Book Review : Before Mars by Emma Newman (Planetfall #3)

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Genre : Science Fiction

Publisher : Ace

Length : 352 pages

Format : Ebook

Rating : 4 stars

Publication Date : April 17th 2018 

 

 

Publisher’s description

After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist-in-residence. Already she feels like she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth–and she’ll be on Mars for over a year. Throwing herself into her work, she tries her best to fit in with the team.

But in her new room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note written in her own handwriting, warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. A note she can’t remember writing. She unpacks her wedding ring, only to find it has been replaced by a fake. 

Finding a footprint in a place the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that her assignment isn’t as simple as she was led to believe. Is she caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy, or is she actually losing her mind? Regardless of what horrors she might discover, or what they might do to her sanity, Anna has find the truth before her own mind destroys her

Book Review

Anna Kubrin’s dream was to go to Mars. From the moment she discovered her passion for rocks and history, she knew she wanted to become a geologist. However, she didn’t expect that she would earn her golden ticket to Mars because of her paintings and not because of her qualifications as a geologist. As it happens, the husband of her boss is a fan of her art and he wants her to paint Mars with material taken from the red planet. As crazy as it might be, Anna cannot say no to this out of the blue opportunity and decides to drop everything for her dream.

However, the moment Anna arrives to Mars, she knows something isn’t right. She takes an immediate dislike to the station psychologist and the feeling isn’t eased when she finds a handwritten note in her bedroom warning her not to trust the woman. The thing is, Anna is sure she’s the one who wrote the note. It doesn’t help that some of her possessions are missing from her cargo. But how is this possible when she just arrived?

Before Mars is the third book in the Planetfall series but like the other books, it can be read as a standalone story. However, I think that if you want to really understand everything in this story, reading After Atlas first would help. I personally haven’t read the first book Planetfall and I understood everything just fine. I liked After Atlas when I read it two years ago but I didn’t find it very memorable. It had interesting ideas but I found the story pretty forgettable (except the ending but again, I mostly forgot about it until I was reminded of it during Before Mars).

Let’s just say that, even if I was intrigued by the world, I probably wouldn’t have continued with this series if Before Mars hadn’t been shortlisted for the BSFA. I decided to read this year’s shortlist because I was very curious about the different titles and I’m glad I decided to read Before Mars. It’s very different from After Atlas and it worked a lot better for me. I was immediately pulled in: I started reading this on a train and I almost missed my stop. And I read this book in three days.

I loved the tension in this book, the mystery elements were introduced early on. When Anna discovers the warning message in her bedroom written by her hand, I knew I was in for a ride. I loved the almost claustrophobic atmosphere of this book: Anna is confined with four people and she doesn’t know if she can trust any of them. She cannot even trust the station’s AI because its only interest is to protect Gorb Corp, not the actual people on the planet. She also questions why she was even sent to Mars in the first place, it surely wasn’t because of her job as a geologist but, sending her on an another planet just to paint seems like a huge waste of money.

However, Anna herself is unreliable. She’s haunted by disturbing events that happening during her childhood involving her father. She knows that her decision to go to Mars wasn’t just motivated by science and her love of rocks and art. She’s fleeing her family and her responsabilities back on Earth: a daughter she doesn’t know how to love, an overbearing husband, a sister who doesn’t want to talk to her anymore and a father she’ll never be able to face again.

I loved how this book discussed motherhood and pregnancy can affect somebody. Anna is without a doubt suffering from post natal depression and she feels horrible because of it. On Earth, each time she talks about her struggles, people found her heartless and abnormal. Her husband doesn’t try to understand her either. Her lab needs money to run and she doesn’t know where to find the funding to keep it afloat. Her only escape is her art and, when she’s presented with a chance to run away on another planet entirely, she takes it.

Anna is not a particularly likeable character, she can appear selfish and self-centered in many ways but I could always understand her. She’s struggling to adapt in this unfamiliar environment and she doesn’t know if she can trust herself. I found the balance between Anna’s own selfdoubt and the weird things happening on the station thrilling. At various points, I thought Anna was delusional just to change my mind a few paragraphs later.

