Tag Archives: Max Gladstone

Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2013 – ADULT

Best of 2013 banner copy

It’s the end of the year, which means lots of top ten lists! Selecting my top ten favorite books of 2013 is extremely hard, because I read so many amazing books this year.  Like many bloggers, I find it nearly impossible to select only ten books that I loved for the entire year! So this year, I’ll be doing at least two Top Ten lists, and I may add others if I’m in the mood:) First up: my Top Ten best adult books of the year! I will always remember 2013 as the year I discovered Chuck Wendig and Victoria Schwab. Both of these authors made my Top Ten Adult and my Top Ten Young Adult lists, which I think is pretty amazing. To be fair, I’ve arranged my list in alphabetical order, by the title of the book. I’ve also awarded each book a *special* designation, because hey, I wanted to shake up the boring top ten list! (Clicking on the covers will take you to Goodreads.)

Best Characters

The Blue Blazes

1. The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig. Chuck, Chuck. What can I say? I love Chuck. This book truly changed the way I evaluate books, and from now on, each book I read will unfortunately be compared to this one. In my opinion, this book is perfect. And it’s the first in a series! Bloody Bride, Book #2, will be released, well, I don’t think there’s a date yet, but you can bet that whenever it comes out, life will come to a screeching halt while I read it:) Read my review of The Blue Blazes here.

best twist

Gone Girl

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Even though Gone Girl was released in 2012, I didn’t get to read it until this year. I’m happy to say that, at least for me, it lived up to all its hype. Even though I saw some of the twists coming, I still loved Flynn’s portrayal of an extremely unhealthy marriage. I can’t wait to go back and read her other books. You can read my discussion of Gone Girl here.

most heartwrenching

FIVE STARS*****

3. Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. Stormdancer made my top ten list last year, so it’s no surprise that Kristoff delivered once more. His gorgeous descriptions were over-the-top at times, but they brought this story to life. Thrilling and heartbreaking, I swear I could hear a Wagner opera playing as I read Kinslayer. Some people stick Kristoff’s series in the Young Adult category, but I’m throwing it in with Adult because it’s not published by a YA imprint, and it isn’t priced as YA.  You can read my review here.

most evocative writing

Mad Scientist's Daughter

4. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. The moody cover doesn’t prepare you for this truly original science fiction story. Clarke’s beautiful writing brings the painful relationships of this story to life, and I can’t wait to read more from this talented author. Read my review here.

Best Ending

FIVE STARS*****

5. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. A book about books and bookstores? Yes! The story behind this mostly unassuming cover was unexpected, magical, and full of emotion. And yes, that ending. Brilliant. You can read my review here.

scariest future

FIVE STARS*****

6. Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons. I’m pretty sure this book is mostly unknown here in the United States, but I’d love to change that. Simmons is a force to be reckoned with. His writing is sharp and his vision of the future is highly original. I’m looking forward to reading more of his books. You can read my review here.

Best World Building

Three

7. Three by Jay Posey. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Usually covers with big hulking men carrying nasty weapons scream VIDEO GAME to me, and I don’t normally enjoy those types of stories. But I was entranced by Posey’s world. It was so hard to get back to my real life when I finished this book, which to me is a good indication that the world-building is superb. My review of Three.

Most Creative Use of Magic

FIVE STARS*****

8. Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone.  The first book in this series, Three Parts Dead, made my top ten list last year. Max is just that good. I honestly could have awarded this book “Best World-Building” or “Best Characters” but I decided to go with “Most Creative Use of Magic.” The Craft Series is unlike anything else I’ve read, and for urban fantasy fans, these books shouldn’t be missed. My review of Two Serpents Rise.

Best Collection banner

Vampires in the Lemon Grove

9. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell.  I read many really good short story collections this year, but this was my favorite. Each story spoke to me in some way. Russell is so creative and original, that I’m gleefully awaiting her next book. My review of Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

Best Story Construction

Vicious

10. Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Last but certainly not least, Vicious was so brilliantly written that I still can’t figure out how Schwab pulled it off. You really have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about. Vicious has so many layers, so many surprises, and so many wonderfully diabolical characters, that I can’t imagine how Schwab will top this book. But I’ve no doubt she will! My review of Vicious.

I also want to mention these books, which all received 4 ½ or 5 stars, but didn’t make it into the top ten. I love you all as well! The Lives of Tao & The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu, Rapture’s Edge and Edge of Darkness by J.T. Geissinger, The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace, Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, The Miniature Wife by Manuel Gonzales, Appalachian Undead edited by Jason Sizemore, Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty, Plow the Bones by Douglas F. Warrick, What Makes You Die by Tom Piccirilli  Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler, The Descent by Alma Katsu and The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher.

