Saturday, February 4, 2017

WATCH/READ/PLAY - FEBRUARY 2017

Holy cow, its already February.  Where did January go?  February is a great month for...everything really.  It is also the month that I will be perpetually broke which isn't good the month before ECCC.  So excited for the books, films, and games coming out though.  I see you John Wick and Horizon Zero Dawn.  Did I miss anything?  Let me know.

FILM & TV
The Expanse (Season 2 Premiere)
Channel: SYFY
In short: The Rogue and I really enjoyed the first season of the sci-fi show based on the books by James S A Corey. It surprised me and after the cliffhanger of the last episode I look forward to watching it, though probably not until it comes to Netflix since you cannot watch them online unless you have a cable sub which we don’t. (February 1st)

Madiba
Channel: BET
In short: This is a three part, six hour biographical miniseries that stars Laurence Fishburne as Nelson Mandela (February 1st)

Powerless
Channel: NBC
In short: Its another DC Comics series, but lets face it they kind of kick some ass with their TV shows. This one is a sitcom though unlike Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl. And it looks funny. Vanessa Hudgens stars as an insurance adjuster who helps protect people against the unintended damage caused by crime-fighting superheroes (mostly of the fringe variety, though a major DC character could theoretically appear from time to time). Plus Alan Tudyk, as a non-canon relative of Bruce Wayne. Yes, I will watch it just for him. (February 2nd)

Santa Clarita Diet
Channel:NETFLIX
In short: This comedy series from the guy who made Better Off Ted (which was hilarious) stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as suburban married realtors who experience a change that sends "both their lives down a road of death and destruction ... but in a good way." Basically Drew is a zombie. And I will be watching this. (February 3rd)

The Space Between Us
Genre: Adventure/Sci-Fi
Stars:Britt Robertson, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, Janet Montgomery
In short: It looks so sweet. I need smiles right now and this might give them to me. Then again it might give me tears since it has been referred to as The Fault In Our Mars and the book it is referencing made me cry at work while I read it so… The first human born on Mars travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be. (February 3rd)

Rings
Genre:Horror
Stars:Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio
In short: I love horror films and while I enjoy the original Ringu films more than the American remake, I did enjoy the first remake. And who doesn’t like having a jump or two. A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days. (February 3rd)

Journey to the West – The Demons Strike Back
Genre:Comedy/Fantasy
Stars:Bei-Er Bao, Mengke Bateer, Sihan Cheng, Chengpeng Dong
In short: The first one made the Rogue and I laugh, so I am curious to see how this next one is. A monk and his three disciples continue on their journey to battle demons. (February 3rd)

I Am Not Your Negro
Genre:Documentary
Stars:Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Dick Cavett
In short: Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House. (February 3rd)

24: Legacy
Channel: FOX
In short: A reboot of Fox's one-time hit 24, Legacy will exist in the same universe (and retain the real-time format) but feature a mostly new cast of characters, led by Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, The Walking Dead), who plays a troubled military hero who enlists CTU to save his life and prevent yet another large-scale terrorist attack. Miranda Otto, Jimmy Smits, Dan Bucatinsky, Gerald McRaney, and Teddy Sears also star, while Carlos Bernard will return from the original series as Tony Almeida. (February 5th)

APB
Channel: FOX
In short: Said to be a cross between Person of Interest and Chicago PD, APB stars Justin Kirk as a Chicago tech billionaire who decides to put his own money up to privatize the police department’s 13th Precinct and implement cutting edge technology after he gets fed up with the city’s crime rate. Might give it a shot. (February 6th)

Legion
Channel: FX
In short: Have you seen trailers for this? Dan Stevens plays the lead character who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age who has been in and out of metal hospitals in the years since. (Oh, and he happens to be the mutant son of Charles Xavier.) The excellent cast also includes Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Katie Aselton, Jemaine Clement, and Bill Irwin. The first season will run for just eight episodes. (February 8th)

The Collection
Channel: AMAZON
In short: All seven episodes of this French/British period drama stream today. The series, which centers on a Parisian fashion house following WWII, stars Tom Riley, Richard Coyle, Mamie Gummer, and Irène Jacob. Yep, I will be wat hing this for the fashion (February 10th)

The LEGO Batman Movie
Genre:Animation/Family
Stars:Will Arnett, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson
In short:LEGO Batman was kind of one of the best parts of the LEGO movie, so I am happy to see an irreverent Batman. Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted. (February 10th)

John Wick: Chapter 2
Genre:Action/Thriller
Stars:Keanu Reeves, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose
In short:A couple of years ago the Rogue and I went to a movie for Valentines Day and absolutely frakking loved it. So of course we are more than happy to see some more John Wick….being a total badass. (February 10th)

59th Annual Grammy Awards
Channel:CBS
In short: James Corden hosts (February 12th)

