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Showing posts from April, 2009

The "YA Thing"

I just wanted to note the discussions surrounding the "YA Thing," as stemming from comments in Frank Cotrell Boyce's article in The Guardian last summer, in which Boyce referred to the "young adult ghetto." Much has been made of this issue and, though I feel passionately about it, others have ranted better than me. So I'm simply going to highlight a couple of the best responses I've read recently.
Laini Taylorchimes in (again) on the YA stigma. A favorite passage:Teens are an audience any writer would be lucky to get. Kids too. Kids and teens aren't going to pretend to like your books because the lit-snob aristoi tell them they should. You have to earn them. And if you do, you will have earned readers who will write you wonderful emails, read your book ten times and tell their friends to read them too, create art about your books, dress up as your characters for Halloween, sneak under the covers with a flashlight to stay up late reading. You will hav…

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

I've been waiting for this book for three years. I loved Terrier--the first book in Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper trilogy and I looked forward to spending more time in her company. I've been a Pierce fan for a long time now and with this series it was literally like coming home being back in Corus, the capital of Tortall. It was also a nice change of pace to have the story set a few hundred years before Alanna's time, and revolve firmly around the lower classes. Unlike Alanna's day, Beka's Tortall is a place where lady knights roam the countryside freely and girls can grow up to be part of the city guard if they want. That is exactly what Beka's always wanted and, thanks to the Lord Provost's benevolence, she's able to escape the city slums and help support her mother and siblings on a Dog's salary.

In Bloodhound Beka finds herself characteristically partnerless. When one of the senior Dogs is laid up after a riot, Beka is temporarily partnered wit…

Tell Me What to Do

I need your advice. I just finished Tamora Pierce's Bloodhound(review forthcoming) and I've got such a lovely stack sitting next to me and no idea where to start. That's where you come in. Here are the options:

So give me your input. Have you read any of these? What's it gonna be?

Dangerous Pretties

A few dangerously enticing upcoming pretties for your viewing pleasure today.
Debut author Lisa Mangum has The Hourglass Doorcoming out May 13th. Scooper has a lovely early review of it here. Sounds promising!
Diana Peterfreund is not kidding us with the latest cover of Rampant--due out August 25th. This is the final version and definitely my favorite. Seriously cannot wait for this baby.
Rachel Vincent is breaking into YA with the first in her new Soul Screamers series--My Soul to Take, which is due out August 1st. It's got banshees. I'm just sayin'.

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

As you know, I read a lot of urban fantasy. I love the supers, the gritty cities, the strong women, and (in my favorites) the dry sense of humor. And though there are a ton of UF series out there, relatively few of them make it to the upper echelon for me. Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series sits comfortably in the #1 spot. I put Blood Bounddown and it was all over. I've got the Mercy's Garage shirt proclaiming my ubergeek fangirl status. Exactly a year ago I read the first two Kate Daniels books. I enjoyed Magic Bites just fine and Magic Burnseven more. But I'm telling you this third volume is the one. I went in with very high expectations and still I was taken by surprise at just how good it was.
Magic Strikestakes place four months after the events of Magic Burns. For four months, Kate has been learning the ropes at her new job with the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. For four months, she's been supporting Julie--the lost young girl she took under her wing--…

Poetry Friday

I love Billy Collins. But it took Chelle referencing it in her Reading Meme to lead me to this gem. I read it for the first time two days ago. Left me breathless.
Taking off Emily Dickinson's Clothesby Billy Collins

First, her tippet made of tulle,easily lifted off her shoulders and laidon the back of a wooden chair.
And her bonnet,the bow undone with a light forward pull.
Then the long white dress, a morecomplicated matter with mother-of-pearlbuttons down the back,so tiny and numerous that it takes foreverbefore my hands can part the fabric,like a swimmer's dividing water,and slip inside.
You will want to knowthat she was standingby an open window in an upstairs bedroom,motionless, a little wide-eyed,looking out at the orchard below,the white dress puddled at her feeton the wide-board, hardwood floor.
The complexity of women's undergarmentsin nineteenth-century Americais not to be waved off,and I proceeded like a polar explorer

Contests, Friends, and Zombie Chickens

First off, Steph is holding a fabulous contest over at Reviewer X this week. Enter to win a complete set of Diana Peterfreund's Ivy League Novels. That's right--all four of them! So if you haven't yet, now is definitely the time to jump into that series. I've made no secret of what a fan I am. You can read me go on about them here, here, here, and over here. Leave Steph a comment and you're entered. Contest runs through next Wednesday. Go check it out.








And in the spirit of matched sets, The Epic Rat (love the name) is giving away a set of all three of Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares books. I've reviewed all three books (here, here, and here) and they really are a hoot. The giveaway ends April 28th so head on over and leave a comment!





Next, I've been the happy recipient of a few awards over the past couple weeks and I wanted to make sure to thank the lovely bloggers who passed on the bloggy love.

