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Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


This past week was light on reviews, so expect a review heavy October going forward. 
On a personal note I'm kind of saddened by the Goodreads drama. I'm not directly affected, but no book exists in a vacuum and it is an insidious form of censorship to not allow mention of the author in a review. Particularly as there seems to be cherry-picking as to what is considered a policy violation. On a practical note,  I had liked having a resource to learn the authors likely to harass me about an unfavorable review, in order to steer clear. I've always used LibraryThing and I may start directing links there, but that site does not have summaries. I've looked into BookLikes and personally I'm not a fan.

Here's my book haul for the past couple of weeks:

The Never List by Koethi Zan
Shadows by Robin McKinley
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Also, now that I have some time this week and my TBR is almost as tall as my night stand, I'll be participating in Fraterfest 2013 Oct 3 - Oct 8 to try and get some more books finished.


Have a great week everyone!



Wednesday, September 25, 2013


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Today I'm waiting on...


by Anna Jarzab

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.


Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

Release date: October 8, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013


My picks for Top 10 Sequels:



Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work?
The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends. First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 

This week's question: What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid? If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

I mostly remember reading Dr. Seuss, especially Hop on Pop which I had memorized and would pretend to be able to read. The Lorax was my favorite. I also had a collection of Disney adaptation stories, similar to the one pictured:

Hop on Pop pic name The Lorax

I don't have children, but I do read to my nieces and nephews. Here's some popular selections from the nephew I babysit most often:

Brown Bear Monster at the end of this Book pic name
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases I'm eagerly anticipating. 


Vicious by Victoria Schwab

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.



I really loved Victoria Schwab's novel The Archived, and this premise has the potential to be amazing. I'm looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top ten books on my fall reading list:

 Older books to cross off my TBR:

The Passage Fingersmith Revenge Vampire Academy

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin - I've been meaning to read this for a couple of years, now's the time.
2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - This has been highly recommended
3. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa - Scary short stories.
4.Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - So many people gush over this series, I want to check it out.

New Releases:

Delia's Shadow Doctor Sleep The Screaming Staircase
Untold pic name The Waking Dark
5. Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer - A historical mystery set in San Francisco
6. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King - sequel to The Shining!
7. Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - I love this author, fun new series.
8. Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan - Gothic mystery, sequel to Unspoken
9. The Final Descent by Rick Yancey - So excited.  
10. The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman - I've started this, creepy so far.

This list consists of spooky reads, both for the RIP challenge and because that's what I'm in the mood for lately, but other kinds of books will be probably creep in. I can never stick to a reading list. I'm going to have to read faster to get to them all :).  
Monday, September 16, 2013
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

Release date: September 17, 2013

Publisher: Balzer & BrayIt all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.


Summary from Goodreads
ARC received from BEA 2013

Review: The Burning Sky is an enjoyable fantasy with an emphasis on the relationship between the two main characters: Iolanthe and Titus. Those who expect their fantasy to be more fast-paced may be disappointed, but if you don't mind pages dedicated to the building of a relationship with occasional boarding school hijinks this novel's for you. I enjoyed as it hit on many things I love: political machinations in a fantasy world, a cross-dressing heroine, elemental powers (think Avatar:The Last Airbender), and a developed romance.
            Sherry Thomas was a romance writer prior to her YA debut and I felt that experience was reflected in the tension-filled relationship between Titus and Iolanthe as they find themselves attracted to each other, experience conflict, lose trust, then find a common cause. As far as the characters as individuals: Titus is one of my favorite heroes to date. I enjoy self-sacrificing protagonists, especially if they are pragmatic schemers working toward larger goals. The political maneuvering he is forced to do to preserve his secrets is right up my alley. I liked Iolanthe as well, but I didn't get as clear a sense of who she was, likely because Titus is the character driving the action. However she is allowed to shine when it comes to heroics, and does a great impression of an English school boy. 
          As far as world-building, we are given just enough to get a sense of how this universe works. While it's a plus to not be bogged down in exposition I would have liked more detail on the conquering New Atlantis, how it affected life in the Domain, the relationship between magic/non-magic lands etc. Also the rules of the magic system could have been more clearly delineated, for the most part it seemed that abilities were dependent on the situation. The overuse of the archaic word "foodstuffs" also irritated me, but these are nitpicks. The Burning Sky is a fun read.

