Status Update

Every Sunday Tim compiles a report about what we read the week before. For most of the books we mention, you can expect a review soon.

Sunday Status Update: December 8, 2019

Kat: Three books this week. Robin McKinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood is a pleasant take on the Robin Hood legend. I like what she did with Maid Marion. That was my first McKinley novel. I re-read Catherine Asaro’s Undercity so I’d be prepared for the sequel, The Bronze Skies, which I’ll pick up next. I read one horror story: A Warning by Anonymous (a senior Trump offi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 1, 2019

Jana: This week I dug my way out of a hefty snowfall and made snow forts for me and my pup to play in, cooked a few pans of lasagne, and finished crocheting a blanket. I also began reading Charles Soule’s Anyone, a near-future novel in which people can body-hop for all kinds of reasons (and which, naturally, has zero terrible unintended consequences, yep-yep-yep) and continued working with Ray on our review of Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth.

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Sunday Status Update: November 24, 2019

Kat: Because I’m so busy at work right now, I am really behind in my reviews and will try to catch up soon. This week I read two books that are very different from each other but have something in common; they are both odd mash-ups that weirdly work. Lisa Goldstein’s Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon is a King Arthur retelling that features famous English poets and playwrights as well as faeries. K. Eason’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (first book in the THORNE CHRONICLES) is a spunky princess space opera. I look forward to telling you about them.

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Sunday Status Update: November 17, 2019

Jana: This week Ray and I have been working on a collaborative review of Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth; we agree on some things, cheerfully disagree on others, and overall I feel confident in saying that we both have strong feelings that we’re looking forward to sharing with everyone. (Yes, I am being vague.) I’m also still enjoying Keith Ammann’s The Monsters Know What They’re Doing, which is definitely a reference manual rather than a book meant to be read cover-to-cover in one sitting, but it fulfills its function very well and I’m learning quite a lot from it.

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Sunday Status Update: November 10, 2019

Kat: One book this week, but a good one: Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Redemption. This is the finale of his WORMWOOD trilogy. It’s creative, smart, and entertaining. The audiobooks of this series, narrated by Bayo Gbadamosi, are fabulous. I am likely to read this trilogy again someday. Tade Thompson is on my “must-read” list.

This week I read Jenn Lyons The Name of All Things, several more essays in Philip Pullman’s Daemon Voices Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 3, 2019

Jana: The last couple of weeks haven’t been heavy on reading-time for me, as auto mechanics’ shops aren’t ideal spaces for quiet contemplation, but I have made more progress on Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth. The story has taken a turn, and not one that I consider for the better, along with some disquieting revelations and changes that I’m not sure are necessary. I’ve also been paging through Keith Ammann’s The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters, which has been fun and educational, and has been prompting a lot of discussions in my house regarding DM tactics, undead hordes, and just how many dice sets a person really needs. (The answer: ALL OF THEM.)

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Sunday Status Update: October 27, 2019

Kat: Three books this week: A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker celebrates live rock music by showing us what the world would be like without it. As someone who’s always thinking about the next rock concert, I appreciated this novel. Joe Abercrombie’s A Little Hatred, the first book in a new fantasy series (but related to his previous work), was fabulous in every way. It’s getting a rare five stars from me. Vivian Shaw’s Strange Practice, the first book in her DR GRETA HELSING series, was not as exciting as I was hoping. I... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 20, 2019

Jana: This week I’m still reading (and enjoying) Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth, book two of THE BOOK OF DUST trilogy. I like what Pullman is doing here, with his “a precious resource the world is dependent upon is in dwindling supply” allegory, and I continue to be intrigued by the friction between Lyra and Pan. I also read Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Just War, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Cary Nord; t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 13, 2019

Jana:  This week I’m reading Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth, book two of THE BOOK OF DUST trilogy (and a far sight more enjoyable than La Belle Sauvage, let me tell you) and am relishing the opportunity to spend more time with Lyra and Pan despite and because of the horrible, growing emotional gulf between them.

Kat: As usual, it’s been a couple weeks since you heard from me. Sin... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 6, 2019

Marion: I’m reading Marlon James's Black Leopard, Red Wolf. For about the first 30 pages I thought, “Well, the story isn’t grabbing me but the language is stunning.” Then, somewhere after that the story got really interesting! And the language remains amazing.

Bill: This week I read The Wand that Rocks the Cradle, a fantasy collection that includes our very own Marion Deeds.  I also finished Lies Across America by James W. Loewen and Hunger by Roxane Gay.

Sandy: Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 29, 2019

Jana: This week I continued reading Sam J. Miller’s YA novel Destroy All Monsters; I’m enjoying the story, but the dueling first-person narrators sound exactly the same, which sometimes makes it tough to sort out what’s happening to whom. I read Theodora GossThe Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl, the third-and-final instalment (as far as I understand things!) in her EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF THE ATHENA CLUB trilogy, and ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 22, 2019

Kelly: Still reading One Hundred Years of Solitude; it’s great, but there’s so much of it, and it’s dense! I’m also reading Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, because I got interested in her new book, Unraveling. The latter is billed as a standalone, but I learned that it is actually related to Redemption in Indigo so I’m reading that earlier book first. Final... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 15, 2019

JanaThis week I read Lisa Goldstein’s upcoming novel Ivory Apples, a novel about creativity, trauma, inspiration, and obsession that doesn’t quite explore any of those themes to their fullest potential. I started reading Sam J. Miller’s latest novel, a YA stand-alone called Destroy All Monsters and which features teens, trauma, mental illness, and dimension-hopping. (Reviews to come.) On the non-speculative fiction side of my week, I’m reading Patton Oswalt’s Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 8, 2019

Bill: This week I read The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda (stand-alone fantasy),  The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt (debut fantasy), Gates of Never by Deborah Davitt (speculative poetry), Marley by Jon Clinch (reshaping of A Christmas Carol), Avidly Reads Board Games by Eric Thurm (non-fiction), and Aluminum Leaves, a novella by our very own Marion Deeds. In genre video, I’m halfway through season one of The Terror (and since Marion mentioned it, also just finished season three of Shetland).

