Current Reads: Divergent

Yay, I’m finally breaking out of my reading funk! I managed to finish three books last week, and I’m really close to finishing The Hunchback of Notre-Dame! The cover images take you to GoodReads, as usual.

I am currently reading

Divergent
Divergent
By: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dystopian SF
From: My bookshelf

Sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit. So she ventures out alone, determined to discover where she truly belongs. Shocked by her brutal new life, Tris can trust no one.

Late to the party, I am only now starting to read the very popular Divergent. You guys suggested I should pick it up next from my bookshelf, so that is what I did. I have only read a couple of pages, so I have no opinion yet! I’ve heard good things, though.

Next Up

Moon Called
Moon Called
(Mercy Thompson #1)
By: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
From: The library

Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She’s a mechanic – and a damn good one – who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf – literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself ia a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly a normal young lady… and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Last week I read

Veronica Britton The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Attachments

I finally finished Veronica Britton: Chronic Detective, a time-travel novel that had promise but was flawed. I also went to the library to get some easy reads to break me out of my May reading funk, and borrowed five books. I already finished Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (entertaining enough to read in one sitting) and a reread of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (always fun, plus I love Zaphod).

Last week I posted

Waiting for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Top 10 Books with Gorgeous Covers

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Waiting for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

 

I can’t wait for this vampire novel from Holly Black! I liked the short story of the same name that takes place in the same universe, but focuses on different characters, from her short story collection The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. Coldest Girl doesn’t come out until September, though… sigh. I’ve read most of Black’s novels, and absolutely loved The Curse Workers trilogy. Add to that my obsession with vampires (Interview with the Vampire is to blame), and there you have it. I’m so excited for this!

 

This post is linked at “Waiting on Wednesday”, a weekly meme that tells us what books the blogosphere is most anxiously waiting for. It hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Books with Gorgeous Covers

We all know there are some absolutely gorgeous book covers out there, and here’s my attempt to list some of them. The list is limited to books I have read (with one cheat), or else I wouldn’t even know where to begin! Whenever I could find the information, I have linked to the illustrator’s or designer’s web page. The cover images themselves lead to GoodReads.

Top 10 Gorgeous Covers of Books I’ve Read

Boneshaker Mistborn: The Final Empire
1. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Illustration by Jon Foster – Cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill

2. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Illustration by Jon Foster

Snake Agent Lohikaarmeen Prinsessa
3. Snake Agent by Liz Williams
Illustration by Jon Foster

4. Dealing With Dragons (the Finnish edition) by Patricia C. Wrede
Illustration by Petteri Tikkanen – Cover Design by Sami Saramäki

Bloodshot Frankenstein
5. Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Penguin English Library edition – Cover design by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Horns
7. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Cover design by William Webb

8. Horns by Joe Hill
Gollancz edition

Wonder Boys Stormdancer
9. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Cover design & illustration by Richard Bravery

10. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Illustration by Jason Chan

A total of three covers by Jon Foster made their way on this list! I just happen to really like his illustration style. I was actually pretty surprised that he had drawn all those book covers that sprang into my mind first! Then there’s Lohikäärmeen prinsessa, the Finnish version of Dealing with Dragons. I love both the cover design and the illustration!

Bloodshot has a really stunning combination of blue and red, it’s even more striking in person – I’m sad that I couldn’t find out the illustrator’s name! The Penguin English Library has many pretty cover editions of classic literature. Frankenstein is one of my favorites from the line.

I love the simplicity of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell‘s cover, while I also love the abundance of elements on the cover of Horns. Wonder Boys has a great cover design built up of quotes from the book, and Stormdancer is one of many gorgeous covers by the very talented illustrator Jason Chan. Stormdancer is my cheat entry, since I haven’t actually read the book… I just couldn’t leave a list without a Chan cover!

What did you think of my list, and what are your favorite covers? Do you like simplistic over elaborate? Do you prefer covers using photography, illustration or perhaps typography? Let me know!

 

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Current Reads: Veronica Britton

I am currently reading

Veronica Britton
Veronica Britton – Chronic Detective

By: N.P. Boyce
From: My bookshelf

Do you know how much damage a gun in the wrong place can do to history?

Veronica Britton lives in Victorian London – but she can go wherever and whenever adventure takes her. Smart, efficient and (almost) always discreet, Veronica is the best chronic detective in the city.

Working alonside her apprentice, the brilliant and time-sensitive Gabrielle, she navigates the timepools – corridors that join the various time zones of London – from the founding of the city to a bleak vision of the future, via a mysterious mansion with an indoor weather system and an extremely charismatic cat. Veronica uncovers a series of mysteries that ends in a fiendish conspiracy to control time itself: a plan that threatens not just the city she loves, but the whole world.

I picked this book up on a whim at the bookstore, based on the synopsis. It has time travel and takes place in London! Also the mention of a mansion and a cat caught my interest. So, what’s it like? So far there hasn’t been any mysterious mansions or charismatic cats, and Veronica’s detective methods haven’t been very discreet contrary to what the synopsis states, but the book is interesting and very easy to read. The book appears to be N.P. Boyle’s first novel – the short introduction in the beginning says that he’s written short stories before.

