Week of October 14 Pull List: Potential Palate Cleansers for Too Much Paranormal YA Lit

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

I’m in disparate need of something different, something new, something that doesn’t involve teenagers.  Or at least something that doesn’t involve a love triangle with teenage supernatural beings.  I’m beginning to mix all the book I’ve been reading together into one giant annoying high school full of vampires, zombies, faeries and annoying teenage female protagonists with whom I’m supposed to identify.  I’m on the verge of declaring November “Read Whatever the Hell I Want Month Without Feeling Obligated” or “Clean Out My Bookshelves Month” or maybe even just “STEAMPUNK MONTH!” but whatever it is, I think November will be a time for palate cleansing from all the paranormal/urban fantasy YA I’ve been reading lately.  Perhaps one of these will be part of the palate cleansing (I imagine not the one with vampires)…

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen
Little, Brown & Company (09/28/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Would you kill to make the world a peaceful place?

Zed is an agent from the future. A place where all of the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair. 

His mission is to keep that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course, especially one just on the horizon.

Zed's mission will ensnare the lives of a disgraced former spy named Leo; a young lawyer, Tasha, grieving over the loss of her brother; Sari, the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? One that may have more cracks than he realizes?

The Revisionists is a literary tale of action and intrigue that puts a fresh spin on today's global crises, asking questions about the nature of history and the future, and our own roles in shaping them.

Time travel sounds nice.  It sounds like adventure and shenanigans and mystery and hard choices that don’t involve love.  It sounds like it won’t involve teenage angst or overly attractive supernatural males that captivate the main character so much she has to obsess over his hair.  This sounds perfect.

 

The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffin (Vampire Empire #1)
Pyr Books (11/10/10)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Vampire predators run wild in this exciting steampunk adventure, the first in an alternate history trilogy that is already attracting attention. In 1870, monsters rise up and conquer the northern lands. As great cities are swallowed up by carnage and disease, landowners and other elite flee south to escape their blood-thirsty wrath. One hundred fifty years later, the great divide still exists; fangs on one side of the border, worried defenders on the other. This fragile equilibrium is threatened, then crumbles after a single young princess becomes almost hopelessly lost in the hostile territory. At first, she has only one defender: a mysterious Greyfriar who roams freely in dangerous vampire regions.

There are those pesky vampires again and yet another plucky young heroine that finds herself in supernatural danger.  But this book gets points for:  A) having the vampires be bad guys, B) the whole steampunk thing, and C) STEAMPUNK VAMPIRES!  I think I could make an exception in my purge for steampunk vampires… as long as this Greyfriar guy isn’t some secret vampire with a conscience that falls madly in love with previously mentioned plucky young heroine, who obsessively describes the color of his hair.  I don’t know if I can handle that right now, even with the steampunk elements.

I can’t decide what I think of that cover.  What do you think?  Cheesy or kind of awesome?

Week of October 7 Pull List: Another Attempt at Angels, Elves and a Book Made Just for Me!

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

It’s been at least a month since the last time I put together one of these pull lists, but I think it’s a feature I’d like to have at least every other week or so.  In the last few weeks, I’ve discovered mostly up-coming books that sound interesting, but there have been a few already released books that caught my eye as well.  Here are some of the books that I stumbled upon over the last few weeks.  Warning: Includes spaceships and yet even more angels (and elves!)

The Pearl Wars by Nick James (Skyship Academy #1)
Flux (09/08/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

I’ve been reading so much YA with teenage female protagonists that take place in and around high school drama that I really need a break.  I need boys and fighting and no goo-goo eyes at the other gender.  I don't want to read anything else about glistening hair and gemstone-colored eyes.  What I need is a book about post-apocalyptic steampunk-ish space battles with superpowered protagonists to clean my palate.  Even if this didn’t sound like the perfect book to rid me of all the recently read books that are blurring together in my head, I would still buy it for that cover alone.  That cover hits so many of my reading want buttons, it’s ridiculous.  Add that the description hits everything I'm currently (and usually) looking for in a book, and it’s like it was written and packaged just for me.

And, this has nothing to do with anything, but the dude who wrote it is hot (which I discovered after deciding this book was made just for me).

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Week of September 2 Pull List: Warrior Angels to My Reading Rescue?

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

I have no idea what happened this week.  Perhaps it was the loss of brain cells from listening to Twilight or my sudden GetGlue addiction or diving into the blackhole that is the DC Comics archive, but I wouldn’t have discovered any new-to-me-books if it wasn’t for a reader suggestion.  I think I was too busy doing… stuff or something.  Anyway, this week I only have one book to add to the giant TBR pile, though perhaps that’s a good thing.  Another one or fifty weeks like this and I might actually make some meaningful progress on this pile…

 

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter #1)
Penguin (03/03/09)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.

On this week’s Waiting on Wednesday post about Daughter of Smoke & Bone, a lovely commenter by the name of Jessica suggested I might like Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series.  I think I had heard about this series before, but never in a way that caught my attention, but she said angels with “badass gritty tendencies” and I had to check it out.  While the cover is a little too grocery store romance for me, the plot does sound intriguing and it gets great reviews on Goodreads.  Not to mention Felicia Day likes it and she’s pretty awesome too.

 

All book blurbs pulled from the wonderful Goodreads.com

Week of August 26 Pull List: Mythology, More Apocalyses, Lizard People?

