TBR: ARCs on my shelves part V (2018)

I have not talked about the ARCs I added to my virtual shelves in three months and while I did not request as many ARCs as I have done in the past, I have acquired a few and want to talk about them.

Still to be read:

38633526Vita Nostra by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko

Publication Date: November 1st, 2018

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Blurb (from Goodreads): The definitive English language translation of the internationally bestselling Ukrainian novel—a brilliant dark fantasy with “the potential to be a modern classic” (Lev Grossman), combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

Our life is brief . . .

While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.

As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it’s the only place she should be. Against her mother’s wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.

As she quickly discovers, the institute’s “special technologies” are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.

A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction—brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey—is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Max Barry’s Lexicon, and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds.

Why I requested it: I love Russian literature and this one sounded right up my alley. And then my slump hit. Continue reading “TBR: ARCs on my shelves part V (2018)”

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TBR: Novellas in November (2018)

This year I am planning on participating in Novellas in November. You can find an overview of the history of this event and further links on Laura’s blog.

There are two (main) reasons why I am trying to participate in Novellas in November:

  1. One of my reading resolutions was to read more novellas this year. I haven’t really done that.
  2. My reading has been super slow these last few weeks.

I am not very good at TBRs (which is why I have stopped setting myself any), so I will have to wait and see how it goes this month, but I do have a few novellas I want to get to. I will try to read as many as possible in a single sitting in the hopes of getting into the groove of reading again.

35954933The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer

I adore Jeff VanderMeer’s writing and own a few books of his that I haven’t read, but for some reason I have not picked any of his books up in months. Crossing this one off my TBR would be ace.

25667918Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

I have heard amazing things about this series, but I also DNFed one of Nnedi Okorafor’s other books (man, that one was disappointingly romance heavy). I want to like her writing more than I do, I think. But, this is less than 100 pages long and will hopefully be as great as everybody says it is.

22359316Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I would be nice to have read at least one classic book this year. I have neglected older books altogether this year and maybe that is a mistake. I have not read any Steinbeck but I have the nagging feeling that I would adore his work if I just got off my butt and actually read one of his books

32606889The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

This sounds SO brilliant. And creepy. And disturbing. I was super excited when I bought it and really should get to it before the year ends.

 

35519101Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries #3 by Martha Wells

I have read the first two in the series earlier this year and really enjoy the characters and the humor. It is just fluffy enough to hopefully sooth my reading despair.

Are you planning of participating in Novellas in November? What are your reading plans in general?

TBR: The last three month of the year (a male author selection)

I will only be reading books written by women and non-binary people next year. It seemed like a good idea when I decided on that a few months ago. My reading taste leans towards books written by women anyways and I got so annoyed at the articles proclaiming that men don’t read women – and being the good economist I am, I decided to show the market that I can do that as well – I mean being a woman and only reading women.

There are a few books that I am fairly hyped about that I won’t get to next year, but I figure waiting a few months before I read them won’t kill me. But, and this is the idea behind this post, I own a few books written by men that I do want to get to before the beginning of the year. So I will try to read them in the next few months (I have not been following any TBRs whatsoever, so we will have to wait and see whether I actually do read them). Here are some books I am excited about, in no particular order.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

number9dream by David Mitchell

Please get me excited about these books because they are all books I am sure I will enjoy (probably love) but some of them have been on my shelves for over a year. And if I don’t pick them up in the next three months, they will gather dust on my TBR shelf for longer still.

TBR: ARCs on my shelves part IV (2018)

I was SO proud of myself. I was doing so good. I got my NetGalley ARCs way down (I mean, they were in the single digits for like a hot moment). This is not the case anymore. I, again, have so many ARCs on my digital shelves. And so little time. (You can find my earlier round-ups here, here and here.) But oh, what wonderful books I got.

Still to be read:

356108231The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Publication Date: June 7th

Publisher: Random House, Vintage (Jonathan Cape)

Blurb (from Goodreads): Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her seven-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother.

Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive. The deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner details with humour and precision. Daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike. Allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes.

Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny and culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity. Through Romy – and through a cast of astonishing characters populating The Mars Room – Rachel Kushner presents not just a bold and unsentimental panorama of life on the margins of contemporary America, but an excoriating attack on the prison-industrial complex.

Why I requested this: I wanted to read this since the beginning of the year but then held off requesting an ARC because I had so many unread ones already – but now it is nominated for the Man Booker and here we are.

36396289Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Publication Date: July 12th

Publisher: Random House, Vintage (Jonathan Cape)

Blurb (from Goodreads): Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though – almost a lifetime ago – and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature.

A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back.

Daisy Johnson’s debut novel turns classical myth on its head and takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most. As daring as it is moving, Everything Under is a story of family and identity, of fate, language, love and belonging that leaves you unsettled and unstrung.

Why I requested it: Again, it is nominated for the Man Booker – and it sounds absolutely bloody brilliant and I cannot believe this nearly flew under my radar. This sounds SO up my alley, it’s absurd.

40407148Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

Publication Date: July 12th

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Blurb (from Goodreads): A seductive, sensual and sinister love triangle set in 1930s America and inspired by the infamous Nabokov marriage

Zoya Andropova, a young Russian refugee, finds herself in an elite New Jersey boarding school. Having lost her family, her home and her sense of purpose, Zoya struggles to belong, a task made more difficult by her new country’s paranoia about Soviet spies.

When she meets charismatic fellow Russian émigré Leo Orlov – whose books Zoya has obsessed over for years – everything seems to change. But she soon discovers that Leo is bound by the sinister orchestrations of his brilliant wife, Vera, and that their relationship is far more complex than Zoya could ever have imagined.

Why I requested it: I am really enjoying the new Bloomsbury imprint Raven Books and this could be brilliant. But my request was pending for forever and then I was accepted after the release date and now I don’t know when I will get to it.

40206019Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young

Publication Date: August 9th

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Blurb (from Goodreads): In Can You Tolerate This? – the title comes from the question chiropractors ask to test a patient’s pain threshold – Ashleigh Young ushers us into her early years in the faraway yet familiar landscape of New Zealand: fantasising about Paul McCartney, cheering on her older brother’s fledgling music career, and yearning for a larger and more creative life.

As Young’s perspective expands, a series of historical portraits – a boy with a rare skeletal disease, a French postman who built a stone fortress by hand, a generation of Japanese shut-ins – strike unexpected personal harmonies, as an unselfconscious childhood gives way to painful shyness in adolescence. As we watch Young fall in and out of love, undertake intense physical exercise that masks something deeper, and gradually find herself through her writing, a highly particular psyche comes into view: curious, tender and exacting in her observations of herself and the world around her.

How to bear each moment of experience: the inconsequential as much as the shattering?

In this spirited and singular collection of essays, Ashleigh Young attempts to find some measure of clarity amidst the uncertainty, exploring the uneasy tensions – between safety and risk, love and solitude, the catharsis of grief and the ecstasy of creation – that define our lives.

Why I requested it: I mean, duh, it sounds like such a me-book. Plus, I recently went to New Zealand and an essay collection/ memoir set there feels appropriate.

39780950Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Publication Date: August 9th

Publisher: Random House UK, Vintage Publishing

Blurb (from Goodreads): In this crackling debut collection Nafissa Thompson-Spires interrogates our supposedly post-racial era. To wicked and devastating effect she exposes the violence, both external and self-inflicted, that threatens black Americans, no matter their apparent success.

A teenager is insidiously bullied as her YouTube following soars; an assistant professor finds himself losing a subtle war of attrition against his office mate; a nurse is worn down by the demand for her skills as a funeral singer. And across a series of stories, a young woman grows up, negotiating and renegotiating her identity.

Heads of the Colored People shows characters in crisis, both petty and catastrophic. It marks the arrival of a remarkable writer and an essential and urgent new voice.

Why I requested it: I wanted to read this since before its US publication because it sounds brilliant and I am always up for exciting short story collections. Also, the UK cover is STUNNING. (I am currently half-way through and it is as brilliant as I hoped)

39225898Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennet

Publication Date: August 23rd

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Blurb (from Goodreads): The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Why I requested it: Because it is my most anticipated read of the second half of the year. I adore Bennett’s earlier trilogy and possibly squealed when I was accepted.

