Category Archives: Libba Bray

[REVIEW] The Diviners – Libba Bray

Libba Bray
The Diviners
Hachette Little, Brown (US & UK: 18th September 2012); Allen & Unwin (AU: 1st November 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Most Goodreads users who’ve read this rated it five stars. I’ve rated it…fewer. I’m in the minority.

Put simply: The Diviners is so obsessed with its own coolness that it only really connects when it gets over itself. Oh, we’re all so glamorous and sassy having gumshoe adventures and psychic abilities, waiting for the world to love us, and when it does milking it for all its worth. My word, Evie is a tosser! And that bit at the end where all the journos are gathered around, photographing her, keep calling her beautiful… Just a big pile of wank!

Memphis Campbell, however, is much more down to earth, and even Evie’s mate Mabel has a decent head on her shoulders. But basically the entire novel is a whole bunch of elements that are style over substance, and thus it just doesn’t work for me. I’m still interested to find out what happens next, but won’t be too upset if I miss it.

July 2010 Releases

Done with June 2010 Releases? Here are the July 2010 Releases. As always, to see future releases, check Reading Wishlist.

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August 2009 Releases

Done buying July Releases? Now onto August – here are my choice picks from the US, UK, Canada and Australia. As always, I don’t list EVERYTHING in the UF or futuristic genres – I’ll leave that to other bloggers. Instead, I just choose the ones I think are worthy. And yes, I play favourites 😉 Keep an eye on Reading Wishlist for release dates further into the future.

No purchase links as yet for Melanie Nilles’s Starfire Angels or Lexxie Couper’s Death, the Vamp and His Brother, but keep an eye on the authors’ websites and blogs.

NOTE: I own Kat Richardson’s Underground, and Rachel Vincent’s Pride, but haven’t read them yet.

NOTE: I have reviewed Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take, and Tracey O’hara’s Night’s Cold Kiss.

All other books listed here I’d be happy to read and review. If you’re willing to post a hard copy out to me in Australia, send me an email.

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May 2009 Releases

If you’re done with the April 2009 Releases, it’s time to move onto the May 2009 Releases for the US, Canada, UK and Australia. For titles and release dates even further into the future, check my Reading Wishlist.

May’s releases are behind the cut, to spare those of you not interested. I can is considerate, y’all! 🙂

Kelley Armstrong
The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2)
Hachette Orbit (UK: 4th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Chloe Saunders used to be a normal teenage girl – or so she thought. Then she learned the shocking truth – she is a walking science experiment. Genetically altered at birth by a sinister group of scientists known as the Edison Group, Chloe is an aberration – a powerful necromancer who can see ghosts and even raise the dead, often with terrifying consequences. Even worse, her growing powers have made her a threat to the surviving members of the Edison Group, who have decided it’s time to end their experiment – permanently…Now Chloe is running for her life with three other supernatural teenagers – a charming sorcerer, a troubled werewolf and a temperamental young witch. Together they have a chance for freedom – but can Chloe trust her new friends?

Eric Garcia
The Repossession Mambo
Scribe (AU: 4th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

In a near future when people live virtually forever, rarely dying of disease or old age, there’s big money to be made in the “artiforg” business – the buying and selling of artificial organs that promise to prolong life. Companies are only too happy to extend credit to anyone with the proper financial means. But buyer beware: if you fall too far behind in your payments, your artiforgs will be repossessed. Like many former US soldiers, Remy makes his living reclaiming organs from debtors who can no longer afford them. He’s one of the best, and business is good until Remy finds himself being hunted by the same people he once worked with, and quickly running out of places to hide. Now, he’s holed up in a deserted building, writing his life story on a beat-up typewriter in the hopes of getting it all down on paper before the Bio-Repo Man shows up to collect on his debts. And what a story it is…

Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)
Simon & Schuster (UK: 5th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has forged unlikely and unsuspected new alliances both with the headstrong Felicity and timid Ann, Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden, and the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test those bonds. As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take. Pulled forward by fate, the destiny Gemma faces threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?

Lauren Dane
Relentless (Federated Universes, Book 2)
Penguin Berkley (US & CA: 5th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Fifteen Families rule the Federated Universes – and Abbie Haws has spent her life battling the system. She’s always been too driven to pay much attention to love. But when she meets Roman Lyons, Head of House Lyons, who stands for everything she hates, Abbie’s attraction catches her off-guard…Their world, Ravena, revolves around born leader Roman, who dreads meeting this defiant – if stunning – rabble-rouser. But sometimes headstrong personalities that collide in public become hot-and-heavy, guilty trysts in private.

