Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Titles with Numbers

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme with a bookish (what else?) inclination: each week the prompt encourages us to look through our books to find those who fulfill its specifications – or to give our results an unexpected spin.  Previously created by The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where you will also find the list of future topics.

This week’s prompt is….

 

Book Titles with Numbers In Them

 

This TTT was a deceptively easy one once I decided not to take the second part of the challenge which required, where possible, to find titles numbered from 1 to 10 – the real problem surfaced once I looked at my list of past books and found that the ones with a number in the title where not so abundant as I thought. Anyway, here is my Top Ten:

 

 

1) THE TWO TOWERS, by JRR Tolkien

Pride of place goes to the second book in the LOTR, because… well… Tolkien. Enough said 🙂

The cover I chose is one designed by Alan Lee, one of the best – if not THE best – among Tolkien illustrators, and it portrays the tower of Isengard after the flood caused by Treeebeard and the angry Ents after their discovery of Saruman’s treachery, a very powerful image indeed.

 

 

2) 13 MINUTES, by Sarah Pinborough

A mystery coupled with a look into intriguing social dynamics in a school environment and a chilling account of social interactions between teenagers that never fails to inspire relief that I went past all of that quite unscathed…

 

 

3) ONE OF US, by Craig DiLouie

A dystopian novel about the aftermath of a virulent plague that caused the birth of peculiarly gifted individuals in the following generations: these children are segregated from an ignorantly intolerant world, while the more talented ones are exploited by merciless government agencies. A story showing that the definition of “monster” can take many meanings…

 

 

4) THE FIFTH HOUSE OF THE HEART, by Ben Tripp

Much as I always enjoy vampire-centered novels, this one literally blew me away – not only because of its unexpected, peculiar take on the theme, but because of its intense, breath-stopping pace. One of my best discoveries in the genre.

 

 

5) A SECOND CHANCE AT EDEN, by Peter Hamilton

This is a collection of short stories set in the Night’s Dawn trilogy’s universe and working as a sort of prequel for the main narrative body. An interesting way of seeing how the various factions like Edenists and Adamists came to be and to find themselves at odds with each other.

 

 

6) TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI, by Bradley Beaulieau

The opening novel in the Shattered Sands series, a story of revenge and discovery featuring Ceda, one of the strongest heroines I ever remember encountering. The setting is also a fascinating one: a harsh environment whose cities are separated by huge stretches of desert navigated by ships that sail on the sands propelled by wind.

 

 

7) THE SIX-GUN TAROT, by R.S. Belcher

A delightfully weird story that mixes, with great success, a Western background and Urban Fantasy themes: the city of Golgotha, on the edges of a vast, pitiless desert, is the place where you could find a sheriff rumored to be a walking dead, a housewife with the skills of an assassin or a native who can morph into a coyote. And much more…

 

 

8) PORTAL OF A THOUSAND WORLDS, by Dave Duncan

This is a very unusual fantasy set in nineteenth century China, a tale of convoluted plots and long-reaching plans, of sweeping rebellions and personal agendas. Maybe not the best place to look for strong female characters, but interesting nonetheless.

 

 

9) 1984, by George Orwell

Another book that needs no introduction: it could very well be considered the progenitor of many dystopian novels and the one that is still quoted whenever limitations to freedom – of thought, of expression – are mentioned.

 

 

10) FAHRENHEIT 451, by Ray Bradbury

Another seminal dystopian landscape and a nightmare for book lovers, given that in this alternate future books are banned and firemen tasked with burning them every time a hidden cache is discovered. And the other narrative thread, about TV and so-called interactive reality shows being the only kind of entertainment, is just as terrifying…

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Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books On My Fall 2019 TBR

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme with a bookish (what else?) inclination: each week the prompt encourages us to look through our books to find those who fulfill its specifications – or to give our results an unexpected spin.  Previously created by The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where you will also find the list of future topics.

This week’s prompt is….

BOOKS ON MY FALL 2019 TBR

Confession time: no matter how much I try to give myself a schedule of books to read, so that I can achieve some kind of balance between the new books being published and those that have been long languishing on my TBR, I’m painfully aware that I’m far too easily distracted…. Nonetheless, I want to give this a try, and see if I can manage to stick to my promise.

One of the fantasy series that has been accumulating dust on my virtual shelf is Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, a grimdark saga which has received enthusiastic reviews. Now that the first book in the sequel trilogy Age of Madness is out, and now that I’ve read and enormously enjoyed it, I want – or rather need – to… go back in history, so the first three books of my Fall TBR are THE BLADE ITSELF, BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED and LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS.

 

Then of course there is the third and final chapter of Jay Kristoff’s saga The Nevernight Chronicles, DARKDAWN: it’s already sitting on my e-reader and I’m eager to see how this story of bloody revenge will wrap up.

 

 

Series are going to feature heavily in this post, and one of my top favorites is Seanan McGuire’s October Daye: the thirteenth volume, THE UNKINDEST TIDE was published recently and I know this will be one of the first fall books I will read, because I’m a huge Toby fan…

 

 

Last year, one of my best new discoveries was Fonda Lee’s Jade City, first volume in her Green Bone Saga, an intriguing combination of magic and martial arts. Book 2, JADE WAR came out not long ago and I’ve been eyeing it with growing curiosity.

 

 

The same goes for R.F. Kuang’s THE DRAGON REPUBLIC, book 2 of The Poppy War: if you missed that one, I strongly encourage you to read it because of its powerful writing and intriguing characterization.

 

 

FLEET OF KNIVES is the second book in Gareth Powell’s Embers of War series, following the amazing first book with the same title: in this case it’s science fiction featuring intergalactic wars and sentient ships. What more could I ask for?

 

 

And last but not least, I need to start reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s new SF works, THE CALCULATING STARS (which just won the Hugo) and THE FATED SKY: her fantasy Glamourists Series was a delightful discovery, and I’m curious to sample Kowal’s writing in science fiction.

 

 

Will I be able to keep my promises to myself?  Only time will tell…. 🙂

 

Reviews

The Seven Heavenly Virtues Book Tag

My thanks to Lashaan at Bookidote for this intriguing meme!  My track record for this kind of post is atrocious, so my apologies in advance for any blundering mistake I will make…

 

CHASTITY

Which author/book/series you wish you had never read?

That’s a more difficult one than it seems at first glance… I doubt I could list any series, because if I don’t like book 1 there is no chance for book 2 to make its way in my reading queue, so let’s see… a book I would like to forget… Probably the unlikely prize could go to Amanda Bridgeman’s AURORA: DARWIN, a novel that promised an intriguing space adventure and ended up pushing a great deal of my “no way!” buttons.

TEMPERANCE

Which book/series did you find so good, that you didn’t want to red it all at once, and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?

I’m going to flunk this one, because when it comes to books I love, I am a glutton (see? a deadly sin among all these virtues! Bring on the torches and pitchforks!)  😀

CHARITY

Which book/series/author do you tirelessly push to others, telling them about it or even giving away spare copies bought for that reason?

Easy, James S.A. Corey EXPANSE series, the very best space opera one could find on the shelves these days. Great characters, intriguing story and a record of eight published books (with the ninth and final on its way) where the pace never lags a single moment.

DILIGENCE

Which series/author you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?

(((huge sigh))) G.R.R. Martin and his Song of Ice and Fire: I’ve been captured by this story since 2002, when there were three published books, and since then I’ve joined the crowd of Mr. Martin’s victims waiting for the next book(s) to come out, while he chuckles evilly in the background…

PATIENCE

Is there an author/book/series you’ve read that improved with time the most, starting out unpromising, but ultimately proving rewarding?

Patience is definitely NOT one of my virtues, but sometimes I do try to make an exception, and one of the times in which such effort was rewarded was with Seanan McGuire’s OCTOBER DAYE series: the first two books, while enjoyable, are not on the same level as the following ones, where characters and story really take flight. By book 3 I was a devoted Toby fan, as I am still.

KINDNESS

Which fictitious character would you consider your role-model in the hassle of everyday life?

While I’m a bit too old to consider role-models, there is a fictional character that always had my utmost admiration: Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, mother of Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of Lois McMaster Bujold’s series with the same name. Cordelia is a strong, determined woman, but she can also balance kindness and insight, wisdom and clarity of mind, and a good dose of humor that always make her appearance on the scene a welcome sight.

HUMILITY

Which book/series/author do you find most under-rated?

There is a urban fantasy series I discovered almost by chance, Greg Van Eekhout’s DANIEL BLACKLAND, a story about an alternate world where magic is wielded by ingesting the bones of mytical creatures, therefore gaining their powers. It’s a pity that this series does not get more recognition, because it’s a very intriguing one.

Reviews

TEASER TUESDAY

Teaser Tuesday is an intriguing meme started by Ambrosia over at The Purple Booker.

All you have to do is:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser Tuesday

I have waited too long to start the second volume of Juliet Marillier’s wonderful Blackthorn and Grim Saga, TOWER OF THORNS, but now that I have I’m loving it even more than Dreamer’s Pool – and that was an amazing discovery indeed.

In this new book, Blackthorn and her brooding companion Grim seem to have settled quite nicely in Darlriada, and both their lives appear more secure, but neither of them has forgotten the horrors of their pasts or the most recent terrible experiences as prisoners of Mathuin.  And Blackthorn still nurses her powerful need for vengeance.

But a new challenge faces them, that of a mysterious creature that haunts a nearby land with its anguished wails, so that the wise woman and her silent friend accept the task of trying to understand what it’s all about…

[…] the four of us set off together: the scholar and the monk, the so-called wise woman and… If this were an old tale, what name would I give Grim? The bodyguard? The companion? The protector, the keeper? The friend?  He was all of those and more.

This little quote highlight what is one of the most engaging elements in this series, the relationship between Blackthorn and Grim, something that seems to go even beyond ties of friendship and family, and is the truly fascinating core of the story.

Reviews

TEASER TUESDAY

Teaser Tuesday is an intriguing meme started by Ambrosia over at The Purple Booker.

All you have to do is:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser Tuesday

I’m happy and delighted to open this year’s run of Teaser Tuesdays with a book whose announcement made me quite happy: John Scalzi’s first book in a new space opera series, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE.  The book will come out on March 2017, and to say I was looking forward to it would be a massive understatement, since a new Scalzi book is a cause for celebration (and instant acquisition) for me.

Thanks to Lynn I learned that NetGalley had the e-ARC for The Collapsing Empire on their request list, and I was beyond thrilled to have my request granted (thank you!). This is the premise, courtesy of GoodReads:

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars. […] The Flow is eternal, but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity.

Intriguing, isn’t it? And here is just a tiny bit to whet your appetite:

The mutineers would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for the collapse of the Flow.
There is, of course, a legal, standard way within the guilds for a crew to mutiny, a protocol that has lasted for centuries. A senior crew member, preferably the Executive Officer/First Mate, but possibly the Chief Engineer, Chief Technician, Chief Physician or, in genuinely bizarre circumstances, the Owner’s Representative, would offer the ship’s Imperial Adjunct a formal Bill of Grievances Pursuant to a Mutiny, consistent with guild protocol. The Imperial Adjunct would confer with the ship’s Chief Chaplain, calling for witnesses and testimony if required, and the two would, in no later than a month, either offer up with a Finding for Mutiny, or issue a Denial of Mutiny.

If you’re interested you can read the entire prologue on Tor.com’s site, and enjoy John Scalzi’s engaging writing and distinctive brand of humor.

Salva

Reviews

TOP TEN TUESDAY #4

TOP TEN TUESDAY is a meme created at The Broke and The Bookish, with the aim of sharing Top Ten lists of our favorites – mostly book related.

toptentuesday

For this last week of the year, the topic is: Top Ten Best Books of 2016

When the time comes to draw up a list like this, I find myself faced with some hard choices, because most of the books I’ve reviewed – and for 2016 they amount to a round 60, which is something of a record for me, given the limited time I can devote to reading – are books I liked quite a bit.

I spoke of reviewed books, rather than simply read, because some of the titles I picked up ended in the DNF  pile, and of these I reviewed only a few – those for which I felt a very strong need to share the reasons  I didn’t like them, although I managed to soldier on past the 25% mark that for me is the “make or break” point.   Which means there are a few more that didn’t even make the list because I could not connect with either story or characters and moved on quite swiftly.

So, of these 60 books, only 3 were abandoned before the end, and I had to pick my favorite 10 out of the remaining 57: as I said, not an easy feat, and that’s the reason I’m not going to list my ten favorite titles in any particular order of preference, but rather in the order I read them. It’s the most Solomonic solution I could come up with…

 

THE FIFTH HOUSE OF THE HEART, by Ben Tripp

ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

DREAMER’S POOL, by Juliet Marillier

A RED ROSE CHAIN & ONCE BROKEN FAITH, by Seanan McGuire  (I could not pick just one of them…)

MORNING STAR, by Pierce Brown

THE LESSER DEAD, by Christopher Buehlman

DARK ASCENSIONS, by M.L. Brennan

THE DRAGON’S PATH, by Daniel Abraham

HOUSE OF SUNS, by Alastair Reynolds

BABYLON’S ASHES, by James S.A. Corey  (forthcoming review)

 

Ok, the count really goes to 11 titles, but I can bend the rules a little if I consider that the books in the October Daye series are all parts of the same whole. Can I?

And what about you?  What are your favorite reads for this year?

Reviews

TEASER TUESDAY #16

Teaser Tuesday is an intriguing meme started by Ambrosia over at The Purple Booker.

All you have to do is:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser Tuesday

This week I’m going to showcase one of the books I was most looking forward to, this year, the sixth volume in the amazing space opera The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey (a.k.a. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).

Babylon’s Ashes comes after an amazing fifth book in which so much happened, and so many of the characters I’ve come to care about where in serious danger, and the apparently subdued tone of this volume might seem anti-climatic, but I’ve come to trust these two authors to deliver, and I was not disappointed.

Here is a brief excerpt from the thoughts of Chrisjen Avarasala, one of my favorite characters: her musings offer the possibility of giving the reader a condensed recap of all that happened before, but in such a genially offhand way…

Her mind danced across the solar system. Medina Station. Rhea, declaring against the Free Navy. The food and supplies of Ganymede. The starvation and death on Earth. […] The colony ships being preyed upon by the Free Navy pirates, and the stations and asteroids gaining the benefit of piracy. And the missing ships. And the stolen protomolecule sample.

If you have not started this series yet, I urge you to do it, as soon as you can: you owe it to yourselves, seriously 🙂