Books I am looking forward to in 2021…

I try not to buy too many new books. Therefore I tend to avoid all these lists of upcoming books or just have a very quick glance at them, but refuse to add anything to my want-to-read-pile. I dream of the day, when I have no books piling up on my kindle or my living room table… Alas, I have middling success. Here are a few books I want to read in 2021. It’s a pretty short list, yay!

GRAPHIC NOVEL

Black Magick, Vol. 3: Ascension (Paperback)
by Greg Rucka

Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Image Comics

The black-and-white artwork of the first two volumes was excellent. Beautifully drawn, rich details, just very nice. The story was good and has lots of potential.

URBAN FANTASY

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder, #1)
by Ilona Andrews (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by NYLA

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward. 

I refrained from reading this on IA‘s website, aka the weekly serialized chapters. In fact, I think that is still ongoing. The fact that there is no cover artwork yet makes me feel a little dubious about the planned publishing date of January 2021… And I am wondering if Julie will be as good as the original Kate Daniels stories.

Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6)
by Patricia Briggs

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Amazon Digital Services

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear—before it’s too late

I have been reading the Mercy Thompson books and this spin-off for years. It is still one of my favourite UF series, almost as loved as Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series. I actually spent the first few months of this year with re-reading all of these books in preparation for a new release of the main series.

SCIENCE FICTION

A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
by Arkady Martine (Goodreads Author)

Expected publication: March 2nd 2021 by Tor Books

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, …

I really liked the first book and I can‘t wait to find out what Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass are going to face in this sequel to A Memory Called Empire.

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)
by Martha Wells (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: April 27th 2021 by Tor.com

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

What can I say… Instabuy! Although the last installment dragged a bit in the middle…

Untitled (The Expanse, #9)
by James S.A. Corey (Goodreads Author) 

The much awaited 9th and final installment of The Expanse series.

Oh boy, oh boy. No proper cover yet, no title yet and no publishing date… O.o <— that‘s my anxious face. It will be the end of an era… and if we‘re unlucky, it might not even happen in 2021… who knows!? Meep.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

One Last Stop (Hardcover)
by Casey McQuiston (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: May 6th 2021 by Piatkus

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that puts a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.

I really liked Red, White & Royal Blue. And Kate & Leopold is a fun movie…

Accidental mercenary

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Huh. Didn’t they give you any medical treatment?”
“Oh, sure. I’ve had an Inquisition’s worth. That’s why I can walk around today, instead of being carried in a bucket.”

After meeting baby Miles at the end of Barrayar, I finally got to know the main protagonist of the Vorkosigan Saga.

Part of buddy reading the series with SpecFic in chronological order.

This book didn’t pull its punches and got right into the middle of the action. Still, I felt no great need to keep going and it took me a week to just get past the first third of the book. Seems to be a pattern for me with this series. The beginning seemingly drags a lot and about 30 to 40% it gets more interesting. I just wish these books would pick up speed a little faster. I know, I am contradicting myself. Maybe it’s the narrative of the series in general that doesn’t hold my attention? Although, I have to admit that it is quite funny to read about Miles digging the hole he is standing in deeper and deeper…

I was entertained, I laughed, but I also skimmed. Nice plot, but also not really doing it for me. I don’t know, I guess I will have to read another one!

3.25 undecided stars…

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Cordelia goes for it…

Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third book in my chronological series read of the Vorkosigan Saga. Published as the 7th book of the series. All about Cordelia and Aral and complementing the story that started in Shards of Honor. Their early days on Barrayar, about family, politics, intrigue and war.

This time I went for the kindle version, as I did not enjoy the first two audiobooks very much. The narrator came across as very old fashioned and it gave the previous two books a very dated feel. I am happy to report that I liked this much better. And if I should ever decide to re-read the first two books, it will certainly be in the printed version, not on audio. Apparently there is another narrator for the later books and if I should come across him, I might give him a try.

Slow start, slow build-up, very nice world-building. Barrayar came to life quite nicely.

Characterization are good, although I struggled at times to keep all these people apart, with their similar sounding family names. The relationship between Cordelia and Aral is kept very low key. Her struggles Piotr and the assembled Vor nobility were amusing to read though. I assume that I will not meet any of these characters again, at least for several books. I will miss Koudelka, Bothari and Droushnakovi.

The action and adventure part of the plot towards the end of the book was entertaining and suspenseful. Especially once Cordelia had enough of male stupidity and went for it. Kick-ass, woman! I salute you!

3.75 points, looking forward to the next book!

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Dewey’s 10 Years in 10 Books!

I am dabbling with Dewey’s-24-hour-readathon right now, although I will probably not get any more reading done than usual. Saturdays are usually pretty busy for me. Washing, cleaning, shopping, meeting friends for coffee, and so on and so forth. I managed 2 hours of my current audiobook though… my actual letters-on-paper-reading has been pretty measly so far. No great plans for tomorrow though.

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Dewey’s 10 Years in 10 Books!

Challenge parameters are here: http://www.24hourreadathon.com/challenge-10-years-in-10-books/

My recommendations:

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2007: The Rest Falls Away

The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters, #1)The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
My review: 4 of 5 stars

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2008: Grimspace

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2009: The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2010: Married with Zombies

Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead, #1)Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2011: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2012: The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2013: BBC Dramatization of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

Neverwhere: BBC DramatisationNeverwhere: BBC Dramatisation by Neil Gaiman
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2014: Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1)The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2015: Monstress

Monstress #1Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2016: Fire Touched — the only book on this list, that is not a stand-alone or the first of a series. Apparently 2016 was my year of continuing series reads…

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2017: Provenance

ProvenanceProvenance by Ann Leckie
My review: 4 of 5 stars

Free falling, all hands…

Falling FreeFalling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our intrepid engineer Leo starts a new job and gets to know genetically engineered humans–optimized for life in free fall, with another set of arms instead of legs. Fittingly they are called quaddies. They are also treated as something less than human and our engineer finds himself in the position of wanting to help the underdogs.

This hasn’t aged well. It feels pretty old-fashioned and quite a little sexist. If you can get past that, the story is entertaining.

The audiobook narrator does a decent job, but could have given more distinct voices to the various characters. Those are all pretty one-dimensional.

Leo is the nice guy, Mr. Fix-it, and apparently based on Bujold’s father, who was an engineer and wrote a definitive book on non-destructive testing.

The bad guy is a proper slimebag, the quaddies are all nice, naive kids.

Bujold’s imagery is very vivid. The story is well plotted and paced, if a little predictable. Every now and then she geeks out and over-indulges in engineering babble.

The ending feels a bit as if there could have been more, and I read somewhere that Bujold had indeed planned to write another book to tell the rest of the story.

Chronologically Falling Free is the first book in the Vorkosigan Saga. It is more of a prequel though, as it is set 200 years before the main series, without the central character of the series.

I plan to buddy read the whole series with some friends, in the mentioned chronological order, not in order of publication. Let’s see how far I get!

Better than just ok, but not great, 3.5 stars.

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