Showing posts with label book recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book recommendations. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You Might Find Near the Ocean (?)

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 I'd Love to Throw in the Ocean Books You Might Find NEar the Ocean (?)

 The original topic is 'books I'd love to throw in the ocean,' but frankly I don't really want to throw any books in the ocean, so how about we feature some books that you might "find" in the ocean? And by this, I mean books that have a lot of underwater themes or settings that make you think of the ocean and being underwater!

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

About"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure   

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?" Goodreads

House of Salt and SorrowsHouse of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig

About: "In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.  

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods..." Goodreads 

The Surface Breaks
The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill

About"Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.Goodreads

The Mermaid
The Mermaid by Christina Henry

About"Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return." Goodreads

To Kill a Kingdom
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

About: "Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.  

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?" Goodreads

Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver
Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth

About"Jill Heinerth—the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations—has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave. But there’s beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while Heinerth swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves." Goodreads

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

About"Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.  

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.  

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price." Goodreads

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

About"A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.  

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian. " Goodreads

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

About"In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex - an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.  

In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear..." Goodreads

After the FloodAfter the Flood by Kassandra Montag

About"A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.  

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? What are some books with ocean themes/settings that you love?

Friday, May 15, 2020

If You Like... You Might Also Like... (Part 4 of ?)

It has been ages since I've gotten around to making another one of these types of posts, but I figured it was time to introduce some new recommendations. I decided to sort of try to mix things up a bit with genres, so hopefully there's a little something for everyone. I have so much fun making these comparison posts, so hopefully I'll have another one up before it's been over a year again. ;)

These two books are very unique from one another in a lot of ways, but while I was reading Catherine House recently, I kept having moments where it reminded me ever so slightly of Vita Nostra--the atmospheres felt like they would compliment each other a lot. With both books, we have a boarding school sort of setting where what is being studied is a bit mysterious and unknown even to the students, the students are majorly overworked, and there's an air of both casualness 'I don't care' mixed with the desire to be successful. They are also both fairly dark in tone, though have some rather quirky aspects that make things a little lighter here and there. If you read and enjoyed Vita Nostra, definitely check out Catherine House!
Vita Nostra: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Catherine House: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

I read The Historian as a kid and thought it was just the most magnificent and and intriguing book out there. I haven't re-read it in a while, though I do plan to, and I am always searching for something that makes me feel the way The historian did. I was recently reading Sepulchre and found myself mentally comparing it to The Historian with it's some large scope that includes both modern day and a focus on elements from the past, as well as the somewhat mysterious component that hints at the supernatural. If you like the historical fiction and mystery of The Historian, you'll probably like Sepulchre as well (and vice versa)!
The HistorianAmazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
SepulchreAmazon Book Depository | IndieBound

Both of these books are fairly recently published, so I don't know which one is more likely that people have already read, but if you liked one, I almost guarantee you'll enjoy the other! Both feature some intense, rather cutthroat and focused female protagonists who are determined to follow through with their respective plans. Queen of the Conquered is a fascinating story that is impossible to put down and that explores some intense topics, and The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is similarly intense and features a really unique plot premise. 
Queen of the Conquered: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

I read Wonderland a couple months back and really enjoyed it. I kept having moments of being reminded of other books, but I couldn't quite place my finger on which books. After thinking about it for far longer than I should have, I think Wonderland is a great example of a combination of elements from The Turn of the Key and And the Trees Crept In. It has the secluded setting with a woman mainly taking care of children with strange happenings (The Turn of the Key) and a sort of creeping and mysterious surrounding forest and environment that is a bit...well, unpredictable (And the Trees Crept In). Wonderland isn't out until June, but that just gives you more time to prepare and maybe even pre-order!
The Turn of the Key: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
And the Trees Crept In: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Okay, so I'm sort of cheating with this one because neither one of these books are out yet, but I loved them both so much and can't get them out of my head and they are perfect recommendations for each other. The Only Good Indians is a dark, haunting, gut punch of a read that follows four American Indian men as they try to overcome a momentous occasion for their youth that has essentially haunted them ever since. Empire of the Wild is about an indigenous Métis woman who is searching for her missing husband, but is confronted instead with the hauntings and horror of a traditional Métis story come to life. Both of these combine their incredible indigenous cultures into dark, moving stories that explore what it means to be indigenous in this modern world, along with so many more compelling discussions. 
I really am sorry for being a tease, but in my defense I didn't realize The Only Good Indians wasn't going to be released in May as originally planned a couple weeks ago and I was already so set on comparing these two. Please do consider pre-ordering one or both of these, or at least checking them out from your library once they are out!
The Only Good Indians: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Empire of Wild: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Reading Recommendations: Arctic Climates

