Friday, April 19, 2019

Reading Recommendations: Arctic Climates

When I was putting together my Top Ten Tuesday post this past week I included a category on 'cold settings' and I was once again reminded that that's a setting I love reading in books. It's pretty much an auto-buy sort of things for me ( I've also seen quite a few people who also enjoy some polar fantasy or winter-ready books, so I thought why not make a recommendations list of books with a polar/arctic settings that I think other lovers of this setting might enjoy? And here we are. This list has ended up being a bit of a mixture of fantasy and nonfiction (though predominantly fantasy, let's be real), so I hope there's a little something for everyone. 

Also, it's 93 degrees out where I live as I make this post. I'm just desperately holding onto any sense of cold weather as I can. I know it's still cold in some places, but this is my desperate attempt to stave off the summer weather.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
I just read this book about a week ago, but it has already become one that I know I'll want to keep re-reading in the future. Endurance tells the story of Ernest Shackleton's daunting voyage to explore in the Antarctic regions, only for him and his crew to end up shipwrecked for seventeen months in the brutal Antarctic cold. This book is intense, gripping,inspirational, and I think everyone should read it.

"In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. 

Lansing describes how the men survived a 1,000-mile voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean on the globe and an overland trek through forbidding glaciers and mountains. The book recounts a harrowing adventure, but ultimately it is the nobility of these men and their indefatigable will that shines through."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Wolf in the Whale

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
I'm sorry if you're already tired of me talking about this book, but I probably won't be shutting up about it for a very long time. This book takes place in an Arctic setting featuring the Inuit, as well as a few Vikings thrown in, and immediately transported me to the cold, icy setting. The Wolf in the Whale is beautiful and compelling and honestly, just read it. REVIEW

""There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale." 

Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people. 

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left. 

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Early Riser

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
Early Riser takes place in a world in which the winter months are so inhospitable that a majority of the human population has to hibernate. Fforde is his classic quirky self and has a lot of fun exploring this idea--I loved exploring the norms and culture of this society.

"Every Winter, the human population hibernates. 

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity. 

Well, not quite . 

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. 

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact born of the sleeping mind. 

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling. 
When you get the dreams too, it's weird. 
When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity. 

But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp collecting; ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food; and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk. 

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)

A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones
This is another one I've mentioned a lot in the past year, but it's the perfect book if you like your fantasy served freezing cold with extra icicles. Jones has noted that she based this setting off of an extreme version of Alaska's climate, and let me tell you, I've never felt so cold while reading a book. It is truly an unforgiving environment. REVIEW

"As a newborn Ash March was abandoned--left for dead at the foot of a frozen mountain. Found and raised by the Penthero Iss, the mighty Surlord of Spire Vanis, she has always known she is different. Terrible dreams plague her and sometimes in the darkness she hears dread voices from another world. Iss watches her as she grows to womanhood, eager to discover what powers his ward might possess. As his interest quickens, he sends his living blade, Marafice Eye, to guard her night and day. 

Raif Sevrance, a young man of Clan Blackhail, also knows he is different, with uncanny abilities that distance him from the clan. But when he and his brother survive an ambush that plunges the entire Northern Territories into war, he yet seeks justice for his own . . . even if means he must forsake clan and kin. 

Ash and Raif must learn to master their powers and accept their joint fate if they are to defeat an ancient prophecy and prevent the release of the pure evil known as the End Lords."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
There's no way I could've made this list and not included this book. The Bear and the Nightingale deals with a lot of cold, deadly weather in a magical way that lends perfectly to this polar/arctic theme.  REVIEW

"Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. 

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. 

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar
Here's another that I just read last week, but it felt too perfect to not make it onto the list. The Dyatlov Pass incident of 1959--a true story--occurred when a group of nine Russian hikers (most university-aged) died while hiking an area known as Dead Mountain. The cause of death has never been confirmed, so this book is Eichar's attempts to retrace the steps of the hikers, dive into the events surrounding their hike, and make his own hypothesis.

"In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Terror

The Terror by Dan Simmons
This leans to the horror side of things, which only makes the cold climate even more intense. This setup of this one sort of reads like a horror version of Endurance (though, to be honest, Endurance already sounds horrifying to me) and it's truly fantastic. It's also now an adapted TV series, though I have not personally seen it so I have no idea how it holds up to the book.

"The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape. The Terror swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as "a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). With a haunting and constantly surprising story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

To the Bright Edge of the World

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
This is a quietly beautiful book that grabs you entirely unaware and burrows deep into your soul. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. To the Bright Edge of the World splits between a woman named and her husband, the latter of which is current exploring the Alaskan wilderness. REVIEW

"Set again in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey's second novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret. 

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy. 

For Forrester, the decision to accept this mission is even more difficult, as he is only recently married to Sophie, the wife he had perhaps never expected to find. Sophie is pregnant with their first child, and does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband embarks upon the journey of a lifetime. She has genuine cause to worry about her pregnancy, and it is with deep uncertainty about what their future holds that she and her husband part."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Okay, so admittedly I'm only about ~20% into this book, but... I can already tell it's going to be a fantastic choice for this particular topic. It's full of that icy cold environment that we all love so much and already has a fantastic setting set up.

"Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf―the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: if she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes. 

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books- turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Fatal Passage: The Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot by Ken McGoogan
Another Arctic explorer--what can I say, I can't get enough of them. This is another incredible story about exploration within the Northwest Passage (in a very different manner and result from that of The Terror) and it's full of some truly neat insights and information about the area and its history.

"John Rae's accomplishments, surpassing all nineteenth-century Arctic explorers, were worthy of honors and international fame. No explorer even approached Rae's prolific record: 1,776 miles surveyed of uncharted territory; 6,555 miles hiked on snowshoes; and 6,700 miles navigated in small boats. Yet, he was denied fair recognition of his discoveries because he dared to utter the truth about the fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew, Rae's predecessors in the far north. Author Ken McGoogan vividly narrates the astonishing adventures of Rae, who found the last link to the Northwest Passage and uncovered the grisly truth about the cannibalism of Franklin and his crew. A bitter smear campaign by Franklin's supporters would deny Rae his knighthood and bury him in ignominy for over one hundred and fifty years. Ken McGoogan's passion to secure justice for a true North American hero in this revelatory book produces a completely original and compelling portrait that elevates Rae to his rightful place as one of history's greatest explorers."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Gaslight Dogs (Middle Light, #1)
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
It's been an extremely long time since I've read this book so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but what I do vividly recall is the strong Arctic setting and nomadic tribe that the story follows.

"At the edge of the known world, an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy-an Empire fueled by technology and war. 

A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army find themselves unexpectedly thrown together. The Aniw girl, taken prisoner from her people, must teach the reluctant soldier a forbidden talent - one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely forever brand him an outcast. 

From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations - and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these? What polar/arctic books do you love?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Review: Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker
Publication: April 9th, 2019 | Orbit
Paperback. 350 pages.

About Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City:

"This is the story of Orhan, son of Siyyah Doctus Felix Praeclarissimus, and his history of the Great Siege, written down so that the deeds and sufferings of great men may never be forgotten. 

A siege is approaching, and the city has little time to prepare. The people have no food and no weapons, and the enemy has sworn to slaughter them all. 

To save the city will take a miracle, but what it has is Orhan. A colonel of engineers, Orhan has far more experience with bridge-building than battles, is a cheat and a liar, and has a serious problem with authority. He is, in other words, perfect for the job."

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City is an unexpected book that felt really unparalleled in style to anything I've read recently. I could already tell from the synopsis that this was going to be different from other stories, but I really wasn't sure what to expect from it. The end result was an amusing and creative story with an incredibly snarky and dry-witted protagonist that explores a variety of themes and topics in a really unique way.

The premise of Sixteen Ways itself is fairly simple: Orhan is stuck in a city that is essentially under siege. He ends up assuming responsibility as general of an Empire that he doesn't want to be in and must figure out how to save the city. There is an immense amount of clever, conniving plotting to get things done in the city, as well as a lot of  brute force in how things get done the way Orhan wants.  His career is as an engineer, so to see him being charged with figuring out how to lead a city and how to get people in a tightly political society with a plethora of unspoken rules to do what he wants is a really entertaining experience. Orhan is the sort of character that you don't necessarily want to like because he's not always the greatest person, but you also can't help but like and root for him because of how compelling his narrative is. I had a strong desire to constantly see what he would do next and also for him to be successful in whatever course of action he chose to undertake.  

The format of the story is essentially written as a narrative history told by Orhan himself. Since Orhan is telling it, he's not necessarily the most reliable narrator at all points and I enjoyed how Parker incorporated this unreliable narrator aspect. You can sort of get a feel throughout the novel for what might be exaggerated or not be completely true, but there's still a strong air of intrigue and uncertainty at times that makes the entire story that much more compelling. The ending itself is a little frustrating because it is rather abrupt, but that is partially due to the format of the book sinc Orhan is relaying it and can't only tell what he knows. It's the sort of situation where you wish you knew more, but it also fits the narrative and so you can't be too upset. 

The world-building isn't excessive since the story doesn't demand excessive world-building, but it's still strong enough to give an adequate sense of what the current state of the world is and the basics of how things work. There's also a bit of racial and class conflict present throughout the book at all turns in the narrative which only creates more problems for Orhan as he tries to save the city. I really appreciated how Parker worked in these topics and made them central to the story in a natural and really compelling manner.

Overall, I've given Sixteen Ways four stars! I would definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for something a little new in fantasy, anyone who enjoys the military/engineering side of fantasy, or anyone just look for a quick, compelling read. 

*I received a copy of Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City courtesy of Orbit books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Westside by W.M. Akers & Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlight is: 

Westside by W.M. Akers
Publication: May 7th, 2019
Harper Voyager
Hardcover. 304 pages.

"New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.

It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave. 

It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home. 

Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?” 

Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face. 

All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it. 

Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a remarkable talent."
When I first read the synopsis for Westside, I went back and forth on whether or not it was something I'd be interested in. I generally lose interest in most books with police/detectives for some reason, but I think Westside has quite a bit to add to that idea that makes it sound incredibly unique and unexpected. Really looking forward to this one!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne (A Forgery of Magic #1)
Publication: May 7th, 2019
Balzer + Bray
Hardcover. 480 pages.

"To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. 

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever. 

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic. 

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts."
I'm really intrigued by the idea of the protagonist being a faceshifter--that's an idea I really enjoy in fantasy, but don't see as much as I'd expect. I'm a huge sucker for that incredible cover as well!

What do you think about these upcoming releases? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Rainy Day Reads

Rainy day reads is a topic that I think I've done a few times before, but it's always a fun topic to explore so I never get tired of doing it. I usually pick out ten individual books to feature, but this time I decided to go mostly with general themes or ideas that I like to read when it's beautiful and rainy outside (with individual books as examples, of course). Listed in no particular order.

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1)The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy, #3)
1. The Winternight Trilogy. These are the books that came to mind immediately when I saw this week's prompt, largely because I read each one while it was raining out! I knew I wanted to read these during the winter/rainy months and that was probably one of the best decisions I've made. I even started reading The Girl int he Tower impulsively because it started raining out and I could feel it calling to me to read it. This is the perfect rainy trilogy.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
The Winter of the Witch  by Katherine Arden

Once Upon a RiverThe Queens of Innis LearIn the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1)
2. Fairy-tale/Folktale-inspired stories with strong prose. Nothing scream perfect cozy rainy read more than books with a classic fairy-tale like feel and some beautiful prose style that draws you in and makes you feel like you're in a dream.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente

The Wolf in the WhaleA Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)To the Bright Edge of the World
3. A freezing, snow-filled adventure. There's nothing I love more than reading about people in a freezing cold setting while it's dark and stormy out. There's something about it that makes me feel more connected to the story and able to lose myself in it better than if it were a hundred degrees out. The Wolf in the Whale takes place in the subarctic, A Cavern of Black Ice takes place in an Alaska-inspired freezing fantasy setting, and To the Bright Edge of the World takes place in Alaska itself.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
A Cavern of Black of Ice by J.V. Jones
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)Winterhouse (Winterhouse, #1)NightbooksThe Secret Keepers
4. A cozy middle grade (fantasy is best, but not necessary). I love reading middle grade books for the creativity and imagination that tends to flourish between the pages, so nothing feels more comforting and delightful than sinking into a rich middle grade book on a rainy day. Nevermoor has an overflowing amount of whimsy and adventure if that's your thing, whereas Winterhouse has a strong winter vibe and a wonderfully intimate hotel setting.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
Nightbooks by J.A. White
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

Little DarlingsThe Silent CompanionsThe Phantom of the OperaThe Madman̢۪s Daughter (The Madman̢۪s Daughter, #1)
5. Something dark and perhaps a bit spooky. There is truly no better time to read a spooky/dark book than on a dark, stormy, and/or rainy day. There really isn't. Little Darlings isn't out just yet (May!), but it fits this perfectly and includes some changelings. The Madman's Daughter and The Silent Companions also provide some excellent spooks, and The Phantom of the Opera isn't necessarily as scary as the others, but it does have a rather dark and foreboding atmosphere that I just love.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
The Silence Companions by Laura Purcell
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1)The Crimson Petal and the WhiteThe Anatomist's Wife (Lady Darby Mystery, #1)The Paying GuestsMrs. Poe
6. A cozy historical fiction/fantasy. There's something about a lot of historical fiction that gives me a warm feeling inside and makes me so happy (even though a lot of historical fiction tends to be rather depressing, if we're being honest)--which is exactly how the rain makes me feel! Torn is probably my favorite rainy day read out of these four listed here; it's a fantasy with a strong historical fiction feel and low(ish) fantasy settings with an incredible protagonist whose job is as a tailor sewing magic/charms into clothing. And there's some political upheaval/revolutions in it as well, which is always a bonus.

Torn by Rowenna Miller
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite rainy day reads?

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Friday Face-Off: Longboat

Friday Face Off New
Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe. You can find a list of upcoming topics at Lynn's Books.

This week's topic is:
‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

My first thought was the Vinland Saga manga because it has a huge boat right on the cover, but it only has one cover. Then I thought of Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell.... but apparently I used that for a topic in the past. Whoops. So in the end, I've decided on the wonderful historical fiction novel The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker.

  The Half-Drowned King (The Half-Drowned King #1)Krone und FeuerDe legende van Swanhilde
2017 US Harper || 2017 German || 2017 Dutch

  Viking. Le ossa di ArdalThe Half-Drowned KingThe Half-Drowned King
2017 Italian|| 2017 UK || 2017 Large Print

My choices:
I'm somewhat equally tied between the US, Dutch, and large print covers, but in the end I think I have to go with the US cover because it's the one that first called out me and made me so excited to read the book. There's just something about the color choice and the design of the waves that gives it a really foreboding atmosphere to me. Am I the only that thinks the Italian edition makes it look a bit like a romance novel (although, he does have his shirt still, I guess)?
  The Half-Drowned King (The Half-Drowned King #1)

Which covers do you like best?

Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound