Releasing the Frontal Lobe: A Catch-Up Post

So, I really haven’t been doing much reading lately–well, I have, but I just can’t seem to finish anything! With all the events of the last few weeks, including LATFOB, Gayle Forman’s Musical Tour, and Children’s Literature Council, and everything I need to read/write/make for school… My eyes are about to fall out of my head.

So I’m going to unload a little bit of information onto the blog, and hope that makes some room in the grey matter chamber to finish the semester without too much screaming.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff
If you hunger for love and thirst for approval, you’ll devour this clever novel in just a few bites. This book was funny, touching, and a great counterpoint to Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I think it’s pretty strange that I decided to read them both at the same time. Food is much more enjoyable; I enjoy the complexities in the various characters like O. Douglas, the quarterback who takes Andrew “under his wing” so to speak; the various attitudes toward fatness that help both Andrew and the reader see beyond the blubber. For the synopsis, click here.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1)
This has been sitting on my shelf for at least a year or two. I finally picked it up last week and couldn’t put it down! Storytelling figures greatly in this book as Gen and other characters retell folktales based on Greek myths. The final twists and turns revealed at the end of the book are clever and well worth the wait! I wish I weren’t still in the middle of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell so I could plow through the next three books. For the synopsis, click here.


Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (Inside Out, Book 1)
A wildly imaginative new fantasy from the author of Poison Study. Some may find the endless tension tiring but it just kept me wide awake. I know from experience, Maria’s hard on her heroines–they can never seem to catch a break. If you love dystopia, you’re in luck. And if you’re not an attentive reader, leave this one alone: I needed a map to figure out where the heck Trella was going under, inside, in-between and upside down in this futuristic thriller. Luckily the author provides them on her website. 😀 For the synopsis, click here.
FORTHCOMING:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2)
Due out July 20, 2010. I got my hands on an ARC of this for about 24 hours and I was not disappointed–all the romance of the original plus a sly, creeping dread; a new wolf; and what I love most of all: Maggie’s lyrical writing. So few writers now can really use language in a way that makes you want to dance; Stiefvater’s musicianship seems to come out of every instrument–even the lowly word processing application can be made to sing. Play on, Maggie, play on!

There’s more, but I’ve got to get to chem lab (shakes fist at double-displacement reactions) so check back later!

I leave you with a link to new original fiction at Tor.com: “The Courtship of the Queen” by Bruce McAllister.

Boneshaker

All the steampunky goodness of Soulless, Leviathan, and Candle Man have really raised the subgenre high up on my to-read list.

One of my last purchases before “jumping ship” was Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.

Boneshaker

From the cover:

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

– – –

Probably will read this before the week is out, unless The Dark Volume finally hypnotizes me into picking it up and finishing up the Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.

That’s what’s In My Mailbox (part 4 of 48)… What’s in yours?

Rosie & Skate

I often buy books by their cover. I didn’t even need to know what it was about. Let’s hope this isn’t one of those ones I regret.

Rosie and Skate

Rosie & Skate is a debut YA novel by Beth Ann Bauman.

From the jacketflap:
It’s off-season at the Jersey shore, when the boardwalk belongs to the locals. Rosie is 15 and her sister Skate is 16. Their dad, an amiable drunk, is spending a few weeks in jail while their cousin Angie looks after them in their falling-down Victorian on the beach. Skate and her boyfriend Perry are madly in love, inseparable—until now, when Perry goes off to Rutgers. Rosie is shyer than Skate, but she’s drawn to Nick, a boy in their Alateen group. What happens to Rosie and Skate in a few tumultuous weeks is deftly shaded, complex, and true. Readers will be caught up in each girl’s shifting feelings as the story plays out within the embrace of their warmhearted community.

That’s what’s In My Mailbox (part 3 of 48)… What’s in yours?

Bad Girls Don’t Die

At the Beautiful Creatures launch party, a cute little red-haired girl was in front of us in line…

It was Katie Alender, author of Bad Girls Don’t Die!

I went home and put her book on my to-be-read shelf.

Bad Girls Don't Die

From the jacketflap:

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.

When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

– – –

I’m devouring this as soon as I breeze through Candle Man tonight. And yes, Katie, this is what I do instead of watching TV (!!!) ^_^

That’s what’s In My Mailbox (part 2 of 48)… What’s in yours?

Candle Man: Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance

As soon as this is posted, I will be curling up in bed with a cup of hot green tea and this lovely little junior steampunk novel:

Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance

Candle Man is written by British comic book illustrator and writer Glenn Dakin.

From the jacketflap:

Murder, mystery, and adventure aren’t your typical birthday presents . . .
But for Theo, anything that breaks up his ordinary routine is the perfect gift.
A mysterious “illness” and Theo’s guardians force him into a life indoors, where gloves must be worn and daily medical treatments are the norm. When Theo discovers a suspicious package on his birthday, one person from the past will unlock the secret behind Theo’s “illness” and change his life forever.
Molded into an exhilarating steampunk adventure that gives birth to the next great fantasy hero, Theo Wickland, Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance is the first book in a trilogy by debut author Glenn Dakin.