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

This was a bit of a slow week at work for me, so I spent more time than usual reading book blogs and book news and science fiction-y things on the Interweb.  This of course means I found more books that I will never have time to read, though they all sound potentially fascinating.  Here's this week's discoveries:

 

The Mythology of Supernatural: The Signs and Symbols Behind the Popular TV Show by Nathan Robert Brown
Berkley Trade (08/02/11)

Buy it from Amazon here

A look into the paranormal legends and lore features on the hit television show Supernatural.

From angels to demons,
The Mythology of Supernatural explores the religious roots and the ancient folklore of the otherworldly entities that brothers Sam and Dean Winchester face on the hit television show Supernatural-and that have inhabited the shadows of human imagination across countless cultures and centuries.

Uh, have you visited this blog before?

 

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror (2011 Edition) edited by Paula Guran
Prime Books (08/23/11)

Buy it from Amazon here

This incomparable annual compilation of the best short fiction and novellas features an unmatched variety of the quietly weird, the merely eerie, high fantasy, modern Lovecraftian horror, nightmarish near-future scenarios, the darkly humorous, the supernatural, and the monstrously mundane from the likes of established bestselling authors such as Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, and George R.R. Martin, and legendary writers like Joe R. Lansdale, Tanith Lee, and Gene Wolfe.

Neil Gaiman's name automatically makes this anthology one for me to find.  I've also read a couple of Holly Black's stories and enjoyed them.  I've come to find that I generally perfer anthologies to a single author's short story collection because there's more variety in not only subject, but also styles, characterization, and language.  I don't know how they've already found all the best fantasy and horror stories of the year and it not even being September yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what's included.

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Week of August 19 Pull List: A Classic and Some Crazy

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

I’m not entirely sure where this week went.  One moment I was grumbling as I got out of bed on Monday and the next I’m walking into my house Friday afternoon wondering what on my to-do list will get done this weekend (probably very little of it besides laundry… we’re running out of clothes).  Between seeing Fright Night, having dinner with family and my general blah-ness this week, I didn’t spend a lot of superfluous time on the Interwebs.  So not surprisingly this week was a bit light on discovering already released books that I’ve never heard before

 

The Family Fang: A Novel by Kevin Wilson
Ecco (8/1/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance–their magnum opus–whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.

Filled with Kevin Wilson’s endless creativity, vibrant prose, sharp humor, and keen sense of the complex performances that unfold in the relationships of people who love one another, The Family Fang is a masterfully executed tale that is as bizarre as it is touching.

I’d seen banner ads for this book for a few weeks now, but didn’t really “get” it until I read an actual review earlier this week.  I’m intrigued by the bizarre family dynamic and the resulting chaos of being raised in such an odd environment.  I think this is the closest to “real fiction” I’m willing to get these days – with a nice buffer of off-beat characters and with a nice helping of the bizarre added in.

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Week of Aug 12 Pull List: Secrets and Mysteries Rule This Week

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

Due to a family gathering last night and more family today, we’re a day late and my reasonings are a bit shorter than usual.  Here are the books I came across this week that caught my interest.

 

Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson
Orchard (6/2/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.


Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

Anything titled “Ultraviolet” automatically makes me think of vampires, so I’m glad this doesn’t really sound like it has to do with those fanged creatures.  The potential for supernatural powers seems to be the most obvious, but perhaps there could be other explanations to someone disintegrating into nothing.  Aliens, perhaps?  I don’t know, but this sounds like an interesting story concept.

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Week of August 5 Pull List: In Which I Confess Some of My Trigger Words

Anyone with a fondness for books knows how quickly a To Be Read pile can get out of control.  It seems the more I read, the more books end up on that pile.  These are the books that hit my radar and got added to that list over the past week.

We all have them.  Those trigger words that, if found in the description of a book, means it will automatically end up in the TBR pile even if you know nothing of the author or whether it’s even any good.  They can’t be resisted.  Even if the book is going to be bad, you need to at least try to read it because it has that thing that you like so much.  I have quite a few trigger words, mostly associated with different forms of dystopian or post-apocalyptic worlds, things that you would never, in a million years, want to exist in real life.

Once again, I learned of books this week that had most of my favorite trigger words – magic, alternate worlds, retelling of classic stories, the apocalypse, zombies… the things I can’t very well resist in a book (all we’re missing are spaceships, steampunk and robots). With all the books currently piling up around my ears, adding more to the TBR pile can be a bit daunting, but yet I continue to throw more on to the mountain.

I'd love to hear what your trigger words are.  Tell me about them in the comments!

 

Aftertime (Aftertime #1) by Sophie Littlefield
Luna (2/22/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

Someone once said that all apocalypses are experienced locally. In the case of Cass Dollar, the nightmare occurred with the violent abduction of two-year-old Ruthie, which she vividly remembers. Only later is young Cass assaulted also by the vague, twisting memories of a much wider conflagration that she herself only narrowly survived. A government experiment had turned the entire California landscape into the hunting grounds of zombie Beaters, but Cass can only think of the helpless toddler she is missing. A deeply arresting paperback original. Editor's recommendation.

Zombies, the apocalypse, check and check!  One of my favorite book reviewers, Paul Goat Allen from BarnesandNoble.com, called this series “The Stand in bra and panties”.  While that description in itself makes me cringe, he goes on to describe a trilogy that follows a struggling woman’s attempt to put her life back together during and after a bioterrorist-induced apocalypse.  It sounds like this book would have a much different outlook than most adult post-apocalyptic stories that usually have a male focus or a group of protagonists instead of focusing on how a woman would see it.  While there's still mention of a romance, it doesn't sound like a love triangle is involved (YAY!).  I like zombies and apparently there’s a group of survivors who have gone cannibalistic, which means that it’s probably pretty creepy.  How could I resist that?

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