Book reviews and assorted musings of a book lover

New on my Bookshelf: November and December

So here is another “haul” post, including books I received for Christmas. November and December were good to me, so I’m breaking this post up into two parts: Young Adult and Adult Fantasy. The total book count is 19. Wow…I’m just going to jump right in. Hope you enjoy!

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So the first books I got were The World of the End  by Ofir Gaftla and The Cusanus Game  by Wolfgang Jeschke. I won them in a giveaway of international books, from the amazing people of Tor.com. I haven’t started either of them, but they do look interesting.

The next book, which I received from the wonderful people over at Gollancz, was Moon’s Artifice  by Tom Lloyd. I am currently reading this, and so far it’s very good. The world and the characters are both very real and Lloyd has a real gift with descriptions.

After that, my family and I went to New York City for our annual holiday trip. We usually go to museums but this year I convinced everyone to go to Strand Bookstore. I had gone earlier this year, but unfortunately was rushed so I didn’t have a good chance to walk around, and it was overwhelming. I needed to go back and really admire all the books. So we all went and of course I bought a book, because who goes to Strand and doesn’t buy a book? Not me. I picked up a copy of The Passage  by Justin Cronin. I actually started this book over the summer, but it’s very dark and somewhat dense, so I put it down and never got back to it. I did enjoy it however, and when I saw the hardcover for $10, I decided to go for it. Now it is forming the base for my ever-growing 2014 TBR pile.

I didn’t get any Adult Fantasy books for Christmas, but I did get quite a few gift-cards to Barnes and Noble. So I trekked over to their Paramus store, the one with the amazing used book section, and I went a little nuts. Just a little. I bought a bunch of books, starting with Malice  by John Gwynne. I have been dying to read this book since I heard about its release in Great Britain. I thought it was right up my alley. Then I heard it was coming over to America, so I put it on my Christmas list. I didn’t get it, and when I saw it at B&N, I just couldn’t pass it up. I got a little distracted with other books, but it is next on my list to read.

I also bought Thieftaker  by D.B. Jackson. I’ve a lot of good things about it, but I don’t really know much about the plot. It’s supposed to be a really amazing Historical Fantasy, so I’m looking forward to that.

The other books I got had been on my list for a long time. The Chronicles of Amber  by Roger Zelzany is supposedly a classic, and I started it years ago, but never finished. Now I have all the books.

Devices and Desires  by K.J. Parker looks very interesting, I’ve started it already and so far its good. This is my first book by this author, but I’ve heard good things, so I’ll keep reading.

City of Dreams and Nightmares  by Ian Whates looks really good. I love books about interesting cities and I absolutely love it when an author create a city that is a character in its own right, and not just a backdrop. I’m hoping that Whates succeeds in doing just that.

The final book from above is Spellwright  by Blake Charlton. This book looks like it incorporates my other favorite story line, the young pupil must master a certain skill to save the kingdom, world etc. For some reason, these type of books really catch my eye. I love seeing a character develop from a bumbling idiot into a hero. Spellwright  looks like it has that sort of story, but with a few added twists.

On to the Young Adult books!

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Alright, the first young adult book I got was Relic  by Heather Terrell. I had contacted her for an interview, but she left on tour before she received my questions. So I was taken completely by surprise when I received a hardcover copy of Relic in the mail. I immediately dropped the other book I was reading to start this one, and I finished it pretty quick. It was good, but at the end, I just couldn’t stop laughing. If you’ve read it then you probably know what I’m talking about.

This holiday season I was involved in two Secret Santa parties. And both times I got books. The first was The Selection  by Kiera Cass. The friend who gave it to me is obsessed with the series and she decided it was time I read it. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it does look interesting.

The second Secret Santa book was The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak. I tried to read this book when I was in middle school, but I couldn’t get past the idea that it was narrated by Death. Now its been turned into a movie, which I have not seen. It looks like the kind of book I want to read before I see the movie.

I didn’t get that many fiction books for Christmas. I did, however, get one that I REALLY wanted, which was Shadow and Bone  by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and I loved it so much. I am reading the sequel as I type this post, and it is begging for me to pick it up again. The third book, Ruin and Rising, isn’t due out until the summer and it is one of my most anticipated books of the year.

The only other books I got for Christmas were Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant  in a box set. I’ve read the first two, but someone (i.e. the Internet) spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me, so now I’m hesitant to start reading. I will though, because I love Tris and Four so much. The trilogy is so beautiful on my shelf and I have a new love for box sets. They are so nice looking.

Anyway, on the same post-Christmas Barnes and Noble trip, I bought Under the Never Sky  by Veronica Rossi. I started reading this book, and I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know, but the main character just bugged me. I’ll try to start over, but I make no promises.

The final book in this too-long book haul is Masks  by E.C. Blake. This book was also on my Christmas list, and since I didn’t get it, I bought it for myself. I read it on New Year’s Eve, because I was already staying up and I really got into it. I like the idea of the masks as a way of the government to control the people. It was a little extreme, but I enjoyed it.

So that’s my November and December book haul. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrated, and I wish everyone a happy 2014! May it be great!

My First Author Signing

Yesterday I went to my first author event. It was held in New York City, at the 92Y, on 92 Street and Lexington.

I am a huge book fan, but I live in an area that few authors ever visit on their tours. However, NYC is not all that far away, so sometimes I can make it to an event there. I’ve never been to any sort of book event before, beyond local book fairs, so I was a big ball of excitement leading up to Saturday. You’re probably wondering who it was that I met, right?

I saw Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, and Christopher Paolini. Mr. Sanderson was on tour for his new YA book Steelheart (Which I have already read and loved. Stay tuned for a review), Mr. Dashner was touring for the first book in his newest series, The Eye of Minds, and Mr. Paolini was on tour to promote the release of the 10th anniversary edition of his first book, Eragon.

It was incredible to meet these authors, people I’ve admired for such a long time. I love their work and it was surreal to meet them in real life.

So, anyway, onto the actual event.

I hadn’t bought a VIP ticket, so all of the other people who bought regular tickets, like me, waited in line to be seated. After that, we met all the authors. The moderator, Alex Zalben, was great. He asked good questions that led to good discussions, and he let them talk for a while about each one. It was nice to hear complete answers from all three of them, and not feel rushed at all.

James Dashner was hilarious. He made lots of jokes and seemed very comfortable in front of a crowd. He was very cool, and I liked his goatee. He also dropped a few hints about the movie, Maze Runner (which is set to be released September 19, 2014). I am super excited to see that because I loved the book.

Brandon Sanderson and Christopher Paolini were both very informative. Their explanations and answers to the questions were thoughtful and helpful.

My favorite part of the whole event (besides actually meeting them face-to-face) was when they did their readings. To make things interesting, they switched books with each other. So, Mr. Sanderson read Eragon (the scene where Eragon blesses the child Elva), Mr.Dashner read the prologue to Steelheart, and Mr. Paolini read the first few pages of The Eye of Minds. It was fun and interesting hearing them read one another’s work. Of course, Brandon Sanderson had to read some of the ancient language found in Eragon. For all of you who haven’t read the book, it is very difficult to pronounce, so Mr. Paolini helped him a bit. But it was nice to see that even authors make up their own pronunciations for words they don’t understand in fantasy books.

NYC Author Signing 1

On the left is Brandon Sanderson, in the middle is Christopher Paolini, and hiding in the back is James Dashner.

After that, we moved into an adjacent room where our books were signed. Sadly, I don’t own a copy of The Maze Runner, which I really enjoyed, so I could not get James Dashner’s signature. But I did wait in line for Christopher Paolini and Brandon Sanderson. I got my personal copy of Eragon signed, as well as my favorite Sanderson novel, The Way of Kings. I was a complete idiot, and I really didn’t say anything. I was so overwhelmed.

Afterwards, I went to the top of the Empire State Building. It was stunning. The trek up there was not fun at all, with two separate elevator rides and several rooms with twisting queues, which were all empty because it was seven o’clock at night. But we still had to walk through most of them.

Once you got to the top, though, it was beautiful. I took so many pictures. I wanted to stay up there all night, but it was freezing, so I couldn’t. It was so romantic and I saw so many couples. Everyone talked softly and I had the opportunity to truely appreciate the beauty of the city skyline.

NYC Skyline

What a way to end the night

All in all, it was a fantastic day. I met some authors that I really admire and who really inspire me to continue my writing.

A to Z Bookish Survey

Originally created by The Perpetual Page Turner, and picked up by several other bloggers, this A to Z list is a funny questionaire regarding books and your book related habits. I thought it would be a nice break from reviewing. Here it goes:

A: Author you’ve read the most books from

As a kid, I read the entire Redwall series by Brian Jacques. There are 22 books in this series. I loved the talking animals and the Abbey in the forest. As of today, the author I read the most of is Brandon Sanderson. I read everything this man writes.