Kimberly of Darque Reviews passed on the Let's Be Friends Aw…

The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

I fell in love with Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares series at the tail end of last year. Shearin's delightful blend of wry humor, high-speed action, and brief moments of sizzling chemistry make for highly enjoyable reads. The only problem being that they end leaving you thirsty for more. The Trouble with Demons is the third Raine Benares book and has my favorite cover (and title) so far. This girl looks more like the Raine in my head and the title is certainly...apt. There are demons galore in this one. Demons pint-sized, demons ogre-sized, demons every color of the rainbow, oh my!
Raine is tired. Just last week she and her goblin more-than-friend Tam narrowly managed to foil a slew of elven assassins and now this week the demons are coming out of the woodwork. Turns out a Hell Gate has been opened, a demon queen is in search of her husband's captive soul, and the acting archmagus would love to see Raine take the fall for the entire debacle. Meanwhile, the Saghred still has it…

A Life in Pages

1. What author do you own the most books by?Mary Stewart. 40 at last count. There's a pretty good story behind that number. Maybe I'll share it with you one of these days.
2. What book do you own the most copies of?I own four copies of The Blue Sword and four copies of The Ivy Tree. That's right. It's a tie.
3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?So you're saying I have to pick just one...well, I won't. Today you get two--one that I've been crushing on for several months now and one that I've been in love with for going on two decades. Poe/Jamie/Pajamie (the Ivy League Novelsby Diana Peterfreund) and George Cooper (The Song of the Lionessquartet by Tamora Pierce). Respectively.
4. What book have you read more than any other?Ooh. I'm gonna have to go with The High Kingby Lloyd Alexander. Although The Hero and the Crownand Lioness Rampantare not far behind.
5. What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?The Voyage of the Dawn…

Rainy Day Pretties

Risky Business

The lovely Shannon Hale has an extremely interesting post up on her blog about why she writes what she does, why the next book won't necessarily be the one you want, and why that's the way it has to be. I've long been fascinated with how writers answer the question: what do I write next? How does one go about balancing the pressures of following up one success with another hit, the mounting desires of clamoring readers, and one's own inclinations? Shannon has some valuable insights into where she falls on the issue.
Robin McKinley addresses the subject (with her signature style and vigor) in this post on her blog entitled "There is no sequel to SUNSHINE." And as much as it pains me to hear there won't be sequels to some of my favorite books, there's no way in Hades I would want any of my favorite authors to go against their nature (or the demands of the Story Council) merely to satisfy fans. I want the next story they have in them. I don't care if …

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara

And today we have the first in yet another series I had heard much good about but avoided picking up for a variety of no good reasons. I think my reluctance stemmed somewhat from an uncertainty as to just what kind of series Michelle Sagara's Cast series was. I think at first I had the impression it was a paranormal romance, possibly an urban fantasy (the covers influenced me this way). A few chapters in I was surprised to find Cast in Shadow much more a mix of dark and high fantasy, peopled with a smattering of solid gold, humorous, and truly sinister characters living in a fully developed, layered, and fascinating world.
Kaylin Neya is a Hawk. The youngest of that number, in fact. In the city of Elantra, the Hawks are charged with policing the streets and guarding the citizens. They share that responsibility with their sibling organizations the Wolves and the Swords. Together the three forces are headquartered in the Halls of Law. Elantra's citizens are made up of a mix of hu…

Tap & Gown by Diana Peterfreund

I was having a truly mediocre day. Nothing was going right. I couldn't snap out of it. And the whole thing was rapidly approaching a complete wash. In a last ditch attempt to jar my mood, I went out to check the mail. An ARC of Tap & Gownwas waiting for me and presto! Crappy day salvaged. Ironically, writing this review has been hard. Truth be told, I've actually been avoiding it. And it's not because I didn't love it. Because let me tell you, I loved this book like George Harrison Prescott loves women. No, I've been avoiding it for a much more cowardly reason. You see, I kept getting a lump in my throat every time I went to write it. Because writing it would mean it was really over. The book, the series, the whole Amy at Eli saga. And, yes, I know Rampantwill be out soon and I am seriously looking forward to that. But this series will always hold a special place in my heart and it's hard to see it come to a close. Even the kind of close that leaves you wit…

A Letter from Laurie

Dear Friends,
With a new book coming out and an ongoing celebration ("Fifteen Weeks of Bees") in theLaurie R. King e-universe, I wanted to include ways to help Independent booksellers, libraries, and people to whom hardback novels are but a distant dream. Here's what I've come up with:
Indies--A piece of art:Readers who buy a copy of The Language of Bees from an independent bookseller and send us their receipt will beentered into a drawing for a truly gorgeous piece of art: an original, limited edition letterpress broadside (value $125) of "A Venomous Death,"a new, illustrated Laurie King short story featuring Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes, and... bees.
Libraries--A set of Russells:During National Library Week, we're collecting library love letters from their patrons. The winning letter gets a copy of the new book, The Language of Bees. At the same time, their library wins a complete set of hardback Russell and Holmes novels, beginning with The Beekeeper&#…