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Leah's affair with reading began even before she realized boys in books are so much better than boys in real life — ever since, she's never found without a book. She takes pleasure in everything from Shakespeare to Steampunk, Austen to Aussie fiction. But when she's not reading, she can be found making chainmaille, gardening, writing for her blog, or traveling to fabulous places all around the world. Don't worry, along her travels she'll be sure to document when she's found the door to Middle Earth.
Reading a book by Ursula K. Le Guin is like tasting a delectable dessert for the first time. Don't let exotic names like "tiramisu" (or "Lathe of Heaven") intimidate you. It may initially appear ordinary sitting there on your plate (your bookshelf). But when you reach out and take that first bite (open that first chapter) your mind is instantly besieged with sensations to process. Every time I read one my perspective on something in life shifts: the idea and place of gender in our society, that narrow path between dreams and reality, or the ability to dream reality into existence. Her books are treasures; reading them, an insatiable experience for the soul.
When the king is spelled to sleep and nearing death, Lord Bluebell gathers her sisters from every corner of the land to bring their father to safety until she can exact vengeance on the unknown assailant. Daughters of the Storm introduces elements of Norse mythology to set the stage, political power plays are in full swing from all sides, and prophecy and sisterhood brings everything together to a heart pounding climax. These women are so true to their individual natures and full of faults that I couldn't help but admire and believe in all of them. Five sisters, radically different, all discover their roles in the fate of Almissia. Their every move is a defiance to break the patriarchal chains of their world.
The wait is over, fellow Howlers! Pierce Brown continues Darrow's story but he now widens the narrative scope to include more characters in the Solar System, expanding our points of view with new characters and old. It's been ten years since the Rising and everyone is tired of fighting. Darrow sets out on a rogue mission to take down the powerful Ash Lord whom he believes to be the last major threat to the tenuous accords between Colors. Alliances that were once new and strong now strain against the passing of a decade. There is civil unrest in the Sovereign's new Republic, fueled by the Reaper’s unfulfilled promises. Iron Gold shows the gritty after-effects of a rebellion won and a war started, that life only get harder from there. Beware, you will need emotional support within reach for many chapters. There's plenty of swearing as well as heart wrenching displays of injustice. I love these books because of the exploration of humanity’s relationship with power and ethics, and of course pure, adrenaline-filled unpredictability.
I'm not a huge fan of Batman. And teenage Batman, Bruce Wayne? I can taste the angst from a mile away. But wait, the villain Madeline Wallace...now here is a villain not to miss. She is a cold blooded murderer, disturbed teenager, sentenced to Arkham Asylum for a few lifetimes. Madeline is also extremely intelligent, plays the violin, builds computers, and her favorite pastime (due to being stuck bored in a jail cell) is playing mind games with Bruce while he is at Arkham working off community service hours. They even become acquaintances of a sort. Oh, is this a Batman book then? I suppose so. Marie Lu wrote it so it's an automatic yes for me. I looked at the title only after.
From the first page Okorafor's writing had me enthralled. Traditional sci-fi usually leans to the hard, gritty setting of space troubles and war, but this series turns that normalcy into a compassionate and organic work of art. Giant beastly breathing spaceships roam the galaxy, beings of all sizes, shapes, and wavelengths attend Oomza University on a planet of knowledge and discovery, and at the center of it all, brave Binti. She is the first of her tribe, the Himba, to venture off-world, she has an amazing natural talent for harmonizing currents and mathematics, and ultimately still adheres to the ancient traditions of her people. Binti is a stunning trilogy I now hold close to my heart.
A new series by Marissa Meyer! I immediately liked Nova; she's determined, inventive, and has motives of her own. Her loyalties are stretched between the Anarchists who brought her up, and the Renegades who just want to keep her city safe. Also Adrian--prodigy, artist, and adopted son of the city's two most famous Renegades--starts to question the real intentions behind their ruling. In Gatlon City the lines between superheroes and villains are blurred, as neither faction has peace on their agenda. There is an abundance of clever superpowers and a wide range of diversity in Renegades, and from the first chapter it's clear Meyer won't be pulling any punches. This may look like a tome of a book but I read it in one day because I literally couldn't stop reading.
Are you worried about a world jellyfish takeover? I went into this thinking I'd learn some cool jellyfish facts and came out of it confident these amazing ocean dwellers will soon be ruling the planet. This story follows the author's journey to study jellyfish; she consults jellyfish scientists on evolutionary history, learns how to properly eat jellyfish (ew), and explores the endless possibilities these creatures bring to the future of biological research and discovery. She also talks about other monstrous sea creatures, affirming my decision to never step into the ocean again. This book is perfect for fans of The Soul of an Octopus or any science enthusiast.
