#ScifiMonth Waiting on Wednesday 11/16/22

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey (March 28, 2023 by Orbit)

“From the author of the bestselling The Girl With All the Gifts comes a brilliant new genre-defying story of humanity’s expansion across millions of dimensions, and the AI technology that might see it all come to an end. Perfect for readers of The Space Between Worlds and Adrian Tchaikovsky.

The Pandominion is a political and trading alliance consisting of roughly a million worlds.

But they’re really all the same world – Earth – in many different dimensions. And when an AI threat arises that could destroy everything the Pandominion has built, they’ll eradicate it by whatever means necessary—no matter the cost to human life.” 

*  All SciFi Month artwork courtesy of Simon Fetscher.

 

Book Review: The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

Mogsy’s Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 7 of Mistborn

Publisher: Tor Books (November 15, 2022)

Length: 528 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Endings are always so anxiety-inducing for me.  Especially Brandon Sanderson endings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of him and I love his books, but I often find his series endings to be a bit of a mixed bag. Take the original Mistborn trilogy, for example. Maybe I’m just being overly sentimental, but I’ve always felt conflicted about the way it ended, and if I’m to be honest, that may have a lot to do with why I prefer these new books set in Mistborn’s second era of Scadrial. It was a salve to the tragedy and abruptness. It meant a future and new characters to fall in love with.

And fall in love I did. In a very short amount of time, Wax and Wayne have become like family, and so as we come to the end of their story in The Lost Metal, I steeled my nerves for whatever there was to come.

As always, I keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible but if you’re not caught up with the series yet, do bear in mind there may be references to events from the earlier books. The Lost Metal is the fourth volume in the new Mistborn sequence, and we once more join up with Waxillium Ladrian as he works to keep the streets of Elendel safe for its citizens, though now he does it as a senator instead of a lawman. The mystery behind all the missing Allomancers also comes to fruition in this book, as Marasi Colms and her partner Wayne from the constabulary uncover a weapons smuggling plot which involves the neighboring city of Bilming.

Meanwhile, Wax is determined to hunt down the shadowy organization known as the Set, whose leader is none other than his sister, Telsin. In light of Wayne and Marasi’s discoveries, our heroes realize that the connection between Set and the smuggling plot may run deeper than they had previously thought. And worse, it may already be too late to stop whatever Telsin has planned, especially since she may be working under the direction of forces more powerful than any of them can imagine. A devastating new type of explosive has been developed and built right under all their noses, an event that even Harmony could not have foreseen. Scadrial’s god has been distracted as of late, his powers diminished, leaving Wax to fight for him in the physical realm, taking his place as his Sword to drive back the influence of Trell, a god worshipped by the Set.

First, let’s get the important questions out of the way. What did I think of The Lost Metal, as a series ending? Well, I’m not going to lie and say it was all sunshine and unicorns, but I did love it. Yes, I loved it. It might be one of my favorite series conclusions in a long time. It was just the right amount of struggle and triumph. I was elated and heartbroken, but not too much of both. The overall tone of the resolution fell somewhere in that sweet spot between hopeful and bittersweet. In other words, it was perfect.

And what of the lead up to the final showdown? If you are a fan of the Mistborn series, and of the greater lore of Sanderson’s Cosmere as a whole, I think you are going to be very happy. More than any of the previous books, The Lost Metal goes deeper and farther into the scope of this magnificent universe, exploring the history of the people, magic, and locations spanning Mistborn as well as Sanderson’s other books. But even if you aren’t a lorehound with a nose for sniffing out clues and theories to the greater mysteries of the Cosmere, you will find plenty to enjoy in this story about our heroes valiantly trying to save Scadrial. The action was blood-pumping and constant, the emotions high and poignant, the overall energy fast-paced and contagious. Sanderson also never fails to win me over with his character development and the moving relationships between them, and as ever, the dialogue was top shelf. The witty banter between Wax and Wayne, Wayne and Marasi, etc. made me giddy with joy.

