My Giveaways & Announcements
★ new rating system with umbrellas! because they are cute! ☂☂☂
★ new giveaway coming soon!

★ GIVEAWAY: Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings! (US/Canada)
2 copies with signed bookplates! ends December 21st!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

award+link: Over the Top Award + Blowout Giveaway!

Received from GAL Novelty 8D

1. Thank and post URL to the blog that gave the award.

2. Pass the award along to 6 brilliantly over the top blogs (blogs you love!) Alert them so they know to receive the award.

3 Copy and paste this quiz... Change the answers, ONE word only. (2 are acceptable!)

The Quiz:
o1. Where is your cell phone? desk
o2. Your hair? black
o3. Your mother? smart
o4. Your father? ambitious
o5. Your favorite food? Chinese
o6. Your dream last night? traumatic
o7. Your favorite drink? tea
o8. Your dream/goal? satisfaction
o9. What room are you in? dorm
1o. Your hobby? drawing/reading
11. Your fear? driving
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? job
13. Where were you last night? here
14. Something that you aren't? male
15. Muffins? cupcakes?
16. Wish list item? time
17. Where did you grow up? China/Canada
18. Last thing you did? eat
19. What are you wearing? black tee
2o. Your TV? nonexistent
21. Your pets? nonexistent
22. Friends?
23. Your life? uncertain
24. Your mood? lazy
25. Missing someone? family
26. Vehicle? bike
27. Something you're not wearing? dress
28. Your favorite store? used books
29. Your favorite color? red
3o. When was the last time you laughed? morning
31. Last time you cried? forgot
32. Your best friend? multiple
33. One place that I go to over and over? bed?
34. One person who emails me regularly? AhYuan
35. Favorite place to eat? with family

The Blogs:
o1. Misty at Book Rat
o2. Nely at All About {n}
o3. Taschima at Bloody Bookaholic
o4. Robby at Running for Fiction
o5. Drey at drey's library
o6. Jenny at Wondrous Reads

Aaand there's yet another huge-ish contest over at Taschima's blog:
BloodyBookaholic's Christmas/Hanukkah/Whatever you believe in Blowout!
Here is the prize list:
- ARC Eyes Like Stars ♥
- Signed ARC Hush Hush ♥
- ARC Ash ♥
- ARC The Demon's Lexicon
- ARC Betraying Season
- The Black Tatto + poster
- I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
- Candle Man, Book One
- Deadtown ♥
- Lenore Noogies
- The anticipated sequel of The Nanny Diaries, The Nanny Returns
- Never After by Dan Elconsin
- Secret Society signed book and an Ambassador Kit
- Gift Cards!
There will be three winners, and other "bonus" prizes too!
If you sign up, please say ninefly referred you!

In My Mailbox 2009/11/29

Each week I will post a list of the books I've borrowed, received, or bought. I will keep a weekly tally in each post, as well as a yearly one on the sidebar. All books with PoC themes/authors will be listed for the "New Crayons" meme.
All prices are listed in Canadian dollars.
(hosted weekly by The Story Siren / The Printed Page; New Crayons by Color Online)

not a vlog, but a photo to compensate =D

Tally for 09/11/29
Borrowed: 0
Received: 2
Bought: 0
Total Cost: $0.00

Saturday, November 28, 2009

link: Ginormous 100 and 300 Followers Contests!

I usually don't do posts for single contests, but dude this contest has a gajillion books I really really want *Q*

Ginormous 100 Followers Contest @ In Which a Girl Reads

Some of the ones I REALLY want:
- Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Maragaret Stohl
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Wake by Lisa McMann
- Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- Gone by Michael Grant
And of course there's MORE! Three winners in all!

Also, another great contest:
300 Followers Contest @ Tynga's Urban Fantasy reviews!

What I'm interested in:
- Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
- The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
- Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
- Soulless by Gail Carriger
- Flesh Circus by Lilith Staintcrow
Four winners in all, the fourth of whom will receive a custom made blog button! =3
If you sign up, please say ninefly referred you, thanks!

Books Received

Giveaways are awesome places to find new (and old) books of interest. I've entered A Great Many and won quite a lot of books since I've started my blog, and I'm starting to receive some review copies as well. This will be a post where I gather all of my wins and thank the generous givers!

