Honourable Mentions for 2016

To come tomorrow, a post containing my favourite books that I read in 2016, both posts are listed by author.

Books due out in 2017 (but read in 2016)

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

From when she was ten years old, Scarlett (from the Conquered Isle of Trisda) wrote to Master Legend of the Caraval, begging him to visit their isle for her younger sister, Donatella. Years pass, and it isn’t until she’s engaged that he writes back, confirming that he and his players will indeed be visiting, and he encloses three tickets to his invite-only show.

You can read my full review here.

Resistance (Divided Elements #1) by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Due out in the end of January, we have a kind of Avatar meets The Hunger Games. Set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic Paris (which only seems more and more eerily possible what with the awful violence there this year), we have a nation that’s divided into four elements – fire, water, air, and earth. Everyone is born anonymously directly into nurseries so your loyalty can only be to your fellow elements. We first meet Kane 148 only to see him executed immediately. He was a fire elemental, as are Anaiya 234 and Niamh (number unknown at this stage) who are peacekeepers, and who we meet next, out on their rounds interrupting violence and breeches of the peace. Until, when Anaiya goes home and discovers something they all find chilling, and from there the plot takes off in appropriately fast moving action.

You can read my full review here.

Books read and published in 2016

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow

This collection was picked up initially because it included some favourite authors, such as Kaaron Warren, Margo Lanagan and Garth Nix, along with the knowledge of Datlow’s brilliance, and that I trust Tachyon as a publisher in general. 24 short stories, female editor, 15 contributors assumed to be male, seven female and two unknown, is certainly strange to see from Australia when our horror scene is so female-strong. I would have liked to see more female contributors, but I trust Datlow and Tachyon both, so on I read and I wasn’t disappointed.

You can read my full review here.

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

This was a hard but valuable read. Hard because it felt so realistic, was harsh, and as someone who wouldn’t last long in a dystopian for many reasons… hard hitting. This is a worthy read because of the diversity and the fact it’s set in a country that’s not England or America, and because it’s just so well written.

The Escapement of Blackledge by Melody Ellsworth

This was just a bit of fun. Written by Mary Robinette Kowal as if from one of her characters, this short had a fun voice to it, was quite explicit, and quite amusing. Highly recommended if you’ve read her Glamourist Histories series, and if you haven’t… well, that’s where you start from, and we’ll see you in a little while.

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

This is a murder mystery wrapped in a surreal twisted fairytale. Soon after Nancy arrives at the home, other children start to turn up horribly murdered and as Nancy is the newest and this sort of thing didn’t happen before she arrived… well. It’s a reasonable assumption.

You can read my full review here.

Squid’s Grief by D.K. Mok

Squid’s Grief is a roller-coaster of life events that would have most people saying ‘to heck with that’. Poor Squid has had one bad day after another and just wants a break, a fresh start, a chance that everything will turn out okay for her just once. Though she tries to do the right thing, and has a list of rules while she breaks the law (only steal cars that belong to criminals, or are double-parked, or something), the poor thing just gets into worse and worse trouble.

The characters are what drives this piece. You deeply care for Squid and Grief, even though you wouldn’t exactly what Squid near you (smells bad, steals shit, super unlucky life etc), and as more comes out about Grief you certainly wouldn’t want him close either.

You can read my full review here.

City of Wolves by Willow Palecek

I didn’t realise this was a novella when I first picked it up, but it works incredibly well in this format. Much like Seanan McGuire’s ‘Every Heart a Doorway’, this in the shorter format leaves you wanting more whilst feeling utterly satisfied with the characters and plot.

In a Victorian England-esque city, we have Drake, a private investigator for hire who frequents the worst part of town, and doesn’t make much to show for it. When he gets an offer that’ll earn him more than he sometimes makes in a year, even if it does involve nobility (who he usually tries to avoid), he takes on the job for the gold alone and heads on to the fancy estate to start investigating.

You can read my full review here.

The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells

This is a book that felt slow to read but almost not in a bad way – I enjoyed it throughout. I love the dynamic between Jade and Moon so much, and I love Stone and a few others – though it’s hard to keep them straight some times. This was a good adventure of a book, and as always I hope to find the time to read more of her other books at some stage!

Books read in 2016 (yet published 2015 and earlier)

Broken Homes (Rivers of London #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

This was a reassuring read. Whenever I don’t know what I feel like reading, I open his next book and get lost in a few chapters. And then it feels like I’m taking ages to read it so I feel like it’s slow, but then it’s also because so much happens that I enjoy each chapter so much that it reads so well, and then something ALWAYS happens right at the very end (the very definition of a cliff-hanger, but almost a sneaky one, because it’s not always TA-DAH DRAMATIC but makes you go ‘what the hell, NO!’ and you have to pick up the next book immediately to find out what the hell is going to happen. That makes a good book, right?

Cracklescape (Twelve Planets #7) by Margo Lanagan

This collection contains four short stories that are connected by how the creepy and fantastic sometimes can be lurking just below the surface. Like Harry Potter caught our imagination and wonder with the idea of being just behind a brick wall if you know the right order to tap or the right word to say, in Lanagan’s collection we see the ordinary turned extraordinary. Margo Lanagan is the writer where if someone says they think fantasy or horror or whatever is ‘always the same’ or not for them, give them her writing and she’ll soon show them what the genre has to offer. So dependable!

You can read my full review here.

Absolutely by Joanna Lumley

I originally read this in 2012, but re-read it recently so I could remember who everyone was and what had happened in order to read the third book. Originally of this I said it was a grand, rich world that’s set in a Russia-inspired fantasy, with excellent and fun characters that you can’t help but care for. The main character Alina is excellent, and both Mal and the Darkling have their strong points that make you want more of both of them in different ways. My favourite character however, is Genya.

9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers #1) by Sarah MacLean

I love the female characters in this and how supportive of each other they were, and I would have loved to see more of his twin. Would have been in tomorrow’s post, except I didn’t always enjoy the comments about the female characters. I get that it’s of the time, and so on, but doesn’t make it enjoyable.

The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister #1) by Courtney Milan

This is an excellent start to a series and really hooks you in by the to-ing and fro-ing between what our characters are torn between. Really love that some of the characters appear to be utterly different than what one expects or previously thought, and really love how it’s carried out. I also love that the author self publishes and releases a full collection of every novel/short story/novella in this series and all for under $10US. Almost half a million words for that price!

The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister #2) by Courtney Milan

This was fun and a joy to read. It’s so easy to fall in love with the characters and their wit, and charm, and how the books don’t fall as you would expect. I started reading this series to keep me going until the new book in the Cyclone series comes out, but you know what? Now I’m here to stay.

And On That Bombshell: Inside the Madness and Genius of Top Gear by Richard Porter

This was a behind the scenes look at Porter’s time with Top Gear, which he was through his late 20s and through his 30s, a bit before they started to re-work the show into what it was when it brought Hammond and May into the team early on. It’s a frank and (feels to be) truthful look at what it was really like, and that they were hard-working, messy, childish, intelligent people getting the impossible to happen.

Thief of Lives (Twelve Planets #3) by Lucy Sussex

This collection contains four unconnected stories, one historical fantasy, one crime, one of the relationship between woman and man, and one urban fantasy. With a wry and elegant sense of humour, Sussex tells us stories that we’re unlikely to read elsewhere.