I thought that the book would be told solely from Veronica’s perspective, so I was a bit surprised to find that the point of view jumped between different characters in a way that sometimes reminded me of a TV series. This is neither here nor there, but I do have trouble with the character Gabrielle, Veronica’s apprentice. Everyone else in the book was introduced with a short description that brought their character and personality alive in a few words. But there was no such thing for Gabrielle! The character just suddenly appeared with no description of her appearance or personality, and so she feels pretty distant to me. My weird mind just imagines her looking like Gabrielle from Xena…

I’m also continuing with The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, where Esmeralda has lately come across some pretty hard times. And I miss Clopin, whom we haven’t seen since the beginning of the book. I hope he’ll make a reappearance soon!

I just finished reading

@ Goodreads
Wonder Boys

By: Michael Chabon
From: My bookshelf

This literary fiction version of a screwball comedy had me entertained until the halfway point, where it lost some of its momentum, and at the same time, me. In the beginning, the writing captured me and whisked me away with ease into the quirky happenstances of the book. But when the story lost something in its pacing, I began to get fed up with the annoying main character, and wasn’t interested in what happened any more. As far as favorite characters go, that would have to be James Leer, the student morbidly fascinated with actors died by suicide. I give the book 2 stars, with a note that many other readers would probably enjoy this novel much more than me. As a side note, I find the cover absolutely gorgeous.

Next Up

I am slowly working through the unread books in my shelves (I can’t buy any more until I’ve gone through at least half of them). I think next I’m in the mood for a YA novel.

The unread YA novels I have on my shelves are Divergent by Veronica Roth, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.

Which one would you recommend? I’ve previously received one vote for The Book of Lost Things on this blog.

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Current Reads: Drudging On…

I am currently *still* reading

Wonder Boys Veronica Britton The Hunchback of Notre Dame

As you can tell from the headline, I’ve been having trouble with my reading. I haven’t been able to finish anything! The plot of Notre-Dame is finally starting to pick up, it seems (halfway through the book). Apart from that Kindle read, I’m trying to finish my paperback of Wonder Boys, and then move on to really get into Veronica Britton – Chronic Detective. I was supposed to tell you something new about Veronica Britton this week, but since I haven’t been able to really get to it from my other reads, it’ll have to wait. For some reason my reading speed has seriously dropped and I can’t seem to properly get into these books I’m in the middle of!

If you have any suggestions for an effortless and quick read, please recommend it to me! I need something quick & fun after finishing these books!

Last week I posted

Top 10 Light & Fun Fantasy Reads

My April Wrap-Up

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

April Wrap-Up (2013)

It’s time for the April wrap-up, a bit late. This year I wanted to ”go back to my roots” and read more high fantasy. I also wanted to read more classics – especially speculative fiction ones, ’cause that’s how I roll. So I sort of made a loose pact with myself that I would read one classic and one high fantasy book a month this year, but I’m not being too strict about it and won’t beat myself up if I don’t live up to it.

I use the following light grading system based on the GoodReads one:
1 out of 5 – I didn’t like it: badly written or just got on my nerves
2 out of 5 – It was okay: other people might enjoy it more
3 out of 5 – I liked it: a fun/enjoyable read
4 out of 5 – I really liked it: good characters & plot, maybe some theme that spoke to me
5 out of 5 – It was amazing: I consider it a favorite and will probably re-read at some point

Epic/High Fantasy Read of the Month

A Feast for Crows
A Feast for Crows
(A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
by George R.R. Martin
First published in 2005
From my own bookshelf

The fourth installment in A Song of Ice and Fire series was pretty slow going and didn’t move the plot onward enough. It was clear that the author struggled with this book, and his afterword confirms it. There were still wonderful little things we learned about the characters and their inner thoughts and motivations, but that alone does not a full book make. A Feast for Crows also suffered from the division of characters – the book didn’t feature many of my favorite characters at all. My least favorite of the series so far. 2/5

Classic Read of the Month

The Turn of he Screw
The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
First published in 1898
From my own bookshelf

My classic choice of the month was this gothic horror classic about a governess plagued with ghosts. It took a while for me to get into the writing; Henry James seemed to like long sentences with lots of commas. I didn’t quite get everything that was happening here, but it seems to be a common problem. There are a lot of interesting theories about this book, though. While it’s not a big book at all, it took a while to read due to the writing style. 2/5

Adult Fantasy & Scifi

Rivers of London
(Peter Grant #1)
by Ben Aaronovitch
First published in 2011
Borrowed from my sister

A nice start to a modern fantasy series about a wizard policeman working in London. I talk more about the book here. 4/5

Teemestarin kirja
by Emmi Itäranta
First published in 2012, to be published in English 2014
Library book

