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text 2017-12-11 19:38
12 New December Books
Year One - Nora Roberts
The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries - Mimi Matthews
One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning (The Final War) - David Moody
Winds of the Forest (Forestborn Book 1) - Dele Daniel
If the Fates Allow - Killian B. Brewer,Lynn Charles,Erin Finnegan,Pene Henson,Lilah Suzanne,Annie Harper
Gun Kiss - Khaled Talib
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace - Jennifer Chiaverini
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin,Karen Joy Fowler
Taming the Alpha (Balls & Chains 2) - Amara Lebel

Winter is here. The days are getting shorter, the weather's getting chiller and we cannot find a better way out of this situation than hiding under a blanket with a book pile nearby. If you're looking for some new titles for your December reading, have a look at the following 12 new releases and let us know what are you reading this winter season.

 

 

Year One by Nora Roberts 

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author—an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives. 

 

Preorder ->

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries by Mimi Matthews 

From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Mimi Matthews shares some of the quirkiest—and most poignant—animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meet Fortune, the Pug who bit Napoleon on his wedding night, and Looty, the Pekingese sleeve dog who was presented to Queen Victoria after the 1860 sacking of the Summer Palace in Peking. The four-legged friends of Lord Byron, Emily Brontë, and Prince Albert also make an appearance, as do the treasured pets of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens. Less famous, but no less fascinating, are the animals that were the subject of historical lawsuits, scandals, and public curiosity. Preorder->

 

 

 

One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning by David Moody 

In One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, David Moody returns to the world of his Hater trilogy with a new fast-paced, and wonderfully dark story about humanity's fight for survival in the face of the impending apocalypse.

 

 

New release & Giveaway

Winds of the Forest by Dele Daniel 

In the only surviving part of the earth sits the post-apocalyptic West-African kingdom of Nayja. In the only place where humans still exist lives four tribes, the Kingfishers, the Ammirians, the Rowans and the Arnazuris but one tribe is dominant and must remain so.

 

 

If the Fates Allow by Annie Harper 

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lilah Suzanne, and Lynn Charles share their stories about the magic of the season.

 

 

Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib 

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue… When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 

  

 

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini 

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker illuminates the fascinating life of the world’s first computer programmer Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have gone unsung for too long.

 

Preorder->

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong by Jonathan Dimbleby 

1 July 1997 marked the end of British rule of Hong Kong, whereby this territory was passed into the hands of the People’s Republic of China. In 1992, Chris Patten, former chairman of the Conservative Party, was appointed Hong Kong's last governor, and was the man to oversee the handover ceremony of this former British colony. Within the last five years of British rule, acclaimed journalist Jonathan Dimbleby was given unique access to the governor which enabled him to document the twists and turns of such an extraordinary diplomatic, political and personal drama. Preorder->

 

 

Taming the Alpha by Amara Lebel 

Welcome to Balls & Chains, a BDSM Club for gay men. Cross the threshold and see the worlds of humans and shifters collide as these alphas dominate, and betas submit.

 

 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden 

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

 

 

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine 

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away. Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text.

 

 

No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s online writing, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her unceasing wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

 

Happy reading!

 

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review 2017-12-06 13:29
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I really liked the first book in the series, The Bear and The Nightingale, so I was looking forward to reading this second installment. I enjoyed this book even more than the first. I was completely swept away by the story and wanted to savor every word. I honestly didn't want the story to end. This is the kind of book that made me fall in love with reading and I know that I will reading this story again in the future. 

Vasya is such a wonderful character. She doesn't quite fit in with what would be expected of a proper lady. She actually spends most of this book posing as a boy. She doesn't want the life that would be expected of her as a lady. She wants to see the world and do some good. She does what is right even when those actions put her at risk. 

Vasya strikes out on her own along with her trusted horse, Solovey. Solovey is quite the traveling companion and is really a strong character throughout the story. She finds villages that have been burned with many dead and their daughters taken by bandits. She sets out to find the girls of a village after some advice from one of the local spirits. One thing leads to another and she ends up seeking refuge in the same location as her brother and the Grand Prince.

It was great to see Vasya's brother, Sasha, and her sister, Olga, both have important roles in this story. Vasya's actions will not only have an impact on her own life but could also influence how people see her family members. Another character that I really enjoyed in this book was Morozko, the frost demon. He is drawn to Vasya and his feelings for her are complicated. 

