Book Club Update: Author Interview & 2 Books!

It’s a new month (okay, so it’s the middle of the month…time is really flying this season!) and that means a new book club update!

Last month, my book club read The Hunt and met with the author, Jan Neuharth in the very town that the fictional murder mystery takes place. It was a great experience and the club really liked it!

Book club members and Jan Neuharth

We asked Ms. Neuharth about her writing process, about the publishing industry and who she would want to cast as her characters in a movie (the main character would be George Clooney!). We met at a lovely coffee place that was gracious enough to allow us to descend on their establishment. As you can see, we had copies of the book to have Ms. Neuharth sign them.

So for October, we were all a little indecisive. There are just so many cool things to do in the fall and so many appropriately themed books to get us in the mood for Halloween and autumn. In fact, the poll we had to decide our next book was so close that we are trying to read two books in one month for the first time. The first pick is The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, which I have already finished and loved! The second book I’m working on now, The Black Country by Alex Grecian. It’s really the perfect book for the rainy weather we’ve been getting this week. We plan on going to one of those pumpkin patch, corn mazes, apple butter kinds of places for our meeting next Sunday so I’m definitely excited to see these girls again!

Are you in a book club? How does your club select the books to read?

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

12813630The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Published: September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format/Source: Paperback Advanced Reading Copy from BookExpo America
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Pages: 419

Synopsis:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Review:

When you’re drinking a fine wine, you want to take small sips, enjoying the layers of flavor. As tempting as it is to drink many glasses, you try not to overdo it. And yet, sometimes it happens.

I liken my experience of reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown to drinking that fine wine. Each chapter was a delicious morsel that I was trying to savor before I picked up too much momentum and began tumbling down the stairs. Needless to say, my self-restraint failed after a certain point and I spent most of my weekend finishing the book in newborn vampire hunger.

It had been a while since I had read a vampire story. I think the last one was probably a Charlaine Harris southern vampire novel. That series is great fun but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown definitely had a different vibe to it. There’s nothing quite like a novel beginning with a 30+ teenager massacre and a girl stumbling out of being passed out in the bathtub to discover the entire party’s population dead and drained. It definitely sets the mood for the rest of the story.

There were parts of the novel that I was confused about. Questions where I was wondering if I had skipped a paragraph or something (which I have been known to do by accident). However, most of those questions are answered as the story progresses. Don’t expect everything to be immediately known and understood right away, or even completely after your first read. This is a book that I strongly believe will only grow on me more with a reread. I think I missed some of the carefully laid details that make such a detailed world. I particularly love how the vampires bloat like leeches or ticks after a feeding—it’s those details that make is so much more real and different. Very believable. I also love how it’s basically a pandemic biological disaster—the disaster preparedness part of me found that fascinating.

I do wish the ending was a bit more concrete, but I am okay with it as it is. It leaves it up to your imagination as much as I’m dying for more of this world.

It’s a young adult book, but I really think that if this had been published before that marketing label was so widely used, it would have fit just fine in the science fiction/fantasy/paranormal adult genre. There are really only two factors that make it young adult for me: the age of the protagonist and the lack of sex. Otherwise, it is entirely an adult-styled book.

I really believe that this is a book that will remain on my bookshelf and be read at least once more. I highly recommend this book—particularly to get you in the mood for Halloween!

My rating: 5/5

Reading Goals: September’s Results and October’s Goals

So it’s a new month. How did I do with my reading goals for September?

I had wanted to read:

I didn’t exactly finish Tumble & Fall. In fact, I did not finish it…eeeks! I plan on posting my thoughts on that particular book in a couple of days, but yeah, I don’t think I can even really count Tumble & Fall as a book I read this month. Technically I finished Love & Lament this month as well. And while I haven’t made any new reviews for them, I did finish both of my rereads of Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth for #rothreread! So I read about four books!

That said, all the other books I read for September were fantastic reads!

 So! For the month of October, I plan to read:

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  • The Black Country by Alex Grecian: This is the second book that we’re reading for my book club this month. We picked this book from the list of historical fiction books for the summer. It’s a 19th century murder mystery in England, so it’ll be quite a seasonal read.
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon: I’m looking forward to reading this. I think it’ll be good fun and I’m curious if I will share the same kind of opinions about it as others.

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  • Relic by Heather Terrell: I’m thinking I’ll continue this trip into the Post-Apocalyptic/dystopian genre; Relic will be a good read.
  • The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski: Sometimes, contemporary stories can be more dystopian to me than actual dystopian stories. I sort of ended up with this book by accident, so I think it’s time to see what I think of it!

And of course, if I get my hands on Allegiant, I will likely be delving into that one too. We’ll see how fast I devour it!

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab13638125

Published: September 24th 2013 by Tor
Format/Source: ARC from BookExpo America
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Paranormal
Pages: 368

Synopsis:

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Review:

Once upon a time there was a girl in shock over the ever-book-lovin’-goodness of Book Expo America in NYC. She managed to find herself in line for Holly Black’s signing of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Advanced Reading Copies. As she’s standing in line, the person in front of her keeps having people coming up to her to take pictures and to chat. The girl begins to wonder, who is this person standing in line?

That girl was me and that person was Victoria Schwab, a few hours before her own signing of Vicious ARCs. I admit, I had never heard of her before or her books, but I was new to the whole being a lucid reader/educated bookie (the book-lovin’ kind, not the gambling kind). Let’s call it fate, as much as Victor would hate to say such a thing, because really, I found a great book that day.

