Monday, May 21, 2012

In The Mail: A Once Crowded Sky + 3 more

4 more ARC's in the mail today.  An odd mix this time.  The first one was from Simon & Schuster - This was notable from several points of view.  A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King.  First, it's a hardcover ARC, a rarity in the days when most ARC's that are fortunate enough to find print form (don't get me started on electronic galleys) are put out on digital POD presses making a workmanlike paperback that, while more than sufficient to the task of getting the story out to advance reviewers, nonetheless is typically lacking in the style that will be present in the final printed hardcover.

The copy that I received is likely a hardcover from the first printing with a different jacket wrapped around it but I was pleasantly surprised anyway.  Secondly, this is a hardcover superhero novel with a marketing budget - a rarity in itself.  Immediately on opening the package I was drawn to recall Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman which I thought was a brilliant novel.  This looks every bit as intriguing.

Finally, there is comic book art interspersed with the text.  Yay!

Synopsis: The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war, and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane. After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice— PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day. A tour de force debut novel from a former CIA counterterrorism officer, A Once Crowded Sky fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with modern literary fiction to bring to life a universe of supermen stripped of their powers, newly mortal men forced to confront danger in a world without heroes

The next package in my mail bin was one of Fiewel & Friends distinctly wrapped bright metallic red envelopes containing their latest Fierce Reads promotion for summer: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart

This book carries the distinction of having the highest early review rating I've ever seen on Goodreads.com (4.42 out of 5 at the time of writing).  Looking forward to both of these..

In a departure from my usual reading comfort zone - I requested and received this next one from Penguin - It's OK Not to Share and other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Schumaker.  In addition to being a bookseller and blogger, I am also a parent.  This looks interesting and potentially helpful. Synopsis: "Parenting can be such an overwhelming job that it’s easy to lose track of where you stand on some of the more controversial subjects at the playground (What if my kid likes to rough house—isn’t this ok as long as no one gets hurt? And what if my kid just doesn’t feel like sharing?). In this inspiring and enlightening book, Heather Shumaker describes her quest to nail down “the rules” to raising smart, sensitive, and self-sufficient kids. Drawing on her own experiences as the mother of two small children, as well as on the work of child psychologists, pediatricians, educators and so on, in this book Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important questions. Hint: many of the rules aren’t what you think they are! The “rules” in this book focus on the toddler and preschool years—an important time for laying the foundation for competent and compassionate older kids and then adults. Here are a few of the rules: It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property Bombs, guns and bad guys allowed. Boys can wear tutus. Pictures don’t have to be pretty. Paint off the paper! Sex ed starts in preschool Kids don’t have to say “Sorry.” Love your kid’s lies."

Finally, there arrived a book called The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams.  Synopsis: "Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End. She has few companions and little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. But then a murderer strikes, ripping open the chests of young girls and stuffing hair into their mouths to resemble a beak, leading the press to christen him The Man of Crows. And as Catherine hungrily devours the news, she finds she can channel the voices of the dead ... and comes to believe she will eventually channel The Man of Crows himself.
But the murders continue to panic the city and Catherine gradually realizes she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears ... and lurking behind the lies Catherine has been told are secrets more deadly and devastating than anything her imagination can conjure.

With an elegant style and thrilling plot, The Pleasures of Men reveals the dark, beating heart of corrupt London during Queen Victoria's reign."

This is a Victorian-Era murder mystery that I am likely going to enjoy.  Unfortunately, in this town, I cannot sit in front of my store and read this without everyone in town immediately questioning my sexual orientation.  Hopefully I will have time in the privacy of my office to read this.

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