Girls (Final Season Premiere)
Channel:HBO
In short: I only started watching this show on Amazon, but I like what I have seen thus far. This final season of the show with have guest appearances by Tracey Ullman, Matthew Rhys, and Riz Ahmed. (February 12th)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Channel:HBO
In short: I love John Oliver even though I laugh and then cry and then rage most of the episodes. Somehow I think with all of the events since his winter break we are in for a doozy of a second half. (February 12th)

The Missing (2nd Season Premiere)
Channel:STARZ
In short: The eight episode second season will feature a different setting, story, and characters. David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes star. Did anyone love the first season (February 12th)

Humans (2nd Season Premiere)
Channel:AMC
In short: Another show I have recently watched on Amazon was the first season of Humans. In the second season Carrie-Ann Moss will join for the eight episodes premiering this night. (February 13th)

Girlfriend’s Day
Channel:NETFLIX
In short: I don’t know too much about this original film from Netflix. It stars Bob Odenkirk, Natasha Lyonne, Amber Tamblyn, Ed Begley Jr., Stacy Keach, Rich Sommer, June Diane Raphael, Andy Richter, and Echo Kellum. (February 14th)

A Cure For Wellness
Genre:Mystery/Thriller
Stars:Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie
In short:An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. The trailer for this looked interesting. Plus I love Jason Isaacs. (February 17th)

Planet Earth II
Channel:BBC AMERICA/AMC
In short: The six part sequel in all of its ultra-high-def awesomeness will be simulcast on AMC and Sundance, but the remaining five episodes will be exclusive to BBC America. Also David Attenborough returns as the narrator. It’s going to be grand. (February 18th)

Big Little Lies
Channel:HBO
In short: David E Kelley brings a seven episode adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s book to life. It has Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Alexander Skarsgard. (February 19th)

Bates Motel (Final Season Premiere)
Channel:A&E
In short: Norman’s story is finally coming to end with the fifth season. Rihanna joins the cast as Marion Crane. Could be good. (February 20th)

Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark
Channel:NETFLIX
In short: Trevor Noah and the Daily Show have kept me from screaming my bloody head off. I like him. He’s funny. He’s insightful and I will definitely be watching his Netflix special. (February 21st)

The Blacklist: Redemption (Series Premiere)
Channel:NBC
In short: The spinoff from The Blacklist has Tom Keen joining up with Famke Janssen’s Scottie Hargrave at her covert mercenary organization Grey Matters. Edi Gathegi (who plays Matias Solomon) also moves over from The Blacklist to the spinoff, while Unforgettable's Tawny Cypress joins Redemption as a regular. Terry O’Quinn (Lost) will recur. (February 23rd)

I don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore
Channel:NETFLIX
In short: This Netflix indie thriller is the directorial debut for Green Room/Blue Ruin star Macon Blair, and it just won the top award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood star. (February 24th)

Patriot (Series Premiere)
Channel:AMAZON
In short: This dramedy centers on an intelligence officer (Michael Dorman) whose mission to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons means that he has to go undercover at a Milwaukee pipe factory. In his spare time he is also a mediocre folk singer/songwriter. Terry O’Quinn plays his father and his boss. (February 24th)

Get Out
Genre:Horror
Stars:Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford
In short:The trailer looks awesome. Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined. Written and Directed by Jordan Peele (yep same Jordan Peele), it definitely looks like something I would enjoy. (February 24th)

Tulip Fever
Genre:Drama/Romance
Stars:Alicia Vikander, Cara Delvingne, Dane DeHaan, Holliday Grainger
In short:Directed by Justin Chadwick it tells the story of an artist that falls for a young married woman while he is commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. I am a sucker for period pieces. Just ask the Rogue when I went nuts over the My Cousin Rachel trailer last night. (February 24th)

89th Academy Awards
Channel:ABC
In short: Jimmy Kimmel hosts. (February 26th)

When We Rise
Channel:ABC
In short: Eight-hour miniseries about the history of America's gay rights movement from Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black stars Guy Pearce, Mary Louise-Parker, Michael K. Williams, Rachel Griffiths, and Ivory Aquino, with guest appearances from David Hyde Pierce, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, and Denis O'Hare. (February 27th)

BOOKS
King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Voctoria Aveyard (February 7th)
In short: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion? Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner. As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back. When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (February 7th)
In short: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths. Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (February 7th)
In short: Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

The Burning World (Warm Bodies #2) by Isaac Marion (February 7th)
In short: Being alive is hard. Being human is harder. But since his recent recovery from death, R is making progress. He's learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love, and the city's undead population is showing signs of life. R can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart—building a new world from the ashes of the old one. And then helicopters appear on the horizon. Someone is coming to restore order. To silence all this noise. To return things to the way they were, the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. The plague is ancient and ambitious, and the Dead were never its only weapon. How do you fight an enemy that's in everyone? Can the world ever really change? With their home overrun by madmen, R, Julie, and their ragged group of refugees plunge into the otherworldly wastelands of America in search of answers. But there are some answers R doesn't want to find. A past life, an old shadow, crawling up from the basement.

