Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Raising Chaos by Elizabeth Corrigan: Tens List and Review


Top Ten Favorite Books

It has been said that the best writers are also readers. I don’t know how true this is. I tend to be wary of advice that includes the words “All writers are…” or, even worse, “All writers should…” But I can say that, in this case, the advice is true of me. I read. A lot. Always have. In high school, I had two bookcases in my room, and they were so full that I had piles of paperbacks neatly organized in the middle of my floor.

Sometimes I like to sit back and reflect on the reading in my life. I’ve had different phases in my life—chick lit, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. I currently read almost entirely young adult paranormal books, and that doesn’t seem inclined to change any time in the near future. And from all these phases, I have some favorites, books that I will read over and over again, many of which I will keep in paper form, even though I long ago converted to Kindle. Books that I bought on audio so I could listen to them on my commute and on car trips. I thought I would take the time to list ten of my very favorites here for you.

The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith. I think this was the first series of books I ever read that gripped me so much I couldn’t stop reading them, even at school. My sister had already told me everything that happened in them, and I still couldn’t put them down. I read them now, and I am still amazed by how captivating the story is.

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. I say trilogy because, even though she eventually wrote ten books in the series, it’s the first three I go back to and read over and over again. I did recently buy the later books in the series, because I read a spoiler of the ending and responded with, “OMG, yes! That is how it is supposed to end!” The series is kind of disturbing on many levels, and I doubt my mother would have approved of my reading it in high school, but I just love the characters.

Emma by Jane Austen. Austen is definitely my favorite “classic” literature. I’ve read all of her books at least twice, and many of them more than that. And, yes, Pride & Prejudice is the perennial favorite, but I like Emma just the slightest bit better. Even though the only good movie version is Clueless.

The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery. I went through a crazy L.M. Montgomery phase when I was young, back in the days before I could order books on line. I thus only had the selection of Montgomery’s books that were available at my local bookstore. I would get excited to go on vacation because the bookstores in other cities sometimes had different ones. The Story Girl was apparently Montgomery’s favorite of her novels, and it’s mine too.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I loved this book so much when I first read it that I immediately had to read the entire thing again. I was so disappointed when I didn’t like Magic Study nearly as much, and I tried two or three times to get through Fire Study and couldn’t do it. Poison Study, though, will remain on my bookshelf forever.

The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett. Who doesn’t like satire that is actually funny? It’s like reading The Onion, but with characters and plots and world building. My favorites in the series are Thief of Time and Men at Arms.

The My Merlin Series by Priya Ardis. If you read these, there’s a good chance you’ll say, “Elizabeth, what is wrong with you? These books are in dire need of editing!” And you may be right. But I love them anyway. I read them so many times when I first got them, and my friend still holds one of the boys up as a paragon of awesome.

The Nightside series by Simon R. Green. A tremendously entertaining set of books where even the grossest things aren’t upsetting because they’re intended to be outrageous. But the series nevertheless has a lot of real depth and character development, and even made me cry once.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I put this on for my 11-year-old self, who decided to read the book ten times in a row. Yeah, there may have been a little OCD involved there. But I still have that copy (which I may or may not have stolen from my sister) on my bookshelf.

The Samaria Trilogy by Sharon Shinn. Once again I’m only counting the first three books in a series. And in this case, I’m really only counting the 2nd and 3rd ones, because the main character of the 1st book is a psycho. But Sharon Shinn introduced me to the concept of religious fantasy, and, as you can see from my own work, it’s become a lifelong love.
Book 1 (Earthbound Angels)
Oracle of Philadelphia
Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve.

Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to prevent it.

In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

4 Stars
Carrie has the ability to read thoughts.  She is human but immortal, having been cursed by Lucifer eight thousand years earlier.  Of necessity, she is pretty much a loner as it is frustrating that, with all her special abilities, she is rarely able to effect a more desirable outcome for those who are suffering.  She tries to hide her abilities, even going as far as hiring a stand-in psychic to greet supplicants in her place. Carrie has one true friend Bedlam.  Bedlam is a fallen angel who is quite protective of Carrie but who also loves to create mischief.  He adds humor and fun to a book that otherwise might have become dark and depressive.  The rapport between Carrie and Bedlam just shines.  I love that they are so supportive of each other.   When Carrie meets Sebastian she recognizes he has a rare, truly selfless soul; she sets out to help him despite the high personal cost she must agree too.   During the course of the story the reader learns more about Carrie through short flashbacks.   I particularly enjoyed these short journeys back in time.  This is a rollicking adventure that twists biblical beliefs with sometimes disturbing creativity challenging readers to take a different view of demons and angels, the damned and divine.  
This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J


Book 2 (Earthbound Angels)
Raising Chaos 
When good fails, chaos rises to the challenge.

The daily life of a chaos demon is delightfully sinful—overindulging in Sri Lankan delicacies, trespassing on private beaches in Hawaii, and getting soused at the best angel bar on the planet. But when Bedlam learns that the archdemon Azrael has escaped from the Abyss in order to wreak vengeance against the person who sent her there—Bedlam’s best friend, Khet—he can’t sit idly by.
Only one relic possesses the power to kill Khet, who suffers immortality at Lucifer’s request: the mythical Spear of Destiny, which pierced Christ’s side at His crucifixion. Neither angel nor demon has seen the Spear in two thousand years, but Azrael claims to know its location. Bedlam has no choice but to interpret woefully outdated clues and race her to its ancient resting place.
His quest is made nearly impossible by the interference of a persnickety archivist, Keziel—his angelic ex—and a dedicated cult intent on keeping the Spear out of the wrong hands. But to Bedlam, “wrong” is just an arbitrary word, and there’s no way he’s letting Khet die without a fight.


MY REVIEW (Incomplete)

I am currently reading this book and expect to finish and post my review within 2 or 3 days.  This time Carrie (Khet) is in trouble from a vengeful, wronged demon and Bedlam is frantic to save his dear friend, in spite of contending with the many distractions and attempts to sabotage his efforts.  Once again, the supernatural host must scramble to protect its human charges in spite of misinformation and shaky alliances.  This book has grabbed me just like the first one did.  I am enjoying reading each new twist and unforeseen development.

Reading Progress by Laurie-J


Elizabeth Corrigan

Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters.
She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.

Author Page on Red Adept        Author Page on Goodreads



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1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for hosting my tour!