Sunday, 29 June 2014

Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone

Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of Plagues written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Walter Geovani is, somewhat obviously, the first volume of a new Red Sonja reboot. It contains the first six issues of the ongoing series. Long-time readers of mine will know that I've only gradually started getting into comic books this year, so I do not have a lot of background to go off. I got this comic (and a bunch of others) from the most recent and still-running (for 11 more days, as of writing) Humble Bundle, an excellent deal.
Gail Simone (Batgirl, Birds of Prey) gives the iconic fantasy heroine a fresh new attitude! Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect... even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! Who is Dark Annisia, and how has this fearsome warrior accomplished what no god nor demon has been able to do: force Sonja to her knees in surrender? An epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance, Queen of the Plagues takes Red Sonja from the depths of her own grave to the heights of battlefield glory. 
This is forms an introduction and origin story for Red Sonja. Not having read about her before — in fact, the main reason I'd even heard about her was thanks to my mother talking about her in the context of Conan the Barbarian books. But I wanted to give it a go because of the female lead character and because I've heard lots of good things about Gail Simone.

The story is split between the "present" and events that happened three years earlier. Sonja's city is threatened by both plague and a supernatural (or, well, non-human) army, and it is her job to defend it. With the help of two teenage body guards. The story is filled out by flashbacks to Sonja's time as a gladiator-type slave three years earlier and to her childhood.

It was an interesting story and I enjoyed learning about Sonja as I turned the pages. I also liked the progression of her clothing. Although the start of each issue had a full-page illustration of the traditional chainmail bikini, and she was wearing aforementioned bikini at the start, she gradually acquires more clothes as the story progresses. By the end she was even in full-body armour, which was exciting. I don't know if it will stick in subsequent issues, but it made me happy. That chainmail bikini is SO incredibly stupid.

Anyway, I highly recommend Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of Plagues to anyone with a passing interest in the character or barbarian-type stories in general. I'll definitely be getting the second volume when it comes out (later in the year, according to Goodreads).

4 / 5 stars

First published: February 2014, Dynamite Entertainment
Series: Red Sonja Volume 1 of ongoing
Format read: ePub comic (on iPad iBooks — not a bad experience, almost as good as ComiXology, which I shall be avoiding in the future)
Source: Humble Bundle

Friday, 27 June 2014

Bound by Alan Baxter

Bound by Alan Baxter is the first novel I've read by the author, although I have read short stories in the (recent) past. I have to admit I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book (aside from accurate fight scenes) and I don't think I could've predicted what I did get.
Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.

An enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, approaches Alex after a fight and reveals, ‘I know your secret.’ Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else…

A cursed grimoire binds Alex to Uthentia, a chaotic Fey godling, who leads him towards chaos and murder, an urge Alex finds harder and harder to resist. Befriended by Silhouette, a monstrous Kin beauty, Alex sets out to recover the only things that will free him - the shards of the Darak. But that powerful stone also has the potential to unleash a catastrophe which could mean the end of the world as we know it.
Probably the simplest way to describe Bound is as an origin story for Alex. At least, that's how it felt when I got to the end. I'm probably getting ahead of myself saying that, though. Let me go back to the beginning.

Alex has a small talent for magic and is discovered by a more experienced magic user after using his magical intuition to win a cage match. After that, he picks up magic pretty quickly. Too quickly I thought, until the main thrust of the novel revealed itself. There were two really interesting aspects to the story, I thought. First, there's the effect the cursed grimoire has on him. Being cursed, it is inherently evil and its magic insinuates its way into Alex's mind. It doesn't exactly control him, but it has a negative influence. I found Alex's struggle with what's inside of him fascinating. He wonders, during the book, whether he is becoming evil himself and I found myself asking the same questions. I really wasn't sure how it was going to go, which made it a more exciting read.

