Upcoming Releases: Spring 2016

It’s that time of year again! Winter is coming (to an end 😉 ), and although it’s still pretty chilly where I live, at least we’ve been getting some occasional sunshine. More importantly, though, there’s a whole slew of new, exciting books coming out this spring, so I thought I’d share some of the ones I’m most looking forward to in the months of March, April and May. 😀

[NB: All dates are taken from Amazon UK unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 23/02/2016.]

Marissa Meyer//Stars AboveStars Above by Marissa Meyer (1st March)

A collection of all the short stories set in the Lunar Chronicles universe, plus a few new ones. I’ve actually already read a lot of Meyer’s novellas, as they’re mostly available online for free, but they’re (for the most part) so well written that I’m looking forward to having them for my own! 😛 In particular, I remember being really impressed by The Little Android… New content includes, I believe, an epilogue for Winter, and several prequel-type stories, featuring the main cast as children.

Katie McGarry//Walk the EdgeWalk the Edge by Katie McGarry (29th March)

The second book in the Thunder Road series, which began last year with Nowhere But Here (which I liked way more than I expected to). Each book has a new pair of main characters, but still centres around the Reign of Terror motorcycle club; in this case, the story will focus on Razor, one of the more mysterious club members, and Breanna, a character who only appeared very briefly in the last book.

Sally Green//Half LostHalf Lost by Sally Green (31st March)

Another sequel! But this time it’s the conclusion to the Half Life trilogy, which I’m absolutely in love with. Half-Black Witch (i.e. bad) and half-White Witch, Nathan has a foot in both societies, but is wanted by neither of them, and distrusted by both. The series has been getting better and better as it goes on, so I have high hopes for this last book. XD

Maggie Stiefvater//The Raven KingThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (26th April)

The final book in the Raven Cycle, a slow-paced fantasy series about a group of boys who are searching for Glendower, a legendary Welsh king, and a girl called Blue – the only non-psychic in a family of psychics – who winds up getting involved in their quest. This series is packed-full of fascinating folklore, beautiful, atmospheric writing, and characters you can’t help but love. ❤

Rick Riordan//The Hidden OracleThe Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (3rd May)

The first book in a new series set in the same world as Percy Jackson & the Olympians, which makes it a guaranteed buy for me. I know very little about the story at the moment (and, to be honest, I’d prefer to go into this book blind), but Riordan’s previous books have all been very witty and entertaining – particularly the Percy Jackson-universe ones – and I’m sure this new series will follow suit.

Advertisements

December Wrap Up

This month I managed to get through thirteen books! Or rather, ten novels, two short stories, and one art-book. Certainly not my best reading month, but then again, December never is (there’s always so much to do!), so I’m pretty satisfied with this. Anyway, here’s what I thought of it all:

Rae Carson//The Bitter KingdomThe Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. A really satisfying conclusion to the trilogy (which seems to be rare these days). All the different threads of the story were wrapped up nicely, and it was lovely to see Cosmé, Alodia and Ximena again (however briefly). The pacing of the book was pretty fast, and though I didn’t feel that it was necessary for Hector to have his own POV chapters, I found myself liking them anyway. What struck me most about this final instalment, however, was the humour – which is not to say that the book was a particularly funny one, but Rae Carson had a great way of diffusing the tension whenever it got too thick (particularly towards the end), and some of my favourite moments were the little character interactions that made me chuckle (i.e. Red being introduced to Rosario; Storm and Waterfall talking about the Joyans; & so many more…).5 starsSally Green//Half LiesHalf Lies by Sally Green. A short story set in the Half Life universe, that I only discovered by accident when I stumbled upon it on Amazon… It’s written in diary form, and told from the perspective of a young Black Witch called Michèle – Gabriel’s younger sister. The story itself was very simple: It fleshed out the world a little, and introduced some more bits of Black Witch culture, which was interesting (and was also something that  was really hoping for after reading Half Bad), and it also explained how Gabriel became a fain, but at its heart it’s really a love story, between Michèle and a boy called Sam. It’s a little sad, but there’s some humour, too (and of course Gabriel is the type of guy who’d read his sister’s diary 😉 ). I’m a little curious about Caitlin’s motivations, and I hope that it might be touched on in the rest of the series, though I’m not sure how it would come into the story…4 stars

