Saturday, October 31, 2009

Le Chat Est Ma Coeur

Today is Halloween. My favorite holiday. But instead of being happy about all the fun Halloween usually brings, I am horribly sad. Today I lost the best kitty I've ever had. And although his name was Ivaan the Terrible, he was my favorite little buddy and not terrible in the least. It was sudden and unexpected. I don't know if that makes it harder or easier. Right now I just can't even breath.
I love you, Ivaan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Fire Has Lit My Heart

*Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

I finished Fire this weekend. I have two words - amazingly beautiful. This easily jumped up the list to become one of my all time favorite novels. I also read Kristin Cashore's debut novel, Graceling, just after it's release last October, and thought it was fabulous. I highly recommend adding these to your reading pile if you haven't already read them. You won't be disappointed. It isn't often that I become so emotionally involved with characters that I gasp aloud, cry, laugh and shriek "I knew it!" when something I suspected would happen does happen. And now I wait on the edge of my seat for her planned third novel, Bitterblue, which is still in the writing stages. I can't wait!

*taken from

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You a Winner?

In reviewing some of the recent posts of blogs that I follow regularly, I came across a fun contest! The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge! The contest is hosted by literary agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown Ltd.
It sounds like a lot of fun and may also help to motivate you to better something you've already written and put aside, or something that you are currently working on. The idea is to send in the first paragraph of your work for the chance to win a query critique, partial manuscript critique or a phone consultation! How awesome would that be for those of us who are aspiring to be published?
Of course, I must also give credit to the blog that I accidentally came upon that referred me to this contest. Natalie Whipple is last years winner AND is now represented by Nathan! Just a quick peek at her blog and I became a follower. She's got some helpful information posted there. It's always great to read about the worries and struggles of a published writer so us newbies know we aren't alone.
I'm going to re-vamp a couple of my first paragraphs and see what happens. Even though my novel(s) are nowhere near completion, it would be neat to win and get some priceless advice from a real literary agent! And who knows...maybe they'll realize that you are a keeper.
Do you think you've got what it takes?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (3)

Once again, I'm very happy to say I got a few books! Folks, I have an addiction. I can't seem to stop myself...

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Sixteen-year-old Jack forgets to take his medicine one morning, and by afternoon is filled with such strength he sends his rival, Garrett Lobeck, sailing into the net at soccer tryouts--without even touching him. Jack soon discovers he is no ordinary teen and his medicine is not what he thought it was. Since the secret insertion of a warrior stone in his chest at infancy, Jack has been dosed with a suppressant designed to hold his powers as a Warrior Heir in check until his wizard sponsor can retrieve him and prepare him to fight in a death tournament for supremacy. With the aid of an aunt, old and new friends, and a magical sword, Jack fights to retain his identity and choose his own path.

I'm not at all sure about this one. It sounds a bit like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games. Both of those series' I enjoy. But I wonder if that will set me up with high expectations that won't deliver...I've heard mixed reviews, but nevertheless, I am in the mood for something different from what I've been reading.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked-as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.
While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history-it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Helena, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai camp - riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties.
Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea-the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her--plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

I thought the book description for this one sounded good. Then I realized it was published by a Disney subsidiary...I hope it's not too childish or lame, but I'll give it a shot anyhow.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

I have to admit that it was the cover that initially drew my attention to this book. Plus, I've read a few good reviews. I think this is part of a series.

And last but certainly not least! The long awaited companion to Graceling, Fire by Kristin Cashore
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City. The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

I absolutely adored Graceling and have been waiting for Fire for a long time! You don't have to read the first to understand this one, but if you haven't yet read it, do. This is being bumped to the top of my TBR stack. Can't wait!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (2)

Well, I'm pleased to say that I did get some new books this week. Once again compliments to my birthday B&N gift certificate.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

I've heard good things about this one. It's the first in a series, and the author's debut novel. Plus, she likes LJ Smith. So, of course, I can't wait to read it.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
When Kelley moves to New York to pursue her dreams of theatrical success, she expects that her only encounters with mythical beings will be confined to the stage, in the Avalon Grande Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. All of that changes when she meets Sonny Flannery, who introduces Kelley to a world she never knew existed. A member of Auberon's Janus Guard, he patrols the portal (in Central Park) between the human and faerie worlds on the few dangerous nights when it opens and members of the Unseelie Court can pass into the mortal realm. He is strangely drawn to Kelley, and as he gets to know her, he begins to suspect that there is more to her history than either of them know. Through encounters with sirens, hellhounds, and kelpies, Kelley and Sonny are drawn irrevocably into a battle among the Fey. Despite the budding attraction between them, forces they can hardly understand seek to keep them apart. Set against the backdrop of present-day New York City, this enchanting first novel weaves together the worlds of theater and magic in a way that is sure to please fans of both.

Thought I'd get a few fairy books this time around. Take a little break from the werewolves and vampires. I hope I'm not dissapointed.

My Soul To Take (Soul Screamers series) by Rachel Vincent
She doesn't see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I'm excited to read this one. I've never read any of Rachel's books, but I've been told that I should. I've also got to admit that I like the title and the cover caught my eye. I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes I can't help myself. :)

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater (ordered online at b&
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan, a gifted harpist who regularly plays for weddings and other events, has the kind of stage fright that makes her physically ill before a performance, which is an inauspicious way to start a romance; but while vomiting before a competition she meets a gorgeous boy who comes into the restroom to hold her hair. He is Luke Dillon, a flautist who proceeds to accompany her in a truly stellar performance. As four-leaf clovers start appearing everywhere, Deirdre develops telekinetic powers and encounters strange, unworldly people who seem to bear her ill will. Her best friend, James, also a talented musician; her beloved grandmother; and her mother all are in danger, as Deirdre is targeted by the queen of Faerie. Deirdre eventually discovers that she is a cloverhand, a person who can see the denizens of faerie, and Luke, not the only immortal who has her in his sights, is a gallowglass, an assassin assigned by the queen of Faerie to kill Deirdre but who falls in love with her instead.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.

I'm extremely excited to read these two. I just recently read Shiver by Maggie, as well, and absolutely loved it. I just had to read the rest of her books. Plus, I am in the mood to try out a few fairy books, so this just happens to work out! As a nifty bonus, Maggie is very artistic and musical herself. Check out her website for the book trailer's that she's created with stop motion (my absolute favorite type of movie).

Legacy by Cayla Kluver
In an award-winning YA fantasy debut (the first of a planned trilogy), novelist Cayla Kluver brings a magical touch to an unrelentingly suspenseful coming-of-age tale. Duty-bound to wed her father’s choice in successor to the throne, Princess Alera of Hytanica believes that she is being forced into the worst of all possible fates—a marriage to the arrogant and hot-tempered suitor, Steldor. When a mysterious boy from enemy Cokyri appears bearing secrets and an entirely different view of what's appropriate behavior for a young lady, Alera learns that her private desires threaten to destroy the kingdom. When Narian’s shocking past comes to light, Alera finds herself in a shadowy world of palace intrigue and ancient blood feuds, facing an uncertain future with dwindling options—and must learn to decide between right and wrong all alone. Marked by witty, rapid-fire dialogue and dramatic complexity that belie the writer’s age, Legacy brings a fresh, new sensibility to age-old questions of duty and inheritance and to a young heroine’s quest to find her true voice.

I couldn't find this one anywhere but online. I found out about this one by accident. To be honest, I'm not even sure how it came up! But I'm glad that it did. This book was written by teenage debut writer. I'm amazed and intrigued. The first in a planned trilogy. It sounds like an old-fashioned fairy tale. Can't wait to read it.

Also purchased online (adult):
Covet (a Fallen Angels book) by JR Ward
Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charge with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough- talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart-and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

JR Ward's good for a nice, quick, somewhat sleezy read. I also enjoyed The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Her novels are a bit cheesy at times and a little over the top, but I still like 'em. :)

The real problem begins when I decide in which order I'm going to read all these great books! Not enough hours in the day. I've got a few more series books coming out soon, so I will be adding those into my already heafty TBR pile.

How 'bout you guys...did you get anything good?