New Acquisitions: 8/6/2014

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.


For Review Consideration:

The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard

I was introduced to Jonathan L. Howard’s writing through his young adult submarine adventure series called the Russalka Chronicles.  The Brothers Cabal is the fourth book in a series that he wrote for grown-ups, but it seems like it can stand on its own.

Horst Cabal has risen from the dead. Again. Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan: to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer.

As luck would have it, this exactly describes his brother.

Join the brothers Cabal as they fearlessly lie quietly in bed, fight dreadful monsters from beyond reality, make soup, feel slightly sorry for zombies, banter lightly with secret societies that wish to destroy them, and—in passing—set out to save the world.*

*The author wishes to point out that there are no zebras this time, so don’t get your hopes up on that count. There is, however, a werebadger, if that’s something that’s been missing from your life.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Before I took my end-of-grad-school blogging hiatus, I was making a conscious effort to read more poetry.  Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson seems like a perfect opportunity to jump back into the genre.

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Inamorata by Megan Chance

This one is for a book tour at the end of August.  I love genre blended books, so historical fiction with a paranormal slant seems right up my alley.

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.


A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

I had the opportunity to interview Marie Brennan a couple months ago, and I’ve been meaning to read more of her work.  I love the idea behind A Natural History of Dragons.  It’s anthropological fantasy about a bookish woman’s scientific adventures.

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

It’s finally out in paperback, which meant it was time for me to buy it.  #shamelessSandersonfangirl

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

Black Butler #1 by Yana Toboso

One night Mike and I put on the anime Black Butler while having pizza, and I was hooked.  I watched both seasons of it.  Mind you, I watch television very sparingly, and it’s rare that I’ll watch complete seasons of something, so this is kind of a big deal.  I’ve never read manga before in my life.  Never really had any desire to do so.  But apparently the manga plot goes in a completely different direction than the anime, and I’m curious, so I decided I should give it a shot.

In the Victorian ages of London The Earl of the Phantomhive house, Ciel Phantomhive, needs to get his revenge on those who had humiliated him and destroyed what he loved. Not being able to do it alone he sells his soul to a demon he names Sebastian Michaelis. Now working as his butler, Sebastian must help the Earl Phantomhive in this suspenseful, exciting, thriller manga.


Tithe by Holly Black

I recently read The Darkest Part of the Forest, which made me want to read more of Holly Black’s books.  Luckily, my sister was kind enough to loan me Tithe, which is Holly Black’s take on the ballad of Tam Lin.

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Cosmos and Culture by Steven Dick

Even though I’ve lived in the DC area for more than 8 years now, the city continues to surprise me.  Apparently the library at NASA headquarters is open to the public, and the visitor center there gives out free books.  Now, I’m the kind of person who watches documentaries about space if I’m having trouble sleeping.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to see the Curiosity rover land on Mars, and I cannot contain my excitement for New Horizons to show us new things about Pluto.  Cosmos and Culture combines my interest in space with a cultural and anthropological perspective, and it promises to be fascinating.  If anyone else thinks this sounds interesting, the PDF is here.

Authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, anthropology, and more, consider culture in the context of the cosmos. How does our knowledge of cosmic evolution affect terrestrial culture? Conversely, how does our knowledge of cultural evolution affect our thinking about possible cultures in the cosmos? Are life, mind, and culture of fundamental significance to the grand story of the cosmos that has generated its own self-understanding through science, rational reasoning, and mathematics? Book includes bibliographical references and an index.

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Earlier this summer, Angry Robot’s young adult imprint Strange Chemistry abruptly closed.  I won this book in a giveaway that was designed to promote awareness of some of the books and authors that Strange Chemistry has published over the past couple years.  It’s one of my options for Strange Chemistry & Exhibit A Reading Month.

While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.

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