"Be true, Unbeliever. You need not fail." Stephen R. Donaldson, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
Neil Gaiman's classic retelling of Snow White is gorgeously illustrated in this graphic novel. While definitely not appropriate for children, this version will have you questioning everything you knew about the original story! A must read!
Circe is probably best known as the witch from The Odyssey who turns Odysseus' men into pigs, but there is so much more to her story. Closely following the available mythology but delving deep into the character, Circe is a timid goddess with powers she knows nothing about. When an act of revenge earns her exile, she must learn to live on her own, but also learn who she is and what she is capable of, which is far more than anyone realizes. Very well written, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
20 years after the events of The Seventh Decimate, magic has been restored and an uneasy alliance exists between Belliger and Amkia, cemented by marriage, as they prepare for the coming onslaught. Not everyone believes in the coming threat, and generations of hatred aren't easily resolved. Threats, both internal and external, abound, along with a mysterious new power, religion. With everyone being driven to the extremes of their endurance and ability, can they even survive long enough to face the coming war and save both of their peoples?
Think Resident Evil, but with magic, and in space, but still mostly in a haunted mansion full of undead monsters and puzzles. In a 10,000 year old necromantic empire decay is spreading, and no where more so than The Ninth House. Gideon wants only to escape her stale life, but when the immortal emperor calls the scions of each of the great houses, she finds herself thrust into the role of cavalier to the woman she detests most. With no one to trust, nothing as it seems, and bodies starting to pile up, Gideon must use all her resources to solve the mysteries around her and stay alive. A very unique book and story, it's like nothing else I've read. I can't wait for the sequel!
Csorwe, an orc priestess, was selected from birth to be a sacrificial bride of The Unspoken One, until a sorcerer helps her escape her fate and trains her to become his bodyguard/assassin. She embraces her new life and his quest to regain his usurped throne, traveling across a multitude of worlds in search of a mythical lost power. But gods don't appreciate it when their intended sacrifice isn't delivered, and Csorwe's old life isn't as far away as she would hope. A unique story set in a fascinating multiverse, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
The sequel to The Ruin of Kings lives up to the first book and takes you deeper into this amazing world and story! Picking up where TRoK leaves off, Kihrin flees the capital city and travels to the horse lands of Jorat, where he meets Janel, whose fate and soul are tied to his own in ways they are only beginning to comprehend. But the nefarious wizard Relos Var, also linked to Kihrin and Janel over millennia, isn't about to give them time to figure out the mysteries that unite them. Full of action, mystery, romance, betrayal, one of the most dysfunctional families ever, and dragons the size of islands, this series is not to be missed!
A gangster who knows too much about the Kennedy assassination realizes that he's about to be silenced, permanently. A woman takes her two daughters and flees her mundane husband and life. A chance encounter on the road brings them together, with life altering consequences for both. A great read with an ending
I did not expect!
The first book Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time) wrote is finally available! A warrior of the plains gets caught up in the machinations of the rulers of a city, with the fate of his entire people on the line. A must read for fans
of TWoT, this story presents an early version of the far side of the Spine of the World, with a lot of ideas and concepts that would be developed and expanded upon in his epic fantasy masterpiece.
The story that started in the amazing Skyward continues in Starsight and does not disappoint! Seizing an unexpected opportunity to learn more about the alien forces subjugating humanity, Spensa embarks on a spy mission to try and
steal the hyperdrive technology necessary for humankind's survival. She soon finds herself caught up in intergalactic political intrigue she doesn't understand and training exercises that prove all too deadly, while trying to learn more about the mysterious and malevolent Delvers, who want to destroy all life in the universe. I cant wait for the final book in this trilogy!
A remote medieval village has fallen on extremely rough times as the dead just won’t stay dead. The reanimated corpses (known as bone houses) haunt the woods surrounding the village, leading to the closure of the mine, the principle source of wealth for the area. Times are especially rough for Ryn and her orphaned siblings, as since the disappearance of her father she has tried to keep the family business of gravedigging going to support them. However, with the dead not staying in their graves and people choosing to burn the recently deceased instead of risking them coming back as abominations, what was never an exactly lucrative enterprise is no longer enough to support them. So Ryn, joined by a mysterious mapmaker, risks everything to try to find the source of the curse and bring peace back to her home, and to the dead.
What’s not to love about a kung fu quasi-historical fantasy epic? One of China’s bestselling series is finally getting translated into English and it does not disappoint! When two patriots are unjustly murdered and their pregnant widows are forced to flee for their lives, a group of kung fu masters vow to find and protect them and train their children in martial arts. This will have far reaching consequences, from warring dynasties vying for control of China to the destiny of Temujin, who will become Genghis Khan. Can’t wait for the next book in this series!
This collection of short stories contains tons of absurd humor wrapped around a lot of brutal truths. From all the possibilities of your ex asking you to lunch to a family feud about the proper number of goats to sacrifice at a modern wedding, be prepared to think, laugh, and feel feelings. Not to be missed!
One of my favorite books ever! In a sleepy English village is a wall that separates the world of mortals from the realms of fairy. Trying to impress a girl, Tristran makes a rash promise to bring back a star they see falling beyon
d the wall. What ensues is a magical adventure that will show Tristran who he truly is and what love really is. Full of gorgeous illustrations, I can't recommend this book highly enough!
This is a great stand alone epic fantasy! In a world where one continent worships dragons and the other views them as incarnations of evil, 1,000 years of peace are coming to an end. The queen, scion of a mystical dynasty whose bloodline keeps The Nameless One locked away, has yet to produce an heir. Ead, a mysterious young maid in her court, is secretly a mage sent as her protector, but as a foreigner lacks any influence and must hide her heretical reverence for dragons. Across the ocean Tane is willing to do anything to become a dragon rider, and her actions will have consequences far beyond her imagining. With the world sliding towards oblivion, ancient falsehoods and even older truths must be discovered and millennia old hatreds faced if there is to be any change of holding back an onslaught of evil.
