Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking Forward: September




Sometimes it's really hard for me to keep track of what comes out what month, especially while juggling early reviews and publisher catalogues and all the other confusing bookish things bloggers deal with. It's just a LOT OF BOOKS ALL THE TIME. How do you ever keep them straight?! So on the last day of the month, I post a guide to what books I'm most looking forward to in the following month and that you should keep an eye on. So, since it's the last day in August, here are the September releases most tempting me:

ARGHHH WHY DO ALL THE BOOKS COME OUT IN SEPTEMBER OMG TELL THEM TO
STOP

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Goodreads
Release date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Series: Yes, #3 in the Throne of Glass series
Source: BEA14
Length: 565 beautiful, beautiful pages
Rating: I'm sorry, Gillian can't come to the internet now because she is deceased. There is no Gillian. Gillian is nothing but ash and motherfucking flame.

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Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

SPOILERS FOR CROWN OF MIDNIGHT ALL UP IN DIS BIDGE.

This is one of those series that ruins your life.

I get it. I've finally figured it out. Sarah J. Maas is a life ruiner, and we should all mount our bloody wyverns and burn the whole bloody world, because MY LIFE IS RUINED. She has placed one of those demon mind control wyrd collars over my neck, and my will is hers. My heart is hers. She has bred obsession into my very soul, and I will never be okay again if the characters in this series aren't okay too. Because how else do you explain the fact that my soul exploded--for real, I swear it did--while I read this book? How do you explain the fact that I care so much for these characters and the fate of this world that all I want to do--mere minutes after finishing Heir of Fire--is read the whole damn thing again?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan


Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Goodreads
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Series: No
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Length: 304 pages
Rating: This book is nearly everything I want, but I didn't love it the way I wanted, though it's certainly not bad.

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High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

Nooooooooooooo. You guys, I wanted to love this book SO HARD. MY BODY WAS READY. And maybe my body was too ready, because as good as some parts of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is, it failed to live up to the enormous promise of its premise.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White


Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Goodreads
Release date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: No
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Length: 288 pages
Rating: Fun, bantery, fantasy fluff

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Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”


Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.



I've never read anything by Kiersten White and have heard many accounts of her books as to puzzle me exceedingly, but this book called to me. That cover! That synopsis! British history is my jam, and this sideways take on historical fantasy is the kind of thing I love. This is NOT historical fantasy, mind you, but it's set in a madeup world that is clearly, closely drawn from the late Victorian/early Edwardian English Empire... but with MAGICS. Magics and banter. Sign me up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reader's Choice Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore


Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore
Goodreads
Release date: October 5th, 2009
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin)
Series: Yes-ish, #2 in the Graceling Realm series of companions
Source: Purchased
Length: 461 pages
Rating: ASDHFJSDFKAJSD SQUEEEE *flips table* *runs in circles* *collapses*

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It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.



When I read Graceling for the first time last year, it instantly became one of my favorites. To say I had high hopes for Fire, which Ellis had been flailing about for a good long while, would be an understatement. But Kristin Cashore more than delivered with this follow-up companion prequel sequel whatever thing. I know I might be in the minority with this, but I think I connected to and loved Fire even more.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang


Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhange
Goodreads
Release date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow (Harper)
Series: No
Source: eARC via Edelweiss/ARC from BEA14
Length: 304 pages
Rating: Objectively good, but I got zero feels.

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On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.



This is the sort of book lots of people are going to love. It's the sort of book you are probably going to love, but for whatever reason, it's a book I can only sort of vaguely appreciate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faultless in Spite of All of Her Faults: The Unlikable Heroine




When I first started to get serious about writing stories, I was really bad at it. I was a teenager filled with hard-edged feelings that needed to be let out, and writing was how I did that. I composed epics about heroines who personified what I thought I wanted to be. I wasn't just writing fantasy stories but fantasy characters that don't exist in any genre. I wrote about girls without flaws, because I wanted to be without flaws. I wrote contemporary characters whom I thought could live in this contemporary world better than I seemed to be doing. Why did I think that? Because they were likable. They were pleasant, they were pretty, they were selfless to a martyr-like degree, and they always got the guy.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ISLA is Here! Let's Celebrate With Giveaways!


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graphic made by the mega-talented Meg at Cuddlebuggery

ISLA IS HEEEEERE! *blows trumpets* *tosses confetti*When Meg, Judith, Jamie, Lindsey and Andi asked me to be a part of the official #IslaisComing tour, I replied with YESYESOMGYES because Stephanie Perkins is my jam, yo. She's a wizard, her books cause me to issue sounds as yet unmade by humans (see: my review), and few things make me happier than she shippity ship ships.

Once of the things I love most about her books (besides the swoooooons, bien sur) is how real all the characters feel to me. They have hopes, dreams, fears, and passions. Josh, the adorable boy that Isla is crushing on big time in Isla and the French Kiss, is an artist. It's not just what he loves to do, but it's who he is. Isla doesn't know what she wants to do in life, and feels very much like a blank canvas next to Josh, who is full of creativity and drive.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas


Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
Goodreads
Release date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Series: No
Source: eARC from the author
Length: 228 pages
Rating: SO DELICIOUSLY FUCKED UP.

