more book thoughts: standalone & first starts

I know I’m not alone in freezing during this final week of January, the weather is helping me stay in and read even more. For some reason, it also feels extra-long, I thought it was Thursday — two days ago. I’m looking forward to curling up with the cats and books this weekend.

In this week’s post, I’ve gathered works of fiction (science, fantasy, and/or speculative) that are the first starts of standalone books or the first entry into a new series that I read and enjoyed last year.


  • The Power (published 2016) by Naomi Alderman
    read in March 2020
    This is a fascinating (and devastating) exploration of power, society, and gender.
  • The Water Dancer (published 2019) by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    read in October 2020
    This is a beautifully written story and my words will never articulate the depths it evokes. When I closed my eyes I could see and I wanted to speek with the characters. What is family and freedom?
  • The Constant Rabbit (published 2020) by Jasper Fforde
    read in Oct 2020
    Satire. Tongue-in-cheek. Priviledge and creating change. The timing of this publication makes me wonder if Fforde has something going on with the ChronoGuard.
  • Upright Women Wanted (published 2020) by Sarah Gailey
    read in April 2020
    A librarian western novella.
  • The Tiger Flu (published 2018) by Larissa Lai
    read in May 2020
    This story is relies on an unconventional style, you feel dropped into the middle and about half-way through it all fit together and makes sense. Reading it during this current global health crisis lead to some almost nightmares as news and the story mixed as I fell asleep, but it’s worth it. It’s the winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction.
  • Electric Forest (published 1979) by Tanith Lee
    read in January 2020
    When I take into account that it was published 40 years ago I’m amazed at the technology with regards to potential computing and biology and genetics. I still hope to give this a reread so I can better understand the ending.
  • The Four Profound Weaves (published 2020) by R.B. Lemberg
    read in December 2020
    It took me a long time to get into the story and understand the character I’m still thinking of the world that my brain painted.
  • Little Eyes (published 2018 as Kentukis, English translation 2020) by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell
    read in May 2020
    This was more plausible and frightening than any of the pandemic horror I read last year. Techno-thriller type horror tends to scare me more than others and yes it’s that frightening.

Series Starts

  • The Sun Chronicles: Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
    read in September 2020
    Took a bit to get into as there’s a lot of characters to meet, but ticked all my Space Opera boxes.
  • Ink & Sigil (published 2020) by Kevin Hearne
    read in June 2020
    Hearne at his best. Returning to a new part of the world he created in his Iron Druid series, this is a more modern fantasy take on the world (Iron Druid has more modern mythology twists). He’s a laugh and it was delightful to read. Plus any book that geeks out on fountain pens? I’m in.
  • Great Cities: The City We Became (published 2020) by N.K. Jemisin
    read in April 2020
    My notes say simply: “YES. ALL THE YES.” This is NYC.
  • Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling
    read in February 2020
    It’s a fun and humorous story. Hopefully it’ll make you think a bit differently about some of the technology you use every day (and more-so since the pandemic lock downs). Because algorithms are never wrong. It pairs well with Little Eyes.
  • Middlegame (published 2019) by Seanan McGuire
    read in March 2020
    This Locus Award winner is a difficult book to describe: Twins. Language. Math. Alchemy. Where does it lead?

Current reads

Sabrina Flynn’s historical mystery series, The Ravenwood Mysteries still have my ears, I wish my library system had ebooks, but the audio is great to listen to while I’m cooking dinner. I’m also reading Kate Elliott’s Black Wolves and am about halfway through this twisting epic fantasy thriller. Be warned the second book doesn’t have a completion or release date yet and apparently not all plot points are resolved.

Next posts

I expect the format of these posts to shift as I figure out how I will write more about all the books I read while making sure I still have time to continue reading. Do you prefer the monthly reviews, or would you like me to find themes and gather books read together at different times. Please let me know.