March 2016 ~ My Bookish Month in SFF.

In an effort to keep track of exactly what I’ve read and done (Anything geeky), I’m doing a monthly post summarising what I’ve read each month, as well as any events I’ve been to etc. This is my post for March! (Put together bit by bit over the course of the month, so I don’t spend hours on it at the end of the month!

Warning: May contain spoilers!

Here goes.

1. Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire.

Chaos Choreography (InCryptid, #5)

Fifth book in Seanan McGuire’s funny and fast-paced urban fantasy InCryptid series featuring ballroom dancer and monster expert Verity Price.

Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She’s rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her—or so she thinks. When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find with the investigation, without blowing her cover…

I’ll be honest, I am completely biased with regards to the InCryptid books by Seanan McGuire. I LOVE them! So you should just go buy them all and read them yourself to decide If I’m right or completely right about this book!

Chaos Choreography is book 5 in the InCryptid series. With this book we are returned to the life of Verity, for whom an old door had re-opened and opportunity beckons with sequins and stage lights.
But we’re talking Verity here, so opportunity also seems to feature plenty of blood, death and gore! Welcome to Reality TV, the show is Dance or Die – and someone is taking the title quite literally!
This book has everything. Glitz, glamour, diva meltdowns, talking religious mice! Go now and read this book, the Arboreal Priestess & God Of Hard Choices In Dark Places command it!

2. A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong.

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers: A Tor.Com Original

A powerful story, well written and structured.

I’m pretty sure that Alyssa Wong will be one of those authors who just gets better and better.

I can’t wait to read what she has published next!

This story can be read for free on Tor.com or purchased for less than a pound/dollar on Kindle.

Hannah and Melanie: sisters, apart and together. Weather workers. Time benders. When two people so determined have opposing desires, it’s hard to say who will win–or even what victory might look like. This stunning, haunting short story from rising star Alyssa Wong explores the depth and fierceness of love and the trauma of family.

3. The House Of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard.

The House of Shattered Wings

A fantastical portrayal of an alternative Paris, where magic is real, Angels fall on a regular basis and the city is in ruins following a great magical war.

Beautifully written and with characters that feel real – In the house of Silver Spires, deep within the ruins of Notre Dame a terrible darkness rises. A darkness that threatens to ignite what’s left of Paris into another magical battle. A Human, a Fallen and a being from a far off land must survive Machiavellian intrigue and political machinations to survive the House Of Shattered Wings.

A winding, intricate story that will make you question just which characters are morally in the right – if any. A narrative that blends influences from two distinct fantasy and cultural origins.

If you enjoy urban fantasy, political intrigue and mysteries – this is for you!

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.
House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its
magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something
from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

4. The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

This novel was lovely. A SF story that was driven by the characters and their relationships with each other. The SF setting is almost incidental.

A heartwarming tale of a long haul space voyage, we meet Rosemary – a new crew member with an emotional secret. Ashby, the ships Captain – torn by a taboo relationship. Sissix, the pilot from a completely different culture. Jenks, a confident tech with an unusual relationship. Kizzy, 2 litres of fun in a 1 litre bottle! Corbin, A standoffish guy with interpersonal issues. Lovey, the ships sentient AI – always watching, always caring. Ohan, Navigating the ship through the dark – but at what price? Dr Chef, Ships Doctor and Cook – His cheerful countenance hides a painful past.

Altogether, this is a charming story not just about a space voyage. but of a family coming together and supporting each other emotionally and literally through all the hardships and burdens that the universe will place in their path.

BUT… This is fluffy-don’t pay attention to the science/tech/physics or your head might explode SF. Not for fans of Hard SF or Realistic Spatial Mechanics! If you can pretend it’s a story that ISN’T set in space, you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more! (Luckily I’m very good at compartmentalising such parts of my mind!)

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

5. A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire.

A Local Habitation (Toby Daye #2)

After spending fourteen years lost to both the fae and mortal worlds, only to be dragged back into Faerie by the murder of someone close to her, October “Toby” Daye really just wants to spend a little time getting her footing. She’s putting her life back together. Unfortunately, this means going back to work for Duke Sylvester Torquill of Shadowed Hills, doing her duty as a knight errant. That isn’t the sort of thing that exactly lends itself to a quiet existence, and before she knows it, Toby’s back on the road, heading for the County of Tamed Lightning in Fremont, California to check on Sylvester’s niece, January.

Things in Tamed Lightning turn out to be a lot stranger than they seemed at first glance, and Toby’s talent for finding trouble isn’t doing her any favors. With Quentin—a young foster from Sylvester’s Court—in tow, and the stakes getting higher all the time, it’s up to Toby to solve the mystery of Tamed Lightning, or face a failure whose cost will be too high for anyone to pay.

I read this as part of the SF/F Read Along group here on Goodreads. (I know, I haven’t posted my write-up yet, I’M BEHIND OK! I’ll get it done very soon!)

ALH is the second in the awesome October Daye UF series by Seanan McGuire. I love this series so much, that being said ALH is probably the weakest novel in the series, That’s not to say it’s bad – it’s fantastic compared to a lot of books out there! I’ll link to my full Read Along write-up once I get around to finishing it! Watch This SPACE!

Other Bookishness/Geekiness?

Just two things really. I attended Mancunicon, the 2016 Eastercon in Manchester. I’ve already written a LOT about that here! Also I’ve nominated a heck of a lot for this years Hugo Awards. That is all.

What’s Taking You So Long Hisham?

I know, I’m STILL reading The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams. In my defence I get easily distracted (Chaos Choreography) attended a huge convention (Mancunicon) Suffered SEVERAL migraines in March (OUCH!) and had quite a few early shifts again. (I never can read as much on early shifts – something to do with sleep deprivation I think!) I’ll crack on with The Iron Ghost in April. I promise! 😀

 

 

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