Daughters of Doubt and Eyerolling

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Tackling the TBR

Hello. My name is TheRightHonourableHarpyEagle and I am a book addict.

That might not have needed to be pointed out, but it’s good to admit to it sometimes. I love buying books, I love hoarding books, but do I read the gems on my shelves?

This week I decided to actively read at least one book off the TBR shelf, which led me to actually read two novels by the same author, Naomi Novik.

Spinning Silver – a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin (gah, I hate the English spelling). Although I liked the Slavic touch of the story, I didn’t like the many POV in the book. Some characters were written so similar to each other that it always took me a moment to get into the story again. Also, some POV were introduced and then dropped without further notice, which made me wonder whether I had missed some pages. That and the feeling of the story of these three women somehow getting nowhere made me skim most of the second half of the story. I just didn’t care for what would happen. I might have liked the book ten years ago, but my tastes have changed. I hadn’t had the book lying around for a decade though.

I had a similarly hard time with Novik’s Uprooted. Again, I liked the Slavic fairy tale-ish background to the story, but the dragon character verbally abusing the young woman and then seemingly suddenly the two characters are head over heels in love with each other? Just didn’t gel with me.

I was wondering whether it’s the author and her writing style that I don’t like. No that’s not it. The writing is good. Actually, I’ve read the two Scholomance novels by Novik and liked them. In fact, I have the third book of the trilogy on my TBR. I’m assuming it’s the fairy tale retelling I struggle with; they don’t really work for me most of the time.

Duck’s Reading Quarterly

Reading this year has been so slow for me. I focus hard on learning game development, so one of the books I read was a gigantic chunkster about the Unity Game Engine. It was boring as well as educational.

I finished the Powder Mage Trilogy and all its novellas at the start of the year, which I announced in my end of the year post – so I actually read what I had planned. Let’s look back at the series that I wanted to read:

  • Murderbot by Martha Wells: I bought the 6th Murderbot installation, immediately read it in one sitting. Who does not love Murderbot????
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson: I read Cytonic and 2 of the short stories. Evershore is waiting until the short story collection arrives at my doorstep. I cannot behave, I buy books. We might do a collective review of the series as a group.
  • The Hollows by Kim Harrison: Million Dollar Demon was my birthday present and I read it only a week or so after! What an achievement (insert irony here)
  • The Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire: No progress here, but I believe I am at least 2 books behind, so… I’ll let it sit.
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman: I have The Untold Story on the shelf and plan to read it in the near future, when I need something a bit more fluffy.
  • Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne: I read Paper & Blood recently, and devoured it in a day. It’s funny, it’s wise, it has action, what more do you want? Read the review by TheRightHonourableHarpyEagle for book one here.

Additionally, I finished the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie as a buddyread with TheMarquessMagpie. It was a blast, the books are 5/5 duckies, review here.

Our Tigana buddyread went a lot worse, but that happens.

Here is the most! important bit of news: I actually managed to DNF a book!!!! Amazing, right? Me and Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston could not connect on any level, and I did not even have the motivation to skim the second half of the book, so I just put it away! Actually, I will sell it, which might be an indicator that I am still a bit ashamed and don’t want to have the culprit near me.

So what’s to come in the second quarter of 2022: Currently, we birdies are having a Mistborn buddyread. I am the only one who knows the story, and I am so excited what the others think! I might join an Instagram buddyread of The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, if time allows for it. For the rest of my reading, I have made a list of 20 books on my TBR that spark my current attention and roll a D20 to find out my current read! Currently, it’s The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling.

Tigana, or fantasy from another age

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay was our newest attempt at a Buddyread. First published in 1990, we were a bit stunned that this book is 32 years old, older than me. It is a standalone fantasy novel, and the TheMarquessMagpie recently read a much more recent novel by the same author, A Brightness Long Ago, and really enjoyed it.

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered…

But years after the devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name…Tigana.

Goodreads blurb, 09.03.2022

So off we went to the Lands of the Palm, modeled after Italy in the Renaissance, where we meet Devin, one of our main Protagonists. Devin is a young singer in a troupe and does not really have any defining character traits, but takes more the role of the observer of the story who gets swept up in the plot. This is where TheMostHonourableHarpyEagle left us, without intriguing characters, the book was too slow for her. And she is not wrong, there does not happen much in the book.

