Tag Archives: Three Parts Dead

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:

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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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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:

Gen albin

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

Waiting on Wednesday copy

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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Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday2Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)  is definitely my favorite of the year! And what a hard Top Ten to narrow down…I read so many wonderful books this year. Every book on my list received a five-star review, but many of my five-star reviews aren’t on this list. Cutting the list down to ten was very painful and agonizing, but in the interest of keeping this a true “Top Ten” list, I did just that. It was interesting to discover that eight out of the ten are adult books, which surprised me since I read a lot of YA as well. So here they are, my faves from the past year! I’m listing them in alphabetical order, so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings:) Oh, and I’m trying out WordPress’ new slide show feature, what do you think?

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1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Yes, this book came out in November of 2011, but I didn’t get around to reading it until January. And I’m so glad I did! Although long (849 pages), I loved every word. King writes a tense and engaging time travel novel about the repercussions of changing events in the past (like for example, JFK’s shooting). But it’s a lot more complicated than it seems on the surface. One of my all-time favorite King stories.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  I love fairy tale re-tellings, and this has got to be one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever read. Cinderella as a cyborg?? Yes! This imaginative story is only the first of four books in the series, the next of which comes out in February. So if you loved Cinder, you have a lot to look forward to. You can read my review of Cinder here.

3. Edge of Oblivion by J. T. Geissinger. Wow, this book took me totally by surprise! It’s published by Montlake Romance, a publishing arm of Amazon, and I really wasn’t expecting the quality of writing and story building that I found in this amazing book. Not for kids, though! I’d rate it NC17 if it were a movie:) You can read my review here.

4. The Reckoning by Alma Katsu. The second book in Katsu’s The Taker Trilogy did not disappoint. It was a lush and dangerous descent into the minds of some very fascinating characters, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series, which will hopefully be published in 2013. You can read my review here.

5. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.  This adult paranormal story was funny, entertaining, confusing, surprising, and amazing! It was one of the most unique stories I read all year, and it has been compared to Harry Potter, X-Men and Ghostbusters. It’s really none of those, but something completely original. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. I read this for book club back in March, and was blown away by the violent, gritty and unexpectedly funny Eli and Charlie Sisters, two outlaw killers that seem more human than many of the “good guy” characters I’ve read in other books. Reading this book has given me a fondness for westerns, and I hope to read more like it soon.

7. Something Red by Douglas Nicholas. I don’t usually seek out historical fiction, but this book seemed too good to pass up.  Something Red has some of the best characters I’ve read all year. Mysterious and epic and filled with action as well as tender human moments, I hope more readers discover this amazing book. You can read my review here.

8. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. It’s hard for me to describe how much I loved this book. Oddly, I’ve read some really mixed reviews, and I think the reason some people just didn’t get it was that it wasn’t what they were expecting. It’s a beautifully written fantasy with a lovely relationship between a girl and a griffin, but it’s set in a harsh world where lots of bad things happen. Just read it already! You can read my review here.

9. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Gladstone is a master of world-building, and the odd but compelling city of Alt Coulumb has wonders to spare. I was completely immersed in the story of Tara, Abelard, Cat and Raz and I can’t wait for the sequel next year. You can read my review here.

10. Velveteen by Daniel Marks. I just managed to squeeze this in before this post was due to go up, and I’m so glad I did. Wow. Marks’ wonderful but horrifying depiction of purgatory is tempered by some pretty awesome characters, especially Velveteen, a very angry girl who has died horribly and now wants nothing more than to take revenge on the madman that killed her. Oh, and to get to know the newest and hottest soul in town, Nick. Look for my review coming soon.

I’d love to hear what your top ten books are! Please link me up, or just let me know in the comments! Next week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and although it’s Christmas day, I’ll be posting my Top Ten Indie Books of 2012. I read some amazing indies, and they deserve some love as well:)

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THREE PARTS DEAD by Max Gladstone – Review

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: October 2 2012

Pages: 336

Max Gladstone is the kind of writer who assumes his readers are intelligent.  Three Parts Dead might scare some readers off, as it jumps into the amazing world that Gladstone has created with very little explanation, but this is one of the many skillful things he does, and it would be a shame for anyone to give up so easily. So suspend your disbelief for a moment and join me in the city of Alt Coulumb, a city with surprises and wonders around every corner.

You have to be a brave writer to start your story off by throwing the main character off a floating school and letting her fall a thousand feet to earth, but that’s exactly what happens in the first sentence. Tara Abernathy has just been, literally, thrown out of Hidden Schools (for a reason the reader doesn’t find out until later in the book), and while this would kill a normal person, Tara is far from normal. She is adept at Craft, the ability to harness the power of the stars and perform various types of magic, and so she is able to survive the fall, barely. After she recovers she is approached by an enigmatic woman named Elayne Kevarian who offers her a job in the Craft firm of Kelethras, Albrecht, and Ao. This is where the story really picks up, as Tara and Ms. Kevarian are called to Alt Coulumb to unravel the mystery behind the death of Kos, the fire god who powers the city and keeps it alive.

