The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.
Last year Rick Riordan announced that he was starting a new imprint to highlight diverse authors and diverse stories. His mythology based stories have made him famous. So far he has tackled Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse mythology but he often gets asked about exploring other culture’s mythologies as well. Being a while male, he has wisely said that he was not the right person the write about Mayan or Indian mythology however it did spark him to start his own imprint so marginalized authors can write about their own cultures. It was just announced the first three titles under Rick’s new imprint. Yoon Ha Lee, Roshani Chokshi and Jennifer Cervantes will author the first books. Yoon Ha Lee’s book Dragon Pearl will take on stories from Korean Mythology. Roshani Chokshi’s series, Aru Shah and the End of Time, is based off of Indian Mythology and Jennifer Cervantes’s book Storm Runner will have inspiration from Mayan Mythology. All three sound interesting and will be published in 2018. Adding all three to my to-read list.
EDIT: Rick went to his Tumblr page to give more details on his Imprint, his role and involvement with the books and more information on the authors and more indepth synopsis of Dragon Pearl, Aru Shar and the End of Time, and Storm Runner. I highly recommend checking out if nothing else for a tiny glimpse into the publishing world.
So 2016 is almost over. Thank God or Oh No. Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books. Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.
Pyromanticby Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it. Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
Always and Forever, Lara Jeanby Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year. I found the two books to be very charming and sweet. I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not. I’m still holding out for Kitty novel.
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it. I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
King’s Cageby Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her. Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her? The rebellion continues
Carve the Markby Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended. No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
Strange the Dreamerby Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
The Ship of the Deadand The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’. Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun. Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible. It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
Silver Starsby Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2. The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending. There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
I will say this about 2016, I read a lot of good books this year. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10. So without further ado and in no particular order.
Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – So it was hard to pick between this one and his other book Riordan wrote, The Hidden Oracle, but I choose this one because of the characters. I love that Rick has added diverse characters to his worlds. Not to mention his characters get sassier with every book.
A Torch Against the Nightby Sabaa Tahir – A cross between historical fiction and dystopian novel. It’s quite a thrill ride and it left a real cliffhanger as to how the series is going to end.
A Court of Mist and Furyby Sarah J. Maas – After a so-so first book this one was a real game changer for the series as a hole. It delved into matters trauma and emotional abuse but still keep the story flowing.
The Raven Kingby Maggie Stiefvater – It’s Maggie and It’s Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam and Noah. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect story.
Half Lostby Sally Green – It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Nate didn’t have an easy life and nothing about this book was easy too. It was very true to life. It doesn’t always turn out the way you expect and in war there are always painful loses.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Now this is a fun series. It’s a dystopian fantasy with X-Men qualities. Mare is not perfect. She’s complicated and conflicting but she means well and the writing only gets better with each book.
Pyromanticby Lish McBride – This book doesn’t actually come out until next year so I’ll wait to tell you about it but let’s just say you are going to love it.
Crooked Kingdomby Leigh Bardugo – It’s a crime caper and a fantasy. You root for the the thieves and the con men to win. It’s wonderful.
Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson – likable and charming, Kamala Khan is worthy addition to the Avengers. She proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from and what you believe, you can still be a superhero.
The Midnight Starby Marie Lu – Another great ending to well thought out series. I may have qualms about who the real villain was but I think it was heartbreaking as it was beautiful.
2016 was a mix bag of a year but let’s focus on the positives,shall we? This year was a banner year for us at Stacks. In the last weeks of the year we are going to take a look back of some of our highlights. So here are our most viewed posts of the past year.
Review: Half Lost by Sally Green Who knew this was going to be such big crowd pleaser? This book really broke my heart. The ending was so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I originally reviewed this back in January but we are still getting views.
Preview of the Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan So this post is originally from 2015 but the excitement over Riordan’s new book carried over into 2016. It’s views more then doubled my review of the book. I’ll try not to read too much into that. 😉
Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 1 My excitement over the The Raven King was subtle. Okay, not so subtle. This was the first of a week long celebration of Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series. I examined different aspects of the series and tried to predict what was going to happen in the final book.
Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson Another surprising addition to the list. This review from January about the final book in Sara B. Larson’s book was a pretty good series.
Rick Riordan has written another winner here. I think I liked this more then the first book, The Sword of Summer. It was flowed a little bit better and Magnus’ sassiness really went up a notch in this one and I loved it! He wouldn’t let the fact that he was dead and will be spending eternity preparing for Ragnarok get him down. Nope. But really what I loved about this book more then anything else is the positive representation of diverse characters. I have praised Riordan in the past for his diversity and willingness to tackle difficult situations in his books. True, his main characters have been mainly white boys but his willingness to include characters of color and other sexuality is admirable for a kids author. So far his books have featured a Latino and Latina, Chinese Canadian, Gay teenagers, Biracial siblings, Native American girl, Black boy and girl, and Muslim girl and made them all well rounded full characters without ever falling into old stereotypes. In The Hammer of Thor he introduces us to Alex a gender fluid teen. As queer rights is becoming more and more a discussion point in our society, characters like Alex are even more important. She (I’m going to refer to her as She as Alex says that she mostly identifies as a She and spends most of a book as a female but at times Alex also identifies as Male too) is a person has been marginalized and misunderstood her whole life but has a strong conviction of who she is. Gender fluid people are not often depicted in pop-culture and not with the sensitivity and strength that Riordan writes her. But not only that, Riordan draws on the fact that Gender fluid people or argr as they were referred to by the vikings had a place in ancient Norse society. I think there are many people today who sort of think that LGBTQ community are the result of recent sins of the last hundred years or so. Not true. Just like how he wrote about Nico coming out and relating it to Cupid story he does it here. So props to you Mr. Riordan.
So let’s get back to the book. In the last book, we know that Thor has lost his famed hammer and now we know that some Earth Giants have it. They must get the Hammer back and thwart Loki’s plan to marry off Sam to the Giant, which is problematic since 1. Sam is still a teenager and 2. Sam has already been promised to marry Amir. They must traverse the seven realms to find another famed weapon and look for clues as to what Loki’s real objective is. Let’s just say, it’s not just to make sure his daughter is taken care of in a good marriage. Along the way, they meet democratic zombies, abusive father elves and giants who love to bowl. It all makes sense when you read the book. Riordan has always been good balancing the humor with the action. The book never waves or drags It was just keeps going and going and I can’t wait for the next one where they finally get act like vikings and hit the seas and PERCY!
So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls. I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right? Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind. I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I have waiting in the wings.
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out. The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods. Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.
I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules. I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys. I have so much to read but what else is new.
If you haven’t read The Blood of Olympus, the last book of the Heroes of Olympus series, then stop reading now!
Now that we got that out of the way. Rick Riordan’s new series, The Trials of Apollo we follow the God Apollo who is being punished for his role in the rise of the Giants in the last series. What’s his punishment? Zeus has made him mortal. This is something that Zeus has done to Apollo before so once again, Riordan has taken directly from the myths and created his own world. We first meet the mortal Apollo in an alley in New York in January, a couple months after the end of the The Blood of Olympus. (For those who’ve read, Riordan’s Norse series with Magnus Chase, the first book in that series also took placed in January. So both of his current series are happening at the same time which may mean there may be some crossover coming) Apollo is as you expect him to be. He’s vain, arrogant and totally can’t believe that Zeus would turn into a human. Again. He is quickly introduced to a new demigod, named Meg who he is now pledge to serve until he completes his trials and Zeus says he can be called a God again. Things are rough for Apollo. 1. His mortal name is Lester. 2. He has none of his godly powers. In archery he only hit the dead center. He only made one person cry when he played the guitar. 3. He has acne. 4. He has no idea of why he’s being punished for one of his son’s role in the rising of the Giants and Gaea. That’s totally not fair but then again when has Zeus ever been fair. With the help of some familiar faces, *cough* Percy Jackson *cough* Apollo is taken to Camp Half Blood where he finds that the sins of his past are coming back to haunt him and also it turns out that not everyone loved him before. With the help of the demigods, Apollo must face the trials to prove his worth and take down probably the biggest threat to humanity so far. No big deal. For those who miss characters from previous books, some show up here and we get updates on a few others and hints that others will be making appearances in later books. But what I like the most about Riordan’s writing is how he incorporates tough subjects into his stories without be heavy handed. Like how he handled Nico’s coming to terms with his sexuality. Here, we have one character deal with emotional abuse. It was heartbreaking to read and I feel it will only get worse before it gets better but no less important to talk about. I also love his sense of humor. Apollo isn’t as sarcastic as Percy or as sassy as Magnus but he is not without a sense of humor. Even when he isn’t in on the joke. All in all, this was a very promising start to the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next when Apollo aka Lester takes the show on the road.