So March was my birthday month, which means that I bought myself some books, and I received money (ostensibly for whatever, but we all know it went toward books), so there were trips to the bookstore for me, as well as a pre-order that I placed a couple of months ago.
I bought some of these from Barnes and Noble, as well as some from my local indie bookshop and my local used bookshop.
- The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle: A fantasy classic that I have not yet read… It is about a unicorn who hears dark rumors from outside her lands, that unicorns are gone from the world. To find out if this is true, she leaves her safe and magical land to find out if she is indeed the last unicorn.
- The Black Prince of Florence by Catherine Fletcher: This book details life of Alessandro de’Medici, whose family were the de facto rulers of Florence in the 1400s. For centuries, there has been speculation that Alessandro was a mixed race man, spurred by the portraits painted of him during his life, his nickname, ‘Il Moro’ (the Moor).
- The Councillor by E.J. Beaton: A political fantasy about a scholar who is plunged into the high stakes political drama after the death of her friend and queen. This book, which features assumed gender equity, is one of the best I’ve read this year, and while I had an ARC I decided to buy myself a copy.
- The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox: This modern fantasy novel was a hit in the author’s home country of New Zealand, but it didn’t look like it would be released in the US until a rave review in a major US magazine begged American publishers to take a look at this tome. They did, and it came out here a month or so ago. It is about a woman with a dark past who thought she had left it behind, until her newly-published book about libraries brings unwanted attention and draws shadowy figures out of the darkness.
- The Brothers York by Thomas Penn: This popular history book is about the three brothers who were the primary movers in the English Wars of the Roses in the 1400s. The House of York was headed by two kings and a duke: Edward V, George Plantagenet First Duke of Clarence, and the notorious Richard III.
- A Tip for the Hangman by Alison Epstein: England, 1585. Young student and playwright Kit Marlowe is a scholarship student without many prospects, thanks to his poverty. But he is intelligent and has a flexible moral compass, which has caught the attention of Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who offers him a job working for Her Majesty’s government. After his training, Kit finds himself watching over Mary, Queen of Scots to find out if she is working with England’s enemies. This job has ripple effects throughout Kit’s life, and in ways that he never could have imagined.
- Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell: This book is based on the life of William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, who must run a household and raise a family while her husband is off in London. She has some strange gifts that cause her neighbors to fear her, even as they seek her out for her knowledge. But her son Hamnet dies at age eleven, and four years later William writes a play called Hamlet.
- Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo: This YA fantasy novel picks up where King of Scars picks up, with young King Nikolai having to defend his kingdom from multiple threats while having to accept help from a dubious source. Meanwhile, Nina Zenik is trying to aid her country from within her enemy’s home city, but her desire for vengeance may cost her everything. Though a lot of readers didn’t care for the turn of events in King of Scars, I quite enjoyed it and am looking forward to the conclusion.
The One I Forgot to Photograph:
- The Flora of Middle-earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium by Walter S. Judd and Graham A. Judd: This book details the plants and trees that appear in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, as well as discussing the cultural and folklore of the various flora that Tolkien included in his world.