Links, Anyone?

Yes, I’m slightly distracted by the French Open.  And will be for the next week or so.  Fortunately, I’ve a whole collection of links I’ve neglected to post over the past few weeks.

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15793208I’ve not entirely made my mind up over Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Glamourist History series – I admire how she’s managed to blend fantasy with the Regency setting pretty much seamlessly, but the characters left me slightly lukewarm in the first book.  However, I recently borrowed the third from my library on a whim (okay, it was the pretty cover) and ended up enjoying it more than I expected – so maybe I’ll get her most recent release?  My not-very-helpful ramblings on her books aside, she’s one of those authors with an online presence that impresses, and I really liked her blog series on debut author lessons (link to the one on covers).  Lots of interesting stuff there.

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It’s no secret that I’m a Sarah Rees Brennan fan, and I love the free online serial she’s been posting at semi-random intervals.  Even though I’m not a serial kind of person.  She totally tricked me into loving this one. Anyway,  two new installments of TURN OF THE STORY recently(-ish) popped up – Elliot is such a character.  I hope she releases a full-length book when she finishes the serial – I would definitely buy.

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589979Author Tansy Rayner Roberts is doing a re-read of Raymond Feist & Janny Wurts‘ Empire trilogy at tor.com.  THIS BRINGS BACK SUCH MEMORIES.  Sorry, but that totally deserved capitals.  I remember diving into Feist’s Magician books during my teenage years, and then I discovered this trilogy he co-authored with Janny Wurts – and I must have just lived and breathed those books for umm… however long it took me to read them.  I haven’t re-read them for YEARS, and I’m kind of nervous as to whether the story holds up to the test of time, but just reading the first couple of posts makes me want to join in the re-read…

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Interview with Tamora Pierce @ The Speculative Craft – there’s a great bit where she talks about how the publishing industry has changed since the early 1980s and how it’s affected her approach to writing.  Plus her biggest writing regret:

[…] I regret that I didn’t have more space with the Alanna and Daine books to develop the characters, I concentrated more on the plots. I don’t feel like I do plots well and I would have liked to have expanded on the characters more in those books, but in those days they were holding us to a 200 manuscript page per book limit, very strictly, so it’s not like I had the chance then and could have done it.

You know what?  I’d love to see what she would have done with the Alanna books had she not had a page limit.

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And to close off because it’s turned out to be a bit of a nostalgic collection of links: It’s 20 years since Julia Quinn‘s first historical romance was accepted by Avon – loved this letter she posted.  This is like a piece of romance history.  I totally fell for her Bridgerton books – admittedly, I haven’t been as enamoured of her more recent Smythe-Smith books, but they’re still good frothy fun.

 

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A (Partial) 2013 Survey + Looking Ahead to 2014

I managed to start off the year by accidentally marking all posts in my feed reader as read.  Whoops!  While it’s hopefully not an omen for the year ahead, it’s kind of refreshing to look at Feedly and think I’m completely up-to-date with everyone’s posts 😉

best-books-2013

Anyway, I’ve been seeing the 2013 End of Year Survey hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner pop up around the internets.  I wanted to do it – I even started drafting the post, but then realised that most of the answers would be along the lines of Parr, Pacat, Doyle & MacDonald, Wells, Elliott, Cross, Ryan… rinse & repeat…

I’m serious.

And while I’d love to gush a bit more about how I loved all their books, it would make for a pretty boring post.  So I decided that I’m going to cheat a bit and only answer the questions where the answers WEREN’T any of those above.  I know.  I’m a rebel, right?

Here goes:


2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Well.

I feel like this is sort of a negative way to start off the post, but then again, I skipped question #1, which was Best Books You Read in 2013.  Serves me right.

I mentioned this in my annual wrap-up post, but most of the series books I was anticipating just didn’t hit it out of the park for me.  Not that they were letdowns or anything, but I WANTED MORE.

So while an answer could be most of them, that’s only because I had really high expectations for a lot of books (and to be fair, I marked most of them as 4 star reads on GR anyway).  However, one book that didn’t quite work for me was Sharon Lee & Steve’s Miller‘s TRADE SECRET, which was depressing because I’d been looking forward to a sequel to BALANCE OF TRADE for so long.  But I never connected with the main protagonist nor cared enough to follow the obscure-ish plot(s).  I eventually finished the book, but it was a bit of a drag.

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7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Elle Kennedy‘s HOTTER THAN EVER – I don’t think I’ve ever read a ménage à trois book before, but I was convinced by the Dear Author review.

