Good Dilemmas

I have three ebooks all pre-ordered and ready to download to my Nook first thing in the morning (if Barnes & Noble is on the ball, that is). I thought I’d take a moment to share them with you, because I’m super excited about all of them.

The first is a book I’ve been waiting a long time for:

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man fights to hold on to his humanity–and his honor. . .
Life on the frontier is full of deceit and danger, but bounty hunter Cedar Hunt is a man whose word is his bond. Cursed with becoming a beast every full moon, Cedar once believed his destiny was to be alone. But now, Cedar finds himself saddled with a group of refugees, including the brother he once thought lost.

Keeping his companions alive is proving to be no easy task, in part because of the promise he made to the unpredictable Madder brothers—three miners who know the secret mechanisms of the Strange. To fulfill his pledge, Cedar must hunt a powerful weapon known as the Holder—a search that takes him deep into the savage underbelly of the young country and high into the killing glim-field skies defended by desperate men and deadly ships.

But the battles he faces are just a glimmer of a growing war stirring the country. To keep his word Cedar must navigate betrayal, lies, and treacherous alliances, risking everything to save the lives of those he has come to hold dear… [Goodreads]

  • I adore Devon Monk’s writing, and have been waiting for this forever. This is the sequel to Dead Iron, which I review here. And don’t miss Devon’s blog tour, complete with free fiction and multiple giveaways for a free copy of the book, a Tin Swift magnet, and a hand-maid steampunk bookmark! 

Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right–the zombie mafia.
Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower–and maybe a brain smoothie as well–in order to get through it without falling apart. [Goodreads]

  • This is the second book in Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series, which have the absolute most rockin’ cover art I have EVER SEEN on a zombie novel. If you like campy horror (think: Shaun of the Dead) then you absolutely must read this. I reviewed the first one over here.
  • The third and final book on my list is different from both of these. In fact, it’s a little bit of a departure from my normal reading habits – so much so that I’m wondering if I’ll end up loving or hating it. (I hope I don’t hate it.) Usually when I read fantasy, I stick to off-world fantasy. I have had mixed luck with historical fantasy. (Gail Carriger? GOOD. Other things? VERY, VERY BAD.) But I’ve heard so much about this book, and I’m so fond of this writer‘s non-fiction blogging over at Magical Words that I couldn’t help but pre-order it, from sheer wondering how all those plot elements ended up working out.  (Full disclosure: I read one of this author’s other, more traditional fantasy novels and, while I liked it, I still haven’t found the time to pick up the next book in the series. So many books, so little time!)

Boston, 1767: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.
Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see. [Goodreads]

 

  •  Which means I have some very hard decisions to make tomorrow. Since I have to work, I can’t read them all. Which should I start with first? (Feel free to vote more than once or for more than one book!)

How to Miss Out On Great Books

I said in a recent review that I would come back and tell the story of how I came so late to the Retrievers novels and Laura Anne Gilman‘s Cosa Nostradamus world.

Retrievers #1

It’s really quite simple and easy, but if you’re curious, here is Kiara’s Guide to Missing Out On Really Great Books™ .

  1. Hold tight to your tropes.
    • When I first picked up Staying Dead back in 2004 or 2005, I was really big into Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. (We’re all youthful and naive at one point or another.) The genre was just getting big on vampires and werewolves and kick ass chicks in leather pants. Staying Dead had none of these things. Here was a book with a nervous heroine whose “super power” was being ignored. What kind of kick ass chick was THAT?
  2. Scoff at anything outside the “norm”.
    • Electricity as a magic power? That was just too… normal… to be fantasy. Fairies that weren’t tall and coolly elfin and romantically aloof? A heroine who not only had never killed anyone – or even beaten anyone up, from the look of it – but who was afraid of guns?
  3. Dis the romance. Overlook the other relationships.
    • One of the major elements, I think, in the Cosa Nostradamus series is the relationships. Sure, Wren and Sergei have “a thing” blossoming, and that’s the only place I looked at first. “Romance,” I thought to myself, disgustedly. “Who has any use for a heroine who can’t even figure out her love life? Or one who even NEEDS a love life?” But the beauty of this series is that it looks at the ways different people interact with one another. I mean – I’m sure the author didn’t give her main character the ability to be overlooked because she thought it would be FUNNY, you know? Sure, it’s useful for a thief, but what does it do to the person inside – the one who’s being ignored? That’s just one of the incredibly subtle ways that Gilman makes a statement in this series.
  4. Dismiss anything unique as “silly”.
    • A demon who looks like a polar bear? I admit it, I scoffed. Sure, it was cutesy. But he was supposed to be a “fucking demon” (to quote Jason Lee in Dogma). Never mind that this gives a character who could very easily become one dimensional a depth and richness that moves his story from trite to significant. No one takes a monster who looks like a cuddly stuffed animal seriously, after all. So neither did I; I didn’t look any deeper.
  5. Don’t give a decent book a second chance. Or even a first chance, if you can help it.
    • I’m ashamed to admit that I only read Staying Dead a second time because I won a signed copy in a contest and – after months of seeing it still sitting on my shelf – I guiltily decided that I’d better at least READ the damned thing before I found another home for it*. That, and because I agreed with so much of what the author was saying on her website. SURELY, if I liked her non-fiction blogging so much, there must be SOMETHING to like in her fiction too, right? So I decided to read it again.

