Weekend Reads: Badass Chinese Fantasy, Sci-Fi Adventure, & Spooky Mystery

As I sit here writing this up, I am listening to the sounds of Camping Rain, and it’s so marvellously soothing. I listen to rain sounds whenever I need to de-stress, and more often than not it’s accompanied by writing or reading. The only real downside about indulging my favourite weather noises is that it makes me yearn to live in a place where rain is as common as breathing, for the most part. California is such a hot and vile place, and I feel like every summer I lose a little piece of my soul to it, which is a terrible feeling. However, I hold out hope that I won’t have to live here forever. That one day, I shall find my way to a city, town, or environment that is as damp and pluviophilic as the essence of my existence.

Sorry, my thoughts kind of got away from me for a moment. Anyhoo, until I can change my living situation, I like listen to various rain sounds, usually via this Spotify playlist or through Rainy Mood, and move on with my life as much as I can. This weekend, aside from watching a stack of anime, I shall be reading and cuddling with my kitties. The goal is to alternate between various activities and finally figure out how to find common ground with relaxing. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that it shall work out, but I also will try not to be so bummed out if it doesn’t.

Books I’ve recently finished include Grave Peril by Jim Butcher, which is the third volume in the Dresden Files adult urban fantasy series (a ranty review shall go up in the upcoming week) and Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo by Rory Lucey, which was an illustrated telling of Alien from the perspective of Jonesy the ginger cat and it’s fucking adorable (thanks, Madame Gabs, for the gift). Highly recommend for folx who loved the film(s). I’m still sticking to the fantasy genre a little bit but veering more towards old-school fantasy writing. Since I’ve also been craving a weird concoction of adventure and mystery, I decided to also pick up a couple of new books that I acquired in September. One of them is a re-read after many, many years and the other I discovered while browsing GoodReads at two in the morning in a bout of insomnia, woot. Additionally, I started a new long-term book project that I shall be taking my time reading. The goal is to pick away at it slowly and then have the first volume finished by the end of the year! You can check ‘em all out below; clicking on the titles shall take you to respective GoodReads’ pages.

Amazon.com: Blood Heir (9780525707790): Zhao, Amélie Wen: Books

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao: The first book in a young adult fantasy series about a world were having Affinities are reviled and dangerous. Following a girl named Anastacya Mikhailov, a crowned princess on the run for murder, the story is about her desire to seek vengeance on the people who murdered her father, which will require her to make allegiances with the most dangerous folx around. During her journey, she realises that the land she thought she knew is very different than what was perceived within the castle walls. Outside of the royal grounds, there is terrible corruption and grand conspiracies, and the only person who can help her is the sinister lord of the underworld.

I began this yesterday and am approximately forty to fifty pages into it, and I absolutely love it! I honestly cannot believe it’s marketed as young adult because it reads like a brilliant adult fantasy, which is one of my favourite genres ever. It’s brutal and filled with intrigue and the writing style is just so enrapturing and vivid—I’m addicted. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book lands on my Best Books of 2020 list.

Subterranean - James Rollins

Subterranean by James Rollins: A science-fiction, action-adventure stand-alone novel by one of my favourite writers for the genre, the book is about a magnificent subterranean labyrinth beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth with terrors beyond imagining. When a group of specialists get hand-picked to explore this place, they realise that they aren’t the first to have ventured here; that there are mysteries and dangerous revelations that can change the world; things that should never have been disturbed.

I read this way back in 2008 and it was one of my first Rollins’ reads. I remember loving the science, the thrilling suspense and even some of the scarier aspects quite a bit. In fact, it’s pretty much the novel that introduced me to the action-adventure genre (both in books and even in films). I decided to revisit it because my goal for the end of 2021 is to read all of Rollins’ books. A few guides that I came across recommended reading his stand-alone works first because a lot of the characters make appearances in his super long series, Sigma Force, and it’s good to have the pre-knowledge of them. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m also reading them in release order, so it’ll be extra fun to see his evolution as a writer during the process.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway: Ware, Ruth: 9781501156250: Amazon.com: Books

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware: This thriller revolves around a lady named Hal. She receives a letter in the mail informing her of an inheritance, however, she quickly realises that it was sent to her in error. Deciding to use her talents as a tarot card reader, she undergoes a scheme of pretending to be the heir so she can get the funds. But when she shows up at the funeral, Hal finds that there is something immensely strange and wrong here and the inheritance is smack dab in the centre of it all.

I’ve heard lots of fairly decent things about Ware’s books, but never knew where to start. I didn’t want to start with The Woman in Cabin 10 since it’s her most popular and hyped book. The cover for this title seemed very Gothic-esque, and I found it for about five bucks at a second-hand bookstore, so I thought this would be a good place to begin as any. If I enjoy this one, then I’ll probably pick up The Turn of the Key next, as that one sounds quite wicked too.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume I by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: I don’t think a synopsis is really necessary for this mystery, detective classic, but in a nutshell, the book is a collection of stories that revolve around eccentric mystery-solver, Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, John Watson, as they solve seemingly unsolvable crimes via the art of deduction.

Confession time: I’ve only read a few Sherlock Holmes’ stories. Considering how much I tend to love almost every adaptation and rendition of these characters’, I thought it was high-time for me to acquaint myself with the source material fully. The edition I’m reading are the two volumes that were released for the Barnes and Noble Classics collection. I bought them during a holiday sale almost ten years ago but haven’t cracked the spines once. Aside from being a bit dusty, they are in pristine condition and desperately needing a readthrough. Volume I is my long-term project from now until the end of December. Volume II will be my Winter 2021 project.

That does it for my upcoming reading mischief. If I end up DNF’ing something on the list, or just can’t get into them because mood reading is a terrible, well, mood, then I will probably pick up some comics for light indulgences. I’ve noticed lately that when ruts or distractions occur with my bibliophilic attempts, then comics help me recharge the best.

I hope y’all have a kind and gentle weekend ahead. If you’re able to, try to do something to smile, even if it’s only for a moment or two! You deserve to feel some joy, my friends. Until next time, happy reading.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Reads: Badass Chinese Fantasy, Sci-Fi Adventure, & Spooky Mystery

  1. I’ll check out that spotify playlist! These books all sounds delicious. I like the idea of reading all the James Rollins books in that order. I might have to follow along as i also like what I have read of his, stand alones mostly I think. Vague memory.. LOL.

    • Yeah! I was looking up his books and noticed that many characters make cross appearances in his other books, so I figured that order would be worth a shot haha. XD

  2. Thanks for the spotify playlists recommendation. Even if I live in London, where it basically rains every day, I found the sound of the rain soothing and it helps with anxiety. I really hope you like The Blood Heir. I read it last year and I am still hunted by the story. Have a lovely weekend!

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