Thursdays Reviews at Inklings

“Hench” by Natalie Zina Walschots

If you and I have talked about books in the past 3 months, you’ve heard me mention Hench.  I’ve hand-sold it to countless friends, reviewed it on Libro.fm, and even wrote a short blurb about it for last week’s Scene.  What’s so great about this book (I hear you asking)?  Hench is one of the most exciting, fun, and thought-provoking books that I’ve read so far this year, and it provides a wonderful escape from the doldrums of daily life.

Hench follows the trials and tribulations of Anna, a millennial woman trying to make ends meet in a gig economy by taking temp jobs. It’s a familiar situation, but Anna’s industry is special: she’s a hench-for-hire, providing her talent for data analysis to villains, as needed.  When Anna gets a permanent position working for mid-level villain the Electric Eel, it seems like things are looking up (even though she hates her coworkers and office, and isn’t too sure about Electric Eel, who asks people how they feel a little too often and ends every interaction with “namaste”).  All of her hard-won progress falls apart, however, when Electric Eel brings her along to a press conference where things go terribly, terribly wrong.  Anna is caught in the crossfire and suffers a gruesome injury at the hands of hero Supercollider.

And so, laid off from her job with a “thank you for your service” letter, and facing a long and painful recovery, Anna struggles to find meaning in her life.  She discovers it in an unexpected place: in spreadsheets and algorithms, mapping out the true costs, in money and lives, of Supercollider’s “heroics”.  As she digs deeper into Supercollider’s past, uncovering the myriad innocent lives he’s ended or ruined, she attracts the notice of the notorious supervillain Leviathan.  A former ally of Supercollider, he understands, better than anyone, what an unchecked superhero is capable of.  In Leviathan’s employ, Anna finds the things that her life has been missing: purpose, camaraderie, stability, and more.  And together, Anna and Leviathan will change the way the world sees superheroes, forever.

Now, if you haven’t spent the past year living under a rock (and if you HAVE, may I join you there?), you’ll probably notice some similarities between the comic book series/show The Boys, another franchise that focuses on the dark side of heroism.  And while the similarities are certainly there, Hench is a wholly original and enjoyable novel, and stands up well against comparison.  Anna is an achingly relatable character, and you’ll cheer for her as she emerges from her shroud of self-doubt and unresolved trauma and becomes the anti-hero she was meant to be.  Tackling issues like feminism, moral-ambiguity and office politics in the most exciting way possible, Hench is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of escapist literature.  And right now, who doesn’t want to escape from the world, one chapter at a time?

Reviewed by Emily Ring

PNW Bestseller List Oct. 11

1. The Searcher
Tana French, Viking, $27, 9780735224650

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
V.E. Schwab, Tor, $26.99, 9780765387561
*signed copies available

3. Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam, Ecco, $27.99, 9780062667632

                    4. The Evening and the Morning
                    Ken Follett, Viking, $36, 9780525954989

5. Jack
Marilynne Robinson, FSG, $27, 9780374279301

6. A Deadly Education
Naomi Novik, Del Rey, $28, 9780593128480

7. The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett, Riverhead Books, $27, 9780525536291

8. All the Devils Are Here
Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250145239

9. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Christopher Paolini, Tor, $29.99, 9781250762849

10. Transcendent Kingdom
Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, $27.95, 9780525658184

11. One by One
Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $27.99, 9781501188817

12. Anxious People
Fredrik Backman, Atria, $28, 9781501160837

13. Magic Lessons
Alice Hoffman, S&S, $27.99, 9781982108847


14. The Book of Two Ways
Jodi Picoult, Ballantine, $28.99, 9781984818355

                    15. Piranesi
                    Susanna Clarke, Bloomsbury Publishing, $27, 9781635575637

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

October, the month to read mysteries, horror, and suspense... but how about a fantasy novel with a little bit of all of the above? That is definitely my preference and New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, Rebecca Roanhorse, wrote just the right book. Inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas, full of magic, intrigue, and prophecies, Black Sun will keep you on your toes. 

