Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 Books + Giveaway

Just Read: The City & The City by China Miéville, trade paperback

Why I picked it up: The last time I read a book by this author was in 2001, at the RWA National Conference in New Orleans. At the time I thought his writing was unparalleled, but the story itself wounded me spiritually to the point that I later seriously considered giving up writing myself. I've actually compared that earlier book to a loaded gun that another writer can only point at their own face.

What I liked: My spirit must have gotten tougher over the years, or that first book was a one-off, because no particular wounding occurred this time around. The world-building was interesting, and the characters as exotic as I'd expected. I didn't feel like quitting writing after I read it, either, which seemed like a minor triumph.

What I didn't like: I didn't want to buy this book (I actually intended to buy his latest release, The Kracken, but the store didn't have a copy on the shelves, and after working up my nerve to read the author again I wasn't leaving empty-handed.) The complex politics the author found so fascinating about put me to sleep. Also while reading it I kept having fuzzy flashbacks to Martin Cruz Smith's brilliant Gorky Park, which I think I've read a couple million times. I don't know if it was the pseudo-Moscovita, the Renko-ish cop protag, or the gist of the overboiled plot, but my overall impression was Gorky Park on Pentobarbital with an LSD chaser. Finally, the ending, which ticked me off because the most interesting carrot that was dangled throughout the story magically went poof when I finally reached it. I don't like poofy carrot books.

Reading: A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu

Why I picked it up: I am an unashamed Hunter Kiss addict, so nothing could keep me away from Maxine and the boys. That and I figured I'd need one of Marjorie's stories after facing my own little book demons, and I was right.

What I like: The novel moves from page one, first like a big cat stalking in the shadows, onto ominous planes filled with menacing reminders of the past, and then it takes off. By the time I reached the third chapter I was so caught up in the startling unfolding of events I almost took it in the shower with me. In this series Marjorie writes prose that reads like poetry and invokes unforgettable imagery; the words dance through my imagination.

What I don't like: What happens in Chapter Two has me worried, especially the last couple of paragraphs, but I trust the author will eventually bail out Maxine and, by extension, me.

Will Read: 1491 ~ New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, trade paperback

Why I picked it up: Aside from an ongoing serious glom I've been having for nonfic on Mesoamerica, I've needed a nice chunky history fix and haven't been able to find anything new. I've read a few articles by Mann in some magazines and I liked the preface so much I read the entire thing while standing by the bookstore shelf.

What I expect to like: Seeing the Americas in the time we were not taught about in school, from a narrative that is free of the usual white trash litter of conquistadors, Mayflowerites, etc.

What I expect not to like: Judging by the preface, the author obviously has a lot of admiration and sympathy for his subject matter, which is not a bad thing when you're an advocate of protecting historical sites, exposing artifact black markets etc. In a nonfic book it can really skew the facts, but I have yet to meet a historian who can write without sticking his prejudices in every nook and cranny of the narrative.

I must share my Maxine jones with you guys, so in comments to this post name the book you're currently reading (or if you're in a reading slump, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Thursday, July 29, 2010. I'll select five names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.


  1. I've just finished reading some awesome books! They are:

    The Demon In Me- by Michelle Rowen

    Catching Fire- by Suzanne Collins

    Am about to read:

    Before I Fall- by Lauren Oliver

    What I am hoping to buy soon:

    Something Wicked- by Michelle Rowen (second book in series!)

    Frostfire- by Our Favorite Author :D (yeah, I know we have a long way to go...but I am so excited after Dreamveil!)

    Mockingjay- by Suzanne Collins

    Okay, I'll be quiet now. But seriously, I'm always on the lookout for new and awesome authors.

  2. I'll put my name in for the competition and note that I'm currently reading Salt by Maurice Gee. It's the first in a series of YA novels and I'm enjoying it very much.

    But the main reason I'm commenting is to say that I love your "3 Books" format and wondered if it would be okay to borrow it for aurealisXpress, the Australian SF blog I edit. I'd like to invite guest posters to submit their "3 Books".

    Here's hoping you approve.


  3. I was in a reading funk, so I went digging in my "favorites" bookshelf and came up with Laura Joh Rowland. Currently, I'm reading Bundori.

    I guess sometimes my mind likes something completely different from my standard fare of sci/fi, fantasy, romance, or paranormal.

  4. Anonymous2:35 AM

    I'm between books at the moment :( Waiting on the first Scott Pilgrim graphic novel and A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire.

