Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vortex

I loved Insignia when I read it last summer. In fact, I read it in two days, and would have read it in one sitting if it hadn't been for work. When I got around to Vortex I was very excited, but I also had work to do. I've also recently started watching Dr. Who, and one week and three seasons later I'm seriously hooked. I cried when the Doctor said goodbye to Rose, and I cringed when the weeping angels appeared. All this to say, I took longer than anticipated in reading this book.


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Tom Raines has been promoted to a Middle in the Intrasolar combatant training program. He has friends in the program, and a neural processor in his head. But he also has a hot head, and his pride gets gim into trouble with the very people he'll rely upon to become an official combatant. He needs to figure out what he's going to fight for and how to do it without making all the wrong enemies.

It's sort of hard to describe what this book's about. A lot of it is about different people getting different blackmail and Tom making rash decisions based on pride and then complaining when there are consequences. I don't say this as a complaint of the book. It's actually very important because his choices affect the Intrasolar war between the Indo-Americans and the Russo-Chinese. Him discovering that actions have consequences is part of the character arc, and it's very important. There were parts where I laughed out loud, and parts where it lagged. Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but not as much as Insignia. I'm very excited to see how it turns out in Catalyst when it comes out in paperback.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Influence

Not many people in my life are avid readers. And even when they are, it is rare that they read the same type of books I do. So when someone comes along who does read YA, I turn fangirly and scare them away with my excitement.

One awesome thing that has come about recently is that my SO has started reading a lot. He came to me one day and said he wanted a hobby. I suggested reading. And...he started reading. We went through my bookcase one day and I recommended like ten books I thought he would like. I went with everything from Code Name Verity to Fault in Our Stars to Seraphina and beyond. So far he's read four of them.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

The last few weeks I've been getting nervous about what I plan to do after graduation. It's coming up so soon. I'm graduating early, did I mention that? And in the fall I'm applying to grad school, which, if I get in where I want to go, means moving to New York. And I'm getting nervous. It's such a big step.

But talking to my SO about the books I recommended which I personally loved, and hearing that he loved them too...it reminded me of the reason I love being in publishing. I love helping to make books people enjoy. I love knowing something I've had a hand in makes someone smile or cry etc.

Now, I didn't edit the books I recommended, but for some reason this still made me fall in love with publishing all over again. Now I just have to wait for the grad school applications to open. Gulp.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reasons I Love Zuzana

I realized I haven't done one of these in a while! Today's character that I love is Zuzana, spunky sidekick to Karou the Resurrectionist in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I just finished reading this series yesterday so it's perfect. She's fresh in my mind, although who could forget Zuzana? I certainly can't, and here's why:

  • She's loyal. Fiercely loyal to Karou, this girl goes to extreme lengths to help her friend. She flies to Morocco, she helps with resurrections, she helps hide Chimaera from nosy room service guys, she defends Karou from her stiff grandmother, she invites her to Christmas. She lets nothing get between happiness and Karou if she can help it. She sacrifices personal comfort to make her friend smile, and travels to another world to help her fight a rebellion. That is some serious loyalty, and I love her for it.
  • She's fierce. Her nickname is neek-neek, after the scorpion aspect chimaera. She's given this name by actual chimaera because of her personality and don't-give-me-any-crap-I'll-dish-it-way-better-than-you attitude. She becomes loved for it, and it helps her stand up to some serious foes. She sees angels dismembered in front of her, and she stays sane. I love her fierceness, especially when it's paired with her loyalty.
  • She's whimsical. She has given her boyfriend Mik the task of completing three heroic tasks before she'll allow him to propose to her. A theme in these books is that fairy tales aren't real, and if they are they are seriously dark. Zuzana is whimsical enough to want to believe in fairy tales, and practical enough to tell Mik he's fulfilled one task when he fixed the air conditioning in their hotel room in Morocco. It's a softer side to her that I enjoyed, and it made me smile when she declared Mik's three tasks complete.
  • She's got a great eyebrow lift. Oh my god. There's a scene where she out-eyebrow-lifts a snooty concierge in a five star hotel when she and Mik come in wearing the same clothes they've had on for weeks. It's fantastic. It had me laughing and smiling in vicious pleasure. And she uses this same eyebrow lift against Karou's grandma. Ahhhh it's great.
  • She loves chocolate. Chocolate chocolate everywhere. I totally empathize with Zuzana when she thinks the least she deserves after all she's gone through is a little chocolate. And it's never there! I am a huuuuge chocolate fan. Seriously, melt it, stick it in a pastry bag and shove it in my mouth. I really hope Zuzana has infinite chocolate for the rest of her days.
And that's why I love Zuzana! I also love Karou, but for some reason petite Zuzana really stuck in my mind. What do you think of her? Sound off in the comments!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

