Monday, November 23, 2015

November's Best Books

I'm behind in my book reviews because I have been in a positive glut of amazing, wonderful, re-readable books.  I remember when I stopped working and started staying home with my one-year-old, I'd go to the library and walk up and down the aisles (sighing) (also surreptitiously sneaking the baby a graham cracker) and come home with a stack of books that I never read past the first chapter.  They just didn't hit the spot for me, and besides an occasional recommendation (which was usually for a bestseller anyway), I didn't know where to find books I liked. 

How things have improved!  I love you, internet, and I love you, all my writer friends who read even more than me and recommend exactly what I'd like. 

I'll break these into a few posts so you don't buckle under the weight of these fabulous books when you leave the bookstore. 

Image result for ink and bone

Here's the official blurb:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…   Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.   Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.   When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

And here's my gushing:

Wow!  Ink and Bone is clever, inventive, interesting--the characters are flawed and still likable--and the plot is twisty.  I loved the world she created so much that probably would have read a 'Reader's Companion' or something just to soak in all the details.  The author hit on so many interesting alternate paths regarding history, literature, wars, literacy, ownership, debauchery (ink-lickers eat rare books, people!).  And the visuals of these libraries--temples of learning--are gorgeous.

Somehow I hadn't read anything by this author before, but I'm hurrying to change that while I wait for the next book to come out!

Image result for six of crows

Here's the blurb:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone... A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.  A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.  Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

And my gushing:

I'd been counting down the days until Six of Crows released.  I loved the author's Grisha trilogy, mostly because it was set in a Russian-inspired fantasy world.  There aren't nearly enough of those!  This book delighted me in all the same ways.  I loved seeing fantasy versions of Amsterdam and Finland . . . plus it was a heist.  I LOVE HEISTS.  

Usually I really like books about good people, but Leigh Bardugo has such a knack of taking really, truly bad people and giving them just enough humanity to make us feel torn and to root for them.  I am in awe.  I wish the others were out. . . it was the only thing that took the edge of my migraine the day I read it.

(Yes.  I read for migraine relief.  We all have our quirks.)

Image result for walk on earth a stranger


Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend--who might want to be something more. She also has a secret. Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it. When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California--where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey. The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

And from me:

This was another book I was dancing with impatience to read--her Girl of Fire and Thorns series is one of my all-time favorites.  This book was so sweet.  I loved the main character and her best friend.  I liked the life lessons she learned along the trail west, I liked the cast of characters who grew and evolved along with her.   I really liked how Lee's eyes were opened to the secrets others carry and that she experienced a lot of love and kindness along with abuse and humiliation.

I did want more of the magic of the world--why could she sense gold, did others have special abilities, etc.  It's such a cool premise!  I would have loved more 'alternate' in the story--other than her gold sense, it's a pretty straight (and wonderful) historical fiction.

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