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10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

13578466I love this Goodreads covers view of my 2013 books (even though I’m still in the process of listing all my 2013 reads).  I actually think most of the covers are fantastic, and there’s a real mix of styles – from retro to romantic, from atmospheric to just plain intriguing.

If I had to pick one (and obviously it would be one that I haven’t added to GR yet), it would probably be Sharon Shinn‘s ROYAL AIRS, and not just because the colours match my blog…  I love the ethereal feel, which contrasts quite nicely with that steely look of determination on Josetta’s face.

Jonathan Barkat was listed as the cover illustrator – I think he also did the cover for the previous book, TROUBLED WATERS.

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13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? and 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling

I grouped these two questions together as Elizabeth Wein‘s WWII novel ROSE UNDER FIRE would be the answer to both.  ROSE was hard-hitting and powerful in ways I didn’t anticipate, and I closed the book thinking “lest we forget”.  I’m glad she wrote it, and I’m glad I read it.

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19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

All my very favourite books for the year were from new-to-me authors, so here are two I haven’t mentioned yet: Anne Bishop‘s WRITTEN IN RED (not perfect and problematic in places, but it hit the right spot) and Andrea K Höst‘s HUNTING (added to the list of YA fantasies I’d recommend).

And to be honest, pretty much everything Ilona Andrews and Kelly Hunter released in 2013.

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25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Seanan McGuire‘s INDEXING was a very fun and imaginative take on fairytales – and I say that as someone who generally does not get on with fairytale retellings.  It was released as a Kindle serial in the US, but only in book form in the UK – while I grumbled about not having the weekly episodes, I’m glad I got to read the entire story in one go!

Speaking of serials, I did read John Scalzi‘s THE HUMAN DIVISION in serial form, and Episode #7, “The Dog King”, was hilarious.

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And looking ahead to 2014:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Ann Leckie‘s ANCILLARY JUSTICE – everyone and their mother appears to be loving this debut SF.  It’s on my Kindle now, so no excuses!

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2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

What, just one?  Here are four:

A new Andrea K Höst hopefully, fingers crossed – though she’s said that she may not release anything during 2014.

The next New York Leopards book by Allison Parr (I swear I read somewhere it’s Abe’s book – I hope so!).  Oh, I’ve obviously lifted my moratorium on mentioning these authors for 2014 😉

Sarah Rees Brennan‘s TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is a YA fantasy retelling of A TALE OF TWO CITIES, which sounds incredibly fun.

And Anne Bishop‘s MURDER OF CROWS (the follow-up to WRITTEN IN RED) is due out in March.

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3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don’t really track debut authors, so I’m totally going to cheat and say Katherine Addison‘s THE GOBLIN EMPEROR (April 2014).  This is Addison’s debut work, but it’s Sarah Monette writing under a new name.

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4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

CS Pacat‘s conclusion to her Captive Prince trilogy – I’m really hoping this is a 2014 release.

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5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Umm… the usual.  Post more, comment more, read more from that TBR mountain of mine…

Random Linkage

Or non-timely linkage?  Things that have caught my eye over the past month or so…

Books for August

August new releases on my radar:

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17158158Tammara Webber‘s HERE WITHOUT YOU (NA romance): The first book in Tammara Webber’s Between The Lines series ended up being one of my favourite reads of 2012, and I promptly glommed the next two towards the end of last year.  So it feels like quite a while since I’ve last had my BTL fix – I’m very much looking forward to this final book in the series.

Everyone has secrets.
Some are buried so deep, their existence is forgotten.
But a secret never told can turn into a lie.
And in love, a lie is one thing:
Poison.

Reid’s in love with Dori, though she hasn’t told her parents that she’s fallen hard for the guy they’d forbidden her to see. Now she’s leaving for college, and Reid’s promise not to push her to go public is wearing thin, especially when she can’t – or won’t – return those three important words he wants to hear.

Five years ago, Brooke and Reid were a Thing. That relationship is long gone, detonated amid allegations of cheating – but they still share a secret that would stun everyone they know and alter public perception of them both if it ever comes out. And it’s about to do just that.

Out Aug 6

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11431896Rae Carson‘s THE BITTER KINGDOM (YA fantasy): I didn’t love the first book, but the second intrigued me enough that I’ll probably spring for the third (I borrowed the first two from my trusty local library).  Judging by the early reviews of THE BITTER KINGDOM, this trilogy may be ending on a high. On a side note, I have to say that the UK cover is excellent, IMO.

