Monday, May 4, 2015

What Went On My To-Read List In April

I added a whopping 25 books to my to-read list in April. No wonder I sometimes feel overwhelmed with reading -- I've got a never-ending queue of books waiting for me! Since I find so many awesome-sounding new reads every month -- some from other blogs and book sites, some from work at the library, some from friends -- I thought I'd start sharing them with you! At the beginning of each month, I'll put together a list featuring some of the books that went on my TBR list the previous month.

Do tell: what have YOU added to your list recently?

From the Goodreads summary:
Set against the most dramatic time in our species' history, "The Dog Master" tells the story of one tribe's struggle for survival and one extraordinary man's bond with a wolf -- a friendship that changed mankind forever.

This book comes out in August and I'll definitely read it. I've enjoyed all the W. Bruce Cameron books I've read so far. Interestingly, I only found out about this book because someone sent me a message on Goodreads about my review of one of Cameron's other novels and asked if I was planning to read this one. Well, I am now!

From the Goodreads summary:
London, 1890 -- Pen Davenport is the most infamous bookaneer in Europe. A master of disguise, he makes his living stalking harbors, coffeehouses, and print shops for the latest manuscript to steal. But this golden age of publishing is on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: books could easily be published without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but suffered financially -- Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few -- but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers bought books inexpensively. Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers are on the verge of extinction.

Ok, there's no way I could resist this title -- or the cover art! I've already got it on hold at the library so I should get it as soon as it comes in.

From the Goodreads summary:
Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.

While the cover looks like it should belong to a children's book, this novel sounds like it'll be dark and fascinating. It has positive reviews and I'm really looking forward to it.

From the Goodreads summary:
Animal life rings, bleeds, and howls with sex. It's everywhere. Right now warring hordes are locking horns, preening feathers, rampaging lustfully across the savanna, questioning the fidelity of the ones they love. A million females choose; a billion penises ejaculate (or snap off); a trillion sperm battle, block, and tackle. Writing in a brilliantly engaging style, biologist Jules Howard leads readers on a guided tour of the how and why of sex on Earth, in all its diversity. From sperm wars to cuckoldry, hermaphrodites, virgin births, “exploding” penises, and mallards' “booby-trapped” vaginas, "Sex on Earth" explores and celebrates the wonders and peculiarities of animal reproduction.

I came across this non-fiction title while processing a batch of new books -- and how could I not be sucked in by the bright orange panda-printed cover?! The blurb on the book jacket sounded even more interesting than the Goodreads summary. This seems like the kind of book where I'll learn a lot -- and laugh a lot at the same time.

From the Goodreads summary:
In 1964, a grisly murder is committed in the small town of Dickinson, North Dakota. Erik and Lida Knudsen are found murdered in their bed, their throats slit. Sheriff Hilo Jenkins is called to the scene and discovers a strange copper amulet clasped in Erik’s hand. Knowing that his friend Marjorie Trumaine is a skilled researcher and professional indexer, Jenkins asks for her help in investigating the possible meaning of the amulet with its unusual markings...As she gets closer to the truth, Marjorie feels increasingly threatened, knowing the killer will stop at nothing to cover his tracks.

I think I discovered this book -- which comes out tomorrow --  in the latest issue of Library Journal and was intrigued enough by the short summary to look it up. And the totally awesome cover sealed the deal. There's no way I could ever not check out a murder mystery with books and glasses and a blood-spattered index card on the front!

From the Goodreads summary:
Welcome to Baghdad during the U.S. invasion. A desperate American military has created a power vacuum that needs to be filled. Religious fanatics, mercenaries, occultists, and soldiers are all vying for power. So how do regular folks try to get by? If you're Dagr and Kinza, a former economics professor and a streetwise hoodlum, you turn to dealing in the black market. But everything is about to change, because they have inherited a very important prisoner: the star torturer of Hussein’s recently collapsed regime, Captain Hamid, who promises them untold riches if they smuggle him out of Baghdad. With the heat on and nothing left for them in Baghdad, they enlist the help of Private Hoffman, their partner in crime and a U.S. Marine. In the chaos of a city without rule, getting out of Baghdad is no easy task and when they become embroiled in a mystery surrounding an ancient watch that doesn’t tell time, nothing will ever be the same. With a satiric eye firmly cast on the absurdity of human violence, "Escape from Baghdad!" features shades of "Catch-22" and "Three Kings" while giving voice, ribald humor, and firepower to to people often referred to as "collateral damage."

I can't remember where I came across this title -- maybe BookRiot? (If you've never been to that site, check it out!) As a military spouse whose husband spent six months in Afghanistan, I've been trying (and, honestly, not succeeding all that well) at reading more military fiction. This one sounds right up my alley!

From the Goodreads summary:
London, 1884. When Thaniel Steepleton comes home to find a new watch on his pillow, he has bigger things to worry about than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, where he has just received a Fenian bomb threat. But six months later, the watch saves his life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, and at last, he goes in search of its maker. He meets Keita Mori, a Japanese immigrant who remembers the future. As Mori begins to tweak daily life in Thaniel’s favour, everything seems to be going well -- until physicist Grace Carrow, attracted to Thaniel’s refreshingly direct, unstuffy nature, unwittingly interferes. Soon, events spiral beyond Thaniel’s control, and nothing is certain any more. Natasha Pulley breathes authenticity into the era of Sherlock Holmes, shines subtle light upon the prevailing views on gender and plays speculatively with time and destiny to take the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London and beyond.

This blurb is a bit confusing, but I think "The Watchmaker" definitely has promise. I usually enjoy books set in this time period and a little magic can't hurt!

From the Goodreads summary:
The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist's rookie season as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases, hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex, that shaped her as both a physician and a mother. Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, "Working Stiff" offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies, and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like "CSI" and "Law and Order" to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

"Working Stiff" was sitting on somebody's desk at work and I couldn't resist having a peek at the blurb. I really enjoyed the somewhat morbid memoir "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty, and this seems to be in the same vein.

From the Goodreads summary:
When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn't have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. "When We Were Animals: is Lumen's confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident "breaches" during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path. A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, "When We Were Animals" is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.

I'm totally intrigued by the premise of this book -- which raises so many questions. How do they "run wild"? Is a werewolf-esque thing happening? What's the cause? Why is it just this one random town? I need answers! 


  1. Interesting group of new books on your list. Looking forward to your comments after you've read them.

  2. I hope you enjoy When We Were Animals. I read an ARC and a non-spoiler review is on my blog, but it put me in a long slump and I didn't really enjoy it. It was well written though.


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