Shelf Control #5: “The Weight of Feathers” by Anna-Marie McLemore

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This week’s book is one I hope to read this year. From the reviews I’ve seen, it seems to be a sweet book that I’ll enjoy reading.


My pick for the week:

the-weight-of-feathersTitle: The Weight of Feathers

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Genre: Fantasy; magical realism

Published: 2015

Length: 308 pages

Goodreads summary:

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice. (Goodreads)

Where I got it: BookCon 2016 in Chicago

When I got it: Last year

Why I want to read it:

A couple of reasons: the author is very nice. I met her at BookCon last year when I got the book and she signed it. Yeahie! The premise of the story is very appealing and I have heard it compared to The Night Circus so that piqued my interest. I’ve also heard that it has a bit of magical realism in it as well, so I’m curious to see how the author works that in and what her writing style is like.

If you’ve read this one, share your thoughts on it below. 🙂

Shelf Control #1: “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods”

shelf-controlShelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

I’ve wanted to join in ever since Lisa announced this meme, but have just gotten around to doing so. I own a lot books and though I tried to buy less this year, I went overboard due to the two bookish events I attended — BookCon and the Small Press Expo. My hope is that this meme will get me excited about the books I already own, or at least lessen my need to quickly purchase the cover that catches my eye.

Also, I just want an excuse to talk about more books so just think of this as a tour of my library.


My pick for the week:

in-the-house-upon-the-dirt-between-the-lake-and-the-woods

Title: In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

Author: Matt Bell

Genre: Fiction, fantasy (some on Goodreads have listed it under magical realism)

Published: 2013

Length: 312 pages

Goodreads overview:

In this epic, mythical debut novel, a newly-wed couple escapes the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore. They plan to live there simply, to fish the lake, to trap the nearby woods, and build a house upon the dirt between where they can raise a family. But as their every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife’s beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house.

This novel, from one of our most exciting young writers, is a powerful exploration of the limits of parenthood and marriage—and of what happens when a marriage’s success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

How I got it: I saw it in a pile of free books at work and I recognized the title so I grabbed it.

When I got it: 2013 or 2014

Why I want to read it: I think I saw a review of it in a Shelf Awareness newsletter and that piqued my interest. I still would like to read it because the story sounds interesting.

“Air Awakens” by Elise Kova

air-awakensI thought this would be a fun fantasy series to get hooked on but, unfortunately, I didn’t like it.

Goodreads overview:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.  Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)

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“The Raven King” by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven KingThe Raven King is the final installment in the Raven Boys series, a young-adult fantasy series by Maggie Stiefvater about a group of teenagers with psychic abilities searching for a dead Welsh king so they can wake him and ask for a wish.

I read the first novel in the series, The Raven Boys, last year and was immediately hooked on the story and Stiefvater’s lush writing. I then hopped to the second book, The Dream Thieves, which made the series edgier but bored me; and I read the third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, earlier this year but that too fell flat for me.

I began to think the series had lost its oomph or that my interest in it had diminished, so I didn’t bother to pick up Raven King when it was published in April. However, I decided to download it from my library’s online collection in September to have something to read while traveling. Once I started reading, I was hooked and was glad for it. The series had got back it’s energy.

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“Talon” by Julie Kagawa

Talon

I love the cover, both how it looks and feels.

I had high hopes for this one.

Quick summary:

It’s summer and Ember and her twin brother, Dante, are finally let off Talon’s compound to try at blending in with humans. They are dragons, and in order for them to survive, it’s imperative that they are adept at adapting to human lifestyle while being wary of any threats.

What threats? Those would be attacks from the Order of St. George, a militaristic group of dragon slayers. The Order of St. George has been at war with dragons for years so to strengthen their forces and increase survival rates, the dragons banded together and formed Talon, which is a sort of government that maintains order among dragon populations and ensure the group’s survival.

Ember and Dante are hatchlings, being just teenagers, and each day they train in the mornings to prepare for their placement in Talon’s order, and hang with their friends in the afternoon to improve on their interactions with humans. To strengthen their cover, they are placed with a human couple as their guardians. While hanging with friends one day, Ember meets a rogue dragon called Riley, who tempts her with promises to unveil what Talon really is about. Interacting with a rogue dragon is a crime in Talon and Ember is at first torn about what to do since she’s obligated to report him, yet she wants to know more about Talon. Also, the dragon in her is attracted to the dangerous rogue. Meanwhile, Riley is intent on convincing Ember to leave Talon, which he believes isn’t as good and helpful as it seems.

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“The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley

Available on Amazon and at you local bookstore.

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble thinking I read it back in high school. The book I recalled reading had a girl with flaming red hair, wielding a sword, and fighting a dragon that burnt off all her hair, which was never again as lustrous as it once was. After reading The Blue Sword, I realized that the book I was thinking of was The Hero and the Crown. As I mentioned in my reflection on Spindle’s End, The Hero and the Crown was the first book I read by Robin McKinley. Like Ursula Le Guin and J.K. Rowling, McKinley’s characters tend to stay with me for years. The details of the story may cloud over with memories but the characters never fade away.

At first, I did not expect any aspect of The Blue Sword to stand out to me. When I discovered it was not the book I thought it to be, I got upset and felt gypped and threw the book back in my bookcase. I didn’t bother to give it a chance. And how rude of me to do so, especially to Robin McKinley! A few months later, I saw The Blue Sword again while I was organizing my bookcase and decided to read it

A quick summary: (Here be spoilers!)

The Blue Sword is about a girl named Harry Crewe who moves to Ihistan, a military outpost in Daria, a land claimed by Homelanders, to live closer to her brother after their father died. She finds herself bored by the area but fascinated by its native inhabitants, the Damarians, or the Hillfolk, as they are referred to by the Homelanders. (The Hillfolk call the Homelanders Outlanders.) The Homelanders invaded and colonized Damar, a fabled land that is said to contain magic, to access the mines in its hills. Leaving the desert to the invading Homelanders, the Damarians retreated to the mountains that surround the desert. While some Damarians mingle with the Homelanders, others refuse to associate with them. Both, though, refuse to share much of their culture with the Homelanders, whom they see as obnoxious. The Homelanders instead speculate about what they do not know of the Damarians, who they think to be peculiar and secretive.

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“Lioness Rampant” by Tamora Pierce

Available on Amazon and at you local bookstore.

Available on Amazon and at you local bookstore.

A quick summary:

The Song of the Lioness series continues with Alanna and Coram in Maren, a country to the east of Tortall. Her purpose there is to find a friend of Myles’, who can translate a map she was given by the nameless woman who died in the last book. She discovers that the map points the way to the Roof of the World, where the Dominion Jewel is kept. The Dominion Jewel is a powerful object that only a true leader can wield. Alanna decides to embark on an adventure to claim the Dominion Jewel for Tortall to prove her worth as a lady-knight and to further fortify Tortall.

But before she begins this adventure, she meets a dragon. No, not one with pointy teeth and fiery breath but one just as deadly. She meets Liam, a member of the Shang warriors. He is called the Shang Dragon, “the best of the best,” and is lethal both with weapons and weaponless. Immediately Alanna is drawn to him and it’s lust at first sight. The Lioness and the Dragon engage in a stormy affair that’s short-lived due to their stark differences, stubbornness, and Liam’s fear of magic. After hearing of their plans, Liam decides to accompany Alanna and Coram to the Roof. Along the way, they meet Buri, a K’miri warrior, who accompanies Thayet, the exiled princess of Sarain. They both travel with children, fugitives of Sarain’s civil war.

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