The start of a great new epic fantasy series! Told in alternating chapters by Kihrin and his shapeshifting jailor Talon as he awaits his execution, they both fill in different parts of his life (and her roles in it). From his humble beginnings to being discovered as the long lost heir of a powerful lord and then being betrayed into slavery, Kihrin has been through a lot in his short life, and is destined for far more (which may include the destruction of an empire). Full of magic, mystery, betrayal, revenge, demons, magical races, a fully realized fantasy world, and a dragon the size of an island who becomes obsessed with Kihrin, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to start the next book in the series!
Nat, like everyone else, began to lose her emotions when she was a teenager. Her younger brother Cal, however, only seems to be growing more emotional and empathetic, which leads to him getting abducted by a giant pharmaceutical company, which wants to study him to help them develop better emotion inducing drugs, which are hugely profitable. Fortunately for Cal, Nat, raised to survive in a world filled with emotionless near sociopaths, isn’t a pushover, and even if she can’t explain why, she will still do anything to get her little brother back and stop him from being used as a human lab rat.
Another masterpiece from Murakami! After his wife leaves him for another man, an artist retreats to a remote mountainside to try to put his life back together. Then things start to get weird. A mysterious bell ringing in the night, an even more mysterious shrine and pit in the woods, a hidden painting full of symbolism, magical beings taking the form of the subjects of the painting, a peculiar wealthy neighbor with secrets, and an enigmatic teen girl, all combine to create an unforgettable story. Not to be missed!
Oathbringer is amazing and takes The Stormlight Archives to stunning new heights! The survivors of the Everstorm struggle to confront this new calamity while Dalinar must finally confront his tragic past. With one of the best battle scenes I've ever read, Oathbringer is not to be missed! Just be sure to start with The Way of Kings!
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad Williams epic fantasy trilogy, has influenced several generations of authors since it came out almost 30 years ago (including George RR Martin and Brandon Sanderson). Finally, at long last, Williams returns to Osten Ard, and does not disappoint! Make sure to read the originals first, starting with The Dragonbone Chair. You will not regret it!
This easily accessible volume collects the stories of Odin, Thor, Loki, Freyja, and all the other gods and goddesses of the Norse pantheon. From the creation of the world to the epic battle of Ragnarok, it’s all here. Appropriate for all ages but not dumbed down, this is the perfect starting point for anyone curious about Aesir and Vanir and their epic deeds (and occasional misadventure).
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story collection from one of my favorite authors. Despite the title, women are very much prevalent in these seven stories, as the various protagonists try to navigate lust, love, and loss. While I wouldn’t have minded a little more of the mysterious or supernatural, these stories are still pure Murakami and not to be missed.
Saga is amazing!!! It’s Star Wars meets Game of Thrones in one of the wildest universes you’ll ever see! Two warring races (from a planet and it’s moon) have spread their conflict across the entire galaxy. Despite generations of hatred, two soldiers from the opposing sides fall in love and have a baby, and find themselves targeted for death by all sides (including some of the galaxies baddest bounty hunters). Not to be missed!
Brandon Sanderson is writing at a level above anyone else, and this ‘short’ story collection helps prove it. Showcasing at least one story from each of the worlds he has created (collectively known as The Cosmere), this collection also pulls back the curtain a little bit to help reveal the epic story going on in the background of all his work, involving the shattering of a mysterious force of creation. That story will be slowly be revealed across 20-30 novels, finally culminating in it’s own series, which I absolutely cannot wait to read!
I was nervous about reading this book as Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is my favorite fantasy series ever (make sure to read that first!), but The Heart of What Was Lost does not disappoint! Taking place right after the events of To Green Angel Tower, the defeated but still extremely dangerous Norns are harried by a human army, determined to end their threat for good, even if it means genocide. As a siege sets in and winter approaches, can either side survive?
Brandon Sanderson’s previously unpublished first novel is finally being released, and as a gorgeous graphic novel! In a world where the sun is always shining, certain people can magically manipulate the sand that covers their desert planet. But years of pride and haughtiness have left the Sand Masters open to grudges both old and new, and after a massacre decimates their numbers, even their continued existence comes into doubt. Can’t wait for the next volume!
Another gorgeous book from Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell! Odd has a lucky name but it isn’t doing him much good as his father dies and his leg is crippled. After his mother remarries, Odd flees the home of his cruel stepfather to live in his old house in the woods. As an unnaturally long winter refuses to give way to spring, Odd meets a bear, a fox, and an eagle who are much more than they seem, and may hold the key to the land’s (and Odd’s) salvation.
A decade after the events of the novel, Sebastien thinks Tyler Durden has been banished for good, thanks to all the prescription drugs he’s on. However, numerous people (including his shrink and his wife, Marla) are messing with his meds so they can get exciting Tyler instead of boring Sebastien. Tyler’s schemes have only gotten bigger, and they now include Sebastien and Marla’s son. Full of Palahniuk’s twisted humor (including an army of geriatric children and cameos by the author himself), this is not a sequel to skip!
The latest book in the Aspect-Emperor series does not disappoint! One of the most imaginative fantasy series ever, this dark and haunting tale combines the epic tragedy of The Lord of the Rings with the gritty realism of A Song of Ice and Fire, with a dash of Crusades style religious conflict. Be sure to start with The Darkness That Comes Before, you don’t want to miss out on this series!!!
How can a Batman story be true? Author Paul Dini, who worked on the Batman animated series in the early ‘90’s, was violently attacked during a mugging, leaving him with serious injuries and severe damage to his face and skull. Dark Night is his account of his struggle to heal and regain some semblance of normality. He is aided by a certain brooding Dark Knight (in his mind) and tormented by a gallery of famous DC villains as he tries to return to writing, despite the disconnect between the world of comics, where justice is usually served with a side of butt kicking, and the real world, where his assailants were never caught.