39287231City of Lies by Sam Hawke

Publication Date: August 23rd

Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Blurb (from Goodreads): Only a handful of people in Silasta know Jovan’s real purpose in life. To most, he is just another son of the ruling class. The quiet, forgettable friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible heir. In reality, Jovan has been trained for most of his life to detect, concoct and withstand poisons in order to protect the ruling family.

His sister Kalina is too frail to share in their secret family duty. While other women of the city hold positions of power and responsibility, her path is full of secrets and lies – some hidden even from her own brother.

Up until now, peace has reigned in Silasta for hundreds of years. But when the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army storms the gates, the so-called Bright City is completely unprepared. It falls to Jovan and Kalina to protect the heir and save their homeland – but first they must make their way through a new world of unexpected treachery – a world where the ancient spirits are rising . . . and angry.

Why I requested it: I am finding my overwhelming love for fantasy again (in normal years it is by far the genre I read most of) and I loved the way this sounded (it is also written by a woman, which never hurts a book in my case). The early reviews are favourable and the first sentence is just brilliant. I am super excited about this!

39098246The Corset by Laura Purcell

Publication Date: September 20th

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Blurb (from Goodreads): The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions.

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Why I requested it: Again, I am liking Bloomsbury’s Raven Books imprint and felt like something mystery-ish set in the past (which surprised me more than anybody). Laura Purcell’s debut has been racking up praise, so I cannot wait to see how her follow-up is. (Do you sometimes get retroactive fomo? I did get it with her debut.)

37534857City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

Publication Date: November 20th

Publisher: Macmillan/ Tor-Forge

Blurb (from Goodreads): Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic–and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.

Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last–and only–sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.

Why I requested it: God, this sounds so brilliant. I requested it not thinking I would get it (I don’t think Tor often has the rights for Germany) but here we are and I am SO looking forward to this.

40908694The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Publication Date: February 7th, 2019

Publisher: Scribner (UK)

Blurb (from Goodreads): The eagerly awaited new novel from the author of The Age of Miracles.

Imagine a world where sleep could trap you, for days, for weeks, months… A world where you could even die of sleep rather than in your sleep.

Karen Thompson Walker’s second novel is the stunning story of a Californian town’s epidemic of perpetual sleep.

Why I requested it: I don’t remember who it was but somebody online said this was their favourite of the year so far. So, excited is an understatement. It sounds amazing and the cover is stunning and everything about this screams “read me now”.

Read and Reviewed:

40022793Putney by Sofka Zinovieff

Publication Date: July 12th

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Blurb (from Goodreads): It is the 1970s and Ralph, an up-and-coming composer, is visiting Edmund Greenslay at his riverside home in Putney to discuss a collaboration. Through the house’s colourful rooms and unruly garden flits nine-year-old Daphne – dark, teasing, slippery as mercury, more sprite than boy or girl. From the moment their worlds collide, Ralph is consumed by an obsession to make Daphne his.

But Ralph is twenty-five and Daphne is only a child, and even in the bohemian abandon of 1970s London their fast-burgeoning relationship must be kept a secret. It is not until years later that Daphne is forced to confront
the truth of her own childhood – and an act of violence that has lain hidden for decades.

‘Putney’ is a bold, thought-provoking novel about the moral lines we tread, the stories we tell ourselves and the memories that play themselves out again and again, like snatches of song.

Why I requested it: It sounded intriguing and the cover is beautiful. And I enjoyed it but it made me need a shower. (You can find my review here)

Have you read any of these books? Which are you most excited about? Do you have any arcs that you are dying to read?

 

Most anticipated releases 2018 – mid-year edition

There are way too many brilliant books coming out this year. I keep buying books faster than I can read them and then I keep looking at other books that I want to read. But, just look how brilliant these books all sound! Below is a (probably) incomplete list of books I am excited about, in no particular order.