In short, Brandon Sanderson shows us once again why he’s a master storyteller and the best world-builder in the industry. He’s even starting to win me over on his series conclusions! And while it is with stirring emotions that I bid goodbye to the characters and setting of this second era of Mistborn, I am certainly looking forward to the start of the third, which has been teased as a series set in an 80s-esque early computer age. Truly, I just can’t wait to see what comes out of that.

More at The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Shadows of Self (Book 5)
Review of The Bands of Mourning (Book 6)

#SciFiMonth Guest Review: Area 51 Interns: Zoned Out by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This does not affect the contents of this review, and all opinions belong to the reviewer.

Today we have a very special guest review by my daughter Alexis, age 10, who would like to share with you her thoughts on Area 51 Interns: Zoned Out by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith. The following is her review, edited only for grammar and clarity.

Area 51 Interns: Zoned Out by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith

Alexis’ Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction

Series: Book 1 of Area 51 Interns

Publisher: Penguin Workshop (October 18, 2022)

Length: 240 pages

Author Information: James S. Murray | Carsen Smith

Area 51 Interns: Zoned Out by James S. Murray and Carsen Smith is about four friends named Viv, Charlotte, Elijah, and Ray who intern at Area 51. They have just finished saving the world but apparently that isn’t enough to get them out of the copy room where they are stuck blacking out documents. That’s how the book starts. Then, Joanna comes. She is a very smart high schooler who was invited to Area 51 to help with research. Together with Joanna, Viv and her friends discover a map they were supposed to black out, which shows all the secret areas and door codes. At night, they follow the map down a giant flight of stairs to an area called the Forbidden Zone.

In the Forbidden Zone, they discover that Area 51 has been hiding a shocking secret! The government has been keeping cryptids and other mythological creatures like the Yeti and the Loch Ness Monster and the Chupacabra in an underground base. After a security breach and some of the creatures escape, Charlotte is blamed for letting out one of the most dangerous cryptids in the world. Now her friends have to clear her name and return all the escaped creatures back to Area 51.

This is the second book of the series and I had a little trouble figuring out what was going on at first, but after things were explained later on in the book, I didn’t feel lost anymore. I really liked this story because I love anything to do with mythological creatures. I was so surprised and happy when Viv and her friends found jackalopes, the Mothman and even a wendigo in the Forbidden Zone!

The characters were also fun and seemed like real people. Viv is the main character. Her mom is the director of Area 51, so Viv is constantly trying to impress her. Charlotte is Viv’s best friend. She is Australian, and both her parents also work at Area 51. Viv’s crush is Elijah, who is obsessed with flying because his dad’s a pilot. And then there’s Ray, who is also Viv’s friend. Ray is timid and has a little alien friend named Meekee. He’s my favorite character because he’s the most like me.

Then there’s Joanna, who is Viv’s nemesis. Viv becomes jealous when Joanna comes and is given top level clearance, when Viv and her friends only have level one clearance. Joanna also embarrasses Viv in front of her mom on purpose, and flirts with Elijah which annoys Viv to no end. But because Joanna is a special guest and everyone loves her, there wasn’t anything Viv could do about it and that made me feel bad for her.

I would give this book four and a half stars, but it was really close to five stars! I liked that it was filled with action and it was very funny, like when Ray was trying teach Meekee how to say human words or when Charlotte got locked in with the Mothman in his terrarium. I also liked the friendship between the characters, even though they sometimes fought.

What I didn’t like about the story was that there was a lot of drama, especially with Viv and her mom. The book was obsessed about her mommy problems and to be honest they argued over some pretty dumb things.

I also thought there would be more aliens. But that’s okay, because the mythological creatures made up for it.

So you should read this book if you’re a kid who likes cryptids and science fiction. I really enjoyed it, this was one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I’ve read A LOT of books this year!

Alexis

Bookshelf Roundup 11/13/22: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads

Bookshelf Roundup is a feature I do every weekend which fills the role of several blog memes, like Stacking the Shelves where I talk about the new books I’ve added to my library or received for review, as well as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where I summarize what I’ve finished reading in the last week and what I’m planning to read soon. Mostly it also serves as a recap post, so sometimes I’ll throw in stuff like reading challenge progress reports, book lists, and other random bookish thoughts or announcements.

