Friday, April 30, 2010
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 1 2010)
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive in the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love-the light and the dark, the warm and the cold-in a way you will never forget.
I reviewed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater earlier this year (click here to read my review) so I was very excited to read the next installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And, fortunately, I was able to do this in advance (I feel very lucky :-)
Linger basically starts off a few months after Shiver. Sam and Grace are getting into the day to day of their lives. It seems Grace is not feeling quite right, but Sam and Grace would rather enjoy the time they have together (because it was almost lost to them) than discuss what may be happening to her.
We get to meet one of the new wolves brought in by Beck towards the end of Shiver. I have to say, I loved the dynamics of the Cole/Isabel dialogues. Linger takes a darker turn with Cole's character and I was impressed with Stiefvater's handling of his "problems". He's definitely an interesting addition to the mix and I can see what impact he could potentially have in the next book.
The story this times is told through the 4 perspectives of Isabel, Cole, Sam, and Grace, which means we get to understand more about Sam (cause through a bunch of Shiver he was a wolf) but we see less of Grace. Sam is a boy after my own heart: he works in a book store, listens to Damien Rice (among others) and quotes sad poetry, as well as writing some pretty emotional song lyrics himself.
Overall, I felt a sense of melancholy reading this story (but not in a bad way, if that's possible, lol.) Maggie Stiefvater gives us a little hope, then seems to dash it away but leaves just enough of a glimmer for the hopeless romantic (like myself) to continue to believe in never-ending love.
I absolutely devoured Linger! For me, Linger was even better than Shiver! I am very anxious now to get my hands on Forever, the final book of the trilogy, but will have to wait (im)patiently until July 2011.
And now, some good news for my followers....
I have a copy to offer up to one lucky person!
To enter, you must be a follower and fill out this form. Contest closes May 21, 2010 and the winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be picked. Good luck to all!
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Jan 13 2009)
From the Publisher:
Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley’s about to step into the role of Titania the Faerie Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined. Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and the Faerie realm alike.
In My Opinion:
I vaguely remember seeing the movie adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream but haven't read the Shakespeare original, so I was very interested in reading a modern day YA version of this story (it's kind of like cheating a bit, I know or at least I thought so, lol)
We start off in modern day New York, meeting the main character Kelley. What struck me as unusual here is that Kelley is 17 and living on her own (though sharing an apartment with another girl.) But Kelley is fiercely independent and strong willed. I think in reality, this probably happens more than I'm aware of out in the suburbs, with young adults heading to the big city to realize their dreams. It also neatly tidies up the sometimes underplayed roles of parents in YA books. So, kudos to Lesley Livingston for making this believable!
As Kelley runs into Sonny and strange things begin to happen, Kelley's true identity is revealed. It also seems that New York is full of people more unusual than we humans could have imagined, though the Fairy King, Auberon, has been trying to minimize the exposure of otherworldly creatues for quite some time. The Celtic mythology woven through the story and the explanation of Old World versus New World was very well done.
I very much enjoyed the ethereal quality of Wondrous Strange. I loved the chemistry between Kelley and Sonny and had my heart in my throat towards the end, wondering if Sonny would escape unscathed from a certain enchantment. I found that the story wrapped up nicely but also left enough curiousity in me that I'll definitely be continuing on with Darklight.
It would have been nice to have had the background of Shakespeare's tale but it was not necessary to enjoy this book. I am curious to see if the Wondrous Strange version of the Fairy heirarchy is similar (or relevant) in both. So, I'll put Shakespeare on the TBR, but Darklight will be up much sooner. Overall, a very enjoyable read.
If you'd like to browse through Wondrous Strange, you can sample the first 20% of the book at the Harper Collins website by clicking on the book cover above. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (April 26 2010)
The most personal
A young mother and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled across the windshield in bloodred lipstick.
The most dangerous
The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling is woken by a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars' worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is a nearly empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria.
