Got a few reviews coming up, and I've been acquiring books...
On Tuesday (8th March) I'll be posting my blogtour review of David Ross's wonderful The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas - the followup to his The Last Days of Disco and a broad continuation, although focussing on different characters. It's funny, sad and above all, a book with lots of heart.
Then on Friday (11 March) it's the Thin Ice blogtour, with a review of Quentin Bates' latest - see here for my report of the launch at which I got to speak to the Ambassador of Iceland, no less.
On Saturday (12 March) I will be on another tourbus, reviewing Spy Games by Adam Brookes. With that and Thin Ice.
It'll be quite a chilly, noirish week - so I wanted to go briefly through what I've acquired lately, to see if that time will continue.
Working backwards, I was in Waterstones in Reading today and stumbled across Catherynne M Valente's Radiance:
Severin Unck is the headstrong young daughter of a world famous film director. She has inherited her father's love of the big screen but not his exuberant gothic style of filmmaking. Instead, Severin makes documentaries, artful and passionate and even rather brave - for she is a realist in a fantastic alternate universe, in which Hollywood occupies the moon, Mars is rife with lawless saloons, and the solar system contains all manner of creatures, cults and colonies.
For Severin's latest project she leads her crew to the watery planet of Venus to investigate the disappearance of a diving colony there. But something goes wrong during the course of their investigations; and her crew limp home without her.
All that remains of Severin are fragments. Can these snippets of scenes and shots, voices and memories, pages and recordings be collected and pieced together to tell the story of her life - and shed light on the mystery of her vanishing?
Clever, dreamy, strange and beautifully written - Radiance is a novel about how stories give form to worlds.
That's definitely a bit less cold and dark, but when I got home from Reading I found that my ordered copy* of Winter Tales (edited by Margaret Helgadottir) had come. I bought this because I saw it being discussed on Twitter - and I liked the cover! (I must also admit to weakness for the name, ever since as a teenager I found an anthology in the local library called Young Winter's Tales which included a short story by Barbara Willard which in turn led me to her wonderful Mantlemass series).
The cold is bone deep as the winter storms rage. A wolf's howl pierces the forest at night. Stay close to the fire and each other for Winter Tales! Dark, grim, beautiful and grotesque. Edited by Margret Helgadottir Cover art by S.L. Johnson This anthology of short stories from around the globe delves into our universal fears of the long dark winter months.
I'm rambling, and this isn't getting me away from the cold and the dark! What about yesterday? Well, yesterday I got two books - an advance copy of what looks like a wonderful Sherlock Holmes-and-magic mash-up, Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by GS Denning.
Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly. But hes brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldnt deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart companion. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety... and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.
An irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world's favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm of the original stories while finally giving 221B Baker Street what it's been waiting for all these years: an alchemy table.
Still, though, mysterious, crime-y and dark. One more try. Another order* came yesterday - Arkwright by Allen Steele. If you want to know why I bought this, read Kate's review on For Winter Nights
Yes, I know, cold. Dark. Winter, Nights. Well, perhaps that's just where I am at the moment...
*I did try to order Arkwright and Winter Tales from a local shop but there were problems and they couldn't get them.
Others: I bought physical copies (signed!) of Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts, by AK Benedict and of 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough at the signing on Thursday night, but I'd already had those on netGalley. And I have signed copies of This Census Taker by Chine Mieville and Morning Star by Pierce Brown waiting to be collected, but I ordered those ages ago so they don't count for this week, I think.