Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waiting on The Cure for Dreaming & We Are All Completely Fine!

Oct. 14th 2014 | Amulet Books

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

Aug. 12th '14 | Tachyon Publications

Harrison is the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties and spends most of his time not sleeping. 

Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by the messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. And for some reason, Martin never takes off his sunglasses. 

Unsurprisingly, no one believes their horrific tales until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these likely-insane outcasts join a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within and which are lurking in plain sight.

Leave your WoW links below!

New Cover Art - The Winter Long, The Cure for Dreaming, Winterkill & More!

Covers were found at the following sites:

Talon by Julie Kagawa

Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neale

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

October Daye #8 | Sept. 2, 2014

Amulet Books | Sept. 9, 2014

May 9th 2014 | Jamie McGuire LLC

Talon #1 | October 28, 2014

Mortal Enchantment #1 | May 20, 2014

Amulet Books | Oct. 14, 2014

Angry Robot | July 29, 2014

The Tiger Saga #0.5 | June 1, 2014

The Tudor Witch Trilogy #3 | July 10, '14

Chaos Theory #1.5 | Aug. 19, 2014

Bloomsbury | Oct. 14, 2014

September 9th 2014 | Candlewick

Fearsome Dreamer #2 | July 3, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Early Review: Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1) by Lucy Saxon

Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter  

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

So 2 stars, huh?
Yeah, it was pretty bad.
Hear me out, 'cause I think this is going to be an author to watch.
I was probably a hundred pages into this thing before it started to go sideways. Up to that point, I actually thought this was going to be at least a 4 star book.
The descriptions of Cat, her life, and the world she lived in were all really interesting.
Catherine is a 14 year old girl who lives a life of privilege because her father is a government official. The country is at war with it's neighbors, so any child over 13 is subject to Collection (basically a draft), but Catherine is exempt due to her family's status. They don't live on rations, she has nice clothes, etc. But her dad is a dickhole, and she's got an arranged marriage to another dickhole hanging over her head. So she chops off her hair, pulls on some pants, and stows away on an airship that's headed out of the country. As luck would have it, the crew of the ship are good people. In fact, they smuggle extra rations and supplies to the poor people in her country. And once they discover Cat onboard, they sort of adopt her into their family.
There's also a nice steampunk vibe to the world, by the way.
So far, so good.

Then some wonky things started cropping up that made me scratch my head.
First, Cat discovers a horrible secret about her government when she travels outside of the country. The crew already knew what the government had been up to, but for obvious reasons they couldn't do much about it. Naturally, being 14 and full of righteous indignation, she tells the adults that they need to do something about it.
But here's the kicker:
All of these adults just basically say, "Yep! You're right! Let's overthrow the government!".
I mean, I'm fairly confident that the conversation wouldn't go down that way. But let's pretend it did.
So now that we've decided on starting a rebellion, we'll need months to plan out what to do. We need to find some allies, gather supplies, do some reconnaissance, right?
How does the day after tomorrow sound to you?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure we've got some high explosives sittin' around here somewhere, and Jethro will scrounge up some blueprints to the building.
Wheeee! Here we go!

No. Just, no, to that entire plotline.