Kim Harrison
White Witch, Black Curse (Hollows, Book 7)
HarperCollins Voyager (UK: 14th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The demon, Algaliarept, although banished back into the everafter has infected others of his kind with his interest in a witch who can channel demon magic. Rachel soon finds herself with not one but three hellions on her tail; and one of them is even crazier and more dangerous than all the fairy assassins, weres and vampires on the planet.

Lili St. Crow
Strange Angels (Strange Angels, Book 1)
Penguin (US: 14th May 2009; CA: 19th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re travelling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead – but still walking – and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever – or whoever – is hunting her?

Rhonda Roberts
Gladiatrix (Timestalker, Book 1)
HarperCollins Voyager (AU: 20th May 2009)

Left for dead when she was two‚ Kannon Jarratt has no idea of her real identity. Now‚ twenty years on‚ she discovers that her mother might be US Time Marshal‚ Victoria Dupree. Kannon travels to ancient Rome where Victoria is investigating the Hierophant‚ mysterious leader of the Isis cult. To find her mother‚ Kannon becomes a gladiatrix in the service of Domitia Crassus‚ the only person who knows the Hierophant’s identity. Unfortunately‚ all paths are leading her to an epic battle to the death in the arena…

Jes Battis
A Flash of Hex (OSI, Book 2)
Penguin ACE (US/CA: 26th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

After a series of brutal murders, Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday is convinced the identity of the killer is locked in her own head. The only question is – how many rules is she willing to break to get to the truth?

Richelle Mead
Succubus Heat (Georgina Kincaid, Book 4)
Kensington (US: 26th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Georgina Kincaid has been a bad, bad succubus…which should be a good thing. But lately, thanks to her foul mood over breaking up with best-selling writer Seth Mortensen, she’s been so wicked that Seattle’s über-demon Jerome, decides to “outsource” Georgina to a rival – and have her spy for him in the process. Being exiled to the frozen north – okay, Vancouver – and leaving Seth in the cosy clutches of his new girlfriend is unpleasant enough. Then Jerome is kidnapped, and all immortals under his control mysteriously lose their powers. One bright spot: with her life-sucking ability gone, there’s nothing to keep Georgina from getting down and dirty with Seth – nothing apart from his girlfriend that is. Now, as the supernatural population starts turning on itself, a newly mortal Georgina must rescue her boss and figure out who’s been playing them – or all hell will break loose…

A. J. Menden
Tekgrrl (Elite Hands of Justice, Book 2)
Dorchester Leisure (US: 26th May 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

When she was 12, Mindy asked to go to the School like other gifted girls. Her parents sent her to another planet. Today, Mindy’s back on Earth. She’s a mechanical genius with the Elite Hands of Justice, America’s premier superhero squad. She’s been having headaches, though, and not just because her long-time crush is flirting with a team-mate. It’s not because she’s pushing thirty. It’s also not because of the contrary actions of the new Secretary for Superhero Affairs, ex-ally Simon Leasure. No, what’s burning her brain is a past she can’t remember, a past that has been erased. It’s a memory surging closer – in flying saucers. Her worst nightmare is returning, big-time, and only she, her friends and her one true love can stop it.

April 2009 Releases

Done with purchasing March 2009 Releases? Now you can move onto April’s:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Fate (Bailey Morgan, Book 2)
Random House (AU: 1st April 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

It’s been a year since Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo bought a set of enchanted temporary tattoos at the mall, and life is proceeding as usual. Almost. As the third Fate, Bailey has the lives of the world in her hands, and even though she’s gotten used to weaving lives, she’s not at all prepared when her own life – and the lives of her friends – take some unexpected turns. Delia sets out on a crusade to find a geeky boyfriend, and for the first time in her life, she finds herself being turned down. Meanwhile, Zo’s mother reappears after a twelve-year absence, and Bailey, suddenly immersed in a world in which the Furies are catty Sidhe teenagers and Aphrodite, the Love Sidhe has a strange obsession with Annabelle, is helpless to get her friends’ lives back on track. But when Aphrodite possesses Annabelle, the friends must set aside their individual problems and work together to save their world – and their friend – once more.

Keri Arthur
Deadly Desire (Riley Jenson, Book 7)
Hachette Piatkus (UK & AU: 2nd April 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Guardian Riley Jenson always seems to face the worst villains. And this time’s no different. For it’s no ordinary sorceress who can raise the dead to do her killing. But that’s exactly what Riley expects to find at the end of a trail of female corpses used – and discarded – in a bizarre ritual of evil. With pressure mounting to catch the fiend, the last thing Riley needs is the heat of the upcoming full moon bringing her werewolf hormones to a boil – or the reappearance of a sexy bounty hunter, the rogue wolf Kye Murphy. Riley has threatened Murphy with arrest if he doesn’t back off the investigation, but it’s Riley who feels handcuffed by Kye’s lupine charm. Torn between her vamp and wolf natures, between her love for Quinn and her attraction to Kye, Riley knows she’s courting danger and indulging the deadliest desires. For her hunt through the supernatural underworld will bring her face-to-face with what lurks in a darkness where even monsters fear to tread.