Did you make an Adult Top Ten List? Check out my Top Ten Young Adult Books of 2013 here!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2014

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

It’s Tuesday, and time for another awesome Top Ten list! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This is the time of year when book bloggers struggle to choose our favorite books of the year, as well as the books we’re most looking forward to in the new year. I just looked at last year’s Most Anticipated post, and I’m sorry to say that I only managed to read four of the ten books I was looking forward to! I’m not going to let that happen this year, I swear! This list only includes books that already have a book cover, because I don’t like to talk about books that don’t. I personally need the visual, and I’m sure many of you do to. So here is my list of Most Anticipated Books of 2014, in order of release date (clicking on the book image will take you to Goodreads):

pass_9780385743877_jkt_all_r3.indd1. Acid by Emma Pass. Release date: March 11 2014. This is one of those books that came out in the UK first, and I was confused by the U.S. release date. But now that we have a firm date, I’m very happy. I’ve been following Emma’s blog since I heard about the UK release, and I feel like I know her!

Under-Nameless-Stars-small2. Under Nameless Stars (Zenn Scarlett #2) by Christian Schoon. Release date: April 1 2014. I loved Zenn Scarlett, particularly the unique and imaginative world that Schoon created. I look forward to more of Zenn’s adventures.

The Ophelia Prophecy

3. The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Release date: April 1 2014.  Ah, science fiction romance! What a fun genre, and Sharon Lynn Fisher does it really well. I loved Ghost Planet, and I can’t wait to read more SLF!

High and Dry

4. High & Dry by Sarah Skilton. Release date: April 15 2014.  Here’s another second book by a 2013 debut author. Sarah’s Bruised was a powerful young adult contemporary, and her second book looks very different, but just as good.

Morningside Fall

5. Morningside Fall (Legends of the Duskwalker #2) by Jay Posey. Release date: April 29 2014.  Oh boy. The first book in this series, Three, blew me away. In fact, it won one of my top *awards* here on the blog, my Crystal Chandelier Award of Awesome. I’m unbelievably excited about this book, but also worried because of *something that happens at the end but I can’t say because it’s a spoiler*

Hexed2

6. Hexed by Michelle Krys. Release date: June 10 2014. This already has some stellar reviews on Goodreads. That alone makes me want to read it, but it’s also about witches, a subject I can’t get enough of.

The Murder Complex

7. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. Release date: June 10 2014. Don’t you love this cover? It just screams “murder,” doesn’t it?? This is a futuristic YA, “for fans of La Femme Nikita.”

Rebel Nation

8. Rebel Nation (Viral Nation #2) by Shaunta Grimes. Release date: July 1 2014. I just featured this on a Waiting on Wednesday, and it’s definitely up there in the top ten!

Full Fathom Five

9. Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone. Release date: July 15 2014. I almost fell over when I saw this cover this past week! I mean, I just read Two Serpents Rise, and the publisher already has a cover for the next book! Max is one of my favorite writers, and I can’t wait for this one. Plus, I’m dying to know who those people on the cover are. Goodreads doesn’t have a description for this yet, so I guess I’ll just have to wait.

Armada

10. Armada by Ernest Cline. Release date: October 7 2014. This might be the book I’m most excited about on this list. Ready Player One is still one of my all-time faves, and I’m curious to see what Cline does next.

Are any of these on your top ten list? Let me know!

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What’s On My Plate – November 2013

On My Plate

October flew by, didn’t it? I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the year already! So I had a rough October in the reading department. I was super busy in other areas of my life, you know, the non-blogging things I do, so I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. I’m hoping that November can be a “catch-up” month since I don’t have as many review books that I need to read. But there’s this other pesky thing I’m doing in November, NaNoWriMo, which will most likely throw off my November reading schedule! I’m going to think positive, however, and believe that I can finish everything on my plate this month!

For Review from NetGalley:

The Curse Keepers

The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank. This looks like a lot of fun, and I’m hoping it’s got some romance in it. I feel like I haven’t read anything with romance for a while, and it’s time!

ARCs from Publishers:

Garbage Man and Meat by Joseph D’Lacey. These are reprints from the UK publisher Oak Tree Press. I was hoping to read them last month, but you know…Joseph De’Lacey is a very atmospheric writer, so I’m looking forward to reading these.

