Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers & The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial

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 spotlights are: 

A Witch in Time
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
Publication: February 11th, 2020
Hardcover. 448 pages.

"A young witch is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist, in this haunting debut novel. 

In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother -- a witch -- attempts to cast a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly summons a demon, binding her daughter to both the artist and this supernatural being for all time. Juliet is fated to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history. 

The demon -- who appears to Juliet in all her reincarnations as a mysterious, handsome, and worldly benefactor -- has been helplessly in love with her since 19th century France, even though she forgets him each time she dies. He falls for her in 1930s Hollywood, in 1970s Los Angeles, and finally in present-day Washington D.C. -- where she begins to develop powers of her own. 

In this life, she starts to remember her tragic past lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle..."
I am always ready for some witches!

The Adventurer's Son
The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial
Publication: February 18th, 2020
William Morrow
Hardcover. 368 pages.

"In the predawn hours of July 10, 2014, twenty-seven-year-old Cody Roman Dial, the son of preeminent Alaskan scientist and National Geographic Explorer Roman Dial, walked alone into Corcovado National Park, an untracked rainforest along Costa Rica’s remote Pacific Coast that shelters miners, poachers, and drug smugglers. He carried a light backpack and machete. Before he left, he emailed his father: "I am not sure how long it will take me, but I’m planning on doing 4 days in the jungle and a day to walk out. I’ll be bounded by a trail to the west and the coast everywhere else, so it should be difficult to get lost forever.

They were the last words Dial received from his son. 

The Adventurer’s Son recreates the author’s two-year quest to learn the truth about his child’s disappearance. Immediately after Cody Roman’s planned departure date passed without a word from him, Dial set off for Costa Rica. As he trekked through the dense jungle, interviewing locals and searching for clues—the authorities suspected murder—the desperate father was forced to confront the deepest questions about his own life. Roman had raised his son to be fearless, to seek out adventure amid earth’s wildest places. Was he ultimately responsible for his son’s fate? 

A harrowing story of drama, adventure, and a father’s love for his son, set in the most beautiful and dangerous reaches of the planet, The Adventurer’s Son is a mystery, the memoir of a father and his son, and an unforgettable story of love and profound loss."
This just sounds like a really interesting true life adventure story that I would really enjoy based on other books I’ve in this realm. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to check it out!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Additions to My Bookshelf!

This week's topic is: Top Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

I honestly couldn't tell you what the ten most recent additions to my bookshelf are. A lot of what I read are ARCs and library books and frankly I don't keep them in any sort of order based on when I received them, and I haven't purchased too many books in the past couple months or so. For this post, I basically just went into my room, looked around at the various piles of books littered around, and tried to guess at the somewhat more recent books to come in? Maybe? A few I actually know I got recently, but others are just recent books I'm really excited to own! I'm probably skipping over a bunch of random books I've acquired recently, but who cares, let's dive in!

The Only Good IndiansThe Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)Never Come MorningCrossingsThe Mother Code

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones: I was so thrilled to win this book in a giveaway recently and I cannot wait to check it out. It's a horror novel "of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition," which sounds absolutely incredible. It's out in April and I'm hoping to dive in soon!

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan: This is such a highly anticipated release in the fantasy world--and with good reason! My review copy from Orbit just recently showed up and I'm diving into it, well, today! I'm really intrigued to see where Hanrahan goes in this inventive world. 

Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren: So this book has a weird backstory. It was an extremely random and unplanned acquisition and I really know very little about it, other than the fact that apparently it's a very highly praised yet unknown book? The reason I got it is because there's a song that I really like off a recent album of a band that I also really like and apparently this book was the inspiration for the song. In an interview, they stated that the only way to really get the full meaning out of it was to have read the book, and well, who am I to pass up such an obvious recommendation for a book I've never heard of? I'm pretty excited to check it out, so fingers crossed! It also seems to be out of print, but fortunately Ebay had some cheap copies so I managed to snag one.