It’s barely been 6 months since Lirael and her newfound family stopped the Destroyer, and she is still trying to recover from the loss of her hand and her best friend. What she thinks will be a quick diversion in the south turns into a life or death struggle with an ancient, seemingly immortal, evil. In the uncharted north, a very unlikely messenger flees dark magic to try to deliver a message to Lirael from an even unlikelier source: Lirael’s long dead mother.
I thoroughly enjoyed this modern blend of fantasy and sci-fi. Patricia and Lawrence are childhood friends, ostracized by the rest of their schoolmates for their differences, as Patricia learns she is a witch and Lawrence is a scientific genius. Life will tear them apart and bring them back together as the world slowly starts to crumble, and they will each try to use their unique skills to prevent the ultimate catastrophe, even if it brings them into direct conflict with each other.
The Reckoners Trilogy comes to it’s Epic conclusion! Betrayed and hunted by one of their own, David and the surviving Reckoners are nevertheless determined to redeem their fallen comrade. Their desperate search for answers takes them to their strangest locale yet, a moving city made of salt, while David worries he may have become what he fears and hates most.
This fascinating book follows two intrepid adventurers as they discover the ruins of the Maya civilization. One a bestselling author and the other a brilliant artist, they battle disease, dense jungle, swarms of insects, near impassable roads, and civil war as they find and document ruins from an unknown but obviously advanced society. What they found would change the world’s understanding of ancient America and those who inhabited it.
Another exciting entry in The Saxon Tales! Uhtred, Saxon born but Viking raised defender of the fledgling Englaland, must once again protect the realm from Danish invasion. Amongst his foes are one of his oldest enemies and his first lover who now bitterly hates him, but in the tempest lies a chance to open the way towards his ultimate dream of reclaiming his stolen birthright.
The Mapmakers Trilogy reaches it’s triumphant conclusion! While the world around them starts to crumble, Sophia and her friends race toward a sacred grove that may hold the key to their salvation. In their path are warring armies, a toxic red fog, and a Prime Minister bent on absolute destruction. Can Sophia solve the mystery of the Climes before it’s too late, and will she ever find her long lost parents? A very satisfying ending to a very innovative series!
Another excellent entry in the Mistborn series! How does Brandon Sanderson write so well so quickly? (He should give George R.R. Martin lessons!) After being lied to by essentially God himself, Wax refuses to be manipulated further, but a chance to find his missing sister and nefarious uncle is too much to pass up. Soon he and his friends are on a chase to find an all powerful weapon, with mysterious but deadly enemies hounding their every step. Be sure to read Shadows of Self first, or better yet start at the very beginning with Mistborn! You won’t be disappointed!
In the near future, the moon mysteriously shatters, leaving humanity with two years before the debris obliterates life on earth in a giant meteor storm. Using the International Space Station as the base, all of humanity must come together to figure out how to get as many people as possible into space, and keep them (and their descendants) alive for thousands of years. Full of details explaining the myriad problems long term habitation in space provides, as well as well thought out solutions, Seveneves is very informative but also very entertaining fiction!
In an attempt to impress the local cool kids/jerks, Saki inadvertently desecrates her family’s ancestral shrine and brings down a death curse upon herself. The only way to save her life is to brave The Night Parade, a pilgrimage of creatures from Japanese folklore, some of whom will help her, some of whom want to eat her. Aided by three guides, Saki has only three nights to remove the curse, which has ramifications far beyond just Saki’s life.
The Emperor has been attacked, leaving him in a coma. Only the murder of his wife and the requisite 100 days of mourning allow his advisors to hide his condition. In their desperation, the advisors turn to Shai, a recently arrested Forger (a person who can magically alter the properties of objects), and offer her a choice: Forge a new soul for the Emperor (a process that should take years) in 100 days, or be executed. As she strives to achieve the impossible, Shai realizes that even if she succeeds her life is likely forfeit…
Elantris was magnificent city filled with near diving beings, who were once normal men and women that were (seemingly randomly) transcended to divinity. However, a disaster of unknown origins struck, and the once seemingly immortal Elantrians were turned into pitiful creatures doomed to lives of unceasing pain. This brilliant debut from bestseller Brandon Sanderson is a very innovative and thoughtful take on the fantasy genre, exploring such real world issues as the roles of the individual, women, and religion in society.
This great collection of two novellas highlights Donaldson’s ability to instantly transport readers to fully formed worlds, full of nuanced characters and distinct systems of magic. While very different stories, both focus on individuals in service to their monarchs who must rise above their limitations to combat forces that threaten the existence of their kingdoms. Full of mystery, action, and a dash of romance, don’t miss out on these great adventures!
Return to the world of Mistborn in this excellent start of an exciting new trilogy! Over 300 years have passed and technology has advanced far beyond the medieval level, with guns and bullets adding a new twist to the metal based magic system. A powerful creature has gone insane and wants to destroy society, and it’s up to Wax and his friends to stop her. However, there are dark secrets and secret machinations to be revealed that will shake Wax to his very core, and possibly destroy him. With an ending you'll be thinking about for days, I can’t wait for the next book!
While it’s not the Game of Thrones book everyone is waiting for, this collection of three novellas set a century earlier will help enjoyably pass the time until The Winds of Winter is released (whenever that is). Featuring gorgeous illustrations and full of adventure, these novellas help detail the already rich history of Westeros and the Targaryen dynasty.
This gorgeously illustrated reimagining of two classic fairy tales by The Master Neil Gaiman does not disappoint. Combining Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, this story lacks one common trait of most fairy tales: there are no knights in shining armor to save the day. Instead, The Queen must don her armor and take up her sword and, accompanied by a trio of dwarves, stop the spread of a plague of sleep that threatens the entire realm.
This is the perfect book to read around Halloween! A pair of twins inhabit a house only accessible once every nine years, when they must lure a special victim into their clutches so they can consume their victim’s soul and stay immortal for another near decade. The story unfolds over several decades, starting in the late ‘70s up to present day. A quick and spooky read with distinct character voices, Slade House is not to be missed!
Neil Gaiman says, “The Sculptor is the best graphic novel I’ve read in years.” What can I add to that? David, an aspiring artist at absolutely rock bottom, makes a deal with Death: in exchange for only having 200 days to live, David will be able to sculpt literally anything he can imagine, simply by touching it. But when you can create anything, how do you decide what to actually make? And what happens when you fall in love, knowing you only have half a year to live? Beautiful and poignant, an amazing example of what the graphic novel can be, The Sculptor is not to be missed! Warning: May make you feel feelings (and junk).
Murakami’s first two novels used to be next to impossible to find. No more! Collected in a sharp hardcover with a new intro by the author, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 aren’t on par with his later masterpieces, but are still very Murakami and offer hints of his greatness to come!
This is a fascinating look at modern dating culture, both in the US and abroad, and you don’t need to be single and looking to appreciate the insights offered, though there are definitely plenty of pointers for those looking for romance. Ansari (best known for his stand-up and his role on Parks and Recreation) teams up with an NYU sociologist to conduct actual research into how people are going about seeking relationships in an increasingly wired world. He compares the struggles of singles today to those of their parents, and looks at how our near limitless potential options can both help and hurt. Whether you’re looking for help with your online dating profile or wondering what these apps your friends keep using are, this book is full of useful information to help understand modern romance.
Let Nick Offerman, (Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation and all around awesome American) take you on a tour of some of the people who have helped make America great. While these great Americans have many different traits one thing they all share is gumption. For best results get the audiobook and let Duke Silver himself read it to you!
If you are remotely interested in the mysterious history of the inhabitants of the Four Corners area (known as Ancestral Puebloans or the Anasazi), check out this book! David Roberts, intrepid explorer of the American Southwest, brings us up to date with all the discoveries, research, and controversies that have occurred in the nearly two decades since he released In Search of the Old Ones. Hike alongside the author as he treks to ruins that may not have seen a human visitor since being abandoned 700 years ago!
Sentenced to death at five years old for his father’s rebellion, William Marshal would escape that fate and rise to become one of the most powerful people in Christendom. Living a long life in a period of remarkable change, William Marshal was central in creating the idea of an English people and nation, and of the chivalrous knight, and also a major force behind the issuance of the Magna Carta, a central document in Western History. This fascinating and well researched book follows Williams rise to power (as well as the occasional setback) as he loyally served Henry II, Henry the Young King, Richard The Lionheart, King John, and finally Henry III, during a critical time in English and European history.
This meticulously researched and exciting account of the Battle of Waterloo by the master of historical fiction isn’t in any way fictitious, it’s all real history from real sources. Yet that doesn’t in any way diminish the amazing story of the battle that finally ended the threat of Napoleon. The mistakes and triumphs of both sides are recounted in detail, but it never gets close to boring. A must read for any history buff!
Tag along for the first crossing of the Oregon Trail in a mule drawn covered wagon in over a century! Author Rinker Buck teamed up with his brother Nick (and Nick’s ‘incurably filthy’ dog) to try to experience as much of the original Oregon Trail as pioneers 150 years ago would have. With a team of mules that have plenty of personality, they must confront unforgiving terrain, unpredictable weather, and modern civilization in their trek across half a continent. Filled with the history of the trail, from the people searching for a better life, to the hucksters that tried to take advantage of them, to the missionaries looking for souls to save, and also the personal journey of the brothers over a century later, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I was expecting to.
Consider yourself warned: The short stories in this collection, from master of the written word Neil Gaiman, may take you outside of your comfort zone. Mystery, murder, and unexplained happenings abound, combined with a delightful mix of wit and dark humor, that might make you shiver, laugh, or hesitate to turn the lights out before bed. Plus an American Gods novella!
The second book of The Mapmakers Trilogy (sequel to The Glass Sentence) does not disappoint! Sophia’s search for her parents will lead her to infiltrating a cult and crossing the ocean to a Europe still stuck in the dark ages, suffering from a mysterious plague. In Boston, her uncle is framed for a heinous murder, orchestrated by a fearsome figure from Theo’s past. This exciting book does a great job of revealing some secrets while still keeping plenty of mystery for the final volume (which I can’t wait to read!)!
The sequel to the innovative fantasy The Queen of the Tearling continues to excite and delve into new territory! Queen Kelsea and her beleaguered kingdom brace for the impending invasion that they cannot hope to defeat, while Kelsea begins to undergo mysterious changes and experiencing strange visions of another world. I can’t wait for the final book in this trilogy!
Uthred, the mighty pagan warlord who has helped repel the Vikings from what is slowly becoming England, is in bad shape. A wound he received in the last battle he fought in won’t heal, and may be cursed. Only the sword that dealt the wound may help it heal, but how to find a single sword in a land teeming with armed warriors? On top of that, the death of a king threatens people close to Uthred, who stand to inherit lands and power that others covet. Can Uthred uncover the treachery that threatens those he cares about, or will divisions among the Saxons create new opportunities for the Vikings, ever waiting to invade?
There are a lot of people making unsupported claims about evolution and creationism, who seem to get as much (or more) attention than those dealing with scientific fact. Fortunately for the world, The Science Guy himself has stepped up to help the public at large differentiate between real science and junk being peddled posing as ‘science.’ With his upbeat and positive demeanor, Nye never demonizes those who disagree with science, gently pointing out why they are wrong and offering corrections, all the while explaining why understanding evolution matters. An easy read with tons of facts, this book was meant to be read and understood by the average person, no P.H.D. required!
Love Game of Thrones and want more? This gorgeous book is for you! A detailed history of everything that came before A Game of Thrones starts, this awesome tome contains the history of not just Westeros, but the rest of the known world, including Essos and doomed Valyria. From the Dawn Age and the arrival of the First Men to the invasion of the Andals and the Conquest of Aegon the Conqueror, the events leading up to A Game of Thrones are every bit as bloody and exciting as the series itself. A must have for any fan!
This unique novella shows a week in the life of Auri, the shy and mysterious friend of Kvothe who lives in the labyrinthine tunnels underneath the University. Despite her fractured mental state, or perhaps because of it, she lives in harmony with her surroundings, able to read the feelings of the inanimate objects around her, and help them achieve their desires (as she sees them). This novella is definitely not for everyone (as the author himself states, “It doesn’t do what a normal story is supposed to do.”) as there isn’t really any action, Kvothe does not appear, and a big chunk of it is Auri making soap, yet somehow I liked this glimpse into Auri’s thoughts and life. If you loved The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and aren’t afraid of something different, check out The Slow Regard of Silent Things!
This book is absolutely gorgeous! For those who don’t know, The Sandman is Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece and the greatest thing ever written (in my humble opinion). Gaiman’s longtime collaborator Dave McKean made the covers for every issue, and they are breathtaking and eerie and awesome and strange, just like The Sandman. This hardcover volume collects every single cover, with notes and extra drawings and illustrations, and is a must have for any fan!
I love this book! It contains more than 60 historical maps, from the very earliest maps up to the modern age, showing man’s ever expanding knowledge of the world around them. Each map has an analysis explaining it’s history and significance and shows interesting or notable features of each map in detail. A great gift for anyone who likes history!
This short but beautifully illustrated graphic novel is a definite departure from Murakami’s normal work but still contains the elements that make him a favorite worldwide. A young boy is trapped by an evil old man in the basement of a library, where the boy is forced to read old books to fill his brains with knowledge, which will make his brains much tastier when the old man eats them. A mysterious girl (who may be a bird) and the Sheep Man (who has appeared in several of Murakami’s other works) are the only hope for the boy to escape. A quick story with awesome illustrations, I liked this story up until the last page, which is one of the most needlessly depressing things I have ever read, but it’s still a worthwhile read (just don’t expect a happy ending!)
When he was 20, Tsukuru’s four extremely close friends banished him from their group, with no explanation. 16 years later the wound still hasn’t healed, so with help and encouragement from the woman he just started seeing, Tsukuru sets out to find out why he was so completely excised from the group. While smaller in scope and ambition that most of Murakami’s other works, this is still a deep and moving novel, about the human need for connections and the tragedies that can destroy them. Highly recommended.
Kvothe, world renowned hero, warrior, genius, and musician, is hiding from the world, living as an innkeeper in a remote village, waiting to die. When the Royal Chronicler tracks him down, Kvothe agrees to tell his story over three days’ time, with each book in the trilogy representing a day’s worth of his tale. Kvothe’s carefree early life, traveling with his parents and their troupe of actors, is shattered when the entire band is brutally murdered by malevolent supernatural beings that most of the world believes to be nothing more than a fairy tale. Orphaned and alone, Kvothe is forced to fend for himself on the dirty streets of a major city, begging and stealing to survive. His only hope for any sort of life beyond destitution lays in The University, and in the knowledge and power he can gain there, including information on the beings that murdered his parents. Vivid characters color every page, from friend to foe to those in between. A unique world filled with interesting places plus a neat system of magic will leave the reader wanting the next book in the series RIGHT NOW!
Kelsea’s quiet, sheltered life is forever disrupted on her 19th birthday, when she comes of age to accept her inheritance: to become ruler of The Tearling. Hidden away to protect her life, Kelsea must now face those who have hunted her for nearly two decades, including her debased uncle The Regent, who would love her throne for himself, the assassins guild The Caden, who have never failed in taking down their quarry, and the evil sorceress The Red Queen, who has ruled for over a century. The Tearling is close to ruin, common folk are near starving, and forced tribute to The Red Queen drains the country of its will. Kelsea must also face the fact that her long dead mother was not the wise ruler she had fantasized her to be, and that there is a traitor on her Queen’s guard. Full of mystery and danger, with a very unique backstory, I can’t wait to read more in this series!
What starts off as a simple trip to the store to get some milk for his children’s cereal turns into an adventure through space and time for one dauntless father. This wild and funny romp features all sorts of kids’ favorite things, from pirates to dinosaurs to aliens to time travel to cannibals to volcanos (and ponies!) Filled with fun illustrations this is a book both children and adults can enjoy! The proof is in the milk!
This dark graphic novel contains all the elements that make Neil Gaiman great. Supernatural elements mix seamlessly with all too human elements in this tale of questing and revenge. A small man hires a reaver to take him to the Misty Isle, where there is said to be a cave filled with gold, there for anyone to take, provided they are willing to pay the price for it. Their journey takes them across a harsh landscape, toward the Cave in The Black Mountains, where truths will be revealed and a murder avenged. The unique mix of text and illustrations make this book a treat to read, even if it’s not the most cheerful tale.
Chuck Palahniuk does not write dull or conventional novels. In his latest, the author of Fight Club, Choke, Rant, and Doomed (among others), weaves a twisted tale of sex toys and world domination. Penny’s boring life is transformed when a billionaire playboy takes an interest in her, making her an instant celebrity, and also his guinea pig for the final phase of testing a line of revolutionary sex toys. The devices are so pleasurable that once women get their hands on them, they lock themselves in their bedrooms, coming out only for more batteries. Men are literally being replaced, society starts falling apart, and billions of women become actual sex addicts. Can Penny somehow stop this nefarious plot, or is humanity doomed to extinction by pleasure? This book is not for prudes!
