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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Book Faeries - May Edition #2

Real life has been keeping me busy the past week or so, but I do have some surprises in store for JRT readers. :)  To begin, I want to thank TJ from Book Love Affair for holding an impromptu Twitter contest for a President Ryman campaign button (I won).  It arrived in the mail with a surprise book light - goes to show how awesome TJ is!

(I apologize for the grainy photo. My MacBook's camera is not so great.)

Ryman is a character from Mira Grant's (aka Seanan McGuire) book Feed. If you haven't read it, you should. Not to brag (I will be), but my review convinced Pete to not only buy a copy to read for himself, but one for a friend as well. We love the book that much!  So, thank you TJ for the fun button and the book light. :)

Second, there will be a guest review soon. It's a secret, so until then, be on the lookout.

But you can't deny you're just a little curious about the books that arrived in the past few weeks for review...

Rampant, Killer Unicorns #1 by Diana Peterfruend

When I first heard a book was released about unicorns, I wasn't interested. I had never read Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn - the only experience I had was an old anime called "Unico" which, while good for nostalgia factor, isn't something that left a lasting impression on unicorns enough for me to be a fan as an adult.  When I heard Rampant was a book about killer unicorns, I was sold.  It's taken me this long to find a copy I could afford, but I imagine it's well worth the wait.  Not to mention, I can finally make an educated decision on the Unicorns vs. Zombies debate.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

I first heard of George Mann through the press surrounding his newest book, The Ghosts of Manhattan - a lovely superhero and steampunk combination I knew I couldn't resist, but did not have the budget for.  Recently, Thea from The Book Smugglers reviewed The Affinity Bridge for Steampunk Week and piqued my curiosity.  Instead of pining for a new book I knew I couldn't afford, I searched until I found a copy of The Affinity Bridge that I could.  It's the first in a new series (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation), which is a bit exciting. It's not often I see a steampunk series, for all that the subgenre has been in the spotlight as of late.  Thea gave it a favorable review and that's good enough for me.

Genre: Steampunk
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell

Aztec Science Fiction.  What a wonderfully obscure combination - one that I knew I couldn't live without having read.  The cover is also compelling.  An airship, a man leaning out with a pistol. It evokes pirates and the type of swashbuckling action see in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, but with Aztec aliens and it's Science Fiction.  I still can't wrap my head around it.  This will be my first Buckell book. I hope it lives up to that wonderful cover and the very interesting premise.

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell

Ragamuffin is the sequel to Crystal Rain.  Only one was on sale so I took a bit of a risk and decided to get both. Like Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin has a cover that just looks like a lot of fun. And I hear there are wormholes in this series. What other cool SF tropes are we going to throw in?  I'm eager to get started on these and see if I wouldn't like to go ahead and look for the third book, Sly Mongoose.

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Green by Jay Lake

I'll be honest with you: what attracted me to this book wasn't Lake's writing (which I haven't read) or the premise (which I know nothing about). It was the cover. The beautiful, gorgeous cover lush with that saturated green hue and the strange girl hanging upside down from a tree.  Frankly, the mediocre ratings and so-so reviews aren't swaying me in any one direction. I'm determined to read this book and develop my own opinion (shocking, I know).  It isn't steampunk (I believe Mainspring and Escapement - as well as the third in that series, Pinion - are, though), but rather more of a fantasy about a child raised to be an assassin. The potential for a strong female protagonist is there. There are also interesting magical elements I'm curious to see executed.

Genre: Fantasy
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Replay by Ken Grimwood

I looked for this after reading a favorable review by Calico Reaction.  I find this cover distracting and unappealing. The repeating photograph is important when the premise is taken into consideration: a man is allowed to relive his life over and over. In that context, the cover is understandable, but I'm still not a fan.  I don't think I've ever read a time travel story where the protagonist relives moments of their lives - the closest I got was a slightly off-definition story by Ursula K. Le Guin and that episode of "Xena" where she relives the same moment over in one episode until whatever it is she's supposed to prevent is prevented.  Yes, I used to watch "Xena." It's wonderfully corny.

