I cannot believe the year is nearly half-way over and I haven’t talked about the unread ARCs on my virtual shelves even once. I have been a pretty awful blogger this year – I don’t have all that much time for it and I have also not been feeling like reading books I should be reading. My reading has been overwhelmingly done by whim (except for the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist) and as such I have fallen off the ARC-waggon a bit. I have so many overdue ARCs that I am feeling guilty about – but I also recently acquired a few more that are either not much overdue yet or in a few cases aren’t published yet. I am hoping that putting these on my blog will lead to me actually reading them soonish.
The Outside by Ada Hoffmann
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019
Publisher: Angry Robot
Blurb (from Goodreads): The Pride of Jai was supposed to be humanity’s greatest accomplishment—a space station made entirely by humans and their primitive computers, without “divine” cyber-technology provided by the sentient quantum supercomputers worshipped as Gods. And it was supposed to be a personal triumph for its young lead scientist, physicist Yasira Shien, whose innovative mathematics was key to the reactor powering it.
But something goes wrong in Yasira’s reactor, leading to an unexplained singularity that destroys The Pride of Jai and most of the people on it—and placing Yasira in the sights of angry Angels, the cyborg servants of the Gods.
According to the angels, Yasira’s reactor malfunction was the latest in a rising tide of disasters, intentionally caused to exploit vulnerabilities in the very pattern of spacetime and usher in horrific beings from beyond reality itself. They believe that the woman behind the disasters is Yasira’s long-vanished mentor, Dr Evianna Talirr—and they believe that Yasira, Dr Talirr’s favorite student, is the only one who can help them find her.
Spirited off to the edge of the galaxy and with her whole planet’s fate, and more, hanging in the balance, Yasira must decide who to trust: the ruthless angels she was always taught to obey without question—or the heretic scientist whose plans could change everything she knows to be true about reality.
Why I requested it: This just sounds awesome. I do love books about gods and AI gods seem like the logical sci-fi equivalent.
Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe
Publication Date: June 13th, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK/ Orbit
Blurb (from Goodreads): Sanda and Biran were siblings destined for greatness. Her: a dedicated soldier with the skills to save the universe. Him: a savvy politician with ambitions for changing the course of intergalactic war.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda’s gunship gets blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later upon an empty enemy smartship who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system and everyone in it is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by space and time, Sanda and Biran will find a way to put things right.
Why I requested it: I saw some great early reviews for this and thought this sounded like the type of science fiction I might adore. That it seems to prominently feature a sibling relationship is a definite plus as well – I love stories about siblings.
A Woman Like Her by Sanam Maher
Publication Date: July 11th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Blurb (from Goodreads): A beautiful woman in winged eyeliner and a low-cut top lies on a bed urging her favourite cricketer to win the next match. In another post, she pouts at the camera from a hot tub. She posts a selfie with a cleric, wearing his cap at a jaunty angle. Her posts are viewed millions of times and the comments beneath them are full of hate. As her notoriety grows, the comments made about her on national talk shows are just as vitriolic. They call her Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian, they say she’ll do anything for attention. When she’s murdered, they’re transfixed by the footage of her body.
Drawing on interviews and in-depth research, Sanam Maher pieces together Qandeel’s life from the village where she grew up in the backwaters of rural Pakistan, to her stint in a women’s shelter after escaping her marriage, to her incarnation as a social media sensation and the Muslim world’s most unlikely feminist icon.
Why I requested it: This sounds absolutely fascinating. I haven’t been reading enough non-fiction lately and really want to remedy that.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2019
Publisher: Quercus Books
Blurb (from Goodreads): The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Why I requested it: I have only read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s short stories so far but always loved them. I am hoping to love this full-length work of hers. Also, gods: I love fantasy involving gods so much I have written a recommendation post.
Knock Wood by Jennifer Militello
Publication Date: August 13th, 2019
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Blurb (from Goodreads): Anchored by a wooden ring and the superstition of a knock that prevents misfortune, Knock Wood centers on three intertwined elements: the life of a mentally ill aunt in an abusive marriage; Jennifer’s high school romance with a boy who eventually dies of a heroin overdose; and an extra-marital affair characterized by an otherworldly connection. Cause and effect reverse as significant events—an arrest for a felony committed in high school, a trip by train to meet an illicit lover, and a suicide attempt on those same New York tracks—seem to influence one another outside of time and space.
Why I accepted it: I was offered an ARC for this and couldn’t not say yes; it sounds like such a me-book. I adore fragmented memoirs a whole lot – and the author is a poet, a combination that often makes a book incredibly impressive to me.
Shelf Live by Lidia Franchini
Publication Date: August 29th, 2019
Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publications
Blurb (from Goodreads): Launching an intelligent, perceptive new voice in fiction, Shelf Life is the exquisite, heart-wrenching story of a woman rebuilding herself on her own terms.
Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.
And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.
Why I requested it: It is blurbed by Sophie Macintosh, whose debut The Water Cure I loved last year. I am also always interested in stories about women and their identities, so this whole blurb just pulled at me.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Publication Date: September 12th, 2019
Blurb (from Goodreads): In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Why I requested it: The hype. The blurb sounds like I will either adore or hate it and I am obviously hoping for the former.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Publication Date: September 19th, 2019
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Blurb (from Goodreads): The resistance starts here… No one speaks of the grace year.
We’re told we have the power to lure grown men from their beds, make boys lose their minds, and drive the wives mad with jealousy. That’s why we’re banished for our sixteenth year, to release our magic into the wild before we’re allowed to return to civilization.
But I don’t feel powerful.
I don’t feel magical.
Tierney James lives in an isolated village where girls are banished at sixteen to the northern forest to brave the wilderness – and each other – for a year. They must rid themselves of their dangerous magic before returning purified and ready to marry – if they’re lucky.
It is forbidden to speak of the grace year, but even so every girl knows that the coming year will change them – if they survive it…
Why I requested it: I tend to really like the spec-fic titles Ebury publishes – so I gambled on this one. I also like books set in magical forests and books prominently featuring women, so I am keeping my fingers crossed to enjoy this.
Have you read any of these? Which should I prioritize?