A few reviews

I’m playing catch up with my reviews so I’m going to do a few today.

Let’s start with the one I didn’t like so I can finish strong. The Shadow Rises by K S Marden, Witch Hunters book 1. Witch hunters and witches and inherited powers. A little confused with poorly developed characters. DNF. Not much to say but at least it was free.

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Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott, Sam Capra book 1

Sam works for the CIA. His wife is expecting their first baby. She also works for the Company. One day Sam goes to work and receives a call to from her to come outside right this second. As soon as he does a bomb goes off in the building and she disappears.

Sam is now the only survivor and the chief suspect. He only wants to escape custody and find his wife and baby. To do that he has to make some new allies and go on the run.

I love a good thriller and this one sounded really exciting. It has a great premise, as who doesn’t identify with wanting to find your family and keep them safe? The bad guys were pretty bad,the pace was goos. But the writing kept me from giving it more than 3.5 stars. Also I don’t enjoy political thrillers as much, so it wasn’t quite what I expected.


 

Goldmayne by Kate Stradling

Duncan escapes an abusive father to wind up servant to a witch. There he meets a talking 🐎 who helps him escape. They set off for a neighboring country and find work at the castle.

This was a fairy tale retelling of two French stories, Scurvyhead and Goldmayne. I was unfamiliar with either story, so I couldn’t tell at first how it was going to end. It has a happy ending, of course, and the hero gets the girl. Fun stuffstuff. This one is on Kindle Unlimited or it’s only $1.

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Finally my favorite of the bunch, Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

“Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

I actually liked this better than the Dresden Files. I liked Tavi and Amara better than I like Harry Dresden. It still has some problems, mainly a hyper sexualized female villain (her character does get explained though), but I thought it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to the next book.I

 

Hope this have you done ideas for your next read. See you later!

 

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Pirates AND Dragons!

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Are you looking for a great escape read? After watching Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War – no spoilers, I promise! – I *really* needed something light and happy. What could be better than a fantasy story with a love triangle, pirates, and a little dragon? How about a kick-ass heroine who gets in there and mixes it up? And how about doing it all for less than a dollar?

The book is Moss Forest Orchid, book 1 in the Silver & Orchids series by one of my favorite fairy tale writers, Shari L. Tapscott. I’ve talked about Shari’s books before on here, so you know that I love them, but these books are not based on a fairy tale. They are entirely new.

Lucia is from a family of chicken farmers, looking for a way into a better life. She teams up with best friend (and grandson of the local lord) Sebastian and sets up as adventurers. Unfortunately, she invests all their earnings with a man who turns out to be a con artist, and the two have nothing to show for all their hard work. Then they hear about a new job – bringing back a cutting of a rare flower, an orchid that only grows in a distant and dangerous swamp. The pay would be enough for Lucia to pay back Sebastian and make a new start.

There’s only a few problems with this plan. First, Lucia and Sebastian can hardly talk to each other without fighting, so teaming up is going to be rough. And second, there’s this distracting (and sexy) pirate captain who keeping turning up. Finally, Lucia has hm, acquired a dragon egg, which is going to be trouble. The whole thing is a bit of a mess. But hey, pirates are good!

I loved this one so much that the love triangle didn’t even phase me. Normally I avoid those books, but this one was just done right. I was really deceived by the first book, but as soon as I finished, I downloaded book 2, Greybrow Serpent, and completely switched my ship! The first book is available on Amazon right now for only $1 so you have no reason not to check it out. Love, love this series!

 

 

Blog Tour: Q & A

38363145 Hey bookies! Yesterday I had a review of Happily by Chauncey Rogers. Well, I’m back today with a Q & A with one of the main character, Luc! This interview with our happy-go-lucky merchant takes place before events in the book really get started, so there’s no spoilers!

What brings you to the capital?
Work! I’ve heard that this is the best place to sell fine cloth, and I come with nothing but the very finest. I’m hoping to establish myself in the royal market.

Is this your first time in the capital?
It is. It matches my mother’s description very well—as beautiful as she said it would be, if not more so. You really are fortunate here in Écarlate.

How long have you been trading?
A while, but to be honest, this is my first time really trading. Before it was just bartering. My family had quite a few nice things, once upon a time. Most of it’s gone now, traded away for things that we needed. But you do what you have to do, and life goes on, I suppose.

So, do you have a girlfriend? What do you look for in a girl?
No, no girlfriend. I mean, I have some friends who are girls, but it’s been a while since I’ve spent time with any of them. But if I were choosing a wife… I think I’d look for someone who could work hard. It takes a lot of work to build a future for a family. I’d want someone who I could work beside. The work has to be done anyways, so I guess you might as well do it in good company.

