March 2018 To-Be-Read Pile!

I somehow have ended up with some actual creative plans for the month of March!

  • Write 31,000 words.
  • Do my morning pages every day.
  • Restart The Artist’s Way (I’m doing this in a buddy system with a friend).
  • Finish — or come close to finishing — a Dragon Age 2 fanfic I’ve had hanging around for far too long. The goal is to have it finished by 04/30/18, so I can spend the summer working on original fiction.

It doesn’t sound like a lot once it’s written down, but I know from experience that TAW is a big commitment, time-wise and emotionally. I won’t start till Sunday, officially (there’s just something nice and symmetrical about starting at the beginning of the week), so I have a bit of time to prepare.

One benefit of doing TAW in the past is I’m now aware of how important it is, as a writer, to keep reading extensively and constantly. I’ve dealt with horrible, exhausting levels of writers’ block in the past, and a lot of the time, it’s because I haven’t been reading, and so my well of creative energy has run dry. Sometimes I’m just tired, and need to take a break, but I’ve found ever since I read more constantly (rather than in big chunks!), I haven’t had to take such long breaks from writing.

My reading plans for March 2018 look like this:

  1. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel: I’ll probably finish this today, since I’m at 88% as of this morning. I adore this series, and the meta-narrative aspects are so well done. It dovetails nicely with Horizon Zero Dawn, which might be my favorite video game ever. I can’t wait for the third book!
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: I read the first book in this series last year, and have kept meaning to get back to it.
  3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  4. After Atlas by Emma Newman
  5. Embers of War by Gareth Powell
  6. The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

That should get me through the month, if I don’t get distracted and want to gobble up all the other books that cross my path. What can I say? I’m weak!

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Waiting On Wednesday – Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel

really need to stay on top of my blogging game! If only someone would pay me to read and write full-time, sigh.

(Baby steps, Bee; baby steps.)

Waiting on Wednesdays is the brainchild of Jill at Breaking the Spine, and I was inspired to take part by Tammy at Books, Bones, and Buffy.

This week, I am eagerly awaiting:

only humanIn her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

 

 

I absolutely adored the first book in the series, and am currently devouring the second. It’s going to be a tough wait for this one!

Waiting On Wednesday: Semiosis by Sue Burke

Thanks to Books, Bones, & Buffy‘s inspiration (an excellent blook blog, by the way!), I’m going to try taking part in Waiting On Wednesday a little more regularly!

This week’s Waiting On Wednesday book is Semiosis, by Sue Burke (click through for the Goodreads page!).

semiosisIn this character driven novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke, human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance.

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet’s sentient species and prove that mammals are more than tools.

Forced to land on a planet they aren’t prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape–trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.

This is hitting so many of my favorite buttons — space exploration! Aliens! Issues with colonization! Creepy new worlds! And that cover looks amazing. I’ve had some great luck with stories that deal with new worlds being settled by humans (Children of Time, Planetfall) and some not-so-great luck (Noumenon), but this looks excellent.

Semiosis

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey

Thanks to Bones, Books, & Buffy, I’m now aware of Can’t Wait Wednesday — the gist of the idea is to gush about not-yet-released books, and boy howdy, am I down for that!

My love for The Expanse is well-known and well-documented (if you’ve known me for more than a day, I’ve probably yelled about it), and I am so excited for Persepolis Rising, the seventh book in the series.

Persepolis_Rising

Summary:

In the thousand-sun network of humanity’s expansion, new colony worlds are struggling to find their way. Every new planet lives on a knife edge between collapse and wonder, and the crew of the aging gunship Rocinante have their hands more than full keeping the fragile peace.

In the vast space between Earth and Jupiter, the inner planets and belt have formed a tentative and uncertain alliance still haunted by a history of wars and prejudices. On the lost colony world of Laconia, a hidden enemy has a new vision for all of humanity and the power to enforce it.

New technologies clash with old as the history of human conflict returns to its ancient patterns of war and subjugation. But human nature is not the only enemy, and the forces being unleashed have their own price. A price that will change the shape of humanity — and of the Rocinante — unexpectedly and forever…

Well, that’s not ominous, is it?

I’ve enjoyed every book in the series so far, and I truly admire the authors’ ability to play the long game — but we’re into the final act now, and a part of me is terrified to see just how bad things will get before the end. There’s no doubt in my mind that every plot line will be resolved satisfactorily, if not tidily and simply (it’s too big and complex a universe for that), but I’ll be sad to leave these characters behind (especially Bobbie Draper!).

At least there are still two books after this, right?

Only three more weeks to go until this is in my hot little hands!

Goodreads | Amazon

Time to blow off the dust!

So much for blogging, huh? At least there’s no such thing as “oops, I missed my chance to start a blog where I talk about books and writing, like approximately eighteen million other people on the planet”.

But as I get more serious about writing (one might argue I have never been less than completely serious about writing, but you know), and as Tumblr — my main social media platform — turns into a snake eating its own young (aka: its user base; this is the gentlest metaphor I could come up with), I want to have a space just for myself, to ramble and rave and rant (and alliterate).

I sound like an utterly pretentious turd, when in reality I am often nervous, usually worried, and always tired. I just really, really like words, and I just really, really like books, and most of all, I like making words dance.

I like it when other people do the same.

To that end, I gave myself a goal at the beginning of the year: to read forty new-to-me books by the end of December 2017. I’ve upped that to sixty new-to-me books, though I’m not sure if I’ll make that new goal. But I have read some incredible things along the way, and discovered some fantastic new authors, namely:

  • Jeff VanderMeer, author of The Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne
  • Emma Newman, author of The Split Worlds and Planetfall series
  • Yoon Ha Lee, author of The Machineries of Empire series
  • Rachel Aaron/Rachel Bach, author of the Paradox trilogy
  • Max Gladstone, author of The Craft Sequence

I could go on (and on), but those five stand out as some of the most fun, risk-taking, adventurous, and ambitious authors I’ve encountered lately. And I wouldn’t have encountered any of them (except maybe Rachel Bach, since she was already on my radar after her great post about increasing your word count), if I hadn’t a) shifted my focus away from reading fanfic (still working through that fic backlog, though!), and b) dedicated myself to reading more women authors, more POC authors, and more LGBTQIA authors.

Roughly, I gave myself the goal of reading two or three books by non cishet straight white male authors for every book I did read by cishet straight white male authors. This isn’t a call for cookies, because I should have been reading diversely years before this, but I am beyond delighted with what I have gotten to read so far.

I still have to dig into Ann Leckie’s Provenance, as well as VanderMeer’s Acceptance, and basically every book on this list is calling my name. Not to mention Persepolis Rising, the seventh book in The Expanse series, which I will ride to hell and back for, any day of the week. Thank goodness for my Kindle, and for Overdrive!

From here on out, I’ll be posting book reviews here (and probably linking them to my Tumblr, since I am not yet angry enough to remove myself from its maw), and talking about my own writing. That will get its own post, however, since I will go on (and on — that’ll be a trend) about what I’m working on there.

But for now — it’s time for lunch, and that means reading and knitting. I’m halfway through The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which I’m enjoying immensely (I have a great fondness for alternate-Russia fantasies).

Till next time!