December 28, 2013

Most Anticipated Books of 2014...and More!

I noticed everybody is busy making lists these days. Which makes sense, because at the end of a year is custom to recap the best (and sometimes the worst) it provided us with. Since I'm far behind on the books that were out this year and I would have liked to read, like, the day they were released, I won't be able to list my 2013 favourites. But I do hope to have the chance to do some catching up next year (also with some older books), besides getting hold of a few 2014 releases that sound so promising. Here are my top priorities so far...

Top 5 Released Books I Want to Read in 2014 (Standalones)

Ferryman by Claire McFall 


Yes, another afterlife book. I'm perfectly aware I'm obsessed.
But - afterlife coupled with journey/adventure/coming-of-age...it sounds even more amazing.
I expect a fairly quiet book though, for the most part...and as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly okay. Like Robbie Williams, I can swing both ways. In terms of book preferences, that is ;).

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Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman 


 I read her Between and I liked it, though the mystery part wasn't that much. But this one has been labeled as a mindfucker (though not a perfect book where every single thing makes sense), and it got me curious. I like to be confused. Masochist.

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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

 

A lonely girl who can't seem to find her place in the world, until...
I've been lonely all my life, so I can relate. Nor suicide-attempt relate, neither I-will-try-and-change-in-order-to-make-myself-accepted relate - goodness forbid. But I read an excerpt of this book and my heart ached for Elise. And maybe for myself. Also, I love her voice. And I believe in the power of music...

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Blink Once by Cylin Busby

 
Another mindfucker we have here...?
That's what reviewers say. And I do hope I didn't accidentally uncover the truth just by wondering about the book every time I read a new review. Because believe me, I let my imagination run wild a lot. But even if...I still need to know how and why it could happen. Supposing it happened. (I'm not even sure what I'm thinking about here...).

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This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers


 Oh, yes, I know - everyone has read this book already. Like I said, I'm way behind. To date, I've read tons of reviews, and I was sold since the first ones appeared. Only, I haven't had the chance to buy this book yet.
Ordinarily, I'm not interested in "creatures" (with the only exception of a couple of vampire series, my policy is to stay clear of them), but since this is "not" a zombie book - only a book with zombies in it - I'm sold.


Top Five Unreleased Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2014 (Standalones - First in Series - Next in Series)

Black Knight (Witch World #2) by Christopher Pike

 
My old pal* Christopher Pike. Nuff said.
[*Yeah, right. We went to school together. Swear.]

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White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Ilsa J. Bick 

 

Meta-literature...just gotta love that. It sounds ambitious and confusing like hell, but I do love to rack my brain over things. Years of thriller books and Law & Order episodes have taught me that much.

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This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready


The woman can write. And despite the blurb, I trust her not to have written a "religious" book. I know how she deals with the theme (see: WVMP Radio series). Also, I can't really figure this one out. Mystery? Supernatural? Contemporary? I'm eager to find out.

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After You by Jessica Corra


I do hope she's not the unfriendly author someone labeled her as. To date, I haven't been able to find proof of any real controversy she took part in. Anyone?
Because this book sounds so amazing. Reliving days. Trying to save someone who doesn't want to be saved. Pardon me while I'm oversalivating.

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Death and Other Excuses by Jamie Case


 Now, this one deserves a rant.
It has been on my radar since I first joined Goodreads. (An afterlife book - duh! Not that I read ALL of them, but still - they never fail to get my attention). And it should have been out more than a year ago - September 2012, the first time I stumbled upon it. (Check out my GR "review" for more details). To date, there's no (working) link to the publisher...And the worst (and weirdest) thing is, Jamie Case is nowhere to be found on the net. Even if the publisher shut up shop or whatever, she must be the only aspiring-author-waiting-for-book-to-hit-the-market shunning of any online presence. So please, Jamie Case, set up a blog, a site, a Facebook or Twitter or Google+ page, or guest-post somewhere...or send us a carrier pidgeon...and let us know what went wrong, and what plans you have to release Death and Other Excuses. Thank you!

Is anyone going to read one or more of the above books? Did you already read the "oldies" (or an ARC of the unreleased ones, lucky you)?

And since I don't plan on posting before the first days of the upcoming year...

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...AND...
...MOST WONDERFUL BOOKS!!!

December 21, 2013

The Nine Books of Christmas

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[First off, congratulate me. I found the perfectly matching Christmas image for my blog. Next year I plan on not being lazy and actually making a custom one myself with PhotoFiltre. I promise  :P].

Well, yes, I know...it should have been twelve for the pun to work...but I wasn't able to squeeze more than nine books into my birthday-Christmas shopping list. Because I'm also gifting myself with the massive Roger Taylor's (drummer from Queen) box set "The Lot", which comprises all his solo records and videos. Heck Rog, I've been waiting so long for you to make the move, and now you come and stole money from my book-devoted budget at the very worst moment LOL.

The Lot box set
So, since I turned [BEEP] a few days ago, I'm giving myself a birthday+Christmas treat under the form of said box set and the following books (titles point to Goodreads entries)...

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Thirst No. 5: The Sacred Veil by Christopher Pike - Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson


Those were out in March, and I've been dying to read them since then...but I wanted to place a more conspicuous order with my webseller in order to rule shipping charges out - something I wasn't able to do all year. 2013 was a though beast for me, money-wise.

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Soul Beach-Soul Fire-Soul Storm by Kate Harrison


The final installment in this trilogy was out in August, and I was sold on the idea since I first read blurbs for the other two. Ah, afterlife stories, they always make me die (please note the pun). And this one...an online paradise coupled with a murder mystery? The Agatha Christie aficionado in me was immediately trying to outrun the sucker for dead-but-not-quite-dead-characters in claiming the books.

