Ruby's Staff Favorites

Ruby joined the Annie Bloom's staff in 2013. She enjoys fiction (especially science fiction, short stories, and YA) and history. 

Past Staff Favorites include: Loitering, Of Things Gone Astray, Margaret the First, Bone Gap, Book of Ages, Six of Crows, SPQR, The Hungry Tide, and  What is Not Yours is Not Yours.

Series that I highly recommend include The Imperial Radch (starting with Ancillary Justice), The Daevabad Trilogy (start with City of Brass), The Innsmouth Legacy (starting with Winter Tide), and the Perveen Mistry mystery series (starting with The Widows of Malabar Hill). The books of Theodora Goss and Becky Chambers are also favorites!

For middle-grade readers, the Mapmakers Trilogy by S. E. Grove and the York books by Laura Ruby are smartly wonderful.

I've also reviewed the audiobook of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri over at Libro.fm!

 

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The Kingdom of Copper: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062678133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - January 22nd, 2019

Welcome back to Daevabad -- where Nahri is settling in to her new life, and political intrigue continues to grip the city. Throw in an exiled prince, and... well, you'll just have to see. A fantastic follow-up to City of Brass, Kingdom of Copper proves that this series needs to be at the top of everyone's lists.


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Vita Nostra: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062694591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - November 13th, 2018

At times psychedelic and often brutal, Marina and Sergey Dyachenko's novel tells the story of Sasha, a young woman who struggles to free herself from fear and the manipulative power of the mysterious provincial university she attends. Sasha is compelling, and so is her struggle to come in to her own power. This crisp and dynamic translation is well worth reading.


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A Conspiracy of Truths Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781534412804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - October 23rd, 2018

Alexandra Rowland's A Conspiracy of Truths is a fun, satisfying caper. Despite the false accusations of witchcraft and spying that got him locked up in a chilly prison, the bard-like traveler Chant has a plan. With the help of his apprentice, his apprentice's new boyfriend, a bitter lawyer, and quite a few stories, Chant is going to get his name cleared (or at least escape prison)--even if it means bringing the government that locked him up to its knees. Rowland studied folklore and mythologies and the storytelling traditions she created for this tale are immersive.


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Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399180989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 10th, 2018

There are a lot of things to love about Naomi Novik’s latest novel. It’s a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that plucks the heart out of that fairy-tale and sprints off in a whole new direction. The elves who ride the icy roads around Miryem’s small village care about one thing only, and that’s gold. So when Miryem starts to scrape in enough money to keep her family comfortable through the next winter, she has more to deal with than just the jealousy of her neighbors. Of course, things get more complicated when the crown prince, the local warlord’s daughter, and some magical jewelry get involved. Told in multiple, distinct perspectives, Novik’s Spinning Silver tears along to a powerful ending. It’s my favorite book of 2018, and introduces so many great heroines—this is the kind of fantasy we need more of!


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Welcome to Lagos Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948226219
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Catapult - May 14th, 2019

A newspaperman struggles to boost circulation, an education minister realizes he’s about to be out of a job, and five strangers board a bus heading to Lagos. Welcome to Lagos sweeps you up in the intersection of these lives and the city that shapes them. Like the fictional Nigerian Journal commentaries that pepper the pages of her novel, Onuzo employs sharp-eyed observation and humor to create this novel of found-family and the impossibility of doing the right thing.


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Jagannath Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101973974
Availability: Special Order - Usually 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 6th, 2018

Weird and fantastical, Karin Tidbeck decks her stories in Nordic lore. Even while she pushes boundaries and expectations, there is something heartfelt and earnest about her stories that I love.


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Akata Witch Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780142420911
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - July 11th, 2017

Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and its sequel, Akata Warrior, are set mainly in Nigeria, where Sunny discovers a world that exists side-by-side with the one the rest of us inhabit daily. Used to being an outsider in both America and Nigeria, Sunny is awed to discover she belongs to the Leopard People, a group of scholarly and powerful magicians. Finding a place she belongs doesn’t necessarily make all her problems go away; when there’s still homework, and proving to her brother’s friends that a girl can play soccer too—plus some noxious magical attacks that are starting to get pretty scary. Will Sunny learn enough, fast enough, to save herself and her new friends? Okorafor’s writing is wonderful, and she’ll have you rooting for Sunny from page one.


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Provenance Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316388658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - July 10th, 2018

This is the story of a young woman finding her place in the galaxy, in spite of some highly illegal behavior and a very competitive brother -- a heist novel only Ann Leckie could write: with alien treaties, space stations, and new, intricately constructed cultures. Ingray is a foster daughter, with no hope of inheritance, who is taking a desperate chance. Her traveling companions may not be who they say they are, and some archeological discoveries might put her cultural identity in jeopardy. Ann Leckie delivers a standalone gem, packed with great characters and her trademark humor and empathy.


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The Vanishing Velázquez: A 19th Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476762180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - November 8th, 2016

The Vanishing Velazquez is a poetic and scholarly treasure hunt. Laura Cumming reconstructs the story of a bookseller and his quest to prove the existence of a long lost Velazquez portrait of Charles I. John Snare, who worked as a bookseller and printer before claiming to have discovered a Velazquez painting at an estate sale (at which point his life dramatically changed direction), intrigued Cumming from the moment she heard of him. Cumming’s own quest takes her from Spain, to England, and finally to America in a centuries-long chase for the elusive combination of paint and canvas that turns lives upside down. Cumming deftly balances the combination of biography and vivid artistic description; although Snare’s Velazquez is elusive, Cumming gives us the next best thing. Interspersing chapters on the dramatic Snare case with illuminating descriptions of Velazquez’s art and world, Cumming captures the feeling of standing before a great work of art—and it’s this feeling that bonds Cumming to John Snare (and us to her story).


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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780307908278
Availability: Backordered, call for information
Published: Pantheon - April 21st, 2015

This graphic novel satisfies every history, science, and steampunk-ish craving I've had recently. Padua's art is open, diligent, and funny--just like her stories. Lady Lovelace and Charles Babbage take on poetry, computers, and Lewis Carroll in this delightful (and footnote packed) graphic novel.
 


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The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780345806291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 4th, 2016

Wulf is one of my favorite science history writers – not least because she always manages to combine language and science, nature and poetry—and Humboldt is a perfect subject for her. With this engaging biography, Alexander von Humboldt is brought to life in all his “chased by 10,000 pigs” glory. Wulf reminds us with vibrancy why we should still care about Humboldt today (alongside some great cameos from 19th century characters of all kinds): climate change, plate tectonics, South American revolutions, the idea that nature is an interconnected web.