Seven books read:
Jade City - Fonda Lee (DNF)
Women Writers Bingo: 5/25
(Personal take: Finish 25 books by new-to-me female authors in 2018*)
Finished in February: Vita Sackville-West, Isabel Wilkerson
Fiction: 5 by women, 1 by men, 0 by non-binary
Non fiction: 1 by women, 0 by men, 0 by non-binary
Paper books that I own: 1
Paper books from library: 0
E-books that I own: 3
E-books from library: 0
Audiobooks that I own: 3
1. Finish reading for Hugo Award nominations (Prey of the Gods, Winter Tide, that Canadian comicbook).
2. Keep library list from imploding, OMG!
3. Stop ordering fucking library books.
*Women Writers Bingo Bonus Points:
5 of those books in translation: 1/5
5 of those books are non-fiction: 1/5 (The Warmth of Other Suns)
Bingo Companion Round:
5 books by non-binary authors: 0/5
So this is a book that Vita Sackville-West (member of the Bloomsberry Group, sometimes lover of Virginia Woolf) wrote half way through the second world war. I had thought going in it had a similar premise to Farthing by Jo Walton, but no, in this book the Nazis conquered the UK and Ireland, and the US having won the Pacific War made peace with the Third Reich. The story follows a group of characters in a hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon, about a year after these events. The two main characters are both English expats living in the hotel, and there are US air force officers, a bunch of college kids, and a handful of other European refugees, plus the hotel staff. Some of them will be turn out to be Nazi Fifth Column, some will be up to no good in other ways, and war draws closer by the day.
Sounds exciting, right? Yeah, no. It wasn't. This is a short book, and it took my ten days to read it (granted I was busy for much of it, but still!). The two main point of view characters spend massive amounts of page time hanging out and chatting, mostly about their opinions of the other characters, especially one of the college girls. Who does not and never will have anything whatsoever to do with the plot. At all. They also talk about their experiences during the war and current events, but seriously massive page time on stuff that isn't interesting and won't matter to the story.
The style is very dialogue heavy. Everyone gets long monologues either aloud or internal about their feelings about each situation, and absolutely none of it is anything a human being would ever say, though maybe it works for thoughts some of the time. There is also a good deal of racism directed at the black musician characters, including the N-word a couple times, and an ambivalent relationship with the Hopi characters.
However, for all that? I still found it absolutely fascinating. There are some SF elements in the uses of technology (there are supersonic heavy bombers in 1942, and undisclosed WMD that was used to defeat England, and underutilised technology that can draw electricity from the air ala Tesla), and then the last third has a strong fantasy element that I won't spoil but which was used to great effect. I also really liked a lot of the responses to trauma that the female PoV character was working through, and a lot of her interactions. A lot of the writing especially the descriptions of place and emotion were gorgeous.
I think if you're interested in the evolution of alternate histories, especially of WWII, or of Sackville-West. If you're going to be more interested in everything that's happening off page, you might find it incredibly frustrating.
Quirky is the word I'd use to describe this book. Quirky, with a large dose of paranormal and magic, and such an adorably odd character in Eldred.
I didn't read the first book in this series, but I had no issues following the plot, so I would definitely classify this as perfectly doable as a standalone.
Eldred Henstare is a not so powerful witch responsible to help the lingering spirits in his city move into the light. His twin brother is his anchor, as we find out. Eldred is also a shameless flirt, something that he does without even really thinking about, and a bit of a smartass, but in a good way. The latest spirit is calling him to the old lighthouse where he meets Mo Vin.
Mo sees the younger man and has no idea what's happening. Befuddled but intrigued by Eldred, he kind of just follows along, pulls the wet and bedraggled man from the shore into his small cottage, and offers him the couch for the night.
Then things get weird for Mo, because he sees stuff that doesn't seem to be real, but maybe is. Or maybe it isn't. Mo still has no idea what's happening, but Eldred says what must be done, so Mo just kind of stumbles along. Eldred's shameless flirting certainly helps.
As I said, this is a quirky story with magic and salt circles, and I had fun reading this. Not my usual fare, but certainly something I might want more of. It had witty dialogue, fun characters, and a nice paranormal plot. My only complaint is that this wasn't long enough to let me see what happens after Mo becomes Eldred's anchor and how that will play out going forward.
** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **
Yes, there's one more day but although I'm getting close to finishing Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I definitely won't be finishing any other books before January 1st.
I seem to have given myself a lot of non-fiction to read this month. Mostly from Netgalley.
I expect to finish Uprooted between today and tomorrow so I'm counting 11 books for the month. Not bad for me!
The stand out ones besides Uprooted (which I'm really enjoying) would be The Toy Makers and the Dreamtime Dragons Anthology. Both have given me a lot of reading pleasure. I enjoyed the re-reading of A Christmas Carol too. 5 of the books are non-fiction so only a couple of meh books.
I also got through some of the samples backlog again. I've only got about 80 left. I collected a LOT over Halloween!
I still have some non-fiction reads in progress so that may slow me down for January reading, but I seem to be averaging more in a month than I used to. I blame all of you.