  5. Anonymous2:51 AM

    There is nothing like being introduced to a new author by a reader who has no other motivation than pure pleasure in reading the books to introduce them.

    Anywho, I'd love to be entered. I'm currently reading 'Whom Must I Kill to get Published?' by Jason Horger.

    Told in first person by a slightly melodramatic but loveable MC - who happens to be a wannabe murder mystery writer - who goes to a conference where an agent is murdered. It sounds ripe to be horrible, but I'm already sixty pages in and quite liking it.

  6. Currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Definitely a different read for me but I am glad I bought this novel. Even though I'm only halfway done, I would definitely recommend if you haven't already read it :)

  7. I'm reading 'The Bullet Trick' by Louise Welsh and some Barbara Trapido because they're coming for the Melbourne Writers' Festival, but really I'd like to be getting into '13-1/2' by Nevada Barr to see what it's like.
    Love my public library where I can try out all kinds of books and authors for free!

  8. Currently reading 'Strange Angels' by Lili St. Crow. She has an excent way of keeping up the prose and the tension.

  9. I love it, "I don't like poofy carrot books"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have really got to catch up with Ms. Liu's series, she is a wonderful author!

    I am currently reading Heart Journey by Robin D. Owens. She writes lovely futuristic fantasy romance books with a dash of mystery. Before that I read As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding which is her second book. Also a unique book, paranormal action mysteries which I found myself reading slowly so that I didn't miss anything. After that I hope to start Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn, number 4 of the Lady Julia mysteries. Ms. Raybourn's books are simply divine, historical mysteries with romance! I highly recommend her!!

  10. I know I sound like a suck-up, but I'm currently re-reading the Stardoc series in anticipation of the new release. Unfortunately, I only just finished Rebel Ice, so I don't think I'll be done in time for the release! Oh well, it'll still be there when I'm done.

    So I guess I'm reading Plague of Memory by S.L. Viehl currently. :)

  11. Carissa wrote: But the main reason I'm commenting is to say that I love your "3 Books" format and wondered if it would be okay to borrow it for aurealisXpress, the Australian SF blog I edit. I'd like to invite guest posters to submit their "3 Books".

    Sure, it's okay with me if you want to borrow the format.

  12. JM wrote: Told in first person by a slightly melodramatic but loveable MC - who happens to be a wannabe murder mystery writer - who goes to a conference where an agent is murdered.

    I have to read this book now. Ha.

  13. I just finished The Help for book club, and now moving on to Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (adorable premise..can't wait to check it out!)

  14. I'm reading PASSION by Lisa Valdez. I'm not sure exactly what to make of the book yet.

  15. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, and Moral Fiction by John Gardner.

    Life is good. :)

  16. I just discovered a series about a shape shifter and a police detective set in New Orleans (of course). The first book is Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon. There are 3 out now and the contract for 3 more has been signed. Interesting premise. Next up Dream Called Time.

  17. Just finished 2 hours ago, Alexandra Ivy's Beyond the Darkness.

  18. Just finished Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh (loved it!) and I'm about to start Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.

    Erin K.

  19. I am reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.

  20. Just finished J.R. Ward's Lover Mine ... love her BDB.

    Next up Married by Morning by Lisa Klepas.

  21. I just started Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane. Interesting premise and a junkie heroine. Should be a very different read. Lots of people say its good. I am off to see lol.

  22. I've just finished some really great books:

    Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
    Mage in Black by Jaye Wells
    Assassin's Honor by Monica Burns
    Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
    City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

    and I'm currently reading:
    Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

  23. Tossing my name in the hat.

    Currently in a reading junk. Not sure why, have a good sized TBR pile but the books in it just are not calling to me.

  24. I am currently reading The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, the second book in the Mistborn series. Currently there are so many plot threads that I'm anxious about that it's hard for me to think I'm going to get any writing done today. The series has also taught me a lot about pacing and micro-tension, aside from being great books. So far it's perfect: inspiring to my writing self without making me feel I should put down my pen.

  25. I'm currently reading The Greatest Generation Speaks by Tom Brokaw, his follow-up book to The Greatest Generation. So far this second book is a good as the first.

    Also, 1491 is excellent! I read it a few years ago and I've never gotten it out of my mind. It didn't strike me as overly preachy so much as suggestive. Mann raises questions without answering them, sharing the various theories of what life was like pre-Columbus. We'll never know exactly, but maybe it wasn't as simple as we were taught in grade school. I look forward to reading your review!

