Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Traveling Thursday: A Book From A Favorite Author - Michel Faber!

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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 book by one of your favorite authors, so I chose:
Under the Skin by Michel Faber
I've loved all of the books by Faber that I've red so far, and he is easily one of my favorite authors. I decided to pick Under the Skin because this book is so incredibly weird that I wanted to see what other covers looked like.

Original Cover Design:
 Under the Skin
2000, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Other editions:

Under the SkinUnder the SkinSotto la pelle
Under the SkinSotto la pelleΚάτω από το δέρμα
Derinin AltındaIspod kožeDie Weltenwanderin

Top Row: Paperback, Kindle, Italian
Second Row: Paperback, Italian, Modern Greek
Third Row: Turkish, Serbian, German

I'm pretty intrigued by these various covers. I opted not to include most of the movie tie-in ones because, well, I think they're pretty bad (personally, the movie looks completely off from the book anyway, but that's another story). I think the ones that have roads on them are best for this book in particular, and I'm really not sure what's up with the German. All in all, I think these are all a pretty interesting variety!

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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 Silent Companions by Laure Purcell
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018 (US); October 5th, 2017 (UK)
Raven Books (UK); Penguin Books (US)
(UK cover pictured)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

From Goodreads:
The Silent Companions

"Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine...

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself.."

Everything about this book just screams 'intrigue' to me. I love stories that takes place in old Gothic mansions with things that are slightly off and mysterious. This sounds perfect for an October release, and I definitely think I'll be ordering the UK edition because I just love that cover.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

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 John Boyne's new novel The Heart's Invisible Furies! I received an ARC of this one about a month or two ago, but unfortunately it kept getting pushed back because of other commitments, but I was finally able to pick it up and I'm am enjoying it so much. I've seen nothing but rave reviews for it, and so far it is completely living up to all of them.

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

"Part One: Shame

1945 The Cuckoo in the Nest
The Good People of Goleen

Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.

The family was seated together in the second pew, my grandfather on the aisle using his handkerchief to polish the bronze plaque engraved to the memory of his parents that was nailed to the back of the woodwork before him. He wore his Sunday suit, pressed the night before by my grandmother, who twisted her jasper rosary beads around her crooked fingers and moved her lips silently until he placed his hand atop hers and ordered her to be still. My six uncles, their dark hair glistening with rose-scented lacquer, sat next to her in ascending order of age and stupidity. Each was an inch shorter than the next and the disparity showed from behind. The boys did their best to stay awake that morning; there had been a dance the night before in Skull and they'd come home moldy with the drink, sleeping only a few hours before being roused by their father for Mass.

At the end of the row, beneath a wooden carving of the tenth station of the cross, sat my mother, her stomach fluttering in terror at what was to come. She hardly dared to look up."

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.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple. Crown Publishing, 2017. Hardcover. 384 pages.

I'm a big fan of 'behind-the-scenes' types of books, especial when they are about something as important as the White House, so I was very eager going into The Gatekeepers. (Digression: You know all those 'bonus features' and 'behind-the-scenes' segments that are often on DVDs? Yeah, I hate those. I really don't need it to be rubbed in my face that the entire movie is actually a green screen. Thanks for ruining it.) Each chapter of The Gatekeepers covers one presidency and includes every Chief of Staff. These chapters each seemed to spend adequate time looking at the tactics of each Chief of Staff, both from the observations of others and from direct interviews with the former Chiefs themselves that the author conducted.

The White House Chiefs of Staff are extremely important, arguably vital components to any presidency. Despite that, I had almost no idea what they really did prior to reading this book. Growing up, I was never much interested in American history/politics -- what can I say, I've always had more of a taste for the fantastic and non-US history (but don't worry, I now pay plenty of attention to both) -- so although I knew that they were a leader of some sort, I had no idea that they were essentially the 'gatekeepers' to the president. Or that having an efficient Chief of Staff meant that you had someone who completely organized the white house staff, acted as an 'organizer' for the president himself, and helped determine who got to take up the president's time each day.