Vicious is an adult super-villain tale. I feel like that alone makes it stand out. I have mentioned before that I am not a comic book person. I do not read comic books. In fact, I have not seen most of those incessant superhero movies that keep coming out. The only one I’ve watched is The Green Lantern (which I know isn’t even the best one). No Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and whatever other freak movies there are out there for me. It’s strange, I know but I digress.

I want to make it clear that you do not have to be a comic book or superhero fan to enjoy this book. The first chapter is enough to make it the perfect autumn read.

“The shovel was almost as tall as she was. A few days shy of her thirteenth birthday, and even for twelve and eleven twelfths, Sydney Clarke was small. She had always been on the short side, but it certainly didn’t help that she had barely grown an inch since the day she’d died.” (Quote from an ARC to be checked against a finished copy.)

It is sentences like that one that are so matter-of-fact and yet so spooky it really makes the reader in me start jigging with happiness. In fact, perhaps I took longer with this book than I might have because I wanted to make sure I didn’t rush through it.

Vicious is written with short chapters that vary from third person point of views. Each chapter leads to the next easily though, as each chapter explains something from the past one that then lays the foundation for the next. It helps build a complete and fulfilling story without rushing through it.

So at quick glance, the reasons why I really liked Vicious:

  • The characters are multi-dimensional and not necessarily black and white. There’s a lot of gray and doubt that is created that makes it a solid read.
  • The ending was complete. There is no annoying cliffhanger for a sequel. I read it, I felt completely satisfied.
  • It is a book that stays with you for a while after reading it. I admit, I was going to award this book four stars for, “I really liked it,” but when I found myself still thinking about it while driving, then it got bumped to five, “It’s amazing.” I want a book to do that to me.
  • It has the right level of creepy without being over-dramatic.

I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for an entertaining, supernatural and perfect-for-Halloween-or-really-anytime book.

My rating: 5/5

Top Ten Books on My Fall 2013 TBR List

toptentues

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and Bookish.

This week is the Top Ten Books on My Fall 2013 TBR List. I’ve already said a bit of the books that I plan to read in September, but considering that I’ve finished one of those books already (Vicious was amazing!) and that doesn’t equal 10, here’s my list!

So, in no particular order:

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1. Tumble & Fall

My focus this Fall is to read all those books I couldn’t stop myself from picking up at the Book Expo America this year. I’ve read mixed reviews about this book but I’m curious to see how I will feel.

2. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

I have actually nominated this book for my book club’s October pick. Holly Black almost never disappoints me so I’m looking forward to it.

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3. Projection by Risa Green

Another case of the cover enticing me too much and me having no self-control.

4. The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer

Ms. Spencer was an amazing speaker at BEA. I’m curious to read this children’s book.

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5. Relic by Heather Terrell

High fantasy and dystopia? I’m in!

6. The Land of Dreams by Vidar Sundstol

I was told that this author is a huge thing internationally. It’s a translated story, so we’ll see how it turns out.

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7. One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods last year and I was super happy to find the line for him at BEA. This book I have been saving because I just feel, rather know, I’m going to love it.

8. If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

The author is so cool. She loves Boston Terriers.

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9. Solstice by P.J. Hoover

I think it’ll be nice to read about a hot world when it’s cooling down.

10. September Girls by Bennett Madison

I don’t think I’ll have time to read this in September, but perhaps it’ll work out that way.

What other books should I be on the lookout for this fall?

August’s Reading Recap and September’s Goals

I feel more accountable by posting my month reading list. I think that I did a pretty good job reading everything on my list from the last month.

I had wanted to read:

I have finished 3/6 of those, and am 73% finished with the fourth. I discovered that I actually no longer had access to Catherine (which I cannot explain how much of an idiot I feel…I apparently forgot that Netgalley has expiration dates for the availability of those books you’ve been approved for. Double oops!), so I didn’t manage to read that one. And technically, I gave myself a choice to read Love & Lament or Tumble & Fall and I chose the former.

So for September, I’d like to read:

  • Tumble & Fall: I was already planning on getting to this book last month, so obviously it’s being carried over into September. I’ve seen some mixed reviews about this book so I’m curious to see which side I’ll fall on.13638125
  • Vicious: I’m not really sure why I’ve waited to read this one. I would love to have it read sooner than later because I’m seeing so much buzz about it online and I’m rooting for the author to keep the good news rolling for her.
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown: Another book with a lot of buzz that I have and I would just like to read so I can feel good about being part of the ‘club’ of those who have read it.15846011
  • Storm Watcher: Okay, I totally picked this book for this month because of the length. I know that for this list to be somewhat attainable, I will need some shorter books on it. Also, it releases in October so it makes sense to read it now.

And finally, for the #rothreread, I will hopefully be rereading Divergent and Insurgent to participate with Allodoxophobia and Gone Pecan. It should be a good time!

Waiting on Wednesday (9): Three Books Worthy of Spotlighting

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I can’t decide between three books that are coming out soon. So I figured I’d just include all of them!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal12813630
432 pages

Synopsis:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black

I have the ARC of this book from the Book Expo America this year but still, I can’t wait until I have an opportunity to read it! Everything from Holly Black generally enthuses me.

All of Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Expected Publication: September 3rd 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction13514612
Pages: 368 pages

Synopsis:

“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

A lot of my fellow bloggers have been posting about this book and there is even a release party near me next week (that I can’t go to!). At this time, I definitely plan on reading this one.

The Transfer by Veronica Roth

Expected Publication: September 3rd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia18080920
Pages: 50 pages

Synopsis:

More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by “The Transfer,” the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.

Does this one even need an explanation? Despite some of the issues with the Divergent series, I will continue to devour anything about it. I’m definitely very curious about this and the other short stories being released. So excited!

What are you waiting for?