Daughters of Doubt and Eyerolling

Category: Buddyreads Page 2 of 4

It’s that time of the month …

… when I wonder what’s supposed to be nice about November rain. Ah, well, probably staying indoors and reading books while the tea goes cold.

October was full of books. According to my rather incorrect stats I managed to read about a book a day.

  • Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth certainly was my favourite read in September and October.
  • There was the Sceptre Buddyread Hench, which we all liked and got through quicker than we had planned.
  • Sylvain Neuvel’s The Test left me unsettled. The idea behind this sort of citizenship test is not sitting well with me.
  • Nix’s The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, an Urban Fantasy set in the ’80s. Clever world-building and very likeable characters.
  • Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds plays with time travel ideas but set in a multiverse novel, thereby avoiding the typical time travel conundrums.
  • Hackwith’s Hell’s Library duology was “chef’s kiss”-superb. Honestly, if you like Urban Fantasy and library stories, read it.
  • I also read Cixin Liu’s short story/novella collection To Hold Up the Sky. The stories made me put The Three Body Problem onto the “need to read soon” TBR. He manages to intertwine the lives of down-to-earth people with hard sci-fi and Chinese culture which makes for very interesting reading material.
  • Further I have read some mediocre YA fantasy novels, which I then had to cleanse off my palate with romance novels and a few children’s books.

So, what’s in store for November? I intend to participate in the NaNoWriMo. Some of my reading time will have to be allotted to writing.

  • Well, there is the new Sceptre Buddyread. Alix E Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches, which I have already read as an ARC, but I am really looking forward to what my two buddies have to say about it. I’ll probably skim along.
  • The LadyDuckOfDoom and I might read Shveta Thakrar’s debut novel Star Daughter together. It’s set in Indian culture and mythology and the main character is half human and half star.
  • I carelessly abandoned Kit Rocha’s Deal with the Devil weeks ago, it’s patiently waiting for me to return to it.

I’m off to make tea and fetch my favourite blanket, maybe I’ll even light a candle and get some chocolate.

October Buddyread Reveal

Wow, the Otherland-Team really surprised us this time. Neither of us expected their pick for this month’s buddyread: Natalie Zina Walschots’ Hench.

It’s – and here I go by the blurb alone:

A sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of Millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.

Natalie Zina Walschots, Hench – blurb

Our buddyread plan is to read it over the next four weeks, starting today. The book has 399 pages. We’ll read to page 99 until next week Tuesday, then until page 196, the next section is up to page 293, and the final bit brings us to page 399. I’m curious as to whether we can stick to this plan. It’s supposed to be a fast paced read, we might not be able to stop ourselves.

The Necromancers are back

… or in other words, the second book in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy hit the shelves; Harrow the Ninth was published 4 August, 2020.

It’s a bit tricky to talk about the book without giving too much away. Harrow starts several months after the point where Gideon the Ninth left us with a cliffhanger. Harrow is a new Lyctor now and should be training to be a full Lyctor soon, but something is off. You’ll notice this right away due to the unusual POV. The other Lyctors around her, as well as God, have strange habits, interesting names and are more fully-fleshed people than deities that need to be worshipped should be.

I enjoyed this “middle book” very much, mainly because it does NOT suffer from Middle-Book-Syndrome!!! Muir manages to propel the story forward and give Harrow enough room to develop her character further. There is a cast of familiar and new secondary characters that enrich the mystery of what is going on around Harrowhark the Lyctor.

I am looking very much forward to getting my grubby hands on Alecto the Ninth. The epilogue of Harrow might have teased at her story.

5/5 Goodreads stars

The Year the Albatross Came to the South-Western Halls

… was a special one for Piranesi, but we will not tell you why. No, not at all. This month’s buddyread is a book that is best read without knowing anything about it. I will not even assign a genre to this one. Susanna Clarke’s newest book Piranesi is about it’s titular main figure, living in the mysterious House and trying to figure out it’s secrets and pecularities. That’s really all you need to know.

When starting the book, we set a schedule. That’s what we always do to space out the reading over the month so that it doesn’t feel like too much of a task. But it was such a page-turner that we couldn’t stop ourselves from overshooting. We all finished it within ten days instead of four weeks.

The epistolary novel is told through Piranesi’s meticulous journal entries, so we learn about everything that’s going on in his pace. Through it all you experience his sense of wonder and gratefulness for the House that is also home. His character develops over the course of the book in a very interesting way. Our own RightHonourableHarpyEagle enjoyed the audiobook as well, and the voice acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor reflected Piranesi’s progress as a person.

