Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Top Ten Most Unique Sounding Books On My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I think the longer I blog, the more I experiment with books that are a little outside my usual wheelhouse. Honestly, I love that. Sure, it does let me in for some 'what the hell was I thinking' moments, but sometimes the book turns out to be amazing and I never would have found it if I stuck to the norm. So, here's ten eight books on my TBR that sound different than anything else I've read!



Old Man's War by John Scalzi
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-- and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.


John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger.

NPCs by Drew Hayes
What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters? 

In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry. Once the dust settles, these four find themselves faced with an impossible choice: pretend to be adventurers undertaking a task of near-certain death or see their town and loved ones destroyed. Armed only with salvaged equipment, second-hand knowledge, and a secret that could get them killed, it will take all manner of miracles if they hope to pull off their charade. 


And even if they succeed, the deadliest part of their journey may well be what awaits them at its end.

Iced by M. Terry Green
Though she doesn’t know her real name, Thirteen is sure of two things: survival and finding her sister. Nothing stands in her way—not the great Pacifica Ice Sheet nor the slavers she escaped—until her deadly hunt takes a maddening turn. 

The first and only clue in her search is held by the survivor of a wrecked ice ship. But he’s not sharing. He has a daughter to rescue, and he needs Thirteen’s help. 


In the unforgiving subzero, a wary alliance is formed. Although she’d do anything to find her sister and finally know her own name, Thirteen never forgets the first rule of the ice. You only get one mistake—your last. 

Immersed by Katie Hayoz
What if love turned you into a monster?

Forget petticoats and demure female behavior. Melusine Doré prefers armored corsets and knives and slays evil creatures for a living. The grim and gruesome don’t frighten her; she’ll take on a cyclops or a dragon and not even break a sweat. But when her rival, the charismatic Levi Cannon, comes to town, all her buried fears begin to surface. Melusine realizes she is in danger of something much more horrifying than facing blood-thirsty beasts – she’s in danger of falling in love. Because love alone has the power to reveal a secret terrible enough to completely shatter her world.


Set in the muddy streets of 1850s steampunk Chicago, Immersed by Katie Hayoz is a dark yet romantic fantastical romp. It is a stand-alone novella, but the first in a series of adventures that follow Melusine on her quest to rid the world of monsters…and her struggle to come to terms with every monstrous facet of herself.

Telepath by Janet Edwards
Amber is one of over a million eighteen-year-olds in one of the great hive cities of twenty-sixth century Earth. She’s about to enter the Lottery of 2532, which will assess her abilities and decide her hive level, her profession, her whole future life. Amber’s dream is to be level 10 or above, her nightmare is to be a level 99 Sewage Technician. 


When Lottery discovers Amber is a rare and precious telepath, she must adapt to a new life protecting the people of the crowded hive city. Her job is hunting down criminals before they commit their crimes, but she doesn’t know she’s being hunted herself.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl
An alternate history / historical fantasy / steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, from noted short story writer Nisi Shawl.

Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.


Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, makes a living repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside one another. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society; the native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated there generations ago and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges.

When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice, Berrit, she finds him dead. That same night the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers Ang a job investigating the death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.


Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.

Indexing by Seanan McGuire
“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.


Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.


Have you read any of these books? What's your unique books - either ones you've read or ones you want to read?