Recommended for: People who enjoy magical adventures, romance, Evil Empires, boarding school stories, prophecies, the Graceling Trilogy or Throne of Glass. 

4 Cricket balls.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Haul and Blog News

Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

So some of my pre-orders came out plus I had a giftcard which I took as license to lose my fool mind in the middle of the Strand on two separate occasions. Here is the result:




The Final Descent by Rick Yancey - I'm going to put off reading this until I've found a bucket of sufficient size for my tears. You know that sad feeling when a series you love comes to an end? The end of this book is going to make my waterworks when Harry Potter used the resurrection stone look like a contact lens irritation. 
Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman - Anything curated by Neil Gaiman must be good. I'm interested in reading more short stories.
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron - Sequel to last year's enjoyable The Dark Unwinding
Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer - I love the look of this, and it's the time of year for dark supernatural mysteries
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - The title alone makes me want to read this one.
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman - I hope it's as intense as rumored.
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach - I love listening to Mary Roach's nonfiction as audiobooks but had missed this one. Perfect nonfiction for the RIP challenge.
Lockwood & Co. #1: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - I absolutely loved this author's Bartimaeus trilogy, I'm excited for this new series.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - Can't get enough post-apocalyptic, this one seems more realistic than most.
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason - good old steampunk, with ties to Sherlock Holmes and Dracula
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill - This purchase is solely due to book blogger buzz, from all I've read this is time travel done right. I hope it lives up to the hype for me. 
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell - Experimental literary fiction, for hipster cred (not really). 


Here's what's coming up this week:
Monday - Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Tuesday - Top Ten Books on my fall reading list.
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday - Review Double Feature: The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves
Friday - Film Friday: review of You're Next
Saturday - Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider 

I'm probably not going to do a book haul every week, because contrary to evidence I'm going to curb my book purchases going forward and I'm not one for ARCs at this stage. To the library! 
The list of upcoming posts however, I feel will be useful. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's that time again! Feature and Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.

Q: It is up to you to do a Kickstarter campaign for your favorite book!!! Who are you casting for the main characters?

The book I'd start a Kickstarter for is The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

As far as casting:

David Tennant as Dr. Pellinore Warthrop

I'm not familiar with many child actors who'd be appropriate for this next part so it's 
Asa Butterfield for Will Henry

Finally:
Tom Hardy as Dr. John Kearns

This kickstarter would need to raise a lot of funds, as the Anthropophagi would be CGI.

What's your fan cast for your favorite book?
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
With thanks to Breaking the Spine.


Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2)
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: September 24, 2013
Free from bonds, but not each other
It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.
But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?


Sarah Rees Brennan's first novel in this series was great, and I can't wait for the resolution to the cliffhanger. If you haven't read Unspoken yet, now's the time. I anticipate some gothic goodness, jokes, and heartbreak from this novel, not to mention romance. 

Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
Published By Philomel/Penguin

Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.
With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Summary from Goodreads.

