Saturday, August 4, 2018

Series Thoughts, 2018: Series I Plan to Finish

This post will be about the series I have in progress that I am invested in and committed to finishing. New series to this list will again be in blue. I  will only write descriptions for the series I began since last July;  if you want to read more about the series I had in progress before last July, check out last year's post here.

Series I Plan to Finish:

Middle Grade:

1) Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan. I've read 3 books and now a book of short stories is due out the.

2) Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan. I've read 3 books; looks like it'll be a 5-book series.

3) The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood. I've read 5 books so far, and one more is forthcoming.

Young Adult:

4) Octavian Nothing duology by M.T. Anderson. I've read book 1 and intend to read book 2.

5) Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. I've read 4 books and a novella; there's a new novel waiting for me.

6) The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I've read 3 books, and there are 2 more so far.

7) The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. I've read 2 books so far; there's a novella out plus a new novel coming out at the end of the year.

8) Trouble series by Stephanie Tromly. I've read 2 books and am looking forward to the third.

9) Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake. I've read 2 novels; there's a 3rd novel and a 2 novellas still to read.

10) Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro. That rarest of birds: a YA Investigative. The teenage descendants of Watson and Holmes meet at a boarding school in Connecticut, develop a somewhat twisted friendship, and pick up where their ancestors left off. I've read 3 books so far; I hear there's one more coming out next year.

11) Guide duology by Mackenzi Lee. Tongue-in-Cheek Historical about 18th century siblings on a Grand Tour. I've read the first book, and the second is coming out in October.

12) Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. Fantasy novellas about a boarding school for children who have returned to our world from portal fantasies and are having trouble with the transition. I've read 3 novellas; next one is due out in January.


13) Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. I've read 9 books and a short story so far. Book 10 is out in early 2019.

14) Siri Paiboun Investigations by Colin Cotterill. I've read 12 books and am waiting for book 13 next month.

15) Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. There are 21 books in this series so far; I have read 16.

16) World of the Five Gods series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I've read 3 books and 5 novellas and am waiting to see if there will be more.

17) Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. I've read 4 books so far and am waiting for the 5th and (I presume) final book.

18) MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I've read 2 book and have 1 to go.

19) The Rook Files by Daniel O'Malley. I've read 2 books and am waiting to see if there will be more.

20) The Expanse series by James A.A. Corey. I'm reading book 3 right now; there are 7 books out so far.

21) Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss. I've read book 1 and have book 2 on my series challenge list. There's a novella, too.

22) Wayfayers series by Becky Chambers. I've read 2 books; book 3 came out this past month.

23) Her Instruments series M.C.A. Hogarth. I've read 2 books; there's one more book and I think a novella.

24) Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I've read 2 books and have 1 more to go.

25) The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells. Sci-Fi novellas about a cyborg security unit on a quest for redemption and self-determination. I've read 2 novellas and there's a third coming out this month.

26) The Interdependency series by John Scalzi. Sci-Fi epic about an interstellar society in jeopardy because the natural phenomenon that allows for space travel is changing. I've read the one book that's out.

27) Earthsea Cycle series by Ursula K. LeGuin. Classic second-world Fantasy series set in a world that is mostly ocean with some scattered islands. I reread book 1 this year, and I've also read a book of short stories set in this world. I believe there are 4 more books to the series.

28) Species Imperative trilogy by Julie E. Czerneda. Sci-Fi about a female biologist who gets swept up in an interstellar search to stop a life-annihilating plague. I've read 1 book so far.

29) London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. Contemporary Romances set in the London theater scene. I've read 2 books and there's 1 more out.


30) Saga. I've read the first 7 volumes and am waiting for the 8th to be released.

31) Ms. Marvel. I've read 6 volumes and am waiting for the 7th to be released

32) Giant Days. I've read 5 volumes and am waiting for the 6th to be released.

33) Jedi Academy. I've read 6 books. I'm not sure it's continuing, but I kind of assume it'll go 9 books like the movies.

34) Amulet. I've read 7 volumes and am waiting for the final volume to be released.

35) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I've read 8 volumes so far.

36) Lumberjanes. Also read 8 volumes so far.

37) Monstress. I've read 2 volumes, and a third is coming out this month.

38) Paper Girls. I've read 4 volumes so far.

