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Showing posts from June, 2008

Rites of Spring (Break) by Diana Peterfreund

So Real Life intervened last week in the form of the plague, and Villa Angie was torn asunder. We are just now managing to square our shoulders and shake off the gloom. In my plague-ridden state, I still had the presence of mind to send DH out for my copy of Rites of Spring (Break)the day it came out, and reading it got me through. That and the phenergan shot. Ouch! Unfortunately, it's taken till now to review it. So this comes after much grinning, applauding, and re-reading of the most favorite of parts (of which there were several).

In this third installment of the Ivy League Novels, Our Girl Amy finds herself sludging through the gloom that is New Haven in late winter/early spring, wondering who named her whipping girl in the latest intercollegiate secret society rumble. Meanwhile, her ex-friend-with-benefits makes a sudden reappearance in her life and the already nigh unto crippling confusion factor gets ratcheted up a dozen or so notches. Fortunately, the annual Rose & G…

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

It's rather a lovely cover, don't you think? More than one person has told me the cover was what caught their eye in the bookstore and insisted on being taken home. It's also a rather lovely 400+ pages. Plenty of time to get to know the characters and their world, which is good as they are both quite intricate. Despite the cover (and title), the princess and her hound are not the main characters in this story. The narrative centers instead on a boy named George. Prince George, to be exact. And Prince George possesses a pack of problems. His mother died when he was young, leaving him alone in the world with no siblings to share his grief and a father who knows how to rule a kingdom but understands nothing of how to be a father. On top of which, George has the dubious gift of animal magic. He can speak their language and feels most comfortable out in the wild, conversing with the animals, than around humans. Trouble is, animal magic is feared and loathed far and wide in Geor…

Cry Wolf Excerpt

Patricia Briggs has posted an excerpt from her upcoming Alpha and Omega novel Cry Wolf. This is the first in a new series set in Mercy Thompson's world following Samuel's brother Charles and a new wolf named Anna. It comes out July 29th. The sample chapter is delicious and will hopefully tide you over till then. For background on these two characters, pick up the original short story "Alpha and Omega" in the anthology On the Prowl. It's superb.

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

This one has been getting lots of good press and was a National Book Award Finalist for 2006. Keturah and Lord Deathis a sort of Scheherezade meets Beauty and the Beast meets the Persephone myth, in which a young woman is forced to spin a new tale each night to keep her captor from killing her. In this version, her captor is, in fact, Death himself (hence the Persephone connection), and he actually lets her go on the condition that she will return the following night with the end of the tale. Should she be able to find her true love in that time, he will release her from her promise and Death will no longer stalk young Keturah.

The story is set in the rather charmingly vague village of Tide-by-Rood, located at the far edge of the country of Angleland. The setting exuded a sort of Canterbury Tales feel, while the townspeople reminded me of the denizens of a Hawthorne novel, everyone suspicious of everyone else and nobody with the guts to question the status quo or talk about the things …

Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund

Reading Secret Society Girlput me in righteously indignant mode for two days straight. Now, admittedly, it doesn't always take much to send me there but, since my indignation was on behalf of fictional characters and couldn't hurt anyone, well, real, I figured it was okay to let the wrath reign. Besides, some of those dudes really deserved it. My wrath, that is. Reading Under the Rose was an entirely different experience. I spent the majority of the time grinning madly, silently egging certain characters on while berating others for their a) lack of the barest trappings of a conscience or b) inability to just come out and say what's really bothering them.

And boy was there a lot of bothering going on. At the start of the book, it quickly becomes apparent someone within the secret society is leaking information to outsiders intent on destroying them. Amy, known within the Rose & Grave annals as Bugaboo, is dismayed to find out she's lived up to her society nickname …

Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

Bookshelves of Doom first brought this book to my attention and, after browsing Diana Peterfreund's blog, I found myself charmed and went and snagged a copy of Secret Society Girl. And though I didn't almost get hit by a car, I did stay up too late two nights in a row finishing this one. I found myself alternately morbidly fascinated by and completely frustrated with a world that (though "real") was so utterly alien to the one I experienced at college. More to come on that further down.

Amy Haskel is your average overachieving junior at Eli University. Editor of the school's lit magazine, she's up to her elbows reading War and Peace, sorting writing submissions, and negotiating a very tenuous friends-with-benefits relationship with her assistant editor. Amid all this, Amy is shocked when Rose and Grave, the most prestigious secret society on campus, taps her for their annual initiation. Btw, it's clear from the get-go that Eli is not-so-loosely based on Y…

Thin Air by Rachel Caine

I can't believe this is the last Weather Warden book currently in print. For awhile there it started to feel like there was a limitless supply at my fingertips. But now I am forced to wait until August to continue the series and find out what happens next for Jo, David, and Lewis. I have decided Lewis needs someone. And I'm really not quite certain it should be Rahel. I think she could really put the hurt on good ole Triple-threat (all powerful, yet surprisingly fragile) Lewis. In any event, my hopes for the upcoming Gale Forceinclude someone to help ground Lewis and some time and space for Jo and David to talk and decompress. I mean, when you're both so busy throwing yourselves in front of oncoming traffic to save each other's lives, you don't really get enough down time together, you know?

