Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite SFF Covers (that are Red and Blue)

“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. May is rewind month, and my chosen topic is: favourite SFF covers.

Now, there are many incredible SFF covers out there, and it’s impossible to include them all on this list, so I’m going to get a bit more specific and share some of my favourite fantasy covers that are red and blue, which happen to be my favourite colours.

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1. Certain Dark Things (US)

Certain Dark Things
The interplay of the dark shadows and the blood red is something I will never stop loving. There’s something elegant yet dangerous about it, which perfectly describes the  protagonist of the story, who happens to be a vampire.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Assassin’s Fate (UK) – Art by Jackie Morris

Assassin's Fate (UK Cover)
Jackie Morris did all the covers for the new UK editions of Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. But this last one for Assassin’s Fate takes the cake. This picture doesn’t fully convey how beautiful this cover is. With gold foiling that shines brilliantly against a blue background,this is one of the most gorgeous books I own.

 

 

 

3. Deathless (UK Paperback)

Deathless

While I do like the Tor cover of Deathless, it’s a little too…sophisticated. The UK edition, however, isn’t quite so civilized–it’s rough, it’s textured, the feathers are drawn violently, and there’s a yellow eye staring right at you. And I love it to bits. I think it perfectly represents the themes of life and death explored in the story. Plus, it looks like something you would see right out of an old volume of fairytales.

I couldn’t find out the artist’s name so if anyone knows, drop me a comment!

 

4. Strange the Dreamer (UK Hardback)

Strange the Dreamer
UK, you guys are killing it with these covers. While I do like the reflective blue of the North American cover, the contrasting gold and deep blue of the UK edition is nothing short of mesmerizing. This is one I could stare at all day long.

 

 

 

 

5. Amberlough (US Hardback) – Art by Victo Ngai

Amberlough


Victo Ngai
is one of my favourite cover artists. She’s prominent in SFF, covering books like Vicious, Bark: The Elephant’s Graveyard, and the paperback edition of Neil Gaiman’s The Norse Mythology. The Amberlough cover is probably my favourite, though. It’s vibrant, it’s sexy, and she captured the personality of the two main characters perfectly.

 

 

 

 

Book Haul – April 2018

Book-Haul-April-2018

The Top 5 Wednesday prompt came a little late this week and I didn’t feel sufficiently prepared, so I’m just going to do a post on my April book haul! April was a mix of buys, giveaway wins, and ARCs. I’m moderately proud of myself for listening to my wallet for once and only buying 7 books.

And I just realized how perfect it is that Dust and Light is covered with dust and washed in light in this photo. Also, please excuse the plant matter on the bottom.

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BOUGHT:

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Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor 2) by Mark Lawrence
        →
Review here
Fire Dance by Ilana C. Myer
        → Review here
The Harbors of the Sun (Raksura 5) by Martha Wells
        →
I don’t know why I keep buying more books in this series when I still haven’t read a single one yet.
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
The Force by Don Winslow
        → Fun fact: I found out about this book because Hideo Kojima–game dev and besties with Guillermo del Toro and Mads Mikkelson–was talking about it on Twitter.
Dust and Light (The Sanctuary Duet 1) by Carol Berg
A Book of Tongues (Hexslinger 1) by Gemma Files

GIFTS, GIVEAWAY WINS, ARCs:

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The Terror by Dan Simmons
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
The Rig by Roger Levy
   → A thousand thank you to Titan Books for sending me a finished copy of this!

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Let me know if you see anything that catches your eye or ones that you think I should read immediately!

 

To-Read Pile: April 2018

April-2018-TBR-Banner

April is probably the biggest month for new releases that I’m actually interested in reading (at least until fall). I know I won’t be able to get through all of them, and writing up a schedule with an expectation to follow it is just asking for trouble. But hey, having goals is good and conducive to a healthy and productive lifestyle! Or something.

