Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

What we’re reading this week! “A Thousand Pieces of You,” “Codex Alera,” and more!

Howdy all! The shelves are slowly emptying out, and we couldn’t be happier! This week’s set of books are great, and we can’t wait to tell you about them. But first, here’s what we here at Lytherus have been reading this week:

DIANA

51iWOxQ4DsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This week I read A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, by Claudia Gray. I kept hearing great things about it, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and the plot (travel between parallel universes and how they change) sounded amazing. So I had very high expectations for this book.
And it definitely didn’t disappoint! I was a bit wary at first because the romance was shaping up to be a love triangle (no spoilers, it’s fairly obvious from the beginning) and I’m not a big fan of romance as the central focus of a book, much less a love triangle. But I thought it was done well, nicely interwoven with the story, and it didn’t detriment the plot itself. The book is just one big adventure that rarely stops, with very good pacing with the occasional, very rare lull. But in those occasions you have great character development as well as a really interesting story. The writing is also good and very easy to read, and I found it a very, very enjoyable read and I could barely put the book down.
This is a definite recommendation to science-fiction (and YA) fans. Can’t wait for the sequel, and to see what Claudia Gray is going to do with the Star Wars franchise this year!

EMMA

M_O_BlackThis week I managed about 2.2 things!  I tried reading Jim Butcher’s SKIN GAME for the Hugos, but I haven’t read any of the other books in the series and had to give it up. I really like Butcher’s CODEX ALERA, and I  enjoyed the little of this story I read as far as tone and characters. It just doesn’t really stand on its own.
I did however finish MIME ORDER – another book that doesn’t stand on it’s own! This time I’d read the preceding book, BONE SEASON, and I felt that MIME ORDER did an extraordinary job of continuing the saga. As Paige Mahoney’s story continued to unfold, I felt like the entire series finally clicked for me. The first book just never quite shook the Harry Potter/Divergent feel, but as author Samantha Shannon unfolded her world more and more in MIME ORDER, I began to fall in love with the story and characters in a way I hadn’t during BONE SEASON.
I also read a short story collection called KALEIDOSCOPE which comes out of a small independent Australian press.  Even though KALEIDOSCOPE is marketed as YA, it’s probably the best anthology I’ve read so far this year. Often in books like these, I consider it a win if I read 50% of the stories, but I didn’t skip a single entry in this collection!

LAUREN

 

Seraphina_book_cover_(US_addition)This past week’s book was a re-read for me: SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman (I did the audio this time, which was a cool change). This series is the book club series for the month of April, and I wanted to go into the sequel, SHADOW SCALE, as fresh as possible (You should read along with us, and submit your questions for me to ask Rachel in the interview at the end of the month!). At least 4 different times I said out loud, “man, I forgot how much I loved this book!” It really is a wonderfully creative, well-written book with interesting characters and a really cool world. I’m about half-way through the SHADOW SCALE audiobook right now, and so far it’s also great. It’s getting creepy, which is a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. Next up on the docket? I think I’m going to do the audio of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, which I’m excited about. Stay tuned!

 

This week we’re lucky enough to have some input from the lovely Erica Cameron, author of SING, SWEET NIGHTINGALE. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with Erica this week, and when I told her what I was doing she happily added her recent reads into the mix. Enjoy!

ERICA

neverwhereRight now I’m reading Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker. This lyrical, wonderfully creeptastic, Southern Gothic story grabs you from the first sentence, digs in its claws, and drags you toward the finish. I’m still in the middle of this book but I cannot wait to see how it unfolds. I’m expecting a brilliant finish and I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed.

Also, I’ve recently been trying to get myself into audiobooks because of how much time I’m going to be spending on the road this year. So far I’ve listened to the BBC production of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Neverwhere was extremely entertaining and imaginative (which is to be expected from Gaiman’s brilliant mind) and I loved listening to the fantastic cast recording. With Verity, it seemed as though the intensity was heightened by listening to the talented narrators. Since the story is told in the form of journal entries, it really was like being inside these girls’ heads while events were unfolding. Kudos to the author and the performers of both books for a job extremely well done. I’d give both audio versions five stars. Highly recommended.
On to the giveaways! This week we have an amazing set of a whopping FIVE books! They’re all middle-grade, and they’re all fabulous:

This is an extra awesome set of books for two different reasons. First, all of them except Beyond Foo are ARCs, so they’re a lot rarer than a regular book. And Beyond Foo? It’s signed by the author! So these are super fun goodies this week. (US only)

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It wouldn’t be a spring cleaning giveaway without a Christopher Paolini goody, so this week we’re throwing in a signed photo:
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We ALSO have a bonus giveaway this week: Erica Cameron’s Sing Sweet Nightingale, which is signed! There’s a catch though: if you win it you’ll have to review it for us to post on the site and share with the world! We want to hear your thoughts on her awesome book, so here’s your chance to be a guest book reviewer on Lytherus! Only enter if you’re interested. (US only)
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Book News, Books, News

Check Out Claudia Gray’s Newest Novel, “Fateful”

Are you a fan of Claudia Gray? Well, HarperCollins publishing is promoting Claudia Gray’s newest book, Fateful, which hit stores on September 13th, 2011, on their teen website.

What’s it about? Here’s a summary: 

Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

In FatefulNew York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.

The excerpt is exclusive to the HarperTeen website, so click here to check it out!

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, Week of March 7th, 2011

Here’s a list of all of the sci-fi and fantasy coming out this week.

Released Monday, March 7th, 2011

Dante Valentine: The Complete Series, by Lilith Saintcrow

Necromancer. Bounty hunter. Killer.

Dante Valentine has been all three in her life. But in the beginning, she was a Necromancer for hire. And while she was choosy about her jobs, there were just some she couldn’t turn down. Like when the Devil showed up at the door and offered her a deal. Her life – in exchange for the capture and elimination of a renegade demon. But how do you kill something that can’t die?

Dante Valentine, one of urban fantasy’s hottest series, is compiled into one volume for the first time. Included in this omnibus edition are:Working for the Devil, Dead Man Rising, The Devil’s Right Hand, Saint City Sinners, and To Hell and Back.

Released Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Afterwar, by Gloria Skurzynski

There’s only one thing more deadly than disease, more destructive than the forces of nature: jealousy. It’s been years since the world was nearly destroyed by natural disasters, but even the biggest earthquake couldn’t shake the evils of mankind. Of course, Corgan and Brigand are not normal human beings. Brigand is the product of a cloning experiment gone wrong and Corgan was conceived and raised in a sterile environment, conditioned to be a hero for the Federation’s virtual wars. They aren’t typical humans, but they are still flesh and blood. And their virtual competition spills over into the real world when the beautiful, rebellious Sharla comes between them. Corgan’s adventure, which began with Devastation, continues as Brigand launches an attack to eliminate his rival. Corgan is about to see that even battles fought with mind controlled avatars can have very high personal stakes.

Afterlife: An Evernight Novel, by Claudia Gray

Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.

Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They’ve overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?

The Hunt of the Unicorn, by C. C. Humphreys

Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she’s outgrown that kind of fantasy.

Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.

Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn’t so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she’s a hero, a villain, dinner!

But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she’s willing to become both hero and villain to do it.

Human.4, by Mike A. Lancaster

Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

List from Borders.com and descriptions/reviews from Amazon.com