While the prose is certainly beautiful and I have passages that I really liked, the book feels a bit like an ancient Greek tragedy. They go this way, meet this person, then the other. Then there is a woman bent on revenge but instead she falls in love. Torn in two, she tries to find a mystical being for help and a prophecy.

There are some things which really show the age of the book, the casual racism for once, the depiction of women as incapable of controlling their feelings another. Each character feels like a certain stereotype, and a strong, non-male character is missing, at least in my opinion.

Then there is the casual incest which really adds NOTHING to the story. Absolutely nothing. The author has written a really good afterword, but the explanation that in face of war and oppression, people tend to act out in other ways is really not enough for me.

While this was a very slow, flawed read for me, it was not all bad, and I would like to quote a part of the authors afterword here:

Tigana is in good part a novel about memory: the necessity of it, in cultural termns, and the dangers that come when it is too intense.

guy gavriel kay

3/5 duckies

I am SO behind on my reading goal this year

I did SO MUCH this year. Broke up with my bf, moved into my own space again, started a new job, spend time with my learning: painting, 3D modelling, and game programming. Reading, not so much, unfortunately. I ONLY read 75 books so far, according to Goodreads (yeah, I know. It’s too few for me, for others, it is an unbelievably high number).

My reading goal each year is 100 stories. Not books, but also graphic novels, novellas, short stories. And I really can’t let it sit to not achieve that. So, in the days before Christmas, I have a genius plan to fill my days with reading.

Behold the mighty list:

  • The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex by Tamsyn Moor
  • The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t by Gail Carriger
  • Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident by Gail Carriger
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  • Ascender Vol.3
  • The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • The Undefeated by Una McCormack
  • Awakening by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Last Witness by K.J. Parker
  • Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
  • City of Songs by Anthony Ryan
  • The Dream-Quest of Velitt Bow by Kij Johnson
  • The Expert System’s Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Alice Payne Rides by Kate Heartfield
  • Monstress Vol. 4
  • Poems to Save the World With curated and illustrated by Chris Ridell
  • Sunreach by Janci Patterson and Brandon Sanderson
  • ReDawn by Janci Patterson and Brandon Sanderson
  • Evershore by Janci Patterson and Brandon Sanderson
  • Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  • Paper & Blood by Kevin Hearne
  • The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
  • Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

It really is a wild ride between everything I like to read, and I hope I finally manage some catching up with the works of Brandon Sanderson and Gail Carriger, among others.

Wish me luck!

It’s that time of the month…

… when lots of my friends are trying to make time for NaNoWriMo.

I’m sorry this post is a little late, I feel swamped and hard pressed for writing time and I am not even doing NaNoWriMo this year.

As always, I have read a lot in October. I’m still on a Jodi Taylor spree. That means I managed to read the second book in her Elizabeth Cage series, as well as the latest Time Police novels; a spin-off of the Chronicles of St Mary’s series. I also read the second book in Sanderson’s Skyward Flight series [RTC]. Furthermore, I went on a Kerri Maniscalco roll mid-October, see my quick reviews here.

November, as I mentioned above, seems to have started with a lot of pressure on my free time. You know, the usual stuff before the year is out; appointments, Christmas shopping, not looking at the bank statement, etc. Yet, at the end of the month I’m going on a teensy-tiny reading retreat. I’m meeting a few friends at Gladstone’s Library in Wales for a weekend of reading, talking books and drinking tea. Okay, we might eat some cake, too.

Something to look forward to. And to plan a TBR for. At this moment I can only think of my Autumn TBR to take, which means the electronic part of my TBR, since I am not going to schlepp around physical copies of books. I couldn’t go on a shopping spree with a backpack full of books. Hand luggage regulations, you know.

Quick Reviews – October ’21

These books might actually deserve epic reviews, but then I might give away something that I better hadn’t. So, without further ado,…

Stalking Jack the Ripper books 3 and 4 by Kerri Maniscalco

Escaping from Houdini, published 18 September 2018. After their two adventures, Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are on a week-long journey to New York. The nightly first-class entertainment on board of the steamer is the Moonlight Carnival; one of their star acts is the young Houdini. Soon bloody murders happen and Audrey and Thomas just have to investigate.

Book three feels very middle-bookish. It's a locked room mystery, more or less, that is supposed to build up to the grand finale of the series.
Capturing the Devil, published 10 September 2019. Audrey and Thomas have landed in New York, where a Jack the Ripper copycat is on the loose. This leads the dynamic duo to go to Chicago during the fair in the White City, where they have to catch their devil.

