes to help. There goes the low profile.

This novella has all the elements we know from Kate Daniels. Magic, shapeshifters, vampires, various other magical creatures and deities. Hugh makes a brief appearance. It‘s humorous and there is too much information about the hair styles and clothing of everybody we meet. Great comfort reading for fans.

This was fun. I would have read it in one sitting, if I didn‘t need to sleep occasionally. The subtitle of the book, Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #1, is promising. Looking forward to more!

DNFs of 2022

I don‘t DNF a lot of books. I used to be one of those people that did not DNF books at all. I HAD to read them to the end, even if it took me months. Eventually I came to my senses and started to occasionally DNF a book, if I did not enjoy it after 50-100 pages (depending on allover length) or it took me more than a few days to get that far. I still never DNFd more than perhaps one book per month or less. And these days I tend to rather skim heavily rather than DNF, because I often want to know how it ends. I just read about the rather tempting idea of “…will DNF a book if it takes me more than 2 days to read 50 pages.” That would mean that I would have DNFd my current eye read days ago. I finally made it halfway and there are some fascinating ideas in the book, but it is still not a gripping read.

So, what books did I DNF last year, because not even heavy skimming could take me to the end? Well, there were some comics.

I bounced off hard of Sin City by Frank Miller. Some classics probably only work for men. I disliked the art. The story was too offensive to finish it. I can only take a certain amount of sexism, before it really puts me off.

Copra by Michel Fiffe was a big disappointment. I have read some superhero comics, mostly Marvel, but it‘s not my favourite genre. Here I had ti deal with Unlikeable superheroes to boot. I am not a big fan of characters that are just mean for no obvious reason and don‘t seem to have any redeeming features. If I don‘t like the characters or they don‘t interest me in another way, why bother?

They’re Not Like Us, Vol. 1: Black Holes for the Young was another disappointment. Essentially another superhero comic, with teenager developing psychic powers. Didn‘t like the artwork. The story didn‘t do anything for me, could not be bothered to continue for long or pick it up again after putting it down. It took too long to get interesting.

I started to re-read the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice with some reading buddies last year. I liked my re-read of Interview with the Vampire. However, by the time I got to book #4, The Tale of the Body Thief, I was throughly fed-up with it. There were some scenes I remembered fondly, namely the part in the Gobi desert—which I had attributed to another part of the series. But overall, it felt dated and lacked tension. Knowing the plot wasn‘t helping, obviously. Too much detail, repetitive bla-bla and over exposition of almost everything. I skimmed quite a bit to get to the body swapping part, but was willing to plod on. Then the rape happened—I had no recollection of that scene from previous reads. Or maybe I didn‘t understand and didn’t consider it rape before—it had been several decades since I read this last. That scene pretty much killed the book for me. The callousness really bothered me. Maybe this was done intentionally by Rice, but I couldn’t get past it. Don‘t get me wrong, I get that this is fiction and authors explore all kind of things—I just re-watched four seasons of Dexter, who is a sociopathic serial killer and I love the series and Dexter. But I couldn’t deal with Lestat raping that waitress. Killing her and drinking her blood, no problem…. I get how nuts that it.

How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper… *sigh*. UF leaning towards PNR. A decade ago I barely read anything but UF. I was oversaturated. So I stopped, with very rare exceptions. PNR was always a gamble. The heroines tend to be TSTL. I can‘t tolerate that. Why do female authors write these stupid cliches of their own gender? Anyway, back to this particular book. The love interest is a dragonshifter and the town’s sherif. The couple has zero chemistry, there is no decent world building. Nothing of consequence happened in the first 40% and I was to disinterested too listen to more of the audiobook.

Polaris Rising by Jesse Mihalik was another book in the same direction. I had that trilogy on my TBR shelf for a while and quite a few of my buddies love Mihalik. Yep. So not my cup of tea. Brain Candy in space with a romance sub-plot. Insta-love, too many blond people, thin world building, a Mary Sue, two people great at hiding that keep getting captured and then proceed to repeatedly free each other. Sounds all pretty daft, right? It was.

Gallant by Victoria Schwab was more unexpected. A haunted house, relatives with a mysterious past and a hostile cousin, a vaguely creepy and gothic atmosphere. No romance elements. I didn‘t find the story as such terribly suspenseful, although it is definitely well written. It was too straight forward for me and too predictable. I liked the story, but started to drift off around the middle—there was just not enough tension or interest for me to keep going.

There was another comic, two Clarkesworld magazines and a Great Courses Lecture series that I broke off. Oh yes, and an autobiography by a German TV presenter who loves camping. I mostly got that one for my mum. It was ok, just not my kind of thing.

How about you, what was your most disappointing DNF of 2022?

Top Ten Tuesday — most anticipated books releasing in 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week‘s topic: top ten most anticipated books releasing in the first half of 2023

Another meme that I haven‘t done in a really long time. And I doubt that I will get together ten books. I don‘t check and plan ahead a lot for my reading. It‘s more of an accidental affair. So, anyway, let‘s see what I have planned already in terms of new books for this year…

I do not actually have anything newly published on my list until late April. So the title of this Top Ten Tuesday is right out of the window. Anyway, April!