Books I've Received
books won: 54
books for review: 5

note: book covers link to Amazon, titles link to goodreads
note2: e-books are denoted with a "e"

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo'09 Cover WIP

Filler post!

It may seem like I'm slacking off on my NaNoWriMo novel, but in reality I'm working on it! ...the cover that is 8D;
Well, I haven't actually decided the exact cover, but this can serve as a character page too.

progress: 2009.11.20 (click for larger view)

Er, ignore the weird background, it's a temp texture that I'll probably replace later when I draw in the actual forest...
I'm not done adjusting the colours and highlights either, so some of it looks off. This obviously isn't the whole image, I've got a full body shot with the skin and feathers mostly coloured in. Been working on it on and off for about a week now.

progress: 2009.11.27 (click for larger view)

Reworked some of the colours and upped the contrast a lot =D Background still mysteriously missing *cough* You can see a peek of the fire on the edge >D
Gonna try and aim for 20k words for Nano this year...50k is IMPOSSIBLE D8

Ah Yuan, no matter what you say this is going towards my wordcount dammit >P

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday (4)

A weekly event on my blog where every Wednesday I post about 5-10 books (not necessarily pre-release or new) that I've just added to my wishlist, along with a little blurb on why I want to read it.

Let's try the theme thing agian 8D


Me, Myself and Ike
by K.L. Denman
release date: 1 October 2009
After watching a tv program about Otzi, a 5,000-year-old "Ice Man," Kit's friend Ike becomes convinced that Kit's destiny is to become the next ice man — a source of information for future generations. Together they obtain artifacts they think will accurately reflect life in the early twenty-first century and plan their journey to a nearby mountain. Kit gets tattoos similar to Otzi's, writes a manifesto and tries to come to terms with making the ultimate sacrifice. As he grows more and more agitated and isolated, his family and friends suspect that something is terribly wrong, but before they can discover the true severity of the situation, Kit and Ike set off on what could be their last journey.

Why it's on my wishlist
About a schizophrenic dude who is planning to "iceman" himself - basically freeze himself with modern artifacts (ex. Blackberry, condoms, etc.) for future humans to discover. "Ike" is the voice of a recently discovered caveman that Kit (tha narrator) hears inside his head. I'm very taken by the premise, and plus it is set in Canada 8D And of course the cover looks hauntingly gorgeous.

How to Make Friends with Demons
by Graham Joyce
release date: 15 November 2008
William Heaney is a man well acquainted with demons. Not his broken family - his wife has left him for a celebrity chef, his snobbish teenaged son despises him, and his daughter's new boyfriend resembles Nosferatu - nor his drinking problem, nor his unfulfilling government job, but real demons. For demons are real, and William has identified one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven smoky figures, dwelling on the shadowy fringes of human life, influencing our decisions with their sweet and poisoned voices. After a series of seemingly unconnected personal encounters - with a beautiful and captivating woman met in the company of an infuriating poet, a troubled and damaged veteran of Desert Storm with demons of his own, and an old school acquaintance with whom he shared a mystical occult ritual - William Heaney's life is thrown into a direction he does not fully comprehend. Past and present collide. Long-dormant choices and forgotten deceptions surface. Secrets threaten to become exposed. To weather the changes, William Heaney must learn one thing: how to make friends with demons.

Why it's on my wishlist
This sounds hilarious actually. A government worker who identifies "demons" (1567 so far) that live in the shadows and try to manipulate us. I've categorized this as mental issues/wackiness because I'm still not quite sure the narrator is sane lol. The plot summary also seems along the lines of "wacky paranormal" with eccentric characters and an even more eccentric plot. Plus, you know, hilarity.


Vineart Wars #1:
Flesh and Fire
by Laura Anne Gilman
release date: 13 October 2009
Fourteen centuries ago, all power was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft the spell-wines. But the people revolted against harsh rule, and were saved by a demigod called Sin-Washer, who broke the First Vine, shattering the hold of the prince-mages.
In 1378 ASW, princes still rule, but Vinearts now make spellwines, less powerful than in days of old. Jerzy, a young slave, has just begun his studies to become a Vineart when his master uncovers the first stirrings of a plot to finish the work Sin-Washer began, and shatter the remains of the Vine forever. Only his master believes the magnitude and danger of this plot. And only Jerzy has the ability to stop it...before there are no more Vinearts left at all.