This book pulled me in almost immediately and never let go. There was so much excitement in the overall story. There are battles and violent scenes offset by moments of tenderness and caring. The descriptions really brought the story to life. The writing was absolutely wonderful.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the second book of a trilogy that really needs to be read in order because the events of the first book are often discussed. I found this book to be a simply wonderful fairy tale of a story. I can't wait to see what happens next in the trilogy!

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Ray directly and through NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
Beyond good. I was completely enchanted by this wonderful story.

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text 2017-12-05 17:34
Exciting December Releases! (TBR)
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
The House on Foster Hill - Jaime Jo Wright
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill) - Julie Klassen
Bad Behavior - Kiki Swinson,Noire
Ziegfeld Girls - Sarah Barthel
His Secret Son (The Westmoreland Legacy) - Brenda Jackson

Very excited for these December releases. Almost all of these books are by authors I have read and enjoyed their work. Considering it is December, I think I will be able to get all six books read. The Girl in the Tower is book two in The Winternight Trilogy so, I will need to read The Bear and the Nightingale first.

 

 

 

December 5

 

 

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill #2) by Julie Klassen

 

The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

 

His Secret Son (The Westmoreland Legacy) by Brenda Jackson

 

House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

 

 

December 26

 

 

Bad Behavior by Kiki Swinson and Noire

 

Ziegfeld Girls by Sarah Barthel

 

 

 

If at all possible I will try to read books in my personal library that are 150 pages or less. Have an awesome reading month friends and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa.

 

 

 

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review 2017-11-20 22:15
The Girl in the Tower
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
Someone needs to tell Vasya to quit being such a gambler and to stop accepting all the wagers that come her way, as I don’t think my heart can take any more! When Vasya decides to forego marriage and the convent to spend her time experiencing the world, I don’t believe she was envisioning bandits, talisman, or competitions. Vasya wants to see the world, she wants to be free to see new sights and sounds, she wants to witness what was beyond her reach but as she leaves her comfortable surroundings, other concerns and situations develop that she must address before she reaches her destination.
 
The minute Vasya rides off on Solovey, her world becomes an astonishing adventure, a captivating journey where she is pushed and pulled in every direction. She meets so many different individuals, sometimes it was hard for me to keep all these individuals separate. I don’t know where Vasya would be if she didn’t have Solovey at her side. Solovey, this fierce stallion, is beyond incredible. Able to understand and talk with Vasya, Solovey becomes her companion, her partner and advisor. Then, there is Morozko, the snow demon. I wished I had read the first novel in this series so I would know how tight their bond is but from what I can tell and from what transpired, these two are close. I worried for Morozko, as he seemed to be more committed to their relationship whereas Vasya acted nonchalant. Who really needed who, in this novel?
 
I enjoyed reading about Vasya as she was bold and determined and enthusiastic about what she believed in. What an incredible novel. What’s next? I am going to read the first novel in the series to catch myself up and then, I will wait for the next book to be released as I need to know what happens to Vasya.
 
I won a copy of this novel from BookishFirst and Random House, thank you! This review is my own opinion.

 

 

 

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review 2017-11-03 17:24
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I get the feeling that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of those books which will either really work for you as a story or it will be just okay, depending on how familiar you are with Russian folklore and/or history. 

 

In classic fairytale style, the story starts with a small girl and her new step-mother, but Vasya is not just any girl and neither is her step-mother - both of them can see the supernatural creatures surrounding them (the domovoi who lives in the oven, for example) but while Vasya builds relationships with them, her step-mother Anna believes they are demons.

 

Vasya's father is the boyar, a local landowner living far from Moscow, who subsequently is sent a priest and icon-maker who is just a little too popular in the capital. The arrival of Konstantin, just as Vasya is getting to marriageable age and her father hopes she will settle down a little, leads to all sorts of problems with the balance between mundane and supernatural. Vasya herself is eminently likeable, strong-willed despite opposition and willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the people who are important to her safe, even in the face of supernatural forces. 

 

The series continues in The Girl in the Tower, which is due out next month - I'll definitely be picking that one up at some point in the near future, as Vasya is such a great main character. 

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