Friday, March 24, 2017

Anticipated April 2017 Releases!

Well there are a lot of new releases this April! I have featured quite a few of them below, but of course it is not nearly close to all of them - just the ones I'm particularly excited for. Titles + releases dates + links to the Goodreads page are listed below the images. :) Also, I have made sure to note which books I have ARCs for and will be reviewing soon!

If We Were VillainsRed Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1)Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome
The Dragon’s Legacy (The Dragon's Legacy, #1)SkullswornWithin the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5)
A Fever of the Blood: A NovelThe Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851The Shadow Land
The Competition (Da Vinci's Disciples #2)Given to the SeaWinter Tide (The Innsmouth Legacy, #1)
Beyond the Wild River: A NovelThe Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit, #1)The Freemason's Daughter

If We Were Villians by M. L. Rio || April 11th (review coming soon!)
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence || April 4th (review coming 4/3!)
Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King || April 25th (review coming 4/24!)
The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A. Wolf || April 4th (review coming soon!)
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley || April 25th
Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan || April 25th
A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel || April 4th
The Zoo by Isobel Charman || April 4th (review coming soon!)
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova || April 11th (review coming soon!)
The Competition by Donna Russo Morin || April 25th
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis || April 11th
Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys || April 4th
Beyond The Wild River by Sarah Maine || April 18th
The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit #1) by Sarah Jean Horwitz || April 25th
The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier || April 11th

What are your anticipated April releases?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Publication Date: October 17th, 2017
Del Rey Books
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

From Goodreads:

A Plague of Giants

"In the start of an enchanting new series, the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles creates an unforgettable fantasy world . . . one that is forever changed when an army of giants invades. The kingdom's only hope? The discovery of a form of magic that will call the world's wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind."

The synopsis for this one is so short and it doesn't come out until October, but I am just really needing some fantasy lately, and I think this sounds fantastic. I am excited to find out more and eventually read it!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fourteen of My Favorite Short Stories (and Short Story Collections) + A Few on My TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is short books, and since I sort of just recently made a post highlighting some great books that are 200 pages or less, I thought I'd tweak this theme a little bit... and share some awesome short stories and short story collections, along with a few short works of poetry and plays thrown in for good measure (I'm being liberal with the term 'short story')! Now, I thought that this would be more difficult to do since I'm not really a big short story person, but apparently I like more than I thought - who knew?

**These titles are listed in particular order. Enjoy!

Unnatural Creatures
1. Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman
As the summary describes it, Unnatural Creatures is "a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified." And yes, this collection is every bit as magical as it sounds. 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
2. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Jack Zipes
Besides being absolutely stunning, this particular is the first translated edition of all 156 stories by the Brothers Grimm from the original 1812 and 1815 editions. I love folk/fairy tales, and these one did not disappoint at all. They are as close to the way they were originally written as possible, and it's wonderful. The illustration, by Andrea Dezso, are also a lovely addition.

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories
3. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"The Yellow Wallpaper" will never get old. This 6,000-word short story essentially documents slow descent of a woman into madness, and that's all you really need to know to jump in. 

Howl and Other Poems
4. "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
I am a big fan of Ginsberg's poetry, which I first mentioned in a review for some uncollected works, and because of this I had to include his short book of poems in this list. This particular collection resulted in the arrest of its publisher and editor for "disseminating obscene literature." What's more enticing than banned books?

A Modest Proposal
5. "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift
This is, hands down, one of my favorite pieces of satire to ever be written. Essentially, Swift suggests that in order to ease the lives of the poor and provide them with more food, they should begin selling children as food to the rich. Thus, the poor would make a profit and food would begin to be in greater supply. As you might expect, it wasn't received by everyone with as much enjoyment as it is now. 

Through the Woods
6. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
I am so in love with this book. There are three short stories contained within, each one delightfully creepy and haunting. I read these all in one sitting, and I definitely recommend them.