39) Lucy and Andy Neanderthal. I've read 2 books and the third is coming out this month.

40) Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Son and I watched the series last year, and now I want to read the comics, which follow the characters on adventures beyond the timeline of the show. The volumes are huge and beautiful and expensive, so I'll probably go through them at a rate of one Christmas present for The Son per year. I've read one so far.

41) Runaways. I somehow missed this comic series before this year, which is weird because it was created by Brian K. Vaughan, author of Saga and Paper Girls. The first I heard of it was when the latest volume, written by Rainbow Rowell, hit the shelves. I wanted to read it because duh, Rainbow Rowell, and wound up reading all the back issues to catch up. It's about a group of teens (plus one pre-teen) living in the MCU who discover their parents are super-villains. I've read 2 big omnibus bind-ups and 7 comics volumes so far. The next volume comes out in Oct.

42) The Backstagers. Cute comic about 5 boys in stage crew at their all-boy high school and their adventures uncovering the secrets of the alternate dimension back stage. Queer-positive and a little manic. Basically, it's a male version of Lumberjanes. I've read 2 volumes and am waiting for the 3rd to be released next spring.

Web Comics:

43) Check, Please! 

44) Gunnerkrigg Court. 

45) Stand Still, Stay Silent.

46) Dicebox.

47) Vattu.

Hey, I cut down by 2 since last year's list!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Series Thoughts, 2018: Series I've Finished

I promise I'll give a writing/publishing update soon, but first it's time for my annual series round-up posts.

As with previous years, this is just a list of series with no descriptions. Occasionally I am guessing that a series is finished; if more books turn up later, I'll transfer the series to the "Series In Progress list.

New completed series are in blue.

Series I've Finished:

Middle Grade:

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Percy Jackson and the New Olympians series by Rick Riordan
Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
Kane Chronicles trilogy by Rick Riordan
Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger
Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary
Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary
Smek duology by Adam Rex
Spiderwick Chronicles series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
WondLa trilogy by Tony DiTerlizzi
Nate Foster duology by Tim Federle
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Family Fletcher duology by Dana Alison Levy

Young Adult:

Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Matched trilogy by Ally Condie
Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier
Safe-Keepers trilogy by Sharon Shinn
Anna and the French Kiss companion trilogy by Stephanie Perkins
Annals of the Western Shore trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin
Frontier Magic trilogy by Patricia Wrede
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab
Dash & Lily duology by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Prisoner of Peace duology by Erin Bow
Jackaby series by William Ritter
Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Chronicles of Chaos trilogy by John C. Wright
Golden Age trilogy by John C. Wright
Confluence trilogy by Paul J. McAuley
Samaria series by Sharon Shinn
Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shinn
Sharing Knife quartet by Lois McMaster Bujold
Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach
My Family and Other Animals trilogy by Gerald Durrell
Hyperion quartet by Dan Simmons
Kushiel Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey (nine books, y'all!)
The Hainish Cycle series by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Secret Texts trilogy by Holly Lisle
Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie
The Connaghers series by Joely Sue Burkhart
Billionaires in Bondage trilogy by Joely Sue Burkhart
The Inheritance trilogy by N.K. Jemison
Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
The Shifting Circle series by Sharon Shinn
Ilium duology by Dan Simmons
Old Man's War series by John Scalzi
Wild Seasons series by Christina Lauren
Golden City series by J. Kathleen Cheney
One Rose trilogy by Gail Dayton
Binti trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor
Oxford Time Travel series by Connie Willis
The Themis Files trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel


Castle Waiting
Locke & Key
Zita the Spacegirl
Three Thieves
Mighty Jack

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Short-Term Goals

For a while there I was writing BIOH at NaNo pace, but the next two weeks are going to be crazy and there's no way I can do that much. So I am setting my absolute rock-bottom goal of 250 words a day. It's not much, but it's doable, and enough to keep the story from going cold, and will net me ~2,000 words of gain in the end. All-around win.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Yeah, So It's Been Awhile...

Jeez, I'm not even sure this counts as a blog any more.

Okay, this comeback post is a three-parter: Where the Hell I've Been, What the Hell I'm Doing Now, and Why the Hell I'm Back Here.

