January Reading!

I am very rare amongst my friends and family in my love for January as for me it always seems to lead to a boost in energy levels after the end of the year wiped me out.  I also may have had two weeks off in it…(polishes halo).

I had a lovely trip to Barcelona and it’s a fantasy novel city in its own right.  Amazingly relaxed and gorgeous you can easily imagine magical events happening down the streets. Well worth a visit and a long wander.  Of course, coming home my body caught the dreaded flu bug so I had a fascinating week trying to breathe and stay warm – no sign of an exorcist being required but it was a close-run thing!

Movies and TV wise has been I will be honest light – I seem to be reluctant to try and watch a plot if that makes sense and I’m hoping to start a mammoth catch up on shows like Discovery, Dark and that little-known drama called Stranger things soon.  I also have the remake of It to watch and I’m intrigued how I will react to it (please be better than Dark Tower).

But one thing I definitely have done is read and pleasingly I’ve also made some inroads into Mount TBR. I’ve started to plan out my reading schedule a bit better into small chunks each week and as you’ll start to notice I’m starting to review a few books ahead of publication date.  Yes, reader I now have a spreadsheet to track dates!


So, what did I read?

Novels (5 from last year’s TBR attacked)

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – review to follow - an old children’s classic that is perfect for midwinter.  While the plot is very mechanical I think it wins on the sense of atmosphere and the creepiness of a cold winter.

The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark – reviewed – you should all be reading this interesting mix of high fantasy and grimdark.  Hopefully the rest of the series will be just as memorable.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft – reviewed - A very clever and unusual new fantasy sequence exploring a city in the clouds and having a lot to say about social climbing and elites

White Tears by Hari Kunzru -review to follow – an unusual literary ghost story that I’m not sure quiet worked for me…

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden – review to follow – a modern retelling of Russian folklore and it’s really worth a look is my non-spoilery tip 😊

If Souls Can Sleep by David Michael Williams – reviewed – a surprisingly smarter fantasy thriller involving dreamworlds and wrongfooted me a few times which is always something I value in a book!

The Left hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin – reviewed – I really loved what this book does in only 245 pages.  Stunning how all the themes combined into a beautiful story of friendship.  Expect more reading of her this year.

Paris Adrift by E J Swift – reviewed - a time travel tale with a focus on character and really reminded me of growing up in your twenties. Another author I want to read more of.


The Bastard Legion by Gavin G Smith – review incoming – violent grim SF tale of a penal mercenary crew that has one of the most interesting main characters in some time.  Quite a scary one actually…

Novellas and Short Stories (four out of last year’s TBR!)

Asian Monsters/European Monsters edited by Margret Helgadottir and Jo Thomas (European only)- reviewed – Two excellent Fox Spirit editions exploring myths and legends around the world

Uncanny Magazine Issue 20 – loved the mix!

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or day by Seanan Mcguire – review to follow – loved the idea of a New York with its unique ghost community

Ironclads by Adrian Tchaikovsky – review to follow – near future SF military thriller with a nice edge in satire

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Bo Bolander – reviewed – Yes amazing parallel history of elephants and radium girls – just read it!!

Non Fiction (1 out of last year’s TBR)

Lonely Planet Pocket Barcelona – I did not get lost

Graphic Novels (2 out of last year’s TBR)

Monstress Vol 2 by Marjorie M Liu – how can a world so pretty be so evil!! Love this series

Saga Vol 8 by Brian K Vaughan – nice return to form and I still never know what to expect

The Wicked  + The Divine Vol 6 by Kieron Gillen – felt like it treaded water and I would like a bit more plot in the next instalment

Wytches Vol 1 by Scott Snyder -a horror comic about a family finding out something in the woods is after their daughter.  Unnerving art but not quite hung together in first volume and looks like a wait until the next!