Looking Forward To | Second week of September

I’m going to try a new feature out for Fridays around here as I’d like to spice up the content available. Looking Forward To will be things, bookish and not, that I’m looking forward to in the next week or so. This is a two fold thing for me. I want to share cool news and upcoming releases or ideas, and it helps me mentally to have things to anticipate in the coming days. So! Let’s look at what’s happening next week! Continue reading

Booktube SFF Babbles – Top 5 Want to Read SFF

I’m going to start this bad boy off by mentioning two books I think will be on a lot of people’s lists and that I also am super excited about.  The rest of my list is going to be books I’ve pre-ordered and I feel like maybe need to more attention than they’re getting? I made my list thinking this was Upcoming but I’m sticking to it because they’re still ‘Want to Reads’. I hate to repeat the same books as everyone else so I’m going to show some of the lesser talked about books (that I’ve seen) that I’m excited about! There will also be a video on the Youtube channel if you’d like to listen as opposed to read! Link in the sidebar.

Check out the Booktube SFF Awards community!

Continue reading

Thoughts and Review : Miniatures by John Scalzi

miniatures

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi

Highly Recommend!


Published by Subterranean Press
Publication Date : December 31st, 2016
Available as eBook & hardback – 144 Pages
Source : NetGalley (thank you!)

The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died. A lawyer sues an interplanetary union for dangerous working conditions. And four artificial intelligences explain, in increasingly worrying detail, how they plan not to destroy humanity.

Welcome to Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi.

These four stories, along with fourteen other pieces, have one thing in common: They’re short, sharp, and to the point—science fiction in miniature, with none of the stories longer than 2,300 words. But in that short space exist entire universes, absurd situations, and the sort of futuristic humor that propelled Scalzi to a Hugo with his novel Redshirts. Not to mention yogurt taking over the world (as it would).

Thoughts:

    John Scalzi has always been a winner for me. There are just some authors I can read and it’s… comfortable? I guess that’s definitely what you’d call a comfort read author. Typically with him I know what I’m going to get and I get it plus a little more. I trust he’s not going to do something horrific or offensive to me, and so I’m just ready to have a good time. Miniatures was exactly what I wanted (and let’s be real, needed this year around November time). Bite sized Scalzi stories to make the days better.

      I read one or two of these a day, they were all super short little things as the title indicates, but all of them were light and fun. They helped to bring a smile to my face each day. Though I wouldn’t say that there are any drop dead amazing ones in there, I’d say this collection has a consistently good level to it. All of these were good with a few I really, really enjoyed. That’s impressive for a short story collection, especially so for one with stories that were so short! Some of these were hardly more than 5 or 6 pages. It’s hard to fit a good story in that short a format.

     By far my favorite (and really, if John Scalzi was to start a weekly blog of these little columns I’d read it religiously) was Alien Animal Encounters. He talks something common and ups it, injecting that science fiction flair into it. People are simply writing in to a publication talking about their encounters with alien animals, some of them aliens writing about OUR animals (that particular story made me laugh out loud in the office, which is fine, my coworkers already think I’m a little special in the head). A+ on that one, this is the kind of stuff I really love reading in my SF/F magazines and collections.

     The close second to that is Pluto Tells All. Again with the common cultural thing, this time confession stories/blogs, but turned into something better. I definitely got a chuckle out of this, especially since I watched the Pluto debate with some mild interest when it was pressing news (though, to confess, it was only because Sailor Pluto was my favorite Sailor Scout of Sailor Moon so I felt some sort of weird fangirl allegiance too it).

     There was a great series of interviews with Superhero/villain schedulers, a sentient yogurt, an employee memo about alien encounters daily in a grocery store (I would work in that grocery store), and the series of tweets about the airplane gremlins (this was also solid gold). This stuff is what I like to read and recharge on. The current climate can get pretty… dim with all the changes coming down the pipes for us. It’s things like this that keep me going honestly. I really, really enjoyed this collection and really recommend it if you’re like me in that respect. Miniature injections of happy juice.

 Note –  I’m not sure if the hardback is available anymore (pretty sure it is) since Sub Press does limited runs but you can definitely find the eBook. Their catalog has links out to your chosen platform.

Own Voices October TBR!

