melita66: (iceberg)
First off was a Mary Janice Davidson, The Royal Mess, set in her Alaskan royalty alt-history. The main character finds out she's the king's first-born which makes her heir even though she was born out of wedlock. It was alright, but I didn't think it was the best of the series. 

I then decided to reread Rosemary Kirstein's Steerswoman's series. So far I've read The Steerswoman and Outskirter's Secret. I just started The Lost Steersman. There's a big secret in these books, but the main story is about a young woman who's trained as a steerswoman. Steerswomen and men travel the land recording the topography, culture, botany, everything. They have to answer every question put to them, as long as everyone else answers their questions. If someone doesn't answer a steerswoman's question, they get put under a ban. So, Rowan is investigating some strange blue-colored jewels. She finds a barbarian who has a whole belt of them which deepens the mystery. Rowan's investigation interests at least one of the wizards and she has to escape several attacks on her life.

The second book follows Rowan into the wilds, the outskirts, in the company of the barbarian, Bel, in search of more of the blue jewels.

The final issue of Matt Wagner's Mage: The Hero Denied was released. It was a nice wrap to this series, and the entire series. 

I'm going to try to finish the Kirstein series as I have a busy week ahead which will make reading a new book more difficult. After that, it'll be either The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie or By Demons Possessed by P.C. Hodgell.
melita66: (iceberg)
 January has been a funny (odd) month. I have a bunch of started-but-not-finished books. I plan to finish all of them. 

First off, I started S.L. Huang's Zero Sum Game which I've been interested in for a while after an excellent review by James Nicoll. I read the first few chapters and just stalled. I think I wasn't in the mood for violence right then.

I then a chunk of Giant Days by Allison, Sarin, and Treiman which is a graphic novel about 3 young woman at college. It's fun. I just need to pick it up again. I'm reading it on my phone, which is a bit difficult.

Alliance Rising by C.J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher was released (another reason I stopped Giant Days) and......I found the start really slow and repetitive. I love Cherryh but yowch. It was finally starting to pick around page 100, but I have just not wanted to go back to it. 

Someone remarked online that the new Bujold novella was out, Knife Children, set in her Sharing Knife universe. That one flew by. It's about a lakewalker who finds that his unacknowledged farmer daughter has run away from home. The story's about trying to find her and then what to do with her as she was dreadfully unhappy at home.

I next got to read an early release of Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis. This is a sequel to Snowspelled and Spellswept and focuses on Cassandra who is trying to open the first magic school for young women. Entanglement with the Boudiccate (ruling institution) and local fae occur and may doom the school. Fun! 

My favorite independent (I think) author, Melissa McShane, released the first book in a new series, Company of Strangers. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world (not ours) where there's been some recovery but they're mainly at medievalish level. Sienne, a young wizard, is trying to make a living as a scrapper. Scrappers go out to ruins and try to find trinkets and relics from before the apocalypse. She gets hired for a quick journey after a specific relic. The majority of the book is the group of five on their trip and beginning to come together as a team. I'm looking forward to the next one. 

The last week has been a bit difficult so I decided that I needed some Murderbot. I read books 3 (Rogue Protocol) and 4 (Exit Strategy). (because I haven't read them as much as books 1 and 2. Duh!)

Murderbot's such fun. It's snarky and hates people but somehow keeps having to rescue them. It would much rather watch videos, read books, and listen to music. I read a review by someone (a man, I remember) who kept calling Murderbot "he". Murderbot refers to itself as "it", so the review troubled me although it was very positive. 



melita66: (japanese fruit)
 I've been continuing to read new issues of Strangers in Paradise XXV and Mage vol 3 plus I picked up some more of League of Extraordinary Gentleman, mainly to read the Nemo stories (about Janni, the original Nemo's daughter) and was drawn into the new miniseries. 

Triggered by the Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (CVA) reread on Tor.com, I read through it. It's fun; it's Bujold, but it's not one of my favorites even though I've liked Ivan through most of the series. I then reread Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen where we find out quite a bit more about Aral and Cordelia. CVA is a big caper novel, but strong in interpersonal relatipnships. One thing that caught my attention in CVA is the price given to build a new facility. Gregor put it at 500 million marks (I assume). A similar facility for NGA (a US military organization focusing on geographic data including imagery cost $1.7 billion recently. Anyway, GJ&RQ has almost no BIG! BOLD! ACTION! but instead focuses on people. I enjoyed it more than CVA.

Stephanie Burgis then released The Girl with the Dragon Heart, a sequel to The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart. These are middle grade/young adult. In the first book, a young dragon gets turned into a girl and ends up becoming a chocolatier's apprentice. Her first friend in the city is an orphan who's always on the make. The second book focuses on Silke who gets a change to spy for the crown on the royal faeries who have come visiting. However, the faeries stole Silke's mother and father away when they were on the way to the city. Can Silke find out what happened to them too?

I also read "The Wrong Foot" by Burgis, a twist on the Cinderella story. 

I felt me the need for some Moon and Stone so I read books 4 and 5, Edge of Worlds and Harbors of the Sun, by Martha Wells. 

The Brightness Long Ago doesn't come out for months but I managed to get an ARC. It takes place about a generation before his previous book, Children of Earth and Sky in that an older man in the latter book is a young man in this one. It's set in a quasi-Italy when every city-state was scheming and warring against the others.

Daniel Keys Moran released an ebook collection, about half Continuing Time-related. He's also releasing a hard-copy of The Long Run using the original artwork Yay!