The Gatekeepers is incredibly enlightening, covering over fifty years of presidencies starting from Richard Nixon and onward. Whipple went deep into his research and covered each Chief of Staff -- as there were often multiple ones for each presidency -- with thorough detail. Not only do you learn about the exact duties of the Chief of Staff, but you also get an inside look at each president and how they handled their own duties as president. I was fascinated to read the differences between presidents like Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama and how differently they handled different situations and interacted with their Chief of staff. Each one also seemed to handle their role with a unique flair, some taking an extremely rough, firm role that was almost feared, while others just weren't quite capable of handling the role. And, of course, there are more than a couple that excelled and handled the difficult task smoothly.

I also took away from this book that the White House is a very interesting place. There is definitely a select group of people that truly hold the cards and that seem to appear throughout almost every presidency. Similarly, the Chiefs of Staffs almost seemed to be a bit repetitive at times: they kept making the same mistake that the former Chief did. That felt frustrated, because I just wanted them to learn more from their predecessors, but each man seemed to think that he knew how to do it better and make it work. You know how it goes. 

There are a few areas in a couple chapters where I felt as if things started to go on a little bit of a tangent, as I remember thinking "wait, where is the Chief of Staff in all of this?" Overall, though, everything fit in well and I was kept engrossed for a majority of the chapters in this book. I was impressed by Whipple's smooth writing style and how entertaining I found this book to be. The pacing was done well, and none of the chapters dragged on too long or felt too brief. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who's looking for a more in-depth look at some of the roles in the White House, or for someone who just wants some engaging nonfiction!

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Anticipated September 2017 Releases!

I'm not ready for many things that are happening in September, but I am  ready for all of these new releases! Seriously, September is jam-packed with awesome releases and I definitely couldn't include all of them. It seems as if there are  a lot more YA than adult releases this month for some reason. Also, I'm in love with the blues/blacks/etc. cover themes going on - they're all gorgeous and they work so well together!

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
The World of TomorrowThe Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1)Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6)
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)The Dollmaker of KrakowThe Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution
Girls Made of Snow and GlassOne Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)The Ravenous
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #2)An Enchantment of RavensThe Glass Town Game

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker || August 1st
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff || September 5th
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett || September
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo || September 26th
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Matthews || September 5th (review coming soon!)
The Black Tides of Heaven by Jy Yang || September 26th
The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics || September 26th

What are your anticipated September releases?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Woodcutter King by Ærick Graham

The Woodcutter King  by Ærick Graham. Inkskald Press, 2016. Paperback. 408 pages.

I recently won a copy of The Woodcutter King in a Goodreads giveaway -- who knew that could happen!? -- and I was delighted when it finally arrived. 

My favorite thing about The Woodcutter King, and what initially grabbed my attention, is the rich, classic fantasy style that it embodies. Just take a glance at the first few lines of the synopsis:

"The whilom Wardens of Wudelic woods are watchers and sentinels of the wild. Their roots run deep like the oaks and elders. Proud as towering pines. Their history is as an old language etched into ruins, they are now known as the Woodcutters. "

Doesn't that just make the epic fantasy fan in you want to snatch this book up?  The Woodcutter King is full of legend, adventure, and a well-written world. The pacing of this book felt very steady, neither fast nor too slow. It has the feel of fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien in the sense that there is a lot of description and lore that is told throughout the book. 

Graham's writing is truly developed and mature in nature. The dialogue itself is not the strongest point, but the rest of the narrative is written with a great amount of grace and meaning - I had my sticky tabs handy and ended up marking quite a few passages throughout the book. 

At the heart of this story are the two main characters Alaric, the Woodcutter, and his son, Edrick. Graham takes us deep into the thoughts, desires, and struggles of this man and boy, and I found myself captivated by the events that they experienced, both together and apart. In addition to Alaric and Edrick is a fairly good-sized cast of characters that takes a little while to get used to, but once you remember who's who, everything begins to come together.

Although I really enjoyed this book and its components overall, I feel that it could have used a little but of cleaning up or editing to really make it shine even more. There were a few instances where the dialogue or certain plot points felt slightly awkward, but these were not issues that overtook the strengths of the novel and the overall prose of Graham. 

Overall, I've given The Woodcutter King four stars.

(Also, can we take a minute to appreciate the beauty that is Graham's signature?)

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!