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?


Mind the Gap (Hidden Cities #1) by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon
Spectra (5/20/08)

Purchase it from Amazon here

You never know when you’ll find yourself falling through one of the cracks in the world.…

Two of today’s brightest stars of dark fantasy combine their award-winning, critically acclaimed talents in this spellbinding new tale of magic, terror, and adventure that begins when a young woman slips through the space between our everyday world and the one hiding just beneath it.

Always assume there’s someone after you. That was the paranoid wisdom her mother had hardwired into Jasmine Towne ever since she was a little girl. Now, suddenly on her own, Jazz is going to need every skill she has ever been taught to survive enemies both seen and unseen. For her mother had given Jazz one last invaluable piece of advice, written in her own blood.

Jazz Hide Forever

All her life Jazz has known them only as the “Uncles,” and her mother seemed to fear them as much as depend on them. Now these enigmatic, black-clad strangers are after Jazz for reasons she can’t fathom, and her only escape is to slip into the forgotten tunnels of London’s vast underground. Here she will meet a tribe of survivors calling themselves the United Kingdom and begin an adventure that links her to the ghosts of a city long past, a father she never knew, and a destiny she fears only slightly less than the relentless killers who’d commit any crime under heaven or earth to prevent her from fulfilling it.

I actually read about the fourth book in this series, The Shadow Men, that recently came out.  The Hidden Cities series appears to cover a different protagonist in a different city in each book, making the stories themselves self-contained.  When I read the description of Mind the Gap, my mind immediately jumped to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which is one of my all-time favorite books and was probably my gateway into reading more “weird” fantasy and science fiction when I was a teenager.  I love the concept of another world hiding just below the surface of our own, where the things we can’t see are hiding, surviving and living right beneath the hubbub of our world.  Add in magic and this becomes a potential must read series.  I hope my library has a copy…


The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein
Tachyon (06/15/11)

Purchase it from Amazon here

An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale. When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, he quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women seem to believe that luck is their handmaiden, even though happiness does not necessarily follow. It is soon discovered that generations previous, the Feierabends made a contract with a powerful, otherworldly force, and it is up to Will and his best friend to unravel the riddle of this supernatural bargain in order to save Livvy from her predestined fate.

One of my other slightly obsessive reading compulsions – besides parallel universes/worlds hiding beside our own – is simply captured in the very first sentence of this description: “this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale”.  I don’t know what it is about hearing alternate takes of classic stories, either faerie tales, mythology or well-known tales such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, but I love them.  I like having something common and well-known suddenly be warped into something new, interesting and, preferably, dark and twisted.  While I can’t pick out the faerie tale referenced in this book off the top of my head from the jacket blurb, I don’t really care.  I like dark fantasy, especially when they involve deals with demons. (I think my Supernatural fandom is showing a little…)


All book blurbs pulled from the wonderful Goodreads.com