I Have Just Ordered…

51veKT4RdvL._SL160_ 51wsbUOfImL._SL160_ Eva Ibbotson’s “Magic Flutes”, which is being re-released on 1 May.  I couldn’t quite decide between the UK (left) and US (right) cover, but finally went for the UK one since I have the UK edition of “The Secret Countess”  as well.

And as for the different titles – I’ve been perusing the back cover blurbs online, and I can guess why “The Reluctant Heiress” is fitting, but “Magic Flutes”?  Is it an allusion to the opera?

I’m excited about this one – and hoping that it will get me out of my slight reading (and blogging) slump. 

Oh, and for the curious, here is the blurb:

Spring, 1922 Tessa is a beautiful, tiny, dark-eyed princess – who’s given up her duties to follow her heart, working for nothing backstage at the Viennese opera.  No one there knows who she really is, or that a fairytale castle is missing its princess, and Tessa is determined to keep it that way.  But secret lives can be complicated.  When a wealthy, handsome Englishman discovers this bewitching urchin backstage, Tessa’s two lives collide – and in escaping her inheritance, she finds her destiny…

9780330444989 And staying sort of on-topic:

I adore the the covers that UK Picador have created for the Ibbotson books, and aha – I knew I had posted about them previously

I’ve spotted a new “A Song for Summer” cover (left), which is much prettier and more striking than the one in my original post.  It really stands out on the shelves (and I’ve been thrilled to see copies faced out in the Recommended Reads shelves recently).

TBR Day: PN Elrod’s “Bloodlist”

This is posted as part of Keishon’s TBR Day challenge, which is aimed at encouraging us readers with the towering TBR piles (you know who you are) to start tackling the books that have been languishing in there for eons.

This month’s challenge theme: Urban fantasy, paranormal, SFR or fantasy

ETA:  This was meant to go up on Thursday 16 April, the official TBR Day; however, I am apparently useless when it comes to scheduling posts.  Ah well.

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51J5KGRF82L._SL160_ Book: Bloodlist (urban fantasy)

Author: PN Elrod

Copyright Date: 1990 (re-released in 2003 as part of “The Vampire Files 1” omnibus, featuring the first three books in this series)

Me and… Urban Fantasy: It’s probably fairly obvious that I read a lot of UF nowadays.  Heck, I used to read it even when it wasn’t known as UF.  However, I’ve realised that I rarely start new UF series nowadays.  It used to be “oh look, a new book featuring [insert supernatural-creature-of-choice here], gimme that now!”.  Now it’s more like “hmm… okay, interesting cover, what’s the blurb” *reads first few pages* “mmm…. not sure, let me think about it” *puts down, wanders away*.  I tend to stick to series I already know and love, or new books by authors I already read.

Why did I buy this book? PN Elrod’s name was familiar to me as an editor of various anthologies, including the “Big Fat Supernatural…” ones with Charlaine Harris.  I’ve also read a couple of her short stories featuring Jack Fleming, the vampire PI in this series, and liked them, so was curious about this series.

Why did it sit in my TBR pile for so long? Well, you know, yet another vampire series.  I just wasn’t inspired to start reading a new-to-me UF series.  However, the twelfth book in this series, “Dark Road Rising”, has just been released, so I remembered I had this in my TBR pile, and it fit in quite nicely with April’s TBR Day theme.

What is it about? From Ms Elrod’s website:

Vampire detective Jack Fleming’s first case: solving his OWN murder! Waking up on the shores of Lake Michigan with no memory of how he got there is the least of Jack’s worries as he comes to realize reports of his death were not exaggerated. But there’s a positive side to suddenly being thrust into the ranks of the undead: you’re always young, you live forever, and best of all–you can hunt down your own killer….

So what did I think of it?  In short, I liked but didn’t love.

I enjoyed the setting – “Bloodlist” is set in Depression-era 1930s Chicago and I found the period details fascinating.  I also got a sort of film noir feeling from the book, what with the gangsters and their molls.

My favourite sections were the ones where Jack comes to grips with the fact he’s a vampire and tries to figure out his vampiric powers.  For some reason, these passages struck me as being realistic – err… well, as realistic as you can get with vampires!  Jack is easy to like, there’s no “why me”-type whining, and he just gets on with things.  However, equally, I must say that I never really felt that invested in him nor the mystery of who killed him and why.

I somewhat lost my interest in the plot towards the end, and I suspect that if it wasn’t for the TBR Day deadline, I’m not sure I would have finished this in two days.  This was, however, one of the first books written by Ms Elrod, and I’m pretty sure she gets better over the years, especially if her short stories I’ve read recently are representative of current work.

