2016 – October

October sure was a month. Bring on November, and the next Pokémon game please.

Onto the novels read in October!

Hunted (Hunted, #1)

Hunted by Meagan Spooner was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to read more. I love her take on the old fables and making it equally demanding in terms of risk and skills needed by the characters to get where they dream to be. Here we have characters who need to be able to do whatever they need to in order to survive, and things are grim if they don’t have the strength or ability. I can’t recommend her writing enough and will be seeking out more of it, especially as unfortunately I’m one of the few who don’t like her co-written series, or that her co-writer does with Jay – at least I love her own individual writing and I’ve narrowed down what I apparently don’t like about the others. (Still, my loss!)

Secret Lives of Books (Twelve Planets book 10)

Secret Lives of Books by Rosaleen Love was a collection of five short stories that don’t appear to be connected in the first light, however when you’ve read them all there appears to be some faint thread of deeper meaning. Very short, yet decently played out.

My full review can be read here.

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares edited by Ellen Datlow 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

My full review can be read here.

1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted

1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted by John Lloyd was excellent and I hope to slowly collect all of their books. QI and the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish are currently my go to ‘safe’ places because they make me happy with their silly fun and intelligent humour. It’s so easy for the pages to fly by as one usually links on to the next fact, for instance, on page 16 a fact about walnuts leads to one about almonds, and then the cost Britain spends on the Large Hadron Collider in comparison to on peanuts, and the cost of fuel needed to carry peanuts on a plane, and then on page 17 about how a farting sheep caused a freight plane to make an emergency landing, onto how Harper Lee was an airline booking agent… and so on. It’s addictive!

My full review can be read here.

Dark Disciple (Star Wars)

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden was absolutely fantastic and perfectly geeky. A Jedi Master and an ex-Sith must join forces in order to take out Dooku. Even though it’s not usually the Jedi way, they have been forced to weigh up the differences and conclude that his devastation on countless living beings outweighs his own life. The paid tasked with this have to go through their own mind games and reasoning and together it’s a cracking good read. I’d pay a scarily high amount for more in this series following these characters, but sadly it’s not to be.

Swarm (Zeroes, #2)

Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti was such an anticipated read and it did not disappoint. I love these characters so damn much, and I love trying to figure out which characters are written by which author, and I love that they weren’t scared to really take parts of this novel into a fairly dark place. LOVE it, and now the wait for the third will be even harder!

hHold Me (Cyclone, #2)

Hold Me by Courtney Milan is the second in the Cyclone series, however can be read as a standalone. The whole series however, starting with Trade Me and peppered with short stories here and there (listed in the back of the book) are all worth reading and impossible to put down. This was such a good read at the right time of the month when I was fed up with everything and just needed exactly this type of book. Hence the next two…

My full review can be read here.

The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5)

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan was an excellent read even though it’s only about a hundred pages. The characters are so developed so easily and it’s hard to let them go – you almost wish the next novel contained these characters more instead, until they capture your attention just as much. Milan is lucky she’s a dang good writer otherwise I’d be more upset about having to move on so constantly…

The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan was connected to the above, however they branch out into characters you catch a glimpse of in the previous book. This was just as excellent (and longer, as a full novel rather than novella), and so showed more anguish and 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!

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October sure was a month. The best that can be said of it is I ripped apart my living quarters and have made it much, much more lovely after putting off things I should have changed years ago. A new bed, paint and a full clean out really does wonders.

Review: Secret Lives of Books by Rosaleen Love

secretlivesloveSeries: Twelve Planets #10
Published by:
Twelfth Planet Press
ISBN 13:
9781922101075 (paperback)
ASIN:
B018A9G4AC (kindle)
Published: 
June 2014
Pages: 
81
Format reviewed:
Paperback
Site: 
Publisher Site
Goodreads: 
Book Page
Stars: 
Three out of Five
Related Reviews:
A Journey Through Twelve Planets / Site for the challenge

Secret Lives of Books, is the tenth book in the Twelve Planets series, released by Twelfth Planet Press, which showcase the talent of female Australian authors. There is now to be a thirteenth in the series, but that’s a review for another time. The brief given to authors was to write several short stories of up to 40,000 words in total. The stories could be separate, discrete narratives or linked through character, setting or theme.