I can't not mention the main antagonists (aside from the cursed grimoire, that is). We are exposed to the magic relic dealer, Hood, through the eyes of his PA, Sparks. Hood has no scruples and spends the book trying to get his hands on whatever it is that Alex and Silhouette have (he doesn't actually know). Sparks is a more difficult and interesting character. At first, I thought she was another of Hood's victims under some sort of spell. That may have been just misinterpretation on my part because later on it becomes clear that she does actually care about him and stays with him by choice. On the one hand, this did make the character feel a bit inconsistent, but on the other hand I quite liked reading about her (I won't go so far as to say I liked her as a person...). It's unclear whether she will appear in the next book (my guess is not, but who knows), but I certainly wouldn't object if she did make an appearance.

Until the end, I was expecting Hood and Sparks to be the antagonists in subsequent books, but it looks like their storyline has been resolved. That's part of what makes me say that I see Bound as an origin story for Alex. The other things is... I feel silly for not noticing until the very end that Hood and Sparks were named for certain friends of the author's. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or headdesk (or headiPad, as the case may have been), when I realised.

Bound was an action-packed and fast-paced read with elements of moral ambiguity and horror. You could also call it a dark urban fantasy, if you were so inclined. If you are looking for a darkish and violent read, then Bound is the book for you. It's also self-contained if sequels aren't your thing. Mind you, I think I remember reading that books 2 and 3 will be out soon (like months, rather than years, apart), so there won't be a long wait until we get more of Alex and Silhouette's story, if long waits aren't your thing. I have no idea where the story might go next, but I want to find out.

3.5 / 5 stars

First published: July 2014, Voyager AU
Series: Alex Cain book 1 of 3
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Challenges: Australian Horror Reading Challenge

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Use Only As Directed edited by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey

Use Only As Directed, edited by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey, is the latest anthology to come out of Peggy Bright Books. I have previously reviewed Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear by the same editors and I think Use Only As Directed improves upon the earlier anthology. I particularly liked that there was a clear theme to the anthology — basically, what it says on the bottle cannister.

Although not all of the stories were necessarily cheery, I found the anthology relatively up-beat on the whole. (Having said that and looked over the stories, perhaps that's as much a commentary on other things I've been consuming lately...) There is a wide variety of stories contained within; every story sticks to the theme, but there are a lot of very different interpretations. I appreciate the lack of homogeneity and the novelty of getting something completely different each time I picked up the anthology.

My favourite stories were "The Blue Djinn’s Wish" by Leife Shallcross, "Future Perfect" by Janeen Webb and "Home Sick" by M Darusha Wehm. There is basically nothing these three stories have in common. The first is a genie story, the second is sort of almost hard SF and the third is, I suppose, more ecological near-future SF with a huge pile of refined rubbish. I also quite enjoyed "Yard" by Claire McKenna, which was a bit darker but ultimately satisfying.

Basically, I think there's something in this anthology for everyone. You may not like every story but, assuming you like any spec fic (and I'm not sure why you're reading this blog if you don't), there will probably be a story you enjoy in Use Only As Directed. As usual, I have some brief thoughts on each story below. If you haven't yet sampled a Petrie and Harvey anthology, this one would be a good place to start.


Dellinger (Charlotte Nash) — A tale of cyborgs and sentient space ships. I liked the ideas explored. What happens when you create an artificial sentience based on a human mind then set it to controlling a ship?

The Blue Djinn’s Wish (Leife Shallcross) — Easily the best genie story I've ever read. The princess who finds the magic bottle is happy and already has everything she could wish for, but will that last?

The Kind Neighbours of Hell (Alex Isle) — A grimoire and a demon summoning... But as the grimoire used correctly?

Mister Lucky (Ian Nichols) — the protagonist has the ability to control luck (more or less). An amusing, fast-paced read.

Home Sick (M Darusha Wehm) — set on the floating island of rubbish in the Pacific. Climate refugees from a submerged Pacific nation are sent there by the New Zealand government and the main character chooses to go with them. An interesting story that I enjoyed.

Always Falling Up (Grant Stone) — Interesting take on clone soldiers and the man who provided the template for their minds. Fits the theme very obviously, but it's a bit more of a philosophical take, I thought.

Yard (Claire McKenna) — Although it didn't start promisingly (violence that I wasn't in the mood for), I really liked where this one went. And the main character, and her yard.

Never More (Dave Freer) — An amusing tale of a wizard's apprentice who used to be a cat. And his quest to become acceptable to a girl-cat. Also a raven.

Fetch Me Down My Gun (Lyn McConchie) — Interesting but a bit heavy handed. I didn't love the first half, but the second half improved it with added meaning.

Uncle Darwin’s Bazooka (Douglas A Van Belle) — A bit slow to start, but then it gets to the bit combining genetics and fairies, so what’s not to like? The ending was a bit predictable though.

The Climbing Tree (Michelle Goldsmith) — A story about disappearing children. Not bad, but not as creepy as intended, I think.

Large Friendly Letters (Stephen Dedman) — A post-apocalyptic setting, some feral teenagers and a munitions trader. What could possibly go wrong?

Future Perfect (Janeen Webb) — One of my favourites in this anthology. The story was up-beat (albeit not exactly cheery) and made me think. Admittedly, it mostly made me think about incorrect interpretations of the many worlds hypothesis, but it’s never bad to think extra thoughts about quantum mechanics.

The Eighth Day (Dirk Flinthart) — I couldn’t not read this in church singy-monotone, which was a little off-putting and induced confusing flashbacks. Also, the pay-off wasn’t as good as I was hoping, given the aforementioned monotone in my head.

4 / 5 stars

First published: June 2014, Peggy Bright Books
Series: no
Format read: eARC
Source: Review copy provided by the editors

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A semi-random selection of short stories

Yesterday I found myself reading a bunch of free-floating short stories (as in, not part of a collection/anthology), as well as stories from an anthology I'll be reviewing as soon as I finish. I seem to have been reading a lot of short stories lately. This is not a bad thing. I wasn't going to review the free-floaters because I had other reasons for reading them, but then I thought, why not?

So here we have some brief thoughts on some miscellaneous stories by Corinne Duyvis, Aliette de Bodard and Ken Liu, presented in the order I read them.

Corinne Duyvis

"Eight", which you can read here. It's a time travel story with future versions of the main character travelling back in time to try to prevent or mitigate the effects of a terrible war. But is it even possible to prevent the war? And what happens to the futures they leave behind? A very touching story.

"Rule of Threes", which you can read here. Set in the Australian outback (an unusual setting for a non-Australian to write in), the story follows the survivors of a plague of horrible lizard things. (On the other hand, given how the rest of the world sees our fauna, maybe it's not such a surprising choice.) It was a good story, even if it didn't feel quite as Australian as, well, stories by Australians that I've read.

Aliette de Bodard

"Safe, Child, Safe", which you can read here. I think this is set in the same universe as her Obsidian and Blood trilogy (which I haven't read, but which is on my TBR). A priest for the Dead is asked by a desperate father to help his young child. The malady is unusual and the reveal not a happy one.

Ken Liu

"You'll Always Have the Burden With You", which you can read here. This was a story about archaeology on a long-empty alien planet. The idea of the modern minutiae of civilisation being less permanent than Earth's Egyptian pyramids was an interesting one. But what really made this story stand out for me was the "punch-line" towards the end. Brilliant.

"The Paper Menagerie", which you can read here. This had a terribly sad ending. About the son of an American man and his mail-order (more or less) bride, whose mother made him magical origami animals. The son goes through the oh-so-common (dare I say almost universal?) migrant child phase of refusing to speak his mother's language because it marks him as an outsider. The end, as I said, is heartbreaking. It's no wonder this story won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards (the first time any one story took out all three).

