Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Owl and the Japanese Circus, by Kristi Charish

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

This week's pick

Release date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Format: Paperback, 432 pages

Goodreads description
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

This one was on my list before it even had a cover. Thieves, supernatural elements, circus, vampires, dragons, mercenaries... no way I can pass this up. What do you think of it? And what are you pining for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that were hard for me to read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic is about books that were hard to read, be it because of the subject matter, complexity, bad writing, or whatever.

Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe
I once tried to read it in German when I was nine. I thought it would be really interesting and all about surviving on that island, but it was really slow and simply too difficult for me at that time. Then I tried again in my third semester at Uni but never finished it. It was so boring. I'm not sure I even made it to the point where Friday shows up. I couldn't bear to read another catalogue of things he owns or is doing or remembering or thinking about God.

Stephen King - Dreamcatcher
This was my first Stephen King book and I read it when I was fifteen. It was a bit of a rebellious act because my mother (who doesn't like anything horror) always talked about him as that author who writes these gross, bloody horror books (never mind that she'd never read one). But I always felt drawn to King. The first 200 pages weren't so bad, but then the grossness started... for another 200 pages or so. I felt a bit nauseated at times. But then I read The Gunslinger next and was hooked on King for life.

Becca Fitzpatrick - Crescendo
I really liked Hush Hush when I first read it (don't know if I'd still feel the same way now) and was really disappointed by Crescendo. Nora was being so stupid and jealous and doing one brainless thing after the other. I don't even know how many times I rolled my eyes. Silence was a little better, but it's been two years and I still haven't bought that final book.

Laurie Halse Anderson - Wintergirls
Not a bad book at all, just to be clear. But for personal reasons it was very difficult for me to read.

Sarah J. Maas - Crown of Midnight
Why, you may wonder? Because it was so good but I knew it couldn't last. At a certain point in the story things started to pile up and I knew it would all come crashing down and go horribly wrong and characters I cared about would be hurt or killed. Makes it difficult for me to read on because all I can do is watch.

Courtney Summers - Some Girls Are
Heavy subject matter combined with excellent writing made for a harrowing read. I'm glad I read it though. It's important that these things are written and talked about.

Deborah Meyler - The Bookstore
It was unrealistic and pretentious. It wasn't all bad but I wished I could have knocked some sense into our dear protagonist.

Amy Butler Greenfield - Chantress
I'd been looking forward to this one so much and it started out promising, but then the pacing slowed, it was all talking and no experiencing/showing, it was stifling because the heroine was inside all the time, and I wasn't feeling the magic. The last 20 or so percent were great again, but man did that middle drag.

Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Prince
All. The. Feels. Being scared to read on because things will go horribly wrong, yet unable to resist reading. My heart was being stabbed. Cassie Clare made me cry on Christmas at two in the morning.

John Dos Passos - Manhattan Transfer
This book starts in the 1890s or so and spans all the way to the 1920s. There are at least 50 characters, some of whom reappear and some not. The narrative is very complex and not necessarily coherent but once I got into it, I found it irresistible and ended up really loving it. Just the way Dos Passos really gets into the characters' hearts and minds and describes the everyday gains and losses of their lives. The sadness and the hopes. I need to re-read it.

I think if I set my mind to it I could come up with many more. James Joyce's Ulysses was definitely hard to read, so was Bleak House by Charles Dickens (very bleak indeed, and like 1000 pages). And I could have listed a lot of books under 'annoying' but I think that adjective is not very precise or useful when it comes to describing a book or protagonist.
Were any of my picks hard for you to read as well? And what books did you settle on?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: a mess of freaks, ringmasters, and faerie kings

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase all the books we got in the past week. Those can be bought, won, gifted, for review, borrowed, print or ebooks... no matter, just share what you got :)

I was pretty good this week. I ordered a few books but they haven't arrived yet (so they don't count), and other than that all I got were ebooks. And they were all either cheap or free. So I haven't abused my bank account or my limited apartment book space.

Found, by Brenda Lee Harper
Ringmaster, by Judi Jaye
Third Daughter, by Susan Kaye Quinn
A Perfect Mess, by Zoe Dawson
The Seven Year King, by Kiki Hamilton
Freaks of Greenfield High, by Maree Anderson

All of these were spontaneous buys, the only one I'd heard of was The Seven Year King because I've read the previous two books in this faerie series. Found attracted me because it mentions gargoyles, Ringmaster because of the circus/carnival theme, Third Daughter because it's described as Steampunk-goes-Bollywood, and how often do you see Steampunk set in India? Freaks of Greenfield High is a bout a cyborg girl and A Perfect Mess was bought in a bad boy mood.

Have you heard of or read any of these? And what's new on your shelves this week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

This week's pick

Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages

Goodreads description
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

I finally read The Bone Season about a week or so ago and it was soooo incredibly fantastic! I'm so glad the next book is out soon-ish :) I can't wait to see Paige and Warden's story continue, but I'm also a bit scared because I know that things won't be peachy for them.
Have you read The Bone Season? What are your thoughts on this sequel? And what book are you impatient for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: top books on my Fall TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic is about the top ten books on our Fall to-be-read lists

Honestly? I don't really make lists like that, I just pick up something I've got on my shelf/kindle when I feel like it (review books are obviously different). However, all the ARCs I've currently got on my Kindle are Winter releases, so there's that. So the ten following books are ones I already own and really hope to get to this Fall. They're listed in no particular order.

Between the Spark and the Burn, by April Genevieve Tucholke
I really enjoyed the first book! I'll have to do a partial re-read and get to the second. I hope it continues the gothic mood :)

Angelfall, by Susan Ee
It's been on my shelf for close to a year and it's supposed to be fantastic.

