Sunday, September 29, 2013

Badass Books: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I hadn't realized I hadn't actually written my review of this DAC book. Sorry! It's been crazy (work has been killing me, but it's good--just daunting). So here it is!

Summary (from Goodreads)

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Why I read it: This is a 2013 debut, and I loved the cover, so I added it to my DAC list, as shallow as that sounds. But look at it. It's SO BEAUTIFUL.

ZOMG Yes! Let me start by saying I adored this book. I really love a good fantasy set in our world. I love when authors can pull in new elements I never thought of and weave new magics and give them new names. This story felt fresh and alive and different. 

Also, I really like girls that love to read and keep to themselves. This book had all of that. Plus? Steamy, steamy kisses.

But I digress. April does an excellent job weaving together the characters of this book--giving them depth and hopes and fears. I've seen a handful of reviews that felt a lack of connection to Violet's twin brother Luke. I completely disagree with this. He felt like a valuable part of the story, integrally tied to Violet's growth.

I thought I knew where this story was going. I really did. But it kept going somewhere else and doing it flawlessly. I also really enjoyed the voice of this story. It almost felt like April took Mark Twain's advice a little too seriously to replace "very" with "damn," and then kept it that way. And it works.

Hmmm I was beyond excited to see that there is a sequel to this book. I don't know where it will go or how it will unfold, but I love that it will exist. April left the door open, and I honestly can't wait. I especially want to see more of Neely.

kthxbai Someone give this girl a chiweenie! And all you out there? Go read this book!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Badass Books: The Dream Thieves

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this book, ever since I devoured The Raven Boys. Maggie Stiefvater has this way with words and characters and places and plot--she spins them unlike any author I've ever seen. She is the writer I want to be when I grow up.

I'm going to give you the summary after the picture, but even it's a little spoiler if you haven't read The Raven Boys, so it will be in white, like all my spoilers.

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after.\

Why I read it: If you read the first book in The Raven Cycle, you know. There's something about these characters, the way the relate to each other, the way they drive the plot, all of it. Not reading the second book was not an option.

ZOMG yes: Really, this should be my category for the entire review. First: you get to know Ronan a lot better in this book (in case you couldn't tell from the cover). I really liked that. Ronan intrigued me in the first book, and I wanted his perspective. I wasn't disappointed. He was every bit as broken and at war with himself as I had hoped, and Maggie does such a good job of bringing that to life in this story.

I also loved the new villains in this story. They each had their own depth to them, and I wanted to know them more, to understand what drove them. SPOILERS (like some big ones): I really would have liked to learn a little more about Kavinsky's back story--what drove him crazy--but I know it's there even if it wasn't divulged. And the Gray Man? Maggie, how could you make me love a hit man? Much less a hit man with the past target he had? I love and hate you for doing this to me.

If you've read Tracey's review, she's completely right about that scene with Noah and Blue. I loved it, but I really wanted more Noah in this book. Maybe in the next one? You know now that SPOILER: the ley line is feeling a little better.

I loved getting to see more of Maura, Calla, and Persephone here. I especially love the reveals about Persephone as they tied to Adam's part of the story line. So those of you Adam lovers out there: don't worry, we get further in his story, too.

Also. I ship Gansey and Blue.

Hmmm: So the end. There's that. SPOILERS: I'm confused at where Gansey was in the epilogue. Anyone else? Also curious to see what drove Maura to her decision. I'm waiting to meet Butternut, and I think her choices are tied to that.

kthxbai: If you haven't started this series, you really need to. It's a wonderful story, but the writing alone is reason enough.

All the chiweenies to Maggie!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a weekly blog hop by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. Be sure to visit Jaime's blog to add your post to the link list!

What I'm Reading: I finished Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea this weekend, and it was lovely. I'll have a review up soon, but I would definitely recommend this story. On to my next debut! What's your favorite debut this year? I'll read that next:)

What I'm Writing: So I know I missed last week's post, but I've been REALLY busy writing. My goal was to finish the first draft of this rewrite by September 1. I missed the deadline, but only by ten days. Last night I completed the draft (for the first half of the book it's really a second draft, but the full second half is new). It needs a lot of work a lot of love and a lot of cutting (it's over 100,000, but juts barely). But it's done. I have something to work with.

I've had the above bottle of wine in the fridge since the beginning of summer waiting for this moment. I decided to hold my other reward until I send the book off to my betas--so you'll see that this fall (I hope). Thanks to everyone for your Twitter encouragement! I love you all and look forward to writing with you this autumn.

What Inspires Me Right Now: For the first time in a long time? Myself. :)

What Else I've Been Up To: Our car got sideswiped a few weeks ago. Last week I fixed the mirror (the only damage) all by myself. Pretty proud of it.

What's up with you?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Badass Books: Siege and Storm

Can I just start by saying: Dear God, yes! Leigh Bardugo is one of those authors with whom I would like to be friends. She is brilliant. She writes deep, real characters in stunning environments with MAGICS and PLOT TWISTS and ROMANCE. If you haven't read Shadow and Bone, go do that then come back and read this review of its sequel.

Why I Read It: The Darkling. Enough said. Okay I like Alina, too. And Mal (though not as much as the Darkling..or at least, not after the first book), and Genya. And all of it.

ZOMG YES! Well. Let me just say--I may have read it for the Darkling, but I've jumped ship. I'm all about some Nikolai. Fine, I'll stop swooning and actually talk about the book and not my unhealthy crushes on fictional characters.

As far as sequels go, I think Leigh did an excellent job with this story. I was curious to see where she would go, how it would be a new story, what would become of Alina as she grew in her power. Siege and Storm did not disappoint. We had new stakes, new characters, new adventures. We had the resurgence of old characters, too. I don't want to say too much that would give away anything from the first book, so I'll leave it at that.

Hmmm I'm curious to see where this goes next. I need answers to some specific questions about the fates of certain characters. I'd like to see some redemption. I want to know more about the Apparat. Is he good? Is he bad? Is he just really senile? Why didn't he smell as much like tombs this time around?

Kthxbai In case you were wondering (if you remember my review of Shadow and Bone), I did get over my issue with the K's and let myself enjoy them this time around. Five chiweenies to Leigh Bardugo!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Badass Books: The Madman's Daughter

Earlier this summer I finished The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd as a part of my 2013 Debut Author's Challenge (on which I am sorely behind). If you're looking for a book to read and like historical fiction + romances, I'd recommend it.

Summary (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Spoilers in white.

Why I Read It: I added this one to my DAC list because I'm working on an alternate history piece, so I like to see how other people write about the past--the language they use, the way they describe the clothing. I especially wanted to see how Shepard handled the way women were treated at this time because I'm working through how to craft reactions to the female characters in my story.

More DAC info here.

ZOMG Yes! I like that the title of this story upset me, and that the author used that. I'm not usually a fan of story titles about a heroine who is defined by the men in her life. I didn't want to know about the madman's daughter. I wanted to know about Juliet. But it was her association with her father that was one of her primary struggles, and so I think the title worked.

I also liked the ending. SPOILERS (ok not that spoilery, but still): I liked that the ending was unexpected. I liked that Juliet was forced to no longer allow the men in her life to define her but to make her own path. I don't like that Montgomery didn't think about how difficult that would be for her but only thoughtabout himself. Which leads me to my next point...

Hmmm: Montgomery was selfish, and I get that people can be selfish, but it bothered me because he was a primary love interest. But at the same time, I kind of liked it because I think even that was a commentary on the way women and men interacted with each other during this time period.

kthxbai Overall it was a good read, and I'm glad I picked it up. Check it out if you're looking for a 2013 debut.