The most exciting Women's Murder Club novel ever (Click here to continue reading the book description)
This is the first of James Patterson's mystery novels that I've read though I've heard so much about his work. I actually watched The Women's Murder Club when it was on TV, so I had a sense of Lindsay Boxer (the main character), but was curious to see the differences between the book and TV versions.
For me, this wasn't exactly a whodunit as much as a "why did they do it?" and "how will Lindsay (et al) catch the culprits?" since we learn the "who's" at the beginning. I found it to be a fast paced read and would normally also refer to it as a "light read" but the subject matter was quite dark (the killing of the mom and child.) It was upsetting, to say the least.
As for the differences between the two, there were a few noticeable ones, like Lindsay having blonde hair versus Angie Harmon's dark locks but overall, the feel was much the same. I would be interested to go back and read the character developments in this series at a future time as the others involved were only lightly discussed throughout.
While not the most complicated story line, The 9th Judgment is a great book to read if you're in between novels and looking for something that requires little effort. I would definitely recommend the Lindsay Boxer series to fans of cop dramas. It did keep my attention until the very end and left us with a bit of a cliff-hanger. Not bad, overall.
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (Sep 1 2009)
From the Publisher:
In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. (To continue reading the synopsis, click here
From what I'd heard around the blogging world, this book is considered LGBT-friendly. I'll admit, I had to research the term (I know, right? It seems so obvious now...) So, once I gleaned meaning, I was curious how this new-to-me theme would play out.
As Ash began, I could already sense a darkness to it. Aisling's mother has just died and her world has been torn apart. With her father often away, Ash lies on her mother's grave at night, hoping the faeries will come so she can bargain with them to bring her mother back to life. While this does not happen, things begin to change drastically for Ash.
Much like Cinderella, Ash's father remarries a Lady with 2 daughters, then he also dies. The circumstances surrounding this, though, are emotional and draining for poor Ash, in this retelling of the classic story. Full of the medical treatments of (and I'm only guessing here) the 1600-1700's, including bloodletting, it's frustrating for the reader to relive such a gross amount of stupidity in our history.
As Ash's stepmother relocates them closer to town, away from the faery-fearing folk of her childhood, Ash becomes the indentured servant, working to pay off her father's debts. Unlike the original, Ash becomes enamored with the King's Huntress, Kaisa, though her life is unknowingly intertwined with a faery's also. This strange love triangle is the true focus of the story, but having no Prince to rescue her from servitude, it is left till the bitter end of this story to see how/if Ash will somehow manage her happy ever after.
Okay, call me a traditionalist, but I was rooting for Sidhean, the poor faery that's painfully in love with Ash even though his past acts were fairly distasteful (faeries are notoriously fickle and sometimes cruel.) But that was not Ash's wish, so I had to defer to the character and the author here. In truth, this aspect of the story was not as uncomfortable as I thought it might be. I think this "LGBT" version was handled tastefully and with respect, making it enjoyable for all readers.
The Fairy Tales that Malinda Lo weaves in through the story are also excellent, while not being the "happily ever after" type that we are accustomed to. Lo's tales all seem to share the "be careful what you wish for" moral and are, again, quite dark, blending well with the rest of the story.
I very much enjoyed reading Ash despite any reservations I may have had initially. It was beautifully written and haunting. It's a different kind of "classic story" with a theme relevant in society today.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Here we get to discuss the books we've finished over the last week and what we'll be working on this week.
Last week, I finished The 9th Judgment by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, which releases today, so I'll get my review up quickly for it. I also finished Linger by Maggie Stiefvater...keep an eye out for my review, I'll have an extra little something in there for the Stiefvater fans out there ;-)
I'm still working on Bite Me by Christopher Moore and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate by Adrienne Kress (I started this one a couple of weeks back and set it aside, but I'm getting into it now.) I also started on The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (the subject matter here, namely slavery, is unsettling to me, to say the least, so I'm switching this up with the lighter reads for balance.) I will be starting on White Cat by Holly Black, for sure, sometime through the week.
I spent most of last week posting at Rated By Kids, so my reviews fell short here...at least I actually have a good excuse this time;-) That should mean a bunch of reviews will be posted here this week (fingers crossed, lol.)