New Releases (Definite Yes):
April-2018-TBR

  • Grey Sister (Second Book of the Ancestor) by Mark Lawrence:
    I’d planned on reading this in March but couldn’t make the time. Red Sister is probably my favourite Lawrence book thus far and I have high hopes for the sequel.
  • Fire Dance by Ilana C. Myer:
    A standalone that is also a followup to Ilana Myer’s brilliant debut Last Song Before Night, which has become one of my favourite books in recent years. It’s my most anticipated release this month (narrowly edging out Grey Sister) and I can’t wait to see that gorgeous cover in person.
  • From Unseen Fire (Aven Cycle 1) by Cass Morris:
    A political intrigue set in alternate-Rome with mages duking it out for control of the city. It’s a melding of two of my favourite genres–fantasy and historical–so I can’t possibly say no.
  • Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente:
    I mean, the premise is Eurovision in space. I’m expecting something fun and crazy.
  • This I Know by Eldonna Edwards:
    Another mesh of historical and fantasy. Set in the 60’s, it stars an eleven year-old clairvoyant girl named Grace living in a small town that is full of secrets. It sounds like a heartwarming coming-of-age story and the world could always use more of those.
  • Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert:
    A YA contemporary featuring asian-american LGBTQ teens, which there aren’t enough of, so I’m definitely nabbing this one. 

 

New Releases (Tentative Yes):
Dread NationWhite Rabbit

  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland:
    Historical fiction with zombies feat a bi poc protagonist. Enough said.
  • White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig:
    It’s one of the only mysteries on my list, and it’s a queer one, so I’m gonna try hard to squeeze it in somewhere.

Old Releases:
Dream ThievesThe Last of the Wine

  • The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle 2) Maggie Stiefvater:
    [furious whispering] I will get through this series by the end of summer. I will get through this series by the end of summer.
  • The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault


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I’m hoping to get through more of the new releases, but we’ll see how it goes.

Happy April, everyone!

 

Book Haul – March 2018

Book-Haul-March-2018
My March book haul was the biggest so far this year, mostly because the Canadian customs is annoyingly slow and inconsistent, so books I’d ordered months ago from the UK just now arrived.

Book-Haul-March-2018-2

  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
    I confess I haven’t read The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet yet, but this was stupidly cheap on Book Depository. And one of my goals in the next couple of months is to read the first two books before the third one drops.
  • Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton
    I’m a sucker for WW2 nonfiction and this caught my eye a year ago but I never got the chance to pick it up.
  • The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
    This took nearly FOUR months to arrive. I’d given it up for dead, said my laments and prayers and got my refund, and then one day it appears out of nowhere in a packaging that looks like something that crawled out of a war zone. Anyway,
    I’ve been meaning to read Mary Renault for years now and I figured one of her standalones would be a good place to start.

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  • Imposter Syndrome (The Arcadia Project 3) by Mishell Baker
    Read it, loved it.
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne Valente I loved the first book so I’ll be slowly going through the rest of the series this year.
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
    My first Christopher Moore purchase and it certainly won’t be the last one.

Book-Haul-March-2018-4

  • Jade City (The Green Bone Saga 1) by Fonda Lee
    Currently reading through this and absolutely loving it. Look out for a glowing review.

  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
    This one’s a giveaway win. It’s been likened to Orange is the New Black, so colour me interested.

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  • Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
    I’ve never read Staveley but I sampled a bit of his writing from The Art of War anthology, and it turns out the style is kind of my jam, so I’ll be reading this once I finish the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy.
  • The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 2) by Brian Staveley
    For some reason I had the first and the third book of the trilogy but was missing the middle one, so I had to remedy that.

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  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
    I couldn’t wait until September for this one. It’s so, so good.
  • Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb
    My current mission is to collect every english version of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings books (which is my all-time favourite series), and I was lucky enough to find this near-pristine US hardback of Fool’s Errand.

And there you have it. Tell me if you see any of your favourites and any that you think I should read immediately!

 

Most Anticipated Scifi & Fantasy: Feb-April 2018

Most-Anticipated-Scifi-Fantasy-logo-slightly-smaller

2018 has some incredible books coming out, and since I can’t narrow the list down to a reasonable number (and since you don’t want to spend days scrolling through a blog post), I’m dividing them into chunks! Three months per genre, starting with Scifi and Fantasy. And yes, I’m lumping them into one.

FEBRUARY

The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

The Armored Saint
First of a trilogy, The Armored Saint is Myke Cole’s first foray into epic fantasy. I haven’t had a chance to read his Shadow Ops series, but I’ve heard many good things about it, so I figure this would be a good introduction to his writing.

The story features Heloise, a young village girl fighting oppression in a land of machines and magic. It sounds dark, gritty, and the themes are right up alley.