Why it's on my wishlist
Very unique magic that involves wine. The guilty-by-association vibe (since the princes aren't the only ones using Vineart anymore) looks to be a very interesting direction of development. Also, the cover is growing on me because I seem to have a baggy-clothes fetish XDDD;

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts
by Ying Chang Compestine | Illust. Coleman Polhemus
release date: 27 October 2009
According to Chinese tradition, those who die hungry or unjustly come back to haunt the living. Some are appeased with food. But not all ghosts are successfully mollified. In this chilling collection of stories, Ying Chang Compestine takes readers on a journey through time and across different parts of China. From the building of the Great Wall in 200 BCE to the modern day of iPods, hungry ghosts continue to torment those who wronged them.
At once a window into the history and culture of China and an ode to Chinese cuisine, this assortment of frightening tales - complete with historical notes and delectable recipes - will both scare and satiate!

Why it's on my wishlist
Chinese ghost stories! This is a short story collection of historical events that center around the belief that ghosts who feel they've died unjustly/hungry come back to haunt us. It promises a look into tales set in both past and contemporary China, as well as an emphasis on Chinese cuisine ♥

Collegia Magica #1:
The Spirit Lens
by Carol Berg
release date: 5 January 2010
In a kingdom on the verge of a grand renaissance, where natural science has supplanted failing sorcery, someone aims to revive a savage rivalry...
For Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, sorcery's decline into ambiguity and cheap illusion is but a culmination of life's bitter disappointments. Reduced to tending the library at Sabria's last collegia magica, he fights off despair with scholarship. But when the king of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled.
As the king's new agente confide, Portier - much to his dismay - is partnered with the popinjay Ilario de Sylvae, the laughingstock of Sabria's court. Then the need to infiltrate a magical cabal leads Portier to Dante, a brooding, brilliant young sorcerer whose heretical ideas and penchant for violence threaten to expose the investigation before it's begun. But in an ever-shifting landscape of murders, betrayals, old secrets, and unholy sorcery, the three agentes will be forced to test the boundaries of magic, nature, and the divine...

Why it's on my wishlist
I recently bought Transformation (by the same author) and her name caught my eye as I was browsing through Cherry Mischievous' blog. I'm really looking forward to the themes of science triumphing over weakening magic, and the bitter misfit hero. And of course, like in Transformation, men who dislike each other but have to work together is a favourite premise of mine XD;


The Queen's Thief #1:
The Thief
by Megan Whalen Turner
release date: 31 October 1996
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Why it's on my wishlist
This kid steals the King's seal just to prove he can. He's thrown in jail and then "released" when the King's assistant asks him to help him steal a magic stone thing for the King. I realize that this may be for a younger audience (Gr.6+) but it promises a "surprise ending", and I'm already half in love with the "honourable thief" character of Gen from the summary alone.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
by Allison Hoover Bartlett
release date: 17 September 2009
Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.
Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed "bibliodick" (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love.

Why it's on my wishlist
"The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession"!! A rare-book thief who steals for the love of books instead of profit. I really do love stories about thieves, especially sympathetic ones whom you can identify with (though not necessarily on a criminal level), and the "detective"/writer of this book explores all aspects of literary obsession and understanding the impulse to steal these books. Also this is non-fiction, and I do enjoy narratives of true crime.

I think I'll stick to this themed format for future posts =D

That's all for this week, you can see my full wishlist at goodreads.

Friday, November 20, 2009

review: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club
by Chuck Palahniuk

The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.
Chuck Palahniuk's outrageous and startling debut novel that exploded American literature and spawned a movement. Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with white-collar jobs and failed lives take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it's only the beginning of his plans for violent revenge on an empty consumer-culture world.

adult fiction ; speculative { genre
R for violence and sexual content { rating
August 19, 1996 { first released
W.W. Norton paperback (218 pages) { review edition
bought at full price { acquisition ; ; IndieBound ; Book Depository { purchase links

Why I Read This
Assigned for my Media Theory: Consumerism class.

First Lines
Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die. For a long time though, Tyler and I were best friends. People are always asking, did I know about Tyler Durden.

