… Because it has been pretty damn hot around these very Scottish parts lately. Like, really. What is going on. Anyway!
June was a month. Let’s recap it, shall we?
20 Books of Summer
I gave myself a challenge to meet over the next few months, and while my start has been a slow one (with a bit of a stumble), I am making progress!
… One book down is progress. Even though it could have been two, or even three; sadly I decided for the sake of my stress levels to (hopefully temporarily!) set aside one of the ARCs that was on my list. Get Thee Back To The Future! was proving pretty entertaining when I had enough of a mind to sit still and read it, but after looking over everything I wanted to tackle this month and in July I decided to give some other things priority for the moment.
The same goes for The Priory of the Orange Tree. I am currently about halfway through, but my desire for Epic has been snatched up by The Bitter Twins, which is presently, gleefully, running away with it. I do plan to return and finish it eventually, though!
Which brings me to the one book I actually did finish!
Guys. GUYS. I love these stories so much. So. Much!
Wireless and More Steam-Powered Adventures is the second volume of stories by Alex Acks, set in their alternate-history version of North America where Great British-style Duchies have formed in place of states. Oh, and the world is a zombie-infested post-apocalypse nightmare, beyond the boundaries of those Duchies. But it’s OK because while we have zombies, we also have pirates, of which Captain Marta Ramos is one, and possibly the most infamous of them.
Following on from Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures, this volume of stories collects a few more of the adventures had by Captain Ramos and her crew, both as a unit and separately, but it also continues sowing seeds of worldbuilding that are every bit as thrilling as the hijinks. And while I love everything about Marta, I found myself delighting in the adventures had by the others, including her first mate, Simms, her lover and questionable ally, Deliah Nimowitz, and the oh-so-noble and yet perpetually exasperated Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, who is still out to lock Captain Ramos up – but may perhaps have come to realise that their antagonistic relationship isn’t as black and white as it seems…
These stories give me all the tropes I enjoy and characters I adore, set in a world and a period in history which I’ve so far been endlessly fascinated by. If queer feminist steampunk sounds like your cup of tea, then you should read these books. If you enjoy pirate stories, spy stories, and/or zombie stories, definitely give them a try. For a mixed bag that might sound like it’s juggling a lot of elements, it all comes together marvellously. And don’t you just love it when that happens?
The Bitter Twins Read-along
After the amazing time I had reading The Ninth Rain as part of a read-along during Wyrd and Wonder in May, it was decided that we should continue with the Winnowing Flame trilogy, and as I write this we are halfway into The Bitter Twins – and I’m absolutely loving it! I think it’s safe to say Jen Williams has done it again, though I fully expect she will wreck me even worse long before the end…
You can find my posts for Weeks 1 and 2 here.
Spotlight: Beyond The Sectors
Beyond The Sectors is a bi-monthly podcast dedicated to discussing the Beyond books, a series now completed, by author duo Kit Rocha. It’s hosted by Ana (@anacoqui) and Chelsea (@anoutlawlife), and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying listening to their takes on what has fast become one of my favourite book series. I’m also not ashamed to admit it sparked a reread this month, and convinced me to go and find the series novellas to complete the set and enjoy more time with the O’Kanes. I’ve recommended the books here before, and now I can also recommend this podcast if you’re a fan of the books and want to hear what other like-minded folks have to say!
We played our fourth session this month, and in that session I learned that Naivara, while being very handy with a sword, is … not so impressive when it comes to things like international relations. Which, for the daughter of a local nobleman, is perhaps less than encouraging. But! The plot being cooked up by our DM is definitely thickening, and the mystery is not being limited to external goings-on! Team Crowbar has secrets being kept among its ranks too, it seems. I am happily chewing on all of this dramatic goodness. Oh, and I am very gently steering my fighter toward the wonderful world of paladin-hood.
I have plans, people. Awesome plans. Whether or not they survive contact with the DM remains to be seen, but I HAVE PLANS.
Book-wise, I’ll mostly be taking things in manageable doses, much like the ongoing Bitter Twins read-along: I plan to finish the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, continue reading The Vela, and begin reading the Chrestomanci series. So you can expect all of my posts on those to come along in weekly installments, hopefully starting in the next week or so once I’ve properly settled on a schedule that won’t make me run away screaming. Stay tuned!
One Last Thing
If you’ve enjoyed any of the content I post and would like to show support/help me continue to be a massive book nerd/assist me in making it to this year’s Worldcon in Dublin, I have a Ko-fi account you can drop a few (entirely voluntary!) quid into, with my eternal thanks!