Book of the Week – 23

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Insatiable and its sequel Overbite by Meg Cabot (published in June 2010 and June 2011 by Harper Collins). It’s an Adult Urban Fantasy with vampires and romance.

Meg-Cabot-Overbite-and-Insatiable

I enjoy Meg Cabot’s books and I love vampire stories, so the only reason I waited this long to read this series is that Insatiable received bad reviews when it came out. I now wish I hadn’t paid attention to those reviews, because I really loved these books!

Meg Cabot cleverly re-tells Bram Stoker’s Dracula and sets her story in modern-day New York City. Her heroine, Meena Harper (!) is tired of fictional vampires invading her bookstore, her TV screen and her day job (she’s a writer for a soap-opera). She meets a Romanian prince and falls in love with him, until she realises he harbours dark secrets, like the fact he’s on the run from Vatican vampire-hunters…

Obviously, this isn’t your usual paranormal romance. Meg Cabot references the entire vampire mythology, from Vlad The Impaler to Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight. She mixes elements of a thriller (dead girls turn up in Central Park) with fun comedy moments.

It’s a truly enjoyable read, and I recommend it if you like well-written vampire stories.

What are you reading this week?

Book of the Week – 22

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Masque of the Red Death, and its sequel Dance of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin (Published in April 2012 and June 2013 by Greenwillow Book). I won both those books in a giveaway hosted by Hannah at Once Upon A Time

These books were inspired by a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1842 and entitled “The Masque of the Red Death”. In this retelling, the story takes place in steampunk/post-apocalyptic world. It has a very gothic atmosphere, an interesting heroine and a compelling plot. I’m loving it!

Masque of the Red Death

From Goodreads:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Have you read Masque of the Red Death? What did you think? And what are you reading this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – 21

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Dodger by Terry Pratchett (published in September 2012). It’s a standalone book that doesn’t belong to the Discworld series. Instead it’s a YA Historical Fantasy that just came out in paperback, and I really recommend it!

dodgerterrypratchett

From Goodreads:

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.

This book has everything I love: Victorian London, history mixed with fantasy, a wonderful main character, an incredible supporting cast, and a great mystery. If you like this genre, I recommend it!

What are YOU reading this week? Feel free to let me know in the comment section!

Book of the Week – 20

Hello gentle reader,

My choice for Book of the Week is Coldness of Marek by Rachel O’Laughlin. It’s an Adult Epic Fantasy book and the first book in the Serengard Series. It was released on 6th August 2013 and I received an ARC from the author for review.

ColdnessOfMarek-Cover

I’ll start by saying that I fully enjoyed this book. I love Epic Fantasy and this is a very well written and engrossing read.

The story is divided into two parts: the first part takes place before a political upheaval which is going to overthrow the reigning monarch and introduce a new regime. The second part takes place ten years later and deals with the aftermath of the rebellion.

I loved how effortless the world building was in this story: Serengard and its political, social and geographical features are introduced slowly and smoothly, making it very easy to get immersed  in this world.

The characters are rich and complex, with Trzl at the center of it all. She is a wonderfully multifaceted woman, clever yet passionate, cold yet loving. Around her, a web of men with their own agendas creates a great cast. I only wished there were more female characters.

The plot is well-paced and compelling, although I did enjoy Part II more, because the action and scheming really picked up then and I couldn’t put the book down after hitting the halfway mark.

Although this first book in this series has a satisfying ending, I finished the story longing to dive into Book 2 straight away. But Knights of Rilch will only be released in February 2014…

In the meantime, I recommend Coldness of Marek for lovers of Epic Fantasy!

What are you reading this week?

Book of the Week – 19

Hello gentle reader,

I have been so busy researching and writing Lily In The Shadows I haven’t read a book in ages! This week I decided it was time to read for fun again, and I picked up Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (published on 19th March 2013 by Tor). I figured short stories would help me ease back into my reading habits…

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells

From Goodreads:

“Gaslamp Fantasy,” or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.