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Received for Review

Big thanks to Tor Books for sending me a finished copy of The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson earlier this month. I really enjoyed this conclusion to the second Mistborn saga, and if all goes well I should have my review up on Tuesday, release day!

With thanks also to the amazing folks at Del Rey for Wanderers and Wayward by Chuck Wendig. They were kind enough to send the first book since I hadn’t read it yet, and the sequel is coming out next week. I’ve always wanted to read this series and now I know how I’ll be keeping busy this winter!

I also want to thank Orbit Books for a finished copy of Empire of Exiles by Erin M. Evans. Depending on how I do on the rest of my sci-fi reading list this month, I’m really hoping to fit this one into my schedule for November!

Courtesy of Subterranean Press, I also received an ARC of Rose/House by Arkady Martine. This novella by the author of the Teixcalaan series is a sci-fi mystery about a supposedly empty house looked after by an embedded artificial intelligence. But then that AI reports the presence of a dead body within its walls…

And finally, thank you to Minotaur books for a surprise copy of The Double Agent by William Christie which, as you might expect, is a spy thriller!

Just one audiobook in the digital review pile this week, but it’s a good one! Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger is a locked-room thriller about three couples who rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a deadly weekend getaway. I’m really feeling this one, might even pick up this one next for a mood read!

Reviews

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (4 of 5 stars)
Living Memory by David Walton (4 of 5 stars)
The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian (3 of 5 stars)

What I’ve Been Reading

 

Have you heard of or read any of the books featured this week? What caught your eye? Any new discoveries? I hope you found something interesting for a future read!

#ScifiMonth Friday Face-Off: The Gang

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

~ a cover featuring THE GANG

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May & Laura Lam

The Gang. The Fellowship. The Found Family. Though typically thought of as a fantasy trope, plenty of examples can be found in sci-fi as well, often in the form of a motley crew aboard a starship or even a squad of interplanetary resistance fighters, as in the case of Seven Devils, the book I’ve chosen to feature for this topic. Today, we have another good old-fashioned head-to-head:

DAW Books (2020) vs. Gollancz (2020)

Winner:

Ooh, this week’s choice was so tough! I love both covers, especially the gorgeous colors. In the end though, I have to go with the DAW edition, as the portrayal of the characters gives it a slight edge and for the fact it highlights “the gang”.

But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

Thursday Thriller Audio: The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Random House Audio (May 10, 2022)

Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: January LaVoy, Grace Experience, Gabrielle De Cuir

This was somewhat of an outside-the-box read for me, even when it comes to thrillers. But when I learned of this historical thriller set in the 1960s which follows a group of Hollywood stars who afoul of a deadly kidnapping during an African safari on the Serengeti, there was an Agatha Christie-ness to the killer mystery plotline which appealed to me. Hence, I took a chance on The Lioness.

The central figure of the novel is Katie Barstow, a young actress who has risen to the peak of her career. Every movie she stars in is immediately a success, and she’s even risen high in her personal life, with her recent marriage to David Hill, an art gallery owner who was also childhood best friend with her older brother. To celebrate all the happiness in her life, Katie has decided to invite her closest friends and family to no expense spared adventure to Tanzania, where the group will be treated to visions of sunset-lit and acacia tree-lined horizons as well as the wild herds of roving wildebeests, giraffes, and zebras.  After spending their dusty days out on the plains photographing the majestic wildlife, they will then spend their nights drinking gin and tonics chilled with portable icemakers and enjoying warm water baths filled by their local guides before retiring to proper beds. A good hostess, Katie has ensured that none of her glamorous guests will go without the usual luxuries.

But what none of them expected was violence. On a safari day like any other, the group is suddenly ambushed by mercenaries driving trucks and wielding guns. Katie and her friends are rounded up and held hostage while any of the safari guides who try to help them are shot and killed. From their language and manner, Katie deduces that the gunmen are Russian, but what could Russian mercenaries possibly want with a group of Hollywood elites? Could this be as simple as a kidnapping for ransom? Or is there something more to the picture she’s not seeing? As the body count rises, all Katie can do is fight for survival and hope her nerves won’t fail her when it counts.

