The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.
This week brought a few books in the mail, including a gift from my husband and my book order containing a couple of Strange Chemistry books that I have been wanting to read. I was rather sad to see the recent announcement that Strange Chemistry was discontinued. There were many authors who had books scheduled for release through them that have been left without a publisher, including some debut authors whose books had not yet been published.
If there are books you had planned to get someday that were published by Strange Chemistry, now would be a good time to purchase them, as Martha Wells stated in her blog post about the discontinuation of this line. I ended up getting two books I’ve been interested in reading for awhile that are each the first in a new series. While it may be frustrating to read them not knowing what will happen with future installments, the more copies that are sold, the better the chance that there will be future installments.
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
This one is a gift from my husband, and it is one of the books from my wishlist that I was more excited about. I love stories about trickster gods, and I have heard that this book is excellent. It’s hard to see the detail in the cover from the image, but it also has a beautiful cover.
The Gospel of Loki was released in the UK earlier this year and is currently available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
Excerpts from The Gospel of Loki:
The first adult epic fantasy novel from multi-million copy bestselling author of CHOCOLAT, Joanne Harris.
The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods – retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.
Loki, that’s me.
Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.
So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.
Now it’s my turn to take the stage.
With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.
From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.
Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy…
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Cracked (Soul Eaters #1) by Eliza Crewe
Cracked was released toward the end of last year, and sadly, the second book in the series was scheduled to come out at the end of the summer before the closing of its publisher. Some people did read the Crushed ARC, and it has quite a few very positive reviews on Goodreads. Of course, I’ve also heard that Cracked is very good, which is why I want to read it!
Meet Meda. She eats people.
Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.
They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.
Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.
The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
This collection of graphic stories will be released on July 15 (hardcover, paperback, ebook). A sample is available on the Simon & Schuster website, and there is also a preview on Comics & Cola.
Discover a terrifying world in the woods in this collection of five hauntingly beautiful graphic stories that includes the online webcomic sensation “His Face All Red,” in print for the first time.
Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page.
Already revered for her work online, award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll’s stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.
Unwept (The Nightbirds #1) by Tracy and Laura Hickman
This book, the first in a trilogy, will be released on July 1 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from Unwept is available on Tor.com.
Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.
Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say.
Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?
Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer.
All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park
This science fiction novel will be released on July 1 (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from All Those Vanished Engines is available on Tor.com.
In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.
The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.
The cumulative effect is awesome. There hasn’t been a three part novel this ambitious in science fiction since Gene Wolfe’s classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus.
Two Fronts and Last Orders (The War That Came Early #5-6) by Harry Turtledove
Last Orders, the conclusion to The War That Came Early, will be released on July 15 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). The paperback edition of the previous book in the series, Two Fronts, was recently released. An excerpt from Two Fronts is available on the Random House website.
The previous books in the series are:
Since I already included the description for Two Fronts with the hardcover release, the description below is for Last Orders.
In an extraordinary saga of nations locked in war, master storyteller Harry Turtledove tells the story of World War II, which begins over Czechoslovakia rather than Poland, eleven months earlier than it really came. Now we have the final installment in Turtledove’s landmark World War II series.
Hitler’s Plan A was to win in a hurry, striking hard and deep into France. There was no Plan B. Now the war grinds on. Countries have been forced into strange alliances. The Nazis fortify thin lines with Hungarian and Romanian troops. England, finding its footing after the suspicious death of Winston Churchill and a coup d’état, fights back in Europe and on the seas of the North Atlantic. Jews fight on both sides of the war—in secret in German uniform, openly in Spain, France, and Russia. Into the standoff come new killing tools, from tanks to bazookas. In the Pacific, Japan prepares bombs filled with macabre biological concoctions to be dropped on Hawaii.
For the U.S., the only enemy is Japan, as there has been no casus belli for America in Europe. Then Hitler becomes desperate and declares war on the United States. But is it too late? His own people are rising up in revolt. The German military may have to put down the violence, even perhaps bomb its own cities.
In this epic drama, real men and women are shaped by the carnage, and their individual acts in turn shape history: a Czech sniper fighting with the Republicans in Spain changes the war almost single-handedly. In Philadelphia, an American woman meets a scientist who reveals a momentous secret.
Drawing on the gritty, personal reality of war and on a cast of unforgettable characters, Harry Turtledove has written an alternate history that intrigues, fascinates, and astounds.