Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (13): Fiona Paul - Venom

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Venom
Author: Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut

Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancé—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself.
Why I Look Forward to This: I've seen the cover around before, but I finally got to reading the synopsis last night and it sounds like a fun read. I'm a sucker for books about high-class societies with a dark underbelly, and when I read this -- "she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers" -- I was immediately sold.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Friday, August 24, 2012

[review] Meagan Spooner - Skylark (Skylark, #1)

Title: Skylark
Author: Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark, #1
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Format: Hardcover
Source: Giveaway win
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?
Random paragraph: "But that was impossible. Unless--my heart seized--he was like me. The Renewable had said there were others like us, after all. She had said to follow the birds to find the Iron Wood, wherever that was. I hadn't seen the slightest glimpse of a feather, but this boy had spouted a torrent of birdsong like I'd never imagined." (p. 175, hardcover edition)

For me, it's difficult to read a book that's hyped. What if I don't like it as much as everyone else? What if there are valid criticisms that I never noticed?

I knew I had to read Skylark as soon as I read the summary. I've burned out on YA dystopia, for the most part, but this just sounded so darn fascinating: one part sci-fi, one part fantasy, with Philip Pullman influence EVERYWHERE. This follows the story of Lark Ainsley, a sixteen year-old who finds out that she's destined to be used as the City's power source. After a series of painful experiments, she flees the City and goes on a quest to find others like her, who supposedly live beyond the Iron Wood.

This is more of an adventure story than anything else. If you're a fan of setting and descriptive prose, then you should love this. Spooner evokes the wilderness incredibly well, and some of her magical creatures were phenomenally scary -- there's a scene where Lark encounters murderous trees that really stuck with me. There are pockets of wild magic remaining after an unnamed war, resulting in strange and twisted occurrences. Here's one example, a house replaying its last memories (pgs. 128-129):
The youngest girl, who would not have been more than eight, was gazing out the window. "Do you hear that?" she asked.

"Hang on," said the father, preoccupied.

"No, that buzzing," said the girl. Her voice suddenly jumped in pitch, to a scream. "Look, the window!"

Driven by the sudden urgency in the girl's voice, the family tuned to gaze out the window. I did the same, but I saw nothing, only vague, blurry shapes. Whatever they saw, though, electrified them. Everyone was shouting, and the mother threw herself on top of the children, barely a second before the windows all shattered inward and the room flashed brighter than the sun.

The scene flickered again and without warning the two girls were back in the kitchen.
But Lark isn't the only human in the wilderness -- she has to hide from cannibals and make a strange alliance with Oren, a wild boy dedicated to helping her. All this while on the run from the Institute, who are sending machines and clockwork insect-like creatures called "pixies" to hunt her down.

I thought this was a three-star book for a while; I enjoyed the concept well enough, but the pacing annoyed me, and I wanted more strength from Lark and more development in her relationship with Oren. But once she finally reaches the Iron Wood? Oh man. Everything's turned upside-down. There are betrayals, there are some disturbing revelations about her origin, and her alliance with Oren takes a very interesting turn. I was really impressed by the ending, and now I'm eagerly looking forward to the sequel.

Overall: Get it, and remember to keep reading. I promise that it's worth it.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (12): Sarah Crossan - Breathe

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Series: Breathe, #1
Publisher: Greenwillow
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .

The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

ALINA
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

QUINN
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

BEA
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
Why I Look Forward to This: This sounds like a fabulous dystopia. A YA novel tackling life under an all-encompassing corporation sounds right up my alley. Here's hoping the world-building is good!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, August 20, 2012

[review] Jamie McGuire - Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Series: Beautiful, #1
Publisher: Atria
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Summary (via Goodreads):
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
(This review will contain spoilers.)

Where to begin?

It's been a few days since I finished this, but I needed time to digest it. Because, gosh, this was really disturbing. I was warned; I prepared myself; I tried suspending my disbelief... and I was still horrified by what went on here.

This is another self-published success that got picked up by a major publisher, and this is being marketed as yet another Fifty Shades of Grey successor. To which I ask: why? The only similarities between the two books are that: a) they were self-published, and then bestsellers; b) the male protagonists are controlling, manipulative, and generally terrible people.

