I’ve been quoted!

Excuse the lousy pictures. I’ve misplaced my good camera, and had to take these with my iPod.

Today, I got a copy of Courtney Schafer’s The Tainted City in the mail. So happy, because I really loved her first book, The Whitefire Crossing.

So I flip it open, look at the first page that contains bit of praise for the previous books, and then BAM, I notice this:

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this has happened to me, and I’m freaking thrilled! Today was already a good day, but to see this… This just topped it all.

Good thing there are no hidden cameras around here. Then I might have to blackmail people to keep my happy dance from ending up on YouTube. XD

My daily moment of squee

When an author approaches you and says, “Hey, I really think you might like my books, do you want copies?” it’s usually a good thing. (I say usually, because sometimes you’re a fantasy reviewer and a Christian romance author is the one approaching you, for example.)

When it’s an author and books you’ve had your eyes on for some time now, this is an awesome thing.

When it’s Michael Sullivan, and the books in question are all the books in the Riyria Revelations, the only — and I mean only — appropriate response is, “SQUEE!”

Seriously, I have nothing but respect and admiration for this guy, and I’ve been listing after these books for months now, but I always seem to either have trouble finding them at my local brick-and-mortar bookstore, or don’t have enough money squirrelled away on Amazon to buy them online. And when he offered to send me a review copy, I was thinking maybe the first book. I didn’t expect all 3! I can’t wait to get started on this series!

This must be something like what nerdvana feels like.

In My Mailbox

This week has been a spectacular week for the acquistition of books. Between the books I bought, the books I received for review, and the books my roommate bought that I’m going to borrow at some point… Well, this week alone could keep me in reading material for a month!

So let’s take a quick look-see at what came my way this time!

Bought

  Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, a book which I’ve been lusting after pretty much since I heard about it well over a year ago. And every time I wanted to buy it and actually had money, only the hardcover edition was available, which was a little too rich for my blood. But with the paperback edition being more affordable, and me having some gift certificates to burn on Amazon.ca, I wasn’t about to let this one slip past me any longer. I fully expect to get completely lost in this novel.

 

  Is it a surprise to anyone that there’s a Mercedes Lackey novel in this batch? The first book of the Shadow Grail series, Legacies, is just the kind of thing I’m looking for when I want some light reading and am in the mood for an author I know like the back of my hand. Written with Rosemary Edghill (whom I’ve seen team up with Lackey in the past), I’m looking forward to tearing my way through this one at an insane pace!

 

  What kind of fantasy fan would I be if I didn’t get my hands on a copy of N K Jemisin’s The Killing Moon when I had the chance? After finishing the Inheritence trilogy and knowing that I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen this author do, and hearing so many good things about this novel too, this was a definite purchase, no matter what else I bought. The only question is whether I get to read it first, or whether my roommate sneaks it away while I’m busy reading other books.

 

 

 

 

Review copies

  Sam Sykes’s The Skybound Sea, the third book of the Aeon’s Gate series. Get an eyefull of that cover art! Is that not an attractive book? Due out in early September, this is a book to keep your eyes peeled for. Sykes has been making waves since the beginning, and I don’t expect this book to break that trend!

 

  Jane Rogers’s The Testament of Jessie Lamb. I ran a giveaway for this book a little while ago, and my copy arrived in the mail recently too. I’m definitely looking forward to this one. The person who contacted me about this book knew very well that the plot and setting of it was right up my alley!

 

  Just you try and keep me away from Philippa Ballantine’s books! From the first book of hers that I read, I was hooked on her smooth writing style and sense of humour. So when I was offered a copy of her newest, Hunter and Fox, I was thrilled. The fact that I was offered it on my birthday didn’t exactly hurt matters either. So this is like my birthday present from the publishing world, which arrived on my doorstep after a great day at work. I think I’m just destined to love this novel no matter what, after all the positive associations with it!

 

  Blood Zero Sky, by J Gabriel Gates. Gates seems to be making waves these days too. Not as gigantic as some authors, but more and more I’m seeing this guy’s work making its way around, and I’m definitely interested in his latest dystopian work here. You know my weakness for dystopias, after all! The cover art here is rather chilling, too, and I’m hoping it really reflects the tone of the novel itself. If so, I think I’m really in for a treat!

 

  Sean Cummings’s Poltergeeks, which I think is worth paying attention to simply for the title alone! One of Strange Chemistry‘s upcoming books, this seems like a fun and interesting YA novel. One that I’m actually kind of antsy to read, but since it’s not due out until October, I’m making myself wait until closer to the release date. Between this and a couple of other novels I’ve got my eye on, October seems like it’s going to ne a great month for engaging YA fiction!

 

  Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse. Honestly, the way Strange Chemistry keeps publishing books that I want to read, they’re very quickly reaching a spot on my list of top publishers to pay attention to. Pirates, wizards, nobility, curses, assassins, this book seems to have a plot based around some of the most awesome buzzwords I can think of, and I’m really looking forward to seeing if it’s as good as I think it will be!

 

  C K Kelly Martin’s Yesterday. From the synopsis on Amazon (involving virtual reality, and then a main character who seems to have travelled back in time somehow), it doesn’t seem too hard to figure out some of how the plot of this book is going to go. But still, it seems like an interesting concept that the author’s playing with, and I’m interested to see where it all goes. Not to mention the fact that it’s said to appeal to fans of three other books I’ve read and really enjoyed. I’m more than willing to give this one a chance!

 

  Heads in Beds, by Jacob Tomsky. Why this break from fantasy and speculative fiction? Well, aside from the fact that I tend to really enjoy memoirs like this, my job also consists of booking hotels for people. A lot. So I thought I might be able to get some extra enjoyment out of this book, which talks about some of the behind-the-scenes strangeness of the travel and hospitality industry. More than half of me wishes I had a physical copy of this book so that I could pass it around to people at the office so that my coworkers can enjoy it as well!

 

See what I mean when I say that this week was a fantastic one for books? 11 books gained in about 7 days. 8 of those being review copies! Like I said, the books I got this week alone could provide for a whole month of reading at the rate I’m going right now. Probably more than a month, even. I’m certainly not going to complain, though, when all of them seem like they’re going to be so enjoyable to read!

So tell me, what wonderful things came winging their way to you this past week?

In My Mailbox

Last week didn’t have as much here as I’d hoped for. I ended up going back to work last Tuesday, getting really tired a lot because I am so not used to having to wake up at 7 AM anymore, and getting frustrated at cramming weeks worth of training material into a couple of days while arguing with management about various things. Hence, no reviews.

Plenty of reading, though. That’s a bonus. I have 3 books that are in need of reviewing, and probably I’ll finish a fourth today. Expect some actual content from this blog over the next couple of weeks! (I know, I know, what a change!)

But for now, let’s take a look at a couple of books that I got this past week, shall we?

  Deborah Harkness’s Shadow of Night. I know the first novel in this series, A Discovery of Witches (review here) was really hit-or-miss for most people, but I rather enjoyed it. Mostly I enjoyed it because there was an intelligent academic female lead character, who is more relatable to me than most of the fashion-obsessed female protagonists of the majority of supernatural romance novels these days. So I was thrilled to get my hands on an advance copy of the sequel, and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

 

  Harry Turtledove’s Coup d’Etat, part of the The War That Came Early series. I don’t currently have the rest of this series, though I know where I can get it, and I’ve been wanting to try out this author ever since I discovered that alternate history is incredibly fascinating. I’m really looking forward to being able to dive right into this one.

 

  Daniel Abraham’s The King’s Blood, sequel to The Dragon’s Path (review here). This one I didn’t get as a review copy, but instead bought for myself, with the money that I had accumulated from the Amazon Affiliates program (and thanks to everyone’s who has bought things through my referral links, because you all helped me to get a copy of this book!). Words cannot properly express how happy I am to be able to read this book right now, considering I enjoyed the first book of the series so much.