If I had to complain about something though, it would be that I didn’t think this book needed an epilogue. If you read the book, please tell me if you had the same issue, personally I had a hard time suspending my disbelief during the last scene. It felt completely unbelievable and I don’t think it added anything to the story. I would have enjoyed the story better without it.

Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and I would highly recommend it.

4.5 stars.

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Book Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (The Sixth World #1)

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Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Saga Press

Length: 287 pages

Format: Ebook

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: June 26th 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Book Review

Set in a future where rising seas levels and storms reshaped the world, changing the  dynamic of powers on Earth, Trail of Lightning is set in Dinétha, the former Navajo reservation. Before the world collapsed, the Dinée sensed that something bad was coming. They built a magic wall with the aid of their gods to seperate themselves to the rest of the world. Thanks to the wall, they weren’t touched as badly by the horrors happening outside in Mexico or the former USA. However, when you built a wall, you also trap some monsters on your side, and you cannot run away from them.

That’s why you need to hire people like Maggie Hoskie, a super badass monster-hunter. She was trained by the best: Neizgháni an immortal monster slayer. He found her when Maggie lost everything during a bloody event that led to the death of her entire family.  This event changed her and awakened her clan powers. Clan powers are abilities that appear in certain Diné and allow them to have superpowers. Your powers depend on your ancestors: Maggie is extremely fast and she’s also very good at killing things, monsters or humans.  Because of that, she often wonders if she’s any better than the monsters she’s constantly killing.

At the start of the novel, Maggie is called to help a girl who was kidnapped by a monster. The Diné are afraid of Maggie but, after Neizgháni’s disappearance, she’s the only one around who can help. During her hunt, she realizes that the monster she’s hunting is a new kind of monster and that he might be way more dangerous than she first imagined.

To understand what’s going on, Maggie is going to need an acolyte: Kai Arviso, a gorgeous medicine man that looks a lot more like an actor than a warrior. Maggie isn’t very happy to be working with a new partner but, it’s not like she has any choice in the matter, she has to work with what she has.

I really, really liked this book! The worldbuilding was fascinating, it’s my first time reading a urban fantasy story set around Navajo myths and legends and I loved that aspect. The characters were also amazing, Maggie is a very strong female character but she’s also very flawed. She’s so afraid of her own powers that she prefers to live on her own far from any people because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone.

Even if she likes to appear tough, she’s actually very self-conscious and afraid of how whe’s perceived by her community. I found myself rooting for her from the beginning because, even if she doesn’t always made the best decisions, I could always see where she was coming from.

The other character that I also liked quite a bit was Coyote: to be honest, he’s an asshole, he’s unreliable, always working for his own benefit but still, he was great. Some discussions he had with Maggie and Kai were frankly hilarious.

And Kai, oh Kai, I love Kai. He’s the best. He’s the complete opposite of Maggie in many aspects, he’s calmer, very friendly and he prefers to use words rather than weapons. He’s very supportive of Maggie but he’s also not afraid to call on her bullshit when she’s making dumb decisions. I also loved discovering his motives and his powers (even if his “huge” secret was obvious from the beginning). I loved how the romance slowly developped, I’m not always the biggest fan of romance but here it worked very well. It might have been helped by the fact that I had a huge crush on Kai myself.

My only issue with the romance was that it moved very quickly, the entire story is set in just a couple of weeks so, I personally things their feelings developped a bit too quickly for me. However, it didn’t feel like insta-love and I was too in love with the characters to complain!

I flew through this book, I read it in a day when I went on holidays. It’s a great plane-read, I was completely immersed in the story. I’m pretty sure I was smiling the entire time I read it.

My only complain with it is that the plot was fairly predictable, I loved reading this book but I saw all the twists and turns coming miles away. It wasn’t a huge problem with me since I loved the characters and the world so much but it definitely felt like the first book of a series. A lot of time was spend setting up the world and in my opinion, it was almost like the plot was put in the background for the first half of the book and, since the book is so short, it didn’t leave a lot of time for it.

