Audio Review: Tithe by Holly Black (Audio)

From Brilliance Audio: Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she drifts from place to place with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient and violent power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death. “Debauchery, despair, deceit, and grisly death—what more could you ask for from a fairy tale? . . . A luscious treat for fans of urban fantasy and romantic horror.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review “The exquisite faeries haunt as well as charm. . . . A gripping read.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review.

I read Tithe in 2009 and it was the fourth review here on this site. And by review I mean spoileriffic walk through. I remember liking the book but I didn’t think it was anything to write home about, I also had just started reading YA. So when Brilliance Audio sent me Tithe I was super excited to get back into the world because two years later I still missed Kaye and Roiben and am able better qualified to review YA.

The narrator Kate Rudd has read Daughter of Winter and Alice Bliss along with many Cliff Notes versions of fun classics like Frankenstein. Her voice is lilting and really enabled me to re-enjoy Tithe and enjoy it more this time around. Her pronunciations are at times odd to me and I think that added to the mysteriousness of this title.

Even if you have read Tithe previously I do recommend grabbing this audio version for your commute or cleaning time.

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The Underworld Ball

Thank you so much Not Your Mothers Bookclub for hosting this fabulously swanky party at Books Inc Opera Plaza! There was food, prizes, and surprise guests! I was able to get my ARC of Huntress signed by the fabulous Malinda Lo! There is going to be a lot of info in this post but minimal bouts of text. I just want to make sure you guys know how awesome this was and get you some info on surprise guests and bloggers that were in attendance.

So who showed up to the shindig?

Tons of bloggers and two special authors besides the ones on the bill.

Sophie from Mundie Moms, Nancy from Ravenous Reader, Alicia from Shooting Stars, Zoe from Zoe’s Book Reviews, Emily from Super Reader Girl,, the FABULOUS Connie who works at Books Inc and just started her blog and I think that is it for the bloggers? Did I miss you? Let me know!

As far as surprise authors Malinda Lo was there, and the super secret surprise guest Ted Naifeh who illustrated a line of Holly’s books that are out now from Scholastic. He made some awesome art in my book that I bought and you guys can see that later…

Did you ask Holly or Cassandra my question?

Probably, but check out this AWESOME video interview to make sure.

You said there would be pictures!

…And I am not one to disappoint! Click the images to see them larger and click here to see the rest of the set.

Holly, Malinda Lo, and Cassandra

Holly, Malinda Lo, Cassandra

Me and Nancy

Me and Nancy

Alicia and Zoe

Zoe and Alicia

Sophie from Mundie Moms

Sophie Mundie Mom

Fabulous Costume

Awesome costume!

Swag, signed stuff

Swag bag

signed by Holly and Ted

Malinda signed

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Review: White Cat by Holly Black

From Goodreads: Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

Let me start off by saying I have been reading Holly Black since before I was a blogger. Since before I knew what the term Urban Fantasy was or what it meant, what imprints were and how they influence my reading. It’s not often anymore I can bring you a review of a book from an author that I was fangirling over back before Bookalicious was born, and Holly Black is one of those authors.

We find Cassel at a boarding school (and y’all know I love me some boarding schools) where he is generally bored and making a nuisance of himself by running an illegal betting pool with stacked odds. Cassel is immediately likable even though he is the type of character we all love to loathe normally. I am still not sure how Black pulled that one over on me. Cassel has a nightmare that he is standing on a roof about to jump when he wakes up standing on a roof about to jump, has he been cursed by a worker? The school freaks out and throws him out until he can promise not to sleep walk anymore and this is where the true meat of the story begins.

We follow Cassel through the book trying to come to grips with a murder he committed. He killed his best friend Lila, she also happens to be the next in line for the head of a huge crime family. His family helped him cover up the murder and sent him to a fancy school as his mother is sitting in jail having been caught emotion working a rich guy for some cash. I really can’t tell you more without giving plot points away just know it is real, it gets gritty and it’s dark and it is well worth reading.

