Shelf Control #336: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

A programming note: I’ll be taking a mini-hiatus next week while traveling, and as of now, I’m not planning to do a Shelf Control post for 9/28. I’ll be back the following week!

Title: Little Brother
Author: Cory Doctorow
Published: 2008
Length: 382 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Marcus aka “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: “M1k3y” will take down the DHS himself.

How and when I got it:

I bought a paperback copy about 3 years ago.

Why I want to read it:

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that I do want to read this! I’ve heard about Little Brother for years, but in general, tech-focused sci-fi isn’t usually my jam. Still, check out those blurbs by Neil Gaiman and Scott Westerfeld!

This book pops up on a lot of “best of” geeky reading lists, but I didn’t have a copy of my own until a few years ago, when I picked one up thinking it might entice my son to read a book other than those assigned for school. Nope, he didn’t show any interest, but I’ve held onto it, thinking I’d want to read it eventually.

So far, I haven’t been motivated to pick it up and give it a try, so at this point, I’m inclined to think that Little Brother will go in the donate pile next time I need to clear more room on my shelves. But… I’m open to being persuaded that I should keep it and read it!

What do you think? Would you read this book? And if you’ve read it, do you recommend it?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall 2022 TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books on My Fall 2022 To-read List. My list this time is a combination of upcoming new releases and books I already own but haven’t read yet.

My top 10 for fall are:

  1. The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
  2. Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca
  3. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
  4. Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk
  5. Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen
  6. Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell
  7. Troy by Stephen Fry
  8. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  9. The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison
  10. Heading Over the Hill by Judy Leigh

What books are on your TTT list this week? Please share your links!

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Shelf Control #335: The Book of Speculation by Erica Swyler

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: The Book of Speculation
Author: Erika Swyler
Published: 2015
Length: 339 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?

In the tradition of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, The Book of Speculation–with two-color illustrations by the author–is Erika Swyler’s moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

How and when I got it:

I picked up a paperback in 2016, and it’s been on my shelf ever since.

Why I want to read it:

As I’m writing this post, it occurs to me that perhaps I never even read the synopsis before today! The plot sounds kind of bonkers, in a really good way, but doesn’t seem in the slightest bit familiar. So, I’m thinking I may have grabbed this book at a library sale based solely on the cover. I mean, can’t go wrong with a book with books on the cover, right?

Now that I’ve read what it’s about, I’m much more interested in finally giving the book a try. Generations of circus mermaids? A mystery curse? Count me in!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday:  Books with Geographical Terms in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is  Books with Geographical Terms in the Title.

This was a fun one, and I had plenty to choose from!

Here’s my list:

  1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
  3. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
  4. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
  5. Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  6. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore
  7. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  8. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
  9. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  10. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George


What books made your list this week?

If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

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Shelf Control #334: Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Victories Greater Than Death
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Published: 2021
Length: 288 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachael, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.

How and when I got it:

I bought a hardcover soon after the book’s release in 2021.

Why I want to read it:

This is a more recent book for me, in terms of Shelf Control picks, since it’s only been on my shelf for a year. Still, I’ve had it for a year and haven’t picked it up… so the question is, will I?

I do know that Charlie Jane Anders is a writer I really enjoy. I used to read her columns quite a bit when she wrote for io9, and I really enjoyed her novel All the Birds in the Sky. At the same time, I do already have two other books by her on my shelves, still unread, so why did I add a 3rd?

I’m actually not entirely sure why I bought this book, but I believe I’d seen a few very positive reviews, and there was a hardcover sale that day, so I gave in to temptation! Victories Greater Than Death is not a long book, and it seems like it would be a quick, enjoyable read. It’s YA sci-fi, and space battles and clones and aliens sound like a winning combination!

This is the first in a trilogy (book #2, Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, was released in April 2022, and the 3rd book, Promises Greater Than Darkness, is expected in 2023). I don’t think I realized that this wasn’t a stand-alone when I purchased it, but I suppose I’m up for giving it a try and then deciding if I want to continue.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved So Much I Had to Get a Copy for My Personal Library

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books I Loved So Much I Had to Get a Copy for My Personal Library.

This does happen for me quite a bit! Sometimes it’ll be an audiobook I’ve listened to that I need to own in print, or maybe I’ll have read either an ARC or e-book or library book and fallen for it so hard that I needed my own copy!