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (February 7th)
In short: Empress - Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne. Fugitive - Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life. Madman - With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy. A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (February 7th)
In short: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they? Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (February 7th)
In short: You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn't necessary. Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales – An Anthology Edited by Ellen Datlow (February 7th)
In short: Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul. There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the life blood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead. Is it any wonder that with so many interpretations of the avian, that the contributors herein are eager to be transformed or influenced by them? Included in Black Feathers are those obsessed by birds of one type or another. Do they want to become birds or just take on some of the “power” of birds? The presence or absence of birds portends the future. A grieving widow takes comfort in her majestic winged neighbors, who enable her to cope with a predatory relative. An isolated society of women relies on a bird to tell their fortunes. A silent young girl and her pet bird might be the only hope a detective has of tracking down a serial killer in a tourist town. A chatty parrot makes illegal deals with the dying. A troubled man lives in isolation with only one friend for company—a jackdaw. In each of these fictions, you will encounter the dark resonance between the human and avian. You see in yourself the savagery of a predator, the shrewd stalking of a hunter, and you are lured by birds that speak human language, that make beautiful music, that cypher numbers, and seem to have a moral center. You wade into this feathered nightmare, and brave the horror of death, trading your safety and sanity for that which we all seek—the promise of flight. Seanan McGuire, Joyce Carol Oates, and other authors contribute creepy stories about birds to this anthology, edited by Hugo and Bram Stoker Award winner Ellen Datlow.

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by J.D. Robb (February 7th)
In short: THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES . . . The chilling new suspense novel from the author of Brotherhood in Death. After a party in New York, Lieutenant Eve Dallas rides home with her billionaire husband, Roarke, happy to be done with cocktails and small talk. After another party, not far away, a woman retires to her bedroom with her husband—and walks into a brutal nightmare. Their paths are about to collide…When the young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve, still in glittering gown and heels, springs into action. It’s been a long night for the tired homicide cop, and it’s far from over. Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil” . . .While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked—and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife—this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse as the first suspect. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions: What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (February 7th)
In short: In the vein of It's Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness. For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm's length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium. As the walls of Mel's compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst--that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she's been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out? In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley (February 7th)
In short: Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion. Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world. Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it? In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about tragic love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre's most celebrated new writers.

Rise of Fire (Reign of Shadows #2) by Sophie Jordan (February 7th)
In short: The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows. Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever. Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne. Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (February 7th)
In short: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell. All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts. Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt (February 14th)
In short: Eating one’s own kind is completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Throughout history we have engaged in cannibalism for reasons of famine, burial rites, and medicinal remedies; it’s been used as a way to terrorize and even a way to show filial piety. With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, American Museum of Natural History biologist Bill Schutt takes us on a tour of the field, dissecting exciting new research and investigating questions such as why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the eighteenth century, British royalty ate human body parts; how cannibalism may be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals; why microbes on sacramental bread may have led Catholics to execute Jews in the Middle Ages. Today, the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath, but be forewarned: As climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism. As he examines these close encounters of the cannibal kind, Bill Schutt makes the ick-factor fascinating.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (February 14th)
In short: On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James (February 14th)
In short: Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. A girl thirsts for love and knowledge. Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? A boy dreams of revolution. Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts. He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle (February 14th)
In short: From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age. Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences. Lyrical, gripping, and wise, In Calabria confirms Peter S. Beagle's continuing legacy as one of fantasy's most legendary authors.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey (February 14th)
In short: Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by CJ Redwine (February 14th)
In short: An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles. The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop. Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown. So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself. But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff (February 21st)
In short: The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II, by international bestselling author Pam Jenoff. Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus. The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (February 21st)
In short: The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

Empire’s End (Star Wars: Aftermath #3) by Chuck Wendig (February 21st)
In short: Following "Star Wars: Aftermath" and "Star Wars: Life Debt," Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the "New York Times" bestselling trilogy set in the years between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens."

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage (February 21st)
In short: Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (February 21st)
In short: Beware: Life ahead. Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you. The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk…

Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp (February 21st)
In short: In Chris Sharp's new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans. However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two. Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge. For cold is the counsel of women.