When I was putting together my Top Ten Tuesday post this past week I included a category on 'cold settings' and I was once again reminded that that's a setting I love reading in books. It's pretty much an auto-buy sort of things for me ( I've also seen quite a few people who also enjoy some polar fantasy or winter-ready books, so I thought why not make a recommendations list of books with a polar/arctic settings that I think other lovers of this setting might enjoy? And here we are. This list has ended up being a bit of a mixture of fantasy and nonfiction (though predominantly fantasy, let's be real), so I hope there's a little something for everyone. 

Also, it's 93 degrees out where I live as I make this post. I'm just desperately holding onto any sense of cold weather as I can. I know it's still cold in some places, but this is my desperate attempt to stave off the summer weather.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
I just read this book about a week ago, but it has already become one that I know I'll want to keep re-reading in the future. Endurance tells the story of Ernest Shackleton's daunting voyage to explore in the Antarctic regions, only for him and his crew to end up shipwrecked for seventeen months in the brutal Antarctic cold. This book is intense, gripping,inspirational, and I think everyone should read it.

"In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. 

Lansing describes how the men survived a 1,000-mile voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean on the globe and an overland trek through forbidding glaciers and mountains. The book recounts a harrowing adventure, but ultimately it is the nobility of these men and their indefatigable will that shines through."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Wolf in the Whale

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
I'm sorry if you're already tired of me talking about this book, but I probably won't be shutting up about it for a very long time. This book takes place in an Arctic setting featuring the Inuit, as well as a few Vikings thrown in, and immediately transported me to the cold, icy setting. The Wolf in the Whale is beautiful and compelling and honestly, just read it. REVIEW

""There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale." 

Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people. 

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left. 

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Early Riser

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
Early Riser takes place in a world in which the winter months are so inhospitable that a majority of the human population has to hibernate. Fforde is his classic quirky self and has a lot of fun exploring this idea--I loved exploring the norms and culture of this society.

"Every Winter, the human population hibernates. 

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity. 

Well, not quite . 

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. 

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact born of the sleeping mind. 

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling. 
When you get the dreams too, it's weird. 
When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity. 

But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp collecting; ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food; and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk. 

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)

A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones
This is another one I've mentioned a lot in the past year, but it's the perfect book if you like your fantasy served freezing cold with extra icicles. Jones has noted that she based this setting off of an extreme version of Alaska's climate, and let me tell you, I've never felt so cold while reading a book. It is truly an unforgiving environment. REVIEW

"As a newborn Ash March was abandoned--left for dead at the foot of a frozen mountain. Found and raised by the Penthero Iss, the mighty Surlord of Spire Vanis, she has always known she is different. Terrible dreams plague her and sometimes in the darkness she hears dread voices from another world. Iss watches her as she grows to womanhood, eager to discover what powers his ward might possess. As his interest quickens, he sends his living blade, Marafice Eye, to guard her night and day. 

Raif Sevrance, a young man of Clan Blackhail, also knows he is different, with uncanny abilities that distance him from the clan. But when he and his brother survive an ambush that plunges the entire Northern Territories into war, he yet seeks justice for his own . . . even if means he must forsake clan and kin. 

Ash and Raif must learn to master their powers and accept their joint fate if they are to defeat an ancient prophecy and prevent the release of the pure evil known as the End Lords."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
There's no way I could've made this list and not included this book. The Bear and the Nightingale deals with a lot of cold, deadly weather in a magical way that lends perfectly to this polar/arctic theme.  REVIEW

"Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. 

