I did a few of these posts years ago, when I wanted something like a Waiting on Wednesday post, but for books that had already been released (and usually already on my physical or virtual bookshelves). I found the TBR Thursday meme at Book Blather and realized it was just what I was going for.
Today’s pick is a book that came out fairly recently: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig.
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
I own a couple of Chuck Wendig’s other books but haven’t read them yet, but I think this will be the first one of his that I have to read. I’ve heard nothing but very good things about it and I’m so intrigued by that premise.
It’s a chonky book (I have the hardcover and it’s nearly 800 pages!), so it may take me a while, but I really want to read this one before the end of the summer.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Today my pick is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, out October 8, 2019 from Flatiron Books:
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
I love Leigh Bardugo’s books, and this will be her first adult book. I am beyond excited, and of course have had this pre-ordered for ages!
J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.
J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.
But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.
I wasn’t really sure what this book was about, but given my enjoyment of Bird Box and Unbury Carol, I was looking forwarding to reading more by Josh Malerman, so I grabbed this one from the library.
This was a strange book with a semi-intriguing premise. When I could turn my brain off, I could let myself read and enjoy it. But any time I felt myself starting to nitpick and ask questions of the book, I sort of didn’t like it, and thought it was unintentionally silly.
View Spoiler » One of the things that really bugged me was its heteronormativity. I also kept wondering where this seemingly infinite money to run this experiment came from. « Hide Spoiler
The story also dragged and felt too long, and when it got to K’s story it felt too repetitive. Overall, I’m so-so on this one.
My vacation is here at last! This week is already looking like it will be a busy one, but I have a very ambitious vacation TBR, which will of course by soundtracked by Taylor Swift’s new album, Lover.
I think it’s one of her best albums, and I’m definitely going to be listening to it a lot more this week!
I upgraded my Kobo finally to one that makes it so much easier to borrow ebooks from the library. So I have a ton of new library books that I’ll be trying to read while I’m on vacation this week (some of them are books I’ve borrowed a few times before and never read before they were due back, so I’m really going to try and get through them this week!):
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
I was so intrigued by this book. As an anxious bookish introvert, I was definitely drawn in by the synopsis.
It took me some time to get into this book, though. I think the writing style or voice was a bit too cutesy for me, and when I put the book down, I didn’t feel excited about picking it up again like I do when I’m really into a book.
But as the story went on, particularly as Nina met some of her new family members, I found myself more pulled into this. While I found the storyline with Nina’s boss annoying, overall the book was a nice cute and cozy distraction from real life this week.
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets
Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.
In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.
Then Deirdre disappears.
And when something awful comes scratching at Skye’s window in the middle of the night, claiming she’s the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
I was very intrigued by this book. Sibling stories with a horror / fantasy / thriller element are always interesting to me, and the synopsis and cover of Here There Are Monsters definitely grabbed my attention.
I feel torn about this book because I really liked some elements of it (the mystery of what happened to Deirdre; the way the story moved back and forth in time; the creepiness of the woods and what was out there; Skye and Deirdre’s complicated relationship), but I failed to connect with the characters or with the story emotionally, which prevented me from really getting invested in this one. I also felt sometimes like the pacing was uneven, so sometimes there seemed to be a lot happening at once and other times I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen.
Overall, I enjoyed this one, and while it wasn’t full on horror, I think it’s a good recommendation for a creepy YA read. I do feel like the comparison to Imaginary Girls is somewhat apt (at least, based on my recollection it is – it’s definitely been a few years since I read that one), so if you liked that book and/or if you’re intrigued by the synopsis or cover like I was, check this one out!