It’s the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!
What is the best book you read in December 2020 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.
Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.
And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.
As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine!
The World Fantasy Convention 2019 Souvenir Book, particularly the history of the conventions and the books, short stories, magazines and authors who won awards.
Commenting with the box checked to make sure I get notifications on these last two giveaway posts, although I thought I had it checked originally.
I had checked it, but the notifications had started going to Spam without warning.
“The House in the Cerulean Sea.” It lives up to the hype and everyone should read it!
A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman! I was not expecting how funny and simultaneously heart breaking this book would be.
Neil Gaiman, “Fortunately the Milk.” This was fun enough, and the illustrations are quite good!
“The Inspector General” by Nikolai Gogol. I’ve been reading up on Russian stories for my book as well as piano music.
Trying for a shorter recap: Best read Shaman (Kim Stanley Robinson) is a semi-realistic portrayal of the difficult lives of Ice Age humans, with a painfully young protagonist. Not perfect but very good, with only a little resemblance to Jean Auel’s take on the Ice Age. Black Sun is a new Rebecca Roanhorse series opener in a magical world slightly resembling America before the European invasion. The sections devoted to the incompetent Sun Priest were not great, but the revenge tale parts involving blind Crow savior Serapio and were-mermaid Xiala were very good. Comet Weather (Liz Williams) is the first of at least two books about the magical Fallow family of Somerset, four half-sisters and their missing mother, plus at least one ghost and a group of personified stars. This takes place at a country estate, but is close to the roots of what is called urban fantasy now, from the days before it got infested with vampires and werewolves. (Despitee several shape-shifting characters.) I have liked every book I’ve read by Williams, and this one was no exception, even though I didn’t always understand what was going on. Mutiny at Vesta (R. E. Stearns) continues the interplanetary pirate saga from Barbary Station, with a bit sharper style. But still a very dense techno-heavy story of AIs, power struggles, capers and double-crosses. Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education has a rudely cranky 16 year old heroine attending a magical school automated (no teachers or staff) using steampunk technology that’s been in serious disrepair for decades. With the result that a large percentage of the students get eaten by demons by the time the chaotic graduation day is over. Despite the high ratio of telling to showing, this is more fun than it might sound like. Dead Lies Dreaming (Charles Stross) says a Laundry Files novel on the cover, but no Laundry operatives appear. Stross throws in allusions to Peter Pan and James Bond, but this continues the slide of the series into a darker, more gruesome place, minus the leavening humor of the earlier books with Bob and Mo. Alex Irvine’s Anthropocene Rag is a post-nonotech apocalypse road trip novel. And I dislike road trip novels, since they rarely deliver on their scant promise, so why did I read this? I guess because I liked The Narrows and A Scattering of Jades. But there’s no depth to anything in this one–the characters, the plot or the phildickian interrogations of reality. Pretty cover, though.
I started the prolific Alexander McCall Smith (best known for “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series)’s series “44 Scotland Street”, beginning with the eponymous book. Bertie is my favorite character!
I read a lot of M/M contemporary romance in December. A lot!
N.R. Walker who is Australian got the most 5 stars out of me particularly for these:
Switched, N.R. Walker
Israel has never felt like he belonged to his cold parents. Unlike most kid’s feeling of alienation, he really was switched at birth. Sam, his BFF is with him all the way as Israel decides whether to meet his birth family.
Pieces of You, N.R. Walker
Pieces of Me
Pieces of Us
Hoo boy. This trilogy was really good. Dallas runs a motorcycle repair shop and is in love with one of his employees, Justin. Justin ends up in a terrible accident which wrecks him physically and mentally. He’s lost 5 years of memory, including Dallas and the shop. The series is all about Justin recovering as much as he’s able, falling in love with Dallas again, and learning how to cope with his new reality.
December was a slower reading month for me and it looks like I leaned on thrillers more than usual. I gave three of them four stars each and would read more by any of the authors, solid escapism: “Whispers of the Dead” by Spencer Kope (interesting tracker skill); “The Death of Mrs Westaway” by Ruth Ware (classic manor house); and “Thirteen” by Steve Cavanagh (serial killer twist).
Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole, #2) by Robert Crais
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow
Sethia,if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!