Tag Archives: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Best Series Blog Hop: Win One of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE Books

best-series_blog-hop

I’m pretty excited to be participating in the Best Series Blog Hop, hosted by Cuddlebuggery! In this giveaway hop, we’re celebrating young adult series that we love, and offering a giveaway based on that series. I decided to pick Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, and if your name is randomly chosen, you will get to pick one of these three books:

Book #1: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Book #2: Days of Blood & Starlight

Book #3: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

So if you haven’t yet started the series, you can catch the beginning, and because of some really good timing, the last book, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, will be released just as this giveaway hop is ending, so you can choose that one if you’ve already read the other two.

This giveaway is international, provided The Book Depository ships to your country. Ready to enter? Simply click on the Rafflecopter below:

Raffle button

 

And don’t forget to check out the other blogs on this hop! Click here to see the list.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Unusual Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and is an awesome meme where you can join in the Top Ten fun with other bloggers! Oh you guys, there are so many great Top Ten Tuesdays from now until the end of the year! I usually only do one or two TTT a month, but for the next few months the themes are really fun, and I expect to be participating a lot more. This week is no exception! I love finding odd and unusual character names, so this was a fairly easy task for me. I could have easily come up with twice as many, but I’ll stick with these ten for now:

1

Morpheus 1

Morpheus from Splintered and Unhinged by A.G. Howard. OK, Morpheus might not be that unusual of a name, but I love the character so much, that I just had to include him:) He’s the so-bad-he’s-awesome character that everyone loves!

                                                   Splintered      Unhinged

2

Buruu

Buruu from Stormdancer and Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. If you haven’t read these amazing books, Buruu is a thunder tiger, a creature of legend that actually exists in Kristoff’s books. Buruu is like the Japanese version of a griffin, part eagle, part tiger.

                                                    Stormdancer     FIVE STARS*****

3

Karou

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Karou is a girl who made a wish that she could have blue hair, and so she does!

                                                   daughter of smoke     Days of Blood and Starlight

4

Kvothe

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Here’s a name that’s nearly impossible to pronounce. According to Rothfuss, it sounds a little like the word “quote.”

                                                Name of the wind     Wise Man's Fear

5

Mookie pearl

Mookie Pearl from The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig. Of course, I can’t do a Top Ten without mentioning a Chuck Wendig book! I adore Mookie’s name, and I adore the character of Mookie, too!

The Blue Blazes

6

Octavius

Octavius from Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler. Octavius, how I love you! Octavius is a Kraken (like a giant octopus) and I love that his name describes the number of legs he has.

Sea Change

7

Raz Pelham

Raz Pelham from Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Raz is a vampire, and he was one of my favorite characters from the book. Unfortunately, he’s not in book two, which I’m reading right now (Two Serpents Rise), but that’s ok. I know he’ll be back…

Three Parts Dead

8

Zenn Scarlett 1

Zenn Scarlett from Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. I adore this name, and I kind of wish it was mine:) Zenn lives in space somewhere and studies unusual alien space animals. A cool job for a girl with a cool name…

                                              Zenn Scarlett       Under-Nameless-Stars-small

9

bellis coldwine

Bellis Coldwine from The Scar by China Mieville. This is one of my all-time favorite books, and Bellis is one of the more unusual names I’ve run across.

The Scar

10

Myfawny Thomas

Myfanwy Thomas from The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. Definitely the strangest name I’ve ever come across (with apologies to any Welsh people out there!) “Myfanwy” supposedly rhymes with “Tiffany,” if that helps you out.

The Rook2

So there you have it! What about you? What are your favorite or the most unusual character names you’ve run across?

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Waiting on Wednesday #9: DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. I’m so excited about this week’s pick I can hardly stop myself from screaming! Here it is in all its beautiful glory:

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Laylor. Release date: November 6, 2012.

The sequel to one of my favorite books of 2011, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, has finally been given a release date and a cover reveal. Thanks to EW’s Shelf Life for the information. Isn’t it beautiful? I couldn’t find much about the story, but here is the short description from Goodreads:

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a “must read” by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, and The New York Times called it “a breath-catching romantic fantasy.”

I can’t wait to read this book. Laini Taylor is an exquisite and inventive writer, two traits that I find irresistible. If you’re waiting on Days of Blood & Starlight too, please let me know!

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Tammy’s Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  If you head on over to their site, you can see other bloggers’ top ten lists too. This week is tough!  I mean, what do you do? Go back to the classics?  I decided to focus on books I’ve read in the past five years or so.  And I’ve noticed my list features lots of smart, beautiful, and resourceful women. With a couple of guys thrown in!  Here we go, in no particular order:

Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I love this book so much. And although I’m listing Rudy as my favorite character, I really love Liesel as well. This is a survival story, a love story, a sad story, and a story of hope. Liesel is the book thief, but I fell in love with her friend Rudy. Just read it, if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it.

Candy from Emergence by David R. Palmer.  I’m so glad I thought of this book. It’s been years since I read it, but it ranks high up on my list of favorite SF stories.  Candy is an incredibly smart eleven-year-old survivor of a bionuclear plague.  With her pet parrot Terry, she sets out on a journey to find other survivors.  Yes, it sounds like a million other post-apocalyptic novels, but it’s unlike anything else you’ll ever read. I’m holding on tight to my frayed paperback copy, because unfortunately, Emergence is out of print at the moment.

Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I am eagerly awaiting Bitterblue, the final book in Cashore’s trilogy, but until then I can gush over Fire, the second in the series. In this world, Fire is called a monster.  She has fiery red, beautiful hair and can control people and read their minds.  She is such a unique character, that it’s hard to compare her to anyone else.

Jake from The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Jake is the last werewolf on Earth, and he is one bad-ass dude.  But he’s also handsome, suave and charismatic. Plus he has the heart of a poet. Or at least Duncan does. Jake has been around the block and has given up hope, and now that he’s being hunted, he’s almost ready to go quietly.  You kinda feel sorry for the guy, but he finds the will to live when he meets…well, I don’t want to spoil it for you…

Myfawny Thomas from The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. “Myfawny” rhymes with “Tiffany.”  That’s one of the first things you learn about this wonderful character, told in her own words.  I loved The Rook and just never got around to writing a review, but Myfawny’s first person account of how she wakes up in someone else’s body (she’s actually lost her memory) and how she solves the mystery of who exactly is trying to kill her is one of the more original stories I’ve read recently.

Unnamed narrator from Incendiary by Chris Cleave.  The subject matter about a London bombing at a soccer game is tough to swallow,  and I don’t think I would have been able to get through it if it weren’t for the heart-felt narration of a woman whose husband and son were killed in the stadium.  Written as a letter to Osama bin Laden,  the narrator’s voice is fraught with sorrow and anger, but she gets through the horrible days after the bombing with a wry humor. She is truly an unforgettable woman.

Iko from Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  One of my most recent five-star reviews, Cinder is a SF take on the Cinderella fairy tale. Its structure follows the events in the classic tale, but the unique characters make this quite different. I love the character of Cinder, but I actually loved her android Iko even more.  Iko is quite intelligent for an android, and she is Cinder’s constant companion.  She keeps Cinder’s secrets just like a real friend, and you won’t believe what happens to her near the end of the story, or how Meyer sets the stage for Iko’s reappearance in the next book in the series, Scarlet.

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Kvothe is everything a great character should be: dashing, a talented musician and gifted with the ability to do just about everything well. He’s also irreverent and has a mysterious past. He makes women swoon and breaks lots of rules.  I didn’t like Rothfuss’ second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, as much, but I did find even more to love about Kvothe.

