The Mid Year Reading in Womble aka Let Me Tempt You Into Some Holiday Reading

Helloooo!! So, at the time of writing this I’m about 48 hours from going to Budapest for five days. I’ve not had a proper break for 18 months and safe to say I’m more than ready for a rest and chance to recharge. After an exciting seven months including finally moving it weirdly feels an appropriate mid-year break (ish). While I will be escaping with a few books I thought it’s a good time to show you some of my faves so far this year and hopefully gibe you some reading ideas. 

Looking back without the constant stress of moving I’m I do think 2019 is shaping up to be a very good year across the genres. Interestingly I think science fiction feels the more inventive genre this year – with the world I such a messy place wondering what’s next may be never more important.

I won’t repeat all the things we have done on Subjective Chaos but here are some more books to tempt ahem assist you: -

I’d like some YA please Womble?

The Dark Vault by VE Schwab – Recently released in the UK as a two-volume edition this is a fantastic story where a grieving teenager balances her own loss with her ancient family duty to track down missing souls. Its smart, weird with moments of horror and magic

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynne Herman – I was incredibly impressed by this opening instalment of a small US town run by four magical families with the latest generation confronting the sins of the past. Slick, well thought out and would make an impressive Netflix show!

I like short stories and I cannot lie?

This Dreaming Isle edited by Dan Coxon – A brilliant collection of UK authors are assembled to tell folk horror based around the coast, the countryside and towns. Its remarkably inventive and I showcases what this movement in horror is capable of.

American Monsters Part1 edited by Margret Helgadottir – Fox Spirit have for a few years now been publishing a wonderful set of horror stories all based around monsters of a particular continent and crucially written by authors with connections to the local area. Giving us new voices to become fans of. In this case some fascinating insight into what makes South Americans scared….

Wastelands - The New Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams – Sometimes you can think a genre is all done. I was tired of the end of the world tales as they all felt so cynical and despairing. However this set of stories features gay characters, people of colour and many groups you don’t see usually see .  It also suggests in many stories there is hope after the bad times.

Exit Wounds Edited by Paul Kane and Marie O Regan – To satisfy my recently rediscovered love of crime this set really gives me a feel for who is doing some interesting things. Twists, heart-warming, social commentary and a little touch of horror I loved the range demonstrated in this one.


Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – A child that is found dead then magically becomes alive sets in motion a huge sprawling sequence of events across a year in one small village. Lots of characters with secrets to reveal and a beautifully swirling narrative.  Unusual but gorgeous

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver – Lets go gothic and explore why a man went mad and killed a stranger over a hundred years ago. Was it a curse? Was he framed or was it all something else? A novel exploring what happens behind closed doors and a descent into madness that was chilling.

It’s a long trip can I have some Epic Fantasy?

The Winter Road by Adrian Selby – In this case pretty a standalone but for a long quest into the unknown this was hard to beat.  I was very impressed at how it mixed past and future events and there was a huge feeling of loss, determination and all wrapped into some very well thought out world-building. 

The Poison Song by Jen Williams – The Winnowing Flame saga concludes. Starting with the award winning Ninth Rain this I think is a standout series all fantasy fans need. It ends the tale of our favourite characters and there is joy and there is sorrow but most of all there is adventure.

I want to get away from it all so some Fantasy?

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie – Ann Leckie does for Fantasy what she delivered for SF in this unique but awesomely clever tale of gods and palace intrigue. With a trans man in the lead role without much fuss from any characters, a god who is a rock and an evil bird this is a tale you will not have heard before but it’s possibly the future….

Gather The Fortunes by Bryan Camp – a pleasant reading surprise where urban fantasy reaches New Orleans with a complex world mixing mythologies, narrative twists and an exploration of a fascinating city.  I so want to read more in this world

Stop 2019 I want to get to the future now please so some SF?

The City in The Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders – A very different story after all the birds in the sky this is a much more traditional SF setting but with a modern focus on revolutions and standing up for what you believe in. Loved this

Everything About You by Heather Child – From another world to the near future and how virtual life and AI can create someone we think are real.  Has a missing sister finally returned?  Loved the exploration of what AI means for us good and bad. Child is an author I will be watching out for…

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – A space opera that focuses on political intrigue and the personal changing the fate of an empire rather than a giant space battle was so refreshing.  Add in examinations of colonialism and culture plus dashing of humour where characters get to have fun because sometimes you need it in life then this is a brilliant debut

The Migration by Helen Marshall – A more haunting but hugely impressive story that sees a world in turmoil and our next generation fall to a new disease. It wrong footed me as to where this story would head but that note of hope in dark places was just what I needed when I read this

The Girl Who Could Move Sh@t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford – Sometimes we need a fun fast paced spy adventure but its always more fun with sarcasm, good characters and importantly telekinesis. It’s a huge amount of fun and I like how a character doesn’t always fall into hero mode.

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Max Gladstone and Amel El-Mohtar - Oh wow!!! Only read this recently and it’s still ticking in my brain. Two agents taunt each other across the multiverse but eventually find out they have so much in common that hate turns to love.  Beautiful, heart-warming, heart breaking and a tribute to communication brining down walls between us.  Yeah I love this.