Friday, September 28, 2018

The Friday Face-Off: A Cover Featuring Eyes

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:
Eyes wide shut' – a cover featuring eyes

So while looking through some book covers in an attempt to find one for this week, I found many covers that had close ups of faces or a half of a face that showed eyes, but hardly any with just one eye. I wanted to try to find something that was more focused on the eyes specifically, and there are a lot of books out there with eyes on the cover, but it seems I haven't read them. I settled on The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami because I love the eyes that are on the cover--they have a really fun cartoon style, but there's also more to them which fits the mysterious and unpredictable atmosphere of the short book. I was disappointed to see that only one other edition also had the eyes, but I loved all the other covers so much that I just wanted to share all of them and use it for this week's topic, so here we are!

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

The Strange Library  The Strange Library Ú©ØªØ§Ø¨Ø®Ø§Ù†Ù‡ عجیب

US Knopf 2014 PB || US Harvill Secker 2014 HC || Persian Edition

L'Étrange Bibliothèque Ø§Ù„مكتبة الغريبة Tuhaf Kütüphane

French Edition || Arabic Edition || Turkish Edition

My choice:

The Strange Library 
L'Étrange Bibliothèque Ø§Ù„مكتبة الغريبة

I'm choosing U.S. cover as my favorite probably because it's the one I read and I just love those eyes, but I also love the French and Arabic editions! They all have something to do with the story and I  think they are all so well done, particularly the Arabic one.

Which covers do you like best?

Buy it! Amazon | Book Depository

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

My First Mangas--Double Mini Reviews: Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 & Fairy Tale Vol. 1

Earlier this month I read my first ever mangas! I've always been interested in them, but I never knew where to start because there are simply so many and everyone seems to recommend a different one. I finally settled first on Fullmetal Alchemist at the suggestion of someone who has similar taste to me in fantasy. I wanted to try another as well, so I found one that seemed like it would be more on the fantasy-side/less action-oriented and thus decided to try out Fairy Tail

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa 
(translated by Akira Watanabe)
VIZ Media, 2002
Paperback. 192 pages.

About Fullmetal Alchemist:
"Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are..."

I had a vague idea of what this manga was about going into it, but I was still really surprised by what I discovered! Edward and Alphonse are incredible characters and I almost immediately felt connected to them and began to root for them throughout the events of the book. Edward is easily my favorite, not simply because he's a cool and talented guy, but because I love the little things about his personality, such as how upset he gets when people comment on how short he is. 

I also really enjoyed the alchemy aspect of this story and how it was used. It's a really clever and well thought out system that I was really interested in learning about throughout the entire story. There is plenty of background and explanation to the various components of the world and plot that I appreciated, especially because it wasn't overdone and didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story at all. The storyline itself was interesting, with well-done--but not overdone--action scenes that added a lot of entertainment in a clear, fun art style.

I ended up loving this manga and cannot wait to continue reading it, so I've given it five stars! This is a really fun, action-packed, and exceptionally clever manga that I would recommend to anyone, especially if you're a beginner to the genre like me.

Buy the book: Amazon Book Depository

Fairy Tail, Vol. 1 by Hiro Mashima
(translated by William Flanagan)
Del Rey Books, 2008
Paperback. 198 pages.
About Fairy Tale:

Celestial wizard Lucy wants to join the Fairy Tail, a club for the most powerful wizards. But instead, her ambitions land her in the clutches of a gang of unsavory pirates led by a devious magician. Her only hope is Natsu, a strange boy she happens to meet on her travels. Natsu's not your typical hero, he gets motion sickness, eats like a pig, and his best friend is a talking cat. With friends like this, is Lucy better off with her enemies?"

I didn't love Fairy Tail quite as much as I did Fullmetal Alchemist, but I had a great time reading it nonetheless. Fairy Tail has a somewhat broader scope from the getgo, with a spunky, determined character named Lucy at the head. This manga was an unexpectedly fast-pace ride that moved moved much quicker than I expected, which also meant that I really had to pay attention to keep up.

I loved the humor in this book and the interactions between all of the different characters were wonderfully entertaining. Lucy is a bit naive, but she's also full of determination, and Happy, the talking cat, was probably my favorite part of this manga. I thought the artwork was entertaining to follow and the personalities of each character really shined and helped me get to know each one.

The only thing I didn't really love about this manga was that it was a bit confusing at times and seemed to jump around too much for me to follow. I felt that some things should have been explained more, as it felt as though the reader was just supposed to 'get' what was happening or what was meant at certain times when it wasn't actually completely clear to me. That being said, I still got there in the end and managed to figure out where everyone stood at the end of it.

Overall, I've given Fairy Tail four stars!

Buy the book:  Amazon | Book Depository

If you have any recommendations for more mangas for me to check out, don't hesitate to let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

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:
A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegarde Serle
 Publication Date: September 25th, 2018
Europa Editions
468 pages

From Goodreads: 

Where once there was unity, vastly different worlds now exist. Over each, the spirit of an omnipotent and immortal ancestor abides. 

Long ago, following a cataclysm called the Rupture, the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands, known now as arks. Ophelia lives on Anima, where inhabitants can read the pasts of objects. What’s more, she is also a “mirror-traveler,” possessing an ability that has been passed down to her through generations. Her idyllic existence on Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, an influential member of a distant clan. Still only a girl, Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold and icy ark called Pole. But there, her future husband seems indifferent to her and she slowly realizes that her presence on Pole is part of a much bigger plot and has far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world. 

An unforgettable heroine, an insightful study of relationships, a rich and bountiful universe, intrigue and suspense, A Winter’s Promise is perfect for readers of Margaret Rogerson, Scott Westerfeld, Melissa Albert, and N.K. Jemisin."
So this technically came out yesterday, but I've been so excited for it for months and I have no idea when I'll actually read it because it's still pretty expensive.... so long story short, I still can't wait for it! It sounds like a really unique and inventive idea, plus I can't stop looking at that cover.

