Yes – 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.
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:
The 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?
Even 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.
“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.
“I think we should go to dinner.”
“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.”
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.”
Today 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.
A uthor you’ve read the most books from: Probably the Sweet Valley Twins/High author Francine Pascal and her ghost writers, if that counts.
B est Sequel Ever: Hmm. So hard. Perhaps The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner.
C urrently Reading: The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni
D rink of Choice While Reading: None. I wouldn’t want to risk water damage!
E -reader or Physical Book? E-reader at night, on the go, and on vacation. Physical book any other time.
F ictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School: Ideally? Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door. But in reality I probably dated someone even nerdier like Alan from The Demon’s Lexicon.
G lad You Gave This Book A Chance: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews. I’m glad I gave the entire genre of urban fantasy a shot.
H idden Gem Book: The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
I mportant Moment in your Reading Life: When I rediscovered reading the summer I finished graduate school and read every one of Jane Austen’s novels.
J ust Finished: Her Favorite Temptation by Sarah Mayberry. Romance enovellas are becoming a staple for this reader.
K inds of Books You Won’t Read: I hate this question. Westerns? But I’d be willing to try one with the right recommendation.
L ongest Book You’ve Read:
Probably The Lord of the Rings or one of the last Harry Potter books. I didn’t make it through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and I’ve never read any of the classic 1000+ books like Les Miserables.
M ajor book hangover because of: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
N umber of Bookcases You Own:
Three, but I’m going to need another shortly.
O ne Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
P referred Place To Read:
The couch. I love reading in bed but I fall asleep too easily there.
Q uote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” (The Fault in our Stars)
R eading Regret:
That I missed out on reading so many great fantasy books when I was a teenager.
S eries You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):
Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series. I still have not read the last book. I also badly need to catch up in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.
T hree of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Persuasion by Jane Austen, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
U napologetic Fangirl For: Megan Whelan Turner
V ery Excited for This Release More Than All the Others: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
W orst Bookish Habit: Not writing down or marking pages. I’m in too much of a hurry to stop and do it.
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Y our latest book purchase:
The Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson (a gift for Angie)
Z ZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
If you’ve already done Jamie’s survey, link to your post in the comments. If not, do it and let me know so I can read it. Happy Tuesday!