The Line-up:
“The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman
“La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
“Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein
“The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear
“Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren
“Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber
“Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
“We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
“Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee
“Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – 18

Hello gentle reader,

Did you know Thursday 7th March 2013 is World Book Day? This is a celebration of reading. Vouchers and free books will be given out to young readers, libraries and schools will hold events, and most importantly, the love of reading will be passed on to children and teens everywhere.

So today I’d like to share with you a couple of books that are coming out this week or the next. They are definitely books I’ll be reading on World Book Day. What will you be reading on Thursday?

Legacy of the Clockwork Key

Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey (out today!)

YA Historical Fantasy

A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.

poison

Poison by Bridget Zinn (out 12th March 2013)

YA High Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare (out 19th March 2013)

YA Historical Fantasy – Steampunk

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose. Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

What will you be reading for World Book Day? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – 17

cover_ruby_in_the_smoke

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading a YA Historical Mystery/Fantasy. The Ruby In The Smoke (A Sally Lockhart Mystery) was written by UK author Philip Pullman. It is the first book in a quartet published between 1985 and 2004. Set in Victorian London, this series follows sixteen-year-old Sally as she investigates her father’s death and uncovers secrets that threaten her very life.

From Goodreads:

“Sally is sixteen and uncommonly pretty. Her knowledge of English literature, French, history, art and music is non-existent, but she has a thorough grounding in military tactics, can run a business, ride like a Cossack and shoot straight with a pistol.

When her dear father is drowned in suspicious circumstances in the South China Sea, Sally is left to fend for herself, an orphan and alone in the smoky fog of Victorian London. Though she doesn’t know it, Sally is already in terrible danger. Soon the mystery and the danger will deepen – and at the rotten heart of it all lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke…”

What are you reading this week?

Book of the Week – 16

Hello gentle reader,

This week I have finally been reading The Gathering Dark (Book 1 in the Grisha trilogy) (aka Shadow and Bone) by Leigh Bardugo.

This book was published in May 2012 and I was VERY excited about it. I bought it as soon as it came out, I read the first two chapters that same night… and I didn’t open it for 7 months. As those months went by, I read raving reviews about the book, I kept having people recommend it to me, and yet I couldn’t seem to find the will to dive back into it.

I’m not sure what it was.

It is a beautifully written YA High Fantasy book with a great plot and compelling characters, but I guess I had to read it at the right time to finally enjoy it. To me this was “a winter book”: a book to read snuggled under a blanket, when there’s snow outside and with a cup of tea at hand.

I’m glad I finally read The Gathering Dark. Have you ever had a book that sat on your TBR pile forever when you were initially looking forward to reading it?

Leigh-Bardugo-The-Gathering-Dark-UK

From Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

What are you reading this week?

shadow_bone_sketch_both3

Book of the Week – 15

Hello gentle reader,

I realise I haven’t done a “Book of the Week” post in a while, but this is because I have been reading a series of books by YA Fantasy author Megan Whalen Turner and I wanted to finish it before I shared it with you.

Nicknamed The Queen’s Thief by its readers (MWT has no name for it herself), the series has four books so far, with 2 more announced. The first book in the series, The Thief, was published in 1996 and it won the Newbery Medal in 1997.The following books are The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), and A Conspiracy of Kings (2010).

This YA High Fantasy series is not well known, and I came across it because Sarah J. Maas (author of 2012 debut Throne of Glass) recommended it.

And I’m so glad I went ahead and read it. Not only is this series so well written it makes me want to weep, it is also a very clever, audacious and captivating example of great High Fantasy for young adult readers. Each book plays with points of view, has a smart twist at the end and explores themes such as religion, politics and personal choices. The main character, Gen, is nothing like you’ve read before, I promise. And if you haven’t read this series yet, I suggest you get it sooner rather than later, because you’re missing out.

From Goodreads:

The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

What are you reading this week?

Book of the Week – 14

This week I am reading What Kills Me by Wynne Channing (published June 2012 by Jet & Jack Press). It is a YA Paranormal romance. I don’t usually read that kind of books, but I won a copy on Kayla Curry’s blog during her Trick Or Tweet Giveaway. And it’s a story about vampires, so I really couldn’t say no to reading that book!

From Goodreads:

An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

What are you reading this week?