However, even if it’s not the best book I ever read, I enjoyed the ride so much that I would still highly recommend it and I cannot wait for the sequel! 😀

Four stars.

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #2)

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Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Del Rey

Length: 384 pages

Format: Ebook

Rating: 3.5 stars

Publication Date: December 5th 2017

 

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic…

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…

Book Review

Remember last year when I just finished The Bear in the Nightingale and I was like “This book is so good, I’m definitely going to read the sequel as soon as I can!”, well, here we are a year later… 😀

To my defense, the end of The Bear in The Nigtingale was very satisfying, it can be read as standalone story. I really  appreciate authors who don’t fall in the easy cliffhanger ending. However, because of that, I didn’t felt like I had to pick up the sequel right away.

The Girl in the Tower opens up exactly where the first book ended. I will try to be as vague as possible to avoid any major spoilers but if you don’t want to know anything about this book, I suggest that you stop reading now.

Vasya is fleeing Lesnaya Zemlya after the events of the first book, she knows she can never become the woman the society is expecting her to become.  She’s way too indepedent to be married off to some lords or, even worse, to be sent to a convent. She wants to travel, to feel the wind in her hair while she’s discovering the world on the back of Solovey, her magic stallion, and she knows she will never be able to do that in Lesnaya Zemlya.

During her travel, Vasya realizes that she doesn’t really know where she wants to go or what she wants to do with her new-found freedom. She knows nothing about the world and how hard it is to travel on her own in medieval Russia, especially during winter.  One day, she stumbles upon a burning village where she learns that some girls were kidnapped by bandits. She manages to save them with the aid of Solovey and in her rescue, she encounters the Grand Prince of Moscow accompagnied by her brother Alexsandr that she hasn’t seen in years.

Since she’s disguised as a boy, it would be a great dishonor for her family to show that she’s a girl so, with the aid of her brother, she introduces herself as Vasili, the younger brother of Alexsandr. The Grand Prince takes an immediate liking to her and decides to bring her back to Moscow.

In the city, Vasya realizes that maintaining her disguise will be way more complicated that she ever thought it would. If she’s discovered, it would endanger her family but also herself. It doesn’t help that, even if she wasn’t intending to do so, she’s now involved in the politics of the nation. Indeed, in Moscow, Vasya realizes that the various kidnapping might be linked with an incoming conflict and she’ll do everything in her power to prevent that.

I liked The Girl in the Tower quite a bit, it was a change of pace from the first book and it introduced even more characters and raised the stakes even higher.

The writing remains as intricate and gorgeous and it was a pleasure to read about the beauties of Moscow under the snow. However, I think I preferred the first book. The world lost a bit of its magic in the sequel for me. It’s probably because the setting of the first book was more propice to the fairytale-like quality of the writing. The Girl in the Tower was much more focused on politics and the life in a big city at the time. I usually like books centered around political maneuvering but, I didn’t feel like it was very well done in this story. I found a lot of things to be predictable and the “big” reveals were underwhelming.

Another aspect that I wasn’t found of was the romance, as much as I liked how it was hinted at in the first book, I didn’t like how it developped in the sequel. It might be because of the writing, it is beautiful but very detached and because of that, I didn’t feel any type of connection between the two love interests and I just found their interaction weird.

However, I still enjoyed this book, I read it when it was snowing heavily in France and it was the perfect for this time of the year. I still liked the magical elements and Vasya is a great character to follow. She’s headstrong, brave and clever. She also cares for her family and she tries her best to protect them while preserving the life she wants to have. I’m curious to see how the events of this book will shape the conclusion of this trilogy, I will definitely read the sequel but not right now, I will probably wait for the next snow!

3.5 stars.

Short Fiction Sunday: February Highlights

Here are my favorite stories of February, I read about forty stories last month so it was a bit hard to narrow it down to only six! All the stories mentionned are quite different from another but I loved them all. If the story is available to read for free online, I provided a link! 😀

Clarkesworld #147

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Master Zhao: The Tale of an Ordinary Time Traveler by Zhang Ran – 4/5

A unemployed man meets a peculiar delivery man. Master Zhao always seems to know what is going to happen next, he’s never late and he’s never surprised by the weather. 