B: Best Sequel Ever

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Just as amazing as the first book.

C: Currently Reading

The Passage by Justin Cronin, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnson, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m a multiple-books-at-a-time kind of person.

D: Drink of Choice while reading

Chocolate Milk. If I get too absorbed in a book (which is likely to happen) it gets warm and disgusting. But while it’s cold, it reminds me of my childhood, and besides, it’s chocolate.

E: E-reader or Physical Copies?

Tough choice. I love both. I love physical books. I love finding them in a store, I love holding them, and I like the smell of their pages. But they are expensive to buy and heavy to carry. So I like my e-reader when I travel so I can have 100 choices, instead of the four books I can squeeze into my carry-on.

F: Fictional Character I would date in High School

Wow. I would have to say Jace, from City of Bones, because he is so funny and sarcastic, and he has a good heart. I’d also have to say Locke Lamora, from The Lies of Locke Lamora. He is eccentric, eloquent, and entertaining. I would love to spend time with him.

G: Glad you gave this book a chance

World War Z by Max Brooks

H: Hidden Gem Book

Isn’t this similar to the last question? I’m going to interpret it as physically hard to come by. For this would have to be, Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon. I looked all over for this book after I finished the first one, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally, I came across both it and the third book and was thrilled. I still haven’t gotten around to the third one yet.

I: Important Moment in Your reading Life

Finding The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I had pretty much abandoned fantasy when I found this book. I thought that there just wasn’t anything left in the genre. I was so wrong. Yay!

J: Just Finished

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling, The Thousand Names by Django Wexler, The Fault in our Stars by John Green and The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

K: Kind of Books you won’t Read

Erotica. It just makes me uncomfortable. I also won’t read hardcore science fiction. Most times all the computer-technical-robot stuff just goes over my head.

L: Longest Book you’ve read

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (1001 pages)

M: Major Book Hangover because of…

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I couldn’t stop thinking there were people I couldn’t see fighting demons. Every time I saw a boy with odd colored eyes I thought he was a shadowhunter.

N: Number of Bookcases you own

5 bookcases. IKEA. Is. The. Best. Four are narrow, but one is huge. I also have two shelves above my desk, full of books and my desk is home to a few piles of books.

O: One book you’ve read multiple time

Divergent. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. I love it so much.

P: Preferred place to read

My armchair. It’s comfy faux-leather and it has a soft blanket, squishy pillow and window view.

Q: Quote from a book you read that inspires you

I don’t really remember quotes from books. At the time I think they’re awesome, and I want to keep them forever but I never write them down. I’m terrible that way. The only one I can think of is one my mom read to me when I was little. She told me that you could live a good life if you could remember this quote:

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
-A.A Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

And I just thought of another one that really got me,

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
-John Green, The Fault in our Stars

R: Reading Regret

My very tiny budget

S: Series you’ve started but need to finish

Maze Runner by James Dashner

T: Three All Time Favorite Books

This is incredibly hard for anyone who has read more than three books in their entire life. I think I can get it to around five, which is like pulling teeth for me. In no particular order: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This list is constantly changing, there are so many more that I love, but all of these have really stuck with me.

U: Unapologetic Fangirl for…

The Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. I tell everyone about them. I am also a huge fangirl for books in general. I talk about them all the time. As for authors: Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Veronica Roth, and Cassandra Clare. I love to have conversations about different authors and styles of writing.

V: Very Excited for this release (more than anything else)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

W: Worst Bookish Habit

Reading when I should be socializing

X: X marks the spot. Count twenty-seven books from the top left corner of your bookcase.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Y: Your latest book purchase

Three books from Amazon- Shade’s Children by Garth Nix, Enclave by Ann Aguire, and Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Z: Zzz snatcher (book that kept you up late)

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

So those are my answers to the A to Z Bookish Survey. Feel free to comment, or do it yourself, just link me!

Book Covers

Face it, everyone buys books based on their covers.

I am a huge fan of books, but if the cover isn’t appealing, chances are I’ll pass it over for something else. For me, if I’m looking for a new book that I haven’t already read or heard about, I look at a few things. The title and spine design, the cover, the blurbs, and reviews.

