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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Mark de Jager

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - David Dalglish


Given the wonderful hellscape of 2020, I put a lot more effort into reading this year, particularly outside genres I’d normally gravitate toward. With the kiddos distance learning, and therefore our house being a disaster of toys, drawings, tablets, and noise, reading outside in a hammock was my momentary escape. So to narrow down the big three I adored, and would practically beg anyone to read, they’d be: 

Books I read: 



Under A Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – Impossible not to fall in love with this one. This story oozes gothic atmosphere, and takes place in a world almost unparalleled in its imagination and creativity. 



Velocity Weapon / Chaos Vector by Megan O'Keefe – I feel it is fair to combine the two given that I devoured the both of them back-to-back. The Protectorate is the twistiest, most expertly-plotted sci-fi being published today. Enjoy having the rug pulled out from under you again, and again, and again. 



Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – My favorite read in years. It’s hopeful, angry, raw, and achingly beautiful. I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t become a genre classic. 


Books I look forward to: 


Catalyst Gate by Megan O'Keefe – Given how much I loved the first two, this inclusion should be obvious. 



The Unbroken by C. L. Clark– Possibly cheating, since I’ve already read this, but it’s gonna be big, and I’m looking forward to the fandom it will absolutely develop. 



The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – So this came out late this year, but whatever, it’s my list. Bone Shard Daughter is my next read after I finish Essa Hanson’s Nophek Gloss (which is also super imaginative, btw, but I’m not finished yet!), and I’m eager to sink my teeth into this one. 


I also feel it’d be incomplete to finish a 2020 list without at least acknowledging some of the other media that helped get me through it. On TV, that’d be HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Episode after episode, it was filled with some of the weirdest and wildest moments I’ve ever seen on screen. 

On the game side, I’ll scream it from the rooftops that anyone should be playing Supergiant Games’ Hades. The music, the artwork, the gameplay, the phenomenal characterization – everything is top notch. I’ve put 130 hours into that masterpiece, and I expect I’ve still many more to go. 

Own projects: 



This February, I’m finishing the Keepers trilogy that’s pretty dear to my heart with the release of Voidbreaker. I wrote it to be a hopeful trilogy of characters enduring a dark world, and that optimism will be nice to start out a new year.

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Essa Hansen


Monday, December 28, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - RJ Barker

STUFF OF THE YEAR.

It has been, as you’ve probably noticed, a very peculiar year. I’m sure I’ve consumed more media than I ever would in a normal year, but it also seems to have passed my by in a haze – barely taken in, just buzz in the background. 


I’ve hardly read anything at all, my concentration had been shot to bits so that by the time I’ve finished whatever writing and editing I’ve been doing I’ve been struggling to concentrate. Still, I managed to read a couple: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and A Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke as well as more non-fiction, which I could dip in and out of. Both the McCarthy and the Lee-Burke books are works that I am still thinking about months after finishing. Then there was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke which I enjoyed but didn’t love. Though beautiful it felt curiously empty, to me, though I think that may be a deliberate decision.


In visual stuff, and like most people I was blown away by The Queen’s Gambit which is held together by astounding performances by Marielle Heller as Beth’s brittle, disappointed mother and Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth. Taylor-Joy’s ability to convey so much in just a flick of her eyes is astounding. Though if you had already seen her in Emma (and many horror films I am informed, though I am too much of a wuss to watch them) then you wouldn’t be surprised by this. I think what I really liked about the Queen’s Gambit was everyone found their bit of happiness, and I think that’s a large part of why it’s been a such a hit. I also liked the fact she didn’t just magically get good at chess. She had an aptitude but she had to work at it, she always had a book in her hand or was thinking about chess, or talking about chess. It’s something who will resonate with anyone who does a thing (like writing) that is as much compulsion as it is ‘work’. We also watched The Magicians, and though I can imagine it would annoy some people I found the ‘knowing winks’ within the story about story and how it works immense fun. I’ve enjoyed Star Trek: Discovery but I wasn’t quite as taken by The Mandalorian as most people, I thought there was a lot of filler in the early episodes but when it was good it was really good.



The other thing I’ve really enjoyed this year as been the podcast ‘Finding Drago’ where Australian comedians Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James try to track down the mysterious author, Todd Noy, who wrote the novella ‘Drago: On Mountains We Stand.’ They end up going on an adventure and if I told you anything about it then it would ruin it for you, but I think it is really worth your time. It’s a fascinating dive into people and so very satisfying.



Gamewise I really enjoyed Ghost of Tsushima which made me the Kurosawa hero I’ve always wanted to be. Was underwhelmed by Outer Worlds which I really wanted to like more but never really rose above ‘well, it’s alright.’ 


As to what I’m looking forward to next year, well, obviously the final book in the Tide Child trilogy is released, ‘The Bone Ship’s Wake’ and I think it’s probably the strongest thing I’ve written to date. But I’ve been so busy with that and other projects that I’ve been a bit out of the loop really and I don’t know what else is coming next year. I think what I’m really looking forward to next year is that I might be able to meet up with people again. Do some bookshop appearances and go to some conventions as I didn’t realise how much I missed seeing everyone until I did. I’ll enjoy that more than any film or game. Maybe not books though. Books are special to me. 

2020 Review / 2021 Previer - Nerine Dorman




This year did not go quite like I planned. In another universe, I would have gone on to having two panels at the Cape Town Comic Con and would have participated in two prestigious South African book festivals. This was supposed to be my year. I won’t lie. I was salty as all hell about how my dreams imploded after my YA SF novel Sing down the Stars won gold in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Let’s not even discuss my long-anticipated trip to the US – a bucket-list item I had long saved up for. 
Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - T. Frohock


I always hesitate to indulge in these listicles, primarily because my reading habits are so eclectic. However, if you’re like me and enjoy reading across a broad range of topics and books, you might find something new to like. 

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Alec Hutson


As this sad, strange year comes to a close, it’s interesting to sit back and reflect about what stood out for me in the media I consumed. To be honest, it didn’t feel like a very rich year, and maybe that’s partly because movie releases were so limited. 



Tenet was interesting, but left me fairly cold. Knives’ Out was a lot of fun, though I finally got around to seeing Snowpiercer and liked it a lot less than I thought I would. Mulan was another big disappointment – to me it felt like the creation of a bunch of empty suits sitting around a corporate board room table. 


Television remains the visual medium I really enjoy, though I probably only sit down and watch 3-4 shows a year. Watchmen was simply phenomenal, some of the best TV I’ve ever seen. The Umbrella Academy’s second season was really strong – the characters and concept and the charismatic actors compensated for a fairly nonsensical plot. The Expanse remains my favorite science fiction show. 


I didn’t play very many new games (I’m avidly awaiting Baldur’s Gate 3, though I don’t want to play the Alpha that’s out now) but I did have fun building bases and running away from sea monsters in Sub Nautica



Books are where I spend most of my leisure time. The first few months of the year I worked my way through Malazan for the first time, and that was quite an interesting experience. I really liked Midnight Tides in particular, though the last few books I was a bit impatient for it all to be over. Still an experience I’d suggest for every fan of epic fantasy. Other than Malazan, the best books I read this year were Wintersteel by Will Wight, The Curse of Chalion by Luis McMaster Bujold, and the Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. 


On a personal level, I finished two books this year: The Hollow God, the concluding volume in my Swords and Saints fantasy trilogy, and The Shadows of Dust, a space-fantasy adventure that will release on January 3rd. In 2021 I’ll be returning to the world of The Raveling, writing the first book in a new trilogy that takes place five years after the events of The Shadow King.

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Travis M. Riddle



Best of 2020

First off, I must say that I consume way too much media in the best of times, and so with being confined to my home, that only increased this year. I got through 48 books, around 60 movies (which is a shorter list than usual, for obvious reasons), over 60 seasons of TV (and that's just for new 2020 seasons, not including rewatches or things that came out in past years. Yikes), and I don't even know how many games. All this to say that narrowing down to a "Top Whatever" list is always very difficult for me, but I will do my best to narrow it down (and to keep it relatively short). 
Saturday, December 26, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Rob J. Hayes


2020 Review / 2021 Preview 

So I’ll start by saying it’s been an odd year, and I’ll wager most people can agree with that. My reading slumped a little and I’ve even slumped in playing new games, falling back to playing the latest CoD with my friends mostly because SOCIAL INTERACTION!!! I’ve watched a ton of TV though, so I’m gonna do a favourite reads and favourite series I consumed in 2020. 
Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Ilana C. Myer

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Nicole Kornher - Stace


So a weird thing happened to me when I started drafting this post. I had such a list of books I loved from the past year. Easily two dozen books. All excellent. All super recent! I must have read them, what, two-three months ago? Four at most?