In my Mailbox

I love getting mail. This much has never been a secret. This is part of the reason why physical copies of books have always appealed to me more than electronic ones, and why getting books in the mail thrills me more than finding notifications of approval for electronic ARCs.

Though don’t get me wrong. Both are awesome, and I appreciate them. But there’s something fun about going to the mailbox and finding  package waiting for you.

So with that in mind, let’s look at some of the wonderful books that have come my way recently.

  Marta Acosta’s Dark Companion. Published by Tor Teen and due out in early July, this book sounds like the kind of thing that I’m going to enjoy reading when I want something lighter but still something with a dark and complex plot. Usually books by Tor are a safe bet as to their quality, and I’m rarely disappointed by anything they release. And so far the reviews seem to indicate that this will be enjoyable, too.

 

  Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. If the cover art alone wasn’t enough to attract my attention (and it was), then a debut author playing with traditional fantasy in a reportedly unique way certainly was enough to seal the deal. Also due out in early July, this is one book that I’m really looking forward to reading.

 

  I’d had my eye on this compilation, The Weird, for a while. And then I got lucky enough to win it in a blog giveaway. And then it arrived in my mailbox. Or rather, next to my mailbox, because there’s no way that this could fit. I had no idea just how huge this book was! Definitely not a book you can just sit down and read from cover to cover without stopping. Just looking at the list of contents and the contributing authors is enough to make me realize that this is a collection of stories to be savoured slowly, and properly.

In My Mailbox

It’s been quite a while since I did a recap of the books that I’ve received. What with taking a break from blogging, switching the blog over to WordPress, and just generally getting busy with other stuff, I’ve forgotten for some time to actually do one of these posts, to honour the books that I’ve gotten and promote them in case I don’t get around to reading and reviewing them on time.

Since recapping all the books I’ve gotten over the last, oh, month and a half would take far too long and probably bore the heck out of everyone, instead I’ll just show off some of the really braggable ones, the ones that I’m thrilled to have gotten my hands on and am looking forward to!

Suited, by Jo Anderton. This is the second book in the Veiled Worlds trilogy, the first of which was Debris (reviewed here). While the first book had its issues, it was still a very engrossing read with a very creative story, and I wasn’t about to let the chance to read its sequel pass me by. I’m very eager to jump back into that world and re-meet some characters that I haven’t seen in a while. Suited is scheduled for publication on June 26th, and you can bet it’ll be one of the books that I’ll be reviewing here!

 

Aliette de Bodard’s Obsidian and Blood, which is an omnibus collection of all the books in the trilogy of the same name. Servant of the Underworld, Harbinger of the Storm, and Master of the House of Darts. Historical fantasy with Aztecs? Yes please! Reviews for this series are nothing short of stellar, so I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this collection. Obsidian and Blood is also scheduled for publication on June 26th, though the books are available individually for those who can’t wait.

 

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S Kemp, is a book that I saw making a few waves on the blogosphere not too long ago, and one that I looked at and thought, “I’ll never get the chance to read that.” Thank you, Angry Robot Books and NetGalley, for proving me wrong and giving me a real treat to look forward to! This one promised to be a fast-paced sword-and-sorcery read, and from what I hear, it also has no small amount of humour. Is there any better combination for an old-school fantasy fan?

 

King’s Man and Thief, by Christie Golden. Though this book doesn’t seem to be getting the best reviews on Amazon, I’ve read a few of Golden’s books in the past, and know her style to be fairly light, perfect for when I want a good story without complication. Not quite fluffy, but still not heavy reading. Not that fond of the cheesy cover art, but as much as cover art can sway decisions, I know better than to base my opinions of what’s inside the book solely on what’s outside. I’m sure I can get past the golden-haired muscle man and settle into the meat of the story.

 

David Brin’s Existence. Science fiction is a tricky subject with me. I find that it’s either really militaristic or else an excuse for alien romance. Not all, of course, but I seem to have a knack for running into those two varieties. That’s why Existence appeals to me so much. From the synopsis, it sounds less like that kind of sci-fi and more like the kind that focuses on societals reactions to large-scale changes. In this case, to discovering an alien artifact in earth’s orbit. That kind of storytelling is exactly why I enjoyed Drew Magary’s The Postmortal (review here) so much. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I won’t be disappointed with this one.

