December Book Haul // What is shelf control?
I know last week I said I was going to post December & January’s haul together. Well, I lied. The more that I thought about it, the less that I wanted to do that. So I decided to post another haul post this month to get caught up because my blog, my rules. (The fact that my January haul might be a little out of control definitely has nothing to do with this. Nope. Not one bit.)
As always, I want to reiterate that you do not need to buy and own a lot of books in order to be considered a book blogger or lover. I am quite frugal with everything else so that I can buy books because I love them, but I do not ever want to make you feel bad if you cannot afford to buy books or have poor access where you live.
Physical Book Haul
Alice (Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry
Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Retelling
This was a gift from a secret santa that a group of friends and I did with one another. Thank you so much Isabelle and I can’t wait to read this – I loved The Mermaid‘s writing so much that I’m confident these horror retellings are going to be my jam.
Thunderhead (Arc of the Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?
This is another gift from my secret santa, Isabelle! I have yet to read Scythe but it is on my more immediate owned TBR so I am excited to have the next-in-series ready!
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
I kept meaning to pick this one up after getting an ARC for The Girl the Sea Gave Back, so of course when I placed my Boxing Day order on Book Outlet I had to add this to my cart!
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.
That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
This is a book that was in the back of my brain after I think Destiny reviewed it ages ago. I dismissed the book because of the cover initially, not realizing what it was about (exactly what happened with Sadie)… and I legit read it until I fell asleep last night so I was stupid.
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Or does she?
Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.
After reading and devouring My Lady Jane back in November, the main reason I placed my Book Outlet order was to get this book. And it arrived on the day that I was JONESING for it the most! The book was almost as delightful as the first one and maybe sometime this century I will write a review for it.
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Young Adult, Science fiction, Retelling
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
Last year I wrote a list of Frankenstein retellings and this book has been on my radar ever since.
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Young Adult, Science fiction
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
The number of times that I almost bought this book at B&N or my local indie is limitless. Someone wrote it was a cross between Westworld and a Disney princess movie, and uh… yes please.
I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.
Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.
When I read and fell in love with Rules for Vanishing, Kate Alice Marshall landed on my insta-buy list, so of course I needed to grab her debut!
Edgar Allan Poe Adult Coloring Book by Odessa Begay
Leave the modern world and its demands behind while adding your creative touch to settings, motifs, and details inspired by The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Oblong Box, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and more. Each image is accompanied by a short, atmospheric excerpt from the story. Let your imagination lead the way as you evoke the eerie essence of the master storyteller’s enduring work with pen or pencil.
This (along with a copy of one of my favorite movies, A Cabin in the Woods!) was a Christmas gift from Destiny. Coloring is something that really helps with my anxiety, and we all know I am a hoe for Poe, so this gift is perfect!
eBook Purchases (Kindle deals)
The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.
I still haven’t read The Poppy War yet (waiting to be in the right headspace), but I couldn’t pass up the sequel when it went on sale!
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Young Adult, Historical Fantasy, Standalone
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.
Why does Orbit insist on doing amazing eBook sales around the holidays every year?!
The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well #1) by Rin Chupeco
Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.
The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.
Have I read anything by Rin yet? No. But has that stopped me from buying almost everything she’s written in eBook format? Also no. I’ve been craving horror, so this may be a sooner0rather-than0later read!
The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2) by Rin Chupeco
Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Electronic ARC Approvals
Remember when I was bragging about behaving in my November haul? Hahaha… oops.
Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Expected publication: April 7, 2020 by Atria Books
The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.
For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.
Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.
The Fantastical Exploits of Gwendolyn Gray (The Chronicles of Gwendolyn Gray #2) by B. A. Williamson
Middle Grade, Fantasy
Expected publication: April 28, 2020 by North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press
I read and reviewed B.A.’s debut The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray almost two years ago, and was sent the sequel as a widget from the publisher. I really enjoyed the first book and am excited to see what happens next!
Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Expected publication: April 21, 2020 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (US)
16-year-old Emily is on the run. Between her parents and the trouble she’s recently gotten into at school, she has more than enough reason to get away. But when she finds a little boy named Aidan wandering in the woods, she knows she needs to help him find his way home. But getting home is no easy matter, especially with Emily finds out that Aidan isn’t even from Earth. When their plane crashes into the side of a snowy mountain, it’s up to Emily to ensure Aidan and their pilot, Bob, make it off the mountain alive. Pursued by government forces who want to capture Aidan, the unlikely team of three trek across the freezing landscape, learning more about each other, and about life, than they ever thought possible.
“I love Nick Lake’s writing. I would read anything he wrote–grocery list, email, etc., because his writing, always, is so real and brave. He takes on subjects other writers might avoid, and he writes the hell out of them.” –New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer Niven on Nick Lake
Oasis by Katya de Becerra
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Published: January 7, 2020 by Imprint Macmillan
Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.
With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.
The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .
Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.
Read? ✔️ (DNF)
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier (translated by Romy Fursland)
Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.
Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure–and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.
Read? ✔️ (Review)
Diamond City by Francesca Flores
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published: January 28, 2020 by Wednesday Books
Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.
Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.
DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.
To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.
Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!
Physical Review Copies from Publishers
Be sure to check out Flapping Pages as I am passing along a few of these to international readers once I finish reading them!
Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller
Young, Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+
Published: July 2, 2019 by HarperTeen
Solomon and Ash both experienced a traumatic event when they were twelve.
Ash lost all memory of that event when she fell from Solomon’s treehouse. Since then, Solomon has retreated further and further into a world he seems to have created in his own mind. One that insulates him from reality, but crawls with foes and monsters . . . in both animal and human form.
As Solomon slips further into the place he calls Darkside, Ash realizes her only chance to free her best friend from his pain is to recall exactly what happened that day in his backyard and face the truth—together.
Fearless and profound, Sam J. Miller’s follow up to his award-winning debut novel, The Art of Starving, spins an intimate and impactful tale that will linger with readers.
This was an unsolicited finished copy sent my way by Wunderkind PR that went to my old address, but I picked it up when visiting friends in December.
I forgot to make requests in December, oops!
Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!
Let’s go on another adventure together!