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What Jia’s Been Reading in February

It looks like my reading’s slowed down a bit compared to last year but I’m determined to keep putting these together on a monthly basis. Last month I discovered I hadn’t read any books not for reviewing purposes, which is rather sad, so I aimed to fix that this month.

Blackout by Rob ThurmanBlackout by Rob Thurman
This is the sixth book in the Cal Leandros series. I realized I’d fallen behind and that the next one was coming out soon! It was pretty good and delivered what you’d expect from the series. In this installment, Cal has amnesia and as readers, we get an interesting double vision: what Cal knows (the books are told in first person POV) and what we know from previous books. After Roadkill (book 5), this was a needed breather book and I think it might have been the rare series novel in which new readers could pick up with no problem. (Thanks to the vehicle of Cal’s amnesia.)

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Legend by Marie LuLegend by Marie Lu
Another book from the crowded YA dystopian genre. This takes place in California, which has since become a totalitarian state. It’s about a girl prodigy who’s the darling of the regime and a boy who’s the regime’s #1 outlaw. A decent read if you don’t think too hard about the worldbuilding. There’s not much explanation and while I’m not a fan of overexplaining, a little information would have been helpful regarding the different factions of the U.S.

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Cross My Heart by Sasha GouldCross My Heart by Sasha Gould
This one’s about a girl getting inducted into a Venetian secret society of women. Given the premise, I expected there to be more intrigue than there actually was. A disappointing read overall. Full review to come.

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Starters by Lissa PriceStarters by Lissa Price
I think this one is being called a dystopian but its premise is more strongly rooted in science fiction than what you normally see. The basic idea is that a genocidal war engulfed the world and the result was that in the U.S., everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 is dead. Technology has allowed lifespans to be increased but this has also caused a massive rift in society between Starters (people under the age of 20) and Enders (people over the age of 60). Essentially, Enders have all the power and Starters, especially Starters with no living relatives of Ender-age, are treated like slave labor. (Yes, this is YA. Why did you ask?) Anyway, the protagonist (an unclaimed minor named Callie) chooses to rent out her body to Enders. This means that an Ender is given control of her body and can experience being young again. Except Callie’s renter wants to use her body to commit crimes, not go partying. This is one of those books where I wish it had been written for adults rather than teens. I think more could have been done with the premise had it not been constrained by the genre. Full review to come.

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Lips Touch Three Times by Laini TaylorLips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
After reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone last year, I wanted to read more of Taylor’s work. This one is a collection of three novellas – all about girls and their run-ins with the supernatural. None of them are quite up to the level of Daughter of Smoke and Bone but you can definitely see that book’s beginnings in this one.

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What about you guys? Have you read any of these? What did you think? Or if you haven’t read any of these, have you fallen behind on a series? Do you find it strange to pick through an author’s backlist to read their early work? Let’s chat.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

13 Comments

  1. Darlynne
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 12:25:42

    Jia, I loved Blackout with every cell in my body. For a guy like Cal, who for so many legitimate reasons isn’t given much to introspection, to step aside/outside and observe his life and behavior as never before was illuminating, for him and for me. No, it was liberating. My hope is that he is able to hang on to this new knowledge, and in a few days, I’ll know. Although readers could start with this book, I’d rather they go through the wringer and suffer learn as we all have. It’s only fair, right?

    Within the last couple of weeks, I have stumbled on favorite books I thought were gone forever. Hilda Lewis wrote The Ship That Flew in 1939, which my library still carried back in 1964. There’s a tiny magic ship in the window of a dusty antique shop! The ship expands to kid’s size! And it flies to ancient Egypt! And Asgard! I’ve pretty much exhausted myself, and my yearly allotment of exclamation points, but this will be a great way to begin March. Thank you, Oxford Children’s Modern Classics.

  2. Angela
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 12:54:23

    @Darlynne:

    Although readers could start with this book, I’d rather they go through the wringer and suffer learn as we all have. It’s only fair, right?

    “Learn” indeed :P

    I have the first book of the Cal Leandros series in my TBR pile. Perhaps it’s time to finally pick it up.

  3. Estara
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 13:21:00

    Actually – if I already have enjoyed the author for a long time – I am really pleased to be able to get backlist books for my Sony Reader. My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be AND I’m so accustomed to the convenience having a lot of choice at my fingertips that I might now get rid of the paper copy (especially if the new edition was revised and I didn’t like the cover of the printed version).

