I did a bit better with my reading by publication date challenge for June considering how far behind I fell in May, but I definitely want to share some June releases that I haven’t had a chance to read and review yet.
It’s already time to look back on March to see what books came out that I just didn’t have time to read! Surprisingly, I was able to read more March books than January and February books. But maybe that’s just because there were so many more releases. Who knows? Anyway, here’s the releases I want to read but will have to wait a bit.
Hey all! It’s been awhile since I did a feature of books I have received via the mail, work, and through trades. This week I received such a great mix of books for review and to add to my collection that I just had to share!
Today I’m participating in something special, a blog tour that pairs several authors with their new books and specially chosen teas that match some aspect of the books being featured. I may not be much of a tea drinker but this sounded like so much fun, I had to participate!
I was paired up with Meg Eden, the author of Post High-School Reality Quest, which is a very interesting piece that explores being a nerdy girl written in the style of a text adventure game.
Here’s what Meg had to say about her tea and her book! And don’t forget to check out the other participants in the tour (links below) and the giveaway where you can win some of the teas and books from the tour!!
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.
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.
‘Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It’s not. Most people don’t realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you. Do not open any of these books without my permission, Euphemia.’
Effie is a pupil at the Tusitala School for the Gifted and Strange. When her grandfather becomes ill she discovers she is set to inherit the family library. The more she learns about it the more unusual it is. Before she knows it, her life is at risk from dark forces from this world and beyond, intent on using the books and the power they contain.
With her grandfather gone and the adult world ignoring her, can her unreliable classmates help save her life?
Packed with puzzles, curses, evil nemeses and a troupe of beguiling heroes, Dragon’s Green is an adventure novel for children about the nature of magic. It is the first in a chapter-book series for fans of Pullman’s Northern Lights, Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.
Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.
These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.
Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.
And it was awesomely amazing!
When Laini Taylor spoke at the SLJ Day of Dialog in May of 2016, she spoke about our myth-hole. The part of your soul that craves mythology and storytelling. Well, Strange the Dreamer made me realize just how empty my myth-hole has been the last couple of months. Part of that has been stress from work, but another part of that has been the books I’ve chosen to read. There were some stand-outs (i.e. A Shadow Bright and Burning), but I had been reading to finish lists and challenges, so it felt like “required” reading.
Well, no more! Laini’s beautiful wordsmithing has reawakened my awareness of my myth-hole’s requirements, and I’ll be paying closer attention to what I want to read while still working in books that I’ve promised to read (either to NetGalley or authors). I did make a point to only request things that I was really excited about instead of titles that just looked kind of interesting, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem anyway.
I really don’t want to spoil anything about this book, so I’ll just leave a few quick statements about the actual book and leave it to you to read the story 🙂 I can’t wait for the sequel to come out though. I hope we don’t have to wait too long!
The characters had a lot of depth and interpersonal reactions that felt solid and true in a fantastical setting.
The setting was beautifully described with vivid imagery without taking any of the focus away from the story or characters.
The ending was complete but also a cliffhanger. It was the kind of wrap-up that leaves you wanting more but not with the anger of a crazed person.
Strange the Dreamer is the story of:
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.