Giveaway: A Back to School Giveaway Winners!

My Back to School Giveaway is over, mercifully allowing me to cull the literary herd a bit.

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno goes to Chris, and Shadow of the Swords goes to Kristen M.! Both winners have been contacted by e-mail.

This does, however, leave me with a copy of The Burning City. I suppose I’ll donate it to my local library, as we do have Racing the Dark, but if anyone’s interested, drop me a line and I’ll pass it on.

Review: The Burning City

The Burning City by Alaya Dawn Johnson

I’ve read the first installment in several series and decided not to pursue them–case in point, Racing the Dark. It was enjoyable, but it didn’t grab me. So I returned Racing the Dark to the library and didn’t give it another thought… until I was given the opportunity to read and review The Burning City, its sequel. I enjoyed Racing the Dark enough to accept, and in any case, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s unique world is a draw in itself. Oh, and the cover was pretty. It did take me embarrassingly long to realize that the girl on the cover is not Lana, the main character, but I digress. Naturally, spoilers for Racing the Dark abound after the jump.

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The Sunday Salon: Empathy

Recently, my mother found a Books-a-Million gift card lying around the house, and handed it off to me. There were ten dollars left on it, or, in reader terms, one mass-market paperback. I started picking through the sci-fi/fantasy section. I must have looked lost, as a very nice employee came to my aid with plenty of recommendations. (I ended up buying The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.) During our conversation, I asked him where to start with Mercedes Lackey. He suggested The Shadow of the Lion over Magic’s Pawn, where he started. I asked him why, and he said to me, lowering his voice to a conspiratorial level, that the main character was gay.

I really didn’t have to the heart to tell him that not only was he talking to a queer girl, but an ace one at that. (It’s just so awkward when this happens.) As I regaled my mother with the story, she suggested that perhaps it was difficult for him, a straight male, to identify with a gay male. I think that’s no excuse, but it did get me to thinking about how I identify and empathize with characters.

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The Sunday Salon: The History of Young Adult Fiction

While I bore witness to the manga section at your local bookstore taking over the Western comics like, well, a tentacle monster, the young adult section threw me for a huge loop. In fact, the near-meteoric rise of young adult fiction occurred while I was too close to see it, being a year younger than Harry Potter. But looking at this sort of thing serves me as an aspiring editor and publisher, so we’re going to take a look at how young adult fiction conquered a shelf at my local Books-a-Million.

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Teaser Tuesday: The Burning City

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Leilani realized what should have been obvious from the first: Akua had loves and disappointments just like everyone else. It was her combination of extreme power and emotional detachment that made her seem inhuman.

pg. 10 of The Burning City by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Review: Racing the Dark

Racing the Dark by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Since the controversy over The Last Airbender (8% at Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing; that’s what you get for whitewashing and ruining a perfectly good series!), I’ve tried to read more multicultural fantasy–not only to support it, but because it’s refreshing. The traditional European model for fantasy can get stilted after a while, and it’s great to see fantasy authors tap into other cultures to create something different. This is all to say that, while I can’t remember where I picked up the recommendation for Racing the Dark, I was intrigued by the worldbuilding, which seemed to be influenced by both Polynesian and Southeast Asian culture.

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The Sunday Salon: Fantasy 101

As I tend to mention a great deal, I was reared on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. If asked to choose one genre to read for the rest of my life, I’d happily answer fantasy. My reading resolutions were drawn up mostly to keep me from just gorging myself on fantasy and the occasional piece of science fiction and historical fiction. But I’m so happy swimming in the deep end that I rarely notice people at the edge tentatively dipping their toes in the pool. (It is, of course, a mana pool.) I know for people who haven’t read much fantasy that the genre can look intimidating, so today I’m going to recommend fantasy novels based on what other genres you enjoy. So take a deep breath and relax. This won’t hurt a bit.

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