This collection contains five short stories that don’t appear to be connected in the first light, however when you’ve read them all there appears to be some faint thread of deeper meaning, but you’re not entirely sure if you’re being a little grabby for links.

Secret Lives of Books

A man lies dying, and we find that he cares far more for his books than that of any human connections, to the point his wife moved out with their children in order to allow him more space and time for his books. It is these that take up his final moments, though he notes how nice it is that his family have come to spend his final moments together.

This was a moving piece about the beauty books give us and how they can offer so much, and sometimes different things, depending on who’s reading them. The Magic Pudding is referenced and as shown, gave the main character something utterly different than my own personal view of the book.

Kiddofspeed

This was possibly my favourite of the collection. I find Chernobyl to be endlessly fascinating and this piece perfectly captured the intrigue around the whole event.

The writer takes the aftermath of Chernobyl and the fact vs fiction of it, the etymology, and the tale of a girl who posts on the internet of how she rode a motorbike around the disaster site – later taking down her claims online when commentators (don’t read the comments!) rip apart her story.

If you google the title of this one you get search results showing things like: Motorcycle Trip Through Chernobyl – The Museum of Hoaxes: “Did you ever see that woman, Elena, that rides around the zone on her motorcycle?” and there’s nothing better than a story based on fact.

Qasida

A twisting story of many things, on one level this piece is about Curiosity rover on Mars, the loss of things and people, and the meaning of the short story – which means much more when written like qaṣīdaᵗ, as it is the Arabic word and form of writing poetry, as we are told in the introduction to the story.

This is a story that needs attention and time, and is probably one of the more careful tales in the collection, and the one that needs the most time to absorb.

The Kairos Effect

Surprisingly, I immediately went from the one before to one I just couldn’t get through at all. Some short stories are a little hit and miss, and until now I haven’t ever had one that I’ve had to give up on in the Twelve Planets series, however, there’s always got to be one sometime.

The Slut and the Universe

A sort of fabled twist on feminism, as stated in the longer version of the title for this piece, as stated in the introduction, this introduces us to the main character almost as if she is snow white, and then quite quickly stabs through the softness with the choice of words (as in the short version of the title), and the distinctly un-fabled issues such as the clothes our main character chooses to wear.

This is probably my second favourite tale in the book, and a decent and strong ending for the collection.

This collection has the following mentions:

Aurealis Award Nominee for Best Collection (Shortlist) (2014)

Reading Challenge: A Journey Through Twelve Planets

journey-through-the-twelve-planets

In 2011 Twelfth Planet Press began the publication of a series of single author collections featuring short stories and novellas from twelve of Australia’s most prominent female short fiction writers in the speculative and horror genres. The authors were instructed to write four stories of any genre, and each were allowed to take the stories and collection as a whole in whichever direction they desired.  In 2015, the Twelfth Planet was published.

Through Twitter, Ju from The Conversationalist and Steph from Forest of Books discovered that they both planned to read and review all of the Twelve Planets in 2016, and a challenge was born! If you want to join in, please click here.

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What is the aim of A Journey Through the Twelve Planets?

The aim of this challenge is simple: to read all of the Twelve Planets during 2016, and post a review for one of the books at the end of each month. (Note that the Thirteenth Planet has also been announced; for the time being, this challenge will focus on the original twelve).

What will we be reading and in which order?

We will be reading the Twelve Planets in the order of publication below (links go to the book purchase pages at Twelfth Planet Press):

Nightsiders by Sue Isle – my review

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts – my review

Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex – my review

Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti – my review

Showtime by Narrelle M Harris – my review

Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren – my review

Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan – my review

Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer – my review

Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott – my review

Secret Lives by Rosaleen Love – my review

The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter – my review

Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin – my review

The collections are also available through Smashwords and Amazon in ebook form.  Print versions of the collections are available, though several are sold out or close to being sold out at this time.

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One a month sounds like a good plan – I hope I can keep up!