Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Next Ten Books On My To Read Pile

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by the lovely folks over at 'The Broke & The Bookish' - to join in simply follow the link!

This week is freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, so I decided to keep it simple and talk about the next ten books I have stacked on my to read pile. I have a good mix of old books, new books, and yet to be released books, but they all have on thing in common - I cannot wait to get stuck into them!

Judged by Liz de Jager
Kit's job description includes solving crimes - the supernatural kind . . .
Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.
In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.
Thorn turns to the only person he knows who'll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequence of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.

I adored the first book in this trilogy, and then found the pacing of the second book a bit of a struggle, but I'm hoping that it was setting up for a truly glorious finale in 'Judged'. Regardless of whether it lives up to my (stupidly high) expectations, I know I'm going to really enjoy finishing this series, and will be incredibly sad to see the last of these characters.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

The buzz around this book over the last few months has been substantial and everything I've heard has just increased my excitement to crack this one open and get sucked in. Here's hoping it lives up to my expectations...

See How They Run by Ally Carter
Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter. 
Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 

I have been a huge fan of Ally Carter's other books, but the first in the Embassy Row series really didn't grab me in the way I'd been expecting, in fact I was downright disappointed. However I'm not giving up on this series yet and I'm really hoping that the second installment will snag my attention and pull me into the story.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

I know next to nothing about this book other than the pretty cover and the blurb, but all of that is enough to make me really want to read it, so good job marketing. I have this on order and am desperate for it to arrive so I can get stuck in and see if it lives up to my expectations.

Night Study by Maria V Snyder
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear. 
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.

Admittedly I wasn't as thrilled with 'Shadow Study' as I was with the original Study trilogy, but it was still wonderful to return to the world and characters I fell in love with and see what they were up to. 'Shadow Study' felt a little slow to get going, but with so much set up in that book I'm hoping that this one will really fly and I'll fall in love all over again.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.
Celestine North lies a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

I've enjoyed Ahern's adult novels and I'm always very interested to see how writer's fare with the transition to young adult. Plus with a blurb and premise like that how could I not be intrigued?

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

I'll be honest, the first book in this series didn't blow me away in the same way that it did a lot of other people. However it did leave me curious and wanting to see what would happen next in this slightly strange x-men, dystopian, fantasy world and I can't wait to see if it catches my interest in ways that the first book didn't, or whether it kills my interest in the series for good.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. Victor and Eli started out as college roommates?brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find?aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge?but who will be left alive at the end? In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

This book has been on my to read list for Far Too Long, and I am determined to finally get around to actually picking it up and finding out what all the love and fuss is about in the next couple of weeks.

Deathless by Catherynne M Valente
A glorious retelling of the Russian folktale Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, set in a mysterious version of St. Petersburg during the first half of the 20th century. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace - only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.

A book that cropped up on my Instagram, I was so taken with the quote and the person's love of this book that I had to have it and it is currently queued up on my kindle ready to go. I know next to nothing about it, but I'm very curious to get stuck in.

My American Duchess by Eloisa James
The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford - an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fianc├ęs.
But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.
The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honour clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:
All is fair in love and war.

A new Eloisa James is exactly what I need in the cold grey winter months and I cannot wait to get stuck into her latest in the Desperate Duchesses series and find a little bit of a fictional (and steamy) happily ever after.

So there you have the next ten books I'm going to be making my way through over the next couple of weeks. Are any of these on your to read pile? Are there any you've read already and what did you think? And are there any you want to add to your TBR pile after seeing them here?
Let me know and link me to your own Top Ten Lists in the comments below!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: Transmetropolitan Volumes 1 - 4 by Warren Ellis

Publication Date: January 1998
Publisher: Vertigo

After years of self-imposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job that he hates and a city that he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd Century surroundings. Combining black humor, life-threatening situations, and moral ambiguity, this book is the first look into the mind of an outlaw journalist and the world he seeks to destroy. 

I’m not a huge reader of graphic novels, I’ve dabbled in the past with things like ‘Watchmen’ but honestly they and the fan-base that surrounds them has always kind of intimidated me. But then Mum got rushed into hospital with heart failure at the end of November last year and I just stopped reading. I couldn’t focus or persuade myself to settle to more than a page or two of any books, no matter how much I was enjoying the story. So a friend handed me the first couple of volumes of ‘Transmetropolitan’ and told me to read them.

I was expecting to enjoy them, I wasn’t expecting to love them. They’re dark, they’re filthy and twisted and a little bit depraved in places, but what surprised me were the complex the characters, and the sucker punch to the feelings that they deliver with alarming accuracy.

It’s a messed up, twisted and utterly brilliant world, but the true heart and drive behind these books is Spider Jerusalem himself. He of the filthy mouth, bowel disruptor gun, and surprising heart that shows up at unexpected moments and completely floors you. There’s a depth to these books that I wasn’t expecting, an intensity and morality that is what shifted these swiftly from an enjoyable read into something extraordinary. They are now an all-time favourite.

The first two volumes offer more disjointed but no less enjoyable and interesting stories, before shifting into a lengthy and more cohesive whole for the third and fourth. There’s so much more to this world than is obvious at first, a complexity and sometimes painful view that left me in turns breathless with laughter and close to tears.

Brutal, brilliant, and definitely not for younger readers, Transmetropolitan will offer a surprisingly insightful view of the world we live in, through a very surreal lens on a very different future with a complex lead at its heart.

“Trust the fuckhead.”