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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A little bit of reading…

Or at least I would like this week to involve a little bit of reading. It’s July 2nd, which means the Summer Lovin’ Read-A-Thon officially kicked off yesterday. I found myself on the busy side of things, so I accomplished little reading. Today, I hope, will not be a repeat of yesterday! Either way, I took a trip downtown for a scheduled library raid to pick up several books. Although most of the books I plan to read are from the library, I won’t make an official Library Loot post. I don’t have an exact “reading schedule,” either, but here is what’s set for Summer Lovin’ week!

reading 1

CURRENTLY READING:

I thought I would have finished Neftzger’s book by now, and I easily could have. I enjoy her writing and the story immensely, told in fairy tale-like fashion, and the book proves highly readable. What stands between me and finishing The Orphanage of Miracles are other books! You might say I started Summer Lovin’s Read-A-Thon a few days early, as I took the weekend to read up through the third book in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series. (What can I say? The series is addicting. Thank you, Tamora Pierce.)

As you can see, I also started Battle Royale. This is for Underrated Bookers, a group run by Rebecca (thebooker) on Goodreads. From the Underrated Book Project, books are chosen each month. For this month, the group picked books from the dystopian genre: Battle Royale, Ready Player One, and The Darkest Minds, so if you’d like to take part feel free to join the group! (You do not have to read all three books.)

Moving on to library books, now…

LL 1

I’m starting the library loot list off with leftovers. Yes: these are the very same books from two weeks ago. You can bet I’ll finish Lioness Rampant, if not this week then certainly by the following week.

LL 2

I am terribly excited to read this stack! I’ve said recently that I am itching for fantasy and steampunk, and, well… steampunk took over. My one and only worry is that I won’t enjoy these books as much as I’d like to. I can’t say I’m new to steampunk, as I do love the fashion and steampunk concepts that are used in films, but I am new to steampunk in literature. I’ve read so-so and mixed reviews for The Pearl Wars and Boneshaker–though I must say that my eagerness to read them doesn’t waver. I think the most promising out of these three might be Westerfeld’s Leviathan. His Uglies series isn’t for me, but Leviathan sure does have an appeal.

LL 3

Again: another great stack I look forward to. The Darkest Minds has sat on my to-read shelf since before its publication, and I am hoping to use Underrated Bookers as an excuse to finally read it. The sequel is due out soon enough, so I really do hope to make room for it at some point during July.

Of course, I believe I mentioned The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Wildwood Dancing in a Top Ten Tuesday post, which I still hope to read before summer turns into fall. I admit that I’m most antsy to start Jemisin’s book, as the summary and cover have a fancy, wondrous appeal that I have trouble denying.

LL 4

Sky Castle is a quick children’s picture book, which I discovered in the library’s catalog as I hunted down steampunk titles. Just to clarify: Sky Castle is NOT a children’s steampunk picture book, but I don’t deny the allure of one. I also have Melina Marchetta’s The Piper’s Son here, and I’m awfully excited to read it. I loved Saving Francesca, so I am eager to start the companion novel, like, right now.

Naturally, as an ATLA fanatic, I need to read The Search, where Zuko teams up with Azula to discover the truth of what happened to their mother. I weep tears of joy. Really, I do–and for a couple of reasons. The first being: Azula. She alone is one of the best villains I love to love, and I love her character all-around. (As I do Zuko. How can you not like him?) Secondly: we may finally learn the truth! ATLA’s finale slapped me across the face when the creators left this cliff hanger dangling on all of our faces.

Last up…

book 2Yes, we all know I picked up Battle Royale to read and finish, but the one book–above all other books–I am dying to read is Airman by Eoin Colfer!

Eee! What is that sound? Squeals of excitement and bliss.

Once I finish The Orphanage of Miracles and Battle Royale, which books am I picking up next? Who knows. As much as I want to read Airman, I am known for neglecting my own books so that I can plow through towers of library loot. I’m also a mood-ish reader, and I will waste a day trying to figure out which book out the many I should read.

Problem solved:

reading mug

I point out: the creepy-faced reading mug, for it has an actual face, and I refuse to drink from it.

I pooled together titles that interest me and wrote their names on paper scraps before placing them in my “reading mug.” If I ever have difficulty choosing what to read, I can blindly pick a title. Suddenly: choices becomes less problematic.

(Remember: sign-ups for the Summer Lovin’ read-a-thon are open through July 6th! Just before the 24-hour reading marathon starts.)

Happy reading!