It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

I am currently reading

Girl of Nightmares
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
From: My bookshelf

Yay, I’m finally starting to read the second Anna book (the first being Anna Dressed in Blood). Nothing to say yet, except that the red font is really distracting and I hope it was slightly darker.


Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
(Ministry of Peculiar Occurences #1)
From: My bookshelf

I am continuing with this steampunk novel about Wellington Books, the archivist & Eliza D. Braun, the field agent. I’m 50 pages in and so far it looks promising. I think things are starting to slowly kick into gear (pun intended).

Last week I read


Well, I actually finished Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajamäki today, not last week. The book was part of my 2012 Sci-Fi Challenge, and I will review it later (psst – I liked it). I also continued reading the Runaways (vol.5) and Chew (vol.2) graphic novel series. Chew is shaping up to be my one of my favorite currently running graphic novels. I just love the imagination & quirkiness of the writer & the artist!

Last week I posted

My Top 10 Fall TBR Books

 

“It’s Monday, what are you reading?” is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Top 10 Fall TBR Books

The Broke and the Bookish asked in their Top 10 Tuesday post this week: “What books you’re most excited about that have made it on your Fall TBR list?”

So, here’s my selection of books that I’m most excited about for the rest of the year. All of these aren’t new books, by far, and many are chunksters, but I plan to start reading them, at least! The images take you to GoodReads as usual.


Cold Days (The Dresden Files #14) by Jim Butcher
Don’t go to GoodReads and read the synopsis if you haven’t read the previous books – the description is spoilericious! I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for Dresden when this book comes out at the end of November. Those who have read the previous book know that we left Dresden in a pretty bad but interesting spot.

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2) by Kendare Blake
This book is waiting on my shelf for me to pick it up and start reading, and I will be doing so soon.

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4) by George R.R. Martin
I finished the third book, A Storm of Swords, earlier this year. I needed to take a bit of a breather after that, but I will definitely be continuing with this series later this year.


Zombies Vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Another book from my shelves. This short story collection contains stories of either zombies or unicorns, from authors such as Scott Westerfield, Naomi Novik, Cassandra Clare and Meg Cabot, plus many more.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins
I’m finally making my way to the last book in the Hunger Games series. I hope it will be worth it. Katniss rules!

Kohtalon koukkuja or Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci, #5) by Diana Wynne Jones
This book just came out in Finnish. I’ve read the previous books in the series in Finnish, and I like the translation enough to continue. This has been a very good series so far, my favorites being Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant.


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Can’t wait to read this classic Gothic novel.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have read Dracula before, but I have to re-read it after buying this beautiful edition, gorgeously illustrated edition by comics artist Becky Cloonan.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
I’m reading this book as a part of my science fiction challenge. I’ve only read the Earthsea fantasy books by Le Guin before, so I’m interested in her science fiction work.


Helsingin alla by Maria Turtschaninoff
This YA fantasy book, originally written in Swedish, tells of another town right underneath Helsinki. Sort of like a Finnish Neverwhere, I guess. I’m intrigued.

So here were my choices! I’m excited to hear about yours.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Last week I was still taking it easy with the reading because of my sudden bout of back pain, and finished only one book. I’m feeling almost back to normal now, so the reading continues (with frequent stretching pauses)!

I am currently reading


Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
(Ministry of Peculiar Occurences #1)
From: My bookshelf

I have just started to read this steampunk novel. I discovered it in GoodReads, thought it looked interesting, and decided to order it. I won’t lie, a big factor in my decision was cover appeal (although the title is much more garishly orange on the real book than on the web image). I was also drawn in by the idea of an action-loving female field agent named Braun paired with a bookish male archivist named Books.


The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
(The Quantum Thief trilogy #1)
From: The library

I have made no progress with this science fiction novel during the last couple of weeks – it’s just been lying on my self. Now I mean to really tackle it, which is just as well, since I need to return it to the library next week… I am still interested, though.