Ann Aguirre
Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon, Book 1)
Penguin Roc (US & CA: 7th April 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history – and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing – and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance… Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies – and black magic…

Kelley Armstrong
The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2)
HarperCollins (US: 28th April 2009); Random House Doubleday (CA: 28th April 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl – someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment – not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organisation called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)
Random House Delacorte (US & CA: 28th April 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order – the mysterious group her mother was once part of – is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

If You Shop UK…

Have updated the Most Wanted page with some new UK links:

LIBBA BRAY – Going Bovine – 22 Sep 2009
P. N. ELROD (ed.) – Strange Brew – 7 Jul 2009
ALEXANDER GORDON SMITH – Furnace: Solitary – 2 Jul 2009. You may remember me raving about the first Furnace book, Lockdown. Book 2 is now up for pre-order, and I’m rather looking forward to it. The first book just wowed me, and hopefully it’ll wow you too 🙂

If You Shop US…

I’ve updated the Most Wanted page with some new (to me) links:

LIBBA BRAY – Going Bovine – 22 Sep 2009. Word on the street (Wikipedia) says it’s about mad cow disease. I’ve never read a book about mad cow disease, so this’ll be great fun 🙂

P. N. ELROD (ed.) – Strange Brew – 7 Jul 2009. Paranormal anthology. Jim Butcher is a definite contributor.

RICHELLE MEAD – Thorn Queen – 28 Jul 2009. Been listed on Amazon UK for a while, but here’s the US edition. Second Dark Swan novel.

The 11 Books I Read in January

Jim Butcher, White Night
My brain in summer: I can read things, but not a lot of it absorbs; I can enjoy things at the time then later forget the details. Such was my state of mind when reading this instalment of ‘The Dresden Files’. Bob’s great, Carlos Ramirez is great…and if I remember correctly (which I may not) Priscilla the Bitch was great too. As for other details of the book? Molly Carpenter is a sex symbol for horny old men. Now my brain rests.

Justin Gustainis, Black Magic Woman
Ever read a book where the protag doesn’t really interest you, but everyone else does? That was the situation for me with this novel: our protag is Quincey Morris, an occult investigator who’s a descendant of the Quincey Morris from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That gimmick put me off, but Quincey’s partner in crime, white witch Libby Chastain, is very interesting. Less Quincey and more Libby, Mr Gustainis, please! Some scenes seem unnecessary, and others seem like short stories more than part of a novel, but keep reading. The main reason to continue is the subject of muti killings, something I hadn’t heard of before. An important character whom I rather like is Garth Van Dreenan from the South African Police’s Occult Crime Unit. I just happen to love the South African accent, so of course I was going to like the man. A character I particularly didn’t like is Snake Perkins, a bigot who thinks of his partner-in-crime as…an N-word. Only the N-word is actually written, which made me really uncomfortable. I can handle murderers and such in fiction, but a racist? That’s just too much for me. I would’ve liked to learn more about Project Violet (Scotland Yard’s unit investigating witchcraft crime), and an incubus unlike any other I’ve come across before in fiction. And keep an eye out for what I call ‘A Series of Hallucinogenic Events’. I would’ve edited out some scenes, but this is still a great read, and we can all look forward to more from this author.

Libba Bray, Rebel Angels
At 549 pages, this is a big read, and rather a stretch for my fingers to hold. But I’ll forgive the author because there’s a lot of interesting stuff in here: Opium! Absinthe! Felicity’s family secret! Anagrams! (Yes, I have to exclaim those, though the book didn’t.) Now who wouldn’t want to read about them?

Cynthia Leitich Smith, Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Even with the happy ending, this book was still too depressing for me. Was an interesting look at race relations, though.

Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
I thought I was enjoying the book while I read it, but now I can’t pinpoint what I liked about it. The downside, however, is that I sometimes wanted to yell at the characters ‘Get over them, they’re not worth it’. Keep an eye out for Tris, who’s the most fascinating character.

Gabrielle Lord, Jumbo
This was first published in 1986, but still has relevance today. Lisa Brand is a school leaver who’s finding it impossible to land a job. She’s tried everywhere and keeps getting knocked back, and when her father is laid off from his job, tensions are even higher in the household. With so much pain, suffering and horror in the world the only thing that brings Lisa any joy is caring for three children. They deserve to live somewhere better than this world, especially because their mother’s new suitor doesn’t like them. So Lisa decides to give the kids a good Christmas by the beach, but she hadn’t counted on smart Brenny, a thinker who realises that something’s terribly wrong with Lisa, and that it’s up to Brenny to save him and his siblings. Even though Lisa is the antag, she is so utterly believable that you can’t help but sympathise, and this is a sign of a very good writer. If you’re looking for psychological suspense, here’s one novel you can’t go past.

