Oh, hey – winners and junk!

If you remember, last week when we posted our best (and worst) reads of 2013, we asked you for your favourites so we could give away our two favourite books of the year.

Last night I put all the names in The Hat and drew winners for a paperback of Chris Holm‘s The Big Reap, a paperback of Justin Robinson‘s City of Devils and TWO ecopies of City of Devils.  I know, I’m sneaky, I didn’t mention the ecopies, did I?  HAHA!

Since I’m tired and not feeling up to drawing out the suspense, I’ll just go ahead and announce the winners, yeah?

(could I use any more commas in this post, shit)

The winner of the paperback copy of The Big Reap (generously donated by the folks over at Angry Robot) is…

MICHAEL CARGILL!

Michael, I hope you enjoy The Collector series as much as Heather and I did!

The winner of the paperback copy of City of Devils (brought to us by the lovely Kate from Candlemark and Gleam) is…

Nubia (aka @siamesedream)!

And the winners of the two ecopies of City of Devils are Rae and Charleen!

SO!  Michael and Nubia, get your addresses to me, please.  Charleen and Rae, please let me know what format you’d like and an email address I can have your prizes sent to.  Email is dodisharkicorn (at) gmail.

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone who read and entered!

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2013 Edition

Woo. Another year over and time for another list of things that didn’t suck and some that did. This year Heather will be contributing, so I’ll do my best to keep my own comments short.

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

This will never get old. Ever.

sj’s List

  • NicecomicsImage almost totally swept my favourite comics of the year. Two brand new titles (Sheltered and Sex Criminals), and two that were new-to-me (Revival and Saga). I’m following all of these monthly now, no trade waiting for me. The Unwritten is my lone Vertigo title, I read all of the trades in a matter of days, then started buying them as they came out. I’m still waiting to read the last arc, though, cos it was a Fables crossover and I fucking hate Fables. I know, I know.
  • Naughtybad YA2013 was apparently the year for lackluster finales to YA trilogies. UNBELIEVABLY, I was not the only one who felt this way. Veronica Roth’s Allegiant and Lauren DeStefano’s Sever all garnered many, many poor reviews. I was shocked. I may have disliked them for different reasons than everyone else, but for once, I was not in the minority. Hm.
  • Nicegallagher girlsProbably my biggest surprise of the year, Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls was hands down my favourite new-to-me YA series that I read in 2013. I read the first five in a matter of days, then spent months with the agonizing wait for the finale. Take note, other authors: this is how you end a damn series. Highly recommended to just about anyone.
  • Honourable Mentions: Peter Stenson’s Fiend, Steve Weddle’s Country Hardball, Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Justin Jordan/Tradd Moore’s The Strange Talent of/Legend of Luther Strode

Heather says: When sj asked me to contribute to Santa’s naughty and nice list, I could name five books in a nanosecond. But sj has rules, and she would only count one book per author. So instead of naming my favorite books, my list, with the exception of a single entry, consists of my top favorite authors of 2013.

Heather’s List

  • Niceheather niceI discovered the brilliance of Jasper Fforde early in 2013 with the book Shades of Grey. It was a recommendation from sj, and she usually doesn’t steer me wrong. Grumpy Grandpa Librarian raised his one eyebrow in silent judgment when I checked it out. Methinks he should read more. I loved Fforde’s work so much that I bought his books in paper copies.

    I’m a sneaky-peeper on Goodreads, back when Goodreads had something to peep at. I hated the Goodreads recommendations.

    “You liked Lord of the Rings? You might also like Lord of the Flies. They both start with the letter ‘L’ and are not actually about the Lord.”

    I had to find ways to get recommendations on my own, so I perused friends’ lists to see what they were loving, and Rainbow Rowell‘s work kept appearing. I read Fan Girl and Eleanor & Park. Rowell really gets what it’s like to be awkward. She gets it. I have an allergy to romance, but Rainbow’s work doesn’t trigger the gag reflex. None of her characters are perfect. They’re people. They do smart things, and they do stupid things, and they suffer consequences. I love characters I can root for. I also like Rainbow herself. She is funny and adorable on Twitter. Follow her now, thank me later.

    Ender’s Game. One of these things is not like the other. I loved this book. I found it in the free bin at my local used bookstore a few months ago, and I read it in a day. I cried, I cheered, I hurt deeply for this poor, poor child. But the author is not a kind soul, and that bothers me. Ender was my first five-star book of this year, but I still feel conflicted about putting him on my list.

  • Naughtyheather naughtyI’m pretty forgiving and forgetful, and I hesitate to condemn any author’s work to the pits of the Naughty List, but here you go.

    I, Saul was definitely not the book the blurb told me I was getting. It was boring and ridiculous. Like I said, I can forgive lots of things. The inexcusable bit was receiving an invitation from the publisher to join a blog tour promoting the stupid thing weeks after I had read, reviewed and passed the review on via NetGalley. If they aren’t going bother to read the feedback, why did I read the book?

    The only other name on my naughty list isn’t a book. It’s Goodreads. Don’t look at me like that, Goodreads! You know what you’ve done!

SUPER BEST BOOKS OF 2013

Heather and I don’t always agree on what we read, but this year we agreed on two books that were our very best reads.