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Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…


My review of Dangerous Girls, which is not a prequel but you should really read it anyway okay go read it I'll wait

*sits* *blinks* Asfsgkd. Words? How do words? WHAT IS WORDS.

Abigail Haas has the unique ability to turn my brain to fondue. She is one of the authorial wizards I was talking about who gets me to love things I normally wouldn't and think and feel things I didn't know I could think and feel. By the time I finish reading on of her dark, twisted, trhilling novels, I no longer recognize myself. I, like, Chloe, become intoxicated by the glittering darkness and the pull of this...something that Haas infuses into her stories. She peels apart the layers of human desire and desperation and makes the face the ugly truth about what lies behind them. About what lies inside of you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When Authors Are Wizards




I was having a conversation with Meg and Christina about a certain book that contains a certain ship. Meg and I love this book and ship this ship unabashedly, totally, crazily; Christina nearly did, but she pointed out a lot of flaws in the bookish relationship. And the crazy thing is that normally, those issues would bother both Meg and me. Things like infidelity, lying, general shipping idiocy, lack of communication, etc. These are things I'd complained about in many a review before, flinging all kinds of reactions gifs at the internet to illustrate how DONE I was with that ship and their unshippability. But this book? This book, I shipped it like fire.

Why? Because that author is a wizard.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Goodreads
Release date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Series: Yes-ish, #3 in the Anna and the French Kiss series of companions
Source: ARC from the publisher
Length: 358 pages
Rating: ASDHFJSDFKAJSD SQUEEEE *flips table* *runs in circles* *collapses*

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From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.


This review is SPOILER FREE for Isla.

My review of Anna and the French Kiss | My review of Lola and the Boy Next Door

Stephanie Perkins does things to my heart. I don't know how she does it, precisely; the only possible explanation I can come up with is that she is some kind of romance wizard, and that she has a fortress wherein she practices shipping magic, and she has perfected some kind of mystical formula to achieve maximum adorableness.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing


Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Goodreads
Release date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Yes, #1 in the The Lone City series
Source: eARC via Edelweiss/ARC from BEA
Length: 358 pages
Rating: I quite liked it, despite some flaws... until the instalove rained all over this shiny parade.

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The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.



I just can't resist the lure of a shiny, pretty cover. The Jewel has been accurately described as a mix of familiar dystopian tales (though The Jewel is, to my eye, NOT classic science fiction dystopian. I'd classify this as a fantasy with dystopian elements.). I'd break it down as The Selection with a splash of The Hunger Games and heavy helpings of The Handmaid's Tale. As you may or may not know, I have a... um... complicated relationship with The Selection. So what does that mean for The Jewel?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Haul, or the One in Which I'm Still Really Lazy



I mean to film another vlog this week with all the books I got in London but... well, I'm still really lazy, so here are the books I received this week and the vlog will get pushed to next week and OH WELL. Also this week was a pretty good week for me, bookwise. I did not go too crazy with the buying.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Literary PSA: The Mediator series by Meg Cabot




Long ago I decided to start a NEW THING: Literary Public Service Announcements. Essentially, I'm going to pimp a book that I read before I started blogging, but that I want to foist upon the world due to its high levels of sheer awesomeness for the good of the public and all that jazz. Instead of me just telling people over and over that they should read something "JUST BECAUSE!!!1!", I've decided to actually explain in a more eloquent fashion just why my favorite books are my favorites.

Last time on Literary Public Service Announcements: The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce

And now this week's PSA:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Ten Books I'd Give to High Fantasy Newbies

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I'm operating under the categorization that high fantasy means set in another fictional world completely. So here are the YA fantasy novels I'd recommend to a reader who is usually more comfortable here in the real world! Or at least the fictional real world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine


Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Goodreads
Release date: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry (Simon & Schuster)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Of Metal and Wishes series
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Length: 320 pages
Rating: A diverse, original, twisty, romantic fantasy and a loose retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.

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There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.
 



This book is really good. I've been struggling with how to do this review for quite a while, and yet somehow this is the way I've chosen to start. Why? Because I very much want to impress upon you the fact that Sarah Fine has crafted a truly amazing novel that doesn't feel like any book I've read before, and that she can most definitely write. The only niggles I have are niggles of personal taste, because overall, Of Metal and Wishes is a truly excellent and beautifully crafted book. (Also, it's literally physically beautiful. THAT COVER.)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Haul, or the One That's Fierce




I'M BACK FROM MY TRIP. I've been gone approximately a thousand years (okay, it was more like three weeks, but it FELT long) and I almost cried with joy yesterday upon returning to my natural habitat: my couch, with my puppy by my side. I'M NEVER LEAVING HOME AGAIN.

I got tons of books on my trip, but I was too lazy/plane-y/jetlagged to film that particular haul, so instead here are pictures of the huge book mail that awaited me upon my return!