While Steelheart may be dead, there’s still a lot of near indestructible Epics (people given superhuman powers and turned evil by them) for David and The Reckoners to kill. Regalia, who has used her control of water to flood most of what was once Manhattan, lures the Reckoners (humans who hunt Epics) to her domain, with a sinister plot that goes far beyond the death and destruction that drives most Epics. Secrets abound, among both foe and ally, and some of the mysteries surrounding Calamity, the red star that appeared with the first Epics. Can David find Regalia’s weakness while hiding his budding romance with an Epic (who may or may not have betrayed them all) and eluding numerous other Epics who would love to see him dead? I can’t wait to read the final volume of this exciting trilogy!
This exciting prequel to the excellent “Sabriel” takes place 600 years in the past, before Kerrigor nearly destroyed the Old Kingdom, showing the splendor that was lost and delving much deeper into the dangers of Free Magic. Clariel, recently transplanted to the capital city with her family, hates the confines of civilization and wants only to return to the great forests that she loves. Her family have other ideas for her, but with dark magic and foul murder afoot no one’s plans are foolproof. Using the berserker fury that is her birthright, Clariel will dare any risk and break any taboo in her quest for that simplest of goals: to be free to live her life as she chooses.
The year is 1891, nearly a century after the Great Disruption flung different parts of the earth into different time periods (past, present, and future), and society is still trying to grapple with the consequences. In Boston, where time seems to be continuing on it’s proper course, lives Sophia, who was raised by her uncle after her parents disappeared when she was a toddler and who has no internal sense of time. Mapmaking has become as much an art as a science (with what seems like a bit of magic mixed in), and had advanced far beyond simple maps of paper and ink. Sophia’s uncle is the foremost mapmaker in the country, and his abduction sends Sophia on a quest across the continent, outside of her time, pursued by deadly foes, but aided by some unique and memorable characters. Soon she learns it’s not just her uncle’s life in danger (as well as her own), but time may not be done shifting, and the entire world may be threatened. With a unique premise and philosophies, memorable characters, and a villain who is more than slightly justified in her actions, I can’t wait for more of this world to be revealed!
Continuing the saga of the Western Theater of the Civil War (as far west as Tenessee!), The Smoke At Dawn picks up after the disastrous Union defeat at Chickamauga. The rebels have besieged the surviving Union forces at Chattanooga, threatening to destroy them completely, but hesitant leadership on both sides results in a stalemate. Can General Grant build on his previous successes, or will the rebels gain a desperately needed victory and prolong the war? Featuring Shaara’s trademark blend of views from both sides of the war, from generals to the frontline troops, this book delves deeper into an often overlooked but vital part of our nation’s history.
The authors of Freakonomics return with a book that will help you to think like them! This easily accessible book (you don’t need to have read Freakonomics or SuperFreakonomics to dive right in, but they’re great books so you should read them anyway!) helps you develop new strategies for solving problems, by, among other things, learning to embrace thinking like a child, approaching issues from new angles, understanding how people respond to incentives, and the power that comes from being able to say “I don’t know.” From professional sports to professional eating, solving world problems to solving personal problems, and all sorts of fun stops in between, this book will help you retrain your brain and help you solve problems by thinking like a Freak! Plus, learn how SuperFreakonomics and it’s publicity tour helped banks identify potential terrorists by tricking them into (unknowingly) revealing themselves!
While part of me really wants George R.R. Martin to spend all his waking hours working on the next Game of Thrones novel, this excellent anthology makes me glad he’s not that single minded (plus it’s got a GoT novella!) Looking at the list of authors there’s got to be at least one you like, and pretty much every genre you could think of is represented, so there’s really something in here for everyone. Check it out, and maybe find your next favorite author!
The Stormlight Archives continues with it’s second volume (be sure to read Way of Kings first!), and it does not disappoint! This massive tome (at 1088 pages it’s the largest book the publisher can physically print) continues to reveal the world of Roshar, where global hurricanes batter civilization on a regular basis. Kaladin, struggling to understand and conceal his new powers, has been appointed personal bodyguard to the king, a man Kaladin will learn he has personal reason to hate. Shallan is beset by tragedy while journeying to the war in the Shattered Plains, where deadly intrigue and a possible betrothal await. Dalinar struggles to unite the fueding Highprinces to finally end the war while trying to understand the meaning of the visions he receives, while an ominous countdown lets him know time is running out. Among their enemies, the mysterious Parshendi will make a choice that could simultaneously save and damn the remnant of their people, while unleashing cataclysmic forces on the entire world. The Assassin in White, slayer of kings who weeps as he kills, will learn a truth that will shatter everything he believes. And the Everstorm comes…
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever comes to it’s epic conclusion! Coming in at 10 books total (two trilogies and the final tetralogy, of which The Last Dark is the 4th and final volume) the unforgettable saga of Thomas Covenant, leper and pariah in the ‘real’ world who will either save or damn the magical Land where his incurable disease can be healed, is one of the masterworks of the fantasy genre. The Worm of the World’s End has been awakened by the power of Linden Avery’s desperate act of love, and even the resurrected Thomas Covenant is powerless to stop the destruction of the whole world (and the freeing of The Despiser from his prison) that the Worm will bring about. Already the sun has gone out, and the stars are being consumed one by one. Opposing Covenant and his friends are his own son, corrupted by Despite, his ex-wife, driven mad by grief and The Despiser’s cruel torment, a god who has spent millennia in torment and seeks oblivion for all things, an ancient bane who was betrayed at the very beginning of time, and the Despiser himself, who has spent thousands of years plotting his revenge and escape. Can Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery save the Land they love once again, or will The Despiser finally succeed in destroying Covenant and the world? A must read for any serious fan of fantasy or anyone interested in a powerful tale of grief and love and loss and redemption, be sure to start at the very beginning with Lord Foul’s Bane! We’d be happy to special order it for you!