This story plays with one of my favorite trope: parallel universes! I love how it was executed. Zhang Ran really played with this idea: the time traveler isn’t trying to save his world, he doesn’t want to famous, he just wants to live a normal life with his wife. He’s not even the real hero of this story. The main protagonist is the very ordinary unemployed man. 

I tend to always really enjoy the Chinese translated stories published by Clarkesworld, and this particular story was no exception! I liked the plot, the pacing and the characters. I also loved how it ended, I don’t think it could have ended any other ways.

You can read this story here.

 

Two-Year Man by Kelly Robson – 5/5

I mentionned just before that I love the translated Chinese stories in Clarkesworld, I also love their reprints!  It’s a great way to discover or rediscover stories that were published previously in other magazines and anthologies.

Set in a dystopian future, this story follows a “two-year” man, In this future, people are divided into casts and two-year men are considered the lowest of the low. They have to do all the dirty and unpleasant work, the main protagonist’s job is to incinerate failed experiments. One day, he discovers that one of such experiment is a malformed child. He cannot throw him in the fire and he decides to bring him back home.

This was less than 5000 words but it discussed some very interesting themes and societal issues. If you liked Brave New World, I would highly recommend this story. I especially liked how it discussed motherhood and how women’s bodies are seen differently during and after pregnancy. 

You can read this story here.

Interzone #271

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When I Close My Eyes – Chris Barnham – 4.5/5

An astronaut is nearly killed by the fall of a rock during a mission on Titan. He just lost her wife and when he closes his eyes, he’s haunted his memories. He knows he should have told someone about his hallucinations before leaving on the mission but he had to go. What he doesn’t know is that is only way to survive the accident is to follow the stange visions he has.

This a very sad little story, the main character is grieving the loss of his wife and he doesn’t know if what he’s seeing is actually here of if he’s imagining it. If you liked stories narrated by unreliable narrators, I would recommend this one. It shares a lot of similar themes and ideas with Spaceman of Bohemia such as how to deal with gried, madness and the possible presence of aliens. However, I think that this story is way better than Spaceman of Bohemia

The Outcast Hours edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin

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I have already reviewed this anthology and, in the review, I made a list of my nine favorite stories. However, I thought I needed to talk about some of the stories again in case you missed them so I did a selection of the selection!  If you want to know more about my other favorites, please check out my review! 🙂

Ambulance Service by Sami Shah – 5/5

Following an ambulance in a night shift in Karachi, what starts off as pretty regular story slowly shifts as we learn that the main character is an exorcist and that he deals with strange creatures haunting people.

It managed to take me by surprise quite a few times which I wasn’t expecting considering how short it is. The ending was fascinating, I really grew to love the characters and I would love to read other stories set in this mysterious version of Karachi.

Dark Matters – Cecilia Ekback – 5/5

A young girl tries her best to keep her family from falling apart when her dad keeps on dying and resurrecting, messing up their quiet family life.

In this story, Death is a character who tries and miserably fail on killing the father. Death is very frustrated because people are not supposed to resurrect and it definitely wasn’t part of the plan!

This story is delightfully quirky, the characters are all amazing, I have to especially make a special mention to the grandmother and Death who were both amazing characters. It’s on the longer side compared to most of the stories of this anthology but I wouldn’t change or take away a single word.

Gatsby – Maha Khan Philips – 5/5

A girl is invited to Great Gatsby themed New Year’s Eve party in Karachi. She just lost her bestfriend and she’s definitely not in the mood for partying. She doesn’t even know the host, she only know of  him: he’s filthy rich, from the USA and he invited about four hundred people to his party.

While she’s trying to stay far away from the festivities, she meets him. He’s nice, too nice perhaps but he has laughing lines and he’s kind, very kind, until he isn’t.

This story is one of my favorite from the collection, everything is so unexpected, it’s full of twists and turns and that ending was very unexpected. It’s very dark and creepy but memorable for sure!

