One of my blogging goals for 2020 is to be to be more intentional about Book Haul posts. I’m aware that it’s possible nobody cares about the books I’ve bought or received, but I kinda like when bloggers post these because it not only puts new books in front of my eyeballs that I might not be aware of, but they also give me an idea of the blogger’s tastes. For my purposes a Book Haul post can include any book I’ve come to possess, not just those I buy, so arcs requested or just sent from publishers will be listed as well.
I managed to add…(checks notes)…eight freaking books to my TBR in January! See…this is how it works, I think I’ll catch up on my TBR and then nope, I acquire more books. Yeah I know it’s what the rest of you do too but c’mon this is like two months of reading for me. Oof. Anyway here’s the list…
Blade’s Edge, by Virginia McClain
Chronicles of Gensokai #1
“Mishi and Taka live each day of their lives with the shadow of death lurking behind them. The struggle to hide the elemental powers that mark the two girls as Kisōshi separates them from the other orphans, yet forges a deep bond between them.
When Mishi is dragged from the orphanage at the age of eight, the girls are unsure if or when they will find each other again. While their powers grow with each season-cycle, the girls must come to terms with their true selves–Mishi as a warrior, Taka as a healer–as they forge separate paths which lead to the same horrifying discovery.
The Rōjū council’s dark secret is one that it has spent centuries killing to keep, and Mishi and Taka know too much. The two young women have overcome desperate odds in a society where their very existence is a crime, but now that they know the Rōjū’s secret they find themselves fighting for much more than their own survival.” – Goodreads blurb
I bought Blade’s Edge on the first day of the year with a gift card I received from Timy (@starlitbook on Twitter) and Jenn (@bunnyreads on Twitter) both of whom review over at Starlitbook.com. A big thanks to them again for the gift card!
Blade’s Edge is one of the current Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (#SPFBO) finalists. I’ve made reading all of the current #SPFBO finalists one of my goals for 2020. I have 1 down and 9 to go. Blade’s Edge has received some good reviews and definitely sounds like it has a plot I’ll enjoy.
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells
The Murderbot Diaries #1
“In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.” – Goodreads blurb
So I’ve been wanting to start the Murderbot books for a couple of years now. I’m not sure why I haven’t already done it. I’ve seen pretty much nothing but good reviews for this series and…um…who doesn’t want to read a series of books where the main character is a murderbot?!?! I mean say it with me…”Murderbot.” How freaking cool is that? That alone sells me on the book. I picked this one up the night I was at the bookstore for the Alix E. Harrow and Erin Morgenstern book signing.
I also have a goal of reading more novellas this year so it will check off a box in that category too.
Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
Wayward Children #1
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.” – Goodreads blurb
I hate to admit this, but I’ve never read any of Seanan McGuire’s books whether under that name or her other pseudonym Mira Grant. Everyone who has read her seems rave about her books. I finally decided 2020 was the year I’d quit putting it off and buy one.
Of all McGuire’s books the series I’ve wanted to read most is Wayward Children. The new twist on the portal fantasy is something that really catches my interest. So when I saw the Kindle version was being offered for free one weekend I couldn’t pass it up. I mean, it was FREE! Also see my note above about novellas.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. DjèlÍ Clark
“The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark’s short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.” – Goodreads blurb
Last year I read Clark’s The Black God’s Drums and I absolutely loved it. Clark’s writing was superb, the story was engrossing, and it was just so…very…fucking…good. Over the last year I read many reviews of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 most all of which had the same or similar reaction. Add to that the numerous writing awards he’s been getting and you have to admit the hype is real. So of course I wanted to read another one of his books. Also…see note about novellas.
I’ve actually already read this one and I enjoyed it though I admit I liked The Black God’s Drums more. I’ll have a review on the blog sometime soon.
Blood of Heirs, by Alicia Wanstall-Burke
The Coraidic Sagas #1
“Lidan Tolak is the fiercest of her father’s daughters; more than capable of one day leading her clan. But caught between her warring parents, Lidan’s world begins to unravel when another of her father’s wives falls pregnant. Before she has time to consider the threat of a brother, a bloody swathe is cut through the heart of the clan and Lidan must fight, not only to prove her worth, but simply to survive.
Ranoth Olseta wants nothing more than to be a worthy successor to his father’s throne. When his home is threatened by the aggressive Woaden Empire, Ran becomes his city’s saviour, but powers within him are revealed by the enemy and he is condemned to death. Confused and betrayed, Ran is forced to flee his homeland, vowing to reclaim what he has lost, even if it kills him.
Facing an unknown future, and battling forces both familiar and foreign, can Lidan and Ran overcome the odds threatening to drag them into inescapable darkness?” – Goodreads blurb
I first remember seeing Blood of Heirs when it was released last year. A bunch of bloggers I follow were posting about it. I was immediately drawn to the awesome cover with those curved blades and inked hands. As you know I’m a fan of self-published fantasy and this one sounds really cool. Then this year Wanstall-Burke entered it into #SPFBO and wouldn’t you know, it managed to become a finalist. So add one more book to my list of #SPFBO finalists to read.
Sweetblade, by Carol A. Park
The Heretic Gods
“Every decision she had thought was right had led her astray.
Perhaps it was time to make the wrong decision.
Lives are shaped by decisions, and Ivana’s decisions have destroyed her life.
She finds herself on the streets of Carradon, broken, destitute, and utterly alone. But perhaps not entirely without hope. A man named Elidor comes to her rescue and welcomes her into his home. But Elidor holds secrets of his own.
Lives may turn upon a single moment, and Ivana’s decision to accept the hospitality of this stranger will transform her in ways she never imagined…or feared.” – Goodreads blurb
The last book I read in 2019 was the self-published fantasy Banebringer by Carol A. Park. I really enjoyed it and it got a four star review from me. Banebringer has a cool magic system, a nice little romantic element, and a female assassin who I thought was awesome. Sweetblade is a stand alone novel in the same world about that assassin Ivana. So of course I have to read it. Sweetblade also made it to the semi-final round of the current #SPFBO so others clearly think it’s a good read.
ARCS And Publisher Requests
The Last Smile In Sunder City, by Luke Arnold
The Fetch Phillips Archives #1
“A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold. Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:1. Sobriety costs extra.2. My services are confidential.3. I don’t work for humans. It’s nothing personal–I’m human myself. But after what happened, to the magic, it’s not the humans who need my help. Walk the streets of Sunder City and meet Fetch, his magical clients, and a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.” – Goodreads blurb
In case you weren’t aware, Luke Arnold is Long John Silver. Not the one from the book, the one from the TV show Black Sails. Last year I binge watched the show and then found out Arnold had written a book to be published by Orbit. At that point there was never any doubt I’d want to read it. Then I got a look at that amazing cover. The cover looks even more amazing in person once you get a look at all the details. This kind of detective noir story is also right up my alley. I’m currently reading this one and should finish it this week.
The Shadow Saint, by Gareth Hanrahan
The Black Iron Legacy #2
“Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan’s acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy.
Enter a city of spires and shadows . . .
The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees.
Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets – a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it.
As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?
The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan’s acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.” – Goodreads blurb
I read The Gutter Prayer at the end of last year. Like everyone else I sang its praises. So when book two became available I had to request it from Orbit. I’ll be starting this one soon-ish. I know it’s already been released and I’m a little behind but that’s the way these things work sometimes. I’m really curious to see where Hanrahan takes the story and how he decides to expand upon it.
Well, those were my hauls for January. I have no idea when I’ll get them all read but that’s how it goes right? Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Any that you’d like to haul yourself?