The character list for The Lioness is quite long. Besides Katie and her husband David, her brother Billy and his pregnant wife Margie are also along for the ride. There’s also Katie’s best friend and fellow actress Carmen and her husband Felix, a screenwriter. Then there are the single guests, who include Terrance Dutton, a celebrated black actor and Katie’s good friend; publicist and director Reggie Stout; and Peter, Katie’s agent. This group is next accompanied by team members of the safari led by Charlie Patton, a famed big game hunter who also owns the business. His employees are made up of local guides, porters, and other support staff like young Benjamin Kilwete who is starstruck by the American actors.

While this setup certainly resembles something Christie-esque, the reality is actually quite different. But though I did not get what I’d expected, I did enjoy the book. There is no mystery here of who the killer is; we know who the mercenaries are and who they work for. The question is, what do they want? The story unfolds via the POVs of the various characters, and there are also flashbacks aplenty, going into their backgrounds which may reveal clues into their predicament.

In this sense, The Lioness works better as a character drama rather a true mystery thriller. As much bloodshed as there is, what action we get is quite muted. The backstories of the characters take center stage, diving into their pasts, their inner most desires, and the important events in their lives that have shaped their futures and motivations.  The setting of the 1960s is also significant and plays a role in unveiling of the overall plot. In an era of much socio-cultural change, there are yet tensions in race relations, matters like sexual orientation was only spoken of in hushed tones, and prejudice against women was still rampant. All of which are topics that the story explores.

Ultimately though, what hurts The Lioness most is the sheer number of characters to keep track of, and I didn’t really feel close to any of them, didn’t really care if they lived or died. Truth be told, I was having a hard time even trying to figure out who survived the ordeal by the end. It probably also didn’t help that I listened to the audio edition, which I can’t really say was the best format for a book like this with so many POVs. And the fact that the thrills never truly materialized made this one just an okay thriller—but it’s an interesting read for sure. Though I would have preferred a more engaging mystery and characters I could feel invested in, it’s recommended if the historical aspects or the safari backdrop catches your eye.

#ScifiMonth Waiting on Wednesday 11/09/22

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini (May 16, 2023 by Tor Books)

A new blockbuster science fiction adventure from world-wide phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller Christopher Paolini, set in the world of New York Times and USA Today bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars.

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide.

Its curve not of nature, but design.

Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why.

But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space.

For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.

Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.

And the ghosts of their past follow.”

*  All SciFi Month artwork courtesy of Simon Fetscher.

#SciFiMonth Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Tor Books (November 1, 2022)

Length: 464 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Do you have to read Everina Maxwell’s first novel, Winter’s Orbit, before coming to Ocean’s Echo? Nope! In fact, its standalone status was what attracted me most about this one. The truth is, my feelings were kind of mixed on Winter’s Orbit which I thought was middle-of-the-road novel, and I liked the idea of being able to come to this one with a fresh story following new characters.

At the center of Ocean’s Echo is Tennal Halkana, the rich, smarmy nephew of a powerful legislator who fancies himself to be a charming rogue flirting his way across the galaxy. But the reality is, his life is a mess. On the planet of Orshan, where this book takes place, past experimentation with neuroaugments have led to some people being born with special abilities: Architects are those who can influence your thoughts, and Readers are those who can read minds as well as navigate chaotic space. Tennal is one of the latter and as such is seen as a security threat, leading him to always be on the run—until one day, his aunt catches up to him and forcibly conscripts him into the military as punishment for using his powers illegally. There, it is also expected that he will be “synced” with an Architect, a process that creates a permanent mental bond so that the Reader can be controlled.

This is how Tennal eventually comes to be placed under the watchful eye of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a strait-laced dutiful soldier who values regulation above all else. The son of a notorious traitor, Surit’s rigid adherence to rules may be his way of dealing with the taint of his past. Which is why when he discovers that he is to be synced with Tennal, who has not consented to having his mind merged, Surit balks at the illegality of it. Still, unlawful or not, an order is an order, which is why the two of them ultimately decide to hatch up a plan to fake their sync.