Crossings by Alex Landragin: I recently received this ARC in the mail and I really don't know a lot about this book either, but it sounds so interesting! The descriptions states that it is "a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes." How interesting does that sound!? Out in July! (or if you're in Austraia, I think it's already out!)

The Mother Code by Carole Stivers: This is a futuristic sci-fi that I'm finally starting to see being talked about in a few places, so I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-GlassThe History of Rome, Books 1-5: The Rise of RomeSextus PompeiusMaster and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll--MinaLima edition: I am in love with these MinaLima editions! They are some of the most gorgeous versions of these classics that I've ever seen. They have stunning and vibrant illustrations, interactive elements like maps that pull out and illustrations that you can sort of move around--it's far better than I'm making it sound. I received this as a Christmas gift and since Alice is one of my favorites, I was beyond thrilled. I already have the Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid editions and I recommend them so much!

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten: I am so intrigued by this upcoming historical ficiton release. The cover featured is a pictur eof the ARC I have since there isn't an official cover out yet that I'm aware of. In case you can't read the tiny cover, all if says are "Serf. Murderer. Empress" and I am so very here for that. It's about "Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right" and I'm really looking forward to reading this, though it's not out until fall so I'm not sure if I'll prioritize it yet or not since I have so many other books to focus on right now.

The Rise of Rome by Livy: Since I haven't actually personally purchased a lot of books recently (mainly ARCs and library books!), I figured I'd include a couple books I bought for this semester of grad school. The first one if books 1-5 of Livy's history of Rome for a class I'm taking on Livy! Somehow throughut my career as a Classics student I still haven't managed to acquire any copies of Livy;s work to personally own, so I had to finally pick up a copy. My focus tends to be more on the Hellenistic side of things, so jumping into solely Roman/Latin-based courses is somewhat new for me!

Sextus Pompeius by Anton Powell & Kathryn Welch: Another book for this semester is this book on Sextus Pompeius, which I may or may not be fully reading for a potential paper for another class! I've not yet decided on a topic for my paper, but I'm planning on reading up on Sextus Pompey a bit to see if there is an angle in there I actually want to go with. We'll see! Nonetheless, it's still be really interesting so far to explore more about him and his role since he isn't mentioned overmuch and is often portrayed negatively in ancient sources.

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien: I reaize that this is also a very random book, but I saw it at a library sale a few weeks back and I thought, "well I like naval endeavors and maritime-based stories, so why not?" I've never seen the movie and honestly don't know much about this book/movie, either, but life's all about trying new things, right?

Have you read any of these/are you planning to read any of these? Let me know!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Review: Dreamland by Nick Clausen

Dreamland: A Ghost Story
Dreamland by Nick Clausen
Publication Date: March, 2019
Ebook. 162 pages

About Dreamland:

"Some nightmares never end 

In his sleep, Louie starts visiting a magical world where he meets his father, who died when Louie was still a baby. But nothing turns out to be what it seems, and great horrors loom very close by ... 

Welcome to Dreamland 

A mysterious teen ghost story about fear and loss and losing yourself in dreams, Dreamland was originally published in Danish to great reviews, and is now available in English."

Dreamland is a fantasy/horror novella that packs a huge punch and explores a number of imaginative and surprising elements in under two hundred pages. This was such a unique story blend of bittersweet, paranormal, and unpredictable elements that worked together to create an incredibly memorable story.

Dreamland itself is a place for Louie to escape to at night from the grief and everyday struggles of his everyday reality. This escape is something that I think a lot of us can easily relate to and that Clausen expands upon really well. While in Dreamland, Louie is able to talk to his father who died when he was a baby an experience that Louie is hooked by and makes him want to continue visiting Dreamland.

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with  lot of things that are possibly too good to be true, there's a big downside to Dreamland the Louie slowly starts to discover and things slow turn darker and darker in Drealmand. I think Clausen did a spectacular job of conveying the atmosphere of this change and in creating a setting that felt very vivid and believable. The physical changes that Louie begins to experience after visiting Dreamland at night--such as being tired rather than refreshed upon waking--contribute to this so much and really add an extra layer to the discomfort of Dreamland. There wasn't every anything overly terrifying, but the creepiness permeated the story extremely well.