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Strange Chemistry gone

Yesterday, there was some unfortunate news in the publishing world. Angry Robot's two spin-off imprints were shut down, kind of suddenly. No more Strange Chemistry (YA spec fic) or Exhibit A (crime). Here is a link to announcement on the Strange Chemistry website, the text of which I've reproduced below:
As you will be aware, Angry Robot Books has a history of innovation and we continue to go from strength to strength. We’re constantly trying out new concepts and new ideas, and we continue to publish popular and award-winning books. Our YA imprint Strange Chemistry and our crime/mystery imprint Exhibit A have – due mainly to market saturation – unfortunately been unable to carve out their own niches with as much success.
We have therefore made the difficult decision to discontinue Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, effective immediately, and no further titles will be published from these two imprints.

The core Angry Robot imprint is robust, however, and we plan to increase our output from 2 books a month, to 3. We have no plans to cancel any titles other than those of Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A.
There is a Publisher's Lunch article on the matter, which I assume most people reading this won't be able to read in full (I don't have a subscription either). In the search for more information, I found this article on The Bookseller about Osprey, the parent company. Apparently they are "undergoing a strategic review internally" and this is part of that process.

Whatever the reason, this is very sad news. I've reviewed a lot of Strange Chemistry books since they started up (and by a lot, I mean most of them), because they had been fairly consistently producing great books, many of which deviated from what more main stream publishers were doing. And now they're gone.

The good news is that, for now, you can still buy previously published Strange Chemistry books from the usual places (like the Angry Robot store for DRM-free ebooks). The really terrible news is that any books that were scheduled to be released from yesterday onwards have been cancelled. This includes book three of Kim Curran's series, which was slated for August, and Some Fine Day by (would have been début) author Kat Ross, which was slated for July, less than two weeks away. I've already read and reviewed Some Fine Day — and would have also run an interview with the author if the blog tour hadn't sort of fizzled out because of this. It was a really good book and I hope the author finds another home for it. In fact, I hope all the once future Strange Chemistry books find new homes and that there aren't any impending annoying rights issues with the published books. And, of course, that the staff that have been made redundant because of this all find somewhere nice to move on to.


 Browse my Strange Chemistry reviews here. (At least, all of them that I remembered to tag.)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Short stories on the Hugo 2014 ballot

This time I've read and reviewed all the Hugo short stories. There's only four of them this year and, of course, they are the shortest fiction category. I quite liked most of them, and I think they will be hard to rank. Right now the Swirsky and the Chu are vying for first place in my mind (with the others not far behind).

On a side note, it's really pleasing to see how wonderfully diverse this category is. There are two queer stories and two stories featuring non-western cultures (Chinese and Thai). Whatever else you might want to say about the Hugo ballot, what I've read so far (these and some novelettes) has been pleasingly diverse and varied.

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky 

(Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)

Well that escalated. What starts as a fantastical story describing the world in the title and beyond, end on a pretty depressing note. I liked the story more for that, but do not mistake this for happy light reading. Also, quite short for the bracket.

“Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar 

(Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)

There are two possible meanings to this title, if you think about it, and the story leans towards the less obvious (to me, anyway) alternative. Not a conventional story and a pretty good read. (And yes, there are selkies in it.)

illustration by christopher silas neal
Illustration by Christopher Silas Neal

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu 

(, 02-2013)

An interesting high-concept that takes a back seat to a very human story (and I don’t think that’s a bad thing). In a world where, for no known reason, water falls on you when you tell a lie, a young(ish) man navigates his relationships and, in particular, the decision to finally come out to his parents.

illustration by victo ngai
Illustration by Victo Ngai

“The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt 

(, 04-2013)

Probably my least favourite of the bunch. I liked the Thai culture aspect, but the story itself wasn’t as serious as the other three and so didn’t really do it for me. It was vaguely amusing but not, to me, funny enough to make up for the lack of seriousness.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne is a remarkable book. It's near-future science fiction set in India, Ethiopia and involving two journeys: one across (northern) Africa, the other across the Arabian Sea. The settings alone should tell you that it is not a run of the mill science fiction novel.
Meena, a young woman living in a futuristic Mumbai, wakes up with five snake bites on her chest. She doesn't know how or why, but she must flee India and return to Ethiopia, the place of her birth. Having long heard about The Trail -- an energy-harvesting bridge that spans the Arabian Sea -- she embarks on foot on this forbidden bridge, with its own subculture and rules. What awaits her in Ethiopia is unclear; she's hoping the journey will illuminate it for her.