What does your week have in store?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly event hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Here is how it works:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2 or 3) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Remember to show the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My pick this week comes from The 9th Judgment by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro:
"Dowling turned a wild-eyed stare on Conklin. His face went rigid with pain. He clutched his left arm and said, "Something's wrong.
He keeled over and dropped to the floor." (pg. 48 of the ARC)
Monday, April 19, 2010
Last week, I finished Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay and then had it signed by him!! (I'm still a bit giddy :-) My "tip of the iceberg" review can be found here.) I also started and finished Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston.
I couldn't decide what to read next, I have so many books to catch up on, so I read the first 4 pages of about 5 books, hoping something would snag me. I landed on The 9th Judgment by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. It's my first from The Women's Murder Club Series, so I'm looking forward to it. The other books that I started (all the "first 4 pagers"), will be what I continue with, also, this week: Bite Me by Christopher Moore, Next by James Hynes, Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, and White Cat by Holly Black. Hopefully I'll complete one or two of these.
What have you been up to?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Publisher: Viking Canada (Mar 30 2010)
Shen Tai is the son of a general who led the forces of imperial Kitai in that empire's last war against their western enemies from Tagur, twenty years before. Forty thousand men on both sides were slain beside a remote mountain lake. General Shen Gao himself has died recently. To honour his father's memory, Tai has spent two years of official mourning alone at the battle site among the ghosts of the dead, laying to rest their unburied bones. (Click here to continue reading. There is also a link to download the first chapter.)
I've been a fan of Guy Gavriel Kay since picking up his Fionavar Trilogy many years ago...and then all of his other books. And while I may come off as a bit gushy here or that I'm pandering, if you've read any of his work, you'll know what I'm talking about; if you haven't, you really should.
The main character, Tai, thinks nothing of his role in the world and is doing his self-appointed task without any thought of additional rewards, only to honour the memory of his father. But in his past, Tai has touched other lives, again without much thought to outcome, and has gained respect and loyalty from all of those he has encountered. This plays a very large part in the unfolding of this tale, much to Tai's chagrin.
Like a master chess player, controlling both sides, Kay sets the players in motion with move/counter-move reactions. He displays that one or two men can affect an empire through selfless acts or selfish impulses; that political intrigues can be for the greater good of all people or can be for personal exaltation only.
There is an intricacy to Kay's writing; his sense of time, place, societal rules are stunningly portrayed. From the description of painted screens and silken robes, to the in-depth character-building of Emperors, Generals or just Second Sons, we're able to readily glean the images and people he's depicting in this story. By the time I reached the last hundred pages, I became a puddle of emotional goo. Partly because of what was happening in the story but also because I didn't want these people to leave my life! I was enthralled and enamored, completely.
And then GGK steps outside the story, to show it from the (ficticiously) historical point of view; of what had been written by scholars about that time versus what only we, living in the moment through the story, can determine to be "fact". I haven't really done any research on historical Chinese societies, but on learning the basis for Under Heaven was the Tang Dynasty, I Wiki'd it. I found many similarities but enough differences to make this book unique, also.
Until now, my favourite GGK work has always been Tigana, but on reading Under Heaven it may have just been deposed! This is a wonderful, fictional, history-based fantasy that I just can't say enough good things about. The only downfall for me was that it ended. Period.
For a peek inside the mind of Guy Gavriel Kay, check out his Bright Weavings, where he journals and shares info with his readers/fans. He is a widely published author that has also got his finger on the pulse of the book blogging community, which I'm sure is of personal interest to those of you that share my love of books.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Canada
ISBN: 978-0-676-97808-7 (0-676-97808-8)
Pub Date: October 27, 2009
From the Publisher:
Angel Time is a dark, suspenseful novel about angels, reluctant assassins and a journey of redemption. (click here for more of the synopsis)
I have always enjoyed Anne Rice's novels but had been hearing mixed thoughts about her works since re-affirming her faith. When Angel Time was being released, I was curious to see how her writing had been influenced, if it had been at all.