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

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I've Yet to Read

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

This week's topic is: Books By My Favorite Authors That I've Yet to Read

For my favorite authors (Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Michel Faber, etc.), I've read most of the books they've written simply because I love their work so much that I want read it all. However, there are still a few I've yet to read, as well as authors that I've recently fallen in love with and simple haven't read all of their books. Here are a few of my favorite authors and some of the books they've written that I haven't read yet, but that I hope to read soon.

Author: Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
Book I Need to Read: The Cuckoo's Calling
I own both The Cuckoo's Calling and the second book, The Silkworm, but I've yet to actually read them. I've heard some great things about The Cuckoo's Calling, so hopefully I get around to picking it up soon!
About: "A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Christina Henry
Book I Need to Read: Alice
I love Alice in Wonderland, which basically means that I love all things related to Alice, including retellings and books inspired by the original. I've read a lot of those, but I've haven't read Alice! I've already read and loved both Lost Boy and The Mermaid by Christina Henry and she is definitely a favorite author of mine at this point, so I can't wait to read Alice.
About: "In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside. 
In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood..."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Catherynne Valente
Book I Need to Read: The Refrigerator Monologues
I've read most of Valente's books, but this is one of her more recent releases that I still have yet to have a chance to read. I'm not generally that into superheroes and the like, but I love the concept of this collection.
About"A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Neil Gaiman
Book I Need to Read: A Study in Emerald
I have read so many of Neil Gaiman's books and he is easily one of my favorite authors of all time, so I really need to pick up one of his latest graphic novels, A Study in Emerald! This book looks gorgeous and I love Neil Gaiman's graphic novels.
About: "This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Donna Tartt
Book I Need to Read: The Little Friend
Donna Tartt wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Secret History, and I also really enjoyed her most recent book, The Goldfinch. I've heard mixed things about The Little Friend, but I would still love to read it and I was fortunate enough to find a copy at my library's mini book store the other week, so I can't wait to finally get to it!
About: "The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother’s Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents’ yard. Twelve years later Robin’s murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated. So it is that Robin’s sister Harriet - unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson--sets out to unmask his killer. Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town’s rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family’s history of loss."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: John Williams 
Book I Need to Read: Butcher's Crossing
John Williams is a brilliant writer and there's just no arguing that. Butcher's Crossing is the one I have not yet read, so I would really like to this one up. It seems rather different from his other books, but I'm intrigued to see how he handles the premise.
About: "With Butcher’s Crossing, his fiercely intelligent, beautifully written The first novel in a brilliantly crafted trilogy. As the King of the Four Kingdoms lays dying, traitorous conspirators prepare a political marriage to ensure their control of the crown. But the young Melliandra refuses to betroth a sinister Prince and flees the castle in the company of a miracle-working kitchen apprentice.western, Williams dismantles the myths of modern America.""
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Michel Faber
Book I Need to Read: The Fire Gospel
Michel Faber is by far one of my favorite authors, ever. I've read almost all of his works, including his short story collections, but The Fire Gospel is one I haven't had a chance to read yet. It sounds like a really fascinating and unexpected premise, so I look forward to seeing what it's all about. I have confidence that Faber can make just about anything sound brilliant, so I'm excited!
About: "The Fire Gospel is an enthralling novel about the power of words to resonate across centuries, and inspire and disrupt in equal measure. Wickedly provocative, hilarious and shocking by turns, it is a revelatory piece of storytelling"
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: J.V. Jones
Book I Need to Read: The Baker's Boy
So I'll confess that I've only read a couple books from J.V. Jones' Sword of Shadows trilogy, but I can already tell she is going to be a favorite. That being said, I'd really like to read from some of her other works, particularly The Baker's Boy, which sounds like it will be a very classic-feeling sort of fantasy.
About: "At Castle Harvell, two fates collide. Melliandra refuses to marry the sinister Prince Kylock while an apprentice named Jack is terrified by his sudden ability to work miracles. Together they flee the castle, pursued by the sorcerer Baralis, while elsewhere a knight embarks on a perilous voyage of his own. Soon destiny will draw the travellers together, and that meeting will shatter the world"
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Jacqueline Carey
Book I Need to Read: Banewreaker
Jacqueline Carey is a brilliant, beautiful writer and I have loved just about everything I've read from her. Banewreaker is one that I haven't heard much about, but it sounds rather epic and incredible, so I need to read it.
About: "Following the triumphant success of her Kushiel series (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar), Jacqueline Carey now turns her hand to another startling fable, an epic tale of gods waging war in their bid to control an entire universe and the mortals they use as chess pieces in a most deadly game." 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Author: Robert Dinsdale
Book I Need to Read: Gingerbread
The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale was beautiful and I just have a feeling that he has to be good at everything he writes. Gingerbread is one of the books of his that I haven't read, but it's also one that sounds really intriguing.
About: "Fairytale and history, wilderness and civilisation collide in this brilliant and magical new novel from the author of Little Exiles. In Belarus, a land of endless ancient forests, an orphaned boy must scatter his mother's ashes. His mama has exacted a solemn promise: to stay beside and protect grandfather, whatever happens. On their journey into the woodland, hunks of mama's delicious gingerbread sustain the young boy as grandfather's magical tales push the harsh world away. But the driving snow masks a frozen history of long-buried secrets. And as man and child forage further, grandfather's tales turn to terrible truths of times past. Fairytale and history interweave in this magical, haunting tale of the lengths a boy must go to, in order to survive."
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these or do you love any of these authors? What books by your favorite authors do you still need to read?