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. 

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar
Here's another that I just read last week, but it felt too perfect to not make it onto the list. The Dyatlov Pass incident of 1959--a true story--occurred when a group of nine Russian hikers (most university-aged) died while hiking an area known as Dead Mountain. The cause of death has never been confirmed, so this book is Eichar's attempts to retrace the steps of the hikers, dive into the events surrounding their hike, and make his own hypothesis.

"In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers narrative, the investigators' efforts, and the author's investigations, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Terror

The Terror by Dan Simmons
This leans to the horror side of things, which only makes the cold climate even more intense. This setup of this one sort of reads like a horror version of Endurance (though, to be honest, Endurance already sounds horrifying to me) and it's truly fantastic. It's also now an adapted TV series, though I have not personally seen it so I have no idea how it holds up to the book.

"The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape. The Terror swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as "a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). With a haunting and constantly surprising story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

To the Bright Edge of the World

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
This is a quietly beautiful book that grabs you entirely unaware and burrows deep into your soul. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. To the Bright Edge of the World splits between a woman named and her husband, the latter of which is current exploring the Alaskan wilderness. REVIEW

"Set again in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey's second novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret. 

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy. 

For Forrester, the decision to accept this mission is even more difficult, as he is only recently married to Sophie, the wife he had perhaps never expected to find. Sophie is pregnant with their first child, and does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband embarks upon the journey of a lifetime. She has genuine cause to worry about her pregnancy, and it is with deep uncertainty about what their future holds that she and her husband part."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Okay, so admittedly I'm only about ~20% into this book, but... I can already tell it's going to be a fantastic choice for this particular topic. It's full of that icy cold environment that we all love so much and already has a fantastic setting set up.

"Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf―the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: if she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes. 

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books- turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Fatal Passage: The Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot by Ken McGoogan
Another Arctic explorer--what can I say, I can't get enough of them. This is another incredible story about exploration within the Northwest Passage (in a very different manner and result from that of The Terror) and it's full of some truly neat insights and information about the area and its history.

"John Rae's accomplishments, surpassing all nineteenth-century Arctic explorers, were worthy of honors and international fame. No explorer even approached Rae's prolific record: 1,776 miles surveyed of uncharted territory; 6,555 miles hiked on snowshoes; and 6,700 miles navigated in small boats. Yet, he was denied fair recognition of his discoveries because he dared to utter the truth about the fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew, Rae's predecessors in the far north. Author Ken McGoogan vividly narrates the astonishing adventures of Rae, who found the last link to the Northwest Passage and uncovered the grisly truth about the cannibalism of Franklin and his crew. A bitter smear campaign by Franklin's supporters would deny Rae his knighthood and bury him in ignominy for over one hundred and fifty years. Ken McGoogan's passion to secure justice for a true North American hero in this revelatory book produces a completely original and compelling portrait that elevates Rae to his rightful place as one of history's greatest explorers."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Gaslight Dogs (Middle Light, #1)
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
It's been an extremely long time since I've read this book so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but what I do vividly recall is the strong Arctic setting and nomadic tribe that the story follows.

"At the edge of the known world, an ancient nomadic tribe faces a new enemy-an Empire fueled by technology and war. 

A young spiritwalker of the Aniw and a captain in the Ciracusan army find themselves unexpectedly thrown together. The Aniw girl, taken prisoner from her people, must teach the reluctant soldier a forbidden talent - one that may turn the tide of the war and will surely forever brand him an outcast. 

From the rippling curtains of light in an Arctic sky, to the gaslit cobbled streets of the city, war is coming to the frozen north. Two people have a choice that will decide the fates of nations - and may cast them into a darkness that threatens to bring destruction to both their peoples.."
Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these? What polar/arctic books do you love?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Recommendations: If You Like...You Might Also Like... (Part 3 of ?)

