January 03, 2016

Christmas/New Year Book (and Music) Haul (FINALLY!)

I FINALLY MADE IT! *squees without shame*


After a long, long time, I was able to order TEN books from my usual webseller as a birthday/Christmas present for myself. (Well, my parents might have had a, um, marginal role in it...because they were generous as usual, what with Christmas coming and my birthday being on Dec. 14th...You know my job pays shitty, right?).
So, I went online and selected ten books from my TBR list that for some reason I was particularly looking forward to reading, plus four CDs/DVDs by Queen and Billy Joel that I had been dying to get my hands on for quite a long time. They stole half of my books budget (which I had set at 200 euros...), but it's not like I could help it, because 1) music is the only thing I spend my money on besides books, and 2) I had to catch up with them before the artists in question came up with more stuff (which seems to happen every Christmas...). Both Queen and Billy Joel are making a whole lot of their old live music available, so it's dangerous to miss a year of releases. I had skipped Queen's Live at Rainbow (CD & DVD) in 2014, so I was already too far behind...
I suppose you're not particularly interested in my Queen/Joel purchases, but I will mention that - besides Live at Rainbow - I ordered Queen's A Night at the Odeon CD+DVD, and Billy Joel's CD+DVD called A Matter of Time-The Bridge to Russia. The latter will also be a trip down memory lane for me, since it records the legendary BJ's Russian concerts and documentary from 1987, snippets of which I remember avidly watching on MTV at the time, when I was still a relatively new Joel fan (though I had been drawn to his music since I was a young teen, and I had already been following Billy's career for about 5 years back then). I haven't seen any of the stuff anymore for almost 30 years, which makes me feel...um...yes, old, thank you for the cue ;P. What I really meant to say was...emotional?
(BTW...my only complaint is that I'll have to wait till late February in order to get my package delivered...since they say one my my books can't be obtained for at least 6 weeks! Ugh).
Enough of that. I know you want books, books, BOOKS! So here goes the list of those I've just requested, broken down by genres/Reading Rooms...


Black Knight - tags: urban fantasy, multiverse, paranormal, sci-fi. The sequel of Red Queen (originally called Witch World; my review here) was out in December 2014. Problem was, I weren't able to place a book order at the time, so I had to wait till now. Witch World/Red Queen isn't one of my favourite Pike novels, so it's not like the suspence was killing me, but - you know, PIKE. And Book 1 was a solid 3.5 star reading for me, after all...Short blurb: in the first installment, the main character Jessie awakens to the discovery that there is a parallel universe in which she is a very powerful witch. The premise may sound overused, but the execution makes up for it, despite a few flaws. The second book introduces a male lead and an arena where the most powerful witches have to battle one another. A bit Hunger-Games-like, but Pike states that it's actually an old idea of his that only found its way to a book recently...
Strange Girl - tags: mystery, paranormal. I've read the first 6 chapters online and it sounds roughly like a YA version of Pike's adult book Sati. I'm curious about the way Pike managed to span a different story from a similar premise.

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Supernatural Room: Beyond: A Ghost Story (2012) by Graham McNamee


A girl threatened by her own shadow, fighting for life with the help of her best (female) friend. Goodreads reviewers tagged this as horror, too. I might have spoiled myself too much already by reading the reviews, but I still want to know how the thing's played...not to mention, it's been a while since I read a straight-up supernatural book.

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Sci-Fi Room: Singing the Dogstar Blues (1998) by Alison Goodman


This was supposed to be a series, but sadly, only a companion short story was written (The Real Thing, in the Firebirds Rising anthology). Alien boy & human girl team, friendship and connection but NO ROMANCE. Yay! Oh, and also...TIME-FRIGGIN'-TRAVEL :))).

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Thriller Room: Burnout (2011) by Adrienne Maria Vrettos


I haven't read a new-to-me thriller or mystery in a long time. It sounds like this one is more on the contemporary side than not, but still a mystery. A former alcohol-addicted girl wakes up in a strange place and attire, missing a whole day of her life. What happened?

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Contemporary Room: This Side of Salvation (2014) by Jeri Smith-Ready


Apart from Christopher Pike, JSR is the only author on this list I'm already familiar with, though via her more mature material (the adult novel Requiem for the Devil and the NA series WVMP Radio - which wasn't tagged as NA back when I read it, or else I could have skipped it haha. But I still think it's more A than NA). So I expect wicked good - and funny - writing. Also, I know how Smith-Ready tackles themes like faith and religion, so I expect to enjoy this one for that reason, too. Teen David loses his brother and sees his parents turn into over-religious zealots. Then, apparently, the Rush happens, and David's parents disappear...Sounds like it's got both a contemporary and a mystery vibe, which is a definite plus!

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A little explanation here for those of you who are not familiar with my blog (YET. LOL). I set up a so-called Unwalled Room on here for books that are difficult to label. Are they more contemporary? sci-fi? urban fantasy? paranormal? mystery? or a few of these ingredients are more or less equally used and blended together? I firmly believe there are books you can't fit under a single label...this "Room" is for them.
Both The Walls Around Us and The Dead House have caused a bit of a sensation lately (especially the first one - the other got more mixed reviews, but then again, you can't say it went unnoticed). I don't often find myself reading very popular books, not out of snobbery, but because they hardly seem to suit my tastes or have premises that I can buy into. But these two were impossible to resist for me. Welcome paranormal/supernatural mindfuckery! welcome unreliable narrators! welcome mystery! As for the Dark Passages duology, "mixed reviews" doesn't even begin to convey the reception it got. And most readers decided to stop at Book 1, or to even DNF it. But I love ambitious and challenging novels, so no amount of negative reviews succeeded in steering me away from this series. Actually, I plan on reading these books for last when they arrive, precisely because I want to savour them without the lingering awareness that I still have more new books to read after them...Am I making any sense? LOL. I don't want to rush them, that's it.

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Have you read any of these books? or do you plan to? Are you already familiar with any of these authors? or are you going to read any of their books in the future?

10 comments:

  1. White Space & The Dickens Mirror were very unique books. I read them earlier in the year and they were unlike anything that I had ever read, which I really loved. I hope you enjoy your books and happy belated birthday! I hope you have a wonderful 2016.

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    1. You too! And I'm glad you loved Bick's duology...I've just gone and read your reviews LOL. I expect to be delightfully - and gorily - confusing now! I plan on commenting on your reviews once I've read these two.

      Thank you, and have a great-books-filled year!

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  2. Yay for the book ordering! Also, some pretty awesome titles- I was expecting to see some Pike on there and you didn't let me down!

    I have the Walls Around Us on my tbr, and the Dead House looks like it might have to join my shelves too!

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    1. We should have a chat about good old Pike when I'm finished with those two ;). About TWAU too, when you have gotten to it! And I'm sure TDH will be a success with both of us :).

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  3. I've only read Jeri's but I was interested in White Space and Burnout looks good.

    I MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY! :-(((


    Happy VERY belated B'day Roberta. I hope it was a good one. And of course Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy all your books and music!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Hey, it's actually kind of nice to feel like I'm only turning 49 today LOL. Thank you!

      Happy New Year to you and your furry family! (Kevin too LOL).

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  4. WHAT. YOU DIDN'T TELL ME YOUR BIRTHDAY WAS ON THE 14TH OF DECEMBER. FOR SHAME, ROBERTA.

    Anyways, if it's been a long time since you've treated yourself, you totally deserve it. ;)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! (I mean, I know it's late, but it's not too late, eh? The new year is young.)

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    1. Yes, it's young...and me too! Haha, I mean in spirit.
      I'll make sure to announce my bd next year! What with it being a nice round number (wait, nice? err...).

      Thanks! Have a great year yourself!

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  5. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HAPPY THIS POST MADE ME, ROBERTA! This haul was long-pending, and you TOTALLY deserved this. Hope you love these books and music, but it's a shame there's not even one book that I'd read and reviewed *sighs* :D

    Ruzaika @ The Regal Critiques ❤️

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    1. Oh, but no, because in this case, you'll have a strong reason for reading my reviews of the above books when they are posted ;D.

      Thank you sweetie!

      Delete

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