  26. Just re-read: Archangel Kiss
    Why? Raphael!

    Reading: Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow
    Why? Sounded like it would be fun.

    Planning on reading: Dragon Embers by Tessa Adams
    Why? Right after Vampires I obsesses over Dragons.

    I just got the M.Liu book that is my 2nd planning on reading book.

  27. Whenever I'm in a reading slump (usually because I lack book funds and live in a town with a pitiable library) like I am now, I re-read all of Patricia Briggs books. I'm currently re-reading the Raven duelogy.

  28. Tammy S11:35 AM

    Just finished re-reading the Celta series by Robin D Owens, while waiting for the new Feehan to get here.

  29. Just started reading CE Murphy's Demon Hunts two days ago. Normally I'm a finish each book in a day kind of girl, but I'm sick so it's been it little chunks when I don't feel like I'm dying. :-/

  30. I've been slogging through Lord of the Rings for a month now and took a break to DEVOUR Stacia Kane's first two Downside books, Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic. I can't remember the last book that made me tear up, so afraid to keep reading because, no, that can't be happening! but it is! ... yah, UM was like that.

    Curious about Mieville but now I'm too afraid to pick him up. Thanks. :)

  31. Oh dear. I saw China Miéville at Comic-Con a few days ago and am currently reading PERDIDO STREET STATION. I'm hoping that's not the spiritually-wounding book, although that would have been the new release at the time... He did mention that a few of his earlier books alienated readers, but they wouldn't have been out in 2001. So unless it was KING RAT that wounded you, I'm going to be reading the rest of PERDIDO with a little more trepidation now! KRAKEN is supposed to be humorous at least, and I have faith it will be a good read based on how funny and personable Miéville was during his panel and signing.

    Saw Marjorie M. Liu for the second time at Comic-Con as well, although I haven't read past the first Hunter Kiss novel yet.

  32. Just picked up Christine Feehan's Water Bound, the first in her new series about Sea Haven. It's good and continues the saga, with different characters, in the town of Sea Haven.

  33. I'm alternating between Jim Butcher's Changes and John Grisham's Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer at the moment.

  34. Currently working on The Book of Dead Philosophers. Interesting non-fiction read. I could totally do with some new fiction in my life.

  35. Since I'm test driving over the road right now, I'm *listening* to Dark Highlander by Moning, read by Phil Gigante (GREAT voice and he really makes the story come alive!) and I have in my hands Dark Warrior Untamed by Alexis Morgan, her newest Talion which was delivered Monday. Awesome heroes...

    Then, I'll start knocking down my TBR pile until Frostfire comes :o)

  36. The Queen's Lover by Vanora Bennett. Tudor period historical. Not loving it so far, but I'm only 70-some pages in. Here's hoping ht enext 500 pick up..

  37. Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris

  38. Over lunch I finished Cat Magic by Whitley Strieber. Hoping to start Ancestor by Scott Sigler when I get home.

  39. I'm currently reading David Weber's Storm From The Shadows (an Honorverse book). I am also reading Rachel'sTotem by Marie Harte on my Sony Reader :D

  40. I am reading Ghost Night by Heather Graham. And just finished the 3rd Last Stand book by Brenda Novak.

  41. Periskyye3:07 PM

    Currently reading Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon; currently listening to Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz.

  42. I'm currently reading Linda Castillo's "A Whisper in the Dark."

  43. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Just finished Nalini Singh's Bonds of Justice and Eve Silver's Sins of the Heart. I'm about to start Anne Stuart's Ruthless. All strong, clear writers. Silver's seemed a bit rushed at the end, probably because it was paced less as a stand-alone than as the first third of the trilogy. In that context, a longer, more even sweep is justified.

    Please do enter me for the Marjorie Liu book - I love hers.


  44. Adrian Phoenix Makers series. She does not disappoint.

  45. Just finished most of the Dirk & Steele books...loooove them.

    Am currently reading Eloisa James' Essex Sisters books. I have been needing my historical fix.

    Would like to read The Red Heart of Jade next. Had to skip it because I could not find it. A trip to Amazon may be in order. ;-)

  46. Athena5:27 PM

    I've just got done reading Waterbound by Christine Feehan, Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost and Jealousy by Lili St. Crow. They were all released yesterday. I actually tried to find Wild Light but was unable to find it at my bookstore (bulging eyes). I've ordered the third in your Stardoc series (discovered it just a week ago) and am waiting impatiently for that one. Good news is that I've got my hands on Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre and plan to start it as soon as I get off the webz.

  47. I just finished Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley. Next up is another book club book, this one called Crazy Love I think.

  48. Anonymous6:44 PM

    I'm reading No One Would Listen -- a True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos.

    Strength of this book is Harry's fascination with numbers...weakness of this book is Harry's fascination with numbers.

    i'm reading the latest Mary Jo Putney...refreshing to the point sentences and a plot that kept me happy while waiitng three hours for my dd.

    I swear I drive more than I eat, sleep or read .


  49. tried to post this last night - can't see it in the published comments.

    I am not in the middle of anything just now.

    I finished a book yesterday and now have to chose between the other books i have out from the Library or one of my piles at home

    Current library loans:
    Blood ties / Pamela Freeman. / Freeman, Pamela.
    Deep water / Pamela Freeman. / Freeman, Pamela.
    Full circle / Pamela Freeman. / Freeman, Pamela.
    Deceit / James Siegel. / Siegel, James.

    I have just finished books one and two of a series
    The Poison Throne and the Crowded Shadows by Celine Kiernan. Now waiting for book three to be published so that Library can stock it too

    I started Blood Ties last night

  50. Clairecherven9:11 PM

    Re-reading The Mermaid Chair by S. Kidd; one of my leave-in-the-car reads for the summer while I wait for everything from Car inspections to Children's sporting events or for the mall Kid's movies to start.

  51. I am reading The Host by Stephine Meyer. It is a HUGE book and commitment. Probably a bad choice for summer reading :)

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  52. Marcia11:07 PM

    The Hobbit

  53. Finding the Lost by Shannon Butcher and Wages of Sin by S.J. Day. Also just finished Death's Mistress by Karen Chance which had some interesting twists and good action. I'm really looking forward to the TBR pile-including Stardoc and some of my other long awaited favs.

  54. I'm currently reading Bonds of Justice by Singh. Anxiously awaiting Hawke's story which cannot come fast enough.

    I've been on a sad book kick recently. I just finished My Sister's Keeper yesterday after having it on my TBR for almost 5 years. And OMG The Art of Racing in the Rain was beyond amazing. I can't believe it took me so long to find it.

  55. The Killing Floor by Lee Child & Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti. Yeah, I'm a two-fisted reader :)

    Congrats on the new pup! She's too cute.

  56. I'm reading Sherrilyn Kenyon's Night Pleasures. For my non-fic fix, I'm reading This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson(so awesome).

    Validation Word: prestif
    I don't want to go there.

  57. I decided to try Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series after finding out about them via the new TV show on TNT. So far I find the TV show okay and the books addictive. Finished book 4 yesterday and I'm now reading 5....

  58. Just finished the Dark and Stormy Knights anthology and have moved on to Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase. It is excellent so far!

    I've been wanting to read Marjorie Liu for a while due to irresistable cover art, but I think that this give away has kicked me over the edge. She is going to be next on my "to buy" list whether I win or not. :)

    I read Larissa Ione based ont he recommendation on your blog and her stuff is terrific, so now I have a reason other than wicked cool cover art!

  59. Just finished Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene, and then I needed a break from serious nonfiction. Now I've almost finished The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by another Melissa--Melissa Bank. It's a total beach read, but I'm lovin' it!

  60. I've just started Mona Lisa Awakening by Sunny. It's the first in a series and I'm not far enough into it yet to know if I really like it or not. Interesting storyline though. Just finished the first 2 in the Vampire Diaries series.
    Thank you,
    Jennifer Wofford

  61. I am currently reading Little Men by Louisa May Alcotte. I absolutely love her work and have always enjoyed the Little Women series! :D

    Thanks for this great giveaway!


  62. "The Glycemic Load Diet" by Dr. Rob Thompson and "Along Came a Husband" by Helen Brenna.

  63. My current read is nonfiction: Get Known before the book deal by Christina Katz.

  64. I'm revisiting the Vorkosigan series by Bujold-McMaster. It's nice to visit old friends!

  65. I'm reading City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane. It's been a busy, busy month for books and I'm behind!

  66. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Just got finished with Finding the Lost Sentinels #2 by Shannon K. Butcher. Before that I finished Night Myst Indigo Court #1 by Yasmine Galenorn. Also finished Changeling by Yasmine Galenorn before Night Myst. I am totally hooked on Marjorie M. Liu.