You can read my full review here.

2016 – July

July was the month of Pokémon Go (as most of the world would be aware) and where I realised I was off to New Zealand in August which could now be classed as ‘next month’, and so I’d have to get fit. From the 6th July onwards I walked 8-10ks (6 or so miles) a day most days – even though for (what feels like) a lot of that the app didn’t even work. Luckily I both live and work by quite a nice beach (a foreshore at home, and esplanade at work) and the showers at work seem to have had an upgrade… so… no excuse, really.

At the time of writing this, I have walked 241.11 kms (148.95 miles ish) in July.

Onto the novels read in July!

Take a Pique

Take a Pique sampler was a collection of seven previews, sadly, most of which were a little hit and miss.

The Haters by Jesse Andrews
The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
The Graces by Laure Eve
Seven Ways we Lie by Riley Redgate
The Romantics by Leah Konen
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
Every Falling Star by SungJu Lee & Susan McClennand

My full review of this one can be found here.

Seven Ways We Lie

Seven Ways we Lie by Riley Redgate was picked up because of the above sampler – I do love it when we don’t have to wait for books that are discovered as a bit of a surprise! This was really quite excellent, having a wide range of characters to sympathise with or at least recognise from your own school days. I read this one in an afternoon and it helped bust me out of a reading slump, so many many thanks, Riley!

Time Salvager (Time Salvager #1)

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu was absolutely brilliant – I read it as an e-copy but ordered in a print copy, and shoved it into a co-workers hands by the end of the day so she could read it also.

I’ve enjoyed Chu’s writing previously and this is no different. The characters are endearing, the world building is really engaging, and I didn’t want to put this one down for even a moment. I’m glad I left it long enough that now the second book is available (though I was lucky enough to get it for review also) because I can’t wait to read more!

You can read my full review here.

In the Labyrinth of Drakes (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #4)

In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan was quite good, but somehow didn’t grab me as the previous books have. Maybe it was my mood, or maybe I feel that the character has done its run and I don’t need to be there for the rest of it. I hope to come back and read the entire series once it’s done, once I’ve had a bit of a break from it.

The Escapement of Blackledge

The Escapement of Blackledge by Melody Ellsworth was really quite fun, and I loved picking out all the other authors in this – Rothfuss, Sykes, and so on. Yay! I love how much fun the spec fic community has. I hope more come out in a similar vein.

Cracklescape (Twelve Planets book 7)

Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan was read for the current Twelve Planets read/review a book a month challenge we have on. I read it in its release for the Aurealis Awards, but with my memory being as bad as it is, I’m always glad for an excuse to re-read! This is the seventh book in the Twelve Planets series, which showcase the talent of female Australian authors.

You can read my full review here.

The Walled City

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin wasn’t as loved as I hoped it would be. I’ve come to this author after reading Wolf by Wolf, and I much preferred the characterisation and how the story was presented, and overall just found my interest in it a bit lacking. Ah, well!

On the Edge of Gone

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more. I love the short story set in this same time from Defying Doomsday and it was hard-hitting at the same time, where I needed to take a break from how dire and emotionally draining the book was. There were so many ups and downs, yet it remained realistic throughout, and I was incredibly happy with the ending where the main character finally does something for herself. One of the best ‘end of the world’ books I’ve ever read. I’d love to see what happens in the future in this plot.

City of Wolves

City of Wolves by Willow Palecek was a quick and enjoyable read, with fun characters, decent plot, and ticked every box. I’m loving the increase in novellas that are coming out – mostly thanks to Tor, and each have been of excellent quality.

Overall, this is a very fun book, and one I recommend for a lazy afternoon where you want some excitement, or snarky and snazzy writing.

You can read my full review here.

Daughters of the Storm (Blood and Gold, #1)

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins was a rushed re-read in preparation to read the second book for review, Sisters of the Fire. I absolutely loved this book both the first and second time reading it, and I loved the short story I read years ago before I knew it was ever going to be so much more. There are countless strong and excellent female characters in this, and I love how they swear and how Bluebell has such rage and ability. And I want to pick up Ivy and put her far, far away somewhere because my goodness she needs a good kicking. LOVE IT. READ IT. If you haven’t already, you’re lucky because you’ll have two novels and a short story to devour whilst I’ve waited years in between each!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was read in about two hours, and was utterly satisfying. I don’t want to say anything else in case of spoilers as parts certainly weren’t what I was expecting in the slightest, but yes. Loved it.


July was hectic, and I’m getting more and more excited for August and my trip to New Zealand!

Review: Defying Doomsday edited by Tsana Dolichva, Holly Kench

DefyingDoomsdayByline: An anthology of apocalypse-survival fiction with a focus on disabled and chronically ill characters.
Published by: Twelfth Planet Press
ISBN: 9781922101402
Published: May 2016
Pages: 432
Format reviewed: eVersion
Publisher Site: Publisher Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

This anthology was funded by a pozible campaign that was launched Swancon Easter weekend 2015, and delivered a few weeks and a year later in May 2016.

And the Rest of Us Wait” by Corinne Duyvis

This short story goes hand in hand with Corinne’s latest book that came out in March, On the Edge of Gone. Iveta is famous for a talent show she once appeared on, however she’s just like everyone else when a comet is set on destroying the earth, and Iveta and her family join countless others in a refugee centre to wait it out.

There are generation ships and shelters which offer more permanent solutions, but not everyone has been granted access. As if life isn’t hard enough, Iveta has a slew of medical requirements that certainly make things more dire for her than others as the comet hits, and the temporary shelter faces further issues such as power and ration issues.

We see a range of different reactions. The angry and the uncontrollable, the snippy and resigned, and those who are still hopeful, and think now is a good time to stage a musical act. I mean, it’s not like anyone is going anywhere, trapped far underground and slowly running out of air.

This is such a strong opening to the anthology, showcasing a wide variety of topics that are explored both for and against (should people receive ‘special’ treatment, is it ‘special’ treatment if the end result ends in truly unfair results, and so forth. ‘Otherbound’ by Duyvis was also amazing so it’s no surprise that this short story is also – if you haven’t read her work so far this is a good place to start, and then go and hurry to get her two other novels. You won’t be disappointed.

To Take Into the Air My Quiet Breath” by Stephanie Gunn

Jeez, what an opening. A condescending man tells children that God put roses in their lungs as they’re too young to understand what cystic fibrosis is. As though they wouldn’t be able to explain if someone had taken the time to tell them in a way they could that doesn’t result in horrific nightmares, what the hell, man.

The flu has struck Australia, if not the world. Three sisters take care of each other on their family farm, their mother and Bryce now buried. The last broadcast on the emergency channel warned everyone to stay inside and don’t leave their houses, but it’s been some time since then and they’re starting to worry about what to do when their horded medication runs out.

This piece is very emotive – many sentences making me grimace to myself in a mix of horror and sympathy, lines such as ‘More than once I’ve been tempted to slice through the scars, just so I could stretch properly.’ Aarrrgh, Aussies, why do you write horror so well even when the piece isn’t strictly horror?

Something in the Rain” by Seanan McGuire

Holly has schizophrenia and autism, has lost her parents and only has her cat for company, and then, as the story progresses, the school bully. Water has turned toxic and dangerous, and rains come each day for a little longer and a little more intense, and you don’t want to be caught out in it if you want to survive.

This was an awkward piece – the bully is horrible and I get anxious when any form of media involves pets – I can take all the violence and deaths as you can throw at me (well, I may not enjoy it, but I can keep reading), but as soon as there’s the chance something can go wrong to an animal I’m on edge, and I will stop reading/watching if anything happens to them.

This piece I could breath a sigh of relief on. I wanted to punch Cathy and – well, not hug Holly as I doubt she’d appreciate that, but help her in some way in the very least. And now I need to go have a nap to calm down.

Did We Break the End of the War?” by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Okay well it’s not time for a break after all if a favourite author is up next. Jin and Aisha are scavengers in this world that’s been torn apart by the Pulse, which knocked out the electricity and left only teenagers. They rarely see others but they are out there, and they avoid them where they can. They go through houses and take what’s useful, then trade it with other groups later. Markets are arranged and advertised via graffiti, and this is simply how life is now.

They pick up Billy, a pretty boy who fits well into their well formed duo, and now they specialise in batteries/tech, medication and…. art supplies. That is, until at the next market Jin discovers the other two have been keeping something for him, and that there’s a lot more to the Pulse than he’s ever given thought to before.

Like all of Tansy’s short stories, this one is much bigger than leaving it to this one short. This needs to be a novel.

In the Sky with Diamonds” by Elinor Caiman Sands

Megan has cerebral palsy, and was implanted with an AI when she was young, who helps her along where possible. Called Jennifer, they are alone on a capsule trying to distract and delay an attacking alien force long enough for a shuttle to get away – a shuttle where her sister Lucy and others are quickly running out of hope.

One of the very few authors I don’t think I’ve experienced before? A few lines made quite an impact – ‘I’ll just float here with my eyes shut and see what happens. Maybe I’ll just doze. I’m so sleepy.’

Two Somebodies Go Hunting” by Rivqa Rafael

Lex and Jeff go out hunting because their dad took off ages ago, and their mum is busy with another child who’s ill. Meat is scarce and there’s the possibility of bringing back some kangaroo. The hot outback is dangerous enough as it is, and it doesn’t help that Lex has a bung leg which means there’s some sand dunes simply out of her ability – so what happens if her little brother falls, or runs off? Her little brother who may possibly have autism – there’s no diagnoses after the apocalypse.

We’re now in a world where children know the names of various bacteria because it’s that and things like bird flu which have wiped out the country, to the point there they joke they’re an endangered species now. Their trek is surely too tough for their ages, but together and with their knowledge of the land and simply what they need to do to survive, is enough. I loved the interactions between the siblings, and the point we’re left at.

Given Sufficient Desperation” by Bogi Takács

Dyspraxia is what keeps Vera in workrooms, looking at hours and hours of streams of various images as aliens record her response, rather than running away from it all and joining the militants who are trying to fight back against the alien invaders. To communicate with them, the aliens speak to them in voices taken from Hungarian movie stars – Oszkár Gáti—the Hungarian dubbing actor of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Artúr Kálid for Will Smith… etc.

This one was the good kind of weird, keeping you reading to figure out what’s happening, what’s happened, what’s going to happen. I certainly understand the need for real sleep, and the tears at the end.

Selected Afterimages of the Fading” by John Chu

I love how this one starts. ‘A row of dumbbells sorted by weight, ranging from pointless to respectable.’

In a world where everything and everyone is fading if you don’t look at it and give it the attention it deserves, a guy with an image disorder struggles with a romance…

I had to look muscle dysmorphia up to get a clearer understanding of this one. ‘Reverse anorexia’ is what comes up when you google it; ‘Affecting mostly males, muscle dysmorphia is an obsessive preoccupation via a delusional or exaggerated belief that one’s own body is too small, too skinny, insufficiently muscular, or insufficiently lean, although in most cases, the individual’s build is normal or even exceptionally large and muscular already. (wiki)

This one has a steady and sweet exit (not an ending), and as always, I really enjoy Chu’s work, even when I’m not sure I’m smart enough to truly understand the layers.

Five Thousand Squares” by Maree Kimberley

It’s been fifteen years since the war, and there’s been changes to the world (both political and terra-weather related) where Kaye and Micha lie, and both have chronic pain issues that involve arthritis and generally make life difficult. With these things in mind when raising young families, they make a plan to stick together just in case something does happen, in order to get through it in a team. Micha’s home is high enough to avoid trouble if there’s a floor, so it’s there they stockpile food and supplies.

Good thing they do, as one night Micha contacts Kaye, saying her hip and knee both agree that things are about to go to hell. Most people with arthritis or a broken bone at some stage can tell when big rains are coming, and this is what we see happen here.

What is so excellent about this piece is how it takes something we often hear about, but few understand. It’s one thing to say someone has chronic pain and can’t do x, y, z, but to truly understand what that must mean is quite different. We see the struggle and what has to happen that we don’t get to see in the general blockbuster movies, and though I’ve only had brief brushes with this type of restriction thanks to ross river, it really, really speaks to me.

Portobello Blind” by Octavia Cade

Anna is a bored and pondering whether she is the sole survivor of the apocalypse. She spends hours fishing in order to eat, (surely so many books/movies get it wrong with how easy some apocalyptic people have it, as collecting drinking water and food for the majority of each day wouldn’t make for good watching – I love how right this gets it), only to hit us with the fact she’s blind, and you’re left worrying how she manages to do anything safely… and the fact is, she doesn’t. She cuts her hands baiting the line, she falls into the waves when she overbalances, trying to catch her escaping fish, and she has to boil a kettle to check the power is still on, and hence, the satellite radio is still working even if no one is answering.

Her strength is amazing, as well as her determination and intelligence to cope and think of what she needs to make this work. Though I agree with her that pineapple would be way better. And that sheep are pretty excellent companions.

Tea Party” by Lauren E. Mitchell

Tally, Bingo, the Count, and Chess, along with a few others, are riding out the end of the world, which came in earthquakes and huge expanses of land disappearing below water. They go shopping every once in a while – mostly to get a slew of medications they can’t exactly grow themselves. In this case Tally and the Count go out – a weird choice for the Count, but Tally’s not complaining. Along the way they meet another surviver, just in time for another glimpse of what the world still has in store for them.

I liked that while this one had a bit of action and excitement in it, that a lot of it was showing how they cared and helped out each other. You really get the feel that they’re going to make anything and everything work somehow, simply because they have to as that’s how life is now.

Giant” by Thoraiya Dyer

Skye, also known as Rhomboid in the Moltorian language, only has chickens for company. Born with pituitary gigantism and poor hearing, it’s almost certain she’ll die if she leaves the microgravity – her circulatory system will shut down if she leaves the ship she’s always been on. There was once a crew on the ship but they wanted to kill her when she was younger because of her affliction – if it wasn’t for her mother and the ship’s doctor, she would have been thrown out an airlock. Hugo, her father, finds her, and wants to help. She just wants to be left alone.

It’s a complicated tale of a girl trapped by guilt and having always waited for her father, yet at the same time wants him to leave her and go back to Earth. She can make it happen – with her size comes strength. What I like about this one especially is how the colours unite the beginning with the end.