A finnish dystopian about a a tea master in a world running out of water. The world did intrigue me, but I wasn’t that captivated with the characters. At times the writing managed to reach these zen-like moments of calm; especially the tea ceremony scenes made for some lovely reading. I was pleasantly surprised that the ending was completely different from the way I had imagined the story would go. 3/5

Bloodfever
(Fever, #2)
by Karen Marie Moning
First published in 2006
Library book

In the adult paranormal romance series “Fever”, MacKayla Lane travels to Ireland to investigate her sister’s murder. She soon finds out that she is a sidhe-seer (i.e. she can see the Fae). I read the first book in November, and wasn’t that into it, but picked this second one up because I craved for something light to read. 2/5

Young Adult Fantasy & Scifi

Jäljellä & Toisaalla
By Salla Simukka
First published in 2012
Library book

This Finnish dystopian duology was a nice read. In the first book, Emmi finds out that almost everyone has disappeared from the world. The second book explains why that was, and what was really going on during Emmi’s adventures. A nice mini-series, but nothing new or groundbreaking for the genre. Jäljellä gets 3/5 and Toisaalla 2/5 stars.

Graphic Novels

Mustasuon mysteeri
by Kati Närhi
First published in 2012
Library book

This Finnish graphic novel is second in a series which tells about an orphan girl named Agnes who lives with her grandmother. I think the book is mainly aimed to tweens and teens? In this second installment, Agnes has to go live in a boarding school for a while. I liked the visual style and the story was a fun & quirky. 3/5

Light & Fun Fantasy Reads

Spring is finally here and summer is on it’s way, and so is the need to find something light & fun to read in the sun. I’m in the middle of some heavier books right now (Hunchback, I’m looking at you!), so that only adds to the craving. While epic fantasy tomes are wonderful, sometimes something a bit shorter is in order. Here are a few suggestions for those breezy fantasy & scifi reads!

Top10LightReads_1

Maija’s Top 10 Light & Fun Fantasy Reads (+ 1 Scifi!)

1. Howl’s Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
Young Sophie Hatter gets turned into an old woman and soon finds herself inside the infamous wizard Howl’s very dirty moving castle, where she promptly hires herself as a cleaning lady. This is one of my favorite books. It has a lovely fairy tale-ish atmosphere, and Sophie and Howl are the right characters to spend a nice summer day with. I just love Howl and all his drama. :D Quaranteed to lift your spirits.

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
When Earth gets demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved from certain death by his old-turns-out-he’s-an-alien-friend Ford Prefect, who gets them a lift in a spaceship. So begins a hilarious, random adventure filled with outrageous characters. This book is a good pick if you crave something fun!

3. Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard Mayhew moves to London, rescues a girl, and gets mixed up in the schemes and adventures of the denizens of London Below. If you want to read an exciting fantasy adventure filled with great characters and set in the modern world, Neverwhere is your choice! I’ve re-read this book so many times I’ve lost count.

4. The Wee Free Men
by Terry Pratchett
Or almost anything by Terry Pratchett, really. The Wee Free Men starts Pratchett’s Discworld YA series featuring the young witch, Tiffany Aching. In this first book, Tiffany allies herself with the Nac Mac Feegle (a clan of six-inch-high blue men) to protect her home from the monsters of Fairyland.

5. The Parasol Protectorate series
by Gail Carriger
Containing light-hearted adventures with a dash of romance, this steampunk series is great for a light summer read! I think the series improves after the first book, Soulless, which I thought had some little hitches in the writing. This series has a lot of quirky & awesome characters in it!

Top10LightReads_2

6. The Courtney Crumrin graphic novels
by Ted Naifeh
Why not read some graphic novels this spring? Courtney Crumrin & The Night Things begins the story of Courtney, whose family moves in with his great uncle Aloysius, who happens to be a warlock. I love both Courtney and Aloysius! The first graphic novel contains a couple of short stories, but the rest of the volumes contain one story arc each.

7. Sorcery and Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
This is a fun novel written in letter form! It takes place in Jane Austen-ish alternate history England, where magic is real. Two cousins are sending letters to each other, one from the country, and the other from her first season in London. They both get caught up in magical shenanigans. Very charming! The London side of the story was my favorite.

8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter’s first year in wizarding school is pretty light-hearted and innocent compared to his future troubles. I love rereading this book in the summer!

9. The Belgariad
by David Eddings
Crave for some old school Chosen One farmboy fantasy? The Belgariad is a five part series starting with Pawn of Prophecy, which I remember as quick-moving and adventure-filled. Disclaimer! I haven’t read the books since junior high, but I did enjoy them at the time.

10. The Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series
by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Not what you would normally call fantasy, Scott Pilgrim’s life certainly isn’t any ordinary life either! With evil ex-boyfriends to fight and subspace highways going through people’s minds, I think Scott doesn’t feel out of place on this list. This six-part graphic novel series tackles some deeper themes amid all the dating & fighting, but is quick to read and filled with quirky humour.

That was my list of light & fun speculative fiction books. What are your favorite light reads? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.