Wrong. They were all from 2019. And I didn't read one single standalone graphic novel that was published within the last ten months?? Seriously, 2020, what on earth.

After further thought, here's some stuff I loved that was actually from 2020.

Stuff I read!

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. Not only is this a great story, but I read for muscular language on the sentence level and this is a master class.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots. If you ever found yourself thinking: "What if Venture Bros. or The Boys but with a bi woman protagonist" then this book is for you.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi. One of the most interesting variants on the "kid with superpowers" trope I've seen recently.


Finna by Nino Cipri. Quirky and surreal with a ton of heart.

A Sinister Quartet by Mike Allen, Jessica Wick, C.S.E. Cooney, and Amanda McGee. Four novellas, all luscious.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. I am cheating a little here because this one probably belongs more on my I'm-looking-forward-to list as I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive. But! it looks so damn good and it has an asexual main character (!!!) and I already know I adore it.

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez. One of the funniest SFF authors in the business. This is book 2 in a duology--read Sal & Gabi Break the Universe first!

Lumberjanes continues an excellent all-ages run. Think weird-stuff-in-the-woods a la Gravity Falls, but with more diversity.

Stuff I watched!

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is hands-down the spiritual successor to Adventure Time, and I do not say that lightly.

Dorohedoro is not technically from 2020 but was released on Netflix in 2020 and it's just so absolutely exquisite that I can't in good conscience leave it off any kind of best-of list I get my grubby hands on. It's the best kind of weird fiction with incredibly well-written character relationships and I just adore literally everything about it. It's one of the very, very few pieces of any kind of media that includes a strong platonic friendship between the male and female leads and explicitly states that this relationship is and will remain a friendship. This is so rare and precious and I love it forever.

2021


2021 is...surprisingly imminent. And terrifying. Luckily, though, there are books. Here are a few I'm looking forward to especially.

Saint Death's Daughter by C.S.E. Cooney. I was lucky enough to read a draft of this years ago and I'm told it's even better now. I'm pumped.

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw. Honestly most of what I know about this is that it's a.) a haunted house story that's b.) written by Cassandra Khaw, and honestly that's all I need to know in order to require this book like yesterday.

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw. "This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all." Um, yes, inject this directly into my veins.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. I don't know much about this (saw it on a list somewhere) but this is one of those authors whose stuff I will gladly snap up on sight forever.

Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I can't find a definitive official return date for my favorite comics series ever, but I did hear some rumors that it would be in 2021, so I'm adding it here out of a desire to bring it into being by sheer force of will alone.

On the Horizon for Nicole

As for me, I have two books coming out in 2021. My first-ever two-book year! 


In May my adult SF debut, Firebreak--which is like if Ready Player One got hit over the head and forgot all its 80s references and misogyny and instead got very angry and took up anticorporate water rights activism--comes out from Simon & Schuster/Saga (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Firebreak/Nicole-Kornher-Stace/9781982142742), and in July my middle-grade debut, Jillian vs. Parasite Planet--a space survival story with loads of science, mind-control parasites, a protagonist with anxiety, and a cartoon-addicted intelligent nanobot swarm--comes out from Tachyon (https://tachyonpublications.com/product/jillian-vs-parasite-planet/). I've also got a novelette coming out at Uncanny that's my favorite of my stories to date.



I'm always looking for recommendations--what were your favorites of 2020 and what's on your list for 2021? And if you wrote something for 2020/2021, I'd love to know about that too and support your work amid all this *gestures widely at everything*.

About Author

Nicole Kornher-Stace lives in New Paltz, NY, with her family. Her books include ARCHIVIST WASP (Small Beer Press/Big Mouth House, 2015) and LATCHKEY (Mythic Delirium, 2018), which are about a far-future postapocalyptic ghosthunter, the ghost of a near-future supersoldier, and their adventures in the underworld. She has two more books due out in 2021: FIREBREAK, forthcoming from Saga, and JILLIAN VS. PARASITE PLANET, forthcoming from Tachyon.

