Since I didn’t do a book haul for August beware: This is going to be a huge one!
I’ll start of in the chronological order in which I acquired the books and we’ll go on from there. So let’s do this:
The Miniaturist has been on my radar for quite sometimes since I first heard it on BookTube by Reagan from PeruseProject and now with Jessie Burton’s newest release, The Muse, and in combination with a bargain price from BookDepository I decided it’s time to pick it up and have it home. This is a historical fiction novel set in 17th century Amsterdam. I currently live in the Netherlands and so I thought it would be amazing to experience how this country used to be some 400 years ago. Book synopsis:
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?
In my quest for self-discovery and finding out whether or not the YA genre is really something I enjoy or I simply do not like it, I have accumulated so far a few very, very popular YA reads which I intend to give a go. Morgan Matson is a widely loved author of YA contemporaries and belongs to the books that are asked to answer the question of my taste in the YA genre. I do hope to enjoy this and that it will urge me to pick up more young adult titles in the future. Book synopsis:
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?
In the Shadow of the Gods is a fairly new releases, and I couldn’t resist this powerful cover and a story where mortals go up against gods. This is a debut novel for Rachel Dunne and the first book in the Bound Gods series. I also received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher to review (and I still haven’t gotten around to that yet, I’m horrible) but the paperback looks so pretty, I just couldn’t resist. Book synopsis:
Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.
Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.
When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.
These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.
Next I went on Amazon and got myself one copy of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Now this time I played it safe because I’ve read one book by Rainbow Rowell before, Landline, and I enjoyed it. It was a fun, fast, light read that gave me a good time and it was exactly what I needed to read at that time. But this is a YA novel that I bought because I already own Carry On and I thought it would be better to read Fangirl before going into that one. Book synopsis:
In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life-and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I also got the 6th massive (1200 pages long) novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series which is an epic fantasy series by Steven Erikson set in an immense world that I absolutely love and awes me every time. Even though I’m currently stuck in book 4 I am pretty sure I will be reading this whole series, slowly but steadily, to the end. Book synopsis:
The Seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha’ik is dead. One last rebel force remains, holed up in the city of Y’Ghatan and under the fanatical command of Leoman of the Flails. The prospect of laying siege to this ancient fortress makes the battle-weary Malaz 14th Army uneasy. For it was here that the Empire’s greatest champion Dassem Ultor was slain and a tide of Malazan blood spilled. A place of foreboding, its smell is of death.
But elsewhere, agents of a far greater conflict have made their opening moves.
The Crippled God has been granted a place in the pantheon, a schism threatens and sides must be chosen. Whatever each god decides, the ground-rules have changed, irrevocably, terrifyingly and the first blood spilled will be in the mortal world.
A world in which a host of characters, familiar and new, including Heboric Ghost Hands, the possessed Apsalar, Cutter, once a thief now a killer, the warrior Karsa Orlong and the two ancient wanderers Icarium and Mappo–each searching for such a fate as they might fashion with their own hands, guided by their own will. If only the gods would leave them alone. But now that knives have been unsheathed, the gods are disinclined to be kind. There shall be war, war in the heavens. And, the prize? Nothing less than existence itself…
I first came to hear of the Virga series by Karl Schroeder from BookTube and specifically from the SFF180 channel which has become one of my favourite YouTube channels about science fiction and fantasy books ( I strongly recommend you check it out, it has some great reviews and weekly book hauls). Virga is an artificial universe in which life is much different from what we know in ours. It’s a fun series of adventure and space pirates, and Pirate Sun is the third novel in the saga. Book synopsis:
Return to Virga, a bubble universe artificially separated from our own future universe, and the setting of Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce.
Chaison Fanning, the admiral of a fleet of warships, has been captured and imprisoned by his enemies, but is suddenly rescued and set free. He flees through the sky to his home city to confront the ruler who betrayed him. And perhaps even to regain his lovely, powerful, and subversive wife, Venera, who he has not seen since she fled with the key to the artificial sun at the center of Virga, Candesce.
With Pirate Sun, Schroeder sets a whole new standard for hard science fiction space opera.
Brutal Youth is a book I have been meaning to buy for quite a while and even though it is, again, a young adult contemporary, and even though I still hold mixed feelings for the genre, I am holding great expectations about it due to a Stephen King blurb on the cover: ” If you thought high school was hell, has Anthony Breznican got a story for you..”. It has also been praised by many popular authors, Steven Chbosky being one of them. So now it’s waiting for me to pick it up and read it. Book synopsis:
With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael’s has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.
To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youthfollows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.
I also bought this literary phenomenon for which people have been going on and on about since it came out in 2012. Me Before You has also been turned into a movie and I really enjoy watching book-to-movie adaptations so I wanted to check what the buzz is all about. Note here, I haven’t read the synopsis yet and I have decided to give up on reading synopses (most of the time). So here is a not-looking-while-copy/pasting-it synopsis:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
Continuing on in a more fantasy-science fiction-y vein, Smoke is a fairly new release published in the beginning of July and when I heard about this book from BookTube I wanted to have it, so I bought it. Pretty simple explanation. Book synopsis:
If sin were visible and you could see people’s anger, their lust and cravings, what would the world be like?