1) Where the Hell I've Been

Last I was posting consistently, I'd finished Mender and sent it out to agents, then immediately wrote 55,000 words on a contemporary romance novel. Then I burned out and took the summer off, fully intending to get back to work in the fall-- either back to the romance or doing a collab with Sharon (who I subsequently totally flaked out on). But then in September, The Husband's health started to slide downhill.

First he had a series of worrisome test results culminating in a liver biopsy. Then he had skin cancer, and since the surgery was on his head, they couldn't stitch it, so I was treating and dressing an open wound twice a day for six weeks. Then in early December, he landed in the hospital with a partial bowel obstruction.

Very long story short, he was out of work for the next six months. They tried to treat him medically with steroids, then had to wean him off the steroids for surgery. He had a PICC line all that time and was being fed intravenously at home by my. Had a bowel resection (his 5th, ugh) at the end of March and was in the hospital for three weeks afterward. He just started back to work full-time two weeks ago.

In the middle of all this, my father died, which was sad and complicated and shitty.

2) What the Hell I'm Doing Now

In the last year, I've made several attempts (most documented here) to get back to writing the romance, but I could never stick with it for more than a few days. I knew the sequence of events wasn't working, and I wasn't sure how much time and energy I wanted to devote to figuring it out, since it's a project I was pretty much just working on for shits and giggles.

While The Husband was in the hospital I decided to bag the romance and start something new-- something LitSpec, more serious and meaty. I bought a few writing e-books and started planning a new novel.

And then, because I am a perverse little chicken, I started seeing how the exercises I was doing for the new novel would help me untangle the problems in the romance. In early May, I gave myself a few weeks to do just that, figuring it would help me choose which project to focus on for now. May 17, I started the romance novel over again from the beginning. I've been able to use a lot of the 55,000 words I wrote in 2017, but I've made a lot of changes, including the POV, tense, conflict, and title (it's now called Bring It On Home).

As of today, I'm at 45,000 words (out of a projected 80,000). My medium-term goal is to have the book ready to submit to Pitch Wars at the end of August.

3) Why the Hell I'm Back Here

I don't know if I'll have any readers, but this blog as worked for me in the past as an aid to setting and keeping goals. I'll think about what kind of posting schedule is going to work for me.

Also, I miss having a place to ramble about books.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Series Challenge: 2017 Wrap-Up and 2018 Plans

I did pretty well with my 2017 Series Reading Challenge. Here are the books I set out to read back on Jan. 1 2017 (books I read; books I didn't get to; series I decided to give up on after all)

1) League of Dragons by Naomi Novik, 9th and last book of the Temeraire series.

2) Blackout by Connie Willis, 3rd book of 4.5 in the Oxford Time Travel series.

3) Olympos by Dan Simmons, 2nd and last book of the Ilium duology.

4) The Turning Season by Sharon Shinn, 3rd and last book of the Shifting Circle trilogy.

5) The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron, 2nd book of 5 in the Eli Monpress series.

6) Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, 11th (? hard to say) book of 21 in the Vorkosigan Saga series.

7) The Barbed Rose by Gail Dayton, 2nd book of 3 in the One Rose trilogy.

8) Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi, 4th book of 6 in the Old Man's War series.

9) The Shores of Spain by J. Kathleen Cheney, 3rd book of 4+ in the Golden City series.

10) Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn, 3rd book of 4+ in the Elemental Blessings series.

11) I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotterill, 11th book of 11 in the Dr. Siri Investigations series.

12) The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill, 4th book of 4+? in the Jimm Juree Mysteries series.

13) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, 1st book (technically) in the MaddAddam series (I read book 2 first).

14) Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, 2nd book of 6+ in The Expanse series.

15) Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley, 2nd book of 2+? in the Rook Files series.

16) Octavian Nothing: Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson, 2nd and last book in the Octavian Nothing duology

17) As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, 7th of 8+? in the Flavia de Luce series

18) The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, 2nd book of 3 in the Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy.

19) The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, 2nd book of 5+ in the Queen's Thief series.

20) Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer, 5th book of 7 in the Artemis Fowl series.

21) Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter, 3rd book of 3+ in the Jackaby series.

22) Fire by Kristin Cashore, 2nd book of 3 in the Graceling Realm trilogy.

