Sunday Status Update: January 20, 2019

We have a few recommendations for reads to carry you through the winter. Take a look!

Bill: This week I read Kellanved’s Reach by Ian Cameron Esslemont, Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots by Kate Devlin, and In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. The first a solid but somewhat flat entry in an otherwise enjoyable series, the last so much better than my first WAYWARD CHILDREN attempt it has convinced me to try the others, and the middle one more informative and less titillating than some may hope for. In genre, my son and I are sticking with The Gifted, but it really starting to feel like its spinning its wheels and recycling stories. And the entire family loved Once Upon a Deadpool, which offered up many of the same laughs as the first release of Deadpool II and added some new ones in this PG-13 version.

Brad: This week I read Novik‘s Uprooted and was as impressed as everybody else on the site. I’m also continuing to read the comic book series The Unwritten, which is a postmodern, meta-aware rewriting of Harry Potter. Highly recommended. I read a few stories in the first book of THE WITCHER, and I read, but was not incredibly impressed by, some comics based on the Witcher. I’m reading for my classes short stories by Poe and Doyle, as well as This Is Water by David Foster Wallace, an excellent speech on higher education. Finally, I’ve started The Hero and The Crown, which I’m enjoying.

Jana: This week I made some progress on outstanding reviews, continued reading N.K. Jemisin‘s How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? and Hannah West’s Realm of Ruins and S.A. Chakraborty‘s The City of Brass, and began Gareth Hanrahan’s The Gutter Prayer, because that seems to be where I’m at right now, organization-wise. I haven’t had big blocks of time to just read, so I end up grabbing a few chapters of something here and there. Luckily it’s been really easy to get back into the novels each time I’ve been able to sit down with them, and short-story collections are always good for intermittent reading. If I can get these books read and reviewed by the end of next week, I’ll be picking up Jordanna Max Brodsky’s The Wolf in the Whale, which I’m excited to read; her inclusion of historical details in the OLYMPUS BOUND series was very well-done, so a novel based out of her fictionalization of the first contact between the Inuit people and Viking explorers should be interesting reading, indeed.

Marion: I finished Robert Jackson Bennett’s upcoming novella “Vigilance.” Bill and I will be giving our (lengthy) opinions on it in a joint review soon. I also finished up Madeline Miller’s beautiful and immersive mythic retelling Circe, which I recommend heartily. I believe we’re already reviewed it but I may add my thoughts to that column.

I’m getting some writing done, but I find I have trouble concentrating to read these days, and I end up watching more current events that I want to. I blame my husband (in small part) because he routinely comes into my office—like just now, for instance – to say, “You won’t believe this one!” Is that happening to anyone else?

Tadiana: Hey, I’m improving – it’s only been a couple of weeks since I last checked in! :D  I finished off The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, which was an excellent wrap-up to one of my favorite YA fantasy series in recent years. I also read Roger Zelazny‘s 1985 Hugo Award-winning novella 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai, which is elevated by Zelazny’s inimitable style and linking of each short chapter to one of the Japanese artist Hokusai’s paintings of Mt. Fuji. I found it delightful reading even though the plot itself is a bit dated. Finally, I whipped through a pair of zombie urban fantasies by Kristi Charish, the first two books in her new KINCAID STRANGE series: The Voodoo Killings and the just-published Lipstick Voodoo. Several reviews pending!

Terry: In a fit of ennui, I’ve started a great many new books.  I’m reading, with great delight, John Scalzi‘s Old Man’s War. I’ve also started Tor.com’s book-of-the-month, The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, but I’m not sure what I think of it yet.  I’ve also started Lake Silence by Anne Bishop, which seems like a comfortable read that will whiz by at speed. I’m very much enjoying Figure Head by Carly Holmes, which is the monthly read of the Literary Horror group on Goodreads. Finally, I’ve begun Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, which continues Aelin’s adventures in a truly epic manner. These are all different enough that I’m not getting anything mixed up, but I am wishing I had a lot more time to read — as always.

Tim: This week, I finished up a review of Tanith Lee‘s Companions on the Road (forthcoming), and began reading Kiersten White‘s Slayer, a YA novel set in the universe of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m a Buffy fan from way back, and I’m enjoying this new take so far. Otherwise, I’ve mostly been bracing against the latest Snowmageddon to strike my corner of the world.


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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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4 comments

  1. Marion /

    Tadiana; I have an ARC of LIPSTICK VOODOO that I haven’t started yet. I can’t wait to see what the author does with “Voodoo Doughnuts.” (That’s a Portland, Oregon joke.)

    • My review of Lipstick Voodoo is uploaded but not posted yet, but I strongly recommend reading The Voodoo Killings first – it’s very hard to get into the second book without reading the first one before it (I know; I tried). Luckily the publicist was very willing to send me a PDF of The Voodoo Killings. On the other hand, they’re fun but (IMO) not really great reads, so you may not want to invest that much time.

  2. Marion, I am having almost exactly the same problem you’re describing — it’s hard to get a good reading or writing flow going when, just as I’m starting to concentrate, my partner comes in with the latest update on how we’re all living in a dumpster fire. Not that I don’t want to stay informed, but…

    • My husband, too, loves to come into my study to inform me of the latest outrage, leaving me with a headache, a stomach ache, or both.

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