Spider-Silk, Strong as Steel” by Samantha Rich

On days when Emm goes hunting, she stays in bed late to get her thoughts in order – a bit of superstition that hasn’t failed her yet. Makes perfect sense to me – more dozing/resting always sounds like a treat. I also agree with Emm’s later thought regarding ‘help’ (people who want to steal her knowledge/secrets) by thinking ‘fuck that, and fuck them.’

Spiders have taken over the Earth? Heck with that. I’m allergic but beyond that they don’t bother me. They freak out a friend though, and because I’m a terrible person I once sent him an email (we work for the same office) with no title/preview, so when he opened it, it was a full screen, very high res closeup photo of a spider. His co-worker reported back to me that he squealed a little and jumped back from his desk, so that was a success.

Emm hunts out spider silk, which is then used for clothes. A rich commodity for trading in this new world. Thank god they don’t have a hive mind though. This piece is one of my favourites (I think the start endeared me to her completely), so highly recommended. Unless you’re like Kane. In that case, read with the lights on because the spiders are detailed quite well.

No Shit” by K. L. Evangelista

Plague has come, and Jane has buried her parents. She looks for other survivors sometimes, but otherwise enjoys the night… until flares light up the sky, and she finds another survivor.

They meet in daylight hours, both careful but eager to meet someone else who has survived – Sam seems nice (AND he can bake!), even if he does read very serious things – ‘Coping with Change’, ‘Compost Toilets’ – very useful considering the time they’re in, but surely all that stress calls for a good bit of relaxation reading. I also love how he’s still all ‘I want to stick together but I don’t want to make you feel like we have to, we don’t HAVE to’ because that’s exactly how I’d be even in a freakin’ apocalypse. Overly polite and thinking others wouldn’t want to have me around even though HELLO, hardly anyone else alive.

They set out in a winnebago to search for other survivors, and so living in close quarters means that soon enough Jane has to tell Sam she has Crohn’s and that while it wasn’t life threatening when there was medicine and doctors around… these days… who knows?

I love the humour in this one. The voice behind it is really quite nice, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more from this author. This is another contender for favourite in the anthology.

I Will Remember You” by Janet Edwards

This piece starts with the words ‘Day Five’, which is such a surprisingly interesting way to start. We soon learn that Megan, sixteen, is going to die within the next few days – everyone  is – by the time sunset arrives on day thirteen. Aliens have arrived and have marked everyone with a few blue dots which will align with how soon they’re due to die. Seeing as Megan was born without a hand – where everyone else has their marks, she’s not to know. She’s received abusive messages demanding to know where her marks are – were they on her arm instead? She didn’t know what to reply with.

This piece is so perfect to end with. The end of the world and the hope directly afterwards is a clean finish, and it’s so dang interesting and complex, yet fits perfectly within the shape of a short story. Yet another contender for ‘favourite’, and I know that this one in particular will be staying in my mind for some time. I’d love to see a follow-up of how they’re going in a few months, and then a few years. Make it happen, Edwards!


In the introduction at the start of the anthology, Hoge, (author of Ugly), says ‘People with disability already live in a post-apocalyptic world,’ which is certainly something to think on. This anthology is excellent as examining that.

This anthology is of high quality and needs attention – it’s a complicated thing showing both the drawbacks of having a disability, and also how a disability doesn’t mean you’re an easy kill if zombies attack. We need more visibility in fiction, especially as sometimes, books are all some of us had when ill or in hospital or simply not healthy enough or able to be running around with other kids at recess or in holidays. Surely a higher percentage of disabled children and adults turn to books for adventure over other forms of recreational amusement, so why the hell isn’t there more of this representation around?

Anticipated Books of 2016

It’s the 17th December and that means it’s two weeks to go until it’s 2016! Where has the year gone…

Like last year, 2015 was a flurry of book judging for me, leaving little time to focus on books of my own choosing. Not necessarily a bad thing because judging brings books I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of (let alone pick up to read, or even give myself dedicated time to enjoy) and gives me an excuse to read them asap, putting aside other things on my To Do list…

As always the start of the year was spent wrapping up the previous Aurealis Awards, and the second half was spent in the role as duel Judging Coordinator along with Tehani, which brings a surprising amount of paperwork. In addition, we introduced a new award to the Aurealis Awards known as The Sara, for Sara Douglass, which is to find the best Australian speculative fiction series finished between 2011-2014 which meant reading about 200 books.

thornemberlainBecause of this I’ve finally decided to forgo judging duties in 2016. Judging since 2011 has been amazing, but I need a year to catch up on books I simply haven’t had time for.

Like last year, the books shall be listed in alpha order by the author’s last name:

  • The Thorn of Emberlain (Gentleman Bastard, #4) by Scott Lynch

Except I will do this book first, apart from the others. I don’t keep it a secret that Scott’s my favourite author – I adore the wit and characters he writes, and that besides he’s a lovely, lovely person – far too kind. And then the tiny fact that I have a cameo in this book, that I won in an auction mid 2011. The character will be known as Kelise (at this stage, anyway!).

There’s also talk about one of his novella’s coming out within the next year, so fingers crossed for that. Even if they don’t come out, I’m well over-due for a re-read of the series so far anyway.

  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

So I haven’t even read the first in this series yet so I have no clue what’s going on, nor have I looked for the synopsis of this one… but I know I’ll love it once I get around to reading it, so book two gets a place on the list regardless!

  • Untitled (Zeroes #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

So there’s no title or synopsis, but I’m so there for this one (and not just because I share a dinner table and discuss knitting with one or two of the authors when there’s a convention on).

This is such an excellent and fun series. We have a collection of characters who have interesting and diverse powers – some scarier than impressive, such as the very politician-style ability to command or coerce those around him to see his view and follow his lead. Heck with that! I can’t wait to see where this goes in the second book, and try to figure out which characters/parts each of these awesome authors have control over.

  • Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop

MarkedinFleshThis is a series I’ve been refreshing review sites for madly for months, and now it’s finally appeared! Fingers crossed I get approved…

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

  • In The Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoir by Lady Trent #4) by Marie Brennan

In The Labyrinth of DrakesI’ve adored all books in this series so far, so this is another book I’m totally on board for.

Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism have heard of Lady Trent’s expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame. The details of her personal life during that time are hardly less private, having provided fodder for gossips in several countries.

As is so often the case in the career of this illustrious woman, the public story is far from complete. In this, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and her well-being; and how her determined pursuit of knowledge took her into the deepest reaches of the Labyrinth of Drakes, where the chance action of a dragon set the stage for her greatest achievement yet.

  • Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

I will follow Brosh anywhere, just as I will for Jenny Lawson. Anyone who can take anything delicate and hard such as mental health and make it something we can feel normal and not so alone about is a hero in my eyes. And then they even manage to make us laugh about it. I adore her work so much.

If you haven’t yet read Hyperbole and a Half then lucky you, you have something to tide you over until this one comes out.

  • Successor’s Son (Millennium’s Rule #3) by Trudi Canavan

There’s no synopsis out for this one yet, and I haven’t read the second book just yet as I need to re-read the first to bring all the subtitles back to the front of my mind. Hopefully over the Christmas break I’ll get the chance to read the first two again, and maybe I’ll take pointed notes for myself so I’m all ready for the third when it comes out! I loved the first book in this series and have high hopes for the second two.

