Wrapping up NetGalley January

NetGalley January is a wrap. Well, the thing is, January is over, and since the little snowman in the picture says it was NetGalley January, there you are. That’s it for the month.

Those of us signed up for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge are just going to have to soldier on, chortling with glee at all the lovely egalleys NetGalley will be sending us through the rest of the year. Every month can be NetGalley Month.

But back to the wrap. And I must use plastic wrap, since everyone needs to be able to see what I read.

Two books came out of my NetGalley TBR pile from September and October:






In addition to The Black Stiletto, which was fascinating, I also read the start of a very neat new mystery series, The Dharma Detective. I can’t wait for The Second Rule of Ten.



I also read a couple of Regency Romances from relatively new authors that were both a little different from the usual. It’s always interesting to see authors take the standard tropes and stretch the boundaries just a little bit. Or in the case of A Lady Awakened a “lotta” bit.

I read one YA/Cyberpunk that received a lot of buzz, and from the other posted wrap-ups, it looks like I’m not the only one who read Cinder. This title was highly anticipated. (I was turned down the first time I requested it, so I replied directly to the publisher outlining my specific review qualifications and was okayed on the second go-around).

Banshee Charmer is the start of a great new urban fantasy/paranormal series from a brand-new author. The author is doing a blog tour and the book is getting a lot of very nice attention.



I liked the first book in the Dark Dynasties series, Dark Awakening,  quite a bit, so when the second book, Midnight Reckoning listed on NetGalley, I grabbed it. Definitely fun for paranormal romance fans.



And, as always, I rounded out my reading month with titles from Carina Press. The icing on my reading cake: more urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and my science fiction romance fix for the month.










I posted thirteen reviews this month on NetGalley. I did finish a fourteenth book from NetGalley, The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns. But because I reviewed it for Book Lovers Inc., I can’t post the review on my site until after the review on BLI goes live, and that’s scheduled for February 9. I also finished The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman sometime the night of January 31, but I can’t swear whether it was before or after midnight. I know that night was his, I just didn’t keep track of how much of it! So there you have it. My tally for this NetGalley Month. It’s all good for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge. And it was all good reading!

The Canvas Thief

I kind of liked The Canvas Thief by P. Kirby…once I totally threw my disbelief out the window and treated the world of the book as if it were a cartoon world, which is just the way the main character, Maya Stephenson, created the hero and the villain. The underpinnings of the whole NeoVerse/EverVerse thing never gelled for me, but the breakneck pace of the story mostly carried me along, like Wile E. Coyote over the cliff, as long as I kept reading (running) and didn’t look down.

Maya Stephenson is an artist, with a gift. All artists have a gift, but Maya’s is special. She sees demons. That might be a little too special for most of us.

Maya knows that the world we live in has a few folks in it who are a bit odder than we think. However, Maya promised her mother that she would suppress her vision, and act normal. Because her Uncle Andrew could see the way Maya can, and Uncle Andrew wasn’t just “taken away”, but his family was made to forget him. The taking away part would have meant he was crazy, but the making people forget, that’s powerful stuff.

So Maya began channeling all her visions into her art. Except Maya didn’t draw what she saw. She was trying way, way too hard to be normal. Maya drew people. Since she was a teenage girl trying very hard to be normal, she drew boys. And she made up a story about them. A cops and robbers story. Adam Sayre was the cop, and Benjamin Black was the robber, the extra-talented thief.

Maya was so talented, and she concentrated so hard on making those drawings of Adam and Benjamin so perfect, that eventually Benjamin and Adam manifested from the NeoVerse to the Real. And because Maya’s magic created them in endless pursuit of one another, they remained tied to one another. For ten years, as Maya changed from girl to woman. And her fantasy men learned the ropes of the real world.

Benjamin Black lived and loved and lost. And decided he wanted to Fade from the Real to EverVerse, so that he might never lose anyone again. Adam Sayre learned to manipulate the system that, as a cop, he was supposed to be a protector of. Adam decided he wanted to stay in the Real forever.

Both Benjamin’s and Adam’s decisions required something from Maya to fulfill. Their ‘key drawings’. That first, perfect drawing that made them ‘real’. Benjamin tries to steal it, and Adam tries to manipulate Maya into it. Neither succeeds. Any woman strong enough to create life from the NeoVerse too strong for that.

But the collision course of their three lives changes everything. Maya discovers that the rules of ‘normalcy’ she has lived by are so, so unreal. Benjamin learns that being hurt once does not make him immune from being hurt again.

Escape Rating C: The story catches you up and keeps you in its grip, which is a really good thing, because the worldbuilding doesn’t quite hold up. I couldn’t make sense of the whole NeoVerse/EverVerse concept, and I decided to just go along for the ride.  Unlike Wile E. Coyote, I chose not to look down after I ran off the edge of the cliff.

There’s a famous quote from Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real where the Rabbit asks “What is REAL?” and that kept coming back to me when I read this book. Maya never intended to make her characters real; she had no idea she had that power. When love enters the picture, as it does in The Velveteen Rabbit, the question of whether love is enough to make the man she loves ‘real’ enough to remain in the so-called real world becomes one of the big questions of the story.