23) Ms. Marvel: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson, 5th book of 5+ in the Ms. Marvel series.

24) The Iron Hand by Scott Chantler, 7th and last book in the Three Thieves series.

Not too shabby! I also read a bunch more "next books" in various series, but as they weren't released by Jan. 1 2017, I didn't include them on this list.

I'm going to carry the three I didn't get to over onto the 2018 list. Again, these are series I'm currently reading, in which the next book in the series is out and available as of today, Jan. 1, 2018:

1) Octavian Nothing: Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson, 2nd and last book in the Octavian Nothing duology.

2) The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, 2nd book of 3 in the Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy.

3) Fire by Kristin Cashore, 2nd book of 3 in the Graceling Realm trilogy.

4) All Clear by Connie Willis, 4th book of the Oxford Time Travel series.

5) Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. I'm not sure what book # to call it, since it's more of a companion novel, but I own it and haven't read it yet, so it's next for me.

6) The Eternal Rose by Gail Dayton, book 3 of the One Rose trilogy.

7) The Rat-Catcher's Olympics by Colin Cotterill, book 12 in the Siri Paiboun Investigations series.

8) Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood, book 3 in the Maddaddam trilogy.

9) Abaddon's Gate by James S.A, Corey, book 3 of 6 in the Expanse series.

10) The Dire King by William Ritter, book 4 of 4 in the Jackaby series.

11) Ms. Marvel: Damage Per Second by G. Willow Wilson, Vol. 7 of the Ms. Marvel series.

12) A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab, book 2 of the Shades of Magic trilogy.

13) The Creature in the Case by Garth Nix, book 4? 5? of the Old Kingdom series.

14) A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers, book 2 of the Wayfarers series.

15) Rose Point by M.C.A. Hogarth, book 2 of 4 in the Her Instruments series.

16) Windwitch by Susan Dennard, book 2 in the Witchlands trilogy.

17) The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, book 2 in the Prisoners of Peace series.

18) One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake, book 2 in the Three Dark Crowns trilogy.

19) The King of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner, book 3 of 5+ in the Queen's Thief series.

20) Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

21) Lumberjanes: A Bird's-Eye View by Shannon Watters, Vol. 7 of the Lumberjanes series

22) Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan, book 3 in the Magnus Chase trilogy

23) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 6: Who Run the World? Squirrels by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

Whew! In addition to all that, there are some "next books" being released this year that I'll probably end up reading as well, including:

Saga Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley, book 9 in the Flavia de Luce series.
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor, book 3 in the Binti series
Giant Days Vol. 7 by John Allison and various artists
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, book 3 in the Illuminae Files trilogy
Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly, book 3 in the Trouble series
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, book 2 in the Murderbot Diaries series
The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro, book 3 in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel, bok 3 in the Themis Files trilogy
The Long-Lost Home by Maryrose Wood, 6th and final book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers, book 3 in the Wayfayers series
The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

Finally, I've imposed a physical book buying ban until I get my shelf-sitters to 20 or less. Not counting the books I have in progress right now, there are 31 shelf-sitters. I can still take books out of the library, buy books for the kindle, and even buy physical copies of book club books if there's no other way to get them. But I can't buy the next Giant Days or go to the huge used book sale in April unless I've read 11 books from my shelf first.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books Read in 2017

141 things this year, including 91 novels! Crazy.

Middle Grade: 3
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy
Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

Young Adult: 19
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
Temping Fate by Esther Friesner
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

Adult: 69
S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
The Turning Season by Sharon Shinn
The Queen in Winter by Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sarah Monette, and Sharon Shinn
Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
Blackout by Connie Willis
The Shores of Spain by J. Kathleen Cheney
The Human Division by John Scalzi
Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Olympos by Dan Simmons
The Seer’s Choice by J. Kathleen Cheney
Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Don’t Stop Believing by Gwen Hayes
Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins
Forever Mine by Erin Nichols
Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Knit Tight by Annabeth Albert
The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell
How Not To Fall by Emily Foster
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Winterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Redshirts by John Scalzi
I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotterill
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
After the War by J. Kathleen Cheney
The Barbed Rose by Gail Dayton
Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren
The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Mine to Break by Joely Sue Burkhart
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Artemis by Andy Weir
Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

