Unnormal Normalcy

Just News and Ramblings From Your Average Author

February Book Haul

Beyond the Pale by Mark Anthony

A strange rift in ordinary reality draws saloon owner Travis Wilder and ER doctor Grace Beckett into the otherworld of Eldh–a land of gods, monsters, and magic that is sorely in need of heroes.

From PaperbackSwap.

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A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

This ravishing winner of the ALA’s William C. Morris YA Debut Award is a fairy tale, spun with a mystery, woven with a family story, and shot through with romance.Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family’s woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father’s death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother’s ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she’s always called home.

From PaperbackSwap.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

Writing Something New

So, yes, I am doing exactly what the title says I am doing. I’m writing a novel about my favorite foursome; Coulta, Wildas, Myri, and Anil. And I’m posting it as I go, which is totally, completely new for me.

So, where can you find this?

At my page on GA. It’s a really cool site, by the way. Lots of excellent writing goes on there.

And no, I’m not doing a November book haul post, only because I just got one book. It was Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. And, because there are now exactly zero bookstores where I live (unless I want to drive forty minutes) it was a hassle getting it the day it came out. I went to K-Mart and it wasn’t there. I had to backtrack to get to Target, and there it was, on its nice display. Took my forever to find it, though. Barnes and Noble, why you no take over empty store left by Borders? I feel such sadness, having no bookstores here. I shouldn’t have to buy my books at Target if I don’t want to buy online! Sigh, and end rant.

Clearly, I’m exhausted and should get some sleep. Wait, what is sleep?

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul, Vows From Darkness, Writing | Leave a comment

October Book Haul

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs the footsteps of Ringil Eskiath–Gil, for short–a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose world-weary cynicism is surpassed only by the quickness of his temper and the speed of his sword. That sword, forged by a vanished eldritch race known as the Kiriath, has brought him unlooked-for notoriety, as has his habit of poking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but that doesn’t stop his mother from enlisting his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery. Grumbling all the way, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one luckless young woman. Grim sorceries that have not been seen for centuries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of an all-but-legendary race known as the Aldrain, cruel yet beautiful demons feared even by the Kiriath.

Now Gil and two old comrades–Egar, a fierce warrior from the savage Majak tribes, and Archeth, a half-Kiriath fighter still mourning her departed brethren–are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.

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The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff

THIEF, SWORDSMAN, AND WIZARDESS

AARON. Clan Heir, he has fled his people when his beloved was slain by his own father’s command, abandoning his training, duty and beliefs to become a thief. A master of his trade, he now dared the odds in Ischia, city of the volcano, where the price of being caught was death.

DARVISH. Prince of Ischia, third son of a king who had no intention of giving up his throne. The prince was a drunkard, a lover, and a wastrel, yet was gifted with sword skills and with the ability to charm all around him. But not even his charm could free him from the political marriage now being planned.

CHANDRA. Born a princess, she had chosen to become a Wizard of the Nine, that rarest of beings, able to master all the forms that sorcery could take. Now, promised as Darvish’s bride, she undertook a desperate journey to Ischia to convince him they must not wed.

Aaron, Darvish, Chandra–three strangers whose fates were about to become interwined. For someone had stolen The Stone, the magical talisman which stood between Ischia and the volcano’s wrath. And unless the three could learn to work together on a quest to find the Stone, Ischia would drown in a sea of lava….

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Transformation by Carol Berg

This classic coming-of-age fantasy is told with a twist-and it’s already gathering praise for its unique voice and imagination…

Enter an exotic world of demons, of a remarkable boy-prince, of haunted memories, of the terrors of slavery, and of the triumphs of salvation.

Enter the incredible new world of Carol Berg…

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Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal-fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.

Author Biography: A martial arts enthusiast whose resum&eacute includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son, and a ferocious guard dog.

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Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good….and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission….and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair….and beyond.

Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart, a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.

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The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin

The comfortable world of Martris Drayke, second son of King Bricen of Margolan, is shattered when his older half-brother, Jared, and Jared’s dark mage, Foor Arontala, kill the king and seize the throne. Tris is the only surviving member of the royal family aside from Jared the traitor. Tris flees with three friends: Soterius, captain of the guard; Carroway, the court’s master bard; and Harrtuck, a member of the royal guard. Tris harbors a deep secret. In a land where spirits walk openly and influence the affairs of the living, he suspects he may be the mage heir to the power of his grandmother, Bava K’aa, once the greatest sorceress of her age. Such magic would make Tris a Summoner, the rarest of magic gifts, capable of arbitrating between the living and the dead.

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The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.

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All of these books are from PaperBack Swap.

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

September Ebook Haul

So, I told myself not to get buy any more books until my stack was down to ten or less (I only list the next ten to read in the sidebar), but my ebook list was well below ten, so I got some more of those. Here they are.

The Dome by Nova Sparks

What if you knew the exact date and time the world will end, what would you do? Sam Tucker was faced with that dilemma when he began getting visions of the Earth’s demise. Luckily for him, he was able to save his family and as many people as he could before the tragic event occurred, and he did so with the help of unknown visitors. With Earth now destroyed, Sam, his family and thousands of other lucky survivors must live the rest of their lives on a faraway planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. But Sam’s mind can’t seem to rest as a few questions arise. Why did the aliens save them? How did they know about Earth’s sure fate? And exactly what are they hiding?

Emma Tucker begged for an escape from her boring life but never in a million years did she think it would come at the destruction of Earth. Living on a new planet and finding it difficult to get rid of her rebellious habits, Emma finds herself making friends with a member of the alien race and it soon develops into an unexplainable love; a love that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine. While her father is searching for his own truths, she has no idea that she is stumbling on a truth of her own.

Told from the point of view of both Sam and Emma, author Nova Sparks takes readers on a journey to discover love, fate, faith, truth and the mystery of the DOME!

Source: the author

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Blue by Russ Gregory

One-hundred-and-three-year-old nursing home resident Ruth Brookes holds the key to an unsolved series of murders, and what she knows has never been more important. A psychotic killer is once again stalking gay men in the streets of Austin.

Meanwhile, Matt Bell has finally decided to break out of the social isolation he’s lived in since being shot by the still-at-large killer, and meets the handsome, broody, and shy Thatcher. Both men are fighting their own demons as the killings start again. Soon the body count is rising and their friends are dropping like flies.

Will Ruth give up her secrets in time to stop the madman before Matt and Thatcher find themselves in the crosshairs of his rifle? Only Ruth knows for sure, because life is seldom black and white—more often it is just shades of blue.

Source: NetGalley

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Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they’re ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone’s sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they’ve so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.

Ty and Zane, along with Ty’s father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods… where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.

Source: NetGalley

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The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley

A strong-willed 16-year-old girl fights for survival in 18th-century North America.

Françoise Laurent has never had an easy life. The only surviving child of a destitute washerwoman and wayward soldier, she must rely only on herself to get by. When her parents die suddenly from the smallpox ravishing New France, Françoise sees it as a chance to escape the life she thought she was trapped in.

Seizing her newfound opportunity, Françoise takes a job as an aide to the wife of a wealthy fur trader. The poverty-ridden world she knew transforms into a strange new world full of privilege and fine things — and of never having to beg for food. But Françoise’s relationships with the other servants in Madame Pommereau’s house are tenuous, and Madame Pommereau isn’t an easy woman to work for. When Françoise is caught stealing a pair of her mistress’s beautiful gloves, she faces a future even worse than she could have imagined: thrown in jail, she is sentenced to death by hanging. Once again, Françoise is left to her own devices to survive . . . Is she cunning enough to convince the prisoner in the cell beside her to become the hangman and marry her, which, by law, is the only thing that could save her life?

Based on an actual story and filled with illuminating historical detail, The Hangman in the Mirror transports readers to the harsh landscape of a new land that is filled with even harsher class divisions and injustices.

Source: NetGalley

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Saw a Rainbow by Bryan R. Dennis

Dante Salazar doesn’t know if he’s a drunk who dreamt he was an ancient general, or an ancient general dreaming he’s a drunk. He wakes in Las Vegas, imprisoned in an identity that doesn’t fit him, married to someone he doesn’t remember, and tormented by a stranger who won’t show his face.

A woman named Lucia haunts his memories. His love for her is the only thing that has endured the mysterious fate befallen him. What follows is one man’s search for answers. Why does he feel like an imposter in his own skin? Which memories can he trust? How will he find his lost love? And – most troubling of all – what lies buried in his back yard?

At 97,000 words SAW A RAINBOW is a metaphysical suspense that delves into the chains of despair, the bonds of love, and the importance of free will.

Source: the author

October 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

August Ebook Haul

Daughter of the Centaurs by K.K. Ross

Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

Kate Klimo has masterfully created a new world, which at first seems to be an ancient one or perhaps another world altogether, but is in fact set on earth sometime far in the future.

My review will be posted soon!

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Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

Football, friends, and film are the most important parts of Simon Murray’s life, likely in that order. Despite being lonely, Simon is cautious about looking for more, and his best friends despair of him ever finding that special someone to share his life. Against his will, they drag him to a party, where Simon barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler — unaware that the athlete is present and listening. Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, Victoria, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are deemed gods and treated as such — until they do something to cause them to fall out of public favour. Declan is suffering a horrendous year of injuries, and the public is taking him to task for it, so Simon’s support is a bright spot in his struggles. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever. As Simon and Declan fumble toward building a relationship together, there is yet another obstacle in their way: keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret amidst the intrusion of well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media. They realise that nothing remains hidden forever… and they know the situation will only become more complicated when Declan’s private life is revealed. Declan will be forced to make some tough choices that may result in losing either the career he loves or the man he wants. And Simon has never been known to make things easy — for himself or for others.

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Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke by Connie Bailey

Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them.

When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.

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Speaking Out edited by Steve Berman

Speaking Out features stories for and about LGBT and Q teens by fresh voices and noted authors in the field of young adult literature. These are inspiring stories of overcoming adversity (against intolerance and homophobia) and experiencing life after “coming out.” Queer teens need tales of what might happen next in their lives, and editor Steve Berman showcases a diversity of events, challenges, and, especially, triumphs.

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Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles—until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

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All ebooks are from NetGalley.

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

August Book Haul

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he’s got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.
When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father’s brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magnet possibly have in common with his gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle who lives in a trailer in upstate New York? A lot more than you’d think. And when Liam attempts to make himself over as a nerd in a desperate attempt to impress his father, it’s his “aunt” Pete and the guys in his band who convince Liam there’s much more to him than his father will ever see.

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Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher

In Violet Haberdasher’s Knightley Academy, the first commoner accepted at a prestigous boarding school uncovers a conspiracy that could lead to war.

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Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

In Magic’s Pawn, an ancient age in the history of Valdemar comes to life–an age when the kingdom was ravaged by the ungoverned fury of bandit warlords, ferocious ice dragons, and the wild magic of wizards. A new addition to Lackey’s Valdemar kingdom–and her most powerful series to date!

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Eon by Alison Goodman

Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he’s been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

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The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

It’s Dade’s last summer at home, and things are pretty hopeless. He has a crappy job, a “boyfriend” who treats him like dirt, and his parents’ marriage is falling apart. So when he meets and falls in love with the mysterious Alex Kincaid, Dade feels like he’s finally experiencing true happiness. But when a tragedy shatters the final days of summer, he realizes he must face his future and learn how to move forward from his past.

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Bait by Alex Sanchez

When a guy in his class looks at him funny, Diego punches him in the face, and ends up on probation. At first he wants nothing to do with his probation officer. But as Diego starts to open up, he begins to realize that Mr. Vidas is the first person in his life who ever really wanted to listen to him. With Vidas’s help, Diego begins to make real progress in controlling his anger. He even opens up enough to tell Vidas about the shark tooth that his stepfather gave him that he uses to cut himself. But only if Diego can find the courage to trust Vidas with the darkest secrets from his past will he be able to heal completely.

In this bold story of a boy trying to grow beyond a painful past, award-winning author Alex Sanchez calls upon his personal experience as a probation officer to reveal the complexities of one of his most genuinely realized characters to date.

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All of these were books I got from Barnes and Noble.

Part II: August Ebook Haul… will be posted shortly!

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

July Book Haul

The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss

Lucy Derrick is a young Regency woman of good breeding and poor finances: after the death of her father, she is forced to maintain a shabby dignity as an unwanted boarder with her unpleasant uncle, fending off marriage to the local mill owner, Mr. Olson. But her prospects of even that unwanted match are complicated by the appearance of a beautiful stricken man who appears on the family doorstep begging her not to marry Mr. Olson just as he collapses. This appearance seems to open the door to a series of increasingly strange occurrences surrounding Lucy. Soon it becomes clear that there is more at stake than her own happiness — and that she is caught between two forces, one ancient and one modern — and that the soul of her very country is at stake.

From Goodreads First Reads.

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Beastly by Alex Flinn

Love is never ugly

Now a major motion picture starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer.

I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll,stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Bought at Target.

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

The last book I will ever buy from Borders. Sad faces.

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Airs of Night and Sea by Toby Bishop

Driven by insane jealousy, Duke William is determined to found his own flying school, where the valuable flying horses of Oc will learn to bond with well-born young men instead of arrogant women. Now, Larkyn Hamley and her beloved Black Seraph must gather all of their allies from the air to the ground. For if they do not soar now, none will ever see the skies again.

Got this from PaperbackSwap.

 

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

June Book Haul

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

This was a RAK from Ann at Semisweet! Thanks!

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Airs and Graces by Toby Bishop

Since bonding with a winged foal by accident, Larkyn Hamley has risen from a wild country girl to become one of the finest students at the Academy of the Air. But Duke William, the new ruler of Oc, is obsessed with riding a winged horse himself, and his madness leads him to ignore his traditional duties to protect the Duchy.

Now it’s Larkyn who must take flight to save her country, her Academy, and her own life.

I got this book from Paperback Swap. It’s the second book in a series.

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Hero by Perry Moore

The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his dad, Hal’s, pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he’s been asked to join the League–the very organization of superheroes that spurned his father. The most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he’s gay.

But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world for Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide, but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.

To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagine. To find happiness, he’ll have to come to terms with his father’s past and discover the kind of her he really wants to be.

I bought this book from Barnes and Noble. Looking forward to reading it.

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John  Green and David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them both legions of faithful fans.

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble at the same time that I bought Hero. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while.

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Iron House by John Hart

An old man is dying.

When the old man is dead they will come for him.

And they will come for her, to make him hurt.

John Hart has written three New York Times bestsellers and won an unprecedented two back-to-back Edgar Awards. Now he delivers his fourth novel—a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thriller no reader will soon forget.

HE WOULD GO TO HELL

At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time to kill, time for two young orphans to learn that life isn’t won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is fearless and fiercely protective. When tensions boil over and a boy is brutally killed, there is only one sacrifice left for Michael to make: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him.

TO KEEP HER SAFE

For two decades, Michael has been an enforcer in New York’s world of organized crime, a prince of the streets so widely feared he rarely has to kill anymore. But the life he’s fought to build unravels when he meets Elena, a beautiful innocent who teaches him the meaning and power of love. He wants a fresh start with her, the chance to start a family like the one he and Julian never had. But someone else is holding the strings. And escape is not that easy. . . .

GO TO HELL, AND COME BACK BURNING

The mob boss who gave Michael his blessing to begin anew is dying, and his son is intent on making Michael pay for his betrayal. Determined to protect the ones he loves, Michael spirits Elena—who knows nothing of his past crimes, or the peril he’s laid at her door— back to North Carolina, to the place he was born and the brother he lost so long ago. There, he will encounter a whole new level of danger, a thicket of deceit and violence that leads inexorably to the one place he’s been running from his whole life: Iron House.

I believe I received this through Goodreads’ First Reads program. Sounds really good.

July 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

The Greatness of Kindness

So, every month there is this awesome thing going on among book bloggers called Random Acts of Kindness, or RAK (click the banner in the sidebar to the right!), but May was the first month I participated. I was so happy to receive one book for my first month, The Hunger Games. I have been wanting to read this series for a while now, and I send a huge thank you to Ann at Semisweet for sending it my way! You are awesome!

Now, time for some music, because it’s Sunday! But, I can’t think of any good songs right now, so just watch something that is really freaking awesome and musical.

June 5, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul, Reading, Soundtrack Sunday | Leave a comment

May Book Haul

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (from publisher through Shelf Awareness)

Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigage purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

This is an ARC of a novel previously published in Spain. The American version will be published June 28th.

The publisher also sent a copy of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which partially inspired The Map of Time.

I love the cover, by the way.

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Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli (from Paperback Swap)

This personal and in-depth look at the dizzying pop-cultural phenomenon surrounding the Harry Potter series is written by the webmistress of the most popular and most trusted Harry Potter fan site on the Internet.

Yes, it’s nonfiction. I thought it sounded rather interesting. I have always been fascinated by the crazy Harry Potter fans.

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The Passage by Justin Cronin (from Goodreads First Reads)

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy–abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl—and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

I’m daunted by this book. Over 700 tissue-paper thin pages. But the story sounds awesome, so I will get through it. Or die trying.

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Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky (from Goodreads First Reads)

When Susan Tate’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily’s best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter’s pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.

The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?

Hopefully I can get through The Passage and get to this book at some point.

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Snotty Saves the Day by Tod Davies (from Goodreads First Reads)

A manuscript arrives by Owl, left under an old fir tree in the snow. Another world’s scientists have discovered that the laws of the universe are found in—fairy tales. The greatest of these laws? That in the endless fight against evil, the toughest warriors come from the most despised group of all: the smallest, the poorest, the funniest.

Is it true that this story of a snotty little boy, who falls through a rabbit hole into another world and battles giant garden gnomes with the help of a teddy bear army, holds this secret of the universe? Snotty travels through fantastic lands, meeting angels, dragons, fairy tale creatures, and a unicorn, battling a gorgeous enemy who seeks to hide the truth of things. The truth of who Snotty really is, and of what his world can become. Can a horrible little child really have the power to change everything?

Is it true? Can Snotty save the day?

A fairy tale within a fairy tale with footnotes from another world. Read the book and see what happens next. It just might be that if we knew who we were, we could change our world too.

An Exterminating Angel Press fairy tale for adults of all ages.

I’m actually really looking forward to reading this. Sounds very different.

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The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (from Goodreads First Reads)

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl. An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.

I’m really looking forward to reading this, too. Hopefully I manage to get this far through the stack at some point!

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Book Haul | Leave a comment

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