Life in a Glasshouse: May 2012

The Immortal Obsessions

My photo
I'm immortally interested in cultural/literary deconstructions, feminism, anti-racism, South Korea, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Hayao Miyazaki, Diana Wynne Jones, food (including but not limited to maple butter, tomatoes, and toast), fairy tales, parentheses, paper airplanes, films and books.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Beauty Queens

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?*

Libba Bray. You have officially shot up as one of my favorite authors. With A Great and Terrible Beauty, I saw so much promise, and now that I've read Beauty Queens, your status has been cemented. All hail feminist authors. We need more of you in the world. We also need to infect the water of every other author with your greatness.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Every Wednesday, hosts spotlight one soon-to-be published, eagerly anticipated book.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Publication: 2013

Humans will be the hunted. Love will be tested. Vengeance will be had.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s society events — until a faery killed her mother. 

Now, between the seeming endless parties and boring dances, Aileana has a new hobby: she secretly slaughters the fae who prey on humans in the city’s dark alleyways. 

Determined to find the faery who murdered her mother, vengeance has become Aileana's life. . . so she never anticipated her growing attraction to the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Or that there was a world beyond hers, filled with secrets that affect her past and have the potential to destroy her present.

But when her own world is about revenge, and when she holds Kiaran’s fate in her hands, how far is Aileana prepared to go for retribution?

Sadly, there is no specific publication date, which only makes me think that it will be released in the fall. (Please, oh, please, don't make it that far away!) The cover you're seeing is only a placeholder, unfortunately, as it is magnificent on its own.

I read a review by a critique partner who claims that there are no faerie courts or politics in this book only monsters called faeries. That alone had me click to-read faster than I could blink. But revenge stories for girls! A girl who doesn't just kill - she slaughters! The rest of the fangirling will have to wait until the book is released. Sadly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #4

Another spoiler free excerpt from Chiaroscuro. This one is for the setting:

Ari was positive she heard wrong, yet Lee was the one looking disturbed by the eye contact. Maybe she hadn’t said it loud enough. It had been a while since someone had commentated on the level of her voice.The bottle of water crinkled between Lee’s fingers. “What?”Ari cleared her throat. “Should I say it a little louder?”“Do I look like I need a hearing aid?”“Um, then, why aren’t you freaking out?”Lee lowered the bottle and smiled. The expression made Ari want to jump a little, but the presence behind her was too acute for her to even step back. “Well, if you wanted me to freak out about this, then maybe I should freak out about the fact that your boyfriend can somehow tear the heart out of a human body. Or maybe I should freak out about the fact that there are zombies running around my countryside, powered by high levels of energy coursing under my feet. Or - or - maybe I should freak out about the fact that the world’s ended, Britain’s infrastructure shot, and I’ve had to decapitate people in ways Henry the eighth would be proud of to survive.” Her grin glittered against her dark skin. “Where do you want me to start?”Clearing her throat a second time, Ari said, “Considering that you’ve had much more time to adjust to all that, Aza aside, I don’t see how you can correlate learning about the existence of magic with—”Enough disgust soaked Lee’s expression to shut Ari up without her speaking. “Never mind. Just get cleaned so we can get out of here. And preferably to find some more alcohol.”

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Every Wednesday, hosts spotlight one soon-to-be published, eagerly anticipated book.

The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby

Publication date: September 18

In the London summer of 1913, two brilliant minds from opposite sides of the law are pitted against each other in the hunt for the most precious necklace in the world—more valuable than the Hope diamond—and the psychological cat and mouse game between celebrated jewel thief Joseph Grizard and Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Alfred Ward, a real-life Sherlock Holmes. Thoroughly researched, compellingly colorful, The Great Pearl Heist is a gripping narrative account of an untold story.*

Winning the award for longest title, this book seems like so much fun. A mix of the Edwardian era, a lawful Sherlock Holmes and a good gentleman thief is right up my alley.

*Summary provided by Edelweiss

Friday, May 11, 2012

Follow Me Friday #4

Feature & Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read for book blogs looking for followers and to be followed.

Q: This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's Day. In celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/child relationships?

I'd have to say that Molly/Weasleys are my favorite. She was naggy and embarrassing and cooked a little bit too much, but I'm sure none of her children could say that she didn't love them. And that line of hers to Beatrix? It's famous for a reason.

Unfortunately, I can't think of any others, and find that sadly troubling. It's not just mother/child relationships that are lacking in YA, but strong parent/child dynamics as well.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Every Wednesday, hosts spotlight one soon-to-be published, eagerly anticipated book.

