Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2016 contains extracts from Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, The Travelers by Chris Pavone, Behave by Andormeda Romano-Lax, The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry and Smoke by Dan Vyleta. This sampler is a great way to get a taste of new genres and authors you may never have found otherwise.
Anna and the Swallow Man is a historical fiction novel which takes place in Poland in 1939 and follows the friendship between Anna, a seven year old girl who has just lost her father to the Germans and the Swallow Man who is in danger of being taken. Usually I find historical fiction to be quite slow and slightly boring, however from this extract this book is packed with emotion and I would definitely consider reading on.
Jane Steele is a gothic retelling of Jane Eyre. From the extract I really enjoyed the descriptions and loved the dark, eerie atmosphere created throughout. I haven't read Jane Eyre yet however once I have, I would love to read this to see the similarities between the source material and this book.
The Travelers is a mystery/thriller revolving around Will Rhodes who is a travel writer and becomes tangled up with a mysterious woman he meets on an assignment. This leads to him travelling the world as a spy. The premise of this book sounded really intriguing so I was excited to read this extract. The descriptions were vivid and I want to know how this story ends.
Behave follows the real life story of Rosalie Rayner Watson who was a famous scientist and mother in the 20th century. This is an area of both history and psychology that I have never really heard of before so this book promised to be something different to anything else I've ever read. After reading the extract, I thought it was a bit slow so won't be reading on.
The Summer Before the War is a historical fiction novel set in Rye in the summer of 1914 when war is on the horizon but a lot of the characters don't believe it will ever happen. From this extract, the start of this book felt slightly slow and I don't think the overall premise has hooked me enough that I would want to read the rest of the book.
The Passion of Dolssa is a historical fiction novel set in France in the middle ages which follows Dolssa who is fleeing when she meets a matchmaker Botille who protects her. This book is young adult and the premise is something completely unique to this age range and the genre as a whole. This time period is one I know nothing about so after reading this extract I may pick up this book.
Smoke is a dystopian novel set in the Victorian times in which wicked people end up with smoke pouring out of their bodies as a mark of their cruelty. The premise of this book sounded absolutely fascinating and I found the writing style of the extract to be very atmospheric and descriptive. This books seems very unique and definitely something I could see myself picking up in the future.
I’m so addicted to these I’ve even been hunting down the old ones to see if there’s any interesting books I’ve missed!
Another great sampler of different books. I ended up purchasing a few of these books because the excerpts were good enough to hook me. The ability to get into a book and see the author's writing styles makes it less likely I'll purchase the book and not enjoy it.
I love these sampler books, even though this one is from 2016, I still enjoyed reading the beginnings of these and added a couple to my TBR list.
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the chance to read these excerpts!
ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit is a WWII story with a dash of magical realism and almost whimsy, among all the horror (on the first pages we learn about our heroine's father being whisked away to a concentration camp). Much of it is through the eyes of 7-year-old Anna, but we also get many omniscient asides from a much older narrator who ruminates on the ways of children. The mix of innocence and knowledge in the POVs added to the fairy-tale feel of the story, which was quite jarring when mixed with the readers knowledge of the horrors inflicted by Nazis.
JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye is not a retelling of JANE EYRE as I had thought, since Charlotte Bronte's book exists in-universe and our heroine compares herself to Jane E throughout this excerpt. It makes this quirky book (Jane Eyre, but a serial killer) even quirkier.
THE TRAVELERS seems like it could be a good action movie. We open with a fight scene, flash back to some establishing events, we even end on a cliffhanger. And of course we have a jet-setting hero who doesn't ask too many questions until he's well in over his head.
BEHAVE by Andromeda Romano-Lax has quite a forbidding cover and description. It's almost funny when our heroine Rosalie reflects on being married to a psychologist who believes that love is just a response to erotic stimulation and that the only true emotions are fear and rage (it doesn't seem like a recipe for partnership to me, but they've been together 15 years), but then we see the emotional toll as they reflect on baby Albert, a test subject whom they taught to fear. Then we jump back to Rosalie's college years, where she is not a great judge of character and throws a big hissy fit to her professor defending her friend, only to find that "friend" isn't quite the right descriptor and she's now unnecessarily hobbled her own career. Oops? This focus on the early days of psychology, and on the affair between assistant and scientist, reminds me of MASTERS OF SEX.
THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR is one of the lighter excerpts I've seen in these collections, although we do have WWI looming. Aunt Agatha is hosting her nephews Hugh and Daniel for the summer, and a new girl comes to town, and there is romantic interest and family bonding and it's all fairly wholesome so far (except for the jerk who drunkenly harasses poor Beatrice).
THE PASSION OF DOLSSA has a fairly long excerpt jumping between the years and characters. We open in 1290, with a friar who is piecing the story together, then we bounce back and forth between Botille giving some kind of testimony in 1267, and Dolssa's in-the-moment narration in 1241. Botille is just trying to make a living, between running a tavern and arranging marriages, but then she gets mixed up with Dolssa, who has attracted the attention of inquisitors by being a passionate preacher of Christ's love, but *gasp* is a woman. So far we have not seen the two women meet, but we get plenty of ominous rumblings, as Dolssa is called to give testimony in an inquisition trial and Botille realizes that a local priest is seducing young girls in her village.
I found it hard to concentrate on SMOKE by Dan Vyleta because it just made me want to read HIS DARK MATERIALS -- all this talk of Smoke and sin really just reminded me of Dust.
Overall I enjoyed the mix of genres in this collection, even if I am not sure that I'll pick any of these up for now.
This sampler of of Spring 2016 reads was an excellent collection of novels.
If you are looking to read a little bit of a book before making a purchase, I highly recommend taking a look at these.
I received a complimentary review copy of the Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler (Spring 2016) from NetGalley.
This sampler includes extended previews of 7 novels. I really enjoyed being able to preview enough of the book to know whether I'd be interested enough to read the whole thing. Each excerpt starts with a page showing the book cover, publication date, plot description, and titles of some similar-interest books to give readers some tips on whether they'd enjoy this book.
I love these collections! They always get me excited about reading, and are perfect if I'm in a lull between books and can't figure out what to read next. This was enjoyable, and I look forward to checking out many of these from my library.
I am a huge fan of samplers! For this one, I am only familiar with one title (The Travelers), so I am looking forward to embarking on the discovery of titles and authors that weren't yet on my radar.
Thank you for this sampler! Many of these books look interesting and I've put several of these novels on my tbr/interest list.
I appreciate the opportunity to read excerpts from popular, cutting edge authors to allow me to familiarize myself with them and their work in a short period of time.
Thank you for this interesting and varied sampler. I love ear-marking books for review and Smoke sounds particularly interesting.
I love these samplers and how great they are for readers looking for new authors and some good underrated books. I didn't find anything that I wanted to continue reading but I love the idea of these and will continue to request.
Thank you so much for providing this excellent sampler! Such a great resource for choosing books to review!
So excited to read excerpts of these fine literary reads ... it helps in picking my next TBRs, but in some ways it makes the choices more challenging because all of the titles are excellent!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for making available the Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2016.
Samplers are so helpful to prioritize what new books to read next. This way I can spend time with books I already know I can really dive into!
I really enjoyed the excerpts from this sampler, so I am excited for the featured titles to hit the shelves! :)
Another sampler containing great excerpts with something here for everyone. My TBR pile is growing again thanks to this - which is brilliant. Thank you for the chance to read a few chapters of each book, it is really helpful for us book geeks.
These publisher's samplers are extremely helpful with snippets of a good variety of upcoming titles. Thank you for these sneak peeks!
Needs to be in a kindle format for me. Apologies didn't realise it was not.