This is it for my February picks! What stories sound the most intriguing to you? Have you read short stories this month? 😀

March New Releases I’m intrigued about

Here’s my list of March anticipated releases! As I mentioned in my post last month, my selection isn’t trying to be comprehensive.  I haven’t even mentioned all the books I’m intrigued about and I’m sure I missed a number of great ones. However, I love gushing about shiny new books and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do so.  It’s not a TBR by any means though I really want to read those!

SCIENCE FICTION

Ancestral Night, by Elizabeth Bear (March 5, Saga Press)

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.

I really like Bear short fiction but I’ve never read one of her longer work and this one looks right up my alley. I like stories set in space and learning about a “shocking discovery about an alien species” sounds good to me!

String City, by Graham Edwards (March 5, Solaris)

It’s a tough job being a gumshoe in an interdimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things. Good thing I’m a stringwalker, able to jump between realities.

It started when I was hired to investigate an explosion at a casino. A simple heist, I thought, but it turned into a race to stop the apocalypse. So I rolled the dice, and now I’m up against the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god and a mysterious creature known as the Fool. I’m going to need more than just luck to solve this one.

If I fail, all things—in all realities—could be destroyed.

Just another day in String City. 

I have an ARC of this book so I’ll do my best to read it in March. I love stories playing with the parallel universes trope. My favorite book of last year, Unholy Land, played with this idea masterfully and I’m always on the lookout for similar stories and ideas. It also helps that this title is published by Solaris, they are one of my favorite speculative fiction imprint and I’m almost never disappointed by their titles. I’m highly anticipated this one.

The Rosewater Insurrection, by Tade Thompson (March 12, Orbit)

All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.

The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…

So this is without a doubt the book I’m looking forward to the most this month. I read and loved Rosewater back when it was first published by Apex Publications. It was a fantastic little gem and I cannot wait to learn more about this world!

Permafrost, by Alastair Reynolds (March 19, Tor.com)

2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.

2028: a young woman goes into surgery for routine brain surgery. In the days following her operation, she begins to hear another voice in her head… an unwanted presence which seems to have a will, and a purpose, all of its own – one that will disrupt her life entirely. The only choice left to her is a simple one.

Does she resist … or become a collaborator?

Alastair Reynolds is an author I’m very curious about. I’ve read one of his short stories a few years ago and I loved it (I think it was called A Murmuration). I have always been intrigued by his works but they tend to be on the longer side so I never picked them up and I am not interested by his YA series. I thought Permafrost would be a great way to try one of his longer work since it’s still shorter than most of his novels.. I have pre-ordered this one.

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (March 26, Tor Books)

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

Probably my second most anticipated releases of March, I’ve seen this one everywhere so I’m very intrigued about it. I don’t want to set my expectations too high but I can’t completely ignore the hype it has been getting recently!

The Bird King, by G. Willow Wilson (March 12, Grove/Atlantic)

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. 

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

I’ve seen this title for the first time on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog a couple of days ago and I was immediately intrigued by the premise. It also helps that the cover is absolutely gorgeous. After a bit of research, I learnt that G. Willow Wilson also wrote Alif the Unseen, a book that was critically acclaimed book which won the World Fantasy Award in 2013. I have requested it on Netgalley so if I get approved, I’ll definitely read this one asap!

Miranda in Milan, by Katharine Duckett (March 26, Tor.com)

After the tempest, after the reunion, after her father drowned his books, Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world. Naples awaited her, and Ferdinand, and a throne. Instead she finds herself in Milan, in her father’s castle, surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost. Whispers cling to her like spiderwebs, whispers that carry her dead mother’s name. And though he promised to give away his power, Milan is once again contorting around Prospero’s dark arts. With only Dorothea, her sole companion and confidant to aid her, Miranda must cut through the mystery and find the truth about her father, her mother, and herself.

