Audiobook Review: Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Tor.com

I wanted to like this one so much more than I did.  I loved the concept of queer librarians.  The story was well told and the characters were fun.  But I was reminded of a very important fact.  I don’t like Westerns.  Like at all.  I can count on one hand the number of Westerns (mostly movies with other genres mixed in) that I have enjoyed.

My bad.

This is no fault of the author, who did make this particular Western enjoyable.  And I will be highly recommending this book to friends who either like Westerns or don’t have a genre preference.  So you should definitely pick up this book!  Most especially if you like plucky girls trying to embrace themselves when outside voices try to drown their inner self in their narrow-minded views.

Another quick note.  I received an audio version of this book through Libro.fm’s ALC program.  (Thank you very much!)  The narrator did a great job with various voices and making sure to add gravitas to essential parts of the story.  So if you’d prefer to go the audio route, it’s a good choice and a quick read 🙂

Summary:

In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

February 2020 Mail Awesomeness!

It’s time for another mail haul post!  These last two weeks have been so full of amazing that I can’t wait to share all the goodies that I received this week.

First, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto (two copies actually – one from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and one from a Twitter friend) and the lovely Owlcrate version with beautiful enamel pin that a friend purchased for me.  I just started reading it and seems like it will be just as good as the first book, which I reviewed here.

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Book Review: Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller

Belle Révolte

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire

When a publicist from Sourcebooks Fire approached me to read and review Linsey Miller’s newest book (on account of my working with them for her debut blog tour), I was hesitant at first to accept.  I am wary of books that focus on or feature heavily wars and revolutions as that is not the type of reading I enjoy.  However, I was intrigued by the Prince and the Pauper twist and the magic system described in the synopsis, so I agreed.

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Partial Book Review: Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon

Nils: The Tree of Life

Hardcover, 184 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by Magnetic Press

I enjoyed this graphic novel but think I need to read it again with a physical copy. I gave up about half way through this digital download due to being unable to read the small text while also enjoying the two-page spreads that are included and occasionally very important to the visual storytelling. I am looking forward to reading this one in its entirety as I liked the art and color choices. It seems to be based on Norse mythology, and I have just enough knowledge to follow those references.

I like the introduction of technology and how that affects the land. The author put a lot of thought into carefully crafting characters who care and who make me care about them. This should already be on your list to read! What are you waiting for?  I’m also interested in seeing what other titles this publisher has.

Summary:

A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them. From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation.

This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power… Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…

As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise… Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement.

High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #16

Down The TBR Hole is a meme from Lost in a Story that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Fangirl Friday: Catherine Asaro’s Lost Continent Series

This week I want to spotlight a gem in my collection as the first in a series of Fangirl Friday posts where I showcase some of my most treasured possessions: signed books and ARCs.  Haven’t decided if I will stick to alphabetical by author or just whatever catches my fancy for sharing.

First up: we have the Lost Continent series by Catherine Asaro.

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Fell in love with the cover of The Charmed Sphere shortly after its release and saved up my money to buy this $14 book (it was a lot to a young person back then).  I was really sad when they didn’t get the same artist, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, to do the cover of book five, but I was happy the series got a book five when others by LUNA had been cancelled.

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A couple of years ago, I messaged the author over Facebook and requested the author sign some bookplates that I would send with an included SASE, and I was happy when she agreed.  Now I have a wonderful series to reread with even more meaning than when my teenage self first found it!

What to Read: February 2020

Preface: Starting with February, instead of just compiling covers for books releasing for the month, I’ve decided to curate my monthly releases posts by starting with those books that I need to read for review purposes, followed by those that I’m excited to see release, and finishing with some other titles I’m hoping to read during the month.  They might be longish posts, but hopefully informative!

For Review:

Belle RévolteHeart of Flames (Crown of Feathers, #2)

I have two physical books that I need to read this month.  Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller is one that the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, reached out to me since I worked with them on Linsey’s debut a few years back.  And, I requested Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto from Simon & Schuster because I loved the first book last year.  I’m excited to read both of these.

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates, #1)The Seventh SunThe Wolf of Oren-Yaro

With these three, I’m hoping to read and review at least two this month.  They are eARCs downloaded from Edelweiss.  The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood has already received some fantastic reviews, so I’m hyped up for that one from Tor BooksThe Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes from Blackstone Publishing and The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso from Orbit are quieter released, but they sound fantastic!  Thanks for the publishers for approving my requests.

Nils: The Tree of LifeUpright Women Wanted

Magnetic Press had a Read Now button on Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon, and I’m a sucker for graphic novels with great art, so I’m hoping to read this one soon.  And I was overjoyed to see the audiobook for Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey from Tor.com as one of the February Libro.fm ALC options.  Must finish my current audiobook, but this one is up next!

Other Exciting February Releases:

Below (North #1)All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth, #1)Dungeon Queen (Dungeon Queen, #1)Zatanna & the House of SecretsCourt of Ruins (The Fallen Fae #1)The Shadows Between Us

These all look amazing!  But I won’t have time to read them all this book, so I’m hoping to squeeze some in later this year.

Other Books on my TBR this month:

Seven Deadly ShadowsThe Slug Queen Chronicles: Season One

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani is a January release that I didn’t have time to read, but since I did receive an ARC from HarperTeen, I’m still hoping to read it this month!  The Slug Queen Chronicles: Season One by S.O. Thomas is an eARC I received through Book Sirens and so far is pretty interesting.  Look for my review later this month since it’s a March release.

Cast in Peril (Chronicles of Elantra, #8)The Starless Sea

My current audiobook read is Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara from MIRA (previously Harlequin LUNA), which I’m listening to during my Audible Escape trial.  I’m extremely behind on this series, but am hoping to catch up some this year.  I didn’t quite have time in December to read The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern and my boss would like to see what I think about some of the library aspects, so here’s hoping I can squeeze this Doubleday Books release in this month as well!

What do you think of this format?  Let me know if you love it or hate it in the comments!

Throwback Thursday: Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn

Our Bloody Pearl (These Treacherous Tides #1)

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published July 26th 2018 by Avos Publishing

 

I received a physical book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks, Danny!

The author first approached me back in August of 2019, I think. And, after reading the synopsis, I agreed to review this book with no specific time in mind as I was pretty booked on other reviews for the rest of the year.  Honestly, I’m a bit behind with new release reviews, but decided I had waited long enough to read this one.  Turns out I really liked it!  And I’m mad I waited so long to pick it up.

This book is LGBT+ friendly.  At first the they/them pronouns threw me off, but once I got into the mindset, I almost didn’t notice. This book tackles a lot of heavy subjects like gender, sign language/language barriers, and physical handicaps. Survival versus Living is also a big theme for such a small book. The best part was that none of these took center stage, but there were discussions and plenty of well-written communication between characters that flowed with the story in a very positive way. This was a great book about sirens and pirates! I look forward to seeing if a volume 2 can be acquired 🙂

Summary:

The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.