It was a five star read for all of us, and another amazing buddyread pick.

It’s that time…

…when pumpkins make an appearance on doorsteps, windowsills and in kitchens. There’s some pumpkin soup bubbling on the stove right now and a sourdough bread from Bryan Ford’s New World Sourdough is fermenting nicely. Philistines might just say, it’s October.

My reading in September was very much sci-fi, fantasy and a bit of romance. And yes, I definitely said “Here! Let’s buddy read this!” too often. Also, I hit the request button for ARCs a few too many times. More on the shelf of shame later.

I’ve read 27 books in September. Wow, that’s nearly a book a day. And here I thought I hadn’t gotten much done. My highlights from among those 27 are:

  • Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi, the buddy read book our trusted indie The Otherland sent us. (A separate review will follow.) We wanted to pace this book over four weeks but finished within ten days of its arrival. It was a wonderful read.
  • Stuart Turton’s The Devil and the Dark Water. I read an ARC of this dark slightly Sherlockian mystery novel, it’s being published today.
  • Kevin Hearne’s Ink & Sigil, the start of a new series – a spin off (if you will) of the Iron Druid series. I highly recommend the audiobook.
  • Laura Lam and Elizabeth May’s Seven Devils, the beginning of a space opera. Seven unlikely allies are out to save the galaxy, which ended in a cliffhanger of sorts. I need to know how the story continues.
  • Rudolf Einzenhöfer’s Mein Papa ist ein Ork – a German fantasy story about a single orc father and his son. It’s for young children and I am counting myself among them. It’s an orcish story about family and home; and I’m thinking about getting another copy for myself – the one I bought is for my nephew. Maybe I need more than one copy though, my neighbour’s son is the perfect age for the book.

What does October hold in check for me? More books, obviously. As mentioned above, there is the ARC-Shelf-Of-Shame, which currently houses 101 ebooks waiting for my opinion. I’m not sure I will manage to squeeze all of them into the 31 days of the month. The ones that I will try to read though are Kerri Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Wicked, A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe, The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson.

I’m also going to finish Harrow the Ninth, I’ve reached chapter 29 – that’s roughly the middle of the book. I had ideas about where the story was going to go and not a single one of them has turned out right so far. [sarcasm off] Thanks Tamsyn Muir, I love it when an author manages to surprise me! [/sarcasm off]

There are a few beta-reads waiting for me. Yes, romance. Regency period. Yes, steamy scenes included. There’s that buddy read with a friend in Australia that continues with the second book in a six book series – I haven’t even finished the first book. (shame on me!) There’s the obligatory Pratchett for the #OokBOokClub on Litsy – The Fifth Elephant, starting October 8th. There are at least ten books that I’ve started – I might attempt to finish them. And there will also be a new Sceptre Buddy Read. What will it be this time? TheMarquessMagpie has spoken already, I’m hoping she’s right again. I will get her to cough up the winning lottery numbers for the upcoming draw sooner or later – okay, gotta be honest, sooner would be better. I’d go on a spending spree in a certain Berlin bookstore.

Cheerio for now, the sourdough wants to be tugged into the fridge over night and the pumpkin soup should be ready, too.

September Buddyread Reveal

Our September Buddyread book arrived a little late because it was released in the middle of this month. But it is well worth the wait. Once again we managed to guess (and hope for) the right book.

This month we will be reading Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Its description is wonderfully mysterious. A house with a labyrinth and an ocean in it, a friend called the Other and messages appearing out of nowhere. This is what we know about Piranesi’s life, and it is enough to become interested.

The cover draws you in, and because of it the book appears to have some ties to Greek mythology. But who knows what this slim book really has in store for us.

The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.

susanna clarke, Piranesi

Seven more books, please!

I was so excited when I heard about this book! Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elisabeth May is the start of a space opera duology and was an incredibly good read.

The Tholosian Empire is run by a cruel dictator and an AI that programs its citizens to obey. This is the story of seven rebels trying to bring it down. And it kicks ass.

The authors take the feeling of Star Wars, mix it with heists and sprinkle a fast-paced storyline on top. It works incredibly well and I would wish for a movie adaptation of this instead of Star Wars Episode “Let’s cut out diverse characters”.

I’ve already been a fan of Laura Lam’s books, and I’ll definitely check out Elisabeth May’s books.

It’s that time …

… when supermarkets start stocking gingerbread, Stollen, and chocolate Santas – or in other words: It’s September!