The very first few pages of Black Sun will certainly give you Halloween vibes. A mother that carves out her own son's eyes? ouch. But if that is a little too much for you don't let it deter you from reading it, not many scenes are that gory and there is a much bigger reason and purpose for it. And the boy, Serapio, grows up to become fearless, a vessel for the gods, and easily the most powerful character in the book.

PNBA Bestseller's - Sept. 20, 2020

1. All the Devils Are Here Louise Penny, Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250145239 

2. The Evening and the Morning Ken Follett, Viking, $36, 9780525954989

3. Troubled Blood Robert Galbraith, Mulholland Books, $29, 9780316498937

4. The Lying Life of Adults Elena Ferrante, Europa Editions, $26, 9781609455910

5. Piranesi Susanna Clarke, Bloomsbury Publishing, $27, 9781635575637

6. Anxious People Fredrik Backman, Atria, $28, 9781501160837

7. Transcendent Kingdom Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, $27.95, 9780525658184

8. The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett, Riverhead Books, $27, 9780525536291 

9. Squeeze Me Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, $28.95, 9781524733452 

10. Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090

11. Homeland Elegies Ayad Akhtar, Little, Brown, $28, 9780316496421

*12. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Christopher Paolini, Tor, $29.99, 9781250762849 

13. Mexican Gothic Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Del Rey, $27, 9780525620785

*14. American Dirt Jeanine Cummins, Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250209764

15. One by One Ruth Ware, Gallery/Scout Press, $27.99, 9781501188817

Look how far we've come!

You guys remember 20 years ago? When we (Inklings) were just a baby? Remember the old store, with the huge windows facing the street? And the coffee machine, that permeated the store with that delicious smell of coffee?

Thanks for being with us as we grew. We hope you are with us for many years to come. <3

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PNBA Bestsellers

The Vanishing Half1. The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett, Riverhead Books, $27, 9780525536291 

2. Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090

3. The Guest List Lucy Foley, Morrow, $27.99, 9780062868930

4. Mexican Gothic Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Del Rey, $27, 9780525620785

5. Such a Fun Age Kiley Reid, Putnam, $26, 9780525541905

6. Harrow the Ninth Tamsyn Muir, Tor.com, $26.99, 9781250313225

7. Hamnet Maggie O’Farrell, Knopf, $26.95, 9780525657606

The Guest List8. The Order Daniel Silva, Harper, $28.99, 9780062834843 

9. American Dirt Jeanine Cummins, Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250209764

*10. Axiom’s End Lindsay Ellis, St. Martin’s, $27.99, 9781250256737

*11. Utopia Avenue David Mitchell, Random House, $30, 9780812997439

*12. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous Ocean Vuong, Penguin Press, $26, 9780525562023A Private Cathedral

13. Sex and Vanity Kevin Kwan, Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385546270

*14. A Private Cathedral James Lee Burke, S&S, $28, 9781982151683 

15. The Dutch House Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062963673

Keep YA Weird

The Damned (The Beautiful #2) by Renee Ahdieh ($18.99, G.P. Putnam)

Instant New York Times bestselling sequel to The Beautiful

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.

But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can't quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn't know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she's not ready to learn. Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.


Permanent Record by By Mary H. K. Choi ($18.99, Simon & Schuster)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Emergency Contact, which Rainbow Rowell called “smart and funny,” comes an unforgettable new romance about how social media influences relationships every day.

On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans. Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, step-and-repeats, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them. When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.


Verify

Verify by Joelle Charbonneau ($18.99, HarperTeen)

“Wow! Shades of Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell’s 1984. Painfully real and urgent. Read this book.” —Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series

Bestselling author Joelle Charbonneau’s eerily timely, high-stakes page-turner is destined to start important conversations at this particular moment in our history.

Meri Beckley lives in a world without lies. When she looks at the peaceful Chicago streets, she feels pride in the era of unprecedented hope and prosperity over which the governor presides. But when Meri’s mother is killed, Meri suddenly has questions that no one else seems to be asking. And when she tries to uncover her mother’s state of mind in her last weeks, she finds herself drawn into a secret world with a history she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, Meri is faced with a choice between accepting the “truth” or embracing a world the government doesn’t want anyone to see—a world where words have the power to change the course of a country and where the wrong ones can get Meri killed.

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