New Releases of September 16th

No one knows why Tuesday is new release day, but are we really going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Every week I’ll post books that I’m excited for.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

I haven’t read a lot by Woodson, but what I have read, I’ve adored. I have a feeling this is going to be no different. She’s a master at her craft and a must read author. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to sink into this story because I have a feeling once I start, I’m not going to want to be disturbed.

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

More queer SFF for 2019 and I couldn’t be happier. Add in the words quirky space opera, and this debut novel is hitting all my “what to read after A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” vibe. It’s more of an adventure story than Chamber’s story, but still a lot of fun that I think we’re all going to enjoy. With Gideon and January coming out last week, this might get pushed in the background so keep your eye out for it.

That’s it for me. It was a quiet week, but next week looks to be robust. Let me know what new releases you picked up in the comments.

New Releases Week of September 9th

No one knows why Tuesday is new release day, but are we really going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Every week I’ll post books that I’m excited for.

*this week never got published! Sorry!

Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir

It’s here! It’s here! I am utterly ruined for any other books this year. I was hooked by the concept of “lesbian necromancer nuns in space” and Muir executed it with skill and passion. I loved the combination of snark and violence, but yet, heart. It’s a perfect blend of fantasy and science fiction. I was never bored. Like a kid with a rare candy bar, I stingily rationed myself on it so I could make it last forever.

 

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Pretty sure I’m not alone wondering what the hell Atwood has in store for us especially with the show having already gone past the end of The Handmaid’s Tale (I’m really behind, y’all. No spoilers). I’m a bit apprehensive on this. It’s been 30 years.

 

 

 

 

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alex E. Harrow

My friend and co-bookseller Stuart raved about this book and when he raves, I listen. Every word was chosen so carefully, with such purpose. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are compelling and complex, and really I never wanted it to end. This is Harrow’s first full novel and I can’t wait for more. While I wait I’m going to go read A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies…because witch librarians are catnip.

 

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

I adore Caitlin Doughty. She takes all the fear about mortality and shapes it into knowledge and acceptance. Here she takes questions from kids about death and gives very adult answers. Wanna turn dad’s finger bone into a necklace? Not so fast. Will Gramma sit up in the coffin at the funeral? No, but there may be twitching. My husband wants a Viking funeral (no, really he does), what are the rules? Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing.

 

Have a great week, folks. Let me know if you plan to pick any of these up.

Acquired ARCs Week of August 26th

This week’s Acquired ARCs only came from Edelweiss. Let’s see what they are.

 

A Pale Light in the Dark by K.B. Wagers

I liked Wager’s Indranan War series (even though I haven’t finished it, I really plan to) so I definitely wanted to see what this new series was all about. Consider me interested. It seems to have found family vibes, which I’m always here for. Bad ass leading lady also check. Possibly a big competition? That’s another one in its favor.

Pub date: March 3, 2020

 

 

Grown Up Pose by Sonya Lalli

I have mixed feeling’s about Lalli’s previous book The Matchmaker’s List, but I’m willing to give her another shot here. I don’t really have a lot to say here to be honest. It’s a story about a woman starting over after separating from her husband who she married at a young age, and her community’s impact on her life so there’s a lot Lalli can explore here. I hope the execution is as good as the premise.

Pub date: March 24, 2020

 

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

I had a great time with the first in this series and am working on the second now (it’s a chunkster). The idea that daughters of literature’s mad scientists would band together and have adventures? Oh man. I was there day one. I especially love that it’s told with each girl breaking into the narrative to give her side of the story or impart a snarky retort.

Pub date: October 19, 2019

 

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Ever since I read An Unkindness of Ghosts, I’ve been aching for another story from Rivers. When I found out they had a novella inspired by The Deep by Clipping, well, let’s just say, it couldn’t get into my hands fast enough. I read this too fast and will probably read it again soon. There are so many details that you don’t expect to find in such a short story. Haunting, mesmerizing, and impactful are all words I would use to describe this story. It is nothing short of a work of art.

 Pub date: November 5, 2019

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

Don’t lie. You squeed when you saw this. If you’re like me, you watched Shrill (hopefully you read the book as well) and were in love. Lindy’s take on feminism, pop culture, and body image is nothing short of masterful. I have been awaiting this essay collection with bated breath and am trying to hurry to write this post so I can sit in my comfy chair with a bottle of Magic Hat #9 and just devour every word of this collection.

