March has been a weird month – I was in South Africa on holiday for the first two weeks of the month, and as I wasn’t keeping track of days it almost felt like the passing time didn’t count. I was very confused then, when I got back, to find myself in the middle of the month. I felt it should either be just starting or already coming to an end, but what do I know of time? And I can’t complain, really. South Africa was absolutely stunning; I got to enjoy warm weather, had yummy food, got a new tattoo, and saw many loved ones after too much time apart. The first week my husband and I spent in Cape Town, where my father in law and his lovely partner showed us around and booked us some stunning accommodation. Honestly, the views from each place we stayed at (three total) were probably the best part, and on the last two nights we had clear views of Table Mountain from across the bay.
Our second week was in Johannesburg and that was mostly spent seeing friends and family that, due to distance and the pandemic, we haven’t seen since just after our wedding three years ago. Overall, a really good time, if not quite a relaxing holiday. And because it was so busy, I didn’t really get a chance to do much reading while away, so I spent a bit of time catching up on my books once I got home… Despite the busy month, though, I did manage to finish 7 (and a half) books in March!
The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton is a young adult romcom set in a medieval reenactment restaurant, where the main character – Kit Sweetly – wants to upgrade from wench to knight. Except, only boys can be knights, and she has a lot of work ahead of her if she can ever succeed in changing that. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and it’s full of social commentary, with a particular perspective of the poor working class in the United States.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is one that I listened to on audio book, and though I enjoyed it, I wonder if I would have liked it more if I’d read a physical copy? The narrator was brilliant, but because it was read out loud the tropey-ness and the dramatic dialogue made themselves felt a lot more. Not that it’s full of overdone tropes, but I could just tell that this was a debut. It also doesn’t help that when I started the next book on audio I was on a 10 hour night flight home after two very long weeks and I fell asleep for a lot of it. I think that’s colouring my opinion right now…
Incy Wincy by RJ Dark is the brilliant second book in the ‘Mal & Jackie’ series, and I read half of it on the flight to Cape Town and the other half a few as soon as I had the chance. It’s fast, it’s witty, it’s twisty…. I did review it so if you want more gushing like that you can read that!
Bloodsworn by Tej Turner is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for quite a while… I won the book in a Twitter giveaway last year, and when the author got in touch last month to see if I wanted a copy of book two I thought I should probably get on with it! I enjoyed it (see my review) and am currently reading the second one as a buddy read.
Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James is my best read of the year so far. I finished it about a week ago and I’m still in its world a little bit. It was the same with the first book in the series, which I now want to reread… truly a masterpiece. I did describe it to my manager (who doesn’t read SFF) as ‘pretentious fantasy’ but its just very clever and very different from anything else I’ve ever read. A future classic for sure.
Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry started off as a very exciting read, and felt like a good transition from an adult African fantasy to a middle grade portal fantasy set in a fantastical African kingdom. It’s pitched as ‘Percy Jackson’ meets ‘Wakanda’ and that is very accurate. However, there was a flatness to the writing that took away my enjoyment of the setting and the plot. Kids books may be for younger, less experienced readers, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna look at the skill involved! This was almost a DNF but I did skim through and finish it all.
In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power, on the other hand, was exquisite and will most definitely find itself in my top 10 for the year. I have a review of this coming out tomorrow, so stay tuned for that, but basically think Greek tragedy meets enchanting, earth commanding magic.
Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert is my ‘and a half’ read because I ended up DNFing this about halfway through. I loved the idea, and was excited to see a book about the Wild Hunt, but the structure and execution just weren’t what I was expecting. It was a collection of stories spanning from the second century to the late twenty-first and following Herne the Hunter in all his guises as he navigates the changing wild. I liked the first couple of stories but lost interest after it was clear they had no connection to each other apart from vague references to the Wild Hunt. A very interesting work, but not for me…
I am on track for the Adult SFF Backlist Book Challenge; for March, as the category was ‘Oaths’, I chose Bloodsworn to fit that.
For Tidy the TBR I wasn’t sure I’d actually done it, but since the prompt was ‘Book by an author you haven’t read before’ I think I can count The Life & Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly. This is the first one of this challenge I’ve actually completed and it wasn’t even planned! I didn’t finish my Jan choice (Senile Ascends) and my Feb choice (The Bone Season) I only finished in March.
For Bookforager’s Picture Prompt I think I’m doing well, and I have ideas for future reads thanks to some of the pictures…