Sunday Status Update, August 14 2011

In which our reviewers answer the age old question: what are you reading?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This past week I read Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja, a YA coming-of-age book about a young, well, ninja. It was better than I expected (admittedly the bar was pretty low). The sequel is on my shelf and I’ll pick it up this week. It will be interesting to see how this one does with higher expectations. I want to read it while the first is still fresh in mind. I just finished Icefall, Matthew Kirby‘s second book. His first, The Clockwork Three, was one of my favorites last year and this one was even better.  It’s YA, classified technically Middle Grade, but anyone who ignores it based on that is going to miss a fantastic read. Look for my upcoming review — it got a rare five stars from me and an even rarer 100. It’ll clearly be on my top ten list at the end of the year. I’ve been on a short roll here, as another one, Lev Grossman‘s The Magician King, also appears to be an early favorite for the list. I liked this sequel to The Magicians better than the first. Besides a good story well-told, it’s a fantasy geek’s dream with all the allusions and it really, really funny.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: Just finished M.A.R. Barker’s Man of Gold, about to start Jean Johnson’s A Soldier’s Duty… or Trent Jamieson’s Roil.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: I finally finished The Mathematics of Magic, a collection of all of the HAROLD SHEA stories written by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. Next I’ll work on two books simultaneously: John Morressy’s A Voice for Princess, the first of his Kedrigern Chronicles, and Multiples, a new collection of 14 Robert Silverberg stories written in the 1980s. On audio last week I read two books with my kids: Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan and Philippa Fisher’s Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler. I’m still working on William Gibson’s Neuromancer. I really like it, but I’m between semesters so I have no commuting time and, thus, little time for listening. It’s not exactly the kind of book I can listen to with my kids around. When school starts up again next week, I’ll have more time for adult audiobooks.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: I’ve just finished Katharine Kerr‘s Water to Burn and Carolyn MacCullough‘s Always a Witch, both enjoyable reads. Now, I’m following in Greg’s footsteps and heading to Westeros — A Dance with Dragons is in my hands at last! And if I need a break from The Series Where Everybody Dies, I’ve got a couple of YA novels on my plate: Stacey Jay‘s Juliet Immortal and Victoria Schwab‘s The Near Witch. After that, it’s off to faerie London, with Marie Brennan‘s With Fate Conspire. Looks like this final installment might have some “steam” flavor…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I didn’t have much time for reading this week.  I read The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack; liked it, didn’t love it. I read and did love Devon Monk’s Dead Iron, a book I would probably never have found except for this website. I am wading into On the Origin of Stories which is scholarly but accessible. And, not to hype the website too much, I am enjoying Terry’s bookstore columns! I would love to see more from the other contributors.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rebecca: I’m currently reading Guinevere by Sharan Newman, quite an old book, but I’m in the midst of an Arthurian phase and Guinevere has always been my favourite character in the mythos (when she’s written correctly!) I’ve recently completed Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and a review should be up soon. Next on my TBR list is The Scarecrow and his Servant by Philip Pullman — I’ve only read his YA fiction, so I’m looking forward to one of his children’s stories.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Robert: Last Sunday I finished The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s stunning debut and one of the best books I’ve read in 2011, ranking right up there with Félix J. Palma’s The Map of Time. My mind is still on The Night Circus, but whenever I can, I’ve been reading K.V. Johansen’s Blackdog and The Monster’s Corner anthology. After fifty pages, Blackdog hasn’t really grabbed me yet, so I’ve been spending most of my time with The Monster’s Corner, which is edited by Christopher Golden who also put together last year’s awesome anthology, The New Dead. I’ll keep trying with Blackdog for a little longer, but I have a ton of interesting books waiting in my TBR pile, including Cherie Priest’s Ganymede. I also finally received a copy of George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream, a graphic novel that collects all seven issues of the comic book adaptation produced by Avatar Press and adapted by Daniel Abraham. Been looking forward to this for a long time…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stefan: This week I read two debuts. Low Town by Daniel Polansky is a great noir fantasy novel about Warden, a fascinating anti-hero in a grimy and realistic fantasy city. The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer is a fun fantasy adventure about Dev, an outrider for a mountain-crossing caravan who smuggles magical items into a neighboring kingdom, and ends up smuggling more than he bargained for. I’m working on reviews for both books, and as soon as they’re done I look forward to sinking my teeth into the first novel in David Weber‘s HONOR HARRINGTON series, which we’re going to be reading and discussing in Beyond Reality for the next year or so. I also have my eyes set on a couple of interesting ARC’s from Angry Robot: Roil by Trent Jamieson and Debris by Jo Anderton.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week has been somewhat hectic, but I’ve managed to find some time for Tom Deitz‘s Bloodwinter. I’m going to have trouble reviewing this one, mainly as (prior to opening it), I gave it to my sister to hold as I drove. She began to read it, and promptly began vocalizing her confusion in very amusing ways. I now am unable to prevent myself from picturing one of the main characters as an enormous St. Bernard.  Nor do I really want to try.

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RYAN SKARDAL, on our staff from September 2010 to November 2018, is an English teacher who reads widely but always makes time for SFF.

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  1. @Marion, I’m so glad you liked Dead Iron! :D And I need to write a bookstore column soon, probably about a bookstore located in a Victorian house in St. Louis. Love that place.

  2. @Stefan I’ve been collecting the Honor Harrington audiobooks as they have sales at Audible (had another this week). I’m hoping to start those soon, too!

  3. Kat, you should join us at Beyond Reality. We’re going to discuss one book per month, starting this month (tomorrow actually for the first book). They’re short books and (I’m told) pretty fast reads, so I think we’ll be able to squeeze them into whatever other books we’re working on.

  4. Stefan, I might try that. I’m not sure if I’ll chime in at BR (I never have before) but I am a member, so I’ll probably check in and see what people are saying.

  5. You people are, I swear, going to send me to the poorhouse. I ordered three new books just through reading this column, and added a few more to my wishlist. If we ever have to move again (shudder), I’m going to draft you all into moving book boxes.

  6. Terry, maybe it’s time for a Kindle?

  7. I have a Kindle, Kat, but I really don’t like it. I still much prefer the look and feel of a real book. I hope they don’t die out!

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