Posts tagged ‘PNBA’

December 5th, 2012

Ironskin by Tina Connolly; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Ironskin

Author: Tina Connolly

Published: October 2012

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 3/5

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again. [From Goodreads]

Quote: I chose the first two sentences, because those were all I had to hear before I was interested…

The moor was grey, battlefield grey. It had been five years since the last fey was seen, but out here Jane could almost imagine the Great War still raged on.


I met Tina Connolly at Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Association’s Fall Conference this year, and as soon as she described her book, I was hooked. Jane Eyre? Fey? It didn’t even cross my mind to be skeptical – it was too great a prospect.

Ironskin captures some of the best aspects of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre without copying the story or seeming unoriginal. Actually, part of Ironskin’s originality stems from its Eyre roots. I was impressed by the skill with which Connolly took a classic story and made it her own, weaving fantasy through it and creating something new that will appeal to a Young Adult audience.

Fey are a difficult species to master, considering they are so often found in YA books nowadays. I was concerned, as the book began, that I would find the fey boring or predictable, but they were perhaps the most astounding part of the book. I did not at all expect what I got in the fantasy department. Connolly’s fey are entirely different from any others I’ve read about, and perfectly terrifying. I love that they are a combination of scary elements. Each aspect of their species is frightening in its own way.

The story begins slowly, hinting at mysteries and dark pasts and even darker futures, but the development creeps along. This is just the sort of plot I enjoy in a slightly gothic novel. You get a sneaking suspicion that something bad is going to happen, but you must anticipate it while the author artfully takes his or her time. Thankfully, Connolly does not disappoint. I read the end of the book in the wee hours of the morning, sitting on a creaky bed in an old hotel, while rain beat against the windows (I was in DC, and Hurricane Sandy was approaching). What an ideal atmosphere for reading this sort of book! The end, which was remarkably disturbing and dramatic anyway, was incredible when I was in the correct mindset. I remember grasping the book in my hands and going for far too long without blinking. Such is the reward of the suspense.

I think this book will appeal to those who like a book that takes a quirky approach to a common theme, those who have a special place in their heart for Jane Eyre, and those who enjoy the maddening suspense of a great gothic horror book. Though Ironskin certainly has the feel of classic literature, I don’t think fans of contemporary literature will find it bothersome. The romance and fantasy are just the sort that will appeal to anyone who has an interest in one or both of those genres (and, let’s face it – who doesn’t?).

Overall, Ironskin is a unique book. It is a uniqueness that pays homage to the classics, which is quite the feat. If you’re interested in this fascinating story, stay tuned for an interview with Tina Connolly!

October 16th, 2011

So… Just Kidding About That Post Last Sunday.

by Madeleine Rex

I realize I’m not off to a great start with this whole “posting regularly” thing. However, I’ve returned with some great news!

First, though, is Wordstock. Not that it wasn’t great, but this weekend, I must admit, was much greater. Wordstock was very enjoyable, and I’m always proud of Portlanders when they express their love for books. I could be passing these bookish people on the street and have absolutely no idea! (I’ve just noticed that I’m starting to sound like a fangirl, so perhaps I should move on.)

I’d have to say one of the highlights of the day was an author panel called “Vampires Are So Last Year” with Maggie Stiefvater, Suzanne Young, and Isaac Marion. I cannot sufficiently express how hilarious they were! Not to mention the fact that it’s always interesting to hear authors’ points of view concerning trends (Maggie’s betting on the next big trend being Kraken. Let’s hope she’s right).

Onto the even BIGGER news. I spent Thursday, Friday, and half of yesterday at PNBA – Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Association. They have a conference once a year, and this is the second year I’ve attended. I go with a couple friends of mine (I’m helping them with some techie stuff). It is amazing! I’ve gotten dozens of books to review and promote. You can see a picture of me and my new friends to the right.

Another factor of the conference that’s really enjoyable are the many, many authors that speak. I saw Maggie Stiefvater again (and she was even more hilarious), Christopher Paolini, and a bunch of other authors who were simultaneously witty and prolific. (I can’t even manage to be one of those most of the time.)

While at PNBA on Thursday afternoon, I sat in on a panel titled “Northwest Books for Northwest Readers” and left bursting with excitement to read books written in or set in this region. I have an expanded understanding and appreciation for the literary atmosphere here in the Pacific Northwest and hope to be able to share it with you guys as I review some of these books.

And even if you don’t care about Northwest books (although you should), I have something for else as well: Giveaways! I grabbed multiple copies of a few books that I know people are on the lookout for, such as A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) and Pandemonium (Delirium #2). Check back here in the near future to enter giveaways!

I am thrilled to have been blessed with the opportunities to attend both of these events and meet fantastic booksellers, authors, and publishers. I can honestly say that I look forward to October more than any other month because of the variety of literary events going on (and my birthday, but that isn’t quite as relevant to you guys). And I can’t wait to review all the books! Stay tuned and happy reading!