Sunday, October 30, 2016

10 Intriguing November 2016 Book Releases


Happy almost-November! It's the month to count our blessings, and as always I'm immensely grateful for more amazing books than I could ever read in 10 lifetimes and free access to all of them through the public library.

Below are 10 books coming out this month that have caught my eye.

The Burning Isle by Will Panzo

From Goodreads: A powerful and gripping debut grimdark fantasy novel, set in a world of criminals, pirates, assassins, and magic.

“A man has only three reasons for being anywhere: to right a wrong, to earn a coin, or because he is lost.” Cassius is not lost... The mage Cassius has just arrived on the island of Scipio. Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle, Scipio is a lawless haven for criminals, pirates, and exiles. The city is split in two, each half ruled by a corrupt feudal lord. Both of them answer to a mysterious general who lives deep in the jungle with his army, but they still constantly battle for power. If a man knows how to turn their discord to his advantage, he might also turn a profit. But trained on the Isle of Twelve, Cassius is no ordinary spellcaster, and his goal is not simply money. This a treacherous island where the native gods are restless, and anything can happen.

My thoughts: I'm all about fantasy these days and this one has my attention. Criminals, pirates, assassins and magic remind me of another fantasy series I love, the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, and while surely this one is different (it sounds a little less light-hearted) I'm planning to give it a try.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

From Goodreads: In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival.

As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set.

My thoughts: A romantic thriller by Stephenie Meyer? Yes, please! Say what you will about the Twilight series, but "The Host" was excellent and this seems to be in the same vein.

The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

From Goodreads: At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves from protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world -- and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and Mckee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions.

My thoughts: The plot sounds a little strange but I can't resist a novel where a dog is the hero!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

From Goodreads: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland -- the infamous Queen of Hearts -- she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen. Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. In her first stand-alone teen novel, Meyer dazzles us with a prequel to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

My thoughts: I enjoyed Meyer's creative and fun first novel, "Cinder," and one of these days I'm going to get around to the rest of The Lunar Chronicles. But for now, she has a standalone coming out, and it's sure to appeal to fans of "Alice in Wonderland." (Not really me, but maybe I'll become one if I read Meyer's adaptation.)

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

From Goodreads: Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.

My thoughts: I'm not a huge reader of celebrity memoirs, but I might just read this one. I really like Anna Kendrick and I have a feeling she's written a fun and honest book.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

From Goodreads: Two brown girls dream of being dancers -- but only one has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, "Swing Time" is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

My thoughts: This book is getting so much hype! I'd never heard of Zadie Smith before, but apparently she's well-known among bloggers and I somehow missed her. I'm really intrigued by the plot of her new novel, so I'm planning to start there.

Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman

From Goodreads: Joining the ranks of such acclaimed accounts as "Manic," "Brain on Fire," and "Monkey Mind," a deeply personal, funny, and sometimes painful look at anxiety and its impact from writer and commentator Kat Kinsman. Exploring how millions are affected by anxiety, "Hi, Anxiety" is a clarion call for everyone -- but especially women -- struggling with this condition. Though she is a strong advocate for seeking medical intervention, Kinsman implores those suffering to come out of the shadows -- to talk about their battle openly and honestly. With humor, bravery, and writing that brings bestsellers like Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson to mind, "Hi, Anxiety" tackles a difficult subject with amazing grace.

My thoughts: Anxiety is a new and annoying companion of mine, and the book has a bunny on the front, so I may give it a read. I imagine it having some of the humor of one of Jenny Lawson's amazing books with the addition of constructive advice.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

From Goodreads: In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria -- sheltered, small in stature, and female -- became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone. One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband...

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels "The American Heiress" and "The Fortune Hunter" brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.

My thoughts: Goodwin and PBS have turned the book into an 8-part miniseries to air in 2017 (in January, I think), and I will most definitely be watching that. Perhaps I'll get to the book beforehand -- it sounds wonderful.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

From Goodreads: Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love. Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live -- one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. "To Capture What We Cannot Keep," stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman's place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

My thoughts: I have an advance-reading copy of this and I'm planning to get to it soon. I will admit, it's that gorgeous cover that drew me in!

Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

From Goodreads: In her first work of nonfiction, the beloved star of "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood" recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls -- the first and second time -- and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood. This collection of essays is written in the intimate, hilarious, and down-to earth voice that made her novel, "Someday Someday Maybe," a New York Times bestseller.

My thoughts: So, yeah, what was that about me not being a big reader of celeb memoirs? But I do love Lauren Graham/Lorelai Gilmore, and what better time for her memoir to come out than right after the release of "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" (which, by the way, I am so excited about)!?


  1. I publishers sent me a beautiful hard copy of The Secret Life of Souls and I plan on starting it tonight. I also can't wait for the Lauren Graham book and will probably preorder it. Like you, I read Cinder and liked it, but haven't continued on yet. I plan on giving Heartless a go too but also like you, I found Alice in Wonderland to be annoying. I personally wanted to hit Alice with a car! I know lots of people love it though.

  2. I am looking forward to reading Lauren Grahms book! I'm also intrigued in Victoria and had no idea about the mini series but I absolutely love that time period.


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