Review: This novel, a modern day story based on Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Annabel Lee", did not work for me, largely due to the setting but I had other issues as well. The writing is good: Liam has a distinctly old-fashioned way of speaking influenced by both the speech patterns of his community and his classic and Romantic reading material. I enjoyed what we saw of the heroine and love interest: she has some WTF reactions I found totally understandable under the circumstances. Use of Celtic mythology is something I usually enjoy and the use of quotes taken from various works by Poe at the beginning of chapters was interesting. Ultimately however the novel as a whole fell flat. 
              I normally try to suspend my disbelief and accept the world as presented by the author, but this book tested my limits. Though the story is set in the present day our hero and narrator, Liam, lives on a time capsule of an island. The lack of electricity and other modern amenities such as gas and medicine make the modern day setting seem more 19th century. I'm at a loss as to whether this island off the coast of Maine is part of the U.S., Canada, or is a country unto itself. This last choice seems to be the most likely, as this would explain the lack of any government or infrastucture. People seem be lured to their deaths every night, but no one ever feels that maybe they should move somewhere with a lower mortality rate. No one ever investigates these deaths and the only law is enforced at the hands of an angry mob. The primary link to the outside world comes from the convenience store where Liam works: gossip magazines are in stock, the number one choice of reading material for all superstitious lobster fisherman I'm sure. Hey, no judgement.
            The setting's absurdities aside, the relationship driving the narrative is as shallow a case of insta-love as I've ever read. Attraction on Liam's part makes sense: he and Anna were childhood friends and she was one of two people to ever treat him like a human being. Anna's attraction also makes sense: she wants to escape her socialite life and Liam is allegedly super hot. It's when after a couple of days this attraction is declared an eternal soul bond kind of love that my eyes roll straight out of my head and down the road. Also Liam's psychological damage as a result of being treated like a demon his whole life is magically cured by Anna telling him that's nonsense. It is, but that does not make his magnanimously forgiving the various characters for their treatment of him any more emotionally realistic. Liam's infatuation also makes for tedious reading: it's like going to dinner with a friend who's in a new relationship and talks about it constantly. I'm happy for you but it's been three hours, can we talk about something else? Like how to stop the constant drownings?
          Speaking of the drownings, the villains of the story leave a lot to be desired. Poe's stories tend to be about human evil, his poems about the consuming nature of grief. Gothic novels tend to have an element of mysteriousness that make them effective. The supernatural creatures driving the plot of this novel sit around gossiping and making bets like it's happy hour at the bar. Some secrets from the past come out, but are ultimately unsatisfying and there is a literal deus ex machina. 
Recommended for: People who can suspend disbelief regarding the setting, people who find Romeo and Juliet romantic, people who love the poem "Annabel Lee".    

Two selkie skins    

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
With thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

Top Ten Books I'd like to see as movies/tv shows:

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door - I love Stephanie Perkin's novels and think a TV series set in San Francisco focusing on Lola and Cricket with bonus Anna and Etienne would be great.

2. The Name of the Star - The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson would make great movies. They've got humor, action, and really ratchet up the suspense.

3. In the After - Demitria Lunetta's apocalyptic debut novel has all the ingredients of a great summer blockbuster.

4. The Little Stranger - Sarah Water's haunted house tale was one of my favorite reads for last year's RIP. It would make a perfect film for fans of Downton Abbey.

5. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater's extensive cast of colorful characters and original supernatural tale would make for either a great movie or a TV show.

6. The "City Watch" Novels - One of the the most popular groups of characters from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, they would make for a great BBC miniseries. I really need to see Sam Vimes on screen.

7. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci - Diana Wynne Jones had an animated feature made of her novel Howl's Moving Castle, but I'd like to see the Chrestomanci books receive the same treatment, as either a film or a series. Think about it, Studio Ghibli! 

8. The Forbidden Game - L.J. Smith, author of The Vampire Diaires, also penned this trilogy about an obsessive/sinister supernatural hottie and a board game gone horribly wrong. I'd love to see movies for these underrated books. 

9. The Magicians - Lev Grossman's literary breakdown of both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia would make for a great film, provided audiences looked past the unlikability of the milquetoast protagonist. The other characters more than make up for Quentin, however.

10. Night Film - A film of Marisha Pessl's novel could take this fantastic and creepy story further into meta territory and may create a cult following all on its own. 
Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's  time for Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

It's a bit late as I haven't been home, but here's my "bookshelf tour":



These are the books in my nightstand right now.

Due to the collapse of my bookshelves due to leaning on them while dusting, most of my library is piled up under my desk currently. I'm holding off on buying new shelves for when I move. Here are the books in front, the piles are three deep.  They started out organized by subject and author but I've dug through so many times they're currently stacked more or less by size. I can't wait to get new shelves:


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Post # 2

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


This past week was light on reviews, so expect a review heavy October going forward. 
On a personal note I'm kind of saddened by the Goodreads drama. I'm not directly affected, but no book exists in a vacuum and it is an insidious form of censorship to not allow mention of the author in a review. Particularly as there seems to be cherry-picking as to what is considered a policy violation. On a practical note,  I had liked having a resource to learn the authors likely to harass me about an unfavorable review, in order to steer clear. I've always used LibraryThing and I may start directing links there, but that site does not have summaries. I've looked into BookLikes and personally I'm not a fan.

Here's my book haul for the past couple of weeks:

The Never List by Koethi Zan
Shadows by Robin McKinley
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Also, now that I have some time this week and my TBR is almost as tall as my night stand, I'll be participating in Fraterfest 2013 Oct 3 - Oct 8 to try and get some more books finished.


Have a great week everyone!



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on Tandem (Many Worlds #1)



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Today I'm waiting on...


by Anna Jarzab

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.


Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

Release date: October 8, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #4 - Favorite picture book


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
How does this work?
The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends. First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 

This week's question: What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid? If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

I mostly remember reading Dr. Seuss, especially Hop on Pop which I had memorized and would pretend to be able to read. The Lorax was my favorite. I also had a collection of Disney adaptation stories, similar to the one pictured:

Hop on Pop pic name The Lorax

I don't have children, but I do read to my nieces and nephews. Here's some popular selections from the nephew I babysit most often:

Brown Bear Monster at the end of this Book pic name

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on Vicious

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases I'm eagerly anticipating. 


Vicious by Victoria Schwab

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.



I really loved Victoria Schwab's novel The Archived, and this premise has the potential to be amazing. I'm looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #6: Top Ten Books on My Fall Reading List


Top ten books on my fall reading list:

 Older books to cross off my TBR:

The Passage Fingersmith Revenge Vampire Academy

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin - I've been meaning to read this for a couple of years, now's the time.
2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - This has been highly recommended
3. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa - Scary short stories.
4.Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - So many people gush over this series, I want to check it out.

New Releases:

Delia's Shadow Doctor Sleep The Screaming Staircase
Untold pic name The Waking Dark
5. Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer - A historical mystery set in San Francisco
6. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King - sequel to The Shining!
7. Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - I love this author, fun new series.
8. Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan - Gothic mystery, sequel to Unspoken
9. The Final Descent by Rick Yancey - So excited.  
10. The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman - I've started this, creepy so far.

This list consists of spooky reads, both for the RIP challenge and because that's what I'm in the mood for lately, but other kinds of books will be probably creep in. I can never stick to a reading list. I'm going to have to read faster to get to them all :).  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

Release date: September 17, 2013

Publisher: Balzer & BrayIt all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.


Summary from Goodreads
ARC received from BEA 2013

Review: The Burning Sky is an enjoyable fantasy with an emphasis on the relationship between the two main characters: Iolanthe and Titus. Those who expect their fantasy to be more fast-paced may be disappointed, but if you don't mind pages dedicated to the building of a relationship with occasional boarding school hijinks this novel's for you. I enjoyed as it hit on many things I love: political machinations in a fantasy world, a cross-dressing heroine, elemental powers (think Avatar:The Last Airbender), and a developed romance.
            Sherry Thomas was a romance writer prior to her YA debut and I felt that experience was reflected in the tension-filled relationship between Titus and Iolanthe as they find themselves attracted to each other, experience conflict, lose trust, then find a common cause. As far as the characters as individuals: Titus is one of my favorite heroes to date. I enjoy self-sacrificing protagonists, especially if they are pragmatic schemers working toward larger goals. The political maneuvering he is forced to do to preserve his secrets is right up my alley. I liked Iolanthe as well, but I didn't get as clear a sense of who she was, likely because Titus is the character driving the action. However she is allowed to shine when it comes to heroics, and does a great impression of an English school boy. 
          As far as world-building, we are given just enough to get a sense of how this universe works. While it's a plus to not be bogged down in exposition I would have liked more detail on the conquering New Atlantis, how it affected life in the Domain, the relationship between magic/non-magic lands etc. Also the rules of the magic system could have been more clearly delineated, for the most part it seemed that abilities were dependent on the situation. The overuse of the archaic word "foodstuffs" also irritated me, but these are nitpicks. The Burning Sky is a fun read.

