Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Mageborn by Stephen Aryan

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:
Mageborn by Stephen Aryan
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017

From Goodreads:
Mageborn (Age of Dread Trilogy, #1)

"It's been ten years since the battlemage war, where thousands died as mages sundered the earth and split the sky. 

Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure a lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with the ability. 

As deaths involving magic increase and the seat of magical learning - the Red Tower - falls under suspicion, two students and one lawbringer must do everything they can to combat Habreel and his followers, before magic disappears from the world for good."

First of all, that cover has such an 'epic' feel to it, I'm really digging it. And although the conflict of one side trying to eliminate magic vs. a side that is trying to save is something I've heard before, I still love it and think that this particular descriptions sound extremely appealing! I really can't wait to check this one out.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading If You Love Boarding School Books

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 topic is a back to school related freebie! For this, I decided to go with a 'required reading' theme - specifically, books to read if you love boarding school books! I tried to go with some books that don't seem to get quite as much love as others (hence why books like Harry Potter aren't on this list - they're a given!), so I hope you all enjoy! Feel free to let me know what you think of these books or what boarding school-type books you love. 

Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce:
Sandry's Book
Tris' Book
Daja's Book
Briar's Book
Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic, #1)Tris's Book (Circle of Magic, #2)Daja's Book (Circle of Magic, #3)Briar's Book (Circle of Magic, #4)
If you haven't read anything by Tamora Pierce, then you are missing out! The Circle of Magic Quartet is one of my favorites (though, let's be honest, they're all my favorite) and is centered on four young misfits learn as they learn how to use their magic at the Winding Circle. 

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris

Gentlemen and Players
I read this one a long time ago, so the details are a bit blurry, but in general this book takes place at a boarding school where odd things beginning happening. These weird incidents start small, but continue to grow in impact, slowly revealing the secrets of this boarding school.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead Languages
A Latin teacher, four young girls, secret rituals on a lake - what more could you want?

Old School by Tobias Wolff

Old SchoolOld School
Old School takes place at an elite prep school for boys during its annual literary competition, and things heat up when Hemingway is announced to be coming to the school.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)
Step into Armedius Academy and learn the art of Rithmatists who "have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. "

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
"A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy"... I mean... what else do you need? This one seems to be pretty popular and I found it fairly entertaining, so give it a go and enjoy another boarding school setting!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart 

The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)
This book follows a group of kids as they go undercover at an... interesting... boarding school. The Mysterious Benedict Society books are so clever and so much fun. 

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)
A School for Unusual Girls s pretty self-explanatory: it's school for girls who are just a little bit off - aka, magical. The Stranje house appears to be a finishing school to turn girls into polite young woman, but there might be a bit more going on.

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Roses and Rot
Sisters Imogen and Marin are both accepted to an extremely prestigious artists' retreat where they soon learn that things at this school aren't quite as transparent as they expected.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)
Ink and Bone is set in a future in which the Library of Alexandria was never destroyed and still alive and well. This one follows a group of new trainees as they attempt to earn service working at the library. (Hint: Things don't go so well.)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)
Nevernight takes the boarding school theme to darker levels as a school for assassins. This is one of my favorites and I can't recommend it enough.

The White Devil by Justin Evans

The White Devil
A four hundred year old boarding that ends up being a bit haunted and secretive. If you like your boarding schools a little dark and full of death, then this is another one to check out.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace
Okay, I couldn't not include A Separate Peace. I love this book so much and I consider it one of my favorites. As the synopsis states, this book is "a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence." 

What do you think of these? What are your favorite boarding school-themed books? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Tiger's Watch by Julie Ember

*The Tiger's Watch is available Tuesday, August 22nd!*

The Tiger's Watch by Julie Ember. Harmony Ink Press, 2017. Ebook. 180 pages.

I had fairly high expectations for this book based on the sheer amount of hype it seemed to be getting prior to its release. To be fair, much of the hype I was seeing was moreso surrounding the fact that this book contains a nonbinary character -- Tashi -- and a great deal of other forms of representation. The Tiger's Watch is actually one of the first (of hopefully many more) books I've read with a gender-fluid protagonist, and I really loved it.

