This was a great week for books – 2 ARCs and 2 finished review copies showed up unexpectedly, including an ARC of one of my very most anticipated books of the year.

On the reviewing front, it was a bit quiet last week because my home was in complete chaos due to the construction of a new bookshelf in the bedroom. Part of my bedroom was in the living room and it was such a mess I found it hard to concentrate on reviewing, especially since I felt like I needed to clean up construction dust every night after getting home from work. Next week should be better, though, since I have a draft of The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel Aaron done and I have a review of Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire in progress.

On to the books!

Bitterblue by Kristin CashoreBitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It’s Bitterblue! I’ve only been wanting to read this since, oh, about the time I finished Fire (Fire review). Fire was one of my 3 favorite books of 2009, and it was one of the books that convinced me I needed to read more young adult fantasy books at a time when I didn’t really read them (along with Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times, which was one of my other 3  favorite books that year).

I’ve already featured this in a books of 2012 post, so I thought about leaving it out of here and linking to that since I’ve already talked about it. Since there is some new information I’ve found since then, I decided to include it, though. There is a new blurb that has actual information instead of the generic one I found when I wrote that, and I saw this week that there is an excerpt containing the prologue and chapter one. I just love the first line in chapter one:


Queen Bitterblue never meant to tell so many people so many lies.

It’s a great line to hook readers since it makes me want to know exactly who she’s been lying to, what about, and why. I am reading this very soon.

Bitterblue will be released on May 1 in both hardcover and ebook. It’s a sequel to Graceling with Bitterblue as the main character instead of Katsa (Graceling review).

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart..

The Troupe by Robert Jackson BennettThe Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett

This is a stand alone novel that came out the end of last month. Robert Jackson Bennett is also the author of The Company Man, nominated for both the 2012 Edgar and Philip K. Dick Awards, and Mr. Shivers, winner of the 2011 Shirley Jackson Award. It was released in trade paperback and ebook. An excerpt from The Troupe is available, and there is an official website for The Troupe.

I have been hearing great things about this book, and after reading the description and the first couple of pages I’m really interested in reading it!

Vaudeville: mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.

But sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. Yet as he chases down his father’s troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange even for vaudeville: for wherever they happen to tour, the very nature of the world seems to change.

Because there is a secret within Silenus’s show so ancient and dangerous that it has won him many powerful enemies. And it’s not until after he joins them that George realizes the troupe is not simply touring: they are running for their lives.

And soon…he is as well. 

Soulbound by Heather BrewerSoulbound by Heather Brewer

This is the first book in a young adult fantasy series, Legacy of Tril. It will be released as both a hardcover book and an ebook in July. In February, Heather Brewer said on her blog that she will be posting a first chapter and she also wrote a little bit about the book there.

I’m a little confused by the chain mail veil on the cover, but this is a book I may try reading. It sounds like it could be interesting, and I’m always happy to see a young adult book come in the mail that is epic fantasy instead of paranormal (since it seems most of them are the latter and I’m much more interested in reading epic fantasy).

A brand-new fantasy with a kick-butt heroine from the author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons’ wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret. Enter two young men: One charming, rule-following Barron who becomes Bound to Kaya and whose life she must protect at all costs. And one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making Kaya’s life as difficult as possible. Kaya asks both to train her, but only one will, and the consequences will change their lives forever.

Heather Brewer has created a thrilling, action-packed, and romantic first installment of the Legacy of Tril series, where one strong heroine must break the rules to claim her destiny and her heart.

The Isis Collar by Cat Adams
The Isis Collar by Cat Adams (aka C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp)

This is the fourth book in the Blood Singer series, following Blood Song, Siren Song, and Demon Song. I haven’t read any of the books in the series, but there are some descriptions and excerpts from the first three books on the authors’ site if you are interested in learning more. An excerpt from The Isis Collar is also available if this is a series you follow.

The Isis Collar will be available in trade paperback and ebook on March 13, 2012.

Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren.

Warned of a magical “bomb” at a local elementary school, Celia forces an evacuation. Oddly, the explosion seems to have no effect, puzzling both Celia and the FBI. Two weeks later, a strangely persistent bruise on Celia’s leg turns out to be the first sign of a magical zombie plague.

Finding the source of the plague isn’t Celia’s only concern. Her alcoholic mother has broken out of prison on the Sirens’ island; her little sister’s ghost has possessed a young girl; and one of Celia’s boyfriends, a powerful mage, has disappeared.