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All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill - More Than This by Patrick Ness


So that's where I go mainstream. Not a single days passes without at least a review for both of them peeking through the "Recent Reviews of My Books" section on my Goodreads page. Well, I may have set up this blog with the specific purpose of uncovering hidden gems, but this doesn't mean I won't read popular books on the occasion - when they seem capable to suit me ;).

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Absent by Katie Williams - Backwards by Todd Mitchell 


Both out this year. An afterlife book again, who only got a few but overall positive reviews on Goodreads. And a weird story about experiencing life backwards, only it's not your life, but someone else's. How couldn't they tickle my fancy?

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On a side note. Last year around these days, I was excited for my coming-from-webstore Christmas bunch of books as well, and one of them should have been The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna. It turned out the store couldn't get hold of the version I wanted - the less expensive one LOL - and I didn't receive the book. All this year it stayed near the top of my to-read list, till it was time to place my Christmas order again and...all of a sudden, the stuff pointed out by some reviewers managed to get to me. Someone commented about how far-fetched the premise was - as opposed to having the main character being a "simple" clone - and about the lack of real world-building...and I thought to myself, WTF, do I really want to read this book? and like I said, all of a sudden, I found out I didn't. No disrespect meant to the author of course - The Lost Girl may be a perfectly fine novel under many aspects, but since my TR list is quite huge for my pockets, I ultimately decided not to buy it. Which says something about my ever-refining book discrimination. Thank goodness for the abundance of reviews!

So, has anyone of you read the above books? or is anyone going to?

And since I don't plan on being back on track before Dec. 25, blog-wise...

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December 13, 2013

Jeri Smith-Ready: "Lust for Life"

Title: Lust for Life [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: WVMP Radio (4th of 4 books, but there's also a free-download novella that is book 3.5 in the series. See Jeri Smith-Ready's site)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2012
Age: 18+ (though Jeri's site actually says 16+, but I think the whole series would be better handled by more mature readers.).
Stars: 2.5/5
Pros: Original take on the overused vampire theme. Right amount of action and drama.
Cons: The final resolution is a bit too convenient and over the top for my tastes...though there were hints in the book (that I apparently decided not to take. All my fault, I suppose). There's an unlikely love story - which, on top of that, lacks real closure - and some of our old vamp friends get too little screen time.
Will appeal to: Those who crave for a happy ending more than your truly does...

Blurb: Ciara’s con-artist parents taught her three keys to survival: keep low, keep quiet, and most of all, keep moving. But managing WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll - not to mention becoming a vampire herself - has kept her in one place long enough to fall madly in love, adopt an undead dog ...and make more enemies than she can shake a stake at. To protect Ciara, her fiancĂ©, Shane, has traded his flannel shirt and guitar for a flak jacket and crossbow. If she survives to walk down the aisle, will she recognize the man waiting at the altar?  (Amazon excerpt)

Review: I'm perfectly aware that I tend to have very high standards when it comes to...well, pretty much everything LOL. Don't get me wrong, I can stomach cheesy stuff, and even like it more than "sensible" one. [That's why I'd choose Haven over Under the Dome anytime. Also, Duke is fun ;) - which is a bonus]. But there are two things that irritate me to no end: 1) sappy romances; 2) contrived happy endings. I wouldn't go as far as saying that Smith-Ready incurred in both these (for me) unforgivable sins while writing Lust for Life, because she's too intelligent for that. Nevertheless, she came fairly close.
Not that there weren't clues about said ending, so I suppose it shouldn't have sounded as outrageous as it did to me. Heck, the first clue is even incorporated into the introductory playlist... 



...Not to mention a few hints here and there in the dialogues (though they are apparently supposed to work in reverse, planting the opposite suggestion in our minds). And not to mention that Smith-Ready has been slowly driving Ciara into a corner, first with the vampire thing, then with a peculiar effect that such vampiric condition has on her. So, it's not like there are tons of ways out of all that. Upon closing the book, and especially after rereading it, I could see a clear, deliberate pattern, spun since the very first installment of the series. But this didn't prevent me to feel partly cheated. To me, it's like Smith-Ready played with a huge card slipped into her original deck when we weren't looking. Magic I can deal with - but what happens with Ciara and Shane is like a whole new rule has been added to their game just in order to let them win. Because even with their respective powers woven together, what happens is too much for me to swallow - it sounds like they have to get a happy ending at all costs. Also, said ending has a sappy flavour I've never tasted all the series through. On the other hand, I don't know how else the saga could have ended - but again, I'm not the author, so it's not like I should have an alternate finale myself. (Though the thing-that-shall-go-unnamed crossed my mind of course, only I thought it could happen in a more...plausible? way). What I know is, I feel cheated.
Also, with the grand dénouement, most of the characters sort of freeze and hardly get screen time anymore. It feels rushed, though it probably isn't, given the time and dedication Smith-Ready gave to this novel. But it's like they aren't important anymore, after Ciara and Shane get their happy ending.
So yes. I feel cheated. [...]

December 01, 2013

This Blog Is Alive

So, just in case you are wondering...I'm still here. I know, I know - 20 days without a single post are not exactly a testament to this. Okay, I don't believe in posting every single day just for the sake of it...and I absolutely loathe filler posts. You may even have noticed that my best streak so far has been a fat total of 6 posts in latest January...But usually it's an average number of 4 articles a month, which roughly means posting once a week. November was a conspicuous exception to this unwritten rule, of course. My most recent post is ancient history, even for my standards.
I have not lost interest in blogging, not to mention in books. I'm trying to crawl my way out of a blogging slump, though I'm not sure what's the reason behind it. I'm actually planning my next reviews/posts as I'm writing this. The year's got to go with a bang ;).

"Heck, no, of course I'm not sleeping - just conjuring my new posts up."
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