Tag Archives: urban fantasy

[TSS] Incoming! The Library Edition

This was a great week for me, library-wise – I had a bunch of holds come in, and then while I was doing my usual dash-in, dash-out to pick up my holds, I of course managed to snag a few more interesting titles.

Here are this week’s library treasures. First up, the print books:

NeverwhereNeverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

It’s about time I read a Gaiman novel. This one looks like a good one to start with.

From the back cover:

Richard Mayhew is a plain man with a good heart – and an ordinary life that is changed forever on a day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. From that moment forward he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed – a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels below the city – a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known …

FingersmithFingersmith, by Sarah Waters.

I know. I don’t like historical fiction! But this one sounds just so intriguing … And thanks to my new bookmarking “system” (which works whenever I remember to use it, which thankfully I did this time around), I can give credit for adding this one to my TBR to Jill at Rhapsody in Books.

From the back cover:

London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves – fingersmiths – under the rough but loving care of Mrs. Sucksby and her “family”. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue’s fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

Alcatraz versus the Evil LibrariansAlcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson.

Seriously. How could I resist this one?

From the jacket flap:

A hero with an incredible talent … for breaking things.

A life-or-death mission … to rescue a bag of sand.

A fearsome threat from the powerful secret network that rules the world … the evil Librarians.

Alcatraz Smedry doesn’t seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them! … by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.

The Children's BookThe Children’s Book, by A.S. Byatt.

This addition to my TBR is courtesy of Molly at The Cozy Book Nook, and, although I didn’t have my bookmarking system in place at the time, the first seed of wanting this book was planted way back last summer, at Things Mean a Lot.

From the back cover:

Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children gathered at her knee. For each, she writes a private book, bound in its own colour and placed on a shelf. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh the children play in a storybook world – but their lives, and those of their rich cousins and friends, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets.

Born at the end of the Victorian era and growing up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, a whole generation was unaware of the darkness ahead; in their innocence, they were betrayed unintentionally by the adults who loved them.

The Dragon HeirThe Dragon Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima.

I read the first book in the series, The Warrior Heir, during my own recent personal mini-readathon weekend. I immediately placed holds on both the sequels in the trilogy. Unfortunately, The Dragon Heir is the final book in the series, so I will probably have to renew this one (if I can!) while I wait for The Wizard Heir to come in from the library.

From the jacket flap:

The covenant that was meant to keep the wizard wars at bay has been stolen, and Trinity must prepare for attack.  Everyone is doing their part — Seph is monitoring the Weirwalls; Jack and Ellen are training their ghostly army; even Anaweir Will and Fitch are setting booby traps around the town’s perimeter.  But to Jason Haley, it seems like everyone wants to keep him out of the action.  He may not be the most powerful wizard in Trinity, but he’s prepared to fight for his friends.  When Jason finds a powerful talisman –a huge opal called the Dragonheart–buried in a cave, his role takes on new importance.  The stone seems to sing to Jason’s very soul — showing him that he is meant for more than anyone guessed.  Trinity’s guardians take the stone away after they realize that it may be a weapon powerful enough to save them all.  Without any significant power of his own, and now without the stone, what can Jason possibly do to help the people he cares about — and to prove his mettle?

Madison Moss can feel the beating heart of the opal, too.  The desire for it surges through her, drawing her to it.  But Maddie has other things besides the Dragonheart on her mind.  She has a secret.  Ever since absorbing the magical blow that was meant to kill Seph, she’s been leaking dark powers.  Although Maddie herself is immune to magic, what would her friends think if they knew what kind of evil lay within her?  Trinity’s enemies are as enthusiastic about her powers as she is frightened.  They think they can use her to get to the Dragonheart — and they’ll use anyone Maddie cares about to make her steal the stone for them.

Moral compasses spin out of control as a final battle storms through what was once a sanctuary for the gifted.  With so much to lose, what will Jason and Maddie be willing to fight for — and what will they sacrifice?  Every man is for himself in this thrilling conclusion to the Heir trilogy.

And the audiobooks:

The Nine TailorsThree Lord Peter Wimsey audiobooks came in: the unabridged versions, narrated by Ian Carmichael, of Striding Folly and Unnatural Death, and the BBC radio dramatization of The Nine Tailors.

All three audiobooks are in my TBR now courtesy of Memory, who has been on a Sayers reading streak – her reviews of Strong Poison, Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night reminded me it’s been a long while since I last read a Lord Wimsey book. And I decided, what better way to get reaquainted then in audio?

Monster in the BoxMonster in the Box, by Ruth Rendell. I was also thrilled to have this one come in – it’s the new Inspector Wexford book by Rendell (I also have the print version on hold). I’m really looking forward to this one:

Outside the house where Wexford investigated his first case – a woman found strangled in her bedroom – he noticed a short, muscular man wearing a scarf and walking a dog. He gave Wexford an unnerving stare. Without any solid evidence, Wexford began to suspect that this man – Eric Targo – was the killer. Over the years there are more unsolved, apparently motiveless murders in the town of Kingsmarkham and Wexford continues to quietly suspect that the increasingly prosperous Targo – van driver, property developer, kennel owner and animal lover – is behind them.

Now, half a lifetime later, Wexford spots Targo back in Kingsmarkham after a long absence. Wexford tells his long time partner, Mike Burden, about his suspicions, but Burden dismisses them as fantasy. Meanwhile, Burden’s wife, Jenny, has suspicions of her own. She believes that the Rahmans, a highly respectable immigrant family from Pakistan, may be forcing their daughter, Tamima, into an arranged marriage – or worse.

I think I’ve got a great few weeks of reading (and listening!) ahead of me. What great books came into your hands this week?

Weekend of Reading: Warrior Heir, Devil’s Kiss, The Forever King and Inkheart

For the first time in a long while, this past weekend I found myself without a deadline to complete for Monday; I also wasn’t fresh from a deadline completed on the previous Friday (an event which usually requires a day of do-nothing downtime).

Which is why this past weekend turned into a weekend of reading for me. I had a glorious time!

The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima

The Warrior HeirI started with The Warrior Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima. I would love to give credit to the blogger who originally added this book to my TBR list, but unfortunately I must have stumbled on this book before I started using Diigo to bookmark TBRs.

I know that I discovered this title as a result of another blog, because when I picked it up from the library (I had put in a request for it) I didn’t even recognize the title! It wasn’t until I read the jacket copy that I vaguely remembered reading something about it online.

So, whoever you are – thank you very much! I started my reading spree this weekend with The Warrior Heir, and I enjoyed the book immensely. I ended up putting in requests at the library for the two sequels (both of which were checked out) and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will come in (1) in the proper order for reading and (2) during a period where I am not flooded with deadlines.

Set initially in the small town of Trinity, Ohio, the novel tells the story of Jack, a bright high school kid who one day forgets to take the medicine he’s taken every day of his life, and discovers he’s not who he’s always thought himself to be. Soon he’s immersed in an astonishing world of magical beings, with a tie-in to the War of the Roses.

I really enjoyed the world-building in The Warrior Heir; urban fantasy remains a favorite of mine, but I’ve read enough in the genre to know that building a realistic world that fits snugly within our own modern world can be challenging. Chima pulls it off with aplomb, and offers up a great cast of characters and a gripping storyline as well.

Devil’s Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda

Devil's KissFresh from finishing The Warrior Heir, I plunged into Devil’s Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda.  In this darker novel, the order of the Knights Templar still exists, headquartered in Middle Temple in contemporary London, and its latest member is 16-year-old Billi SanGreal, the only female in the order – and Billi’s not at all certain she wants to live the harsh, violent life of a Templar.

This was another exciting read, although I did enjoy The Warrior Heir more. At times I found Billi to be just a little too full of angst for my taste – her desire for a normal teenage life is certainly understandable but she sometimes got too whiny and obstinate about it. After all, a small dose of angst goes a long way when there are terrible creatures to be fought and you and your fellow Knights are the only thing standing between humanity and the evil that seeks to plague them.  For the most part, though, I enjoyed her character, the storyline and the alternate world of the Knights Templar, filled as it is with mysticism, conflict and evil creatures.

Not to mention, Devil’s Kiss has one of the most compelling first lines I’ve read in a while:

Killing him should be easy; he’s only six.

What an irresistible opening line!

The Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

After finishing Devil’s Kiss, I found myself still hungry for urban fantasy, so I decided to go for a reread next.

The Forever KingThe Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy is an old favorite of mine. The book begins in New York City, where we meet Hal Woczniak, an alcoholic ex-FBI agent, Arthur Blessing, a ten-year-old orphan who lives with his Aunt Emily and a mysterious older gentleman by the name of Mr. Taliesin. Meanwhile, in a psychiatric hospital in England, a serial killer with no name who had entombed his victims in sculptures puts into motion a plan of escape.

The action moves quickly from the very start, and the storyline goes back and forth from contemporary to historical times. It is, as the title implies, a retelling of the Arthurian legend, with both a historical and a contemporary twist. At its core is the age-old fight for the Grail, a cup made of an unknown substance with miraculous healing powers.

Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print, but if you enjoy novels that involve Arthurian legend and a contemporary setting, this is a book to grab if you ever see a used copy floating around.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke

InkheartAnd finally, at long last, I started Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. This book has been in my TBR pile for a long time now, and it seemed like a natural book to reach for this weekend, since I was immersing myself in urban fantasy.

I’m in the middle of the book right now; it’s a good read, although I do find my interest flagging a little. I suspect, though, that things are just about to get exciting again, as Mo, Meggie’s father, has a certain plan up his sleeve and while I do have a good inkling what it involves, it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

This weekend of reading has also proved to be very educational too in terms of my writing – but I’ll save those thoughts for another post!

Audiobook Appreciation

I’m done with this most recent clump of deadlines! I don’t think I’ve worked at quite a pace like this for a long while – it’s been three to four weeks of fourteen hour days. I am very, very thankful for my audiobooks – I think they kept me sane in the midst of all those deadlines.

Audiobook Treasure Trove

headphones I was lucky enough to come down with a head cold for Christmas and Boxing Day, so I had a grand time those two days: I got to loll around while everyone took care of me, and to top it off, on Christmas Day, I discovered a virtual audiobook treasure chest! I spent most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day lying on the couch, listening to some great audiobooks and snacking on the most delicious foods.

If you live in Ontario, you might be able to take advantage of this audiobook treasure chest yourself. The Ontario Library Service Download Centre is available to all library patrons of participating Ontario libraries, and it is just wonderful. There are loads of audiobooks available for download, much like you would for Audible. The files are deleted at the end of your checkout period, but you can checkout each audiobook for one or two weeks, which is nice.

So far, in the past two weeks, I’ve listened to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent, Ellen Degeneres’ The Funny Thing Is, The Green Witch and The Grey King from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and The Bunnicula Collection by James and Deborah Howe.

Other Listens

The Price of Butcher's Meat

Over the past three weeks, I also enjoyed the audio versions of Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat (I listened to the British version, which is called A Cure for All Diseases) and Exit Lines. I’d already read A Cure for All Diseases earlier last year and loved it (my review is here) – it translated superbly into audio.

I also played several Agatha Christie audios while I was working – I find I can do “rereads” in audio, as well as memoirs and nonfiction, while I’m working; I somehow have the ability to follow along while getting my work done at the same time. Audiobooks don’t work well for work if they’re audios of books I haven’t read yet, though.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Links, Poirot Investigates and The Big Four helped me get through a lot of otherwise tedious work, so I’m very thankful for them!

Curtains for ThreeAnd finally, I listened to Rex Stout’s Curtains for Three, a trilogy of three Nero Wolfe novellas. I must admit, the first few times I listened to audiobook renditions of Nero Wolfe novels, I had a hard time getting used to the narrator, Michael Pritchard, because he didn’t sound quite like I always imagined Archie Goodwin would sound. But Pritchard’s voice has grown on me, and now my idea of Archie Goodwin sounds exactly like him! I like the way that worked out.

Coming Up

Thanks to the Ontario Library Service Download Centre, I have some more goodies waiting for my hearing pleasure this coming week:

About Face

About Face, by Donna Leon. I’ve been wanting to read a Commissario Guido Brunetti book for a while, and since this one was available for checkout, I decided to give it a try. I only just started listening to it last night, and it promises to be a good story.

Silver on the Tree

Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper. This is the final book in The Dark is Rising series. The version I have is narrated by Alex Jennings, and I started listening to a bit of it yesterday as well. I’m looking forward to finishing my reread of the series in audio.

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So Long as You Both Shall Live, by Ed McBain. This is my first 87th Precinct mystery; it’s a little bit challenging keeping track of all the names in audio, and the story line behind this one isn’t quite to my taste, but I will definitely be looking into reading more of the 87th Precinct series.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. I’ve had Bryson’s memoir on my shelf for ages; when I saw it was available at the OLS Download Centre, I decided to check it out, as I really enjoy listening to memoirs in audio.

And from my local library:

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. The audio version of The Thirteenth Tale came highly recommended – I seem to recall lots of people recommending it on Google Wave. So I thought I’d take the plunge and give it a first read in audio instead of in print.

I recently bought the following, which are waiting for me to get to them:

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. This is Book 1 of the Wheel of Time series – I began reading the series ages ago, but stopped at around Book 6 or 7. I recently received a review copy of the final book in the series, The Gathering Storm, which is written by Brandon Sanderson based on Robert Jordan’s extensive notes, so I thought it would be a good thing to reread the series. I’ve had so much luck with rereads in audio, I decided to give the audio version a try.

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. I have the first seven books in paperback, but haven’t read the Sookie Stackhouse series at all; a while back, I decided to give the first book a try in audio. I haven’t found myself in the mood for it yet, but I know I will soon – from what everyone’s been telling me, I’ll probably be hooked once I give it a try!

I also have two Audible credits to spend, and I’m thinking I’ll probably splurge on more Rex Stout and Reginald Hill.

So there you have it – audiobooks have managed to keep me on the reading track even while I was submerged up to my neck in deadlines! And yes, I’ve been feeling like a kid in a candy store …

Coming up this week: my giveaway winners! No, I haven’t forgotten about my giveaway. The winners post will be coming soon.

Photo credit

Incoming! Wondrous Strange, by Lesley Livingston

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Wondrous Strange, by Lesley Livingston

Wondrous StrangeAbout the Book:

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started to work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off- Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley’s about to step into the role of Titania the Faerie Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

Sonny is a Janus Guard, charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the land of Faerie, which lies within Central Park. For Sonny, the pretty, young actress is an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker, and he can’t get her out of his mind. As Hallowe’en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

Canadian author Lesley Livingston explodes onto the stage of teen fantasy with a debut novel—the first in a planned trilogy—that puts a fresh new spin on classic faerie lore. Wondrous Strange blends a gripping plot with fully believable characters, fascinating ideas and just the right amount of romance to create a story that is vivid, thrilling and engaging. Readers of Herbie Brennan, Holly Black and Melissa Marr will find a new favourite in Lesley Livingston.

First line: “Puck’s tortured words rang in Kelley’s ears as she lifted her head, struggling against the darkness that threatened to descend upon her.”

Received from: Harper Teen Canada thoughtfully slipped this in with an ARC I had requested from them.

My initial thoughts: This is one of my favorite types of novels: one that combines both a fantasy world with the everyday. It looks very interesting.

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

About the author: Lesley Livingston is a writer and actress living in Toronto. She has a master’s degree in English – specializing in Arthurian literature and Shakespeare – which does not, however, interfere with her love of shoes and shiny things. She is a principal performer and founding member of the Tempest Theatre Group. Wondrous Strange is her first novel.

Visit the author’s Website: Lesley Livingston

Video: Author Lesley Livingston on her new book Wondrous Strange:

Where to buy Wondrous Strange online:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Looking for Reviews?

Check out the following reviews of Wondrous Strange:

Teen Book Review

The Book Zombie

Dreaming of Books

Bookshelves of Doom

The Book Bind

Have you reviewed Wondrous Strange? Let me know, either by contacting me or in the comments below, and I will add your link to this list of reviews!

