Read This Not That

Some days I pick up a book and put it down again, pick it up, put it down again, pick it up…you get the drift. Then some days I pick up a book, devour it, and then immediately go out looking for the next one to read. My eating habits are fairly normal, but my reading habits tend to be binge and purge. The books I read on my recent feast left me feeling satisfied, and not too bloated, so I highly recommend them for your reading pleasure.

Jenna Starborn is straight-up Jane Eyre, but with a sci-fi face lift, and I promise it’s way better than the zombie and vampire twists that are happening to all the classics lately. I only recently discovered Sharon Shinn when I read her short story Nocturne in a compilation called Angels of Darkness. Between Nocturne and Jenna Starborn, I’m pretty sure I’m a Sharon Shinn fan. I just requested her book, Shape Shifter’s Wife, from the library. CDsquee is reading it and is liking it a lot. It sounds sort of like a grown up version of Steivater’s Shiver. Shinn is probably best known for her Samaria series. I’ve not read any of those books yet, but her short story Nocturne was set in the same world as the Samaria series.

I picked up Angels of Darkness because included a short by Ilona Andrews who is actually a husband and wife writing team. They write, among others, the Kate Daniels series which is one of my favorites. Andrew’s short in this compilation is called Alphas: Origins and it’s a little different from the Kate Daniel’s style. This story was darker and a little bit disturbing. It stayed on my mind so much that I went out and bought a used copy of the book so I could read parts of it over again; some of the elements of the story needed repeated digesting. I really hope the Andrews team turns this into a new series.

From the Andrews’ website:

Official Alphas: Origins blurb: “When a young woman is taken captive by a dangerous male, she is pulled against her will into a world hidden from humanity’s view, where those with superhuman powers fight a bloody civil war. Now she must make a choice: to submit and become a pawn or to take hold of her own destiny.”

Unofficial blurb: Alphas: Origins introduces readers to a new world of people with shocking powers who live on the fringe of our society. It’s a place where telepaths wage vicious wars, where withers spread their wings of fire, and men wrench bones out of the bodies of their opponents with a single thought. It’s a place of darkness, where an ordinary woman fights for her survival against overwhelming odds.

I picked up Divergent based on the recommendation of another blog I follow (I believe it was The Reading Date). Amazon has been trying to push this book on me for ages. I don’t know why I resisted. I’m glad I finally gave in. I read this book in one sitting, basically. It drew me in, kept me there, and it was a kind of short read. Great fodder for a binge (I equate it, say, to downing a quart of Chunky Monkey but without the stomach ache). I’m definitely going to read the sequel, Insurgent.

From Amazon: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I’ve had Daughter of Smoke and Bone on my library request list FOREVER, but I kept putting it on a delay. I finally let my request for it go active. So, glad I did. I’ve never read Laini Taylor before, but I will definitely go out and read more. This book is so mythical; sometimes I feel like a little girl reading a big picture book of fairy tales and sometimes It was so grown up and sophisticated. The imagery is vivid, and the romance is otherworldly and beautiful. Not necessarily gritty, or realistic, though, so if you’re strict about your romance feeling more earthbound, this may not be for you.

From Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Laini Taylor received a National Book Award nomination for a book called Lips Touch: Three Times. I went to look it up on Amazon and the first thing it says is:

In the style of Stephenie Meyer, three tales of supernatural love that all hinge on a life-changing kiss.

“In the style of Setphenie Meyer?” I’m pretty sure Stephenie Meyer’s style never got her close to a National Book Award nomination.

Sheeeya!?!

Anyway, I put Lips Touch: Three Times on my request list from the library. I’ll let you know how it is…eventually.

So, I titled this blog: Read This, Not That. I guess that means I need to tell you something to skip. That’s hard because everything I’ve read lately, I recommend. However, two books I recently picked up from the library, I put back without getting very far. It’s probably not fair for me to tell you not to read them, but here they are anyway.

I’m disappointed I didn’t get far with this book as it was recommended by Neil Gaiman who is one of my very most favorite authors. It might have been that I was in the wrong mood, but I just couldn’t get into it and when I went to read the reviews about it on Amazon, I saw other people had trouble with it too. I think it was just a little too “Sci” and not enough “Fi” for me.

From Amazon: Three quantum outlaws face a universe of their own creation, a universe where you make up the rules as you go along and break them just as fast, where there’s only one thing more mysterious than darkness. In contemporary London, Michael Kearney is a serial killer on the run from the entity that drives him to kill. He is seeking escape in a future that doesn’ t yet exist—a quantum world that he and his physicist partner hope to access through a breach of time and space itself. In this future, Seria Mau Genlicher has already sacrificed her body to merge into the systems of her starship, the White Cat. But the “inhuman” K-ship captain has gone rogue, pirating the galaxy while playing cat and mouse with the authorities who made her what she is. In this future, Ed Chianese, a drifter and adventurer, has ridden dynaflow ships, run old alien mazes, surfed stellar envelopes. He “went deep”—and lived to tell about it. Once crazy for life, he’s now just a twink on New Venusport, addicted to the bizarre alternate realities found in the tanks—and in debt to all the wrong people. Haunting them all through this maze of menace and mystery is the shadowy presence of the Shrander—and three enigmatic clues left on the barren surface of an asteroid under an ocean of light known as the Kefahuchi Tract: a deserted spaceship, a pair of bone dice, and a human skeleton.

This is part of a series called “Dustlands”. Again, I blame my failure to complete this book on lack of appropriate mood. The book is written in first person narrative and the character, Saba, has a strong dialect. I don’t mind reading dialects most of the time and if they start out tedious then once I get in the flow of it, they get easier to read, but I just didn’t want to exert the energy to get in the flow of Saba’s speech. I might try this one again another day, but for now, I pass.

Here’s an excerpt so you can see what I mean:

Lugh got born first. On Midwinter Day when the sun hangs low in the sky. Then me. Two hours later.

That pretty much says it all.

Lugh goes first, always first, an I follow on behind.

An that’s fine.That’s right. That’s how it’s meant to be.

Because everythin’s set. It’s all fixed.

The lives of everybody who’s ever bin born. The lives of everybody still waitin to be born. It was all set in the stars the moment the world began. The time of yer birthin, the time of yer death. Even what kinda person yer gonna be, good or bad. If you know how to read the stars, you can read the story of people’s lives. The story of yer own life. What’s gone, what’s now an what’s still to come.

From Amazon: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba’s world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

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