Pub date: November 5, 2019

 

Will you pick up any of these? Did you acquire any books this week? Tell me in the comments.

 

 

BoB 26 Round Up Day 2

Here we go again! This was a good day for reading. Only had one morning errand and the rest of the day was spent waiting for an Ikea order, which was of course late.    I’m actually surprised at what got accomplished considering I was also refereeing a hide and go seek tournament of my spawn. What was your favorite thing you read today?

How To Cross a Marquess by Jane Ashford

I’ve been enjoying this series following a group of men who are all touched by a death in their family and how a certain Lord brought them together to heal them…all with the power of love. This book in the series uses a combination of the neighbors to lovers trope and an enemies to lovers trope as Roger blames Fenella for his first wife’s death. It’s executed pretty well and I like seeing our matchmaking Macklin show up with the lovable urchin Tom to shake things up. Looking forward to the next in the series.

Pub date: August 27, 2019

 

Husband Material by Emily Belden

I read Hot Mess by Belden when it came out and really enjoyed the way she told a story.  This is less a romance and more a contemporary fiction, much like Hot Mess. The point isn’t the happily ever after, it’s about a woman coming to terms with who she is and who her deceased husband was as people. Also like our main character, Charlotte, I too am a Frenchie mom  so that added a lot of enjoyment. I found it to be an enjoyable read and recommend it.

Pub date: December 30, 2019

 

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

I’m so mad I’ve slept on this one. Clark’s writing is so atmospheric that I was immediately drawn in. The dialogue and the descriptions were all carefully constructed to bring you into the story and it shows. I totally understand why it was nominated for Best Novella in the Hugos. As much as I love the Tor.com novellas, I also am sad they’re novellas. I always want more. This is my first book by Clark, but it won’t be my last. I hope we’ll see more of Creeper and Ann-Marie in future books.

Published August 2018

 

Let’s see what tomorrow brings. What books did you finish?

 

 

July Book Club Favorites

This month the Ladies Reading Speculative Fiction book club read Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston. We haven’t picked our August book yet so stay tuned!

Here’s what some of us enjoyed this month outside of our book club read.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard. This hit all the right buttons for me: an artists’ colony on the edge of Faerie? Where do I sign up? Although, like any “true” tale of the Fae, that attractive idea is more of a snare than a treat. The voice of the novel manages to feel real and contemporary while weaving in all the peril and beauty of fairy tales. Excerpts of the main character’s own writing project insightfully explore the themes of those evergreen stories. Echoes of Tam Lin foreshadow the climactic struggle of artists from all disciplines competing to be good enough for the Fae. Anyone who has asked themselves why they work so hard to “make it” in the arts will understand the stakes. Add to the mix a “stage mom” worse than any stepmother, and a sister-love better than Anna and Elsa – Roses and Rot kept me enthralled. One of my top reads this year. –Juniper


Watership Down by Richard Adams. There’s a Seanan McGuire quote about Watership Down, which is roughly that it takes an extraordinary book and an extraordinary writer for a book about rabbits to be more reflective of the human condition than most books about humanity, and it’s completely spot-on. I’ve read this book so many times that I can’t even begin to count them all, and each time has been equally precious and important to me. There’s a tendency for people to look at Watership Down and think, “ah, a kids’ book about rabbits, this won’t be that rewarding,” and that tendency is incredibly unfortunate. Watership is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read, which is why I  keep coming back to it. It’s about rabbits, yes, and you can absolutely read it to your children. However, its success lies in things that appeal to ten-year-olds and fifty-year-olds alike: This is a story about danger, war, camaraderie, loyalty, death, and need. It’s about refugees setting up in new territory, being welcomed and rejected in turn, and figuring out how it is that they must live their lives in their new home. It leans heavily on the loyalty and love between those who leave home together and fight together to find a new place in the world, and it always returns to hope, joy in the smallest things in life, and the bonds between us. -Anie

As for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was a heartbreaking story told in 300 years of one family from Ghana. I loved the changing POVs as it moved from one generation to the next. You get a sense of how each character saw themselves and how then they were perceived by their descendants as well as how their choices (and in some cases their lack of freedom to make choices) affect the next generation.