Overall Rating

A psychological thriller with overt critique on consumerism and wasteful spending, as well as the meaning of being a man in a "generation of men raised by women". The narrator is unintentionally funny in the deadpan way, and while the story skips between events and timelines, it is all the more like you are living inside his insomnia-plagued head. The twist at about two-thirds of the way in was very well played, and ties together a lot of the quirks and seemingly innocently repeated lines since the beginning. There are blatant statements of misogyny towards women, but then again this book details all the wrong ways consumer madness can go. Very effective as a critique, but also works as a grossly intricate and thrilling story.

review posted at, Book Depository, goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari

Thursday, November 19, 2009

award: One Lovely Blog

Ah Yuan over at GAL Novelty has passed this award on to me 8D

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs you've recently discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Okay, as most of the blogs I've seen already seem to have the award, I'll just list as many as I can, hopefully without reawarding them...

o1. La Femme Readers
o2. Bookalicious
o3. simple life and reading
o4. all about {n}
o5. My Overstuffed Bookshelf
o6. Book Rat
o7. Cherry Mischievous
o8. The Neverending Shelf
o9. sharon loves books and cats
1o. reading nook

And I would like to thank everyone who's followed my blog so far! I'm very happy that my blog is of interest to you! =)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday (3)

A weekly event on my blog where every Wednesday I post about 5-10 books (not necessarily pre-release or new) that I've just added to my wishlist, along with a little blurb on why I want to read it.

There are themes today! Yay!


Mrs. Beast
by Pamela Ditchoff
release date: January 1999 / 25 March 2009
The novel begins with Beauty shortly after her marriage to the prince when she finds herself wishing she had her beloved Beast back rather than the vain and eccentric prince. She embarks on a quest through Grimm Land to find the enchantress than changed him and convince her to change him back to the Beast. Along the way, she meets Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella and learns what became of them after marrying their princes. This is a humorous, dark, edgy, bawdy and intelligent riff on the fairy tale genre.

Why it's on my wishlist
This is being reissued in a book version in 2009 I think. It is a fairy tale "continuation" focusing on Beauty, who wants her Beast back rather than the arrogant Prince she married, so she travels to find the Enchantress who had first laid the curse on the Prince. She meets Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella on her journey and see how their lives turned out after their own Happily Ever Afters. I've always been curious when I was a kid as to what happened to the princesses after their marriage (though Disney has dished out some sequels), and this promises a "humorous, dark, edgy, bawdy and intelligent riff on the fairy tale genre", so it definitely makes it to my to-read list.

Fairy Tales #1:
by Mercedes Lackey
release date: 27 December 1996
Tsar Ivan has eight sons; all are brutes like himself except for happy-go-lucky, least-favored Ilya. Cast out through the machinations of his jealous, competitive brothers, Ilya stumbles onto an enchanted castle, distressed damsels, a garden of questing princes turned to stone, and the secret of the shapeshifting woman called the Firebird. In love with a captive princess, Ilya enlists the Firebird and a charming, crafty vixen to help him battle the sorcerer. But is settling down with a princess what "happily ever after" really means?

Why it's on my wishlist
This is supposedly in the same "series" as Lackey's other book that I read: The Black Swan. I really enjoyed her retelling in that novel and this one is about a Russian fairy tale. The main character is the "happy-go-lucky, least-favored Ilya" of a brutish family, and is about his journey through falling in love with a captive princess, befriending a crafty vixen, and finding the true meaning of Happily Ever After. I'm kind of rooting for the vixen since the summary hints at the princess only being the "obvious" romantic interest, but not necessarily the one the boy ends up with.


The Rise of Renegade X
by Chelsea Campbell
release date: 11 May 2010
Damien Locke knows his destiny - attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City's next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he's the product of his supervillain mother's one-night stand with - of all people - a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined as he's forced to live with his superhero family.
Going to extreme lengths (and heights), The Rise of Renegade X chronicles one boy's struggles with the villainous and heroic pitfalls of growing up.

Why it's on my wishlist
A superhero book! Except(!) this one is about a supervillian! Well, at least he wishes he was, but the main character is the product of a one-night-stand between a superhero (his dad) and a supervillian (his mom). This is the story of him being forced to live with the superhero family, and sounds absolutely hilarious. It's sorta like a coming-of-age novel about a teenage boy who literally has to choose between a life of "good" or "evil".

Icarus Project #1:
Black and White
by Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge
release date: 23 June 2009
Jet, the darling good girl of the city, uses her shadow-power to battle the forces of evil. But her shadows also mask the fierce demons that only she, her mentor, and her former best friend - and now arch-nemesis - know about. Iridium is that former best friend: able to wield the power of light, she trained as a hero only to become one of the most infamous villains in the city - for what she feels are truly heroic reasons. Alternating between the present-day threat and their past exploits as friends, and later rivals, at the Superhero Academy, the novel brings these two women to vivid life, portraying the complexities of being a true hero in a world determined to categorise you in a neat box of good or evil - black or white.

Why it's on my wishlist
Most people probably know about my intense hate of the absolute good/evil or black/white dichotomy. This book, despite it's title, is about exploring this issue in the world of superheros. The plot is centered around two superwomen who had been friends in the past (one storyline) and are now arch-nemeses (second storyline). One uses "shadow power" to fight evil and the other has deflected to the dark side and uses "light power" to battle good. I'm expecting it to ask questions about what is really good or evil, or if there is such a neat separation point between the two.


Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies)
by Justina Chen Headley
release date: 5 April 2006
Getting her fortune told by a Taiwanese 'belly-button grandmother' (who feels up her navel) instead of attending the spring dance is just one of the joys of being Patty Ho, a covertly snarky 'hapa' (half Asian, half white) struggling with her dual heritage. Patty's domineering mother is determined to make her a good Taiwanese girl. Gangly Patty, no 'China doll,' longs to be white like her long-gone father...

Why it's on my wishlist
Recommended strongly by GAL Novelty. She won me over by revealing that the main character (a half-Asian, half-White girl) does math in her head a lot and is in denial about liking math XD; Personally my connection with the main character is not so biological as cultural, having grown up an Asian in North America and having to balance the two sides. I'm really interested in how this want-to-be-White thing of hers pans out...but I'm mostly in it for the math *nerd*

Flash Burnout
by L. K. Madigan
release date: 19 October 2009
Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him. When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue). In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

Why it's on my wishlist
This cover was really appealing to me, maybe 'cause it's an Asian guy. I don't really often read teen romance, but this plot was rather interesting: a boy who has a girlfriend and a friend who is a girl. It is a love story told from the boy's point of view, and I find that refreshing. Kinda hoping there will be some stuff on photography too =)


Leviathan #1:
by Scott Westerfeld | Illus. Keith Thompson
release date: 6 October 2009
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Why it's on my wishlist
Recommended by GAL Novelty and my brother, who is a major military history nut ♥ There is a crossdressing girl, a nephew of Archduke Ferdinand (lol), and Darwinists (enhanced animals) vs Clankers (machines)! I've heard the writing/tone is targeted towards a younger audience, but the premise is too attractive to let go. Plus the cover is shiny and pretty, I'll be getting a copy for my brother and giving it a read before I hand it over >D

Newsflesh Trilogy #1:
by Mira Grant
release date: 1 May 2010
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Why it's on my wishlist
It's the cover that grabbed me. The RSS feed symbol turned into a bloody smear on the wall. I'm not sure if I should be expecting social commentary, but if this is a zombie apocalypse thing (year 2014), then it will definitely carry at least some critique by default. Plus, there's a conspiracy angle 8D

That went better than expected, maybe I should do this theme thing more often...

That's all for this week, you can see my full wishlist at goodreads.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reading Challenges 2010

Here are the challenges I'm participating in for 2010. Best be more prepared this time around XD It may seem like I'm signing up for a LOT of challenges and...well that's true, but mainly it's because I prefer a solid goal when I try to accomplish something (ex. reading a lot). Plus, I like lists 8D

Participated Challenges
A to Z Challenge 2010
New Author Challenge 2010
Debut Author Challenge 2010
The Pub Challenge 2010
Chunkster Challenge 2010
Stand Alone Challenge 2010
Audio Book Challenge 2010
Books Won Challenge 2010
TwentyTen Challenge
Take Another Chance Challenge 2010
The 4 Month Challenge Part 3 INCOMPLETE
What's in a Name? Challenge 2010
China Challenge 2010
POC Challenge 2010
GLBT Challenge 2010
Young Adult Challenge 2010
Once Upon A Time Challenge 2010
Fantasy Challenge 2010
Science-Fiction Challenge 2010
Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010
Dystopian Challenge 2010
1st in a Series Challenge 2010
2nd in a Series Challenge 2010
Terry Prachett Challenge 2010

In My Mailbox 2009/11/15

Each week I will post a list of the books I've borrowed, received, or bought. I will keep a weekly tally in each post, as well as a yearly one on the sidebar. All books with PoC themes/authors will be listed for the "New Crayons" meme.
All prices are listed in Canadian dollars.
(hosted weekly by The Story Siren / The Printed Page; New Crayons by Color Online)

Tally for 2009/11/15
Borrowed: 0
Received: 0
Bought: 7
Total Cost: $32.24

review: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Demons Trilogy #1:
The Demon's Lexicon
by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

young adult fiction ; urban fantasy { genre
PG for mild violence { rating
June 2, 2009 { first released
Margaret K. McElderry hardcover (336 pages) { review edition
borrowed { acquisition ; ; IndieBound ; Book Depository { purchase links

Why I Read This
I had really enjoyed the author's HP fanfiction where she proved she could mix humor, plot, and romance really nicely together. So, by recommendation of (once again) GAL Novelty, I had gotten really hyped up about her first original novel. The teasers posted to her livejournal account contributed to my anticipation just as much, and I really really liked Jamie from the excerpts. I have to say I started out wanting to read this for the brothers, but ended up reading it for Jamie ♥

First Lines
The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.

Overall Rating

Though I found some of the characters compelling and original, the author's world-building and writing was strained and felt incomplete. The characters were constantly in danger of losing consistency, and some of the twists and turns thus were mildly confusing. However, it was a fun read, with plenty of hilariously snappy dialogue.

review posted to AmazonCA, Book Depository, goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday (2)

A weekly event on my blog where every Wednesday I post about 5-10 books (not necessarily pre-release or new) that I've just added to my wishlist, along with a little blurb on why I want to read it.

Best Served Cold
by Joe Abercrombie
release date: 18 June 2009
Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king. War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die. Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started...Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

Why it's on my wishlist
I happened across this title while lurking on a review site and the cover grabbed me right away ( reminded me of Miyavi. SORRY.), so I went and looked up the author. This is supposed to be an extremely visceral and dark book, circled around the top assassin/mercenary (a woman) who is out for revenge against the employers who betrayed her. It is also set during war-era, so there's probably political corruption tied in too. The "heroes" are a band of misfits and criminals, and there's not even a hint of any light peaking through the storm clouds here. It sounds amazing ♥

Maze Runner #1:
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
release date: 6 October 2009
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up — the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home...wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers — if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

Why it's on my wishlist
I kind of want to get into sci-fi more since I've been reading an excess of urban fantasy recently. Well, I'm in the mood for a dystopia right now, and the identity mystery thing always gets to me.

by Dick Francis
release date: 11 September 2000
When jockey Martin Stukely dies after a fall at Cheltenham, he accidentally embroils his friend Gerard Logan in a perilous search for a stolen videotape.
Logan is a glass-blower on the verge of widespread acclaim for the originality of his work. Long accustomed to the frightful dangers inherent in molten glass and in maintaining a glass-making furnace at seldom less than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, Logan is suddenly faced with terrifying threats to his livelihood, his courage and, finally, to his life, as he seeks to find the truth. The final race to the tape throws more hazards in Logan's way than his dead jockey friend could have imagined.

Why it's on my wishlist
This is the UK hardcover, and I admit it appeals to the ex-horse lover in me. I found this while browsing BookMooch, and while this is a murder mystery, I'm mainly aiming for the glass-blowing aspect. The main character is an unconventional hero who gets tugged into the mess when his jockey friend dies. The excerpt I read assured me the writing is great, and I've heard many good reviews on the author's ability to weave descriptions and scenes.

Detective Inspector Chen #1:
Snake Agent
by Liz Williams
release date: 29 September 2005
Detective Inspector Chen is the Singapore Three police department's snake agent - the detective in charge of supernatural and mystical investigations. Chen has several problems: in addition to colleagues who don't trust him and his mystical ways, a patron goddess whom he has offended and a demonic wife who's tired of staying home alone, he's been paired with one of Hell's own vice officers, Seneschal Zhu Irzh, to investigate the illegal trade in souls. Political pressures both Earthly and otherworldly seek to block their investigations at every turn. As a plot involving both Singapore Three's industrial elite and Hell's own Ministry of Epidemics is revealed, it becomes apparent that the stakes are higher than anyone had previously suspected.

Why it's on my wishlist
Dude, paranormal mystery set in Singapore where the human detective pairs up with demons and stuff to save the world(s)! What else is there to say but GIMME? And seriously, gorgeous cover

Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #7:
Hunting Fear
by Kay Hooper
release date: 19 October 2004
Lucas Jordan has an extraordinary psychic skill that police all over the country find invaluable: he locates missing people. And since being recruited by Noah Bishop for his FBI Special Crimes Unit, Lucas has learned to hone his remarkable ability so that what he does seems little short of miraculous.
He's called in on what appear to be a series of ordinary kidnappings-for-ransom, but almost immediately Lucas realizes the situation is far from ordinary — and more deadly than anything he's ever faced before. Because a brilliant, twisted madman is out to win a sick game, matching his wits against the best hunter he can find: Lucas.

Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #8:
Chill of Fear
by Kay Hooper
release date: 26 July 2005
FBI agent Quentin Hayes always knew he had an unusual talent, even before he was recruited by Noah Bishop for the controversial Special Crimes Unit. But, as gifted as he is, for twenty years he’s been haunted by a heartbreaking unsolved murder that took place at The Lodge, a secluded Victorian-era resort in Tennessee. Now he’s returned one final time, determined to put the mystery to rest.
Diana Brisco has come there hoping to unlock the mystery of her troubled past. Instead, she is assailed by nightmares and the vision of a child who vanished from The Lodge years ago. And an FBI agent is trying to convince her that she isn’t crazy but that she has a rare gift, a gift that could catch a killer.
Quentin knows that this is his last chance to solve a case that has become a dangerous obsession. But can he persuade Diana to help him, knowing what it could cost her? For something cold and dark and pure evil is stalking the grounds of The Lodge. Something Diana may not survive. Something Quentin never felt before: the chill of fear.

Why it's on my wishlist
I got both of these on BookMooch. The premise is a Special Crimes Unit that uses the ability of "adepts" (basically people with mental abilities like telekinesis or mind reading). I haven't read the first books, but other than Bishop, the leader, only these two books feature the rare and elusive male psychics, I think. In Hunting Fear it's a guy who's obsessed with using his ability to help find missing persons, and Chill of Fear is about the childhood trauma of another male member of the team. If I come to like Bishop more, I might just get the whole series.

Cut & Run
by Madeleine Urban, Abigail Roux
release date: 29 September 2008
A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he's paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it's hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic clich̩: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer. Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again Рthis time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer's knife.

Why it's on my wishlist
This was listed as one of the best gay cop/detective romances on goodreads. It has a hate at first sight thing going on between the two leads, who are also polar opposites (one brash and the other calm), but from the reviews I see that the plot (there is one!) and intense suspense does not get derailed for gratuitous sex scenes (of which there are few). The relationship is developed slowly due to distrust (they have emotional baggage, and the killer is close to them), and the ending is very open for the sequels that are planned.

That's all for this week, you can see my full wishlist at goodreads.

Online Bookshelves

Since I'm behind on reading due to excessive fandom workloads (admittedly piling up due to my procrastinating through October) and academic ebils, I'm going to write up a small review on the three online bookshelf services I've joined: Shelfari, LibraryThing, and goodreads. It's a bit of a filler I know, but being a bit obsessive about organizing my things and keeping records of my own activities (I have a horrible memory), I thought I'd write down my thoughts on my experiences with these three services.

I will be rating them on useability based on my own experiences with their tagging, searching, and special functions. Keep in mind I'm not much of a community person, so there's less focus on the connection-based services.

Yes, I am too a shameless master of procrastination.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday (1)

I figured since I add to my wishlist/to-read list like crazy every week, I should post up a post of a few of the new additions (not necessarily new releases). Sometimes it'll be five, other times it can be ten or fifteen. Depends on my mood really. Thus...

A weekly event on my blog where every Wednesday I post about 5-10 books (not necessarily pre-release or new) that I've just added to my wishlist, along with a little blurb on why I want to read it.

