Tag Archives: n.k. jemisin

Most Anticipated New Releases of 2017 (so far)

I love when it gets to the end of the year and I can start list-making: my favorite books of the year, the books I’m most excited about next year, my new and improved reading goals. Since December’s not over yet (thank goodness, since I love December), I thought I’d get a jump on things and start with some 2017 new releases that I’m super excited about. These are all books by authors I already love or new installments in series I’m already a fan of, so it’s definitely not an exhaustive list. I’ll do a post later on about other anticipated releases that I’m excited about from unfamiliar authors, but for now, here’s what I’m already impatiently waiting to read in 2017.

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (anticipated release August 15th) – the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy is out this summer and I absolutely cannot wait. The first two books were some of the best books I read in 2015 and 2016, and I’ve loved every single thing I’ve read by N.K. Jemisin. If you like fantasy and aren’t reading this series, this is the perfect time to join. It’s set in a world that experiences repeated devastating natural disasters; some characters have the ability to manipulate the earth and are persecuted and controlled for their abilities. There are also mysterious beings essentially made of stone. The heart of the story, though, is about a mother’s search for her daughter amidst the chaos.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger by Roxane Gay (no release date set) – reading Gay’s Bad Feminist was one of my most significant bookish experiences of this year and it left me wanting to read much, much more by this author. This book was actually supposed to come out in 2016 but the release date was pushed back; while Bad Feminist was a collection of essays that hit on so many different topics, this is a memoir focusing on Gay’s relationship with food and her body. I have no doubt it’s going to be amazing.

Borne

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer (anticipated release September 7th) – I fell in love with the fascinating weirdness of Vandermeer’s writing with his Southern Reach trilogy a few years ago, and this sounds like it will be just as wonderfully strange. Apparently, it’s set in the future and is about a woman named Rachel who finds a mysterious genetically engineered creature that she names Borne; meanwhile, her city is ruled by a genetically engineered bear (?) and there is a mysterious Company doing all of this genetic engineering. I just need to read it. Like right now.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release June 13th) – this is a companion novella to Every Heart a Doorway focusing on two of its many interesting characters. This series (is it a series? I hope so, because I’d love more insight into a few more of its characters) is about children who enter magical lands in Narnia-esque ways and have difficulty adjusting to the real world once they return. Some are able to eventually go back to their fantasy worlds and others aren’t, but they all long for those places where they felt most like themselves. The characters in this novella are twin sisters who went to a world similar to that of Frankenstein, which also contains vampires, although the two of them loved it for very different reasons–one because she was fascinated by the science, and the other because she was fascinated by the vampires.

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

White Hot by Ilona Andrews (anticipated release May 30th) – I KNOW. This cover is TERRIBLE. It’s a good thing I’m planning to get this on ebook, because wow. This is the second book in a duology focusing on a world where families inherit different types of magical powers, and the most powerful of these families essentially control society. Our main character has the ability to tell truth from lies and gets entangled with an extremely powerful billionaire sorcerer dude. It’s more romance-focused than the Kate Daniels series, and I don’t love it as much as Kate, but it’s still Ilona Andrews and I’ll read anything that she comes out with.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (anticipated release May 2nd) – this is such an enjoyable escapist series; I hesitate to call it a guilty pleasure because I try not to feel guilty about my reading choices, but that describes it pretty well. It’s set in a fantasy world with fairy tale retellings intertwined with the narrative and focuses on Feyre, a formerly human huntress who is learning to control her abilities and deal with a series of threats to her world. I enjoyed the hell out of the last book, A Court of Mist and Fury, and I hope that this one will be just as good (although for some reason I feel like it won’t be, but maybe that’s just me).

 

What books are you excited for in 2017??

