Book Haul – 3 to 9 July 2020

Do you remember how I told you last week that because this was the second week of some serious bill paying necessity I was not allowed to buy any books unless there was an unmissable sale? Um … I possibly shouldn’t have given myself that loophole.

So, there was kinda a Stay Inside Saturday 50% off sale at Angry Robot. And it covered every eBook on their website. And there were sort of a fair few that I’d been needing for a while. And they were so much cheaper than I’ve ever seen them. And I’ll read them one day. Promise!

So, after my bills have been paid, that’s me pretty much done for the week. Oops. But, books! I managed to find a free eBook as well this week, so that makes my binge okay, right?

In an extraordinary display of self restraint, I did stop myself from purchasing the Image comics bundle at Humble Bundle. Well, I restrained myself from buying it this week. Thankfully there are still enough days left that it will still be available when I get paid next. If you haven’t already overspent your book allocation this week and want to buy it before I can, here’s the link.

Word of the Week: oeuvre, “the complete works of a writer, painter, or other artist” (from Cambridge Dictionary)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: FREE BOOKS!!! I glanced outside my front window early this afternoon and saw a neighbour across the road doing something extremely interesting. They had placed a bookcase in their front yard and were making many trips up their driveway with books! I wondered if they were setting up a neighbourhood library but it didn’t look right as there weren’t any enclosed sides on the bookcase. Concerned about the possibility of books getting damaged by the elements and with my curiosity well and truly piqued, I ventured across the road to investigate.

You’d know what a huge deal this was for me if you knew me. I’m pretty much off the chart on the introvert scale and am almost positive I have social phobia. I don’t approach people I don’t know and I definitely don’t initiate conversations with them. I guess this is the power of books though. My need to see what books she had placed in that bookcase and my concern for their wellbeing overrode my neuroses.

I learned that most of the books were her daughter’s. Apparently at 19 she has grown out of YA. All the better for me! My neighbour gave me a really weird look when I mentioned that I, too, had grown out of YA but had since grown back into them.

Long story only slightly shorter (sorry), there were so many gems on offer. While most of the ones I haven’t read yet are already patiently waiting for me on my Kindle, there were also some that have been on my need-to-buy list for too long. And now I don’t need to! So, more money for other books! Woohoo!

Rather than list them twice, you can find my newly acquired freebies under the From Across the Road and Into My Bookcase section below.

This week I reviewed:

Until next time, happy reading!


From Across the Road and Into My Bookcase

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. 

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra. 

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents – including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more – Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes. 


Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia – and possibly the known universe – is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza – but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys – an old flame from Asha’s past – reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.


Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in, or at least returned to tell of it. So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend, Curtis, deep into the Impassable Wilderness.

There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval, a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.


It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder – would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.


Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.


A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck – now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker – a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.

Most ideas fade away when we’re done with them. Some we love enough to become Real. But what about the ones we love, and walk away from? 

Tippy the triceratops was once a little girl’s imaginary friend, a dinosaur detective who could help her make sense of the world. But when her father died, Tippy fell into the Stillreal, the underbelly of the Imagination, where discarded ideas go when they’re too Real to disappear. Now, he passes time doing detective work for other unwanted ideas – until Tippy runs into The Man in the Coat, a nightmare monster who can do the impossible: kill an idea permanently. Now Tippy must overcome his own trauma and solve the case, before there’s nothing left but imaginary corpses.


In the far future, chocolate is Earth’s only unique commodity one that everyone else in the galaxy is willing to kill to get their hands, paws and tentacles on.

Latina culinary arts student, Bo Benitez, becomes a fugitive when she’s caught stealing a cacao pod from one of the heavily-defended plantations that keep chocolate, Earth’s sole valuable export, safe from a hungry galaxy.

Forces array against her including her alien boyfriend and a reptilian cop. But when she escapes onto an unmarked starship things go from bad to worse: it belongs to the race famed throughout the galaxy for eating stowaways! Surrounded by dangerous yet hunky aliens, Bo starts to uncover clues that the threat to Earth may be bigger than she first thought.


In a galaxy where chocolate is literally addictive, one celebrity chef is fighting back, in the delicious sequel to Free Chocolate.

To save everyone she loves, Bo Bonitez is touring Zant, home of the murderous, shark-toothed aliens who so recently tried to eat her. In the midst of her stint as Galactic paparazzi princess, she discovers that Earth has been exporting tainted chocolate to the galaxy, and getting aliens hooked on cocoa. Bo must choose whether to go public, or just smile for the cameras and make it home alive. She’s already struggling with her withdrawal from the Invincible Heart, and her love life has a life of its own, but when insidious mind worms intervene, things start to get complicated!


Mummies, grave-robbing ghouls, hopping vampires, and evil monks beset a young archaeologist, in this fast-paced Indiana Jones-style adventure.

Saqqara, Egypt, 1888, and in the booby-trapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer, Rom, a young Egyptologist, makes the discovery of a lifetime: five coffins and an eerie, oversized sarcophagus. But the expedition seems cursed, for after unearthing the mummies, all but Rom die horribly. He faithfully returns to America with his disturbing cargo, continuing by train to Los Angeles, home of his reclusive sponsor. When the train is hijacked by murderous banditos in the Arizona desert, who steal the mummies and flee over the border, Rom – with his benefactor’s rebellious daughter, an orphaned Chinese busboy, and a cold-blooded gunslinger – must ride into Mexico to bring the malevolent mummies back. If only mummies were their biggest problem …


A mysterious explorer hires a team of adventurers to join him in a hunt for a monstrous beast, in this rip-roaring sequel to Fury From the Tomb

When Egyptologist Rom Hardy receives a strange letter from his old friend, the bounty-hunting sniper Rex McTroy, he finds himself drawn into a chilling mystery. In the mountains of New Mexico, a bloodthirsty creature is on the loose, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. Now, a wealthy big game hunter has offered a staggering reward for its capture, and Rom’s patron – the headstrong and brilliant Evangeline Waterston – has signed the team up for the challenge. Awaiting them are blizzards, cold-blooded trappers, remorseless hunters, a mad doctor, wild animals and a monster so fearsome and terrifying, it must be a legend come to life.


FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.


Love something enough, and your obsession will punch holes through the laws of physics. That devotion creates unique magics: videogamemancers. Origamimancers. Culinomancers.

But when ‘mancers battle, cities tremble …

ALIYAH TSABO-DAWSON: The world’s most dangerous eight-year-old girl. Burned by a terrorist’s magic, gifted strange powers beyond measure. She’s furious that she has to hide her abilities from her friends, her teachers, even her mother – and her temper tantrums can kill.

PAUL TSABO: Bureaucromancer. Magical drug-dealer. Desperate father. He’s gone toe-to-toe with the government’s conscription squads of brain-burned Unimancers, and he’ll lie to anyone to keep Aliyah out of their hands – whether Aliyah likes it or not.

THE KING OF NEW YORK: The mysterious power player hell-bent on capturing the two of them. A man packing a private army of illegal ‘mancers.

Paul’s family is the key to keep the King’s crumbling empire afloat. But offering them paradise is the catalyst that inflames Aliyah’s deadly rebellious streak …


America’s long sent its best SMASH agents overseas to deal with the European crisis. As of today, they decided dismantling your operation was more important than containing the Bastogne Broach. Now you’re dealing with the real professionals.

PAUL TSABO: Bureaucromancer. Political activist. Loving father. His efforts to decriminalize magic have made him the government’s #1 enemy – and his fugitive existence has robbed his daughter of a normal life. 

ALIYAH TSABO-DAWSON: Videogamemancer. Gifted unearthly powers by a terrorist’s magic. Raised by a family of magicians, she’s the world’s loneliest teenager – because her powers might kill anyone she befriends.

THE UNIMANCERS: Brain-burned zombies. Former ‘mancers, tortured into becoming agents of the government’s anti-‘mancer squad. An unstoppable hive-mind. 

When Paul accidentally opens up the first unsealed dimensional broach on American soil, the Unimancers lead his family in a cat-and-mouse pursuit all the way to the demon-haunted ruins of Europe – where Aliyah is slowly corrupted by the siren call of the Unimancers


It’s Supernatural meets Men in Black in a darkly humorous urban fantasy from the author of Nekropolis.

When you dream, you visit the Maelstrom. Dream long enough and hard enough, and your dreams can break through into the living world. So, alas, can your nightmares.

And who’s there to catch the dreams and nightmares as they fall into reality? Meet the Shadow Watch.

Pray you never need them …


A new drug – Shut-Eye – has been developed in the dreamland, and smuggled into our world. It’s addictive, and dangerous, and Shadow Watch agents Audra and Mr Jinx are on the case, preparing new recruits to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, a wave of ancient, bodiless Incubi are entering the dreams of humans in an attempt to possess them and live new lives. Only the criminally insane would ever risk a confrontation with them.

Thank goodness, then, for Mr Jinx: clown, Shadow Watch agent, psychopath.


Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD’s Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.

Like the rest of America, Scranton’s got an uneasy ‘live and let unlive’ relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that’s when they call Markowski. He carries a badge.

Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets. 


My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community. Markowski wouldn’t normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer’s list …


“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

“A new supernatural gang is intent on invading Scranton and it looks like I’m going to have to work with the current mob to prevent a demonic gang war.

“If there’s one thing I hate more than living with supernatural scumbags, it’s working with them! But you know that they say, better the devil you know …”


Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be …


It was a typical all-American backwater – until the night the monsters came.

When four employees of KMRT Radio investigate an unearthly light that cuts off communication with the outside world, they discover that something has taken the place of their friends and fellow townfolk, and imbued them with malign intentions.

Little do they know, the phenomenon is not unique to the town of Jesman’s Bend …


After accidentally summoning a demon while playing poker, the normally mild-mannered Chesney Anstruther refuses to sell his soul … which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world – and that actually turns out to be a really bad thing.

There’s only one thing for it. Satan offers Chesney the ultimate deal – sign the damned contract, and he can have his heart’s desire. And thus the strangest superhero duo ever seen – in Hell or on Earth – is born!


Chesney’s efforts to ‘Save the Day’ and ‘Win the Girl’ make slow progress. This superhero lark is a bit more complicated than he thought.

But even as Chesney is trying to learn the ropes, Boss Greeley has made a deal with the Devil. A deal that is making Greeley stronger by the minute. Soon he will be untouchable. Meanwhile Reverend Hardacre digs deeper and finds that not everything in reality is quite what it seems …

Now Chesney, the one-time actuary-turned superhero must continue the fight.


Meet Chesney Arnstruther. Once a mild-mannered insurance actuary, now a full-time crime-fighting superhero, it’s all he can do to kick bad-guy ass while at the same time holding down a steady relationship with the gorgeous Melda. Something is going on.

Meet Xaphan, wise-cracking demon and the source of (almost) all of Chesney’s powers. He’s been asked by his infernal master to give Chesney whatever he needs … but surely stopping bad guys is not in Hell’s plan? Something is definitely going on.

Meet Arthur Wrigley, a modest yet charming older gentleman whose nasty little hobby is fleecing innocent widows. Meet Simon Magus, ancient mystic and magician from Biblical times now very much enamoured of Vegas, baby. And pray you never meet the Chikkichikk, a proud and ancient race of, well, warrior dinosaurs, from the universe that God made then rejected before He started monkeying around with this one.


There is no Whispering Girl. She doesn’t exist. Marieka Evers knows this for a fact because she was there when Miles Faber created her. The cellphone photograph, the melodramatic tale of his encounter in the woods – all fake. The elaborate family history, the found diary – pure fiction. It was all an experiment, part of a study on belief and gullibility and the behaviour of crowds. He wanted to see how far it would go. Only now it seems his experiment has gotten out of hand. Real people have gone missing in the Georgia woods, and every day, more and more followers of whisperinggirl.com report their own encounters with the fabled Ghost of Jasper County. Is it possible that the fiction isn’t fiction anymore?

When a body turns up in the woods, brutally murdered, and one of his followers begins posting under the name of Whisper Blue, Miles loses his grip and it falls to Marieka to try and save him from his own paranoid delusion. But is it a delusion? There’s a real mystery in the woods, and the closer Marieka gets to the heart of it, the more she may wish she’d never started.


Amber Hawthorne and Jolene Morris, business partners and roommates at the Hawthorne Funeral Home, are drowning in debt. People are complaining about the makeup jobs they’re giving deceased loved ones – the word clownish has been used – and both young women have a little trouble keeping their partying habits in line. 

When they start selling body parts on the black market to keep their business alive (Jolene much more reluctantly than Amber), their new buyers seem friendly and trustworthy enough at first. That is until the dead gangster they’ve recently parted up turns out to have been full of disease. Now Amber and Jolene’s buyers want something else to make up for lost profits, leaving the two undertakers to learn sometimes running your own business can cost you an arm and a leg. Literally.


NetGalley

How can we make sense of our lives when we do not know where we come from? This was a pressing question for the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, whose prewar memories were vague or nonexistent. In this beautifully written account, Rebecca Clifford follows the lives of one hundred Jewish children out of the ruins of conflict through their adulthood and into old age.

Drawing on archives and interviews, Clifford charts the experiences of these child survivors and those who cared for them – as well as those who studied them, such as Anna Freud. Survivors explores the aftermath of the Holocaust in the long term, and reveals how these children – often branded “the lucky ones” – had to struggle to be able to call themselves “survivors” at all. Challenging our assumptions about trauma, Clifford’s powerful and surprising narrative helps us understand what it was like living after, and living with, childhoods marked by rupture and loss.


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