Fans of Winter’s Orbit will be happy to know Ocean’s Echo is also a queer romance and keeps to many of the similar tones and traditions of Maxwell’s debut. But to me, the difference is that the romance isn’t as central to the plot. There was far less brooding and pining in this one, for instance, leaving more time to enjoy the other aspects of the novel. Not surprisingly, I found myself way more invested in the story and the characters, and even the world-building held more appeal, never mind that Ocean’s Echo actually takes place in the same exact universe as Winter’s Orbit.

Naturally, Tennal and Surit end up together, but their relationships is slow-burn enough—and subtle enough—that it was almost like reading a very light military sci-fi novel. Admittedly, the concept of the Architect/Reader dynamic was a bit sparse, but still far more complex than I expected. The idea definitely made for an interesting take on the fake romance trope! But as I said, the plot is about so much more—from a political power struggle among the elite to an impending civil war about to break out amongst the disparate factions, there was always something going on to give the backdrop a life of its own.

One might also think the dreadful cliché of putting two characters who couldn’t be more different together is a recipe for disaster. However, in this case, Tennal and Surit did in fact have chemistry, which is more than I could have said of the pairing between Kiem and Jainan of Winter’s Orbit, another “opposites attract” romance which didn’t work quite so well. What made Ocean’s Echo different is that by focusing more attention on their individual backstories rather than the two of them together, Tennal and Surit both gradually came to their own. Only then was I able to care about their relationship.

Like Winter’s Orbit, Ocean’s Echo is also standalone, their stories self-contained and independent of each other so you can read the books in any order. In fact, I would probably recommend tackling Ocean’s Echo first, as I found this to be the better novel. Romance readers are going to love Everina Maxwell’s take on fun and familiar tropes, sci-fi fans will enjoy the modern space operatic feel, and both camps will relish the result created by the blending of all these elements.

#ScifiMonth Book Review: Living Memory by David Walton

I received a review copy from the author This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Living Memory by David Walton

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Book 1

Publisher: Archaeopteryx Books (October 18, 2022)

Length: 243 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

I always have a lot of fun with David Walton’s books. From battling deadly parasitic fungal diseases in The Genius Plague to surviving self-driving vehicles run amok in Three Laws Lethal, they’re always filled with fast-paced plots full of cinematic action, high-octane thrills and mind-blowing scientific concepts. So when I was offered a copy of Living Memory to review, I jumped at the chance. I mean, you couldn’t have possibly expected me to say no, could you, especially with a dinosaur on the cover?

Our story begins in Thailand, where the selling of dinosaur fossils on the black market has become a lucrative business. For two smugglers though, their latest find proves fatal as something else was discovered among the bones of a newly discovered miniraptor. Meanwhile, power is about to change hands in the Thai government, and a group of American-sponsored paleontologists are working around the clock to extract as many specimens as possible to ship back to the United States before they are kicked out of the country. Led by Samira and with help from local Thai paleontologist Kit, the team had made an extraordinary find of what appears to be a mass grave filled with the bones of many individual miniraptors arranged in neat rows—too neat to be the result of random chance. Their discovery suggests this to be some sort of ceremonial burial ground, which shouldn’t be possible.

But before any of the fossils can be transported, the Thai government seizes the shipment, and Samira and all the other foreign paleontologists are taken into custody for questioning and deportation. Kit is approached by the Thai military with an opportunity to lead his own dig at the mass burial site to uncover its mysteries. Among the dinosaur skeletons there, a green liquid substance had been found which, when inhaled, can cause a wide range of hallucinatory effects like visions to strong compulsions. The incoming regime suspects that Thailand’s biggest organized crime network may be using this substance to spread terror and gain influence across the countryside and wants Kit to find out as much as he can about it so they can put an end to all the gang activities. Back in the United States, Samira is surprised and uneasy to learn that her research in Thailand had been funded by the CIA all this time. They have known for a while about the strange substance and are plotting an operation to return to the dig site, ensuring its secrets won’t fall into the wrong hands.