Contrary to what I thought at the beginning of the month – that I might be happy if I get a few books off my TBR – I had a very productive August, thanks to the schools reopening. That offered me a lot of hours of audio-reading while doing the chores. You have no idea how much that has helped with regaining my equilibrium.

My August was filled with sci-fi, fantasy, (explicit) romance, a bit of horror and historical fiction. Goodreads, probably the only place that keeps a halfway accurate record of my reading, has 19 books logged for August. That’s not true. I read a couple of ARCs that are not in the Goodreads database yet; and a few excerpts of books, which I don’t count towards my Goodreads challenge. Which is looking fine, btw. Thanks for asking.

The Sceptre buddyread The Only Good Indians was interesting, although I wouldn’t say my favourite of the month. That honour goes to the romcoms I’ve read, Dawn with a Duke and The Switch and Erin Mallon’s Flirtasaurus. I needed a cozy feel-good read for a change. I had virtually thrown too many books at the wall in August.

Looking forward to September I have to admit, I might have said “yes, let’s buddyread this book/series/author” a few too many times. My plate is full.

There are, as always, books I’m reading with my kids; strangely that list is getting longer every month too. There’ll be the Sceptre buddyread; we’re busy speculating on which book it might be. It’s a book that’ll be published in early September, because the bookshop will send out the books later this time.

Buddyreads: There’s Katie MacAlister’s Improper English that I am reading with a friend in Australia. My postal book club book for August is still unread – Ugh! – and the next book is on it’s way to me. Pratchett’s Last Continent wants to be read by September 7th for the Litsy OokBOokClub. There is Shusterman’s Scythe, which I’m buddyreading with my son. Then I’m looking forward to Laura Lam and Elizabeth May’s Seven Devils, which I wanted to start but accidentally started reading Kit Rocha’s Deal with the Devil; I am also savouring the ARC of Turton’s next book The Devil and the Dark Water. Coincidence? I think it just means September is off to a good start.

If you’re wondering, the current state of the NetGalley-ARC-shelf-of-shame is 95. Hand me some gingerbread, please! I need something to snack on while I get through that pile.

August Buddyread Review

The August Buddy Read Book from Otherland was The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, published 14 July 2020. The Magpie’s prediction – in a private chat – was right. (If she’s right with the next three books too, we should consider buying a lottery ticket.)

Ten years ago, the week before Thanksgiving, four Native American men went on a hunt. The four Blackfeet shot and butchered a lot of elk, but came home empty handed. This event will haunt them.

The story has a stuttering start, because the four protagonists have to be introduced. Once the reader has an idea of who the players are and what went down ten years ago, it’s hard to stop turning the pages. (I overshot the buddyread mark twice.)

This is a horror story. There is suspense and lots of graphic violence. The switching POV heightens the characters’ feeling of fear that’s leading to madness. But, and here’s the main reason why this is not a five star read for me, this is where this revenge story stops tingling spines. The fear never left the page, I didn’t turn around and look for someone with a knife behind me once. The story’s outcome was clear from the start; and the title is a dead give-away (excuse the pun).

So what sets this story apart from all the other slasher horror novels? It’s the cultural identity, the #ownvoice, that makes the characters and story come alive.

Jones provides a background to his four protagonists that does not paint the idyllic picture most people conjure up first when seeing the word Native Americans. He shows us rusting trucks, tiny improvised sweat lodges, unemployment, guilt at not living a true-to-your-roots life, and lots of basketball.

This is a solid slasher horror read for anyone who is easily spooked. I’d recommend reading it for the glimpse into a culture we hardly ever hear about outside of history books.

4/5 Goodreads stars

Sci-Fi Déjà Vu

Truel1f3 by Jay Kristoff, the third and final book in the Lifel1k3 series, published 30 June 2020.

Unpopular opinion: I didn’t like this book. “Talking true“, in retrospect, I didn’t like the whole series.

The plot gave me constant déjà vu. The parallels to Mr Kristoff’s other series were blatantly obvious; not to mention the parallels to other sci-fi works. The name-calling and racism annoyed me to no end. And yes, there can be too much sarcasm and snark in a novel’s dialogue. I’m not going to make a list of all the things that raised my hackles, it’d put me in lots of “barney” with the hardcore fans.

So, I am leaving this series with a bitter aftertaste that’ll certainly cling to the roof of my mouth for some time.

2/5 Goodreads stars

Page 2 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén