2019 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Well- I’m a little late to the party on this one.  I wasn’t tagged by anyone on this and don’t plan to tag anyone else but I wanted to do it anyway because it looks like fun.

But first some mid-year stats because I love stats of any sort.

Pages read: 16,149

Novels or Novellas read: 37
Graphic Novels read: 6
Short Stories (not as part of a larger collection): 6
Short Story collections: 3

Genre Breakdown:
20 Fantasy
16 Science Fiction
6 Science Fantasy
3 Thrillers
3 Classics
2 Historical Fiction
1 Western
1 Horror

25 “not men” (women and non-binary authors), 27 men (6 of these are Brian K. Vaughan from reading the Saga series, so I’m not doing too bad here).

12 featuring LGBT+ characters

9 authors of color

32 New-to-me authors (which is fantastic for me because I have a tendency to read the same authors over and over again)

Challenges:  I’m not really participating in any challenges this year.  But I’ve been randomly filling in a list of Pop Sugar prompts and I think I’ve been able to fill in about 28 prompts.

Best book I’ve read so far:

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky is the only book I can put here without an asterisk next to it.  A close second is:

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley.  The only thing holding this back from being a full 5 star read for me is the ending, which felt a little too abrupt for me.

Best sequel I’ve read so far:

Luna Moon Rising Ian McDonald

Moon Rising (Luna #3) by Ian McDonald.  Technically not a sequel.. but a next-in-series.  My other options were Saga Vol. 2, and Mahimata (Asiana #2) by Rati Mehrotra, which were both solid reads.

New release I haven’t read yet but want to:

Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

All of them?  Does that count?

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald (novella set in world of Luna)

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marhsall

The Institute by Stephen King

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

Biggest disappointment:

TheStand_SK

The Stand by Stephen King.  I’ve had several disappointments this year- but there really isn’t anything more disappointing than a favorite author’s well-loved book not living up to the hype for you personally.  It’s my own fault for expecting too much, because I know King is hit or miss, but I really wanted to love this and couldn’t.

Biggest surprise:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.  It was such a surprise I didn’t even know I wanted to read it until it was in my hands.

Favorite new author (debut or new to me):

An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass

An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass.  I didn’t rate this 5 stars, but it’s probably at the top of my 4 star reads.  I would have put Headly (The Mere Wife) here, but I ended up DNF’ing her Queen of Kings, and I loved Brodsky’s The Wolf in the Whale but I am not overly interested in reading her others.  So I’m going with Cate Glass, because I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel to this one.

Newest fictional crush:

I don’t have one so far this year!

Newest favorite character:

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Omat & Brandr from The Wolf in the Whale.  I don’t know if either of them individually are new favorite characters but they are definitely a new favorite couple.

Book that (almost) made me cry:

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. So if I’m being honest I think the only book that made me cry this year is once again The Wolf in the Whale.  But I really would hate to use that book for all of these prompts.  So the runner up, which almost made me cry, was Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

Book that made me happy laugh:

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  This book is really funny- and it needed to be because it’s also really dark.

Honorable mention to Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, which I’ve only read a little of so far but has given me a few laugh out loud moments.

Favorite book to film adaptation I saw this year:

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell.  I don’t know if this is cheating, since I actually read the book in 2017.  The Last Kingdom which is a Netflix show is one of my favorite shows.  I saw season three earlier in the year and enjoyed that (although I do think it deviated a lot from the books).

Favorite review I’ve written this year:

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley.  Mostly because it gave me so many fabulous quotes to include.

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

Honorable mention to Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West because the review kept evolving after I had written it.  It started as a rant, and then when I went to edit the rant I had thought about the book some more and I had to add a whole slew of new stuff.  And later when I edited that, I had even more thoughts to add.

Most beautiful book I’ve bought so far this year (or received):

Inland by Tea Obreht

Inland by Tea Obreht.  I recently received an ARC of this in the mail and even though it’s an ARC there’s a cover with some promotional blurbs and behind that the front cover is just really pretty with all the colors.

Books I need to read by the end of the year:

SO MANY.  I feel so far behind right now.  But a few that I already own that I really want to get to are:

Micro by Michael Crichton

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell

And that’s it!  I’m a little disappointed I don’t have more titles to freak out over.  Hopefully the second half of 2019 will be a little better!

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples & Characters in Fiction

In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to do a post celebrating my favorite LGBT+ characters and coupes in fiction.  Some of these books were not my favorite (and some of them are)- but if there was one thing that stood out about them, it was the characters.

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

Captain Callie & Dr. Elena Oh – The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt: I do remember the beginning of this relationship felt a little forced, but by the end I was rooting for this couple all the way.  I’m more fond of this book for the fun level than the romantic factor- but The Wrong Stars is such a rollicking good space romp I don’t think it matters.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang Tensorate 1

Akeha – The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang:  It’s been awhile since I read this, but one thing that stands out to me when I think of it, is that I remember how heartbroken I was for Akeha throughout. IIRC, in this world, children are brought up genderless until they choose the gender they want to be.  Akeha struggles with the choice, because not only does he not want to choose, but when he thinks about choosing, he realizes he’s not leaning the way everyone expect’s him to.  This is a quick novella, and well worth reading.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Niclays & Jannart – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I wanted to put Ead and Sabran here, but one of my complaints about this book was that Ead and Sabran never felt like they had chemistry together, while it was very obvious how much Niclays cared about Jannart.  I won’t get too spoilery- but Niclays reminiscing about Jannart was one of the highlights of this book.

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Tracker & Mossi – Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: Admittedly, the romance between Tracker and Mossi is a very, very small piece of this book.  This couple works because Mossi provides so much balance to Tracker.  He breaks up Tracker’s icy exterior and makes the reader realize that yes, Tracker does have a heart somewhere behind his violent shell.  If James ever wrote a novel/novella exploring this relationship in more depth- I’d 100% read it, despite the issues I had with this book.

Mycroft & Saladin – Terra Ignota series by Ada Palmer: Someday I’ll make a list Terra Ignota isn’t on.  Today is not that day.  Mycroft and Saladin are one of the more twisted couples I have on this list… and I’m not telling you why because it’s a huge spoiler.  We don’t often get to see them together (Mycroft’s Servicer duties and general genius keep him busy) but their relationship feels very Shakespearean.

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Jesper & Wylan – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Like Mossi & Tracker above- I feel like these two balance each other out.  Jesper’s a loud, in your face, hot mess and Wylan is quiet and cool headed.  I loved every scene they were in.

Ariel Corta – Luna series by Ian McDonald: Ariel Corta is one of my favorite female characters in literature ever.  She’s ambitious and cunning, and she prints a killer wardrobe.  She’s on this list because she’s one of the first ace characters I encountered in fiction.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Omat & Brandr – The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky: I love Omat & Brandr because neither one of them is your typical protagonist.  Omat is dealing with his own identity issues.  His gender doesn’t match his physical body, and internally he struggles to come to terms with that.  Brandr is a Viking with a soft side. Between the two of them, Omat takes the lead, and Brandr is perfectly happy with that.  He never questions Omat’s choices, never challenges them. He accepts Omat as he is and that’s what I loved about them.

Guilty Pleasures Anita Blake by Laurell K Hamilton

Jean Claude & Asher – Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton: I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I have read these books, considering the direction Hamilton took them in, but please know that the first ten(?) books are actually pretty good (and everything after that would make E.L.James blush).  From the moment I met Jean Claude & Asher I adored them as a couple.  Asher is physically scarred and a thoroughly damaged character because of it, and JC is the only person who’s ever really able to make him feel better about it.

Ninth Step Station by Malka Older Fran Wilde Jacqueline Koyanagi Curtis Chen

Detective Miyako – Ninth Step Station from Serial Box: I haven’t actually finished this season of Ninth Step Station, but Detective Miyako has grown on me so much.  She’s smart but grounded.  I find her much more relatable than Emma.  Her relationships don’t come into play so much- but I wanted to mention her anyway.

Do you have any favorite characters or couples on the list?  Anything else you can recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Locations I’d Like to Visit

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is places mentioned in books that I’d like to visit.  This is a great prompt for science fiction and fantasy!  I’ll try to keep it brief (no promises).

The Moon as presented in Ian McDonald’s Luna series (starting with New Moon).  The Moon wants to kill you.  But I want to visit it anyway.  In McDonald’s Luna series, the moon is hollowed out to allow room for a huge city in its interior. It has high rises, a city center, dazzling, glittering estates.  I love everything about this setting, except for that part where you can die of poverty, because even oxygen has a price.

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Dolingo in Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.  You’ve probably heard the concept before.  A city built in the trees.  James owned this concept and made it totally his own.  I loved imagining the height of these trees, crossing from tree top to tree top in a “car” on a pulley system.  Can we figure out a way to do it without the slaves in the walls though?

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Isla Nublar in Jurrasic Park by Michael Crichton.  If you’ve been reading this blog even once a month you had to know this was going to end up on here right?  In my dream vacation- I get out before the TRex escapes.

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New Amazonia in Carnival by Elizabeth Bear.  The world Bear has built in Carnival is honestly one of the most creative, most interesting worlds I’ve ever “visited.”  While reading, I fell in love with this world.  It’s a matriarchy (girl power!) where the female leaders carry around swords and wield them like the bad ass women they are. There’s this thing called a House.  You just say what you want and House spits it out of a wall or something. Carpet Plant: The carpet is a plant and I like to be barefoot.  Nuff said.  Your wardrobe is actually full of secret weapons. And no- I don’t mean like the wardrobe you put your clothes into, I mean the wardrobe you wear.  That guy that’s looking at you funny? Brush your sleeve up against him and ZAP! He gets an electric shock.  Can’t say it enough- I love New Amazonia.

The Galactic Court in The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.  In this book, everyone who’s anyone lives on an intergalactic spaceship.  Planet dwellers are referred to as Excess.  In my review I mentioned that the setting reminded me of the generation ship in the movie Passengers.  I love the idea of glass in space and being surrounded by stars at all times.

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The secret village of the Leopard People as presented by Nnedi Okorafor in Akata Witch. The writing transported me to another place where magic is real and I could see the world through the lens of a child again. Everything felt new and fresh.  A kind of magical currency called Chittim falls out of the sky as you gain wisdom.  There were magical bookstores and familiars and everything you can imagine.

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The colony in Planetfall by Emma Newman.  This world is set on an alien planet complete with bio-architecture and more carpet plant (seriously- I really, really need carpet plant in my life).  All the tools you need are created with 3D printing.  People have a chip in their eye that can do things like call for help, administer pain medication, and transmit messages.

The future as presented by Ada Palmer in Too Like the Lightning.  I realize this is a dead horse that I refuse to stop beating- but the truth is, even if the future isn’t perfect, I think the world Palmer has imagined is a lot better than the one we have.  No place in the globe is more than a couple hours away because transportation is so fast.  Proselytizing is illegal (which I know sounds awful to some people, but sounds great to me).  There’s no such thing as country borders.  You pick the laws you want to live by (black law, grey law, white law).  Wars are a thing of the past.  My kind of future.

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Elizabethan England in Fools in Mortals by Bernard Cornwell.  Honestly- I just want to see Shakespeare performed under his own direction with Will Kemp as his clown.

Middle Earth.  (This needs no further explanation right?)

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

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Rating:  ★★★

It has been said, that Tracker has a nose. Other people want Tracker to use that nose to track down missing things, husbands mostly. But then someone asks him to find a boy, but no one will give him a straight answer about why the boy is so important. What he’s wanted for and who wants him. So he gets involved because he’s curious about the truth of things.

I was so excited for this book when I heard about it, that I immediately put it on hold at my library (like 4 months prior to release).  I was first in line.  I picked it up on release day and dove right in, putting aside two other books to commit to this one.  I don’t want to say I’m disappointed- all of the elements I was excited for were there.  African mythology and folklore came in spades.  Varied settings and scenery.  Something new and something fresh.  Black Leopard, Red Wolf has all of those things.

But I don’t know if the story and conclusion I was given, was good enough to outweigh the time and effort I put into reading this to make it feel worth it.  Surely there aren’t enough books like this in the market right now, but I can’t help but think I could have waded through another two or three books with similar elements in the time it took me to read this one.

This is told a lot like a confession. Tracker frequently address the reader as Inquisitor, and it does a really great job of setting up the tone and gives the reader the sense that the book is being told to them out loud. However, I also felt like it made it put far too much emotional distance between the reader and the story itself, and in my opinion it became a detriment to the kind of story being told.

This seems like a good place to mark content warnings, so you might understand what I mean: brutal violence, violence against children, violence against women, slavery, rape, genital mutilation, and general mutilation. This is one of the most violent novels I have read in a long time. When I read Jemisin’s The Fifth Season she had exactly two scenes that I found really disturbing, both involving violence against children.  This book has significantly more and it hardly fazed me. I’m blaming the way the story is told, but I also think it has a lot to do with the way it desensitizes you (maybe that’s the point?).

When you spend 600 pages with a character- you should feel more about them than I did in the end. That’s not to say Tracker isn’t a great character. He is a great character. There were lots of great characters: the Leopard, Sadogo, and most of all Mossi. Someone could write a fascinating thesis on the psychology of Tracker, honestly. And I am really, truly frustrated that I don’t feel more about them than I think I should have. Generally if an author has great characters with great banter (as these often did) that feel human, I’m pretty sold. I don’t really care what they do, and the same was true of this book. I didn’t really care about the boy or what happened to him. In my mind he was sort of an afterthought. (Maybe that’s the problem?) And yet I got to the end and just didn’t feel the impact. I wanted to be ugly crying.  I wanted to feel Tracker’s grief.  Instead I felt a tinge of sadness and moved on.

Aside from that the book was excessively long. Like really fucking long. Like 620 pages long that felt like 1200 pages. On top of length alone it’s really dense. 40 pages chapters are not uncommon. <— This makes me insane. I’d rather you handed me a book with a hundred chapters and 1200 pages than feel like I have to sit and read 40 pages in one go. I often read on my break at work. 15 minutes is not enough time to read one chapter, so I inevitably had to put it down in the middle of something. Not even two breaks was enough to finish one chapter. Sometimes I’d turn a page and the whole page would be one long wall of text that would immediately make my heart sink. So structure was a huge issue for me.  Authors- please stop doing this to your readers.  It’s adding needless frustration.

And aside from length and density, there’s the novel itself which is pretty complex. There’s lots of characters coming and going. It isn’t always made clear who they are and what their purpose is. There are lots of little details to remember. And as if that wasn’t enough there’s tons of circular or riddle-like dialogue that makes the reader feel as if they’ve missed the context.

Other stuff I enjoyed: the scenery and the mythology. I found myself wishing I knew more about African mythology so I could connect to the text in some other way. I think readers with some knowledge of it will go crazy over this book. Every page probably holds some easter egg of information for them. The scenery was set very well (although I think could have been pared back a bit). We see grasslands and jungles, swamps, small villages, big cities. There’s a place called the Darklands which I loved and wished I’d seen more of.

Another thing I loved was the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters. (In fact I think it was one of my favorite things.) Tracker’s examination of his own sexuality/masculinity was an ongoing theme in the book that I found super interesting. [Minor Spoiler]: And then there’s his relationship with Mossi, which has truly become one of my favorite relationships portrayed in literature.  Mossi is the peanut butter to Tracker’s jelly.  When he is introduced he is so badly needed to break up the darkness of this book.  Tracker in general is just in desperate need of a person who cares about him, and Mossi is that guy.

Just figured I’d mention this too: the hardcover edition of this book is super pretty. The paper is a little glossy. The cover is gorgeous. There are multiple maps to look at and appreciate.

In the end, I’m glad I read it, but I’d be hesitant to recommend it to anyone, and I’m hesitant to even commit to the next book. I suspect that this is a story rehashed multiple times by all the characters involved so we can see how their perceptions change things.  I don’t think the plot of this book is strong enough to support being rehashed multiple times and I don’t think the next character’s POV (it looks like it will be Sogolon) is interesting enough to make me want to read it.  It’s a neat concept- but would work better as one book that was maybe 600 pages long.  Certainly not an 1800+ page trilogy.  That said I do want to know what happens, so I’ll probably look up a summary or a spoilery review or two to piece it together.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This top ten Tuesday is about my most anticipated upcoming releases.  I don’t know if I’ll make it to 10 for only the first half of 2019, but I’ll put up as many as I can.

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10. The Lost Puzzler by Eyal Kless; release date: January 8, 2019 – As of right now I’m a little on the fence about this one.  There aren’t many reviews out for it yet, and it’s being published by HarperVoyager.  Why it isn’t more highly publicized is kind of a red flag to me.  But it seems like a nice blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and I love puzzles.  So I’ll keep an eye on it for a bit.  (Also- that cover is gorgeous!)  Blurb can be found here.

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9. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse; release date: April 23, 2019 – This is a sequel to last year’s Trail of Lightning (review here).  I felt pretty lukewarm about Trail of Lightning.  It had a lot of issues.  The romance in particular was not good.  (And just so we are clear, I actually like the romance genre even though I don’t read it often.  I only ask that it be done well.)

But what I loved was the Native American cultural elements Roanhorse worked into her story.  The sad truth is, there aren’t enough Native American voices in fantasy or science fiction today and those aspects of the book were so good, I think I am willing to give Storm of Locusts a shot.

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8. The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling; release date: April 2, 2019 – Soo.. Everyone who knows me knows I love to gush about Jurassic Park, Godzilla, The Meg, Anaconda… for better or worse, I love me a good a monster movie.  I don’t care how bad or corny the actors are.  I don’t care if it stars Jason Statham or a couple of Baywatch extras… I really don’t.  Give me lots of teeth and some blood and gore and I’m there.  I don’t even know if there are monsters in this book, but the cover looks sinister enough that I’m willing to give it a go.

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7. Golden State by Ben H. Winters; release date: January 22, 2019 – Mr. Winters has a pretty dedicated and loyal fan base out there.  I’ve only read his The Last Policeman (review here) but I fully intend to finish the series.  Fellow SFF lovers always seem to speak very highly of it.  I think what’s put me off for so long is that I already know how it ends (right?!).  So when I saw this new release from Winters, I was pretty stoked.  I do like his writing and it featured this tagline: A shocking vision of our future that is one part Minority Report and one part Chinatown.  I was sold at Minority Report.  I feel like The Minority Report was the sequel to 1984 I never knew I needed.  So if what I get here is an modern, more high tech Minority Report, I’ll be a very happy girl.

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6. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine; release date: March 26, 2019 – I actually won this one in a GoodReads Giveaway but I haven’t received it yet.  Condensed blurb from GoodReads:

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor…has died…Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court….Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

A political science fiction murder mystery?  Sign me up!  I discovered over the past couple years that political science fiction really is one of my favorite sub-genres.  The one thing that makes me nervous about this book and blurb, is the crazy names!  Authors why do you do this to your readers?  Please don’t take away from the awesomeness of your book by baffling me with your names.  Is it ma-hit? Ma-heet? Z-Mare?  Z-Mar-EE? Is the goddamn Z silent?  Cut me a break here!  I really hope there is a pronunciation guide because I will not be pleased if I have to pause and try to sound out this name every time I read it.

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5.  Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear; release date: March 2019 – Elizabeth Bear is a surprisingly prolific author, and she has a ton of novels on my TBR because everything she writes sounds crazy inventive and original to me.  To date I’ve only read her Carnival, but I thought overall it was pretty fantastic (review here).  Here is the blurb:

Haimey Dz thinks she knows what she wants.  She thinks she knows who she is.  She is wrong.

A routine salvage mission uncovers evidence of a terrible crime and relics of powerful ancient technology. Haimey and her small crew run afoul of pirates…and find themselves on the run and in possession of universe-changing information…Authorities prove corrupt…To save everything that matters, she will need to uncover the secrets of ancient intelligences lost to time—and her own lost secrets, which she will wish had remained hidden from her forever.

Ancient alien technologies, space pirates, corrupt authorities, and deep, dark personal secrets?  Yes Please!  The best part is, I already have an ARC.  I’m trying to hold off on reading it so that my review coincides with the release date, but it will be a tough wait.

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4.  The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie; release date: February 26, 2019 – For the most part I really enjoy Ann Leckie.  Ancillary Sword was a little disappointing to me, so I haven’t actually gotten to Ancillary Mercy yet, but I enjoyed both Ancillary Justice and Provenance, so I’m excited to see what she can do in the realm of fantasy.  The blurb is pretty long, and Leckie is pretty well known, so I’ll just link to the blurb here if you haven’t heard of this one yet.

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3.  The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky; release date: January 29, 2019 – I am SO SO SO excited for this one.  First of all- if you’ve been following along you’ll likely have noticed that I’ve worked a mention of vikings into every post possible.  I love everything about viking history and norse mythology.  I honestly can’t get enough of it.  So when I read this tagline: The heroic journey of an Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior in an epic tale of survival, love, and clashing gods in the frozen Arctic of 1000 AD.  I honestly might have squealed out loud.  This might even be something I pick up on release day. (For full blurb or to preorder- check it out here.)

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2.  Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James; release date: February 5, 2019 – Own voices fantasy!!  I heard about this one from buddies over in the Sci-fi Fantasy book club.  Generally speaking, this club is on point when it comes to new releases and recommendations.  Granted- I don’t think any of them have read it yet, but they’ve never steered me wrong before and I’ve picked up quite a few things I would never have read otherwise based on their picks and recs (Too Like the Lightning comes to mind).  Here is a condensed blurb:

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

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1. Moon Rising by Ian McDonald; release date: March 19, 2019 – This is my number one most anticipated release.  Seriously, if you haven’t read the first two books in the series, New Moon and Wolf Moon, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIVES?

Haha- just kidding (not really though, go get them).  First of all, Ian McDonald writes a really diverse cast.  Race, sexuality, he leaves nothing out.  Secondly, I described the plot of the first book as Capone vs. O’Banion ON THE MOON.  Instead of bootleg alcohol the turf war is over Helium-3.  Most of the characters are wonderfully gray.  The world building is absolutely superb, and the plot is intense.  I wouldn’t even mind a re-read of the first two books prior to release.  Assuming I can find the time.

And there it is!  I think I made it through all 10.  What about you?  What are your most anticipated releases?