    Current happy find: After Belgrave House released Joan Wolf‘s Born of the Sun last year, they have just last month released the final Dark Ages of Britain/Warrior Kings historical novel – Edge of Light. These are huge historical novels, so the price is a bargain, too.

    And then there are Judith Tarr, Vonda McIntyre, Sherwood Smith, etc. – out-of-print books and even NEW books (by the way, Judith Tarr is just now crowd-sourcing a revision of her newest, unreleased novel at Kickstarter – and a $5 donation gets you the ebook when it’s finished this autumn in a variety of formats from the Book View Café co-op).

    As you can see I care a bit more about my sf&f backlist completion than my romance one…

    I almost fell behind on Elizabeth Moon’s Paladin Legacy series, but was notified of the audiobook edition of the third one in that series, so I have rectified that error today as well ^^. If I fall behind otherwise, it tends to mean a series has lost my interest.

  4. DS
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 14:12:38

    Starters by Lissa Price sounds interesting. A friend and I were having a discussion with our 20 something intern the other day about how he needs to finish school and get a new job because we depended on him to pay into the Social Security system as we sink into old age. While he knows we were teasing him I have met some young people who are quite bitter about what they may be inheriting from the ‘Boomers. I think you are right and this idea would make a very good adult book. Should Logan’s Run be remade into Logan’s Walker?

  5. Brian
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 14:32:03

    @Estara: Two quick questions. How is the formatting on the Belgrave House ebooks? Also have you heard if they’ll be releasing the first book in the Dark Ages series (The Road to Avalon)?

  6. Moriah Jovan
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 16:05:16

    @Estara: I will have you know that you have contributed greatly to my “to-acquire” shelf on Goodreads. Oy.

  7. Susan
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 17:42:02

    I just started the Cal Leandros series this past week, and am on Deathwish right now. Hoping to finish up Roadkill and Blackout so I can be ready for Doubletake. I’ve really been enjoying the journey so far, and definitely think the books should be read from the beginning.

  8. Jia
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:14:27

    @Darlynne: That is true. I just pointed out that people could jump in at Blackout since I know long series can be daunting for new readers.

    @DS: It was an interesting book. It had the obligatory love triangle (half-assed though it was), which I didn’t care for, but I liked the parts involving Callie and her renter and them switching back and forth. If it’d been a gritty thriller, I really would have loved this book. But it is a YA so those expectations are probably unreasonable.

  9. Estara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 12:46:04

    @Brian: The Road to Avalon was already released in ebooks, Brian, – but not by Belgrave House – I bought it at BoB, but it’s also available for Kindle.

    I own the Born of the Sun ebook which I also bought at BoB, and that was formatted just fine – I also own a lot of the Joan Wolf regencies released by Belgrave House via Fictionwise (for some reason The Edge of Light isn’t out there yet) and they were all without major mistakes.

    Having said that, the Edge of Light is currently available for less than $4 at Books on Board, very nifty.

  10. Estara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 12:46:55

    @Moriah Jovan: This is as it should be, especially as your books are on my shelves, too ^^.

  11. Brian
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 15:16:49

    @Estara: Thanks. I did search Amazon earlier, but it’s not there. I see now that it’s an IPG book so it’s one of the 5,000 or so that were pulled, I didn’t think to check elsewhere. Pretty expensive on the first book ($10-$12), but these sound interesting so I might go for it since I can get the other two so cheap.

  12. Estara
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 16:10:26

    @Brian: Born of the Sun and Edge of Light are also available on Kindle and at almost the same price as at Books on Board so you have a choice there ^^.
    The Road to Avalon is around 10 dollars at BoB and you have reward points, which are real cents!

    Having said that I should mention that The Road to Avalon is the only one of the trilogy I haven’t read before, I believe.

    From what I gather the point here is always that Wolf tries to use the actual available historical knowledge to show what these great kings – Arthur of the Britons, Ceawlin the Saxon and Alfred The Great the Anglo-Saxon would have lived like during their times. She has bibliographical further info at the end of the books and for something like the life of Ceawlin there is hardly anything firm known – so she has a lot of leeway ^^.

  13. REVIEW: Slashback by Rob Thurman
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 08:01:04

    [...] picks up the next thematic arc set up in Blackout and then launched in Doubletake. Concerned by the threat presented by Grimm, Cal is grappling with [...]

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