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Melanie's Top Reads of 2019


There was a point this year when I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to write a 'best of' post this year. I found it hard to find books I wanted to read, but more importantly, books I really enjoyed reading. I did hit the jackpot and found some books I really adored and here are my top 5 reads of 2019, starting in reverse order:



Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Number 5 - Circe by Madeline Miller 

Back in April I finally decided to check out a recommendation from one of my friends Circe by Madeline Miller. I had the audio version of the book so this is technically a 'listen to' rather than a read...but lets not split hairs. Perdita Weeks brought the troubled daughter of the sun god Helios to life, as we follow Circe from her home with the gods, to her exile by Zeus on Aiaia. Miller creates a fantastic story for the mythical Circe and interweaves a number of other myths and mythical characters to share the stage with her. Miller has received awards and accolades for this Circe and here is one more - one of my fave books of 2019!





Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Number 4 - Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

In July I took my sister's advice this time and purchased Machines Like Me (again another audio book). I loved everything about this book - the alternate history of 80's Britain, McEwan's android science, the moral conflict and finally, the narrator - Billy Howle. McEwan is one of those authors who are a bit hit and miss with me but this time it was a big hit. See my thoughts here.







Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Number 3 - Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I thoroughly enjoyed Arden's Winternight trilogy and thought that The Winter of the Witch was a fantastic ending to this series. Again, this was another audio book (I did actually read some books!) and the narration, again was amazing. In this final instalment we join Vasya on the end of her magical journey that is steeped in Russian folklore.  I liked it sooo much I wrote a full review if you want to check it out here.







Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Number 2 - La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

I was late to the prequel of the His Dark Materials party.  I had La Belle Sauvage on my TBR (yes Audible library) for too long before I decided I needed to find out what it was all about.  I was totally gripped from the first word until the last. Michael Sheen is a superlative narrator but it's Pullman's story that really shines through here. The young Malcolm, his daemon and the baby Lyra have an epic adventure that only Pullman could tell.  I almost think I liked this story better than the original  - His Dark Materials.






Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Number 1 - it's a tie for first place in my book reading heart for 2019

A Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

A Thousand Doors of January tells the story of January Scaller and her life as the ward of the very wealthy Mr Locke. The story flits from past to present and from one world to another and it's not until near the very end that the reader gets to discover the intricacies of Harrow's plot.  Needless to say I loved this book and what is even more exceptional is that it is a debut novel. Kudos x 10 to Harrow for this very first novel. I wrote a full review if you want to find out more. Check it out here.



Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
The Binding by Bridget Collins

I described The Binding in my review as a gentle love story but the more I think about my description of the story I don't think I did the book justice. There is a real ethereal and haunting quality to this story. The binding and what it really means for the main protagonist Emmett isn't uncovered until most of the way through which adds to the tension and the mood of story itself. This is a book that stays with you and even a year later (almost) I am still caught up thinking about Emmett and what happened to him and imagining what could happen next. Great book and a fantastic audio book as well.


Well that is it....my faves of 2019.



I have an honourable mention (well mentions) - Aching God and Sin Eater by Michael Shel. Aching God was a finalist in the SPFBO 4 and one of Qwill's faves in 2018 but I only just read it in 2019. This is an amazing book and Sin Eater is even better. Thought I would keep these two as 'mentions' as Aching God was part of the SPFBO. My recommendation is to read both together to get the full effect. I can hardly wait for book 3 to come out.



I would love find out what your top reads of 2019 were so please leave me your top picks in the comments section.





Circe
Little, Brown and Company, April 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story,” this #1 New York Times bestseller is “both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right” (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER–NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, The Washington Post, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor and Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider





Machines Like Me
Nan A. Telese, April 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
New from Ian McEwan, Booker Prize winner and international bestselling author of Atonement and The Children Act

Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first synthetic humans and—with Miranda’s help—he designs Adam’s personality. The near-perfect human that emerges is beautiful, strong, and clever. It isn’t long before a love triangle soon forms, and these three beings confront a profound moral dilemma.