In the Lives of Puppets
by T.J. Klune

This one is a maybe, I have plenty of other books on my T.J. Klune backlog.

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. 

Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-EIn the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

Next one. I am not even sure this here will be published in May, as I can‘t find any dates about it anywhere besides its Goodreads bookpage:

Moon of the Turning Leaves (Moon of the … #2)
by Waubgeshig Rice

Twelve years have passed since a widespread blackout triggered the rapid collapse of society, when the constants of the old world—cell service, landlines, satellite and internet—disappeared. Twelve long years since the steady supply of food and fuel from the south became a thing of the past.

The sudden end of the world as everybody knew it, and the horrors of that first winter since everything became dark, only steeled the resolve of Evan Whitesky and the other members of the Anishinaabe community to survive on their own terms. Because the world wasn’t ending, as the community elders reminded them. It had already ended with the original displacement of their people to the far north by colonial authorities. They have seen this “apocalypse” before. They’ve seen it—lived it—over and over. But they had always survived. And they will survive this too.

http://www.bukowskiagency.com/Rice/Moon-of-the-Turning-Leaves.htm

The book was supposed to come out last year. Maybe Corona threw a wrench into the works? On Rice‘s Twitter he posts about a Fall 2022 draft, so work is still going on, fingers crossed. Sequel to MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW. My review of that book wasn‘t too favourable, when I read it in 2019. But the story has lingered, so it can‘t have been that average.

And another one for May:

Lords of Uncreation (The Final Architecture, #3)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us the third and final novel in an extraordinary space opera trilogy about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

Loved the first one, struggled with the second one, have to read the third one to get closure.

The final book to come out in May, not sure yet if I will get it. Barring another Murderbot, I can settle:

Witch King
by Martha Wells

“I didn’t know you were a… demon.”
“You idiot. I’m the demon.”
Kai’s having a long day in Martha Wells’ WITCH KING….

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

Doesn‘t sounds all that different to dear old Murderbot, right?

And we finally move into June. ANOTHER IMPERIAL RADCH!!! Boy, did I wait long for this one! I got so fed up with waiting, I re-read the first Imperial Radch trilogy in 2021. Tea did not help with the waiting, dear!

Translation State (Imperial Radch)
by Ann Leckie

The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will have a ripple effect across the stars in this powerful new novel by award-winning author Ann Leckie. 

Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t “optimal behavior”. It‘s the type of behavior that results in elimination. 

Squeee! Presger translator! So looking forward to this one!

At some point in 2023 there should be Mercy Thompson #14 by Patricia Briggs. That‘s all I know. No title or cover art yet. But I will definitely read it, when it comes out.

That was only six books, sorry! We‘ll see what other books will sneak up on me in the next few months! And then back to my owned pile of TBRs….

November 2022 Wrap-up

My November 2022:
– The Stand-In ★★★☆☆ audio, romance, slightly more diverse than the usual fare.
Wolfsong by T.J. Klune ★★★★★ ebook, gorgeous! What a great take on werewolves and found family.
– A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers ★★★★★ ebook, novella, roadtrip in the pursuit of meaning and comfort.
Explorer (Foreigner #6) by C.J. Cherryh ★★★★★ audio, conclusion to the second trilogy. Fun!
– How the Earth Works ★★¾☆☆ audio, non-fiction, The Great Courses, exhaustive lectures on everything from the Big Bang to plate tectonics, volcanoes and more. DNF after 10.5 hours and 13 more hours to go.
– The Nox ★★½☆☆ full-cast audio, horror in the arctic circle. Meh.
– The Drowned World ★★★☆☆ paper, StoryGraph #1, anachronistic climate fic, post-apocalypse. Dated, but with some good imagery.
– Neanderthal Seeks Human ★★★☆☆ audio, romance, nothing special.

Currently reading:
–  Ship of Destiny, ebook, moving really slowly… for a while now. I like it, I just have Liveship overload.
Thistlefoot, ebook, sweet and a little creepy…
Children of Memory, audio, odd, but good. The zoo is growing.

Pages and minutes in November 2022
1,142 pages, 49.05 hours

Candy Canes and Pine Cones and Epic and Awesome

Wolfsong (Green Creek #1)
by T.J. Klune

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh, this was so pretty. Feel good story, some drama, some action, some love, a witch and some werewolves. Lots of dialogue and inner monologue that made me feel good. What a joy to read. What a great take on werewolves and found family. Ok, yes, also some violence, cruelty, blood, murder…. It is a story with werewolves after all. And some really bad guys.

“And it was true. I was not cursed with an overabundance of brains.“

The plot was almost irrelevant, it was the relationships and the development that Ox went through that made the book for me. Such a lovable character…

The book has a nice amount of my type of humour. Definitely for mature readers though, there is plenty of swearing and some graphic sex.

I was not a massive fan of adult Joe or the romance between Ox and adult Joe. It was not bad, but for me it was the only weak part of the book. Still 5 stars though, because I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time I read this. I had a hard time putting this down for any length of time.