I'm back with another installment of my 'if you like x, you might also like x' recommendations posts! I always love reading these types of posts, and they've been just as fun to make as well (if you'd like to check out a past one, you can find it here!). As usual, I tried to make the initial book a more popular one that people have more likely read than others and then paired it with a possibly lesser known novel. And if you have any of your own recommendations to pair with any of these, let me know! :)

There are a lot of differences between these two books, but also a lot of overarching similarities. If you loved the gritty city setting of Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett, then I guarantee you'll enjoy the extra gritty and unpredictable city of The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. Both casts of characters in each book are compromised of a variety of different people (and a few not-so-human characters) from different backgrounds that end up having to work together to combat a greater threat against each respective city. 
The Gutter Prayer: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Foundryside: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

I absolutely love sci-fi books that either take place in space or are about exploring a new planet, so I'm always looking for more of those--which is something that both The Martian by Andy Weir and One Way by S.J. Morden seem to do very well. Both books showcase the desperate struggle of survival on the hostile planet of Mars and evoke many of the same ideas and obstacles. Both protagonists have a rather dry sense of humor as they learn how to navigate their new homes and stay alive. If you enjoyed The Martian's dangerous Mars setting and the insight into what it might be like to survive there, you'll love the increased stakes at play in the same setting in One Way

There are some pretty big differences between these, such as one being set on earth and one being set on what is decidedly not earth, but both explored concepts and ideas in magnitudes that left me feeling mindblown and extremely impressed. If you like books such as Rosewater by Tade Thompson that deal with alien-type species, humanity's relation to them, and other thought-provoking topics, then you should really pick up The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders.  
The City in the Middle of the Night: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Although Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones has a strong plot and storyline, it is really much more of a character-driven story that explores a lot of dark themes, which is something that The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick also does. Both books have a dark, ominous tone that permeates the entire story and also feature two incredible female protagonists that must constantly face and struggle with their inner demons. If you loved the atmospheric style of Wintersong and the way in which the author explored human emotions and desires, then The Demon Race should definitely be the next book you pick up.
Wintersong: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
The Demon Race: Amazon 

To round this recommendations list off, I though I'd share some middle grade books. I've seen Small Spaces by Katherine Arden mentioned around here and there--likely because Katherine Arden is a widely loved adult fantasy author--and I think that if you're someone who enjoyed the spooky vibe of that book, you might just like Nightbooks by J.A. White as well. Although the two have vastly different settings, both explore some darker ideas for middle grade books and showcase some awesome kids overcoming their fears and learning to work together to save themselves and their friends.
Small Spaces: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Nightbooks: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Standalone Speculative Fiction Recommendations

The speculative fiction umbrella, which includes fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, etc.. is an area full of great books, but a lot of them tend to be in some sort of series. Standalones seems few and far between in fantasy sometimes and since I'm always seeing people looking for some good standalones, I thought I'd put together a small sample of some great standalones! I had to really weed this list down so it wasn't too long, but perhaps I'll make a 'Part 2' at some point with more. Also, I'd like to note that these are all books that, to the extent of my knowledge, are currently seen as standalones. With that, let's dive in!

The Book of Lost Things Miranda and Caliban Space Opera Spinning Silver

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: If you like dark fairy tale themes and settings or some portal fantasy, then The Book of Lost Things might be right up your alley. If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you might also be wondering, "Can you make one list without mentioning this book!?" And the answer is no, no I cannot.
Amazon | Book Depository

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey: This is more in the low fantasy realm, but it's still a deeply magic literary fantasy by the master author of the Kushiel's Dart series that I love. I really enjoyed this "The Tempest"-inspired retelling and thought it was beautifully written.
Amazon | Book Depository

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente: Here's a sci-fi book that really has no other way to be described than as extremely crazy, but also ridiculously fun. Valente basically wrote this book off of the main idea of "Eurovision in space," and if that doesn't tell you what to expect, nothing will.
Amazon | Book Depository

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: You've probably seen Spinning Silver at least somewhere in the book world lately, but that's for a good reason. It's a beautiful, expertly written fantasy following three young women from different areas of life, but who all struggle with similar themes.
Amazon | Book Depository