Recommended for: People who enjoy magical adventures, romance, Evil Empires, boarding school stories, prophecies, the Graceling Trilogy or Throne of Glass. 

4 Cricket balls.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Post #1

Book Haul and Blog News

Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

So some of my pre-orders came out plus I had a giftcard which I took as license to lose my fool mind in the middle of the Strand on two separate occasions. Here is the result:




The Final Descent by Rick Yancey - I'm going to put off reading this until I've found a bucket of sufficient size for my tears. You know that sad feeling when a series you love comes to an end? The end of this book is going to make my waterworks when Harry Potter used the resurrection stone look like a contact lens irritation. 
Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman - Anything curated by Neil Gaiman must be good. I'm interested in reading more short stories.
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron - Sequel to last year's enjoyable The Dark Unwinding
Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer - I love the look of this, and it's the time of year for dark supernatural mysteries
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - The title alone makes me want to read this one.
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman - I hope it's as intense as rumored.
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach - I love listening to Mary Roach's nonfiction as audiobooks but had missed this one. Perfect nonfiction for the RIP challenge.
Lockwood & Co. #1: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud - I absolutely loved this author's Bartimaeus trilogy, I'm excited for this new series.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - Can't get enough post-apocalyptic, this one seems more realistic than most.
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason - good old steampunk, with ties to Sherlock Holmes and Dracula
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill - This purchase is solely due to book blogger buzz, from all I've read this is time travel done right. I hope it lives up to the hype for me. 
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell - Experimental literary fiction, for hipster cred (not really). 


Here's what's coming up this week:
Monday - Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Tuesday - Top Ten Books on my fall reading list.
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday - Review Double Feature: The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves
Friday - Film Friday: review of You're Next
Saturday - Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider 

I'm probably not going to do a book haul every week, because contrary to evidence I'm going to curb my book purchases going forward and I'm not one for ARCs at this stage. To the library! 
The list of upcoming posts however, I feel will be useful. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday!


It's that time again! Feature and Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.

Q: It is up to you to do a Kickstarter campaign for your favorite book!!! Who are you casting for the main characters?

The book I'd start a Kickstarter for is The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

As far as casting:

David Tennant as Dr. Pellinore Warthrop

I'm not familiar with many child actors who'd be appropriate for this next part so it's 
Asa Butterfield for Will Henry

Finally:
Tom Hardy as Dr. John Kearns

This kickstarter would need to raise a lot of funds, as the Anthropophagi would be CGI.

What's your fan cast for your favorite book?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- Waiting on Untold By Sarah Rees Brennan

With thanks to Breaking the Spine.


Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2)
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: September 24, 2013
Free from bonds, but not each other
It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.
But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?


Sarah Rees Brennan's first novel in this series was great, and I can't wait for the resolution to the cliffhanger. If you haven't read Unspoken yet, now's the time. I anticipate some gothic goodness, jokes, and heartbreak from this novel, not to mention romance. 

Review: Ashes on the Waves


Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
Published By Philomel/Penguin

Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.
With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Summary from Goodreads.