Mariama, a girl from a different time, is on a quest of her own. After witnessing her mother's rape, she joins up with a caravan of strangers heading across Saharan Africa. She meets Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. Yemaya tells Mariama of Ethiopia, where revolution is brewing and life will be better. Mariama hopes against hope that it offers much more than Yemaya ever promised.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates will entwine in ways that are profoundly moving and shocking to the core. Vividly imagined and artfully told, written with stunning clarity and deep emotion, The Girl in the Road is a true tour de force.
I need to say up front that I don't know very much about Africa and a little bit more about India, so I am not someone who would notice any small factual/cultural errors. There didn't seem to be anything huge and glaring and the small details felt authentic, but if others disagree, please let me know in the comments. I wasn't actually sure until I got to the end that the author is American (obviously, I could've googled, but didn't), so the level of detail and the amount of research she obviously put in is impressive. But as always, there are potential issues with an outsider writing about any culture. I will note that none of the characters were white, and also that both bisexual and trans identities were also featured. However, the rest of this review won't be dealing with these issues.

The Girl in the Road follows two protagonists, both incredibly unreliable, for different reasons. Meena is a mentally ill Indian woman in her late twenties, living in the late 2060s. After a crisis drives her from her home, she makes her way to Mumbai. In Mumbai she becomes infatuated with the Trail, a string of floating pontoons which collect wave energy from the Arabian sea and stretch from just off the coast of Mumbai to Djibouti, Ethiopia. Still wanting to get away from the forces chasing her, she sets out across the Trail. Since her story is told in first person and partly due to her illness (my guess was that she was bipolar but that wasn't completely clear), Meena's story unravels slowly and not strictly chronologically. One quickly realises that we can't trust everything she tells us and begins to question her decisions as well. It's a fascinating mode of story telling.

Mariama is a young girl (8 or 10 at the start, I think) who suddenly finds she has to fend for herself. She attaches herself to two men transporting oil to Ethiopia, who look after her. Her story is told in first and second person, with Mariama talking to Yemaya, a woman who joins the oil convoy not long after Mariama herself does. Partly because of her age, and partly because of her isolated and unpleasant upbringing (she was a slave), Mariama is also an unreliable narrator, but in a different way. Her point of view was, I think, more decipherable and at times more understandable as well. (There was one scene that I think some people will struggle with. It's a spoiler, but if you're interested, the author blogs about it here.) With Mariama, the reader's interpretation of her situation is, sometiems, more important than her own.

It took me a while to work out how the two storylines were connected. I won't spoil it here, because the slow unravelling of the story is an important part of the journey, but it wasn't obvious at first how they were placed temporally with respect to each other. But eventually it becomes apparent and certain events play out with a terrible inevitability that we, the reader, cannot help to stop. It was a beautifully woven tale.

Not only were the stories beautifully woven together, but similar themes — like the unusual snake in both story lines — intertwined both stories, binding them together as much as actual events do. Byrne has a wonderful turn of phrase, always choosing the best words to convey layers of meaning and always push the narrative forwards. It was a pleasure to read. It was complicated, but not too much so. (Although the Epilogue confused me. I suspect it might make more sense upon re-reading...)

I very strongly recommend this book to everyone. Fans of science fiction should enjoy this very different view of a not-too-distant future. There is also an element of magical realism — and a sort of dream-like quality — for fantasy fans who may not like straight science fiction. But above all, it's an exquisitely written book that I will be recommending to everyone.

5 / 5 stars

First published: May 2014, Crown
Series: No.
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Tsana's June Status

It's been a strange month. I found out with less than two weeks to go that I could in fact vote for the Ditmars — I had completely forgotten that I was a supporting member of last year's NatCon — so I madly tried to read all the stories and books for that. I didn't quite finish everything, but I read all the short fiction and enough of the other categories to make a decision. This also resulted in buying all the books that I didn't already have. Turns out, that's a lot of books acquired in the past month... and a lot of short stories read (by my standards, at least).