The story opens with Abby watching Travis at a fight. When he punches his opponent, blood splatters on Abby's sweater. Travis cleans her up and dubs her, "Pigeon," a nickname that persists throughout the entire story. When they meet again, Abby determines for him not to be attracted to her, and fends off his advances whenever possible. At the next fight, they place a bet: if his opponent lands a blow on him, he'll abstain from sex for an entire month. If he wins without a scratch, Abby has to live in his apartment for a month. Abby loses.

At the beginning, I was totally on board with Travis. When he was introduced as just a guy with tattoos who fights, I went "whatever"; when he offered to tutor Abby, even my heart fluttered. But then the real ugliness came out. He outright disrespects women. For example, when a girl on his lap insults Abby and her friends, he stands up, letting her fall to the floor. When he's at a bar with Abby, he's chatting with another woman and buys two drinks; when the woman takes one, he says "Uhh, not for you," and grabs it out of her hand. What's really infuriating is that, without fail, the women who aren't Abby or America are treated as stupid bimbos all vying for Travis's attention. I'm tired of this stereotype -- that men can have whoever they want, no strings attached, and get away with it, yet women are vilified for the same thing (or portrayed as weak-minded for wanting someone that much).

Then, there was his behavior towards Abby. When Abby goes back to her own dormitory after sleeping with him for the first time (which happened to be the last night of their "bet), he goes berserk and tears up his apartment, almost punching his cousin in the face. He constantly lashes out at Abby. It gets to the point where he starts beating up any guy who so much as looks at her. He goes to events that she attends, even when she's trying to get away from him. Even during periods where they're broken up, he threatens men who try to be friendly to her; at one point, he and Shepley attend a dance and drag away every man who dances with her or America. It's really horrible.

But the characters weren't my only problem with the book. I found the setting to be terribly crafted -- it was supposed to be a college environment, but it read and felt like high school. When Abby's holding hands with Travis, she's convinced that everybody's staring at them. There is a cafeteria sing-a-long. Travis disrupts classes, and there are secret "fight clubs", yet security is mysteriously absent! 

I'm trying to understand the appeal of this. I know most people like a bad boy, and there is a certain appeal to wanting two broken people to have a happy ending (which I thought Bared to You covered rather well), but by the end, what changed? Travis stopped womanizing after getting together with Abby, but his controlling behavior remained. Whenever he transgressed, Abby forgave him time and time again. Although there were times when Abby exhibited spine, there was very little compromise. The story ends with them getting married in Vegas, with Abby getting a "Mrs. Maddox" tattoo. I shudder to think of their future.

Overall: An unconvincing love story with an awful message. Is this really what publishers think women want?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (11): Michelle Paver - Gods and Warriors

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Title: Gods and Warriors
Author: Michelle Paver
Series: Gods and Warriors, #1
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
In the turbulent world of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, long before the Greek myths, a boy and a girl battle for survival. With the help of three animal allies - a dolphin, a falcon and a lion cub - they defeat the forces of tyranny and withstand the elemental powers of the gods of land and sea.
Why I Look Forward to This: That summary really doesn't give much away, does it? :p Anyway, I first heard of this via Claire Legrand's #ARCAPALOOZA, and it's apparently recommended for fans of Percy Jackson -- which I am! I have a soft spot for anything that deals with mythology, and I'm interested in how the author will be dealing with the Bronze Age setting. :D This sounds like it's going to be a fun, light, adventurous read.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

[review] Maggie Stiefvater - Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased, personal collection
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
Random paragraph: "Once upon a time, Mom had really liked Sam. She'd even flirted with him in her mom way and asked him to sing and pose for a portrait. But that was back when he was just a boy that I was seeing. Now that it was clear that Sam was here to stay, Mom's friendliness had evaporated and she and I communicated in that language of silence. The length of the pauses between sentences conveyed more information than the words within them." (p. 68, paperback edition)

This review may contain spoilers for Shiver.

I really like Maggie Stiefvater's other books. She's excellent at conveying atmosphere and feeling and writes with a very poetic flourish. The Scorpio Races remains one of the best books I've read this year, and I also enjoyed her faerie books. Shiver didn't sit well with me at all -- I found Grace and Sam annoying and the world-building terribly unconvincing -- but I went ahead and read this, anyway.

The result? While I'm still not 100% on board with Grace and Sam, I'm thankful I read this because of Isabel and Cole.

Isabel was one of the few things I liked about Shiver. She's blunt, snarky, and she brought some levity to Grace and Sam's endless twu wuv. Whenever they do something stupid or act annoying, she's the one who calls them out. And I loved her POV in Linger.