My conclusion?  Not the most addictive book I’ve read, but good enough to get me to continue with the series (obviously, it helps that my omnibus version also has books two and three).  B- for me.

Around the Web

510CGKLV3pL._SL160_ Two new Sharon Shinn books in October – one is “Quatrain”… and we have a cover!  This one has stories set in the worlds of “Archangel”, “Heart of Gold”, “Summers at Castle Auburn” (yay!), and “Mystic and Rider”, according to her website.

Also, a new YA fantasy (I’m guessing) called “Gateway”, no cover yet unfortunately!

Books for April

I’m so late with this post that I’ve already read quite a few of the April releases!  However, better late than never…

51bvHykvU2L._SL160_ So first up was Karen Chance’s “Curse the Dawn” (urban fantasy), fourth in her Cassandra Palmer series.  Excerpt here

41LrhzCUb9L._SL160_ I’m a big fan of this series, and this installment didn’t disappoint.  Cassie’s trying to figure out how to be Pythia with zero training, and she’s got to learn fast.  Very fast.  I’ve gotten used to Ms Chance’s writing style of non-stop action, where you pretty much hit the ground running from the first page onwards, and this story was no exception.  I think fans of the mage Pritkin will be pleased with this one as there is much Pritkin.  I’m on Team Mircea myself, and I like the way things are developing.  I admit if I were extremely picky, I wish Ms Chance would slow down at times and let me catch my breath.  Still, I really enjoyed this and it was a B+ for me.  I’m very much looking forward to her Fall release “Death’s Mistress”, the second in the Dorina Basarab series.

 

51Vk0dfT6IL._SL160_ The next book I read was Sarah Monette’s “Corambis” (dark fantasy), the fourth and final book in her Doctrine of Labyrinths series.  Podcasts of the first two chapters here.

“Corambis” is an incredibly satisfying finale to a rather complex and dark series.  In a way, I think this is the most accessible book in the series – it’s probably the most focused of all four and possibly the most conventional?  I’m not sure, will have to think about that a bit more.  Also, not hugely relevant, but I am constantly impressed by how Ms Monette writes different POVs so effortlessly.  In “Corambis”, we get Felix and Mildmay’s POVs, as well as a new character’s, and each is just right for the character.  This was an A- read for me.

 

51kP1Vk4PoL._SL160_ And last night, I finished Jim Butcher’s “Turn Coat” (urban fantasy), the eleventh in his Dresden Files series.  Excerpts here.

I pretty much glommed the entire series late last year, and really couldn’t wait for this one.  I’ve said it before, but what makes this series for me is the fact that there is no sense of either characters or plot stagnating, and that’s saying quite a bit for a series with eleven books in it.  I guessed the traitor quite a bit in advance, but not the how.  “Turn Coat” advances the overall series plot by quite a bit, and I can’t believe we’ve to wait another year for the next Dresden book.  A strong B+.

 

And then the other April releases I haven’t yet read but definitely plan on getting:

Tamora Pierce’s “Bloodhound” (YA fantasy): Second in her Beka Cooper series.  I love Tamora Pierce, and “Terrier”, the first book, came out way back in 2006.  It’s been too long.  Out April 14.

Jo Beverley’s “The Secret Wedding” (historical romance):  Part of her long-running (and loosely-connected) Malloren series.  I read a lot less historical romance nowadays, but Ms Beverley is on my autobuy list.  Excerpt here, out now.

Ann Aguirre’s “Blue Diablo” (urban fantasy):  First in a new series and with a cover blurb from Patricia Briggs.  And of course, glowing reviews all over the web.  Excerpt here, out now.

Kelley Armstrong’s “The Awakening” (YA urban fantasy):  Second in the Chloe Saunders trilogy.  The first book “The Summoning” ended on a cliffhanger and I hate, hate that.  I’ll forgive Ms Armstrong for a lot of things, however.  Excerpt here, out April 28.

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Very Quickly…

51bvHykvU2L._SL160_ I stopped by the bookstore today and they had Karen Chance’s “Curse the Dawn” out!  Her Cassie Palmer UF series is one of my favourites so getting this just in time for the weekend made my day.

41LrhzCUb9L._SL160_I almost missed it on the display table because I was expecting a cover similar to the US one, as all the previous UK editions have pretty much re-used the US cover picture.  However, “Curse the Dawn” has completely different cover art – I’m not 100% convinced because it looks pretty generic (the UK cover is the one on the right).  Oh well, it’s what’s inside that counts  🙂

And because there was a 3 for 2 offer, I also picked up JD Robb’s “Salvation in Death” (let’s face it, Nora Roberts is a fail-safe choice) and Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” (have been meaning to get this one forever because of all the great reviews).

Am off to read now…