The Fault in Ours Stars trailer

Maybe the fact that I’m coming out of my blog hiatus for a moment today is a sign. Maybe not. But I adore this book too much not to share the trailer, which leaked online earlier today. I suppose I’ll have to admit that I got a little teary at the end. Come on, June 6!

Rainbow Rowell’s Landline cover

Landlinegrey-1-e1381519474537Yes – I am still here. Barely. But I want to get back to writing reviews soon. For now, I couldn’t resist posting the newly-revealed cover of Rainbow Rowell’s next novel, Landline, which comes out in July. Her modern covers are perfection in my eyes and as Landline was designed by Olga Grlic, the same designer of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, it’s no exception. Rowell has become an auto-buy author for me, and I love the premise for her next novel for adults about a rocky marriage and time travel, phone-style.

Book Haul: ARCs + 1

Due to a new part-time job and a plethora of other real life stuff I’ve been missing in action around here but I hope to rectify that in October. For now I’ll share some of the print books I’ve collected lately:

20130929_132932The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
More Than This by Patrick Ness (9/13)
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (9/13)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (9/13)
The Vow by Jessica Martinez (10/13)
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (1/14)

I’ve already started More Than This and finished The Burning Sky, but I’m behind in my reading as well because of said job and I know I’ve missed all these great September releases. So what’s the best book you’ve read in September and why should I read it?

REVIEW: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

11544421Even for mercenary cum Pack consort Kate Daniels, there’s nothing like hearing the desperate pleas of a mother in behalf of her soon-to-be-murdered children. But this is how spear-throwing practice with her teenage ward Julie ends. Julie’s twin shapeshifter friends have gone what the Pack refers to as loup, when their beasts have taken over with no hope of their humanity ever returning. The only cure is a medicine called panacea which is produced by the European shapeshifters. If the twins and future shapeshifters are to be saved, they’ll need more, and Atlanta has a very limited supply. But soon enough a solution presents itself, and it isn’t pretty. Some of the most dangerous European shapeshifters conveniently ask Curran to arbitrate in a boundary dispute between two rival groups in exchange for panacea. With no other choice than to watch loup shapeshifters continue to be put down, Kate and Curran assemble a team and cross the Atlantic to walk into what can only be a trap testing both the strength of the Pack and Kate and Curran’s relationship.

No explanation is needed for picking up a book if it’s the sixth book in a series and the reader is still around. Obviously, Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series has consistently delivered, and most fans would agree that it’s due to the beloved characters they’ve created, their varying mythological plotlines, and their sharp wit. That said, we may as well throw around superlatives such as “favorite” and “best,” because Kate and Curran and this urban fantasy series are that for me. Now it’s just a question of where the next book will fit into my preference ranking for books in the series. I’m happy to report that Magic Rises is right up there near Magic Strikes.

After overcoming any initial doubts, I opened Magic Rises with a sigh of relief. Returning to post-magical shift Atlanta and the characters I know and love was comforting. With the twins going loup early on and the necessity for Kate and Curran to act immediately, the plot was well-paced from the beginning. Most of the action takes place in Europe instead of Atlanta and I found the change in setting exciting and refreshing. I loved the glimpses of sea creatures in the Atlantic as well as how the mythology of Europe was used to create new magical creatures and conflicts. After reading a few Edge novels that fell flat for me humor-wise there was no question that Ilona and Gordon were back and as good as ever. I couldn’t decide on one passage to share so I’ve listed my favorites below. But the setting and the trademark humor aren’t the only reasons that Magic Rises is outstanding. Kate and Curran’s relationship drama, which frustrated even me at times, has proved to be devisive with readers and Kate’s charged scenes with Hugh (including the most awesome fight ever) are sure to please as well as confuse your loyalties. I was entertained, caught off guard, mesmerized and lastly, saddened when it all came to an end. What became clear is how impossible it will be for Kate to triumph over her enemies, but I can’t wait to find out how it will be accomplished! Thank you Ilona Andrews, for Kate and one of the best urban fantasy series out there.

Favorite non-spoilery moments – please add to or dish accordingly!

“I have spies everywhere.”

I looked at Andrea, who was hoarding bacon on her plate.

“She had tea with Mahon’s wife,” Andrea said.

Aunt B looked at her: “We need to work on your air of mystery.”

Andrea shrugged. “She’s my best friend. I won’t lie to her.”

I raised my fist and she bumped it with hers.

 

“Have you two gone crazy? This is a horrible idea. First, the two of you hate each other.”

“I don’t hate him.” Saiman shrugged. “It’s too strong a word.”

“If I hated him, he’d be dead,” Curran said.

 

“Oh, we will,” Curran assured me. “Let’s talk numbers.”

Fifteen minutes later, a satisfied Saiman left, escorted by Shawn. He was carrying his suitcase and ours. He was happy, the Beast Lord was happy, so why was I so uneasy?

 

“I finally realized the source of your mutual attraction,” Saiman said, his voice dry.

I looked up. He was standing a few feet away.

“Do enlighten us,” Curran tried to roll into me to break the lock. Oh no you don’t.

“You both think violence is foreplay.”

 

Mahon faced me. “You and me, we have things in common. You know what it’s like to not be ‘normal,’ except in this case you’re the odd one out. You may respect our ways, but you don’t have to try to be something you are not. Some people will take longer to adjust, but in time, you will be accepted just as you are. Not “human,” not whatever, but Kate. Unique and different, but not separate. Kate is just Kate and you belong with us. That’s all that matters.”

I was the badass Consort and he was the grim Pack’s executioner. Hugging him in the hallways would be entirely inappropriate.

 

The opening bars of the theme from Jaws rolled through my head. Thanks. Just what I needed.

 

Look who’s talking. An eighteen-inch-tall magic man in riding boots, werejackals, and sea dragons are all fine, but animals with human faces are ridiculous. Okay, then. Glad we cleared that up.

 

“A demon?”

“No, not a demon.” I might have preferred one. “That’s my boyfriend.”

Atsany and the shepherd turned to look at me.

“Boyfriend?” Astamur said.

Curran saw us. He paused on a stone crag and roared. The raw declaration of strength cracked through the mountains, rolling down the cliffs like a rockslide.

“Yep, don’t worry, he’s harmless.”

 

Great. I rescued Hugh’s librarian.

 

“Are you hungry, baby?’ Curran asked.

“Starving.”

“I think we should go to dinner.”

“Great idea.”

“What are you going to wear?”

“My badass face.”

“Good choice,” he said.

 

“I would’ve rescued you sooner, but you were having an important relationship conversation.”

Second Opinions
Chachic’s Book Nook – “Definitely one of my favorite reads this year.”
Fantasy Cafe – “I found this book far more gripping than the vast majority of books I read due to its strengths”
Ivy’s Books Bindings – “Magic Rises certainly has its strong point, but it is sadly nowhere close to being Ilona Andrews best.”
Lurv a la Mode – “I loved this book and it’s elevated now to my most favorite in the series to date.”

Dreams of Gods and Monsters Cover

13618440Today Hollywood Reporter debuted an excerpt and the cover art for Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the final installment in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. The minimal color scheme of black, white and yellow are pretty basic for a YA paranormal cover, and I think it’s less interesting overall than the previous two covers. What do you think?

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is due out April 2014.