Game, by Barry Lyga
I loved I Hunt Killers, and now that I've finally got Game, I want to read it soon. Also, the first one creeped me out so it's perfect for Fall. That season always makes me feel like reading moody, dark books.

Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers
I've got a shiny ARC of this one and look forward to reading it in a month or so :) I'm very curious about Annith's story! She's been a quite shadowy figure so far and she really surprised me at the end of the second book.

Hood, by Stephen R. Lawhead
I'd never heard of this book before last Spring, but then kept coming across it in the summer as an influence on books by author's I've read. So when I saw it at the second hand bookstore, I knew it was waiting for me. I've always been fascinated with Robin Hood, and I think this one's themed perfectly for the Fall season :)

Sabriel, by Garth Nix
I've been looking at this series for at least 10 years, I kid you not. I've owned a huge 1000+ pages omnibus edition for three years. So I'll be damned if I don't finally read at least the first book this Fall!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
I've been hearing so much about this series and the cover and name make me think of Fall, so I hope I'll get to it!

The Lovely and the Lost, by Page Morgan
Another sequel I've been itching to read! Gargoyles. Paris. History. Yes, please!

Up From the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost
I'm so sad that this is the last Cat & Bones novel! But I need to read at least one vampire novel this Fall, and this series has never disappointed me.

The last pick: recommend me something dark and creepy! If it has faeries in it, cool. If not, that's also okay. But it has to be moody and horror-ish. Surprise me :)

Have you read or are you planning to read any of the books on my list? Does the season influence your taste in books? I noticed that I feel like reading a lot of high fantasy or creepy stuff this Fall. I could also have put Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder or Fire by Kristin Cashore on this list, they're both on my shelf. What about you?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: Savage Sparks and Stormy Seasons in Zombieland

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase all the books we got in the past week. Those can be bought, won, gifted, for review, borrowed, print or ebooks... no matter, just share what you got :)

This week a two books I'd ordered from The Book Depository finally arrived!
April Genevieve Tucholke - Between the Spark and the Burn
Gena Showalter - Alice in Zombieland

I've been meaning to read this Alice series for forever! So when the paperback was on sale, I had to get it. Between the Spark and the Burn was a must! I'll need to do a partial re-read of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea though because I remember that there were quite a few twists at the end, but not exactly what they were...

The Bone Season is on there not because I bought it this week but because I've just read it and it was read-until-2am amazing! I'm so glad the sequel, The Mime Order, will be out in January already!

Bought as ebooks

Faking Normal, by Courtney C. Stevens
Savage Delight, by Sara Wolf
Storm, by Brigid Kemmerer
White Hart, by Sarah Dalton (freebie!!)

I read Faking Normal last Sunday and I cried. I'd read the prequel novella, The Blue-Haired Boy, in the spring and I've wanted the rest of the story ever since. It was very powerful and thought-provoking.
Savage Delight is the sequel to Lovely Vicious. After featuring it on a TTT a few weeks back, I've been urged on twitter to read the sequel. So here I go.
To be honest I don't really know what Storm is about, but many of my blogger friends have been raving about the series so when I saw it for 38 cent (weird price!) I thought I'd give it a try.
White Hart was free and looked like a great fantasy adventure! Also, I confess I fell in love with that cover. It reminds me of misty fall afternoons at my grandmother's farm.

That's it from my side :) Have you read any of them? And what books did you get in the past week?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Every Breath, by Ellie Marney

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine to spotlight upcoming book releases that we're excited about.

This week's pick

Release date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Goodreads description
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again... 

The combination of genius and bad attitude is the main reason I want to read this one. Mycroft sounds like a really interesting character! I also feel drawn to the grittiness that I feel is being promised by the cover. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I've only read one book from but need to read more

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic are authors that we've only read one book of so far, but loved so much that we NEED to read more by them! My top ten are in no particular order.

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus
I don't think she's written (or at least published) anything since, but I'd sure love to read it!

Kimberly Derting - The Pledge
I've got The Essence on my shelf but haven't picked it up yet. I think I'll re-read The Pledge first. I really loved the world building and I'd rather avoid this period of confusion at the beginning of the second book when you don't really remember the 'rules' of the world.

Libba Bray - A Great and Terrible Beauty
I really need to read the sequels, as well as The Diviners. Beautiful writing, and I like her feminist stance.

Robin Wasserman - The Book of Blood and Shadow
This was so suspenseful and at times creepy. I really want to read The Waking Dark. It sounds just as ruthless and horror-ish.

Maggie Stiefvater - Lament
I'm reluctant to read the sequel, Ballad, because it switches the point of view. But I really want to pick up The Raven Boys!

Chuck Wendig - Blackbirds
I need the sequels of the series. Really great horror!

Victoria Schwab - The Archived
Such an amazing story!  I want Unbound as soon as the paperback is out. And Vicious. I want villainous narrators.

Jackie Morse Kessler - Hunger
I need to get the rest of the series about the Four Horsemen. I love the concept of this, and how each book picks up on an important social issue.

Andrew Davidson - The Gargoyle
I'd definitely read another one of his books written in the same vein, but everything else I see on his goodreads seems to be more children's literature. The Gargoyle though... it was perfect. It made me cry. A lot.

Rosamund Hodge - Cruel Beauty
I loved pretty much everything about this one. Can't wait to read more when they come out!

This was actually more difficult to compile that I thought it'd be, because there aren't that many authors I've only read one book of. Or if I've only read one, there is often a reason for that. Do you spot any favorites on my list? Anyone I need to move up on my TBR pile? And who did you pick?