Top Ten Tuesday: The Backlog

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is a freebie, but there’s a lot of awesome topics coming up in the next couple weeks, about favorite reads of 2019, or most anticipated reads of 2020, so I decided to take a look at the backlog.  About 60% of my reading comes from new-to-me authors- so here are a few of the ones I enjoyed this year and would like to read more of.

Kameron Hurley: God’s War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1) and The Light Brigade – I know The Mirror Empire was a miss for a few of my blogging buddies, and I do understand, but ultimately I enjoyed it enough that I’d like to read more of Hurley.  The Light Brigade is her highest rated book on GoodReads, and God’s War came recommended by a frequent buddy reader.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) – Neuvel’s novella The Test was one of my favorites this year.  While I wait for him to write something else wonderful and so perfectly relevant, I plan to give Sleeping Giants (and hopefully the rest of the trilogy) a try.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey: The Wool Omnibus – I flew through Howey’s Half Way Home earlier this year.  It was perfect for me, quick pacing, straightforward writing, and plenty of suspense.  Wool comes highly recommended, and I can’t wait to check it out!

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Time, Redemption’s Blade and The Expert System’s Brother – As prolific as Tchaikovsky is, it’s kind of hard to believe I’ve only ever read Walking to Aldebaran, but it’s true.  I did start Children of Time once, and through no fault of the book (reading slump!) never finished.  I’m looking forward to jumping back into that and checking out a few of these others!

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel: The Singer’s Gun – I didn’t review it, but I listened to Station Eleven a few months ago and adored it.  It was a very surface level post-apocalyptic / sci-fi story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  While looking at what else of her’s I might want to check out, I found the Captain’s review of The Singer’s Gun and immediately added it to my TBR.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde:  The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) – I first heard about the Eyre Affair a few years ago, when I started becoming more active on GoodReads.  I put it off for a long time because while the blurb was very amusing, it wasn’t obviously my kind of humor right away.  Early Riser was a book club read for me earlier this year, and it made me laugh quite a bit, so I’m feeling ready to finally tackle this.

David Wellington: Chimera (Jim Chapel #1) and Monster Island – Wellington wrote The Last Astronaut, which I read over the summer and mostly enjoyed.  Until I started writing this post I actually didn’t even realize he had older titles!  Both of these sound like one of my favorite genre mashups: sci-fi meets horror!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys: Out of the Easy – It seems like everything Sepetys writes turns into a best seller, which is why I was surprised to find this hiding on her booklist.  I got as far as “It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets” before I added this to my list.  Knowing what she’s capable of after having read The Fountains of Silence, I might not even wait until next year.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge – I had never heard of Yoko Ogawa until I read The Memory Police earlier this year.  It was surreal and dreamlike and admittedly weird, but somehow I couldn’t put it down.  So of course I had to look up which other works have been translated, and I knew right from the title I had to read this.  It’s a collection of short fiction revenge stories- and who doesn’t like those?

Stephen Graham Jones:  All the things.  I meant to read Mapping the Interior in November for Native American Heritage Month, and it sort of slipped through my fingers amidst some clunkers and the too many buddy reads I’d committed to.  I did finally sit down and read it yesterday, and fell in love with Jones’s voice.  The ending is super disturbing, but I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be in a horror novel, right?  Anyway.  I want to read all of his stuff, but here are a few of the titles that jumped out at me: After the People Lights Have Gone Off, Demon Theory, The Last Final Girl, and The Least of my Scars (whose one stars reviewers have admitted to giving it one star because it’s that disturbing).

Have you discovered any favorite new-to-you authors this year?  Who were they?

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Rating:  ★★★★1/2

This is my first experience with Ruta Sepetys.  It didn’t disappoint!  The Fountains of Silence takes place under the reign of General Francisco Franco, after the Spanish Civil War and WWII.

We follow the lives of four very different characters.  Daniel is from Texas, the son of a wealthy oil tycoon.  Ana is the daughter of Republican parents that were executed when she was younger.  She lives with her older sister’s family and works at the Castellana Hilton in Madrid.  Rafa is her brother, who was forced to attend a reform school following the death and discovery of his parents, and became friends with Fuga, an aspiring torero (bull fighter).  He wants nothing more than to work the arena at Fuga’s side as his promoter and protector.  Puri is Ana’s cousin, a staunch  Catholic and supporter of Franco.  She works at the orphanage, caring for all the abandoned children.