  • Keep Calm & Kill the Chef (Café La Femme #3) by Livia Day

Currently if you sign up to Livia Day’s newsletter, you get access to the promotional library, which includes a sneak preview of the first chapter of this, which is all about one of the best characters – Xanthippe. This offers a unique look of our main character, Tabitha, and what makes this cosy crime series just so fantastic – pointing out how squishy and lovely Tabitha is which makes her such a terrible amateur detective, no matter how many ‘accidental corpses’ fall into her path. It’s Livia’s amusing humour which makes this series so much fun to read and adore.

  • Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

So this book is nearly out and my review friends have enjoyed it greatly, so I’m looking forward to getting it when it comes out.

TruthwitchIn the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

  • Defying Doomsday by Tsana Dolichva, Holly Kench

This is an anthology I backed for funding via pozible, and I know most of the people involved, so I’m counting down the days until I get my hands on this one!

Apocalypse fiction rarely includes characters with disability, chronic illness and other impairments. When these characters do appear, they usually die early on, or are secondary characters undeveloped into anything more than a burden to the protagonist. Defying Doomsday will be an anthology showing that disabled characters have far more interesting stories to tell in post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction.

The anthology will be varied, with characters experiencing all kinds of disability from physical impairments, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and/or neurodiverse characters. There will also be a variety of stories, including those that are fun, sad, adventurous and horrific.

The stories in Defying Doomsday will look at periods of upheaval from new and interesting perspectives. The anthology will share narratives about characters with disability, characters with chronic illnesses and other impairments, surviving the apocalypse and contending with the collapse of life as they know it.

  • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Corinne’s Otherbound was one of my favourite books read in 2014 and I can’t wait for this one. One chapter will apparently make us cry, and I’m sure it’ll be hard-hitting, not afraid to be utterly blunt with how being autistic changes Denise’s options and treatment.

EdgeofGoneJanuary 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one.

Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

  • The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon

Fallon is one of the reasons why I originally got into Australian epic fantasy (yup, I was a bit late to the ball game, really) and I enjoyed the majority of her work not so much the latest YA…) so I’m incredibly hopeful/excited for this series to come out.

Her Serene Highness, Rakaia, Princess of Fardohnya, is off to Hythria, where her eldest sister is now the High Princess, to find herself a husband, and escape the inevitable bloodbath in the harem when her brother takes the throne.

Rakaia is not interested in marrying anyone, least of all some brute of a Hythrun Warlord she’s never met, but she has a plan to save herself from that, too. If she can just convince her baseborn sister, Charisee, to play along, she might actually get away with it.

But there is trouble brewing across the continent. High Prince of Hythria, Damin Wolfblade, must head north to save the peace negotiated a decade ago between the Harshini, Hythria, Fardohnya, Medalon and Karien. He must leave behind an even more dangerous conflict brewing between his wife and his powerful mother, Princess Marla.

  • The Rebirth of Rapunzel by Kate Forsyth

This will be a collection that will contain Kate’s research on the Rapunzel story that underpinned her stunning, award-winning novel, Bitter Greensas well as several other pieces related to fairy tales and folklore. The book is not your usual reference work, but an wonderful exploration of the subject matter, written in Kate’s clever and engaging style.

  • The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

DarkDaysSo this one has apparently been moved forward at the last minute to be published before Christmas 2015 rather than early 2016, but now it’s not like I’ll get to read it until 2016 anyway so here it can stay.

I’ve read a sample of this through NetGalley and can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

  • Assassin’s Fate (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #3) by Robin Hobb

Okay so this book I really will need to take the day off to read when it comes out – and if I get my hands on an ARC again I will be highly likely to squeal again – first time I was in a hotel room at a judging conference and I dashed out to McDonalds before we started that morning in order to download it (and I think that failed, and I begged Tehani to be able to use her mobile data to do so?), and the second I was at work. My co-workers pretended to understand.

There’s no synopsis out for this one yet – who needs one? Our hearts will be torn out, our poor Fitz and Fool and everyone they hold dear will feel pain of unimaginable suffering, and a good time will be had by all.

  • The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

Life in Outer Space was one of Melissa’s earlier books, and really quite enjoyable… so I’m on board for this one! I also hope to have time to read The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl sometime soon.

Meet Sophia: former child prodigy and 17-year-old maths mastermind. She’s been having panic attacks ever since she realised that a) high school is almost over, and b) after high school, former child prodigies tend to either cure cancer – or go crazy.

It’s a lot of pressure. So Sophia doesn’t have the patience for games right now, and she especially doesn’t have the patience to figure out why all these mysterious playing cards keep turning up inside her textbooks.

Meet Joshua: highly intelligent, cheerfully unambitious, and an amateur magician. He’s Sophia’s classmate, and he’s admired her for as long as he can remember.

He thinks the time is perfect to tell Sophia how he feels. And he doesn’t know how wrong he is …

  • The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

SidekicksI loved Will’s first book, The First Third – it was a book like Melina Marchetta’s – so perfectly showing the blending of cultures that occurs in Australia when you’re born here but your parents aren’t, so you’ve Australian but other things from other cultures are also deeply important, and sometimes clash in awkward, heartbreaking, and/or hilarious ways. So I’m totally there for his next book. It’s books like these that show just how damn strong Australian YA really is – not that there’s any surprise in that regard for us who live here. You just hope they get the worldwide recognition they deserve.

Isaac, Ryan, Harley and Miles aren’t four best friends, they’re three guys with the same best friend. When Isaac dies, they have to learn to fill the space he’s left in each other’s lives. And after so many years of being sidekicks, it’s harder being stars than they ever anticipated.

  • False Hearts by Laura Lam

HeartsFalseCommence high-pitched squealing for Laura Lam. Her writing is AMAZINGFalseHearts and I can’t properly articulate just how excellent this series is. Spoilt as I am, I’ve beta-read both this and the next in the series so I can confidently say – just you wait. It’s amazing.

Also look at these covers. Aren’t they stunning!

The novel begins in Mana’s Hearth, a retreat that’s closed off from the rest of society and denied access to technology or modern medicine, where twin sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When their lives are threatened they finally manage escape to San Francisco and a life that’s beyond anything they could have imagined. Ten years later, Tila returns to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder in the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life.

  • Masquerade (Micah Grey #3) by Laura Lam

MasqueradeAnother piece of awesome to get hyper about – the close to a series Laura started publishing with Angry Robot, and has since moved to Tor with. If you’ve read the first two and can’t wait for the third, be sure to check out the four novellas set in this world in a mini-series called the Vestigial Tales which should tide you over for a short while at least.

This is actually due out in early 2017, but ARCs should be available in 2016 so I’m leaving it here – and the re-release of the first two in this series (Pantomime and Shadowplay) are due out at the end of 2016 with stunning new covers. Don’t know what this series is about? Never fear!

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

  • The Fall of the Dagger (The Forsaken Lands #3) by Glenda Larke

There’s no synopsis out for this one yet, and I haven’t read the second book just yet as I need to re-read the first to bring all the many awesome characters back to the front of my memory… so with a week or two to go before the release of this one I’ll start my re-read, and it’ll be glorious. I can’t recommend Glenda’s work enough, and she’s amazing in person if you ever get the chance to chat or listen to her read/answer questions.

