Sunday, 22 January 2012

“The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater

This book blew me away.
I’m not easily impressed and holding my attention is a very difficult job indeed. If the book I’m reading is not up to the task, I find my mind wondering off – “Did I unload the dishwasher this morning?” or “This dress I saw in Topshop today was really pretty, I must go back and buy it.” If by page 50 this wondering off hasn’t stopped, the book goes back to the library.
That’s why “perfect prose” novels filled with lengthy descriptions and one’s ramblings thoughts, sit on my bookshelves until it’s time for spring cleaning and they are off to the garage. Which is just one step away from the charity shop.
“The Scorpio Races” doesn’t have much happening in terms of action. The whole book is a buildup towards the actual Scorpio Race where the main characters’ faith is to be decided. And since it’s just a one part book and Ms. Stiefvater has said she’d never write a sequel, the race can go either way. Everybody could die. I didn’t know what was going to happen up until I read it. That was the main selling point for me. Reading towards the unknown. Hoping for a happy ending but not being sure if I’m going to get one. Devouring every single word in my quest to find a lead on a possible ending.
I’m not going to tell you how it ends because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But even if it’s not how you’d have imagined it should end, rest assured that the time you have invested in reading this book would not have been in vain. It’s touching on a subject I’ve never before read about – the great water horses or capaill uisce as they are originally called. Giant, deadly, carnivorous horses with square pupils, which live in the ocean and come out to the shore to search for prey.
The mood throughout the novel is very bleak – poor people, bad weather, dark ocean with monsters in it, people competing in a life or dead race to help themselves to a better future. The whole time I associated the book with the color black. Not only for the reasons stated above (“The Hunger Games” had poor people, wars, death and desperation throughout the series and I never associated them with black), but also because I felt that black was peeking out of everywhere – the ocean, the stillness of the night, the storms, the autumn weather, Puck’s desperate actions to keep her elder brother from leaving, even Sean’s blue-black jacket. And yet, I wouldn’t say that this is a sad book. It’s full of hope.
I could write a lot more about “The Scorpio Races”. I could tell you that it’s a must read. That it’s one of those rare books you’ll never forget. That I will certainly come back to it and read it with immense pleasure even though I know how it ends. But I won’t.
I’m just going to tell you that it blew me away. And that if you give it a chance, it will do the same for you.

Friday, 20 January 2012

"Humanless" cover is ready to be revealed!

The cover for my YA novel "Humanless" is done and ready! It's been a long wait but it was totally worth it! The very talented artist Olga Zaharevici made the beautiful picture from scratch - she read the book, gave the idea for the cover scene and then hand-drew it. I love it - it's very old-school, so to speak. Hope everybody else loves it too.
I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case - please do. Here it is:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The books I loved in 2011

I’ve read a lot of books in 2011 – don’t know the exact figure but it’s close to 50. That number is nowhere near how many I wish I had the time to read! So many books, so little time!
So here’s a list of books I loved. Ignore the numbers – they are for illustration purposes only. Enjoy!

I know, I know, I must be the last person to read these amazing books! You’ve probably known about them for ages, but for some reason they just sneaked past me. I’m so glad I read them when all three were published though! I’d have died if I had to wait a year for the next book to come out.
“The Hunger Games” are some of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. All three are fast paced and stripped of any unnecessary words – the story is to the point, all the time. Exactly as I like it.
The idea behind the story is completely innovative and absolutely worth exploring. I gulped every word like it was a cold sip of water. Read them before the movie comes out – they have the habit of destroying every good book out there.

It was one of my most anticipated books this year. I loved the first one – Clockwork Angel and couldn’t wait to see what happens. In this series, Ms Clare has managed to combine some of my favourite themes to read – paranormal, romance and Victorian England. She has also managed to create one of the hottest male characters out there. What do you mean which one? Will, of course. He is right up there with Eric Northman (Sookie Stackhouse novels), Jace (another one of Clare’s) and Patch (Hush Hush). Cassie always creates a world so believable and a story so engaging that you could easily find yourself on the sofa all day without even noticing time flying by.

How she manages to write two amazing series at the same time is beyond me! Cassandra is one of the most talented authors out there and I’ve loved reading all her books. “City of Fallen Angels” is the fourth book of her “The Mortal Instruments” series and one of the most exciting. There is a lot of action, a lot of drama and a lot of pretty hot scenes. Ms Clare creates a sexy scene like nobody else!

Where do I start? I read the first four books after I was already hooked on “True Blood”. I wasn’t disappointed – the books are very different from the TV show, plotwise. I don’t have a lot of time to read during the day but with these books (eleven in total) I was so hooked that I read all day, every day, until I finished them. Fast paced, funny, improvident and absolutely gripping, these books seized my life to a halt until the very last line. So, if I were you, I’d think twice before starting them unless you want to call in sick way too often, miss your bus stop a few times or walk into a lamp post once or twice.

This book has been my drop of cold water, dripping down a pint of beer on a hot summer day.
I loved the first book of the series – Hush Hush, then felt a bit let down by the second – “Crescendo” -  mainly because I was expecting it to be even better. But “Silence” is worth the wait just like that drop of cold water is worth watching sliding down the glass and sweeping it with your finger just before it reaches the surface of the table.
Patch is my absolute favourite male character in a YA novel. Full stop. He has a lot of competition but after “Silence”, he has cemented his lead. The book is very action-driven (again – just as I like it), very steamy, and very memorable.
I envy those who haven’t read the series – they have such good fun to come!

I love Maggie’s style. I’ve read all her books and have been hooked from beginning to end, although they are not written in the usual style I’d go for. Not much happens in terms of action but Maggie’s writing is so engaging that it doesn’t allow the reader’s mind to wonder off to other places. The wolves of Mercy Falls series has been my favourite of all her books and the last one doesn’t disappoint. The perfect book to curl up next to a fireplace with. You might even hear the wolves outside…

I picked up Ms. Angelini’s debut novel because it of its theme – Greek Mythology. I’m an absolute mythology geek so I decided to give it a try on the spur of the moment without any recommendations – very unusual for me. It was totally worth it! The book is amazingly well written, very engaging from beginning to end. There is so much happening, so much conflict and character development that I never felt bored. A great achievement considering I have the attention span of a 3 year old.
Can’t wait for the sequel!

So, these are the books I loved the most. Read them if you can, they are absolutely worth it!
Next, the books I didn't like... Heads will roll people, so prepare.