Review: This novel, a modern day story based on Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Annabel Lee", did not work for me, largely due to the setting but I had other issues as well. The writing is good: Liam has a distinctly old-fashioned way of speaking influenced by both the speech patterns of his community and his classic and Romantic reading material. I enjoyed what we saw of the heroine and love interest: she has some WTF reactions I found totally understandable under the circumstances. Use of Celtic mythology is something I usually enjoy and the use of quotes taken from various works by Poe at the beginning of chapters was interesting. Ultimately however the novel as a whole fell flat. 
              I normally try to suspend my disbelief and accept the world as presented by the author, but this book tested my limits. Though the story is set in the present day our hero and narrator, Liam, lives on a time capsule of an island. The lack of electricity and other modern amenities such as gas and medicine make the modern day setting seem more 19th century. I'm at a loss as to whether this island off the coast of Maine is part of the U.S., Canada, or is a country unto itself. This last choice seems to be the most likely, as this would explain the lack of any government or infrastucture. People seem be lured to their deaths every night, but no one ever feels that maybe they should move somewhere with a lower mortality rate. No one ever investigates these deaths and the only law is enforced at the hands of an angry mob. The primary link to the outside world comes from the convenience store where Liam works: gossip magazines are in stock, the number one choice of reading material for all superstitious lobster fisherman I'm sure. Hey, no judgement.
            The setting's absurdities aside, the relationship driving the narrative is as shallow a case of insta-love as I've ever read. Attraction on Liam's part makes sense: he and Anna were childhood friends and she was one of two people to ever treat him like a human being. Anna's attraction also makes sense: she wants to escape her socialite life and Liam is allegedly super hot. It's when after a couple of days this attraction is declared an eternal soul bond kind of love that my eyes roll straight out of my head and down the road. Also Liam's psychological damage as a result of being treated like a demon his whole life is magically cured by Anna telling him that's nonsense. It is, but that does not make his magnanimously forgiving the various characters for their treatment of him any more emotionally realistic. Liam's infatuation also makes for tedious reading: it's like going to dinner with a friend who's in a new relationship and talks about it constantly. I'm happy for you but it's been three hours, can we talk about something else? Like how to stop the constant drownings?
          Speaking of the drownings, the villains of the story leave a lot to be desired. Poe's stories tend to be about human evil, his poems about the consuming nature of grief. Gothic novels tend to have an element of mysteriousness that make them effective. The supernatural creatures driving the plot of this novel sit around gossiping and making bets like it's happy hour at the bar. Some secrets from the past come out, but are ultimately unsatisfying and there is a literal deus ex machina. 
Recommended for: People who can suspend disbelief regarding the setting, people who find Romeo and Juliet romantic, people who love the poem "Annabel Lee".    

Two selkie skins    

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books that would make good movies/TV

With thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

Top Ten Books I'd like to see as movies/tv shows:

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door - I love Stephanie Perkin's novels and think a TV series set in San Francisco focusing on Lola and Cricket with bonus Anna and Etienne would be great.

2. The Name of the Star - The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson would make great movies. They've got humor, action, and really ratchet up the suspense.

3. In the After - Demitria Lunetta's apocalyptic debut novel has all the ingredients of a great summer blockbuster.

4. The Little Stranger - Sarah Water's haunted house tale was one of my favorite reads for last year's RIP. It would make a perfect film for fans of Downton Abbey.

5. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater's extensive cast of colorful characters and original supernatural tale would make for either a great movie or a TV show.

6. The "City Watch" Novels - One of the the most popular groups of characters from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, they would make for a great BBC miniseries. I really need to see Sam Vimes on screen.

7. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci - Diana Wynne Jones had an animated feature made of her novel Howl's Moving Castle, but I'd like to see the Chrestomanci books receive the same treatment, as either a film or a series. Think about it, Studio Ghibli! 

8. The Forbidden Game - L.J. Smith, author of The Vampire Diaires, also penned this trilogy about an obsessive/sinister supernatural hottie and a board game gone horribly wrong. I'd love to see movies for these underrated books. 

9. The Magicians - Lev Grossman's literary breakdown of both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia would make for a great film, provided audiences looked past the unlikability of the milquetoast protagonist. The other characters more than make up for Quentin, however.

10. Night Film - A film of Marisha Pessl's novel could take this fantastic and creepy story further into meta territory and may create a cult following all on its own. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #3


It's  time for Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

It's a bit late as I haven't been home, but here's my "bookshelf tour":



These are the books in my nightstand right now.

Due to the collapse of my bookshelves due to leaning on them while dusting, most of my library is piled up under my desk currently. I'm holding off on buying new shelves for when I move. Here are the books in front, the piles are three deep.  They started out organized by subject and author but I've dug through so many times they're currently stacked more or less by size. I can't wait to get new shelves: