owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
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Like everything else this year, my media consumption has fallen a bit by the wayside with the all-consuming nature of world events. Still, reading and watching does continue, so here are some of my favorites of the first half of 2017.

Favorite books and other media. )

Checking in on 2017 reading goals )

So friends, how's your reading been going so far this year? Any great successes or wonderful finds? Share them here!
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose

The book: Books 2-6 of the InCryptid Series by Seanan McGuire, starting with Midnight Blue-Light Special

The summary:

The Covenant of St. George was founded to uphold one simple ideal: anything that was not present on the Ark—anything they deemed "unnatural"—needed to be destroyed. Monsters. Creatures of myth and legend. All of them would be wiped from the Earth in the name of Man's dominion. Unfortunately for them, not all the monsters agreed with this plan...and neither did all the human beings.
After their rather abrupt departure from the Covenant, Alexander and Enid Healy found themselves alone in the world, but with a simple mission of their own: to protect the cryptids of the world from those who would harm them without just cause. It was a cause that would eventually claim both their lives, leaving their children, and their children's children, to take up the fight. Now in the modern day, their descendants struggle to stay beneath the Covenant's radar, while defending the cryptids from humanity—and humanity from the cryptids.

How I found it: Like many of us, my gateway Seanan McGuire book was Rosemary and Rue, the first October Daye story. From there, I began seeking out her other work, and as another urban fantasy series, InCryptid seemed like the natural next step. I read the first book, Discount Armageddon, in 2013 or so, and I enjoyed it, but didn't fall in love with the universe or the characters nearly as much as I had Toby and her world. So when I had to set aside the second book, Midnight Blue-Light Special, only a few chapters in, I didn't feel any strong urgency to return. But I kept buying the new volumes, on the assumption I would get back to them someday. And someday is now.

Read more... )
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose
As anyone knows who gets me started on the subject, my favorite book series of the last few years is the Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan. The fifth and final book in the main series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, was recently released, and it more than lives up to the promise of its predecessors -- in fact, it closes out Isabella's story in a brilliant way that I could have never have imagined.

Back in January, I wrote a non-spoilery introduction to Lady Trent for The Book Smugglers, as part of their annual Smugglivus series. So if you aren't familiar with the books and would like to learn more without any spoilers, I recommend that you read that article. Here, I want to go into a little more spoilery detail, so caution: spoilers for the series ahead! I promise all will be well-marked.

I picked up the first book in this series, The Natural History of Dragons, on a bit of a whim. I had read some of Marie Brennan's Onyx Court books, but I was more a fan of her public persona than her writing; in particular, she's a regular attendee and panelist at FogCon, my local literary SFF convention, and I always enjoy her panels. I'm pretty sure, actually, that I saw the book in the FogCon dealers room and bought it there. I like Marie Brennan, and I like dragons, so the combination was hard to resist. To say that I fell in love immediately might be an overstatement, but I enjoyed the book well enough to give the book five stars on GoodReads, and I bought the second volume in hardback. As the series continued, I found that each book leveled up in terms of storytelling and intrigue, building on what came before as the key incidents that bookmark Isabella's life are revealed, one by one, and I was drawn completely in.

owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose
According to Goodreads, I read 28 books in 2016; that includes several graphic novels and one novella, but one book was a trilogy collected in a single volume. Still, in terms of actual books that's fewer than two a month, which seems kind of dismal. I blame my Critical Role obsession -- catching up on the show, and then rewatching it took many many many hours of time, at least some of which would otherwise have been spent reading. But that's over now, so I want to read more in 2017, and also pick up gaming again. I hope to make the quest for balance a theme this year, in my life generally as well as in media consumption; wish me luck.

Some stats (counted by book -- I have a couple of duplicate authors):

  • 22 women/6 men (79% women) -- I'd bet that's about average for me, although I don't usually track this data. It might be a little higher than usual because I was still doing the Bradford Challenge at the start of the year.

  • 21 white authors/7 authors of color (25% PoC) -- This is... not great, although it could be worse. I want to read more books by authors of color in 2017, particularly men -- every single one of these authors was a woman, which is kind of cool in some respects, but it's still a limit on reading diversely. And there are male authors of color, like Daniel Jose Older and Tobias Buckell, who I've been meaning to try for years. So this could be a good opportunity for me to broaden my repertoire.

Some favorites, listed alphabetically by title:

Books published in 2016 )

Books published before 2016 )

Movies/TV/Other Visual Media )

Coming in 2017

Lots of movies, shows, and books are headed my way in 2017. To mention some of the more obvious: Star Wars Episode 8, Wonder Woman, Hidden Figures (which I will have already seen by the time this goes live), The Lego Batman Movie, The Dark Tower. Regarding television, besides the aforementioned-Defenders, I'm looking forward to seeing where Supergirl and Agents of SHIELD go through the rest of their current seasons. As for books, it's hard to know where to start, there are so many, but I'm quite excited for the new John Scalzi space opera series (I heard him read the prologue at WorldCon, and it was really great), as well as the final books in a number of series: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott (Court of Fives series), The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth), and Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent). There's also a new October Daye book coming, and I'm sure there's more but I'm very bad about knowing upcoming books that aren't books in series and/or by my most favorite authors. :) So I'm sure there's more coming. On the video game front, there's Mass Effect: Andromeda out in March, and although I'm more of a Dragon Age girl, I'm still looking forward to it. The Final Fantasy XII remaster is also slated for 2017, no specific release date yet, and is this the year we finally get Kingdom Hearts 3? Only time will tell.

I've never set specific, measurable reading goals before, but I want to try in 2017, if nothing else to see how it works for me.

In 2017, I will read:
  • At least 40 books total, not including novellas/short fiction or graphic novels/comics collections.

  • At least 20 books by authors of color; of these, at least 10 by new-to-me authors (i.e. authors whose work I've never read before).

  • At least 5 non-fiction books.

  • At least one novella and one piece of shorter fiction each month -- not just during Hugo reading season!

  • At least 10 books or graphic novels/comics collections off my existing TBR shelf.

Not so long ago, I could have read 40 books in my sleep, but my media consumption patterns have changed, so I wanted to be realistic. Three books each month and a little more -- that's not so bad, right? And if I hit that goal early, I can re-evaluate.

I hope you all found books, movies, TV, and games you loved in 2016, and have plenty to look forward to in 2017 as well! Any favorites that you think I shouldn't miss? Comment and let me know.

Cheers, and Happy New Year to all.


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