The Sleeper and the Spindle
7. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
In case you hadn't noticed, I like Neil Gaiman. The Sleeper and the Spindle is a short book inspired by a "weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic." It's gorgeous, and the illustrations by Riddell are as stunning as every other thing he's ever created.

The Complete Works
8. The Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
I know, I know, I probably include Poe too much on these list, but I can't help it! I love his short stories (and poetry!) and I think they are some of the best out there.  They are classically disturbing and I just cannot get enough of them.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Another classic! If you haven't read the tale of the headless horsemen, then I encourage you to do so!

The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904
10. Lady with the Dog and Other Short Stories by Anton Chekov
If you haven't read anything by Chekov, this is a great place to start! The Lady with the Dog is about an adulterous affair, and supposedly Vladimir Nabokov called it one of the best pieces of short fiction he's ever read, so there's that.

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
11. Fragile Things: 
Yes, more Neil Gaiman. And more wonderful short stories.

After the Quake
12. After the Quakes: Stories by Haruki Murakami
And another favorite author of mine. This particular collection features six short stories written in response to the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan.

Greek LivesLives of the Caesars
13. Greek Lives by Plutarch & Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius
All of these are great. They're fascinating if you're at all interested in Ancient Greek and Roman figures. I just translated a good portion of Life of Antony this past quarter for a Greek course, so I am slightly biased, but they are still fascinating. And Suetonius' lives of the Roman emperors are delightfully juicy. I highly recommend them.

The Bacchae
14. The Bacchus by Euripides
Euripides is a brilliant Greek author, and I think this is one of his best works. 

Short Stories I want to Read:
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
I don't even know how many years this book has been on my TBR at this point, but I am still dying to read it! I love every thing I've read about this collection, and I think it sounds like it is right up my alley.

Moral Disorder and Other Stories
Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood
I love Margaret Atwood and have heard great things about this collection! I've yet to read any short stories by Atwood, so I'm excited to see how it is.

Little Black Book of Stories
Little Black Book of Stories by A. S. Byatt
I'm just so fascinated by the sound of this one. I read Possession last year and I think I really liked it (it's complicated), and I think this sounds like a perfect match for the taste of Byatt's writing that I received from Possession.

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite short stories/short story collections?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco

Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco. Metropolitan Books, 2009. Hardcover. 432 pages.

Footnotes in Gaza has been on my radar for a while, but because of its size and the complexity of the content, I was always a bit intimidated by it. I finally picked up this hefty graphic novel because it was one of the options listed to read for a class I was taking this past winter quarter, because there's nothing like a school requirement to motivate you to do something, right?

Footnotes in Gaza is journalist Joe Sacco's exploration into two sparsely covered reports of massacres that occurred in Khan Younis and Rafah, both located in the Gaza Strip, during the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis. The facts of these events, what really happened, and who is at fault is still debated, but Sacco's aim was to find out -- from firsthand accounts and interviews -- what happened during these massacres.

This is a dense graphic novel. There is so much information packed into these pages that it took me an extremely long time to get through the entire thing. I found myself needing to stop a re-read a few pages to fully grasp what was going on before continuing on with the story. If you, like me, are unfamiliar with much of the content and the background of Israel-Palestine conflicts, then it takes a little time to fully understand the things which Sacco describes, but fortunately he does provide enough background information to make everything come together.

In addition to the obvious topic of the Khan Younis and Rafah massacres, this novel covers so much more than just those two events. Sacco takes his readers with him as he travels around the Gaza Strip in the present day (then 2003) to see the current conditions of those living in Palestinian land, and he also receives firsthand accounts about other periods of time in Israel and Palestine's tumultuous history.

This is an extremely compelling read, and there are no details left out. It is extremely heartbreaking and frustrating at times to read of the horrific violence and deplorable conditions those living both then and now experience. The illustrations are all done in black and white, but that does not in any way take away from their impact and meaning. He illustrates every story he is told, no matter how dramatic or devastating it is, which allows each person to have a face and a story to tell.

