In Short: July

Posted 31st July 2021 by Sia in State of the Sia / 2 Comments

This month I had a two week holiday from work (although the hubby and I stayed happily in our apartment rather than going anywhere, because we aren’t inconsiderate asshats like SOME who crossed the border for a FOOTBALL GAME and brought Delta back with them, no I am not bitter) and I think it shows!!! I got so much reading and reviewing done. And although I’ve had some trouble the last few days, for most of the month my fibro’s been behaving itself. MUCH YAY!


I finished TWENTY-TWO books this month!!! Even if a few were novellas, they count. HEE. (I also read two short stories from, which Goodreads tells me also count, at least for my reading challenge.)

And they were such GREAT books, too!!! Almost everything I read ended up being excellent – Three Twins at the Crater School was a soothing escapist delight; God Eaters was a beloved reread and the first book the hubby and I chose for our new buddy-reads thing, where we read the same book at the same time (we’re now reading The Last Sun and he loves it and I am SO HAPPY); Artifact Space was the first sci fi from one of my favourite authors and was clever and warm with fantastic attention to detail; The Philosopher’s Flight was wonderful and I can’t believe I didn’t discover it until this year; The Past Is Red was flawless and hopeful and biting all at once; Nightbitch came out of NOWHERE to completely blow me away; The Vanished Birds was beautiful and poignant and I cried; The Blacktongue Thief was a middle finger to grimdark and I am HERE for it; The Hands of the Emperor was 1000 pages of beautiful heartwarming utopia-building via a brilliant imperial socialist; and Desdemona and the Deep was another reread, but I could read Cooney’s prose for ever and ever and be happy.

Now, out of 23 authors, I read;

  • 12 women, 8 men, and 3 nonbinary
  • 18 white folx and 5 BIPOC

5 BlPOC is really not a lot, but it’s much better than I’ve been doing since I started keeping track! 21.74% of my reading this month was by authors who are not white! Obviously I still need to do better, but I’m delighted will the improvement. Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

The next step is writing up reviews for them all! That’s probably gonna take me a little while…

Books Reviewed

I got SO MANY reviews written this month!!! Immensely helped, I think, by the aforementioned two week holiday. And I’m extra happy because almost all of them were ARCs, and I love getting to cross ARCs off my to-do list. (My Netgalley score is now 92%! I AM SO DELIGHTED!)

Books DNF-ed

I was incredibly excited for Destroyer of Light – it was originally on my list of most-anticipated releases of 2021, but I had to strike it off after I got a look at the arc. So much heavy-handed into-dumping, appalling dialogue, prose that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be streamlined or purple and therefore see-sawed wildly between both… Not to mention the continuity errors and contradictory worldbuilding… No thank you!

Lakesedge was another that was hyped as being edgy and properly dark, but can’t pull it off. Not to my satisfaction, anyway. I think I’m just going to stop trying to read YA, unless it’s a book from an author I trust. I am so tired of and frustrated with the simplistic prose that is endemic to so much YA Fantasy. Not all of it, but most of the books that come my way, at least. Blegh!

ARCs Received

I checked my email every few hours for WEEKS hoping to get approved for Midnight Girls – and then I did!!! I AM SO EXCITED I CANNOT EVEN!

Wake of the Phoenix was one I was cautiously interested in, but didn’t request until another reviewer described it as Baru Cormorant, but gay instead of lesbian. I was so excited by that I didn’t really think: the cover heavily implies that the setting draws more from Europe than the East Asia/Polynesia/Africa settings that the Baru series moves between. From what I’ve read so far, the only things the books have in common are queer main characters and political elements to the plot… Which are such non-specific characteristics I don’t think it makes all books that contain those elements comparable.

That being said, Wake is not a bad book (so far, anyway) and is playing with a few of my favourite tropes. We’ll see how it goes!

I haven’t started The Cat Who Saved Books yet, but I liked the excerpt of Starless Crown enough to request it. So far I adore our blind mc and can’t stand our thief mc, so. It could go either way at this point.

ARCs Outstanding

I’m steadily whittling away (hacking away?) at my backlog of arcs! I have none due for August, so I’m hoping to finish a good number of them in time for September. The All-Consuming World in particular is blowing my fucking mind.

On the other hand we have The Actual Star, which is also amazing but is massively frustrating me by using Spanish and Belize Kriol without English translations – could you not have included a translation in footnotes, for example? It’s not a minor annoyance; I’ve struggled with languages my whole life, and being suddenly jolted out of the prose by dialogue I can’t understand keeps reducing me to tears.

The book is incredible, and my problem isn’t the use of Spanish and Kriol. I love it when a movie remembers that German-speakers wouldn’t conveniently speak English if there are no English speakers present! …But the movie always includes subtitles for us monolingual peasants.

I really hope the finished copy includes the equivalent of subtitles. Because this is making me so miserable and frustrated that a big part of me wants to call it quits, and that’s stupid because this book is amazing in every other respect.

…I’ll save the rest of my thoughts about it for my eventual review!

Rec Lists & Misc

I posted my list of Unmissable Fantasy & SciFi of 2021! (July-Dec) at the start of the month! I think that was it, though.

Looking Forward

August is a bit of a slower month for me, but there are still plenty of releases I’m ridiculously excited about! ESPECIALLY REDEMPTOR OMFG. But we’re also getting The Forever Place, the sequel to one of my favourite superhero stories ever, You First, and Barbara Hambly is starting a completely new series (not SFF, but one can’t have everything, and honestly her prose is so gorgeous I would still snap up her books if she started writing flat-out horror). Then there’s Faeries of the Faultlines (which I included in a Must-Have Monday post incorrectly – I was so disappointed when I found out it was not, in fact, releasing that week, but it IS coming out in August and that’s not so far away!) and We’re Here, a collection of the best queer speculative fiction 2020 from Neon Hemlock Press (I am looking forward to seeing how it compares with Far Out edited by Paula Guran, which is a collection of ‘recent’ queer SFF short stories from bigger names and bigger presses). After the Dragons is one of my most-anticipated of the freaking YEAR, and I’ve already read In The Watchful City and adored it utterly. Which leaves us with the fab art and dorky characters of Punderworld, which I suspect I’m going to fall head over heels in love with!

It’s gonna be another good month, is what I’m saying here.

May it be so for all of us!

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