I DO sometimes buy books solely based on their title, or if an author I love gave the book a great review, but I mostly choose my books based on their cover and blurb.

The cover of a book serves the purpose of drawing potential readers in. It’s supposed to represent the story, or an aspect of the story, in a single image. Everything is important when there is so little space to work with. The font, placement, and most of all, the art. Obviously, what appeals to one person won’t necessarily appeal to someone else. Certain colors, fonts, or setups could perk someones interest, or make them put the book down. I know I like books whose cover doesn’t give any details of the story away. I like symbols, things that represent the story or a character. I like a little mystery when I pick up my books, I don’t always want to know everything about the book.

This applies to both the cover and the blurb on the back cover or inside flap. I want to know what the main point of the book is, but I never want to know how it ends. There are certain covers out there that instantly draw me to a book. Every time I see these covers I say to myself, “I need to read that”, even if I’ve read it already.

Here is a list of book covers that I absolutely love:

I can’t get over how much I love these covers.

Wool by Hugh Howey– I like this one because it gives nothing away. I know it had nothing to do with the book, but I like the simplicity and colors. The paperback copy I have is also the perfect size. It’s between mass-market and trade. The blurb is what really got me. I could not possibly read anything else until I read this. You can read it HERE, as well as my review.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien– I already had a copy but I bought one with this cover because I liked it way better. Again, it’s simple, but the colors are so vibrant. I already have a beautiful set of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I wanted this edition as well. May I also add, that the Hobbit is the perfect thickness. Every time I stack my books, there is always a dead space, where nothing will fit, but the Hobbit always fills the empty space.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson– This cover basically sums up the entire book in one picture (which is it’s job). The two figures are characters (who I will leave nameless), and the clouds and landscape actually play a huge roll in the plot. The bright colors really drew me in and besides, I love Sanderson so much, so I was going to buy it regardless.

Divergent by Veronica Roth– This is the cover that inspired this post. Every single time I look at this book I want to read it all over again. The cover is a symbol for one of the factions in the book (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet). The colors are absolutely gorgeous and the font isn’t too big. The single line at the top is amazing too, “One choice can transform you.” I’m getting goosebumps. If you don’t know already, Divergent is going to be movie, starring Shailene Woodley. It comes out on March 21, 2014. I’m so excited.

The Unremembered by Peter Orullian– When I first saw this book, I said to myself, “What a beautiful cover.” Then I read the excerpt, and I said, “I NEED this book.” So I bought it and I haven’t read it yet. I’m a terrible person. The overall story-line basically steals everything from Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. So I stopped reading it, but I still think it has a gorgeous cover.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch– The copy I own actually has a different cover, but the only reason I picked it up is because I saw this cover on Goodreads and thought that the style of art was very good. So I picked up my copy and read it. I loved it and you can read my review HERE. Both this book and its sequel have absolutely amazing covers. I can’t wait for the third one!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare– This cover is the movie-tie in edition, and it’s beautiful, isn’t it? I almost bought a second copy just so I could have it. I love the reflection of the city and how different runes are included in the design. I also, for some reason, am very drawn to the lighting. I love the soft sun in the back round and how it makes the city look.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas– I love this cover so much. It’s killing me that it’s not out yet. I love, again, the reflection and how different the opposite sides are. I love how realistic the water is and the faint outline of a castle. I want this book so bad!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey– This is one of my all time favorite covers. It really symbolizes how alone the main character (Cassie) really is. I like how dark it is, and the sunlight really stands out. I also really like how the title is in the center of the cover, and is not too big. This cover just feels real to me, like it’s a picture of a real girl. The book is absolutely amazing, and you can read what I thought of it HERE.

There must be hundreds of other covers I’ve missed. Tell me your favorite covers in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

New On My Bookshelf : September 1 – 8

Each week I receive books, whether I buy them myself, or win them, or get them for free, I’ll do a little post so you know what to expect.

This batch is from Amazon, Goodreads, and my local library.

Anyway, onto the books.

The first one I have been dying to read since I heard about its release in print form. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan was originally only released as an e-book. Somehow, it ended up printed, and blurbs and advertisements were everywhere. I fell in love when I read the blurb for the first time. It looked like a good, solid fantasy novel. I finally managed to purchase a copy. I’m super excited, and I plan on reading it as soon as I can.

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

 Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order. 

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.”