When I was in London I was completely bummed to discover that I would miss Laini Taylor when she went to Washington. Then I was bummed again when I found out that her leg in London would fall right over the time I was going to be in Ireland. I ordered the final book in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series while I was abroad, fully intending to start it the day I got back from England. But when I got home, I found I couldn't do it. I was so scared to start the last book in a series I have adored. So I read like ten other books before my SO finally knocked some sense into me. So over the last few days I worked my way through Dreams of Gods and Monsters.


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Two worlds have collided. Angels and beasts have come to Earth, and the leader of the angels, Jael, intends to get human weapons to help in his war against the chimaera. Meanwhile, Karou the resurrectionist and Akiva the bastard nephew of Jael forge an uneasy alliance between the Misbegotten angels and the remaining chimaera. Their goal is to stop Jael from getting weapons, and to somehow forge a lasting peace among all angels and chimaera. But at the same time the sky is bruising, and the Stelian angels of the Far Isles are the only ones who know why or how to stop it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a gorgeous tapestry of characters and Prague. I fell in love with Akiva and Karou and Mik and Zuzana as they discovered worlds they'd forgotten they knew. I fell in love with Taylor's beautiful way of writing and a love that surpassed hundreds of years of war. In Days of Blood and Starlight I ached as both Karou and Akiva were at odds and in such deep misery it left me feeling moribund. Building an army from death, stopping and yet aiding a mass genocide. I was taken to the horrible beauty of Eretz and the dry horrors of Morocco. In Dreams of Gods and Monsters everything comes back together. I was introduced to new characters that I grew to love, and I lost characters I had loved previously. Taylor painted a realistic view of what angels coming to Earth would be like, and showed how disparate the worlds of Earth and Eretz were. If the pace lagged, if I wanted Akiva and Karou to snag a moment together and they didn't, I didn't care. Because Taylor's writing made up for all of it. If the climax was a fizzle, it was surpassed by the beauty of seeing things reborn. I am not sad, as I was at the end of DoBaS, or shocked as at the end of DoSaB. Instead I feel whole, as though what could have happened did. And, even better, I smell spin-off. Because with a new battle on the horizon for Eretz, and some new characters and culture available, I can't imagine Taylor would abandon them. And I'll be pre-ordering as soon as possible.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars Up Next: Vortex by S.J. Kincaid

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doctor Appointments and Strange Happenings

As those of you who follow this blog regularly will know, this is the first summer in quite a while that I am not working a 9-5 job. Instead, I am spending my time with friends and family, binge reading, cooking deliciously evil chocolate things, editing, and having various doctor appointments.

The first of these appointments was to get my foot checked out. Ever since returning from London, the top of my foot has been hurting whenever I walk. An x-ray revealed no stress fracture, but I probably have tendinitis. Simultaneously great and yucky. I have to ice my foot and not run on hard surfaces. HA! As if I ran in the first place.

The second of these appointments was to get my eyes checked. I hadn't had my eyes examined in almost two years, and my reading and editing had only increased since the last time I'd gone in. I'd been noticing that things were getting blurry even when I was wearing my glasses. Time to up the prescription, right? WRONG! After getting my eyes checked, I was informed that I no longer needed glasses. That's right, my eyes had gotten better! Things were blurry with my glasses on because the prescription was too strong! What the what?

Oh, and yesterday I rolled a Yahtzee in one roll. It was a freaky day all around.

Still working through Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Will have a review for you soon!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dark Triumph

I know, I know, it's been like a week since I've finished a book. I should have an excuse, but I don't really. I've been tired and trying to get chores done. I'm also working on another project for work. But honestly I've had a lot of time on my hands that I've been using to do seed beading and watch Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time. But yesterday I sat down and finished off Dark Triumph, the sequel to Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers which I read a year ago. Beware: mild spoilers.


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Sybella is a handmaiden of Saint Mortain, trained as an assassin and sent into the D'Albret household to spy on his movements and plans surrounding the Duchess Anne who's trying to keep her duchy from the control of the French. But Sybella's skills are little comfort considering D'Albret is her father who's hated her for years, and her brother Julian has a twisted love of her. When Sybella receives orders to free a prisoner of D'Albret, she risks her life and her heart to do so.

Where Grave Mercy was political intrigue and setting the backdrop for Anne's attempt to keep her duchy and herself unwed to D'Albret, this book is more intimate. Sybella struggles with depression and horrid memories of her family. She also doubts Mortain's existence and her place as his handmaiden. She is cold and calculating and vulnerable. She suspects the worst of everyone, which I found very sad but believable once you hear her story. I found her mild romance with the prisoner Beast to be sweet, but was glad it wasn't the focus of the book. There were some parts where the action lagged for me, and I wish I'd gotten to see more of Duval and Ismae from Grave Mercy. But overall this was an enjoyable read and I'll be pleased to read Mortal Heart when it comes out in paperback.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Updating

My eyes are so tired. So much so that I'm biting the bullet and getting my eyes rechecked on Monday. I anticipate this will result in me needing to wearing glasses full time fro here on out. I'm a bit bummed, but at the same time I'm willing to suffer for my art!

Let's see...what else has been happening in my life. I've been catching up on errands and chores that have needed to be done for way too long like cleaning out my wallet. I've also been rewatching Gilmore Girls for I think the fifth time. Next up on my watch list is Doctor Who!

Gosh, what else. I'm sorry I don't have more interesting stories for you guys. I've been editing for Month9Books, going out with my friends when possible, and enjoying every minute of this hot weather. I haven't made much progress on the rewrite of Griffin's Song or Spiral, but I'm hopeful that I'll be getting under way with it soon.

I'm also still working my way through Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. It's been slow going because I've been running around doing errands. But I have to go to the doctor today so I'll probably get through 100 or so pages while I'm waiting...

What is going on in your lives?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Steadfast

It's been a while since I've written, folks. I had a deadline looming on my first book for Month9Books, so I had to put aside pleasure reading for a while in order to focus. Also, my eyes were so exhausted that reading in general looking at words made my head hurt. But yesterday my eyes felt rested enough to pick up Steadfast by Claudia Gray. Note: this is a sequel, so mild spoiler alert. But then again, you guys all know I do spoilers. Anyway!


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Nadia Caldini and her friends thought they had seen the last of Elizabeth Pike when she didn't appear from the burning haunted house on Halloween. But she returned with news: Nadia's attempts to stop her plans actually aided them. And she wants Nadia as an apprentice. But Nadia knows that's tantamount to selling her soul to the One Beneath, and that she'll never do. Instead, she and her Steadfast, Mateo, and her best friend Verlaine rush to figure out what Elizabeth is really up to. But working against them are Mateo's curse of seeing the future, Verlaine's curse which makes it so no one can love her, and a demon wearing a dead human's body who serves Elizabeth...mostly.