  • Shaming the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Melina was my favourite author growing up, so to hear she has a new book coming out fills me with a whole lot of hyper joy.

Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not deaing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break up of his marriage.

Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board. The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack.

As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, and the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter.

  • Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim #3) by Juliet Marillier

There’s no ETA for this one, but I’m hopeful as the first two were released one a year. I can’t wait for the third one for this one, Blackthorn and Grim are some of my favourite current characters so I’m desperate for more. This is another series I would take a day off work to enjoy without fail.

  • The Burning World (Warm Bodies #2) by Isaac Marion

Do you follow Marion on instagram? You should. Did you read the first book in the Warm Bodies series, or just see the movie? Read the book.

Being alive is hard. Being human is harder. But since his recent recovery from death, R is making progress. He’s learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love, and the city’s undead population is showing signs of life. R can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart—building a new world from the ashes of the old one.

And then helicopters appear on the horizon. Someone is coming to restore order. To silence all this noise. To return things to the way they were, the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. The plague is ancient and ambitious, and the Dead were never its only weapon.

How do you fight an enemy that’s in everyone? Can the world ever really change? With their home overrun by madmen, R, Julie, and their ragged group of refugees plunge into the otherworldly wastelands of America in search of answers. But there are some answers R doesn’t want to find. A past life, an old shadow, crawling up from the basement.

  • Every Heart a Doorway (Every Heart A Doorway #1) by Seanan McGuire

DoorwayMcGuireTaken from Alex’s excellent review of this:

McGuire has presented a story about the girls and boys who come back from fairyland… and wish they hadn’t.

Nancy went to the Halls of the Dead and basically learnt to act as a statue to please the Lord and Lady there. Her parents, of course, do not understand what she experienced and think she needs to be helped through whatever trauma is causing her to tell such dreadful tales.

Isn’t that all one needs to know to be hooked in? Also, I’ll read anything by Seanan/Mira. The only slight ‘issue’ with this is that it’s short at only 150 pages or so, I already know I’ll want more than that! The good thing with McGuire though is that she comes out with so damn much a year that we’ll always have something more to read soon enough.

  • Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan is another author I need more time for! I’ve enjoyed the little I’ve managed to read so far, and hear very good things of her from just about everywhere, so I’ll be marking this down and hoping I get the time!

This is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life.

  • Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

GhostTalkersAlternate history? Mary Robinette Kowal? I am so there.

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Hartshorne, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

  • Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson

I adore the Mistborn series, not for the plot which is all a bit weak and dull, but for the characters. Wax and Wayne are amazing together with their witty banter, but Steris is where it’s at: she’s incredible.

A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

  • The Dark Talent (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians #5) by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve only read the first in this series also, but it’s one that I’m going to enjoy once I get the time to.

  • A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows FinalSo this is only part of the synopsis, but…

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

It seems to be enough to be getting on with, doesn’t it? I’ve already read the first third thanks to a NetGalley sample and my goodness I can’t wait to get the rest. I adore Delilah so much!

I’ve already written up about the sample I’ve read, and you can read that right here… but basically, Delilah is amazing, followed swiftly by the awesome that is Kell, and we also get an amazing plot in that of the Element Games. Bring it on.

  • The Returned (The Archived #3) by Victoria Schwab

Not much is known about this one, but it’s been announced it’s happening. I could have listed it below in my list of books I don’t expect to be out this year, but Schwab writes damned fast and I think if it’s ready the publisher will hand it to us asap rather than a year and a half later, so fingers crossed!

  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

I really don’t know just how many books Schwab can bring out in a year, but baby I’m all there for all of them on day one, eagerly grabbing and reading as soon as possible. If it’s possible to take the day off for the release, well, I’m there for that too.

SavageSongThe city of Verity has been overrun with monsters, born from the worst of human evil. In North Verity, the Corsai and the Malchai run free. Under the rule of Callum Harker, the monsters kill any human who has not paid for protection. In the South, Henry Flynn hunts the monsters who cross the border into his territory, aided by the most dangerous and darkest monsters of them all—the Sunai, dark creatures who use music to steal their victim’s souls.

As one of only three Sunai in existence, August Flynn has always wanted to play a bigger role in the war between the north and the south. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate Harker, daughter of the leader of North Verity, August jumps on it.
When Kate discovers August’s secret, the pair find themselves running for their lives and battling monsters from both sides of the wall. As the city dissolves into chaos, it’s up to them to foster a peace between monsters and humans.

A unique, fast-paced adventure that looks at the monsters we face every day—including the monster within.

  • Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

Taylor is another author I’ll throw everything aside for and squee for more.

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:
the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
a mysterious city stripped of its name.
a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
a young librarian with a singular dream.
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

  • Necessity (Thessaly #3) by Jo Walton

Walton’s Thessaly series was one that really took me by surprise, if only in the way that it reads as a highly literary series that I’d otherwise think I’m too dumb for. While I think I am missing many subtleties not having read the books this is all spawned from, it’s still a wonderful and highly enjoyable series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

More than sixty­-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato’s Republic. Among the City’s children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form.

Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun.

Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there’s suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato­­a ship from Earth.

  • The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells

Wells was one of my new favourite authors of all time very quickly, to the point where I’m now savouring several of her books as a treat once I have some bloody time to myself again – I can’t wait. This is a book I’d immediately jump to as soon as it comes out though, timelines be damned.

Prior to the groundlings’ arrival, the Indigo Cloud court had been plagued by visions of a disaster that could destroy all the courts in the Reaches. Now, the court’s mentors believe the ancient city is connected to the foretold danger. A small group of warriors, including consort Moon, an orphan new to the colony and the Raksura’s idea of family, and sister queen Jade, agree to go with the groundling expedition to investigate. But the predatory Fell have found the city too, and in the race to keep the danger contained, the Raksura may be the ones who inadvertently release it.

  • In Your Face (anthology) edited by Tehani Wessely

I read anything that comes out from FableCroft, and so here we have their next anthology.

A collection of Australian speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative and/or confronting themes, but with purpose – they will be pieces that perhaps make readers uncomfortable because they are a bit too hard-hitting or close to the bone, but which do so in order to interrogate these themes and ideas, and make a point about the world we live in.

  • One Would Think Deep by Claire Zorn

OneWouldThinkDeepSet in 1997, centred around seventeen year old Sam. Sam has been raised by his mother and was very close to his maternal grandparents, his aunt and his cousin, until a rift caused his mum to become estranged from them. In the aftermath of his mum’s sudden death, Sam finds himself reunited with his extended family and moved to a small coastal town south of Sydney.

Claire’s previous books The Sky So Heavy and The Protected have both been devoured in an afternoon each, so although there’s barely anything known of this one yet, I’m eagerly awaiting this one. Bring on May!


Other books I would of course jump for, but don’t expect to come out in 2016 are:

  • The Burning (Luther #2) by Neil Cross
  • Untitled (Cormoran Strike, #4) by Robert Galbraith
  • The Bastards and the Knives (Gentleman Bastard, #0.5) by Scott Lynch
  • Doors of Stone (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #3) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Lost Metal (Mistborn #7) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Untitled (Blood and Gold, #2) by Kim Wilkins
  • Rewind (Newsflesh #4) by Mira Grant
  • Untitled (Wolf By Wolf #2) by Ryan Graudin
  • Untitled (Magonia #2) by Maria Dahvana Headley


And then because you can never have enough books, why not a list of books I’m not entirely sure of yet, but I may just check out. The above are all books from authors I know and love – the following are books that simply sound interesting, and may soon to join the above list.