WWW Wednesday: The Obelisk Gate is amazing so far

img_2112WWW Wednesday is a weekly book feature hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

Since last week, I managed to finish 3 of the 6 books I was in the middle of (yay!), started another book to bring the currently reading total back up to 4 (oops), and am getting way too excited to start Halloween-ish reading in October.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Luckiest Girl AliveThe Circle

After what feels like forever, I finally finished Elena Ferrante’s quartet of Neapolitan novels! I meant to finish the entire series this summer but fell just short of my goal. Overall, I really loved this series–Ferrante’s descriptions are so evocative and the story completely sucks you in. However, the first book (My Brilliant Friend) remains my favorite, and after the entire long journey with Lena and Lila, the ending of The Story of the Lost Child felt anticlimactic.

I also finished 2 audiobooks, both of which I also own physical copies of. Does anyone else do this–listen to the audiobook when you own the actual book as well? I usually start listening to the audio thinking I’ll end up switching back and forth between audio and text, but I never end up doing that and listen to the entire thing on audio. It’s becoming a weird habit. Anyways, I found both Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and The Circle by Dave Eggers to be really easy to listen to, breaking my streak of nonfiction-only audiobooks. Between the two, I preferred the near-future The Circle–the audiobook narrator was amazing (Dion Graham, whose work I want to look out for in the future). The author, Dave Eggers, is coming to speak in my city next year, and I’d like to pick up at least one other of his books before that. Probably A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which has been on my TBR for eternity.

What are you currently reading?

FurthermoreThe Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)

Over the weekend, I started Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore, which is a middle-grade fantasy.  I read the first fifty pages or so then decided to pause; I love Tahereh Mafi’s writing, and I think the worldbuilding is really creative and interesting, but I can’t help wishing that it was YA! (And that Warner was in it. If you’ve read the Shatter Me series, tell me you don’t agree.) I’ll definitely finish it, but I don’t think I’m in the right mood at the moment.

Right now all I can think about is N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate. I technically started this book last weekend, but only got to the second chapter before I realized I desperately needed to re-read parts of The Fifth Season to refresh my memory on what was going down in the world of the Stillness. I sort of skimmed back over the majority of the first book and then restarted The Obelisk Gate, which is GREAT. The worldbuilding in these books is so intricate and layered; every chapter we learn more and more about living in a world predicated on preparing for and surviving every type of cataclysmic event. Things keep getting more and more complex, which I love, and reading this book makes me genuinely wonder why more books can’t be as good as this one. I feel like I might be hit by a serious book hangover when I finish.

What are you planning to read next?

The Vegetarian

I’m not sure exactly what’s up next for me, since I’m trying to be more chill about my TBR and go with my mood, but Han Kang’s The Vegetarian is definitely coming up soon. I need to finish a few more currently reading titles, and then it’s dark fantasy/horror all the way for Halloween-type reading this October.

 

What is everyone reading right now? Feel free to link me to your WWW Wednesday post!

All photos are mine. All images are linked to the book’s Goodreads page.

Recent Bookish Events: Adventures at a Small Press Book Fair and a Reading with N.K. Jemisin!

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Something I’ve realized over the past few years is how much I absolutely love attending bookish events. Readings, library book sales, author speaking series–it never fails to reignite my passion for books, reading, and writing. I was able to hear Kelly Link read from her newest short story collection Get in Trouble last winter, and this year I was able to listen to both Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Dinaw Mengestu speak about their lives, their writing, and current social and political issues during the Babel reading series in my city. I also went to hear Alyssa Palombo, a local author, read from her novel The Violinist of Venice at a local independent bookstore, and although historical romance isn’t typically my genre, I was very intrigued by the concept and added yet another book to my TBR.

 

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Last weekend, I was able to make it to the 10th annual Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, and I really wish I had known about it the nine previous years as well. It’s a very friendly community event geared toward all things bookish: it includes local small presses, authors, comics artists, and bookish crafts.

Because I physically cannot be around books without buying some of them, I picked up 3 books at the BSPBF:

 

The Girl Wakes: StoriesDeath My Own WayLeo@Fergusrules.Com: A Novel

 

I picked up two of the books at the Leapfrog Press booth, where they had amazing prices and fascinatingly weird story concepts. I was told that I shouldn’t pick up anything by author Michael Graziano if I didn’t like weird books, so I immediately grabbed one of his called Death My Own Way. I was also enticed to pick up leo@fergusrules.com by Arne Tangherlini because it was described to me as “Alice in Wonderland on the internet.” I mean, obviously I need to read that right away. And I absolutely cannot wait to start reading The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau, which I found at the Alternating Current Press booth–it’s a fantasy short story collection featuring female-centric fairy tales. I also picked up the gorgeous bag in the picture from artist Claudia E. Berger.

