Yesterday I posted my 2018 Year In Review so today it’s time to settle on my goals for 2019. I always hesitate with these kinds of lists because they seem to get blown out of the water pretty quick but it does give me some things to focus on. I don’t want this list to be too long or difficult. It needs to be something I can manage. I’m not setting goals for number of books to read, or anything related to reading new releases. I always want to read new releases. OK, let’s get to the list…here we go… Continue reading
Well it’s time for another best of list. You didn’t think the year would end before having to read mine did you? You could skip it I guess…but that would make you a sucky person and you’re not a sucky person right? I mean if you’re really tired of these then go ahead and skip it, but I’m taking the time to compile it so yeah I’d love for you to at least skim for the results and pics.
This was another great year for speculative fiction. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get to read as many as I would have liked and I reviewed even less. You’ve read all my rants and moans about my schedule this year so I won’t rehash it, but I’m disappointed I didn’t get more reviews posted. That being said here’s my “Best Of” list for 2018. This isn’t strictly a best of books published in 2018, but rather the my best reads for the year regardless of publication date.
If I’ve kept an accurate count I read 40+ books so far this year. One was a Beta read that I can’t talk about yet. The first five books in this list are my five star reviews that I actually wrote up. The last six are books that either were a 4.5 – 5.0 most of which were read during a time I didn’t have the bandwidth to post a review. Finally I have a couple of short-stories I fell in love with that I have no choice but to add to my best of list.
And as you scroll down notice how many self-pub/indie books made the list. Yep…I’ve become a fan. Continue reading
Well another month has come and gone!
Things are looking up here at Off The TBR. The really crazy hectic period at work came and went, and we hired another person in our department to help pick up some of the load which means I should be working less on the weekends which means MORE TIME FOR BLOGGING! This has already played out this month just in terms of reviews. I went from no reviews at all in June to posting two in July, and if it weren’t for a weekend long power outage across practically the whole city I might have posted a third.
So here’s what happened this month… Continue reading
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and continued now by Tressa at Wishful Endings under the heading “Can’t Wait Wednesday” where readers and bloggers share and discuss books they are excited about reading and which have generally not yet been released. I’m sticking with “Waiting On Wednesday” just because I like the way it rolls off the tongue.
One of my favorite book surprises last year was Noumenon, by Marina J. Lostetter. I read it back before I started the blog so I never wrote a full-on review, but I did include it in my Best Books Of 2017 post at the end of the year. Here’s what I said about it at the time:
“Noumenon is a story of humanity’s exploration of the stars. Or one star in particular. An anomalous star has been discovered that seems to defy the laws of physics. Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer proposes a plan to send a deep-space mission to investigate it and return home with its findings. The big catch however is the journey will take centuries. Generations of crew will live and die before the mission ever returns home. How will they do it while also ensuring a talented make-up for the thousands of crew spread across nine ships required for this undertaking? The answer…clones.
This book was nowhere on my radar until just about the time it was released. I read a few early reviews and picked it up. It was a lot more than I expected. I’d say it’s more social science fiction than hard science fiction. It explores what might happen on a scientific journey through space lasting centuries while retaining the same genetic make-up through the use of clones. What kind of society forms out of that pot? How does it evolve? What conflicts arise? What has to be shed from their previous earthly cultures? What remains? How do they return home? Will Earth even be home anymore?
There were times reading Noumenon that I felt joy and times I felt gutted. Lostetter did a fantastic job with her debut and I look forward to more.”
Well, more is coming! Noumenon Infinity drops on August 14th from Harper Voyager and I can’t wait to get a copy. The blurb is below, but if you haven’t read Noumenon maybe don’t look any further down the page than the cover as it does give away a couple of minor plot points. If you haven’t read Noumenon I recommend you pick it up, then join me for Noumenon Infinity.
Wow is it already July? Half the year has already gone by. That just feels crazy. Well, it’s time for another Month In Review And A Look Ahead, and this one is pretty interesting. To me at least.
June was a pretty spectacular month at Off The TBR and at the same time not much happened. I didn’t post a single book review and I had the best month ever in terms of traffic on the blog along with the single most viewed post I’ve ever had. Now, that isn’t saying much since this little ole blog has only been around since November 2017, but I’m kinda excited about it. Ok…here’s what happened… Continue reading
Author: Sean Grigsby
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: Kindle e-reader
Those of you who follow my blog know I’ve been busy for the past couple of months and am behind on my reviews. I’m FINALLY getting this one out even though I finished it over a month ago. For this post I’m also trying out a slightly different format to see if I like it. I’m working off of just a few notes and memory but here it goes…
I want to thank Netgalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this book.
“Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.”
Smoke Eaters is a thrilling science fiction/fantasy mash-up sure to whet your appetite for that page turning spring or summertime read. Full of action that blends near future scientific advancement with the legendary reptilian monsters of fantasy lore, Grigsby’s debut offers something for fans of both genres. I liken it to a fun summer action flick of a movie…er book. Continue reading
In case you were wondering, yeah I’m still here. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my Is The Month Over Yet post things have gotten a little hectic around here. Between the kids’ extra-curricular activities and a crazy busy work schedule that hasn’t calmed down for nearly a month my average night lately has me sitting down to relax somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. At that point I just don’t have it in me to blog. The weekends haven’t been much better. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not really complaining…well maybe a little…but seriously I enjoy the kids’ stuff and being busy at work is good job security (in theory) so I’m only partially complaining.