Smoke opens in a private boarding school near Oxford, but history has not followed the path known to us. In this other past, sin appears as smoke on the body and soot on the clothes. Children are born carrying the seeds of evil within them. The ruling elite have learned to control their desires and contain their sin. They are spotless.
It is within the closeted world of this school that the sons of the wealthy and well-connected are trained as future leaders. Among their number are two boys, Thomas and Charlie. On a trip to London, a forbidden city shrouded in smoke and darkness, the boys will witness an event that will make them question everything they have been told about the past. For there is more to the world of smoke, soot and ash than meets the eye and there are those who will stop at nothing to protect it . . .
And I also got the 7th novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (you see how serious I am about this series). Not much to say about this, again, I love epic fantasy and huge tomes of adventure stories and world-building and I strongly urge any fantasy fans out there to check out Steven Erikson’s work. Book synopsis:
All is not well in the Letherii Empire. Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, spirals into madness, surrounded by sycophants and agents of his Machiavellian chancellor. Meanwhile, the Letherii secret police conduct a campaign of terror against their own people. The Errant, once a farseeing god, is suddenly blind to the future. Conspiracies seethe throughout the palace, as the empire – driven by the corrupt and self-interested – edges ever-closer to all-out war with the neighboring kingdoms.
The great Edur fleet–its warriors selected from countless numbers of people–draws closer. Amongst the warriors are Karsa Orlong and Icarium Lifestealer–each destined to cross blades with the emperor himself. That yet more blood is to be spilled is inevitable… Against this backdrop, a band of fugitives seek a way out of the empire, but one of them, Fear Sengar, must find the soul of Scabandari Bloodeye. It is his hope that the soul might help halt the Tiste Edur, and so save his brother, the emperor. Yet, traveling with them is Scabandari’s most ancient foe: Silchas Ruin, brother of Anomander Rake. And his motives are anything but certain – for the wounds he carries on his back, made by the blades of Scabandari, are still fresh.
Fate decrees that there is to be a reckoning, for such bloodshed cannot go unanswered–and it will be a reckoning on an unimaginable scale. This is a brutal, harrowing novel of war, intrigue and dark, uncontrollable magic; this is epic fantasy at its most imaginative, storytelling at its most thrilling.
And now we come to the most unfortunate buy of the bunch. I bought this book from the BookDepository but failed to notice that it’s the library edition of the hardcover. I don’t know about you, but I hate the library editions without the dust jacket and the cover art printed on the hard cover-thingy. But this book has also been turned into a movie, and I bought it for that reason but also because the author committed suicide. This book is deals with a mental disorder and I believe the author also suffered from a psychiatric condition and that makes the book very intriguing to me. Book synopsis:
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life–which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job–Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He starts earning mediocre grades and sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping–until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new roommate is an Egyptian schoolteacher who refuses to get out of bed. His neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
A few days ago one of the authors of this book e-mailed me asking for a review of their book and was very kind to send me a paperback copy. It follows a British guy named Gary in his attempt to write a best-selling self-help book even though his own life is not much of a success story. Book synopsis:
Most people would give anything to be as successful as Gary Speedwell is going to be. Now, in Gary’s Guide to Life, Gary puts that dream within your reach by unveiling the strategies that are going to lift him out of ordinariness and set him – and you – on course for phenomenal success. Conventional wisdom holds that only people who have attained some measure of success are qualified to write self-help books, but Gary begs to differ. Brimming with self-belief despite mounting debt, tricky personal relationships and a life seemingly spiralling out of control, Gary is a self-help expert like no one who has gone before.
Ninth City Burning is a very fresh release – it came out last week – and it’s a science fiction book about aliens invading Earth which of course sounded exactly like my type of thing. So I sent an e-mail to Ace, the publisher, and requested a review copy and the good people from the Penguin Random House group sent one over (Thank you for that!). Book synopsis:
We never saw them coming.
Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.
Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.
But the enemy’s tactics are changing, and Earth’s defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.
Blake Crouch is the author of the popular thriller Wayward Pines series which was also turned into a TV series. Although I haven’t read his series yet, I was very excited about his latest release called Dark Matter which is a science fiction thriller that has received a lot of praise on Goodreads and generally a lot of buzz around it. Of course I had to pick it up! Book synopsis:
“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Coming down to the last two books, I also have here Good Morning, Midnight. A fairly short science fiction, apocalyptic story with a stunning cover. This book is another new release as it came out in August and I couldn’t wait to make it mine. Since it’s so short I expect to review it soon. Book synopsis:
Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.
At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success, but when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crew mates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.
As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives?
And last but not least, I also bought the latest Harry Potter novel which is not a novel and it’s also not about Harry Potter (as Ariel Bissett, a BookTuber, recently tweeted). I have no idea what the story is about, I just know it’s written in script form and I’ve never read a script before and I have no idea whether I will enjoy it. But it’s a Harry Potter book and as one of the millions of dedicated fans, I had to have it. Book synopsis:
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
So these are all the books I acquired in August and September and that I will be getting to soon. Do you have any suggestions as to which I should prioritise? Let me know! 🙂
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