They were…

best of

Chris Holm’s The Big Reap and Justin Robinson’s City of Devils! We both reviewed each of these titles and they totally blew us away. You can read our reviews for The Big Reap here and here, and for City of Devils here and here.

In fact, we loved them so much and want you to love them too that we are giving away a copy of each! Thanks to Kate at Candlemark and Gleam and Vicky at Angry Robot, we have a paperback of each book to give away to YOU! All you have to do to enter is comment below and tell us what your best books of the year were. On January 3rd, I’ll put all the names into the Hat and draw two lucky winners. Super easy, right?

The Review That Doesn’t Want To Be Written

That’s not even a joke.  I’ve wanted to write this review since I read the book a couple of weeks ago, but it been an unwilling partner. I blame the author, actually. Each time I open the book to find a quote for my title, I get sucked back in. I look up and I’ve read two chapters, dinner is burning, and I’ve forgotten to pick up the kids from school. So it’s Justin Robinson’s fault that I’m waiting until the very day his book drops to publish this review.

cod

I received an ARC of Justin Robinson’s City of Devils. No human souls were demanded, just an honest review of the book. So here goes. I loved it. There. Is that good enough, sj? No? Okay, FINE!

I read sj’s review of this book a few months ago. Actually, I skimmed it. Because I hate spoilers, and anything can be a spoiler. I like going into a book cold, with no preconceived ideas whatsoever. If I read anything about a book, I shelve it until I forget everything I knew. So I waited a bit before requesting my own copy. Who can say no to that cover? Not this girl.

City of Devils is a funny, clever, fast-paced fantasy noir. I laughed, I rolled my eyes, I admired. Robinson is a world-builder. Within 20 pages, I believed. I was living in that world of shadow and terror, watching at the window as the sun went down.

As I read, I waited for the dreaded info dump. It never came. Nor did Robinson fall into the trap of explaining his world through heavy use of dialogue. The back story unfolds slowly and seductively, like a literary peepshow, one tiny little peek at a time, sharing just what I needed to know so that the scene makes sense, keeping me intrigued.  I wanted more back story. More! SHOW IT TO ME! There’s room here for sequels. And I’ll buy them and read them all.

The characters were believable. Some of the bad guys were even lovable. I loved Sam from the very first moment he appeared on the front porch. I wanted to hug him, even if that meant he’d drag me off and bury me in the pumpkin patch. He would. And I’d forgive him. It’s just who he is. I hope I see him again in future books.

I gave City of Devils a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is one of the shining stars of my reading year, along with Chris Holm’s gems. It has been a good year so far.

(City of Devils is available TODAY!  Only $5 for the ebook via the publisher, so go get it!)

Heather

Like good scotch with a gasoline chaser.

City of DevilsThe other day Justin Robinson‘s new novel City of Devils became available to review and I jumped on it.  Well, not literally, but close to it.  I was doing something else, read the email on my phone and promptly ran to the laptop to add it to my reader.  Cos Mr Blank was one of my favourite new-to-me-author reads of last year (and pretty much everyone I’ve forced it on has agreed), and after reading the description of this book, I knew it was something I would love just as much.

I love it when I’m right.

City of Devils is the story of Nick Moss – veteran of the Great War and the Night War – the only human private detective left in all of ’50s Los Angeles.  The cop shops are full of werewolves and wolfmen (yes, there’s a difference), robots are film directors, actors are doppelgangers (beings that can change their appearances at whim), there’s a mummy on the city council, and the monsters have made life hard for humanity.

If you’re a human and you’re out at night, you’re fair game.  There’s a treaty in place to protect you from being turned (or killed) during the daylight hours, but as soon as the sun goes down, the monsters come out to turn us into their babies.

Which is all a very interesting backdrop for the central mystery of the story – a philandering philanthropist of a mummy (in a mixed marriage with a doppelganger) who’s gone missing…and whose partners are all being killed off.

Nick is something of a bumbler, and it’s difficult to see how he’s managed to avoid being turned up to the point our story begins, but watching him get into and out of various predicaments is nothing short of a great time.

Honestly?  This is a book I kind of WANT to see on screen.  I’d love to see it picked up by SyFy (and I mean that in the best possible way) as a Movie of the Week or a series.  There’s enough here that could be built on that would keep me watching for several seasons.

City of Devils isn’t anything totally serious, take a look at that cover and know that it delivers on what it promises.  A noiry, pulpy good time that would be perfect for a beach read – but since it doesn’t come out until September, you’ll have to read it somewhere else.  Just read it, though, because it’s clever and funny and monsterrific.

Thanks to Candlemark and Gleam for the review copy, and thanks to Justin for writing ANOTHER book I loved and can’t wait to share with everyone.

Debris Dreams Giveaway WINNER!

Yay, another winner!

I’m super excited to have been given the chance to give a copy of Debris Dreams to one of you.  It’s already going on my End of the Year lists for suresies, and I hope everyone else gets a chance to read it and love it.

AND THE WINNER IS…..

KATE SHERROD, YAY!

I know she was really interested in reading this.  I hope she loves it like I did.

Congratulations, Kate.  Email/Chat me up and let me know what format you want, please?