Every April (when I’m not travelling for an event) I try to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. It falls in the same vicinity as my birthday and it is, so far as I’m concerned, the ideal way to celebrate. (Nope, I’m not telling you my birth date. The internet is wrong. I put a concerted effort into disseminating inaccurate birth information for security reasons.) Now where was I, oh yes… READATHON
Once I even did a warm up post for them:
The Bleeding Eye of a Professional Author…Reading by Gail Carriger
This year the readathon fell on April 28, and I was able to make myself available.
Although I’m admitting here & now, no longer being a young person, that I do this as kind of a half marathon. I don’t think I am actually capable anymore of staying awake for 24 hours.
So on Saturday April 28, I took all day to hang around the apartment and read.
Here’s how it went…
7:00am Awake, tea, collect everything I might need, settle into couch.
7:30am Begin reading book 1: A Demon for Midwinter by K.L. Noone
8:30am Pause to check in on social media, more tea.
8:55am First book completed.
A Demon for Midwinter by K.L. Noone (ebook)
I adored this book. It was sweet and charming. It’s set in a fun urban fantasy world, although I’d definitely call it gay paranormal romance. It’s nice to see solid worldbuilding in a PNR.
It has some tropes I love (May/December romance, hidden identity) and some I tend to avoid (rockstar). I’m not sure why I still gave this a try but I’m so glad I did. One of those where I spent the second half of the book grinning like an idiot.
Off to a good start!
Except: K.L. Noone has little to no back-catalogue and slim web presence, not even followable on Amazon/BookBub. Made me quite sad. Also made me wonder if they’re dead.*
9:00am Breakfast of toast & marmite, smoothie, more tea.
9:15am Begin reading book 2: Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. This one was a reread for me, I just wanted something comforting and familiar as a kind of breather.
11:30am Finished book 2.
Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan (mass market)
This is a culture conflict comfort read for me. I just love the juxtaposition of Keir’s pastoral nomadic tribes and Xylara’s settled quasi-medieval world. The romance is sweet and poignant but equally balanced against wonderful alt-history fantasy worldbuilding. Side characters are excellent too, and there’s solid LBGTQ representation (especially as the series progresses).
I love that there are flaws in culture and knowledge in both cultures, as well as strengths. Xylara must balance the two. I also really enjoy a healer main character. This book never serves me wrong.
Noon Break for lunch (sushi).
12:30pm Resume reading, now on to book 3: Omega Required by Dess Lux
AB: What are you doing?
G: Work, of course.
AB: You’re reading, that’s what you’d do anyway on the weekend.
G: Told you I loved my job. Now shove off, can’t you see I’m slaving away?
3:00pm Finished book 3
Omega Required by Dess Lux (ebook)
I don’t normally go for mPreg romances, just not to my taste. This one, fortunately has no actual pregnancy, although it is a plot point. Honestly I don’t go for the whole secret baby, accidental pregnancy, etc romances tropes in general, gay or not.
However, this one got a stellar review in one of the blogs I follow, so I thought I would give it a try. I do like shifter stuff.
This is remarkably sweet and touching. A very gentle romance of two outcasts with tragic pasts finding and healing each other. My absolutely favorite part happens about 2/3 of the way through and has to do with stitching charms into clothing. Such an adorable idea. It reminded me of my youth (Mum stitched my name into most of my jackets because I was awfully forgetful) and also living in Peru. In Cusco we would take our clothing to a laundry service and they threaded colored yarn markers into everything. Anyway, this book offered a lovely family oriented twist on this simple premence. The ending was slightly abrupt, but otherwise nicely done.
A surprisingly charming and warm book, that will likely turn into a comfort re-read for me. Bit of a tear jerker, but in the best possible way. Sex scenes are San Andreas Shifter level graphic.
3:15pm Tea (naturally)
Drank a lively little Yukon Gold to keep the afternoon mellow.
3:30pm On to book 4: The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (choice inspired by my tea).
5:30pm Finished book 4.
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (hardcover)
Such a delightful little read. I’m unfamiliar with this universe but I love it.
This particular novella was a mix of Sherlock Holmes (only way better written than Doyle and with female main characters), McCaffery’s The Ship Who… series, and Feist & Wurts Daughter of the Empire series.
Bodard is adept at artfully invested worldbuilding. She turns this story into a lyrical journey into space, as if the words themselves are overlaid with the serenity of a tea ceremony. Reading it felt restful and ritualized.
What is that story? Well, a Brewer of Serenity (who also happens to be a troop transport shipmind with PTSD) is asked to mix up a very special tea for a space traveler. These teas allow human minds to withstand FTL transport. Only this customer has a tinkered mind and, perhaps, too many ulterior motives. She ends up transporting the traveler herself, and becomes enmeshed in a tangled galactic mystery.
