Monday, March 26, 2012

What We're Reading Part 1!

Here at the Inkpot, in addition to writing, blogging, and cyberloafing, we've been reading up a storm since our last virtual bookclub meeting in November. We've devoured novels, short stories, graphic novels, in every genre from steampunk to dystopian to adult fantasy.

Here's part 1 of a roundup of what we've been reading, how we came to pick it up, and what format we're reading in! Look for part 2 here at the Inkpot on April 16!

CINDA CHIMA (that's ME!): While I've read several great dystopian novels lately,  I'm going to mention two fantasy novels, because I loved them so much. The first is SHADOW AND BONE, by Leigh Bardugo, releasing in June. I read that in ARC form, for a blurb. It's a fabulous Russian-themed high fantasy with multifaceted characters.We'll post an interview here closer to the release date!

The second is THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater. I had it on my to-read shelf in hardcover and my YA book club was reading any Printz nominee. It has it all--bloodthirsty, flesh-eating horses, strong female lead, high stakes and hot horse-whisperer type character. Up next: RED GLOVE by Holly Black. All of these are in print form because my to-read shelf is groaning.

P.J. HOOVER: Putting aside the science fiction and focusing on the fantasy, I just finished THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen (paper ARC I picked up at ALA)! I absolutely loved it and could not put it down. In fact, I loved it so much, we're reading it for the fifth grade boys' book club I run! Also, I just started SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo (paper ARC sent by the publisher). I'm only a bit in, and the writing is just beautiful.  And next up will be BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore (also a paper ARC sent by the publisher). It's sitting on my bedside table tempting me!

DEVA FAGAN: I was shocked to discover upon looking at my Goodreads list that I haven't read *any *fantasy since mid-December, when I read the fantastic YA fantasy LIAR'S MOON, by Elizabeth C. Bunce, which I bought at my local bookstore because I'd so enjoyed the first in this series (STARCROSSED) about clever, pragmatic Digger and her plot-twisty, thiefly adventures. I'm making up for my fantasy hiatus now with two delectable ARCs I received for authors who will be joining us here on the Inkpot for interviews next month. First is Stephanie Burgis's MG historical fantasy RENEGADE MAGIC, which has already made me laugh with delight in the first three pages. It's so fun to read more about the delightful characters introduced in the first in this series (KAT, INCORRIGIBLE)! After that I have Zoe Marriott's YA fantasy SHADOWS ON THE MOON which I am excited for both because I've loved her other books, and because I've seen it described as a re-telling of Cinderella in a fairy tale version of ancient Japan.

PIPPA BAYLISS: I just finished GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld which is steampunk (don't ask me if it's fantasy or sci-fi - it's FANTASTICAL so it counts imo). I had to finish Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN trilogy and this didn't disappoint in the least. It was a great conclusion to a great trilogy and since I was in such a hurry to read it, I got it in e-book form for my Kindle.

My latest read was by Ellen Booraem, whose first book, THE UNNAMEABLES made me a fan of hers. SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS is wonderful - I love the humor, her MC, Mellie, all the characters and everything about it. A great fantasy story at my reading level. I love, love, loved it.  ... Oh, and I'm going to lurk here to make a list of 'what to read next' :)

SYBIL NELSON: I'm currently reading THE SON OF NEPTUNE by Rick Riordan. Very entertaining.

DAWN METCALF:  I just finished re-reading the Parasol Protectorate series, getting ready to read the final book, TIMELESS by Gail Carriger.  It's a paperback series I have in my personal library. I  first heard about the series from a friend--word of mouth--who knew how much I loved steampunk and other cultures and Victoriana and mythic monsters and a big dose of humor. I came for the recommendation and stayed for the charismatic characters and witty voice. PS: I'm reading a *phenomenal* WIP from one of my crit partners that I can't talk about yet, but I can't wait to see it snapped up by readers!

CARMEN FERREIRO-ESTEBAN: Right now, I'm reading ASSASSIN'S APPRENTICE by Robin Hobb (the first volume in the Farseer trilogy) because it has been too long in my To Read list. I'm not sure if it qualifies as YA, but for those of us who write stories in Medieval settings it is a must. Her world building is formidable. It was first published in 1995, and I'm reading a paperback copy from the library. My next book to read will be THE SHAPE OF DESIRE - Sharon Shinn (shifting circle novel) in ARC.

Inkies William Alexander and  Keely Parrack have been reading short stories!

WILLIAM ALEXANDER: Lately I've been reading short stories in brief bursts--most recently from WE NEVER TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER by Peter S. Beagle. It's a solid, physical paperback. Very young protagonists star in at least a couple of the stories, so for our purposes I'll call them MG fantasy. How did I happen to hear about it... Well, there are some places in bookstores that I always visit, even if I've read all the books on that particular shelf and have already given copies to everyone I know who needs them. I do it just to say hello. So I spotted this one while aimlessly browsing and visiting the Beagle part of the bookstore. Up next: ABOVE WORLD by Jenn Reese.
KEELY PARRACK: I just re-read ST LUCY'S HOME FOR GIRLS RAISED BY WOLVES. It's a short story by Karen Russell - in print format from Granta literary mag. It's so brilliant, beautifully written completely absorbing and laugh out funny! I read it to my 11 year old son last night and we cried with laughter!

CAROLINE HOOTON: Probably the best fantasy book I've read recently was THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern. It's not specifically YA but I think that the characters and the setting would appeal to a teenage audience. It's about a boy and a girl who are brought up by different magicians who pledge them to fight a magical duel even though neither of them knows the rules. It's set during the turn of the last century and I found that the writing and the descriptions were just incredible and they keep lingering in my mind.

I'm an old school Luddite so I read it in hardback. The publisher did a beautiful job with the physical book design - the pages were edged in black and the cover was simple but also really striking. I heard about it because the author was a member of a writers board that I hang out at (Absolute Write) so I wanted to support her (but it didn't hurt that I'd also read some fabulous reviews for it in the British press, including an interview she did with the Guardian newspaper).

Next up on my list is OLIVER TWISTED by J. D. Sharpe, which is a YA dark fantasy/horror mash up of OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens. I've literally just started it and almost missed my bus stop because I couldn't stop turning the pages and was snickering at the dark humour. I picked up a copy at its book launch and will be interviewing the author for The Inkpot in May.

Cinda Williams Chima  is the author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles teen fantasy series.  Her next novel, The Crimson Crown, releases October 23, 2012. Learn more about her here.


  1. I finished SHADOW AND BONE about a week or two ago but the Russian-inspired Grisha magic world has really stayed with me! Also loved the Darkling's multi-layered antagonist who forms part of the love triangle. So many terrific books in this post! Your recommendations make it easier for me to organize my to-be-read pile! Thanks, Inkpot!

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