One of the most interesting things that Black did with this story is that the environment itself was almost a character on it’s own. We have mobsters who take young workers whose parents abandon them and bring them up in crime families, everyone wears gloves to keep from being worked on the street randomly. We have bills in office to legalize working because some workers want to use it for good, and underground support groups helping workers in countries where their hands are being cut off out of fear from people who are afraid of being worked. Dare I say this book has some dystopic undertones for the workers?

If you haven’t read this yet you should, especially with book two Red Glove coming out just around the corner in April!

FTC Disclosure: I got this book as a Christmas present, oh and don’t come to close if I don’t have my gloves on.

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Review: The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

From the back of the ARC:

Poisonous girls whose kisses will kill. A fateful eating contest with the devil. Faeries who return to Ironside, searching for love. A junior prom turned bacchanalia. In twelve short stories, eerie and brimming with suspense and unexpected humor, Holly Black twists the fantastical creatures you thought you knew in ways you’ll never expect.

It has been a while since I read something from Holly Black and now it seems my shelves are brimming. I have White Cat, Red Glove and I just finished Poison Eaters. It is so easy to shift back into Black’s unusual quirky writings and I loved Poison Eaters. These stories featured some of my favorite characters from Black’s cannon such as Roiben! Other stories I haven’t seen before such as Coldtown and The Dog King. I have been in the middle of a huge reading slump for a few weeks but Black’s short story collection pulled me back from the abyss. I will quickly go through each of the twelve stories in a few sentences.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

I loved this story, Coldtown is exactly the kind of place I do not want near and this story puts the scary back in vampire lore. It’s not Edward waiting for you on the other side doll, it’s a kick ass vamp who will lie to you this way and that for your blood.

A Reversal of Fortune

Oh how I wouldn’t love to have an eating contest with the devil, however I am almost positive that I wouldn’t have the luck or ingenuity of Nikki. Little Boo, I loved you!

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This story reminds me to not take everything I read in books seriously and sometimes a great curiosity is better left alone rather than investigated.

The Night Market

Easily one of my favorites in this book, and it is darn hard to pick a favorite. I loved the fae in this story and I loved Black’s vivid descriptions of the night market.

The Dog King

Take it from me kiddies this is not the one to read right before bed. It is super scary stuff and fantastically filled with lore. By far my most favorite of this collection.

Virgin

This one reminded me that Black has a mind that rivals that of Gaiman and King. She bleeds humor with disturbing scenes and pulls you back for more. I love this Unicorn story.

In Vodka Veritas

Easily a laugh a minute I loved this one so much. The latin team decides they are sick of being losers and casts a spell on all that would be at prom to have a orgy fest and take pictures to blackmail those affected with later.

The Coat of Stars

What would you do if you found out your one true love didn’t really die, but had been captured into a faerie circle and has been dancing the past ten years? Why get him back of course! But how?

Paper Cuts Scissors

Imagine you had the ability to put yourself in a book, or take characters out and let them mingle with one another. Another of my favorites.

Going Ironside

Another of my favorites. There is only one girl and we are thinking her thoughts, all she wants is her little elf baby. How she gets it is what is killing her.

The Land of Heart’s Desire

Oh Roiben I still love you! You are still the sort of evil boy that would scare the hell out of me and I would want to try to save from himself. Great to see some old friends again.

The Poison Eaters

The last in this short story collection and a doozy. A king is remembering a night not long ago when he lost his love.

Why Teens Will Love It:

The stories are short and fun and easily devoured during homework breaks or study hall. Black’s stories are so different from the other it is like finishing twelve books at once!

Why Adults Will Love It:

Black’s work focuses on the teens here in these stories but is easily devoured by adults. The wit and dark humor Holly displays will keep us craving more of her writings for many a moon to come.

FTC Disclosure: I got this at a conference.

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Fragment Friday: Zombies vs. Unicorns

Fragment Friday is hosted by James at Book Chic Club You, yeah you, do a fragment too!

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