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Showing posts from December, 2008

Best of 2008

Once again, on the eve of 2009, I've put together my best shot at a Best Books of '08 list. I whittled last year's list down to 12 books--one for each month of the year. This year it was a bit harder. I managed to get it down to the Round of 16 and gave up there. So here they are in all their cozy wonderfulness.

Best of 2008 (in order of publication)
Iron Kissedby Patricia Briggs The Mage's Daughterby Lynn Kurland A Curse Dark as Goldby Elizabeth C. Bunce* Grimspaceby Ann Aguirre* Heroes Adriftby Moira J. Moore Clockwork Heartby Dru Pagliassotti* Armed & Magicalby Lisa Shearin The Hostby Stephenie Meyer Wicked Gameby Jeri Smith-Ready Rites of Spring (Break)by Diana Peterfreund What I Wasby Meg Rosoff Silent in the Sanctuaryby Deanna Raybourn Suite Scarlettby Maureen Johnson Gracelingby Kristin Cashore* Heir to Sevenwatersby Juliet Marillier Lamentby Maggie Stiefvater*
* indicates a debut author

The Trouble with Kings by Sherwood Smith

First published in ebook format by Samhain PublishingThe Trouble with Kingswas just recently released in print format. I read and loved Crown Duelseveral years ago and this one caught my eye because it sounded similar in a delightfully swashbuckling sort of way. This book is also being billed as a fantasy romance--a genre I'm beginning to feel is a bit finicky (for me at least). It seems very difficult to strike just the right chord. 
Flian is a princess. Though when we first meet her she does not recall that rather important fact about herself. She does not, in fact, recall anything about herself as she apparently took a fall off a horse, a bump on the head, and lost her memory. She awakes in an old woman's cabin and is soon whisked off to a castle by her "cousin" Garian. Garian seems very keen to let Flian know she was on her way to see him when she took the fall. Oh, and she was also on her way to her marriage to a dour king named Jason who is also in residence a…


Just FYI, today I'm guest blogging over at The Book Smugglers. The always awesome Thea and Ana are celebrating their first blog anniversary by holding Smugglivus and you don't want to miss the veritable gold mine of authors, publishers, and book bloggers they have dropping in daily. I put together an Ocscars-style breakdown of the best "performances" of '08. Head on over and check it out!

Armed & Magical by Lisa Shearin

Two Raine Benares books down and I can say three things: first--I am officially a Lisa Shearin fan, second--I liked Armed & Magical just as much as (if not more than) Magic Lost, Trouble Found, and third--it's going to be a long wait for book #3, The Trouble with Demons, to come out the end of April. Lisa has, however, assured me that my wait will not be in vain, as book #3 will have more than enough sizzle to satisfy any Team Tam girl's needs. To be fair, she said the same will be true for Team Mychael girls, but that's neither here nor there...
Armed & Magicalbegins immediately after the first book ends. Raine and Co. are on the Island of Mid, restlessly holed up in the finest suite the Conclave and its Guardians have to offer. The paladin has assured Raine that someone within the magical university hierarchy will be able to help rid her of her increasingly uncomfortable link to the Saghred--the ancient, malevolent stone intent on sucking her soul dry. Unfortunate…

Merry Merry Christmas

On this Christmas night I hope that your hearts were full of love and your stockings full of books. Thank you all for making my days merry and bright.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

I believe I first heard about Magic Lost, Trouble Found throughTia's review over at Fantasy Debut. In it Tia referred to Lisa Shearin as "the Janet Evanovich of fantasy," and, well, who doesn't want to get a piece of that action? Seriously, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to doing just that. This series seems to be most often described as regular fantasy with a decidedly urban fantasy heroine, complete with charming (at times self deprecating) sense of humor. I would agree with this assessment. Raine's internal dialogue is very much in keeping with urban fantasy trends. She'll be the first one to tell you, she's one part disreputable imp, two parts defender of all that is good. And she can handle anything that comes her way.
And the excellent part is--all kinds of heinousness comes her way and she handles it with aplomb (and the aforementioned sense of humor). Raine Benares is a seeker, finder of lost things and/or people. Rai…

Monday Giggles

Maggie Stiefvater, author of the most awesome Lament, has a whole series of these hilarious Harry Potter images (along with a nice discussion of character and personalty development) up on her blog. Go check them out for a few Monday Giggles.

In the Coils of the Snake by Clare B. Dunkle

I do like these covers. The rich, sometimes earthy tones aptly reflect the individual themes of the books, in my opinion. Plus the style of artwork keeps the characters sort of dreamy and vague and I am therefore free to go on picturing them however I please and that is always a good thing. In the Coils of the Snake continues the story of the goblin court and its longtime enemies the "we're one step ahead of extinction" elves. This third and final volume in the Hollow Kingdom trilogy takes place thirty years after Close Kin and begins with the unthinkable. 

Marak is dead. *sob*
And as if that isn't enough, we find out that all these years he has been secretly grooming a young human girl to be his son Catspaw's bride when he passes the crown to him. The girl, Miranda, is now living in the hollow hill with them and is utterly bereft now that her one friend (and father-figure) is gone and she is expected to take up the mantle of queen to a young and inexperienced king…

A Couple of Firsts and an Interview

Patricia Briggs has the first chapter of Bone Crossedup on her site. You know you can't resist. 
Charlaine Harris has the first chapter of Dead and Goneup on her site. Word is the weres come out to play in this one. 
And Word Wenches has an interview with Sharon Shinn up on their site. In it she mentions toying with the idea of writing a novella about Kirra and Donnal as well as possibly following the next generation in the Twelve Houses world.  One word: yay!

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle

Close Kinis the second book in Clare B. Dunkle's Hollow Kingdom trilogy. It takes place around five years after The Hollow Kingdomand follows Kate's younger sister Emily. Or at least it seems to. Where The Hollow Kingdomstuck pretty closely to Kate's story, Close Kinjumps around a fair bit, splitting its time three different ways as it traces the paths of Emily, her friend and would-be suitor Seylin, and an extremely unhappy elf named Sable. 

When Emily fails to take Seylin's romantic advances seriously, half goblin/half elf Seylin informs the Goblin King he is leaving to search out his other heritage and see if he can find any elves who managed to survive the last goblin harrowing. He does, in fact, come across a rather feral group of elves but, having suffered much in the name of mere survival, they are barely recognizable as the beautiful, carefree creatures Seylin dreamt of. Among this group is a young woman named Sable who, to avoid being forced into an unwanted ma…

A few pretties to look forward to...