Neil Gaiman finally returns with a non-kids book, and while short, The Ocean at the End of the Lane does not disappoint. A man returns to his childhood home only to remember the fantastic events that happened to him as a child, with lifelong repercussions. A suicide attracts the attention of an otherworldly creature with seemingly good intentions but bad follow through, who tries to imprison the narrator for use as a unique kind of wormhole. His family turned against him, the narrator must enlist the aid of the mysterious Hempstock women, three generations of whom live on the farm at the end of the lane, where the pond is also be an Ocean (or so Lettie Hempstock claims). Highly Recommended.
Murakami just keeps getting better! The author of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore returns with his first female protagonist, the unlikely assassin Aomame, who, through a small act of rule breaking enters the alternate, parallel world of 1Q84, with differences large and small, including a second moon. The story also focuses on Tengo, an aspiring author who gets caught up with a mysterious girl who has written an exceptional work of fiction, except that, as Tengo will learn, it may not be so fictional. A utopian cult, it's supernatural leader, the magical and mysterious and possibly malevolent Little People, their even more mysterious creation the Air Chrysalis, and an extremely determined bill collector are just some of the obstacles Aomame and Tengo will face as they seek to understand and escape from 1Q84. Highly recommended.
Maddy Spencer is probably the snarkiest post-alive 13 year old you’ll ever meet. In Damned she led a coup in Hell, only to be told by Satan that he created her to bring about Armageddon. In the sequel, Doomed, Maddy seems to accidentally set in motion events that will bring about the damnation of all mankind. A small lie to her parents (telling them to behave in boorish ways to ensure they will join her in Hell but making them believe it will actually send them to Heaven) is spread throughout the world, causing great joy (and a lot of well meant swearing), but ensuring most of humanity will be damned for all eternity. Full of Palahniuk’s trademark wit and obscenity, Doomed is most certainly not for everyone, but for an irreverent send up of modern society and religion, look no further. Just make sure to read Damned first!
Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, returns with the question "What can we learn from 'traditional' (or pre-modern) societies?" The answer, in topics as diverse as conflict resolution, child rearing, and religion, may surprise you. While not romanticizing or idealizing the bands and tribes he studies, Diamond helps us understand where we have come from, how we used to live, and what we have gained and lost along the way. Highly recommended.
In his bestseller 1491 Charles Mann showed us the various civilizations in the Americas that were destroyed (both inadvertently and intentionally) by the arrival of Europeans. The follow-up, 1493, explores the changes that were unleashed on the whole world following Columbus’ ‘discovery,’ the “Columbian Exchange.” This unprecedented spread of people, animals, crops, raw materials, pests, and diseases would have far reaching consequences that continue to this day. Mann, in impeccable but never boring detail, shows us the rise of the first truly global economy, where silver mined in Peru for the Spanish Crown ends up destabilizing Chinese dynasties, where African diseases (like Malaria and yellow fever) decimated Native American and European colonist alike, driving demand for African slaves with natural resistances to such deadly illnesses to work on plantations in the Americas. Wide in scope and rich in detail, 1493 helps explain how the world we live in came into being. Highly Recommended.
Jeff Shaara, author of Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, returns to the Civil War in his exciting new series, starting with A Blaze of Glory. Moving away from the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania, the action takes place in the ‘Western Theater’ (West of the Appalachian Mountains but still east of the Mississippi), an often overlooked campaign. Shaara shows all sides of the action, from the generals who make the decisions to the common soldiers who fight and die as a result of those decisions. Some names, like General William Tecumseh Sherman, will be familiar to most readers, while others will be entirely new to even the biggest Civil War buff. Witness firsthand the bravery and mistakes that bring both sides to the edge of glorious victory and devastating defeat, near a small church in Tennessee called Shiloh.
The Civil War rages on in Jeff Shaara’s latest, with control of the Mississippi River on the line as Union forces besiege Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last Confederate stronghold on the mighty river. General Grant commands the Union forces, with his trusted subordinate General Sherman, trying to secure victories that have been so rare for the North. In charge of the considerable Confederate defenses in Vicksburg is General Pemberton, a northerner by birth who joined the rebels for love of his southern wife. The Siege of Vicksburg was a major turning point in the Civil War, and Jeff Shaara expertly recreates both sides of the conflict, including for the first time in his work, a civilian, to show the lives and suffering of those who had to endure the siege.
What if people started gaining super powers but they all became villains? In the fast paced adventure Steelheart, without any superheroes to protect humanity, society quickly collapses as nearly invincible “Epics” carve out their own domains and battle each other for supremacy. In what was once Chicago, the seemingly indestructible Steelheart rules with an iron fist, killing normal humans at a whim. He seems immortal, but David, whose father Steelheart murdered before his eyes, has seen Steelheart bleed, and if he can only figure out how, he means to see Steelheart bleed again.
Master of Historical Fiction Bernard Cornwell continues his saga of the unification of England in the face of decades of Danish (Viking) onslaught. After accidentally killing a Bishop, Uthred, the Saxon born and Viking raised warrior with conflicting loyalties, finds himself outcast, with no lands or titles. With nowhere else to go, and with only a small band of allies, Uthred attempts his most audacious plan yet; recapturing the near impregnable fortress that is his stolen birthright. Meanwhile, the Danes are plotting and preparing for war, their goal nothing less than the destruction of the fledgling England and dominion over the whole island.
The Wheel of Time comes to it’s epic conclusion! It’s The Last Battle, where the forces of Light will either defeat the Dark One and re-seal him in his prison, or loose and allow the Dark One to gain control of all existence. Can The Dragon Reborn fulfill his destiny, or will The Shadow spread over all creation? The 14th and final volume brings Robert Jordan’s fantasy saga to a very satisfying conclusion, ensuring it’s place as one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time! Highly Recommended.