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R Kiernan (February 28th)
In short: A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman. In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in. A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact. And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

Infernal Parade by Clive Barker (February 28th)
In short: From the beginning of his distinguished career, Clive Barker has been the great visionary artist of contemporary dark fantasy, a form that Barker himself has termed “the Fantastique.” Through his many novels, stories, paintings and films, he had presented us with unforgettable images of the monstrous and the sacred, the beautiful and the grotesque. His body of work constitutes a great and varied contribution to modern popular culture. This astonishing novella, Infernal Parade, perfectly encapsulates Barker’s unique abilities. Like the earlier Tortured Souls, an account of bizarre–and agonizing–transformations, Infernal Parade is tightly focused, intensely imagined, and utterly unlike anything else you will ever read. It begins with the tale of a convicted criminal, Tom Requiem, who returns from the brink of death to restore both fear and a touch of awe to a complacent world. Tom becomes the leader of the eponymous “parade,” which ranges from the familiar precincts of North Dakota to the mythical city of Karantica. Golems, vengeful humans both living and dead, and assorted impossible creatures parade across these pages. The result is a series of highly compressed, interrelated narratives that are memorable, disturbing, and impossible to set aside. Infernal Parade is quintessential Barker: witty, elegantly composed, filled with dark and often savage wonders. It proves once again that, in Barker’s hands, the Fantastique is not only alive and well, but flourishing. This is vital, visionary fiction by a modern master of the form.

The Wrong Dead Guy (Another Coop Heist #2) by Richard Kadrey (February 28th)
In short: In this fast paced sequel to The Everything Box—the second entry in New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey’s comedic supernatural series—chaos ensues when Coop and the team at DOPS steal a not-quite-dead and very lovesick ancient Egyptian mummy wielding some terrifying magic. Coop, a master thief sort of gone legit, saved the world from an ancient doomsday device—heroism that earned him a gig working for the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome top secret government agency that polices the odd and strange. Now Woolrich, Coop’s boss at the DOPS, has Coop breaking into a traveling antiquities show to steal a sarcophagus containing the mummy of a powerful Egyptian wizard named Harkhuf. With the help of his pals Morty, Giselle, and a professor that’s half-cat, half-robotic octopus, Coop pulls off the heist without a hitch. It’s not Coop’s fault that when DOPS opened the sarcophagus they didn’t find the mummy they were expecting. Well, it was the right mummy, but it wasn’t exactly dead—and now it’s escaped, using a type of magic the organization hasn’t encountered before. Being a boss, Woolrich blames his underling for the screw up and wants Coop to find the missing Harkhuf and make it right, pronto. Digging into Harkhuf’s history, Coop thinks the mummy is hunting for an ancient magical manuscript that will help him bring his old lover back to life. Which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t a warrior sorceress hell-bent on conquering the world with her undead armies. Coop would very much like to run from the oncoming chaos. It’s one thing to steal a mummy, but another to have to deal with head-hunting bureaucrats, down-on-their luck fortune tellers, undead mailroom clerks, and a rather unimpressed elephant. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to run. If he wants the madness to stop, he’s going to have to suck it up and play hero one more time. But if Coop manages to save the world AGAIN, he’s definitely going to want a lot of answers. And a raise.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (February 28th)
In short: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig (February 28th)
In short: The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy. Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father? Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

Frogkisser! By Garth Nix (February 28th)
In short: The Last Thing She Needs Is a Prince. The First Thing She Needs Is Some Magic. Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother's new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own. Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low. With Frogkisser!, acclaimed bestselling author Garth Nix has conjured a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs. It's 50% fairy tale, 50% fantasy, and 100% pure enjoyment from start to finish.

One Blood Ruby (Seven Black Diamonds #2) by Melissa Marr (February 28th)
In short: Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change. The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance. Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace. In this gripping follow-up to Melissa Marr’s lush Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.

GAMES
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
In short: It’s a 3D port from the Wii U game. Plus, there will be new levels and get to play as Poochy. It looks like Yoshi can team up with a trio of Poochy Pups who will sniff out secrets. I have been looking for a new 3DS game and this little cutie might be it. (February 3rd)

Halo Wars 2
Platform: Windows PC, Xbox One
In short: The real-time strategy game's new multiplayer mode, Blitz, is putting a twist on the genre's core mechanic by having the player focus on deck building and card-based strategy, rather than base building and resource management. The new villain in the single-player campaign, Atriox, along with his assembled a mercenary group, The Banished, plan to get their hands on "the most powerful weapons platform the galaxy has ever seen," Could be fun. (February 21st)

Night in the Woods
Platform: PS4, Windows PC, Xbox One
In short: This single player adventure game has you play a cat named Mae, who recently dropped out of college and has returned to her hometown to find some unexpected changes. It looks fun and cute. (February 21st)

Horizon Zero Dawn
Platform: PS4
In short: This looks so so good. While the Rogue is the Monster Hunter in our family, I might soon become one as well. Did I mention it looks beautiful and awesome. (February 28th)

Torment: Tides of Numenera
Platform:PS4, XboxOne, Windows PC
In short: Funded on Kickstarter nearly three years ago and inspired by the 1999 RPG Planescape: Torment. The Rogue is also excited about this one. (February 28th)

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