Book Review | Six of Crows | Leigh Bardugo

I received this book for free from BookExpo in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | Six of Crows | Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on September 29, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Thieves, Young Adult
Pages: 465
Format: ARC
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone
Source: BookExpo
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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

[Read more…]

Waiting on Wednesday | The Vanishing Throne

The Vanishing Throne

The Vanishing Throne: The Falconer #2 • Elizabeth May

Book Cover The Vanishing Throne Elizabeth May

The second book in the Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises and suspense.

Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life.

Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.

Guys, I enjoyed the CRAP out of THE FALCONER, with its historical fiction, Scotland, faeries, murder, romance, and a BADASS faerie-killing MC who likes building awesome steampunky things as a hobby. Aileana Kameron is excellent, and I can’t wait to see what happens in THE VANISHING THRONE. I’ve been so dying for it for such a long time. (Also, I love this cover.)

THE VANISHING THRONE comes out June 7, 2016 from Chronicle Books

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

Book Review | Queen of Shadows | Sarah J. Maas

Book Review | Queen of Shadows | Sarah J. MaasThe Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury on September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Young Adult
Pages: 648
Format: Hardcover
Also in this series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Also by this author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Source: Bought it
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The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

[Read more…]

Book Review | The Heart of Betrayal | Mary E. Pearson

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Heart of Betrayal | Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Young Adult
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Also in this series: The Beauty of Darkness
Also by this author: The Beauty of Darkness
Source: the publisher
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Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

[Read more…]

Book Review + Q&A | The Shadow Behind the Stars | Rebecca Hahn

I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Q&A | The Shadow Behind the Stars | Rebecca HahnThe Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
Published by Atheneum on September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Mythology, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher via Edelweiss
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A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, whichKirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

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Audiobook Review | Mortal Heart | Robin LaFevers

Audiobook Review | Mortal Heart | Robin LaFeversMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Narrator: Jennifer Grace
Series: His Fair Assassin
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Recorded Books on November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy YA, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 17 hours, 52 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Also in this series: Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph
Also by this author: Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph
Source: Audible
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Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

[Read more…]

Waiting on Wednesday | The Great Hunt | Wendy Higgins

Waiting on Wednesday

The Great Hunt • Wendy Higgins
Book cover The Great Hunt Wendy Higgins

Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

GUYS. THIS BOOK THO. A retelling of a Grimm Brothers’ tale (albeit one I’ve never heard of) that sounds a little like Beauty and the Beast, although it’s possibly that “Kill the Beast” tagline, is promising enough. But look at that one line there: “…a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all….” Umm…YES TO ALL OF THESE THINGS.

I’m so excited to read THE GREAT HUNT that I preordered it already. I can barely contain my grabby hands.

THE GREAT HUNT comes out March 8, 2016 from HarperTeen

The Great Hunt Wendy Higgins

Series Love | Frontier Magic | Patricia C. Wrede

Frontier Magic

Series love The Penderwicks Jeanne BirdsallSeries Name: Frontier Magic

Author: Patricia C. Wrede (web)

Publisher: Scholastic

Number of Books: 3


Series love The Penderwicks Jeanne BirdsallPatricia C. Wrede’s series is about an alternate history America where magic and magical creatures exist. It follows one family–the Rothmers–as they move out to the frontier, where the unbridled wild is kept at bay by an enormous magical barrier. Mostly we spend time with Eff Rothmer, an unlucky 13th child and twin sister to Lan Rothmer, SUPER luck 7th son of a 7th son. People in this America have access to all kinds of magic,  but Eff struggles while Lan flourishes.

This series spans a decade or more of time, and we get to see Eff grow up and learn more about her magic and the magical world around her. Her extended family drilled into her young head that being a 13th child was the absolute WORST and all the bad things that ever happened were her fault. Moving away from them to Mill City with her immediate family introduces her to new possibilities, and she gets to explore new places out west.

Series love The Penderwicks Jeanne BirdsallSo, I’ll be the first person to tell you that Frontier Magic might not float everyone’s boat. It’s kind of meandering. It’s told, if I remember the audio correctly, as a letter or a notebook or a journal or something that an older Eff is writing to herself of her youth. So there’s decent chunks of these books where we’re just observing life and family and not a whole lot of drama is going on. But for me, I kind of enjoy these books, especially when they have a pioneer vibe like this series does, and an alternate history with magic. The world was different enough and intriguing enough to keep me engaged even when all I was hearing about was Eff’s work in the menagerie (a haven for magical creatures attached to the college in Mill City where her father works) or the days she and her group of travelers spend in the wilderness.

Eff herself is pretty rad. She might be the youngest girl in her family, but she’s got a lot of fire. Sure, she’s always believed what people said about her being unlucky, but she never loses her pluck. In fact, she grows into it. It was a treat to see her learn more about the different kinds of magic in the world and how she took that knowledge and crafted her own practices out of it that made her powerful. Eff is also pretty handy with a rifle, very sharp, and not all that afraid when, especially in the last two books, her traveling parties out west encounter some dangerous creatures.

The world in Frontier Magic is pretty great, although there’s a lack of background that the book/history nerd in me was DYING for. For example, the history of this world seems to loosely follow American history, at least up to the Civil War, but there’s still so much that’s unexplained! The world and the magic in it was pretty fascinating to me, so I would’ve loved more detail here. And also a map. I listened to these books on audio–Amanda Ronconi is a great narrator–but even when I looked online for a map, the one I found on Patricia C. Wrede’s site seemed inadequate. BUMMER.

It’s hard to classify these books in terms of age range because Eff starts out so young in book 1 (I think she’s 4), but is in her early 20s in book 3. Most certainly, these books are a coming-of-age for her. There are some hints at romances–well, maybe one hint that Eff is kind of oblivious to at first, and one romance that is kind of a foregone conclusion but also a little meh–but the focus is really Eff and her magic and her growth. It has a very middle-grade feel about it that I found myself craving when I couldn’t listen to it.

If you’re a fan of Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwick’s series, I’d say this is a good series for you to dive into. Same kind of vibe to me, with the added bonus of alternate history America (after what we call the Civil War, but I think before the turn of the century? Or just into it? I can’t remember now), and MAGIC. The audio is great as well! Very easy to listen to, and I liked Amanda Ronconi’s accent. It’s kind of country sounding, which was perfect for this series.

Book Review | The Wrath and the Dawn | Renee Ahdieh

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Wrath and the Dawn | Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 12, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

[Read more…]

Waiting on Wednesday | Revenge and the Wild | Michelle Modesto

Waiting on Wednesday

Revenge and the Wild • Michelle Modesto

Book cover Revenge and the Wild Michelle Modesto

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

STAHHHP. Is this a fantasy steampunk Western? DOES THE SYNOPSIS SAY WAGON TRAIL?! Someone send me smelling salts. Please. PLEASE. I can’t. REVENGE AND THE WILD sounds amazing. Westie sounds like a complete BAMF, with her mechanical arm and her foul mouth. The magic and the gold angle sounds really interesting. I just need this book, guys.

REVENGE AND THE WILD comes out February 2, 2016 from Balzer + Bray

Revenge and the Wild Michelle Modesto