Monthly Musings – May 2014

June 1, 2014

OL2_Gnarl's_Musing

This is a new monthly feature I am going to try, where I look back at what I read (or tried to read) during the past month. I also plan on highlighting my experiences in any book club reads I did during the month as well. I will always start with any books I would label as a surprise find/underread books so if anyone missed my reviews for them, and don’t make it to the end of this post, they’ll be easy to find.

 

 

Surprise Find/Underrated/Underread Book

IreniconbyAidanHarteIrenicon by Aidan Harte – I have heard very little about this book. It was released in the UK a couple of years ago and in the US this year. Somehow it only has 18 reviews on Goodreads, and only 3 on Amazon! The book is not perfect, but it is really good and way better than many books that get a lot of attention. I am hoping with the US release that more readers will discover it.

Book Club Reviews

My entire online presence (such as it is) started solely to join an online book club. From there I have had quite an evolution in regards to my involvement. Last year I averaged at least two book club reads a month. I have calmed down some, but still do at least one. I do my best to try and get interest and involvement for the Fantasy Faction book club, and have also found myself as a mod for Reddit’s r/Fantasy Goodreads group which also hosts a Book of the Month.

Fantasy Faction Book Club

MayhembySarahPinboroughWe read Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough (review). I opted for the audiobook version of this, which may have been a mistake. It’s hard to say as I feel like the book likely would not have worked for me in any format. It was a rather ‘meh’ month for book club, I don’t think anyone loved this book. There was at least solace to be found in that misery loves company. Well, the book was not bad enough to really say ‘misery’, I guess more disinterest and disappointment love company in this case. Next month, we have King Rat lined up. I’ve yet to read Mieville and am quite excited to read this one.

Reddit /r/Fantasy Goodreads Discussion Group

19084955The book selection for Reddit was Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan. I really enjoyed all of his other books and in fact funded his Kickstarter for this one. I had planned on reading/reviewing it prior to release, but it had the misfortune of being slated to be read during a time when real life  put the breaks on pretty much all of my reading/reviewing. To be honest, I had started it a couple of times, but it is quite different from my usual books so I really need to be in the mood for it. I was looking forward to reading it with a group and discussing my impressions of it, but once the discussions were open, I decided to hold off and opt out. Why? Well, I hope this does not come across as rude, but mainly because the author showed up in the discussion threads. Now, I LOVE when we have areas dedicated to Author Q&As, I love when authors take the time to talk with the readers, and I would never for a moment want to discourage that. But for me, I believe for discussions to be useful, they need to be open and readers need to feel like they can voice their honest opinions and reactions to the book. This may sometimes be negative. I know anything posted online is open for authors to look at, and hopefully people are usually respectful when something does not work for them. But when the author is responding to comments in the discussion, it takes it from feeling like a discussion amongst readers to a “rah, rah, we love your book” type of format. To go into a discussion where the author is responding and say “this just didn’t work for me, I didn’t connect with the character” or whatever else you have to say feels more rude than useful. There are plenty of books that have features I don’t care for and I will openly discuss them in a book club, but are they things I want to say directly to the author? Did I dislike it to the point that I feel the need to confront them with my opinions? Absolutely not. It’s one thing to talk amongst “friends”, where sometimes a negative comment can spur further discussion and sharing of  insights/theories that you might not have thought of otherwise, and its another to approach the author with your negative thoughts.  I am also not at all a fan for “Author Free” zones beside the discussions because to me, this seems to be set up solely for negative comments, which is definitely not at all what I want either. I want a place where positive and negative comments can come together for discussion. So…. in light of this, I just decided to sit out. I guess its the difference of feeling like the comments are being said “to the author” rather than “to the readers (where the author can happen to see them)”. Maybe I will eventually get to Hollow World, but if I do, I won’t be commenting in the discussion threads.

Reading Highlights (non-bookclub reads) 

Highlights in the way of non-book club reads? The last week was a great week for horror books! I’ve not been reading as much horror as I used to and I found myself with two going at one (one audio, and one text).

I just finished The Three by Sarah Lotz. This book is absolutely fantastic. I love the structure of it. I also was a bit concerned because I was warned (rightfully) that the format might not lend itself well to audio. I can understand the concern and I think it is something that could have gone terribly wrong. However, they did a phenomenal job with it, to the point where I almost feel like I might have missed out on something if I had read it.

Also finished The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – Another amazing horror book – review will be posted soon.

This was also a big month for sequels. I had Mirror Sight and Crimson Campaign lined up and read right away. Both were great installments in the series. I still need to read Sworn in Steel and am hoping I can get to it soon!

Most Laughably Awkward Sex Scene Award

This one goes to *drumroll*The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick. A steam punk Romeo & Juliet book that honestly, just didn’t quite work for me.

 

10 Comments

  • Mogsy June 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I love this feature, a very cool and interesting (not to mention informative) way to approach the “monthly wrap-up” post. I have to agree with Irenicon being underrated – I’m honestly surprised I’m not hearing a lot more about it since its release in the US.

    And you know what, I just realized we have very similar tastes. Except for maybe Mayhem which I loved, I am with you on everything in this list down to the awkward sex scene in Shadow Master 😛 I’m really looking forward to your review of The Girl with All The Gifts now, because I enjoyed the hell out of that book as well.
    Mogsy recently posted…YA Weekend: Graceling by Kristin CashoreMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks! 😀 I just joined LibraryThing and noticed it lists you with the most books in common with me. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised 🙂

  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) June 1, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Good new feature. I look forward to next months laughable awkward sex scene award.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘Prince of Fools’ by Mark LawrenceMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Ha! Well unfortunately (FORTUNATELY!) unless I greatly change my reading habits, it’s unlikely I’ll have that particular category/award again. If I do, it certainly won’t be a monthly feature

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) June 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I love it that your search for a book club then led you into blogging instead. I didn’t realize The Girl with all the Gifts was a horror book. I was able to snatch that one up so now I’m really curious about reading it. I think I might read Ancillary Justice this month though.

    Ok I totally think you need to make the funny sex scene bit of the wrap up included in every month. And the scene – paste in the scene!!

    As for reddit – ahhhh i hates it – I still can’t navigate that crazy UI well.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…That’s a Wrap! – May 2014My Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Ancillary Justice is excellent as well as The Girl with All the Gifts. Quite different books though, so if it were me, I’d pick based on my mood.

      I would be quite scared at what type of reading I would need to start doing to come up with a funny sex scene every month. But I will include it anytime I have one. 🙂

  • Lynn June 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I also loved The Girl With all the Gifts – maybe because I went into it with very few expectations or ideas about what it was going to be about so it was a horrible (in a good way) surprise!
    I love this post – can I also make a suggestion (cheeky so and so that I am) – I think it would be really good if you added a quick list of the next 5 or so books you intended to read? Sort of a round up but also a look ahead … (or maybe it’s just because I’m super nosey!)
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…Blood Song by Anthony RyanMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      I actually really like that idea! 🙂 Everything with my blog is a work in progress, so comments, feedback, etc are always welcome. 🙂

  • Maggie June 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Steam punk Romeo & Juliet. That sounds so funny! I love that the category is “awkward sex scene” Thanks, I needed that laugh!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Well, seeing those two things together, the steam punk Romeo & Juliet and the sex scene, I guess I really should be grateful that cogs were not needed to erect his ivory tower. Because, quite frankly, I’m not sure it would have surprised me if it had.