Sunday, June 30, 2013

a few multiple POV novels

Or, short reviews of books read during June 2013, part 1

The Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot (source: Netgalley)
forthcoming: August 6, 2013

Catholic Church conspiracy thriller with vampires.
The novel is well-written, but its subject matter is divisive. Obviously if you dislike and/or are offended by books of this type, you should give The Blood of the Lamb a miss. Its multiple point-of-view narrative may also turn off some readers (for what it's worth, there's nothing especially problematic about how Cabot handles the various characters and their points of view). Otherwise, I think this cerebral thriller is definitely worth a read. It's written by two people1 who clearly know how to write and, in the context of the novel, the paranormal elements don't seem unrealistic. I particularly recommend The Blood of the Lamb to fans of vampire novels, as I think they'd appreciate Cabot's take on them.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell (source: public library)

Debut novel by award-winning screenwriter.
I discovered The Death of Bees while browsing the new arrivals section of my local public library. I was intrigued by the book-flap text, but unsure as to whether I'd like the novel or not. The Death of Bees is dark and gritty (set in a Glasgow housing estate2), but compelling.
I, for one, like multiple POV narratives and I really appreciated how O'Donnell created such distinct voices for her three point-of-view characters: a fifteen-year-old breadwinner, whose straight-A average belies her rough-and-tumble make-it-work attitude about life; her gifted, but maladjusted twelve-year-old sister; and their doddering, Scarlet-Lettered neighbor.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (source: public library)
series: Lunar Chronicles (2)

Little Red Riding Hood set in a dystopian future.
The sequel to Cinder (see post), Scarlet introduces the eponymous character (and her Wolf) in addition to continuing the overarching story begun in Cinder.
After reading Scarlet, I'm even more keen on this series (the Lunar Chronicles) and recommend it to both adults and young adults who like science fiction, paranormal fiction (romance or not), retellings of fairy tales, dystopian fiction, or any of the above. Cinder is the book that I gave my dad for Father's Day this year and I may try to lure my reluctant-reader-due-to-dyslexia sister with the audiobook.

  1. Sam Cabot is a pseudonym for the writing team of Carlos Dews and S.J. Rozan.
  2. Housing project.  When I read "housing estate" in a British-authored book, my first instinct is not to think of the projects.  "Estate" sounds so much nicer, but I'm sure that's because I don't have the relevant cultural baggage.
More Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Blood of the Lamb from Blue Rider Press (Penguin) via NetGalley.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

May recap and 2013 (so far) in books

Books read in May

46. Glass House 51 by John Hampel (post forthcoming) - Netgalley
45. The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (see post) - library book
44. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (see post) - personal copy
43. The 7th Woman by Frederique Molay (post forthcoming) - Netgalley
42. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (post forthcoming) - personal copy
41. Codex by Lev Grossman (see post) - Bookcrossing book
40. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (post forthcoming) - library book
39. Seduction by M.J. Rose (post forthcoming) - Netgalley
38. Ink by Amanda Sun (post forthcoming) - Netgalley

did not finish:
- Tersias the Oracle by G.P. Taylor (personal copy purchased at the Field Library Bookstore)
I gave it the old college try, but it didn't grab me

Books bought and/or acquired in May1

- The Book of Loss by Julith Jedamus (acquired for self via BookMooch)
- Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie (purchased for Russell at the 2013 Washington Irving Book Awards ceremony from The Village Bookstore)
- Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (purchased at a bricks-and-mortar Barnes and Noble)
- The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman (purchased at the 2013 Washington Irving Book Awards ceremony from The Village Bookstore)
- Still Water Saints by Alex Espinoza (acquired for self via BookMooch)
- The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann (purchased at the 2013 Washington Irving Book Awards ceremony from The Village Bookstore)
- What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry for my youngest nephew (purchased from Amazon)
- A book I'm giving my dad for father's day (purchased at a same B&N)
- A book I'm giving Russell for his birthday (purchased from Amazon)

Notes from the field
or, the not-so-secret travels of BookCrossing books

(see this post for more information about this feature)

- This copy of A Spectacle of Corruption, which I read in May 2006, was reviewed by a reader in Mars, Pennyslvania, who's had it on her shelves since November 2006
- This copy of Winner of the National Book Award was wild released at the Gaithersburg (Maryland) Book Festival by a Bookcrosser who's had it in her possession since December 2011.

2013 (so far) in Books

books finished / abandoned - 46 / 4
- library books - 14 (12 finished, 2 abandoned)
- review copies - 19 (18 finished, 1 abandoned
- personal copies - 10 (9 finished, 1 abandoned)
- bookcrossing books - 5
- borrowed copies - 2
- non-review ebooks - 1

books purchased
- for self - 9
- as gifts - 4

books (physical) otherwise acquired
- as gifts - 2
- via BookMooch - 2

- books read - 5
- books registered - 1
- books wild-released - 11

  1. E-books don't count here because (1) I don't buy them and (2) they are substantially more transitory that the physical specimens.