Posts Tagged ‘Maggie Stiefvater’

Five Fabulous… Auto Buy Authors

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

Every bibliophile has as least one.

An author who’s work is a automatic must buy.

One author who’s work inspires joy and excitement, WANT and NEED. MY PRECIOUS.

We don’t need a cover image or even a blurb.

We only need the the promise of hours of escapism and guaranteed reading satisfaction to reach for the preorder button.

In no particular order I present to you my top five must buy authors.

Zoe Marriott
Zoe is one of the most reliable authors on my bookcase. Now I realize that on the surface referring to Zoe’s work as reliable might seem like a luke warm complement. For me reliable is that friend you can call day or night, who will be there without fail, laugh with you until you need to pee and hold your hand, or your hair back, through the tough times.

I honestly don’t think that you can underestimate the pure joy of finding an author who’s work you just click with, who’s work that is guaranteed to enthrall, entertain, and even educate. I have loved every single Zoe Marriot book I’ve read and I cant wait read her next book Barefoot On The Wind (due for publication in September).

Check out Zoe’s Goodreads author page (here) to learn more about her work, including Barefoot on the wind.

Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie writes one of my favorite genres Speculative Fiction (read about it on Wikipedia here), unapologetically and seamlessly combining magical, fantastical, historical and horrific elements with complex characters and beautifully, poetic prose.

I credit Maggie with being one of the authors that got me completely hooked on the Young adult storytelling as a not so young adult. Maggie is one of my favorite authors and as such I’ve written about Maggie’s work many times (here) but you don’t even need to take my word for it, you can read some of her work for yourself, for free ,over at the Merry Sisters of Fates site (here)

V E Schwab
ARRRGGGG I can’t tell you how much I love Victoria’s characterisation. Not that her plotting and world building isn’t also first class, but she creates such three dimensional, interesting and at time surprising characters that I can’t help but squee at the thought that I have her new book sat on my shelf right now with at least two wonderful new beings to meet and two interesting new lives to explore.

Stephanie Perkins
Not only is Stephanie a talented writer, who’s contemporary romances are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, she is also a fantastic editor. Her My True Love Gave To Me, Christmas anthology has already become a part of my seasonal ritual, I re read it last year and have every intention to re read it again this year. I enjoyed the collection so much that when I saw that she had edited a Summer anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights, I one clicked and ordered the hardback without even looking to see who else was involved in the project.
Click here to visit Stephanie’s Goodreads authors page to learn more

Melinda Sailsbury
I don’t think that it is premature to add Melinda to my must buy list. She may have only published two books, but I was so completely blown away by both of them that I don’t have any doubts that I will immediately buy whatever she publishes, particularly if it is the third installment in the Sin Eaters Daughter trilogy. If I enjoy it as much as the second instalment I will be a very happy book worm.
You can read about how much I and my fellow Big Book Little Book team members love her work here. If that isn’t enough of a recommendation you can learn even more about Melinda and her work by clicking here to visit her Goodreads authors page

Posted by Caroline

Who are your auto buy authors?

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Bookish Brits: Why I Love… Maggie Stiefvater

One again, in honour of valentines day, the Bookish Brits team dedicated February to all of bookish things we love. Click here to watch all of our videos

This year I decided to focus on my favourite author, Maggie Stiefvater.

Posted by Caroline.

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Sinner

Maggie Stiefvater
sinnerSinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

What are your overall thoughts?

Anyone who has spent any time on the blog, or any time with me IRL will know that I absolutely love Maggie Stiefvater ‘s (read my reviews here) combination of poetic prose, breath holding tension and tender emotive scenes( with or without kissing). While Maggie’s work just gets better and better, Shiver and its sequels will always have a place in my heart as the first Stiefvater books, and one of the first YA book series, I read.

The inclusion of Cole’s point of view was one of my favorite aspects of Linger (Shiver #2) and Forever (Shiver #3). The sharpness and acidity of Isabel and Cole’s interactions cut though Sam and Grace’s meant-to-be-together sweetness. Without Cole and Isabel’s feisty relationship the series could have become too clawing.

While I completely understood and enjoyed the ambiguous ending of the Shiver trilogy my one disappointment was that Cole and Isabel’s story felt unexplored and unfinished.

It won’t take much of a leap for you to imagine just how excited I was to learn that Maggie had created a companion novel focusing on Cole and Isabel and how delighted I was to finally get my grabby little hands on it!

I enjoyed dipping back in to the world of Shiver, however I was quite surprised at just how different Sinner is to the rest of Maggie’s published works. I was expecting Maggie’s brand of descriptive- bordering on poetic- narrative, sense of place, twisting turning plot and tear inducing tension. While these aspects were still evident, for me they took a back seat to the sheer force of Cole and Isabel’s personalities and their snarky, energetic chemistry.

While it still contained aspects of magical realism, Sinner had a much more contemporary feel. I have always been aware of the connection between Cole’s wolf and the self destructive, suicidal and addictive elements of his personality. For me it was a deeper layer of meaning in a series I otherwise took at face value as paranormal.

In Sinner the presence of Cole’s wolf felt much more like a devise used to explore Cole and his recovery than as a supernatural element in it’s own right. Maggie even goes as far as to explain the metaphor to the audience through the misinterpretation of Cole’s song lyrics.

What was your favorite aspect of the book?

While initially the style of the book was not what I expected it actually became one of my favorite aspects.

I rather enjoyed being swept away by the tornado of Cole and Isabel’s relationship, much in the same way that I imagine the authors usual style was pushed aside by the characters dominant and distinctive personalities.

While I don’t consider myself much of a mood reader (watch Faye talking about mood reading here), I am very much a seasonal reader. I am attracted to more contemporary, particularly romantic, reads in the summer. While in the cooler months I like nothing better than curling up with an absorbing fantasy series. So to this end, Sinner was a perfect summer read.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I honestly don’t think that I can pick a favorite. I adore Cole and Isabel in equal measure. I loved that although they both had issues to work through they didn’t undergo personality transplants in the process.

I am also surprised to find myself glad that Sam and Grace’s cameos were very, very brief and didn’t reveal much about them post Forever (Shiver#3). We had three books to explore Sam and Grace. Sinner was very much “Isocole” ‘s (do you think it will catch on?) book.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I don’t see any reason why Shiver fans wouldn’t enjoy catching up with Isobel and Cole.

Summarise in one sentence(verdict).
While not a “typical” Maggie book it is classic Cole and Isabel.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 464
Genre: Magical realism, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Book Expo America
Challenge: None
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Bookish Brits: Caroline’s Looking Back/Forward Post

The post also known as Caroline’s 2014 pre-orders!

posted by Caroline

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The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater and Will Patton (Narrator)
There are only two reasons a nonseer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love… or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them – not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all – family money, good looks, devoted friends – but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the best-selling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

It’s not easy growing up the only non-psychic in a house of seers. While she isn’t envious of her family’s ability to predict peoples futures, including their deaths, Blue can’t help but wish that her ability was more interesting than magnifying the gifts of others, that for once she could experience something “other”, or discover something no one else has before.

All too soon, Blue gets her wish. For the first time, Blue sees a spirit on the corpse road. This can mean only one thing, that the boy will die within twelve months, and that the young man is her true love. It appears that the prophecy Blue has heard all her life is about to come to fruition. If Blue kisses her true love, he will die.

If the concepts of true love seemed almost abstract to Blue before, it seems impossible now. Impossible that she would fall in love with a Raven Boy, a student of the elitist private school, Aglionby Academy. Her first impressions of Gansey certainly don’t contradict her long held belief that Raven Boys are Bastards. Two things conspire against Blue and her perceptions. The first is her attraction to Gansey’s friend Adam who, with his frayed sweater and matching Henrietta accent, is like no other Raven boy she has met before. The second is Gansey’s, much loved journal, it’s leather cover softened with use and the collage like content of cuttings, notes and doodles, charting Gansey’s extraordinary search for Glendower. It inspires feelings of adventure and discovery and calls to an innate desire within Blue.