I struggled with the first two chapters of Angel Time, as they were scene-building but I felt it went overboard on the description on San Juan Capistrano, The Mission Inn, etc., the area where the story begins. The main character, Lucky the Fox, is more than interesting, making up for this aspect.
As I got further into the meat of the story, Lucky, formerly known by (his real name of) Toby O'Dare, is approached by an angel, Malchiah, with an offer of redemption; if he gives up his life as an assassin and helps out this angel, he will be forgiven for his previous misdeeds (putting it very mildly.)
This is where things got very interesting for me. "Angel time" is described as the area or realm through which the angels can see all that has happened, all that is happening, and all that will happen. Lucky and Malchiah travel into angel time and end up in 13th century England, amidst a quarrel between the Christian and the Jews. A Jewish family has been accused of poisoning their daughter because she went to the Christian church to see the holiday pageant.
It is this scenario that held my attention the most. I think it's common knowledge that the Jewish people have had harrowing times over many millenia. The situation being played out here illuminated for me one instance of this history. While being rich enough to play the role of money lenders in the community, the Jews were stigmatized by having to wear badges on their clothes to indicate their religion. (For me, this is unthinkable!) Lucky's job is to placate the Christians, smoothing things over for the Jews to allow them to continue living.
This was emotional, eye-opening, and a decent historical look at how religions were viewed at that time. I hope today, while I know that it is far from a certainty, for most of the world, people are allowed to believe whatever they choose without having to publicly share those beliefs or justify them (barring extremists, in my opinion, of course.)
Angel Time is the first novel in Anne Rice's new series, Songs of the Seraphim. For me, I think that Anne's writing has always included elements of faith, so I don't really see a huge difference as far as it goes. I think she gave a very fair interpretation here, with the added richness of Toby's character. I'm glad I didn't give up on it at chapter 2.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (Jan 1 2010)
Beauvallet, originally published in 1929, was my first foray into the world of Georgette Heyer. I have seen her name around the blogging world, along with great reviews of her work, so I had to check her out. Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks and their re-release of it, I was able to review Beauvallet!
We first meet our hero, Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, as he is taking over a ship somewhere near the Caribbean. Also known as Mad Nick, he is not very popular with Spaniards at this time (to say the least) and the ship he is capturing is of Spanish ownership. On board, is the former governor of Santiago and his daughter, Dona Dominica. Beauvallet is immediately smitten but steadfastly rebuked by Dominica, as an enemy to her homeland.
As they venture closer to home, Beauvallet, a man of his word, delivers father and daughter safely to Spain and vows to Dominica that within the year he will come to Spain for her and make her his bride. Needless to say, Dominica has had a change of heart from her initial refusals.
This was a slow starter for me, as you may have seen from my Monday discussions of it, but once I became more accustomed to the language involved, the story began to move quicker and with more excitement. I'll just say that the naval terms had my eyes glaze over more than once, not having any nautical terminology in my personal repertoire, but the term "poop deck" had me giggling every time... but I digress.
I used to watch old black and white movies (when I could find them on TV), and especially loved Errol Flynn movies. Beauvallet brought this all back for me with its swashbuckling but honourable hero and the strong willed woman he was determined to make his own.
As he risks his neck to venture into Spain, he becomes involved in intrigues that bring together historical facts from French, English, Spanish and even Scottish societies. Set during the rein of Elizabeth I (who makes an appearance in the book a few times), this is a fun glimpse into life at the time. There were situations that looked dire for Mad Nick, but he weathered through it all with a laugh and love in his heart. Beauvallet is full of adventure and enough roguish romance to make a girl weak in the knees.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Publisher: Harperteen; 1 edition (Mar 16 2010)
I came across the cover for The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting when I was new to the blogging world and was completely enamored! (Plus, the story sounded interesting, too.) This was last September, so I've been patiently waiting all this time. As soon as I received my copy in the mail, I jumped right in.