Thanks to Kristen for spotting it first and spreading the word.

That’s what’s In My Mailbox (part 1 of 48)… What’s in yours?

Beautiful Creatures, why you should keep two copies of a few books, and some silly questions

Photos will have to wait because I forgot to charge the camera battery before today.

But (*squee!*) I got to meet Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, the authors of the new YA fantasy novel Beautiful Creatures.

Their launch party was held in the teeny tiny Diesel Books (support thy independent bookstore! – my shopping list follows) at the Brentwood Country Mart.

First of all, thanks to Jane and Alfonso for giving us a ride to Santa Monica–it’s not that I forgot about the signing, but that I had absolutely given up hope of doing anything other than working ridiculous holiday hours for the next month. Thanks for reminding me to have a life and eat some Popeye’s fried chicken.

Next of all, thanks to Margaret and Kami for writing such a fantastic book!

Third of all, thanks to Kristen @ Bookworming in the 21st Century for the ARC. (Although I do also have a hardcover, and an audiobook version… hrm. I may have to splurge for the eBook too, so I can have it with me at all times without fear of scuffing up the jacket.)

– – –

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures is exactly what I aspire to be as a human being: pretty, funny, and smart all in one package. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have written a seamless and utterly absorbing tale of a cursed romance: a Mortal boy who falls for a Caster girl in a small Southern town. Meaningful thoughts about love, loyalty, and prejudice unfold from this intricately parsed novel: those who love books will delight in the literary references, those who love love will swoon over the star-crossed couple, and those who love good writing will greedily devour every carefully chosen word.

Better yet, get the print version and the audio, both. The music and sound effects (particularly for the dream sequences) in the audiobook version add yet another dimension to the Gothic atmosphere the authors have built.

Another book for the loaner shelf*.

*You will need two copies of certain books–one to loan out to friends until they get hooked and become convinced that they also need to go out and buy a copy (or two) and one to have handy in the middle of the night so that when you get the hankering to pick up and read a certain passage (or 576 pages), it’s there. Believe me, after the number of times (7) that the Poison Study and Twilight series caused me the distress of not having a copy to read when the book-hunger struck at 1 am (because some “friend” or other borrowed my book) taught me, there are books for which you need to keep a loaner copy. BCis one of them.

**I was asked recently why my reviews are so short. I have a long chain of reasons. 1) I’m very busy. 2) I’m very tired. 3) I’m kind of lazy. 4) I don’t want to give anything away–if you asked me in person, I would probably tell you too much. With blogging I can edit myself and stop before I’ve told you who wins and whether the dog lives or dies. 5) You can find the synopsis anywhere, so why waste time copy-pasting it? (See #3, above.) 6) I’d rather be reading.

– – –

Also at the launch party: Pseudonymous Bosch, suspiciously without any kind of disguise (I wish I’d known–years ago I had him sign my copy of The Name of This Book Is Secret, but my other two volumes are conspicuously missing signatures!)

and, freshly ordered from thebookstorethatshallnotbenamed.com, Katie Alender, author of Bad Girls Don’t Die. (Quick! Add this to your TBR on GoodReads.) Hurry up, mailman! I need this book, stat!

– – –

Is Beautiful Creatures the Next Twilight?

I agree with TeamBella76–it’s not the next Twilight. It’s the first Beautiful Creatures. According to the article, the first of five (*squee!* sorry…), and I hope no Patrick-Rothfuss-like delays result in the next four years. I just pray that unlike most book-to-film adaptations, no one screws it up. (Amen.)

– – –

So, it’s a year until the release of the as-yet-un-named sequel to BC. What to read in the meantime? And where to buy it?

The Poisons of Caux: The Hollow Bettle (Book I)

Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance

Toby Alone

– – –

Missed Margaret and Kami at their launch party? It’s all good! You have many more chances to meet them. They’ll be at Borders in Northridge, CA at 7 pm on Thursday, Dec. 3. (Ooh! I’m off that night… wonder if they would take kindly to being gently stalked…)

Quickie – Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


3

I love the cover! The insides, well, I wouldn’t call it *love* per se. I’d call it a strong desire to make out with a fictional character. Yeah. That’s it.

Writing and writer get the thumbs-up (for comparison’s sake, Marked seemed like an endless, boring and cliched wasteland; Hush Hush was more of a page-turner–much better!), plot and mythology were promising, guy was hot and girl was not that interesting. All in all a fair first novel and worth a read. Perfect for a dark and stormy night.

If you loved Twilight, you’ll like this book.

If you hated Twilight, you’ll really, really hate it. Go read some Atwood. Her new one is *amazing*.

I thought about offering this up as a contest prize on my blog but… boy that cover is pretty! Me keep.

Also, my 100th book this year! Yay!

– – –

In other news, I finally remembered to bring home that copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s Ballad that arrived at the store but I kept remembering it only *after* setting the burglar alarm and locking the door. Guh! I may be able to salvage this “day off” which I spent mostly working. 😡