Sandman: Dream Hunters
by Neil Gaiman | Illus. Yoshitaka Amano
release date: 1 November 1999
Like most fables, the story begins with a wager between two jealous animals, a fox and a badger: which of them can drive a young monk from his solitary temple? The winner will make the temple into a new fox or badger home. But as the fox adopts the form of a woman to woo the monk from his hermitage, she falls in love with him. Meanwhile, in far away Kyoto, the wealthy Master of Yin-Yang, the onmyoji, is plagued by his fears and seeks tranquility in his command of sorcery. He learns of the monk and his inner peace; he dispatches demons to plague the monk in his dreams and eventually kill him to bring his peace to the onmyoji. The fox overhears the demons on their way to the monk and begins her struggle to save the man whom at first she so envied.

Why it's on my wishlist
I've always loved these human/shapeshifter animal romances, like the White Snake Chronicles, even the twisted Daji/Emperor story at some level. Plus, this art is gorgeous, and I'd love to see it accompanying the story.

Sisters Red #1:
Sisters Red
by Jackson Pearce
release date: 7 June 2010
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris - the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax - but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Why it's on my wishlist
I read Kaori Yuki's Ludwig Revolution and was fascinated by her homicidal Red Riding Hood. This seemed like that and more, with werewolves, love interests, and a little sister that gets her into trouble.

Scarlet and the White Wolf #1:
Scarlet and the White Wolf
by Kirby Crow
release date: 28 June 2006
Scarlet of Lysia is an honest peddler, a young merchant traveling the wild, undefended roads to support his aging parents. Liall, called the Wolf of Omara, is the handsome, world-weary chieftain of a tribe of bandits blocking a mountain road that Scarlet needs to cross. When Liall jokingly demands a carnal toll for the privilege, Scarlet refuses and an inventive battle of wills ensues, with disastrous results. Scarlet is convinced that Liall is a worthless, immoral rogue, but when the hostile countryside explodes into violence and Liall unexpectedly fights to save the lives of Scarlet's family, Scarlet is forced to admit that the Wolf is not the worst ally he could have, but what price will proud Scarlet ultimately have to pay for Liall's friendship?

Why it's on my wishlist
I've read an excerpt and it was snarky. Seriously though, the Melusine books have pushed me into wanting to read m/m relationships that don't end in tragedy.

Aisling Grey: Guardian #1:
You Slay Me
by Katie MacAlister
release date: 7 September 2004
Aisling Grey is a courier enjoying a free, work-related trip to Paris when she learns she's a Guardian. That's a keeper of the Gates of Hell, for those who don't know. She finds this out from Drake Vireo, who's scrumptiously sexy - at least in his human form. Now Drake has stolen the package Aisling was sent to deliver, and she must track him down, get the package, and try to resist the passion boiling inside her.

Why it's on my wishlist
The human/shapeshifter romance thing was one thing, this is human/dragon romance, which seems like a really awesome premise. Also, it was recommended at Fantasy Literature, so I'm sure it won't disappoint.

Crossroads #1:
Spirit Gate
by Kate Elliott
release date: 7 October 2006
For hundreds of years the Guardians have ruled the world of the Hundred, but these powerful gods no longer exert their will on the world. Only the reeves, who patrol on enormous eagles, still represent the Guardians' power. And the reeves are losing their authority; for there is a dark shadow across the land that not even the reeves can stop.
A group of fanatics has risen to devour villages, towns, and cities in their drive to annihilate all who oppose them. No one knows who leads them; they seem inhumanly cruel and powerful. Mai and Anji, riding with a company of dedicated warriors and a single reeve who may hold a key to stopping the deadly advance of the devouring horde, must try, or the world will be lost to the carnage. But a young woman sworn to the Goddess may prove more important than them all...if they are not too late.

Why it's on my wishlist
Another series I found at Fantasy Literature. From the summaries, it promises a wide range of mythologies (including Asian ones) all thrown in together. I haven't read an epic fantasy for a while now, so I can't wait to start this...once I get it.

Twenty Palaces #1:
Child of Fire
by Harry Connolly
release date: 29 September 2009
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him – or let someone else do the job.
Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find – and destroy – the source of that inhuman magic.

Why it was on my wishlist
First of all because the cover is very pretty. The main reason though is that the main character is working for a powerful woman who has a grudge against him and I'd really like to see where that relationship goes. Plus, Jim Butcher gave it a thumbs up 8D
Oh! And I must mention, I won a copy of this over at Marissa's Booklair! Thank you so much!

That's all for this week, you can see my full wishlist at goodreads.