Being at the small press book fair made me realize that I haven’t been paying enough attention to the importance of reading books published by local authors and independent presses. I feel like it’s difficult to break out of the habit of reading highly promoted new releases and books already famous, but I’d like to try. So, one of my bookish goals for the rest of the year, and carrying over into next year, will be to track down and read more lesser-known small press books.

 

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I didn’t realize until recently that I’d completely forgotten to blog about another recent bookish event–I was able to hear N.K. Jemisin, one of my absolute favorite authors, read her newest soon-to-be-released short story! I don’t want to give away too much (she told us that it would be published in the next few months by Tor.com) but it’s a contemporary fantasy set in New York, and the main character is a young homeless man coming to awareness of the ancient threat facing his city.

I also was able to meet N.K. Jemisin and asked her to sign my copy of The Fifth Season, during which I completely geeked out and had no idea what to say to her. I was totally intimidated by her awesomeness.

 

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What bookish events have you all attended lately? I’d love to hear about them!

Favorite Book Trilogies

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Book trilogies, for whatever reason, are a thing. For some reason, three seems to be the perfect number of books in so many series, and I feel like lately literally every movie, no matter how terrible, inevitably gets two sequels. But book trilogies also include some of my favorite books of all time, and if you really love a book, the promise of three connected stories is the only thing that can console you after it’s finished. So here are my absolute favorite book trilogies!

 

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)Authority (Southern Reach, #2)Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3)

 

The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer – this trilogy helped me to realize how much I am drawn to weird fiction and creativity in writing, and inspire me to seek out more books in a similar vein. Vandermeer tells an eerie and consuming story that gains depth in each successive book.

 

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

 

The Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi – I have an undying appreciation for this trilogy, because it got me through the extreme stress of my National Board exams. At this point I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read it, because it lends itself extremely well to re-reads. And I love it, every time. I love the angst, the drama, the journal-esque style of the first book, and the villain-turned-love-interest. These are all elements that don’t always work for me in YA, but in the Shatter Me trilogy, it’s all perfect.

 

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)

 

The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman – In these books, Grossman puts into words what fantasy readers have always felt: the longing to become a part of your favorite fantasy worlds, combined with the human traits that set us as real people apart from the heroic protagonists of fiction. I love this series because its characters are so flawed: they’re selfish, disillusioned, and paradoxically skeptical and full of hope; in short, they’re real. Because there’s only so long that you can trick yourself into thinking that you’d act like Harry Potter would in any given situation; the truth is that the majority of us would instead act like Quentin Coldwater.

 

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam, #2)MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3)

 

The Maddaddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood – speaking of realistic, I still think that the futuristic society of Oryx and Crake is the most prescient and believable picture of society’s breakdown that I’ve ever read. Margaret Atwood is biting and creative, and her portrayal of society’s collapse is as intriguing as it is haunting.

 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance, #1)The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance, #2)The Kingdom of Gods (Inheritance, #3)

 

The Inheritance trilogy by N.K. Jemisin – incredibly well-crafted fantasy world that changes completely over the course of the trilogy. My favorite by far was the first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but this trilogy is a great example of one that can shift main characters and tone completely yet still remain coherent.

 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

 

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – I’ll admit, my enjoyment of the series did decrease slightly with each successive book, but it’s still one of my favorites. I love Katniss as a flawed, strong main character who is a hero because she’s forced into it, not born into it. I also think the series brings up a lot of interesting societal critiques, not the least of which is desensitization to violence through the media.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)

 

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – I’ve only ever read this as a single continuous story, and in that way it’s a trilogy that never felt like a trilogy to me. It’s epic and emotional, and masters the task of focusing on both the global and the personal.

 

 

What are your favorite book trilogies?