Well, the start of this year wasn’t too bad for me.
I wrote a short story (kinda cheated and finished one I had almost finished in December) and finished the preliminary edits for That Slow Awakening (book 2 in Satura Trilogy), so that’s back at my editor and hopefully I’ll have a pub window soon.
And the editor for Metaphorosis included “Tell the Crows I’m Home” in his Best of 2021 wrap, which was really awesome!
No acceptances for short stories so far, but I have gotten a couple rejections. I have four shorts I need to edit (eeeek) and a couple that are ready for subbing.
Reading-wise, this was a pretty good month. I picked back up on my Vorkosiverse reread and ended my Droughtlander!
I read a lot of great books and only a couple that were disappointing. Overall, I read 20 books for 7 books, 12 audiobooks and 1 graphic novel, for 8,101 pages. Audiobooks really got me through the month.
Also, fuck it. Instead of doing seedling emojis for my rating I’m doing fir trees.
Ever start a book and know from the very first sentence that this is most likely going to be a five-star read? That was the case with Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and The 1619 Project, two books with absolutely nothing in common aside from the fact that they are spectacular. Delilah Green was everything I wanted in a contemporary romance, with heart and depth and humor and two protagonists with a backstory and distinct motivations and a Parent Trap reference(!!), while 1619 was a masterclass in history and writing, showcasing the breathtaking talent of project management skills and writing to pull off this hugely ambitious and absolutely necessary work.
I restarted my Vorkosiverse reread after petering off sometime in April. I know exactly why I paused it: Mirror Dance is not a book to enter into lightly, and I knew it would rip my heart into a thousand pieces. However. It’s so fucking good, and the pain was manageable this time around because I knew what was coming. And Memory was even better than I remembered, going from a four-star read in 2012 to a five-star holy shit in 2022. Funny how 10 years can change a person’s perspective.
Yup, I finally read Lore Olympus (volume one), after it’s been sitting in my webtoons cue silently judging me and my inability to commit to such a massive undertaking. In my defense, there are about one bajillion episodes. It’s a lot. So I took on the more manageable first volume, and while it was good and I’m going to continue reading the series, I did want more Persephone and Hades.
And The Soulmate Equation was quite adorable, even if I wasn’t 100% a fan of River (what even is that name).
And I finally read An Extraordinary Union, and I really enjoyed it!
And, I finally, finally read A Fiery Cross! This behemoth is over 1445 pages long and I had expected it to take faster than it would but it just dragged (still good, but slow as hell and could have done with a solid 800 page choppity chop in the editing stage).
I suppose this month I jumped full-tilt in nonfiction, having read three nonfiction books and starting a fourth that I will not finish until February. A Most Beautiful Thing was mostly memoir, about Cooper’s high school rowing career in Chicago as a member of the first all-Black high school rowing team. It was really good, and it made me want to get back onto the water again.
I liked Scatter, Adapt and Remember, and am very happy to have finally read the audiobook since I have had it checked out in physical form from the library for at least five months (on rotating checkouts). It’s good but not stellar, and makes its point but in a rather roundabout way.
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman and Forward March were pleasant surprises. Required was not, fin fact, at all about required reading, but the title is rather calling attention to the book itself in stating that this book is required reading for disenfranchised freshman or other BIPOC students (specifically Black students) who grit their teeth through racial microaggressions, affirmative action insults, and outright racism while trying to get an education.
Forward was a cute sapphic read with surprising depth. I was a little hesitant about it since the MC’s dad is a conservative Republican running for president, but that storyline was handled very well. It’s definitely a solid book, and I wanted more marching band!
Travelers Along the Way was a super fun gender-bent Robin Hood romp with a West Asian main character. It had a little bit of everything, and despite the bleak circumstances of the Third Crusade, this book’s banter and Rahma’s confident and upbeat attitude really made this something special.
I can’t begin to explain how much I really liked it, particularly with its riff on Thor: Ragnarok‘s “Get Help!” bit.
The Kaiju Preservation Society is a bubble-gum science fiction read, and it’s fun and funny in a way that absolutely does not take itself seriously and still has a great plot. It’s very reminiscent of Old Man’s War in tone and with the main character (who is 30 instead of 70-something but with the same snark as John Perry), with lots of pop cultural references that just hammered home the fact that I’m getting old, dude, and that Scalzi might be the dad rock version of sci-fi (nothing wrong with that, I love Scalzi), but he’s hip with the cool kid lingo too without feeling old about it. Granted, he did drop a Pitch Perfect reference so maybe I’m dating myself in this.
And book three on my Vorkosigan reread (book nine in the series) was Komarr, which was one that I did not like all that much the first time around (as a teenager), and I liked it more on my second/third time around (pre Goodreads and me tracking me reading) in my twenties, and I enjoyed it a whole hecking lot this time. I love this series, and I am chomping at the bit to read A Civil Campaign, which is my absolute favorite book. It’s so funny!
I had been on the fence about reading Killing Gravity since its release, but saw a Bookstagram friend with similar reading tastes loved it and I’m a joiner so I read it, too. It was okay (I loved the casual queerness of this world) but it didn’t have the wow factor I wanted, and I keep feeling like I had read this damn book before, dammit.
Sisters of the Forsaken Stars was my highly anticipated follow-up to Sisters of the Vast Black, and I think my disappointment lies more in the fact that it was boring and nothing really happened and then the Big Drama That Would End Everything just…vanished. Poof. Back to the beginning of things.
Written in the Stars was cruising toward a nice four-star read for me: I liked the main characters, I liked the plot and whatnot, but I didn’t like the last 20% and what even was that hasty ending. I know there’s going to be a testing around the 80% mark of romance novels, and generally speaking I don’t often enjoy them, and I really, really didn’t like how this one played out. So to three stars it goes.
And House of Hollow was…a mess. It started strong, as many of my reads go, and turned into a mess in a very similar way that A History of Wild Places did (just not as bad). I think it would have been stronger for me, except I felt like I’d read this book before!
Do you get deja vu when you read books, too? I can’t be the only one!
A History of Wild Places was a book that started off so strong. Gorgeous deep forest ambiance. Murder mystery vibes. Dude with angst and a talent for seeing shit. Hiking to find a missing woman. And then we got to Paradise itself and it just dissolved from there. What a damn mess of a book.
It was just that. Messy. Like, it was trying to be smart and twisty and then got too wrapped up in itself and the details and its own ambiance and then collapsed into a spiraling cluster of the different plotlines it was trying to weave.