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

AlltheBirdsChildhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

  • Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

  • Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

ExitBearHermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

  • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

RadioSilenceFrances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

  • These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker, Kelly Zekas

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.


What books are you eagerly awaiting? Do you have any suggestions for what I should keep an eye out for?

Other excellent blog posts I’ve come across for 2016 pondering are as follows. If you’ve posted one, let me know in a comment and I’ll check it out!


Honourable Mentions of 2014

To come tomorrow, a post containing my favourite books that I read in 2014, (any that I had for judging have been omitted.)

So it seems from previous years that I order these by title. Strange, but I hate breaking tradition.

Books due out in 2015 (but read in 2014)

Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall

In Goodhouse, the families of convicted criminals are tested for a set of genetic markers (though this book seems to be set in 1980 or around-abouts). Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state and are removed from their homes to be raised on “Goodhouse” campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. It’s not really said what happens to the females – perhaps it is thought that they remain good and wholesome.

What’s most powerful in this book is how the children are treated. James has zero rights – the school is run by different levels of ‘enforcer’ type characters, some who are even students themselves who have been given additional privileges. James is constantly attacked and victimised, but it doesn’t matter what he says to whom – he’s either ignored entirely, or there’s minor confusion as the culprits seem to never had existed.

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

A novel that was originally due out in 2014 (and I received for review back then) only to then fall victim to Angry Robot cancelling their Strange Chemistry imprint. This book has been picked up again thankfully, and is due out in 2015.

This is a novel about a world where continent-sized storms called ‘hypercanes’ cause havoc on the surface, so everyone lives well below the Earth’s surface. For the rich and powerful there are holidays to the surface as if it’s the height of fashion, and this is what Jansin Nordqvist’s family do, along with her partner – it’s all amazing to see the sun for the first time and so on… until they’re attacked, and she’s taken prisoner.

And from there, Jansin begins to learn that perhaps all she’s ever been told about the world may not be strictly true. And if that’s the case, then can she really live her life the same again?

Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop

This is a series that keeps getting better! Sometimes the first book in a series is amazing, and then they kinda trail off as the series gets longer and longer… but the second and third are only more excellent, and there seems to be many more books planned to come!

This book went into just how much the humans have stuffed up, and what consequences there shall be to come – which is spiraling out of control as the humans against the Others are getting more and more violent. The humans that are on the Others’ alliance are getting more airtime also, and we’re getting to know them better.

This book was a bit lighter on the Simon/Meg aspect, but it’s all very realistic and lovely. Bring on book four!

Books read and published in 2014

Admission (Pandora Jones #1) by Barry Jonsberg

A local author, I’m a bit fond of Jonsberg – it doesn’t hurt that he’s an excellent author. This is an interesting ‘the world is ending’ book that takes a certain group of people – kids mostly – into a camp in order to protect and prepare them for what the world has become.

Yet not everything is as it seems. Throw in a few abilities and you have a traditional YA novel that still manages to be gripping and interesting even if the plot points have all been done before. The characters are what drive this, so it’s good that’s one of the best aspects of the novel.

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

This was a fast-moving novel that’s split into sections that show Liz Emerson’s life before she crashes her car, killing herself. It also shows a whole of other sections of her life and those around her with multiple perspectives, and manages to not be confusing throughout.

It’s a book that emotionally invests you but in addition to that, the writing is beautiful. It shows how characters in a novel can be interesting even if you don’t like them too much.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Now this was a book with a difference. Now that we’ve moved past the books of worldwide disaster and zombies and such, we’re getting these ideas with a twist and a difference. This is written with an almost literature sense to it, and really begs the question, what does it take to be considered human?

The only reason this book isn’t on my ‘best books’ post (books that got five out of five stars) was because while the ending was fantastic, the book didn’t always grab me throughout and there was something a little off about the characters sometimes. Ultimately though, Melanie was the character that drove this book home and really, any book with an excellent ending will do okay with me.

Landry Park (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen

Honestly, this book has merged so much into The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski that I couldn’t remember a single thing about this one alone. I liked them both independently of each other at the time, but now it comes time to recall things about them separately, Winner’s Curse has overtaken this one. Whether it’s because I read it second, who knows.

Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop

Well 2014 must have been a pretty good year if I got two books from the same series within months of each other. Yay for reviewing!

‘Murder of Crows’ is the second book in The Others series, written by Anne Bishop. It picks up quite soon after where the first book, Written in Red, left off, and notes just how long Meg has now been living in Lakeside Courtyard. It’s a surprisingly little amount of time, yet we already know so much about them all and can see how far she has become part of, and invested in, the lives of theterra indigene.

Overall this is a strange second book to a series, because they’re usually lacking or full of information and not much action, whereas this one expands on everything – world building, characters, and has its own distinct plot while also tying securely into the first.

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise to get such a strong second book in a series, but there we go. It was excellent!

The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Another book I loved so much that fell victim to Angry Robot closing down Strange Chemistry! Hopefully it’ll find another deal along with the second in the series sometime soon. Other than that, she has another book coming out in 2015 called ‘Our Lady of the Ice’.

This was a wonderful and strange book that reminds me a bit of Laura Lam’s writing. This was about a young witch who is stuck as an apprentice to a strange fisherman. Trouble and mysterious things keeps finding her, and what’s wonderful about this book is the description and characters that carry us there. I’m hungry for the next book, dammit!

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

This was such a pretty story. Ophelia is a witty young sassy protagonist who doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. Their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows after their mother dies, and they’re all still in mourning, losing themselves in lonely, antisocial ways rather than banding together in their grief. Ophelia explores their new home, and on her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room, locked there by his step-mother, Her Majesty the Snow Queen.

It’s a middle grade book with a difference. The plot seems over-done, yet the novel is anything but. It really is magic.

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Yet another entirely different novel. This is no simple love story, set worlds apart. Because of tropes, one almost expects Amara and Nolan to find a spark together, but throughout they remain stoic and barely able to work together. Throughout the novel we come over unexpected things, which leads the author as someone to be watched closely for what they come out with next. As a debut novel this is a fantastically strong book, with only a few, very minor quibbles. I would have loved to see more of the world, as it wasn’t one of the usual white-person filled medieval style fantasy. I would have loved to see more of the magic that binds them all. You don’t need to see more of either in order to enjoy and believe in the story – as I said, they’re very minor quibbles, and I should add in ‘selfish’ there, too. It’s what I would have loved to see, personally.

The author has another book set to come out in 2016 – On the Edge of Gone. Can’t wait!

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman

Set in the 1930s in Munich, just after World War I (then called The Great War) when Germany is in turmoil. Gretchen Müller is a young adult, and a proud member of the National Socialist Party – that is, until, her own conscience begins to show what seemingly no one else can. Their close family friend was one a badge of honour, and now she’s feeling incredibly ashamed. One guess to who it is.