Cassandra Clare//City of BonesCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I realise that I probably should have read this before reading the Infernal Devices trilogy, but I have no regrets – and (as an interesting but not particularly important aside) having read Clockwork Princess certainly gave me a different perspective of Brother Jeremiah than I probably would have had otherwise… I enjoyed the book a lot, despite the fact that I’ve heard that it’s the weakest in the series, and it was different enough from the film (which I saw a couple of months ago) that I didn’t feel that I already knew the story. In terms of the main characters: I liked Clary and Isabelle well enough, and I really liked Alec, but I thought Simon was a little bland, and Jace somewhat too… snarky for my tastes. Overall, it was good fun, though, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.4 starsThe Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson (from The Time Traveller’s Almanac). A short story that is less about actually travelling through time, and more about seeing through time (or perhaps into another world). A little on the trippy side, but enjoyable all the same, and Gibson has a very fluid writing style, which makes things easy to picture.3 starsTahereh Mafi//Shatter MeShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. A dystopian superpower book, about a girl with a lethal touch. I liked it a lot, though I felt that the first-person perspective held it back a little, at least in terms of world-building (which I would like to have seen more of), and it bothered me to a surprising degree that Juliette’s powers haven’t yet been explained. I enjoyed Juliette’s voice, though, and the disjointed writing style really brought out the fragility of her mind – in a way, it was almost like reading a journal, with all the crossed-out passages… Romance-wise, I’ve already been spoiled for this series’ endgame, but I’m enjoying the way that Juliette interacts with both Adam and Warner; character-wise, I like basically everyone so far (and even Warner is interesting, if not pleasant), and I’m looking forward to reading more.2 starsKatie McGarry//Breaking the RulesBreaking the Rules by Katie McGarry. The last book in the Pushing the Limits series, set between the first two books, and following Noah and Echo, the main couple in the first book. It was definitely great to see Noah and Echo again (they’re my favourites), and how they interact now that they’ve been a couple for a little while longer. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as either Pushing the Limits or Crash Into You, but it’s earned a pretty solid bronze medal, and it was a close call. Noah and Echo’s relationship development was very realistic, and the story addressed some of their issues that weren’t tackled in the first book. I also really enjoyed the interaction between Echo and Beth, which took me a little by surprise, as I’ve never liked Beth very much in any of the previous books…4 stars17378508Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I really enjoyed this book, but for some reason I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did the previous two… In the beginning, especially, I loved the scenes with Blue and Gansey (I wish there’d been more of them), and I also find myself growing more attached to Ronan after the events of The Dream Thieves. Malory’s part in the book was hilarious (and the Dog!), and I really liked Jesse Dittley (the part where he met Malory was one of my favourite quotes in the book). I think, however, then the book would have benefitted from a stronger antagonist: In the first book there was Whelk; in the second there was Mr. Gray and Kavinsky; in the third there was Greenmantle, but he seemed a little lackluster, and except for Adam and Ronan, none of the characters seemed to be particularly concerned about him… There was a lot of good build-up for the last book, though, so I’m definitely excited about that. 🙂4 starsAlexandra Bracken//Brightly WovenBrightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. This book was surprisingly fast-paced for a high fantasy novel, and I feel that that held it back somewhat – the world-building was lacking, the characters moved from place to place too quickly, and the story’s climax came out of nowhere and was over in what seemed like a flash. Despite its flaws, though, it was an interesting story, with likeable characters and a sweet (if predictable) romance, and it plays to its strengths well, with the writing focusing more on Sydelle and North’s relationship than on the plot. It reads a little like High Fantasy-Lite, but it was definitely enjoyable all the same.3 starsStudio Ghibli Layout Designs: Understanding the Secrets of Takahata and Miyazaki Animation by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. A catalogue (I think) from the Hong Kong exhibition of the same name. The written parts of the book were a little technical for my taste, but would probably be more interesting to somebody who’s hoping to get into animation as a hobby or profession… The main highlight for me was (naturally) the art, though, and there was a lot of it in here, and it was all absolutely beautiful. Some of the pictures I even almost preferred as rough sketches (there was a before-and-after section in the book). A wonderful, wonderful book. (There are so many Ghibli films that I still need to see!)5 starsWendy Higgins//See MeSee Me by Wendy Higgins. A romance novel about an arranged marriage between a human girl and a leprechaun. The premise was interesting, I thought, but I found the story and characters rather lacklustre, and everything about the romance was far too convenient – despite not having communicated in any way for their entire seventeen-year engagement, they fall in love almost immediately… Insta-love isn’t something that I always have a problem with in romance books, but in this one I thought that it felt very contrived. The plot, however, was what I had the biggest problem with: It basically consisted of a tug-of-war between two uninteresting girls, over an equally uninteresting boy… It wasn’t the worst book I’d ever read, but…1 starAnders Nilsen//Rage of PoseidonRage of Poseidon by Anders Nilsen. A graphic novel portraying the god Poseidon (and several other divine figures) in the modern world. This is actually a collection of several different stories with the same theme, which I wasn’t expecting, but I really enjoyed all of them. My favourites were probably Rage of Poseidon and Leda and the Swan, but the final (one-page) story – Jesus and Aphrodite – was hilarious, and Nilsen’s art style really suited the story and subject matter. Altogether, a humourous but thought-provoking take on religion, old and new(/current).5 starsBryan Lee O'Malley//SecondsSeconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley. A standalone comic about a woman who stumbles across a way to erase her past mistakes, and goes a little crazy trying to make her life perfect, with increasingly disastrous results. The art was beautiful, and I really loved O’Malley’s writing style (this book has several particularly funny “dialogues” between the narrator and the main character, Katie). The story was both humourous and touching, and the characters (especially Hazel!) were great!5 starsJohn Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson//Let It SnowLet It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green & Lauren Myracle. A set of three interconnected short Christmas romances, and a really enjoyable, uplifting read. I started reading this book on Christmas Eve, and it really got me into the right mindset for Christmas! 😀 Of the three stories, I think I liked Lauren Myracle’s the best, but mainly because it was the last, and I really loved the way she managed to weave the three stories together at the end. Super-cute!5 stars

Hong Kong, Here I Come! – Reading While Travelling

I’m heading off to stay with Chloë in Hong Kong tomorrow, which is incredibly exciting, but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time today agonising over which books I should take with me. So I thought I’d write a blog about it!

Of course, the flight from London to Hong Kong will take about 13 hours, and I’ll have to travel for a while on each side as well – and, since I’m one of those people who can’t sleep unless I’m in my pyjamas and lying down, I’ll be needing quite a bit of material. I also don’t like to travel with physical books, since that’s one of the easiest ways to lose or damage them. So I’ve got my kindle charged up and ready to go.

Unfortunately, though, most of the books I want to read at the moment are ones that I own physical copies of. I’m currently in the middle of reading the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi, and my initial hope was that I would be able to finish it off today, so I could start the trip off with something fresh, but since I’m only a couple of chapters into Unravel Me (the second book), I very much doubt that that’s going to happen. I could take the rest of the series with me, along with my kindle, but two large books plus a novella bind-up wedged in my backpack? … :/ Maybe not such a great idea.

Last time I went to China, my choice was pretty easy. I was already halfway through The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (on my kindle), and I figured I’d need something cheerful to read afterwards, so I followed it up with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. On the way back, I decided to start on the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, which wasn’t such a great idea – I love the slow-build in high fantasy books, but it usually takes me a while to get really into a new world, and I ended up just making myself grumpy by trying to force myself to read it in one sitting…

So my (very, very) tentative TBR for this trip:

1) Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. A slow-paced book, but since it’s the third in a series, and I’m already invested in the characters and storyline, I should be able to avoid the situation I put myself in with the Codex Alera books.

2) Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry. I’ve been excited about reading this for a while (and it actually was only released on Monday!), and I’m thinking that it’ll be good to read it towards the end of the journey, since I know from experience that Katie McGarry’s books are difficult to put down.

3) Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons. This one is very, very long, so I at least know that it’ll take me a while. I’ve been wanting to read it since I finished The Bronze Horseman, so I’m sure that I’ll enjoy it, but my worry is that it will be too emotionally draining to read in one sitting, so I might start off with this one, and then read the other two books when I need a break.

… Or, who knows, I might decide to read something else entirely. 😉

Upcoming releases of 2014

A lot of great books have already been released this year, but here’s a few more that I’m really excited for (mostly new entries in series’ I’ve been following…). October in particular looks like it’s going to be an exciting month!

[NB: All the release dates I’ve given here are accurate as of 29/08/2014, according to the following wesites: amazon.co.uk, tamorapierce.com and katielmcgarry.com.]

