With Bated Breath (3)


June 23, 2012 by Heidi

With Bated Breath is a regular feature at Bunbury in the Stacks where I feature books I’ve recently added to my TBR, whether they be up-and-coming, or books from the past that have been brought to my attention.

Since my last edition of With Bated Breath was composed solely of forthcoming books I’d picked up from BEA, I figured this post would be made solely of books I’ve recently added to my TBR that are already out!  Check them out:

book cover of Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
October 12th, 2010 by Bloomsbury

In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy’s charms–no more than trinkets when worn by others–are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason’s apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king’s carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all…

Berry’s debut novel garnered glowing reviews and strong sales–and now she’s done it again with a beautifully woven tale to keep all readers, young and old, absolutely charmed.

I am such a huge fan of a well-done fairy tale esque story, so when Thea of The Booksmugglers wrote a fantastic review of Secondhand Charm after being burned by some major duds, I knew I had to have it. This one’s certainly on my radar for when I’m hankering for some magic.

book cover of House of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
March 7th, 2000 by Random House

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story– of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

A couple of weeks ago, I was having one of those days where I had a hankering to listen to some of the music I hadn’t for some time.  I busted out Poe, and upon hearing it my boyfriend reminded me that she’d written the album, Haunted, as a companion to her brother’s novel, House of Leaves.  Now, I like Haunted so much, I started wondering why I’d never picked up House of Leaves—I must do so!  If you aren’t familiar with Poe, the album is available to check out on Spotify.

book cover of The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
September 1st, 2009 by HarperCollins

On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in a deadly web of deceits.

Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess–one of the island’s precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.

When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her world–and of herself–in a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.

Not long ago, Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit started a fun new meme called ‘Recommend a…’ in which people recommend books fitting a topic of the week.  One week the topic was ‘Recommend a book with a green cover’, and my friend Amy of Tripping Over Books recommended this one.  Fantasy in the jungle?!  My heart was immediately sold, and I just know I’m going to love this one when I get to it.

book cover of Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman
August 2nd, 2006 by Marvel

All’s not well in the Marvel Universe in the year 1602 as strange storms are brewing and strange new powers are emerging Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, Captain America, and more appear in the waning days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. As the world begins to change and enter into a new age, Gaiman weaves a thrilling mystery. How and why are these Marvel stars appearing nearly 400 years before they’re supposed to?

If you held a gun to my head and made me pick a favorite author, I’d probably (cry and wet myself and) say Neil Gaiman.  That said, the only graphic novels I’ve read of his have been my adored Sandman series.  Needless to say, when I saw this one land in blogging buddy Anna’s (Pocketful of Books) book haul one week, my need for it became substantial.  Superheroes out of time?!  Want!

book cover of Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleurEight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
August 9th, 2011 by Wendy Lamb Books

Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise’s parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There’s always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the bar…

The lovely Jasmine (A Room With Books) has a feature each week wherein she features a cover that she loves.  Well, she may have been talking cover and not story for this one, but it still caught my eye!  It sounds cute, and I recently just started reading contemporary Middle Grade, so this could be a good fit.

book cover of Explorer The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi
March 1st, 2012 by Harry N. Abrams

Seven clever stories answer one simple question: what’s in the box?

Funny, fantastic, spooky, and suspenseful, each of these unique and beautifully illustrated short graphic works revolves around a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels—or mayhem—inside. Artists include middle school favorites Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), as well as Jason Caffoe, Stuart Livingston, Johane Matte, Rad Sechrist (all contributors to the groundbreaking comics anthology series Flight), and upcoming artist Emily Carroll.

Librarian extraordinaire, Miss Anderson (who will remain a librarian extraordinaire in my mind despite her giving up her post to head back to grad school) reviewed this one on her blog, The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh, and it caught my eye.  I love this format for graphic novels, and I love screaming ‘WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!’ ala Brad Pitt, so it seemed right up my alley.

That’s it for this edition, let me know what you can’t wait to read!


If you liked that you might like this:


  1. VeganYANerds says:

    These are all new to me, so thanks for introducing me to so many new books! I like the sound of Eight Keys, it sounds really touching

    • Heidi says:

      Doesn’t it? I just started reading contemporary middle grade in the last month or so, and so far all of them have been great. Hopefully this one will be as well!

  2. I am waiting with bated breath for you to read The Lost Conspiracy. 😉 It’s such a unique, different sort of fantasy and also an amazing book! It’s also not very well known but it deserves a lot more attention, I think. The Neil Gaiman looks amazing too! Want.

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I’d certainly never heard of it before, but when I went and looked on Goodreads, all of my friends that had read The Lost Conspiracy had given it 4 or 5 stars. Sold! Alas, it may be a bit…I’ve got to knock down a bit of this BEA pile first (which I can’t get to till I knock down some library books). 😛

  3. Joshua told me to read House of Leaves last year when we were in the midst of grad school and it was just too hard to focus on the craziness that is that book while trying to write papers on Web 2.0 but I DO own it and if you are going to tackle it this summer I will join in! Also the Gaiman book looks awesome! I WILL read him this summer!!

    • Heidi says:

      Haha, please do! I hope you like him. Though one of the things I love about Gaiman, is he’s done such diverse work that I really think there’s some Gaiman out there for everyone. And YES! I will let you know when I’m going to tackle House of Leaves.

  4. Ooh, I like this list!

    I read The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry, and while I liked it, it didn’t knock my socks off, BUT I still have Secondhand Charm on my TBR list. I’ll have to check out Thea’s review:)

    I’ve never heard of House of Leaves (but I used to love Poe back in the day as well!) and Eight Keys looks AWESOME. I love some good MG contemporary, adding that one to my wishlist now.

    And is it just me or does Explorer remind anyone of the box that carries all the kids to the Glade in The Maze Runner? That was the first thing I thought of when I saw it:)

    • Heidi says:

      OMG I didn’t think about it being like THAT box, and now I’m not going to be able to think anything else when I look at it! I pictured the Glade box more as like an elevator when I read it.

      Thea did like Secondhand Charm more than Amaranth Enchantment, so maybe you will too!

      Yay for other Poe fans! <3

  5. Yay!! Recommend A… in action!! Thanks for linking me :) Amy has great recommendations every week!

  6. Chachic says:

    I have a feeling you’d enjoy reading The Lost Conspiracy. I remember I picked that up because it came highly recommended my Megan Whalen Turner and I wasn’t disappointed. :) Also, 1602 was a lot of fun! I keep meaning to read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman novels but they’re just so expensive. Do you know that he’s been here to Manila several times? I was able to attend one of his signings a few years ago and I had Stardust and The Graveyard Book signed.

  7. Jasmine Rose says:

    The Lost Conspiracy sounds really good. I’m surprised I never heard about it before now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention :]
    I’m sad this “What’s in the box” reference is lost on me, but I sooo want to read this!

  8. […] Island (aka The Lost Conspiracy) by Frances Hardinge [Amazon|Goodreads] I featured this one in a With Bated Breath post a while back, and since then I’ve realized I’ve put about every Frances Hardinge […]

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.