Tell me more about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
Hmmm… I’m not sure. I’m me? Haha. Uh, let’s see…. I’m a morning person. I like going to bed feeling like I got a lot done that day. I like planning, I suppose—thinking things through. I like to watch the stars come out, and just think. I don’t like fish very much? Haha, yeah, I guess I really don’t know what to say.

What are your long-term plans?
Well, I’ve got to get up this hill for starters, but that’s definitely short term. I have enough cloth in here, though, that if I get it all sold I’d be well set for a long while. I think then I’d be going out to restock at even lower prices—maybe travel closer to the sources, but perhaps get a horse so I can give my back a break from pulling this cart around myself. But if you mean really long term, I don’t know for sure. I just want peace and prosperity, really.

Thanks for dropping in and reading this Q&A with Luc. It’s been a while since I finished writing Happily, so it was fun to drop back into Luc’s head and think about things from his perspective for a little bit.

Luc’s positive nature and work ethic are endearing to some, and a bit annoying to others. How do you feel about it? Would you want to spend a week at a job with Luc? Let us know in the comments!

Day 7 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. Seethe full schedule here.

Happily on GoodReads
Purchase Happily on Amazon!

Catch more of the blog tour here:

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And this tour is courtesy of R & R book tours.

r & r

2 Faery Tales

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I love some good fantasy involving the fae. I like fluffy happy fairy tales too, but sometimes I like the darker tales, the ones that remind you that those Fair Folk can be spooky and otherworldly beings as well as beautiful and kind. I just read two fae books in a row, and while neither was as good as I hoped, one was better than the other one. Neither of these were specifically YA books, but either one could be read by any age.

I’ll start with the one I am recommending (with reservations).

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The Masked City by Genevieve Cogmon
Invisible Library book 2

I read the first one in this series, The Invisible Library, last month I believe and I thought it was quite fun. In that one, Junior Librarian Irene is given a new apprentice and sent into a world to retrieve a rare book. When she is there, she discovers that the fae are rather powerful in that world, which also has some steampunk aspects, and narrowly escapes being murdered by the one person to escape the Library oaths.

This book starts a little while after that one. Slight spoiler: she is assigned to remain on that world with. Her assistant Kai, who has secrets I won’t spoil, but trust me they’re big, gets kidnapped in this one and taken to an alternate Venice entirely ruled by the fae. Irene has to get him back before war breaks out. More noticeable plotholes than the first book, but more dragons, so it sort of events out. Irene is still awesome, but too impulsive. I liked the Train. If you’re looking for a fun series that sort of bridges the YA/adult gap, this one would be a good place to start. Right now this series is four books long, but it sounds like the author has even more planned, so this is a good one to check out if you want something you can really enjoy.

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A Fairy Tale by Shanna Swendson book 1

This one was not as good as the previous book. You might know this author from her Rebel Mechanics or Enchanted, Inc series. This one was at the library so I thought I would give it a try. Emily gets kidnapped by the fae – there’s a lot of that going around – and big sister Sophie wants to get her back. Lots of faery politics, some romantic tension, and a bulldog. Not a lot to this book, and Sophie really takes her time, but I liked the picture of the fae world and I liked Emily. I didn’t like that it took Sophie so long to figure things out. Probably won’t read more in this series.

So that’s it for today. Also, I’m thinking of starting a BookTube channel. Let me know in the comments if you would watch and what you’d like to see from me if I do. Happy reading!

Muirwood – a Review

The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler*

I have read Wheelers other series and enjoyed it, but I didn’t know much about these. When I saw the set at the thrift store I decided to snag all three. Later I read the rather tepid reviews. Readers described them as a rather predictable story of a Pig-Girl who saved the Kingdom, but I was kind of in the mood for safe and predictable, so I have it a try.

Lia is a Wretched, which is sort of like a foundling, except it’s an actual class in her world. One day a stranger arrives with an injured boy and asks her to hide him. She does. Turns out that he’s a knight in training and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham or so edging is looking for him. Meanwhile, Lia can do magic and stuff so she goes on this quest with him and fulfills her destiny and all that.

It was pretty unexceptional, but okay enough. Now I have two more books that I suppose I’ll read to see if it gets any better. We have yet to meet the Dude Who Wants to be King, but I guess he’s cooler than the actual 👑, so maybe that will be fun. IDK. I’m hiding from some real life worries in these books and I’m not up to any Serious Topics right now.