 

Kim Curran’s Shift, published by Angry Robot‘s YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. On the surface, this sounds like a fairly typical YA paranormal novel. What caught my attention was that the protagonist is male. For some reason, YA paranormal novels tend to be much more palatable to me when they have male protagonists rather than female ones. Male protagonists in YA paranormal books are considerably less common than female, too, which also makes this one stand out a little. Due out at the beginning of September, I’ve got high hopes for this book.

Blackwood, by Gwenda Bond. Having said what I just did about female protagonists in YA paranormal novels, I want to stress that I don’t turn down a book based on the main character’s gender, either. So when the chance came to read another of Strange Chemistry‘s books, this time a supernatural mystery with historical elements, it seemed interesting enough to pique my interests. This is Bond’s debut novel, and if early reviews are any indication, I’m probably going to tear through this one pretty quickly.

 

Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin. There are no words to properly express how excited I am to have an advance copy of this book. I read the previous book of the series, Ashfall (review here) last year, and was blown away with the realism, the engaging plot, the interesting characters. As far as survivalist YA fiction goes, Ashfall ranks pretty near the top of all the books I’ve read. So finding out that I would also get an advance copy of the sequel practically made me do a happy dance. Due on the shelves in mid-October, I cannot wait to read and review this book. I have incredibly high hopes for this.

As I said earlier, these aren’t the only books I’ve gotten over the past couple of months, but they are the highlights, the books I’m jumping for joy over the chance to read.  The hardest thing about these books is sticking to my guns about reviewing things closer to their release date, which means that I can’t indulge my curiosity about some of them until later. It’s a test of willpower, believe me!

In My Mailbox

So in spite of the fact that I did next to no reading last week, that didn’t stop me from getting new books to, er, not read. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best move I’ve ever made.

But I feel myself getting back into a reading groove, and soon all will be righted. In the meantime, let’s take a gander at the lovely new books that found their way to me last week.

Daryl Chestney’s Commandment, which looks like an interesting dark fantasy with heavy overtones of politics and ancient myth. Bog-standard summary there, I know, but something about this book appealed to me, and I really think it might be worth taking the time to read. Amazon doesn’t have many reviews or ratings for this one, so I’m really going in blind when it comes to the quality of the story, but it’s not like we all haven’t done that a time or two, and there’ve every chance this will be one I won’t want to leave my shelves.

Also by Daryl Chestney, Dominion, set in the same world as Commandment. Off the top of my head I can’t remember which book came first and which one came second, but either way, it’s nice to have both parts. The Christian symbolism is pretty plain on the cover, and normally I try to steer clear of Christian fantasy as I’ve found it to usually be pretty heavy-handed in its messages and metaphors, but as I said about Commandment, something about this called to me and so I’m willing to take a chance on it. After all, not every piece of Christian fantasy I’ve ever read has been that bad.

Volume 1 of Stein & Candle Detective Agency, which, if anyone’s interested in this, is currently priced at a very affordable $0.99 through Amazon.com. This seems like it’ll be a nice piece of light fluffy humourous fiction for when I fancy something a little less involved than the usual heavy fantasy and speculative stuff that I’ve been hankering after lately. Nothing wrong with a bit of a break from the norm. Paranormal detectives aren’t exactly new to the genre, and teenage paranormal detectives, well… Let’s face it, sometimes we all like rewatching the first season of Buffy, and that’s kind of what this book puts me in mind of.

Rod Kierkegaard Jr’s The God Particle, a sci-fi mystery involving time-displacement, corporate greed, and physics that I might well be able to wrap my head around. (The truth about why I usually avoid hard-core sci-fi, ladies and gents, is that physics is really not my strong suit…) Definitely looking forward to reading this one! (Also priced at $0.99, if anyone’s interested.)