Garth Nix//Clariel

& the cover matches the other books I have in the series! I especially love that the background is made up of tiny charter marks…

Clariel by Garth Nix (2nd October)

The long-awaited final (kind of) book in the Old Kingdom trilogy (which is, I suppose, technically not a trilogy any more). And when I say long-awaited, I really mean it: I’ve been wanting more of this universe since Abhorsen was first released about 10 years ago…

This is apparently a prequel to the series – a concept that’s grown on me, even though I was initially hoping it would be a next-generation type thing – & since the main character is one of the Clayr (a society of respected seers living in the Old Kingdom), I’m hoping that Clariel will be Lirael’s mother… but even if it’s not, I’m still excited! Post-Sabriel, I was dubious about the introduction of new lead characters in the second book, but I actually ended up loving Lirael even more than Sabriel, so I have faith in Garth Nix’s ability to make me love new characters.

17378508Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (3rd October)

The third book of the Raven Cycle (also called the Raven Boys quartet). I also don’t know much about this book, but the first two books were so, so amazing, so I have high hopes for this one. This should basically be the continuing adventures of Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah (all of whom I love. The plot & writing for this series is great, but I think the characters are what sold me on it). Also, I have no idea why, but I really love the title of this book.

 

Rick Riordan//Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (7th October)

The final book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Need I say more? I actually like this series even better than the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, even though I didn’t initially like all the new characters so much (Piper kind of annoyed me in The Lost Hero, and I thought Jason was a little bland and their relationship rather forced, but they’ve both grown on me since). Also, this series just keeps getting better as it goes on, so my expectations for The Blood of Olympus are pretty high.

What I want from this book: 1) Awesomeness , 2) More awesomeness, 3) For it to never, ever end, and 4) Nico-POV. That last one? I convinced myself it was going to happen in The House of Hades (book 4), and then it didn’t, so I don’t want to get my hopes up too much (& yet, I really feel like it might happen this time…).

Patrick Rothfuss//Slow Regard of Silent Things

I really love the UK covers for this series… So pretty!

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (28th October)

This is a novella set in the Kingkiller Chronicle universe, from the perspective of Auri, the girl who Kvothe discovered living in the tunnels beneath the University in The Name of the Wind. I don’t really know much about this book, but Patrick Rothfuss’ writing is amazing, & I really love the world he created in The Kingkiller Chronicle, so I’m looking forward to it anyway. And Auri’s a pretty mysterious character, so it’ll be interesting to learn more about her. I’m hoping that there’ll be lots of backstory.

 

The Gift of Power by Tamora Pierce (sometime this autumn)

The first in a new Tortall-universe series (series!) called Exile, which follows Numair Salmalin (first introduced in the Immortals quartet) as a student in Carthak, and the origins of his feud with Emperor Ozorne. Obviously (and sadly), there will be no Daine in this book, but it’ll definitely be interesting to read about Numair before he met her, and according to goodreads, we’ll be getting at least two books in this series!

Some issues: I’m not entirely sure how often Tamora Pierce’s website is actually updated, but the release date listed there is “Fall 2014” (however, it also just lists one book, & refers to it as Exile, rather than The Gift of Power). Goodreads has The Gift of Power specifically listed for release sometime in 2015, so I might be waiting for this book a while. Also, if you’re interested in reading or buying this book (and you live in the UK), you should note that Tamora Pierce’s books are no longer being published in the UK (which sucks), so you’ll have to get an imported copy online.

Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry (30th December in the US / 1st January in the UK)

The (probably) final book in the Pushing the Limits series, which is set between books 1 & 2 (around the same time as the novella, Crossing the Line), and brings us back to Noah and Echo, the main characters from the first book in the series, as they spend the summer holidays together and try to figure out if their relationship will last (my guess is, it will 😉 ). I haven’t read the sample chapter on goodreads, because I don’t want to be annoyed by the fact that I can’t read the rest until the end of the year, but if you’d like to check it out, then you can find it here.

This series has been a little hit-and-miss with me: I really loved Pushing the Limits (book 1) and Crash Into You (book 3), but Dare You To, Take Me On (books 2 & 4, respectively) and the spin-off novella were a little lackluster. That said, I really hope that Katie McGarry will write more of this series. It’d be really great to get a book following Abby and Logan, or even an Ethan book (though I’m not entirely sold on the idea of Ethan and Abby that some fans have been talking about…).

What books are you guys excited for this year? Let me know in the comments!