The angel Dolorial (also known as Bobby Dollar) can’t catch a break. Not only was his mission to Hell (to rescue his girlfriend, the demoness Caz, from Eligor, a Grand Duke of Hell) a miserable failure, he also lost the only leverage he had over Eligor; the feather of a high ranking angel given to Eligor as a symbol of their agreement to create an alternative to Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s only chance lies in finding the other token of the agreement, the horn of Eligor, given to Eligor’s angelic conspirator. With Heaven turned against him (and Hell having always been strongly anti-Dolorial), not to mention a group of Neo-Nazis with demonic minions out for his blood, Bobby’s going to have his hands full just trying to stay alive, let alone keep his soul intact and unravel the biggest Heavenly conspiracy since the Fall of Lucifer.
Bobby Dollar (or Dolorial as he’s known in Heaven) isn’t the most orthodox or obedient Angel, or the wisest. If he were, he probably wouldn’t have a drinking problem, he wouldn’t be lying to his celestial superiors about his friend’s involvement with a mysterious alternative to Heaven and Hell, and he certainly wouldn’t have fallen in love with Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands, a demoness and current ‘possession’ of Eligor, Duke of Hell and Horseman of the Apocalypse. He also wouldn’t be on an almost certainly suicidal rescue mission into the depths of Hell, a low ranking Angel disguised in a demon body, trying to sneak Casimira out of the jealous grasp of Eligor, one of the most powerful beings in Heaven or Hell, who would love nothing more than to see Bobby Dollar trapped and tortured in Hell for all eternity. The sequel to The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Happy Hour in Hell ends on a dark The Empire Strikes Back-ish note that leaves me eagerly awaiting the third and final volume.
After the suicide of his best friend, Toru finds comfort and solace with Naoko, who was dating his best friend when he inexplicably killed himself. Bound together by tragedy, the two begin to fall in love, but Naoko had psychological issues of her own, and even more heartbreak in her past. While Toru is devoted to Naoko, after she begins a years-long stay at a sanitarium, he meets and unintentionally falls for the outgoing Midori. Can Naoko be healed, or is their love doomed by her mental illness? Will his devotion to Naoko compromise his growing feelings for Midori, causing him to lose both women? While Norwegian Wood has none of the surreal or supernatural aspects of Murakami’s other works, it is still a powerful work about love, loss, suicide, and those who are left behind. More than 25 years after first becoming a best seller in Japan, this novel moved me in a way few others have. Highly Recommended.
In this fantastical historical reimagining, The United Isles of America are constantly threatened by Chalklings, literally drawings come to life who crave human flesh. The only defense against the Chalklings (aside from buckets of acid) are The Rithmatists, warrior artists who are able to imbue their own chalk drawings with life. At one of the schools that trains the seemingly divinely chosen Rithmatists, promising students are going missing, leaving behind only trails of blood. Joel, a normal student who has no Rithmatic powers but is obsessed with studying them, gets caught up in the investigation that will have far reaching repercussions. Looking forward to reading the sequel!
Nick Offerman, best known to audiences as Ron Swanson on the hilarious show Parks and Recreation, offers up this tome of wisdom and life lessons to help people live a delicious life. A funny look at the man behind the moustache, Paddle Your Own Canoe will make you laugh, think, and want to throw some meat on the barbeque. For added enjoyment get the audio version and let Duke Silver read it to you!
The author brought in to finish The Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan’s death has started his own massive epic fantasy series, The Stormlight Chronicles. What else do you need to know? In the first volume, The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson introduces a unique world that is ravaged by global hurricanes on a near weekly basis, the result of an unknown cataclysm in the distant past. Powerful ancient weapons allow a single warrior to turn the tide of battles, while eye color is used to determine class. A war of vengeance has been sidetracked by profit and petty politics, while one of the leaders tires of bloodshed. A slave forced into service that’s as good as a death sentence begins to exhibit mysterious powers, not seen in generations. A scholar thinks she must become a thief to save her family, while harboring secrets of her own. A man is forced to become an assassin, weeping as he kills. And prophecy portends that ancient evils will return, bringing blood and ash.
Can’t wait for the next season of Game Of Thrones to find out what happens to all your favorite characters? The next installment of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire” does not disappoint! Mostly happening concurrently with the previous novel, A Feast For Crows, A Dance With Dragons focuses on all the characters who were mainly absent in that installation. Find out what happens to Dany, Tyrion, Jon Snow, and all your other favorite surviving characters! Warning: Will definitely make you want the next book in the series NOW!
This fun adventure follows Kit, a servant who gets caught up in his dead master’s supernatural schemes. Endless war is feared if the Fairy King allies with 18th century England, the alliance to be sealed by marrying the Fairy King’s daughter to the human king’s son. With a mismatch band of rebels, Kit tires to prevent the marriage while keeping ahead of mortal and supernatural enemies.
In the north, across The Wall, is the Old Kingdom, a realm of magic where the undead threaten the living. Sabriel, scion of the family charged with making sure the dead stay dead, suddenly comes into her inheritance when her father is trapped by the Greater Dead Kerrigor. Raised south of The Wall for her own protection, Sabriel’s safety came at the cost of ignorance, as she must confront a kingdom on the brink of ruin, the royal family lost for 200 years. Aided by the mysterious and capricious cat-being Mogget and Touchstone, who was frozen by a spell for centuries, Sabriel must cross a strange land teeming with undead creatures to try and save her father and prevent Kerrigor from destroying the very magic that maintains the Old Kingdom.
Didn’t follow the Freakonomics blog? Not to worry, as the authors have collected their best posts into one thought provoking volume. While it may not be much use in planning your bank heist, there are plenty of fresh ideas and non-traditional views of everyday issues, and even a few answers to the questions they raise. Give your brain a fun and easy (but stimulating!) work out and read this book!
March to the sea (and beyond!) alongside General Sherman in this latest Civil War saga! Witness the end of the Civil War through the eyes of combatants on both sides, plus a freed slave who follows Sherman’s army as they embark on their audacious march across Georgia. Eschewing ‘proper’ military strategy, can Sherman’s bold plan to cut his supply lines and feed his army off the land succeed, or will the desperate rebels find a way to foil his march and prolong the war?