Tag Archives: Max Gladstone

Guest Post with Max Gladstone + Enter to Win a Copy of FULL FATHOM FIVE!

Author Guest Post

I’m so excited to have the extremely talented Max Gladstone visiting Books, Bones & Buffy today. I had originally asked Max to write a post about the role that gods and idols play in his books. But what I got back was something much more interesting, an endorsement, if you will, from a character who’s been to the island of Kavekana (from Full Fathom Five) and has partaken in their particular trade. He’s going to explain what’s going on there, and why sacrifice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…(and keep reading, because there’s a giveaway at the end of this post!)

Max Gladstone

Sacrifice is rough on a business.

Let’s be realistic about it for a second: there are gods all over the world, and wherever there isn’t a god it’s because something godlike took its place.  What’s the practical difference between a voice speaking out of the wilderness demanding you bleed out a dozen aurochs (aurochses? auroxen?) on a particular stone and a necromancer in a pinstriped suit stretching out his skeletal hand for a cut of what’s yours?  The distinctions are cosmetic.  They both want something.

It used to be reasonable!  People didn’t travel as much, and if they did it was an event, you know, long caravans and legions of guards, so big they seemed like cities on wheels or water.  A merchant might have to sacrifice to a few local gods on the way for protection, but most of the business was done at origin and destination.  Serving two masters sucks, but it’s manageable.

These days, though.

I mean, don’t get me started.  Let’s say we have a concern that makes something really simple—paper, maybe.  It’s cheaper to grow trees in one part of the world, mill them in another, and of course we want to sell paper everywhere.  We can’t settle for making paper to serve one city, or even ten.  It’s a business of scale.  We want school-age kids in the Shining Empire taking notes for their high-stakes tests on paper with our watermark.  We want the Dread Lord of Zur signing treaties with steppe-lords on high-bond You And Me brand extra strength eggshell white, now imbued with real griffin blood!  (Which means, shit, we have to go find griffins, which are native to the highlands in the Southern Gleb, so that’s another set of gods we’ll have to deal with.)

Every place we go, every place we sell, someone wants a sacrifice. How can you live like that?  Let alone do business.

This is where godhavens come in.  See, gods have a good thing going—they respect one another, more or less, and now the God Wars are over, while they might not actually trust or like human wizards, there’s at least some grudging tolerance between the sides.  Or whatever it is you call that wavy truce you get between two bare-knucks boxers trying to catch their breath in round 37.  Gods don’t ask other gods’ priests to sacrifice to them.

Yes, I know, you don’t want to get ordained.  I mean, the whole idea here is to give you fewer obligations, right?  Seems priesthood would be the last thing you might want.

You would think that.

See, what if you could be a priest of something that just looked a lot like a god?  No faith, no distortion of behavior, no precepts or confession.  Just a sort of bloodless obligation that meant you never had to sacrifice anything again.

Check out these guys.  Kavekana’s a little island in the Skeld Archipelago, sent their gods to the Wars and they never came back.  They just—vanished.  Shit like that happened a lot back then.  Gods’ disappearance, as I’m sure you can imagine, puts the local priesthood in a tizzy.  What’s a priest to do without gods?  They started celebrating ancestor spirits at first, as a kind of stopgap—then they got good at building rituals, telling consistent myths, praying to stuff they’d never prayed to before.  And somewhere along the line, a bright kid saw the future.

Idols made to order, for folk like you and me.  Salt of the earth, engines of trade, just trying to enjoy our profits and prophets both without bad guys taking them from us.  Go to Kavekana.  Talk with a priest about your problems.  Hang out on the beach sipping those little, whatchyacallm’s, drinks with umbrellas in, sorta pink.  They’ll give you a few prayers to say, some salt you and your employees have to scatter before bed or whatever, and bam.  Some goddess wants her cut?  Tough.  You’ve got a Lord and Master already.  Convenient for you he only, you know, sort of exists.

I’ve done it a couple times.  Lots of people in our line of work do.  It’s not just sacrifice avoidance, either—it’s easier to operate this way, less paperwork, fewer demon uprisings.  Really good for estate planning, too, if you ever intend to die.

Trust me.  You’ll love it.

Find Max: Author Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Read my reviews: Three Parts Dead | Two Serpents Rise | Full Fathom Five

About Full Fathom Five:

The third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world ofThree Parts Dead.

On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.

Thanks to Tor Books, I have one finished copy of Full Fathom Five to giveaway to a U.S. winner (with apologies to my international friends!) All you need to do to enter is fill out the form below. One entry per person, please! A winner will be randomly selected on July 31st. Good luck!

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Grrrl Power: FULL FATHOM FIVE by Max Gladstone – Review

Full Fathom Five 3D

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 15 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Pages: 368

five stars

The nitty-gritty:  A world that shimmers with magic, female characters that do wonderful and impossible things, and a layered story that will keep you riveted.

They fell through space and worlds, following that unseen beacon. They did not slip from realm to realm so much as burst through. The color of the sea changed, wine-red and spreading. Constellations danced and transformed.

The volcano’s mouth approached. At its bottom, pinhead small but growing larger, lay the pool, another sky into which they could fall forever. The size of a cherry now, a fig, lemon orange apple pineapple watermelon—

She braced herself for impact, too late.

This is the third book in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, and as much as I loved the last two books, I think this may be his best yet. Each book in this series can easily stand on its own, so reading the first two books first isn’t necessary—but why would you want to miss out on them? Gladstone’s world is full of gods and idols, sea monsters and Craftswomen, nightmares and pools where you can remake yourself. Each detail is painstakingly melded into the story so that you feel as if you are right there with the characters. Things that we are all too familiar with—job security, market shares, salesman-client relationships—are cheekily disguised as fantasy elements, which makes them much more interesting.

In Full Fathom Five, idols are molded and created by the Order for pilgrims. But when Kai, a priest with the Order, witnesses the death of an idol named Seven Alpha, she makes a risky decision to jump into the pool to try to save her. But Kai nearly dies in the rescue attempt and is later fired by her boss for attempting something so risky. It is only after she meets a street kid named Izza and a poet named Margot that Kai realizes Seven Alpha’s death is only part of a much bigger scheme. With her friends, new and old, to help out, Kai must get to the bottom of what’s really happening to the idols, keep her distance from the murderous Penitents, and try to get her old job back, before anyone else dies.

The biggest surprise for me this time around was the fact that most of the main characters in Full Fathom Five are women. In fact, just about every male in the story is a side character or a bad guy. Not that I don’t love me some strong male characters, too, mind you, but it was a nice change of pace to see a male writer taking the time to create such interesting, strong and utterly human female characters, who are all flawed in one way or another, yet possess the strength to rise above those flaws. I think my favorite character was Izza, a fifteen-year-old thief who is distraught when her goddess the Blue Lady dies. Izza takes care of a rag-tag group of street kids who look up to her to tell them stories about the Blue Lady and restore their faith in the world—much like Wendy Darling telling tales to the Lost Boys.

I also loved Kai, who nearly dies from trying to save Alpha Seven, yet never gives up hope that she will figure out the truth of what’s going on. We also have two characters who make a return appearance from Three Parts Dead, Mrs. Kevarian and Cat (who along with vampire Raz was my favorite character of that book). Unfortunately, Raz is nowhere to be found in this story, but that’s ok, because all the other characters are so amazing. Each woman goes through pain (and sometimes torture), loss and disappointment, yet never do they lose their faith in the gods and idols they worship.

Gladstone’s brilliant writing skills are hard at work, as usual. His lush and poetic prose is one of the things that keeps drawing me back to his books, and it just gets better and better. And as far as the world-building goes, you don’t get much better than this. The island city of Kavekana (think Honolulu, Hawaii) is completely different from ours, yet there are moments of odd familiarity, like when Kai stops at a corner store to buy frozen yogurt. At its heart, this is a mystery story, as Kai tries to figure out who is killing the island’s idols. The pace is not the rip-roaring action-packed sort, but rather the slow-building kind that surprises you when you realize you’re in the middle of some desperate action and you can’t pinpoint exactly when you got there.

The scary monsters this time around are the Penitents, gigantic human-shaped creatures made of stone that patrol the city and keep order. The kicker, however, is that their bodies act as prisons for the city’s criminals, humans who have been caught and placed inside a Penitent, where their bodies and wills are bent to perform the duties of a Penitent, until their sentence is over and they are released. What a truly terrifying way to be punished!

The ending was perfect, and I wasn’t expecting to tear up like I did. But Gladstone hit all the right notes, both emotional and plot-wise, and I couldn’t imagine a better ending. Whether or not another Craft Sequence book is in the works remains to be seen, but I for one certainly hope Max isn’t done with this fabulous world.

Many thanks to Tor Books for providing a review copy. I was not compensated in any way and all opinions in this review are mine and mine alone. The above quote was taken from an uncorrected proof and may differ in the final version of the book.

Check back later this week, because Max himself will be stopping by with a guest post!

Catch the rest of the series:

You can find Full Fathom Five here:

amazon button2b&n buttonThe book depository button Indiebound buttonGoodreads icon

 

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What’s On My Plate – July 2014

On My Plate

Welcome to another thrilling What’s On My Plate post! It’s July already, people! I can’t believe it’s finally San Diego Comic Con month! In a few weeks I’ll be in San Diego, running from book event to book event, and trying to squeeze in some TV and movie panels as well. If you’re going this year, let me know!

I’m frightfully behind in my reading, as usual, but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel, as I’ve stopped requesting books from Edelweiss and NetGalley (until further notice, or until something pops up that I can’t say no to). This month I’ve got a handful of digital ARCs to review, a couple of small press releases, and two blog tours. Here’s what I’ve got scheduled:

From NetGalley/Edelweiss:

The Buried Life by Carrie Patel. Releases this month from Angry Robot.

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. Releases this month from Disney-Hyperion.

Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir. Releases this month from Bellevue Literary Press

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Releases this month from Henry Holt.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow  by Thomas Sweterlitsch. Releases this month from Putnam Adult.

From Small Presses:

Irredeemable by Jason Sizemore. This short story collection by Apex editor Jason Sizemore is published by Seventh Star Press, and in addition to reviewing the book, Jason is visiting the blog next week with a guest post. Be sure to stop by!

Midnight by Mari Adkins. This is an Apex Publications book, and I’m always pleasantly surprised by their titles. It’s hard to tell what this one is about from the blurb, but I’ll be reading it soon and I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

Blog Tours:

I am really, seriously going to stop doing blog tours (for the most part), but I do have a few more on the calendar. Rebel Nation by Shaunta Grimes is this Friday, you can stop by for my review and a giveaway. And I’m featuring Max Gladstone (Full Fathom Five) here on July 17th. I’m pretty damn excited about that! This is one of my favorite series, and I’ll have a guest post from Max as well.

Events:

                                     Angry Robot200    comic con small

I just got word yesterday that Angry Robot will be celebrating five years of publishing amazing science fiction and fantasy, and I’ll be part of the celebration this Friday! Join me as I host author Andy Remic, who will be talking about his Top Five Indie Films. Angry Robot is also giving away FIVE copies of Andy’s book, Kell’s Legend. Don’t miss it!

Yep, it’s finally here! San Diego Comic Con is July 23-27th, and I’ll be there all five days! I’m taking both my kids this year, and they’ve already started working on their costumes. They don’t release the schedule until about two weeks before the event, so I still don’t know what I’ll be doing. Ahh, the anticipation! Stay tuned for a recap when I get back!

I’ve also been working on an updated blog design, which I hope will go live this weekend…I’ve been changing my mind a lot about the color scheme, so I haven’t finalized it yet. Hopefully with the long weekend coming up (Independence Day) I’ll be able to make some decisions. Stay tuned…

So, what’s on your plate this month?

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Tammy’s Top Ten: My 2014 Summer Must Reads

Top Ten Tuesday 2014 copy

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish! This week we’re listing the top ten books on our summer TBR list. Everyone has a slightly different definition of what this means, but for me, these are my top ten most anticipated books that will be released this summer (in June, July and August—which are the summer months, at least here in America!) I don’t know if I’ll actually read them all during the summer, but here’s hoping! And I promise, I did not choose this group of books because most of them have blue covers, LOL! Here they are, in order of release date. (Click on the titles to go to Goodreads)

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. I know I’ve been talking about this a lot, but I’m seriously excited! Release date: July 8th.

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. The third book in Max’s Craft Sequence, he just gets better and better. Release date: July 15th.

Blightborn by Chuck Wendig. Ooh, pretty cover. Ooh, creepy corn that can kill you and do other weird stuff… Release date: July 29th.

Free Agent by J.C. Nelson.  This sounds like so much fun! Release date: July 29th.

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee. A lovely cover, and a fantastic-sounding story. Release date: August 5th.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco. “Dexter meets The Grudge.” Just, yes please! Release date: August 5th.

The Godless by Ben Peek. Girl on the cover with a flaming sword? Yes! Release date: August 19th.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. This isn’t genre fiction, but I’ve heard amazing things, so yes, I am going to find time to read this. Release date: August 19th.

Feral by Holly Schindler. Love the cover, and I hear this has lots of cool twists. Release date: August 26th.

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I haven’t read her other books, but this girl has writing chops. She’s been nominated for all the big awards, like the Hugo, the Nebula and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, to name a few. Release date: August 26th.

What are your top ten summer books? Link me up and I’ll stop by!

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Over-Booked (2) – A Book Haul Post

Over booked banner copy

Welcome to Overbooked, where I’m happy to be linking up with Stacking the Shelves over at Tynga’s Reviews and The Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer! Check out their links and you can visit other blogger’s book haul posts as well. As behind as I am with my review books, I’ve still managed to wrangle some wonderful new reads from publishers. And since I’ve started working full-time, it seems I never have time to spend the money I’m making! But I have a whole bunch of books on my wish list that I’m going to buy this weekend, so look out Barnes & Noble! (Just sayin’ “NO!” to Amazon right now, have you heard all the commotion about that?)

So, here are my latest and greatest:

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone. Releasing in July from Tor Books. This series gets better and better, and I’m sure this third book will be amazeballs! I’ll also be welcoming Max to the blog in July to help promote his book!

The Buried Life by Carrie Patel. Releases in July from Angry Robot. I’m really excited to read this one. Underground city, people! That’s all you need to know…

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan. Releases in August from Angry Robot. You’ll have to click the Goodreads link and read this blurb for yourself. It sounds crazy good!

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Releases in June from Orbit. Scary, freaky little girl? Sounds like my kind of book…

Mirror Irredeemable

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. Releases in September from Angry Robot. I’m loving this generic AR ARC cover…the real cover is just awesome, but I’m enjoying this one too.

Irredeemable by Jason Sizemore. Now available from Seventh Star Press. If you don’t know, Jason runs the really wonderful Apex Publishing, which includes not only books but Apex Magazine, which is full of short stories and other genre-bending goodies. This collection of his own short stories looks like fun!

Big thanks to Tor Books, Angry Robot, Orbit and Seventh Star Press! Let me know what goodies you received this week.

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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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