This review is difficult to write because I know that I really enjoyed this book, but when I try to answer 'why' I enjoyed it so much, I'm not sure how to describe it. It comes down to this: I didn't want to put this book down. It didn't feel like there was a lot of plot going on, but I still couldn't help but keep reading. The characters, the story, the setting, the world -- all of it was fascinating. There was something captivating about Ember's writing that really drew me into the story and the small world that encompassed it.

Tashi was an incredibly interesting character. They were pretty shy and seemingly innocent, but at the same time they were also pretty tough. In a weird way, I especially liked that they made pretty really bad decisions (some of which annoyed me more than others. Also, I was so pleasantly surprised to see how easily this world seemed to accept non-binary people. There were than a few instances where someone would tell them that Tashi preferred to be referred as "they," rather than "s/he," and for the most part people just said okay, move on with their lives, and respect that choice. What? A fantasy world that doesn't keep all of our prejudices? I know, I'm also in a state of shock.

I've always been a fan of the fantasy trope of people bonding with certain animals, and I especially loved the way it worked in this book. For instance, the animals chose who they bond with at a certain age, and then the human  -- known as an 'inhabitor' -- only lives as long as the animal lives and vice versa. There were something very authentic about how this relationship worked, as Tashi also made several mentions throughout the book regarding how her tiger was still wild and she couldn't necessarily communicate normally or speak to her animal.

I had mixed feelings about the benefits and drawbacks of bonding with animals thought was brought up, along with some other more spoiler-y things that I won't get into. The bonding with animals is mentioned by Tashi as being something that she wishes that they could give up so that they -- and other inhibitors -- could live longer. I completely understand that, but I don't understand either: 1) why bonding is so important, or 2) why you would want to give up something is ancient and magical and apparently really great. I just felt like this idea wasn't quite explored as in-depth as it could have been.

I was also impressed with how Ember explored different forms of relationships. She  did a great job of noting and using the difference between relationships based on deep, emotional feelings and attachments versus relationships centered sexual desire and attraction, something that I wish more authors considered.

The only thing that I felt sort of let down on was the lack of history and context in this book. I know that there is a huge conflict going on and Ember does explain this to a point, but I just felt like was more that was missing. I can see future books going into the world and background more, but I just felt a little left out of the loop regarding what was really going on.

Overall, I found this book really engaging and easy to follow along. I was invested in every character and found myself very much engaged in the story. Thus, I'm giving The Tiger's Watch four stars!

*I received an ARC of The Tiger's Watch courtesy of NetGalley and Harmony Ink Press. This in no way affects my reading or reviewing of this book.*

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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Friday Face-Off: A Cover Featuring a Soldier - The Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell

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'm always on the lookout for exciting new blog features to try out, so this week I have decided to join The Friday Face-Off!

A quick note regarding this week's topic: I, being a highly intelligent person (note: sarcasm), misread the dates and created this post thinking it was for August 18th when in reality it was the one for last week, August 11th. Oops. I've decided to leave it, however, because it took a lot of time and because I haven't really read any books with food on the cover (this week's topic). So I'll be back on track next time I join in!

This week's topic:

"No soldier outlives a thousand chances"

A cover which features a soldier

For this one, I chose:

Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy #1) by David Gemmell

Ballantine Books (Paperback)
Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)

Bantam Press
Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)
I really like the simplicity of this style and I think it gives the entire book a very sophisticated feel. I definitely get 'Ancient Greek' vibes from it. The only downside is that it really doesn't give many clues about the book itself, and I wouldn't really know what I was getting into based on the image alone. I love the typography and style of 'Troy' on it as well. 

Ballantine Books (Ebook)
Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1) 
I think this is an interesting style, particularly because it almost seems as if it's the same cover as the original, but just a different angle. I'm not sure if I like the head-on view, however, and the eye sort of bothers me. I'm also not a fan of how the titles and author are written. 

Corgi (Mass Market)
Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1) 
Does this one remind anyone else of a video game? Something about it seems very video game-style to me, though I'm not sur what. It's almost too clean, if that makes sense. I like the color scheme and its similarities to the first cover. The only issue I have is with the placement of the author's name. It's in an obvious place, but it doesn't really seem that noticeable and I feel as though it should be elsewhere.

Piemme Pocket (Italian)
Il signore di Troia 
I really wanted to include this one because of how different it is from the others. The monochromatic theme of this cover gives it a rather austere and very serious look. Overall I do like this one, but I can see how it might come across as a bit plain. The space between the title (and the really really small writing) and the top of the helmet could be minimized a bit.