    Own Voices October is a readathon hosted by two lovely ladies on Booktube, Katie and Mel. The month is a celebration of reading Own Voices literature, which is something I amyaa trying to get more of in my own reading. I’m not great at explaining things but Own Voices is a movement to try and read more books from diverse authors representing themselves in fiction in some way. Katie does an amazingly better job at describing it than I ever could so watch this!
I have quite a list of possible books, these are just books I might try to pick up in addition to my Spookathon books! This month I’m trying to read either Spookathon and/or Own Voices. I’m sure along the way I’ll slip something else in but that’s my priority. I also have a few books that I have super high on the TBR. I’ve bolded these hoping it’ll keep me on track. I’d love to review at least a few of these for the site.

  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (my one and only reread on this list)
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithanwhalerider
  • We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
  • Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda
  • The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
  • This Side of Home by Renee Watson
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

   There are a few more I’m still trying to find kidsreadjacquelinewoodsoncopies of in easy access and as always these are just… ideas for me. I’m terrible at TBRs but these are some of the ones I’ve put on my list/in my piles to read! More suggestions would be great, and any opinions on these would be welcome as well!

Thoughts and Review : Guardian by Joe Haldeman

guardianGuardian by Joe Haldeman

☆☆☆


Published by Open Road Media
Publication Date : September 27th, 2016
Available as eBook – 304 Pages
Source : NetGalley (Thank you!)

During the Alaskan gold rush, a woman pursues a destiny that will change the world in this alternate-history novel from a sci-fi legend.

In the tradition of Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land), multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Joe Haldeman set a new standard for military science fiction and hard sci-fi with The Forever War and his phenomenal Worlds series.  Now the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master dabbles brilliantly in alternate-history fiction with the world-altering adventures of a remarkable woman during the gold rush in late nineteenth-century Alaska.
 
Sent from her Georgia home to Philadelphia to escape the carnage of the Civil War, Rosa Coleman studied astronomy and mathematics, ultimately settling into a new life as the wife of a wealthy man and mother of young Daniel. But when she discovers an unforgiveable secret about her reprobate husband, Rosa takes the boy and flees to the West on a desperate escape that takes them from Dodge City to San Francisco one step ahead of the Pinkertons hired to bring them back home.
 
On the run in a strange and exhilarating new world, Rosa and Daniel find a haven where they might never be found: the wilds of Alaska among the dreamers drawn to its magnificent wilderness by the promise of gold. It is here that her spiritual guide first appears to Rosa in the form of a raven—an incarnation of the trickster god of Native American and Eskimo lore—suggesting that her destiny lies not in sparkling riches but in something far greater. This mystical harbinger has come from a distant, alien place, and will set her on an astonishing course . . .

Thoughts :
I’ve been sitting on this book for a while. I finished it almost a month ago unsure of how to review it, not even sure of my rating. It was definitely not what I was expecting, and I wasn’t sure if it was something I was happy having read. I eventually settled, after stewing on it for a while, on having enjoyed it. It was a.. soft book to me. Something subtle and cleverly sneaky in how it wraps around you. It’s about a woman’s journey to a momentary experience and less of how it affected her. Which was an odd turn on the head of the idea that a single magical moment/journey defines a lifetime. It’s almost the more realistic take on what would have happened to someone in her position experiencing something like she did.
For the bulk of the book we follow Rosa’s flight across America after discovering some truly horrifying things about her husband. She takes her son with her and eventually they end up in Alaska during the heat of the gold rush. Along the way she is nudged gently into certain directions by a raven, repeatedly showing up calling “No Gold”. I’m still not sure how or where that raven came from, perhaps I missed or perhaps it was that intentionally vague. The story is also formatted in a way that she is telling us what happened. It’s a written account she created based around her memories and diary entries.
There is a level of tension underneath the slow crawl of the story that keeps it moving, or did for me. The whole time I’m terrified, as Rosa is, that her husband will catch her. What will be the retribution that she suffers at his hands. All the while you’re soaking up the white and frequently noisy world of Alaska through Haldeman’s descriptions. My sister, a park ranger, was working in Alaska at the time of me reading this. I almost wanted to call her and ask, “Do you know anything about the gold rush in Alaska? Can we talk about this book I’m reading?” (I didn’t, of course because she doesn’t enjoy reading as I do and frankly would have found me insane, but the urge was there).
Ultimately it feels like that story your grandmother or the old lady that visits her tells a little bit of every time you see them. You can’t stop wondering about, going over what happened in your mind. How did action A lead her to action B? What else did her actions affect? Where did she go, and holy hell can I learn more about that please?
I’m definitely interested in more of Haldeman’s work. This was almost a tease of his writing I feel, it rang a lot like Arthur C. Clarke to me so I’m definitely on board with finally picking up The Forever War from him. Might be worth picking up if you enjoy the older style of science fiction or if you enjoyed Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent, and am okay with a slower more atmospheric tale.