At the Sanctum of Kos they meet a young man named Abelard, the Technician who cares for the inner workings of the Sanctum that run the city, the pipes and coolant systems from which Kos’ power generates. Abelard, distraught over the apparent death of Kos, is assigned to help Tara get to the bottom of the mystery. When they mystically access the Sanctum’s extensive archives, they discover a clue to Kos’ demise that leads them on a circuitous route through the city where they begin to uncover, layer by layer, the truth behind the god’s disappearance. Along the way they meet characters that both help and hinder their search, including the marvelous vampire pirate Raz Pelham, a gargoyle named Shale, and my favorite character of all, Catherine Elle, a junkie who is addicted to the bite of a vampire but is also one of the Blacksuits, humans who protect the city from crime by allowing themselves to become encased in a hard black suit of armor when Justice calls.

In addition to the amazing world-building and deftly layered story are some of the best-drawn characters I’ve ever come across. Tara is a strong and talented protagonist, and she tenaciously seeks the truth throughout the entire story, no matter what obstacles are thrown her way. At the end of the story she must choose between taking revenge on the man who threw her out of school, or saving her friends, a choice that shows just how human she is. But believe it or not, she wasn’t my favorite character. I loved Abelard, who never loses his faith, even when Kos dies. Abelard’s vice is smoking, and he spends the entire book with a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. The cigarette is almost a character unto itself, and by the end of the story you’ll understand why.

But my favorite character is Cat, whose fatal flaw is a complete contrast to her alter-ego as a Blacksuit. In a twist on the typical vampire/human relationship, Gladstone has made the vampire’s bite as heady as a drug, and Cat is an addict. Cat and Raz are wonderful together, and I’m hoping the next book in the series delves further into their relationship.

My only quibble with the book is a small one, and it doesn’t change my love of the story at all. But if it were me, I would have switched the last two sections of the epilogue, and ended it on the more sentimental note. I can’t really say more than that without telling you how it ends, so you’ll have to read it for yourself to see if you agree with me.

Gladstone’s imagination is unending in Three Parts Dead. Around every corner lies a new wonder, like the nightclub called the Xibalba, a monstrous building that mimics the circles of hell. Or the way that the buildings have deep gouge marks from the gargoyles flying past and marking their territories. Or the Hidden Schools that hide in the clouds and appear only to those who truly want to study there. And tucked in among all these elements is the world of Craft, the bizarre and frightening magic that Tara is able to draw from a knife made of moonbeams, a knife she keeps lodged near her heart. The story seems stuffed with so many ideas and characters, except it doesn’t feel stuffed. It all feels just right. Three Parts Dead easily makes my Top Ten Books for 2012, and I’m happy to tell you that its sequel comes out next July. If you’re ready for something different, strange and wonderful, this book is highly recommended.

Many thanks to Tor Books for supplying a review copy.

You can visit Max Gladstone’s website here and purchase Three Parts Dead here.

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What’s On My Plate – November

Happy November everyone! Time flies when you’re reading books…I have another month of great things to read, and of course, not enough time to read them all. I also have a couple of exciting blog tours that I am participating in, as well as a few giveaways.  But first, there’s this little thing I’ve signed up for:

This is the second time I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, and I have to say so far it’s easier the second time around. So far. However, with all the reading and writing I have to do this month, you really don’t want to come over to my house! Mopping and vacuuming are definitely going to take a back seat…

Here’s what else is on my plate:

For Review:

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I’ve been trying to get to this for two months now. Sometimes a book just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile, and for some reason, this is one of those books. Never fear! Three Parts Dead is the next book I’m reading, after I finish our October book club book (Yep, book club is also behind. We’re meeting in November to discuss the October book!)

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch. This is also out already, but it’s a NetGalley approval so I’ll read it early in the month.

How Beauty Met The Beast by Jax Garren. Release date: November 19th. Received through NetGalley. As I’ve mentioned over and over, I’m going through a serious Beauty and the Beast phase. Can’t wait to read this!

Guardians of Stone by Anita Clenney. Release date: December 4th. I’m trying to get a jump on this since it releases at the beginning of December. I’m so excited to read another book from Amazon’s Montlake Romance!

Indie Books for Review:

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. I can barely spell Giacomo’s last name, but I’m really looking forward to reading this murder mystery.

Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett. Scott will be giving away a copy of his book, so keep an eye out for my review and giveaway!

The Collected by Brett Battles. This is the sixth Jonathan Quinn book, and I’m pretty excited to read it.

Blog Tours:

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Next Tuesday I will have an interview with Sharon, an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway!

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss. My blog tour stop is November 11th, and I will have an interview with Victoria and a giveaway! (I love giveaways, can you tell?)

I loved both books, and I’m super excited to be part of their blog tours.

I’m not even going to list the books I hope I’ll have time for. But next week Days of Blood & Starlight comes out, a book I’m over-the-moon excited to read, so if I add anything extra, it will be this. I hope you read some great books this month!

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