The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu. This just came out this week, and once again I’m a little late getting to it. However, this is next on the list, and I can’t wait.

The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich. I’ve heard amazing this about this book! And the sequel comes out next year, so I’ll be reading this soon so I can request the next book.

Blog Tours:

Wow, don’t these two books look like they belong together? Amazing, and they are from two different publishers (Strange Chemistry and Month9Books).

Cracked by Eliza Crewe. I’ll be reviewing the book (which I’m finishing up right now), and I have a fun interview with the lovely Eliza on Monday, so check back! I’m pretty sure there’s a giveaway as part of the blog tour.

Scion of the Sun by Nicola Marsh. I have a review stop on the tour, and my tour date is November 18th.

For Book Club:

The Archived

I know I haven’t talked much about my book club in the past year. In fact, my Book Club page is woefully out of date. But this month we’re reading The Archived by Victoria Schwab, a book that I’ve been trying to get to since January. So you can bet I’ll move heaven and earth to make sure I read this.

Bookish Events:

2013-Participant-Facebook-Profile

Yep, I have decided to try once more to write 50,000 words during the month of November! I’ve done it before and I have to say it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But having won, I know it’s possible. This time I have a better idea of where my story is headed (yes, an outline!) so I hope it will go smoothly. If you think you might want to try it, it’s not too late! You can sign up today and start writing. First read my post.

Giveaway Hops:

The Dystopian Giveaway Hop is going on now! Click the link to enter. And the November New Release Hop starts on the 15th, so check back! Book Twirps is hosting it, and you can still sign up to participate!

Appalachian Undead

My giveaway for a paperback copy of Appalachian Undead is still going on! This zombie anthology was pretty amazing, and if you live in the U.S., you can enter to win a copy here.

Did you miss any of my October reviews? Click on the titles below to read them now. Winners this month? Two Serpents Rise and The Kings and Queens of Roam, which both received five stars.

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace

Scarecrow by Matthew Pritchard

Thin Space by Jody Casella

Dying is My Business by Nicholas Kaufmann

Very Superstitious Anthology

Endless by Amanda Gray

Have a great month, everyone!

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TWO SERPENTS RISE by Max Gladstone – Review

Two Serpents Rise 3D

Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence #2) by Max Gladstone
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: October 29 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher (received at Comic Con)
Pages: 352

five stars

In a word: A strange and dangerous world, filled with magic unlike anything you’ve read before, and beautifully written with extraordinary imagery.

The sun died, devoured by the rolling ocean. Dresediel Lex bloomed from its death, like a flower on a grave. Pyramids and skyspires cast light into darkness. The arteries of commerce glowed. In an office atop the obsidian pyramid where he once broke the gods, the King in Red sipped coffee and watched the city his power made possible, the city his radiance illuminated.

I absolutely adored Max Gladstone’s first book in his Craft Sequence, Three Parts Dead, which I read and reviewed last November (click here to read my review). But I had forgotten what a wordsmith Gladstone is. His world is full of unfamiliar words and ideas, odd creatures with sharp teeth and claws, and characters that use magic in unexpected ways. Whatever you might expect to happen as the story unfolds, prepare for the opposite. Gladstone takes ideas such as dwindling natural resources, corporate mergers, and the death of religion and turns them inside out. Two Serpents Rise pulls you under like a drug and makes you believe that anything can (and will) happen.

Caleb works for Red King Consolidated, a company that supplies water to the citizens of Dresediel Lex. Caleb is good at his job as a risk manager, but his latest challenge might be the death of him. The city’s main water supply has been poisoned with a demon called a Tzimet, and if something isn’t done to fix the problem, the desert city will die. When he meets an enigmatic and beautiful woman named Mal, he teams up with her to find out who’s behind the sabotage at Bright Mirror Reservoir. Before the water is safe to drink again, Caleb must face thirsty hoards, demons, sleeping gods, and worst of all, his own father. Caleb needs to figure out who to trust, and fast, before the precarious balance of the city is disrupted for good.

Reading Two Serpents Rise was almost a physical experience, and I have to admit at times I was exhausted after certain chapters. Gladstone is brilliant at describing how it feels to live in Dresediel Lex, a vertical city whose buildings tower above the ocean. Mal is a cliff runner, one of the daredevils who runs in races over cliffs and buildings. Some of the cliff runner sequences actually made me dizzy, they were so vividly described.