Beta Reads: 3
The Rise and Fall of the Blackbird by S. Eli
A Matter of Scythe and Death by J.J. Litke
The Lady and the Pack by Akaria Gale

Short Stories: 3
“Stormfront” by M.C.A. Hogarth
“The Scharz-Metterklume Method” by Saki
“A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short” by Christina Lauren

Non-Fiction: 11
Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet
The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson
Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs
Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Knot the One by Stacey Becker
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
Eat Fat, Get Thin by Mark Hyman, M.D.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Graphic Novels: 28
The Iron Hand by Scott Chantler
Ms. Marvel: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa
Lumberjanes Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Lumberjanes Vol. 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Giant Days Vol. 4 by John Allison and Max Sarin
One Hundred Night of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Mallory Knox Ostertag
Ms. Marvel: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson and various artists
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
Giant Days Vol. 5 by John Allison and Max Sarin
Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters and various artists
Jedi Academy: The Force Oversleeps by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke
Giant Days Vol. 6 by John Allison and Max Sarin
Rat Queens Vol. 4 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and various artists
Tag and Bink are Dead by Kevin Rubio and Lucas Marangon
Lucy and Andy Neaderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown

Web Comics: 5
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Stand Still. Stay Silent. by Minna Sundberg
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee
Vattu by Evan Dahm

I read 1/5 the amount of Middle Grade I usually do. This makes me a little sad, since it's a by-product of The Son growing up. We mostly listen to Young Adult books now.

For my wrap-up, I'm going to do a series of top 5's.

Top 5 Greatest Stand-Alone Books I Read This Year:

1) S. A truly unique reading experience. The story didn't come together perfectly in the end-- a little too much of Abrams's beloved "mystery box"-- but I 100% don't care. This book made me more excited about books than anything else I read this year.

2) Ready Player One. The Son's new favorite book, and my favorite book to have shared with him this year.

3) Mother Tongue. I thought I knew a lot about the English language, but I learned a ton from reading this.

4) Station Eleven. Best book I read for book club this year.

5) War and Peace. Duh. A classic. A major accomplishment to finally finish it. Also a damn good book.

Top 5 Ongoing Series I Was Most Satisfied By:

1) Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. I read books 3 and 4 in this series this year, and they were perfection. I hear Sharon Shinn is having publisher problems, and now I'm super worried the fifth book in this series will never be published.

2) The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. I read book 2 this year and I LOVED it way more than book 1. Avasarala is the actual best and I want her to be the terrifying grandma I never had.

3) The Vorkosigan Saga series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read 4 books this year, and they were all so incredibly good. A Civil Campaign is a desert island book for sure.

4) Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read 4 novellas this year, and am continually blown away by how good they are.

5) Family Fletcher series by Dana Alison Levy. I'm not sure This Would Make a Good Story Someday counts as part of the series since it doesn't feature the Fletchers directly, but it takes place within the same "world". This book is amazing and I loved it so much.

Top 5 New Series I'm Most Excited to Have Discovered:

1) Trouble series by Stephanie Tromly. YA Investigative goodness. I did that thing where you read a book and love it, and after a while you still remember you loved it but don't remember why exactly, and then you read book 2 and are like, "Ohhhhhhh, right."

2) Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. I wasn't sure about this, since I loved Westerfeld's book Uglies but then DNF'd the rest of that series. But this was amazing steampunk awesomeness: robots vs. monsters in WWI, complete with friendship, romance, and talking lizards. I listened to the whole trilogy with The Son, but would totally read more books set in this world if Westerfeld would write them.

3) Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. Intriguing, dark, and fun.

4) The Themis Files trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel. This fast-paced "found footage" Sci-Fi series hooked me in on page 1 of book 1 and hasn't let go yet. I'm counting the days until the final book comes out this May.

5) The Interdependency by John Scalzi. I finished Scalzi's Old Man's War series this year and am delighted to start another space opera series by him. Long may it prosper.

Top 5 Books That Happy-Surprised Me:

1) The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I'm not a giant fan of the Anne of Green Gables books, so although I'd heard raves about this book, I was worried that Montgomery's particular brand of whimsy would just be too much for me. But no. I loved this. The perfect slow burn romance.

2) Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. This is Lit Fic written by a music artist, so I was highly skeptical and very ready to dismiss it as pretentious poser garbage. But I was enraptured by it while reading it, and haunted by it long after.

3) Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins. I read a bunch of Romance this year, but this M/M standalone blew my socks off.  So, so well-written.

4) Wild Seasons series by Christina Lauren. Most of the Romance I read this year was book 1 of a series, but this is the only series where I felt compelled to read book 2.  It's New Adult, smutty, and occasionally ridiculous, but I developed a genuine affection for the characters and enough curiosity about all their happy endings to read 4 books and a companion short story all this year.

5) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.  I DNF'd a whoooooole bunch of YA Fantasy this year. I'm just over a lot of the tropes. And on the face of it, this sounds trope-y as hell. But for whatever reason, it grabbed my eyeballs in its tropey little fists and wouldn't let go until I'd finished the book, practically in one sitting.

Top 5 Books That Disappointed-Surprised Me:

1) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I really thought The Son and I were going to puffy-heart LOVE this, and I did love the beginning. But then I didn't love how it progressed, and was pretty meh by the end. I was expecting something really dark and creepy and quirky, but instead it was more like a muddled X-men story with time travel. It wasn't bad at all, but not what I expected. 

2) Knot the One by Stacey Becker. This was presented as a woman's memoir of being left at the altar, and how she put her life back together afterwards. I admit I bought this to gawk at another's misfortune, so shame on me. But a lot about this annoyed me. For starters, her fiancĂ© broke up with her EIGHT MONTHS before the wedding. That is not "left at the altar", dammit!  And Becker strikes me as a pretty annoying person, and her family is a boundary-less nightmare, and by the time the fiancĂ© dumps her I was feeling kind of sorry for him and not blaming him at all for his second thoughts. And finally, a big portion of the book is about her starting to date the guy she did eventually wind up marrying, and she does a lot of "look how much better my husband is than the jerk I was engaged to", but... they are exactly the same, down to the commitment waffling. In fact, I think the guy she married is actually more of an asshole than the one who dumped her. He was less willing to jerk her around.

3) Rat Queens Vol. 4. This one hurts. I fucking loved Rat Queens. But Vol. 3 left off on a cliffhanger, which Vol. 4 completely ignored, picking up the story apparently months later with no explanation of how the previous situation resolved itself. Nope. Not okay. And I'm sorry to say it, but the art has gone downhill since they canned Upchurch. Doesn't mean they were wrong to fire him, but still.

4) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I'd heard amazing things about this, and picked it for book club on the basis of those reviews. And it wasn't bad... but eesh, the writing got on my nerves. I always think I like Magical Realism, but I think I just like Garcia Marquez and Allende. This was like Magical Realism bingo. Family saga? Check. Tragic love stories? Check. Obsession with birds? Check. Pointless, shocking violence that comes out of nowhere and clashes tonally with the rest of the book? CHECK.

5) The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill. Another one that hurts. Y'all know I love Cotterill; I've read the entire Siri Paiboun series so far and have every intention of sticking with it to the end. This book was a prequel to the Jimm Juree series, which I also love. Cotterill self-pubbed it, but that alone wasn't cause for concern: probably his publishers weren't interested in continuing the Juree series, but he had an idea for another story. Why not self-pub when you have the readership? And Lois McMaster Bujold has been self-pubbing novellas in her World of the Five Gods series, and they are magical. But, sadly, this book wasn't up to his usual standards. I don't know if he didn't want to pay an editor or what, but something was definitely off. It was riddled with typos and copywriting errors, too.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cautiously Optimistic

I'll admit it: I've been starting to get scared I would never write again. I have just been so completely out of creative juice for over six months now. I've been wanting to work on the romance, and figure out what the next SFF project is going to be, and be able to brainstorm on a project with Sharon, and the well has been dry as bleached cow skull in the Arizona desert.

A few weeks ago I tried to get something going and reread the 53,000 words of the romance I wrote last May. There's a lot to love there, but the pace is off. I got a burst of inspiration and made a new outline, but then my annual insanely busy period at work happened, so I had to lay it aside.

Now, history has shown that I never accomplish great writing things in December. That said, I'm setting a goal to work for 30 hours on the romance this month.