I really enjoyed Spellcaster when I read it last year. And I enjoyed this book, too! Maybe not as much because if I were Nadia I would have been thinking of some more physical ways to take Elizabeth out instead of magic. Some of her plans to stop her seemed rather...feeble. And there were definitely times where the pace lagged. But I love love LOVE Verlaine, who has a quirky style and an open heart and such a horrible lot in life. And the descriptions were rich and the writing easy to read. Also, I am still in love with how Gray formed her magic. You have the lines of a spell, and then you feed memories into each line. It's really cool! I'm excited that the final installment has a release date and a cover, and I'll definitely be reading it when it comes out.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Monday, July 7, 2014

Right Book, Wrong Genre

Do you guys remember my first novel? I wouldn't blame you if you don't. It was a YA adventure about a girl who is captured by pirates with the promise that she'll be killed once she becomes an adult. I loved that series. It was based on a story my dad used to tell me when I was little. I loved hearing about pirate ships and sword fights and all manner of horrifying things. But looking back, the plot of Griffin's Song (still love that title) was rather thin. Sarah didn't want to die. Planned to escape. Failed. Planned to escape. Failed. You see where I'm going with this.

Well, that week in Hawaii did more good than I expected. Besides getting a little bit of sun into this woefully vitamin D deficient skin, I also had a spark of inspiration. Thanks to my SO and a lot of time in the car, I have made a decision.

I am going to rewrite Griffin's Song as a YA fantasy. I'm really excited about this, guys, and I'll tell you more when I've got all the details figured out. I still plan on writing Spiral, the last companion novel to Balancing Act, and I think I've decided to finish off Poison Ivy for this year's NaNo. But I think it'll be nice to rewrite a project I loved so much. It was my baby, and I know deep down it's got a good story in it.

Anyway, continue with your day!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Forever

I love Maggie Stiefvater. I grovel at her writerly feet. I would read any napkin she wrote on, any receipt she doodled on. Her words are poetry, but not in a boring way. Her books are populated with images we see thousands of times but never realized how they were beautiful. I fawned over the cover of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Anyway, all this is to say that I finished reading the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I started it in Hawaii, but due to a ridiculously late flight that left me almost catatonic with exhaustion, I didn't finish it until today.


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Sam was a wolf and is now a boy. Grace was a girl and is now a wolf. Cole struggles to find a permanent cure for being a werewolf, but he can't do it fast enough. The town of Mercy Falls thinks Sam is a killer and kidnapper, and Tom Culpeper has gotten the go ahead for one last massive hunt of the wolves.

I never know what to put in my synopses of Stiefvater's books. When I write it down it seems so small. These books are character studies more than a paranormal romance. They are strung together beautiful moments that make you ache and look at the world in awe. They are not tense. This book will not make you cry like her others will (Looking at you, The Dream Thieves). If I looked at this book like any other I would say that Sam is whiny and his love of Grace doesn't make sense. I would say things take a long time to get moving, and then the climax is over in a very short time. But I can't look at Stiefvater's books that way. I'm blinded by the scene where Sam goes to pick up a human Grace and finds only her dress and some shoes because she shifted. I'm taken in by how much I love and hate Isabel, how sad I am that Olivia died, and how angry I am at Grace's parents for giving her so much freedom and then punishing her when she uses it. This book has flaws. I still liked it. I'm still champing at the bit for Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I still love Stiefvater. End of story.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Mark of Athena

I am home from the shores of Hawaii! One weird tan line, many macadamia nuts, and several twelve foot manta rays later, I am exhausted. I went zip lining, saw leaping dolphins, flying fish, bioluminescent plankton, swam with a turtle and tens of manta rays. I tried ono fish and chips and ate not nearly enough chocolate. And I read! I only finished two books, which was disappointing, but it turns out it's hard to read in the car when the roads are really windy and there's a lot of sun. I've already reviewed Unite Me for you, but I also polished off The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan.