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Publication date: September 18

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…                            
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

It's no secret that I'd like to see more female relationships explored in YA. And with this book highlighting the dynamics between two souls (identifying themselves as female) trapped in one body and fighting for each other rather than fighting each other, I'm crossing every finger and toe in hoping that this book will be a smash hit and show the popularity of sisterhood in dystopia as opposed to girl hate.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?*

Laini Taylor has been one of my favorite authors ever since I picked up Blackbringer back in 2008 along with The Hunger Games. I'm not sure what exactly goes on in her head that produces all the amazingly creative worlds and creatures it does, but whatever it is, it must run on cactus juice. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is just as imaginative as Taylor's previous efforts. It's filled with jackal teeth, ultramarine hair and barred cities. It's received so many rave reviews that I honestly felt no doubt that it would spectacular. This is, after all, Laini Taylor.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #3

Taking a break from my usual excerpts of Dance Macabre, here's one from the first draft of Chiaroscuro. Ari and Lee, my co-protagonists, have just stopped fighting - or sparring, as Lee would call it - because Ari suddenly started coughing like someone dying:

“So that’s your cost, then?” 
Even with Lee’s face cast partly in shadows, Ari could still see the little cut her one and only strike had made at the corner of Lee’s mouth. What she couldn’t make out was her expression, and Lee did have a track recording of saying one thing and feeling another thing.
“The cost of my magic?” Ari said carefully. 
“No, the cost of the car we’re driving in. Stop staring.” 
She switched hands on the bottle, keeping from the urge to clear her throat. “Sorry. No. The cost isn’t torture.” 
“Oh.” The disappointment in Lee’s voice had the plastic under Ari’s fingers crinkling. “Then what the hell was that just now?” 
“Part of it.” 
“There’s more?” 
Ari licked her lips. The water hadn’t washed away the sharpness of blood at all. “I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it.” 
“That’s nice. Wish I could feel comfortable about the fact that I'm traveling with a demon and a witch across post-apocalypse England.”

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Scorpio Races

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

The Scorpio Races is yet another victim of bad hype. The blurb and the hype itself market it as a fast-paced, action-packed thriller, when in fact, The Scorpio Races is all about relationships, the island and its sea, and tradition. I'm quite sure that I wouldn't have liked it half as much as I did had I not read incensed reviews blaming the marketing for their skewed expectations. This is a book you come into knowing you're not in for a wild ride, but a long and cozy one. I enjoyed it far more than I expected as well, and because this would otherwise turn into me gushing about its awesomeness, I'll start for the reason why I took off a star.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Legend of Korra Recap

In addition to book reviews, I'll be recapping Legend of Korra starting on the fifth episode released tomorrow.

Follow Me Friday #3

F&F is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read for book blogs looking for followers and to be followed.

Q: What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?

I'm sure this is one many of said before, but I wish I could have told Diana Wynne Jones how much I had adored her books and how they'd got me into writing. I wish I had sent her fan letter or email before cancer had taken her away. She will always be my favorite author, even J.K. Rowling has yet to topple her from that pedestal (sacrilege, I know!). 

Have you ever wished you had sent letters before your favorite authors passed away?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Every Wednesday, hosts spotlight one soon-to-be published, eagerly anticipated book.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication date: September 11

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

The moment they announced this Gothic series, I was excited. Sarah Rees Brennan is one of my favorite authors. And when you add all the raving reviews and a POC protagonist to the mix? I clicked the pre-order button yesterday. I just don't know how I'm going to make it through the summer.

Jellicoe Road

This absorbing, award-winning novel is part love story, part family drama, and part coming-of-age story in one compelling tale. If Taylor Markham can put together the pieces of her past and present, she might just be able to change her future.*
Wow. What can I say about this that hasn't already been said?

I did not read this book all in one sitting. One would think that would affect my enjoyment, but the strangest thing is, it didn't. This book is one that you can put down and pick a week later without feeling lost. In fact, with good books, I usually feel the urge to just take it all in with one go, but Jellicoe Road is so chockful with incredible moments and phrases that whenever I put it down, I had enough to think about, to go over to last me a lifetime. Because of this, I can honestly say it was one of the best books I have ever read. The last time I felt this way about a book was with Looking for Alaska over a year ago.

Here's a little tidbit, I'm aromantic. I also have zero tolerance for anything romantic in books, but that doesn't have much to do with my orientation, it's personal taste. Because of this, it's hard to find books where I don't skim or skip pages involving the romantic plot. Many times, they feel isolated from the plot and overall theme of the book - this is especially true for me in YA. Looking for Alaska is - was - the best example of a plot involving love in recent YA that could enjoy without being frustrated or bored by it. It might have been because the kind of love we`re used to seeing nowadays isn't that rife throughout it. So when Marchetta comes along and plops an entire book revolving around love between teenagers and adults and teenagers and adults and leaves me desperate for more, it's somewhat disorienting. My personal opinion on it is, she doesn't have romantic love be the be-all end-all of all kinds of love.

Take for example, Taylor when she snaps at Griggs for not being "romantic" and later on lists off all the things he's done for her and because of that, they are romantic. To be honest, it's the kind of thing I would do for my best friend or my sister or brother. The only difference being, I don't feel the urge to sleep with them.

The kids from sixteen years ago relate to each other in pretty much the same ways, except only a few feel attraction for the other. if you took that attraction, would they react the same way for each other? I believe so. It isn't about the sex or the looks or spending time with only your true love. When they comment on Narnie's smile being like a revelation and it is that way for everyone, doesn't that mean they look at each other the same? Even Taylor sees it years later because she feels the same for her as well.

This is why the book resonated so deeply with me. I may be aromantic, have a strong aversion for romantic plots of any genre, but I do believe that love is the same for everyone. Some people have it with the attraction, others don't, and I think Marchetta has done a beautiful, exquisite job showing this.

My hats off to you, Marchetta. As soon as I am not broke, I am ordering every single one of your books, whether they are out yet in Canada or not.

Rating: 5/5

*Summary and photo from Goodreads.