“Mom! Mom. You have to smell him! It’s like… like… I don’t even know what it’s like! I was walking in the woods to scope out our territory so I could be like Dad and then it was like… whoa. And then he was all standing there and he didn’t see me at first because I’m getting so good at hunting. I was all like rawr and grr but then I smelled it again and it was him and it was all kaboom! I don’t even know! I don’t even know! You gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.” 

My two previous reads by the author are How to Be a Normal Person and Tell Me It‘s Real. I still have to get to his more recent and famous offerings.

Who is the chosen one? Not always the one you expected it to be!

Chosen (Alex Verus, #4)
by Benedict Jacka

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The 4th Alex Verus novel. I wasn‘t entirely sure if I still wanted to read this, but it was really good and I am glad I did. Although I only read #3 in May, I was struggling to remember who everybody was during the first few pages.

The tone of this novel is darker still than the previous ones. Alex has to finally deal with his past and the horrible things he was forced to do back then. He has to face someone wanting revenge for his past actions. The good times of the previous book are gone and he might even loose some of his friends, when they finally realize what he is willing to do to survive.

I really enjoyed the final confrontation and I was stunned how forceful Alex became. He is going through some really good developments as the main character of this series. Which I missed in the series he is compared to quite often, the Dresden Files.

There is a big cliffhanger at the end, obviously. Let‘s see when I will get to the next book in the series, I added Hidden to my shelf already. More about that here. One of these days I will have to crosspost my reviews of the Dresden Files book here in my blog as well…

Nope, this is not dating material.

How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1)
by Molly Harper (Author), Amanda Ronconi (Narrator), Jonathan Davis (Narrator)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

A female anthropologist visits a small town in Louisiana to meet and interview mythical shapeshifters living together with humans peacefully and in harmony. The love interest is a dragonshifter and the town’s sherif. They have zero chemistry, there is no decent world building. DNF at 40% (2 hours 33 minutes), as nothing of consequence had happened until then and I was to disinterested too listen to more of it. The audiobook narration was decent. 

PS: It‘s a shame, really, as my reading buddies all seem to like this. So it might be me, who knows.

This month is pretty spectacular so far. I DNFd three — THREE!!!! — books, which is pretty unheard of for me. However, 2 of them are UF, leaning towards PNR. It proves that I am really, truly done with that type of subgenre. 

Blast from the past blowing through…

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1)
by Rachel Caine

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Read in 2015 and never continued the series. My review from back then:

Interesting and different plot idea. The four elements are manipulated by wardens with magic abilities. Our heroine is a weather warden, capable of manipulating air and water. She is a fugitive, running for having murdered someone. She bears a demonic taint and is pursued by evil forces, creating a malevolent storm, tracking her every movement.

The main storyline is interspersed with flashbacks of her previous life, providing some world building, giving her a backstory and slowly catching up to the current plot.

Not bad, but not as gripping as I thought, based on the book blurb and not as funny and snarky as I expected, after reading a short story set in the same universe. And why do the wardens have to manipulate the weather at all?

I am not so happy about the instalove either. I liked the story and the characters, but it did not grip me. I would not mind reading the next book in the series, but all in all this was meh, despite the good writing.

When the Zombie Apocalypse Comes, Remember That I Am Faster Than You

Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson, #13)
by Patricia Briggs

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Mercy #13. Straight forward, fairly simple plot, nice lack of annoying drama. Took me three days to get past the first 10%, but then I was hooked and could not put it down anymore. So although it was plain and simple and without big surprises, I give it 5 stars for sheer entertainment value.

Mercy and Adam are center stage, with a fair amount of Zee, Tad, Jesse, Warren, a bit of Sherwood, Tilly and various vampires. And the Walking Stick! Not telling you who the bad guys are… 

There is a merciful lack of Christy and no marital drama. Which I had expected after the last book, but wasn‘t sad to miss. It‘s nice to see people with a functioning relationship, including the pack—mostly…

I wonder how many more books it will take Briggs to wrap up the overarching narrative with Bonarata. That guy really needs to be permanently dead.

Mercy #14 planned for 2023
Alpha & Omega #7 planned for 2024
http://www.hurog.com/books/

Patricia Briggs Mercy’s World Reading Order & Timeline: 
http://www.hurog.com/books/printablet…

Review of the previous Mercy book, #13, Smoke Bitten: 
GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4…
WordPress: https://cathysreadingbonanza.wordpres…

This black hole did not suck me in

They’re Not Like Us, Vol. 1: Black Holes for the Young
by Eric StephensonSimon Gane (Illustrator)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

DNF at 41 pages. Didn‘t like the artwork. The story didn‘t do anything for me, could not be bothered to continue for long or pick it up again after putting it down. It took too long to get interesting. Teens with psychic powers?

We all have advantages over one another, but what if you were capable of things most of us can only imagine? What would you do – and who would you be? A doctor? An athlete? A soldier? A hero? Everyone has to make a choice about how to use the abilities they’re born with… but they’re not like us.