In his subversive new novel, Ian McEwan asks whether a machine can understand the human heart—or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.





Winter of the Witch
Winternight Trilogy 3
Del Rey, October 1, 2019
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover, Audiobook, and eBook, January 8, 2019

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vasilisa Petrovna is an unforgettable heroine determined to forge her own path. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.





La Belle Sauvage
The Book of Dust 1
June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
 eBook, October 19, 2017

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of His Dark Materials–soon to be an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda–to expand on the story of Lyra, “one of fantasy’s most indelible heroines” (The New York Times Magazine).

Don’t miss Volume II of The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth

Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, are used to overhearing news and the occasional scandal at the inn run by his family. But during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm finds a mysterious object—and finds himself in grave danger.

Inside the object is a cryptic message about something called Dust; and it’s not long before Malcolm is approached by the spy for whom this message was actually intended. When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he begins to notice suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is at the center of a storm, and Malcolm will brave any peril, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through it.

“Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen-year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them.” —The Washington Post
 
“The book is full of wonder. . . . Truly thrilling.” —The New York Times
 
“People will love the first volume of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy with the same helpless vehemence that stole over them when The Golden Compass came out.” —Slate





A Thousand Doors of January
Redhook, September 10, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.





The Binding
William Morrow, April 16, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
Proclaimed as “truly spellbinding,” a “great fable” that “functions as transporting romance” by the Guardian, the runaway #1 international bestseller

"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” — TRACY CHEVALIER

Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.


Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.

An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books—and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.





Honorable Mention

Aching God
Iconoclasts 1
April 9, 2018
   eBook, 604 pages
March 27, 2019
   Trade Paperback 602 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019
“Closer, mortal. You are here, finally, to feed the Aching God…”

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?

First volume in the planned epic fantasy trilogy Iconoclasts, Aching God is the debut novel by RPG adventure designer Mike Shel.

Also included is an advanced preview of Iconoclasts - Book II: Sin Eater.



Sin Eater
Iconoclasts 2
May 20,  2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 574 pages

Melanie's Top Reads of 2019

"I SHALL BAPTIZE YOU, SIR, AND MY BAPTISM WILL BURN YOUR FOLLY AND FLESH AWAY."

A year has passed since Auric Manteo descended into the haunted depths of a Djao ruin to return a lethal artifact, only to face down a bloodthirsty, imprisoned god. Now his daughter Agnes comes to bring him back to the capital with promises of hidden secrets finally revealed.

But the city decays, poisonous disorder is rife, and whispered prophecy foretells of cataclysm and doom. Summoned by their no-longer human queen, Auric and Agnes are commanded to carry out an impossible task, one that can be accomplished only with the mysterious blade Szaa’da’shaela, gifted to Auric on a lunatic's whim.

Can Auric and his daughter survive a journey fraught with blood, menace, and madness? And can they pay the price demanded by a being every bit as evil as the Aching God?

Sin Eater is the sequel to 2018’s widely praised Aching God and book 2 of the Iconoclasts Trilogy. Get your copy today!

The View From Monday - April 15, 2019


Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

The Binding by Bridget Collins.

The View From Monday - April 15, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Fire Season (Eric Carter 4) by Stephen Blackmoore;

Amnesty (Amberlough Dossier 3) by Lara Elena Donnelly;

No Country for Old Gnomes (Tales of Pell 2) by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne;

Atlas Alone (Planetfall 4) by Emma Newman.

The View From Monday - April 15, 2019 The View From Monday - April 15, 2019
The View From Monday - April 15, 2019 The View From Monday - April 15, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - April 15, 2019



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

April 15, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Blood Bonds (e) Yasmine Galenorn PNR - Otherworld 21
Dreamtime: First Fantastic Collection (e) Mark Le Dain SF/NF - Completely Fractured Fiction 1
Succulent Prey (ri) Wrath James White H
Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer LC/HC/PopCul/SF - Forerunners: Ideas First Series