That might not make sense, but trust me, you’ll get it and the whole world within a few pages. Bodard is just way better at it than me. I didn’t suffer from worldbuilding fatigue as if often do with highly concept driven sci-fi (glares at Left Hand of Darkness). So please don’t be scared to pick this one up, it’s beautiful but also ~ and perhaps more importantly ~ readable.
I should note that I mentioned this book in passing on Twitter (because I loved the cover so much). I believe that caught someone’s eye, because what popped up in the mail a few days later? Gorgeous publisher’s copy from Subterranean. (They are the wizards behind the special limited hardcover edition of Soulless.) So I should note: this was a gift. But they never asked me for so much as a mention let alone a review in exchange.
I do highly recommend Subterranean’s slim LTD hardcover edition. Not only is the dust jacket beautiful, the book underneath has a textured gold cover, and the flypaper is a stunning marigold print. A truly lovely work of art.
5:45pm On to book 5 (starting to flag a bit, ate pastry).
6:30pm Stop for dinner (mexican beans on toast with a fried egg and avocado salsa).
7:30pm Finished (sort of) book 5.
(I originally named names, but I’ve decided that’s a bad idea from a professional perspective, I mean sometimes I meet these authors in person and that could get so awkward.)
I read and enjoyed the first three in this YA fantasy series. I like YA espionage and assassin stuff (of course, duh, I wrote the Finishing School series). These books are in the same vein and lean dark. I didn’t mind a sad heavy ending only because I figured the author had one more book to make everything right.
This 4th one has been out for 3 years now, so I thought it was the last in the series.
[Cover redacted to protect your eyeballs. Title and author redacted to make my life easier.]
I found this 4th book much less well edited, much less tightly written, and much less action packed than the first three. It almost felt like a completely different author. It rambled, which makes me blame the developmental editor (or the lack of one). The characters, never very sympathetic, are even less so and the ending was decidedly not landed. I don’t know if the author intends to continue this series, but I’m out.
This book also has a different cover and a much higher price point from the first 3. Everything about it seemed not to meld with the original trilogy. I was left pretty much just confused and annoyed.
Please realize I was 12 hours in to this readathon, or thereabouts, and a year or so out on this series. Both might have affected my option. Also I got, ermm, (how to be kind?) well bored about halfway through and basically skim read the second half, just to know what happened and hope for a happy ending.
7:45pm On to book 6 Takeover by Anna Zabo (something better, hopefully). I’m leaving YA alone and move back to gay romance for a while.
8:45pm Pause to train cat, ablate, and prep for bed early, might as well, I’m only going to keep reading.
10:45pm Finished book 6.
Takeover by Anna Zabo (ARC)
This gay office romance BDSM lite has been on my “try it” list for a while. Boardroom romances aren’t my favorite but I do like a power exchange where the boss is the sub. (I blame Not Safe for Work by L.A. Witt entirely for this.)
I liked it. It’s really sexy edging into erotica (see what I did there?). I liked the job parts too, actually, because I used to work QA (gamer debugging, not coding, but at least I could totally follow what was going on).
I think, though, if you’re gonna pick between the two? NSFW is really something special (if you like this kind of thing). Still, I’m happy I read this one, since I can’t just keep rereading NSFW every time. And I really needed something utterly different from that disappointing YA.
11:00pm Decided to stop with the books and just read/process samples, unnamed because I didn’t like them and I never formally review a book I haven’t finished.
- Sample is by a contemporary romance author who is generally hit or miss for me. This one didn’t grab me, but I also wasn’t turned off. Decided I just might not be in the mood and kept the sample to review again later.
- PNR sample had a great premise, but I’ve tried the sample once before and the characters just aren’t grabbing me. Pass.
- Historical fantasy where I liked the characters but the pacing just felt way off, something missing. Pass.
- Extremely well written YA contemporary that slanted way too far into embarrassment and humiliation. Made me wince. Pass. (This is a good example of a book that is entirely a matter of taste.)
So that was my marathon! 7am-midnight = 17 hours. Pretty good for me. Maybe I’ll try for 18 hours next year!
I must admit I lost 1-2 hours for food, other necessities of life, and typing up book reviews (and this blog post) and chronicling my journey on social media. The reviews are all now up on Goodreads. I’m also now backing up my best reviews on BookBub over the next few months, if you prefer to follow me there.
Yours as ever,
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- Coop de Book for May is…
OUT MAY 13, 2018!
How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger is now awabile (print, audio & other editions will follow). Featuring a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him).
Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.
Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
After Dark Book Lovers says of Changeless:
“Charm and wit abound, as usual. Ms. Carriger’s storytelling style is great. I adore Alexia, and the way her relationship with Conall grows ….”
Quote of the Day: