Awesomeness of the Tour Variety

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Today is the first day of the Shadows of Asphodel blog tour! Visit Candace’s Book Blog for the full schedule. There will be reviews, interviews, and a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card! Some blog tour teasers:

Several weeks have passed since I read Shadows of Asphodel and I must say that the book has stuck with me. I can recall vivid scenes from the book effortlessly and for those of you who read a lot you know that it is a rare book that stays with you that well. – Gin’s Book Notes

 

I really like Ardis. She’s that brave, confident, take-charge kinda heroine and she’s not much for the angst and drama. I actually found Wendel to be more the drama-queen of the two (though to be fair, he does have a pretty angsty childhood/ history, though Ardis wasn’t all sunshine and rainbow either and she turned out pretty awesome). – Book Munchies

Shadows of Asphodel is also on sale for only $0.99 today, thanks to a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon. The sale will continue this week, so check back if you miss the first promo.

11 Best Books of 2011

Since I’ve been rather delinquent with my book reviews, I’d like make up for it. I’ll recommend, according to what I read, the 11 best books of 2011. That is, my faves from this year. In alphabetical order:

  1. Ash by Malinda Lo. There isn’t much good old-fashioned YA fantasy out there nowadays. There’s even less YA where girl meets girl, and falls in love. Intrigued? Ash is a gorgeous story. Kirkus gave it a starred review, saying, “Beautiful language magically wrought; beautiful storytelling magically told.” I agree. Pick up Ash if you like fantasy, fairy tale retellings, and lyrical language. I still think about the characters long after the last page.
  2. Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen. The sequel to Bright Young Things, so read the first one. Both books have amazing voice, capturing the breathless champagne-bubbly excitement of the late 1920’s, when everything seemed possible and anyone could become someone special. Flappers, speakeasies, gangsters, secret romance, betrayal–this delicious book has it all.
  3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I adored Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, with its Victorian girls and magic, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Beauty Queens. I shouldn’t have worried. Beauty Queens has an amazing premise: a pageant of teen beauty queens crash-lands on a tropical island. A fantastically subversive look at our society, it manages to be funny, sexy, and suspenseful.
  4. Bloodborn by Karen Kincy. Hey, that’s me! Ahem. You didn’t think I was going to leave my 2011 book off the list? My very own second book? I love it so. You might, too, if you enjoy werewolves, fight scenes, male protagonists, and car chases. Not so sure about that? You can always try Other first, or wait for Foxfire in 2012.
  5. Chime by Franny Billingsley. Chime received 6 starred reviews. (!) I usually steer clear of books that earn heaps of hype, just because I’m afraid of disappointment, and only read them later, after the rest of the reviews come trickling in. With Chime, the reviews seem divided–this is either a book you will love, or hate. I happened to love it, with its incredibly strong voice and atmosphere of swampy witchiness, but I will warn you that the narrator is unreliable! Definitely worth a try.
  6. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry. I love me some zombies! And Jonathan Maberry writes some of the best zombie MG/YA I’ve read. His first book in this series, Rot & Ruin, seemed more MG to me, but Dust & Decay treads into YA territory. Both books deal with the ethical and emotional implications of what–or who–zombies really are. How would you react to seeing a loved one become undead? And then seeing a bounty hunter desecrate them for sport? Dust & Decay stops to ponder these questions, but most of the book is action that whirls through the plot.
  7. Huntress by Malinda Lo. I read Huntress after I read Malinda’s Ash, and I liked this book even better. There’s a very sweet romance at the heart of this book–also girl meets girl, like Ash–and a good deal of fantasy adventure. Also, Huntress doesn’t take place in a psuedo-medieval England. Instead, Chinese culture inspires this world, which I found quite refreshing.
  8. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry PratchettDude. It’s Terry Pratchett. Need I say more? Anyway, I’ve been a Pratchett-o-phile ever since I first encountered his Discworld series in my early teens. I Shall Wear Midnight, the final book in his Tiffany Aching YA series, features Pratchett’s same inimitable imagination and humor. It won the Andre Norton Award, too, if you need more convincing. I actually didn’t read the books in this series in order, though I’d recommend going through chronologically.
  9. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Made me cry. No joke. This is a feat, I swear! I’m not a weepy person, and it takes a lot for a book to evoke sadness from me. Or, in the case of If I Stay, grief and guilt. I’m afraid of revealing too much of the premise, but let’s just say that the emotional nuances and dilemmas felt spot on to me. A lovely book.
  10. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren SumaThis book creeped me the hell out, in a very good way. I actually wrote about this book for the author’s “What Scares You?” guest blog tour: “The dread in this book dawned on me slowly, subtly, like the delicate evocation of horror often found in Japanese films like The Ring—the original one is much creepier than the remake. I didn’t know quite what I should be afraid of, and so the dread built, and built, with all my questions about who was actually dead, and what was actually real.”
  11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know, I’m terrible. It took me this long to finish this series. Not because I didn’t like The Hunger Games, but because my to-read pile and to-do list have conspired to keep me insanely busy. Anyway, I don’t want to say too much about Mockingjay, for fear of spoilers. If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, you’re missing out on a gritty, nail-biting story that sparked the current dystopian craze. Can’t wait to see the movie next year!