In this fast-paced historical fiction, we see what Germany was like at the time and how desperate things became. We see another side to Hitler, with how he liked to draw, eat simple foods, and gave insightful and philosophical encouragement to those who surrounded him.

This is quite an excellent historical fiction novel, bravely written. Highly recommended for those who love Elizabeth Wein.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Tales from Temerant) by Patrick Rothfuss

Where to start with this book. It’s a strange piece of work and if I’m perfectly honest, it isn’t something I entirely loved depending on my mood. The author himself warns you off reading it in the first few pages.

At times when reading it I was a little disappointed. Or a little bored. It was sometimes easy to put down – though I did always pick it up again quite soon after. And all in all it’s a lovely book, it’s a good read but… This is only a book for those who have read his Kingkiller Chronicles series and have time for a little whimsy.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Took a while to get into, but then it gets really quite engaging and a very quick read. It’s so good to have our series back! First a movie and now this, and a second book out soon also – LoVe fans rejoice! (Yes, Logan and Veronica really do get the OTP name to end all other OTP names, I must admit. Even if my OTP is John/Aeryn from Farscape.)

This was the crime and characters we know and love, written with quite an excellent touch that’s above the usual fandom tie-in novel. Though this one could have had a bit more Logan in it, please.

The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2) by Marie Brennan

This was such a quick read after I failed to pick it up all year! Reading Temeraire by Naomi Novik got me in the mood for it and then I devoured it within a few hours.

I have to admit, I didn’t like it as much as the first, but I’m still quite invested in the series and shall probably continue. The events of the first book leave everything in quite sad, dire straits and in this book you see the protagonist struggling on all sides (and accomplishing epic magnitudes to be sure) in order to find her own place in the world and hush all the nay-sayers.

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal

After Melody’s wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute.

Apologies, I took the above from the goodreads profile – these books are hard to sum up! From there, we see the Vincents battle through injustices and manage to get by on their wit alone. These books are such a rollicking good ride, each as good as the last!

The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams

Tad Williams is an author I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. I own most of his books and they look pretty fantastic on my shelves, but I haven’t yet actually started one of his novels.

This was a very enjoyable collection with most shorts earning a four or a five out of five from me. They work and fit together very well, with most having religious overtones, and cleverly taking tropes or well worn steps in fantasy and using them to their strengths.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Ahh, one of the most spoken about books in YA to come out this year. This is the type of book you need to know nothing about before going in, so I’ll keep it short. The prose is pretty excellent, lyrical in parts and beautiful in others. It’s weird and uncomfortable in others and the ending will certainly … well. Just read it. It’s a quick read, and can easily be done in an afternoon, so get to it.

While We Run (When We Wake #2) by Karen Healey

So I was a judge for the Children’s Book Council Awards. One of eight across Australia (one from each state/territory) who had to read 380+ books and then spend a week discussing them out to choose the winners. You’d think after that I’d take a few days off reading – or even a week, maybe.

Nope. I inhaled this series instead. Literally the first afternoon we had free, a few of the other judges and I went directly to a bookstore. Go figure.

This was SUCH an engaging series and I keep checking around to see if there’ll be a third book. Come on, Karen! I need more!

Tegan Oglietti is no ordinary girl – she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life 100 years later. That alone should be enough to get you interested – does it help that the characters are dang interesting?

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

Kestral has two choices in life – either join the military (and follow her father’s footsteps), or get married. Neither choice seem enticing to Kestral. (This is the novel I just can’t keep separate in my head from Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.)

It’s good to see a main character who has strength in intellect and strategy. Though Kestral has been brought up to be a fighter, it also stresses that she’s simply not that good – she can hold her own, and she’s competent in many subjects thanks to years and years of training, but she lacks the natural flare. Unfortunately, while this book was quite entertaining, my ARC of the second in the series has been quite dull and suffers heavily from middle book syndrome.

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

This novella is mostly about Dr Marianne Jenner. She’s at an age we don’t see too often in speculative fiction – she’s old enough to have three children of her own, a deceased husband, and as we see throughout the novel, two grandchildren.

We see her being congratulated for a paper and suddenly threatening men from the government burst into the room and escort her away – because aliens have landed, and they’ve requested her presence specifically.

Nancy’s writing is engaging – you can’t put the book down at all. It’s quite short (I’d say it’s a novella rather than a novel) so you could get through it in an afternoon.

Books read in 2014 (yet published earlier)

2012 by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne

This anthology takes eleven of Australia’s best known speculative fiction authors and allows them to present unique ideas for the near future (at least at the time of writing it was the near future!) It will be interesting to see in ten years how these stories and ideas stand – to see if the issues of terrorism and climate change still stand, or how they’ve since developed.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

This 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 Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab

This is a character-driven novel, my favourite kind! Schwab writes characters that are just so good and become instant favourites. Like Wes. She’s also so good at describing worlds and magic and it’s kinda set in a fancy academy-style school, and also in a massive library – so what’s not to love here?

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

Another book that’s hard to sum up. I really quite liked this – the characters were interesting, and it managed to take a kinda creepy idea and present it in an almost-acceptable way.

The Lives of Tao (Tao #1) by Wesley Chu

Another fun book! This was is such a different series, that combines humour with the slight desperation of an overweight geek who is pretty miserable with life who hasn’t dreamed, even if it were only once or just for a few moments, of being discovered by someone or something and trained up for Something. In this case, it’s to be a secret agent. Aliens are involved and they’re pretty sassy. We have female characters who are worthwhile and competent, and we have a main character who is hard to dislike.

Nanberry by Jackie French

This book is set at the very start of Australia during the first waves of convicts being dumped on the shores, and it presents an extraordinary view of what life was like them from multiple points of view – how beautiful but also how terrible and hard it all was, what it was like from the point of view of an Indigenous person, from that of a well-off doctor (one of the most highly respected people of that time), and that of a convict-turned-house servant.

I’ve loved Jackie French’s work since I was in primary school and she’s just such a damn good writer that her book for children remain utterly readable no matter how old you get.

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

This one was recommended to me by my book-twin Sam. I picked this to be the first book read for the year as I like to start the year with a very enjoyable book, and I wasn’t disappointed! This is a juvenile book, but goes to show that as long as it’s well written you can enjoy anything. This was a lovely tale with a very effective magic system, delicate prose, and engaging characters – everything was so easy to visulise that I didn’t want this book to end!

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

So this book is set before ‘Wildlife’ – one of my favourite books of all time now, but you can read the books utterly separate. Both books capture teenage life so well, and depict social pressures as well as dating, drinking and so on with perfect clarity, never seeming over dramatic or unrealistic.

Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

This was a very, very slow book to get into. I forced myself through it a bit knowing at least I could rely on Sanderson that it would probably eventually be good. It eventually paces up to be an enjoyable novel overall, and it leaves you very, very interested for the second. Again, characters drive this one.

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

So I finally picked this one up after meaning to for ages, thanks to the television show – as I imagined a lot of people have. The show followed it quite faithfully in a way and both were engaging enough – I do love seeing how a city reacts to a disaster. I probably won’t be continuing with the series though – I feel I’ve got enough from this book, and there are probably other books that do the same thing enough to keep me entertained.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

This was a quick, sad read where you see the terror of war in much more of a stark way – this book was written from a solider’s point of view so it was pretty depressing the whole way through. You can see why it’s won awards.