Saturday, September 30, 2017

Newfangled 52 - September Edition

Being back to school again after soooo many years is super weird. I was expecting armloads of textbooks, but in fact, the ones I do have are online! Things may have changed in my life, but the feeling of a good book in my hand, isn't one of them. Despite no having my time filled with baking labs and theory classes, I managed to still get a few books read.

by Seanan McGuire

353 Pages

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.
To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.
Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.
Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

It's amazing that she can write so many book on magical children getting abducted but still make every one unique and fun. Toby is always a character that I enjoy reading about and I hope to continue doing so for quite some time. Oh, and if I didn't already love Seanan McGuire enough, I found this amazing set of tweets on Tumblr that made me squeal with joy.

by Kenneth Graham

288 Pages

One of the most celebrated works of classic literature for children
Meet little Mole, willful Ratty, Badger the perennial bachelor, and petulant Toad. Over one hundred years since their first appearance in 1908, they've become emblematic archetypes of eccentricity, folly, and friendship. And their misadventures-in gypsy caravans, stolen sports cars, and their Wild Wood-continue to capture readers' imaginations and warm their hearts long after they grow up. Begun as a series of letters from Kenneth Grahame to his son, The Wind in the Willows is a timeless tale of animal cunning and human camaraderie.

I finally finished reading this and I only have a few questions.... Are these animals the same size as humans? What is the size relation between human sized animals and regular animals? And are the regular sized animals smart like the human animals? How do all the animals have houses and clothes and food from the store when they don't have jobs? Do they buy from humans? How deep do the burrows have to be to accommodate human sized animals? How does anyone confuse Mr. Toad for a human washer woman? How does Toad get to go home after escaping prison and not have the police come there to look for him? I'm sooo confused...

by Genevieve Cogman

330 Pages

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. 
London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...

This book was interesting. Well, it had a lot of backstory plot that I thought was interesting. Sadly, the book only hints at theses things and doesn't actually go into them. The book itself was more of a multi-trope adventure novel. And that was fun, even if it wasn't what I truly wanted from it. I will read the next book when I get my hands on it, so I can hopefully answer the questions that are brewing in my mind. Although I have a feeling they will also be the same and my questions may not get answers for awhile.

by Elizabeth Haydon

657 Pages (30:08 Hours)

Rhapsody, a young woman trained as a Namer, can attune herself to the vibrations of all things, tap the power of true names, and rename people, changing their basic identities. Her magic lies in music: "Music is nothing more than the maps through the vibrations that make up all the world. If you have the right map, it will take you wherever you want to go," she tells her adoptive brothers. They are "the Brother," a professional assassin able to sense and track the heartbeats of all natives of the doomed Island of Seren, their homeland, and his giant sidekick Grunthor, a green-skinned Sergeant Major who enjoys making jokes, using edged weapons, and honing his cannibalistic palate. Inadvertently, Rhapsody has renamed the Brother Achmed the Snake, breaking his enslavement to Tsoltan the F'dor (a fire-born demon). Tsoltan sends minions in pursuit to rebind Achmed. The three escape into the roots of a World Tree, Sagia, emerging transformed into another country and century. But have they truly escaped the F'dor's evil? And how does all this relate to the prologue's story of Gwydion and Emily, two young lovers brought together across history and then separated by the mysterious Meridion?

I read this book eons ago and had mostly forgotten about it until I saw that the author had finally released new installments for it after 8 years. It had been so long since I read them that I could barely remember what they were about. So I did what I always do when rereading; I downloaded the audiobook. It was just as good as I remembered, although there were a few things that irked me. I had forgotten (or maybe not noticed before) how much they slut-shame the main character "in jest". Yeah, not cool. Also, having the book be so musical, it would've been nice had they actually had a woman narrator with a bit of a song in her voice. The male narrator didn't do it justice. I am looking forward to rereading this series and seeing what her new books have to add to it.

by Seanan McGuire

176 Pages (4:44 Hours)

Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things.
No matter the cost.

This book was incredible. I need to get the next one now! This book has a trans gendered character and an ace character and they are written perfectly. Nobody questions their choices or uses the wrong pronouns and when someone says something bigoted, they are hated more than the villain in the book. Not to mention that every character is as unique as the World that they visited. I want to spend a lot more time in this world.

by Beth Cato

387 Pages

After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.
In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills. 
When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . . 
Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.

I picked up this steampunk book with the hopes that it would be better than most. And I'd have to say that it was. It's nice to see steampunk not done in London and to have an alternate reality where Japan has basically taken over the United States. This mean that there were a lot more POC characters and I'm always happy for that. There was also a trans character in this that wasn't handled as smoothly. There was a lot of misgendering and confusion before finally giving over and using his correct pronouns. It could've been done better, but at least the author is trying to be inclusive. I'll probably pick up the next book in the series at some point.

by Alex Bledsoe

349 Pages (9:42 Hours)

In this valley songs live ... and kill.
No one knows where the Tufa came from or how they ended up in the mountains of east Tennessee. When the first Europeans came to the Smoky Mountains, the Tufa were already there. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations.
Private Bronwyn Hyatt, a true daughter of the Tufa, has returned from Iraq, wounded in body and spirit, but her troubles are far from over. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, while a restless "haint" has followed her home from the war. Worse yet, Bronwyn has lost touch with herself and with the music that was once a part of her life. With death stalking her family, will she ever again join in the song of her people and let it lift her onto the night winds?

So, I just discovered that I can rent audiobooks online from my local public library! How cool is that? I really wanted to figure out how it worked, so I borrowed the first interesting book that I cam across. I should've kept looking. This was less a fantasy book and more a weird family drama book with a few fantasy elements. Not to mention that there were a few weirdly incestuous moments that were kinda hard to listen to. Not a great story, not great characters, just not great. Not planning on reading the rest of the series.

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