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Here’s another quirky, intelligent and talented female character with colored hair! Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a favorite of mine last year, mostly due to the characters, but also because Laini’s writing is so vibrant and engaging. You can tell she truly loves the characters she is writing about, and that makes the reader love them as well. Deep down I want to be Karou, a girl who can make wishes come true and has blue hair.

Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  Although she is abused in the beginning of the story, Lisbeth gets her sweet revenge and never lets the bad guys crush her spirit. How can you not love a character like that? And she’s a computer hacker to boot. I don’t really want to be her, but I do admire her tenacity and focus.

So, who are your favorite characters?

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week we are asked to pick ten books that we would read in one day. I interpret this as books that are so engaging that I can’t stop reading! If only I still had time to read a book in a day…I think those days are well behind me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of ten books that would fit the bill if I had absolutely nothing else to do for a whole day! So here we go…

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  OK, all you Twi-haters, this may come as a shock to you, but before it became fashionable to hate the Twilight series, this book was actually given good reviews by the publishing industry. I am happy to say that I read Twilight long before it became popular, and I was so taken with it, that I emailed everyone I knew and told them to drop everything and go get it!  Stephenie Meyer may be the brunt of sparkly vampire jokes now, but she was able to pull off something rare: she created an amazing chemistry between two characters that compelled you to keep reading.  In fact, this is the only time I’ve ever finished a book, then immediately turned back to page one and read it a second time. No, she’s not the best prose writer out there, but let’s give credit where it’s due: this book created a sensation. I dare anyone out there to prove me wrong.

2. Harry Potter (any or all of them) by J. K. Rowling. This selection should be on everyone’s list this week, I think.  Rowling is a master story-teller, and she deserves every bit of fame she’s struggled for.  The Harry Potter books are extremely readable and hard to put down once you’ve started.  I love the way they evolved over the years, as Rowling herself matured as a writer.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may have been written for kids, but The Deathly Hallows that ended the series had a different audience in mind.

3. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  This unique story kept me turning pages as fast as I could.  The main characters are separated throughout most of the story, which made the tension palpable. Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron, and Claudia is the daughter of the prison warden, who doesn’t even know Incarceron exists, until she discovers a secret.  Her follow-up to Incarceron, Sapphique, was not as engaging for me, but the writing and world-building in both are top rate. Fisher really knows her stuff, and if you haven’t read the books, I suggest you add them to your list.

4. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.  Another unique concept, The Golden Compass and the two books that follow it, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, ought to be as widely read as the Harry Potter books, but their controversial anti-church theme has kept them from reaching a wider audience. The characters are amazing, and Pullman’s idea of each person having their soul embodied by an animal struck me as genius. Forget the movie, read the books. You won’t regret it.

5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  Lots of hype about this book pre-publication did not detract from its greatness. The story of a girl who uses wishes to do things like make her hair blue was so original and readable that it was over before I knew it.  Although some of the elements feel familiar, like the fact that Karou is a girl trying to find out who she really is, mostly the book is loaded with originality. Laini’s other books are just as good, and her buoyant writing style just makes you happy! Plus, this cover is gorgeous, I love its simplicity. I can’t wait for her next book…

6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.  My book club just read this, and yes, it was my pick, I’m happy to say.  This western set in Oregon and California during the 1850’s gold rush was compelling for many reasons, but mostly for the first person narrative of Eli, one of the brothers in the title.  Charlie and Eli Sisters are hired guns, and they have been recruited to kill a man in California.  The tale of how they attempt to do this is strange, violent, and at times, tender-hearted.  This funny and irreverent tale should not be missed.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I’ve mentioned this book before, but it definitely falls in the category of books that are hard to put down.  I’ve noticed a pattern to all my picks, and that is that they all have unique worlds and compelling characters.  With so many over-used plots out there, it’s nice to find writers that work hard to go against the grain.  Ready Player One is set in a horrible future where people escape into a virtual computer world rather than face real life.  It’s a mind-bending concept and I found myself literally forgetting which world I was in.  Plus, a futuristic novel that glorifies the 80’s? How can you not want to read that!

