Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult novels. Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.

This blog has been closed since early 2016. To the publishers and writers: thanks for all the support over the years. To my readers and fellow bloggers: keep in touch!

 

 

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Recent Reviews

Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsAurelia by Anne OsterlundUprooted by Naomi NovikShadow Study by Maria V. SnyderThis Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerUnited We Spy by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally CarterEve and Adam by Katherine Applegate, Michael GrantHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Reading Urban Fantasy “Classics”

I’ve been thinking about some of the Urban Fantasy books on my wishlist and shelves. A lot of these are books that I added to my to-read list when I was still discovering the Urban Fantasy genre. I wanted to know what was the best, what people always recommended and then, more often than not, I went out bought them all. Now, of course, many of them I did read. Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Chloe Neill, etc. etc!

But many I just never got to and… that makes me both a wee bit sad and a wee bit glad. The latter because it means I still have fantastic new literary-universes to explore!

Anyhow, here’s a look at some of the books I’ve “really, honestly, I promise” been meaning to get to. I can’t recommend them myself, but they are considered “classics”* for a reason!

As you can see, I have a lot of good books still on my list! The Kitty series, for instance, is supposed to be a must-read for fans of Kelley Armstrong and – hello! – features a radio host! And hell, the Dresden Files I kinda just want to read in order to get into the fandom.

C.E. Murphy is one of those authors I constantly see featured at Forbidden Planet and always kick myself for not having gotten to. And then there’s the Fever series – which everyone and their mother raves about but is still on my list… how did that happen? Or what about Rob Thurman? I remember including her in a post of male authors (oops) almost 6 years ago now… and yet. 🙂

SO! I am taking it upon myself to kick off a personal challenge: read some Urban Fantasy “classics” and find some new favourites.

This is not a deadline challenge, but rather a perpetual reminder to self. I plan to get to some of these books this year (I’m looking at you, Carrie Vaughn) and will let you know how I get on!

* Just in case some of you are feeling extra pedantic, I remind you that I am using the word “classic” very lightly. Not to mention the fact that “urban fantasy” is still a relatively new genre (25 odd-years old, though there are older works that could probably fit the under the title as well). So, yes, these novels are millennials – but they are still “classics” in my book!

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Review: Uprooted by Naomi NovikUprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Pan Macmillan on 2015-05-21
Pages: 310
Genres: High Fantasy
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Rating:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him. From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

Thoughts: I was ecstatic to find Uprooted in my mailbox. I am a massive, massive fan of Novik’s Temeraire (read my glowing review here) and was very excited to see what she would produce outside of that universe.

Which is appropriate, considering what dominated Uprooted was the universe Novik created. It was dark, twisted and disconcerting in a way I’ve yet to experience. Instead of a single villain, Agnieszka and the Dragon faced off against a… feeling. The Wood was the literal representation of decay and infection, while still appearing as a lush, beautiful life-form. It was a bit difficult for me to wrap my brain around, because it was so foreign… and in a way, that’s what also made it so scary.

The Wood drove this story, more so than the principal characters. And because of that, Uprooted refused to be one “type” of story. It wasn’t just a semi-Stockholm Syndrome romance, or a girl-discovers-her-powers YA novel, or a high fantasy fight-against-evil… it was all of those things distorted by the overbearing threat of the Wood. So expect twists and turns, and don’t ever, ever get too comfortable.

Character-wise, while I can’t say I was overly emotionally invested in Agnieszka, Kasia or the Dragon, I really appreciated how they were handled. The Dragon was an angry, mean man – but one who was trying to do the right thing. Kasia and Agnieszka, meanwhile, had one of the most genuine female friendships I’ve ever read. They loved each other, but they also had their own problems. When jealously and hurt reared their heads, instead of breaking apart, they acknowledged the issues and didn’t let them get in the way. It was masterfully done.

Bottom line? Uprooted is a supremely unique novel, set in a universe I can guarantee you’ve never been to. If you’re suffering from genre fatigue, Uprooted will leave you uplifted.

Summer Book Haul (at last!)

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been extremely busy these past few months – busy in a way I really have never been before. So, of course, my reading pace has taken a nose-dive and, with it, my book-purchasing rate. So much so that Book Depository sent me a 10% off code to say “come baaaaaaaack!”.

Geez okay okay. I get the point. Take my money.

July book haul 2

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre (goodreads)
I’m not sure how many times I’ve said this, but I’ll say it again: Ann Aguirre is one of my auto-buy authors. She’s amazing, fantastic, brilliant and other superlatives. I couldn’t care less what the synopsis is, it goes into the basket.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (goodreads)
Obviously.

Eon by Alison Goodman (goodreads)
I bought Eona yeaaaaars ago (it was on sale) and obviously was never able to read it as I was missing a key element. Now I can (at last) find out what all the hype is about!