Since I’m French, I never had to read any Shakespeare in school, we only studied French playwrights such as Molière, Racine and Corneille. English isn’t my first language so I always thought I would never be able to read his plays. However, a few years ago, I tried to read The Tempest and, even if a lot of things went over my head, I really enjoyed the play. Since then, I have read Miranda & Caliban, Jacqueline Carey’s take on this play as well as Coral Bones by Foz Meadows, a novella following what happens after the end of The Tempest. I liked them both so I cannot wait to read Miranda in Milan! I have pre-ordered this one as well.

MELTING POT

New Suns: Original Speculative fiction by People of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl (March 12, Solaris)

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.

The title of this anthology is pretty self-explanatory and I’ve been wanting to read this collection since I first heard about it. I have an ARC that I am currently reading so a review of it will be coming later this month. This anthology has stories from Rebecca Roanhorse, Tobias S. Buckell, Silvia Moreno Garcia and many others. The cover is absolutely gorgeous as well!

Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea: Stories, by Sarah Pinsker (March 19, Small Beer Press)

The baker’s dozen stories gathered here (including a new, previously unpublished story) turn readers into travelers to the past, the future, and explorers of the weirder points of the present. The journey is the thing as Pinsker weaves music, memory, technology, history, mystery, love, loss, and even multiple selves on generation ships and cruise ships, on highways and high seas, in murder houses and treehouses. They feature runaways, fiddle-playing astronauts, and retired time travelers; they are weird, wired, hopeful, haunting, and deeply human. They are often described as beautiful but Pinsker also knows that the heart wants what the heart wants and that is not always right, or easy.

I have read a couple of Pinsker’s stories and, as far as I can remember, I enjoyed them all so I’m looking forward to this collection. I don’t know when I’ll pick it up however because I have a lot of unread anthologies and magazines but I’m definitely intrigued by it.

What do you think about my selection? It was hard to narrow down, a lot of amazing titles are coming out every month! If you feel like I missed books that you are highly anticipating, feel free to give those titles some love in the comments. 😀

February Wrap-Up & March Reading Plans

So it’s apparently already March and I still feel like the year just started! It’s probably because I was on a college break, time always flies when I’m on vacation!

Speaking of vacation, I went to Tenerife for a week with my family and I had a great time. I just love the Canary Islands, I went to Lanzarote last year and I fell in love with the landscapes.

Here are a couple of pictures of my trip! (sorry for the questionable quality, I’m not a great photographer and I took all the pictures with my phone)

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February was a good reading month for me, I read seven things and I surprisingly managed to stick to my TBR. I have not posted that many reviews this month but I’ve written a couple that will be posted later this month. For once, I tried to prepare in advance for the end of my break. Usually, I read and post a lot when I’m free and that I’m MIA for weeks because I’m drowning in my school work. I know planning posts in advance is common practice for everyone but I’m just starting to realize how useful it is (yes, I’ve been blogging for three years but hey, better late than never!).

Also the blog has reached 200 followers so thanks a lot! I never thought that many people would be interested by my bookish ramblings. You’re the best!

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Books Read in February

  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden ★★★ 1/2 (review to come)
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse ★★★★ (review to come)
  • The Outcast Hours edited by Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin ★★★ 1/2
  • Winter by Ali Smith ★★★ 1/2
  • Interzone #271 ★★★ 1/2
  • The Dollmaker by Nina Allan ★★★★ (review to come in April)
  • Clarkesworld Issue #147

Reviews Posted

Favorite Reads

The Dollmaker doesn’t come out until the beginning of April so my review will be posted around this time but I really liked it. It’s a delicate fractured novel where not a lot of things happen but the quiet atmosphere and the structure really worked for me.

Tentative TBR

I am currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert and I am enjoying it but I’m listening to it and, for some reason, I cannot listen to audiobooks for more than fifteen minutes without falling asleep so I’ll probably finish this one in May…

Anyway, the other books on my tentative TBR are:

  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
  • Europe at Dawn by Dave Hutchinson
  • Before Mars by Emma Newman
  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl
  • Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
  • String City by Graham Edwards
  • Apex Magazine January 2019
  • Clarkesworld #149
  • Uncanny Magazine January-February 2019

What was your favorite reads of the month? What are you looking forward to in March? 🙂