Thin Air was a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the series. Her memory (and complete identity) stolen by a demon who now looks just like her, Jo wakes up in the middle…

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

I first discovered Jeri Smith-Ready through her highly unique urban fantasy Requiem for the Devil. A sort of sequel to Paradise Lost told from Lucifer's point of view, I thought it was beautiful, disturbing and, in the end, unexpectedly hopeful. When I heard she was writing an urban fantasy about vampire DJs and a female lead who is a con artist, I was eager to get my hands on it. It took forever for my local store to get it in, but when if finally did I snatched it up immediately. Wicked Game didn't disappoint in the least. In fact, it had me laughing out loud several times.

One of my favorite passages:
Finally I find what I'm looking for, behind an unopened container of fennel seed. I climb off the counter, clutching the little plastic jar.

"Be right back," I tell Lori as I blur past her.

In my room I shut the door and advance on Shane, who's sitting among the CDs again.

"Get out!" I twist off the red cap and hurl the contents of the jar at him.

He sput…

A Marillier and a Shinn

At last the covers of the upcoming Heir to Sevenwatersby Juliet Marillier and Fortune and Fateby Sharon Shinn. Both are sequels (of sorts) to Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy and Shinn's Novels of the Twelve Houses respectively. Heir to Sevenwatersfollows Liadan's niece Clodagh and takes place about 3 years after the events of Child of the Prophecycome to a close. Fortune and Fatefollows the Rider Wen who leaves the royal city and the Riders behind at the end of Reader and Raelynx. The best part, you ask? They come out the Same Day. So mark November 4th on your calendars and start trying to decide which one you're gonna read first.

Firestorm by Rachel Caine

The no holds barred, pedal to the metal pace of these books is going to be the death of me. I didn't even feel like I read this one. More like it was downloaded to my brain in a series of high-speed images and I was left to make sense of it all after the fact. In this installment, the Wardens organization is a complete shambles. Both David and Lewis have inherited unwanted leadership burdens, becoming the unwilling de facto leaders of what's left of the free Djinn and the Wardens respectively. Inextricably tied to both men and both groups, Jo finds herself stretched to the breaking point trying to maintain her loyalty and avoid dying. Again.

Firestormalso introduces the concept of the Oracles--supernatural, primal beings who serve as connections between the Djinn and Mother Earth herself. Something dark and nasty begins targeting the Oracles in an attempt to gain entrance to this world and Jo finds herself racing from one Oracle to the next trying to keep the dark and nasty at …

Ellen Emerson White Covers

So these are the covers for the paperback reissues Feiwel & Friends is releasing in July. They match the cover of last fall's Long May She Reign, the sequel to The President's Daughter trilogy, as they all fall into the famous paintings theme. Not only have the books received a face lift, but Ellen Emerson White has subtly updated them to reflect the changes in society and technology since they were first published in the '80s. This is a series I have loved for years and has been out of print far too long. So it is such a thrill to see the first three books being released anew so that a whole new generation of readers can find them and love them.

Links
A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy Review of the Series
My Review of Long May She Reign

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

I decided to follow up my first Linnea Sinclair book (Gabriel's Ghost) with Games of Command and I am so glad I did. What a fun, fun book this is. I inhaled it over the weekend and wished there was a sequel lying around somewhere when I was done. Games of Commandfollows main characters Captain Tasha Sebastian and Admiral Branden Kel-Paten as well as secondary characters Dr. Eden Fynn and Captain Jace Serafino. As in Gabriel's Ghost, the two main characters have a history from the get-go and I love that. Makes me feel like I've stepped into something real and multifaceted, like the characters didn't just begin to exist when I opened the book but have instead been living their lives just fine without me and are now generously letting me peek in on what's going on.

When their respective employers form an alliance, the former nemeses find themselves working together on the same ship. Tasha and Kel-Paten both have a few very potent secrets to hide, from each other and t…

Robin McKinley Reissues

I know. Another cover art post today. But I couldn't not feature these awesome new covers for the mass market reissues of Sunshineand Dragonhaven. These two are due out this fall. Seriously. The Sunshine cover is too delicious for words. I love that scene!

Breaking Dawn Cover Art

And here's the cover for Stephenie Meyer's fourth and final book in the Twilight series--Breaking Dawn. Very Fraught with Tension, no? The original Twilight cover is probably still my favorite, but I quite like this one. What do you think?

P.S. You can also read a sneak preview from the first chapter of Breaking Dawnhere. Enjoy.