Foundryside by Robert Bennett Jackson (Published by Crown Publishing, August 21st)

Foundryside RD4 clean flat

I adored Robert Bennett Jackson’s The Divine Cities trilogy so very much when I read it last year and I cannot wait what he comes up with next. (This might be the one I am most excited about)

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Published by Scribner, October 16th)

29430746This just sounds absolutely brilliant. I do love memoirs that blend the personal and the political, so this sounds right up my alley. That is has been blurbed by Roxane Gay obviously did not hurt my excitement.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung (Published by Catapult, Oktober 2nd)

30297153It is no mystery how much I enjoy memoirs written by women and this one focussing on adoption and identity sounds absolutely like my type of book.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (Published by G. P. Putnam’s Group, September 25th)

Small Spaces coverI would read Katherine Arden’s shopping list if she decided to publish it. As The Winter  of the Witch has been delayed until early 2019, this will be my yearly fix of her wonderful writing. I don’t usually read Middle Grade but again, it’s Katherine Arden.

Find it on Goodreads.

Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Published by Orbit, September 18th)

38362809I adored Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne and cannot wait for this one. I am lucky to have an E-ARC and trying very much to not read this already.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Published by Granta, September 20th)

38922230I have an ARC for this and I am very excited to get to this. Sarah Moss seems like an author I would adore and I really need to get to her books.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

 

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse (Published by Saga Press, June 26th)

36373298This just sounds brilliant and kickass and like something that I could love.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

 

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri (Published by Orbit, November 13th)

39714124I don’t know what it is about this book but i just sounds absolutely wonderful. I really have not been reading enough fantasy. Also, yay for adult fantasy written by women.

Find it on Goodreads.

 

Which books are you excited about for the rest of the year? Do tell me!

 

ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III

It is time again for me to post a round-up of all the ARCs I have received on NetGalley; at least this time it took me three months for such a post to be necessary which I am counting as a win. I really am trying to be a bit more selective when it comes to requesting ARCs. You can find my earlier round ups here and here.

Still to be read:

39899065The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Publication Date: June 28th, 2018

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Blurb (from Goodreads): A vivid, touching and original debut, following the effects of an extraordinary catastrophe on very ordinary people.

In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories.

Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped ‘the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow.

Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.

On their separate journeys, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. But neither could have guessed at what you gain when you lose your shadow: the power of magic.

A breathtakingly imaginative, timeless story that explores fundamental questions about memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human when your world is turned upside down.

Why I requested it: I have been intrigued about this for what feels like ages. It sounds absolutely magical and I cannot wait to see whether it is.

Continue reading “ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III”

Impromptu “I am three books behind on my reading challenge”-TBR

The last few weeks have been rough, reading wise. I am as of today three books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge and I really want to change that. Luckily, it’s a bank holiday tomorrow, which means I have a whole day I can dedicate to reading and hopefully catching up at least a little bit.

I am currently in the middle of six books, which is also stressing me out, so I will try and finish at least one, hopefully two of those books in the next 26 hours. I will prioritize the books I am actually excited to read and see from there.

My TBR

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

36187690I am a bit further than half way through this book and enjoying it immensely. It is not perfect (sometimes the characters behave a bit too prop-like for my taste) but it is beautifully written and very readable.

 

 

Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay

35068524This is brilliant. I adore everything about this anthology. I have around 80 pages left of this, so I will definitely be finishing it.

 

 

It by Stephen King

36320307There is no way I am finishing this any time soon but I am hoping to at least make a dent. I am currently around 11 hours into the 44 hour long audiobook and while I still think that the book is too long, I have found my rhythm with it and am actually mostly enjoying it.

 

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

33540347I have not been as good at reading graphic novels as I would like. It is a genre I enjoy while I read them but somehow I am never compelled to pick one up. I love the art and the story of this though and I will definitely be picking this up during the next hours.

 

I am also allowing myself to pick up anything else that I might be interested in because I think part of the reason for my slump is that I am trying to structure my reading too much. (I mean the main reason is that work has been ridiculous, but that I cannot change.)

I will try and update my reading progress over on Twitter, so do join me over there if you would like to see me fail miserably or succeed wonderfully (not sure what it’ll be).

How is your reading month going? What do you do when you happen to be behind on your reading challenge?