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, previously published in the early ’70s and was recently retranslated and rereleased. Again, it’s science fiction (apparently hailed as a sci-fi classic when it was first released), and the premise of a man illegally looking for alien artifacts and getting in over his head pretty much guarantees that I’ll be making the time to give this one the reading it deserves. It isn’t due out until early May, so my review won’t be up until then, but rest assured, this one gets moved near the top of my reading list!

I normally try to keep religion out of this blog as much as I can, and so I’m not sure whether or not to review Mark Townsend’s Jesus Through Pagan Eyes here or elsewhere. The subtitle, “Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ,” speaks very much to discussions I’ve had with friends in the past (had one earlier today, in fact), and so when I got the chance to read this, I couldn’t very well say no. I am making an effort to keep reviews on this blog confined to geekly things, if not straight-up fantasy and speculative fiction, so this really doesn’t belong here, but if anyone does happen to be interested in hearing what I think of this, I may make a rare exception.

Lizzie Stark’s Leaving Mundania, which subtitles itself, “Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games.” I’m an so excited to read this. I admit it, I’m a gamer. Part-time LARPer, too, and I know many people who whom role-playing isn’t the so-called “delusional escape” that some people think of it as, but instead something that gives them relief from stressful daily life and can be an act of empowerment. I’m glad that this book even exists, really, because I love it when people actual do good research not only into what RPing is but also into how it can benefit people. It looks into large organizations such as the Society for Creative Anachronism, historical re-enactment, and fantasy/medieval-based games. Rest assured that this one will be getting reviewed here, since while it may be playing to the stereotypes to assume that most fantasy geeks are gamers, I know a fair number of people who read this blog have an interest in RPers. Let it never be said that I can’t play to an audience!

And that is my wonderful haul for this past week. If you’ve got an commentary on the books I received, I’d love to hear it. Also interested to know what books you got, too!

In My Mailbox

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve listed any books that I received. The reason for this? I didn’t receive any books during that time. No, really. Nada. Bupkes. Not a speck.

But to make up for it, I seem to have gotten a whole load of them over the past couple of days, and it’s going to make for one interesting post today! Let me know which ones you want to read!

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 4. I really seem to be enjoying collections of short stories more than I did previously, and I also keep meaning to branch out when it comes to horror, and so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. There are some big-name authors featured in this collection (King and Straub, to name a couple), and I’m hoping that their collective talent will help me to appreciate the horror genre once again.

Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14, a YA novel that isn’t so much post-apocalyptic as apocalyptic in the present. The premise is fairly simple, consisting of a group of teens having to struggle to survive when the world seems to be going to hell, but I have a bit of a soft spot for survival tales, so I was willing to give this one a try.

Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, a YA dark fantasy that looks like it could be one of those novels that goes either way. As always, though, the synopsis intrigued me enough to at least hope that it’ll be on the “awesome” side of that scale, and I’m willing to give it a chance. The more I read little blurbs and commentary on it, the more inclined I am to think that it could indeed be a good one.

Jonathan Maberry’s V Wars. Well, I say it’s by Jonathan Maberry, but in fact there were many authors who contributed to this book. It’s a collection of “tales from the frontline” of a war between humanity and the supernatural, with the twist that supernatural creatures actually have a proper scientific basis and are as natural as anything else that occurs. This one really sounds like it could be a good read, and there are a number of good names who added pieces to this book, so let’s just say that this is a book that I will definitely be reviewing when the release date approaches! (Early May, if anyone’s curious.)

The Girl Who Was on Fire. I’m sure most people have heard of this book by now. It’s a collection of essays inspired by the Hunger Games trilogy. I was generously offered a copy of the movie tie-in edition of the book, and considering I’ve read the books, gotten a friend to start reading them, and am planning on seeing the movie in theatres, it seemed only right to immerse myself in the world once more with this compilation. Just thumbing through the list of essays is reason enough to look into this book; I’m expecting some good thought-provoking commentary here!

And true to form, at least one book didn’t have cover art yet posted on Amazon.com. Three books, actually. It seems to be the week of talking about these novels a little too early. Mary Gentle’s The Black Opera, which is a really interesting-sounding piece of historical fantasy involving the power of music and song. I highly doubt that I’ll dislike this one.

