Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Return of the Week in Books

It is with great aplomb that I bring you...THE RETURN OF...

No worries...I haven't suddenly turned into a tween MySpace user, so that's probably the only time I'll use a sparkle gif...though I can't make any promises.

And, now. Without further ado. (In a mock whisper: start with the above cover.)

From celebrated storyteller Josh Weil comes an epic tragedy of brotherly love, a sui generis novel swathed in all the magic of Russian folklore and set against the dystopian backdrop of an all too real alternate present.

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood. Living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in collective fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s mythic tales. Years later, the two men labor side by side at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass — the largest greenhouse in the world — that sprawls over acres of cropland. Lit by space mirrors orbiting above, it ensnares the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight and constant productivity, leaving the twins with only work in common — stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother and rooster, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.

But an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire owner changes their lives forever. Dima drifts into a laborless life of bare subsistence while Yarik begins a headspinning ascent from promotion to promotion until both men become poster boys for opposing ideologies, pawns at the center of conspiracies and deceptions that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the very love that has bonded the brothers since birth. This is a breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.

In this superb fantasy trilogy kickoff, Abercrombie (the First Law trilogy) regales readers with the tale of a young man who is thrust onto the throne by unexpected betrayal. Yarvi, the king’s second son, is not destined for the Black Chair or kingship of Gettland: he has a withered left hand, and is bound to become a minister. But everything changes when his brother and father are murdered. Yarvi is clever and knowledgeable, thanks to the years he spent studying for the ministry, but none of that will amount to much unless he can survive the sheer cruelty of being raised to the crown, nearly murdered, and traded into slavery in the span of days. The one thing he knows is that he plans to live long enough to take revenge on his father’s killer—when he finds out who it was. Abercrombie’s stellar prose style and clever plot twists will be sure to please both adult and teen readers. Publishers Weekly

As a newly appointed junior manager within the Laundry — the clandestine organization responsible for protecting Britain against supernatural threats — Bob Howard is expected to show some initiative to help the agency battle the forces of darkness. But shining a light on things best left in the shadows is the last thing Bob wants to do — especially when those shadows hide an occult parasite spreading a deadly virus.

Traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection — an array of unusual symptoms such as superstrength and - speed, an uncanny talent for mind control, an extreme allergic reaction to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. While his department is tangled up in bureaucratic red tape (and Buffy reruns), debating how to stop the rash of vampirism, Bob digs deeper into the bank’s history — only to uncover a bloodcurdling conspiracy between men and monsters…

A startling debut about the extraordinary end of a marriage and its very strange aftermath.

Meet Lizzie Prain. She is an ordinary housewife and lives with her lovely dog and her husband, who is a bit of a difficult fellow, in a quiet cottage in British country side. She's a wonderful cook. She enjoys her garden. And, occasionally, she makes cakes for the village parties.

No one has seen Lizzie's husband, Jacob, for a few days. That's because last Monday and Lizzie snapped and cracked him on the head with her garden shovel. No one quite misses Jacob though, and Lizzie surely didn't kill him on purpose. And now that she has the chance to live beyond his shadow, she won't neglect her good fortune. Over the course of the following month, with a body to get rid of and few fail-proof options at hand, Lizzie will channel her most practical instincts and do what she does best: she'll cook Jacob, and she'll eat him. But when Lizzie inadvertently befriends an isolated misfit, she will be tested: Will Lizzie turn to this new person for solace and abandon her desperate plan or will her new friend be an unwitting accessory to her crime?

Dark, unexpectedly funny, and achingly human, Season to Taste is a deliciously subversive treat. In Lizzie Prain, Natalie Young has created one of the most remarkable and surprising heroines in fiction.

In the first volume of The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, we learned what lurks beneath our beds. What's more, we learned that little girls are not helpless, and that princesses are not always what they seem.

In this second installment of the Princess's adventures, we learn a little more about the Princess's family. We learn how dark it is in the Deep Below...

And we learn what happens when the Princess gets a little brother.

The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below is a dark twist on the classic children's picture book.

Perfect for geek children and adults who love dark faerie tales, international bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss has described the Princess's adventures as, 'Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with a healthy dose of Edward Gorey mixed in.'

In the tradition of Who Owns the Future? and The Second Machine Age, an MIT Media Lab scientist imagines how everyday objects can intuit our needs and improve our lives.

We are now standing at the precipice of the next transformative development: the Internet of Things. Soon, connected technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already use: our cars, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans. These objects will respond to our needs, come to know us, and learn to think on our behalf. David Rose calls these devices — which are just beginning to creep into the marketplace — Enchanted Objects.

Some believe the future will look like more of the same — more smartphones, tablets, screens embedded in every conceivable surface. Rose has a different vision: technology that atomizes, combining itself with the objects that make up the very fabric of daily living. Such technology will be woven into the background of our environment, enhancing human relationships and channeling desires for omniscience, long life, and creative expression. The enchanted objects of fairy tales and science fiction will enter real life. Groundbreaking, timely, and provocative, Enchanted Objects is a blueprint for a better future, where efficient solutions come hand in hand with technology that delights our senses. It is essential reading for designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who wishes to understand the future and stay relevant in the Internet of Things.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.

In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans — a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been — and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum — is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.

From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

4 comments:

Tamayn Irraniah said...

So just a few more books to add to the list! :-) I'll hopefully be able to start reading more, if my meeting with the prefecture goes well! Always glad for some new ideas!

Writer said...

And, you know, Tamayn, these are just suggestions. Most of them I won't read. Out of that list, I checked out one of the titles - the first one. :)

Kyle Leach said...

Sparkles! :) Glad it is back. I have amazon prime and get a free book each month. Sometimes the books you review are on the list, so it really helps me make my decision! Thank, thank you, JP.

Writer said...

You're welcome, Kyle. That means a lot to me. :)