2016 Discovery Challenge – September Roundup

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After reading Joanne Hall’s thought-provoking post, I decided to read and review at least two women authors unknown to me each month. During September, I managed to read two Discovery Challenge books, which takes my yearly total so far to twenty seven books read by women I haven’t previously encountered.

The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of the Shkode trilogy by E.D.E. Bell
thefetteredflameThe Fettered Flame is a genre-bending fantasy novel that continues the saga of two dying worlds, plagued by their own unique struggles for power. Follow the journeys of Cor – a woman striving to understand her powers of magic and how the connect to her past, Atesh – her contemplative dragon companion, and Jwala – a dragon plunged into a rebirth of ancient ideals.

I really enjoyed the intriguing world Bell has set up. Two worlds have been accidentally sundered by one of Mother’s children while she was observing them. One is peopled by humans and the other by talking dragons who adorn themselves with jewellery and scarves, each believing the other a myth. Both societies are intolerant and prejudiced – the human society refuses women any agency other than staying at home and raising children, while the dragon society is ruled by the paranoid and aging Zee. As the two worlds become increasingly shaken by earthquakes and natural disasters, their societies are also churned up and Cor, a female scholar with an outlawed tattoo on her midriff teams up with Atesh, a dragon who manages to travel through a portal between the worlds.

Aveline – Book 1 of the Lost Vegas novella series by Lizzy Ford
avelineIn post-apocalyptic America, five hundred years in the future, famine, war, and chaos have created a hell on earth. Outside the isolated city of Lost Vegas, violent skirmishes among the Native Americans – who have retaken their ancestral homes – claim lives by day, while ancient predators awakened during the Age of Darkness hunt humans by night. Inside the city, criminals, the impoverished, and the deformed are burned at the stake weekly. Among those ruthless enough to survive is seventeen-year-old Aveline, a street rat skilled in fighting whose father runs the criminal underworld. On the night of her father’s unexpected death, a stranger offers to pay off her father’s debts, if she agrees to become the guardian of Tiana Hanover, the daughter of the most powerful man in Lost Vegas. Aveline’s skills as an assassin may have kept her alive to date – but she’ll need every ounce of ingenuity and grit to keep herself safe once she enters the household of the most powerful man in Lost Vegas…

Ignore the misleading cover – this is no soft-focused lurve story, this is a gritted battle for survival by a gutsy heroine who had me hooked from the first page.

Tackling my TBR
This is in response to my habit of continually gathering up new books and not reading them. I want try and reduce the teetering pile by my bed, so I’ve decided to report back on how I’m doing in the hope that it will nudge me to read more of them. Again, I’ve only managed one book during September that wasn’t a Netgalley arc:-
Necessity – Book 3 of the Thessaly trilogy by Jo Walton
The Cities, founded on the precepts laid down by in Plato’s The Republic by Pallas Athena, are necessityflourishing. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there’s suddenly a ship approaching, wanting to make contact…

I finished the book feeling enormously moved and excited. I can’t recall the last time I felt like that over any book. And all through the year, since reading The Just City I’ve found this series has stolen into my head and taken up thinking space, often when I should have been considering other things. That doesn’t happen all that often. It is the glory of reading – where marks on a page can transform, terrify or anger you. Or, in this case, have me pondering about why we are here, what is our purpose and what should we be striving for.

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16 responses »

  1. Sounds like some good reads:) I’m doing okay on most of my challenges. I have to keep telling myself no when I spot new ones. LOL

  2. I love what you say about Necessity! I love it when I have a book or even a tv how or movie creep into my head. And you’re right, it doesn’t happen very often. I hope the Necessity series continues to take up space in your brain. And it looks fascinating. I may have to investigate this series.

  3. I read so many people overwhelmed with arcs that they don’t get to their own reads and, as I’ve only started requesting review copies regularly, am trying to learn from them and only request a book when I’ve reviewed one. It’s my plan for not getting too many toppling piles of books…hope you get yours under control!

    • Up to August, I had mine under control – but made the mistake of browsing Netgalley one day during the Olympics… It was very exciting and I became a tad click-happy – and then had the luck to have all my requests approved. I’ve more or less caught up and by the end of October, I should able to slot in more of my own reads.

  4. I found my own perfect way to tackle all this books I’ve “gathered up but have not read” (yet). Reading Marathons do the trick for me. Dewey’s is coming up on the 16th and three days prior, I am encouraging my on-line book group Powerful Women Readers (PWR) to read every stolen moment they can with the objective of whittling down those TBR lists. On the 16th, as the Marathon begins, we will meet for my Reading Race, dressed in workout clothes or scrubs and running/walking shoes. There will be light refreshments and we will talk about what we read those three days (probably adding titles to our TBR Lists Ha Ha). Then, when guests leave, I’ll read until I fall asleep over my book. Last year’s Dewey’s was my first, and I did ten hours, got one book finished, one whole book read, and one started into half-way through.
    Not too long ago (See http://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com) I had “My Own Little Reading Marathon” of the 24 hour variety. I managed with a three hour sleep break in the wee small hours and a 1 1/2 hour “resting my eyes break” near the end. This took place from Sunday at noon until Monday at noon Labor Day weekend. it was fun, but I’ll never do it again. It took a day of rest to recoup. ( Fortunately Wednesdays are my only teaching days.)
    Marathons, whether 24 hours or otherwise can get a lot acomplished.

    • Many, many thanks for the link! Yes… I won’t take part in marathons, despite the temptation because of the issue of my eyes – they get a right old hammering on a daily basis, so I try to cut them slack wherever possible and mostly chop my reading up into smaller slices, these days. Unless I am on holiday and away from the computer.

  5. Back in the seventies my eyes had issues too, and I was forced to choose between needlework (bargello, needlepoint, crewel, knitting, cross stitch etc. I did them all) and reading. It is obvious which I chose.

  6. I sooo envy you the reading speed. I guess I could read as much, but I’m always too scared I’ll end up reading and doing nothing else (evil books are addictive ;/ ). You are a model reader for me. 😉

    • I tend to read at the end of a fairly long day when my brain is still buzzing to unbuzz it. Occasionally I get sucked into a book and read it for too long – but I don’t need that much sleep, anyway.

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