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Cinder is still fresh in my mind, so I immediately thought of it when compiling this list. Again, it’s got a special and clever idea that borrows from something recognizable (the fairy tale of Cinderella) and drops it into an unfamiliar framework (science fiction). This combination, especially in the hands of a talented writer, is unbeatable.  Knowing there are three future books in the Lunar Chronicles is gratifying, but having to wait a year for the second installment is going to be torture.  Read it and you’ll see what I mean.

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It’s hard to keep track of all the different series Cassandra Clare has going on, but it all started with this book, by far my favorite.  Great characters, romance, special powers, and a story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime, City of Bones has it all for me.  The narrative moves fast, and it has that element we’re all looking for in a story: it makes us want to know what happens next.  Not only would I read this in a day, but I would go back and re-read it if I had time.

10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  Simmons is a rock star, no matter what genre he writes in, but I have to say his Hyperion books are still my favorite.  This one and The Fall of Hyperion are classics, and I don’t mean because they were written twenty years ago.  Simmons’ imagination is unsurpassed in my book, and even though Hyperion is a bit lengthy, you will not want to stop reading once you have started.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Favorite Book Covers – Randomly Pulled from the Shelves

It’s Top Ten Tuesday once again, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I love this week’s theme, because I am a visual person and I’m usually drawn to anything with strong graphic design.  This week I’ve gone to the stacks and randomly pulled out books with covers I love.  It’s hard to pick only ten, but these ten books are all graced with either beautiful artwork or a bold design.  Most just happen to be science fiction or horror, but I didn’t choose them based on any type of genre. Here they are, graphically arranged for the greatest impact!

1. Vurt by Jeff Noon. Cover design by Joe McGee.  Vurt is a whacked out science fiction story unlike anything you’ve ever read. If you love SF and you haven’t read Vurt, go get a copy right away. This is the American cover, which I like better than the British one (Noon is English). It’s a simple design with high impact.

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Cover design by Dave Caplan and Alison Impey.  This is a cross-over book from another Top Ten Tuesday, but I love the cover so much it just had to be in this list. The simple concept, turquoise mask, and eroded font make this a stand-out cover. I’m pretty sure this will show up on other lists!

3. Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. Cover design by Suzanne Dean.  This is a great example of one of my favorite book designs: books without dust jackets.  The red cloth background is directly imprinted with the black dog and title. Again, simple and bold design catch my eye ever time.  And the book’s great too! (yes, it’s about werewolves)

4. Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Cover design by David Janik.  Another werewolf story, this is a paperback original (in other words, it was not published in hardcover). And again, this just happens to be the American cover.  Millar is another British writer, and the British cover is the same, but without the color.  I like the color much better…

5. Nameless Sins by Nancy Collins. Cover design by Joe Christ.  OK, this jacket is a bit disturbing, so don’t look too closely if you’re squeamish!  But I love it because it’s not something you see every day, especially not these days.  This is an older book, from 1994, from small publisher Gauntlet Publications. The one I have is a limited, signed edition, and hey, I just noticed it’s signed by the cover designer as well as the author! Cool…

6. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. Cover design by Edward Miller.  This book cover is a conservative choice for me, but it’s a truly beautiful illustration.  It perfectly describes the strange and otherworldly quality of Miéville’s story. This is the British version, which I prefer to the American one. Also one of my all-time favorite fantasy/SF books.

7. Conjunctions 39: The New Wave Fabulists. Cover design by Gahan Wilson and Jerry Kelly.  Conjunctions is a publication of Bard College in New York.  I’m very surprised that this image was on file with Goodreads, since it’s not your typical “book.”  This edition is filled with short stories by some big-name writers, and I hope it’s still being published, because not only is it a beautiful example of cover art, but it’s quite a wonderful publication.

8. McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 20. Cover design by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson.  You can’t really have a Top Ten about book covers without including at least one McSweeney’s, can you?  I love all of their covers, and this is just one example of their awesomeness. It’s a shame I can’t show you the insides as well, since this issue is loaded with incredible artwork from many different and talented people.

9. Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Cover design by Lauren Rille and Sonia Chaghatzbanian. Cover illustration by Josh Cochran. I wish I could take off the black half-jacket and show you the entire illustration that is printed directly on the book. It’s gorgeous. In fact, the entire book, published by McElderry Books, is a great example of high quality book design.

10. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. Cover illustration by David Bowers.  It’s hard to tell from this dinky picture, but the artwork on this cover is really beautiful. And it has everything I want on a cover:  beautiful scenery, cool animals, and a cute guy with weapons!  I need to re-read this stellar fantasy, now that I’m looking at it again.

That’s ten, folks! There are plenty more lovely covers out there, maybe we’ll have Part Two someday…

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011

The year is almost over, and I finally get to post my top ten favorite books of the year. For the first time, I am participating in “Top Ten Tuesday” created by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they come up with a new top ten list and invite other bloggers to participate.  I read some great books this year and it was harder than I thought to narrow it down to only ten.  But I did!  And here they are, my favorite reads of 2011, in no particular order:

1. READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.  A high-speed romp through a future where virtual reality is the norm and knowledge of 80’s pop culture might lead you to hidden treasure.  OK, it’s really hard to describe this book in one sentence.  Ready Player One is filled with 80’s trivia, fantastic characters, and enough adrenaline to keep you up late reading. You can read my review here.

2. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor.  A young-adult novel about a mysterious girl named Karou who has blue hair and draws pictures of creatures that may or may not exist.  A beautifully written story and one of the most imaginative young adult books I’ve read this year.  It’s also the only young adult title on my list, and I read a lot of them.  Unfortunately, young adult books are all starting to feel the same to me, but this one stood out, not only for its content, but for the lovely and original dust jacket.

3.  THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.    A story that spans decades, The Night Circus is a surreal tale of dangerous magicians and true love.  Morgenstern’s prose is magical and lush, and I loved the dream-like experience of reading this book.  You can read my review here.

4.  THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson.  If you are looking for a stand-out story about a dysfunctional family, this is the one to beat.  The story of a family of performance artists, The Family Fang is a cautionary tale of how parents can damage their children.  It is funny, strange and sad, and I loved every word.

5. ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood.  This book originally came out in 2003, but I just got around to reading it this year, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s a beautiful and horrifying vision of a future where genetic engineering has gone too far.  Oryx and Crake is written in Atwood’s usual lush style and I could not put it down.

6.  THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan.  A bloody, sexy and funny story of, you guessed it, the last werewolf on earth.  I loved the characters, and Duncan’s writing is gorgeous.  You can read my review here.

7. INCENDIARY by Chris Cleave.  Although the subject matter is hard to read, this story of a distraught wife and mother who has lost her husband and son to a suicide bomber is a must-read.  The first-person narrative is powerful and even humorous despite the character’s pain and is the reason this novel succeeds on so many levels.

8.  STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett.  One of my favorite books of all time is Bel Canto by Patchett, and I’m happy to say State of Wonder is just as good.  The story takes us deep into the Amazon jungle on a search for a missing scientist. It’s got everything: drama, suspense and lots of mystery.

9.  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.  In short, an epic story about the relationship between a vampire and a witch.  It’s much more than that, however, and I’m very happy that this is the first of a trilogy (Book Two comes out in 2012!).

10.  SWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell.  Another tale of a dysfunctional family, Swamplandia! is a story of a family of alligator-wrestlers. How can you not want to read this book?  It is poignant look at one family’s attempts to survive in a changing world.

It was a great year for books, and I’m looking forward to 2012.  Stay tuned for my next top-ten list, “Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011 That I Wanted to Read but Didn’t…”

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