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Flames to Embers {Spring 2014}

Flames to Embers

I’m not able to get to all the books I receive for review consideration, so to reduce stress and start with a clean slate each month, I feature the ones that I didn’t get to read in Flames and Embers. All the books I request start out as flames in my heart, but for various reasons, some of them burn down to embers and I lose desire or time to read them. I hope that you find something that draws your interest though!

Welcome to the first edition of my new feature Flames and Embers! This is going to be a roughly monthly feature where I talk about the books that I received for review consideration but didn’t end up reviewing before their publication date (with the occasional DNF included). Sometimes I’ll manage to read a review copy after the publication date because I really really want to read it, but to reduce my stress about being “behind on overdue” review copies, I’m going to clean the slate by officially setting aside books that I’m no longer excited to read.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta With the lyricism of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and the world building brilliance of Atwood, Emmi Itäranta’s effortless and poignant debut novel is a coming of age story full of emotional drama and wonderment.

Some secrets demand betrayal.

‘You’re seventeen, and of age now, and therefore old enough to understand what I’m going to tell you,’ my father said. ‘This place doesn’t exist.’

‘I’ll remember,’ I told him, but didn’t realise until later what kind of promise I had made.

When Noria Kaitio reaches her seventeenth birthday, she is entrusted with the secret of a freshwater spring hidden deep within the caves near her small rural village. Its preservation has been the responsibility of her family for generations.

Apprenticed to her father, one of the last true tea masters, when Noria takes possession of the knowledge, she become much more than the guardian of ancestral treasure; soon, she will hold the fate of everyone she loves in her hands.


I was really excited about Memory of Water when I first spotted it because I love seeing speculative fiction from other countries translated into English if done well. However, I still haven’t read Not a Drop to Drink and for some reason want to read that before this one since they seem to have similar premises. I’m crazy, I know. Memory of Water is a book I’m very likely to try to get back to at some point just to see if the beautiful writing translates well into English. Anyone read it?

The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series returns with the second installment in her acclaimed Age of X series.

Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.

I quite enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods, though it was a slower read. I think that slowness is what made me hesitant to start The Immortal Crown since I just haven’t been in the mood for a slower-build sci-fi at the moment. I’m sure as soon as the third book’s cover is revealed, I’m going to be highly tempted to catch up with the series ;-).

The Blasted Lands by James A. Moore The sequel to SEVEN FORGES

The Empire of Fellein is in mourning. The Emperor is dead, and the armies of the empire have grown soft. Merros Dulver, their newly-appointed – and somewhat reluctant – commander, has been tasked with preparing them to fight the most savage enemy the world has yet seen.
 
Meanwhile, a perpetual storm ravages the Blasted Lands, and a new threat is about to arise – the Broken are coming, and with them only Death.

I wasn’t over the moon about Seven Forges, but I was feeling in the mood for quirky fantasy when I spotted The Blasted Lands, but by the time I was approved I had lost the urge. I’m thinking I could really use someone’s recommendation here. Anyone know if the second is better than the first in terms of plot?

Child of a Hidden SeaOne minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile

Urgh, I know that I really should have gotten to this one D: I’ve read several great reviews, but for some reason I just haven’t felt quite in the mood. Since I just finished House of the Four Winds, I think I need a break from fantasy set on the sea for at least a little bit. I also have never been in love with portal fantasy, so that doesn’t draw me in as much as the cover first did >.>.

The Queen of the Tearling On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.

I was supposed to love it, but I actually DNF’d The Queen of the Tearling at 27%. I’m just not captivated by this one at the moment. It’s heavy on the descriptions very much like GoT so I guess that description is accurate, but my Vicodin-drugged brain couldn’t care less. I might try it again in the future since the setting does sound cool in theory. But but but, I just don’t want to pick it up again even though I read lots of adult epic fantasy D:

So those are the five books that I didn’t manage to review over the past few months even though I had every intention to when I first requested them *sigh*. Do you think I’m completely missing out by skipping any of these? Since this is my first time with this feature, do you find it useful? Interesting? Waste of time? ;-)

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I like this new series of posts you’re doing. Must be stressful getting so many books to review. I hope you have time to read them eventually. The Immortal Crown and The Queen of the Tearling look good to me.

    • I really don’t want to sound ungrateful though! I just get over excited about all the awesome books coming out sometimes and can’t control my impulsive downloading >.>

  2. I think this feature is a very good thing for you and us. You get a clean slate for a new month and we get books on our radar. I can definitely see you circling back to some of these later, especially Child of a Hidden Sea.
    Kel (Booked til Tuesday) recently posted…Discussion: Books are ExcusesMy Profile

    • Haha, everyone says I should try Child of a Hidden Sea, so I probably will bend to the will of the masses eventually ;-)

  3. Gah, I want to READ Memory of Water because it is based on Scandinavia. I’m horrible.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…More Survey FunMy Profile

    • I so hear you! I am always looking for interesting new settings and then I didn’t even have time to read it D:

  4. I like this feature. It’s a great way to still give opinions on new books, even if you don’t get a chance to read it yourself. I haven’t read any of these, or even seen some of them.
    Sarah recently posted…Genevieve Reviews: Midnight ThiefMy Profile

  5. I like this feature. I’m trying to do something similar with my New Acquisitions posts so I won’t feel so guilty when I get behind on review copies. :)
    Grace recently posted…“Clariel” by Garth NixMy Profile

    • Oh definitely, that’s why I like doing the book haul posts since it gives attention to review books that I may or may not be able to get to!