What were your favorite books of the month?

WWW Wednesdays 7/27

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? It’s been a crazy week so due to lack of time I’m just going to name off my current reads. I’m not really far enough into any of them yet to give a lot of commentary. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley. The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe. Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroine by Mike Madrid.

What did you recently finish reading? Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is pretty much one of my top books of 2016. It was heartbreaking, but fantastic. I also read Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer which was another hard read, but an important conversation we need to have with our society. I also listened to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my husband. It was enough to make me want to move to Finland, cold be damned (especially with the upcoming election).

What do you think you’ll read next? I have The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel and Shrill:Notes from a Loud Woman by Linda West from Book of the Month. I picked up Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Lui since Lui will be at Book Riot Live so I was excited to see his writing.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 7/20

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I am in the beginning of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I’m stunned by the writing. It’s everything everyone’s been talking about. It’s so good I’m having a hard time stopping to read my nonfiction pick Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. I’m also listening to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my hubby, but now that we aren’t traveling it’s hard to synch up. I’m probably just going to have to swap to either ebook or print to finish it up, unless I decide to do some gaming.

What did you recently finish reading? I just read Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston for the Ladies Read Spec Fic book club. I’m a little sad I put it off so long because it was so great. It was heartbreaking in the best way possible.  The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe was one I’ve been meaning to get to. Derek Attig from Book Riot has been singing its praises with good reason! I said it on my Litsy review and I’ll say it again, it took me until my thirties to appreciate characters who don’t have their shit together and Tess, the protagonist in Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, absolutely does not have her shit together. Finishing up my awesome few weeks of reading is Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. This was such a fun book. I haven’t had this much fun since A Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I’m looking forward to the next one and you should too!

What do you think you’ll read next? Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. You know I love me some feminist awesomeness so I’m looking forward to sitting down with this. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley was recommended by Miss Liberty through the Book of the Month Club so you know I had to pick it up.

What does your book life look like this week?

Cravats, Corsets, and Canoodling

I’ve fallen into the blackhole that is historical romance and I’m not sorry. Well, I’m not sorry now. I was sorry. I did that stupid thing where I felt guilty over what I was reading. Because I’m dumb. I’m not really dumb, I just got caught in the web that is literary snobbery. It’s not the first time, but this will be the last time I let it bother me. Here’s a little background.

I used to read a lot of romance. In fact, my early adult reading was pretty much just romance novels. That’s what my mom read and bought so that’s what i had easy access to once I got out of what we call now YA. Not that it really resembled the YA we have now, but that’s the closest thing I can think of. I remember pretty much jumping from Fear Street books right into Danielle Steel. Then I moved on to Jayne Ann Krentz and historical romance. My mom was/is a contemporary romance type of lady, so I had to outsource historical romances. For those I went to her best friend. That’s where I discovered the Malorys. She had ALL the Johanna Lindsey novels out at the time. Later, I would find Judith MacNaught, Catherine Coulter, Jennifer Crusie (I love her still), JAK’s other pen names in which she wrote historical romances and futuristic romances, Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Lowell, Suzanne Brockmann, and last but not least, the “Queen” of romance, Nora Roberts.

I read romantic suspense, paranormal romance, historical romance, and contemporary romance. Pretty much to the exclusion of anything else. Remember while this wasn’t pre-internet, it was pre-Goodreads and social media. It was when your favorite author really didn’t have their own website, but were listed on their publisher’s site which weren’t as polished as they are now. Discoverability was tough when I didn’t really have any other people in my life who were readers. Working in a library on Grand Forks Air Force Base in my early twenties helped a bit, but it was still a lot of genre. Most of the patrons were reading the typical airport reads. I did discover Dan Brown and Steig Larsson, and also my next phase of urban fantasy with Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong.

Because I was the only heavy reader in my life, it wasn’t until I met some other heavy readers, that I found out that romance was looked down upon. Until then, it was my reading in general people couldn’t comprehend. I admit, I fell for it. I buckled and stopped reading romance altogether. I donated all the books I had slowly. To be fair, some of them I was getting tired of on my own. Some authors were just recycling material, some went a route I was unwilling to follow them on. But mostly, I got scared. What if I wasn’t doing this reading thing right?

Obviously now I know there is no right or wrong way to read as long as you’re doing it. Barring some of the problematic things like that “romance” novel floating around about Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, I mean. But that’s a discussion for another day.

I found Sarah MacLean a couple years ago thanks to Book Riot and fell back in love with historical romance. I also learned about Beverly Jenkins, Lisa Kleypas, Maya Rodale, and a few more. I do favor Regency historical romance over other eras, although medieval is another I’ll contemplate. I learned about Tiffany Reisz and discovered erotic romance (a subgenre I’d never been brave enough to try). Sonali Dev was my re-introduction to contemporary. I’ll be honest and say I’m still working on contemporary. So far, I’m really only reading Reisz, Dev, and Alisha Rai in my contemporary romances/eroticas. I’m working on discovering new authors. I also really don’t have any interest in paranormal anymore. I prefer my vampires and werewolves in urban fantasy.

This sounds great right? I’m reading all kinds of genres now. The problem? I relapsed for lack of a better term. After reading a lot of great Regency historical romance series, I realized I was just reading those. That wasn’t really the problem. The problem was I felt guilty over it. I was guilty that I was “ignoring” my other books or not reading anything “substantial.” Don’t get mad at me, I know it’s ridiculous. Those other books will still be there. Also my diversity stats fall when I read Regency historical romances. This is where only reading that subgenre fails. I don’t know of many PoC writing it. I can name Courtney Milan. I would love to read others, of different countries in the same time period. I’ve read a few historical fiction of China in the same time, but no romance. Give me your recs!

In the case of the blackhole, the only thing that I can do is ride the wave. I eventually fizzle out and start to crave a fantasy adventure or a feminist manifesto. One cannot live on cravats, corsets, and canoodling (also the name of my memoir) alone. Well, some probably can (and that’s perfectly okay!), but I have an appetite for variety. I’m sure in a month or two, I’ll have another foray into that world, hopefully this time, I won’t neglect my other TBRs.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a blackhole of a certain genre? How did you get out? Did you get out? Do you need me to throw you a feminist manifesto?

The Great Read All My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge

I recently started a book budget (my spending on books got Shopaholic out of control), so I’ve made some ground rules on what books I do spend money on. I do buy ebooks from Amazon, mostly the ones on sale for $1.99. If I’m buying it in print for more than $15, I double check how long I’ve wanted it.

I noticed that some of the books I thought I wanted so badly that I bought them right away are now coming out in paperback, and that copy I bought? Still on my TBR bookcase. This isn’t saying anything about the books or their quality. Only that I am extremely fickle and get distracted by all the books. How can I fix this? It is ridiculously hard to keep up with all the books that are coming out, not to mention get too all the backlist books I missed along the way. I did pretty well recently clearing some of that backlist, so I thought maybe I should devote myself to reading these awesome front list books that I absolutely had to have. I declare it the Great 2016 Read My 2016 Hardbacks Before They Go to Paperback Challenge. Yes, usually it takes about a year for books to go to paperback, but you’ve seen my shelves (What?! you haven’t seen my shelves? You need to be following me on Instagram). There are a lot of books to get to. If I can clear this backlog then maybe it’ll be easier when new books come out. Are you laughing? Stop it. Of course I’m aware I’ll never be caught up, but a girl can dream, right?

Since I’ve taken up this challenge in the middle of May, I’ve read four (!) books that I owned in hardback. I’m working on Jane Steele by Lyndsey Faye currently.

Finished

TBR

Are there any books you really need to get to this summer?

April TBR

Since I had so much fun reading nonfiction last month, I decided to keep it going. This time I’m focusing in on history books. I’m also trying to get some books off my shelf that have been loaned to me from friends (don’t judge, they have my books too!). I’m also trying to make sure I read those hardbacks that I bought because I had to have them before they come out on paperback. Then there are some on my iPad that are begging for me to get to as well. Some are left over from last month that I just didn’t have time to get to.

Physical Shelf

Digital Shelf

Of course, that’s not counting all the books that are coming out this month that I’m gonna probably pick up, but this is my rough draft. I’ll let you know how I did!

What books are you hoping to get to this month? Have any been sitting on your shelf for longer than you would have liked?