Tiara’s Bookish Bingo: Ready for Spring!
I’ve gone against my own promise not to start many book challenges this year, but in my defense, all my challenges have been low maintenance and challenges that I can combine. They’ve done a very good job with keeping me on track after last year being a terrible reading year for me due to some personal issues. My latest casual challenge I’ve joined is Bookish Bingo hosted by the ladies at Great Imaginations. They seem to do a new board around every three months, so this one encompasses April, May, and June. The board looks likes this:
There’s no pressure to finish the whole card. It’s just to help expand your reading horizons or get to those books that may be sitting around. So, here’s a tentative round up of my list. I want to get at least 5 (for the BINGO!) done, and as I said I’m combining this with my other casual Popsugar challenge for the most part and my normal upcoming reads list. I’m trying to keep these mostly speculative in nature, but they may not all be.
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”
The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.
We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.
Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.
Not a traditional murder mystery, but one all the same.
I’m not so sure about this challenge, so I’m going to do a little more digging on what it entails. Any information is appreciated.
Deicide by Tim Hawken
This has been an excellent trilogy so far, and I should’ve read this ages ago, but once again, last year’s personal issues kept me from reading much of anything, but I will finish this by June!
AN EPIC TALE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS “Sitting in the war-rooms at Casa Diablo, my closest allies surrounded me. Could I trust them all?” Finally reunited with his love Charlotte, Michael has taken control of Hell. Yet the insane god Asmodeus still rules Heaven, and the division between realms continues to oppress the lost souls of the afterlife. With the help of his wife and friends, Michael’s aim is to create true freedom for all, ending Asmodeus’ tyrannous reign. However, the chance of betrayal by someone close within his fold weighs heavily on Michael’s mind, as does the burning question that not even the all-knowing Perceptionist can answer: How do you kill the unkillable? Deicide is the stunning conclusion of Tim Hawken’s Hellbound trilogy.
This will also be one of my #ThrowbackThursday reviews! I remember loving this book when I was young. Let’s see how it holds up now that I am an adult:
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery
To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.
But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . .
The Confusion by Neal Stephenson
Do I consider this yellow or gold? Does it matter. I have a terrible habit of picking up hardbooks that catch my eye, and they usually end up being later books in a series like this one, which is the second book of The Baroque Cycle. However, I have ordered the first book, so I will be read it first. And that picture does the beauty of this cover no justice:
In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves — including one Jack Shaftoe, a.k.a. King of the Vagabonds, a.k.a. Half-Cocked Jack, lately and miraculously cured of the pox — devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues, rife with battles, chases, hairbreadth escapes, swashbuckling, bloodletting, and danger — a perilous race for an enormous prize of silver … nay, gold … nay, legendary gold that will place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens, and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the globe.
Meanwhile, back in Europe …
The exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, master of markets, pawn and confidante of enemy kings, onetime Turkish harem virgin, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France’s most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession — her child.
Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies, stubborn alchemy does battle with the natural sciences, nobles are beheaded, dastardly plots are set in motion, coins are newly minted (or not) in enemy strongholds, father and sons reunite in faraway lands, priests rise from the dead … and Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended.
April, May, June Release:
Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo
From the internationally acclaimed author of the Harry Hole novels—a fast, tight, darkly lyrical stand-alone novel that has at its center the perfectly sympathetic antihero: an Oslo contract killer who draws us into an unexpected meditation on death and love.
This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented “fixer” for one of Oslo’s most powerful crime bosses. But Olav is also an unusually complicated fixer. He has a capacity for love that is as far-reaching as is his gift for murder. He is our straightforward, calm-in-the-face-of-crisis narrator with a storyteller’s hypnotic knack for fantasy. He has an “innate talent for subordination” but running through his veins is a “virus” born of the power over life and death. And while his latest job puts him at the pinnacle of his trade, it may be mutating into his greatest mistake. . . .
Rain or Storm in Title
Storm Born by Richelle Meade
Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants. . .
Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl’s got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy—one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie’s first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.
Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne’er-do-well, and the ones who don’t want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her…
A Dance with Dragons by GRRM
I actually DNF this book because I’d read the previous books back to back, and I was just sick of GRRM by the time I got to this one. However, I WILL finish it THIS YEAR! This is also on my Popsugar list of books for a book I started but didn’t finish:
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.
Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
I stupidly bought a book from the bookstore the other day because it had a pretty cover (much like another book on this list). Turns out it was book #13 in a Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, so that means, I have to read all these books before I get to the one I bought. However, I will have a friend buddy reading with me:
The Dark-Hunters are ancient warriors who have sworn to protect mankind and the fate of the world is in their hands…
He is solitude. He is darkness. He is the ruler of the night. Yet Kyrian of Thrace has just woken up handcuffed to his worst nightmare: An accountant. Worse, she’s being hunted by one of the most lethal vampires out there. And if Amanda Devereaux goes down, then he does too. But it’s not just their lives that are hanging in the balance. Kyrian and Amanda are all that stands between humanity and oblivion. Let’s hope they win.
Anthology or Collection
The A.I. Chronicles by Ellen Campbell
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Even today, machines that mimic human thinking surround us. As the intellectual feats of computing machines grow more and more astounding, will there be a day when their apparent intelligence approaches, or even surpasses, that of human beings? And what if these machines then become conscious, self-aware?
In this latest title in the acclaimed Future Chronicles series of speculative fiction anthologies, thirteen authors confront the question of the Singularity: that point of time when A.I. becomes more than simply a human construct. From machine awareness to omniscience, these original short stories explore that territory where human intelligence comes face-to-face with what is either its greatest hope, or its greatest threat.
HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH
It’s a small story, about:
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES.
Horns by Joe Hill
Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.
Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .
Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge. . . . It’s time the devil had his due. . .
Thieves, Assassins, Pirates:
The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
Set in the early 18th century and featuring a diverse cast of characters that includes alchemists, philosophers, mathematicians, spies, thieves, pirates, and royalty, The System of the World follows Daniel Waterhouse, an unassuming philosopher and confidant to some of the most brilliant minds of the age, as he returns to England to try and repair the rift between geniuses Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. After reluctantly leaving his family in Boston, Waterhouse arrives in England and is almost killed by a mysterious Infernal Device. Having been away from the war-decimated country for two decades, Waterhouse quickly learns that although many things have changed, there is still violent revolution simmering just beneath the surface of seemingly civilized society. With Queen Anne deathly ill and Tories and Whigs jostling for political supremacy, Waterhouse and Newton vow to figure out who is trying to kill certain scientists and decipher the riddle behind the legend of King Solomon’s gold, a mythical hoard of precious metal with miraculous properties.
Arguably one of the most ambitious — and most researched — stories ever written, Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle is set in one of the most turbulent and exciting times in human history. Filled with wild adventure, political intrigue, social upheaval, civilization-changing discoveries, cabalistic mysticism, and even a little romance, this massive saga is worth its weight in (Solomon’s) gold.
Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke
Every time someone makes a choice, a new parallel world is spun off the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, sneaking out instead of staying in bed—every decision creates an alternate universe in which an Echo self takes the road not travelled. As a Walker who can navigate between these realities, Del is training to help keep the dimensions in harmony.
When Del secretly starts to investigate other dissonant worlds, she get tangled up with an Echo of her longtime crush. She knows she shouldn’t keep seeing him. But as Del persists, she uncovers a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide—a secret that threatens the entire multiverse.
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell
Although it is not entirely to her liking, grief-stricken Satha, a dark-skinned woman from a poor Theseni clan weds young Loic, the wealthy Doreni son of the king’s First Captain. Loic, graced with ability to see into the hearts and minds of others, begins to help Satha overcome her sorrows. Despite coming from different tribes, they begin to forge a life together. But when Satha’s own compassion is used against her and a treacherous enemy contrives to dishonor her in Loic’s absence, Loic’s love turns to anger and disgust. Embittered, Loic must still avenge his honor and Satha’s and he sets out on a journey that brings despair as well as spiritual discovery. Battling him are the Arkhai, the spirits of the land who know his quest will lead him toward the God whom they have usurped. After his departure, Satha is kidnapped, sold into slavery and learns, first hand, how cruel the pioneering Angleni tribe can be. Both face great hardship, danger and anguish apart, but with the Creator’s aid there remains hope they will be reunited and heal the love the world has torn asunder.
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.
Part of a Trilogy
The Other Lands by Anthony David Durham
Several years have passed since the demise of Hanish Mein. Corinn Akaran rules with an iron grip on the Known World’s many races. She hones her skills in sorcery by studying The Song of Elenet and she dotes on her young son, Aaden — Hanish’s child — raising him to be her successor. Mena Akaran, still the warrior princess she became fighting the eagle goddess Maeben, has been battling the monsters released by the Santoth’s corrupted magic. In her hunt she discovers a creature wholly unexpected, one that awakens emotions in her she has long suppressed. And Dariel Akaran, once a brigand of the Outer Isles, has devoted his labors to rebuilding the ravaged empire brick by brick. Each of the Akaran royals is finding his or her way in the postwar world. But the queen’s peace is difficult to maintain, and things are about to change.
When the league brings news of upheavals in the Other Lands, Corinn sends Dariel across the Gray Slopes as her emissary. From the moment he sets foot on that distant continent, he finds a chaotic swirl of treachery, ancient grudges, intrigue, and exoticism. He comes face-to-face with the slaves his empire has long sold into bondage. His arrival ignites a firestorm that once more puts the Known World in threat of invasion. A massive invasion. One that dwarfs anything the Akarans have yet faced…
Nonfiction or Memoir
Yes Please! by Amy Poehler
In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by.
The Song of Achilles by Melanie Miller
This book was actually on my list for 10 books I recently added to my TBR pile, so I am excited to dive into this:
A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly re-imagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, Miller’s debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights. Fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.
Plants on Cover:
The Big Bad Book of Botany by Michael Largo
David Attenborough meets Lemony Snicket in Michael Largo’s entertaining and enlightening one-of-a-kind compendium of the world’s most amazing and bizarre plants, their history, and their lore.
The Big, Bad Book of Botany introduces a world of wild, wonderful, and weird plants. Some are so rare, they were once more valuable than gold. Some found in ancient mythology hold magical abilities, including the power to turn a person to stone. Others have been used by assassins to kill kings, and sorcerers to revive the dead. Here, too, is vegetation with astonishing properties to cure and heal, many of which have long since been lost with the advent of modern medicine.
Organized alphabetically, The Big, Bad Book of Botany combines the latest in biological information with bizarre facts about the plant kingdom’s oddest members, including a species that is more poisonous than a cobra and a prehistoric plant that actually “walked.” Largo takes you through the history of vegetables and fruits and their astonishing agricultural evolution. Throughout, he reveals astonishing facts, from where the world’s first tree grew to whether plants are telepathic.
Featuring more than 150 photographs and illustrations, The Big, Bad Book of Botany is a fascinating, fun A-to-Z encyclopedia for all ages that will transform the way we look at the natural world.