Blue decides to use the knowledge she has gained from her unusual background and help Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah with their search. It becomes obvious that the search for Glendower is as much her quest as theirs and very quickly she is established as part of the group, that instead of being a fifth wheel, she is the missing point in their pentacle. ,

Although The Raven Boy’s is paranormal mystery and adventure, I never felt as though I was chasing the ending, racing to the end to get to the big reveal, the “who dun It” like with mysteries I’ve read in the past. It’s not that I wasn’t compulsively turning pages (or in this case listening to just one more chapter!), to reach the conclusion and uncover the mystery, but rather like Gansey’s painstaking scrapbooking, I was simply savoring each new development and delighting in each step along the journey and before I knew it we’d reached the destination.

Like Blue’s mother Stiefvater was the master tarot reader, laying her cards down in a very precise and intricate formation, allowing you to absorb the meaning of each card before, placing the next. Stiefvater’s plotting was so precisely and subtly done that when a plot twist was revealed, a totally unexpected one at that, instead of reacting with surprise or disbelief, I found myself thinking, “why of course, that makes complete sense”.

While reading Stiefvater’s previous novels, I have often felt compelled to re-read sections aloud, savouring the sound of her beautiful dialog and stunning descriptive narrative. When the time came to select my next audiobook, The Raven Boys was a natural choice. I could think of no better treat than having Maggie’s words read aloud to me. I thoroughly enjoyed Will Patton’s performance. His slightly accented, laid back voice suited the book perfectly.

It’s no secret that I have adored all of Maggie’s work to date. Each book has surprised me, surpassing it’s predecessor with its inventiveness and originality while still maintaining a distinctly Maggie style. With her ability to speculate on fantastical worlds, create and maintain tension, craft beautifully tender emotive scenes and her deliciously poetic prose. Maggie is one of my favorite authors and one of the few authors who’s work I happily preorder (in hardback), before the synopsis has even been released.

Verdict: Reaching the end of The Raven Boys, and what has got to be the best final line in a book (trust Ronan to have the parting shot), I found myself smiling gleefully with the anticipation for not only book two but for the entire Raven Cycle.

Reviewed by Caroline

My review of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races can be found here, while my opinion of Forever can be found here.

Publisher: Scholastic/Audible.com
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Audiobook (unabridged)
Length: 11hrs 9mins
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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The Scorpio Races: The Brownies

I recently had the opportunity to meet my favourite YA author, Maggie Stiefvater, as she toured the UK promoting her latest book The Scorpio Races.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Read my thoughts on The Scorpio Races: here!

The lovely Sarah at feeling fictional has written a comprehensive report, on the  delicious brunch we shared and the fantastic Foyles event, which you can view HERE.

Maggie described receiving the phone call informing her that the film rights to The Scorpio Races had been optioned (read it HERE), during the course of the phone call she managed to ruin a batch of chocolate ganache covered brownies.
The Brownies captured the rooms attention almost as much as the film news. Ever the obliging author, Maggie posted the recipe over on her facebook page .
You can check out the original recipe HERE .

For the benefit of non-American followers we have translated the recipe in to English. Of course we had to ensure that the translation resulted in edible confection. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it!

The Translation:

The Ingredients

12oz of plain chocolate ( we used 50% coco solids)
5 1/2 oz unsalted Butter
10oz Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2Teaspoons(tsp) Vanilla Extract( the good stuff people not the essence rubbish)
1/4 tsp Salt
5oz Plain flour
100g Bag of Walnuts
180mls Double Cream
Pre-heat oven 180c or Gas mark 4

 

Roll up your sleeves
Give your hands a wash!

 

Melting half the chocolate with the butter.
Combining the chocolate/butter mixture with the egg/sugar/salt/vanilla mix

 

Sifting and folding in the flour
Stirring in the Walnuts
and stir a bit more!
Ready for the oven
Melting the other half of the chocolate in to the warmed cream
Pouring the ganache on to the cooked, cooled brownie
Who wants to lick the spoon?

Yummy!

