Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Book Challenge #1 & 2

Week One: Two books down, yippie! Okay, yes, I did cheat a little since I was halfway through the first, but I'm still taking the victory. So, what did I think about them?

The Curse of the Bane
by Joseph Delaney
Ages: 12+

This is the second book in The Last Apprentice series. I really enjoy these tales because they're dark and spooky and have a delightful creep factor. The illustrations are beautiful and really add to the mood of the books.

In this one, Spook's apprentice Tom had to deal with an evil entity called the Bane, which is trapped in the catacombs beneath the cathedral in a city called Prieststown. Priests don't take kindly to Spooks or their apprentices, so there's danger from both sides for poor Tom. He gets in over his head (with a little help from a "is she good or is she evil" witch named Alice, who we met in book one. Alice is a fun character, as you never know which side of the coin she'll fall on. She's apt to do something bad as much as good, and that keeps you guessing. Tom has to make some tough choices that make you really admire the guy. I'll be buying the next in the series for sure.

A Certain Strain of Peculiar
by Gigi Amateau
Ages: 12+

This is a book I first head about when I was at the SIBA trade show last fall. I met the author and we exchanged books right before the big book signing. This is a book I'd probably never have picked up otherwise, because I usually read genre and this is a quieter, more literary coming-of-age tale. It probably never would have crossed my radar.

I'm glad I traded with Gigi, though, because this was a lovely book. 13 year old Mary Harold Woods is the daughter of wild child Bye (short for Tabythia), who left her small home town of Wren, Alabama and never told anyone who Mary's father was. Mary has a rough time at school because she's a bit peculiar, and has regular panic attacks where she thinks she's dying. She can't take it any more and one night she steals her mom's old truck and drives over 600 miles by herself to her grandmother's in Wren. She talks Mom into leaving her there for the summer, hoping she'll be able to convince her to move back so they can both start over. She has quite a few adventures and turns herself from a too-scared-to-stand-up-for-herself girl into a strong defender of the underdog (with a quick stop at being a bit of a bully). Lessons are learned and secrets are revealed, and you really fall for the Woods gals, from Mary, to her mom, to her feisty grandmother, Ayma.

The voice in this is wonderful, and it really captures the flavor of the South. I read it with a Southern accent because it just naturally read that way. I'd pick up another one of Gigi Amateau's books.

So now we're on to this week's books. I counted my To-Read shelf and have 31 books, not counting some of the ones I just ordered (three I'm still waiting on). I usually just put the new ones on the shelf and grab randomly when I'm in the mood for a book, but I think I'll go through these more systematically for this challenge. I'll read them alphabetically by author. That lets me shuffle them and mix in the new ones and not have to wait eight months to read my new stuff -grin-. It also puts some old ones that have been there a while closer to the front.

There are some books not on the list that I've been waiting for, and those will get slipped in ahead of the weekly ones. Like Ally Carter's Heist Society comes out tomorrow, and I KNOW I'll be buying that right away and reading it. I'll be doing the same thing with Gallagher Girls Four, Only the Good Spy Young, come June. I'm sure others will pop up that I can't wait to read.

Here's the list for those curious (there's a mix of YA and adult):

This week's books:
The Trouble With Magic, Madelyn Alt
Going Bovine, Libba Bray

Future books:
The Name of This Book is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch
Inner Circle, Kate Brian
Legacy, Kate Brian
Ambition, Kate Brian
Revelation, Kate Brian (while doing the links I saw I missed one of this series! Must buy by the time I get here)
Paradise Lost, Kate Brian
Privilege, Kate Brian
Jhegaala, Steven Brust
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Princess in the Spotlight, Meg Cabot
Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
Empire, Orson Scott Card
A War of Gifts, Orson Scott Card
Deep Dark and Dangerous, Mary Downing Hahn
Deadtown, Nancy Holzner
Crank, Ellen Hopkins
Mainspring, Jay Lake
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Gods of Manhattan, Scott Mebus
Hellgate London - Exodus, Mel Odom
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
Holes, Louis Sachar
Wicked, Sara Shepherd
Games of Command, Linnea Sinclair
The Harrowing, Alexandra Sokoloff
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Uglies, Scott Westerfield
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson


  1. when is the second healing wars book coming out?! i can't wait!
    i <3 the first 1.

  2. Thanks! It'll be out in October, but I don't have an exact date yet.