Waiting on Wednesday (May 13)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton, which has an expected publication date of October 1, 2015.

The follow-up to the acclaimed novel The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.

In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.

In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.

In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.

Three new stories—complete with commentary on the creative process—from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers.

Curious?

I absolutely loved The Curiosities, since it was an interactive learning experience of sorts – while the stories were captivating, getting a glimpse into these lovely ladies’ writing processes also helped me with my own writing. It’s such a neat way to write a book, so I’m ridiculously excited that there’s a follow-up!

What books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.

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Review | Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

5 cupcakes

As with its predecessors, Blue Lily, Lily Blue is very much a character-driven novel. There isn’t a whole lot of action, though the overhanging feeling of suspense and immediacy propels the story at the perfect pace before shedding its deceptively calm contents in favour of a rather intense ending. In the hands of other writers this could be a cause for concern, but Stiefvater has masterfully crafted complex characters and relationships that readers will easily become invested in and desire to learn more about.

While The Dream Thieves primarily focused on Ronan’s character growth, Blue Lily, Lily Blue devotes equal time to Blue and her Raven Boys (except for Noah, whose scenes were dark and somewhat creepy). The relationship dynamics between that group of friends is so intricate and beautiful, and since my description will in no way do it justice, here’s a quote that will:

“What she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

The relationship between Blue and Gansey will always be my favourite, as it’s slow-burn, awkward, tentative, sweet, and fraught with tension. That being said, I loved seeing Blue and Ronan slowly start developing a friendship, seeing how Adam and Ronan began opening up more to each other, and seeing just how important the Raven Boys are to one another.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was also the book to make me fall wholeheartedly in love with Blue. Although I admired her tenacity and strength before, she truly started to come into her own in this book as she no longer had Maura to lean on and help her make decisions. It also made me appreciate Adam a bit more, as he truly changed for the better – namely, he finally learned that relying on others is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Overall, Blue Lily, Lily Blue might just be my favourite Raven Cycle book yet – and that’s saying a lot, given how much I adore the series. It was beautiful and enchanting, and as soon as I finished, I went back to reread my favourite scene (hint: it involves Ronan and Gansey running into a courtroom) and then proceeded to cry over how much I love Blue and her Raven Boys.

Book Review: The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff & Tessa Gratton

From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

– A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
– Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
– A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author’s comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

The Curiosities is a collection of mostly unedited short stories, complete with notes from the author that discuss their inspiration for the story, some of the reasons why they chose certain ideas, and what they were hoping to accomplish with it. I loved getting a glimpse into Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna’s heads – not only to help me with my own writing, but to help me appreciate theirs even more.

One of my favourite aspects of anthologies is that they let you “sample” an author’s writing. The Curiosities reaffirmed my love for Maggie’s vivid writing and compelling narrative voice, while introducing me to Brenna’s subtle magic and Tessa’s imaginative voice. Maggie’s works are already a permanent fixture on my to-read list and, after finishing this collection, Brenna and Tessa’s will be as well.

The stories themselves were equal parts creepy, confusing, and enthralling. I was amazed by how much worldbuilding and character establishment could occur in such a limited amount of page time, and found myself wishing that many of the stories could keep going.

A few of my favourites:
The Vampire Box (Tessa)
A Murder of Gods (Maggie)
Scheherazade (Brenna)
Puddles (Tessa)
The Bone-Tender (Brenna)
Heart-Shaped Box (Maggie)

Saturday Showcase (April 19)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

This week’s featured book is The Curiosities by Brenna Yovanoff, Maggie Stiefvater, and Tessa Gratton.

From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

– A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
– Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
– A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author’s comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?

The Curiosities is a collection of short stories, complete with notes from the author that discuss their inspiration for the story, some of the reasons why they chose certain ideas, and what they were hoping to accomplish with it. I loved getting a glimpse into Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna’s heads – not only to help me with my own writing, but to help me appreciate theirs even more. And the stories themselves were equal parts creepy, confusing, and enthralling, which I’ve come to expect from these lovely authors.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

The Raven Boys was one of my favourite discoveries of this year, so it was with a mixture of trepidation and unabashed excitement that I picked up The Dream Thieves. It’s not often that a sequel completely surpasses its predecessor, but The Dream Thieves exceeded all of my (already high) expectations and made me fall in love with Stiefvater’s world – and my Raven Boys! – all over again.

One of The Dream Thieves’ biggest strengths is arguably its enchanting cast of characters. I’m so intrigued by Ronan and his brothers — and just how different they are from one another. From Ronan, the dark, troubled dreamer, to Declan, the liar, to Matthew, who is almost cherubic, I can’t wait to learn more about the Lynch clan. I’m still worried about Adam, and absolutely love Noah, even though loving him also breaks my heart a bit. Gansey is still my favourite of the boys, and the main subject of my many, many theories regarding the future of this series. Thanks to Stiefvater’s mastery of third person narration the Raven Boys have, once again, completely captured my heart in a way that very few characters have before – and likely very few will again.

My only complaint about The Raven Boys was that it started off very slowly and took a while to set the stage for the main action. In The Dream Thieves, no time is wasted as the focus shifts from Gansey’s search for Glendower to Ronan’s ability to turn his dreams into reality. Between hit men with a fondness for The Kinks, street races, and night terrors shaped like bird men, the story moves at a fast pace and makes it incredibly hard to put this book down for any reason.

While the romance in this book is rather subtle and takes a backseat to the more pressing matters, the threat that Blue will kiss and kill her true love still lingers in the background. It impacts her relationships with the Raven Boys, which grow and change throughout the course of the book. The Dream Thieves also contains one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful kissing scenes ever as it was entirely unexpected, and filled with awkwardness, sadness, and wonder.

Overall, The Dream Thieves is the perfect book: beautifully written, character driven, and magical. The wait for the third book is going to be much too long, so I’ll have to content myself with revisiting my Raven Boys and endlessly speculating about where their story could go from here.

Waiting On Wednesday (August 21)

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is the second book in The Raven Cycle series, and has an expected publication date of September 17.

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

 

 

 

loved The Raven Boys, so I can’t wait for The Dream Thieves. It ended with a huge revelation – and possibly the best finishing line ever – so I’m really excited to see where that news takes the boys (and Blue). And I’m really looking forward to more Blue/Gansey scenes because they’re kind of the cutest, even if they probably shouldn’t be doing any kissing any time soon…

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What books are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a list or a link to your post in the comments below. : )
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