Post by Caroline

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The Scorpio Races

Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Each November the Capailli Uisce climb out of the frigid ocean on to the beaches of Thisby. Using magical charms and ancient rituals, the islanders attempt to rein some control over these incredibly fast, carnivorous predators as they capture, train and race them.

While Thisby is beautiful and steeped in ancient traditions, life for its inhabitants is hard. A life inspiring equally strong feelings of wanting to stay and uphold these traditions, maintaining way of life and the tourism which forms the majority of the islands income, and wanting to leave to forge a different kind of life.

The absence of modern technologies alludes to a bygone era, and adds to the geographical isolation. The remaining inhabitants would not feel so bereft when a family member emigrates if they had access to skype! The exact geographical location of the island is never disclosed and yet the descriptive narrative was such that I was quickly transported to the windswept beaches. I could imagine the wind whipping my clothes and hair, the biting cold attacking my extremities and the taste of sea salt on my lips.

The prose is pure poetry; I found myself reading some passages over again and over again just to savour the deliciousness of them. In places I was compelled to speak the dialogue aloud just to savour the sound of the beautiful words.

Kate “Puck” Connolly is impulsive, proud and determined with a fiery temper. She cares deeply, for her family, her horse and her island home and I couldn’t help warming to her. It is the depth of this love that results in her entry in the deadly races.

Sean Kendrick, is the strong silent type, imagine a young Mr Darcy with dirty finger nails, a man eating horse and just a hint of magic! The man may not say much, but when he does, wow! In the tradition of all good male hero’s he has a protective streak, however this manifests as guidance and facilitation rather than paternalism.

As the story unfolds Sean Kendrick and Puck’s relationship develops from acquaintance to something deep and tender (with snogging, of course!) as they build on a foundation of mutual respect and friendship. Both of our protagonists have very strong reasons for entering and wanting to win the races, both are risking their lives for the ones they love. But there can be only one winner of the Scorpio races.

Verdict: The perfect book to curl up with while the wind howls and the rain hammers against your window. I will be buying this for myself when it is published on the 19th of October.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 2011
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: N/A
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Forever

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3)

Maggie Stiefvater

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater
then. When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives. now. That should have been theend of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment- a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Forever is told, once again, from the first person perspectives of Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole. Four voices so recognisable and distinct, that the chapter headings are redundant. Maggie’s prose is as poetic and beautiful as ever and her descriptive narrative quickly re-immerses you in her world.

The story resumes six weeks after the events of Linger. Sam and Grace still separated, are determined to reunite. My tension increased as time and again their attempts to be together were thwarted. The resulting pay off is tender and sweet. However the relief is short lived, and I read with a growing knot of apprehension as opposing forces mount against our couple’s happy ending.

While I’ll always have a place in my heart for Sam and Grace’s sweet, soul deep, maturing love story, it was the two other developing relationships that stole the show for me. The Isabel and Cole scenes simply sizzle with their palpable chemistry and I couldn’t wait for their chapters to come around again.

I loved the “bro-mance”. Sam and Cole, finally putting aside their preconceived impressions and developing a mutual respect and understanding of each other was a highlight for me. I particularly enjoyed the scene where they begin to communicate using music as an icebreaker.

The action sequence had my heart in my mouth, further evidence of Maggie’s ability to create intense tension, which usually requires release with tears!

In forever we witness our protagonists enter a phase of healing, accepting the need to change, and starting out on that journey. Much of this healing is centred on the child-parental relationships. These are huge steps for our characters but seemingly small steps for us as observers. I appreciated that the author stayed true to the characters by providing the promise of healing without jumping to the finish line and tying everything up in a tidy bow.

Let’s be honest, although we all love a happily ever after, when your much loved protagonists are teenagers do you really want their story to conclude aged eighteen, with everything settled, character development completed and the future decided? What I will say is that the ending is ultimately uplifting and hopeful.

Verdict:The Author herself sums up forever “It has happier moments than either of the two books . . . and SADDER MOMENTS than either of other two books”.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: US Hardback
Pages: 400
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge:N/A
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