What to say? This is a charming read. If you need a book to make you smile, this is it. There are a lot of tough women who take no shit, and this story is told in a variety of their viewpoints: Jane, who once was someone else, very young; Jane's very Jewish mother (who's not overbearing at all), and a kid who's too wise for her age. Young Jane Young is an unforgettable modern-thinking story that echos The Scarlet Letter and pushes all those double standards into the past where they belong.
When the biggest flood in a century submerges Oxford two stories under water, inquisitive twelve-year-old Malcolm Polestead finds himself suddenly on a quest. With him are Alice, baby Lyra, and Malcolm’s canoe, La Belle Sauvage. Pursued by the vengeful Gerard Bonneville, the trio are swept along a perilous journey from Oxford to London to deliver Lyra to Lord Asriel, encountering many other adversaries along the way. It was viscerally nostalgic to reenter Philip Pullman's magical world of Lyra's Oxford full of daemons and Dust. A sort of prequel to the Golden Compass books, familiar characters make appearances and the C.C.D. is quickly gaining power. I found The Book of Dust a remarkably refreshing addition to the YA genre, and like his other books it will be enjoyed by any age reader.
This is the best collection of short stories I've ever read. (Really. I promise.) I initially picked it up to read "Stories of Your Life", the basis for the movie Arrival. I ended up reading and loving all of them. There isn't even an "eh" story; each one is a tiny masterpiece. While all contain roots of science fiction, the tone and prose varies. A few stories are super-techy futuristic and others lean toward the contemporary. All are philosophical to some degree; no crazy action or explosions within these pages. Right now this is Ted Chiang's only piece of work and I dearly hope he continues to write more! I can only read this collection so many times. (That's a lie, I can read this over endlessly.)
Emmaline's father invents a machine that can bring back her mother's ghost, and the machine has changed their lives more than they know, for the mechanics of bringing someone back is trickier than you might think. I was warned this book would make me cry. I was not warned it would reduce me to a blubbering mess by the last page. Lauren DeStefano's middle-grade books are instant classics in the running with Kate DiCamillo, and she seamlessly incorporates difficult topics within the beautiful stories. I recommend all of them.
Banning books! What nonsense is that? All it takes is one unhappy parent for a book to be banned in a whole school, and in Amy Anne’s school dozens of books are getting banned, including her favorite, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. That’s when she decides to put together the B.B.L.L. (Banned Books Locker Library) for other students to access the books, for what’s more exciting to read than a book you’re told not to? Amy Anne and her friends learn the importance of speaking up for what you believe in, and the power of the first amendment, free speech. All of the books mentioned in here are real, and have been challenged and banned in real life for a variety of reasons mentioned in the book. I recommend this empowering story to readers of any age!
I will never get tired of reading Much Ado About Nothing. Here's the latest retelling! Welcome to 1920s New York during the height of prohibition. Hero and her friends run a speakeasy, Hey Nonny Nonny, that's in need of some financial help: enter the Italian mob and other unsavory folk; Beatrice the aspiring doctor, and a couple prep school boys escaping for the summer, Claude and Benedick. If you're tired of intense drama in your stories, take a break with this familiar classic comedy told in a clever new light. Let the battle of wits commence!
I spent many days of my childhood in hotels around the world. My dad always made it an adventure no matter where we were. When I heard about A Gentleman in Moscow, a book about a man sentenced to hotel-arrest in Moscow for the remainder of his life, I knew instantly I would love it. I predicted true; this book is a delight. I don't know how else to put it. I found myself laughing out loud in some parts and my brow furrowed in sobering reflection at others. By the time I turned the last page, I was heartbroken to leave all these characters I'd spent the last 40 years (and 400 pages) with, watching the world change around them. Now I want to read it again and again. And again.
They say it's called the Blinds because there's no information going in or out of Caesura, a small town in the middle of the Texas desert. You've been told you are here either because you're a murderer or witnessed something bad enough to put your life in danger--you just don't know which one. And when this isolated town starts to gain a body count, well, things get interesting. The pace of The Blinds is subtle and building so there's a little patience involved, but when the pieces of this town's mysteries start to fall into place it's wholly worth the wait. Caesura initially emits an atmosphere or normalcy that's quickly proven to be untrue, and the dialogue is so sharp you don't realize it's slipped in until you hear the blood dripping on your shoes.
Adventure and magic and badass heroines, oh my! Truthwitch is an incredibly fun page turner that'll have you scrambling for the sequel by the last page. I especially like how Dennard focuses on strengthening friendships and other kinds of relationships in these books, there's almost no romance and certainly none of those lame love triangles. Instead you'll meet strong-willed, no-nonsense women like threadsisters Safiya and Iseult. Fans of Sarah J. Maas, need something after your Throne of Glass reread binge? This is it!