This is a largely character driven novel and the plot takes quite some time to reveal itself.  I didn’t mind it here, because the chapters were all very quick (2 or 3 pages, sometimes less) and I was urged onward by Daniel’s relationship with Ana, as well as the tension brought on by his passion for photography in a country that was very careful not to let the rest of the world see inside Franco’s regime.  Puri and Rafa also have story line’s with some intrigue and each line pulled me in and kept me engaged at different times in different ways.

The plot, which as I said is slow to be revealed, is incredibly sinister.  The reader gets hints here and there of what is to come, but it’s something so awful the reader just doesn’t want to believe.  To get to the end and learn the truth of things… I was shocked.  It’s a secret that has really only come to light in 2018, if I understood the note at the end correctly.  A full 40 years after the death of Franco, which only heightened the impact of the story Sepetys has told.

The writing was descriptive and painted beautiful pictures without ever feeling like it was spending too much time on the details.  I love when a writer can make me feel the setting with just one sentence, one single image, and Sepetys does it wonderfully.  People standing in line for blood, a torero in a suit of lights in profile, people washing at the fountain, a garden in Madrid at night… I felt transported to another time and place and found the book almost impossible to put down.

The only thing that held this back from being a full five star read – was I wished I understood Puri’s character and story better in the end.  It’s clear in the beginning that she is young and naive, and she undergoes an awakening of sorts throughout the novel, but in the end we see her, and she’s maintained her silence for ten years, and the reader never really gets a chance to understand what she’s thinking in the end.  Thank you to the publisher for sending a review copy.

The Fountains of Silence released on October 1, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or Amazon.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Fall TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is books on my Fall 2019 TBR!  Although fall is not my favorite season, it does have a certain charm, pumpkins, farmer’s markets, arts festivals, and halloween!  So my plan, of course, is to cram as many scary, spooky and dark reads into fall as I can.

People of the Lake by Nick Scorza

People of the Lake by Nick Scorza – A girl named Clara receives a note written in a secret language she once shared with her dead twin sister Zoe, regarding the suspicious death of a local boy in a very strange and suspicious town.  I’ve never heard of this author before- but I have high hopes for the book, which should make a great October read!

I will make you pay by teresa driscoll

I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll – This was a NetGalley Read Now (not sure if it still is) that I picked up on impulse.  The title is pretty self explanatory.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a fast paced thrill ride with lots of twists and turns.

Sword of Kings by Bernard Corwnell

Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell – With the release of this looming on the horizon, I finally sucked up my fear of reading the last book.  I’m excited to read them back-to-back, but also scared, because we seem to be getting closer to the end of Uhtred’s life and I don’t think my heart could take it.

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Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo – I don’t often read YA anymore, but the description reminds me of a magical Six of Crows.  I’m trying not to be too hyped about it.

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski – This is my designated Halloween read.  Honestly I have no business adding backlist titles to my TBR right now, I am already behind and have way too much to catch up with, but I need at least one solid horror novel on the list.

 

The First Law Trilogy and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – I’m not being delusional about my ability to cram all three First Law books in before my planned buddy read of A Little Hatred on October 22.  Nope.  That’s not me.  This is all a totally reasonable plan.

The Menace From Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald – Another planned buddy read for when it releases on November 12.  This is a novella and it’s one of my favorite series and I’m pretty much dying to get my hands on it.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia.jpg

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – Tuesday Mooney embarks on an epic treasure hunt left behind by an eccentric billionaire!  I’m not really sure where the ghosts come in to play, but with a title like Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, how could I turn it down?!

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys – I requested this way back in summer when I thought I had plenty of time to read it.  I’m actually hoping to cram it in before the end of September, but who knows.  I’m excited to be getting more Historical Fiction on the list, since it was really kind of my first love in the reading world and the amount of it I’ve read this year is abysmal.

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Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton – The author was kind enough to send this to me in exchange for a review, which is long overdue.  However- with a cover like that and a tale of the Fae I feel like it will make another great fall read and I’m really looking forward to it!

That’s it!  I’m seriously excited for absolutely every one of these books, but also terribly overwhelmed looking at them all.  What about you?  What’s on your list?