Friday, 30 August 2019

#Dublin2019 #AnIrishWorldCon in tweet threads

I was looking up my own notes for the panels I attended at Worldcon 2019, so here's a listing of the threads I made. Also so I can find it later on. lol. I dunno how this embedding thing works, I'm assuming you can click it to open the full thread.

We'll see.

























Why did I attend so many panels. hahaha.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

#bookreview: Skyward | Brandon Sanderson

Skyward (Skyward, #1)Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a brilliant, brilliant book, and the long reading time recorded is only because Worldcon came in between the first half and the second half of my reading!

Skyward was entrancing from beginning to end, driven by the sheer focus and desperation of Spensa (Callsign: Spin). She grates on you a little at times, but if you can see past the bluster, you feel how she hides her vulnerability and fear in the most outrageous fighting words she can utter--all in an effort to hide from what her father is said to be: a coward. Spensa is the only one who knows this cannot be true. Admiral Ironsides and the First Citizens must be hiding something. Whatever the truth is, Spensa is not going to let it stand in the way of the thing she wants the most: to be a pilot, fight the Krell, and see the stars.

There are shades of Ender's Game in this, where children are used in battle against the invading aliens, in a sheer war for survival. It's really the plot twist that makes this book, something I did not--and could not--have foreseen. It's a truth Spensa doesn't want to hear, but which propels her--and the book--into greater heights.

Sanderson writes a brilliantly, and I may actually like this one more than The Stormlight Archives, which sometimes drags out just a tad too much. This is perfect for what it is, an exciting adventure in the skies.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Gollancz via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I picked up a free preview (the first chapter) of Starsight at Worldcon! SO EXCITED.



Get Skyward and preorder Starsight!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

#bookreview: Speak No Evil | Liana Gardner

Speak No EvilSpeak No Evil by Liana Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Liana Gardner sure pulls at your heartstrings with Speak No Evil.

Melody Fisher has been shunted from foster home to foster home ever since the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father. Every time she has spoken up to defend herself, something even worse happens, so she gradually falls into silence. But now, she needs to speak again, to tell her side of why she stabbed Troy.

Gardner brings you on a journey of recovery through song and memory as Dr Kane, Melody's therapist, uses the one thing that holds Melody together to help her communicate again: music. She anchors each chapter in a song, using the lyrics--beautifully written by Lucas Astor-- to bridge Melody's present and her traumatic past. Melody's gift may be the gift of song, but Gardner's true gift is evoking the emotions of a vulnerable young girl and giving her voice through this story.

Melody's story isn't an unfamiliar one. Right from the beginning, I knew why she stabbed Troy. Discounting insanity--and Melody is definitely not insane--there can only be one reason why a young girl would attack a bright, promising young athlete. Only one reason why courts and public opinion would want to side with a promising, white jock against the word of a troubled, mixed-race girl. We've seen it in the news all too often. She must be lying. Gardner holds no punches, describing the things that happened, not in a voyeuristic, pornographic or erotic way, but in Melody's dark memories and trauma--take this as a content/trigger warning.

Yet, in the midst of the darkness, shines a beacon of hope:
It is not your fault.
You are more than your past.
You are stronger than you think you are.
You are a survivor.
We will stand with you.

If these are the words you need to hear, let Gardner whisper it to you again and again through Dr Kane's patience, Rebecca Prescott's persistence, and Quatie Raincrow's love and wisdom.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Vesuvian Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Speak No Evil releases on 1 October 2019.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

#bookreview: Claiming T-Mo | Eugen Bacon

Claiming T-MoClaiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The most I can say about this book is that it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The narrative flits between the lives of the women in T-Mo's life and how his dual personality and subsequent disappearance impacted them.

It was interesting, in a way, but also felt disjointed as you jumped from his mother to his wife to his daughter and his granddaughter and it's really not about them, but it is. It's mostly still about him, in a roundabout way. It's also about abuse and abusive relationships and the perpetuation of it over generations, whether the self-serving coldness of Novic that sets T-Mo on his path, or the casual cruelty of Pastor Ike Drew that chased Salem into T-Mo's arms. And it's finally about freedom, about each woman chasing what it means to be herself in the lines of her life, whether in conjuction with or despite of her husband and her family.

At least, I think that's what it's about, between the jumping from person to person and the switches in POV and the alien things that are happening all over the place. I wish I had liked it much better.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Meerkat Press via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

#bookreview: Pale Kings | Micah Yongo

Pale Kings (Lost Gods, #2)Pale Kings by Micah Yongo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pale Kings starts off slowly, picking up where Lost Gods left off. Yongo takes his time to orient you: The Shedaim Brotherhood is broken, magic is stirring once again, dark beasts have arisen… and gods now walk the land. Strange visions come upon Neythan, Sidon must navigate his way through court intrigue and betrayal, and Daneel and Josef wrestle with the choices that pull them in opposite directions. The slow-build and the changing POVs are slightly disingenuous though. As revelations build, so does the tension, until you’re gripped by the events unfolding before you.

If there were an overarching theme to Pale Kings, it’s trust and betrayal. Nothing is as it seems—and that’s the beauty of this novel. As layer upon layer of history and the hidden past are revealed, Neythan soon discovers that everything he once believed in may not be the truth—and the things he thought were myth and children’s stories may prove truer than fact. Visions and prophecies don’t add clarity either, muddying perceptions of what is to come. When everyone and every faction is working to their own purposes, hiding secrets from each other, each new piece of information necessarily forces a fresh evaluation of who can and should be trusted.

There’s so much more to be unpacked in this epic about the gods who once walked the land and seek to do so once again. And that ending sets up so much excitement for things to come!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Angry Robot via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Pale Kings releases on August 13! Preorder your copy here.

Read my review of Lost Gods here.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

#bookreview: Etania's Worth | M.H. Elrich

Etania's Worth (Daughters of Tamnarae #1)Etania's Worth by M.H. Elrich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On the planet Tearah, where the various human races possess different Neuma, or powers and gifts granted by God, Etania doubts herself and her gift. Chosen to help save the world? Yeah, right. Cute bodyguard falling in love with her? Double yeah, right. Why would anyone, especially Melchizidek the God of Tamnarae, love or believe in her when she can't even keep the attention of her own father?

Etania's Worth is a Christian allegorical quest fantasy with coming-of-age and chosen-one themes, plus a side of clean romance. Elrich doesn't hide the allegory or the Christian themes--it's stated clearly in the glossary which characters/symbols are meant to reflect Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Melchizidek also obviously has twelve followers (disciples), one of whom betrays him. None of this detracts from the story, and whilst bits of the plot may seem rather apparent or predictable to people well-versed with chosen one or Christian/faith-based stories (whether Biblical stories or fiction), the way it unfolds is nevertheless interesting.

I especially love the extensive worldbuilding you catch glimpses of as Etania, Jakin and Kayel travel throughout Tamnarae on their quest. However, "glimpses" is a key thing here--it sometimes feels as though you're rushed through the world like a tourist without fully experiencing it, which ended up more than a little confusing at times. I guess what I'm saying is that I would have liked a little more immersion, if that makes sense. Still, the Glossary was stuffed with information you didn't know you didn't know so that helped a little.

One of the key themes Elrich addresses in Etania's Worth is the idea of self-worth and acceptance, but in the Christian sense. Etania and Keyel both doubt themselves, their gifts, and their statuses in society because of their youth, experiences, and past. Elrich works with the concepts of redemption as well as reliance on God to build their confidence in both their worth, value, and acceptance of self.

My major bugbear with this novel, which is probably inordinately affected by the fact that I'm currently doing my own edits, is that it could really, really do with another round of editing. The writing is clunky in parts and, whilst readable, could have been tightened up a lot more.

The book will probably suit female YA readers (aged 15 - 20-ish) the best. Whilst there is war and fighting aplenty, there's also a huge chunk of MAYBE HE LIKES ME MAYBE HE DOESN'T WHY WOULD HE EVER LIKE ME I'M UGLY AND TERRIBLE AND USELESS that may turn off teenage boys after a bit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

#bookreview: The Escape Manual for Introverts | Katie Vaz

I know it's not my usual book review day! And also I've missed a couple of weeks. I've been away on a roadtrip and in my head, I thought I would have time to keep reading and reviewing. Obviously not. So I'll be slowly catching up a little over the next few weeks.

Here's a short one to tide you over until I actually get stuff done.

The Escape Manual for IntrovertsThe Escape Manual for Introverts by Katie Vaz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a cutesy, off-kilter "manual" on how to escape social situations you really don't want to be in. Not all of them will actually work* though they're sure to elicit a few laughs.

It's a quick read, so perfect for a short getaway from real life. Which is just what every introvert needs.

* not if you want to be an actual relatable, not-weird (adult) human being. And want to keep your job and your friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Andrew McMeel Publishing via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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