Rachel Caine, The Dead Girls’ Dance
The copy is misleading: Claire Danvers and Eve Rosser didn’t have dates for the Dead Girls’ Dance (whose name is also misleading; it was just a fancy-dress boozer). The action starts on the first page: Claire and Eve believe one of their housemates has been murdered, but instead of being dead he’s some kind of ghost. College town Morganville is basically run by vampires, a bitchy bunch of people who prove that power corrupts absolutely. But who are the evil ones: the vampires or those seeking them? It’s all a bit confusing, but is nonetheless an interesting read. There are some scenes with college girls and guys being lame that I would’ve cut. We’re simply told that Claire is an early-admissions genius, yet we don’t get solid proof. Sure, she reads ahead in her texts and likes physics…but this is the same chick who drinks from an opened bottle offered to her by a stranger. You may be familiar with the phrase OMGWTFBBQ, but for me it was an OMGWTFSVH moment. (The 1bruce1 LiveJournal community should educate you.) Drink-spiking! Attempted statutory rape! Dance at a frat house! This is not a bad thing, though, it made me smile. I’ll be reading more from this author, and hoping for more OMGWTFSVH moments.

Laurell K. Hamilton, A Lick of Frost
Well, this was astounding. I hadn’t really connected with these books before, so this was a bit surprising. Three of Princess Meredith NicEssus’s guards have been accused of raping someone from King Taranis’s court, but this is thrown by the wayside when King Taranis brutally attacks Merry’s people through a mirror. But that’s not all: in a strange event that I didn’t understand, Merry receives her most devastating blow yet, and even though it comes with good news she can’t be merry. (What? Someone had to say it.) But King Taranis isn’t done with Merry yet. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get to the good stuff: I was reading but not particularly immersed until circa page 200, so the bulk of the action happens in the last 75 pages. There were moments when I was pissed off with Merry: she used magic to get a human doctor to do her bidding. And talk of Merry’s favourites seemed to be quite an issue. Quoth Merry: ‘Wasn’t I entitled to have favourites?’ Yes, you are, but if you’re still shagging your non-favourites you’re leading them on, and that’s not nice. Those points aside, this is by far my favourite of the Merry books.

Gabrielle Lord, Tooth and Claw
Though first published in 1983, this novel still holds up well. On an isolated farm, finances aren’t looking good for Beth after her husband’s death. Fearing she’s being watched, Beth hunts for shelter elsewhere. But there are signs that someone’s still on her property, so she returns to face the music, armed with a gun, her dog and a jar of magic mushrooms. Fans of Gwen Hunter’s Shadow Valley should enjoy this Australian location with its strong protag.

Elizabeth Flock, But Inside I’m Screaming
This novel took the author four years to write, and it’s clearly understandable why: it’s so harrowing. Broadcast journalist Isabel Murphy freezes on screen and after one too many suicide attempts checks herself into a psychiatric hospital. This is a disturbing read filled with memorable characters who are all too real, with heart-wrenching back stories. The road to mental wellness is so difficult with numerous setbacks, and Isabel does her best to struggle through. But perhaps the most powerful thing about this novel is that it makes the reader think about themselves, their own life, what breaks them down. As someone mentally ill, this novel really did get to me, articulating feelings I’d found indescribable. This novel gives a voice to those who can’t find the right words. It’s a real effort to keep reading this emotionally draining story, but it’s worth it. Buy it for yourself and your loved ones. Share it with the world. And may it help us all on the road to recovery.

Nury Vittachi, The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics
Readers who’ve found Alexander McCall Smith’s work too cutesy will be better off with this light novel with a social conscience. Feng shui master CF Wong and his Australian assistant Joyce McQuinnie have moved from Singapore to Shanghai…only their new office is blown up. Traffic jams are abundant, and a bomb is discovered inside a live elephant. However, sometimes the author’s humour appears at inappropriate moments: a major murder scene (recalling Robert Muchamore’s Man v Beast) should’ve been harrowing for the reader, but it wasn’t. Still, the author makes up for it with social commentary, when an American character says, ‘How come every goddamn nation on this planet counts in kilos and we count in pounds? What’s wrong with them all?’ Of course it would make more sense for Americans to join in counting kilos, but do you think they’d see it? Not Thomas ‘Cobb’ Dooley!