Reading Roundup – 6th December 2013

December 6, 2013

I received a copy of Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm free to review from Netgalley.  Growing up in Scotland, my parents often read to me or I read the original, non Disneyfied versions of traditional fairytales.  I can still remember being particularly horrified that, in the traditional version Snow White’s wicked stepmother was forced to wear burning hot iron shoes and to dance until she died and that Cinderella’s stepsisters had their eyes pecked out.  At my university, one of the courses you could choose to study was Traditional Fairy Tales, which demonstrates just how deeply embedded in the European psyche these stories are.

In this collection, Pullman chooses from among the many variants of the traditional stories, occasionally adding his own spin and after each story gives a little background into each tale along with an explanation of what changes he made.  it’s a fascinating read and well worth picking up.

I gave Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm four stars out of five

The Goddess Hunt by Aimee CarterThe Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Series: Goddess Series #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 298 pages
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Having read and loved Aimee Carter’s Pawn, I decided to check out her Goddess Test series based on Greek Mythology, specifically the Hades/Persephone story.  While I enjoyed The Goddess Test and felt it was a fun read, well written and with engaging characters it didn’t engage me to the same extent that Pawn did.  I will probably pick up the sequels to The Goddess Test at some point though.

I gave The Goddess Test three and a half stars out of five.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken In Time by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #Novella
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Pages: 14 hrs and 57 mins
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In Time is a companion novella to Bracken’s Darkest Minds series and tells the story of Gabe, a young adult who has decided to become a skip tracer – a bounty hunter for escaped Psi children.  Of course, the first kid he tries to recapture is our beloved Suzume…  Like The Darkest Minds, In Time is beautifully written.  Unlike Darkest Minds it’s written from the point of a non Psi person, and one who is taken in by the government’s anti-Psi propaganda.  It’s beautiful to see how his attitude changes through his contact with Zu and that he comes to realise these kids are every bit as human as he.  I would suggest reading Darkest Minds before this as it explains the world more clearly.

I gave In Time five stars out of five.

Through Netgalley I received Under the Radar, a collection of cross-genre samples from Doubleday Canada and Tundra Books.  The first of these is Touched by Fire by Irene Watts, a wonderfully detailed historical novel set in early 20th century New York.  Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire tells the tale of a female pilot in WWII.

From the sample Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston seems to be a contemporary YA coming of age novel.  The sample didn’t grab me personally, but then again that’s not a genre I often read.  Death of a King by Andrew Vanderwal was the sample that intrigued me most.  This time travel historical novel seems to be in a similar vein to Connie Willis’ Oxford time travel series which I adored.  Of course, time travel stories are very execution dependent, but this is one I would be interested in reading in full.

Apparition by Gail Gallant is a supernatural YA ghost story.  it didn’t particularly appeal to me, but if ghost stories are your thing, you may want to check it out.  Thomas Wharton’s Tree of Story is in the epic fantasy genre from what I read in the preview.  The final book in the sampler is Paula Weston’s paranormal romance Shadows.  The main character, Gabe, seems interesting enough, but it is perhaps a little too early to tell from the sample.

If any of these interests you, please check them out at your bookseller of choice.

Added to my library this week

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday there have been a few great deals that I have picked up this week.

I picked up both the Kindle and Audible versions of Pawn, the first in Aimee Carter’s new YA dystopian series.  I absolutely loved it – expect a full review next week.

Ryan Winfield’s Park Service could be an interesting read.  It was less than $1 on Kindle so I decided to give it a go.  i’ve not read it yet, but  the synopsis sounds intriguing: From New York Times bestselling author Ryan Winfield, a thrilling tale of friendship, betrayal, and adventure.
What would you do if everything you had been taught turned out to be a lie? That’s the question fifteen-year-old Aubrey VanHouten must answer when he stumbles onto a post-apocalyptic paradise where the few remaining humans live on the run from deadly drones controlled by a mysterious Park Service.

I’ve been hearing great things about Victoria Schwab’s The Archived, so this week I finally gave in and bought it on Kindle.  In Schwab’s world, the dead are Archived and our heroine must work to prevent their escaping into our world.  From reviews I’ve heard, and from the sample, Schwab’s writing style is very engaging.

Another book I picked up on an excellent deal on Kindle was Kresley Cole’s Poison Princess.  From the synopsis, a group of mismatched teens must band together to save the world from a supernatural threat.  It could be either appallingly bad or very good, but for just over $1 I was happy to take that chance.

I absolutely adored Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, so this week I added her Fangirl and Attachments to my library in both Kindle and Audible formats.

Being a sucker for gentle cat mysteries, I added Lending a Paw to my Kindle library.  This appears to be a debut novel for author Laurie Cass, but I am happy to give it a try.

My second pre-order of the week was Dangerous Women, an anthology of short stories collected by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.  The list of contributing authors – including Martin himself! – is incredible; Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, Brandon Sanderson…  The theme of the anthology is women kicking ass and taking names, so should be interesting.

One series I’ve been hearing a lot about and keeping an eye on prices is Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.  This week on Kindle the first book was priced at $1.99 so I had to snap it up.  For those of you unfamiliar with Uglies, it’s a YA dystopian series in which everyone undergoes mandatory cosmetic surgery at age 16.  But does the surgery only affect your appearance…?

Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is another one I’ve been price watching.  This week the first book, Cinder, is available on Audible for only $6.

The final deal I picked up this week was Pivot Point by Kasie West.  This has a very intriguing premise; whenever our protagonist is faced with a choice, she is able to look into the future and see both outcomes.  That sounds very intriguing.  Thanks to The Perpetual Page Turner for alerting me to this.

Several months back, BBC Radio made a new production of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere with a cast list that was off the charts.  It included Christopher Lee, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McEvoy, Natalie Dormer.   I’d been keeping an eye out for it on Audible, so when I noticed it last week, I snapped it up.

In Other News

This week Amazon made the entire internet stop for a second and emit a collective “what the…?” when it announced that it is working on PrimeAir in which orders will be delivered within 30 mins by pilotless drones.  it won’t be available for several years (and what are the bets it’s a US only service?) but here is the concept video

However, what I found even more brilliant was the UK bookstore Waterstones’ response –  it announced the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service:


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