So uh, I took an unexpected semi-hiatus this month.
Of course, instead of a planned hiatus, where I could relax, reenergize and whatnot, this was unexpected and I was filled with writer’s block, stress and everything else. It wasn’t just the blog, but a number of things that boiled together and hit me with a smashing of doubt and frustration and worthlessness.
And no, it’s not all magically better now. I’m feeling marginally better, however, and am going to attempt to start working on Book 3 this month because I must have it finished as soon as possible.
I did have two short stories published this month. “Love and War Aboard the Peregrine Zircon” was released by Luna Station Quarterly in issue 046, and “To Steal a Prince of the Moon” was part of Black Cat Magazine’s inaugural issue.
Overall, I read a lot more than I thought I would, with 15 total books: 5 audiobooks and 10 books, for a total of 5117 pages.
It’s hard to sum up how I read so many amazing five-star reads this month, when I was emotionally floundering. I dunno. And they are all really different, so grouping them like I normally do is a little hard.
The King of Faerie was the final book in the Stariel quartet, and was everything my heart desired in this beloved series, although I definitely needed another 100 pages (it is 550 pages long already) to spend time with these wonderful characters. It is getting a spin-off book, so I’ll have one more chance to see them.
People We Meet on Vacation was…well, it’s about two opposites—a chaotic sunshine and an overly organized khaki shirt—who find that they love traveling during their summer vacations with each other, until something happens and then they don’t. It’s delightful, and like Beach Read, has a lot more layers and pulsing depths than I originally anticipated.
A Psalm for the Wild Built was one I was a bit tentative about, since I’m hit or miss with Becky Chambers, but this was delightful. I loved Dex, I really felt their bull-headed desire to do things on their own, painful though those decisions were, and the overall story was just so beautiful. It’s solarpunk at its finest.
The Jasmine Throne is book two of the 2021 Sapphic Fantasy Trifecta, and was just amazing. I loved Tasha Suri’s lush and vibrant writing style, the intricate and deadly world-building, and the fierce tension between the two leads. It is fabulously sapphic and fantastically anti-imperialistic.
Luck of the Titanic is Stacey Lee’s latest, and it did not disappoint, although it kept me guessing right up to its utterly tragic ending (no, I will not give spoilers, but it’s the fucking Titanic, were you expecting hugs and kisses?). I was bawling, and now I want everyone to read it so that you can cry too.
This Poison Heart was so amazing. Right off the start I knew that it was going to be a four or five star read, and I was not disappointed. It’s one of those books where the writing style just sucked me in and enveloped me, and the plot was also fantastic. In terms of being plant-focused, the writing style felt moderately similar to A Psalm for the Wild Built, although the tones were completely different.
This was the month I got around to reading two highly hyped books, and they did not fail to disappoint. Legendborn was the King Arthur retelling in an American YA setting that I didn’t know I wanted—or that I could suspend my disbelief for. Tackling the complicated and fucked up history of the United States alongside demons, school, and a brewing love triangle is no easy feat, and entwining Arthurian legend and secret societies into that with aplomb is just *chef’s kiss*.
Yep, I finally read The Midnight Library, and perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to listen to this book about a suicidal woman while highly stressed, driving up from North Carolina to DC in a move that was made more challenging by my mother-in-law’s constant presence and nine short story rejections in one week. It’s a solid book, but it wasn’t earth shattering like I had anticipated.
An Elderly Woman is Up to No Good, however, was delightful. I was really, really vibing with Maud, an easily annoyed octogenarian who doesn’t mind solving minor (and major) annoyances with murder. I mean, who’s going to point the finger at fragile little ol’ her? No one.
The Hidden Palace was the sequel to The Golem and the Jinni, and honestly where the first was a fantastic five-stars, this hit more around the 3.5 range (rounded up here). It was good, but the climax was anti-climactic and I don’t even know what was up with that ending. But the historical research and attention to detail and the ambiance of the prose was gorgeous.
We Have Always Been Here was a really solid psychological thriller about a psychologist stuck on a colony ship to a new world, where weird things start to happen with her coworkers. It’s tense, moody and fraught with am I the crazy one? Is it me? I’m not going to spoil more than that here, and I’m not even sure how to write my main review.
I thoroughly enjoyed book one in the series, but The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows was something of a miss for me. I adored the last quarter or so, but with a 416 page-length this just seemed to drag on and on and on, to the point where I ended up speeding up the audiobook from my usual 1.5x to 1.75x then 2x just to get through it.
There’s a lot of good stuff, from printing presses to beekeeping to inheritance and sapphic relationships (and the courting of such, when unsure if your companion feels the same) to marriages of convenience, but ultimately it just was a slog.
I’ve been feeling a bit of summer nostalgia for one of my favorite childhood thrillers, so I picked up the Blood Moon trilogy, and it did not disappoint. Solid 3.5 (rounded down) reads, engaging and mysterious, although I was more annoyed by how dated the descriptions (and casual anti-indigenous racism and sexual assaults) were, although it was amusing to remember video recorders and VCRs and stereotypes. And seeing a love triangle with a dark-haired teenager trying to choose between a blond immortal and dark-haired Native American was…an interesting foreshadowing to a certain popular YA series that basically created YA into what it is today. The similarities end there however (okay, Kate wears khaki skirts and boring leather flats but those are part of her uniform).