There is a great exploration of grief and all of the surrounding struggles that come with grief that I really appreciated. The characters were all complex and well-developed and provided a great backdrop for the rest of the plot to unfold. I really enjoyed following Louie on this journey and experiencing all the crazy, unpredictable changes that made this such an interesting story.

I found the pacing of Dreamland to be really well done. It has a great balance of moments that slow things down in order to fully explore an important scene or element. I also really enjoyed the fact that I couldn't ever predict where the story was going. Clausen includes a couple big twists, but the entire storyline is so interesting and unique which allowed me to fully enjoy it and the discovery of each point to its fullest extent. There is a very bittersweet ending, which is how I tend to like my endings.

One last note I'd like to make about Dreamland is that although it's technically a YA story, it seems as though it has some great appeal for all ages. I found a lot of the themes highly relatable and I can see different areas meaning something different to each person, no matter the age.

Overall, I've given Dreamland four stars! This was a really enjoyable and quick novella that I definitely recommend to anyone looking for a little bit of spooky with their fantasy.

*I received a copy of Dreamland courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Friday Face-Face: Horizon

Friday Face Off New
Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme 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. You can find a list of upcoming topics at Lynn's Books.

This week's topic is:
Horizon – “Your “beautiful” ship killed its crew, Doctor.”

Horizon was a fun topic to try to track down and I ended up deciding on The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick because I think the U.S. edition that I read has a fantastic example of an ocean-based horizon. The rest of these covers vary a decent bit, but I love the theme that inhabits all of them! There weren't a lot of different covers to showcase, but I still think it's a good variety.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Chathrand Voyages, #1)The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage #1)
2009 US Hardcover | 2008 UK Hardcover | 2010 US Mass Market

La Conspiration du loup rouge (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)Spiknutí Ryšavého vlkaThe Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)
2009 French | 2010 Czech | 2009 Audiobook

My choice(s):
The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Chathrand Voyages, #1)The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)
I'm more drawn to the UK Hardcover on the right, but I do think the US one reflects the slightly more adventurous spirit of the story and the inclusion of the sword makes it more fun. But I seriously still love the blues and the ships in the UK one!

What cover(s) do you like the most!?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Review: The Light of All that Falls (Licanius Trilogy #3) by James Islington

The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)
The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy #3) by James Islington
Publication Date: December 12th, 2019
Hardcover. 864 pages

**Note: This review will not contain any spoilers for The Light of All That Falls, but it will probably contain inadvertent spoiler-y events from the first two books. If you plan on reading the first two books and do not want to know anything, then you may want to skim this review. I don't go into details on anything, but just a head's up.

About The Light of All That Falls:

"The Light of All that Falls concludes the epic adventure that began in The Shadow of What Was Lost, the acclaimed fantasy blockbuster from James Islington.

The Boundary is whole once again, but it may be too late. Banes now stalk Andarra, while in Ilin Illan, the political machinations of a generation come to a head as Wirr's newfound ability forces his family's old enemies into action. Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate as they work tirelessly to undo Asha's sacrifice - even as he struggles with what he has learned about the friend he chose to set free. Finally, Caeden is confronted with the reality of the plan he laid centuries ago - heartbroken at how it began, and devastated by how it must end."

The Light of All That Falls was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2019. My excitement level for this book has been nearly off the charts because of how invested I am in not only the plot of the story, but also because of how much I love all of the main characters (and, frankly, everyone else as well). This trilogy is easily one of the most stunning and breathtaking epic fantasy trilogies that I've read in quite some time. I know I tend to have a lot of favorites when it comes to fantasy, but the Licanius Trilogy truly is one that I will always hold close to my heart and that I will never stop recommending to everyone.

One of my favorite things that Islington does is provide a comprehensive "the story so far" style recap in the beginning of all of his sequels. Islington takes care to note that he doesn't cover everything that happens int he books, but rather highlight this main points and although that's true, this one was still over twenty pages long and I found it to be invaluable in refreshing my memory. This is a series that I have actively thought about ever since finishing the first and second books, but it still has so many intricate details and storylines that are easy to overlook.

