A Christmas Book Haul

Well hello, beautiful peoples! And how are we doing today? I started the new year off right by watching the full extended edition of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It’s an annual tradition for me and I can quote that movie line by line. So can the Hubs. Being nerds together is fun.

I thought I’d go over what books I got for Christmas. And given that I did this post, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. But seriously, if you want to see what Santa (Santa is the Hubs, the Hubs is Santa) brought me, check out that list. I got everything on it.

I did, however, go to the Barnes & Noble 50% off Hardcover sale after Christmas and picked up a few books. Not as many as I normally would have because they were sold out of so many of the things I wanted. I did get a few gems though.

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

Taryn Cornick believes that the past – her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge – is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness, and uncaring…but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally, a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

I’ve wanted this book for months and just kept forgetting to pick it up. When I saw it in the store I snatched it up. I didn’t realize it was such a thick book, coming in at 640 pages. Wowzer.

The Apollo Muders by Chris Hadfield

1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help.

NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it.

But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.

This book isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I had to pick it up because Chris Hadfield wrote a book! If you don’t remember him, he was the astronaut who did this:

Yeah, him. Naturally, I had to buy the book.

Sistersong by Lucy Holland

In the kingdom of Dumnonia, there is old magic to be found in the whisper of the wind, the roots of the trees, and the curl of the grass. King Cador knew this once, but now the land has turned from him, calling instead to his three children. Riva can cure others, but can’t seem to heal her own deep scars. Keyne battles to be accepted for who he truly is—the king’s son. And Sinne dreams of seeing the world, of finding adventure.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky. It brings with it Myrdhin, meddler and magician. And Tristan, a warrior who is not what he seems.

Riva, Keyne and Sinne—three siblings entangled in a web of betrayal and heartbreak, who must fight to forge their own paths. 

Their story will shape the destiny of Britain.

This book’s premise gripped me from the moment I heard it, but I was content to wait for it to come out in paperback. Naturally, when I saw it was part of the sale, I snatched it up. Go me.

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house—a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
 
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
 
And he meets his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

This book screams magical realism, but I found it in the literary fiction section of the store. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this book until I saw the cover, and then I had to know what it was about. It intrigued me, and that’s always a good thing.

Malice by Heather Walter

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

With a premise like that, why wouldn’t I want to read this sapphic retelling of sleeping beauty from the villans perspective? This is part one of the Malice Duology, and it just sounds so good! I’ve heard very good things about it.

I got a total of 15 books during the Christmas season. I have already started on them, with Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia being the first one. I’ve heard good things.

What did you get for Christmas?

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