Gladstone’s magic, called “craft,” is dangerous and painful to those who practice it, and yet Caleb seems to be used to the pain. Craftsmen and women can “see” craft (which I imagine looks like beams of color lights) when they close their eyes and can even manipulate it with their hands. The people of Dresediel Lex use pieces of their souls as currency, which is a frightening concept. Each time Caleb turns on the water tap in his house, he must give up a bit of “soulstuff” as payment. Of course, just like our economic system, he gets it back whenever he works or wins at poker.

And then there are the creatures. From the tiniest rats (who are the city’s messengers, by the way!) to the largest of the sleeping gods, Gladstone has imagined a vast array of scary, beautiful, deadly, helpful and just plain odd beasts who live side by side with humans. The author describes them all in great detail, gleefully showing us each tooth and claw. Demons are trapped under the surface of the ocean. A giant god lies imprisoned while humans use his powers. And the two serpents of the title? Well, you’ll meet them in this story as well. And you may never want to go near the ocean again!

As dire as the situation is for our characters, Gladstone uses subtle humor in unexpected places to lighten the mood. Some of the funniest dialog is between Caleb and his father, Temoc, a priest who no longer has a place in the world. I loved their banter, and Temoc ended up being one of my favorite characters. I also loved the relationship between Caleb and his loyal friend Teo.  Here Caleb and Teo discuss Mal, the cliff runner that Caleb can’t stop thinking about:

“I think she’s innocent.”

“You’re infatuated.”

“I’m not. I want to help her.”

“Because she’s pretty.”

“Because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “And pretty is not even the right word. She burns. She’s a verb.”

“You’re an idiot.”

Gladstone has cast a spell with his dark and sometimes painful prose and created a unique world that feels unfamiliar upon first glance, but whose characters are really just like us. Emerging from the world of Two Serpents Rise was like waking from a strange dream—or nightmare. When the story was over, the dream lingered, and for a moment, I couldn’t remember which world I was in.

Three Parts DeadMany thanks to the publisher for my review copy, and thanks to Max Gladstone for signing my book and being so charming!

Have you read the first book in the series, Three Parts Dead?

Connect with the author: * Website * Twitter *

Find Two Serpents Rise:

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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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What’s On My Plate – October 2013

On My Plate

Welcome to October’s edition of What’s On My Plate,where I attempt to organize my blogging life for the coming month. This month, in addition to highlighting the books I’ll be reading and events I’ll be participating in, I’m going to put links to all my September reviews, in case you missed any. I feel like my schedule is almost manageable this month, for once! Let’s see how well I can do. Here’s what I have on my plate:

For Review from NetGalley/Edelweiss:

Sick by Tom Leveen. I’ve seen some mixed reviews of this book, but I’m optimistic!

The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney. Another book with mixed reviews, I’m intrigued by the super hero angle to this story.

Dying is My Business by Nicholas Kaufmann. About a guy who comes back to life every time he dies..but can’t remember anything about his past life. Sounds cool!

Relic by Heather Terrell. First in a new fantasy series.

ARCs from Publishers/Authors:

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McColluch. Amy sent me a copy, yay! I’m anxious to read this, especially since I don’t think it’s out in the US yet. I feel so special:)

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone. I picked up an ARC of the second book in this series at San Diego Comic Con. I adored the first book, Three Parts Dead, and I can’t wait to read this!

The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu. This is another sequel I’m excited to read.

Cracked by Eliza Crewe. This is Eliza’s debut, and I’ll be interviewing her in November. She’s very nice, and she has hens for pets!

Blog Tours:

Very Superstitious by Many Authors! I’m very excited to be joining this tour. My review and guest post with author Stephanie Kuehnert will be on October 21st.

Endless by Amanda Gray. My review stop on the tour will be October 24th.

Both of these tours are for Month 9 Books, and hosted by Chapter by Chapter.

Giveaway Hops:

Something Wicked Returns Blog Hop, hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and three other blogs! I’ll be giving one international winner a choice between Dr. Sleep and NOS4A2! Going on now!

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. One winner will get to choose a scary book, check back to see what your choices will be:)

October New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by Book Twirps. One winner will get to choose an October release!

OK, I guess it’s a pretty busy month after all!

Did you miss any of these reviews? Vicious and Kinslayer win for my favorite books of the month. Click on the titles below to read my reviews:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (and Giveaway!)
The Outside by Laura Bickle
Wanted: One Ghost by Loni Lynn
The Samaritan’s Pistol by Eric Bishop
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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Tammy’s Top Ten Fall 2013 Releases

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s is one of my favorites. I love highlighting the season’s upcoming releases that I’m most excited about, although it’s very hard to narrow it down to only ten books. (But hey, I’m a rule follower, so I do!) I define “Fall” as the months of September, October and November, so all my choices will release during those months. Here is my list of Fall 2013 releases that I’m most excited about, in order of their release date (click on the covers to go to Goodreads):

Scorched1Scorched by Mari Mancusi. Released September 3 2013 (Sourcebooks Fire).  I fell in love with this awesome cover as soon as I saw it, and then fell in love with the story idea. Plus I’ve read some great reviews, which makes me more anxious than ever to read it. A girl, two boys, and a dragon. This is one love triangle I’m not afraid of… I have Scorched in my Amazon cart, and I’m just waiting for payday to push the “Buy now” button!

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Kinslayer2Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. Release date: September 17 2013 (Thomas Dunne Books). I adored Stormdancer, and now the second book in The Lotus War series is finally out…I was fortunate enough to win an ARC in a Library Thing giveaway, but I’ve also got a pre-order copy on the way from Amazon. I’ve been warned that Kinslayer is dark, maybe even darker than Stormdancer, but that’s OK.  In case you haven’t been reading this blog, I kinda like dark…

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Vicious3Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Release date: September 24 2013 (Tor). Oh you guys…I just finished Vicious yesterday, and I’m still recovering. I was lucky enough to join an ARC tour that Victoria is hosting, and I read it as fast as I could (in the midst of my daughter’s thirteenth birthday weekend and lots of other stuff) so I could pass it along to the next person on the list. This is definitely on my top ten list for the year, no doubt. My review will be up later this week. You are going to love Vicious!

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Dr. Sleep4Dr. Sleep by Stephen King. Release date: September 24 2013 (Scribner). A sequel to The Shining, you say? Of course I want to read it! In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or maybe you just aren’t a Stephen King fan), Dr. Sleep releases next week. I don’t know when I’ll be able to read it, but I’m aiming for October sometime. This is a slim book by King standards at only 544 pages, so I have no excuse…

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NotaDroptoDrink_final_15Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. Release date: September 24 2013 (Katherine Tegen Books). I’m so excited that I have an e-ARC of this book, and it’s next on my list to read. I’ve been reading glowing reviews from other bloggers, who are also praising it because it’s a dystopian novel without any supernatural elements. Plus look at the gorgeousness of the cover!

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The Abominable26The Abominable by Dan Simmons. Release date: October 22 2013 (Little, Brown & Company). I am a huge Dan Simmons fan, and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by him. I did, however, just read a negative review of his latest from a trusted source. It made me hesitate a bit, but I’m still going to read it for myself. I believe the reviewer was disappointed in the lack of supernatural elements, but Simmons is still a great story-teller, so I’ll give it a try.

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The Goldfinch7The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Release date: October 22 2013. (Little, Brown & Company). This was a recent Waiting on Wednesday pick. I know I’m repeating myself, but Tartt’s first book The Secret History is one of my all-time favorite books. I find it refreshing for an author to actually take her time writing each book. Especially in the current young adult market, when authors are expected to crank out a book every year (or more!), The Goldfinch will be published ten years after Tartt’s last book, The Little Friend. Makes you think every word will be just right.

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8Two Serpants RiseTwo Serpents Rise
by Max Gladstone. Release date: October 29 2013 (Tor). I was lucky enough to meet Max at San Diego Comic Con and get a signed ARC of this book. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to read the next installment in this series. Although Max did tell me that my two favorite characters don’t make an appearance this time, they will be back for book three. If you love urban fantasy and gorgeous writing, you need to read these books. Start with  Three Parts Dead.

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The Deaths of Tao9The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu. Release date: October 29 2013 (Angry Robot Books). I absolutely loved The Lives of Tao, which is about a guy who just happens to have an alien life form sharing space in his body, who talks to him in his head and gives him advice based on a thousand years of life experiences. Chu is hysterically funny and manages to combine humor, emotional angst, and a history lesson all in the same story. I’m looking forward to more of Tao’s adventures.

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The Wicked Game10This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink. Release date: November 14 2013 (Dial).  I was initially drawn to this beautifully done cover, but after I read that this book is about voodoo, I knew I had to read it. I’ve never read this author before, but she seems to be getting lots of really good reviews. Honestly, I want a big poster of this book cover to hang in my office!

So, do you have any of these titles on your top ten?

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Stacking the Shelves (34) – The San Diego Comic Con Books!

STSStacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and is a fun way to share our book acquisitions with other bloggers and readers. I can’t believe it’s been a week since I was at Comic Con! It was the most awesome thing I’ve done in a long time, and I had the opportunity to meet some fantastic authors and get some signed books as well.

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My daughter Zoe (dressed as Luigi from Mario Bros.) and me in my Jayne hat (from Firefly)

This week I’m going to show you the books I got at Comic Con, and give you a little background on my very first Comic Con experience, at least regarding the book part of it. I have another post coming soon on the Top Ten Things I Learned at Comic Con, as this was my first time. Here are the books I got at San Diego Comic Con 2013 (SDCC) (and I apologize for the length of this post!):

The signed books:

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The Darwin Elevator by Jason Hough. I actually have this from NetGalley, but I was super excited to get a signed paperback copy and meet Jason!

Hounded by Kevin Hearne. I was determined to meet Kevin, since I’ve been following him on Facebook and his blog for some time. I’m actually in the middle of reading Hounded and loving it. He’s the nicest guy and you could tell he loved being at Comic Con and meeting his fans.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. I wasn’t planning on going to this signing, but Diana just happened to be sitting at the Penguin booth with no line when I walked by. So of course I had to purchase her first book in the series (I haven’t read these books yet).

Dead Things by Stephen Blackmore. I keep hearing good things about this book, so I was excited to make it to Stephen’s signing.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. OK, I’ll admit this was one of my “must haves” from Comic Con! I stalked the Little, Brown booth for about an hour before this signing started. (and they were not letting us line up ahead of time! It was maddening. Too much congestion on the exhibit floor and some of the surrounding booths weren’t being very nice about having book signing lines covering their merchandise. I see their point, but hey guys! Come on! Crowds are part of the fun at Comic Con!) Here’s a slightly blurry photo of Holly:

021Sorry guys, I am a horrible photographer. Most of the time I was so caught up in the excitement, that I forgot to take photos!!

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci. I had never heard of Cecil before Comic Con, but I’m so glad I decided to schedule in this book signing and get a copy of Tin Star! It’s a YA science fiction and it comes out in February next year. Cecil has written a bunch of books, mostly contemporary, and she was a doll!

Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot. I was not planning on getting this book, since it’s a bit out of my preferred genre (thriller) but I stumbled upon this signing, and I’ve seen the book around and wanted to check it out. I believe “Sam Cabot” is a pseudonym for two authors who wrote it together: S. J. Rozan and Carlos Dews.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia. I snagged a copy of this book from a big pile that Little, Brown was handing out, then I went back to get a signed copy from Kami later on! They also gave out packs of salt with the book, which relates to the story I guess…

Altered by Gennifer Albin. I was pretty excited to get this ARC, which is the follow-up to Crewel. Plus, the cover hasn’t been revealed yet, so the book is pretty plain. MacMillan was only handing out TWENTY of these ARCs, to the first twenty people in line, and luckily they let us line up early. I got there about thirty minutes before it started and I was fourth in line! Whoopee! Here’s a photo of the lovely Gennifer:

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Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike. Even though this book is about to hit shelves next week, they were still handing out ARCs at Comic Con.

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone. When I met Max—who was adorable, by the way!—I told him this was the best book at Comic Con! I don’t think he was expecting that but he seemed happy to meet his absolute Number One Fan (that’s me! I ADORED Three Parts Dead, Book One of his series). I wish I’d taken a photo (bad Tammy!) because Max was so out of place at Comic Con! And let me tell you, it’s hard to be out of place there. Just about anything goes. But Max was wearing a suit and tie! Anyway, when I asked him if my two favorite characters from Three Parts Dead were going to make an appearance in this book, he said no, but they will be back for Book Three:)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston. I’m super excited to read Frozen, even though I haven’t read de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series. Michael Johnston is her husband, and they were both there to sign.

Unremembered by Jessica Brody. MacMillan was selling finished copies of this book, and I was eager to buy one and meet Jessica.

Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler. I loved this book and was part of the Sea Change blog tour. I couldn’t wait to meet S. M. and gush about how much I loved her book, plus get my very own hardcover (I read a digital review version). She was adorable and so young! I couldn’t believe this was her first book, it was so masterfully written. She even remembered my review when I told her my name, yay!

