New Acquisitions, Holiday Edition

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New Acquisitions is a feature where I talk about recent books that I’ve purchased, borrowed, won, and/or received for review consideration. All book descriptions are taken from Goodreads.

*waves*  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything.  I got bogged down in holiday preparation and ended up taking some time away from blogging to spend with family and friends.  On one hand, it means that I won’t reach all of my reading goals for 2014.  On the other hand, I think that I’ve finally gotten to the point that I can say that I’m okay with that.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because it is a chance to make merry with people whom I don’t normally get to see as often as I would like.  I went back to Pennsylvania for Christmas, and gathered at my aunt’s to share in a modified version of our Polish Christmas traditions.

Now that I’ve returned to my apartment, it’s time to get back into the swing of things.  I’m going start with a New Acquisitions post to share all of the books that I got for Christmas.  I’m very excited to start reading them!

How were your holiday celebrations?  Discovered any new books lately?


The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

I love seeing diverse voices in sci-fi and fantasy, and the blurb on the cover compares it to Ursula K. LeGuin, aka one of my favorite sci-fi writers of all time.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

The Republic of Imagination by Azir Nafisi

My aunt got me this book for Christmas, and I’m excited to read it!  It’s written by the same woman who wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran and is about her process of seeking American citizenship.

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating followup, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society. What Reading Lolita in Tehran was for Iran, The Republic of Imagination is for America.

Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her in Seattle, where a skeptical reader told her that Americans don’t care about books the way they did back in Iran, she challenges those who say fiction has nothing to teach us. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite American novels—from Huckleberry Finn to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter—she invites us to join her as citizens of her “Republic of Imagination,” a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy, and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

 The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is one of my all-time favorite writers.  She creates vivid and disturbing magical worlds that fall outside the typical medieval Europe fantasy setting.  This book is the follow-up to The Killing Moon, a story set in an alternate world based on ancient Egypt where priests perform euthanasia to harvest magical energy.

Gujaareh, the city of dreams, suffers under the imperial rule of the Kisuati Protectorate. A city where the only law was peace now knows violence and oppression. And nightmares: a mysterious and deadly plague haunts the citizens of Gujaareh, dooming the infected to die screaming in their sleep. Trapped between dark dreams and cruel overlords, the people yearn to rise up — but Gujaareh has known peace for too long.

Someone must show them the way.

Hope lies with two outcasts: the first woman ever allowed to join the dream goddess’ priesthood and an exiled prince who longs to reclaim his birthright. Together, they must resist the Kisuati occupation and uncover the source of the killing dreams… before Gujaareh is lost forever.

 The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

This book looks like a supernatural version of a James Bond story, aka two of my favorite things wrapped into one.  Thanks Sam!

Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization and this person wants her dead.

As Myfanwy battles to save herself, she encounters a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and an unimaginably vast conspiracy. Suspenseful and hilarious, THE ROOK is an outrageously inventive debut for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

I’ve had multiple blogging friends tell me that City of Stairs is amazing.  Mike got me this one for Christmas, along with bubble bath and cozy pajamas.  He knows me so well!

Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city’s proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country’s most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

This is a Wild West/Steampunk story set in the same world as the Mistborn Trilogy.  I’m curious to see what happens after Kelsier and Vin’s story becomes a part of history and new challenges emerge.

In the three hundred years since the events of the Mistborn trilogy, science and technology have marched on. Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads, electric lighting, and even the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Yet even with these advances, the magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for those attempting to establish order and justice.

One is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax must now put away his guns and assume the duties incumbent upon the head of a noble house—until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

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13 comments

  1. My household didn’t know what to make of my chalking BKM on the bricks by the door the first year they saw that. LOL But they are also getting accustomed to oplaki bread too….

  2. Ooh, I’d quite like to try making prunes marinated in brandy!

    Stayed in Ethiopia for Christmas so it was rather quiet because 1. They don’t make a big deal out of it (partly poverty and partly because most are only interested in the religious aspect) and 2. Ethiopian Christmas is only on 6 January (Julian calendar). So sad that I wasn’t home for a hot summer Christmas, but on the bright side I had time to read some great books!

    I had a great time reading The Rook; so much fun 🙂 And yes, City of Stairs is one of this year’s must-reads! I’ve forgotten a lot of the Karen Lord novel, but hopefully you’ll have a better time with it. Enjoy!

    1. Quiet holidays can be nice. I didn’t get much time to relax over the holidays, so being able to spend some quality time with good books sounds amazing!

      I’m very excited to read “The Rook”; it’s one I hadn’t heard of until I opened it, and it looks like it has a neat premise.

      1. I placed my Chapters order last night: The Damned by Andrew Pyper, The Deep by Nick Cutter, The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, and Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I’m freaking out for The Mime Order!!!

  3. I’ll be interested to know what you think of The Best of All Possible Worlds. It generates opinions all over the spectrum. I loved it, think about it often, and cannot wait to read the next book set in that universe here in a few weeks when it is released.

    1. I was intrigued when I saw the comparison to Ursula LeGuin. I love her almost anthropological style of science fiction writing, and based on the description of the book, I’m hoping to see a little bit of that. Happy holidays!

  4. Hi Grace
    I’m just going to add one more vote for City of Stairs – absolutely awesome. You’ll love it (well, I think you will anyway!)
    Lynn 😀