Jana: This week I’m reading (and really enjoying) Tamsyn Muir’s debut novel Gideon the Ninth Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 1, 2019

Jana: This week I’ve been working my way through Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. It’s well-researched and well-written, and I’m learning a lot about all four authors, far surpassing what I already knew about Heinlein and Hubbard. I’m also re-reading Alison Wilgus’ Chronin Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back in preparation for Chronin Vol. 2: The Sword in Your Hand, which concludes the saga of time-traveling university student Mirai Yoshida, who must help restore Meiji-era Japan to its proper chronological... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 18, 2019

Bill: Been gone for a month-plus on a hiking/camping/college visiting trip so haven’t been posting or actually doing a lot of reading. But over that that time I did read:

Last Light of the Sunand (as a reread) Sailing to Sarantiumand Lord of Emperors, all by Guy Gavriel Kay, which is recommendation enough. In fact, all three of us were often sitting at our campsite engrossed in our respective Kay novel (my wife with A Brightness Long Ago) and my son and I with one of the others)

The Violent Century, Lavie Tidhar’s excellent alt-history with superheroes

Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks by Michael Lanza. The title pretty much says it all, a bittersweet ode ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 11, 2019

Jana: This week I nursed my pup through a minor eye infection, finished Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy (ultimately not as good as its FAMILY SPIES series predecessor, The Hills Have Spies), started JY Yang’s The Ascent to Godhood (the latest TENSORATE novella), assisted with building a workbench for my garage, and observed the continuing brownin... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 28, 2019

Jana: This week I finished Mercedes Lackey’s The Hills Have Spies and jumped right into its sequel, Eye Spy; I’m enjoying the FAMILY SPIES series more than I expected, though it has more of a retro-genre feel than I tend to seek out on my own. Adolescent Me would have loved this series, to be sure. I also had the pleasure of reading our own Marion Deeds’ recently-published novella, Aluminum Leaves, and will be reviewing it for Fantasy Literature soon! Huzzah!

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Sunday Status Update: July 21, 2019

Bill: I’m traveling so haven’t been on in a while and reading is sporadic.  But since my last time, I think I’ve read (I may be missing one or two): Beneath the Twisted Trees by Bradley Beaulieu, This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, Robot Generation by Terri Favro, Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. In audio my son and I finished Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 14, 2019

Lots more fun books this week!

Jana: This coming week I’ll be starting Mercedes Lackey’s The Hills Have Spies, the first volume in the FAMILY SPIES trilogy within the larger VALDEMAR universe, so that I can understand what’s going on in Eye Spy, the just-published second volume. I haven’t read any of Lackey’s work before, but I’m well aware that she’s widely considered to be a cornerstone of the fantasy genre, so I’m curious to see how I respond to her style. Reviews of other books are forthcoming, albeit more slowly than I would prefer. Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 7, 2019

A belated happy Independence Day to our American readers, and a great collection of summer reads!

KatNow that my freshmen are getting the hang of things, I was able to consume a few books this week: Bewitched and Betrothed is the newest book in Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES. These are so good in audio format. In The Shadow of Spindrift House was a creepy little Lovecraftian work by Mira Grant. Also ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 30, 2019

Another week, more fun books!


JanaThis week I waited for new glasses to arrive; I finally admitted to myself that experiencing constant eyestrain-related headaches and just scooting my monitor closer are not long-term solutions to everything becoming increasingly blurry. So while I can still read books in short spurts if I hold them just so, and I can get reviews written by hand, I’m spending less time at the computer than I would like. It is...frustrating, to say the least. I finished Mira Grant’s In the Shadow of Spindrift House and read
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Sunday Status Update: June 23, 2019

Plenty more fun books this week!

Bill: This week my one full book was an excellent look at the use of remote sensing in science, Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past  by Sarah Parcak.  I made a second attempt at Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, but only got a bit more than a third of the way in before giving it up once more.  In shorter works, I took a look at several Hugo retro works: short stories by Asimov, Bradbury, and C.L. Moore, as well as a novella by Moore and husband Henry Kuttner, Clash by Night.  Finally,  I’ve almost finished This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. In video, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 16, 2019

As summer goes on, we're reading some new books.

Bill: This week I read a solid alien contact novel — The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull, an absolutely captivating look at the explorations and ramifications of the Greenland ice sheet — The Ice at the End of the World by Jon Gertner, and an interesting but at times too detailed look at the impact of discovering carbon 14 — Hot Carbon: Carbon 14 and a Revolution in Science by John F. Marra. In video, I watched the last few episodes of season four of The Magicians, and the finale absolutely broke me (in a good way).  I’m not only still thinking of it days later; I’m still watching it (my son walked in last night and asked, “how many times have you watched that scene now?”)

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Sunday Status Update: June 9, 2019

Another week, and we're still reading plenty of fun books!

Bill: This week I continued through some Locus nominees, reading The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress, and my personal favorite among them, the historical fiction The Hunger by Alma Katsu about the Donner Party. I started Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, but only gave it about 60 pages before stopping (the voice just didn’t do it for me), though I’ll probably give it one more shot. I also read Oliver Morton’s mostly excellent non-fiction work, The Moon: A History for the Future, which offers up fascinating details on the Moon itself but also explores future missions, both near-term (landers) an... Read More