Jumping into the story itself, The Light of All That Falls picks up about a year after the events of the second book, which I found to be a perfect amount of time to sort of get into the groove of the new routine and life for all of our characters after the intense and astonishing ending of the second book. I found this to be the perfect balance in kick-starting the events of the final book while showcasing what the "new normal" is like for all of our characters.

One of my favorite things about this series and what draws me to it so strongly is how much I genuinely love and care about the main characters, as well as the way in which Islington crafts both main and secondary characters in such fulfilling and incredible well-developed and multi-dimensional ways. Davian has been through such a whirlwind of events since the start of the first book and I have been so hooked on seeing how he works through all of the chaos that is almost constantly thrown at him. The way he hones with skills and always works to put doing what's right before what he or someone else might want or find easier is so admirable and is part of what makes him so compelling. Wirr also really embodies the idea of doing what is morally right over what is more convenient or what others want him to do. As a leader, Wirr struggles with his new role and I really like how Islington continued to show his struggles with earning acceptance from those around him, as well as with earning how to be a good leader. He's incredibly loyal and always puts the safety and well-being of the people in Ilin Ilan first, something that shines through and makes him so endearing. Then there's Asha, a incredibly powerful and resolute woman who makes an incredible sacrifice a the end of the previous book. Her adaptation to her role is one done with maturity and no matter how undesirable her current situation might be, she always makes the best of it to be as useful as she can possibly be. I love Asha's role in these books and I'm so pleased by her character arc throughout this series.

Lastly, I'd like to mention Caeden. Caeden is easily one of the most interesting and complex characters I've ever read. Without being too detailed so as to not spoil anything, the sheer transformation of his character over time is unbelievably fascinating and so well-written. What Islington tackled with Caeden's character is something that I don't think many people could pull off and Islington did it so well. The inner conflicts that Caeden deals with are so intense and authentic and I believed everything about his struggles. There's also his difficulties with trust and getting others to trust him when even he doesn't think people should always trust him. I can't really say more without spoilers, but suffice to say that Caeden is one of the most intriguing fantasy characters and has one of the most incredible character arcs that I've read in years, possibly ever. My hat's off to Islington for that alone, if not everything else.

This book has a huge cast of characters in addition to the main characters (seriously, I made use of the character glossary in the back of the book so often to make sure I remember who was who) and no matter how small or large a character's role in the story is, Islington still makes them real, authentic characters with distinct personalities, motivations, and incredibly development.

This book is full of some of the best twists and developments. There was one huge moment at the end that I sort of guessed early in a "gee, maybe this will happen, but probably not," and I let out the biggest whoop of satisfaction when it actually came to fruition. That's not to say that this book is predictable, though, because it most definitely isn't and I was mindblown over and over at how deep and utterly clever Islington is with his plot and sheer scope of exploration in this book. There is a bit of exploration with time travel-type elements that I loved, and that's coming from someone who typically doesn't like anything to do with time travel. As before, I can't go into details about all of that, but trust me when I say that it's so well done and utterly original and well-written.

I could say a lot more about the world, the creatures in the world, the magic system, and so many other things, but I fear this review is already too long (looks to be more than a thousand words already, which is way too many) so I'm just going to cut myself off here and implore you to check this series out!

Overall, it's an obvious five stars. I'd honestly give this series and this book all the stars that are out there--they deserve them. I already want to start re-reading the series, and I honestly might just go ahead and pick up the first book again later this year to start this incredible adventure all over again.

*I received a copy of The Light of All That Falls in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Sword of Fire Katharine Kerr & The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

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 spotlights are: 

Sword of Fire
Sword of Fire by Katharine Kerr 
Publication: February 18th, 2020
DAW Books
Hardcover. 384 pages.

"This first novel of an epic fantasy trilogy reintroduces readers to the beloved and bestselling world of Deverry, blending magic, politics, and adventure in an unforgettable setting. 

The bards are the people's voice--and their sword. 

