Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Ten (Spoiler-Free) Quotes of 2012


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features lists on different bookish topics. Today is a "rewind" day, so I chose quotes, and then refined it to "spoiler-free quotes of 2012" because otherwise there are too many to choose from. Some are insightful, some are inspiring, and some are just plain funny.


“Perhaps you have brain damage.”

“It would not shock me in the least,” I said.

“Would you like me to cut open your skull and check, my lord?” she asked.

Someone that short should not be that disturbing. “I . . . No. No, but thank you for the offer.”

“It is my duty to serve,” Lacuna intoned.

My life, Hell’s bells.

-Cold Days by Jim Butcher



“Hark,” he said, his tone very dry. “What stone through yonder window breaks?”

Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”

Jared abandoned Shakespeare and demanded, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Throwing a pebble,” said Kami defensively. “Uh… and I’ll pay for the window.”

Jared vanished and Kami was ready to start shouting again, when he reemerged with the pebble clenched in his fist. “This isn’t a pebble! This is a rock.”

“It’s possible that your behaviour has inspired some negative feelings that caused me to pick a slightly overlarge pebble,” Kami admitted.

-Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan



“How do you feel about helicopters?"

There was a long pause. "How do you mean? Ethically?"

"As a mode of transportation."

"Faster than camels, but less sustainable.”

-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



“No walking! No standing, no bending, no moving, no accessing the Shadow Roads,nothing. You don't swim for an hour after eating, you don't swan around like an idiot for an hour after narrowly avoiding death."

"Toby does," said Quentin.

"Toby is genetically predisposed to swan around like an idiot," Jin shot back. "Now sit.”

-Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire



“No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens.”

-Insurgent by Veronica Roth








“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green




“I believed in happily ever after as much as anyone, because Jane Austen, Prince Charming, and Hugh Grant promised me it could happen.

But maybe that particular delusion was universal.”

-The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman





“There are some things more important than ourselves - more important than the limits of the present, and the whims of the now. There is a future to build and protect. And if we're going to make that future as reality, we have to stop fighting among ourselves. We have to end dissent whenever we find it. We have to trust one another again.”

-Partials by Dan Wells





“Given a choice between life and death, choose life. Given a choice between right and wrong, choose what's right. And given a choice between a terrible truth and a beautiful lie, choose the truth every time.”

-Blackout by Mira Grant






“Did those nice church ladies come by again?"

He nodded. "I asked them if a man died and then the woman remarried, and then the three of them met in heaven, would it be a sin for them to have a threesome, since they were all married in God's eyes. And they decided they were late to be somewhere else.”

-Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews


What are your favorite quotes? And what did you pick for today's topic? Leave a link to your post at the end of your comment so I can check it out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Books Before the Blog


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features lists on different bookish topics. Today's category:

Books I Read Before I Was a Blogger

I have a tendency to harp on about my old favorites, so long-time readers will certainly have heard these before. But I can never turn down the chance to proselytize about my favorite books, so here you are!

Sunshine by Robin McKinley: one of my most worn-out comfort reads

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #3): probably my favorite book in one of my favorite UF series

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay: possibly my all-time favorite book

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard #1): hilarious, disturbing, suspenseful, exciting. Just an amazing book.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1): another funny and intense fantasy

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: a mainstay of science fiction

Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese (Mercury #1): a funny and clever story of the Apocalypse

Fever series by Karen Marie Moning: unbelievably gripping. I've never really thought of them as separate books (except when waiting for Shadowfever).

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher (Codex Alera #4): best book of a great epic fantasy series

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: definitely my favorite HP book

What are your old favorites?


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review | River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

River of Stars
Guy Gavriel Kay
Published 2 April 2013 by Roc (Penguin)
Historical fantasy
4 stars

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life—in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

Bite-Sized Review
Guy Gavriel Kay has a wonderful way with words that is as beautiful in this book as in any of his others. With sweeping themes and characters that are painfully easy to fall in love with, River of Stars is  a masterpiece.