This was in fall of 2010 and I was in a much different place than I had been. When I first read these books, I was single and bitter about it. I was lost, lonely, and was just starting to gain back some of the confidence and self-esteem that had been destroyed by a bad relationship. Now, I have been happily married for a handful of years and have learned to say things like “No” and “I don’t need you in my life”. Back then, I was happy with a two-dimensional heroine who had what I thought I wanted in life (ruthless ambition, a pair of leather pants, and the power to make sure no one ever hurt her again). The more mature me of now has decided she’d like a little real life (a little moderation, a bit more than a wee taste of fun, and most definitely no chafing from leather pants) in her fantasy, please, kthxbai.

Moreover, now that I have grown a bit older (no comments from the peanut gallery, please) and have begun to take myself more seriously as a writer, I can look deeper into the story and see the grace and finesse. Now, I can appreciate Gilman’s obvious experience as an author and what she’s trying to do as an artist. I had previously (idiotically) been dismissing the very things that make this series so interesting and unique. I’m now three books into the series and I’m waiting to get my hands on the fourth. The only reason I took a break is because my TBR shelf was giving me sullen stares when it thought I wasn’t looking.

So, kiddies, don’t be like me. Just because you’re not in English Lit anymore and just because genre novels aren’t the usual college fare doesn’t mean that you have to turn your brain off when you’re reading a novel. (Although that’s fun sometimes, too!) So pay attention, be on the lookout, and don’t forget to eat your Wheaties. Oh, and give the Retrievers a look. You might be as surprised as I was on your first (or second) time through.

*And in case you’re wondering: no, you can’t have my copy. I’ve changed my mind. It’s not going anywhere.

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

I didn’t even know they had this, so I’m especially pleased to be hearing of it in time for nominations.

From the BBAW blog:

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is a week long festival celebrating the community of book bloggers and their contribution to preserving a culture of literacy through book reviews and recommendations, reading reflections, and general bookish chat.  BBAW also includes an awards component.  For more information on the BBAW 2010 Awards and how to participate, please visit the BBAW 2010 Awards Blog.  BBAW events include daily blogging topics, blogger interview swaps, special guest posts, and so much more!

So in order to be nominated (in a Niche category, which is where WFF would fall), a book blogger must link to 3 reviews and 2 other posts written between August 2009 and June 2010 for consideration by the BBAW judges.

Looking back over the last year or so of blogging, I’m awfully proud of everything Waiting for Fairies has managed to do in that time frame. I hope the next 12 months are just as exciting. With that said, the following are the 5 posts I believe are “tops” from the past year.

My review of Rob Thurman’s Trick of the Light – which, sadly, the publisher has declined to pursue. So the September release will be the last in this series.

The massive, Waiting for Fairies Holiday Gift-Buying Guide. (And I still recommend books as the perfect gift!)

My favorite post from my birthday celebration, the Kiaras Festivus Author Focus post on Rob Thurman.  (I tried, I really did, to find something different than another Rob Thurman post – but I believe this one is the best written out of that series of posts.)

Probably my favorite review ever – for Robin Becker’s Zombie-tarian novel Brains: A Zombie Memoir.