All over the kingdom of Deverry, the common people are demanding reform of the corrupt law courts. In Aberwyn, the situation catches fire when Gwerbret Ladoic, second in authority only to the High King, allows a bard to starve to death rather than hear their grievances. 

Guildwoman Alyssa, a student at the local scholars' collegium, and Lady Dovina, the gwerbret's own daughter, know that evidence exists to overthrow the so-called traditional legal system, if they can only get it into the right hands. The powerful lords will kill anyone who threatens their privileges. 

To retrieve the proof, Alyssa must make a dangerous journey that will either change her life forever--or end it."
This sounds intense and detailed and I love the sound of the political backdrop. I've not read anything by Katharine Kerr, but I've heard great things about her work so I'm really looking forward to this new one. And just like last week, I think both covers for this book are gorgeous and just give off such different vibes, so I had to share both.

Sword of Fire

The Last Smile in Sunder City
The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold
Publication: February 6th, 2020
Paperback. 352 pages.

"I'm Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me: 
1. Sobriety costs extra. 
2. My services are confidential - the cops can never make me talk. 
3. I don't work for humans. 

It's nothing personal - I'm human myself. But after what happened, Humans don't need my help. Not like every other creature who had the magic ripped out of them when the Coda came... I just want one real case. One chance to do something good. Because it's my fault the magic is never coming back. 

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a brilliantly voiced fantasy for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Rotherweird or Terry Pratchett's Discworld, and the debut novel from actor Luke Arnold - known for his lead role in Black Sails!"
This sounds like a lot of fun. I'm really not sure at all what to expect from this book, but I'm ready for the ride! I also just recently realized that the author, Luke Arnold, is the actor from Black Sailts (which is literally right there in the synopsis, so I just completely missed that tidbit of info!), so that's pretty fun as well.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Top 5 Tuesday: Series I Need To Catch Up On (Pt. 1/?)

This week I decided to switch back over and participate in Top 5 Tuesday, hosted by BionicBookworm!

This week's topic is: Top 5 Books I Need to Read in 2020--AKA, Series Catch-Up!

This week's top 5 Tuesday post is on books that we really need to read this year and I decided to use this as my opportunity to list a few books in series that I must catch up on this year. no more excuses. I constantly have the desire to read them, yet for some reason I procrastinate so I'll just add them here and try to hold myself accountable. This is also making me want to create an entire list of all the series I've started and I may come back and make a longer post at some point.

A Sword from Red Ice (Sword of Shadows, #3)

A Sword from Red Ice by J.V. Jones
Sword of Shadows Book #3
I just finished the second book about a month or two ago, so I'm not actually that behind in reading this, but I also finished the first book in early 2018, so... I'd like to really prioritize catching up on this series.

Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)

Kings of Ash by Richard Nell
Ash and Sand Book #2
Kings of Paradise was one of my top favorite books of 2018 and yet I somehow missed when the sequel came out last year? I've bumped it up in priority though and I'm really hoping to get to it in the next few months. The first book was really complex and epic, though, so I may need to do some sort of refresher before diving back into this awesome world.

The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time, #3)

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time Book #3
Yeah, I read The Eye of the World back in 2017, I think, so I've been majorly slacking on this series. Again, I think I'll need some sort of recap so I can remember all the details, but I feel good about diving back into this series.

Kushiel's Avatar (Phèdre's Trilogy, #3)

Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey
Phedre's Trilogy Book #3
Isn't it funny how a series can be one of your favorites of all time...even though you haven't yet finished said trilogy? This is the case for me and trust me when I say I feel great shame for it. Kushiel's Dart and Kushiel's Chosen are some of the most incredible books, however, and I love them to absolute pieces. I can't wait to actually finish this trilogy, but I think I've also been putting it off because I don't want it to be over!

The True Bastards (The Lot Lands, #2)

The True Bastards by Jonathan French
The Lot Lands #2
I had such a fun time reading The Grey Bastards, but I never had a chance to read the sequel last fall when it came out. This year I'd really like to do so because I had such a fun time in this messed up world with the most frustrating yet endearing characters.

Have you read any of these series? Do you  want to!?