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!