First Thoughts: Various Books

I don’t think I have ever done this before, but I have a few irons (read: books) in the proverbial fire right now, and I’m quite excited about quite all of them (this is really turning out to be an amazing year for books). I figured I’d tell you my first thoughts to whet your whistle while you wait for my full reviews closer to publication date. Or something.

Note: All of this books will be reviewed, in full, closer to publication date… or as soon as I possibly can get around to writing them. Stay tuned.

Afterparty – Daryl Gregory

I’m having a hard time finishing this one, not because it’s bad, but because the book is so damn good I don’t want it to end. I read it voraciously and then I put it down for a few days because I’m getting closer to the end and that is UNFORGIVABLE. Absolutely engrossing, incredibly thought provoking, very, very well thought out, well realized, realistic near-future world. If you like Love Minus Eighty, you will want to keep an eye on this one. Social SciFi at its best. I’m absolutely digging it. Unless something amazing happens pretty soon in the novel, this book will probably be on my “Favorite Books of 2014” list.

Release date April 22, 2014


The Barrow – Mark Smylie

I didn’t expect to like this one. In fact, I read the back cover blurb and thought, “I hate Indiana Jones. Why do I want to read a book that is basically formed on the same idea?” Oh, how wrong I was. This is a different animal, some interesting homoginzation of Steven Erikson’s scope of epic (which surprised me) and some grimdark fantasy of the Abercrombie-esque (but with a lot more graphic sex) sort of book. Despite how much I keep telling myself to not like this one, I keep loving it. Readers should be aware that this book is graphic, in all senses, and it could easily offend or cross the line into way-too-much territory, but if you don’t mind that kind of thing, The Barrow is one of those novels you’ll want to pick up if you’re in the mood for a sprawling epic with fantastic depth and detail mixed with some grimdark.

Release date March 4, 2014


A Turn of Light – Julie E. Czerenda

I’m having a love-hate relationship with this one. While on the one hand this is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve run across in a long time, on the other hand, I do occasionally find myself lacking the patience I need to deal with some of the awkward pacing. However, despite my quibbles, A Turn of Light is turning into one of those novels that you really need to read if you just want to appreciate how absolutely artistic the written word can be. The plot is interesting, the characters can be pig-headed, but likeable. Despite all of that, I keep coming back to it. Why? Because it’s good. It has its faults, but it is good despite them.

Release date March 5, 2013 


The Forever Watch – David Ramirez 

This isn’t the first SciFi book based on the concept of the whole of humanity stuck on a ship going… somewhere. However, this might be the first one that is this well done. The Forever Watch is absolutely fascinating, and it is one hell of a first novel. While there are some issues with the details of the book overall, by and large Ramirez is quite an impressive author. He weaves together a fascinating future, and when he mixes in all the social and cultural aspects of how society would change if we were all stuck in a tin can hurdling through space together, it actually gets quite thought provoking. There’s some mystery, some romance, and a lot of social commentary. What makes society function? What makes people people? Well done, easy to read, very, very realistic.

Release date April 22, 2014


Stolen Songbird – Danielle L. Jensen

This is my first Strange Chemistry novel, and I quite enjoyed it, despite the rather predictable parts. The story is easy to read, the writing is wonderful, and the world building is very well done. That being said, I have some minor plot quibbles, and some issues with the characters being a bit too cookie-cutter. That being said, for my first foray into Strange Chemistry titles, this really wasn’t a let down. It’s an easy read that is easy absorbing. This is a book that is good for getting you away from yourself. It tells a rather charming story that shows how we can all be more than what we seem, and in all reality, it is quite charming for that.

Release date April 1, 2014


Blood and Iron – Jon Sprunk

This is one of those books that I’m having a hard time putting on my reviewer map, not because it is bad, but because I have such mixed feelings regarding it. I loved the story, truly enjoyed the characters, but I feel that I am facing a case where the sum is better than the parts. Under close analyzation, some aspects of the book sort of… unravel. That being said, Sprunk knows how to hook his reader.  The book is engaging, but it is much different than his other works. That’s not a bad thing, though. This is the start of a new series, and it truly shows how diverse Sprunk is as an author. Will this book sink or swim with readers? I’m not sure. I think it will be a hit or a miss. It will either scratch your itch or it won’t, and there are plenty of reasons for it to fall into either camp.

Release date March 11, 2014

15 Responses

  • I have a review in the can for Blood and Iron–I am curious what your fully formed thoughts will be as compared to mine

    • I’m still forming them, I think. Overall, I really enjoyed it, but there are still issues….

      • MyAwfulReviews

        Your above quick review is more or less how I’ve felt about all his books. They’re enjoyable, but you can see the man behind the curtain.

  • I feel like there are a number of excellent novels set on a generation ship, but I’m blanking on most of them right now. Try The Dazzle of Day, by Molly Gloss (which sounds like it is a very different novel than The Forever Watch, but it is outstanding and totally worth reading)

    • I like the idea of books where humanity is stuck in some self-contained unit, like a ship. It really allows for some fascinating plays on what makes us human, and how we interact with each other.. how society functions, etc. I’ll look up that book!

  • Can’t wait to see some reviews here Sarah, especially Blood and Iron and The Barrow. I loved, loved, LOVED the The Barrow. ONTH, wrote a 3 star review for Blood and Iron and am thinking I may have been a little generous at the time.

    • Oh, I am LOVING The Barrow, very good book. Very, very good. Hopefully the Blood and Iron review will drop on release day.

  • Hmm, I had already written off The Barrow but maybe I have to give it a try…

    • Give it a try, but make sure you are in the mood for graphic violence.. and sex. And graphic sex.

  • I have a copy of Afterparty on my pile. Looks like I might want to move it up…

  • “I hate Indiana Jones.”

    I’m not sure we can be friends any longer.

  • This post was so helpful since you’re about a week ahead of my reading schedule 😀 Thanks for the warning on Barrow, I’m probably not in the mood for that graphic of scenes at the moment so that’s good to know. I need to get to A Turn of Light and now I’m excited for pretty writing! All the rest are also on the TBR pile somewhere *eyes pile* but I think I know what I’m reading next now 😀

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.