New Books & Novel Discoveries (August 2019)

Considering I went to Fan Expo this month, the amount of new books I’ve gotten is surprisingly small. As I’ve gotten more into buying digital comics I’ve seen less of a need to pick up lots of books there, and honestly that attitude seems reflected in what is available at conventions like that now too. There used to be considerably more vendors with great deals on comic books and graphic novels and each year there seems to be less so. Two of the books I got this month I wanted to find at the convention and couldn’t even locate them.’

That all being said, on to the new books!Read More »

Book Review – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is Stuart Turton’s debut novel. Set in an English country manor in the early 20th century, our protagonist awakens in the forest yelling the name Anna but remembering nothing else. He is mysteriously guided back to Blackheath manor, a rundown old estate owned by the Hardcastle family, who are hosting a ball to celebrate the return of their daughter Evelyn from Paris. While struggling to remember who he is, our protagonist soon learns that his mind is inhabiting the body of someone other than himself. He will cycle throughout eight different host bodies, reliving the same day at Blackheath over and over, until he solves the mystery of Evelyn’s murder. Guided by a mysterious figure in a plague doctor outfit, he must contend with two rivals to solve this mystery. The answer is the key to their freedom that only one of them can claim.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 28, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Small GodsI’ve started reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, the 13th novel in the Discworld series. I’m only 10% into the book, but unfortunately I’m having mixed feelings so far. I’m not sure if I’ve just not been in the right mindset for it while reading, but I feel like I don’t have a solid anchor to secure myself to in the story, if that makes sense. The narrative keeps bouncing all over the place, and while I am absorbing some of the world building, it feels a little too scatterbrained. This is the first novel in this series where I’ve felt this way and I’m hoping it’s an anomaly. Better yet, I hope my tune changes as I get further along, but it’s much too early to tell right now.


Recently Finished

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleOver the weekend, as expected, I finished The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. At this point, giving an accurate tally of Evelyn’s deaths feels like a spoiler, so I’m just going to say the title may be misdirection (false advertising) but also maybe not. I expect to have my review posted tomorrow. I wanted to have it up yesterday, but I work nights and I felt very tired after getting home, which is when I meant to finish it. I really enjoyed the book, it definitely deserves much of the hype, but I actually have felt some drawbacks once all was said and done. Toward the end of the novel Turton’s bending of his own rules began to grate on me. I could still just go with it, but not completely willingly.


Reading Next

CoralineThere are four months and change left of the year and I have a lot of books on my scrappy list to-read to get through before it’s done. I’m afraid I’m going to fail once again. Nevertheless, it is crunch time. It’s the 11th hour of power (maybe). Time to get these books read. That being said, I’m choosing to read Coraline by Neil Gaimain next. It’s almost spooky season, and I’ve got more suitable books than I will likely get through in October, so it’s time to start dipping my toe into the abyss a little.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

 

Book Review – Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann

Star Wars Myths and Fables

Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann is a middle grade collection of stories set in the Star Wars universe, with an illustration by Grant Griffin accompanying each story. Though the connections are not especially overt, the book was released as a part of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge media project. Unlike a typical collection, each story is a piece of in-universe folklore from across the galaxy. Some are self-contained little fables, while others work to mythologize iconic characters we know and love from the films.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 21, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’ve left things after a rather nail-biting series of chapters in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. The death tally is technically at six now, I think, though I’ve only witnessed two on the page. Things are getting rather knife-y at Blackheath as our protagonist edges closer to solving the mystery, his rivals nipping visciously at his heels. I keep finding myself sub-consciously trying to see if I can piece anything together for myself, but I honestly think the time travel aspects are too elaborately structured for the reader to do that. Luckily, I’m still enthusiastically on board for wherever this is going.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Myths and FablesSince last week I started and finished Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann, with illustrations by Grant Griffin. It turns out it’s a middle grade book, which I’d somewhat expected but didn’t fully appreciate the significance of. While I can’t say that younger readers won’t get something out of this collection, I was personally underwhelmed. There were a couple stories I did find myself quite partial too, but ultimately the effort was rather pedestrian. I think I imagined the author would be a little more ambitious with the concept than he ended up being. I’d say they largely played it safe with this book. I should have a full review out soon.


Reading Next

Small GodsI expect that I will have Seven Deaths finished by next week, which had left me to wonder what I’m going to be picking up off the shelf next. I have decided I really need to continue with the Discworld novels for this year—I’ve only read one of the four I mean to get to—so the next book I will be picking up will be Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. I believe it’s another standalone novel that takes place in the Discworld’s more distant past (that’s the impression I have anyway). I’m excited for the more isolated approach to the world.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – August 14, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’m just over 150 pages in to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and it has been living up to the hype. Technically, the tally I’m at is 4 deaths for poor Evelyn, although it’s only ever taken place on the page once so far. I had thought this book would be a typical Groundhog Day situation, but Turton took that and made it even more complex in a way that I’m completely on board for. Despite the fact that it is so complicated, he writes it in such a way that so far I haven’t found it difficult to follow. I am a little wary, however, as it seems that if our protagonist is to prevent Evelyn’s murder he will have to break rules established by the narrative. There’s much left to read, so I’m hopefully things work out.


