Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Falling to Ash, by Karen Mahoney

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pick is the Falling To Ash, the first novel in Karen Mahoney's new series of teen-vampire Moth's adventures. Below the description from goodreads:

Publication date: September 27, 2012
Publisher: Corgi Children's
Format: Paperback, 304 pages 

You can’t choose your family... living or dead.

Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic Dad, but her over-protective maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them...

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances—before someone winds up undead?

I love Karen Mahoney's Iron Witch trilogy!  So I'm really curious to see what the first full-length of her next series will be like. If the two Moth short stories published in the Kiss Me Deadly and The Eternal Kiss anthologies are any indication, it's gonna be awesome. Moth is such a kick-ass heroine! And I have so many questions about her world that I hope will be partially answered here. Also, I'm curious to see more of Jason and that unholy alliance they will apparently form.

Are you excited for Falling to Ash? Have you read any of the Moth short stories or any other of Karen's work? Feel free to discuss in the comments :)

Karen Mahoney's website and blog
Karen Mahoney's twitter

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase what books we got, traded or bought to clutter those ever-expanding bookshelves.

Bought but not yet read:

Born at Midnight, by C. C. Hunter
Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
A Beautiful Evil, by Kelly Keaton

I'm really late in buying The Night Circus, but I'm excited to finally read it! I've had A Beautiful Evil on the pile for a couple weeks but somehow haven't picked it up yet... I think I'll have to re-read the second half of Darkness Becomes Her first to get into the that world again. Same goes for Demonglass. I'm also curious for Born at Midnight because I'm a sucker for books set in boarding schools.

Books I won:

The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa
Witch Eyes, by Scott Tracey
Blood Bound, by Rachel Vincent
Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler

Yup, I was lucky enough to win the Participation Post giveaway in Fiktshun 's Soul Screamers Reading Challenge :D I just got them in the mail today and now I'm really in a pinch for what to read first... ironically, the one book that I asked for and that didn't arrive yet is Before I Wake, the new Soul Screamers novel whose book birthday is today of all days...
In case you missed the SSRC, Rachel is also hosting a BIW mini-challenge on her blog! You can sign up for that here.

Finally, my current read:

I'm more than halfway in and probably gonna finish today. It's hilarious XD I love it! It's got some of my favorite comparisons and turns of the phrase ever. Not to mention the many death related puns ^^ I love funny morbid.

Have you read any of these books? What's new on your shelves?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A While on the Pile: The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday. 
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity. It is also inspired by 'A While on the Pile', a post by Rachel from Fiktshun / My Reading Pile.

My choice today is The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Paperback, 360 pages
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: 2003

Goodreads description:

Leaving Swindon behind her, to hide out in the Well of Lost Plots --- the place where all fiction is created --- Thursday Next, Literary Detective and soon-to-be one parent family, ponders her next move from inside an unpublished novel of dubious merit entitled Caversham Heights. Her husband, Landen, exists only in her memories and with Goliath and the Chronoguard on her tail in the real world, the safest place for her to be is inside the covers of a book.

But changes are afoot within the world of fiction. The much-awaited upgrade to the centuries-old book system --- in which grammasites will be exterminated, punctuation standardised and the number of possible plots increased from eight to an astonishing thirty-two --- is only weeks away. But if this is the beginning of a golden age in fictional narrative, then why are Jurisfiction agents mysteriously dying? Perkins is eaten by the minotaur, Snell succumbs to the Mispeling Vyrus and Godot is missing.

As the date of the upgrade looms closer and the bookworld prepares for the 923rd Annual Fiction Awards, Thursday must unmask the villain responsible for the murders, establish just what exactly the upgrade entails --- and do battle with an old enemy intent on playing havoc with her memories.
 I bought this book when I was in London about a year ago, but somehow I still haven't gotten around to reading it. I don't know why exactly - I loved the first two installments of the Thurdsay Next series. Maybe it's because I might have to re-read the second book to get all caught up again and I just didn't feel like doing that. Maybe it's the fact that Thursday's pregnant (sue me, but I don't like reading about pregnancy). I'm not sure. I hope that having made this post will motivate me to pick it up when I've finished the novel I'm reading at the moment.

What's gathering dust on your pile? Have you read any Thursday Next books? If so, did you enjoy them?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh

From the back of the book:

Some nightmares can follow you into realiy. Even when they’re not your own.

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her, either. But soon Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Can she save Varen from the madness taking hold of him? Or will they both be consumed by the shadows of his nightmares?

Published August 31, 2010 by Atheneum
Hardcover, 543 pages

I’m going to admit that my review won’t be unbiased, since I absolutely loved this novel. And not only because of the gorgeous cover. Finally, finally something different! Not that I don’t love reading about vampires, werewolves, fairies and shapeshifters – but it’s nice to be confronted with something new every once in a while. Yes, there are strange, terrifying creatures and occurrences here, but they are of Kelly Creagh’s own design. There is another world, but until the very end it is hard to say in what connection it stands to our own. Is it a different realm? Is it based on Varen’s mind alone, or on the minds of others like him? Is it a dream space? How is it connected to E. A. Poe, whose writings and imagination permeate the entire novel? And who is Reynolds, the ambivalent figure who seems to alternately help and hinder Isobel in her quest to both help Varen and get her own life back on track?

Another thing that I liked is that for once, the main female character is not an outcast but the head cheerleader. I was a bit doubtful about whether the author could make me like Isobel and empathize with her (I’m definitely not the cheerleader-popular-preppy-type of girl), but she did. Yes, Isobel’s got a knack for pink stuff, and she’s rather superficial at the beginning. However, she changes and develops over the course of the novel as her world begins to unravel all around her. Ever since she was paired with Varen and he wrote his number on her hand in purple ink (OMG! Scribbled on by the freak! Eww!) her life has been spinning out of control. She loses her boyfriend (no big loss there, though), her place on the cheer team, her friends, the approval of her parents. She might even be losing her mind. This forces her to extend her mindset and take decisions with far-reaching consequences. She needs to be proactive and figure out what is happening – and how to stop it.

Need more convincing? The supporting characters are also great. Gwen, Isobel’s new friend, has an awesome sense of humor. She is also unforgivingly direct and doesn’t take no for an answer. She sticks with Isobel when she has no one else left, even though they barely know each other. Also Isobel’s younger brother is a great kid and it was nice to see how their relationship changes and develops. And Poe himself is also a character in the book, though he is more of a looming presence in the back of it all. An unanswered and prominent question during the whole book is: how exactly did Poe die?

Then there is Varen himself, of course. Mysterious, gloomy, composed. Wearing far too much black and chains to be in Isobel’s comfort zone. He’s no overdone goth cliché though, and he’s got a healthy sense of humor and self-irony. He’s also tortured and haunted by his own creations as he loses control over his imaginative powers. Of course, all of that makes him Isobel’s father’s and boyfriend’s kryptonite. Plus, how much and in what way Varen cares for her is anything but sure. This is no Romeo & Juliet type of story.

This novel is steeped in Poe and his tales & poems, but not in a way that makes it easy to foresee what is happening. Nevermore is always one step ahead; you’re drawn into the story but you can never guess where it’s all leading. No one really explains things to Isobel, and it’s not one of those situations where you have to bash your head on the desk because the character is just too stupid to figure out what’s going on. Much is left unsolved in the end, which makes is REALLY hard for me to wait for the sequel, which is called Enshadowed  and will be released in late August. You can also check it out on my last Waiting on Wednesday post.

All in all? One of those books which absorb you while you’re reading them and haunt your mind and your dreams while you aren’t. Kelly Creagh has great talent for creating atmosphere and making the characters and places appear real to you. The novel also made me buy a big, fancy hardcover edition of Poe’s tales and poems. If you already know some Poe it will enhance your reading, but it’s not absolutely necessary to get the story.

I hope I could give you a notion of the book without being spoilery, and that I got some of you intrigued so that you’ll read it. This book deserves way more recognition than I think it has gotten so far!

Have you read Nevermore? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Enshadowed, by Kelly Creagh

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week, I was deliberating between picking Rachel Vincent's Before I Wake and Kelly Creagh's Enshadowed. But I thought that since BIW is releasing so soon and is probably covered more often, I'll go with the latter. It's the sequel to Nevermore, a book I loved so much the wait for the sequel was really killing me for those first few weeks.

Kelly Creagh - Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)


Publication date: August 2012
Publisher: Athenum
Kelly Creagh's website:

From goodreads:
[From the back of the ARC] Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

The ending of Nevermore left me heartbroken. Seriously. I was pining to read more of Varen and Isobel! This book made me buy a jacket so I could decorate it like Varen's. Also, the big, hardcover B&N edition of the collected stories and poems of E. A. Poe. The prose of Nevermore was just sooo beautiful, I can't wait to get more of it. I'm curious to find out what exactly is going on with Varen, how he is connected to Poe and Reynolds. Also, Pinfeathers! Unique, creepy character but I was intrigued.
How will Isobel deal with the changes in her life, and what she will do to try and get Varen back? Although the description makes it sound like getting him back might only be the first step of many...
I'm anxious. On the one hand, I can't wait to read it - but on the other hand I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which there is a sort-of-happy ending for Varen and Isobel...

Have you read Nevermore (or been lucky enough to get an Enshadowed ARC) ? What books can you not wait to get your hands on? Comments make me happy :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Soo... it's been a while since I've posted anything, and I'm sorry about that. It was my busy oh-my-god-how-is-it-the-end-of-the-semester-already time, and I was writing last minute essays. Also, I had hoped that one of my first posts would not be a meme but a review, but participating in memes might be a good way to force myself to actually start blogging with some regularity and motivate myself to write those reviews instead of just reading the books and moving on to the next one...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Beach Reads

I am probably not going to see any beaches this summer (sniff, I love the sea) but I enjoy reading at the beach. I usually associate beach reading with light, fun stuff, but I'm not sure how much of what I read would qualify for that... alternately, I also think it's a good opportunity to read some of those classic's you've always wanted to check out but somehow never quite got around to. So here's my list:

1. The Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
I haven't picked a specific one because I think the whole series would make for a great beach read. Fast-paced, fun, romance, vampires, but still depth and serious topics. Also, those are fast reads - you can polish one of those off in a day at the beach.

2. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This one is not getting nearly enough credit as far as I've seen. I don't read a lot of contemporary or 'problem' books, but this one really blew me away. It's such a wonderful story with unique characters! I loved watching Victoria transform from a fierce but lost and traumatized foster child into a more confident young woman. I loved the subtlety of it all, the frailty of the relationships and the dynamics between characters. Also, I'm a sucker for books that are set in San Francisco.

3. The Vincent Boys, by Abbi Glines
Another contemporary. I've read that some people found the plot too clichéed, but I really enjoyed it. Awesome chemistry between the characters. Also, the action takes place during summer break, so it fits.

4. Lament, by Maggi Stiefvater
Another book I somehow associate with summer. Loved the fey lore in this one.

5. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
As I said, the beach is an opportunity to read Classics, in my opinion. The Moonstone is very entertaining and, by the way, also one of the first detective novels. It's told from several characters' points of view in the form of written statements that have been collected by the main amateur detective.

6. Novecento, by Alessandro Baricco
This one is really short. It's the story of a boy that was abandoned by his parents on their way from Italy to the Americas in the early 20th century. The ship's crew raises him and gives him the name Novecento. It turns out that the boy has an amazing talent for the piano. He eventually becomes known as the 'pianist on the ocean' since he, in his whole life, never sets foot on land. He doesn't even have a passport or anything. Baricco's style is unique, in my opinion - read this one in Italian if you can. Or watch the movie, if you can't help it...

7. Generation X, by Dough Coupland
I read this one a year ago and could still identify with it, even though it was published in 1996. I loved the slang vocabulary or Roy Liechtenstein-style comic images near the bottom of the page. If you've ever felt in an 'inbetween' stage in your life and unsure what to do with yourself - read it. It's also about the power of storytelling.

8. The Water Mirror, by Kai Meyer
I read this one almost ten years ago, in German. It's set in a re-imagined Venice where the lagoon is being besieged by the Egyptians and their mummy warriors. Merle, apprentice to a mirror maker, and Serafin, a young thief, have to save the Flowing Queen (something like the protective city goddess of Venice) from being captured, which would mean the inevitable fall of Venice.

9. The Morganville Vampires series, by Rachel Caine
Quick, fast-paced reads. Will keep you on the edge of your deck chair. Awesome characters - I'm a big fan of mad-scientist Myrnin. Be sure to bring a few of them, because they are really short and end with the most terrible cliffhangers.

10. Seven Tears Into the Sea, by Terri Farley
I've first read this one in 2006, but I've re-read it several times. It's one of the few Selkie stories I've read, and I really enjoyed it. It's perfect for the beach, as it largely plays on one. Beautifully written, but really sad.

Comments? What kind of books do you choose to read on the beach?