Friday Reading: 1/24/14

Friday ReadingToday’s Friday Reading features an excellent young adult dystopian that blends sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and romance.

I’d heard exciting things about Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky since its release and finally got around to reading the first two books (Under the Never Sky | Through the Ever Night) at the end of 2013. It was one of the few YAs that earned a spot on my top reads of the year.

utnsThis is a sophisticated coming-of-age story featuring two main protagonists, Aria and Perry. I greatly appreciated the lovely, subtle beauty to the writing. Since the world is both wild and harsh, fresh and imaginative, the restrained hand Rossi takes with the prose serves the story well. Aria and Perry are well-rounded protagonists, the romance unfurls elegantly, and there is a strong cast of fully-realized supporting characters.

Another thing I enjoyed was how Rossi doesn’t spoon-feed the Reader information about the world, something I see often in YA fantasy. Information is gradually revealed
as we uncover a new layer to each character, seamlessly tying all the elements together into a highly immersive experience.

The story is not as action-packed as other YA dystopians but the rich world-building and nuanced depth in both text and characters make an indelible impression.

Since the final book in the trilogy, Into the Still Blue, is releasing Tuesday, January 28, today’s giveaway gives the winner the choice of receiving either Under the Never Sky (Book 1) or Through the Ever Night (Book 2). So if you haven’t read Book 2 yet, you can enter for a chance to win it. 🙂


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  • One winner will receive their choice of an e-book copy of either Under the Never Sky (Book 1) or Through the Ever Night (Book 2)
  • Also open to international readers

To enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what book(s) you’re currently reading or a book you’ve recently enjoyed. Fill out the rafflecopter for more ways to gain entries.

Giveaway ends in a week (January 31, 2014). Have fun!

** Friday Reading is a bi-monthly feature. The next post will be on February 7.

** Another note: Don’t worry if your comment gets caught in the spam filter – just go ahead and indicate you left a comment on the Rafflecopter. I’ll release your comment from the spam cage as soon as I can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Reading: 12/27/13

Friday ReadingToday’s Friday Reading is a special end-of-the year edition.

Several of these books have already been featured in previous Friday Readings. Others will be featured in a future Friday Reading post where I’ll have a chance to go into a bit more detail.

A few things I’d like to note:

  • These are books I enjoyed reading in 2013, not books released in 2013. Although there are a few recent works, the majority of these were published in previous years.
  • Favorite Books list: Those marked as favorites are ones that will stay with me for a long time.

    These works have deeply moved me (A Personal Matter) or have shown me something so extraordinary about the art of narrative that I could spend a lifetime thinking about it (Blood Meridian); books where the author’s voice was so original, so strong, that I found myself absorbed and thrilled at the way his words portrayed people and the world (A Drink Before the War) and which explored ideas and themes I also found fascinating as a writer (The Double).

  • Books I enjoyed list: Works that left an impression on me. Some because of the character arc, others because of the strength of world-building or the clarity of the author’s voice. Some had gorgeous prose, others had a remarkable sense of narrative structure.

Putting this list together was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I read 167 books in 2013 (not many compared to some of you out there), an eclectic collection of non-fiction research and fiction in a wide variety of genres.

Eighteen of those books were YA. Though I enjoyed them to some degree (I don’t read books I don’t enjoy – too little time to force myself to finish), I had enough reservations, usually relating to the heroine’s character and/or with a rushed (i.e. not believable) romance, that prevented me from including them on the list.

The exception was Eleanor and Park, which is a romance (and an intense, headlong one), but the excellent prose and construction of the protagonists are done well enough to believe the rush as a natural result of their ages and identities.

Favorites of 2013:

I also enjoyed:

  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Young Adult contemporary)
  • Written in Red by Anne Bishop: Book 1 in The Others series. (Adult fantasy)
  • Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs: Book 3 in the Mercy Thompson series (Adult urban fantasy)
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher: Book 1 in the Dresden Files series (Adult urban fantasy)
  • Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Book 5 in the Kara Gillian series. (Adult urban fantasy)
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong: Book 1 in the Cainsville series. (Adult urban fantasy)
  • Abandon by Blake Crouch (Adult mystery/horror)
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Book 1 of trilogy (Young Adult Dystopian)
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Young Adult contemporary)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Adult Mystery/Thriller)
  • One winner will receive his/her choice of three e-books from any of the works listed above.
  • If you’re interested in a book from a series you haven’t read yet or haven’t caught up on (like Iron Kissed or Touch of the Demon), you can choose to receive the first book or an earlier work in that series.
  • This giveaway is also open to international readers.

To enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what book(s) was your favorite for 2013. Fill out the rafflecopter for more ways to gain entries.

Giveaway ends in a week. Have fun!

** Friday Reading is a bi-monthly feature. The next post will be on January 17, 2014.

** Another note: Don’t worry if your comment gets caught in the spam filter – just go ahead and indicate you left a comment on the Rafflecopter. I’ll release your comment from the spam cage as soon as I can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Reading: 12/13/13

Friday ReadingFor today’s Friday Reading, I’m sharing the first book in an adult urban fantasy series.

omensKelley Armstrong is such a fabulous writer. I read and enjoyed her young adult Darkest Powers trilogy last year. The strong writing and the remarkably meticulous way she structured her stories left an impression.

Omens, the first book in the Cainsville series, has a similar feel and I enjoyed this adult work much more. I should note that it doesn’t quite read like an urban fantasy in that the supernatural elements don’t take center stage. As the title suggests, the paranormal subtly exists on another layer, carefully weaving through the main story as another puzzle that needs to be solved. I believe Armstrong has even described this series as being more of a contemporary gothic.

It has all the elements I love – people who aren’t what they seem, an eerie setting, several mysteries nested inside each other, and a protagonist who struggles and grows with each challenge thrown her way. And like her young adult books, I was once again impressed with Armstrong’s attention to detail, the crisp articulation of her prose, and the depth of character development.

This is not a fast-paced, action-packed, fight-to-the-death type of story. It’s a finely wrought mystery featuring a complex heroine and a nuanced presentation of an unusual town and its residents; in other words, an excellent start to what looks to be an interesting new series.

  • One winner will receive an e-book copy
  • Also open to international readers

To enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what book(s) you’re currently reading or a book you’ve recently enjoyed. Fill out the rafflecopter for more ways to gain entries.

Giveaway ends in a week. Have fun!

** Friday Reading is a bi-monthly feature. The next post will be on 12/27, a special “End of 2013” edition.

** Another note: Don’t worry if your comment gets caught in the spam filter – just go ahead and indicate you left a comment on the Rafflecopter. I’ll release your comment from the spam cage as soon as I can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Reading: 11/29/13

Friday ReadingFor today’s Friday Reading, I’m sharing a young adult contemporary book about two misfits from the 80s.

eleanorandparkI initially came across this book through Aeicha of Word Spelunking’s review.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell takes place in Nebraska during the mid-80s. Rowell has a strong voice and the prose is often striking. The story itself delicately touches upon the issue of alienation from multiple viewpoints: racial, physical, financial, and emotional.

While multiple subplots are woven throughout the story, the book’s main arc follows the romance between Eleanor and Park. Rowell captures the poignant build-up and heady, intense exhilaration of high school love very well and I found it to be a surprising and thoughtful read.

So, one winner will receive an e-book copy. Of course, this is open to international readers as well. 🙂

You guys know what to do. To enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what book(s) you’re currently reading or a book you’ve recently enjoyed. Fill out the rafflecopter for more ways to gain entries.

Giveaway ends in a week. Have fun!

** Friday Reading is a bi-monthly feature. The next post will be on 12/13.
** Another note: Last time I did a giveaway, a few comments got caught in the spam filter. Don’t worry if this happens to you – just go ahead and indicate you left a comment on the Rafflecopter. I’ll release your comment from the spam cage as soon as I can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Reading

Friday Reading Two quick announcements:

1) Crest paperbacks are now available on The Book Depository. I know some of you were waiting, especially since TBD offers awesome free worldwide delivery.

2) I’ve decided to do a giveaway for each edition of Friday Reading from now on. If I’m sharing a book I enjoyed, I might as well share the love, too 🙂

Since I shared a YA contemporary and adult urban fantasy book in the previous posts, I thought I’d feature a fun, fantasy book today. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan is technically young adult, but it reads well for younger audiences.

I haven’t read the entire series yet, but I enjoyed the first book The Lost Hero when it first came out. It’s filled to the brim with rich mythology and is just so much fun to read. Book 4 was recently released and I’m looking forward to catching up with the rest of the series.

Since I didn’t do a giveaway for the previous editions of Friday Reading, today’s contest features those books as well.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
YA Contemporary
Amazon | What I said

 

 

The Disillusionists Trilogy by Carolyn Crane
Adult Urban Fantasy
Amazon | What I said

 

 

Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
YA (younger) Fantasy
Amazon

 

 

One winner will receive an ebook copy of one of the above books (your choice). This is open to international readers, too. 🙂

To enter: Leave a comment below and tell me what book(s) you’re currently reading or a book you’ve recently enjoyed. Fill out the rafflecopter for more ways to gain entries.

Giveaway ends in a week. Have fun!

** Friday Reading is a bi-monthly feature. The next post will be on 11/29.
** Another note: Last time I did a giveaway, a few comments got caught in the spam filter. Don’t worry if this happens to you – just go ahead and indicate you left a comment on the Rafflecopter. I’ll release your comment from the spam cage as soon as I can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Reading

Friday ReadingNovember 1st means NaNoWriMo has begun! So far I’ve gotten another 2200 words into Ondine and hope to get a little more in later tonight.

Since my previous Friday Reading recommendation was a young adult novel, I’ve switched over to a fun adult book rec today. I came across Carolyn Crane’s The Disillusionist series at the beginning of 2013 and raced through the books.

mindgamesThe first book in the series is MIND GAMES. A highly original urban fantasy with an unusual premise, the book is neurotic, passionate, psychological, quirky, and infused with wit. The heroine, Justine, is a hypochondriac and her magical power lies in “zapping” people with her fear. She teams up with other Disillusionists, all of whom have exceptional abilities.

Being inside Justine’s head is interesting and she finds and displays strength in ways that are outside of the usual “kick-ass” urban fantasy norm. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a very cool, almost comic-book vibe to it and a romance that left quite the impression. 🙂 The trilogy is complete and a fun read for the weekend.

What are you reading and loving this week? Any new reads you’re diving into?

Reminder: 5 Days left in the Crest Release Giveaway. Have you entered yet?

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