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Out Aug 27 (UK release 19 Sept)

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15801763Sarah Rees Brennan‘s UNTOLD (YA urban fantasy): I’m not a fan of the change in cover design (I loved the original UNSPOKEN cover, and the revised covers scream generic UF to me), but if it helps these books sell better…*shrugs* I liked a lot about UNSPOKEN, and I’m hoping UNTOLD delivers.

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?’

Out Aug 29

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17612868Lee Child‘s NEVER GO BACK (suspense): I’m a Jack Reacher fan, even if I’ve found the recent installments growing more formulaic and violence-heavy.  Intriguing blurb.

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, former military cop Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind his old desk isn’t a woman. Is Susan Turner dead? In Afghanistan? Or in a car wreck?

What Reacher doesn’t expect to hear is that Turner has just been fired from her command. Nor that he himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn’t expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

Out Aug 29

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16156292Naomi Novik‘s BLOOD OF TYRANTS (fantasy): This is the penultimate book in the Temeraire series according to Goodreads.  I do think it’s time this series is wrapped up – it’s starting to feel a bit unwieldy and rambling in places – but I’ll still probably get around to reading it soon.

Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge…and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.

Out Aug 13

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12140024Kelley Armstrong‘s OMENS (UF): I can’t be the only one pleased that Kelley Armstrong is starting a new series.  I’ve skipped her newer MG/YA books, but I’ve high hopes for this one.

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Out Aug 20

 

Mini-Linkage + Surprise Encounter

There are lots of adverts on the Underground, which I tend to ignore (head buried in my newspaper/e-reader/random reading material) – imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this:

CNV

CNV2

I’m obviously talking about the huge CODE NAME VERITY poster on the right, though it’s nice to see other books getting some love – here’s another pic (apologies for my lack of camera phone skills – click for larger versions).  I didn’t recognise the new paperback cover at first, but I quite like it – shouts historical fiction, doesn’t it?  Also note the last quote is from Ana @ Things Mean a Lot‘s review of CODE NAME VERITY – very cool.

FYI the Kindle version of CNV is £1.09 on Amazon UK right now if you’re interested – and the companion book ROSE UNDER FIRE has just been released (in the UK).

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Sarah Rees Brennan posts Part 1 of a free short story “The Turn of the Story” (I think, not entirely sure as to the title – it’s a belated Christmas present!) – I cannot wait for Part 2.  You know any story that starts with the following sentence has to be good:

So far magic school was total rubbish.

And it is.  It’s all kinds of SRB goodness, alternating between subversive humour and laugh-out-loud funny.

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17203923Angie posted her review of Allison Parr‘s NA debut RUSH ME and explains exactly why it’s a good one (apart from the fact there is much swoon).  I’m slightly relieved as I did recommend the book strongly – yes, I do the “hate the book, not the recommender” mantra (the book-ish version of “don’t shoot the messenger”?), but let’s face it, it’s so much BETTER when other people get exactly why the book worked for you too.

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I found Judith Tarr‘s Escaping Stockholm post @ CE Murphy‘s website interesting, although it’s primarily aimed at writers – she talks about the changes in the publishing industry since the early 80s based on her personal experience.  It’s fascinating how much the agent/publisher/author dynamic has changed over the past few decades – and will probably continue to evolve rapidly over the next few years.

Around the Web

Another set of links, old and new:

Quick Links

Big news (or at least for Baen ebook readers) – Baen’s moving to Amazon (and potentially other third parties) as a distribution platform for the ebooks as of the 15th.

I have mixed feelings about this.  I’ve posted previously about how much I love their current ebook distribution model – ebooks released 2 weeks before the official street date, DRM-free, and for $6 even if it’s a hardback release (and potentially even cheaper if you buy as part of a bundle).  On the other hand, this model was always aimed to encourage ebook adoption, and now that ereaders are taking off in a big way, it makes monetary sense for Baen (and their authors) to move to a distribution system that gives them the widest audience.

I’ve not seen anything about release date changes (i.e. whether it will now tie-in with the official street date), but they will stay DRM-free.  Prices will rise (hardbacks from $6 to $10), so buy now is the message if you’re planning on any Baen ebook purchases.  Bundles stay, but will be on sale for a limited time period (i.e. pre-sale only).  E-ARCs also stay (though I’ve never bought any).

