I was really excited to read Black Juice. I absolutely loved The Brides of Rollrock Island, and the fact that Lanagan won a Printz award for Black Juice made me further excited for it. However, for the most part the book did not quite do the trick for me. The ten short stories in the book are pretty dark, and left me feeling vaguely bothered instead of deliciously haunted, like I was hoping. Lanagan's writing is still gorgeous, and the stories are definitely memorable, but ultimately the reading experience was not pleasurable for me.
This was one of the most anticipated sequels of 2012 for me, and it did not disappoint. Laini Taylor's writing is vivid, beautiful, and strange, and her characters seem to leap off the page. Usually I find the second novel in a trilogy to be disappointing, more a bridge from beginning to end than a complete story in and of itself. However, Days of Blood and Starlight did an excellent job of continuing the story begun by Daughter of Smoke and Bone while ending at an opportune moment that leaves some satisfaction while still desiring more.
This has been on my shelf forever, recommended by a friend about three years ago, and I finally got around to reading it. I've definitely come across quite a few Robin McKinley fans since I began blogging, so I had high expectations for The Blue Sword. In some ways they were met, and in some they were not. I was frustrated by the world-building at first, because I felt as if I was expected to know what was going on with very little introduction or explanation. However, I really enjoyed the characters. Harry made for an inspiring heroine, and Corlath was an excellent complement to her. Despite some initial confusion, I thought the story was riveting and loved the characters. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Hero and the Crown.
I have had a lot of success with the Juliet Marillier novels I've read so far (and I'm buried in another one now), so I was thrilled to see Shadowfell on NetGalley. Her writing voice continues to be enchanting, beautiful, and evocative in Shadowfell. The storyline itself at first didn't do much for me -- the plot seemed more whimsical than other books by Marillier that I have read, and I wasn't as invested in the protagonist. However, by the end of the book, I was drawn in, especially by the slow burn romance (something Marillier has a definite knack for writing). I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy, even if it doesn't rank quite as highly for me as the Sevenwaters books.
Okay, so everyone I know loved The Scorpio Races, so I bought it cheap for my Kindle one day. However, I never felt compelled to read it, because let's face it -- the synopsis is a little bizarre. Man-eating water horses? Ooooh-kay. However, I started the book while my son was napping (he will only nap if held, which isn't good for the housecleaning but has kept me reading) and was absolutely entranced. Ignore the fact that the summary is bizarre (my initial thought was that the author was very intoxicated when she came up with the idea -- upon looking at her website, it turns out that water horses are actually a part of Irish and Scottish mythology). Just read Stiefvater's beautiful words, root for Puck and her awesome personality and spirit, and fall madly in love with the brooding, intense, Sean Kendrick. This book really is perfection in so many ways -- I can't recommend it enough.