Recently Finished

The Catastrophe ConI finally read The Catastrophe Con by Simon Spurrier et al, and I’m happy to say that his taking the reigns as writer for the series has not diminished its quality for me. Doctor Aphra has become a corner of the Star Wars universe where stuff can get weird and I honestly can’t get enough of it. A penal colony made of smashed-together ships, insane probability droids, and Force-possessed spores? Yes, please. Aphra is so lovable and self-destructive, she’s become the epitome of chaotic-neutral in this universe to me. Her pursuit of personal gain, at the expense of even people she cares about it, is basically pathological. With the way this book ended I’m really excited to read the next.

The Man in the PictureI also read through all of The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill in one night, which is rare for me when it comes to novels. It was only 145 pages, but even at that length it’s unlikely for me to finish so quickly. I’ve already written a review, which you can check out here. The book had a wonderfully pleasant writing style and good atmosphere befitting a ghost story, I just wasn’t super thrilled with the direction things went. The nature of the haunted object, such as it is, becomes odd in a way that was more confusing than compelling. Credit where it is due, though, I’m creeped out by the idea of this painting as an image alone, which is hard to do with no visual reference point.


Reading Next

Star Wars Myths and FablesWelp, looks like I’m reading another Star Wars book. I got my copy of Myths & Fables by George Mann this past week and it looks like it’ll make for a great supplemental read. I’m not sure how much will be original in-universe tales and how much will be mythologizing what we know, but I do know that Darth Vader gets a depiction as some sort of boogeyman and I’m curious to see what that looks like. The accompanying art is stunning as well, which is an added bonus. I’ve gone off script with my reading list more than I’d like, but it’s hard to resist reading a new book sometimes, eh?

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill

The Man in the Picture

The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story is a horror novel by Susan Hill. A young man named Oliver is visiting his old professor Theo Parmitter, an elderly bachelor who lives on campus at Cambridge University. One cold winter’s night during Oliver’s visit Theo tells him the strange story of a painting he has hanging in the room, depicting masked revelers at a carnival in Venice. Seemingly burdened by not having shared this tale, he tells of how he came to acquire it and the disturbing history of people becoming entrapped by its macabre beauty.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 7, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI have started The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, though honestly I’ve barely scratched to surface. I wanted to have read more, but during my prime reading time over the weekend I was frankly too exhausted to have gotten properly into the meat of it. As such I’m only 19 pages in, but even these have not been what I was expecting. It begins in medias res with a character realizing he has amnesia while in the middle of a pursuit in the forest, too late to stop the presumed murder of a woman he believes is named Anna. He has found his way back to the mansion he was staying at, which is soon to be host of a ball, but nobody there knows who this Anna is. I’m pretty well hooked, though for now it’s just a burning desire to learn what’s going on.


Recently Finished

Who's a Good BoyOver the weekend I did manage to push myself to finish Who’s a Good Boy? by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, despite the exhaustion I already mentioned. Had I not been so, I would have finished it faster and read more Seven Deaths, but here we are. Just as with the third volume it was great to revisit these stories again, especially some of the more dramatic moments that took place during this story arc. The creators plant the seeds for different story lines a lot earlier than I’d noticed or given them credit for before, which was an especially prominent takeaway with this volume. I still do feel something is missing without Cecil’s performance though. His soothing baritone is easy to miss.


Reading Next

The Man in the PictureThrowing a bit of a curve ball with what I’m reading next since it’s a little off script as far as my scrappy reading list goes. I was at the library last week to pick up some DVDs and decided to browse the horror section a little bit. While I was there The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill caught my eye. I haven’t read any of her work, but I do know she also wrote The Woman in Black. The synopsis grabbed me enough, and it’s less than 200 pages long, so I decided to take this little detour and make good on reading more library books. To give a summary I’m sure is reductive, it’s about an evil painting.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West

Exit West is a 2017 novel by Mohsin Hamid that blends fiction and magical realism. The story follows dual protagonists Nadia and Saeed, a young woman and man who live in an unnamed city that is gradually beset upon by militants. Though Nadia is more independent and outspoken, which goes against tradition, and Saeed is generally more conservative, the two begin a romantic relationship. As they try to survive day-to-day in their city, with the militants encroaching further and further, mysterious doors begin popping up there and around the world, linking places many miles apart. As life in the city becomes nearly unlivable the two seek out one of these doors to escape the daily violence and build a new life far away.Read More »