The beginning of October is when I celebrate my birthday! Huzzah! This year I was wisely presented with gift cards and books as birthday offerings. It was great. I may have gone overboard.
I tried to stick with books that I have wanted for a while so I was able to stretch those gift cards out a little bit farther. It worked…as you will be able to see.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
This was an actual gift from the Hubs. I legit squealed when I got it. Still haven’t read it yet. Gotta fix that.
Quicksilver Court by Melissa Caruso
Ryxander, the Warden of Gloamingard, has failed. Unsealed by her blood, the Door hidden within the black tower has opened. Now, for the first time since the age of the Graces, demons walk the world.
As tensions grow between nations, all eyes—and daggers—are set on Morgrain, which has fallen under the Demon of Discord’s control. When an artifact with the power to wipe out all life in a domain is stolen, Ryx will do whatever it takes to save her home from destruction. But success may demand a larger sacrifice from Ryx than she could have imagined.
Is it bad that I bought the sequel when I haven’t even read the first one yet? I love the authors writing and am very happy to add this one to the collection!
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.
Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.
When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.
This was an option for voting for one of my book clubs a few months ago, and while it didn’t win, I have been intrigued by the premise ever since I saw it.
The Ruthless Ladies Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.
This one has been on my to-buy list since January. I am so looking forward to reading this. This means I probably won’t get to it until 2023.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.
Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?
Yes. All of this. and the cover under the jacket is so pretty. That’s not why I bought it, I promise. It was totally the story.
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View by Various
On May 21, 1980, Star Wars became a true saga with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, forty storytellers re-create an iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back through the eyes of a supporting character, from heroes and villains, to droids and creatures. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors and trendsetting artists:
• Austin Walker explores the unlikely partnership of bounty hunters Dengar and IG-88 as they pursue Han Solo.
• Hank Green chronicles the life of a naturalist caring for tauntauns on the frozen world of Hoth.
• Tracy Deonn delves into the dark heart of the Dagobah cave where Luke confronts a terrifying vision.
• Martha Wells reveals the world of the Ugnaught clans who dwell in the depths of Cloud City.
• Mark Oshiro recounts the wampa’s tragic tale of loss and survival.
• Seth Dickinson interrogates the cost of serving a ruthless empire aboard the bridge of a doomed Imperial starship.
Plus more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from:
Tom Angleberger, Sarwat Chadda, S.A. Chakraborty, Mike Chen, Adam Christopher, Katie Cook, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Christie Golden, Rob Hart, Lydia Kang, Michael Kogge, R. F. Kuang, C. B. Lee, Mackenzi Lee, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Daniel José Older, Amy Ratcliffe, Beth Revis, Lilliam Rivera, Cavan Scott, Emily Skrutskie, Karen Strong, Anne Toole, Catherynne M. Valente, Django Wexler, Kiersten White, Gary Whitta, Brittany N. Williams, Charles Yu, Jim Zub
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book—a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies’ longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House will donate $100,000 to First Book and Disney/Lucasfilm will donate 100,000 children’s books—valued at $1,000,000—to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education.
So I loved the A New Hope volume in this series. I love that this is a book where the publisher is giving back to charity. Especially to a charity that works with children in need.
The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford
Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers — a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.
But then a body turns up at the site of her last job — murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding . . .
Telekentic powers? Mysterious murders? Strong Female Protagionist? Sign me up!
Monstress Vol One by Majorie Lui, art by Sana Takada
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.
I’m not gonna lie, I bought this Trade Paperback for the cover art alone. When I got it I flipped through it and the art is just incredible. I hope the story is just as good.
A Natural History of Dragons (a Novel by Lady Trent) by Marie Brennan
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
I saw this one on YouTube and was like “yes, I need that” because dragons!
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. Most of them.
I bought this one because of BookTok. It’s been making the rounds. Which is impressive for a self-published book. It’s done so well it got picked up by Tor. I actually hope to read it soon, because if I like it, I will pre-order the Tor version. Gotta support those who self-pub.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
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 newfound schoolmates to get to the heart of things.
No matter the cost.
Another one I bought because of BookTube. I watch too much YouTube. Also, it sounds good. Plus it’s short, so it should be a quick read.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.
Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.
Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.
Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.
I loved this book back when I read it in July. But that was a library copy and I wanted a copy of my very own to love! I did give it 4 stars, btw’s. It kept me entertained the whole time I read it!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark
An epic clash between the forces of light and dark, between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists, between brave heroes and brilliant villains, the fate of the galaxy is at stake in the Emmy Award-winning animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In this exciting anthology, eleven authors who are also fans of the series bring stories from their favorite show to life. Gathered here are memorable moments and stunning adventures, from attempted assassinations to stolen bounties, from lessons learned to loves lost. All of your favorite characters from The Clone Wars are here: Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, Darth Maul, Count Dooku and more!
Can you tell I like the Star Wars anthologies? Because I do. I really need to read the 5 million other books in the Star Wars canon (not the legacy books, I’d be here for years, although, Mara Jade.)
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”
Born under the crumbling towers of her kingdom, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves. It nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage to the son of a rival clan heralds peace.
However, he suddenly disappears before their reign can begin, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.
Years later, he sends a mysterious invitation to meet. Talyien journeys across the sea in hopes of reconciling their past. An assassination attempt quickly dashes those dreams. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.
So, I already own the Kindle version of this one. Didn’t know that until I looked today. I bought the physical copy on Amazon, but you know how you type something into the search bar and it gives you the option of kindle, audiobook, or paperback? Well, I picked paperback and never saw that I had already purchased this. Oh well. Now I have two copies.
Revenger Trilogy by Alastair Reynolds
Revenger is a rocket-fueled tale of space pirates, buried treasure, and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism. . . and of vengeance. . .
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest crew members of the legendary Captain Rackamore’s ship, using their mysterious powers as Bone Readers to find clues about their next score. But there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen, in particular.
The galaxy is filled with treasures. . . if you have the courage to find them.
This is a set I picked up at the used book store near us. I don’t know if it’s good or bad that the whole series was there, but we got them. But the Hubs was interested, and I was interested, so score!
Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner
Set in 1991, just as Star Trek: The Next Generation has rocketed the cast to global fame, the young and impressionable actor Brent Spiner receives a mysterious package and a series of disturbing letters, that takes him on a terrifying and bizarre journey that enlists Paramount Security, the LAPD, and even the FBI in putting a stop to the danger that has his life and career hanging in the balance.
Featuring a cast of characters from Patrick Stewart to Levar Burton to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, to some completely imagined, this is the fictional autobiography that takes readers into the life of Brent Spiner and tells an amazing tale about the trappings of celebrity and the fear he has carried with him his entire life.
When I saw that Brent Spiner had written a book, I knew I had to buy it, so I did. It was a birthday present to me from me!
The Awakening by Nora Roberts
In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword—representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…
When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.
This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…
I was wandering through Costco, as one does, when I stumbled across this one. Will it be good? No idea, But I’m going to find out. Eventually.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Picked this one up for one of my book clubs last month and I was disappointed. Sorry Book! I had to DNF you!
Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker
In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out—and going out for their first kill—and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire—and a revolution on the page.
Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.
I read this YA short story compilation and thought it was good. I gave it four stars because it had one bad story but the rest were pretty good! Also, I picked it up on Bookshop.org for $0.50 more than it was on Amazon. That’s not always the case, but it’s worth checking out.
Anywho, there is my massive book haul for the month. I think I’ll be okay with only buying the books I need for the book clubs next month. Maybe one more. Maybe. Let’s see if I can actually do a book buying ban for the month of November, shall we?