Vydavatel'stvo Slovart (Slovak)
Pán strieborného luku (Trója, #1) 
I really like this one! I love that it incorporate the sea aspect of this book the various symbols on the ship and sail. I think this definitely makes for an intriguing and gripping cover, plus it's a huge diversion from every other cover 

Which cover do you like best?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book Traveling Thursdays: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

Featured Image -- 266


This week I'm once again participating in Book Traveling Thursday!
"Book Traveling Thursdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Catia from The Girl Who Read Too Much and Danielle's Book Blog. The idea of this group is check out the list of weekly themes for each month in this meme's Goodreads page and simply pick a book to match the theme! Once you've found a book, explore different covers of various editions for that book and make a post about it.  To find out more, you can check out our Goodreads group!

This week's theme is a freebie, so I chose to go with:
A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
There are so many English and international covers for this particular book, so I just chose a few of each! I am fascinated by the endless ways different places seem to decide to depict the sheep on the cover and had a lot of fun going through all of these.

Original Cover Design:
 A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)
Other editions:

A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)În căutarea oii fantastice
Yaban Koyununun İzindeA Wild Sheep ChasePrzygoda z owcą (Szczur, #3)
Caçando CarneirosA Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)A Wild Sheep Chase
Hon na ovciHard Cover HARUKI MURAKAMI A Wild Sheep Chase, hard cover 1982 Japan goodA Wild Sheep Chase
ნადირობა ცხვარზე (The Rat, #3)
Top Row: UK, US Vintage remake, Romanian
Second Row: Turkish, First Edition Hardcover US,  Polish
Third Row: Portuguese, Vintage US, Vintage US
Fourth Row: Czech, Japanese, First Edition, Vintage US
Bottom Row: Georgian

These covers are a lot really interesting to me. As I mentioned, I'm intrigued by all the different ways the sheep are portrayed on many of these covers. I really love the original Japanese edition, but they're all pretty great. (Also, I just had to add the Georgian one because I so rarely see them!)

What do you think of these covers? Do you have a favorite? Have you read this book?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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:

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

From Goodreads:

"Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves."

I am so excited for this gorgeous book of magical Grishaverse tales! The samples of the illustrations that I've seen are so beautiful and I am sure that the stories are going to be incredible additions to this world Bardugo has created. This one can't come fast enough!

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

First Chapter Tuesday is hosted every Tuesday by Diane over at Bibiophile by the Sea. This is meme in which bloggers share the first chapter of a book that they are currently reading or thinking about reading soon. Join the fun by making your own post and linking up over at Diane's blog, or simple check it out to find more new books to read!

Today's first chapter preview is from Sylvia Izzo Hunter's The Midnight Queen! I've had my eye on this lovely book for a while now and I  am so excited to find out if it is as lovely and magical as that cover is! I love that it sounds like this book will feature some time in a school setting - Oxford's Merlin College! I have provided an excerpt of both the prologue and first chapter to really give you a feel. Let me know your thoughts!

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae, #1)


"It was his own fault entirely, Gray reflected later. That morning in Merlin’s South Quad, when Taylor and Woodville had pressed him to join them in some not-quite-specified excursion, he ought to have known that no good would come of it; what good had ever come of Taylor and Woodville before?"

Chapter One
In Which Gray Meets Sophie

"Gray toiled in the midsummer sun, on his knees among the rhododendrons, through an afternoon that seemed to last a month. Beautiful, Callender Hall's gardens might be, but after only half a day he had already conceived a passionate hatred of them, and of flowering shrubs in particular. What was he doing in this distant corner of the kingdom, so far from all he knew? Why condemned to this sweaty, thirsty, apparently pointless labour? His eyes strung; his knees ached; his hands were scratched and sore. He missed his cramped, chaotic rooms at Merlin College with an unexpected intensity - and had even begun, in spite of everything, to miss the home of his childhood. 

He had just begun to think, implausible, how much pleasanter retiring to that home for the Long Vacation might have been -- as though any such course had been open to him -- when he saw the girl striding across the lawn."

What do you think? Would you keep reading this? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!) 
If you're enticed by this chapter, be sure to check out the full synopsis on Goodreads!

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