April 16, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
NoBODY: A Novella (e) Susan Wittig Albert M/Occ - Crystal Cave 1
Ruinstorm David Annandale SF - Horus Heresy 46
Upon a Burning Throne Ashok K. Banker F
Dawnthief James Barclay F - Chronicles of the Raven 1
Fire Season Stephen Blackmoore UF/DF/CF - Eric Carter 4
Winds of Marque Bennett R. Coles SF - Blackwood & Virtue 1
The Binding (D) Bridget Collins LF/Hist
Amnesty Lara Elena Donnelly HistF/Th/Esp/Pol - Amberlough Dossier 3
The Complete Wayfarer Redemption Series: Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter, Starman, Sinner, Pilgrim, Crusader (e) Sara Douglass F - Wayfarer Redemption
Perihelion Summer Greg Egan SF/HSF/AP/PA
Master & Apprentice Claudia Gray SF/MTI - Star Wars
A Time of Blood John Gwynne F/HistF - Of Blood & Bone 2
Warlords of Karak Eight Peaks Guy Haley
David Guymer
F - Warhammer Chronicles
No Country for Old Gnomes Kevin Hearne
Delilah S. Dawson
F/HU/FairyT/FolkT/LM - Tales of Pell 2
Myths and Mortals Charlie N. Holmberg F - Numina 2
Big Cat: And Other Stories Gwyneth Jones SF - Collection
Nest of the Monarch Kay Kenyon HistF - Dark Talents 3
Yesterday's Kin Trilogy: Tomorrow's Kin, If Tomorrow Comes, Terran Tomorrow (e) Nancy Kress SF/HSF/GenEng/AC - Yesterday's Kin Trilogy
The One (h2tp) John Marrs LF/SF/GenEng/Dys
Atlas Alone Emma Newman SF/HSF - Planetfall 4
Dark Constellations Pola Oloixarac
Roy Kesey (Tr)
LF/VisM/MR
All My Colors David Quantick DF/BH/Th/Cr
The Master of Dreams Mike Resnick F/DF - The Dreamscape Trilogy 1
Princess Bari Hwang Sok-yong
Sora Kim-Russell (Tr)
FairyT/FolkT/LM/GH/Fiction
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, Volume Thirteen Jonathan Strahan (Ed) SF/F - Anthology
Knight Timothy Zahn SF/SO/AC - Sibyl's War 2



April 19, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Unicorn Anthology Peter S. Beagle (Ed)
Jacob Weisman (Ed)
F - Anthology


D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
BH - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
Esp - Espionage
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - Mash Up
NF - Near Future
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Pol - Political
PP - Police Procedural
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary & Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2019 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on May 10, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite April 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design: Colin Webber
Cover images: (man and bottle) CSA Images / Getty Images;
(clouds, top) (detail) John Lavery, Christie's Imagaes / 
Bridgeman Images; (farm, bottom) Edward Hopper, c. 1930.
James Goodman Gallery, New York, USA / Bridgeman
Images





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design: Natalie Chen





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Jacket art by Kekai Kotaki.
Jacket design by Adam Auerbach.





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Melanie Sun





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design: Jarrod Taylor





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Owen Corrigan.
Cover illustration by Alejandro Colucci.





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Jacket design: Stephen Brayda & Grace Han
Jacket art: Detail from Circe, 1885 (oil on canvas) by John
Collier (1850-1934) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's
Images / Bridgeman Images





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover art by Victor Mosquera

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts


There are 9 debut novels for April.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The April debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite April cover for the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15, 2019.



Sarah Blake

Naamah
Riverhead Books, April 9, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
“A dreamy and transgressive feminist retelling of the Great Flood from the perspective of Noah’s wife as she wrestles with the mysterious metaphysics of womanhood at the end of the world.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

With the coming of the Great Flood–the mother of all disasters–only one family was spared, drifting on an endless sea, waiting for the waters to subside. We know the story of Noah, moved by divine vision to launch their escape. Now, in a work of astounding invention, acclaimed writer Sarah Blake reclaims the story of his wife, Naamah, the matriarch who kept them alive. Here is the woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. Here is the woman escaping into the unreceded waters, where a seductive angel tempts her to join a strange and haunted world. Here is the woman tormented by dreams and questions of her own–questions of service and self-determination, of history and memory, of the kindness or cruelty of fate.

In fresh and modern language, Blake revisits the story of the Ark that rescued life on earth, and rediscovers the agonizing burdens endured by the woman at the heart of the story. Naamah is a parable for our time: a provocative fable of body, spirit, and resilience.





Bridget Collins

The Binding
William Morrow, April 16, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Proclaimed as “truly spellbinding,” a “great fable” that “functions as transporting romance” by the Guardian, the runaway #1 international bestseller

"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” — TRACY CHEVALIER

Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.


Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.

An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books—and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.





Melanie Golding

Little Darlings
Crooked Lane Books, April 30, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.





Suzanne Palmer

Finder
DAW, April 2, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
From Hugo Award-winning debut author Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a backwater deep space colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly—and inconveniently—invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species Fergus thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following him around. 

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he’s called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.





Chen Qiufan

Waste Tide
Tor Books, April 30, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Ken Liu, Translator

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Award-winning author Chen Qiufan's Waste Tide is a thought-provoking vision of the future.

Translated by Ken Liu, who brought Cixin Liu's Hugo Award-winning The Three Body Problem to English-speaking readers.

Mimi is drowning in the world's trash.

She’s a waste worker on Silicon Isle, where electronics -- from cell phones and laptops to bots and bionic limbs — are sent to be recycled. These amass in towering heaps, polluting every spare inch of land. On this island off the coast of China, the fruits of capitalism and consumer culture come to a toxic end.
 
Mimi and thousands of migrant waste workers like her are lured to Silicon Isle with the promise of steady work and a better life. They're the lifeblood of the island’s economy, but are at the mercy of those in power.

A storm is brewing, between ruthless local gangs, warring for control. Ecoterrorists, set on toppling the status quo. American investors, hungry for profit. And a Chinese-American interpreter, searching for his roots.

As these forces collide, a war erupts -- between the rich and the poor; between tradition and modern ambition; between humanity’s past and its future.

Mimi, and others like her, must decide if they will remain pawns in this war or change the rules of the game altogether.

"An accomplished eco-techno-thriller with heart and soul as well as brain. Chen Qiufan is an astute observer, both of the present world and of the future that the next generation is in danger of inheriting." – David Mitchell, New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas





Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead
Harper Voyager, April 2, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
"This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Andy Weir’s The Martian." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
***
A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?





Kris Waldherr

The Lost History of Dreams
Atria Books, April 9, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.





Martine Fournier Watson

The Dream Peddler
Penguin Books, April 9, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
“Astonishing . . . Explores the vast underground legacy of our own desires. This is the must-read book of the year.” —Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder

A page-turning debut novel about a traveling salesman and the small town he changes forever, both a thoughtful mediation on grief and a magical exploration of our innermost desires


The dream peddler came to town at the white end of winter, before the thaw . . .

Traveling salesmen like Robert Owens have passed through Evie Dawson’s town before, but none of them offered anything like what he has to sell: dreams, made to order, with satisfaction guaranteed.

Soon after he arrives, the community is shocked by the disappearance of Evie’s young son. The townspeople, shaken by the Dawson family’s tragedy and captivated by Robert’s subversive magic, begin to experiment with his dreams. And Evie, devastated by grief, turns to Robert for a comfort only he can sell her. But the dream peddler’s wares awaken in his customers their most carefully buried desires, and despite all his good intentions, some of them will lead to disaster.

Gorgeously told through the eyes of Evie, Robert, and a broad cast of fully realized characters, The Dream Peddler is an imaginative, moving novel of overcoming loss and reckoning with the longings we keep secret.





M. G. Wheaton

Emily Eternal
Grand Central, April 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Meet Emily, “the best AI character since HAL 9000″ (Blake Crouch). She can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind’s deepest secrets, but unfortunately, even she can’t restart the sun.