Chocolate (things I liked) 
-I have loved all of GGK's books, and in every case, one of my favorite things about them is the writing. GGK is an absolutely brilliant writer -- there's really no one better. So even the slower parts of the book are a pleasure to read and filled with meaning.

-In addition to being a spectacular wordsmith, GGK has the ability to bring broad themes to life. The pages of his books are filled with love and war, how things long past can affect the present, what duty people have to their rulers, and the difficulty of certain choices. It's especially brilliant because the conclusions the reader draws from the story seem completely natural and not forced at all, as they sometimes are in other books.

-It is heart-breakingly easy to fall in love with GGK's characters. In River of Stars, my favorites were Daiyan and Shan, who were both unorthodox and startlingly clever.

-GGK puts a lot of effort into making his novels historically genuine (which isn't necessarily the same as historically accurate), and it really shows. Especially after reading certain other books, it's really nice to see that much attention to detail in making so many aspects of the characters' lives fit into Song China.

-I loved the ending, though not everyone will.

Brussels Sprouts (things I didn't like)
-The only negative thing I have to say about River of Stars is that the first half was sort of slow. The plot didn't really start until the second half. Of course, I still enjoyed the first half, but I would have preferred if it had been condensed a bit.

Notes
River of Stars takes place about 400 years after Under Heaven. While it's probably helpful to have read Under Heaven, it's not at all necessary. I read Under Heaven several years ago, when it first came out, and have forgotten most of what happened, but I had no trouble at all following River of Stars.

Recommended for
Fans of historical fantasy, beautiful writing, and wonderful characters. People who have enjoyed the works of Brandon Sanderson and Neil Gaiman will probably like River of Stars as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Favorites | Drinks


Friday Favorites
<center><a href="http://neverbakeinblack.blogspot.com" title="Friday Favorites"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WAm7IZGciuM/UPbrLCsOYjI/AAAAAAAABok/BdR8CmA7OHk/s1600/FridayFavorites.jpg"></a></center>

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all talk a lot about books on our blogs, but what about other things we like? Friday Favorites is a meme hosted by Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy that gives book bloggers a chance to gush about something other than novels.

To join in, grab the button code, write a post about your favorites for the category of the month, and post your link below. Thanks for participating!


This Friday's topic is:
Drinks

It's getting harder to come up with weekly topic ideas, so you're going to see a slight change in Friday Favorites; instead of every week, it will be the first Friday of every month.

But anyway, drinks. I wasn't really thinking alcoholic or non-alcoholic when I came up with the topic, so I'm going to do both.

Dr. Pepper: sadly not readily available in Korea
Coffee: the drink of the gods
Blue Moon: with an orange slice. Also not readily available in Korea.
Any Hefeweisen: German beer. It really doesn't get much better.
Cabernet sauvignon: or any red wine, really


What do you like to drink? Leave a comment or a link so I can stop by! Don't forget to come back for April's topic, quotes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday | Quintana of Charyn


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Melina Marchetta
Lumatere Chronicles #3
Expected publication: 23 April 2013
Candlewick Press

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi and his companions travel through Charyn searching for Quintana and building an army that will secure her unborn child’s right to rule. While in the valley between two kingdoms, Quintana of Charyn and Isaboe of Lumatere come face-to-face in a showdown that will result in heartbreak for one and power for the other. The complex tangle of bloodlines, politics, and love introduced in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles coalesce into an engrossing climax in this final volume.

I wasn't a huge fan of Finnikin of the Rock, but Froi of the Exiles was amazing, and I can't wait for Quintana. I'm so jealous of the Australians who already have this one! (Don't tell me anything, okay?)

And as I was looking up the release date, I happened to see that Jellicoe Road is only $1.99 for Kindle! If you haven't read it, you should definitely check it out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review | Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special
Seanan McGuire
InCryptid #2
Published 5 March 2013 by DAW (Penguin)
Urban fantasy
4 stars

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity--and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest. It didn't quite work out that way...

But now, with the snake cult that was killing virgins all over Manhattan finally taken care of, Verity is ready to settle down for some serious ballroom dancing—until her on-again, off-again, semi-boyfriend Dominic De Luca, a member of the monster-hunting Covenant of St. George, informs her that the Covenant is on their way to assess the city's readiness for a cryptid purge. With everything and everyone she loves on the line, there's no way Verity can take that lying down.

Alliances will be tested, allies will be questioned, lives will be lost, and the talking mice in Verity's apartment will immortalize everything as holy writ--assuming there's anyone left standing when all is said and done. It's a midnight blue-light special, and the sale of the day is on betrayal, deceit...and carnage.

Bite-Sized Review
One of the best books I've read this year, Midnight Blue-Light Special is an excellent followup to Discount Armageddon, filled with excitement, danger, suspense, romance, and the religious ecstasy of Aeslin mice. HAIL!

Chocolate (things I liked)
-MBLS has what I consider a perfect balance of action, romance, humor, suspense, and all the other things that make a book great. The romance is more background, but intertwines well with the actual plot. Parts of the book are absolutely hilarious, nail-biting-inducing, and heart-breaking.

-The world has enough that's familiar to avoid being too descriptive in world-building, but is creative enough to seem different from anything you might have seen before. Plus the idea of being a cryptozoologist is pretty awesome.

-MBLS's cast of characters is diverse and relatable. Verity, a cryptozoologist-cum-ballroom-dancer, has a fun voice to read, and it's distinct from Sarah, the telepathic mathematician who narrates for part of the the book. The supporting characters are also unique and fascinating, which is a huge part of what makes this series special.

Brussels Sprouts (things I didn't like)
-I'm rarely a fan of sudden point of view changes. Granted, I didn't hate this one, and I did like seeing things from Sarah's perspective, but it still didn't seem entirely necessary to me. So while the perspective shift isn't awful, it isn't my favorite either.

-I have to wait a whole year to read the next book...

Recommended for
People...who like good stories. You will probably enjoy InCryptid if you like Diana Rowland, Ilona Andrews, and Jim Butcher.

Quality: Excellent
Enjoyability: Excellent

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Favorites | Animals


Friday Favorites
<center><a href="http://neverbakeinblack.blogspot.com" title="Friday Favorites"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WAm7IZGciuM/UPbrLCsOYjI/AAAAAAAABok/BdR8CmA7OHk/s1600/FridayFavorites.jpg"></a></center>

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all talk a lot about books on our blogs, but what about other things we like? Friday Favorites is a meme hosted by Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy that gives book bloggers a chance to gush about something other than novels.

To join in, grab the button code, write a post about your favorites for the category of the week, and post your link below. Thanks for participating!


This Friday's topic is:
Animals

I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like animals (although knowing people, I'm sure there's somebody who hates every conceivable form of life). But they're so cute and fuzzy and murder-y! What's not to love?


Dogs: awwww. Don't you want one of your very own?


Tigers: I can't be the only person who wanted a pet tiger after seeing Aladdin.


Maiasaura: Because dinosaurs are animals too.


Penguins: They're adorably awkward.


Platypus: An egg-laying, venomous, otter-flippered, duck-billed, beaver-tailed mammal? Sure, why not?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review | Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned
Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson #7
Published 5 March 2013 by Ace (Penguin)
Urban fantasy
3 stars

Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

Bite-Sized Review
While any fan of the Mercy Thompson books will probably enjoy Frost Burned, it doesn't really add much to the series. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before, and more than once.

Chocolate (things I liked)
-Frost Burned is not a bad book. On the contrary, there's a lot that's good about it. Mercy has now really accepted her role in Adam's pack, as well as the mate bond and all that comes with it, and the pack has, for the most part, accepted her as well. It's great to see how much she's grown throughout the series.

-My favorite character is the book is definitely Kyle. He's one of my favorites in the series, but in Frost Burned, he really shines. I seriously wish we could have seen some more of Warren as well, but I guess you can't have everything.

Brussels Sprouts (things I disliked)
-Although I certainly enjoy the series, which is why I'm still reading at book seven, I've never really been a fan of Mercy herself. She has always struck me as a bit on the annoying side of self-righteous, even (read: especially) when she has no reason to be. That's the main reason I prefer Briggs' spinoff Alpha & Omega series -- I'm pretty sure it's impossible not to love Anna.

