This month I managed to read 29 novels. I made a concentrated effort to read as much as possible once again – before work as soon as I woke up, often early. During lunch breaks. Even during work sometimes (shush!) because there was just no work some days when too many people had the day off so it was just a whole lot of sitting around, waiting for emails or phone calls to come in, or things to go wrong!
And thanks to working a bit of overtime a few weeks ago, nothing really did.
I also get a bit OCD about finishing as much as I can before the end of the year, so I can start the new year afresh. This meant clearing out as many reviews as possible, and as many books from reading lists as possible.
Below I’ll list the novels read for my part in judging the fantasy novel category in the Aurealis Awards which I’m not able to discuss, then below shall carry on as normal for books I’ve read for enjoyment or review.
- Bound (Alex Caine #1) by Alan Baxter
- Blood of Innocents (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #2) by Mitchell Hogan
- Inside Out by Will Elliott
- The Caller (Shadowfell #3) by Juliet Marillier
- Obsidian (Alex Caine #2) by Alan Baxter
- The Unfortunate Deaths of Jonathan Wild (The Memoirs of Pascal Bonenfant) by Stephen Hart
- Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica, #1) by Tracy M. Joyce
- Bespelled by Dani Kristoff
- The Other Tree by D.K. Mok
- North Star Guide Me Home (Children of the Black Sun #3) by Jo Spurrier
- Abduction (Alex Caine #3) by Alan Baxter
- The Godless (Children, #1) by Ben Peek
- Immagica by K.A. Last
- Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix
And now, onto the novels read in December!
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop was a book I got to review really quite early – I don’t think it’s out until next year. I really love this series – it’s constantly excellent and expanding (some series the second book suffers a little, but not in this case!) this is the third book in the series and it’s still left me hungry for more. I’m not allowed to review this one until the actual release date so unfortunately no link for this one – all I can say is that it’s incredible.
Kaleidoscope anthology, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios is a book I should have read months ago – I feel really guilty that I didn’t. It was a mixture of being busy with books that had a deadline, and that greedy feeling I get when I have a book I KNOW is going to be good – so I want to store it away for later, like a chipmunk and nuts for winter. Which is silly, I’m weird. This anthology is AMAZING and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s going to win all the awards, so get in early and read it now so you can be ahead of the crowd. You can read my review of it here.
To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French is a book I really shouldn’t have read because during December I had far too much reading I had to do like Aurealis judging and reviewing… but I adore Jackie’s work, and one weekend I just needed to have a little ‘me’ time to de-stress. (Even if it added more stress by not working, go figure.) From the rest of the books in this post, they’ll all say something along the lines of how I should have read them ages ago.
This book was incredibly lovely and sad at the same time, set in Australia and Malay at the time of the war, showing members of a very large, sprawling family that we’ve seen through the generations in previous books in this series, and how the war has affected (effected? I never know which to use!) them in particular. I love the remote places Jackie mentions through this novel. She was so excellent when she came to our little town to give workshops and book talks, and has only cemented the fact she is one of my favourite authors of all time. She gave me great joy as a kid with ‘Somewhere Around the Corner’, and still does the same as I get increasingly closer to my 30s. Jackie’s books are special.
Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress is a book I should have read months and months ago (see above). When I finally picked it up I devoured it in one sitting. I really enjoy any and all books or shorts I’ve read so far by Nancy Kress so next time I’m pretty sure I’ll be hanging out for whatever book comes out next! You can read my review of it here.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was read for the December challenge, and was quite a fun, lovely and vivid book. Some parts felt it dragged a little, but overall this was a three and a half star read (out of five, going on the goodreads rating scheme), with excellent characters and a really fascinating magic system.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers is another read for the December challenge, going on pretty well from Jackie French’s ‘To Love a Sunburnt Country’ and the war theme. This was a quick, sad read where you see the terror of war in much more of a stark way – Jackie’s book is incredibly sad, but this book was written from a solider’s point of view so it was pretty depressing the whole way through.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was another book for the December challenge – a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and that River made sure I read! And I’m so glad I did – this was devoured within a few hours and now I want to throw aside everything else and finish off the series. If nothing else, it’ll help me get a whole lot of other books done so I can feel justified reading a book not for judging, reviewing or the December challenge if I get everything else done/progressed sufficiently!
Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas is the second in the new Veronica Mars book series, and continues on after the movie and first book so it should all be read in order – this is a series for the fans, even though it’s well written enough as a crime book by itself – it’s use of characters we know and love from the tv show but lack of explanation of who they are exactly could make it a little confusing, or make the reader wonder why they should care. You can read my review here.
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz is kinda the second in his Sherlock Holmes series (that began with The House of Silk) but doesn’t really continue on from each other – both could be read independently quite easily. Both are beyond-excellent books, and this one had me screeching ‘WHAT!?’ at the end and wanting to throw the book at the wall (in a good way!) I won’t say why though – you’ll have to read it yourself to find out. You can also read my review of it here.
Temeraire by Naomi Novik was received from the very awesome Alex, and read for the December challenge under two challenges – award winner Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2007), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2007), Compton Crook Award (2007) and gifted by a friend. This was SUCH a fun book to read! I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series. This book is kinda in the same realm of thinking as Marie Brennan’s series, so I’m glad I have her second book listed in the December challenge, too. Here’s hoping I get there in time!
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski wasn’t as good as the first, unfortunately, and has quite awkward wording throughout that constantly pulled me from the narrative. It’s hard going from so many excellent books to something a little less-so, and I think it makes the judgement all that more harsh when compared. It is a bit of a relief to have one less series to keep an eye out for though!
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd was another book read for the December challenge, and was read in a few hours thanks to a slow day at work. (Shush!) Mixed thoughts on this one really – another that rather pales in comparison to other recent things. Such as…
Seven Days of Joyeux by Tansy Rayner Roberts is a Christmas gift to her readers – this is a prequel novella to her web-serial Musketeer Space which shows Athos (my sudden favourite!), Porthos and Aramis dealing with things going wrong every day of Joyeux which, as Musketeers, is up to them to fix. And get drunk. And up to other shenanigans.
This was so much fun, made all the better with cute artwork and festive feel. Living in Australia where it’s bloody hot makes feeling festive a bit hard some years, so reading about a space station where they too would be relying on artificial air temperatures made me feel right at home.
The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan was a book I’ve meant to read all dang year, and I’m glad I listed it as part of the December challenge! This is easy reading and recommended for fans of Temeraire by Naomi Novik because dragons and the style it’s written in. I read this on Christmas and Boxing day, and it was very relaxing indeed.
Havenstar by Glenda Larke was also read for the December challenge, another I’m so glad I got to! I adore Glenda’s work, and this was her debut novel, it’s interesting to go all the way back and see how it compares to her current work – though, she republished this up on smashwords in 2012 and edited it up a bit – I’d love to see how much was changed, because this was dang good. Very good in fact.
I love the characters, love the world-building, love the idea behind it all and aaah! I wish this was a trilogy! such a good way to end the year, too. Ending on a high for sure.