You can find her on Twitter @wirewalking, where she is probably semicoherently yelling about board games, video games, hiking, aromantic representation, good books she’s read recently, or her cat.
Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Lauren C. Teffeau


Ah, 2020. You’ve taken so much from us and yet at the same time I’ve never seen our world more clearly. I’ve also never been more grateful for the people in my life and all the media that gave me a momentary respite from a fraught election and the pandemic’s grim drudgery. It was hard for me personally to find my creative spark at various points this year, and I often took refuge in other creator’s worlds as a result. This is how I filled those moments.


Comfort Reads: I read a lot of historical romance growing up, and I found myself craving a return to that during the spring when the magnitude of the pandemic became clear to the public. I re-read books by Meredith Duran and Sherry Thomas. I also re-read all of Sarah MacLean’s regencies in preparation for Daring and the Duke’s release this summer, book three in the fun and unapologetically feminist Bareknuckle Bastards series.

Catching Up on Classics: I finally got around to reading Jacqueline Carey’s sensuous Kushiel’s Dart and Megan Whelan Turner’s twisty The Thief. I also started Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura, and I’m really enjoying her worldbuilding based on insect collectives.

Recent Releases: I read a number of Tor.com novellas, notably Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby, a powerful accounting of Black history distilled down into a slim volume demanding a better future; Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood, a sinewy story dense with fantasy foliage; and Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a compelling look at female-centered mythology in the making. I snatched up the latest collected volumes for both Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga and Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress. I enjoyed returning to the Locked Tomb trilogy in Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth. Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun was also another bright spot in a dark year.

Video Games: I love love love playing video games, although I’m usually a console and half behind new releases. Sometimes I play to procrastinate or to relieve stress or to simply enjoy an immersive story with lots of endorphin-generating collectibles to grab. I started the year off with Death Stranding which really set the tone for 2020 even though I didn’t realize it at the time. After that, I finally got into the Borderlands series and played my way through the main titles. The melee violence can be a bit much, but I enjoyed the stories of obsession, alien archeology, and colonization gone wrong. Plus the low-gravity and freaking laser beams in the prequal were awesome. I also really enjoyed playing Control which felt like a mashup of Fringe, X-Files, and a first-person shooter with really unique game mechanics and a brutally fun interactive environment. I’m currently playing Shadow of Mordor, and besides my inability to last-chance finish anything, I’m really enjoying the stealth aspects of the game.

What I’m Looking Forward To In 2021: I can’t wait to get my hands on Broken Web, Lori M. Lee’s follow-up to her amazing YA fantasy Forest of Souls. The Best of Walter Jon Williams from Subterranean Press is another book I have preordered along with Fran Wilde’s Ship of Stolen Words, a MG fantasy where you don’t know how important what you say is until you lose the ability to say it.

As for me personally, I’m chipping away at a few different writing projects, some closer to achieving their final form than others. This year has given me so much to chew on, intellectually and emotionally, and I’m curious to see how that will inform my writing to come. Stay tuned!

Lauren C. Teffeau is a speculative fiction author based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her short fiction can be found in a variety of professional and semi-pro magazines and anthologies. Her novel Implanted (Angry Robot, 2018) mashing up cyberpunk, solarpunk, adventure, and romance was shortlisted for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first SF/F/H novel. Please visit www.laurencteffeau.com to learn more.

 

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Aliya Whiteley

2020 Review/2021 Preview

I keep a notebook in which I list the books I’ve read, and flicking back through it now reminds me that it’s been a great reading year, probably because I unashamedly used books during 2020 as an escape from reality. The strange thing is that I never feel the need to escape to better worlds. No utopias for me this year: violence, fear, dystopia, and post-apocalyptic nightmares all kept me hooked. Being fictional was the only requirement.


Having said that, I did find Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song a little too close to reality at times, but that’s because it’s got a wonderfully upsetting killer virus at its heart that destroys normal life, fills hospitals, and leads to a hugely tense final fifty pages that I had to read in one sitting. If you can handle virus-based literature right now, I really recommend it.