In this book, we also meet Cole St. Clair, a former rockstar hotshot turned wolf. The contrast between him and Sam was fascinating. Cole's made a lot of bad decisions in his life, and he's always looking for an escape, which turning into a wolf provides. For Sam, whose only goal in life was to find a cure, this is bewildering and offensive. Cole's POV provided some pretty gritty insights on turning into a wolf and his human transitions. Without going into too much detail, there was one scene that really made my stomach turn. There's a ton of chemistry between him and Isabel, and I thought that was one of the high points of the book -- she's the type who seems too grounded to go for somebody like him, yet it happens.

As for Sam and Grace? Well... I'm not sure. I enjoyed Sam's adjusting to becoming human; now that he doesn't have to worry about changing into a wolf, he suddenly has a future that he never had to concern himself with before. I liked his indecision because it felt real. However, I still didn't like Grace at all. Some of her choices made me want to shake her. When she becomes ill, she decides to hide it from anybody instead of seeking outright help, which I found bizarre. And the problems with her parents mostly made me roll my eyes instead of feeling sympathetic.

While this shed more light on the "science" of the wolf toxin, I still had a lot of unanswered questions, one of the major ones being Olivia. She turned into a wolf in Shiver and disappeared. She was mentioned a few times in this book, and then... it was dropped? What? I was expecting to see her and was surprised that she didn't turn up.

Will I read the next one? I really might. I blew through this one pretty quickly and was surprised at how much I liked it, and though I'm cringing at the thought of more Grace and Sam, I'm curious about Cole and Isabel. Also, there were some big changes happening at the end that legitimately made me worry about the survival of some of the characters. I do wonder how it'll all fall together.

Overall: A step up from Shiver, though with some loose ends.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

[review] Sylvia Day - Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Title: Bared to You
Author: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback
Source: Giveaway win
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Our journey began in fire... Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily... Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
Random paragraph: "I recognized myself in the description Cary had just given. I ran when the going got tough, because I was so sure it was all going to end badly. The only control I had was to be the one who left, instead of the one who was left behind." (p. 211, paperback edition)

I started writing this up a while ago, but I spent the week thinking of what exactly to write. This gave me a lot to think about.

Originally self-published by Day in April, this was picked up by Berkley, given a new cover, and released to a wider audience in June. It's being heavily marketed as "for fans of Fifty Shades" as a sort of withdrawal treatment. And on the surface, I can see why. This follows the story of college graduate Eva Trammell trying to carve her own way through New York City. While exploring her workplace the day before her official start, she literally bumps into Gideon Cross while helping somebody pick up her change. She feels an immediate attraction to him. Later, she finds out that he's a young billionaire and CEO of Crossfire, which owns several properties scattered throughout the city. She also has to deal with Cary, her troublesome roommate, and her overprotective parents (her mother has a tendency to track her cell phone).

I'll be honest: I didn't like FSoG at all. But I did like this.

Sylvia Day is a seasoned writer. "Slick" and "polished" are two adjectives I keep seeing to describe her prose, and I agree -- it glides. And after the initial clumsiness, I didn't find Eva anything like Ana. For one thing, Eva's not horribly sexually inexperienced; while fending off one of Gideon's advances, she even jokes about preferring her B.O.B. Eva's able to stand up for herself, and while Gideon seems predatory at the beginning, he definitely calms down and listens to Eva.

These are two characters with a lot of problems, who acknowledge that they're flawed. Eva has jealousy issues and runs away from conflict. Gideon's dominating and possessive. Both are abuse survivors. But when they realize after an erotic encounter that they feel something for each other, they strive to make their relationship work. At one point, Gideon said that he scheduled couples' therapy for them, and I wanted to stand up and applaud.

In many ways, this is a pretty standard romance novel -- there are sex scenes everywhere, Gideon has some unrealistic features, everyone's beautiful and wealthy, etc. But I found the characters engrossing. I wanted to see where they were headed, and how they'd make things work. I will definitely read Reflected in You when it comes out in October.

Overall: Good, if you want a contemporary read with characters who'll break your heart and put it back together.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (10): Sylvia Day - Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Title: Reflected in You
Author: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire, #2
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.

My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We'd never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.

We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...
Why I Look Forward to This: I recently read Bared to You and it stuck with me. Gideon and Eva are both very flawed characters with dark histories, but they're committed to making their relationship healthy and functional -- it's so refreshing to see fictional couples working together instead of one person calling all the shots. The first book is pretty self-containing, but I really want to see where they eventually end up.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Showcase Sunday (6)


Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea that lets bloggers highlight any books or book-related swag they received this week, whether they're from bookstores, libraries, received for review, etc.

WELL. This week has been... interesting.

Via Mara Shapiro and Penguin Canada, I received Bared to You by Sylvia Day. I just finished this yesterday, and I really, really liked it.

Title: Bared to You
Author: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire, #1
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Summary (via Goodreads):
Our journey began in fire... Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily... Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
 Gollancz UK was having a week-long giveaway of this, and I won a copy! Woot:

Title: Rivers of London (Special London Edition)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant, #1
Publisher: Gollancz 
Summary (via Goodreads):
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
There is a wonderful place in Niantic, CT known as the Book Barn. There's a huge section consisting of barns, as well as two shops downtown. They claim to have over 500,000 books, and I believe it.

Paperbacks are $1.00 and hardcovers range from $4-5. I shouldn't have gone, but I needed to get out of the house.

You ready?

I'm ready.

...

(apologies for the blurriness)

I'm just going to link to the Goodreads pages for each book:

Grimspace
Vampire Academy
Linger
Witches of East End
Un Lun Dun
Kraken
Elantris
The Terrorists of Irustan
Daggerspell
Acacia: The War with the Mein
American Vampire

And even though this'll keep me occupied for quite a while? After I left, I remembered, "Wait, I forgot to look for ____ ...!"

So, yes. The Niantic Book Barn. Spiffy place. :D If you're ever in the area, I HIGHLY recommend going.

[review] Tara Hudson - Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)

Title: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson
Series: Hereafter, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Ebook
Source: Personal collection, purchased via Sony Reader store
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Can there truly be love after death?


Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life--or her actual death--she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but "will" him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, "Hereafter" is a sensation you won't want to miss.
Random paragraph: "As he spat out the final words, his lips curled into a snarl. He now looked savage, almost feral. But I saw human emotions skirting the edges of his mouth and his eyes. Buried beneath his sneer were desolation and deep, profound loneliness." 

Several things frustrated me about this book, most of which seem to be continuous problems with the YA genre in general.

Insta-love: After Amelia saves Joshua from drowning, he becomes obsessed with her. He visits her, she follows him to school -- they hit it off pretty much instantly and can't stand being apart. There really wasn't much development leading up to this at all, and it seemed to jump from, "Wow, you're a ghost" to "Wow, I think I love you."

Bad pacing: For the first 2/3rds or so, not much really happens. Amelia and Joshua mention that they want to know about Amelia's past, but the majority of the book is spent, well, making out. He realizes that he can touch her, and she can feel him when he touches her, and it sets their skin on fire, etc etc etc. The last 1/3rd of the book is pretty high-stakes and spectacular, but I wish it didn't take so much slogging to get there in the first place.

Villains: There were some moments when Eli was interesting, and others when he was really one-dimensional and laughable.

Amelia herself: I would've liked to see, I'm not sure, more supernatural effects on her? For a ghost, she felt entirely too human to me. 

It's really a shame, because when this book shone, it shone. For example, when Amelia regains her memories and her cause of death is revealed, it's really shocking and disorienting. There was definitely a sense of urgency in the finale, and I wish more of the book had that sort of action. And I really would've liked to see more of Jillian, Joshua's sister, because she had the strongest personality in the book.

I've actually heard that Arise is better-crafted (and it has a gorgeous cover!), so I hope that holds true.

Overall: Once you look past the insta-love and pacing, there's some potential here that I hope is better realized as the series goes on.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The great #ARCAPALOOZA

FYI, if you're a fan of YA or middle-grade fiction, author Claire Legrand is having an EPIC giveaway over on her Twitter right now. Follow her, answer questions with the hashtag #ARCAPALOOZA, and cross your fingers! She's already given away a few books, but there's a ton of GREAT ones still remaining -- the full list is here. The Diviners is still remaining, as well as Crewel and Poison Princess.

Go forth, and tweet! :D

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (9): Meagan Spooner - Skylark

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Title: Skylark
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?
Why I Look Forward to This: So I'm not sure if this is technically a "waiting on" since it's out today, but I had to post about it because AAAAHHHHHHHH THAT SUMMARY. -flailflail- Look at that! IT'S ABOUT HUMANS. AS ENERGY SOURCES. As someone who loves reading about environmental science and sustainable living, this sounds awesome. And the "harvesting" thing reminds me heavily of some themes from His Dark Materials, which is one of my favorite series ever. I'm generally skeptical about YA dystopia, but this sounds very, very promising.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Showcase Sunday (5)


Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea that lets bloggers highlight any books or book-related swag they received this week, whether they're from bookstores, libraries, received for review, etc.

I haven't done this in a while because I haven't been accumulating too many books, so this'll be a review of things I got in the last few weeks. Yay!

I got this lovely in the mail via a contest -- thanks, Meljean!

Title: The Iron Duke
Author: Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas, #1
Publisher: Berkley UK
Summary (via Goodreads):
Steampunk adventure and seductive danger abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power - and fear - of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship on to his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

Mina can't afford his interest, however, Horde blood runs through her veins, and becoming Rhys's lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him . . .

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and perilous oceans - and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.
Then, I ventured out into the world of e-ARCs! I received this via Angry Robot's Robot Army program, and it is positively grotesque so far. Reminds me somewhat of Joe Abercrombie:


Title: The Corpse-Rat King
Author: Lee Battersby
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: August 28th, 2012 (US/CAN)
Summary (via Goodreads):  
Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers, is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead. The dead need a King--the King is God's representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.

Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do. Just as soon as he stops running.

And since this was "Read Now," I got this on NetGalley. Yes... the highly controversial...

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Series: Beautiful, #1
Publisher: Atria
Release date: August 14th, 2012
Summary (via Goodreads):
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
 Thoughts? What's new on your shelves/readers this week? :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Bites (1): Susanna Kearsley - The Rose Garden

Welcome to the first edition of Saturday Bites! This'll be a feature where I cover a) some of the books I read recently that I cannot provide a full review of, for whatever reason, or b) books I read before starting the blog that I want to talk about.

This week, I'm going to talk about The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.

The Rose Garden is a historical fiction-time travel romance by Susanna Kearsley. It's not my usual genre, which is why I'm not giving it a full review, but I have to say that I really loved this. The main character, Eva, travels to Cornwall, England, to scatter her sister's ashes after her death. However, strange things begin to happen in her family's homestead; she finds herself slipping back in time to 1715, falling in with smugglers and inadvertently getting caught up in treason.

There's an element of nostalgia that pervades the entire book -- Eva re-bonds with old friends and family. Her family reaches out to her, and she returns the favor, helping them install a tea room for tourists in order to prevent the house from going under. The setting is vivid, and I could perfectly imagine myself on a rocky beach on the seaside, listening to gulls. And while I was skeptical at first, the romance was my favorite aspect of the book. Eva's relationship with Daniel Butler blooms slowly, with no declarations until at least halfway through the book.

I've seen it described as Outlander meets The Time Traveler's Wife, and while I can see similarities to both books, I enjoyed this more than either of those. Kearsley's prose, characters, and atmosphere totally enraptured me, and I can't wait to read more by her.

Memorable Quotes: "The tide was out. Along the closer edges of the harbor all the smaller boats lay drunkenly tipped over on their hulls in the wet mud, still at their moorings while they waited for the sea's return."

"'You are glad that you came,' he said. 'You, who have seen and done things I can scarcely imagine; you, who have freedoms in your time the women of mine cannot contemplate. Doubtless you thought that this voyage would be an adventure, and yet you have spent this day shut in a cabin alone and in fear for your life, and you say you are glad that you came. You'll forgive me,' he said, 'if I do not believe you.'"

Verdict: 4 stars. Recommended for those who want a comfort read, even if they're not usually fans of this particular genre. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

[review] Leigh Bardugo - Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy, #1)

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Grisha Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Format: Hardcover
Source: Local library
Buy from: AmazonBarnes & NobleBookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
Random paragraph: "I thought he might have a point. The Materialki workshops buzzed morning and night with orders from the palace for cloth and gems and fireworks. The Summoners spent hours at the stone pavilions honing their 'demonstrations.' Given that Ravka was at war and had been for over a hundred years, it all seemed a little frivolous. Still, I hadn't been to many parties, and it was hard not to get caught up in the talk of silks and dances and flowers." (pgs. 199-200, hardcover edition)

I'm always a bit skeptical whenever a book has an immense amount of hype, but I'm pleased to say that I wound up enjoying this. 

First things first: there are very valid criticisms of the way Russian culture and language is handled here. Basic terminology and naming conventions are incorrect, some words had their definitions deliberately changed... by the end, I wasn't sure if it was necessary, since I feel like the book would've worked just as well without it. For more on this, read this Amazon reviewthis post by Rose Lemberg (which is a fascinating read on linguistics in world-building in general), and Tatiana's review on Goodreads. (It also reminds me of a running joke between my boyfriend and I -- take basic Swedish words and insert them into a fantasy novel. "UNLEASH THE KROG." "They feasted on surströmming, the rarest delicacy in the land." Etc. Except we're always joking, and here it, erm, actually happened.)

With that in mind: this book hooked its claws into me and didn't let me go.

I came to this book after reading something that I really, truly hated (more on that later!), and it was leaking into my enjoyment of other books. I read the first chapter of this and set it aside, but after I cooled off, came back later... and then got to the Shadow Fold, the Unsea, and the volcra. The Fold is a swath of pure darkness separating east west Ravka. Let me tell you, Internets: I'm not usually afraid of things in books, but the volcra scared the pants off me.
"Alexei!" I yelled, leaning over the side of the railing. "Alexei!"

The answer came in a gust of wings as another volcra swooped down on me. I careened backward, barely avoiding its grasp, my knife held out before me with trembling hands. The volcra lunged forward, the firelight glinting off its milky, sightless eyes, its gaping mouth crowded with rows of sharp, crooked, black teeth. I saw a flash of powder from the corner of my eye, heard a rifle shot, and the volcra stumbled, yowling in rage and pain.
In the Fold, Alina finds out that she has something very, very special. When the Darkling, a powerful youth who's able to manipulate shadows, finds out, he takes a keen interest in her. He brings her to the palace of Os Alta for training. He tells her: You are special. You are going to be the one to make the Fold disappear, and you will unify Ravka. It takes her a while to adjust to court life, but she soon enjoys it, writing letters to her best friend Mal all the while.

And then... BAM. Plot Twist of Death. It filled me with glee, because after being disappointed by the last few hyped books I've read, I was wondering if YA had become predictable.

I LOVED Alina. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say that she strongly reminded me of Lyra from His Dark Materials. She tried casting off her "specialness," yes, but it never felt annoying to me -- here, it felt genuine. She's very dry at times about being suddenly thrust into the spotlight, and I loved her for it.

By the end, I was totally in love with this book. Morally gray characters! Emotion everywhere! And the ending was totally kickass -- here we have a heroine making morally questionable decisions while realizing that they're questionable! After being annoyed at protagonists doing terrible things while being 100% sure that they were in the right, this was incredibly refreshing.

It should also be noted that content aside, the book itself is beautiful. I'm not usually one for maps, but this was just so cool and well-done. The chapter headings and page number designs are elegant and made the book into a wonderful package.

I'm so glad that I read this. If you're looking for some good YA fantasy, I heartily recommend this.

Overall: If you're willing to tune out the linguistic issues (which will probably be difficult for those with knowledge of Slavic languages), this is a solid YA fantasy that's a fabulous example of the genre.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (8): Malinda Lo - Adaptation

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Adaptation
Author: Malinda Lo
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
Reese and David don’t remember what happened to them after a bird flew into their headlights on the Extraterrestrial Highway--not the resulting car accident and certainly not a bit of the 21 days of care at the military hospital in Nevada. It’s a good thing, the doctors and colonels tell them, that they crashed on a military base, but they won’t tell Reese and David what the extent of their injuries were, or how they were healed. They do tell them they’re not going home, though, until they sign a confidentiality agreement.

When they get home, Reese can’t help but find everything a little weird. Worldwide bird strikes resulting in plane crashes have grounded air travel, David won’t talk to her, and she could swear she’s seen her military doctors around the neighborhood. It’s only when she meets Amber Grey that things in her life begin to really fall apart, and the mysteries of the bird strikes, the military, and her own treatment come together. Reese realizes that she must find out what they did to her in that hospital, but her search for the truth threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

What if we aren’t alone in the universe? What if the alien is inside us?

Why I Look Forward to This: Isn't that cover freaky? This sounds like a fantastically weird sci-fi novel -- I think I read somewhere that this was written as a tribute to the X-Files. I haven't read Malinda Lo's other works yet, but Ash and Huntress have been in my TBR list for ages, and I'm really pleased with her inclusion of LGBT characters. All in all, this sounds like a great read.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

[review] Sarah Diemer - The Dark Wife

Title: The Dark Wife
Author: Sarah Diemer
Source: Personal collection
Format read: Ebook
Buy from: Amazon | Smashwords
(Note: Also available for download on the author's website, with a suggestion of a donation afterward if you enjoyed the book.)
Summary (via Goodreads):  
Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth.

Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.

Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.

But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian revisionist retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth.
Random paragraph: "'You know, you're very pretty when you pout.' He was floating above the ground, winged sandals fluttering, and he bent forward to brush a kiss on my cheek. 'You must enter the Underworld alone, Persephone. A symbolic journey, if you will.'"

This is a wonderful love story.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (7): Meljean Brook - Riveted

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Riveted
Author: Meljean Brook
Series: Iron Seas, #3
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads): 
A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magical—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on an airship, searching for her sister and longing to return home. But that home is threatened when scientific expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard, looking to expose Annika’s secrets. Then disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, with their very survival depending on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam

Why I Look Forward to This: LET'S SEE.

a) Iceland.
b) A mysterious, powerful sisterhood.
c) The love interest is a vulcanologist.

I need this in my hands, like, yesterday. I haven't read anything by Meljean Brook -- people seem to either love or hate the hero in The Iron Duke -- but that's going to change VERY soon. And even if I'm not fond of that one, she's said that this works as a stand-alone. Very excited for this!

If you're curious, there's an excerpt at Meljean's website. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

[review] Rachel Hawkins - Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall, #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Local library
Format read: Hardcover
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository 
Summary (via Goodreads):
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.


By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.


As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Random paragraph: "Elodie just snorted out loud at that. 'Please, Anna. Big boobs are not enough to compensate for being short and plain. And that hair!' Even though I couldn't see her, I imagined Elodie gave a shudder at that. I, meanwhile, was starting to feel vaguely nauseated. I knew I should walk away, but I couldn't stop listening. I wonder why it is that we always want to hear people talk about us, even if it's horrible stuff. And, you know, it's not like Elodie was saying anything I didn't know. I was short and plain and I did have crazy hair. I'd said these things about myself lots of times. So why were hot tears stinging my eyes?" (p. 207, hardcover edition)

The following review can be summed up in one sentence: "That awkward moment when everybody loves a book but you."

Monday, July 9, 2012

[review] Maggie Stiefvater - Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie, #2)

Title: Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Books of Faerie, #2
Publisher: Flux
Source: Local library
Format read: Paperback
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository 
Summary (via Goodreads):
In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception , music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.
Random paragraph: "She was looking at me really intensely then, in the sort of way I had always wanted Dee to look at me. I kind of thought she was going to kiss me, for some reason, because she was looking at my mouth. I had a horrible idea that she would, and then I would think of Dee while she was, and then she would kill me in a long, slow, painful process that would be hard to explain to insurance people." (p. 142, paperback edition)

I think I wanted to shake everybody in this book at least once. Hopefully, I was supposed to feel that way.

[review] N. K. Jemisin - The Killing Moon (Dreamblood, #1)

Title: The Killing Moon
Author: N. K. Jemisin
Series: Dreamblood, #1
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Local library
Format read: Paperback
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository 
Summary (via Goodreads):
The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city's Gatherers - must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess' name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh's alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
Random paragraph: "He ran after the soldier, silent, intent. Something moved across his vision and blocked his path, a different soldier brandishing a sword, words about surrender. He batted the sword aside and took hold of the arm that held it, ramming the heel of his free hand into the elbow. The wet pop of the breaking joint sounded like the head of the dancer, who might have been sentenced to an eternity in the shadowlands by a soldier's carelessness. 'I shall avenge you,' he whispered to the dancer's soul, yanking the screaming, broken-armed soldier off the horse. The soldier kept screaming, writhing on the ground and holding the flopping ruin of his arm. Ehiru contemplated him for a moment, then remembered that this was not the soldier he wanted. He stepped around the riderless horse and continued after his prey." (pg. 274, paperback edition)

One word: amazing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[review] China Miéville - Railsea

Title: Railsea
Author: China Miéville
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Personal collection
Format read: Hardcover
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository

Summary (via Goodreads):
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.

