Monthly Archives: December 2011

My Christmas Book List

Christmas is almost over, and I didn’t recieve any books this year. With the lack of conveniently placed bookstores and my fussy reading habits to take into account this didn’t really come as a surprise, but I’d like to share a few few books which are on my to-read/to-buy list for this festive season.

Mastiff (Beka Cooper, book 3) – Tamora Pierce

This was on the list of present ideas I gave to my brother, and while it did not arrive nicely wrapped, the library has come through again and I am currently reading the novel. This is a Tortall series aimed towards an older or more sophisticated audience than I remember the others being (though it has been a LOOONG time) and I really enjoy the narrative voice, so I’d been keeping an eye out for this last installment in the trilogy.

The Extinction Gambit (The Extraordinaires, book 1) – Michael Pryor

Having massively enjoyed Pryor’s Laws of Magic series, I was keeping an eye out for his next project, and reading the first paragraph in the bookstore sealed the deal. Have since borrowed the book from the library and it is next on my to-read pile.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Recommendations for this book kept popping up everywhere I looked; on my goodreads account, on the blogs I follow, on random review sites. After reading the blurb and extract on amazon, it’s definitely something I want to read. Given that the physical version of the book is so pretty, and the copy at the library is large print I may just buy this – though I do have it on reserve at the library in case I change my mind.

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Another book that kept being mentioned online, I read the sample pages on Amazon. While not enough to convince me I wanted to buy this book – it has certainly made me want to give it a go, and thus I am the 8th reservation of the English translation at my library. This may take a while, folks.

Empire State – Adam Christopher

Due to be released in 2012, one of my friends read and reviewed an ARC of this book and could not stop telling me I had to read it. At his urging I will be attempting to sign up to get an ARC of my own, but suspect my blog may not be established enough yet to be accepted. Either way, I will be keeping an eye out for this book.

I’m starting to realise my to-read list could go on forever, so I’ll leave it there.

Soon I’ll post up my reading list of 2011, and my top ten books for the year.

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Silver Kiss – Naomi Clark

Silver Kiss is the first novel in Naomi Clark’s Urban Wolf series, and it dumps you straight into the thick of things, almost as though you had missed a first book. Strangely, this works for me. The lack of intensive exposition building up the world and explaining the character history gives the novel a sense of immediacy – and you find out all you need to as the story moves along.

The world Clark builds is very similar to ours, with the exception of werewolves being out in the open – and being recognised as a separate species/race as human (which is neatly skipped over due to the main characters’ decision not to have children). The wolves in Clark’s alternate America are accepted to the degree that anyone ‘different’ is; some people are really cool about it, some people are wary, some people form hate groups – the prejudice the main character faces is made more complicated by the fact that she is gay (that’s right, lesbian werewolf!).

The sense of the pack in this novel is also quite strong and well defined, even when it is something Ayla is struggling against. I love the fact that after so many novels to the contrary, this is a werewolf novel not focussed on pack heirachy, dominance and sex. It’s just like a club, a big old family, for better or worse. As yet, werewolves are the only supernatural element to the world Clark has built, a fact which the main character, Ayla, laments at one point. It will be interesting to see whether this remains the case as the series progresses, or if more supernatural elements are introduced.

The story opens not long after our main character, Ayla Hammond has moved back to her hometown with her girlfriend, Shannon, after years away. Ayla had run away from home due to the feeling of ostracism she felt at home and in the pack, being a gay wolf in a society prizing offspring, and is now attempting to mend fences with her parents and adjust to life in the pack again after living for years as a lone wolf.

Ayla’s partner Shannon is a PI, and it isn’t long before the mystery/crime element kicks the plot into gear. The case itself is not overly complicated, but it is paced well and the shorter length of the novel really comes into play here – not overly drawing out the plot just for the sake of it. I admit to being a bit annoyed about figuring out one particular plot element chapters before the main character did – but such is often a problem with me, and there’s no real way of knowing whether that was a deliberate choice on the part of the writer – making something transparent to the reader, but not the narrator.

One of the things I liked the most about this novel was how the normal everyday dramas of life were woven in to the story, making it seem all the more real. Ayla had to worry about not having accrued any sick leave at work, and when Shannon and Ayla argue (as most couples do) it’s about things which may appear on the surface to be about the supernatural plot elements but are in fact based on common relationship issues such as lifestyle compromise, family and trust.

All in all, this is a good little novel, and kept me turning the pages faster than I had planned – had to find a new book to finish out the work week with.

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Firebreathing Monsters: The hatching of a new blog.

Blog introducion posts are rarely interesting, and as I can’t think of a way to do this properly I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

Why a new blog?

I’ve been meaning to get back into blogging for a while now, and since I’m on ‘holidays’ I thought now was as good a time as any.

Why ‘Firebreathing Monsters’?

There are several reasons for the title of my blog, the simplest of which being that it was hard to find another name which hadn’t already been taken, and there was an ad on the TV which had the words as part of a song.

I had also just finished reading ‘Inheritance’ when I decided to set up my blog, and Paolini’s dragon-filled work is fairly typical of the type of genre-based book I tend to read.

Finally, I may get a little fired-up myself if I come across something I really don’t like.

What is the blog about?

As opposed to some friends of mine who have separate blogs for everything, this blog is going to cover a range of things: reading lists, book reviews, writing news, film reviews, cooking successes and failures, library news (as I am studying to be a library person), and the occassional meme, funny post or personal reflection.

 

Well, that’s it from me, next time there’ll be a proper post. Promise.

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