Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar & The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles

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:
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Publication Date: September 11th, 2018
496 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 

From Goodreads: 

This voyage is special. It will change everything… 

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. 

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This chance meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, a journey on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost… 

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess? 

In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit."
I know this already came out in the UK about a year ago, but I've still yet to read it and it's finally getting a US publication date! I am excited about this storyline, as it sounds like a really fascinating and complex plot. I can't wait to hopefully have a chance to read it.

The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Hanover Square Press 
272 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository

From Goodreads

"An electrifying debut in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, about a British boy who, after his mother is abruptly called away to America, begins to suspect that perhaps she did not leave, but was murdered—by the housekeeper who cares for him in the family's isolated country estate. 

Nine-year-old Samuel lives alone in a once great estate in Surrey with the family’s housekeeper, Ruth. His father is dead and his mother has been abroad for five months, purportedly tending to her late husband’s faltering business. She left in a hurry one night while Samuel was sleeping and did not say goodbye. 

Beyond her sporadic postcards, Samuel hears nothing from his mother. He misses her dearly and maps her journey in an atlas he finds in her study. Samuel’s life is otherwise regulated by Ruth, who runs the house with an iron fist. Only she and Samuel know how brutally she enforces order. 

As rumors in town begin to swirl, Samuel wonders whether something more sinister is afoot. Perhaps his mother did not leave, but was murdered—by Ruth. 

Channeling the masterful suspense of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca and the haunting, claustrophobic atmosphere of the works of Shirley Jackson, The Boy at the Keyhole is an electrifying debut about the precarious dance between truth and perception, and the shocking acts that occur amid tightly knit quarters."

I am really intrigued by the sound of this book. I love books with a slightly sinister undertone that takes over. The comparison to Shirley Jackson and Daphe Du Maurier also makes me want to pick this up immediately.

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

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Some of My Favorite Book Blogs & Websites

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

This week's topic is: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

My first thought when I saw today's topic was 'oh crap,' becase how am I only supposed to pick ten blogs and/or websites? I love all the blogs I follow--that's why I follow them! I've listed some of my favorites below (I did not stick to just ten), and just know that even if you're not on this list, if I visit your blog regularly then you should be, but I couldn't put everyone! I have only a couple websites, a few booktubers because I love watching booktube (and SO many more than I'm including in this list), and the rest are bloggers! I tried to keep my commentary on each one brief because this list is too long already. :)


Goodreads has its issues, sure, but at the end of the day I really do like using it. I enjoy being able to keep track of my books and also see what other people are reading and talking about.

 I have really grown to enjoy the community over on the Fantasy subreddit. THere is a lot of awesoe discussion, plenty of fantasy authors that hang out, and a lot of maturity and respectfulness. It's a great place to discover new books, share what you've found, and have great discussion.

I love historical fiction and Sarah from Reading the Past always shares some of the best! Her reviews are always beautifully written and she's always sharing historical fiction book lists with different themes, which I love.

There are always some awesome reviews and interviews featured over at the Fantasy Book Critic blog, so it's easily one of my favorites in regards to fantasy fiction!

AJ from Read all the Things has such incredible wit and writing that is reason enough to follow her, but she also talks about some great books! She puts in a lot of work and I have always loved all of the content she creates.

Angela from Musings of a Literary Wanderer always has some great thoughts on so many books. I love visiting her blog to see what books she is talking about next.

Paper Fury is another one of those bloggers with such a strong entertaining  voice that I don't even care if I like the same books as her. She always has something hilarious and sarcastic to say, so I'm always glad to see a new review or post from her. She just recently published her debut novel (hooray!) and has been sharing some really great tips and insights about her own journey.

The Quill to Live has some great taste in fantasy if I may say so myself, and I am always particularly looking forward to their reviews.

I've only recently discovered Tammy's blog, Books, Bones & Buffy, in the past couple months or so and I can't believe I never came across it before! I love her reviews, which are always really in-depth and insightful, and I just love seeing everything else she posts. 

Greg from Greg's Book Haven is another awesome blog that I always love to visit. From reviews to weekly memes that feature both books and movies to discussion posts, there always something awesome to check out. I've put a lot of books on my TBR because his blog!

Elliot Brooks is one of the sweetest Booktubers I think I've ever seen (even though most Booktubers are). I love listening to her talk about many genres of fantasy (including YA and adult), which is her main topic of discussion, and she's also getting ready to release her first novel! I've been lucky enough to be one of her beta readers and I am really enjoying it. 

Book Roast is incredible. She's a huge Harry Potter fan, so she has a lot of Harry Potter-related book boxes and video ideas. If you've ever heard of the OWL or NEWT readathons, she's the one behind them. Outside of Harry Potter, she's always reading or doing something interesting, so I always have a fun time watching her videos.

April has such an eclectic taste in books and I love watching all of her videos. She seems like an awesome person with a rather quiet demeanor that comes across so well. 

Connor is a really nice guy who mainly talks about fantasy! I love hearing his thoughts on different books and topics, and I appreciate his thoughtfulness on everything he discusses.

I don't really read many of the same types of books as BooksandLala, but I also don't care because I just love her and her videos. She is one of the most creative content creators and always has something interesting to share. I love that she includes her husband and son so much, as well!

Well, those are some of my favorites! Do you follow any of these booktubers/blogs? What/who are some of your favorites? Let me know, I'm always looking to discover new content!

Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
Crown Publishing, 2018
Hardcover. 512 pages.
About the book:
"Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. 
But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic--the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience--have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. 
Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. 
To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined."

