Saturday, November 16, 2013

Books I've Been Reading

So I know I promised some book reviews and have been extremely lax about it. You'll be glad to know this is largely because I've been working so hard on Raising Chaos edits, while also self-editing a new project that some days I like even better than the Earthbound Angels series.

I've also been checking out the science fiction/fantasy convention circuit as a method of promoting and selling books and meeting fans and new readers. I went to PhilCon last weekend, where I had lots of fun, and I've got a few more events planned. Keep up with my Appearances page to see where I'm going to be.

Now, let's talk about what I've been reading!

First up is The Program by Suzanne Young, which I read for a book club I recently joined. The Program is about a world where one in three teens die by suicide, and all the teens avoid the treatment program because it takes away all their memories. I had some trepidation about The Program when I started -- I'm always interested in reading about medial representations of mental illness, but often I find them inaccurate, and I'm not a fan of dystopic stuff in general -- but I really enjoyed the book. I stayed up way too late to marathon read the book in two days! I particularly enjoyed the first part, where we see main character Sloane trying to deal with the trauma of having all her friends either die by suicide or get dragged off to have their memories wiped. And even though I found myself on Team Wrong Boy, I'm still looking forward to reading the next one, because I'm hoping to find out more about what caused the suicide epidemic and what the true purpose behind The Program is.

Before that, my book club read The Diviners by Libba Bray, a novel about teens with special powers fighting a ghostly serial killer in the 1920s. I had tried to read the book once before and gotten annoyed with the main character, but I'm so glad I gave it another try. Evie is kind of selfish and lies a lot more than she needs to, but she grew on me by the end of the book. The other characters were fascinating, as well, and I liked seeing the traditional YA urban fantasy tropes in the well-researched setting of the 20s. Parts of the novel were seriously creepy, which, even though I don't like to be scared, I have to credit the writer for. The romances, though sparse, but very sweet. (I've read the last scene so many times I stopped counting.) I'm looking forward to the next book, to see how all the mythology fits together and what happens to the characters. The women in my reading group said the audiobook is really good, so I think I'm going to listen to it to refresh my memory before Lair of Dreams comes out.

I read In a Fix by Linda Grimes as part of my quest to get back to reading adult urban fantasy. I loved it so much, I had to immediately read Quick Fix as well, and then be horribly disappointed that I probably won't get another book until sometime next year. The books are about Ciel Hannigan, a woman with the ability to put on different auras and essentially change into other people. She's started up a business to pose as people for difficult moments in her life, and cases in both books turn from simple tasks to super spy mysteries. The plots are quirky and great, full of humorous twists and turns. The romance is the very best kind of romance -- two hot boys, one of whom is clearly superior to the other -- though I confess it does make me wonder what is up with the recent quasi-incest trope -- one boy is raised as her cousin but is really her mother's sorority sister's step-son, and the other is her brother's best friend who sees her as a little sister. I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out.

Last on my list for today is Omens by Kelley Armstrong. I feel a little ridiculous even commenting on it, because, come on, it's Kelley Armstrong. But, then, I did have some trepidation about reading it, because I felt like the Otherworld series got kind of boring toward the end. But Omens definitely did not disappoint. It's about Olivia, an upper class woman whose life is turned upside down when she learns that she is adopted, and her parents are a pair of famous serial killers who want her to prove their innocence. The mythology is a mix of science fiction and fantasy, much of which is only hinted at in this first book, though I am looking forward to seeing it unfold. As ever, Kelley Armstrong picks a main boy who is, on many levels, rather unattractive, and Olivia makes decisions whose morally dubious nature surprises her. I always make jokes with my friend about how I prefer pretty elfboys to the more burly manly types, but in this case, I think I'm on Team Literally an Elfboy, even though he's hardly in the book at all.

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