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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

2022 Review / 2023 Preview by Travis Baldree


Best of 2022

The tricky thing about being a professional audiobook narrator is that I don't get to select a lot of my reads in any given year. As a result, I read a LOT of novellas, because they are small enough to slip in between books. Luckily I also get to narrate many books that I adore.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher - I love Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher's writing. It's modern and accessible and still lovely. Nettle & Bone is a fairy tale related in that voice and it has a demon chicken, and Bonedog. If that sentence alone didn't make you want to pick it up, then I'm honestly not sure what else to say.

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather - An order of catholic nuns travel on mercy missions between the stars on a living ship, becoming entangled in dangerous affairs involving the Church itself and galactic government. This is a brisk read packed with elegantly minimalistic worldbuilding and characterization, and I loved it.

Dreadgod by Will Wight (Cradle Volume 11) - Will Wight's Cradle series is literary crack. It should probably be illegal. If you haven't read this series, it's action adventure martial arts fantasy/sci-fi, which begins with volume 1, Unsouled. This is pure fun, with incredibly enjoyable characters, lean, effective prose, and amazing action sequences interwoven with heartfelt character moments. It's also very funny. Just trust me.

Meadowsweet by C. J. Milbrandt - Meadowsweet is volume 1 of The Galleries of Stone. It's gentle, beautifully written cozy fantasy about a master stonemason who carves living statues and his assistant, a Flox with an affinity for stones and statues. It's warm and welcoming, and explores the brotherhood they share, and the community they build. It's lovely and will make you smile.

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark - Southern Gothic fantasy with a touch of Lovecraft Country about it. Monster hunters slaying monstrous Ku Kluxes. Demonic horror in the Jim Crow south. It's fast and mean and I devoured it.

I'm currently reading an arc of The First Bright Thing and enjoying it!

My TBR pile is so imposing I dare not look at it. It might attack.

Looking ahead to 2023

In 2023 I'm looking forward to the final volume of Will Wight's Cradle series, Waybound - and also to the new series he's working on.

I'm also a huge Grady Hendrix fan, and I’m looking forward to How to Sell a Haunted House.

A lot of my reading is dictated by trips to the bookstore and looking for a novella with great concepts that I haven't heard of yet, and I expect that trend to continue!

On The Horizon for Travis Baldree

I just turned in the prequel to Legends & Lattes to my editors at Tor UK. It's a prequel entitled Bookshops & Bonedust set 20 years before Legends & Lattes. If follows Viv on an unexpected detour in her earlier adventuring days that planted many of the seeds that bloomed later in her life. It also has a pug/owl gryphet named Potroast, which is probably the most important thing about it.


Travis Baldree is a full-time audiobook narrator who has lent his voice to hundreds of stories. Before that, he spent decades designing and building video games like Torchlight, Rebel Galaxy, and Fate. Apparently, he now also writes books. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his very patient family and their small, nervous dog.



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