From China Miéville comes a novel for readers of all ages, a gripping and brilliantly imagined take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick that confirms his status as "the most original and talented voice to appear in several years." (Science Fiction Chronicle)
Random paragraph: "Here a small train, three carriages only, manoeuvring the rails of the harbour at the end of great thrumming cables, tugged by two great birds. Well: a buzzard-train, emissary from the Teekhee archipelago. Wooden trains decorated with masks; trains coated in die-cast tin shapes; trains flanked with bone ornaments; double- & triple-decker trains; plastic-pelted trains stained in acrylic colours. The Medes passed the clatter & clank of diesel vehicles like their own. Past the shrill fussy shenanigans of steam trains that spat & whistled & burped dirty clouds, like irritating godly babies. & others." (pgs. 135-136, hardcover edition)

I'm not sure how I can possibly give this justice, but I suppose I'll try Haha, it's really hot. Let's see what happens.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

[review] Rachel Caine - Cape Storm (Weather Warden, #8)

Title: Cape Storm
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Weather Warden, #8
Publisher: Roc
Format read: Mass market paperback
Source: Personal collection
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin and her new husband, the Djinn David, are running from a malevolent hurricane bent on destroying her. Joined by an army of fellow Wardens and Djinn onboard a hijacked luxury liner, Joanne has lured the storm into furious pursuit. But even their combined magic may not be enough to stop it-nor the power-mad ex-Weather Warden controlling it...
Random paragraph:  "Passengers--even me--weren't allowed on the bridge. Apparently, that only happens in the movies, or to Cherise. I helped Lewis get through the rest of the passenger and crew interviews in neutral, nonsecure locations. No real surprises: a couple of drug smugglers, some embezzlers, and a few people who had raided the cabin steward's closet for illegally obtained soaps and pillow mints. Other than that, we were clear of evil influences ... except for the two we already knew about." (p. 125, mass market paperback edition)

This is the second-to-last book in the Weather Warden series. I AM SO SAD ABOUT THIS.

Yarrrr, a warning: thar be spoilers beneath this cut.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Showcase Sunday (4)


Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea that lets bloggers highlight any books or book-related swag they received this week, whether they're from bookstores, libraries, received for review, etc.

I got this in the mail this week! I'm about 2/3rds through it and I really like it so far.

Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Summary (via Goodreads):
It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

And I got this from the library:


Title: The Killing Moon
Author: N. K. Jemisin
Series: Dreamblood, #1
Publisher: Orbit
Summary (via Goodreads):  
The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Along its ancient stone streets, where time is marked by the river’s floods, there is no crime or violence. Within the city’s colored shadows, priests of the dream-goddess harvest the wild power of the sleeping mind as magic, using it to heal, soothe... and kill.

But when corruption blooms at the heart of Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru—most famous of the city’s Gatherers—cannot defeat it alone. With the aid of his cold-eyed apprentice and a beautiful foreign spy, he must thwart a conspiracy whose roots lie in his own past. And to prevent the unleashing of deadly forbidden magic, he must somehow defeat a Gatherer’s most terrifying nemesis: the Reaper.

Thoughts? :D

Thursday, June 14, 2012

[review] Maggie Stiefvater - Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)

Title: Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Books of Faerie, #1
Publisher: Flux
Format read: Paperback
Source: Local library
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.

Random paragraph: "I woke up giddy. Last night, I'd been weirded out by the experience in the church and the idea of faeries stalking me, but this morning, fully rested, with early pale light filtering in through the delicate white curtains, I felt on top of the world. All the negatives seemed far away, and my mind just kept replaying his kiss over and over again." (p. 97, paperback edition)

When I closed this book, I had a huge grin on my face. After a string of less-than-satisfying books, it felt amazing to read a book that worked.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

[review] Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl - Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Authors: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Format read: Paperback
Source: Personal collection
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.

Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.

There was a curse.

There was a girl.

And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Random paragraph: "The room was frozen, except it wasn't. I was frozen. My father was frozen. His eyes were narrow, his lips rounded to form sounds that hadn't had a chance to escape his lips. Still staring at the plateful of mashed potatoes, untouched. The Sisters, Aunt Caroline, and Marian were like statues. Even the air was perfectly still. The pendulum of the grandfather clock had stopped in mid-swing." (p. 288, paperback edition)

I'll be upfront: I'm disappointed because this could have been totally awesome.

Waiting on Wednesday (6): A. G. Howard - Splintered

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.




Title: Splintered
Author: A. G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):
For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before.

When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on.

There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.

Why I Look Forward to This: Oh my gosh, just... everything about this. The slightly-insane cover! The summary! And Melissa Marr posted her "first ever detailed" review on Goodreads for this book, in which she praises it HIGHLY. And I trust her taste. Booo on the release date, though; I'd love to see it out sooner!