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The attempt to unite the Roman and Greek half-blood camps goes south really fast. But the seven demigods the prophecy referred to are now underway to the ancient lands: Rome. They are outrunning the angry Romans behind them and running out of time. Nico has been trapped by twin giants and only has a few days left to live. Meanwhile the giants can only be defeated with the help of a god, and the gods are having trouble of their own as they keep switching between their Greek and Roman aspects. Athena has given Annabeth the task of avenging her old grievance between the Romans. One problem, though: hundreds of Athenian children have tried before and died. But succeeding may mean finding a way to defeating the giants and Gaea once and for all.

I actually found that synopsis hard to write! There is far more going on than what I said. The demigods have a hard time working as a group since Jason and Percy are used to being the leaders. There's a lot of tension between Frank, Leo, and Hazel because of Hazel's past. I really liked this book. It's a hefty read at nearly 600 pages, and it would have been even longer without a nice little change in Riordan's writing. The demigods routinely split into groups to fulfill different parts of a task. And it would take forever to describe what happens to both groups each time. So he doesn't have entire scenes devoted to it, but you learn a bit about the conflict which occurs. I found it nice! Also, I really want to know more about what's happening with Frank/Leo/Hazel. It's so freaky and cool! I'm hoping The House of Hades will go more in depth with it. There was a section of the book that lagged a bit (Leo/Frank/Hazel going underground, Annabeth starting the solo part of her quest, Percy/Jason/Piper going underground) but it picked right up after that. Can't believe I have to wait for THoH to come out in paperback. Hmph. Especially because of the cliffhanger!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Unite Me

Okay, so I know this book wasn't on my list of ones to review this summer. But I have an excuse. I went on a day trip to Maui in the middle of my Hawaiian vacation, and I was almost at the end of the book I'd brought along with me. And you HAVE to have a book to read on the beach, right? I mean, what else do people do on beaches? Swim? psh. So after a quick stop at Barnes & Noble, I was reading Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi, two novellas wrapped in one delicious package.


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In Destroy Me, Warner struggles to forget Juliette after she escaped with Adam and Kenji. Matters become even worse when his father comes to town to fix Warner's mistakes. Takes place between Shatter Me and Unravel Me.

In Fracture Me, Adam is battling against Warner's men to protect the people of Sector 45. But he can't focus as well as he should because he left his little brother James back at Omega Point, and Juliette isn't proving to be a very good fighter. And then she's kidnapped. Takes place during and after Unravel Me.

I looooved Unravel Me. It totally made up for my mixed feelings about Shatter Me. The romance was sizzling, the stakes were rising, and Juliette was going nuts trying to figure out how to interact with people normally. I hated Warner in the first book but grew to love him in Unravel Me. He's so flawed and so tragic. Seeing things from his point of view in Destroy Me was great! As for Fracture Me, I liked seeing how Adam didn't sacrifice everything to get Juliette when his brother was in danger. It made a lot of sense to me, especially considering the rift between him and Juliette. I can't wait for Ignite Me to come out in paperback this winter so I can find out what happens!!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: Forget Me Not, Remember Me

Today I have with me Stacey Nash, author of Forget Me Not and Remember Me, two installments in a YA speculative fiction series published through HarperCollins. I was invited to be part of this tour by YaReads Blog Tours. I was actually the line editor of Forget Me Not when it was with Entranced Publishing, so I know it's good, guys! You should definitely check it out! But before we get to that, here are the awesome covers!

                                                        Synopsis:

Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother’s favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. They’re not just jewellery, they’re part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewellery’s power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device – and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she’s Enemy Number One. She’s forced to leave her father behind when she’s taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

About the Author:

Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. When her head isn’t stuck in a fictional world, she calls the Hunter Valley of New South Wales home. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards, full of history and culture that all comes together to create an abundance of writing inspiration. Stacey loves nothing more than writing when inspiration strikes.


Pre-order buy links:





Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781460704004+&c=books