Random Stuff

I’ve been re-reading Jane Austen‘s “Pride & Prejudice” on my phone in stops and starts recently.  I’ve always resisted reading on my phone, but after downloading the Kindle app a couple of months ago, I’m quite getting into reading while commuting.  I don’t think I would read a new-to-me book on it just because I need uninterrupted reading time to get into a book, but the twenty-odd minutes on the Tube is perfect for reading a couple of chapters.

And I had forgotten how romantic P&P is.  Swoon.

Apart from P&P, I’ve also read Richelle Mead‘s two latest releases – “Succubus Revealed”, the last in her Georgina Kincaid series, and “Bloodlines”, the first in her new Vampire Academy spin-off series.  I really liked Succubus – it’s been a book I’ve been waiting for quite a while, not least because I had no idea how she was going to pull off an ending that worked.  Without giving too much away, yeah, it was satisfying.

And I borrowed “Bloodlines” from the library with some trepidation – I wasn’t quite sure if revisiting an existing world was going to work (no names being mentioned here…).  But it proved to be an easy and entertaining read if not a ground-breaking one.  I’d pick up the next book in this series.

Some links:

Around the Web

A new Sharon Lee & Steve Miller short story is always a cause for celebration – even better, it’s free, though they are experimenting with asking readers for donations if they like the story.  I haven’t read the story yet, but I believe it’s set in their Liaden universe.

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Speaking of free short stories, I recently read Tamara Allen‘s free historical m/m romance short “If It Ain’t Love” and really liked – not just the romance, but also how the 1930s New York setting came to life.  I’ve seen Ms Allen’s name around, but have never quite got around to buying her books – this may be the spur I need.

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I liked this post at All About Romance about mysteries with a touch of romance – one of my favourites.  While there’s something to be said for straight romance (or straight mysteries, come to that), there is something even more satisfying when you get both in a book.  There are some recommendations for new-to-me series, so I’m bookmarking this post.

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A fascinating guest post by Toni LP Kelner @ Janice Gable Bashman’s blog about putting an anthology together.  Ms Kelner co-edits the themed anthologies with Charlaine Harris, so this is like a behind-the-scenes peek at what happens.  And bonus tidbit – their next anthology will be “An Apple for the Creature” coming out next fall.  Yeah, it took me a while too, but if I say it’s school-themed, does the title now make sense?

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Chelle @ Tempting Persephone posted a while back about some Sherlock fanfiction she’s enjoying – and she was totally right to plug it.  I’m not a massive Sherlock Holmes fan – though I’ve read the stories, that was way back when, and to my shame, I’ve not watched the BBC series that has had rave reviews.  So when I say this piece made me want to re-read the books AND watch the BBC episodes…

Mad_Lori’s “The Blog of Eugenia Watson” is an excellent re-imagining from the point of view of (new character) Genie Watson, John’s daughter, and is set in modern-day London, with the twist that Holmes and Watson are married.  Which probably means that this will never be an approved adaptation, which is a shame, because the author captures the teen voice perfectly.  I loved Genie and the whole story, from start to finish.

Books for September

I can’t believe it’s officially autumn already.  And therefore time for new releases – a couple of much-anticipated sequels plus (unusually for me) two books by new-to-me authors that have piqued my curiosity…

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Seanan McGuire‘s “One Salt Sea” (urban fantasy): You knew I was going to start off with this, surely?  I cannot wait to get my hands on the fifth Toby Daye book.  It seems like only yesterday I unexpectedly fell in love with Seanan McGuire’s addictive mix of Faerie and San Francisco – I’m glad Ms McGuire is such a prolific writer!

Blurb:

October “Toby” Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She’s actually dating again, and she’s taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby’s search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days’ time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws…

Out Sept 6 (author’s website)

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MJ Scott‘s “Shadow Kin” (dark fantasy): Here’s an interesting one – new-to-me (and debut?) author that I came across while perusing the September open thread at Dear Author.  I read the excerpt on the author’s website and was hooked – it certainly looks promising, I love the concept of wraiths and sunmages.  And you know, a cover blurb by Patricia Briggs

Blurb:

Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kin. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely…

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place among her kind. They called me soulless. An abomination. Perhaps they’re right…I am a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the srevice of the Blood Lord Lucius, who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I’m nothing more than a slave to my master and to the need that only he can fulfill…

Then Lucius orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of Simon’s magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, he shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that’s one thing my master and his kind will never allow. And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadows into the light isn’t as simple as it sounds…

Out Sept 6 (excerpt)

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Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions” edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (YA urban fantasy): Apart from Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, there’s a Sarah Rees Brennan story (total fangirl here), as well as some authors (Kami Garcia, Jessica Verday, Jackson Pearce) I’ve been meaning to read but have not quite gotten around to buying their books.  Which is one of the reasons I always convince myself to buy anthologies…

Blurb:

A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.

Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in Enthralled will leave you moved.

Out now

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Rae Carson‘s “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” (YA fantasy): Second new-to-me author coming up – however, this time, I unfortunately can’t remember how this book landed on my radar.  I haven’t been reading as much straight fantasy as previous years (I think – I have been shamefully neglecting my list of books read so far, it’s on my to-do list!) so this appeals.  Anyway, cool title, even cooler back cover blurb… and cover blurb by Tamora Pierce (yes, I’m easy).

Blurb:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Out Sept 20 (PDF excerpt)

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Lee Child‘s “The Affair” (suspense): Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books are pure page-turning fun (though Tom Cruise as Reacher?  That is just plain wrong).  Anyway, the latest in the Reacher series is out end of this month, and it looks as though it’s one of the earlier ones, series chronological order-wise.  Not many authors tend to umm… skip around chronologically (Catherine Asaro does this rather well), and while I’m not keen on the fact that this means we don’t see further progression in the series arc, it’s usually interesting to revisit characters knowing what happens down the road for them.

Blurb:

In 1997, Reacher’s orders are: go undercover, keep your distance, monitor the investigation.

The local sheriff is Elizabeth Deveraux, a beautiful woman and an ex-Marine MP. She has all the skills she needs, but she’s making no progress. Why not? Is there a reason she doesn’t want the killer identified? And there’s constant pressure from the Pentagon, too. Shadowy figures from the world of politics want the killer unmasked—but only if he’s a civilian. Any other result would be a catastrophe.

Reacher and Deveraux can’t get near the base. There’s a shadow force in the woods, enforcing a quarantine zone around the fence. But side by side they piece together the evidence—and their partnership becomes more than professional. Eventually the army’s official investigation produces a cast-iron prime suspect—and so does Reacher’s undercover search.

But Reacher’s answer is not the same as the army’s.

If he keeps quiet, will he be able to live with himself? And if he speaks out, will the army be able to live with him?

Out Sept 29 (excerpt)

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Stephanie Perkins‘ “Lola and the Boy Next Door” (YA): Last but definitely not least, the companion novel to “Anna and the French Kiss”, which you know, I loved.  Judging from the excerpt, Lola promises to be just as fun.

Blurb:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Out Sept 29 (excerpt)

Three Favourite Authors

Seanan McGuire‘s “One Salt Sea” is out next week (not that I’m counting down the days or anything…) and she’s doing a series of posts about Toby’s world.  Talk about in-depth world-building.  I love.

Via Sounis: I had no idea that there were bonus short stories in Megan Whalen Turner‘s paperback releases of “The King of Attolia” or “A Conspiracy of Kings“.  Even better, they’re available online via HarperCollins’ BrowseInside – click on Table of Contents on the top right and then scroll down to Bonus Page.

And a twopart interview with Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, in which they talk about many things, including their ebook ventures and upcoming works (a sequel to “Balance of Trade”? Yes please!).