Category Archives: book lists

Upcoming Workman books I’m intrigued by

Once a month, I talk about some upcoming titles from a specific publisher’s catalog. This month it’s Workman’s Fall/Winter 2018 catalog.

Because Workman is a relatively small publisher, there aren’t a lot of titles here. But I wanted to feature a catalog that wasn’t from the Big Six (Five? I’m still unclear on the Penguin/Random House merger and its effects.)

non-fiction

Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge Susan Hand Shetterley: I just think seaweed is cool, and I’m excited to maybe learn more about it. August 7

The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid: This seems like a really cool concept and the illustrations featured on Edelweiss are gorgeous. September 18

Young Adult

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health ed. by Kelly Jensen: This is a non-fiction anthology that collects a number of different voices on mental health. I’m including it here because it’s a topic I care about and it’s edited by someone who I know is very thoughtful about mental health and mental illness.  October 2

A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma: There’s a new Nova Ren Suma! I had no idea! That’s exactly why I find looking through catalogs really valuable–it’s a great way to find books that aren’t getting as much of a social media buzz. Anyway, I love Nova Ren Suma’s books and I’m super excited that she has another one coming out. September 4

 

 

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Favorite biographies

I have a type of biography that I love and it is: thoughtful biographies of complex and difficult women. I think that they’re ways I learn to understand myself better. In the biographies that I love, I see parts of myself but also lives I don’t know and can’t understand, ways of engaging with the world that are not mine and yet help me to see my own life more clearly. Some of these books have changed my life so deeply that I can’t even bring myself to truly write about them. (The Tiptree bio and Savage Beauty in particular.) A good biography can be just as emotionally effective as fiction, if not more so! (I cried HEAPS over Lady Byron.) Anyway, I love these books and continuing to talk about them feels like laying my heart bare.

Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman

A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm

The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley

Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus

Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters

James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy

Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford

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A guide to Martha Wells, for Murderbot fans

As someone who has been a fan of Martha Wells’ books for at least six years now, it’s been a lot of fun to see new people discovering her work via Murderbot. I love the Murderbot novellas, and I’m so glad that other people do too. (Also that we’re getting a novel! Yes!) But Wells has written a lot of awesome books, so I thought I’d put together a list of places you might want to start, depending on what draws you to Murderbot to begin with.

Let us begin where I did, with The Wheel of the Infinite, a secondary world fantasy featuring a protagonist who really would prefer not to. Maskelle is a middle-aged woman who is jaded and weary but also very competent and appealingly snarky.

Or, if you’d rather, you can try The Wizard Hunters, the first in the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. I love Tremaine, one of the two protagonists for this series, a lot; she reminds me in some ways of Julie Beaufort-Stuart, but if Julie was deeply depressed and didn’t like people all that much even though she also cares about them. Bonus: this series has weird magic, accidental travel to other worlds, friendships, and a very prosaic romance.

I am also very fond of the other Ile-Rien books, particularly The Death of the Necromancer, which I described back in 2013 as “a bit like Les Miserables, if Jean Valjean was a burglar and he teamed up with Javert to fight sorcerous crime.” (A description which instantly makes me want to reread the book, if I do say so myself.) However, I stand by the suggestion to start with Element of Fire if you’re planning to read Death of the Necromancer, for maximum feels. These are the least like the Murderbot series in some ways, but they do have some pretty excellent politics and machinations going on.

Finally, I am still working my way through the Raksura series, which starts with The Cloud Roads. Like the Murderbot stories, these feature non-human protagonists–in this case the Raksura, who are winged shapeshifters. The main character, Moon, is also an outsider in his own culture, which makes for some interesting conflicts.

I personally have most often reread The Wheel of the Infinite and The Wizard Hunters, but I’ve truly enjoyed and recommend all the books here!

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Books I added to my TBR: July 2018

OH BOY OH BOY there are lots of books coming out that I want to read!! Plus all the books that are already out that I am just now hearing about. I didn’t include the reason I’m interested in these, since they seemed fairly repetitive and boring. BUT I will highlight the fact that ZEN CHO HAS A NEW BOOK COMING OUT! and that EK Johnston’s The Afterward sounds amazing for me & my reading interests.  (After the war/quest stories are one of my favorite things.) Also The Widow Queen is a translation of a Polish book and I’m hoping it is wonderful and/or reminds me of Nicola Griffith’s wonderful Hild. 

Recipes For Love and Murder by Sallie Andrew

America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo

The Widow Queen by Elżbieta Cherezińska

The True Queen by Zen Cho

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

The Afterward by EK Johnston

The Poppy War by RF Kuang

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Opposite of Always by Justin A Reynolds

Dealing in Dreams by  Lilliam Rivera

What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

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Upcoming Macmillan titles I’m intrigued by

Once a month, I talk about some upcoming titles from a specific publisher’s catalog. This month it’s Macmillan’s Fall 2018 catalog.

Adult

Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction ed. by Irene Gallo: I mean, I generally really like Tor.com’s short fiction, and it’s smart to collect the first ten years or so, when it wasn’t quite as widely distributed. I’m exciting about revisiting old favorites and hopefully finding some new ones as well. September 4

The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K LeGuin: I am definitely lacking in a lot of UKL’s backlist and this is a perfect opportunity to read one I’ve missed! September 11

Vengeful by V. E. Schwab: I have the first book checked out right now, and while I am not always 100% on Schwab’s books, I do really want to read this take on the superhero genre. September 25

Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang: So, this has actually been on my TBR for a bit. I think it was originally self-published, or published by a small press. Either way, I’m glad it’s now in a more accessible form! October 2

Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells: MURDERBOT. The summary is stressful! MURDERBOT!! October 2

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter: This biography was written by Eunice Hunton Carter’s grandson, and I mean! What a story. Also, I love a good biography and it’s been a bit since I’ve read one. October 9

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera: I liked the first book in this new historical fantasy series and I’m curious to see where the story goes in this one! October 9

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi: Truthfully, I’m kind of so-so on Scalzi at this point, but space opera is just catnip to me and I know he generally writes fast, fun stories. While this isn’t, like, the highlight of my reading year, I will probably read and enjoy it. October 16

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender: Sometimes, honestly, it’s just that the premise sounds cool, and that’s the case here. November 20

Middle grade
The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis: I loved this first book a LOT so heck yeah, I’m excited for this one!! November 6

Young Adult
A Blade So Black by LL McKinney: I’ve heard some good buzz about this one on Twitter, so I will give it a try even though Alice in Wonderland is generally not my favorite. September 25

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: I like her books a lot and this one retells a favorite fairy tale! Sold. October 9

Home and Away by Candice Montgomery: Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a character-driven contemporary YA, and this sounds like the perfect book for that itch. October 16

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Books I added to my TBR: June 2018

What did I add to my TBR list in June? These books!

 

The Witch’s Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag – Leila liked it, and it’s a fantasy graphic novel which I’m always intrigued by. Yes please.

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer – I don’t know, the themes and plot sounded interesting, and while Charlotte wasn’t sure if this one works well for adult readers, I figured I’d give it a try.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – I was pretty so so on The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but Liz Bourke sold me on this one. I guess that means I need to read book 2?

The Lost Book: The Scroll of Kings by Sarah Prineas – I like Sarah Prineas’s books, especially her middle grade stories, and both Charlotte & Brandy loved this one.

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault – It just sounds like a very cool fantasy!

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding – I am always–literally always–down for a great teen romcom.

 

 

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Upcoming Scholastic books I’m intrigued by

Continuing with my occasional flip through a publisher’s offerings. These are all from the Fall 2018 catalog and, since it’s Scholastic, are all written for a kid audience.

Middle grade

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab; August 28. Middle grade from Schwab! I think her only other middle grade was part of the Spirit Animals series. This one sounds spooky and atmospheric, so I’m in, and also curious about how she translates her no-holds-barred sensibility to a younger audience.

Dactyl Hill Squad: Rescue Run by Daniel Jose Older; September 11. I’ve liked Older’s other books, and this sounds like a really interesting middle grade alternate history. Plus, I mean, DINOSAURS.

The House with Chicken Legs by Sarah Anderson; September 25. The draw for me here is Baba Yaga, because I love Baba Yaga. I’m not 100% sure how much I’ll end up liking this one, but I’m still planning to read it. Hopefully it’s great!

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty; October 9. Moriarty’s books are usually right up my alley and I’m curious about her take on middle grade; also I resonate with the idea of Extremely Inconvenient Adventures on an almost cellular level.

Young Adult

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten; July 31. This one could really go either way for me, based on the summary. Sometimes a twisty and complex read is exactly right and sometimes it can feel a little bit like shock value for the sake of being shocking. So we’ll see which way this one falls!

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