Now, I may be too tired to blog, but I’m not too tired to read! Which means I’m starting to get way behind on reviews, not just random posts about anything book related. And I feel really bad about this guys. Most of what I’ve been reading lately are books I’ve either requested, or that have been sent to me by a publisher/publicist (which I agreed to accept)…which means I kinda owe it to them to get the reviews done. The only problem is my best time to write is on the weekend and I will probably be working the next couple of weekends. This sucks. But whatever, it is what it is.
Anyway, below is what I’ve been reading and what I hope to get reviews up about soon.
Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby
Dragons VS Firefighters. Need I say anything else? I really enjoyed this one. Fun sci-fi/fantasy mash-up with hints of Ghostbusters. If you don’t want to wait for the review just know that I really liked it and think you will too. Unless you don’t like dragons or firefighters, or ghostbusters…but then you’d just be weird.
The Song Of All by Tina LeCount Myers
Fantasy in a Scandinavian setting. Have I ever told you how much I like snow? I kinda love it. This book actually hit on a bunch of my reading goals for the year. Debut author…check. Non-western European setting…check. Independent/small press or self-published author…check. Books with snow…check. OK that last one wasn’t on the list but c’mon. I even ended up with an extra copy of this one and held my first book giveaway. The problem was I didn’t really like it. I’m still trying to figure out why and how I want to review it. Like is it just not for me or something else? Stay tuned…
Apex Magazine: February 2018 Issue
One of my goals this year is to read more short fiction. One solution to that has been to buy more short story collections in book format. The other solution I hit upon…crazy I know…was reading some sci-fi/fantasy magazines. Then two things happened. I discovered Apex is published right here in Lexington, and I read one of the short stories for the month and absolutely loved it. So I bought the issue. This will be my first review of a magazine and I’m kind of excited about the different format.
Gedlund: A Tale Of The Verin Empire by William Ray
This is my current read and I’m about half-way through. So far I’m loving it. It’s blackpowder fantasy (which I thoroughly enjoy) with goblins, elves, and the undead. yeah.
Ray has also done his homework when it comes to some of the details of 19th century army life and it gives me all the feels. In a previous life I was a re-enactor (story for another day) and as I read I’m like “that! exactly that!” Ah memories. Anyway I’m really looking forward to the second half of the book.
Well that’s it for now. I’m gonna try really hard to get a new review up sometime in the next week. But then again I had said I wanted to get one posted last weekend and it didn’t happen. We’ll see. In the meantime happy reading, and let me know what you’ve been enjoying lately.
Well January has come to an end and with it another Vintage Science Fiction Month is in the books! I wanted to pop by with a quick update on how my month went…
This was my first year participating in Vintage SciFi month and I have to say I enjoyed it. Had I not joined in I probably would have put off reading the two books I read forever, which would have SUCKED and I wouldn’t have known it.
I kicked off the month with The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. You can read my review here. If you didn’t guess by reading the review (or if you didn’t read it) I absolutely loved this classic science fiction war story. My most succinct summary was simply “so. damn. good.” Not much else needs to be said. I’d been meaning to read The Forever War for a while but just never got around to it. Once I decided on participating in Vintage Science Fiction Month however I knew I couldn’t make excuses any longer. For this book alone I’m glad I took part. If you’ve never read it and decide to participate next year I highly recommend it. Continue reading
Author: Joe Haldeman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published 1974, this edition 2009
“So. Damn. Good.”
That was my reaction and the first words I wrote after finishing The Forever War. My thoughts after letting the book sit with me for over a week have not changed. It is not only a great science fiction war novel (many would say the best), it is a great war novel. period. Continue reading
So I’ve been mulling over setting some reading goals for the new year. I don’t like setting hard goals to meet and I never make New Year’s resolutions. But, I do have some general goals I’d like to accomplish this year and going forward.
When I started the blog back in November I didn’t have any goals other than start the damn blog! Then once it launched I tried to post at least twice a week. That was it really. But now that I’m a matured and seasoned blogger (of about two months) it’s time to get serious. In a non-committal kind of way. So here’s a few or more general things I’d like to start doing.
READ MORE DEBUT NOVELS
This year I want to read at least one debut novel a month. I know, right there like two paragraphs above I said I don’t like setting hard goals, and here I’ve set a number. Shush…I can do what I want, it’s my blog.
Anyway, I’d like to read at least one debut novel each month. For a long time I’ve only read books after the author is established. But that means I miss out on the excitement of finding a new author and getting to tell everyone about them. And yeah it may mean I read a few duds, but my guess is I find some gems too. If 2017 was any example there is great potential for some awesome new fiction. So, one new debut a month and by the end of the year maybe I can post a decent best of 2018 list.
For January my debut is Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. Now I know, this isn’t exactly a debut because he self-published it a few years ago, but it just got picked up by Orbit and released today. It was his debut novel, and I’m treating it as a debut for 2018. Continue reading