What I found particularly interesting about Sacco's journalism was that so many of the people he interviewed were perplexed by his interest in these two massacres -- why did he care about things that happened so long ago, when so many other thing had happened and were currently happening? To me, this brings up an important discussion about why events in history are important, even if they are just considered "footnotes."

Some people seem to claim the Sacco is too biased towards the Palestinians, but I do not personally feel that is the case. I saw Sacco as a mainly looking to find information on one particular event in one place, and that is exactly what he did. He told the accounts as he was told them, and he mentions many times that not all of these stories may be accurate.

Overall, I am giving Footnotes in Gaza four stars! I really enjoyed this graphic novel, but for me it was quite difficult to get through at times. Despite this, I still think it is an extremely important book about some rather unknown events that should be considered.

You might also like:
The Chibok Girls by Helon Habila
Consequence by Eric Fair

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Beginnings Friday: The Zoo by Isobel Charman

Book Beginnings Fridays is hosted by Rose City ReaderJoin us every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

This week I started reading Isobel Charman's upcoming release The Zoo, which tells the story of the creation of London's first zoo. I am fascinated by the premise of this story, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851

Publication Date: April 4th, 2017

"They could not save the animals, Tom's collection, so lovingly assembled - the pet monkeys, the bears, the tapir, the tiger. 'My Noah's ark,' he'd called it - all now aflame on one great, terrible funeral pyre. Sophia knows she will never forget the hellish crescendo of the beasts' barks and cries, loud even above the cracking of the burning wood and the thunder of the hungry flames; the frantic, futile flapping of countless feathered wigs against iron bars. No! She will not forget it, ot for as long as she lives. However long that might be."

What do you think? Would you keep reading? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!)

*Excerpt taken from the novel itself; I do not claim to own any part of the excerpt.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Publication Date: May 17th, 2017
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

From Goodreads:

Men Without Women
"A dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. 

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. 

Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic."

Anyone that knows me probably is aware of the fact that Murakami is one of my absolute favorite authors, so a new release by him is one that I can't wait to read. Plus, I just think this one sounds really interesting on its own.

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Spring Releases That I Can't Wait to Read!

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

I've made quite a few posts regarding upcoming 2017 releases, so I decided to devote a majority of these upcoming releases to some lesser publicized books coming out this spring that sound extremely promising. (I did, however, still include a few of the books I've already discussed and that are already widely covered - I just couldn't help myself.) My picks are listed in no particular order, so go forth and explore!

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)The LeaversMy Last Lament
The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game, #2)Royal Bastards

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas || May 2nd
How could I not include this one? I am in love with this series!

The Leavers by Lisa Ko || May 2nd
"One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her." And Deming is only eleven. Really excited to read this one!

My Last Lament by James William Brown || April 4th
I featured this one in a past Waiting on Wednesday, and I am still so interested to read a story set in modern-day Greece.

The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye || May 16th
I loved the magical way in which Skye brought Russia to life, and I can't wait to find out more.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts || May 30th
This one just sounds so wonderfully amusing and snarky, I can't wait!c

Beyond the Wild River: A NovelFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)Spindle Fire
The Freemason's DaughterGiven to the Sea

Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine || April 18th
"For fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, a highly atmospheric and suspenseful historical novel, set in the 1890s about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder." I love historical fiction, and the summer mentions the Chicago World Fair, so I'm in!

Spindle Fire by Lexya Hillyer || April 11th
Another new fantasy about sisters! I have high hopes.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh || May 2nd
I didn't care for The Wrath and the Dawn, but I did enjoy Ahdieh's writing style, and this story sounds great!

The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier || April 11th
This is a debut set in 18th-century Scotland! I have't read anythig with this setting that I can recall, so I am really intrigued!

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis || April 11th
I have fallen in love with McGinnis' writing. Even if this book didn't sound good (which it does), I would still want to check it out!

What spring releases are you looking forward to?