“When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/Must give us pause”…and here is another Hamlet-esque story of burden and identity. A virus has taken over the world; it causes spontaneous combustion and the only known immunity is to eat the flesh of the affected fallen before the explosion of red mist. Catarina is a gifted hacker determined to find and retrieve her hostage father from Cartaxus, a large organization that is believed to be withholding a vaccine. Set in an age of gene hacking, DNA mods and upgrades through implants, the tech is radical and formidable and the story speeds forward with non-stop explosive action amidst writing as piercing as shrapnel.
Some books defy normal categorization and Jane, Unlimited is a captivating example. It at first feels like a loose reimagining of Jane Eyre: Jane, orphan, is a maker of umbrellas and unapologetic with her opinions. Then mix in Clue-like espionage and deceit, a capricious house, and multiple realities that bring to mind an Escher painting, and you won't begin to imagine what happens next.
"It was a pleasure to burn." A chilling, magnetic story, I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction. I don't think I've read anything like this before, but the historical style reminded me of Julie Berry. You will find little romance within these pages. There is mystery, friendship, and of course, arson in many forms. This book is more than its beautiful cover hints at, I can't even begin to explain it. The Arsonist is one of my favorite reads this year, let it be yours too.
The Books of Pellinor have been published for over a decade, a timeless fantasy series on par with the works of fellow Australian authors Garth Nix and Alison Goodman. If you're new to the world you can start with The Naming (book one) or The Bone Queen, a rich backstory to one of the main characters in the series. While romance is slim throughout the books there are a number of incredibly well written friendships and other kinds of relationships which I found wholly satisfying and genuine. Reminiscent of Tolkien's magic and world building, these books remain some of my all-time favorites and now they have beautiful new covers!
Have you missed Firefly? Need something to fill the void before your next rewatch? This novel does the trick and holds its own to boot! The crew of the Wayfarer had my heart from page one. They're an odd and endearing bunch, some Human, other species, and even an AI. The story meanders along with an incredibly open heart and mind, and told through many eyes. A delightful debut!
In this age, there are orogenes, people in touch with and having the ability to manipulate the earth's plates and seismic activity. While rogues are ostracized from most comms, many are captured and trained at the Fulcrum to eventually be put to work maintaining the unsettled tectonic plates throughout Stillness. Jemisin drops us right in a richly imagined world following a few different points of view as the environment changes. For a new Fifth Season has just begun--an ending of the world, and who knows what's to come this time? The combined lore and vernacular in Stillness is brilliant and multifaceted; it felt like the author was whispering the tale into my ear. And many twists and surprises lead up to a most unexpected climax. As soon as I turned the last page, I wanted to start it over again immediately.
There has to be something notable to draw me toward 500-page psychology books, and though I can't pinpoint it, this one has it. I found the numerous case histories compelling; it fed my need to know more about autism and just how much it can differ from person to person. Reading this opened up my mind to the sobering history of diagnosis and early treatments, and wonder at the talent which has emerged.There are many ways of experiencing this world, and in here Silberman brings autism to the limelight for us to better understand the wide range of these unique and beautiful minds. I especially recommend Neurotribes if you like Oliver Sacks' psychology books, or want to learn more about autism and neurodiversity.
Agatha Christie is one of my favorite mystery writers. Yet despite years of reading her work, I recently realized I knew next to nothing about her as a person. Unfortunately, due to the ridiculous amount of fiction I prefer to read, I don't usually have the time (or attention span) for written biographies. When I saw this appear on our shelves, the life of Agatha Christie in graphic novel form, I snagged it right away. This biography is engaging, it shows all the major events in her life in a creative and page-turner way. Going in blind, I learned so much about her; she was a pretty badass woman for her time. Even though she married a couple times, her writing and career were her most prominent passions throughout her long life. This biography appeals to long-time Christie fans with mental narrative appearances by Poirot and Marple, but it will also capture the attention of people who have yet to read her brilliant work.
If I'm being honest, I was initially wary in learning there would be a sequel to An Ember in the Ashes. I was satisfied with its slightly open-ended conclusion. That being said, once I had this in my hands, the excitement caught up with me and I was sucked back in to Tahir's ever expanding desert fantasy world. Helene's point of view is introduced, showing her reluctant quest to assassinate the "traitor" Elias, her former best friend. Laia's mysterious powers are manifesting more every day, causing new issues on her journey to retrieve her imprisoned brother. On top of everything else, with the recent crowning of a new emperor the Empire is on the brink of a civil war. And with events ending as they did, there absolutely has to be a third book.