waiting on wednesday (83)

Today I’m participating in "Waiting On" Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to spotlight upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I've read one Justine Larbalestier book, How to Ditch Your Fairy.  I thought it was quirky, fun, and I know it would have appealed to teen me (I was a very dedicated teen athlete as well as a bookworm, and I never thought there were enough books for my demographic - especially books featuring girls-who-play-sports!).  I also checked out the short story collection Zombies vs. Unicorns, which she co-edited with Holly Black. Those (positive) reading experiences led me to Larbalestier's blog and Twitter, and I've found that she's articulate, funny, and interesting on social media as well as a great writer of fiction.  So I was quite disappointed when I heard that her latest book hadn't sold in the U.S.  It seemed like pure bad luck.  But hey, that's changed!  It's coming!  I'm super stoked.  Razorhurst will be released by Soho Teen on March 3, 2015.

razorhurst by justine larbalestier book cover
Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and living on the street, is blessed and cursed with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts, and she sees the cracks already forming. Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell.

Dymphna is a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” for the trail of beaus who have died trying to protect her from Mr. Davidson’s assassins. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and as Gloriana’s hold crumbles one burly henchman at a time, the girls will need one another more than ever.

As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens at every turn, Dymphna is determined to not only survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side—and to save Kelpie from both the living and the dead.

What books are you waiting on?

top ten fantasy series i want to start

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | | 8 comments
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

There are over 300,000 new books published in the United States each year. I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 books per year (and no, my Goodreads stats won’t back that up – I’m choosy about what I claim on the internet).  This means I am missing… so many books.  And I will never catch up!  Even if we narrow it down to fantasy novels, there are still too many for any one human being to read.  So.  How do I ever choose?  I take suggestions, I store bits of conversations in my brain, and I bide my time.  This week’s list is about series I know I want to start (and for some of them, I've known this for years) – books that have stellar recommendations from readers whose taste I trust.  I can’t wait to dive in!

Top Ten Fantasy Series I Want to Start

1. Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce – Take away my YA fantasy fan card, I've never read ANY Tamora Pierce.  I know.  I know.  I plan to fix that soon (probably when I find the entire series at a used book sale).

2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – I've had internet and IRL (in real life) friends telling me to pick up this series for a while now.  I even have all of the books.  Just need to dive in!

3. Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier – Angie of Angieville is a huge fan of this series, and she's never steered me wrong before.  Plus, the cover artwork is gorgeous.  I show a consistent weakness for pretty things... (but especially books!)

4. Temeraire by Naomi Novik – Dragons + Napoleonic Wars.  It's the kind of crack-y concept that I would have devoured back in the day when series were just an excuse to spend more time buried in books (these days there's a bit more of a time crunch). This series would make a good holiday gift for my youngest brother - and of course it's only polite to read the books along with him so we can discuss!

5. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – I've read one Sanderson book, The Rithmatist, and that was enough to convince me that I need to check out his other worlds.  This series also came with a very high recommendation from a real life friend.  So there's that.

6. Cecelia and Kate by Patricia C. Wrede – Well, you'd think I'd have picked this book up on the series title alone, since one of the characters and I share the same name and all.  But.  I've been holding off, Not sure exactly why, except that I always love Wrede's books, and maybe I'm hoarding for a later (bad) day.

7. The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin – Here's what I know about these books: they're complex, epic, political fantasies with well-developed worlds, written by an author of color, and very well received by fans of fantasy.  Also, the first one is on my shelf.  

8. The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – When I moved home to Seattle in 2009 after leaving grad school (I abandoned a PhD program), I did a bunch of odd, part-time jobs until I made the move to DC and found full-time work.  One of those occasional things was to drive a family friend's teenage son to tutoring.  He had a well-loved copy of The Thief in his backpack, and he was so in love with the book (and eager to tell me all about it) that I promised to eventually give it a try.  I now have a copy on my Kindle app, and given the amount of love I see everywhere for this series, I know I need to read it.  Soon.

9. The Books of Raksura by Martha Wells – I can't remember who recommended this series so strongly to me... but I remember thinking, "Oh, those sound like my sort of books."  I promptly purchased the first one, and it has been waiting on my e-shelf ever since.  It's kind of my M.O. at this point.

10. The Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox – Emma (Miss Print) convinced me to move these books up my TBR (to be read) list, and I broke down and bought myself copies a month or so ago.  I just need to move from owning to reading.  Which shouldn't be hard, because I adored Mortal Fire, the only other Knox book I've read.

