Recent Book Hauls! BookOutlet, Trades, ARCs

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Today was a great day for mail!  My BookOutlet order came in with lovely books for both my library and for my Secret Sister (not shown because that would spoil the surprise!), and a couple of #booksfortrade came in.  Plus a book from Blue Rider Press (Penguin/Random House).  Thank you everyone who made this possible 🙂  I have so much to look forward to!

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Book Review: Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn

Keeper of the Dawn

Paperback, 205 pages
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Book Smugglers Publishing

Two days ago, I saw a tweet from the Book Smugglers about the release of their first title in the Novella Initiate, Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn.  They sent me an epub to read (which in no way affects the honesty of this review), and I found myself wanting to devour it without stop once I got started.  Unfortunately, that was late at night after a long day, so my eyes kept closing and I had to stop about 2/3 in.  But I picked it up again this morning!

This was a fantastic, short read!  It was almost perfect; I just wanted more world building.  But that’s a problem I have with any short fiction pieces.  I always find myself wanting more.

What I did get was great characters and a plot that spoke to me on a deeper level.  It was something I needed right now when my life is mental turmoil.  The whole story is based on being able to achieve your dreams and goals, but you may not make it there the way you thought you would.  It was very uplifting to read a story where the protagonist just follows down the path that was chosen for them because of a prophecy or fate.  Lai knows what she wants, her path is littered with affirmations that she’ll get it, but then she fails and has to readjust.

Along the way, she discovers more about herself and the world she lives in.  We also get a beautifully told female/female relationship that doesn’t feel forced, nor is it just there.  It provides support and stability for Lai when the rest of her life is in turmoil.

Since this is a novella, I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll stop here.  But know that I loved this piece, and can’t wait to see what else the Novella Initiate has to offer us.

Summary:

Sometimes failure is just the beginning

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum—a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai’s own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join their sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn is a tale of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

#BookHaul Surprises

This week was full of surprises!  I’m so excited to add these titles to my TBR/review stack.  Not that I need any more books to read, but I’m always excited to get new stuff 🙂

Earlier, I found a copy of Peternelle van Arsdale‘s debut The Beast is an Animal.  It sounds like a great combination of fantasy and thriller.  It comes out in March 2017.

And yesterday, one of my co-workers brought me a copy of Veronica Roth’s newest, Carve the Mark to be released in January 2017.  I think all the pages have a watermark disclaimer that this is not the final manuscript.  I was not expecting this at all but am looking forward to seeing how Roth’s writing has improved.  Admittedly, I liked the concept of Divergent, but didn’t care for the rest of the series, so my hopes are high that this will be better.  I guess we’ll find out!

Several months ago, I had signed up for a contest through Kim Harrison, author known for her Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, to become a superfan.  Well, I was chosen and received 2 mass market paperbacks of The Drafter.  And I thought that was the end of it until I opened a package yesterday, and inside was an advance copy of The Operator with a note about how these were special editions for the superfans.  Since this one comes out in November 2016, I better squish it to the top of my list.  Otherwise, how can I call myself a superfan?

 

Are you excited about any of these titles?  Which would you read first?

Book Haul: Weregirl by C.D. Bell

Over the weekend, I was delighted to find this shiny blue envelope waiting for me in my mailbox.  Inside was an ARC of Weregirl by C.D. Bell, which I had won through a Shelf Awareness contest.  I had actually seen this at BEA16 originally, but was unable (due to time) to learn any more about it.  It’s due out on November 1st from Chooseco and has favorable reviews over on GoodReads already.  Looks like a fun read!

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August Book Haul (2016)

Last month wasn’t a great month for finishing books, but my collection did grow with several new titles.  This month was a little crazier in that area than usual as I went on vacation and visited two Hastings (since the chain is going out of business), won a couple contests, participated in a blog tour, received a galley through the AceRocStars, picked up some winter galleys, and HarperCollins sent a huge box of galleys to the office.

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My World of Books July Unboxing

Since Fanmail took a month off for SDCC16 and recovery, I decided to try out a different subscription box, My World of Books.  Honestly, I only chose this one because the curator had announced that the book was going to be A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchett.  And I LOVED that book!

This is a newer box and hasn’t been around very long, which shows in the packing (nothing included to keep objects stable during transport).  However, the quality of the items was great, and they arrived with no damage.  I do wish the items matched the book more, but the items included were fun and practical.  There’s a notebook covered in orchids, a dragonfly necklace, bookmarks, and butterbeer lip balm.  Also included was a double-sided flyer featuring two self-published authors, Angela Bouquet and Kory M. Shrum.  Both authors have the first books in their respective series available for free through a variety of ebook distributors.  And Angela had signed her side!

I enjoyed the curator’s inclusion of her recommended exciting August 2016 fantasy releases.  If I understand it correctly, she makes one of these charts for each month and posts them on her social media, which is pretty cool!  I was already excited for several of these titles, but there are some new ones that I need to go research.

Overall, I feel like I got my money’s worth with this box and lots of neat things to try out and explore.  This is definitely a subscription box to watch and support!  Check it out at My World of Books.

 

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July 2016 Book Haul

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I’m so excited to read these galleys! Most of them don’t come out until 2017, so be on the look out for reviews of the following titles as part of my 2017 Pub. Month Challenge.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – March 7

Librarians and the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox – October 11, 2016

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine – January 3

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – February 7

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – March 28

 

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I picked up a few books recently from subscription boxes and B&N Member Appreciation Day, where your member card got you 20% off instead of just 10% on everything.  I’ve been wanting to read these for a long time.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – July Owlcrate

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Transference Engine by Julia Verne St. John – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan – Barnes & Noble Member Appreciation Day

Newly Acquired Author Signatures

Here are some of my new bookplates!  I’ve worked with E. Rose Sabin, Shelby Bach, and Sara Wilson Etienne to add their signatures to their respective books and my collection.  I was so excited to receive these over the last week.  Thanks to all of these lovely authors for both the signatures and the stories.