WARNING: the next couple bullets are a bit spoilery. No actual plot details, but there are things you might not want to know if you really hate spoilers.

-I don't want to say too much about the plot of the book, but it really seems like every aspect of it has already happened in a way that's quite similar to what occurs here. The characters even reference those past events explicitly. Now I've heard that there's nothing new under the sun, but there really can't be that small of a range of options that it doesn't even last seven books.

-The pacing of the book is...odd. At the point where it seemed to be wrapping up, I looked at the progress bar on my Kindle and it informed me that I was less than halfway through, and unfortunately the entire second half turns out to be mainly tying up loose ends. Not to mention the fact that the conclusion sort of jumps out of nowhere and isn't even that clear in retrospect, which always leaves me a bit disappointed.

-I really expected there to be more fallout from the end of Fair Game. I guess it's technically a different series, so maybe more will happen in the next Alpha & Omega book, but it honestly barely affected the plot at all.

Recommended for
Anyone who enjoys the series.

Quality: Fair
Enjoyability: Good

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites | Sports

Friday Favorites
<center><a href="http://neverbakeinblack.blogspot.com" title="Friday Favorites"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WAm7IZGciuM/UPbrLCsOYjI/AAAAAAAABok/BdR8CmA7OHk/s1600/FridayFavorites.jpg"></a></center>

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all talk a lot about books on our blogs, but what about other things we like? Friday Favorites is a meme hosted by Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy that gives book bloggers a chance to gush about something other than novels.

To join in, grab the button code, write a post about your favorites for the category of the week, and post your link below. Thanks for participating!


This Friday's topic is:
Sports

I like sports -- yes, you can be bookish and athletic at the same time, although judging by the current condition of my ankle, I'm not sure I qualify as the latter.


Softball: I've been playing softball forever, so it kind of had to be on this list! This is my college club team -- I'm the tall one.


Football: I enjoy watching it. It makes particularly good background noise, especially if you don't care who wins.


Hurling: The greatest sport no one has ever heard of. It's Irish and sort of a cross between lacrosse and Australian rules football, only without any rules. It's awesome.


College basketball: While I can't stand pro basketball, college basketball is much more fun, especially if I'm watching the ACC (because then I might actually care about what happens).


Quidditch: What kind of bibliophile would I be if I didn't include a fictional sport on my list? (Yes, I know people have made it into a Muggle sport, but until they can fly, I refuse to count it as real Quidditch.)

Short one today -- what are your favorite sports? Don't forget to stop by next week to share your favorite animals!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review | The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

The Devil You Know
Mike Carey
Felix Castor #1
Published 2007 by Warner Books (Hachette)
Urban fantasy
3 stars

Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghost buster can charge what he likes and enjoy a hell of a lifestyle--but there's a risk: Sooner or later he's going to take on a spirit that's too strong for him. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London - just to pay the bills, you understand. But what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is rapidly turning into the Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize. That's OK: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off...

Bite-Sized Review
The Devil You Know is a fairly intriguing start to a new series despite a slightly dragging middle.

Chocolate (things I liked)
-The world is sort of a less malevolent version of Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series. In spite the abundance of necromancers in the world of urban fantasy, exorcists seem to be in short supply, so it's always interesting to see one. And with the huge variety of legends and beliefs surrounding ghosts and life after death, that kind of world-building allows an author to be very creative.

-The mystery remains a mystery until the solution is actually revealed. I cycled through a number of suspects and never guessed the real culprit, much less the full horror of what happens. Granted, parts of the story are clear pretty early on, but for much of it I wasn't even close. The Devil You Know is a dark and gritty story, another feature it shares with Downside Ghosts.

-While the book doesn't end in a cliffhanger (fortunately), it does leave quite a few possibilities for future stories. There's just enough question to keep the reader interested in the next book without being actually painful. (I'm looking at you, Fever.)

Brussels Sprouts (things I didn't like)
-The book could have been tightened up a bit, especially in the middle. There's a point where Fix has no idea what's going on, and that point stretches out for more than a bit too long. I think I would have finished this book a lot faster if I hadn't kept getting distracted because I was bored in the middle.

