It’s almost February which means that, given the wintery cold outside and my penchant for hot mugs of tea and sizzling plotlines, I’ve been devouring books non-stop (but not really, because digestion?). I read so many books that I’ve actually lost track of everything I picked up over the last month or two, so I’ve rather arbitrarily chosen three that were particularly enjoyable…
Recent Reads: Swords, spaceships, and science.
First up on the list is Andy Weir’s The Martian. My son watched the movie with friends and then requested the book. Since it was lying around the house gathering dust, I thought I’d take a peek, thinking I wouldn’t like it much as I’m not usually one for the harder sorts of science fiction. Boy, was I wrong!
It turned out to be a real page-turner of a book, where days and months blur together in the race to bring astronaut Mark Watney back from a disastrous mission that leaves him stranded on Mars, while at the same time Watney, a botanist and engineer with the ability to MacGyver the heck out of anything he finds, tries to survive long enough for help to arrive. I loved the way the author jumped back and forth between Earth and Mars, with the prose of his Earth-based POVs contrasting nicely with Watney’s log entries. And his main character’s sense of humor is a lovely counterpoint to the dryer science sections.
While my head was still in space, I turned to a brand new debut. Uncommon Purpose by PJ Strebor is the first of his Hope Island Chronicles, a series that tackles the war between the Athenian Republic and the Pruessen Empire, following Nathan Telford as he grows up and trains to fight against the cruel Empire responsible for enslaving his family in his youth.
Though a little dark and bloody at times, young Telford’s story is a gripping one and you can’t help but root for this determined young survivor. The last third is particularly exciting and I recommend reading it when you absolutely do not have to put it down. Because you won’t want to.
I recently discovered the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James, and read the third book, Fearless, over the winter break. This is urban fantasy at its best, with a great cast of characters and some interesting and unusual mythological creatures added to the mix.
In Fearless, werewolf and former Knight John Charming must infiltrate a secret supernatural fight club to save a blushing virgin from certain death – even though the virgin in question is a nineteen-year-old college boy. John is a great character, and the Pax Arcana stories are always fun and fast-paced, filled with great dialogue and terrific action.
Now Reading: Love me some Viking wrath…
On my Kindle at the moment is Path of Gods, the third and last installment of the Valhalla Saga by Snorri Kristjansson. I’m only a couple of pages in, but the first two books in the series were a bundle of blood, guts, and Viking glory, and this one promises to live up to the others and deliver a smashing great sword-shattering time.
For once, despite my self-made promise never to let unread books gather, I actually have both a physical to-read pile and a digital one. Yikes! A few titles that have wriggled to the top of the pile:
Road Brothers by Mark Lawrence, because who wouldn’t want to read more about Jorg’s band? A short story collection that I’m looking forward to tackling.
The Art of Forgetting: Rider by Joanne Hall, a coming-of-age fantasy tale following a boy’s journey to become a cavalryman.
Flesh and Wires by Jackie Hatton, a post-alien invasion story set right here in my current home state of Connecticut.
So there, lots of books to read and lots of tea to drink while outside the frost sparkles and the cold gives me plenty of excuses to stay home with a blanket. If you need me, I’ll be the one keeping warm under all those words and worlds…