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes. This was probably the longest book line I waited in. I think I was number 58 in line (the publishers were very organized and kept track of how many books they had and gave everyone in line sticky notes with numbers on them, so they wouldn’t disappoint anyone). When I got to meet Morgan I asked her if she was having fun at Comic Con, and she seemed pretty excited to tell me that she had gone to a party the night before and bumped into Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) (literally—she pointed to the arm that had brushed up against him!) I told her “congratulations!” Here’s a photo of Morgan:

Morgan Rhodes

Carniepunk by lots of cool authors!! This is another NetGalley title that I have on my Kindle for review, so I was super excited to get an ARC and also to get it signed, yet again, by the awesome Kevin Hearne! Also signing were Seanan McGuire and Rachel Caine! I can’t wait to get started on these stories…

London Falling by Paul Cornell. I’ve been eyeing this book since it came out in April, and I was thrilled that Tor brought Paul to Comic Con to sign finished copies. Let me just talk about Tor for a moment. They really are an awesome publisher of science fiction and fantasy, and at Comic Con all the author signings books were free. Although there were a limited number of each book, you could line up early and most likely get one. I only went to three of their signings, but I wish I had caught a few others.

The unsigned books:

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Some publishers were handing out books willy-nilly, and I took every opportunity to snag these! Plus, a few publishers were very sneaky and would give you ARCs if you asked.

The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. OK, Random House was just handing out books and I picked this up even though I don’t think I’ll read it. Hey giveaway! Let me know if you’re a Terry Brooks fan.

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski. Here’s another author I’m not familiar with, but this was another case of the publisher (Penguin) handing out copies. This one looks pretty good!

“When Did You See Her Last?” (All The Wrong Questions 2) by Lemony Snicket. Little, Brown had a few ARC drops that I managed to get, and this was one of them.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Random House was handing these out like candy! And Pierce did do a signing at some point, but I missed it. Darn! I’m so excited to read this adult fantasy. You can’t tell from the photo, but I love the fact that they printed these ARCs with the spine title upside-down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

New Adult Sampler, includes excerpts by Tammara Webber and M. Leighton, among others.

Ace/Roc Sampler. Includes SF and fantasy excerpts, including Ilona Andrew and Anne Bishop.

Teardrop by Lauren Kate. I missed Lauren’s signing, but I went back to the Random House booth the next day and asked if they had any left, and they did! OK, I lied. I sent my daughter to the booth to ask. She was awesome and had no fear going up to publishers and asking for books that weren’t even in sight. (More on that later.)

The 100 by Kass Morgan. This was another book drop at the Little, Brown booth that I was thrilled to get! I think I sent my daughter to snag a copy of this one also.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay. This book was hidden in a cupboard at the Random House booth, but I saw someone else go up and ask for a copy, so I did too. And yes, I got this one on my own!

Twinmaker by Sean Williams. I got this book by accident. Here’s the story: on Saturday night I just happened to be going through the Comic Con event guide that you get when you register, and I found a bunch of ads from publishers telling you that they were giving away certain books. I wish I’d seen these ads earlier! Anyway, the one that caught my attention was a giveaway for The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. Unfortunately they were out by the time I asked about it, but the nice woman at Harper Collins asked me if I’d like Twinmaker instead. Hell yeah I told her! (Well, no I actually didn’t say that. I think I said “I’d love a copy, thank you!”)

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs. This was a finished copy I snagged from a pile. Again, it’s a thriller/mystery, but I have read some good reviews.

Aftershock by Andrew Vachss. This book was literally shoved in my hands! I wouldn’t have picked it up (because it’s a hardcover and therefore heavy!) but I didn’t want to be rude.

You can also see the lovely Precious Blood bookmark I got, as well as the bag of salt that refers to Unbreakable.

Other swag:

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I got lots of buttons, a few lanyards, a cool nail polish from Siege and Storm, a couple of Diary of a Whimpy Kid pencils (the 8th book is coming out soon, notice the pencil shaped like an “8″?) and of course, the finger monster that they always hand out at the Joss Whedon sing-along panels. Grrr, Arrgh. I am going to have to give away those “I heart Christian Grey” buttons, LOL! Anyone?

I wrote down a quick schedule each day that I tried to follow. As you can see from Saturday’s schedule, there were lots of overlapping book signings, so it was nearly impossible to get to all of them:

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And just to show you the huge amount of authors and publishers at Comic Con, these are the books/authors I wasn’t able to get to:

Cress by Marissa Meyer (I wish now I’d tried to get one of the 20 copies!), The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, Tandem by Anna Jarzab, Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff, Fearless by Cornelia Funke, Icons by Margaret Stohl, Ally Condie (Matched), SYLO by D. J. MacHale, Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Marie Lu (Legend series), Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey, Chimera by David Wellington, A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz, Horde by Ann Aguirre, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, Antigoddess by Kendare Blake, Shannon Messenger…and these are just the booth signings! There were also signings after each book panel in the autograph area, with tons more authors. I’d be here all day if I had to list them all.

And this is just the tip of the Comic Con iceburg! Since I was mostly interested in the book stuff, I didn’t do much in the way of movies, TV or comics. You could literally pick one thing and spend all four days doing nothing but. There were so many panels I didn’t get to, mostly because, I hate to admit, they interfered with author signings that I didn’t want to miss! You have to have priorities when you go. I hope I get to go next year, because it really was awesome:) Thanks for reading through this looonnnggg post! Link me up to your Stacking the Shelves!

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Waiting on Wednesday (60) TWO SERPENTS RISE by Max Gladstone

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a great way to share the books you’re excited about with other bloggers and readers. I missed last week, so I’m happy to be back! Here’s what I’m waiting on this week:

Two Serpants RiseTwo Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone. Release date: October 29 2013 (Tor).  I’m so excited to read the second book in this series! I absolutely loved Three Parts Dead, and I have to say I still miss the characters. Although it looks like Two Serpents Rise has new characters, which should be interesting. I do hope some of my favorites at least make a guest appearance:)  October can’t get here soon enough for me! Here’s the description from Goodreads:

The new novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead

Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc — casual gambler and professional risk manager — to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father — the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists — has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire… and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

goodreads-badge-add-plusThree Parts Dead

Are you reading this series? Do you love it as much as I do? Don’t forget to leave me a link to your WOW!

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My 2013 Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge 2013I have to admit, I’m a newbie when it comes to reading challenges. I’ve never done one before! So what does one do to remedy that situation? Why, sign up for four reading challenges! Yep, I’ve done it now…I’m committing myself to four different challenges (one of them being my own) for 2013. I think some of them will intersect, so I’ll be able to use the same books for more than one challenge, but I’m looking forward to completing all four next year. As I complete a book, I will highlight it in red. I will also link it to my review.  Selections subject to change! Click on the challenge buttons for more information on how to sign up. Here’s what I’ve signed up for:

Catch Up Reading Challenge Button250 copy

OK, this is my own challenge. I actually started it as a personal goal to play catch up with my TBR pile. Since I made it up, it doesn’t have very many rules (yet) and there aren’t even any minimum requirements for participating. If you’d like more info on my 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge, click here to read more, and sign up if you’d like! I’ve chosen eight books to “catch up” on, which you can see on my post.

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Hosted by Hobbitsies, this is a well-established Reading Challenge that I’m excited to be a part of! The challenge is to read twelve YA or Middle Grade debuts during the year.  Here is my list, although it is subject to change, depending on my mood:)

1. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
2. Insomnia by J. R. Johansson
3. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
4. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
5. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
6. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
7. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
8. Linked by Imogen Howson
9 . Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
10. Pantomime by Laura Lam
11. In the After by Demitria Lunetta
12. Poison by Bridget Zinn

SARCThe 2013 Standalone Reading Challenge, hosted by Icey Books & I Like These Books, is asking us to read fifteen YA or Middle Grade standalone novels. I think it’s a great idea because I usually find series books very frustrating. Either a great-sounding book comes along but I haven’t read the first book in the series yet (and don’t have time!) or the second book in a series that I love comes out but I don’t have time to read it. Here’s what I plan to read for this challenge:

1. Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
2. Thin Space by Jody Casella
3. Control by Lydia Kang
4. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
5. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
6. Poison by Bridget Zinn
7. The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson
8. Transparent by Natalie Whipple
9. Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
10. Starglass by Phoebe North
11. Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
12. Absent by Katie Williams
13. Hysteria by Megan Miranda
14. Acid by Emma Pass
15. Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

2013eclecticreaderThe 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge, hosted by Book’d Out, sounds like a blast! Simply read twelve books from twelve different categories. Some of them are harder than others, but the goal is to push yourself to read things you normally wouldn’t read. Here are the books I’m going to read:

  1. Translated fiction – Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (Translated from Japanese)
  2. Historical mystery – Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
  3. Romantic suspense – Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin
  4. Made into a movie – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  5. New Adult - Easy by Tammara Webber
  6. Urban Fantasy – Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
  7. Dystopian – Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  8. Memoir – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  9. LGBT – Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
  10. Action Adventure – Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
  11. Humour – Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
  12. Published in 2013 – The Archived by Victoria Schwab

What reading challenges are you participating in? I’d love to know!

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