Melissa Scott released a new sf book, Finders, about a team of scavengers. They particularly scavenge "toys" and elemental material from two earlier civilizations, both of which collapsed into the "Dark." They are a licensed team which has to include a scholar so it's somewhat like the early 20th century of archaeology. You get to clear the 'tomb' and sell whatever you can find. The elemental material is used to help power the existing third age. Meanwhile, one person is dying, the scholar who abandoned them years ago is back, complete with secrets that immediately complicate their lives. There was a typographic choice which struck me as odd in the book. The elemental material, somewhat like the fractins in Lee and Miller's Korval series, is comprised of RED, GREEN, and BLUE. The all caps just didn't work for me--maybe lower case italics would have worked as well? Minor nitpick.

I followed Finders with an early Scott book, Mighty Good Road, about another set of scavengers, troubleshooters who are hired to find a downed aircraft, determine how it happened, and find the cargo it was carrying. This one's complete with corporate skullduggery, classism, cultural clashes. It's good. 



melita66: (maiko)
Italic = read it. Underlined = not this, but something by the same author. Strikethrough = did not finish. asterix = on to-read list

The list is from a post that James did on Tor.com: https://www.tor.com/2018/12/27/100-sf-f-books-you-should-consider-reading-in-the-new-year/


48 read; 15 I've read something else by the author; only a few that I've bounced off of.






The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (2014)
The Stolen Lake by Joan Aiken (1981)
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (2001-2010)
Yokohama Kaidashi KikĊ by Hitoshi Ashinano (1994-2006) [partial] The translation I looked at was...not good.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Stinz: Charger: The War Stories by Donna Barr (1987)
The Sword and the Satchel by Elizabeth Boyer (1980)
Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown (1968)
The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)
Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler (1980)
Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey (2010)
The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter (1996)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2015)
Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant (1970)
The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas (1980)
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh (1976)
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (2015)
Diadem from the Stars by Jo Clayton (1977)
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
*Genpei by Kara Dalkey (2000)
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard (2010)
The Secret Country by Pamela Dean (1985)
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (1975)
The Door into Fire by Diane Duane (1979)
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (2016)
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott (2006)
Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl (1970)
Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle (1983)
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (1997)
A Mask for the General by Lisa Goldstein (1987)
Slow River by Nicola Griffith (1995)
Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly (1988)
Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand (1990)
Ingathering by Zenna Henderson (1995)
The Interior Life by Dorothy Heydt (writing as Katherine Blake, 1990)
God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell (1982)
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (1998)
*Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang (2014)
Blood Price by Tanya Huff (1991)
The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes (1980)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (2011)
Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta (2014)
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (2015)
Cart and Cwidder by Diane Wynne Jones (1975)
Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (2014)
Hellspark by Janet Kagan (1988)
A Voice Out of Ramah by Lee Killough (1979)
St Ailbe’s Hall by Naomi Kritzer (2004)
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (1970)
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (1987)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier (2005)
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (2013)
Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee (Also titled Drinking Sapphire Wine, 1979)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (2016)
Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm (1986)
Adaptation by Malinda Lo (2012)
Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn (1979)
Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy (1983)
The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (2007)
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh (1992)
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)
The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (1976)
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926)
Pennterra by Judith Moffett (1987)
The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe (2010)
Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore (1969)
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2016)
The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy (1989)
Vast by Linda Nagata (1998)
Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton (1959)
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (2006)
Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara (1993)
Outlaw School by Rebecca Ore (2000)
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (2014)
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (1983)
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (1976)
Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack (1996)
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (1859)
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (2011)
The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975)
Stay Crazy by Erika L. Satifka (2016)
The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (1988)
Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott (1985)
Everfair by Nisi Shawl (2016)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986)
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)
Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr. (1978)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1996)
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (1980)
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (2017)
The Well-Favored Man by Elizabeth Willey (1993)
Banner of Souls by Liz Williams (2004)
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (2012)
Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1980)
Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga (2005-present) (vol. 1 only)

melita66: (ghibli house)
 It feel like I didn't read that much...I had two bouts of not-feeling-like-reading-any-book-and-particularly-nothing-new so I ended up rereading mostly. 

First off was one of two new books, Melissa McShane's Voyager of the Crown. This follows Zara North, former Queen of Tremontane. She can self-heal and will be very long-lived, if not quite immortal. As it is, she's been too long in a mountain village and decided to travel to a far-off kingdom. Part of the trip is by sea, but then they' run in to pirates and much plot ensues. I've enjoyed this series and it's my favorite of McShane's. I don't know if she plans any more Tremontane stories, but I hope so. 

For a heartwarming change-of-pace, reread Patricia Wrede's A Matter of Magic which is an omnibus of Mairelon the Magician and Magician's Ward. It's the story of Kim, who grew up on the streets of London in the Regency era. She's hired to check out the wagon of a magician named Mairelon but is caught and take on by Mairelon as an apprentice. Much discussion of how to fit in and what she really wants in life.

I needed more positive (at least mostly) books so I tore through Starfarers, Transition, Metaphase, and Nautilus by Vonda McIntyre. The earth is launching a sailship to follow a cosmic string. On earth, there have been called to stop the expedition and militarize the ship so many of the staff have been recalled. A member of the alien contact department decides they should steal the starship...well just continue the existing mission. Holds an extra place in my heart for having a geographer and an SF writer/researcher on the alien contact team.

Then, in honor of Murderbot: Exit Strategy being released, I read books 2-4 again. I'd already read Exit Strategy via an ARC (advanced review copy). Murderbot is full of snark and can't understand why it ends up helping those pesky humans all the time. So, so pleased that the first book, All Systems Read won a best novella Hugo this year! And there's a novel due in 2020!!

I finally managed to read a new book, Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I'd been hearing a lot of about the series and those covers...! Yes, I admit it, a great cover can influence me to look twice and three times at a book. Intriguing world. It caught my attention early on and I just kept reading. I'm now debating between reading the next published or the direct sequel. Hmmm.






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