Last week I read


Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
From:
My bookshelf

This fantasy novel set in Regency England where magic exists was a charming and quick read. Read more of my thoughts about it in my August Wrap-Up post.

Last week I posted

August Wrap-Up – with mini-reviews and links to longer ones
Graphic Reads #2 – my thoughs on the graphic novels I’ve read most recently
Finnlit: Thoughts on “The Falling Sky” – review of a Finnish YA dystopian novel

 

“It’s Monday, what are you reading?” is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

August Wrap-Up

While last month wasn’t very strong on the speculative fiction front, this month I read nothing else. Some books have links to my reviews, some have mini-reviews right here in the post.

Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Horror

North End - Niskaan putoava taivas
‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – review here

North End – Niskaan putoava taivas by Laura Lähteenmäki – review here

Forsaken by Jana Oliver – review here


Kadonneet kyyneleet
by Mike Pohjola
First published in 2008

Kadonneet kyyneleet (”Lost Tears”) is a Finnish YA fantasy book. It’s set both in our modern world and in a magical world of flower, tree and mushroom spirits called airis. Depressed teenager Roosa is dealing with her father’s death, her mother’s neglect and her memories of visiting a magical world when she was a kid. Punakaneli is an apple airis who has lived a sheltered life on its island. It needs to leave the island for a mission, where it finds out that the airis people are at war.

The book was a bit uneven – the modern-day depression clashed with the very fairytale-like telling of the airis parts. This might have been the plan of the author, but it could’ve worked better as a whole. I liked the book well enough, though.

(I need to mention that since Finnish doesn’t have a gendered pronoun, I chose to use ‘it’ for Punakaneli, since I don’t know if it is a he or a she, or if the airis are even gendered at all.)

Catching Fire
(The Hunger Games #2)
by Suzanne Collins
First published in 2009

The Capitol isn’t happy about the way Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games, and the President gets personally involved. Katniss continues to be a cool & kick-ass main character, and I just love reading what goes through her head. Her inner monologue is one of the main things why I like these books (and it’s sadly missing in the movie, which I just couldn’t get that into). Suzanne Collins is a compelling writer: the writing flows so well and I just get carried away by the story. I really enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to the third book.

Shades of Milk and Honey
(Glamourist Histories #1)
by Mary Robinette Kowal
First published in 2010

Shades of Milk and Honey is a fantasy book set in an alternate Regency England where magic exists. Jane Ellsworth is a plain looking lady of twenty-eight whose skill with glamour is remarkable. She and her beautiful but less talented sister Melody need to get married, because they can’t inherit their father’s estate.

It is clear that the author loves Jane Austen’s books, and she thanks her in the acknowledgements. Although this is an original piece of fiction and not a retelling, you can definitely guess some of the plot twists if you’ve read your Austen. Some of the character archetypes are also the same, e.g. the overly dramatic mother and the dashing captain.

I wanted to get really drawn in to the book and love it, but ended up just liking it. I don’t really even know why. The characters of Jane, the Dunkirks and especially Mr. Vincent are interesting and likable. The book is charming and definitely worth a read, especially if you love magic and Austen.

Graphic Novels

Read this month’s graphic novel reviews here, including:

  • Anya’s Ghost
  • Runaways vol.4
  • B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs vol.1

This post is linked at The Book Rat’s August Rewind/September TBR post.

Graphic Reads #2

In Graphic Reads I share my thoughts on the graphic novels I’ve read most recently.

Anya’s Ghost
by Vera Brosgol
First published in 2011

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend wasn’t one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend – even a dead one – is just what she needs. But Anya’s new B.F.F isn’t kidding about the “forever” part…

“A masterpiece!” says Neil Gaiman’s blurb on the cover, and I’ve come to trust Mr. Gaiman when it comes to book recommendations. Anya’s ghost is a delightfully well-drawn and tightly plotted graphic novel. Anya is a typical teenager with body issues who is a bit embarrassed by her family. Added to this are the supernatural elements and a mystery plot, but they work very well with the more everyday material.

