January 21, 2018

It's That Time of the Year Again...A.K.A. The Big Annual Book Haul 2017-18

Hello sweeties! (*channeling River Song*)

Today I'm doing that thing I usually do in January...except for last year, when, apparently, it slipped my mind. I know because I went back and searched for a previous book-haul-post template, and the most recent I could find was my 2016 one. (Yes, I'm lazy 😛).

Anyway, some of you might remember that my birthday is close to Christmas - just 11 days before it. So, as per my usual birthday/Christmas tradition, every year I order a bunch of books from this Italian site that sports a wide selection of books in English as well. And I post the list on here for the world to admire...and wonder why I'm so late on all these books LOL (well, 9 out of 10...one of them came out in the last 12 months, hooray! 😳). Here goes said list, broken down by genres/Reading Rooms...

Supernatural Room: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (2017) by Seanan McGuire

Chapter 2 of the Wayward Children trilogy not only is the newest of the bunch, but more notably, the only book in this haul that's hugely popular. While I'm approaching this, some of you are probably reading Book 3, that is, Beneath the Sugar Sky. I can't say I'm "in love" with the first installment Every Heart a Doorway, but I found it different and weird and interesting enough to continue with the series. For the two or three people who don't know what Wayward Children is about - it's the story of those kids who find a portal to other worlds, only to get forced back to the "real" world and feel out of place and die to cross the portal again. (I don't mean die-die. I mean they want it really badly). DATSAB is more like a prequel than a second installment, but I guess we are required to read it as a Book 2 for some reason. It tells the story of sisters Jack and Jill in the Moors, the world they crossed to, but it sounds like it deals a lot with their previous life at home and the reason why they found the Moors in the first place.


Sci-Fi Room: When We Wake (2013) & While We Run (2014) by Karen Healey | Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse (2016)

I've had the When We Wake duology on my TBR list for the longest time - I added the first installment when I was still a newbie blogger and Goodreads user. And I really, really wanted to read it, but every year it got pushed down my priority list for some other (and newer) books I wanted MORE badly...except some of them didn't deliver in the end. Lesson learned, I suppose 😉. Now, this one has got an afterlife premise (girl killed and revived), except it's more of a sci-fi/dystopian story (she gets revived a hundred years in the future, and things have gone BAD in the meantime) coupled with environmental/social issues. Some reviewers thought they were handled too heavily...we'll see...but I'll tell you a secret: I love me some SWJ 😉. Oh, and Book 2 is from the point of view of the girl's boyfriend, who's an immigrant from Africa (the series is set in Australia, yay!) - plus, apparently, the story has diversity galore (double yay!).
Since I first read the blurb, I have been salivating after Where Futures End (I even tried to get my hands on an ARC, which of course I wasn't eligible for LOL), except my webseller didn't have a paper copy last year. Thankfully, it's available now! What's the appeal, you might ask? especially since yours truly isn't keen on short stories, and this book is like, five longer ones (novellas?) set further and further in the future, and apparently connected only by the ending? I don't know...maybe what I've just said? plus the sci-fi/dystopian vibe with a touch of portal fantasy (someone on GR said)? and the mystery of it all? and the supposedly great writing (someone else on GR said)? What I know is, my expectations are as high as when I was dying to read the Dark Passages duology by Ilsa J. Bick, and heck, I LOVED that one.


Contemporary Room (Contemporary with a Twist section): Still Life with Tornado (2016) by A.S. King | The In-Between (2013) by Barbara Stewart | Challenger Deep (2015) by Neal Shusterman

For those who don't know it already - by "Contemporary with a Twist" I mean, more or less, "Magical Realism" (I wasn't familiar with the term when I started my blog...shame, I know), but not only. I also use it for those books where you can't tell if there's a reliable narrator, so that some of the events (or maybe all of them) might be supernatural/paranormal in nature - or those other books where the narrator sort of creates an alternate reality, if only with her/his mind.
Now, of these three books, Still Life with Tornado represents (I believe) the first subgenre - magical realism. Or does it? Anyway...there's this girl who's supposed to be an artist, except she can't draw anymore and she's falling apart and meeting different versions of herself at different ages...wait, WHAT? and of course there's much, much more than that. And since I've read two other equally weird books by King (Glory O' Brien's History of the Future and I Crawl Through It) and I liked them, why the hell not.
The In-Between, I believe, represents the second category I talked about - unreliable narrators coupled with maybe-supernatural/maybe-paranormal occurrences. A damaged girl strikes a friendship (or is it?) with another, except we don't know squad about what's really happening, who this friend is, or if she's even real. Maybe I should label it as a thriller (of the psychological kind). Maybe I will, after I've read it. Oh, the maybes. I love the feeling of not being sure.
And lastly but not last, Challenger Deep embodies the third of the subgenres I mentioned - there's a boy who apparently lives in two distinct realities, except one of them is a product of his imagination due to a mental illness...but again, it sounds like there's more to that? (...Plus it's gorgeously written?). And anyway, I really want to read a YA book about mental issues that doesn't romanticizes them (which this one is said to be, also because the story was inspired by the author's son...).


Unwalled Room: Imaginary Girls (2011) & 17 & Gone (2013) by Nova Ren Suma

Now this is where it gets confusing. I created the Unwalled Room so that it could house all those books where the genres are mixed and/or blurred - except I'm not completely sure if, since I stored Still Life with Tornado and The In-Between in the Contemporary with a Twist Room, these Nova Ren Suma novels couldn't have been put in there too. (Or maybe I should move SLWT and TIB to the Unwalled Room? I suppose I'll have to read them all before I decide.) Anyway. I've read and adored The Walls Around Us by the same author, so I'm ready to be blown away by these two books as well. Imaginary Girls is Ren Suma's debut, and revolves around a sibling relationship and a mystery. 17 & Gone is, again, a mystery, and again, apparently, a book where you're not sure if you're trudging on paranormal terrain. Having read The Walls Around Us, I don't expect less, and I'm so ready for my head to get messed up with.

Later note: after reading 17 & Gone, I moved it to my Contemporary with a Twist section.


Adult Room: Man in the Empty Suit (2013) by Sean Ferrell

This one got mixed reviews, but what the heck. A time traveler meeting a bunch of his past and future selves once a year, plus solving the mystery of his own murder - his nearer future self's murder - oh well. I'm ready for the headache. And in case you're wondering, this book has been on my TBR list since FAR earlier than I became a Doctor Who fan 😉.

SAD UPDATE! My webseller just let me know that they weren't able to locate a copy of this book via their usual vendors, so they're shipping my order minus this one. SIGH!!! I really hope I can find a copy somewhere else one day. Serves me right for waiting so long before ordering books 😢.


Have you read any of these books? or do you plan to? Are you already familiar with any of these authors? or are you going to read any of their books in the future?


  1. The only book I've read from your haul is the Every Heart a Doorway (Yes, I've read the whole series so far), and I'm a fan, even though it is super strange! I think I really love the idea behind so much that any problems I have with the characters is kind of overshadowed. And I really enjoy A.S. King, and Still Life with Tornado is on my tbr pile, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

    1. Yes, the idea behind the Wayward Children series is, indeed, unique. I can't believe writers have spent DECADES creating alternate realities, and none of them has ever wondered "But what happens when they go back home?" before LOL.

      As I said, these are all old-ish books...I can't see you reading any of them any time soon, since you are a librarian now! which means you have to stay up-to-date with the new releases. That been said, I hope to have so many good things to say about these novels that I'll be able to convince you to read some LOL.

  2. I loved Challenger Deep. I hope you like it so we can have at least one recent book in common lol

    I haven't read the first series yet but I habe a few of her books lying around that I need to read.

    When We Wake/While We Run are the two that grab my attention.

    And finally...



    1. Yes, I remember you liking Challenger Deep - as a matter of fact, I've recently reread your review on GR. So, yay! we are literally on the same page for once LOL (though I'm a "tiny" bit late on this one...).

      Wow, I feel like I'm a month younger now! 😄

  3. Your TBR is so exciting! I can't wait to hear what you think about DATSAB, and When We Wake sounds really interesting!

    I like the phrase "Contemporary with a Twist." Magical Realism seems to cover so many things that I'm never sure I'm using it correctly anyway. My friend got me Challenger Deep for Christmas, so that's on my TBR this year too! I've only read The Dark Side of Nowhere by Shusterman, and it's pretty straightforward sci-fi, so it will be interesting to see him go in another direction.

    Ooh... I have Imaginary Girls on my list too. I'm seeing some potential for buddy reads this year!

    1. You always say the nicest things 😊. Not only you called my TBR list "exciting", but you like "Contemporary with a Twist"? Where were you for all my life? LOL.

      A buddy read would be great! I'll keep you posted.

  4. Is it telling about my preferences when I say I was attracted to Challenger Deep and Still Life With Tornado? :D Those sound so good and also, I like how you've classified books here! Happy reading, Roby- hope you get around to these within the year! ;)

    1. LOL, I will probably read them all in a month...and then review them within a couple of years or three!

      Challenger Deep might be interesting for you, given the career path you've chosen.


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