Emily is an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

Her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome that may save them all. But not everyone is convinced Emily has the best solution–or the best intentions. Before her theory can be tested, the lab is brutally attacked, and Emily’s servers are taken hostage.

Narrowly escaping, Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions–college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra. As the sun’s death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. Soon it becomes clear not just the species is at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019



Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019


Happy New Year! I had a debate with a work colleague about when it was too late to wish someone a happy new year. We agreed that late Jan/early Feb was too late but the ‘englishness’ in us make us do it (my Englishness is by osmosis rather than by birth). As this is my first MMiR for 2019 I thought I had better get my happy new year in here somehow.

I was really worried that I wasn’t going to have very many books to tell you about. I did something I never do. I had more than 1 book on the go and in between I was watching shows on Netflix. A few of my friends read multiple books at the same time but I don’t like to as I find it harder to finish them. Lucky I was able to finish most of the books I started so let me tell you what I had on the go in January.


Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
UK Edition
I am going to start with my favourite, The Binding by Bridget Collins. This book will undoubtedly be in my top reads of 2019 and possibly one of my all time faves. I actually listened to this book rather than read it so a big hats off to the narrator - Carl Prekopp. He really did justice to each of the characters and while I am sure I would have really liked the written version, Prekopp’s narration made the story come alive.

Collins tells the story of young Emmett Farmer whose life changes all because of a book. Emmett lives in a world where your deepest secret, your more dreaded fear, the memory of a terrible event can all be taken away with just one visit to a bookbinder. Binders take your memories and store them on pages of velum, all bound together inside a leather cover.  Many fear binders, like his parents, thinking binding is a form of witchcraft but to others they are a way to hide cruelty and greed. When Emmett learns he is to become a binder’s apprentice he is isn’t sure what to think. He knows it's not the life either he or his parents envisaged from him. Under the watchful eye of Seredith he learns the artistry of the trade and enjoys the quiet companionship of his new master. Just went life seems to have a new purpose events conspire against him when he discovers a book with his name on it. Emmett's life is about to become a real page turner.

The Binding is one of the most beautiful and gentle love stories I have read in a long time. Collin's prose has a poetic, almost ethereal quality to it that helps draw you into Emmett's world. She is descriptive without over doing it and while many of the scenes or the retelling of traumatic events don't quite sound like they came from someone Emmett's age, they were perfectly structured and believable. Collin successfully uses the environment and other inanimate objects such as artwork or flowers to enhance the mood of a scene or to mirror the emotions of either Emmett or one of the other characters. Snow, rain, the perfume of lilies, a field of bluebells are all tools used by Collins to help tell her story. I find sometimes pathetic fallacy can come across as disingenuous or almost lazy but in this case it helps to build drama and create pathos.

I can't say enough how much I loved The Binding. It stayed with me for several days after reading it and even now, I still feel sympathy for Emmett and for certain other characters. If you like audiobooks be sure to buy this version as Prekopps adds another element and makes this book truly special. This is a fantastic, character driven story that draw you in and have you hooked from page 1.


Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
Book number two is Earik Beann's Killing Adam. This science fiction 'shortish' story is set in a world that is controlled by a super computer, Adam. Humanity has been networked through brain implants called ARCs - Alternative Reality Chips. Jimmy Mahoney is a man on the outside. Jimmy isn't able to have an ARC as he suffered brain damage in football accident when he was young. While his wife spends 23 hours a day connected to an alternative world Jimmy prays that she return to him. When a rogue AI contacts Jimmy offering him the chance to free his wife he jumps at the chance. It's man vs machine in Beann's scifi thriller.

The plot of Killing Adam has a few too many similarities to the movie Surrogates, staring Bruce Willis for me. In fact I kept waiting for Bruce to turn up, maybe he was playing the part of Jimmy. I can't really say I enjoyed it as I thought it was just too predicable and not that original. Even the ending wasn't a surprise. On a positive note, it is quite short so it doesn't take long to read. If you don't have a lot of time to spare and like science fiction then you might be tempted to give it a read but don't feel you are missing out if you don't have time.


Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
The final book I want to tell you about is completely different to the two above. It's Holymoly, book 8 in the Clovenhoof series, by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. My favourite prince of darkness is almost absent from this instalment as Clovenhoof has been relegated to a few cameos. Instead Brother Stephen and his bestie, the demon Rutspud are the stars of this crazy show. When Rutspud gets demonically kidnapped (i.e., summoned) Stephen knows he has to find him. His journey takes him back to his hometown where has to face up to his past, as well as, search for Rutspud. With the help of his D&D loving childhood friends Brother Stephen is determined not to leave his unlikely bestie in the hands of some suburban, evil occultists.

For those of you who have read any of my reviews you will know I love Clovenhoof. Many commutes into work have been filled with guffaws and lolling at the Lambrini soaked Devil. I didn't find Holymoly quite as funny as the other books in the series. In fact, it rather dragged in the middle chapters. Goody and Grant did ramp up the crazy for the final chapters and they really were very funny. If you need a laugh then this is the book for you. If you are an ardent fan of Clovenhoof then you might want to give it a miss.


That is all for me this month. I am taking part in the beta review of the latest installment of Michael Sullivan's Legends of the Empire series. I also have 2 books from SPFBO3 to read so keep your fingers crossed I can get through these AND have something to tell you about in Feb. I better go back to my 1 book at a time rule. Wish me luck! Until next time Happy Reading.





The Binding
William Morrow, April 16, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
  UK Edition published January 10, 2019

Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
“Truly spellbinding... Many readers of The Binding will simply sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages, because, like all great fables, it also functions as transporting romance.” — THE GUARDIAN

"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” — TRACY CHEVALIER

In the tradition of Sarah Waters, Helene Wecker, and Jessie Burton, an atmospheric and mystery-laden historical novel set within a magical world where books are not stories but the repository of individual lives.

Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.


Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.

An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books—and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.





Killing Adam
Profoundly One Publishing, January 1, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 226 pages

Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
The world runs on ARCs. Altered Reality Chips. Small implants behind the left ear that allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine. The network controls everything, from traffic, to food production, to law enforcement. Some proclaim it a Golden Age of humanity. Others have begun to see the cracks. Few realize that behind it all, living within every brain and able to control all aspects of society, there exists a being with an agenda all his own: the singularity called Adam, who believes he is God.

Jimmy Mahoney’s brain can’t accept an ARC. Not since his football injury from the days when the league was still offline. “ARC-incompatible” is what the doctors told him. Worse than being blind and deaf, he is a man struggling to cling to what’s left of a society that he is no longer a part of. His wife spends twenty-three hours a day online, only coming off when her chip forcibly disconnects her so she can eat. Others are worse. Many have died, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs.

After being unwittingly recruited by a rogue singularity to play a role in a war that he doesn’t understand, Jimmy learns the truth about Adam and is thrown into a life-and-death struggle against the most powerful mathematical mind the world has ever known. But what can one man do against a being that exists everywhere and holds limitless power? How can one man, unable to even get online, find a way to save his wife, and the entire human race, from destruction?





Holymoly
Clovenhoof 8
Pigeon Park Press, August 31, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 223 pages

Melanie’s Month in Review - January 2019
Stephen and his friends spent their teenage years immersed in the fantasy gaming worlds of wizards and warriors, undertaking quests to fight evil occultists, vanquish terrible monsters and rescue damsels in distress.

Now, twenty-something years later, there is a real-life quest. Life as a monk has hardly prepared Brother Stephen for the mission ahead. Demon Rutspud is definitely not a damsel, but he is in distress. The evil occultists are real and if Stephen doesn’t rescue Rutspud from a fate worse than death, no one will…

Sword-wielding Satanists, stir crazy demons, super-smart squirrels, magical garbage and a suitcase that cannot be stopped run riot in a story about the bonds of friendship and dark deeds in suburban cellars.
Melanie's Top Reads of 2019The View From Monday - April 15, 20192019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts2019 Debut Author Challenge - April DebutsMelanie’s Month in Review - January 2019

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