I have a lot of thoughts about Foundryside. Some are good, some are not good. The gist is this: Foundryside is truly a fantastic feat of world-building and complex magic system, but the story was exhausting and there was far too much action to keep my attention at all points.

I started this book and thought it was awesome. Then my interest flagged and I started questioning whether I even wanted to finish it. I was about 70% through when I decided that I would put it down, pick up another book, and then after I finished that book see if I still wanted to finish Foundryside. My evil plan worked! I was halfway through the book I picked up instead when I kept hearing my brain go, 'you know, I kind of still would like to know what's going to happen?' so I went back and finished it. All that aside, I've decided to try to organize this review a bit to cover each area, so let's dive in!

The magic system is incredible. I think that creating magic systems should be Bennett's full-time job (which I guess it sort of is) because wow was this fascinating. There was a lot of info-dumping (which will be discussed), but it was also incredible how in-depth and fascinating everything was. I truly am floored by how fascinating everything was and how much there was to the concept of scriving. I think what I liked the most about this system was how it really did work around a general idea of logic. It's one of those things that seems incredibly complex and impossible, but when it's explained to you, you think "huh, yeah, that makes perfect sense." It's crazy, and I loved it.

Info-dumping. As I mentioned, there is quite a bit of info-dumping and I had mixed feelings on this as well (as with most things in this book, you'll find). I didn't always hate it. I actually found a lot of the informational bits pretty interesting and I appreciated how much detail and effort Bennett put into everything. The problem, however, arose with the prevalence amount of info-dumping and how it often interrupted the flow of the story. I felt that there were too many times in which Bennett sort of interrupted everything to launch into his huge explanation that made me forget what was going on outside of the explanation. This frustrated me. I also felt like if I forgot any of the information he gave that I would be completely lost, so it felt frustrating to have to keep going through this information. I liked the information, it just felt like too much most of the time. Also, I felt like a lot of information was repetitive. Not necessarily the info dumps, but the same ideas were repeated, such as how dangerous it was to do a certain thing with scrivings or the extreme consequences--I've heard it four times already, I get it.

Near-constant action and/or chases. I don't mind some high-action books, but this book was exhausting and honestly, I got bored with how high-action everything was. It was sort of a constant cat-and-mouse situation, which one group always running from another or fighting another or pulling something, etc. etc. It gets old for me. I completely understand why other people love this and find it exciting, but it personally just is not for me. I like some moments of calm, not constant action.

The Characters. Half of the time I liked most of the characters... and half of the time I didn't. So many of them felt a bit... flat? I didn't really care much for anyone and they all sort of felt like stereotypes at times, while also being a bit inconsistent. Sancia is an awesome character that takes no bullshit, which I appreciated, but there were times when she just felt a bit over the top and frustrating. I wanted her to be just a bit more mature? I understand that as a character she doesn't have to be exactly what I want (I'm good with unlikable characters or ones that are different from me), but there were just a few things that didn't match up with her skills and experiences in relation to how she acted at times. Gregor was a pretty interesting character most of the time as well, but his espousing of moral ideals just became so tiresome. Orso was like a character that I sort of feel like I've read a thousand times before, but I did appreciate his bluntness and general rudeness. Berenice was one of the better characters, but we didn't get as much focus or information on her as I would have liked. (As a side note--I would have liked to know more about Sark)

Plot. I think I liked the plot, but at the same time it felt like it sort of got... lost amidst everything else. There is a lot going on in this book in regards to the scrivings and fine details. I think this book was about 100-200 pages too long, however, and there was a lot that could have been removed. The overarching story is really engaging, but there were just so many obstacles and extra things that I just felt could have been removed.

Overall, I've given Foundryside 3.75 stars. I completely understand why this is possible and why people love it, but this is just a case of it not quite being for me in the end. I'm still glad that I picked it up, though! If this is one you're excited about, I still absolutely recommend it. I will more than likely pick up the next book as well because I am intrigued to find out what will happen.

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received a copy of Foundryside courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the book.*

You might also like:
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
Bodacious Creed by Jonathan Fesmire

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Friday Face-Off: A Cover Featuring a Mask!

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.

I felt that it was time to join in another Friday Face-Off, so here we go!

This week's topic is:
‘…Christine, who have torn off my mask and who therefore can never leave me again!' – A cover with a mask

I was really tempted to just go with The Phantom of the Opera, since that is also where the quote comes from, but I decided to branch out a bit and choose something else. The first books that popped into my head were A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge and The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. A Face Like Glass ended up having more cover options, plus the entire story really centers on masks, so I went with it! This book has quite a wide array of cover styles that I wasn't expecting--and some of them I really don't get--but I had fun looking through them.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

A Face Like Glass A Face Like Glass A Face Like Glass 

US Harry N. Abrams 2017 || UK Pan Macmillan (HC) 2012 || UK Pan MacMillan 2016

Das Mädchen ohne Maske A Face Like Glass A Face Like Glass

German 2014 || UK (PB) 2012 || Kindle Amulet Books 2017

 Ð¡Ñ‚еклянное лицо

Russian 2018

My choice:

A Face Like Glass A Face Like Glass

This was a hard choice! I'm not overly in love with many of these, but I do love the imaginative cover UK Pan Macmillan (HC) edition from 2012. I like the mask featured on the US edition simply because masks are such a huge part of this book and I like that it is featured, unlike many of the others. Still, it's a tough one!

Which covers do you like best?

Buy it! Amazon | Book Depository

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