Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall Preview

I had pumpkin flavoring in my coffee today, which means something very, very important- fall is almost here! To celebrate this, the best of all seasons, here is a sneak peek at some of the books I will be reading and reviewing over the coming months.

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Since this paranormal thriller is being billed as a cross between the writings of Stephen King and Pretty Little Liars, it promises a hefty dose of chills, drama and intrigue. I, a fan of CW dramas, particularly of a supernatural nature, am so there.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

"Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound. Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price." Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

Paranormal historical fiction with a gorgeous cover? Why is this not already on my shelf? 

Untold, The Lynburn Legacy Book Two by Sarah Rees Brennan

You can read my gushing glowing review of Book One here. I love this series, with its mysterious small town setting, gothic trappings, quirky family dynamics, and well-rounded characters. The romance is a bit over the top, but, given the aforementioned fondness for the CW, I can hardly pretend to be above bad boy (or are they?!) love interests with leather jackets, motorcycles, and weird abilities, especially when their female counterpart is interesting, capable, and intelligent. 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Holly Black has traded in fae-flavored urban fantasy for a vampire dystopia, and I am so on board. I'm hoping for some well-thought out and compelling vampire worldbuilding similar to what I read in Team Human (which is FANTASTIC, close this tab and read it immediately), rather than the slightly Mary Sueish genre lumbering from Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules, but we shall see.

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

The first book, Stormdancer, was a bit love or hate for most readers, and I loved it. Sure, Kristoff borrows a lot from Japanese culture, and it doesn't always work, but I give him major points for even approaching Steampunk from a different cultural perspective than "white upper middle class Englishman." Also, I have a mighty need for more Buruu in my life. Plus, when do I ever turn down a demon-hunting protagonist? Ok, sometimes, but a demon-hunting protagonist with her very own talking griffin? Not bloody often, mate, that's when.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Guys. GUYS. More Raven Boys. More Blue Sargent and all her clairvoyant family. More ghosts and romance and Ronan. And his baby raven. AAAAHHHH.

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

I can't even tell you how much I want to be back in Fairyland with September, A-L, and the other characters from this series. I tend to get a little carried away when talking about this series, so you might just want to read the first two blog posts I've done, before I get carried away again. 

There are more, of course, many of which are on the scarier side (Halloween being not far off, after all), but I don't want to give everything away at once. Stay tuned, folks.

Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction

Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction edited by Carrie Ryan

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It's human nature to wonder about life's twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?

From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life's unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction's brightest stars
. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

This anthology collects stories from:
Malinda Lo (Ash)
Lisa McMann (Wake)
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures)
Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures)
Laini Taylor (The Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Michael Grant (Gone)
Saundra Mitchell (The Vespertine)
Richelle Mead (The Vampire Academy)
Matt de la Pena (I Will Save You)
Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries)
Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
Diana Peterfreund (Rampant)
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry)
Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth)

All anthologies are inherently a bit of a grab-bag, and Foretold is no exception, or if it is, the difference here is that nearly all the stories are ok. There were two I skipped, and one I LOVED (I'm a huge Daughter of Smoke and Bone fan, I'll give you three guess which story that was, and of course the first two don't count). The others were just pretty decent, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary, especially if you're a big Vampire Academy fan (that trailer was surprisingly good, right?). Oh, and I did really like the story about vampires in apocalyptic Paris, but just the fact that I'm struggling to think of stories to talk about says a fair bit about the collection. An enjoyable read, but I wouldn't bump other things off your reading lists for it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Star Cursed

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
-Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

I've been waiting for this for a year, and that much buildup may have tarnished my enjoyment of it a bit. I loved the first installment, with its alternate 19th century New England details and seasonal flair, not to mention sisterly relationships that reminded me of Little Women, plus witches and an evil patriarchy for good measure. What's not to love? But this second entry in the series is weighed down by politicking and prophesy. Some things I loved from the first shone through, but not the romance, and Cate spent too much time dithering and not nearly enough time becoming a leader or not being manipulated. Still, the world-building is intriguing, the characters memorable, and I'll be happy to see if things pick up in the third book of the Cahill Witch Chronicles.