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Books Books Books!

May is not all about me-me-me and my-book's-coming-out. No!

There are other books coming out in May too. Really awesome books. So awesome one wonders why they had to come out in May and make me look bad.

Here is to my deadly foes, then...

White Cat by Holly Black

CASSEL: I come from a family of criminals, but as a Not Terrible Person, I am trying to go straight.
WORLD: Magic exists!
READERS: Yes, we have read fantasy books before.
WORLD: It has been illegal ever since Prohibition, which has created a society in which the mob is all magicians.
READERS: Well, that is awesome...
WORLD: Everybody wears gloves so they won't have curses put on them! There are many cool details here.
CASSEL: So yes basically, my family are the magic mob. I have evil brothers.
SARAH: How evil are your brothers! Tell me more.
BARRON: 'Sup.
CASSEL: ANYWAY I am the good brother. Going straight! Living clean! Paying my school fees by running an illegal betting ring!
READERS: ...
CASSEL: Look my only skills are being a criminal! It's hard out there for a pimp! Not that I'm a pimp.
READERS: Well that's a relief.
CASSEL: I did kill a girl this one time. What I was fourteen.
READERS: ...
CASSEL: But now I'm a nice, normal schoolboy. Going straight! Living clean! I have a girlfriend and friends and-
AUDREY: I am dumping you. Bad boys are great. BUT YOU SIR, YOU ARE TOO BAD. YOU ARE THE WORST.
CASSEL: No, I am nice! And normal! And...
SAM: Cassel, I like you. But, and I say this with love, you are an insane criminal.
CAT: purr
CASSEL: Nice kitty. How can my life get any worse.
BARRON: 'Sup. Did you ever wonder if there were any dark secrets in our family?
CASSEL: I thought our dark secrets were all those crimes we commit all the time.
BARRON: Sure. I mean those too.
CASSEL: Oh God. Well, I see due to all the terrible things that are happening to me that I'm the protagonist of a novel. Where's my love interest?
CAT: purr
CASSEL: Nice ki - YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

I love this book. It is so clever. The world is so awesome. The heroine would be the evil femme fatale in any other book. And I love with a sick love books that deal with family, and the evil families can commit against each other, the love that remains, and the twists and turns of the love-and-pain screws. And I love Cassel's spare, funny voice: a noir detective who is a teenage boy in pain who is very intelligent, very amusing and totally heartbreaking.

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

I cannot summarise this book because it is the last of the trilogy! And I would just be ruthlessly spoiling you for them, but this is my review of book one: YOU SHOULD ALL READ THEM.

Suffice it to say that the adventures of Chloe the tiny necromancer, Derek the grumpiest ugly werewolf kid in town, his handsome foster brother Simon and Chloe's crazy rival turned crazy friend Tori conclude with resounding awesomeness.

One of my favourite scenes was Chloe, who has always been shy and prone to backing down, having a moment of 'This guy - who I really really like - has done something and I must call him on it but it's not that big a deal and I want him to like me and I can just let it go and I absolutely know he is a good guy and everything could just be okay and-' and then she spoke up, and called him on it. It was just a little moment. But it felt so real, and it was so important for the character, and it was great.

Mistwood by Leah Cypess

ISABEL: I am a monstrous creature of myth, created to serve the king of this land.
ROKAN: I am king.
ISABEL: Servin'! I don't think I want to mention my memory is on the blink and my shapeshifting abilities are not all they could be. I am still the royal killing machine.
CLARISSE: I am the king's politically astute, cold-hearted, scheming sister!
ISABEL: I'm more cold-hearted than you on account of being NOT EVEN HUMAN.
CLARISSE AND ISABEL: Cold-hearted lady stand-off at dawn!
ROKAN: Would anyone like to talk about love? And feelings?
CLARISSE AND ISABEL: Ladies say what.
ROKAN: Do you FEEL, Isabel?
ISABEL: I feel good about turning my hand into a claw and slicing a dude's throat right out.
ROKAN: weeps into royal handkerchief
KINGDOM: is torn by question of who the rightful king actually is
ISABEL: is torn by question of who the rightful king actually is
CLARISSE: I don't trust you.
ISABEL: I don't trust you either.
CLARISSE AND ISABEL: We are both right.
CLARISSE AND ISABEL: choose their king
READER: Is there any way to vote the Clarisse/Isabel ticket for rulers?

I really really really liked Isabel, who is cold and inhuman and a ruthless killer and amazing. I also love high fantasylands like Megan Whalen Turner's or Tamora Pierce's, and the right of kings being questioned, and truly horribly difficult moral and emotional choices which aren't shied away from. I admit I was not completely convinced on who would be the best choice for king, though, but Isabel and Clarisse are so awesome, I'm happy to go with their choice.

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

For those at home who are going 'Sarah, you are always about the YA, and you never recommend adult books with sexy times with djinn in them!' To them I say '... that last part of your complaint was extremely specific!' But Moonshine is an adult novel. With djinn in it.

I have heard people say (real people, not the people I made up who want to get down with the djinn element) that they are tired of vampire romance. Well folks, I am here to tell you that I am part of the problem. I have noticed that in almost any book, I want the vampire to get the girl or boy of choice. This is true of Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series, featuring a mechanic torn between two werewolves (who has a vampire friend with a Scooby van she fixes). It is also true, with even less chance for the vampire, in this tale of 1920s New York avec vampires, djinn, socialite reporters and suffragettes.

ZEPHYR: You know when you've left school and you're an activist and a vegetarian and doing charity work in the city and earnest about everything and-
MANY PEOPLE: Yes.
ZEPHYR: And it's the 1920s and your folks back home are demon hunters but you really think demons are people and it bothers you and there's this very handsome djinn-
MANY PEOPLE: We retract our 'yes.'
ZEPHYR: And you live a good life, with your nice psychic roommate Aileen and your friend the sophisticated socialite razor-sharp reporter Lily and Amir the handsome djinn with only a few problems arising like rescuing illicit baby vampires and being hired to murder vampire mob bosses-
MANY PEOPLE: ...
ZEPHYR: Also tutoring an evil gang of child vampires in order to get information. Um - hey there, evil leader of the Turn Boys. In the midst of breaking and entering and indiscriminate slaughter, have you ever considered that it might be fun to learn how to read?
NICHOLAS, EVIL LEADER OF THE TURN BOYS: Yes. All right. Teach me how to read.
ZEPHYR: Excellent!
NICHOLAS: Why are you doing this?
ZEPHYR: I am a bleeding heart liberal. With, and let me be very clear about this, elite demon-killing skills.
NICHOLAS: I'm very musical and very messed up! Do you want to hear about my daddy issues?
AMIR THE HANDSOME DJINN: I'm handsome but really shady! Like even more shady than hiring you to kill people implies.
ZEPHYR'S DEMON-KILLING PARENTS: Honey, is this a good time to visit you in the big city?

I personally am all about Zephyr and Nicholas. But Nicholas does APPEAR (while not being!) rather young. Luckily for readers who are less crazy than me, there is a handsome djinn around. Also - 1920s New York vampire immigrants vampire suffragettes a heroine with a loving family of demon hunters! My very favourite character may be Lily the socialite reporter. I love a lady sleuth.

Comments

( 61 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
Moonshine is enormously fun! *tempts* And a delicious, delicious paperback.

Oh my gosh book in shops. Shouldn't be such a shock, given that I have my first Covenant event tomorrow, but... *bites nails* I hope you will like it!
issuegirls
May. 12th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
These are all going on my list. (well, the first three - four, if the count includes TDC - already were, to be fair. but I am totally adding Moonshine!)

Also, the new Ilona Andrews, which is supposed to be released near the end of the month. :D

Edited: because random caps are no-one's friend.

Edited at 2010-05-12 09:19 pm (UTC)
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
The new Ilona Andrews is on my list too, tell you that. Kate! Curran! Curran! Kate!

Moonshine's awesome! So are the other three. And I hope you like Covenant, too. ;)
(no subject) - issuegirls - May. 14th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - May. 14th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC) - Expand
thegreatmissjj
May. 12th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
I just finished THE WHITE CAT this weekend and I love, love, love. I'm a sucker for mobs/criminals. Cassel's mother is a piece of work. AND I LOVE HER.

Aaaaaaaaaand now I'm sold on MISTWOOD. You mention cold-hearted females I come running. I love me some cold-hearted females.
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Cassel's mother drives me nuts, but I say this while loving Lila and Barron not wisely but too well... I too love, love, love it.

Isabel is excellent, and I love that there is no suggestion she's not excellent just the way she is.
(no subject) - thegreatmissjj - May. 12th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
willowcabin
May. 12th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I must thank you for reccing Kalley Armstrong's books - I absolutely LOVE this trilogy and would never have picked up the first one if not for your recommendation. Anyway, I love a lot of books that you have recommended and will probably end up buying these ones too. And of course I am very excited about your new book too. I creepily haunted my local bookshop until they got it in last time, at which point when I paid for it the shop assistant said 'THE DEMON'S LEXICON?? I STAYED UP UNTIL FOUR READING IT!' and got really excited and enthusiastic. And so did I and it was wonderful. Like I said: very excited!

Also can I ask: you did a writing MA, right? How helpful did you find it?
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
*beams* I love both you and the shop assistant. And I am so glad I could help steer you to Kelley Armstrong's excellent excellent books.

I did do a writing MA, yes. I found it helpful to a point, learned stuff, met lovely people, but I think they are most helpful for people writing adult literary fiction - which I am very far from writing. ;)
greenfaeriedust
May. 12th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
I own both The Reckoning & White Cat. This brings me much joy, since I have no money to buy unlimited books and I must buy something whenever you recommend it. : )

I am so in lovey love with The Reckoning, well mainly Derek, *huggles Derek* I think I like him best when he is shouty. You can just imagine him getting even crosser when people get used to it and start to pat him on his grumpy head in a condescending fashion.

*adds other books to my 'want to read' list*
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
I promise to use my powers responsibl - I am a lying liar who lies, but I also spend irresponsibly on books, promise! And Derek is love.
aubade_saudade
May. 12th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
when will the Covenant be available on Kindle? i hope the answer is "yesterday."
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Same time as the book is out, insofar as I know: the eighteenth! Or thereabouts. ;)
(no subject) - aubade_saudade - May. 12th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
evelynlela
May. 12th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
You do a remarkable job in making me want your deadly foes.
sarahtales
May. 12th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Curse them, I say, a plague on their talented heads!
(no subject) - evelynlela - May. 12th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
cachinna
May. 12th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
I only read Mistwood because I got an ARC of it along with my ARC of Conspiracy of Kings, and I had the same reaction of "Well, if you say he's the best, I will believe you, because you are awesome..."

I also just finished The Reckoning (I can only say !!!), have White Cat and the new Ilona Andrews on order, and will be buying Demon's Covenant in less than a week (so excited!). Apparently I must read Moonshine so I can complete the set of Unbelievably Awesome Books mentioned here.
areth_lovejoy
May. 12th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
May is so going to break my monthly book budget!
(Deleted comment)
elucreh
May. 12th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
If you love a lady sleuth you should read Rosemary and Rue and the other Toby Daye books by Seanan McGuire. I am just saying. ^_^
sirael
May. 12th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
That sounds fantastic! Your book recs always make me happy, especially now that I'm stocking up books like most people stock up water for nuclear fallout shelters. I'm spending six weeks in Europe with little-to-no access to internet, and your book recs are making up quite a lot of my reading list.

... *runs off to her nook to hunt them down*
daisy_chan
May. 12th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Just picked up my pre-ordered copy of Demon's Covenant from my local independent bookshop after work today. :D
sarahtales
May. 13th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
I nervously hope you like it!
(no subject) - daisy_chan - May. 23rd, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
hanelissar
May. 12th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
Three of those books are already on my to-be-bought-slash-read list, but I will gleefully add Moonshine which also sounds fabulous! I do not remember any of your book recs letting me down, so this shall stand me in good stead for the rest of the month. :D

Although of course the book I am most excited for is yours. That should go without saying, even though I just did.

Okay, back to the essay before I start rambling...
alioli
May. 12th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
I seriously adored Chloe in The Reckoning, I felt so proud of her! I always have, I think she's one of my favourite female leads in YA, but she grows so much in this book! And the best part is that she changes in tiny quiet ways so that she is fundamentally the same person who has learned to stand up for herself more. For instance, in that scene you mention, I love the calm logic she uses to call the guy on the bad thing, because that's the only thing that would work with him and she *knows* that, she's intuitive and thoughtful like that. *totally looks up to her even if she's wayyy older* :)

I was super proud of Simon as well. The hieroglyph thing was ridiculous and adorable. I wanted to squeeze him so much. They're all lovely characters, really, I'm going to miss waiting for their next book. :)

As for the other recs, I'm most intrigued by White Cat (I've only read The Spiderswick Chronichles by Holly Black and I've been meaning to read some of her books for older readers) and Moonshine, because I don't think I have ever read a fiction story featuring sufragettes and that's just not right. Also, Zephyr sounds pretty adorable. :D
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