Thursday, October 4, 2012

Countdown: January 2013 (3)

January is one of my very months out of the year.  It always feels like a fresh start.  The crazy holiday season has drawn to a close, it's possible (depending on where you live) that the weather is still holding steady and not causing too many problems for those of us a with a commute to work, and there's just something about curling up with a good book during this month that makes me very happy.  I've usually got a few titles to choose from during this month due to my wonderful friends and family gifting me with something they know I love and hold dear to my heart.  The hardest part is usually deciding what to read first and how to stop myself from trying to read them all at once!  So with all these great titles coming out in this January I think us readers will have our work cut out for us.  How we'll find the time to get through all of these amazing titles is beyond me, but I'm certainly going to do my best!

Countdown Pick #1: Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown (01/15/2013)

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI...Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the second son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their governess’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much more traditional household, Prudence is relegated to the maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

I've never been a huge fan of historical titles and you certainly won't find them overflowing on my bookshelves at home, but I try to never close a door on something completely. Never say never and all that. So when I came across this title, a part of me just got excited about the idea and the fact that it sounded a lot like one of my favorite television shows, as mentioned in the book's description. Here's hoping it's just as entertaining and will make a new addition on my bookshelf that I'll be passing along to others as a recommendation.

Countdown Pick #2: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (01/22/2013)

A girl does a macabre dance with death in this eerie new novel from New York Times bestselling author Brenna Yovanoff.

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

Yovanoff does not write stories for the meek and easily scared. She writes deep and irresistible novels that leave readers reeling and wanting more, wondering what she could possibly come up with next for her fans. So with a new mystery involving the murder for teenage girls, ghost hauntings that beg the living to avenge their deaths, and rough and tumble loners that have romantic potential...yep I'm signing up here and now.

Countdown Pick #3: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (01/22/2013)

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and sent seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

I am beyond intrigued. This is one of those books that I have to read, there's no choice in the matter. Now that its on my radar, there's no going back. I've always been a fan of Barnes' writing and her Raised by Wolves series. She grips you right off the bat and her characters are so relatable that it's hard not to think of them as your friends instead of just characters on a page. I'm anxious to root for this duo and cross my fingers that the institute and the big bad evil that runs it don't stand in their way or succeed in bringing them down.

Countdown Pick #4: The Winter King by C.L. Wilson (01/29/2013)

When the heir of Summerlea stole Wynter Atrialan's bride and murdered his brother, the Winter King swore vengeance on the neighboring southern kingdom. Now, after three years of merciless war, Summerlea is crushed, and the conquering Wynter aims a final blow at his enemy's heart by demanding one of the Summer King's beloved daughters in marriage.

But the Summer King has a fourth of whom he is not so fond. And she is no sweet, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature, with a nature as volatile as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

How sad is that? A girl shipped off and forced to be a bride to a stranger who has just conquered her family's kingdom, and all because she's her father's least favorite daughter? I'm already feeling for this girl. But she doesn't sound like the type of heroine that readers will have to pity for long...she sounds like Wilson is going to make her a character for others to recon with. I'm curious to learn more about this Winter King and what his story is all about outside of his goals of destruction and revenge.  As soon as I get wind of the cover art I'll be sure to update the post, can't wait to see what it'll look like!

Countdown Pick #5: Stolen Nights (The Vampire Queen, #2) by Rebecca Maizel (01/29/2013)

Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.

With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...

I love, love, love this series! I can't say enough good things about Maizel's writing and this series, and can't count the number of times I've recommended this series to friends and family. It's absolutely addicting and hard or near impossible to put down once you've started. So if Maizel's second installment in the Vampire Queen series is anything like her series opener, it's going to be fantastic and just as addicting! I'm more than excited and can only hope the countdown for this title fly by.

Countdown Pick #6: The Disappeared by C.J. Harper (01/31/2013)

In a future where children are segregated into institutions that range from comfortable “Learning Communities” to prison-like “Local Academies”, seventeen-year-old Jackson is an academic high flyer, living in a top Learning Community and destined for a position in the Leadership. But when he is sent with his best friend Wilson to deliver a package to a factory block, the two boys are attacked, leaving Jackson badly beaten and Wilson dead.

Confused and upset, Jackson returns to his Learning Community only to be dismissed by his teachers who claim not to know him. Sent to an Academy, an institute set up to train factory workers, Jackson finds himself immersed in a world that couldn’t be further removed than the comfortable life he’s used to; a harsh, violent, semi-articulate society where the students have created their own hierarchy based on fighting ability.

Using his wits to survive, Jackson starts to realise that his whole life has been based on half-truths. And in order to survive he needs to expose the lies that surround the Academy and find out the truth about who he really is. As he builds alliances and begins to educate those closest to him, a plan for rebellion and escape gradually comes into shape...

Fast-paced, page-turning, moving, yet with a streak of dark humour, The Disappeared is a very British dystopia, with shades of Orwell and Huxley.

I know I normally keep it to five titles per countdown but I just couldn't leave this one out. You guys know that over time I've started to become a huge dystopian fan and this one is sure to be added as a title among those favorites. I like that there isn't a lot of detail in the description for this book. I like the amount of mystery that surrounds this title and I can't wait to get into this title so that I can start unraveling the secrets and see the action that's sure to go hand in hand with this story and these characters. And can we also talk about how great the type of praise it is to compare this title to the likes of Orwell and Huxley? I mean come on, if it's anywhere close to the likes of those two....readers are sure to be able to look forward to an amazing read and I for one am very excited!

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