Tiger Lily Munmun The Glass Town Game The Changeling

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: I read this book a few years ago, but I still think about it fondly and look forward to a re-read one day. This is a Peter Pan-inspired retelling narrated by Tinkerbell herself. It's beautiful, imaginative, a little heartbreaking, and something that I always like to recommend to people.
Amazon | Book Depository

Munmun by Jesse Andrews: Have you ever wondered what the world might look like if people's physical size reflected their wealth and status in society? Munmun takes that idea and runs with it! This was a surprisingly heartbreaking story that follows a young boy named Warner who wants nothing more than to increase his and his family's way of life, but ends up on quite the rollercoaster of an adventure.
Amazon | Book Depository

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente: This is a middle grade portal type fantasy in which the Bronte children, Anne, Charlotte, Emily, and Branwell, are whisked away into a world in which a game they made up is brought to life--and they're now living in it. As one can expect from Valente's writing, this story is ridiculously imaginative and has something new to explore with every page, from the whimsical to the more serious.
Amazon | Book Depository

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle: This is a contemporary fantasy that reads sort of like a modern day dark New York fairy tale. The main character, Apollo, is an antiquarian book dealer whose life is turned upside down when his wife begins have difficulties after the birth of their son. This is definitely a weird one with a few loose endings, but it's also captivating.
Amazon | Book Depository

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor, #1) Under the Skin Gather the Daughters

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman: Who doesn't enjoy some humorous fantasy about the end of the world? Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are unstoppable forces that combined their genius into one exceptional and entertaining novel. Plus, it's currently in the process of being adapted into a TV mini-series set to release next year!
Amazon | Book Depository

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: Political fantasy at its finest, The Goblin Emperor will have you continuously turning pages. There are some steampunk elements in here as well that really contribute to some fantastic world-building. If you like court intrigue, this is for you.
Amazon | Book Depository

Under the Skin by Michel Faber: If someone asked me, "what's one of the weirdest fantasy books you've ever read?" this would be one of my top answers. I don't even know how to describe the plot of this book, but suffice to say it's a contemporary low fantasy that is certainly thought-provoking. It was also made into a movie apparently, though I've not seen and don't really plan to, so I can't attest to how well it holds up the book.
Amazon | Book Depository

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed: I couldn't make a speculative fiction book complete with a dystopian-esque story in it. I'm not sure that I would completely classify this as dystopian since it is mainly focused on cult-like group that live on an isolated island, but it sure feels that way. Plus, if I recall there are small hints that there was some great disaster in the rest of the world. Daughters in this society are essentially "wives-in-training" and there are strict breeding rules, limited knowledge, and so many more crazy things in place. It's definitely worth a read.
Amazon | Book Depository

The Graveyard Book Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook The Witches of New York The Gray House

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: This book about a boy named Nobody who grows up in a graveyard feels like a classic to me by this point in my life. There's something really endearing about the idea of a huge family of ghosts raising a toddler and doing their best to protect and educate him.
Amazon | Book Depository

Lost Boy by Christina Henry: I'm a sucker for Peter Pan-inspired stories (if you couldn't already tell) and this one focuses on Captain Hook himself (before he becomes the 'Captain' part) and takes a much darker turn than the story of Peter Pan. This has been one of my favorite 'origin stories' of Captain Hook and I was really impressed by where Henry took the story. I'd also recommend Lisa Jensen's Alias Hook if you like Captain Hook stories.
Amazon | Book Depository

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay: This is a historical/magical realism-type of fantasy about three young women working in a tea and sympathy shop. It's magical and full of so much interesting detail that really made me love entering this world each time I picked it up. There are a lot of things going on throughout this book, but McKay incorporates them well which makes for a great standalone.
Amazon | Book Depository

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan: Another weird one that I'm not entirely sure how to describe. I think it's best summed up from this excerpt from the synopsis: "an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths." It's a fantasy that's worth checking out.
Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these books? What fantasy standalones do you love?