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend them unless you were under 14. For everyone else, you’ve read this story before and seen it done better

Top 10 Tuesday – New YA

It’s Tuesday and I thought I would do a list of 10 new or new-ish YA books I’m looking forward to reading. I don’t read as much YA as a lot of bloggers do, but I do like some, so here goes!

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The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo. This sounds like a fun book with an #ownvoices author and diverse characters. It’s not available until May, but the reviews are really positive, so I think this one will be worth reading.

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Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis. Again, a YA contemporary with #ownvoices representation. I was sold on this because the description, a girl moving in with an estranged parent into a religious household. This one also releases in May.

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Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. I love the cover on this one! I follow this author on Twitter and this story of a Pakistani girl forced into servitude sounds really compelling. I think this one will get a lot of attention. Out in May.

A Blade So Black by L L McKinney. This one has been getting a lot of buzz, not all of it positive, because of some controversial statements by author about race. However, I’m intrigued enough by the idea of Alice in Wonderland as a POC that I’m willing to wait until the September release and then decide for myself.

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg. This one comes out in July, and it sounds like a Western fairy tale kind of thing. I like this author enough to put this on my list right away, without waiting for reviews.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw. Finally we come to a book that is actually available now! A stand alone book about three sisters who are witches and some creepy stuff going on. Reviews are good and it sounds like a cool setting.

Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron. Unlike the others, this one is the final book in a series that I’ve already read and enjoyed. Set in a future or parallel world where dragons live among humans and basically rule the world, I really hope this wraps up all the conflicts and has a satisfying ending. Also available now, but I haven’t downloaded it yet.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. I am a sucker for Shakespeare retelling and this one sounds promising. Add magic in, give the sisters more of a personality than in the play, and then a creepy poison ritual (according to the book description) and it’s no surprise that this goes onto my list.

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson. This one came out last month and the reviews are a little mixed, but I think it sounds interesting enough that I want to give it a try. I haven’t read all the descriptions, because everyone says it’s better to just jump in with this one, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. A Viking- inspired story with a female MC. How cool is that? She’s fierce, and she’s angry, and there’s an girl holding an ax on the cover! OK, shallow maybe, but I’m still going to read it.

And one more, because I’m excited about this one and I just barely heard it was coming out!

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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I loved Uprooted, and it sounds like this one is set in the same world, although with different characters. I can’t tell for sure, but it sounds like there’s a Jewish MC, which you don’t see a lot (like ever?) in fantasy, and I think that’s really cool. But even if I’m wrong, I can’t wait to read it. But I have to, because it’s not out until July.

Wow, I’m kind of surprised that I was able to come up with 10 books for this list; I was afraid I would only have 4 or 5. But it looks like I will have plenty of YA to keep me happy, not to mention all the hundreds of other books on my list and the books I have piled up literally in every room of my house. What new books are you looking forward to reading? Let me know! Happy reading!

2-to-Read

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This is not me. Just FYI.

I just read two fun books in a row, both YA, both ones I would recommend.

The first is The Plastic Magician by Charlie M Holmberg. I’ve blogged about her before, even did a giveaway of one of her books. (Speaking of which, I should do another giveaway soon!) So it’s no secret that I enjoy her writing. This book is an add-on to her Paper Magician series, but introduces an entirely new main character. Here’s the synopsis.

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

My take:

Alvie is a young German American woman who can’t wait to learn magic. She’s even chosen her field – The newly emerging study of plastics. She gets chosen for a very prestigious apprenticeship in England and sets off. Not a lot of plot going on here, but Alvie was so much fun as a character and the world was so engrossing that it didn’t bother me that the villain was really obvious. There was a light romance – very light – but it was a sweet one. I would recommend it to lovers of light fantasy.

Which brings me to my second book, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I saw this recommended by a Good Reads friend, so when I saw a copy at the library, I had to grab it. It’s based on this extra-dimensional library that maintains the language and literature of the worlds. Cool, right? Here’s a synopsis.

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author. One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested–the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something–secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.

My verdict:

A fun romp that goes completely over the top. Vampires and airships and far and alternate worlds all combine in this crazy little book. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I was in the mood for slightly goofy fun and this book was just what I needed. Irene and Kai are great characters and there’s still plenty of mystery left for the next book. It’s the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was good. Mine involved a lot of driving.

I’m currently reading 2 books, kind of a low number for me, but I’ve been reading fewer books at a time this year.

8049273 The Elegant Universe is my current audiobook. I *finally* finished the Plantagenet book by Dan Jones, which was a whopper at something like 26 hours. This one is much shorter, but involves a lot of big concepts. It’s about string theory, quantum mechanics, and the search for the ultimate theory of the universe. I don’t really get all the ideas in here, but part of why I love books about physics is that they make you think in ways you aren’t used to. Brian Greene uses a lot of examples that help explain things in a way that you can understand them better. It’s been a fun book.