Mailbox Monday: A New (to me) Series

mailboxAfter last week’s enormous Mailbox Mondays post, I actually thought I wouldn’t have anything at all to include for today’s post. But as it turns out, I did receive some new books:

Contemporary romance: Sundays at Tiffany’s, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, which I won at A Circle of Books. I had this book in my TBR pile, but it was a library copy, so I was very happy to have won this one and return my library copy (which I had already renewed once).

Urban Fantasy: The Kitty Norville series, by Carrie Vaughn, courtesy of Hachette Book Group. I’m very excited about this series – it’s about werewolf/DJ Kitty Norville – and I will be hosting an author interview with Carrie Vaughn here during the book tour that will be hitting the blogosphere sometime near the end of March!

Spirituality: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, by Wayne Dyer. This book happened to catch my eye while I was out shopping; I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Tao for a while now, and it seemed to me that Dyer’s book would be an easy introduction.

Mailbox Monday is held every week at Marcia’s Printed Page – you can check what other book bloggers have received in their mailbox this past week. I love reading all the posts because I usually end up finding about a new-to-me book to add to my “I want that!” list.

Friday Finds: Another Eclectic Assortment

It’s Friday Finds again! Here are the books I’ve added to my “i-want” list this week:

Mystery: And Justice There is None, by Deborah Crombie. I read a review of this book at Kittling: Books and remembered how much I had enjoyed the first book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series I had read last summer, A Share in Death. I’ve put the remaining books in the series on my i-want list – I had enjoyed reading A Share in Death very much.

Food Writing: The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber, which I discovered while browsing through Beth Fish’s Weekly Discoveries (this is a wonderful feature at Beth’s blog – she posts her discoveries every Sunday). I’ll likely be getting a copy of this to review at Muse in the Kitchen, the food blog my husband and I have (he cooks, I eat – life’s pretty wonderful, isn’t it?).

World Lit: Family Planning, by Karen Mahajan. This is one of the reasons I love book blogging so much – Family Planning is normally a title I would have passed by, but I read the review of this book at She Is Too Fond of Books, and realized it was a book I’d probably love.

General Fiction: The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington, by Brian Francis. This is another book I would have missed if it weren’t for the book blogosphere – Joanne from Book Zombie has a great review of this book, and I immediately added it to my i-want list.

General Fiction: The End of East, by Jen Sookfong Lee. Joanne from Book Zombie mentions this book in her review of Fruit, and I knew I wanted to read this one too. It’s a generational story about a Chinese family in Vancouver, and since I am a Chinese daughter of immigrants who settled in Vancouver, I knew it was a book that I couldn’t resist adding to my TBR pile.

Urban Fantasy: Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead. I didn’t make a note of where I came across the Vampire Academy series, but it sounds like a whole load of fun – and I’m hoping Bookmooch will come through for me with this one (I find my library isn’t quite as up-to-date as I would like when it comes to urban fantasies).

So these are my finds for the week – make sure to check out what other book bloggers discovered this week at Friday Finds. It’s a great resource when you’re looking to add to your TBR pile. Now that I’ve signed up with Bookmooch – my username is msbookish and I’ve added a short list of books so far and two have been “mooched” already (both going to Germany! so I’ll be weighing the pros and cons of international shipping …) – I’ll probably add whichever titles on my i-want list that my library doesn’t have to my Bookmooch wish list.

Mailbox Monday: Another Eclectic Mix

It’s Mailbox Monday again, and here’s what arrived in Ms. Bookish’s household this past week:

Mystery/Thriller: The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer.

Chick Lit/Mystery: Big Boned, by Meg Cabot

General fiction/Holidays: The Christmas Train, by David Baldacci

Young adult/Fantasy: The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson

Thriller/Suspense: The Fire, by Katherine Neville

Romance: Sundays at Tiffany’s, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Graphic novel/Children’s book/Mystery: Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook Volume 2, by Liam O’Donnell and Michael Cho

Paranormal/Urban fantasy: Personal Demon, by Kelley ArmstrongYoung adult: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Children’s book: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look

Mystery: Santa Clawed, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Chick lit/Romance: Daring Chloe, by Laura Jensen Walker

Mystery: Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell

Children’s book/Fantasy: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

I suspect I’m going to have to start reading just a little bit faster to get through my TBR pile. Reviews on each of these will be upcoming as I get through them.