There’s a lot to take in here, and I haven’t even gone into a major aspect of the book (and arguably it’s biggest hook) yet, though I’ve hinted at it. While I will not spoil the surprise, I will say this as a warning: it’s way off the plausibility charts and as someone with a bit of background in evolutionary ecology and paleobiology, I found the premise too farfetched to fully embrace. That said, by shutting up that part of my brain, I was able to enjoy the story and I think it’s possible to do so as long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and not ask too many questions.

The good news is, those who are drawn to Living Memory because of dinosaurs will not be disappointed. Yes, you will definitely get your dinosaur fix—though maybe not in the way you’d expect. In spite of myself, I enjoyed the ideas exploring miniraptor society, but even more fascinating to me were the present-day shenanigans such as the struggle between global powers, the rivalry between different science teams, or the race to stop the criminal network from unraveling the fabric of Thai society. Like I said, it’s a lot, but Walton still finds time to develop the characters and give them interesting backstories to make you care for them and feel invested in their goals.

I did have a moment of disappointment near the end when I thought things wrapped a little too quickly and anticlimactically before being hit with a cliffhanger ending, but then was very quickly mollified when I discovered Living Memory is only the opening volume to a planned series so there will be more. With the amount of fun I had, there’s no way I won’t return. Here’s to another action-packed dino adventure in the sequel!

Bookshelf Roundup 11/06/22: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads

Bookshelf Roundup is a feature I do every weekend which fills the role of several blog memes, like Stacking the Shelves where I talk about the new books I’ve added to my library or received for review, as well as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where I summarize what I’ve finished reading in the last week and what I’m planning to read soon. Mostly it also serves as a recap post, so sometimes I’ll throw in stuff like reading challenge progress reports, book lists, and other random bookish thoughts or announcements.

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Received for Review

My thanks to the publishers and authors for the following review copies received, and be sure to click the links to their Goodreads pages for more details and full descriptions!

This week, big thanks to Tor Books for the following: Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth is a reimagining of Antigone, and I haven’t read the author since the Divergent days so I’m very excited to check this one out. And speaking of excited, I was practically jumping up and down when an ARC of A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher showed up earlier this month; a new book by her is always a cause for celebration. My thanks also to the publisher for a review copy of Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree, the paperback of which is releasing this month. In case you missed it, I reviewed the audiobook of this charming book earlier this summer. Rounding things up, I also received an ARC of The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson, and you know how much I just love stories about circuses!

From the kind folks at Tordotcom I also received an ARC of Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee, which is one of my most anticipated 2023 releases. Yes, I’m highly anticipating a novella! Thank you also to Minotaur Books for a review copy of Murder at Black Oaks by Philip Margolin. This was a surprise arrival so I didn’t know too much about it, but apparently it’s the sixth volume in the Robin Lockwood series. If anyone is familiar with it, please let me know what you think! And finally with thanks to Bloomsbury YA for an ARC of She Is A Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran. I only recently learned of this one, but it seems to be gaining a lot of buzz and I’m definitely intrigued by the paranormal horror premise.

It’s the beginning of the month, so I also received several audiobooks for review. With thanks to Random House Audio for a listening copy of A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor, her first short story collection. Also thanks to Macmillan Audio for The Villa by Rachel Hawkins and Simon & Schuster Audio for Flight Risk by Cherie Priest, the sequel to Grave Reservations which I’m really looking to, as well as The Cloisters by Katy Hays which follows a young scholar who uncovers a mystery in The Cloisters, the Met’s famed gothic museum. Last but not least, big thanks to Hachette Audio for a listening copy of The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton, a dystopian that sounds very much in keeping with the lyrical and longing tone of the author’s last novel, Good Morning, Midnight.

Reviews

Wrath by Sharon Moalem and Daniel Kraus (4 of 5 stars)
Ghostwritten by Ronald Malfi (4 of 5 stars)

What I’ve Been Reading

Have you heard of or read any of the books featured this week? What caught your eye? Any new discoveries? I hope you found something interesting for a future read!