Although the book is over 200 pages long, it reads very quickly because it isn’t crammed with dialogue. The pictures play a strong part in moving the story forward – not everything needs to be put in words. I searched out Vera Brosgol’s earlier work in the Flight anthologies I own, and I can see that in Anya’s Ghost her style has really matured into a pleasing, professional and original whole.

Favourite character: Anya. I liked watching her grow in self-confidence.


Runaways vol.4
by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Craig Yeung
First published in 2006

When a group of teenagers discovers that their parents are actually super-villains, they run away from home… but that’s only step one. Now that the evil Pride is gone, nearly every bad guy in the Marvel Universe is trying to fill the power vacuum in Los Angeles, and the Runaways are the only heroes who can stop them.

I saw this trade paperback in the library and picked it up, since I had heard a lot of good things about the title. I was interested in the premise of a group of teenage superheroes, especially when girls made up the majority. The characters, their powers, and the baggage their super-villain parents left behind, were intriguing. I enjoyed the dialogue and the main theme of are people responsible for their parent’s actions, and the actions they themselves might make in the future.

I thought I was reading the first TPB, but it turns out this was the fourth – the issue numbering was reset after the first 18 issues, because the series was originally canceled then. I had no trouble in jumping right in, though, since the characters were properly introduced and this was the start of a new story ac. I’ll definitely continue this series, as well as read the previous installments.

Favorite character: Nico. I just love goths and mages. The idea of being able to cast every spell only once was also intriguing.


B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs 1
by Mike Mignola et al.
First published in 2011

In 2001, Hellboy quit the BPRD, leaving Abe Sapien to lead Liz Sherman and a bizarre roster of special agents in defending the world from occult threats, including the growing menace of the frog army.

The book consists of the first three TPBs of the Plague of Frogs, and is massive. There are short stories mixed in with the longer ones. I hadn’t read any Hellboy GNs before, so this might have been a weird place for me to start. Still, I wasn’t confused, although some previous plot points were mentioned once in a while.

I gravitated more towards the longer stories with more character interactions, with the short ones leaving me a bit cold. The characters were very interesting, especially the amphibious man Abe Sapien, the homunculus Roger, and Johann Kraus, a medium who exists in ectoplasmic form inside a body-shaped bag after his physical form was destroyed during a seance.

Favourite character: Abe Sapien. He’s cool and collected. I’ve liked him ever since seeing the movies, although the movie and graphic novel character have slightly different nuances.

Thoughts on Niskaan putoava taivas

North End - Niskaan putoava taivas
North End – Niskaan putoava taivas
by Laura Lähteenmäki
First published 2012

Niskaan putoava taivas, loosely translated ”The Falling Sky” is a Finnish post-apocalyptic young adult novel. It takes place in the future, after the ”Change” when the natural resources ran out and the winters turned longer and colder. It is the first book in the North End series, from the name of the town where the book takes place.

Fourteen-year-old Tekla is accidentally left home alone with her little brother for a week. At first she’s happy with her newfound freedom with no parents, but quickly she finds out that running the house takes a lot of work. Her brother refuses to go to school. They are running out of heating supplies. She forgets to order food. There’s also something more mysterious going on – who planned the terrorist strike against the North End chocolate factory? Are there people inside the underground storage tunnels?

I was disappointed by the lack of fantasy elements in the book. With minor changes the plot could easily have taken place in our time. The majority of the book is focused on typical teen book themes: moving to a new town and having to start over again; wanting to fit in yet stand out; trying to deal with your annoying little brother whom you still love; wanting to be more grown up than you are. The writing and characterization are solid, so the book is by no means badly written.

Niskaan putoava taivas was too young for me with too little fantasy elements, and I wanted it to be more than it was. This being said, I think the book can work very well for its target group, the younger end of the young adult audience. They can relate to the main character and her problems, and the futuristic elements will be a nice spice.