End of Days by Susan Ee (goodreads)
I can’t believe this series is coming to an end. I remember when this was a self-published phenomena that I never imagined seeing on the shelves – and, of course, when I had the chance to meet Susan back when the second book came out (she is amazing, y’all). In short: a lot of memories and a lot of mixed feelings about the end.

July book haul

Deadly Class Volume 2 by Rick Remender (goodreads)
I read and enjoyed Volume 1 last year – gorgeous art and super, super dark. Excited to see where this goes…

The Fade Out Volume 1 by Ed Brubaker (goodreads)
I bought the first issue of this comic last year and immediately thought “this needs to be read in a trade paperback”. I bought no further issues and have been NOT PATIENTLY waiting for this release. 🙂

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (goodreads)
Oh come on. Of course I got this. It is all the 21st century girls-being-awesome that I love about the internet – only with swords.

 

That’s all folks! Let me know if you have a recommendation out of this haul – need to know what to start with!

Kapow! Comic Book Readathon time!

comic-readathon
Rah Rah Readathon! 
Once again, Dewey’s readathon is here! The event is starting in about 15 minutes, so you still have time to join for kickoff!

Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

La France – where it is overcast and not too hot (my perfect reading weather).

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Probably Joss Whedon’s Fray – I’ve been looking forward to that forever!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Nutella (obviously).

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m Kay and I’ve been blogging about books since 2009 and – in that time – I’ve done a lot of readathons (and loved each and every one). My reading companion on today’s readathon is my massive hound, Odin.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?

For this year’s Readathon… I am doing 1000% comic books! I love graphic novels and the readathon is a perfect opportunity to binge read them. They make you feel great too, as you manage to get a LOT of them done in the 24 hours!

comicsreadathon2

What’cha reading?

On my list so far:

  • Kill my Mother by Jules Feiffer
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  • Batman: the Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • Fray by Joss Whedon
  • Iron Man Noir by Scott Snyder
  • Y: the Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
  • Velvet by Ed Brubaker

Since my post yesterday, I’ve received a lot of suggestions on twitter for other graphic novels to check out – so I may be adding to this list, with the help of Marvel Unlimited and Comixology!

Updates

Hour 1: I’m starting with Velvet by Ed Brubaker! I’ve read the first issue already, so I know I am going to love it 🙂

Hour 4: I finished and loved Velvet – it was all the James Bond/Black Widow/spy-assassin awesomeness that I expected. Only now I am desperate

Hour 7: So, I took some time off to make cookies (because WHY NOT) and have only gotten a few chapters through Fray. I really like it so far – it’s Buffy… but with flying cars. Oh, and the intro by Jeph Loeb. Wow – that was amazing.

Hour 12: I’ve made it through Fray but don’t think I will manage more today!

Books completed

  1. Velvet by Ed Brubake
  2. Fray by Joss Wheson

Challenges

 

Hour 2: Classics words of wisdom (A Literary Odyssey)

secrets dorian grayThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde was one of those books that… transformed me as a teenager. It was witty and dark and subversive – it made me run out and find out everything I could about Oscar Wilde. He was a man unfortunately born in the wrong era, yet he managed so much in spite of that. This quote from Dorian Gray makes me think about the author, his life, my own life – and how little we know about the people we know. Secrets, my friends.

Hour 3: Four seasons (Bart’s Bookshelf)

 

My 4 seasons of #readathon! (Fire seemed like the most apt description of summer ) #minichallenge4s A photo posted by Kay (@darlinbooksnpins) on

Hour 7: Treasure Hunt

IMG_20150425_210100

From left to right: a whole bunch of trees, a scary ax and snow!

Getting ready for the Readathon… the Comic Book edition!

comicsreadathon2

That’s right – once again, Dewey’s Readathon is coming up! In fact, it starts tomorrow – so sign up and clear your schedule quick, as there is still time to participate!

Anyhow, since this is my fifth (or sixth?) Readathon, I wanted to do something a little bit different. Which, given my new obsession with graphic novels, obviously meant… doing a Comic Book Readathon! The above are but a small selection of the books I have, but I thought they’d be a good place to start.

On my list so far:

  • Kill my Mother by Jules Feiffer
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  • Batman: the Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • Fray by Joss Wheson
  • Iron Man Noir by Scott Snyder
  • Y: the Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
  • Velvet by Ed Brubaker

And, since I am a Marvel Unlimited subscriber, I think I may delve into some more of the Daredevil run by Brian Michael Bendis. I am about 6 graphic novels through the run and it is getting really dark (totally loving it, of course!).

Anyhow, I am really looking forward to doing something different for this readathon. Everyone says you should try to include some graphic novels in the mix… so why not let them take up the whole thing! It’s going to be epic, people. 🙂

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