Releases February 20th

MARCH

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone

This YA fantasy debut has been receiving early accolatdes left and right, and no wonder. The cover is phenomenal, the worldbuilding sounds complex, and it’s already been nabbed by Fox for movie development. It’s yet another story revolving around oppression and revolution.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Releases March 6th

Imposter Syndrome by Mishell Baker

Imposter Syndrome
Borderlines, the first book in The Arcadia Project series, is one of my favourite urban fantasy books and it introduced me to Millie Roper, who is, hands down, my favourite urban fantasy protagonist ever. Mishell Baker draws from her own experiences and seamlessly incorporates Millie’s BPD and disability into the story without letting it define her character. She’s clever, funny, and when she fucks up, she really fucks up.

I can’t wait to read more of her.

Releases March 13th

Master Assassins by Robert V.S. Redick

Master AssassinsIt’s been blurbed by Pat Rothfuss and given a rave review by Mark Lawrence–what more can I say? The generic title belies a summary that’s chock full of excitement and teases a dark adventure in a non-medieval setting. Most importantly, it promises something that I want to see more of in epic fantasy: sibling relationships. Plus, the cover features a saber cat and a lady whose arm appears to be on fire, which is always a cool combination.

Releases March 20th

 

Torn by Rowenna Miller

Torn
The first of the Unraveled Kingdom Series, Torn proposes a protagonist with a unique talent: magical dressmaking. I’m always on the lookout for fantasy stories that feature women in traditionally “domestic” roles, so this caught my eye immediately. Plus, it seems to have a bit of everything I love: revolutions, political intrigue, fancy balls, and romance.

Releases March 20th

 

Anna Undreaming by Thomas Welsh

Anna UndreamingAnna Undreaming is the first of the Metiks Fade trilogy. It’s an urban fantasy with a super fascinating premise–artists who can literally create new realities.

[Anna] finds herself hunted by Dreamers—artists, both good and evil, who construct new worlds—within a complex community that threatens to undermine reality itself. When Anna learns that she’s an Undreamer with powers she cannot yet comprehend, she must travel through their strange and treacherous creations to discover that there’s as much beauty in life as there is darkness. As her existence spirals into wonder and danger, Anna must look deep within herself and face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.

Releases March 20th

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Queens of INnis Lear
Three Queens. One crown. All out war.

Tessa Gratton’s adult debut is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear with a feminist bent.

I’m very interested to see what changes, if any, are made to the original plot, and how the fantasy elements are woven in.

Releases March 27th

 

APRIL

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Grey Ssiter

I swear Mark Lawrence gets better with every book he writes. Red Sister was his best one yet, full of intricate magics, violence, and exploration of female relationships, all woven with lush prose.

If he continues on in this trend, I have no doubt Grey Sister will be my new favourite Lawrence book.

Releases April 3rd

 

 

Space Opera by Catherynne Valente

Space Opera

Catherynne Valente has a talent for weaving magic and poetry into the strangest concepts. And Space Opera looks to be the strangest of them all:

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

It’s basically Eurovision in space. And I am not missing that for anything.

Releases April 3rd

Fire Dance by Ilana C. Meyer

Fire Dance
I sound like a broken record at this point, BUT JUST LOOK AT THIS COVER. It’s probably my favourite of the batch, which says a lot. Ilana Meyer’s debut, Last Song Before Night, was one of my top ten reads of 2015, and if this book is anything like the first, the quality of the cover will be a direct reflection of the content. Meyer has a deft hand for character development and atmospheric worldbuilding, and Fire Dance looks to continue Lin’s tale from where the first left off.

Though it’s technically a standalone, I highly recommend reading the first beforehand.

Releases April 10th

 From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris

From Unseen Fire.jpg

The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.

But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. Latona of the Vitelliae, a mage of Spirit and Fire, has suppressed her phenomenal talents for fear they would draw unwanted attention from unscrupulous men. Now that the Dictator who threatened her family is gone, she may have an opportunity to seize a greater destiny as a protector of the people—if only she can find the courage to try.

There are three more paragraphs to the summary, and I get stupidly excited every time I read through them. Set to be the first in the Aven Cycle, From Unseen Fire is a mesh of alternate history and fantasy that I needed yesterday.

Releases April 17th

Time Was by Ian McDonald

Time Was

In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.

Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.

Yet another blend of history and SFF, I’m intrigued by the unique concept and its potential to break my heart in two.

Releases April 24th