-I'm not really enamored of any of the characters. I don't dislike any of them, they just don't seem to have enough personality to actually have real feelings about. This particular issue is something that could definitely resolve itself in later books, so I'm hoping the problem will eventually disappear.

Recommended for
Fans of Downside Ghosts or Simon R. Green's Nightside series.

Quality: Acceptable
Enjoyability: Acceptable

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Favorites | Dessert

Friday Favorites
<center><a href="http://neverbakeinblack.blogspot.com" title="Friday Favorites"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WAm7IZGciuM/UPbrLCsOYjI/AAAAAAAABok/BdR8CmA7OHk/s1600/FridayFavorites.jpg"></a></center>

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all talk a lot about books on our blogs, but what about other things we like? Friday Favorites is a meme hosted by Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy that gives book bloggers a chance to gush about something other than novels.

To join in, grab the button code, write a post about your favorites for the category of the week, and post your link below. Thanks for participating!


This Friday's topic is:
Dessert

I have to admit, there are (not infrequent) times when I look forward to dessert more than my actual meal. I love baking, so I usually have some form of baked goodness in my house, something my tastebuds appreciate more than my waistline. But in any case, dessert is awesome, so I thought it deserved its own post.

I'm sorry I don't have many pictures -- I'm not very good at remembering to take pictures of my dessert before I eat it. But if you click on the links, they all have pictures AND recipes, so you should definitely do that!

This awesome chocolate cake (with cream cheese frosting)

These amazing cinnamon rolls (also with cream cheese frosting. I really like cream cheese frosting.)


Frosted Oreo brownies

These brown sugar cookies


The vanilla cookies that I have been "helping" with since I was two

These chocolate chip cookies

This funfetti cake

I decided that was probably enough for one post, but if you want more recipes, I have an entire dessert board on Pinterest, and I've actually tried a pretty decent portion of them. And while we're on the topic of dessert, anyone have a really good recipe for red velvet cake?

What are your favorite desserts? Don't forget to fill out the linky below (please? It's lonely), and join in next week to share your favorite sports.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Authors on My Auto-Buy List


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features lists on different bookish topics. Today's category:

Authors on My Auto-Buy List

I love having an "auto-read" list. I am one of those people who really hates spoilers, to the extent that I actually shunned the interned for a week before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so if I can just glance at the author and go, "Yup, I want to read that" without even looking at the blurb, that's perfect. I'm pretty sure that's the case for way more authors than these, but here's ten.

Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, The Edge)
It's been a while since I raved about Ilona Andrews, so for the newbies: I would buy Ilona Andrews' books if they published a treatise on conjunctivitis. That's how much I love their writing. Want a sample? They're publishing a free serial on their website.

Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana, The Fionavar Tapestry, Under Heaven)
Weirdly, while it would be really difficult for me to choose a favorite author, I can tell you with some confidence that The Lions of Al-Rassan is my favorite book. By sheer coincidence, GGK has a new book, River of Stars, coming out in April, and I can't wait to read it.

Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files, Codex Alera)
Reading Jim Butcher's books is always a pleasure. He's creative, can keep hold of numerous plot threads at once, and has moments of absolute hilarity.

Robin McKinley (The Blue Sword, Beauty, Spindle's End)
Robin McKinley has a unique, rambling writing style that really appeals to me. Sunshine and The Hero and the Crown are two of my big comfort reads.

Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, The Scorpio RacesThe Raven Cycle)
Like Guy Gavriel Kay, Maggie Stiefvater has a gorgeously lyrical style that I love. Plus she's hilarious, and her books are all amazing.

Seanan McGuire (October Daye, the Newsflesh trilogy, InCryptid)
I'll admit I wasn't won over by Rosemary and Rue, but after reading all of Seanan McGuire's books (under her own name and as Mira Grant), I have to say, I love her world-building and characters. If you haven't read any of her books, you should.

Melina Marchetta (Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, The Lumatere Chronicles)
Melina Marchetta's characters seem so real that other books pale in comparison. I can't wait to read Quintana of Charyn in April.

Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Way of Kings, Elantris)
If I had to choose the top ten worlds I've read (which, okay, I've actually done), at least three of them would probably be Brandon Sanderson's. Not only are his worlds incredibly creative, but they're also populated with great characters and brilliant stories.

Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard)
Scott Lynch is definitely one of my favorites. His books are dark and dangerous and absolutely hilarious. Plus, who wouldn't want to read about thieves and con artists and pirates?

Jennifer Fallon (the Demon Child trilogy, Second Sons, Tide Lords)
Jennifer Fallon just writes all-around good books. They're exactly the kind of epic fantasy I love.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bite-Sized Reviews

In which I notice that, hmmm, I have several books that I meant to review but then I got distracted by new and shiny other books. Life is hard...


Working Stiff by Rachel Caine
Revivalist #1
3 stars

Working Stiff is a dark and interesting take on zombies filled with moral ambiguities and layered characters. While a bit slow in places, it definitely has the potential to become an excellent series. Recommended for fans of My Life as a White Trash Zombie and Unholy Magic -- imagine it as somewhere between the two.



The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Crosspointe #1
3 stars

The Cipher gets off to a promising start, and, after stalling a bit in the middle, delivers a solid finish. While the book is a little overly focused on what seems like a strange romance, overall the unusual magic system and the last third or so of the book manage to make up for it. Recommended for fans of Holly Lisle and possibly Kate Elliot.


Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Sabina Kane #1
3 stars

Red-Headed Stepchild doesn't do much to stand out from the urban fantasy crowd, but it is an enjoyable read, though Sabina can be annoying at times. Recommended for anyone who's craving more urban fantasy and doesn't need anything particularly new.


Mister Monday by Garth Nix
Keys to the Kingdom #1
3 stars

I find that Garth Nix's works generally have excellent, unique magic systems but fail to live up to their world-building prowess in the storytelling department. Like Nix's other books, Mister Monday has a fascinating world, but the story doesn't really capture the reader's attention until the last third or so. That's not to say the writing is bad -- it's not -- but somehow I always expect the writing to be as compelling as the world. Recommended for fans of The Graveyard Book and a less funny Percy Jackson and the Olympians.


Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
3 stars

In an almost exact reversal of Garth Nix's strengths, Jennifer L. Armentrout is a captivating writer who doesn't seem to publish anything really original. Like her other works, Cursed is nothing you haven't seen before, but the addictive quality of JLA's writing carries it towards the front of the YA line. Recommended for fans of the usual YA paranormal suspects.




I guess it's no wonder I wasn't in much of a hurry to publish these -- they were all good but not really excellent. I could, however, easily see other readers very much enjoying any of them, depending on tastes, so if one sounds interesting, definitely give it a try. All of them are also the first in their series, so they might be worth trying anyway; the best books often come later.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chocolate from the Cloud


Some of this is a bit old, but still interesting:

 •Controversy over Amazon's review policies (The Guardian)
•An infographic about who reads ebooks (Book Patrol)
•Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy picked up for TV by Fox (Publishers Weekly)
J.J. Abrams is likely to direct Star Wars: Episode VII (Variety)
Winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards announced (Publishers Weekly)
•Amazon plans to put advertisements on Kindle devices (The Bookseller)
•Neil Gaiman releases a free collection of short stories and is asking for readers to help illustrate them

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Favorites | Movies

Friday Favorites
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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

We all talk a lot about books on our blogs, but what about other things we like? Friday Favorites is a meme hosted by Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy that gives book bloggers a chance to gush about something other than novels.

To join in, grab the button code, write a post about your favorites for the category of the week, and post your link below. Thanks for participating!


This Friday's topic is:
Movies


The Dark Knight – epic awesomeness


Gladiator – best movie ever


A Knight's Tale – kind of cheesy, but the soundtrack definitely makes the movie


The Princess Bride – anybody want a peanut?


Mulan – "I've got a name! And it's a boy's name, too."


Star Wars: Episode V – best of the trilogy


Inception – just a really cool idea


Pirates of the Caribbean – yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave a link below. What are your favorite movies?

Join us next week to share your favorite desserts.