Here are my top ten:

1 . The Emily Starr trilogy by L. M. Montgomery

2. The Good Neighbors (graphic novel trilogy) by Holly Black

3. If It Bleeds by Stephen King

4. Newsflesh trilogy (boxed set) by Mira Grant

5. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

6. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

7. Wonderstruck, The Marvels, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

8. Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

9. Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth

10. Mythos by Stephen Fry


What books made your list this week?

If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

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Shelf Control #333: Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1) by Juliet Marillier

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Published: 1999
Length: 554 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives: they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift—by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

How and when I got it:

I’ve had an old paperback on my shelves for years — no idea exactly where it came from!

Why I want to read it:

I’m always up for a good faerie kingdom story, and this is a book (and series) that I’ve seen recommended many times over the years. It regularly appears in lists of great fantasy series, and I know I’ve seen readers with tastes that align with my own talk about how much they love this book.

The plot sounds complicated but compelling. Faerie bargains, strange kingdoms, and mystical elements all sound right up my alley — plus, from descriptions on Goodreads and elsewhere, it seems that these books are very much influenced by Celtic folklore, which absolutely appeals to me.

Daughter of the Forest is the first in a six-book series. I tend to be pretty reluctant these days about starting new series… but I do feel tempted to at least give this first book a try.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books connected to schools… somehow

TTT back to school

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a School Freebie — and lacking the brain power at the moment to come up with a coherent theme, I thought I’d go for a more random post.

All of these books, one way or another, remind me of school or learning — so I’ll just go ahead and share my list and then explain why I chose these books.

1) Educated by Tara Westover: There’s the title, for starters, plus what’s more iconic when thinking about school than a big old pencil?

2) The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland: I just finished this book, and it absolutely took me back to the days of high school yearbooks, extracurriculars, and cafeteria table groupings.

3) A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik: I did say this was going to be rather random. This is an example of a school that I would never, ever want to attend. It’s terrifying and potentially lethal.

4) The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: As opposed to this one, which is more of a home for magical children than a formal school, but education happens, so it counts! And it’s so lovable that I’m always happy to include it in a TTT post!

5) The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger: Now here’s another school I’d be happy to visit! I mean, it’s set on a dirigible! ‘Nuff said.

6) The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder: I will always be scared by the scenes of the children trying to get home from the schoolhouse in a blizzard. Brrrrrrr.

7) The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare: This book doesn’t have much to do with a school, although the main character does teach others to read. I associate it with my own school days, since I think it was pretty much required reading for every schoolkid in Connecticut, at least back when I lived there.

8) The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: Does this still get taught in high school? I read this for an English class, and this was long enough ago that “dystopian” wasn’t an entire genre yet. It felt so startling at the time!

9) The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan : And now, a weird detour into my more recent reading! This is all about a remedial school for parents deemed negligent in some way, and it’s very disturbing.

10) True Biz by Sara Novic: Wrapping things up with one more school-based book — this one takes place at a boarding school for the Deaf, and it’s amazing.

So… was your school freebie more organized than mine? What theme did you go with? Please share your TTT links!

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Shelf Control #332: Mr. Flood’s Last Resort by Jess Kidd

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Mr. Flood’s Last Resort
Author: Jess Kidd
Published: 2018
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The spellbinding tale of a lonely caregiver and a cranky hoarder with a house full of secrets.

Maud Drennan is a dedicated caregiver whose sunny disposition masks a deep sadness. A tragic childhood event left her haunted, in the company of a cast of prattling saints who pop in and out of her life like tourists. Other than visiting her agoraphobic neighbor, Maud keeps to herself, finding solace in her work and in her humble existence–until she meets Mr. Flood.

Cathal Flood is a menace by all accounts. The lone occupant of a Gothic mansion crawling with feral cats, he has been waging war against his son’s attempts to put him into an old-age home and sent his last caretaker running for the madhouse. But Maud is this impossible man’s last chance: if she can help him get the house in order, he just might be able to stay. So the unlikely pair begins to cooperate, bonding over their shared love of Irish folktales and mutual dislike of Mr. Flood’s overbearing son.

Still, shadows are growing in the cluttered corners of the mansion, hinting at buried family secrets, and reminding Maud that she doesn’t really know this man at all. When the forgotten case of a missing schoolgirl comes to light, she starts poking around, and a full-steam search for answers begins.