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan (A Raven’s Shadow novel)

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The second book I’ve had my eye on for while as well. Enclave by Ann Aguirre, is a grim looking dystopian novel that looks positively gripping. I’m on a dystopian, young-adult kick right now, so it’s right up my alley. Both my sister and I are looking forward to reading it.

“WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.”

Enclave by Ann Aguire (Razorland Book 1)

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The final book I bought from Amazon was Garth Nix’s Shade’s Children. Another dark looking, post-apocalyptic book. I’ve started it in the past, but have put it down in favor of other books. I’ve heard great things about it, and I remember really liking the beginning. Hopefully, it lives up to what I remember.

“If you’re lucky, you live to fight another day.

In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no human shall live a day past their fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the children of the Dorms are taken to the Meat Factory, where they will be made into creatures whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade—once a man, but now more like the machines he fights—recruits the few teenagers who escape into a secret resistance force. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade’s children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords’ power—and the key to their downfall. But the closer they get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become.”

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

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This next book came in the mail, not from Amazon, but from Goodreads. I won it in a free contest on Goodreads, which, may I say, is an amazing site. Free books make pretty much anyone happy and it was a hardcover, which was a pleasant surprise. Anyway, I entered the contest and won, which is awesome. This book is an adult thriller, with, it looks like, a lot of religion. I like the idea and the main premise of the book, and I just hope that the story doesn’t suffer because of the idea of a unified religion.

“Aaron Davis joins his father’s ministry at seven years of age. He attracts national attention when he heals a woman of cancer. His services draw thousands of worshipers. He creates an organization with his sister Esther, called the Brotherhood of Man, that unites the major religions of the world. He brokers a treaty that ends the conflict in the Middle East and Northern Africa. He fields a powerful army to maintain the peace. Jack Holder, a former Congressman, becomes President. The United States is under intense international pressure to join the Brotherhood of Man’s effort to create a new world order. Jack’s secret Masonic organization wants Aaron Davis eliminated. Barbara Holder, Jack’s religious wife, believes Aaron Davis is the Antichrist. The fate of the world will depend on which side Jack chooses.”

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These last three I got from my local library system. All of them are ARCs, which I am really excited about.

The first one is Aquifer by Jonathan Freisan. It was published on August 6. This one is a young adult dystopian book, dealing with water being a scarce commodity. I like the cover, and the premise of this one, and I can’t wait to read it.

“Only he can bring what they need to survive…

In 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. And they’ll do anything to maintain their power – deceiving, dividing families, banning love… even killing those who oppose them.

But above all, they seek to control knowledge and communication – ensuring the truth that will bring their downfall will never be known. But one person verges on discovering it all.

Sixteen-year-old Luca becomes the Deliverer, the only one allowed to contact the people called ‘Water Rats,’ who mine the essential water deep underground and bring it to the ‘Toppers’ who desperately need it above. 

But when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart and leads him to secrets – secrets about a vast conspiracy, and about himself – the net around him tightens. Luca and those around him must uncover and share the truth needed to overthrow tyranny – even as they fight for their lives.”

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The second book is Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig. This one was published in July (so these ARCs aren’t really advance anymore). This one is about a utopian society with a massive divide between the Haves and the Have-Nots. It reminds me a bit of the new movie Elysium, with the rich living high in the air, and the poor barely surviving on the ground. This book looks very exciting.

“Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow ? and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie ? his first mate and the love of his life ? forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry ? angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.”

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The final book I got from my library was Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston. I have been super excited for this book. It was one of my most anticipated books of this month. It has magic and a completely new setting. I am dying to read this, it’s at the top of the pile. Expect a review soon. I’m so excited!

“Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.”

So, that’s all for this week. Comment if you have any thoughts!

Best Books of…Summer 2013

Sadly, summer is coming to an end. The days will get shorter and colder, with more predictions of snow. And with these dreary days comes a chance for more reading time. To curl up under a blanket and read a new book as you listen to the snow plows and sooner or later, Christmas music.

But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

This summer I read some fantastic books. Here’s a look at the books I read, but didn’t have a chance to review. Just a few thoughts on each title, and maybe a recommendation or two….enjoy!

“After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long—and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele—and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior… and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.

Someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough…”

This is the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora. I reviewed the first one here. I loved that one, and the author kept the plots and schemes coming in the sequel. I adored it completely. Jean and Locke are my new favorite duo. The third in the series, The Republic of Thieves, is due out October 8. A review is forthcoming.

“There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon’s law…but now the pattern is running over the Emperor’s own arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon’s agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor’s only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court’s stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an aging imperial assassin, the Emperor’s Knife.
As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who once saw a path in a pattern — a path that might save them all.”

The first in a trilogy, The Emperor’s Knife is complex and unique. The Persian-like empire, and the different character backgrounds allows the reader to enjoy the story to a new extent. The sequel is already published, and I am eagerly awaiting the final book.

“After spending most of his life in captivity, Sarmin now sits upon the Throne of Cerana. But his reign is an uneasy one. And the emperor’s own heart is torn between two very different women: Mesema, a Windreader princess, and Grada, a lowborn untouchable with whom Sarmin shares a unique bond. In times past, a royal assassin known as the Emperor’s Knife served to defend the throne from menace, but the last Knife has perished and his successor has yet to be named. Sarmin must choose his own loyal death-dealer . . . but upon whom can be he bestow the burden of the Knife-Sworn?”

Sequel to The Emperor’s Knife, this book lives up to its predecessor, and then some. We meet new characters and learn more about the motives of familiar ones. I can’t wait for the third book to come out!

“Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.”

The Brad Pitt movie was nothing like the book. I was terrified, as this was my first zombie book. The changing perspectives didn’t allow a connection to form, but it showed the reader so many different takes on a single event. It was thrilling and I was hooked easily. I loved the style of this book. I know there really isn’t room for a sequel, but I wish was there was one!

“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.”

I liked this book. It was easy to read and I found it to be less action packed Hunger Games. It was diverting, but boring at times and the characters were somewhat simple. However, I found the world to be unique and interesting.

“In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.”

The sequel to Matched, and not as good. The rebellion hiding in the wilderness was a little cliché. This book was a quick read, but interesting enough to make me want to read the final book in the trilogy (already published).

“In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city.

Oree’s peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger — but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?”

Second book in the Inheritence Trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book, and I loved this one just as much. I was disappointed to leave the characters from the first book, but the author does a good job of introducing new people. I don’t like the sex in either book, but the story doesn’t suffer because of it.The characters are wonderfully real and flawed. I cannot wait to read the last book.

Tell me the books you loved this summer in the comments!

Book Review – Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh Howey
Publisher: Century
Published: 2012
537 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: Bought at an independent bookstore

“In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.”

“What would you do if the world outside was deadly and the air you breathed could kill? And you lived in a place where every birth required a death, and the choices you made could save lives or destroy them?

This is Jules story.

This is the world of Wool.”

I had seen this book in a few different stores, but had put it back on the shelf more than once. I regret doing that, because this book was amazing. It was thought-provoking and gripping and I loved every minute of it. I got this while I was on vacation and instead of swimming at the beach, I was completely absorbed in the story.

To start off, this is an adult dystopian novel. The setting is a massive underground silo, with over one hundred levels. The top is were the wealthy live, the middle is for the computers and middle class, and the bottom is for the Mechanics, where our main character comes from.

Juliette, Jules to everyone, is stubborn, strong willed, and creative. She works in the darkest, dirtiest place in the entire silo, and loves it there. She is the best girl for any job. I loved her take on problems that didn’t involve her and how her sense of right and wrong drove her to ask questions. I loved following her through the story and I was rooting for her the whole time.

For the record, the title has nothing to do with the book. There is no wool in the story, not even sheep. I don’t quite understand where the title came from. Perhaps he is referencing the saying, “removing the wool from someones eyes”, but it seems a bit far-fetched. It bugged me the whole book.

I found this book to be a more mature Hunger Games. An oppressive government keeping secrets from the people, a heroine fighting for the truth, and a world that is alien, but at the same time eerily similar to our own.

This story was originally five separate novellas, that have now been combined to make this great book. Each one is slightly different, whether in perspective or overall tone, but they all flow together.

This is the sort of book I would recommend to anyone. When I finished it, I begged members of my family to read it. No one has yet, but I will be suggesting this to everyone I know for a long time.

Overall opinion: I absolutely loved this book. Five stars, ten stars, the highest it can go. The title was annoying, but the book itself was spectacular. As I said, I suggest this to anyone and everyone.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

Update (9/5/13) : I just discovered that Wool is part of a trilogy. Woohoo, two more books!!! I’m so excited. The second is called Shift and the third is called Dust! I can’t believe I didn’t see them sooner. I want to read them so bad!