The love story was equally frustrating, because for the first half of the book our heroine is 14. She's a kid for Christ's sake! And even once she turned 15...well, she was barely 15.
Then there's the hero.
To say the very least, Fox was not all that and a bag of bread crumbs. He was (I believe) 17 or 18, but he came across like an incredibly petulant child. The vast majority of the time his moods were swinging back and forth between sulky and blatantly obnoxious. If something needed to be said or done at an inappropriate time...Fox was your man.
Unsurprisingly, those two fell in love. Also, unsurprisingly, the declarations of their Everlasting Lurve were a source of severe annoyance to me.
How? How can you know that you will never love another, Cat?!
You. Are. A. Child.
But the moment I truly gave up was when Cat started bragging in a very 'neener neener' sort of way to the bad guy. She did the classic Villain Monologue! She gave away the entire plan...while basically trapped in his lair!
Let me tell you EXACTLY how we plan to bring you down!
'Cause NOW you know how incredibly intelligent we are!
Oh. Wait. 
Is that a gun in your hand?
By the end of the book, there had been so many WTF?! That would NEVER Happen moments, that I was supremely pissed off.
1 star rating, here we come!
And then...
I looked at the author's bio on Goodreads.
Ok, here's the part where I tell you that this is an author to seriously watch for in the upcoming years.
Saxton wrote this when she was 16, found a publisher when she was 17, and is now 19.
Ooooooooh. So that's why it was so frustratingly childish. Duh. She was a kid when she wrote this!
I can hear teenagers out there stomping their feet and screaming, "Nu-uh! I am not a child!"
Yes. Yes, the fuck you are.
Go take a time-out, and we'll revisit this conversation in about 15 years.
Now, I don't know why someone in the publishing house didn't bother to point out that there were a lot of unrealistic plot holes, or that the interactions between Cat and the other characters would not play out that way in real-life.
It was a silly waste, because the kid created an interesting world, and the writing was pretty damn decent for the first good bit of the book. I also applaud the route she took at the end of the book, but it was somewhat ruined by a weird epilogue that didn't need to be there.
Let's face it, you only know what you know. And Life Experience is something you absolutely have to experience to have. So no matter how mature, intelligent, or talented you are at 16, you still aren't going to be able to grasp the details of life that can only be learned through...well, getting older.
I really can't in good conscience give this more than 2 stars, because knowing why it sounds juvenile doesn't actually make the book itself better.
Given enough time, I think this author has the potential to blow our socks off.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

[Coffee Shop Talks] Unusual Character Names

Several of my favorite characters have unusual names. I'll have the initial reaction of "Wtf?!" when I come across one, but if the character is well-written he/she could be named Tater Tot and I would have no problem with it. Some unusual names are even kinda awesome, like Anthem Fleet or Secret McQueen. Unusual names only bother me when I have trouble pronouncing them. 

(Wicked as They Come by Delilah Dawson)

(Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci)

(The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig)

(Daughter of Smoke & Bone series)

(Downside Ghosts series)

(Sirantha Jax series)

(love interest in Paradox series by Rachel Bach)

What do you think about characters with unusual names? 


Review: Verity Hart Vs The Vampyres: Part One (A Hart/McQueen Steampunk Adventure) by Jennifer Harlow

Release date: March 29, 2014
Published by: Devil on the Left Books
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Author links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads


The whole of Victorian London knows there is something not quite right about the Lady Verity Hart. She may be the daughter of an MP and the sister of famed inventor Lord David Hart, but she is a spinster whose own father threatens to send her to the madhouse every fortnight. Because Society is correct-Verity Hart is no lady. If they suspected how quick with a quip she is, let alone the majority of her brother's ingenious machines were her design, the sale of fainting couches would double. 

Verity requires one herself when her beloved brother is kidnapped by vampyres in the dead of night. With the aid of an aggravating, rude American bounty hunter with a secret of his own, Verity takes to land, sea, and even air to rescue the only person who could ever love and truly accept her. Or is he? 

Part One of Five includes: Chapter One- The Notorious Count Orrlock Has A Ball  & Chapter Two- When Worlds Collide

Hey, look! I'm reading a serial! I don't know about you, but over the past few months I've come across several "to-read or not-to-read" discussions about the new serial trend. I didn't have an opinion either way. Until now.

In only 45 pages Harlow delivers a great introduction to a paranormal steampunk adventure that features a gutsy, progressive heroine living in a proper London society. 

Despite social pressures that demand a woman should always look pretty, mind her manners, and know that her purpose is to serve her husband, Verity lives her life as a 28 year old spinster who finds these rules to be of little importance. While other ladies delight in fashion and local gossip, Verity is interested in mechanical gears and weapons. She's clever and ambitious and uses her creative mind to develop life-changing inventions. Of course, the credit for her brilliant work goes to someone else because her family would be ruined if the public ever discovered that a woman *gasp* was intelligent enough to do a man's job. 

I found it easy to fall in love with Verity's character in just a short amount of time and I have no doubt that she will only get more interesting from here.

We're introduced to several other characters, one being the infamous McQueen that you'll find mentioned in the title. It's too soon to form a solid opinion of the American bounty hunter, but learning more about him is something to look forward to as the story continues.

As the synopsis mentions, Verity's brother is kidnapped by vampyres and this is how the first installment ends. I can't wait to read about what happens next. I'm anticipating Verity kicking some vampyre ass. 

If you've been curious about serials but haven't tried one yet, I would suggest following the Hart/McQueen Steampunk Adventures. Harlow is a talented author who doesn't disappoint.