In The Body Finder, we meet Violet Ambrose, a 16 year old that has the ability to locate dead bodies, be it human or animal. She senses their "echoes" which come in the form of colours, sounds, smells, etc. We soon find out that there's a serial killer on the loose and Violet feels her special talent will be the only way of discovering the killer. This idea is reinforced by her uncle, the police chief.
I found that while this was the catch for the book, the story centred more around the relationship between Violet and her best friend, Jay, which was taking on new dimensions.
I thought Kimberly Derting did a great job of explaining Violet's strange "gift" while not being too over the top, technically. Derting also managed to get us inside the head of the killer which, to me, she pulled off well; these glimpses were most definitely disturbing, to say the least.
I read through the book quickly and enjoyed it, especially because of the love story. In speaking with Mel at He Followed Me Home , we agreed to disagree about Jay's character (click her blog link to see her review.) Maybe it's just that I've been single for far too long, but I very much enjoyed this part of the story; the excitement of new, young, love kept me reading page after page to get to the good stuff (despite the evil being done.)
Thankfully, for me, The Body Finder is an example of much truer relationships between parents and teenagers, which is always a bone of contention with me. Violet's parents are around and involved; they're not perfect but they are more realistic.
I have also discovered that there will be another book, Desires of the Dead, coming in 2011. I'm very excited that we'll get to see more from Violet and Jay in the future!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
For Immediate Release
Online charity auction of new Guy Gavriel Kay novel amasses final bid of over $500; matching bids donated to Indigo’s Love of Reading fund
Toronto – March 26, 2010 To celebrate the launch of Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay’s much anticipated new novel, Penguin Group (Canada) announced earlier this month that the first book off the press, autographed by the author, was up for bids on Ebay.com. Signed and verified by the publisher, it included a product identification slip and letter from the printing press identifying the book as the first copy printed in Canada. The auction wrapped up with a bid of CDN $535 submitted by Neil Negandhi of Toronto.
Negandhi, a long time fan, has also won an auction of the first copy/first edition of Kay’s Lord of Emperors in 2000, and another for the first copy of Ysabel in 2007. “I’m really looking forward to diving into another one of Kay’s beautifully constructed stories, this time half a world away in ancient China. Supported by fascinating characters and settings, Kay’s thoughtful writing always elevates his work into memorable explorations of ideas,” he raved.
Kay will match the winning bid and Penguin Group (Canada) will contribute $500 for a final sum of CDN $1570 to be donated to Indigo Books & Music, Inc.’s Love of Reading Fund. The fund directly supports high-needs elementary school literacy programs across Canada.
Earlier this month, Penguin Group (Canada) launched GuyGavrielKay.ca, a website dedicated entirely to Kay’s oeuvre, and featuring an array of music files, artwork, and downloadable wallpaper and posters, plus a first chapter excerpt of Under Heaven, a journal by the author, Twitter and Facebook links, book synopsis, and Canadian tour information.
Under Heaven is on-sale in Canada this week. Inspired by the glory of Tang Dynasty China in the eighth century, Guy Gavriel Kay melds history and the fantastic into something both powerful and emotionally compelling. Under Heaven is a novel on the grandest narrative scale, encompassing the intimate details of individual lives in an unforgettable time and place.
Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of ten previous novels and an acclaimed collection of poetry, Beyond This Dark House. His work has been translated into twenty-two languages and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Kay has twice won the Aurora Award, is a three-time World Fantasy Award nominee, and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Award for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. He is currently writing the screenplay for the second of his novels in development for film. Last Light of the Sun has been optioned by Chartoff Productions and Ravinett Productions.
Celebrating its 75th birthday in 2010, Penguin Group (Penguin.com) is one of the world’s largest English-language trade book publishers, has established divisions and key market positions in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.
Penguin Group Canada, founded in 1974, is one of Canada’s leading trade publishers, publishing and distributing a wide range of imprints including Allen Lane, Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, Hamish Hamilton Canada, New American Library, Penguin Books, The Penguin Press, Philomel, Plume, Puffin, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. Penguin Group Canada proudly distributes Bloomsbury, Faber & Faber UK, Hippocrene, Prometheus and WW Norton & Sons in Canada.