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Orsinian Tales: Stories by Ursula K. Le Guin

Yet another Ursula K. Le Guin short story collection to add to my repertoire.  I don't think I could get enough of her. If you haven't read anything by Le Guin before, I don't think I recommend starting from her short fiction. To be fair, I don't know anyone who has been introduced through her work that way. If you have, or know anyone, would you say it makes a difference rather than leaping into something like The Left Hand of Darkness or The Dispossessed?

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via BookCloseouts.com

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

I have never read anything by Neal Stephenson before, but thought I could start with Cryptonomicon. I think I made a mistake. I should probably start with Snow Crash. In any event, I have both this and Anathem in my persona library now. I don't know when I'll get to either, but both compete for dictionary-sized fiction. I was surprised this was left in excellent condition for my local library's bookstore for only $1.  Not a bad investment.

Genre: Science Fiction
Received: via Library Bookstore

The Girl With the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron

You might be asking yourself: Erika, why do you have a YA romance book?  This book is a surprise. I cannot tell you about it now, but in a couple of weeks, you'll know why it's in my possession. :)

Genre: Young Adult Romance
Received: via ...? :)

And that's it! Let me know what you think in the comments. :)


Lisa (starmetal_oak) said...

I've been wanting to read Rampant for a while now, but didn't want to pay the price of a hardcover. But if it's on BookCloseouts...Must not..order more...books...

Can't wait to see the review on it though! :)

eidolons said...

Wow. See, for Neal Stephenson, I'd start with Zodiac. Or Diamond Age. My husband and I both loved Snow Crash, but it's the only book that seems to get any press.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of good stuff here! RAMPANT is something I was looking at, but ultimately decided against buying/reading. So maybe your review will justify my response or persuade me otherwise! ;)

Also, the pin looks great on you. Go, Ryman!

Anonymous said...

i have Crytonomicon on my wishlist, too. i saw it for $1 at our library sale as well, but didn't pick it up. it's too big and my shelf is bulging already. it'll have to wait until i have more space! hehe.

Anonymous said...

Toby was my first mentor at Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction program. I have both of those signed. /bragging. However, I would correct his last name in your post. Bucknell's the common mistake, but his last name is Buckell. :) Oh, and I liked the second better than the first, and I finally broke and got the third (favorite cover and title!) from BCO.

I'll await your reviews for THE AFFINITY BRIDGE and GREEN. Both are books I'm curious about, but want more trusted reviews.

Le Guin. Technically, my first experience with her was CATWINGS, but that's a children's book read when I was a child. My first adult experience was A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, which didn't overly impress me at the time (I'll talk more about it when I re-read it for your challenge), but fortunately, I also had to read THE DISPOSSESSED that same year, and that was the book that made me fall in love. :)

Looking forward to your thoughts on REPLAY!

Erika said...

@Lisa: You should get Rampant if you can afford it! Although, if you'd rather wait for my review, that's fine, too... ;)

@eidolons: I think I just need to pick one Stephenson book and start with it. At this rate, I'll never accomplish that if I keep purchasing the wrong books. ;)

@TJ: Thank you! The only bad thing about reading books early is having to wait that much longer for the sequel... :(

Also: another person looking out for my review of Rampant. I'll have to make sure and read that sooner rather than later. :)

@thelittlereader.net: It's large. I was surprised how large it is, not having seen it other than as a cover graphic. I guess I ignored the page count thinking it wasn't necessary to know how big it is. :\

@calico-reaction: That's very cool, congrats! :) I will correct the name misspelling ASAP. I hadn't seen Sly Mongoose at BCO! I must have missed it. Ah well, if I like these two, it's just a matter of waiting for it to pop up again.

I think I'm more likely to get to The Affinity Bridge first, but however it comes around, you'll definitely get my opinion here. :)

Aah, with Le Guin I started with The Left Hand of Darkness and then read her short story collections. I'm curious if it makes a difference since her short fiction, while very good, doesn't capture the scope of her novels, you know? It's a bit silly of me to say so, that being the nature of novels...

Lily Child said...

Wow! Great stack o' books! :) I really look forward to your review on The Affinity Bridge! That one looks amazing! I'm a bit curious about Green as well!

Also, congrats on winning the pin! It looks great on you! :P

Erika said...

@Lily Child: I'm looking forward to reading The Affinity Bridge! :)

Hahaha, thank you - it's a fun pin. ;)

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