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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Book Faeries - April Edition #1

I'll be honest with you, readers: I never stop being amazed at 1: how many good books are out there and 2: how many kind and generous publishers let me read their titles.  I must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, there is no special giveaway with this Book Faeries post.  You'll have to settle for an eclectic assortment of titles I'm excited to read. Hopefully, you'll see something that interests you as well?

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

I was interested in reading this book when it was first released a few years ago, but never bothered to pick it up.  Wildwood Dancing is a re-telling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, a fairy tale.  I've read good recommendations of Marillier's writing, love fairy tales (especially re-tellings) and was lucky enough to see an ex-library hardcover copy at my library's bookstore (in EXTREMELY good condition; I don't know why it was withdrawn from circulation) for $1. Of course I bought it!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Recieved: via Library bookstore

The Merlin Effect by T. A. Barron

One of the bad things about being in the library so often is having extra time to sneak into the bookstore there and get some rare treats at a cheap price.  I found a copy of this book with the Borders price sticker still attached to it!  This isn't part of Barron's Merlin series (well, it might be as a prequel?), but the jacket copy mentions this is rumored to be the book that "started it all" in a sense.  Whatever the reason for writing it, I really like Arthur myths, am obsessed with the BBC's "Merlin" show; for 50 cents this purchase was a no-brainer.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Received: via Library bookstore
On Beauty by Zadie Smith

I recently saw this in the library bookstore ($1) and figured I'd give it a try.  I've never read anything else by her, but think Smith is an author I should add to my repertoire.  If anyone has read one of her other novels, or has anything to say on this one, please let me know your thoughts! :)

Genre: African American Literature
Received: via Library bookstore

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Most, if not all, of the reviews I've read about this book have been positive.  Of course, aside from the fascinating premise (social commentary and satire using colors to separate different levels of society), there have been some concerns over how much is too much.  How successful is Fforde's concept?  I like to form my own opinion and made up my mind I wanted to read this for myself to join the discussion.  Luckily, Penguin obliged my request completely by surprise.

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via Viking Books for review

Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Where do we go after we die? Neal Shusterman gives us his take on this question in his Skinjacker trilogy, starting with Everlost.  I have this and the immediate sequel, Everwild, and am pretty excited to see what he has in store for readers this time around.  His previous novel, Unwind, was so engrossing it made me forget about all the small details I found to nitpick about.

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Received: via Simon & Schuster UK for review

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

I'm making an effort to read and review more fiction here on JRT.  I seem to have forgotten that JRT is supposed to be eclectic! My tastes are being grossly misrepresented (I love SF/F, but I also love Contemporary Fiction and Literature) and that needs to be fixed.  Lucky for me, my library just read this title for their book club and some participants donated their brand new, very gently used copies to the library's bookstore ($1).  I'd been eyeing this title ever since it was released--at the time I was working in a bookstore--and I think now's a good enough time as any to finally alleviate that desire, don't you think?

Genre: Historical Fiction
Received: via Library bookstore

Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon

I won a copy of this courtesy of a giveaway at Book Love Affair.  Elizabeth Moon's been one of those authors I've been eying for awhile, but have yet to read.  With Oath of Fealty being the follow up to a previous trilogy, I'm curious if it makes any difference to understanding or enjoying it if I haven't read the others.  I'm going to give myself plenty of time to decide which to do first: buy the trilogy (available as an omnibus) and read it first or forget about it and dive into Oath of Fealty without reservation.  I'm geared up for Moon's Vatta's War SF series for my Summer of Series reading challenge, but love that she writes in both genres.

Genre: Fantasy
Received: via Book Love Affair giveaway

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud

I remember reading and really enjoying The Bartimaeus Trilogy.  I even got to meet Jonathan Stroud at a local signing.  He was kind and talked to me about being an Editor (a thing at the time I very much wanted to do) and becoming an Author.  He even drew little Bartimaeus faces next to his signature (poor guy, he obliged when I held up 4 of his books).  I had no idea he'd written another fantasy book until I saw this withdrawn hardcover Library copy at my Library's bookstore on sale for $1.  It was in excellent condition so I've added it to my personal library.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Recevied: via Library bookstore
Storm Front, book one of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

I had a co-worker who didn't so much recommend these, as point out that I might like them every now and then.  She was very subtle and I have to say, the one deterrent was how many books are in the series.  At this point, there are 12.  Luckily, I joined PaperBackSwap and used my first credit to make this purchase.  After hearing someone on Twitter mention there isn't a Dresden Files book without a Star Wars reference, I knew I had to at least try the series.

Genre: Fantasy
Received: via PaperBackSwap

Solar by Ian McEwan

This was my big splurge of the month.  Amazon had it for the pre-order price of $14 and some change.  This latest from Ian McEwan--one of my favorite authors--has so far received lukewarm reviews.  It's a little unfortunate that the book is constantly being compared in reception to Atonement or Saturday, but I suppose if an author writes something that does exceptionally well, that goes with the territory.  I'm looking forward to it anyway.

Genre: Literary Fiction
Received: via Amazon.com

I hope you'll forgive my not-so-subtle price checking.  My library is amazing; I wanted to share with you just how awesome their bookstore prices are.  I've gotten very lucky finding some wonderful used copies in phenomenal shape.  Did you see anything of interest?  Let me know what you think in the comments! :)


Lenore said...

Maybe they had a lot of copies of Wildwood Dancing and wanted to make some space for other books? In any case, lucky you!

Anonymous said...

Some pretty interesting stuff! I've read Marillier and liked her. Also Storm Front, which wasn't enough to get me into Dresden, but I keep meaning to give it a second shot.

I've heard excellent things about Shades of Grey--can't wait for that review. :)

eidolons said...

I've loved everything I've read by Marillier. I haven't read this one, though and look forward to seeing your review.

I also have enjoyed all of the Dresden Files books (I think I'm current, but who knows). I find them to be fast and fun - nothing you have to take too seriously. In my opinion, the later books are better than the earlier ones. This might be due to a soft spot I've developed for one of the characters that isn't in the first couple (that I remember, any way).

Letter4no1 said...

Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan are both authors that have been recommended to me countless times, from friends, teachers, amazon, ext. I always find that I enjoy them to the half way point and then I'm just bored. I haven't the slightest desire to pick up Solar, but I have tried to read On Beauty three times. Three. I really want to love Zadie Smith, and I enjoyed the first 50 pages or so but after that I always feel like i'm putting in to much effort for to little story.

I am very interested in reading Wildwood Dancing now though, I might have to head over to the library and pick it up!

Erika said...

@Lenore: I felt very lucky indeed!

@TJ: From what I hear, Storm Front isn't the best introduction to how the series reads as a whole. I've been recommended to push through the first book if I'm having trouble because the rest makes up for it.

I've heard mostly good things about Shades of Grey. It sounds like the type of book I would love. I almost picked up The Eyre Affair, but decided to wait until I read this one first, just to make sure I took to Fforde's writing well. :)

@eidolons: There are a lot of Dresden File books! Fast and fun can be good. :)

@Letter4no1: Everyone has different tastes. I personally adore Ian McEwan's writing and think he assumes an intelligent reader. I appreciate that about his books.

I've never read anything by Zadie Smith, but am willing to give this one a try. :)

Lily Child said...

Wow...that's a lot of books! Have fun reading! :)

Erika said...

@Lily Child: Thank you! I think I will... ;)

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