Laird Barron’s The Croning didn’t have cover art loaded yet. This one’s more horror-based than I normally go for, but I’m in the mood for something dark and deep, and this one seems set to deliver.

Tim Westover’s Auraria, a novel that doesn’t so much seem to be an urban fantasy as much as a rural fantasy. It draws its inspiration from folklore tales of the supernatural in the Appalacians, and I’m quite interested to see how the story pans out (no pun intended, since the novel is set in an old gold-rush town).

So that’s my haul this past week. So many good books to read, so little time! Thankfully, many of these books don’t have their release date for a little while yet, which gives me some time before I have to fit them into my reading schedule, but believe me, there are a few here that make me regret my decision to read and review things around the release date whenever possible!

What did you get in your mailboxes this past week?

In My Mailbox

This week’s In My Mailbox features… nothing. I actually didn’t get any books this past week. I thought I’d gotten one from NetGalley, but evidently the publisher archived the title a bare 30 seconds after approving me for a copy, so I’m guessing that was some sort of glitch. A touch disappointing, but I shall persevere.

So, because I didn’t get anything, you now all have to entertain me with what you received this past week. Come on, I want to know what I’m missing!

In My Mailbox

Well, after the Great Kindle Disaster I managed to recover about a third of the unread e-ARCs I’d previously had, which isn’t as good as I’d hoped but still better than I thought. I’m not complaining too loudly. As much as it was awful to lose all those great books that I didn’t get the chance to read, it does cut down on my TBR pile somewhat, making it look much more manageable and much less daunting.

But that isn’t going to stop me from getting new books, oh no! I got a few nice ones in my mailbox this past week. Let’s take a look at them.

A M Dellamonica’s Blue Magic, the sequel to Indigo Springs. Which, I admit, I haven’t read yet, but both books sound interesting enough that I’m going to make a point of tracking down Indigo Springs so I can give it a whirl before reading Blue Magic. Doubly looking forward to this one since it’s a Tor book, and they’ve long been one of my favourite publishers of fantasy novels. I’ve got high hopes for this one!

Following on the heels of one Tor book is another, this time James Swain’s Dark Magic. This one is a little outside what I normally read, being more mystery/thriller than fantasy or speculative, but it still sounds very interesting, definitely enough to grab my attention. I’ve heard a couple of initial impressions by others, and I think I made the right choice in requesting a copy. Fingers crossed that I’m not disappointed (though I doubt I will be, since long-time readers of this blog know that even if a book is outside my usual genres, so long as it’s good, I usually enjoy it just fine).

Alienation, by Jon Lewis. This is a follow-up to a previous novel I got from the author, one that I admit I haven’t read yet, but seeing this one rekindled my interest in the previous one. It’s from a Christian publisher, so I am a little hesitant about it, since many of the books I’ve read by religious publishers, even when they’re doing books of a genre I like, tend to be rather heavy-handed with the conversion attempts. Still, I won’t judge a book by its publisher, and I’ll wait until I’ve read the book before saying whether or not it was worth it.

Ghost Crown, by J Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel. This is tagged as a dark fantasy/adventure tale, and I’ve heard good things about Gates’s work in the past, so I couldn’t resist this one when the chance came to get my grubby little mitts on it. Keel is apparently best known for her work on soap operas, so a combination of the two styles and focuses could indeed be interesting. Time will tell, but in the end, I’m quite excited to read this one. (Update – I’d be more excited about it if this wasn’t yet another case of whoever uploaded it to NetGalley not bothering to say that this is book 2 in a series. Dammit!)

And that’s what I got this week. Definitely some good ones to add to my collections, books I’m happy to have the chance to read, and I’m still boggled by the fact that Tor now seems to have a relationship with NetGalley so I can have a chance to read more of their books. (Any attempts I’ve made in the past to approach Tor for review copies have gone unanswered and/or ignored, so this makes me extremely happy!)

What did you get in your mailboxes this week? I can’t wait to see!