More info @ Baen’s Bar (logon required).  It kind of feels like the end of an era – I remember my very first ebook was from Baen (Catherine Asaro‘s RUBY DICE, because I’m sure you really want to know), and I was so on the fence as to whether ebooks would work for me.  Ha.

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Diana Peterfreund responds to a claim that the cover of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS was white-washed (spoiler: it’s not).  It’s a measured response and worth reading.  And I was totally oblivious to the fact FOR DARKNESS was set in New Zealand. *blinks* It makes so much sense in retrospect.

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Jo Walton‘s insightful posts at Tor.com are a must-read for me – she either makes me think about old favourites from a different perspective or introduces me to books that sound right up my street.  Here’s the former – her take on Lois McMaster Bujold‘s CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE as well as a comparison between Aral and Miles.

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Patrick Rothfuss is running his annual Worldbuilders fundraiser for Heifer International – a chance to win books AND support a good cause.

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A snippet of Patricia Briggs’ upcoming novel FROST BURNED on her forum – it feels like a very long time since we’ve last seen Mercy.

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Sarah Rees Brennan has announced she’s doing a retelling of A TALE OF TWO CITIES.  This could be amazing.  I mean, seriously amazing.

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Kristin Cashore posted about how BITTERBLUE (very slowly) took shape.  I’m impressed.  Also, I can’t believe she actually wrote the story out by hand.  Several times.  And that her writing was still legible by the end.

Books for September

This is one of those posts that fall into the “better late than never” category – here are the September new releases that I’m getting.

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Seanan McGuire‘s ASHES OF HONOR (urban fantasy): If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or even for the past few weeks, come to think of it), you know I’ve been a big fan of Toby Daye ever since the first book.  Somehow Seanan McGuire gets better and better with each installment, and I’ve been so caught up in Toby’s story that it’s hard to believe this is the sixth book in the series already.  I’ve already finished ASHES OF HONOR – without wanting to spoil things, it’s oh-so-satisfying on so many levels.

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

Out now (author’s book page)

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Meljean Brook‘s RIVETED (paranormal romance): This is the third book in her Iron Seas series.  I hesitated a long time before I picked up the first book, THE IRON DUKE, because I stalled a couple of books into her other series (I do need to give them another go one day), but I really shouldn’t have.  Her steampunk world is so intricately crafted (Hilcia referred to these books as social science fiction, which is an excellent description) and she gives good romance.

A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam…

Out now (excerpt)

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Sarah Rees Brennan‘s UNSPOKEN (YA paranormal): I’ve such love for Sarah Rees Brennan’s stories and this first book of the Lynburn Legacy trilogy sounds like a must-have.  I mean, modern YA Gothic?  Count me in, especially if the story’s laced with her unique brand of humour, which never fails to make me laugh out loud.

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Out now (author’s book page)

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Lee Child‘s A WANTED MAN (suspense): I’m always excited about a new Jack Reacher (and admit that I am planning to see the movie, despite the Tom Cruise thing).  I think the recent Reacher books have been a bit hit or miss (and have amped up the violence), but Lee Child’s still an auto-buy author for me.

Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia.

An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there.

All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat—to both sides at once.

In Lee Child’s white-hot thriller, nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth. As the tension rises, the twists come fast and furious, keeping readers guessing and gasping until the explosive finale.

Out Sept 25 (excerpt)

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Finally, there are a number of books I’ve been eyeing:

  • The annual(?) anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni LP Kelner – this one is titled AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE and has an Ilona Andrews contribution.  I’ve requested this from my library because I can’t justify buying a hardcover when I really only want to read one story
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  • I really liked Joanne Dobson‘s Karen Pelletier mystery series, which was set in a New England college campus.  She’s co-authoring a new series called Wartime in New York, and the first is out this month (FACE OF THE ENEMY) – I’m always a sucker for historical mysteries.
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  • I read Rae Carson‘s YA fantasy debut THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS earlier this year and liked it well enough, though I think the positive hype led me to have overly-high expectations.  The second, THE CROWN OF EMBERS, is out this month and while I do want to read it, I will most probably wait for the paperback.
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  • There’s a Christmas anthology called MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE (less than 100 days to Christmas!) coming out this month – I wanted to get it until I realised it was around £8.  Contributors are the historical romance authors who blog at Word Wenches, including Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, so again, I’ll probably get it when it drops to a lower price point.

Linkage for the Week

My post for Holly‘s Seven Days for Sevenwaters is up today – go read why I didn’t really think Juliet Marillier‘s books were for me (spoiler: I was so wrong).  Big thanks to Holly for organising the event and for letting me ramble in her space – I’ve really loved all the other posts this week.  Some were touching, others hilarious, but all heartfelt – plus a wonderful bonus: a post by Juliet Marillier herself offering up her version of Oscars for the series.

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I had a bit of a dilemma this week when both Sarah Rees Brennan‘s UNSPOKEN and Meljean Brook’s RIVETED appeared simultaneously (well, almost – I think UNSPOKEN arrived a few seconds earlier) on my Kindle.  After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, I went for RIVETED (and then my Kindle promptly died, which is a story for another time – it is now working, so all is right with the world again).  But this is really a very roundabout way of telling you that although I haven’t yet read UNSPOKEN, there is another free Lynburn Legacy story available, which is making me very excited about actually starting on UNSPOKEN.

Also while on UNSPOKEN, I love this post about its cover so much.  It’s how I first heard about “cut-paper art” and I think Beth White (the cover artist) has incredible talent.

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And speaking of covers (note the smooth segue), this Dear Author post about digital publishing and covers was fascinating.

In a way, covers are less important to me than they were a few years back, because I rely so much more on blog recommendations as opposed to random bookstore browsing.  And with the rise of self-publishing, I’ve stopped automatically associating poorly-designed covers with bad stories.  There could be a wonderful story lurking behind that horrible cover with Comic Sans font (I know, cover snob much?).

But there is something about a great cover that makes me happy (and yes, sometimes acts as a tipping point for a purchase) and it was really interesting having a bit more insight into cover design decisions, especially for digital-only editions.

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I liked this review of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller‘s DRAGON SHIP by Liz Bourke at Tor.com, though I think she liked the book marginally more than I did.  Like her, I thought DRAGON SHIP was more of a bridging book, one that was setting up the next chapter to be told in this series, but I was left slightly unsatisfied by the number of plot threads still left dangling at the end of the book.  Having said that, it’s always nice to revisit the Liaden universe, so I’m glad that they’ve sold five (FIVE!!) new books in the series to Baen.  Happy times.

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Finally, if you’re like me and avoid Facebook like the plague, but still want a way to keep up with the authors who post updates on their Facebook page, here’s what you need to get their Facebook RSS feed so you can read updates in your feed reader.  I just discovered this and it works like a dream.

There’s also a way to get the Twitter RSS feed into your feed reader – use this URL:

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/%5Busername%5D.rss

So if you want to follow my (not very exciting) Twitter feed without actually being on Twitter yourself – you would subscribe to this link:

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/meandmybooks.rss

That’s my technology tip of the day!

Three Lists

Firstly, blogosphere events:

  • It’s not just Holly’s Seven Days for Sevenwaters taking place next week – the annual Book Bloggers Appreciation Week is on too (though it’s a more low-key version compared to previous years).  I haven’t participated in the past couple of years due to time pressures, but hopefully this time around, I’ll manage to join in on one of the daily blog topics.
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  • As a heads up, Bloggiesta is on for the weekend of Sept 28-30 (co-hosted by Danielle and Suey).  Sign-up post here, if you’re interested.  I took part in the April Bloggiesta, and it turned out to be a great way to do all those blog-type spring-cleaning tasks that I had been putting off for ages.  It was good fun because everyone was doing similar things, and also those mini-challenges were informative and useful.  And the peer pressure forced me to actually get things done 😉  I’m not sure if I’ll have time to take part this time around, but am certainly considering it.

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A couple of quick links:

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And finally, a couple of recent reads – good ones too:

  • Seanan McGuire‘s ASHES OF HONOR: Definitely worth sacrificing some sleep for.  I have crazy love for this series, and this was a fantastic installment, especially since Tybalt takes centre stage in this one.  But even without Tybalt (though I veer close to sacrilege here), I enjoyed exploring so much more of this alternate world that Ms McGuire has dreamt up, and Toby’s relationships with her friends – and enemies – were just engrossing.  It left me wanting more.
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  • Tammara Webber‘s EASY: Everyone appears to have loved this one, which usually tends to have the effect of me waiting until the hype dies down.  But prompted by the news that Razorbill UK (Penguin’s teen line) will be publishing Tammara Webber’s books, I decided to check this out, and ended up really connecting with this college-set story. While the plot was perhaps a tad bit on the predictable side, I was won over by Jacqueline and the realistic yet mature way she dealt with the cards handed to her – and of course, there is some rather sizzling chemistry on the romance side of things.  I’m going to have to check out her Between the Lines books now.