What is one series you’re excited to start reading?

monday memories – clariel

Monday, October 20, 2014 | | 3 comments
Emma of Miss Print and Nicole at The Book Bandit have started a new weekly feature called Monday Memories.  To participate, all you have to do is take a photo of one of your books (or a library book that means a lot to you) and talk a bit about why it made an impression.  Today I'm going to talk about Clariel by Garth Nix.

True story: I haven’t read this book yet. 

Given that I’ve re-read Sabriel and the other Abhorsen stories over and over (too many times to count!), you’d think I would have already jumped into this one.  Especially since I picked it up at Book Expo America in MAY, and it is October now.  Somehow this book has become a charm.  In my head it has become the thing that’ll pull me out of a terrible day, the antidote to reading malaise, the cure for all that ails me! 

I may be putting too much pressure on this book.  I’ll stop, I swear. 

Oh look at that – it’s me meeting Garth Nix in person and getting his signature.  I was SO EXCITED (I’m in the middle, that’s my sister on the right, beeteedubs)… it doesn’t show in the photo, but my heart was beating like mad and I almost forgot how to speak.  I just… authors are my rock stars, you know? 

So yeah.  Even though I haven’t read this book, it means a lot to me.  It’s potential wonder, the continuation of a favorite universe, and the meet-and-greet of the year.  Dear book, I don't know you yet, but I love you.

If you'd like to see more Monday Memories posts, head over to this week's link list.

waiting on wednesday (82)

Today I’m participating in "Waiting On" Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to spotlight upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

One of my very favorite books of 2014 (so far) is Tin Star, a young adult sci-fi novel set on a mostly-abandoned space station that orbits an abandoned planet.  I adored the world-building, the heroine's emotion and trust issues, and the way the story played with what it means to be human. I was seriously, seriously impressed, and I can't wait for the sequel.  WHICH IS COMING SOON, thank Thor (and yes, that was a nod to my current Avengers fanfiction addiction)! Cecil Castellucci's Stone in the Sky will be released by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) on February 24th, 2015.

stone in the sky by cecil castellucci book cover
In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star CafĂ© on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.

What books are you waiting on?

top ten books for readers who like character-driven novels

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | | 6 comments
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

I think most of us know instinctively when we're reading character-driven books.  There's a focus on character growth: characters grow older, grow into themselves, make decisions that will change the trajectory of their lives or confirm previous choices... and then find ways to deal with that.  The story is more about personality than plot.  I enjoy plot-driven books as much as the next young adult fiction fan, but I have a soft spot in my heart for reads where the heroes and heroines have rich inner lives.

Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Conor's mother is ill, and he is being visited by a monster.  Though there's plenty of story here, the focus is Conor, dealing with denial and grief on the way to adulthood.

2. Chalice by Robin McKinley – Beekeeper Mirasol is faced with a seemingly impossible task, and must rely on her strengths, develop her talents, and trust in order to save her world.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontĂ« – It feels like cheating to include a classic, but this one really is character-driven.  Jane is a prickly person capable of deep feeling, and it is (almost) her downfall.

4. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach – Felton is the best.  This book is the best.  Whenever I think of the genuine awkward that is teenage life, I think of this book.

5. Relish by Lucy Knisley – Yes, this is a graphic memoir, and thus the author is writing her (own) character.  I think the medium gives Lucy's story a bit of distance, and the result is all about growing up in your own way.

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – This is a very autumnal book... and while I liked the human (and equine) characters very well, my favorite was the island of Thisby.  Which was very much a character of its own, thank you very much!

7. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter – This reimagining of The Secret Garden is carried by main character Roo, who has a haunting past, a mysterious present, and possibly a positive future ahead.

8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Junior comes to grips with the differences between his home life on the Rez and his white, farm town school in his hilarious, tragic and haunting diary.

9. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle – This is a book about family, history, and a ghost.  It has the best dialogue I can remember reading, and some of the most memorable female characters.  

10. Plain Kate by Erin Bow – FEELS.  All of them.  Just... read this book!

Honorable Mention: Anything/everything by Sharon Shinn – Shinn writes really great fantasy and sci-fi with fantastic worldbuilding, and she ALSO writes beautiful, genuine characters.  Who often fall in love.  Mmmm...

What is your favorite character-driven novel?
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