Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Newfangled 52 - February Edition

Art by Sam Davies
Books will save the day... or is that love?
In this month of love, why can't it be both? Let's find books that do away with prejudices. Let's have interracial/inter-species love stories. Let's do away with old, poisonous, harmful tropes that reach out of the books we love and hurt people in real time.
Let books set an example. Let us do better.
Let books save the day

So, with that said, here is what I read this month:

by Leigh Bardugo

385 Pages (8:55 Hours)

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

This is a prequel series to the Six of Crows books. I was so caught up in the World when I read them, I jumped on a chance to hear more about the World and understand more about the Grisha's and their powers. I wasn't disappointed. I loved everything about this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

by Seanan McGuire

372 Pages

October "Toby" Daye, changeling knight in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, finds the delicate balance of her life shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended. Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile.
Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher, for the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda. With everything on the line, Toby will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can't find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she never thought she'd have to face again...

This book gave me more feelings about the characters than any of the other books combined. I was not expecting the twists and turns that were in this. More and more of Toby's missing past is revealed and the mystery behind it is slowing beginning to unravel.
This is seriously the hardest book series to find. I'm having to order each book individually and then waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for it to arrive. Sadly, it's not something i can do very often, so I have to wait even longer than I want to. Oh well, at least it's very much worth the wait.

by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga

308 Pages

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

I found this whole series in a Little Free Library months ago, but the first one was missing! After searching everywhere for it, I found it in the same LFL (guess someone read it and returned it) Lucky for me, I was the one who found it.
I love The Walking Dead and had been wishing for something else with that edge to it, so I happy lost myself in the first book.
It was okay.
Not great, just okay. Although the story had that grittiness to it, it had a few rape/torturous moments that seriously made me want to put down the book. Then they tried to justify them by making him feel bad. Not really helpful for those poor women.
There were a few other things that bothered me about it as well; it was weirdly preachy, which the show has been good about not being. Also, they kept using the term zombie, which I know is a word that the show hasn't used on purpose, so that always broke me out of the story when I saw it.
I'm trying to decide if I'm going to read the rest of them or put them back in the LFL when the person who took the first one can get to the rest.

by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm

518 Pages

The Brothers Grimm The Grimm brothers were early 19th century writers best known for their fairy tales coming from Scandinavian, Icelandic and Germanic origins. By 1807 there was a growing interest in German folk tales. The Grim brothers were academics who invited friends to their home and asked them to relate stories they had heard. They soon published their first collection of tales and from there several more volumes followed. Included in this collection are Hansel and Gretel, Briar Rose, The Fisherman and His Wife, Rapunzel, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltshin, Tom Thumb and many more. These stories are a delight to read and will rekindle up many childhood memories as they are reread.

I'll admit, reading Grimm is easier than reading Anderson, which I think is saying something when it comes to traditional fairy tales. The stories are a little more coherent is a weird way. I know these are all stories that have been passed down and then collected by the Brothers, but I find it interesting how much they overlap. So many have similar themes; You better know that if you're a King and set weird tasks for the hand of your daughter, that some fool you don't like is going to find a way to win her. Or if you're a good man and find yourself in a death-defying situation that isn't going your way, you can always trick some other poor fool to take your place (and ultimate death). The youngest son is always the purest and will do whatever he can to save the day and will be richly rewarded for it while elder brothers are always lazy thieves who usually die. Always be nice to fairies and dwarves, because they will repay you either way

by Sarah J. Maas

418 Pages (12:01 Hours)

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

I really like this series, but I'm sad that they fridged one of my favorite characters half way through the story. Boo to this trope... boo I say.
The rest of the story was great, and had some wonderful twists and turns, but that really put a damper on it for me. I still want to read the rest of the books and see what is to come for all the other characters that I still like.

by Anne Bishop

489 Pages

In the fourth in the "stunningly original" (Kirkus Reviews) New York Times bestselling series, the Others will need to decide how much humanity they're willing to tolerate--both within themselves and their community...
Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the dynamic between humans and Others has changed. Some, such as Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn see the closer companionship as beneficial. 
But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don't realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land--and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to safeguard what is theirs....

I have been waiting a year for this book to come out in paperback and I was there in the bookstore that day trying to get my hands on a copy. I din't even finish the other book that I was reading before getting into this one and my god, was it good. It was worth the wait of a year and I think the next one will be too, although I really want to read it NOW. Through the other books, there has been a tenuous line between the Others and the humans and you never know which way the line is going to go or if it's going to break completely. This book breaks that line and it is incredibly difficult to put down the book when it does. It's also amazing to read about during such I time of fear and hate in the real world. perhaps this should be a lesson to us all?

The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1)
by Michael J. Sullivan

296 Pages

The Crown Conspiracy is book one of the multi-book saga: The Riyria Revelations. The series is told through six novels conceived as a single epic tale. Across the entire chronicle, mysteries build, characters evolve, and plots thicken, but each is self-contained and can be read independent of one another.
In the first episode, the reader is introduced to Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, who make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in the murder of the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out...and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

Theft of Swords was my RBA pick for this month. Little did I know when I picked up this 681 Page monstrosity, that it was actually a compilation and 2 books in one. Now I don't mind reading 2 books at all, but I hate that Goodreads will only count it as one. Sadness...
Anyway, I decided to keep it on my RBA list as 1 book, but with each book under it. That way i still get to count is as 2 and will read the other one at another time.
I first came across this series when Audible gave me some free short stories about the characters that I really enjoyed listening to. I put the actual series on my to-read list and later found out that Adam owned them. Awesome! They are fun and silly in an action movie sort of way, you know, without dimension and full of plot holes, but still super fun.

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
by Victoria Aveyard

448 Pages (14:39 Hours)

If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.
Mare Barrow's blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: She is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they've always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

I'm also really enjoying this series and find it so interesting to see rebellion grow out of injustice. As in all these books the main character must become what she hates in their quest to free her people. I always enjoy the struggle of such a character as they have to decide what is too much before they too fall too far over the edge. Do you need to be a monster to stop a monster or can you save yourself before it's too late?

Books that I am currently reading

by Timothy Zahn
71 of 694 Pages

by T.A. Pratt
115 of 244

by Anthony Ryan
342 of 602 Pages (24:39 Hours)

A Thousand Nights (A Thousand Nights #1)
by E.K. Johnston217 of 352 Pages

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Extraordinary Voyages #6)
by Jules Verne
50 of 394 Pages

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