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.

ebooks

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

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Something Strange & Deadly Book Club: Week One

SS&D book club

Over at Epic Reads, a new book club read is chosen each month. For August, Epic Read’s pick is one of my favorite comfort books: Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly. Well, Susan decided to spice up this month’s SS&D fun by hosting her own book club, and by adding A Darkness Strange & Lovely and prizes into the mix as well. Each week is an opportunity to win other great books–including signed hardcovers!–as well as a participatory prize of A Dawn Most Wicked or a deleted scene from A Darkness Strange & Lovely. Read more about it here and sign up if you like!

I had lots of fun answering both discussion questions this week (they were both too interesting, and I had things to say!), which you can read below the cut: Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday #4

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by  Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

A Darkness Strange & LovelyA Darkness Strange & Lovely (Something Strange & Deadly #2) by Susan Dennard
Release date: July 23rd, 2013

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)

Goodreads Summary:

Perfect for readers Libba Bray’s The Diviners and Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel series, this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly delivers a mix of intrigue, supernatural forces, intense romance, and revenge, all set against the enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.

With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and see haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

| B&NThe Book DepositoryAuthor Website |

I will be honest: this is the first time I fully read through the summary, and… I think it spoiled me. Did I want to hear the news of Eleanor’s mom just yet? Nope. Did I want to hear about Oliver so soon? No. Much of my excitement for A Darkness Strange & Lovely comes from the unknown, wanting  to know what transpired after Something Strange & Deadly‘s conclusion — what happened to Eleanor’s mother, the family’s financial burden and social standing within the city, and of course: Eleanor herself. Eleanor is nothing if not tough, as I think she proved herself by the first book’s end. Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, while not flawless, became one of the more addicting, fun reads of 2012, and I anticipate the sequel’s release with much excitement! I have a copy pre-ordered, so you can guarantee I’ll be stalking my mailbox until the book arrives.

What are you waiting on?

Top Ten Tuesday #12

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish. Click  here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT is: 10 books at the top of my Summer TBR list, and frankly, it’s a bit impossible for me to give anyone a straight answer. I have more books I want to read than books that are coming out this summer, and I often choose what I read on whim — I’m more of a mood-reader than anything else. This list is mostly comprised of older books with just a few ones set to release in these upcoming months. I look forward to all, however! Several weeks ago I wanted nothing but light chick-lit before moving on to “gritty” contemporaries, and now all I care about are fantasy and steampunk titles. I guarantee that this list will change–just give me another week or two and I’ll find a different genre to obsess over.

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Wildwood Dancing

1. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing was recently recommended to me, and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. Caught in a web of ARCs and other books to review, though, I am grudgingly holding off. In the mean time, I steal as many glances as I can at its beautiful cover and enticing summmary.

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Airman

2. Airman by Eoin Colfer
This is one book I recently stumbled across on my own, and its steampunk aspect is only half of the appeal. When Conor, the main character, attempts to intervene in a conspiracy against the king, he is branded a traitor and locked away. The only hope to escape imprisonment and off the island lies in flight, and Conor must put his designs in luck’s hands as he tests his designs. The Artemis Fowl series never grabbed my interest, but Airman certainly has my intrigue.

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Crown Duel

3. Crown Duel (Omnibus) by Sherwood Smith
I first discovered Crown Duel on one of my many book-hunts on Goodreads, and I fell for the summary. Not only that, but as a devout fan of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina (watch out, because I will push and push this book on you, and then I will push some more even after you’ve read it), this book has come recommended to me by other readers of Seraphina. I attempted Crown Duel once before, but I was sidetracked into sitting it down. Hopefully that will no be the case the second time around.

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Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

4. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING by Tamora Pierce
No one will gasp in horror and shock anymore. I will read Tamora Pierce. I will. I’m due to pick up her Song of the Lioness series at the library, even–and yes, that is the entire series I’m picking up.

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The Ghost Bride

5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
I am particularly excited to read Yangsze Choo’s book, and for reasons that I can’t pin-point. Plots that handle the afterlife and incorporate folklore or fairy tales, and introduce creatures that spook you in the night–spirits, demons, and even dragons–are irresistible to me. Choo’s novel is not a purely unique story, as you can find several like it, but I’m curious to see Choo’s own twist on this tale.

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Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

6. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
The less I know about this series the more I will enjoy it–that’s what I gather from Jemisin’s trilogy. Sometimes, when I let the criticism and insight of other readers sink in, I feel like my curiosity and interest becomes clouded. From what I do know, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms sounds wonderfully different and fresh, and I look forward to getting lost in its pages.

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The Bone Season

7. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
For someone who’s been dubbed “the next J.K. Rowling,” I think Shannon’s The Bone Season has pressure bearing down on it. Although why Samantha Shannon and her work have been compared to Rowling, I can’t say, because the only similarity between these two writers seems to be a seven-part series. Some hype is rumbling, however, and I’m catching it. You can say I’m eager to read The Bone Season for myself, but the excitement bubbling in parts of the book blogging community hasn’t prevented my skepticism. I’m excited all right, but wary, although I do hope to enjoy Shannon’s book when it’s released.

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A Darkness Strange & Lovely

8. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard
Us SS&D readers are still waiting on this! And I want it this instant. A Darkness Strange & Lovely is the sequel to Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, and while it took several months for the first book to grow on me after completing it, I am eager to see where Eleanor Fitt’s journey to Paris takes her. (I will not deny that I am also hoping for a spectacular steampunk gadget-hand! Those who read the first book know what I’m talking about. Cue for all-knowing wink: wink.)

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Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

9. Harry Potter Books # 2 – 4 by J.K. Rowling (re-reads)
I finally went through on my promise to at least re-start Harry Potter when I read and reviewed the first book. Back when Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows was first released, I made it through about half of the book. A friend spoiled me silly, school started, and horror of horrors: I couldn’t recall what a horcrux was. I didn’t think it was possible for to forget something so vital, but it is. In an effort to reach and finish the last book, I’m venturing through all the HP books again. Because I want to read hoards of books, I hope to read up to the fourth book this summer.

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The Orphanage of Miracles

10. The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
I won a free copy of Neftzger’s book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers’ May giveaway batch, and I was delighted to open my mailbox this week to find it. I was hoping The Orphanage of Miracles would arrive while I’m still on a fantasy-high, and it did — I can’t wait to start reading this!

>>Notable Mentions:

Which books do you want to read this summer?