24357485I’m also reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson. This is on my Kindle. I love the steampunk fantasy world that the author has created here, and I love that even though I read the previous book in the series, I still can’t really predict where he’s going in this book. The relationships as well as the plot are still keeping me guessing. It feels like an easy read too, compared to the horrible Ada Palmer book I just finished.

That’s it for me. Hope you are finding something awesome to read. Let me know what books you are into right now and whether you like them!

January Recap

It’s been a crazy month for reading 📚! I’ve really been glued to a book all the time and my page count really shows it. Brandon Sanderson is in the lead with the highest page count. Most books by one author would go to Lindsay Buroker with 5. Genre would probably be fantasy or science fiction, although I’ve read some really good thrillers this month.

Cold cases – On The Shelf Too Long

1.A Man of Means by PG Wodehouse*
2. The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears *
3. The Boy on the Bridge by M. R Carey * – Net Galley
4. Quiet Meg by Sherry Lynn Ferguson

Repeat offenders – Rereads

1. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, on audio *
2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson *
3. The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling *
4. Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker *
5. The Thief by Clive Cuddler and Justin Scott

SERIALS – books in a series

1. The Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson*
2. Forged in Blood I by Lindsay Buroker*
3. Forged in Blood II by Lindsay Buroker*
4. Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker*
5. Honor’s Flight by Lindsay Buroker*
6. Sign Off by Patricia McLinn
7. The Naming by Alison Croggon

ISOLATED OCCURRENCE – stand alone book titles

1. The Shape-Changer’s Wife by Sharon Shinn *
2. Magpie Murders by Antony Horowitz
3. The Accident by Linwood Barclay
4. They’re Watching by Greg Hurwitz

MINOR INFRACTION – YA and Children’s books

1. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by EL Konigsburg *
2. Missing – Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong
3. Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
4. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS – non-fiction

1. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – audio – Also counting for BingoDog
2. Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar – audio

My least favorite book was probably The Naming. Just too much exposition, too predictable. My favorite would be one of the Brandon Sanderson books, but I can’t decide which one. Altogether a really good month!

Book splurge!

I’ve been so down this week that I decided to cheer myself up by buying some stuff off my wish list. Most of them are books I’ve been wanting for a while, so there’s nothing very recent on here, but I thought I would share a couple all the same.

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The Red Rope of Fate by KM Shea. Here’s the book description:

“In a land where humans and elves find it difficult to communicate, Tari—an elf—is bound to Captain Arion—a human military officer—in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between the two races. When the ceremony is over the pair discover that the impossible has happened: they can understand each other in spite of the language barrier.

Thrown into a storm of politics, Tari and Arion are put in danger by those who want humans and elves to remain separate.

To make matters worse, Tari realizes she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both societies dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings. Unfortunately the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari’s well being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her.

If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries’ alliance, or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.”

OK, this one was actually free, but I like this author’s fairy tale books a lot so I thought I would try a fantasy and see if it’s just as good. I’ll let you know!

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The Body Politic by Catherine Aird. Book description here:

“What’s the value of one British engineer when stacked against the exclusive mining rights to a rare, strategically important, and extremely valuable mineral?

The British-based Anglo-Lassertan Mineral Company finds itself in hot water when one of its engineers, Alan Ottershaw, hits and kills a pedestrian while driving in a foreign country—a nation that happens to be “on the sunny side of the Iron Curtain,” with thick veins of the strategically important mineral querremitte. This particular country has draconian laws about killings, so Ottershaw is relieved when he’s whisked back to Calleshire before the foreign police can throw him in jail. But now that the Lassertan government is threatening to strip the mining company of its most valuable contract, poor Mr. Ottershaw begins to worry about his safety—and when he dies suddenly in a war reenactment, it looks like a very convenient solution to everyone’s problem.

A little too convenient, if you ask Calleshire detective C. D. Sloan, who, along with his bumbling sidekick, Constable Crosby, must investigate the death. It seems that nearly everyone in town would prefer to forget that the Lassertan debacle ever happened—but why has a man been following around the Calleshire MP dressed as the Grim Reaper? Who has been sending death threats and live scorpions via post? Detective Sloan is on the case.”

This one I bought because I love this police mystery series and I have had a lot of trouble finding a copy of this one in print. It’s finally on Kindle so I decided now was the time to get it.

What books have you brought home lately? Tell me in the comments!