Summer 2013 Book Haul

Hey everyone! Remember me?

Books accumulated over the summer, and I meant to share them earlier. Earlier as in last month. “There’s still time,” I said, my brain melting into goo as I marathoned Legend of Korra. As I neglected everything else to binge-read and spend an unhealthy amount of hours Tumblring. By now many students have returned to school, unless you’re like me–waiting for classes to start on the 25th–and autumn weather is settling in. About time, too, but summer isn’t over–not yet. Not technically. Not until tomorrow.

Okay, so I procrastinated on this post, but it’s all right. I’m here now–and with a new shipment of books. Oh, gosh, look!

The Dark Victorian: Risen, Vol. 1 by Elizabeth Watasin The Night of the Comet by George Bishop (ARC) The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke (ARC) The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

1. The Dark Victorian: Risen, Vol. 1 by Elizabeth Watasin
2. The Night of the Comet by George Bishop (ARC)
3. The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke (ARC)
4. The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

In one short stack: here are all of my giveaway wins. Or, actually, almost all of them.

I was one of the lucky few to win The Dark Victorian over at BookLikes from Elizabeth Watasin herself. I look forward to this for a variety of reasons, one being that I am a sucker for anything that sounds remotely steampunk. All the better if a dash of mystery and intrigue gets tossed in, right? Bishop’s The Night of the Comet and Neftzger’s The Orphanage of Miracles were delivered courtesy of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Giveaway. The chance to read The Orphanage of Miracles did present itself a couple of months ago, and although I haven’t made time to review it (tsk, tsk), I genuinely adore it. (A sequel is expected, which I would love to get my hands on.)

Another win–one that I anticipate reading above the rest–is The Boy Who Could See Demons. Ten year old Alex’s best friend is a demon who goes by “Ruen,” but is Ruen real or imagined? After his mother’s suicide attempt, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya, who–having gone through her daughter’s battle with schizophrenia–must decide if Alex is schizophrenic or can truly see demons. The spiritual realm versus imagination versus psychology–just my kind of book.


1. A Dawn Most Wicked by Susan Dennard
2. Awakening Kelly Foster by Cara Rosalie Olsen

A Dawn Most Wicked is not just 150 pages all about Daniel Sheridan (any SS&D fan will understand), but it’s also my prize for participating in Susan Dennard’s SS&D Book Club last month. In case you missed it, Epic Reads chose Something Strange & Deadly as their new monthly read, but Susan added additional fun by sprinkling in prizes and hosting weekly discussion questions. For selected winners, there were weekly prizes packed with enough awesome to turn any YA reader into jealous grabby hands, but everyone got a participatory prize: either a deleted scene from A Darkness Strange & Lovely or e-novella A Dawn Most Wicked–I opted for the latter, and I am tickled by the thought of reading this.

Thank you to Susan Dennard, who is an amazingly kind author. If you haven’t read Something Strange & Deadly (see review), please do.

My second e-book is Cara Rosalie Olsen’s Awakening Foster Kelly, my first Tumblr giveaway win. This is courtesy of Bloody Brilliant Books‘ giveaway as well as Cara, and I send many thanks to both!

haul 1

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
2. Airman by Eoin Colfer
3. Angelfall by Susan Ee
4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Coelho’s book didn’t hit my radar until after I’d encountered Paolo Bacigalupi’s book of the same name (see review). Coelho’s The Alchemist lies in the center of high praise, and it’s given me the belief I’ll feel so wowed by this book that I’ll knock a star off Bacigalupi’s book. I have avoided reading reviews, luckily, so at this point, all I expect from The Alchemist is that it’s… good. But pfft! to all that admiration for now, because I have two books in this stack that I cannot wait to tackle: Angelfall by Susan Ee and Airman by Eoin Colfer.

Young adult paranormal literature–romance included or not–is not my usual taste, because usually, YA PRN tastes stale and bitter and… Ew, I think that’s mold. You catch my drift? I’m not a huge fan, but there are few books I make exceptions for. Anna Dressed in Blood is one of the few, and it’s one of the few that didn’t disappoint me. I shouldn’t fail to mention that I’m also a devoted fan of the Something Strange & Deadly trilogy. I have it on good authority that Angelfall is like an extra-heavenly angel cake with hidden ingredients to pop out and dazzle you into a drool-monster craving more, more, more! Okay, so those weren’t the exact words Tanya used, but I hear it’s pretty damn good and I’m excited.

…But I’m also excited for Airman. Really excited. Very excited. Heavy-breathing-touching-the-book excited. Fidgety-with-anticipation excited. My-heart-leaps-to-the-clouds-and-soars-with-stars excited. You feel me?

(Don’t forget: It’s The Secret Garden! That was my favorite story as a kid. Uh, in movie-form. I never got around to reading the book, but that will change, okay?)

1. The Morning Star by Robin Bridges 2. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard 3. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

1. The Morning Star by Robin Bridges
2. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard
3. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride and A Darkness Strange & Lovely were two of my most anticipated summer releases, yet I only got through one of them. The day the mailman plopped A Darkness Strange & Lovely in my mailbox is the day I devoured it. Any issues with the first book that might make a reader question Susan Dennard’s ability to pull off a good mystery shatter in the second book. I was undeniably impressed by the growth and changes, how the two books string together so well–and how the third will, I am sure, complete the story without one loose end. More than anything, Susan’s writing slapped me into a happy shock, for there’s command over language and a plot which has thought behind every detail. Nineteenth century Paris comes to life in A Darkness Strange & Lovely with vivid imagery that sucks me in–a strength that Susan Dennard and Yangsze Choo share.

As much as I wanted to finish The Ghost Bride, I couldn’t. The book is beautiful, so rich and vivid that I swear I could look away from its pages and find myself in the middle of a 1893 Malayan road. This is a book to savor, I realized, so I set it down, promising to return when the time is right. As for Robin Bridges The Morning Star, well, I’m not sure when I’ll feel like reading it. The Morning Star is the final book to Robin’s Katerina trilogy, and at one point, I had looked forward to it. It was high hopes that fooled me into ordering the third book before I’d read the second, and my interest sunk after I sped through The Unfailing Light. The Gathering Storm soaks in potential, yet the The Unfailing Light serves as plot-filler. And all that potential? I felt it wither up and crumble.

Yeah, I’m still grumbling over the $17 I put toward The Unfailing Light–not that it matters, because I have a new heap of books to drool all over.

Signed copy of The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

Signed copy of The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger

8 thoughts on “Summer 2013 Book Haul

  1. Your copy of The Secret Garden is beautiful :). I feel like I have the abridged version of it, but I’d love to get my hands on a copy like yours :). I’m like you about The Morning Star. I was excited about it at the beginning of the year, but after going back to The Unfailing Light, I agree it felt like one of those plot filler books. I haven’t even bought the last book and I actually donated my copy of The Gathering Storm to the library. I’m guessing they’ll either keep it since it was in great condition or they’ll sell it. I’ve heard so much about The Alchemist! I really should read it sometime. Great Haul Raya! Good Luck with School next week :). Have you gotten all your classes sorted out? And are you excited for Korra tonight? :)

    • I really like my copy of the The Secret Garden! If you click the photo, you can see a better image of the front cover here: It’s one of those B&N hardcover classics for children, ha ha. I got it because the cover is adorable, but it was also only $10. (I have to admit, I love A LOT of the those B&N children’s classic lit hardcovers. The Peter Pan cover is eye candy.)

      I’m not sure what I’ll do with my Katerina books. My copy of The Gathering Storm is a used paperback ARC edition, so I’m not too sure what to do with that. The library probably wouldn’t keep it, but at the least books 2 & 3 are new and in good condition. I might just give them away to someone after I read The Morning Star.

      I did!! I was trying to respond to your other comment but I couldn’t find the reply button yesterday :/ I got both the classes I need and want!! I’m enrolled in environmental science again, thank GOD! I don’t know what I’d have done if I’d gotten stuck with the other class. Bonus: both my environmental science and interpersonal comm are online (:

  2. I think I mentioned a while back that I had read Anna Dressed in Blood (and its sequel) and was surprised to like it as well. Otherwise I normally stay far, far away from that genre. I also bought and finished The Ghost Bride and you are right to put it away until you can really savor it. I will warn you though, that as you get further into it, you might just start thinking that there are unseen entities floating all around you (oh gosh, is that one behind you right now??). In all seriousness though, it was a fantastic read and I’m really glad I took a leap of faith on it. Best of luck to you when school starts next week! I myself am leaving soon for school as well so I’m really savoring these last few days of complete freedom. ;)

    • You did, I remember! The only thing that confused me in Anna Dressed in Blood is: how can you kiss a ghost? Can Anna become corporeal at will, was it something I missed, or is it some kind of icy-cold sensation for Cas? Either way, I’m interested in the sequel.

      I’m glad you enjoyed The Ghost Bride! I had debated between pre-ordering that or The Bone Season, and from what I hear about The Bone Season, I’m glad I went with Yangsze Choo’s book. I didn’t get very far, but I already have a character crush on Tian Bai.

      Thank you, and good luck as well! I always have trouble switching from vacation to schoolwork mode when it comes to fall classes.

      • I think I just started assuming that all the ghosts in Anna Dressed in Blood were corporeal, or perhaps could turn corporeal when they wanted to? (usually when they wanted to kill someone) And yeah, I remember feeling confused when Cas put his arms around Anna. I think at that point my brain just went, okay so she’s a ghost with a physical body. I’ll run with that.

        And yes, Tian Bai! Completely agree with you there. I’d say more but I don’t want to spoil anything so… yeah. I hope you do a review on The Ghost Bride once you finish it!

    • Makes you question who they are working for. It's quite obvious. They're different sides of the same coin. Why do you think they hate Ron Paul so much? Because they hate the founding principles and We the People. We are in their (the elt93&#0ei;s) way. When the American middle class is removed, then the globalist agenda can for forward in full scale.

  3. Hi Raya! What an amazing selection of books, I’m thoroughly jealous! And to have won a hefty majority of them is amazing. I’ve never participated in any giveaways or won any copies of books before – how do you go about it? And where do you find out about all of them? Great post as usual! :)

    • By browsing and through luck! If you have a Goodreads account, you can browse book giveaways and request the ones you like. Likewise with LibraryThing and BookLikes. LibraryThing has two different types of monthly giveaways, one for general LT members and another for people who want a chance to win ARCs called Early Reviewers (and I believe you can enter both types of giveaways). The thing about LT and GR is that your chances of winning diminish if you haven’t reviewed your past wins. I really like BL because your chances of winning are higher since the community is small, but because the community is small the selection of books is also tiny.

      Oh, and then there’s Tumblr. If you follow book blogs on there, book giveaway posts are bound to pop up on your dash (:

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