  6. I really like this new feature of yours! It’s so great that you still want to showcase the books you aren’t excited about anymore or didn’t like, because there is just not enough time in the world to read all the books, and why waste anymore more of it on DNFs and ones that don’t appeal to you?
    Holly U recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #19My Profile

    • Exactly! As soon as I find myself feeling like I have to read a book instead of get to read a book, I just question what the heck I’m doing with my hobby!

  7. Often I feel guilty about not being able to review books before their release date too. I try, and sometimes I’ll give myself a week’s grace period so that my review still goes live within a decent time after the book’s release, but more often than not I’m not able to do that for all the books that I get as review copies. I try, but I just can’t read that fast!

    But even if I don’t get to reading them by their release date, I’m making larger efforts to clear out chunks of my backlog, so August is the month in which I’m going to end up reviewing more of those book. September seems to be a bit of a slow month when it comes to release dates of books I have on hand, so there’s not much I need to focus on for August’s reviews, making it the perfect time to read some of the older novels on my giant stack (read: my e-reader :p) and get them out of the way so I can clear away some guilty conscience.

    (Child of a Hidden Sea is seriously awesome, by the way, and I think you’d enjoy it when you do get around to reading it.)

    • Exactly, I just can’t handle that guilt right now. I felt like I had a pile of books hanging over my head sometimes ;-)

      I’m amazed that you feel like September is a slow month for you! Maybe it’s a YA thing, but September is my completely insane everything is coming out month D:

      I will definitely try to get to Child of a Hidden Sea at some point since everyone loved it so much :D

  8. Dragana says:

    Love the name of this new feature. :) And every book-talk is useful. :)

    I started Memory of Water 3 times and left it after a couple of pages. So, I have no words to flame your embers into fire for this one. :)

    The Immortal Crown is much faster in development than Gameboard of the Gods and with better implemented world-building. I enjoyed it more. You should definitely catch up when you have time.

    I read so much meh reviews about The Queen of the Tearling that I’m not very interested to read it anymore. Maybe but I am not sure.
    Dragana recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: The Grace of Kings by Ken LiuMy Profile

    • Thanks!! :D

      Haha, wow, that’s good to know, I don’t feel so bad about not getting to it then! Also good to know about Immortal Crown, I’m definitely going to move it to the someday I’ll try when I’m in the mood pile ;-)

      Queen of the Tearling really drags at times, so I just couldn’t. I’ve seen such mixed reviews though, some people love it so I don’t know what I’m missing D:

  9. I love this feature, Anya!

    Fun fact about Memory of Water – the author is bilingual and actually wrote it simultaneously in English and Finnish, it wasn’t just translated into English! When she’d get stuck in one language she’d continue in the other, and she’d go back and translate back and forth at intervals. I learned this from someone at HarperVoyager at BEA. Anyway, I thought that was really interesting. Though I also have a copy of the book and I also haven’t gotten to it… and probably won’t… =S

    I AM SAD TO SEE CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA ON HERE, but I totally get not being in the mood for it. I’m dying for portal fantasies lately though. I want my library hold of this one to come in faster!! XD lol
    Nikki recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – CompulsionMy Profile

    • Oo that’s awesome!! That makes me want to read it again since at least I don’t have to fear a bad translation ;-)

      Child of a Hidden Sea is definitely one that I really want to try to fit in at some point, but I just can’t keep pressuring myself at the moment D:

  10. Lekeisha says:

    I have The Queen of The Tearling but haven’t read it. I think this monthly meme is excellent. There are so many books that I could do with this meme. Mostly DNF though.

    • I definitely like having the chance to discuss DNFs too, since sometimes I worry that I stopped just before the book gets awesome, ha

  11. This is a wonderful idea for a feature. i think this is a fun way of explaining the books you wanted to read but didn’t get to.
    Stephanie recently posted…Awesome Coupon Code: GoneReading.comMy Profile

  12. I’ve seen a lot of mixed review for The Queen of the Tearling, so I’m not too surprised that you DNFed it. I’m still planning on giving it a go, since apparently the protagonist is a book lover. I just can’t resist books that celebrate reading. There’s something about that meta element that hooks me. My expectations for it have definitely been lowered though.

    • Hehe, yeah, she’s a bit of a shut in so she loved books for sure ;) It seems like it is really a hit or miss book *shrugs*

  13. I DNFed Queen of the Tearling too, even though I was part of the blog tour. The story just didn’t have the scope or intricateness that GRRMs work has, and the story didn’t grab my attention at all. Too bad, because it sounded so great.

    Love the new feature by the way

    • I love the idea of it, but wow did it drag and I just didn’t like the romance that was starting or the MC….

      Thanks!!

  14. Maybe I should try doing this. I am so behind in my reviews that trying to keep up just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I went on a hiatus for a while and all the review books I have just accumulated and the rest is history. Sigh. Anyway, I can’t help but gasp when you said you DNF Queen of the Tearling. I’m dying to read that one! Child of a Hidden Sea caught my eye too because of the cover, I’m not sure I’m going to read it though.
    Sarah @ Smitten over Books recently posted…Review: Prep School Confidential (PSC #1) by Kara TaylorMy Profile

    • Exactly! There comes a point in time where you just can’t try to read all the “overdue” books. I’m so conflicted about Queen of the Tearling since I really wanted to love it, but it drags a bit too much for me at the moment :(

  15. I probably should read The Blasted Lands too, but I am not sure I loved the first one enough to keep up.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘The Mirror Empire’ by Kameron HurleyMy Profile

    • Exactly! At first I thought I would love to continue and then I remembered that I was a bit meh about book one, oh well.

  16. I need to get to Child of a Hidden Sea. It just keeps getting knocked down my list. Whoops!

  17. I haven’t read any of them, but Memory of Water looks pretty interesting.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James MalloryMy Profile

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