Intimidating TBR Tag

Waiting on Wednesday 09/21/16

WaitingOnWednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spines.

I’ve read almost all of Lauren Oliver’s books. I was on the fence for this one but read an amazing review and a suggested reading style for it. It hyped me a bit and I believe she’ll be at Yall Fest. The only thing I’m not sure about is if I want to pre-order it or picked up a signed copy at Yall Fest!

Replica
Replicaby Lauren Oliver

Publishing Date : October 4th, 2016

Publisher : HarperCollins

Amazon | Book DepositoryGoodreads

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Thoughts and Review : Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

ColdForgedThe Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

☆☆☆


Published by Tor.com
Publication Date : September 13th, 2016
Available as eBook – 112 Pages
Source : NetGalley (Thank you!) and Purchased

The sound of the horn pierces the apeiron, shattering the stillness of that realm. Its clarion call creates ripples, substance, something more. It is a summons, a command. There is will. There is need.
And so, in reply, there is a woman.

At the beginning—no—at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy.

Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she is compelled to complete, and facing unnatural challenges in a land that doesn’t seem to exist, she will discover the secrets of herself, or die trying. But along the way, the obstacles will grow to a seemingly insurmountable point, and the final choice will be the biggest sacrifice yet.

This is the story of a woman’s struggle against her very existence, an epic tale of the adventure and emotional upheaval on the way to face an ancient enigmatic foe. This could only spun from the imagination of Marie Brennan, award-winning author and beloved fantasist, beginning a new series about the consequences of war—and of fate.

Thoughts:
There is always a lot of good things to say about Marie Brennan’s work and I’ll go ahead and say the biggest flaw I had with this was that it was just too short. I love novellas and especially Tor.com’s line of them, some of my favorite books and stories have come from that line for this year. This was another home run for me.
We begin knowing as much about our narrator as she knows about herself. She opens her eyes upon a rock and she’s sent on a quest. Starting out I almost laughed, I didn’t expect to care that much. Because our character knows so little about herself and we know so little about her I didn’t think it’d be interesting. However just like in previous books by Marie Brennan I found myself sucked into the world itself. For a good chunk of the story I was reading for the world. I cared about the main character after a 20 or 30 pages but I ultimately came to care about what was happening around her almost more. The few side characters we meet early on, all men, were interesting hooks into that world. Who are the people who pulled our narrator into the world? Why did they send her on this quest? The big one for me was, what kind of crazy island is this? The quest is to retrieve something from an island off the shore of their very Scottish seeming inspired local. The island is dangerous, and not really in a way I expected. It’s special attributes made it just as much a character in as the actual human ones.
So for me, in that regard, the characters and place were so entwined that they worked together. They held up the story for me till we got more information about our narrator. I won’t give any spoilers about her away besides the accepted ‘she’s a badass lady’. However I’ll add that beside her ‘badass lady’ cutout, she’s incredibly self-aware. To the point where I began reading into what she was saying about her definition in life. She had to find what she wanted, her drive, and what defined her – all why only knowing herself for a few hours? She’s smart about. She thinks more about that voice and definition than some people think about their dinner. Especially considering all her human interaction was coming from men. I loved that, that was what got me in the end. Her insight to herself kind of nudged me to think about my own insights.
As I said, my biggest flaw in this is the shortness. I highly suspect that once the second book arrives and I reread this back to back with it I’ll bump this up the last star it needs. I just was left wanting more now, I didn’t have the complete resolution I wanted no matter how much I loved the people and world. Definitely pick this one up – it’s up there with Binti for me, and I am beyond excited for the next story.