And of course, the Ditmar awards were actually awarded. And, since awards season is well and truly upon us, the Australian Shadows Awards were also announced.

In unrelated and much more mundane news, I also wrote my usual monthly round-up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog, which you can read here.

What have I read?

What am I currently reading?

I was reading Trucksong by Andrew Macrae but, for the first time this year, I've consciously stopped  reading reading a book when I was a substantial part of the way in. It's not an objectively bad book — there's nothing wrong with the writing — but it just wasn't for me. It was actually really hard to decide to stop reading. Once I was a substantial chunk of the way in it felt like a waste to just give up, even if I wasn't enjoying it. It was when I was three-quarters of the way in that I realised that even if I did finish, I wouldn't get a good review out of it. With bad books it's easy; you can just list and discuss the problems. But this was just a book that didn't click with me, rather than one that had specific faults. Also, one of my new year's resolutions was to let myself not finish books, so go me.

When I realised that I was in fact able to vote in the Ditmars I started a lot of books that I didn't necessarily finish but still plan to. I've so far only read the two Ditmar-shortlisted stories in Prickle Moon by Juliette Marillier, but I hope to get back to it sooner rather than later (if only because being part-way through several books at once is a bit stressful). I also started reading Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead by Robert Hood, which is a fantasy/horror (dark fantasy?) novel. Not very far in yet (but far enough to rank it on my ballot).

Moving away from Australian books, I haven't had a chance to pick up Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen again, because of the Ditmar books, but I'm still planning to finish it. I've also just started reading Use Only As Directed, an anthology edited by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey and I'm about to start Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne this evening.





New Booksies:

A lot of my favourite authors seem to have recently released books too, which definitely added to the virtual pile I'm about to list... Furthermore, the 2014 Hugo Packet was released adding to by TBR pile and my acquired books. But the way that works for me is I only add a free book to my "books owned" list (on LibraryThing) if I actually read it, or read a significant portion before giving up. For example, I am not going to make any attempt to read the Wheel of Time series at this point in my life because a) I'm pretty sure I won't like it that much and b) it's way too long to fit in (both in generally and also around other reviewing/reading commitments and desires).
  • Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan — purchased because a favourite author
  • Prickle Moon by Juliet Marillier — purchased because Ditmars
  • The Bride Price by Cat Sparks — purchased because Ditmars
  • The Year of Ancient Ghosts by Kim Wilkins — purchased because Ditmars
  • The Lowest Heaven edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin — purchased because Ditmars
  • Fragments of a Broken Land by Robert Hood — purchased because Ditmars
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld — eARC. I've already read it, but it's not out until September, so no review until then. But oh my goodness this book was AWESOME. I can't wait until more people have read it so I can discuss it with them. !!! 5 stars. (Mind you, I suspect people who aren't interested in/involved with the publishing industry may not like it as enthusiastically, but shh.)
  • Delete by Kim Curran — eARC from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot. The conclusion of the trilogy including Shift and Control
  • The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina — eARC from Angry Robot, sequel to Blades of the Old Empire
  • The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley — eARC, also from Angry Robot. Haven't read anything of hers before, but I've heard a lot of good things, so looking forward to it.
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare — purchased because I've enjoyed all her books.
  • Guardian by Jo Anderton — preorder came in. Purchased because favourite author.
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie — Purchased because Hugos and heard a lot of things. Didn't want to get to the end of the extract and have to break.
  • I, Morgana by Felicity Pullman — eARC from Momentum, because it sounded good and also AWW
  • Chasing the Valley 3: Skyfire by Skye Melki-Wegner — eARC from Random House, because I loved the first book
  • Chasing the Valley 2: Borderlands by Skye Melki-Wegner — purchased because I got the eARC of book 3 and also because I loved the first book and was intending to get around this this either way
  •  Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew Mckirnan — eARC because the author is a friend (and because I want to read it)