2014 – July

This month I’ve managed to read …I’m not sure how many novels, as it seems limiting to say only that. I usually only count novels I’ve read in these things, but as this month was again taken up with Hugo reading, I thought I’d include it also. Some are hard to mark as a novel read, as we were only provided previews for some of the novels in this Hugo packet.

Best Novel

  • Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
  • Neptune’s Brood – Charles Stross

Related Work

  • Wonderbook
  • Queers Dig Time Lords edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Speculative Fiction 2012 edited by Justin Landon

Semi-Prozine

  • Strange Horizons
  • Interzone
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Apex Magazine
  • Lightspeed Magazine

Fanzine

  • A Dribble of Ink
  • The Book Smugglers
  • Pornokitsch
  • Journey Planet

Fan Writer

  • Nexus by Ramez Naam
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Because it was fun last time, here are the graphic novels I managed to find time to read:

Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick  (Sex Criminals #1-5) Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice Softcover

And then I had my July Reading Challenge – how did I do?

Books the very lovely and awesome Sam has sent me that I haven’t yet read:

  • Guy in Real Life – Steve Brezenoff
  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1) – Brandon Sanderson
  • The Near Witch – Victoria Schwab

And from my book-buddy-Beth:

  • The Last Werewolf – Glen Duncan

For my monthly reading challenge:

  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick

And now, onto the novels read in July!

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the books I’ve been dying to read as soon as it came out, but it somehow took me two and a bit months to find the time. I loved it! THough in a way it feels like not much happened in this part of the series, possibly because our heroes met nothing but hardship so they didn’t manage to achieve what they set out to do, in a way. It was lovely to see how they only became stronger together in their relationship throughout, and what they managed to achieve in the end anyway.

Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell is another book I’ve been dying to read, and luckily fate allowed me to read it as soon as it was available, though I wasn’t lucky enough to ever get my hands on an ARC, no matter how hard I tried! I loved this much more than Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, but possibly not as much as Attachments (though it’s a close call). Both are beyond amazing.

Guy in Real Life

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff is a book my friend Sam has adored, and she promptly flung a beautiful hardcover edition to me. I’ve read and enjoyed it finally – Sam and I decided that July would be the month we get through all books we’ve been gifted lately! From here I have Brandon Sanderon’s first in the Alcatraz series, as well as Victoria Schwab’s The Near Witch to get through – all such awesome books! I should get straight to it.

I Am Juliet

I am Juliet by Jackie French is her latest book out – yes, I’m still on a Jackie French binge. I just met her, in fact! She did a book signing, then a book talk, then I was lucky enough to go to a writing course run by her. She’s the reason I’m such a voracious reader now, and she perfectly shows how any book is readable, no matter what age group it’s aimed at, when it’s written so fantastically well.

The Golden Boys

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett was a startling book, really. Utterly normal in every way, perfectly capturing how children interact with each other, and how they view the adults in their lies. The swearing and insults in this weren’t over-abundant, but perfectly called for and descriptive. This was a bit of a hard book to read (well, it’s engaging and hard to put down, but due to the subject matter…) you get a slowly building sense of unease as the book shows you what it’s about. It’s not immediately obvious, and when it is, it’s handled in such a matter of fact way. Brilliant writing.

Second Chances (Everyday Angel, #2)

Second Chances (Everyday Angel #2) by Victora Schwab is another middle grade read, but I’m so determined to read everything Victoria writes that this series has managed to catch my attention. And like Jackie French’s books, even though I’m well above the reading level it’s aimed at, it’s still nice to read. The characters are engaging and the plots are simple but cute, and honestly provide important suggestions for how to deal with issues in your life that kids need to know about, but adults could also stand a reminder about also. This particular book was about bullies and losing friendships, which I hear about at work with co-workers, so you’re never too old!

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz Verses the Evil Libarians (Alcatraz #1) by Brandon Sanderson is a book I’ve been meaning to read since I fell in love with Sanderon’s books, and then the lovely Sam gifted me a copy when I took too long to read it! And now that I have, I’m kicking myself that I took so long! No one should let the fact this is middle grade delay why you would read it – the voice Alcatraz has is witty as he speaks directly to the reader, and the joy in this book – how zany and odd it all is – makes it such a joy to read. Honestly, if you haven’t read it yet but you’re a Sanderson fan – GO AND READ IT!

The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells was read as one of my month theme challenges – steampunk/cyberpunk, which it’s listed as but I never really got a sense of. I’d list it as straight science fiction but welcome discussion if anyone wants to point out what I’ve missed.

I really enjoyed this – it was certainly different to what I was expecting, even though I didn’t really go into it expecting anything – just not that! The little people, for instance, and such emotion from the main character. I suppose I was expecting some mild-mannered old British chap to go travelling through a vast expanse of time and the strange things he sees, but doesn’t overly interact with?

YOu can see why this is a classic, and I shall be looking into adaptions in the near future.

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas was read in an afternoon – I just couldn’t put it down, even when I really should have. Currently recovering from minor surgery which has made it hard to stare at screens or concentrate on anything other than podcasts in a dark room… but this book demanded to be finished, so I decided the headache was entirely worth it!

Just like ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart, this book leaves you wondering until it punches you in the stomach with the conclusion. The characters and plot are compelling throughout, and it jumps around from varying degrees in the past to the present which keeps you right on the edge of your seat. Fantastic!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick was another I read for my theme challenge – steampunk/cyberpunk, and again didn’t really get that vibe from it. I loved this even more than The Time Machine – again, knowing surprisingly little about this novel going into it and having not even watched Blade Runner (I know, what have I done with my life), it really caught me by surprise how electronic sheep tied into this world. Utterly fantastic, I loved it!

The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1)

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan is a book I’ve been meaning to read for so long that by the time I came to it, it fell a little flat -not that I was expecting anything of it, but I’m sure you know the feeling. This is a book that if I re-read it in a year or so, it will dazzle me.

Missing You, Love Sara

Missing You, Love Sara by Jackie French is apparently a book I read while in primary school, but I didn’t remember bits when re-reading it again now. Written in the style of a younger sister whose older sister has disappeared, baffling friends, family and the police, this is a heartfelt tale that will never go old as it sadly occurs in any generation, with just as much trauma for those left behind whether this happened in the 40s, 80s, or happens 20 years from now.

~

Where to from here? Well I finally get to read ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald, a lovely friend of mine. Her book is doing SO WELL and I couldn’t be more ecstatic :D I’m currently 15% of the way through, and while it would be rude to say I’m enjoying it (as it’s about her grief at losing her father), I am loving her way with words; it’s a beautiful book.

Other books on my ‘to read’ list are California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout which I’ve started but had to leave to the side slightly as I struggled to get through Hugo reading; Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which I have for review, Solaris Rising 3 edited by Ian Whates which I have for review, and Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, edited by David Thomas Moore which I have for review. Better get cracking!

Oh, and I really should finish reading Victoria Schwab’s ‘The Near Witch‘, the one book I didn’t quite get to for my July reading challenge. But then if I read that, I’ll have no Schwab left to enjoy!

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Haul & News – 26 July 2014

HnN

I’ve decided that each weekend shall be the time I take to discuss books I’ve received to review and/or books I’ve bought the week before, and any news that particular caught my interest. (I may have fallen a bit off the whole ‘each weekend’ thing, but stick with me here…)

Books Received:

  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (review) from Hachette
  • Broadchurch by Erin Kelly (review) from Hachette
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (review) from HarperCollins on Edelweiss
  • Solaris Rising 3 anthology, edited by Ian Whates (review) from Rebellion on NetGalley
  • Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets anthology, edited by David Thomas Moore (review) from Rebellion on NetGalley
  • The Inside Man by Jeff Abbott (review) from Hachette
  • Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (review) from Harlequin Teen Australia on NetGalley
  • The Map-Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford (review) from Spark on NetGalley
  • Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett (review) from Penguin Australia on NetGalley

Yes, I’m terrible and have fallen very behind in posting about these, so here’s a summary post and I’ll get back into it properly soon. Currently recovering from surgery which works as an excuse for now, but not two weeks prior!

News:

fablecroft

As of the 15th July, I officially became Intern to FableCroft Publishing, and PA to owner and editor Tehani! So far I’m loving it, proofing work and sending out contracts. Tehani is excellent to work for, and I’m very glad for the chance to take some of the stress of her shoulders.

musketeer-space

Tansy Rayner Roberts is one of my favourite authors. I discovered her work through the attention her Creature Court series received, and was lucky enough to be so late to the party that the second book was already out. Since then I’ve read everything I could get my hands on and now, there’s this. A weekly web-serial that shall run for the next year and a half, called Musketeer Space. Which is going to be a gender-swapped retelling of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, set in space.

To find out more about this, please click here to see Tansy’s blog entry.

Though this project shall be available for free, there’s also the option to become a patreon for as little as $1 a month. To see more about supporting the project, please click here.

GSicon

For listeners of the podcast Galactic Suburbia, you can now patreon them per episode, and get a bunch of cool incentives along the way! Recently having hit 100 episodes and proud winners and nominees of multiple awards, they’re easily my favourite podcast.

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet? You can do so here, as well as in iTunes.

To see more information about becoming a patreon, please click here.

Review: Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

GoldenBoysPublished by: Penguin Australia
ISBN 13: 9781926428611
Published: August 2014
Pages: 224
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five

‘Golden Boys’ by Sonya Hartnett is an utterly engaging novel of a new family moving into a close-knit neighbourhood, who are from a higher socioeconomic group, and hence, stick out, becoming both a draw to the rest of the children from the street, as well as the envy of them all.

Colt and Bastian Jensen have all the toys children could wish for, and soon have an above-ground pool, as well. Their father, Rex Jensen, lavishes them with gifts, and is pushy and extreme about the other neighbourhood children taking part – everyone is welcome, at all times, and he’ll offer tea and party pies and be very polite at all times.

The neighbourhood kids all have their issues. We have the large, rough bully, who hates everything at all times but also wants to keep everything for himself – especially things that aren’t his.

We have a small, hopeless child who has absent parents, and currently lives with grandparents who don’t care or notice where he is – so he spends his nights cycling around, enjoying the stars.

Then we also have a family of many children, a rough loveless mother, and a drunk abusive father. The eldest daughter of the family turns to Rex for advice and attention, finding a father figure in her life that she can talk to. Her siblings however quickly learn to avoid the man, who seems odd in the way children can pick up – a tendency to pat their shoulder unnecessarily, and then there’s the creepy way he helps them dry off after a dip in the pool…

In an utterly truthful novel, Hartnett has managed to perfectly capture how children interact with each other and the adults around them, and how a child can brush off a creep’s intent with a shrug and a knowing ‘he’s a creep’ statement, matter of fact.

This is a novel that is at times brutal, and at all times engaging – it’s hard to put down, and painful in its shortness. We’re left with an open ending, as things are just a natural slice of their life – we see no justice for any of the terrible crimes we read, nor do we see any ending to them. We’re left to believe that in an sadly realistic way – life must just carry on.