Bookshelf Roundup: 05/29/21: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads

Bookshelf Roundup is a feature I do every weekend which fills the role of several blog memes, like Stacking the Shelves where I talk about the new books I’ve added to my library or received for review, as well as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where I summarize what I’ve finished reading in the last week and what I’m planning to read soon. Mostly it also serves as a recap post, so sometimes I’ll throw in stuff like reading challenge progress reports, book lists, and other random bookish thoughts or announcements.

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Received for Review

My thanks to the publishers and authors for the following review copies received, and be sure to click the links to their Goodreads pages for more details and full descriptions!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s/McElderry Books for reaching out to me earlier this year with a few pitches for their upcoming spring and summer books! As you know I’ve become very picky about my YA, but out of many titles on the list, Blood like Magic by Liselle Sambury stood out immediately for me. I mean…witches, sacrifice, urban fantasy set in my hometown of Toronto…how could I not? There’s also a forbidden love aspect and a genetic matchmaking program thing that kind of reminds me of The One, so that made me curious as well. Definitely looking forward to check it out, and thrilled to have received an ARC.

My thanks also to Tor Books for this surprise arrival of The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman. Very happy to have a finished copy of this gritty, quirky fantasy debut from one of my favorite horror authors. I posted a review for it last week, in case you missed it you can check it out here!

Also with thanks to the amazing team at Minotaur Books, earlier this week I also received an ARC of The Missing Hours by Julia Dahl, described as a hard-hitting mystery about the aftermath of a sexual assault, and how a young woman from a family of dysfunctional relationships will seek justice by attempting to piece together the hours missing from her memories.

And courtesy of Random House Audio, I received two very exciting new titles in the digital review haul this week! The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman kind of snuck up on me, I didn’t even know she was going to have a new book out! I love her work though, so needless to say this was an auto-request. Finally, I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for the US release of The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell, the queen of Gothic horror fiction. At last, the time has come, and I’m beyond excited to dive right into this ALC.

Finally, thank you to Brilliance Audio for a listening copy of The Ice Lion by Kathleen O’Neal Gear, a dystopian sci-fi novel about climate change and survival in a frozen world. I’ve read the author’s work before, it’ll be interesting to get an archaeologist’s point of view, and she writes great characters!


The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory (4 of 5 stars)
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter (4 of 5 stars)
Lost in the Never Woods by Aidan Thomas (2.5 of 5 stars)

Bugging Out…

With the weather getting warmer, my family and I have been going on more outings and hikes at the many parks and trails around my area. This year, the state of Maryland is also the epicenter of Cicada Brood X, which if you’re not aware is a cyclical phenomenon that happens every 17 years where billions of these huge, noisy insects burst out from the ground en masse, and basically the peak of their emergence was this past week. Just imagine, for seventeen years, they have been living beneath our feet…waiting. My daughter, deathly afraid of bugs, has taken to calling it the cicada uprising, but really, they’re harmless, just kinda gross. Me being a science geek though, I’m always fascinated by this type of thing, and while my background is more in healthcare and human biology, the ecological stuff never fails to interest me as well. These last few weeks I’ve been snapping photos and keeping track of Brood X, which hasn’t been difficult, because they are literally everywhere, from backyards to parking lots. My neighborhood being right next to a nature preserve, the cicadas are especially plentiful, and the days and nights have been getting really LOUD with their calls.

Here are some of pics I’ve taken on my hikes. The holes in the ground like Swiss cheese are where the nymphs have tunneled out, after which most will attempt to climb up the closest vertical surface (which is usually a tree trunk, but can also be a tall blade of grass, a wall, or a mailbox) and shed their exoskeleton, reaching the adult stage. The reason we’re not currently overrun with the adults is because of the heavy predation, but all the papery brown shells they leave behind are a good indication of the sheer numbers that have emerged. You can’t go two steps without crunching on some.

What I’ve Been Reading

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Have you heard of or read any of the books featured this week? What caught your eye? Any new discoveries? I hope you found something interesting for a future read!

35 Comments on “Bookshelf Roundup: 05/29/21: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads”

  1. I’m so glad you shared your cicada photos! We’ve still not seen nor heard any down here. I do recall being in a bit of woods once with all those holes, though. It was fascinating, and as you said was a strange feeling knowing they’d been down there for years. Such an unusual life cycle. I’d never seen or heard of them attaching themsevles to stalks of grass, I love that! The trail of shells up the tree is interesting, too. And it’s great you caught one in the process of emerging. They’re so vulnerable then, and almost like a horror movie come to life. 🙂


    • It was really amazing, how the stalks of grass were still upright from the weight of all those nymphs! And yes, it’s a bit like a horror sci-fi, isn’t it? Billions of them in the ground, just waiting for their moment…and then they burst from the ground and leave their shells everywhere! *shudder*


  2. LOL on the Cicada Uprising! While I enjoy their “song” in summer, I’ve never seen so many as you describe: such an invasion would have me shuddering in revulsion non unlike your daughter! 😉
    Now I wonder if Adrian Tchaikovski might not switch from spiders to cicadas to show us the “human” side of these critters… 😀 😀


  3. OOh nice new reads! Those are all new to me ones. I hope you enjoy them all as you read them!

    My StS will be up tomorrow, so stop by then if you can!

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower 🙂


  4. I have to say I’m so glad I live in California where there isn’t a cicada to be found anywhere, lol. I am not a big insect fan, especially when they are so big and leave shells behind. I do not find them fascinating or cool at all! Ha ha.


    • That’s interesting, I don’t know if there are any periodical cicadas in California! From the sound of them we hear each summer, I know there are some every year, but we don’t generally see them. 2021 just coincides with Brood X ‘s 17 cycle 😀


  5. I miss cicadas! When I was a kid, I would hang an exoskeleton on my shirt as a ‘broach’ – weird kid!


  6. Well, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Lights of Prague and Trouble with Peace, but… please tell me you haven’t been dragging your daughter on these hikes.


        • She’s a study in contradictions sometimes! I just asked her if she hates bugs so much why she likes hiking, she said she likes being outside in nature and that the trails we’ve been on are pretty well maintained and generally bug free save for stuff like ants and beetles and the odd bee, and she doesn’t mind those…much. That’s sort of true, I mean we’re not forging any trails through the bush here, that would be too much even for me!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Cicada Brood X sounds like an amazing ecological horror story lol! It is creepy thinking of them just under the soil like that!

    I’m going to order Prague today, can’t wait to read it.


  8. I’m with your daughter on this. I’ve been calling it the cicada attack and have been telling my fam who plans to visit around Independence Day to prepare to be attacked (although I’ve yet to see any cicadas in my area; I just like to scare them).


  9. We don’t have the cicada uprising in CA (thank god) but every once in a while we get giant butterfly migrations. I remember one year when I was younger and my family took a roadtrip during one. We had keep pulling over at gas stations to wipe down the wind shield because of umm…unfortunate mass casualties that were making it pretty difficult to see.

    Hope you enjoyed The Trouble with Peace! I’m just getting to Abercrombie this year, finished Before They are Hanged earlier this week!


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