Book four is a good finale to the series, but not as grand as I would have liked it. Yet that's certainly because I have read about the Devil in the White City before.

4/5 Harpy Eagles for either book


A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, published 13 July 2021.

This 'snack sized' book is like a warm hug, or a good mug of tea. Though I would have enjoyed this lovely Solarpunk novella much more if the audiobook hadn't been wonky. There were too many spliced in sentences and paragraphs that made it sound like two people read the book. 

4/5 Harpy Eagles for the story

1/5 Harpy Eagles for the audiobook


Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune, published 21 September 2021.

Is there life after death? If so, what does it look like? In Klune's story, your reaper takes your soul to a small but very cozy tea shop, where you meet grumpy ghosts, disintegrating ghosts, and a ghost whisperer who is determined to brew the perfect cup of tea for you.

5/5 Harpy Eagles


A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow, published 05 October 2021.

It's Zinnia's twenty-first birthday. Since it's going to be her last, she has a fatal health condition, her bestie turns it into a Sleeping Beauty themed party. When Zinnia pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, she falls through worlds into a fairy tale world. 

There might be a few surprises in this novella if you only know the Disney story of Sleeping Beauty. Harrow skilfully spins a story that has several different Sleeping Beauty myths woven into it.  

4/5 Harpy Eagles


Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton, published 06 August 2019.

This story is told from the POV of a crow. It's name S.T., is short for something that clearly tells you what sense of humour the crow and its owner have. Humans have turned into some sort of zombies. When Big Jim's eyeball drops to the floor, S.T. knows the animals need to stick together to help each other out. 
This story is full of humour and the POV offers a very interesting view at our human world. 

3/5 Harpy Eagles


Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir, published 30 November 2021.

Princess Floralinda has been captured by the witch and is now held on the fortieth floor of a tower. The tower is full of monsters, a different one on each floor. The prince who makes it to the top floor will get a golden sword and Floralinda, just no prince manages to get past the first floor. What's a princess supposed to do? Sit tight and starve to death? 

Short story, but so wonderful. Floralinda really grows into her character and Muir's writing is excellent. 

4/5 Harpy Eagles

It’s that time of the month…

… when the leaves are falling and the temperatures dropping. Perfect time for a cuppa and a good book, right?

My highlight of September was T.J. Klune’s Under the Whispering Door, published 21 September 2021. It’s a book about grief, a book about death, but also about life. Instead of being dark and depressing, it is very uplifting. It feels like warm hugs and steaming mugs of tea. It also has a gorgeous cover.

I don’t have a lot of big reading plans for October. My kids will be away on holiday for ten days, mid-month. That’ll give me a lot of reading and crafting time. There’s Act II of The Sandman, for example, which should get me through the first stages of my jacket sewing project.

And, of course, there is the autumn TBR that wants to be read. I might eventually pick up Bardugo’s Ninth House; I think this has gathered the most dust since I bought it.

Sceptre Autumn Reading Program

Hello hello, season of cozy blankets, rain and tea. While not everyone has been waiting for you, we are certainly excited to get into full autumn mode. And since our summer reading lists were just so much fun to put together and worked exceptionally well, we decided to go ahead and come up with lists for autumn as well.

TheLadyDuckOfDoom:

  • Beowulf: A New Translation
  • A Question of Navigation
  • Dawnshard
  • Monstress Vol. 4
  • Escaping Exodus
  • American Hippo
  • The Dark Archive
  • Fortune’s Pawn
  • The Library of the Dead
  • Shards of the Earth

  • The Outside
  • Queen of Sorrow
  • The Last Continent
  • King of Thorns
  • The Calculating Stars
  • Neon Birds
  • The Unspoken Name
  • Die Türme von Eden
  • Chaos Vector
  • The Autumn Republic
  • Before They Are Hanged

TheRightHonourableHarpyEagle:

  • Velocity Weapon
  • Ninth House
  • Die Türme von Eden
  • In the Watchful City
  • A Letter to Three Witches
  • The Hemlock Cure
  • The Unbroken
  • The God of Lost Words
  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars
  • Inside Man
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built
  • Under the Whispering Door
  • Sea of Rust
  • The Red House Mystery
  • Driftwood
  • Unnatural Causes
  • Mrs England
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
  • Pages & Co
  • Freshwater

TheMarquessMagpie:

  • Before They Are Hanged
  • Empire of the Vampire
  • Die Eroberung des Südpols
  • Drei Kameradinnen
  • Escaping Exodus
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Inside Man
  • Shadow Captain
  • Finders Keepers
  • Eroberung
  • Drachensaat
  • Song of Susannah
  • Gingerbread
  • Das Erbe der Elfen
  • The Dark Vault
  • Medea
  • If You Go Down to the Woods
  • Zone One
  • Home Body
  • Windschiefe Geraden
  • The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing
  • The Wych Elm
  • Des Teufels Gebetsbuch
  • Stories of Your Life and Others
  • Nur vom Weltraum aus ist die Erde blau

It’s that time of the month…

… when I am thinking about which skein of yarn I’ll have to turn into a pair of woollen socks, because it’s getting cold outside.