Packed with eccentric charms, twisted comedy, and a whole lot of heart, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort is a mesmerizing tale that examines the space between sin and sainthood, reminding us that often the most meaningful forgiveness that we can offer is to ourselves.

How and when I got it:

I picked up the e-book edition of this book at some point in the last couple of years.

Why I want to read it:

I already had my eye on this author’s books (I have at least one other on my shelves that I want to read), and so I grabbed this one when I stumbled across a Kindle price break for it.

I can’t quite figure out what to make of the plot description! Based on the cute cover and some parts of the synopsis — “eccentric charms”, “twisted comedy” — it looks light and whimsical. But it also refers to darker secrets and a missing girl, and then there’s the bit about Maud being haunted by saints. Literally haunted? Like there are ghosts? I’m so confused.

When I look on Goodreads, I see other editions of the book that have a completely different (and utterly nonwhimsical) look to them:

I believe The Hoarder was the version published in the UK. Neither of these editions gives off warm or quirky vibes at all. Hmmm, what to make of it all?

The adorable look of the Kindle edition is definitely what initially caught my eye, so seeing that this book might not be what it seems give me very mixed feelings. At the same time, I really don’t want to start reading Goodreads reviews to investigate further, because I’m afraid I’ll out more than I want to know at this point!

Because of my confusion about the overall tone of the book, I’m a little hesitant — although I do think the general description of the storyline sounds intriguing!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: Completed Series I Wish Had More Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Completed Series I Wish Had More Books.

So… last week, my topic was first books in favorite series that were published over 10 years ago, and I definitely did not look ahead to see what this week’s topic would be. As a result, there’s going to be a lot of books/series in common between last week’s and this week’s lists, but that’s okay!

These are all books and series that I love, and I never mind featuring them in a post.

Ten series that are already done, but which I wish had more books:


The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal

This five-book series has been described as “Jane Austen but magic”, which is okay at a basic level, but just doesn’t convey how absolutely wonderful the characters and world are.


The Expanse by James S. A. Corey

My heart hurt by the time I read the (amazing) conclusion to this 9-book series. Yes, the story is done… but really, I’d happily read more about any of the characters or the worlds of this series.


Newsflesh by Mira Grant

The Newsflesh trilogy blew me away! Who knew zombie books could make me cry? There’s a 4th book that retells certain events from other characters’ perspectives, plus a bunch of spin-off stories, but really and truly, I just want to read more novels about the main characters!


The Parasol Protectorate (and the Parasol-verse at large) by Gail Carriger

I don’t know if it’s really true to say that this series is complete, because the lovely author continues to publish related stories and novellas… but after the five books of the original series, the four books of the Finishing School series, and the four Custard Protocol books, I am highly attached to these characters and would LOVE to see more full-length novels (or another series??) set in this world.


Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

This was such a good series! Six books, great world-building, great story progression — I’d definitely read more!


The Kopp Sisters by Amy Stewart

The seven volumes of this terrific historical fiction series showcase the real-life Kopp sisters as they solve crimes and go off to war in the early 1900s. The author has said that she’s not writing any more Kopp Sisters books any time soon… which could mean never, but since she doesn’t actually say never, I’ll continue to hope for more!


The Mure series by Jenny Colgan

The 5th book in this charming series just came out in June, and comments by the author seem to suggest that the series is now done… but wait! I still have questions! Yes, most characters got a beautifully happy ending, but there are still some loose threads and (I’m sure) plenty more stories to tell. Please, Jenny Colgan????


The Rajes by Sonali Dev

This series of interconnected stories about a large Indian-American family consists of four books retelling Jane Austen classics… But – there are six Jane Austen novels! I’ve read that the Rajes series is now done, but I think I’ll feel incomplete until there are Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey volumes too!


The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

This sweet, huggable YA superheroes love story trilogy has everything, and it had a very definitive ending — but can I help it if I love these characters so much that I want to see the rest of their lives too?


Bridgertons by Julia Quinn

I mean, yes, the Netflix version will keep me busy for years to come (I hope), and there are always other Julia Quinn books to read — but I felt a bit misty when I finished the books in the series and had to say good-bye to this incredibly entertaining family!


What series do you wish had more books? Do we have any in common?

If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

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