A calmer escape came in the form of Rym Kechacha’s Dark River, which uses dual narratives split over many thousands of years. Following the essential journeys of two mothers, one living in 6200BC and the other in 2156AD – both fleeing the effects of climate change – it finds many parallels and makes interesting reflections on how we can’t escape our landscapes. The writing is beautiful.



K&R: Kidnap and Ransom by James Smythe was just brilliant at creating suspense with a fantastical twist that really draws you in. He’s one of my favourite contemporary writers.

I read some wonderful collections this year, too. Gary Budden’s impressive London Incognita features stories of the big city that come together to create a London that feels layered, secretive. And M. John Harrison’s Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020 shares a few of his stories from a fifty year span. What’s amazing is how clearly his voice, so aware, so far-reaching, comes across no matter what page you turn to.


Looking Ahead to 2021


I’ve been lucky enough to already read some amazing books that will be turning up throughout 2021. Look out for Oliver Langmead’s Birds of Paradise, which is so stylish and involving. It’s the story of Adam, the first man, travelling across continents to find the things he’s lost along the way while humanity has changed beyond comprehension. Equally gorgeous, but with its eyes fixed on the near future and an Earth upon which sea monsters are thriving and much of humanity has fled to space, is Marian Womack’s elegant novel The Swimmers.


And if you’re a Jack Vance fan then try Tim Stretton’s Bitter Sky, which I think is going to be published early in 2021. It’s the first in a series of fantasy novels set in a world of wars, steamships, air balloons, military honours, and demons. It’s a heady combination told in a dry, fantastically entertaining voice.

On The Horizon for Aliya Whiteley


I’m delighted that my novel of alien contact and clashing cultures in the near future, Skyward Inn, will be published by Solaris in March, and I’ll also have a short story collection called From the Neck Up published by Titan Books in September. That will contain some of my weirdest stories from the past ten years, and I’m excited to see it out there. Happy 2021, everyone.

About the Author

Aliya Whiteley writes across many different genres and lengths. Her first published full-length novels, Three Things About Me and Light Reading, were comic crime adventures. Her 2014 SF-horror novella The Beauty was shortlisted for the James Tiptree and Shirley Jackson awards. The following historical-SF novella, The Arrival of Missives, was a finalist for the Campbell Memorial Award, and her noir novel The Loosening Skin was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award.

She has written over one hundred published short stories that have appeared in Interzone, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Static, Strange Horizons, The Dark, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Guardian, as well as in anthologies such as Unsung Stories’ 2084 and Lonely Planet’s Better than Fiction.

She also writes a regular non-fiction column for Interzone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 Review / 2021 Preview - Virginia McClain



The Things That Saved Me From The Worst of 2020

Look, 2020 has been the year of kicking us while we're down. It has been the year of everything burning both literally and figuratively, and it has been the year of so many of us getting punched in the jaw only to guard our heads and then get socked in the genitals. It has not, in short, been a great year.

But, if you're like me, you've probably taken solace in a lot of art these days. Be it streaming shows and movies, or listening to music, playing video games, reading books, staring at paintings and posters, or creating your own artwork, art has saved so many of us this year. My other solace has been the wilderness, what little bits of it I've been able to escape to now and again in the midst of everything else. But as many of us are unable to escape to the woods with any frequency, art really is the thing that has probably been there for most of us. 

So, if I'm going to talk about the "Best of 2020," I am definitely going to talk about art. There have been many well-known shows/movies I've watched (The Witcher, The Mandalorian, Dragon Prince, She-Ra, Sex Education, The Old Guard, etc.) but they get lots of attention on their own, and while I love shows and movies I don't spend nearly as much time watching them as I do reading, so I'm not going to talk about them too much. 

Instead, I'd like to talk about books. I'm not going to specify indie or trad. I am just going to give you my favorites fantasy reads from 2020, bullet point a few reasons to pick them up and let you sort out the rest. (After all, who doesn't love a good listicle, eh?)

In no particular order (my brain is far too chaotic a place to put books into some kind of hierarchy) I give you my favorite books of 2020 (with massive apologies to the other favorites I'm sure I'm forgetting my memory was never great and it has not been improved by the 2020 hellscape):


Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

  •  coolest world building I've read maybe ever
  • a mix of stabby and non-stabby female leads, soft bois, and just generally awesome characters
  • a sea voyage!
  • CROWS
  •  satisfying ending but holy shit I cannot wait for the next book, please buy this one so we can make sure the sequel happens


Sword of Kaigen by ML Wang

  • stabby lead female
  • gut wrenching emotional stakes 
  • Japan-inspired fantasy world 
  • elemental magic 
  • so many tissues

The Bone Ships by RJ Barker

  • THE MATRIARCHY
  • SHIPS 
  • MADE OF BONES 
  • LUCKY FREAKIN' MEAS 
  • ahem. if have always wanted a fantasy rendition Mid-Shipman Hornblower, look no further


Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke 

  • stabby lead female (I may have a type, ok?) 
  • Australian inspired fantasy world! 
  • creepy AF antagonists 
  • dark fantasy/horror vibe, but still hopeful 
  • I hate horror but I still loved this book 


Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 

  • lesbian space necromancers 
  • did you read the first point? why are you still here? 
  • you should have bought this book already 
  • there is also a murder mystery 
  • the lesbian space necromancers have swords. I rest my case. 


A Tale of Stars and Shadow by Lisa Cassidy 

  • sloooooooooooowww burn 
  • very stabby lead female
  • cast of characters that you will never want to leave 
  • emotional wreckage (both you and the characters) 
  • excellent representation of grief and healing 
  • I just want to go live with this cast (four books was not enough!) 


A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney 

  • a very stabby lead female (yeah, well, at least you know what to expect from me now)
  •  a freaking amazing Alice in Wonderland retelling 
  • so many bicons I can't even
  •  this is the sequel to A Blade So Black make sure you read that first 
  • again we need the third book so please make sure you buy this one, please and thank you! 


Fortune's Fool by Angela Boord 

  • stabby lead female (yes, I know, I just really like stabby women, ok?) 
  • excellent action sequences 
  • detailed and gorgeous world building 
  • love the main characters & supporting cast 
  • also SLOOOOOOOOOW burn 
  • the second book is coming in 2021 and I am struggling to wait


Thorn by Intisar Khanani 

  • this book is the opposite of grimdark 
  • there are still some dark things that happen, but the MC is definitely trying her best at all times 
  • an interesting world full of honest characters that I loved getting to know 
  • fairy tale retelling! 
  • slow burn, non-physical romance 


Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher 

  • medium stabby lead female 
  • very stabby lead/supporting males 
  • TALKING BADGER PEOPLE! 
  • interesting twists on magic and pantheons 
  • slow burn romance 
  • swift pace, humorous banter, warm fuzzies despite all the carnage


Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater 

  • regency romance WITH ELVES AND SORCERY! 
  • telling polite society to grow a pair and do something about injustice 
  • medium slow burn romance 
  • very witty banter 
  • characters I want to have tea with 

And look, I read 70 books this year, and my memory is terrible, and I loved SO MANY of the books that I read, but those are the ones that I can bring to mind right now and rave to you about, so that's what you get. Ask me tomorrow and it will probably be a different list. I hope this list helps you find some excellent reads for the new year though, and I hope that we all have a bit more time to read for enjoyment rather than survival in 2021. 

And, of course, I hope to add to the pile of things one can read for enjoyment in 2021. So, I should probably mention my March 30th, 2021 release Sairō’s Claw, which is a story about family, about love and loss, about identity and parenthood, about the lengths to which we will go to protect what we love, and also about a very stabby warrior on a quest to save the woman she loves without getting herself or her daughter killed. Oh, and there's also a very grumpy wolf spirit trapped in a katana. Best not to forget that part. 

I'm still working on revisions, so I don't have a proper blurb written up yet, but that gives you a general idea of the thing. It's set in the same world as my most popular novel, Blade's Edge, but it mostly follows a new set of characters, with a very small amount of overlap with the characters from the first two books. (Everyone will probably show up again as the series progresses, but this book is shifting the focus a fair bit.) Anyway, perhaps that tidbit is enough to pique your interest. 



Finally, just for fun, here's a bit of a cover teaser for you too.

Thank you for reading, and I hope the new year brings better things for all of us.

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