This summer hasn’t been very summery and it seems to have turned into autumn already. As I’ve mentioned last month already, this has definitely boosted my reading.

In August I read a lot of ARCs, see my quick reviews of a few of them here and here, and I re-read some comfort reads. That’s probably why I haven’t made any big reading plans for September so far. I have been thinking about making an autumn reading list though, I could add the few books left from my summer reading list. Planned for the immediate future is Pratchett’s Going Postal, since the #OokBOokClub on Litsy is discussing this next week. My other book club decided on reading Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, which is on the Booker longlist and supposed to be a very un-Booker book – so I’ve been told. It might very well be the first Booker book I’ll be reading.

What I’m longing to read is a book with a surprising plot twist. I can most often see a plot twist from miles away, despite lack of foreshadowing. That’s probably the current main reason why I’m re-reading books, or read romance novels; I know what I am in for and my brain can take a stroll for once. I am an over-thinker and I have a very hard time reading a book without thinking about its continuity, possible plot twists, etc. I am my own worst enemy, I spoil the plot/fun for myself. Most books I read this summer couldn’t surprise me. I’m not saying that they were bad, but once in a while I’d like to say “I did not see that coming!” Which book(s) surprised you with unexpected plot twists?

Better go do some stash diving for the perfect yarn. Can’t think of anything more relaxing than a comfort read on my headphones while I’m turning a ball of soft wool into a pair of reading socks right now. Even if I don’t encounter a plot twist in the book I’m listening too, I’m sure I’ll manage to twist the yarn I’m working with.

Summer Reading – 2 months later – Short Reviews

There was a draft of this post lingering here for a whole month, the first words had been typed here, left dangling. The state of my summer reading is comparable.

It take ages to read a book, mainly because I’m focusing on so many other things right now. But today is day 1 of my reading weekend, I have finished my current read and finally take some time to give you all an update. There were 29 books on my summer reading list, and I’ve read 14 of them. I don’t care if I will manage to read 15 books in a month (I probably won’t, but who knows). You can find our lists here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPlieZ_hTB7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Making a reading list for the season has helped me tremendously with reading what I actually wanted to read, and helped me decide while still having the ability to choose. The unread books will go back on my TBR shelf and I will pick new ones for my autumn list. Nevertheless, I read a whole lot of books I’ve been looking forward to reading for a long time:

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers: It only took the first chapter before I was hooked, like every other book by Becky Chambers, it was beautiful. The whole Wayfarer series can be read out of order, so if you see one in a bookstore, just grab a copy.

5/5 Duckies

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather: Nuns at the edge of the universe in a living spaceship? Count me in. Great novella, and the sequel was just announced, too. Perfect time to go and read it, it’s a short read, too. A perfect weekend read!

5/5 Duckies

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo: I think everyone has heard of the Grishaverse by now. While I loved the Six of Crows duology, I hated the Sankta Alina books, because of Alina. The last book, King of Scars, was ok. This time though, the setting felt too much like WWI in disguise, with extra special effects for the Netflix show sprinkled on top. The Grishaverse ends here. For me at least.

3/5 Duckies

The Relunctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst: Book 2 of the Queens of Renthia surprised me. I liked the first one, but it had a certain YA feel to it. Book 2 drops all of that and becomes a beautiful fantasy story with characters of all ages and professions. Young Queens and mothers. The characters are fleshed out very well, and I do look forward to putting book 3 on my autumn TBR reading list.

5/5 Duckies

Now, I’m off to read The Library of the Unwritten, which is not on my Summer TBR List, but was specifically bought to celebrate my self-care reading weekend. TheRightHonorableHarpyEagle does recommend the series a lot: https://scepticalreading.com/2020/11/hells-librarian-is-a-badass/

Meanwhile, I am already pondering what to put on my autumn reading list. Any suggestions?

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