And, finally, the review for the 2nd volume of my newest favorite vampire series: Jaye Well’s Mage in Black.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week this year will be held from September 13th – 17th. I hope you’ll all look up your favorite book blogger that week and tell ’em how much you appreciate them.

If Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…

Then you guys’ll love me next week!

Tomorrow I hand over the keys to the Fairy-Hunting-mobile to a guest poster. Jessica has been a friend of mine for several years now and always provides an intelligent, insightful opinion on… pretty much anything she sets her mind to.

I can assure you that you’ll all be in wonderful hands. I know for a fact that Jessica has a most interesting review of Kristin Cashore’s Fire for your reading enjoyment on Thursday morning. And who knows what else she has up her sleeve? (I sure don’t… I’ll find out with the rest of you!)

I’ll be off for a long weekend Road Trip of Intrigue! And! Adventure! And probably a wedding… If I don’t get lost on the way.

I’ll see all you lads and lassies next week. (Unless you’re on Twitter, because, I mean — really. Who’s going to give up Twitter for six whole days?)

Would You Like To Guest Post? And Other Miscellanea

Okay, first off, I know it’s incredibly short notice. But. I’ll be out of town the week of May 24th and am interested in hearing from anyone who’d like to guest post on WFF that week, or possibly early the following week.  Readers, writers of the published or unpublished variety, or anyone vaguely interesting would be welcome. Topics should relate to books in some way, but I’m open to exotic variations. If you’re interested, email me at kiara AT waitingforfairies DOT com, and we’ll talk. We’ll work in some extreme pimp-age for your own website/Twitter feed/other (non-pr0n) site while we’re at it. And I’m open to returning the favor at a later date.

If I can manage to get some rest from all the overtime at Ye Olde Daye Jobbe and from family obligations, I’ll have reviews for you from:

  • Devon Monk’s MAGIC ON THE STORM [link]
  • Leanna Renee Hieber’s THE DARKLY LUMINOUS FIGHT FOR PERSEPHONE PARKER [link]
  • And I still need to say a bit about Jim Butcher’s CHANGES (I think I’m still recovering from that one! Brutal!) [link]
  • As well as the fact that I’ve just received my copy of Peter V Brett’s DESERT SPEAR [link]

So I hope you’re all looking forward to that. I know I’m looking forward to having all that stuff written and the work gone from over my head. Ha!

The short story I promised my writing partner, which is now over a month late, I think (It was an arbitrary deadline, but a deadline nonetheless.), still continues, although slowly. But I’ll take any progress rather than none at all, at this point. I’ve promised myself 15 minutes a day on it. If, at the end of those minutes, I want to quit working, then I can. I usually don’t want to, but must, because I’m typically scribbling furiously in a tiny notebook during a coffee break at work.

Ah, well. A writer does what a writer must. Right?

More Cosmetic Surgery

I know…

I shouldn’t have…

But it just felt so good.

You might have noticed that there’s a slightly different look here at WFF. Again.

I know. I promise this is the last time. For awhile.

I’ve spent my afternoon today very pleasantly occupied with a copy of Mimbo, Firebug, a WordPress test site, and lots & lots of child theme tutorials.  The result is what you see before you now.

My child theme, which I’ve dubbed Mim-Kiddie, isn’t significantly different in design from the original Mimbo. But there are subtle differences, and I’ve used several plug-ins and lots of custom functions to make those changes. I’m always thrilled when I can make some bit of code work the way I want it to.

I’m pretty happy with it. I feel like I’ve finally done what I wanted with a theme. Hooray!

If you have comments or suggestions, you’re more than welcome to leave them in the form below (or by clicking over and leaving a comment, if you’re reading via RSS). I’d be excited to hear what you think!

I’ve also turned on Intense Debate’s CommentLuv system, which will link to the last post on your blog when you make a comment. Because I love my readers, and you should all be rewarded with linkage for stopping by!

🙂

Writer’s Resources for November 4th through November 11th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for November 4th through November 11th:

Writer's Resources for November 4th through November 11th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for November 4th through November 11th:

Writer’s Resources for September 26th through September 27th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for September 26th through September 27th:

Writer's Resources for September 26th through September 27th

These are writers’ resource links I’ve found helpful and/or interesting for September 26th through September 27th: