Stacking the Shelves – February 28, 2015
Stacking the Shelves / February 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature all about sharing your good luck in book acquisitions! So here’s what came my way It’s been another couple busy weeks for me!   Digital ARCs                 Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder – The first three books in this series were fun. But I am quite interested to see read now that the protagonist is older. Many thanks to Harlequin! The Fold by Peter Clines – I’ve heard good things about Ex-Heroes but have not read it yet. I have to admit, the premise of this book has me even more intrigued, a teleportation device that also seems to be changing the scientists that use it! Really looking forward to it! Many thanks to Crown Publishing! Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I’ve not read anything by Novik before, but this book sounds like the perfect chance to try her. With a blurb that ends with: “Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.”  How could I not want to read this. Many thanks to Del Rey! WINNINGS There seemed to be a rush of giveaways, and somehow I was lucky enough…

Backlist Burndown Review: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
4 Stars , Reviews / February 27, 2015

Author Lauren Beukes has a gift for relaying information to the reader in a way that just flows and reads natural, not forced. All of the sudden you realize how much you have learned about the world without ever having felt like you had to sit through long sections of world building “information” or “background”. And keep in mind, there is a good amount of world building and information getting across to the reader, it is just seamlessly integrated with the story. Animal companions are kind of a scarlet letter, marking those that have committed crimes serious enough to warrant them. They can also grant their assigned human unique abilities. Our protagonist (Zinzi), while she seems to be a good person, had some misfortune that resulted in being prosecuted and her being paired with a sloth, named “Sloth”. Thanks to her sloth, Zinzi now has the ability to locate lost things. It is an interesting aspect to be so clearly marked as someone who has committed a crime. If you are a criminal and have been paired with an animal, people will refer to you as a “Zoo”. Strangers have no idea of a person’s circumstances, their actual criminal record or how remorseful they may or…

Tough Traveling – Chessmasters

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? CHESSMASTERS A true master knows where all the pieces are at all times. Others may think they have taken control but alas, the master knew their last move before they played it.   Little Finger (aka Petyr Baelish) from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin His nickname may come from being from being from The Fingers, but it could just have easily have come from having his fingers in everything. But he’s sneaky about it, and I think the other characters underestimate his level of chess mastery.     Varys (aka The Spider) from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R….

Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
4 Stars , Reviews / February 23, 2015

Be aware that if you tend to get offended or bothered by swearing or crude language, you might want to pass on this book as it has more than its fair share. That said, I this book was just a ton of fun. The world is vivid, it’s an urban fantasy where magic comes in two forms: clean and dirty. Clean magic is good, wholesome magic. People can use it in the open, you can purchase clean magic potions and items readily.Clean magic can be used to make lives easier, treat symptoms and a whole world of things. Dirty magic on the other hand, that is something much more nefarious. Dirty magic items are sold underground, handled in the same ways as one would expect illegal drug trade. And with this dirty magic, also comes addiction and crime. Kate Prospero grew up cooking dirty magic. She was being groomed to lead her coven, but something tragic happens  to make her open her eyes and shun not just dirty magic, but all magic. She then takes it a step further to become a cop, working to bust dirty magic users and practitioners. There is definitely a crime/investigative edge to this book as Kate works to solve where…

Review: The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
4 Stars , Reviews / February 21, 2015

The Autumn Republic brings an exciting and tense, yet satisfying conclusion to the Powder Mage Trilogy. It is wrought with subterfuge and political juxtaposition. There are bloody battles both mundane and magical, that bring fear and tension and excitement to the reader. There are unexpected and surprising twists. And underneath it all,there are the relationships and characters that help bring the story to life. This book is not just action and intrigue, there are also touching moments between the people we have spent 3 books with, characters we have grown to love. I do enjoy getting the different perspectives in this book and series, as there is so much going on politically I don’t think there’s any other way to truly understand the scope of the story. In the first two books I had a clear preference for Taniel’s sections. While I am still quite eager to read them, there is one character that has finally challenged him a bit for my “favorite”. Nila, the laundress turned mysterious Privileged, the one who can draw from the Else without the use of gloves. Despite not having the luxury of formal training sessions, she does start to learn to harness and use her powers and we start to get a glimpse of just…

Waiting on Wednesday – The Philospher Kings
Waiting On Wednesday / February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let us share our excitement for books coming out soon.  I am so used to waiting years between books for some of my favorite series, so I was beyond excited when I saw that the sequel to The Just City (review) is scheduled to release later this year.   Title: The Philosopher Kings Author: Jo Walton Expected publication: June 30th, 2015 Publisher: Tor     From acclaimed, award-winning author Jo Walton: Philosopher Kings, a tale of gods and humans, and the surprising things they have to learn from one another. Twenty years have elapsed since the events of The Just City. The City, founded by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, organized on the principles espoused in Plato’s Republic and populated by people from all eras of human history, has now split into five cities, and low-level armed conflict between them is not unheard-of. The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as “Pythias” in the City, his true identity known only to a few, is now married and the father of several children. But a tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge….

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Omnibus Part 1)
4 Stars , Reviews / February 17, 2015

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was a fresh and enjoyable read. Something about it just felt different then what I typically read, in a very good way. There are some familiar elements in the beginning: An unexpecting heir (Yeine) comes to court, unprepared, somewhat ignorant of how things work. This is something I have seen before, and honestly, it  can go either way for me. Luckily, it worked quite well in this case. Yes, there were some familiar elements, but overall there were so many different things that the story was fresh and original. And quite enjoyable. The protagonist, Yeine is a great character. She is strong in character and personality, and while she is out of her element, she still strives to do what is right. And even better, I became quite curious and taken by secondary characters. I found myself trying to work out their ultimate goals and motivations, wondering if they are actually friend of foe to Yeine. It’s a big political dance, every one maneuvering themselves and it’s hard for Yeine (and hence the reader), to be sure whose interest anyone is trying to serve. Hers or theirs? Or could it potentially be both? Determining who is trust worthy is challenge!…

Review: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca
4 Stars , Reviews / February 16, 2015

In general, when I read a book for review, I prefer to only think about my reaction. But every once in a while when I read a book, I can’t help but see points I think other reviewers will make. Points that I personally don’t feel are important to my experience of the book.  Usually I ignore them, but occasionally I address them in my review not because I think they are faults, but because I *don’t* think they are faults and want to point them out in hopes of balancing out any negativity that might be brought up else where. And maybe I’m wrong, maybe other reviewers won’t point these out (in which case, I apologize). But just in case, here it goes. I see so many reviews slamming books for not having “something new” in them. Books like this one make me question why. I mean honestly, if there wasn’t fun in reading certain tropes or types of storylines, we wouldn’t see them so often. I think the more important thing is how it’s executed. This book may not be without its flaws, but it was a fun and exciting read. Yes, it had a magic student with somewhat mysterious…

Stacking the Shelves – January 14, 2015
Stacking the Shelves / February 14, 2015

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature all about sharing your good luck in book acquisitions! So here’s what came my way. I normally do one of these posts every few weeks, sometimes they are months apart, but wow! This has been a busy, busy week for getting books! 🙂 I, just … honestly, I just don’t even know where to start! I want to read them all! Like now!   Unsolicited eARCs First up, I got a nice haul from Nightshade Books in my inbox the other day. The few books I’ve read from them have been quite good, so looking forward to checking these out.                    King of the Cracksmen by Dennis O’Flaherty- I have to confess with not having the best luck with steampunk, but I refuse to be biased against any sub-genres and this one sounds rather intriguing. I may wait until I see a couple of reviews of it to decide for sure where to place it in the TBR. Evensong by John Love – The couple reviews I have seen of this one so far have been really positive, and “The Dead—biologically enhanced secret operatives created by the…

Tough Traveling – To Blathe (True Love)

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? TO BLATHE Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that. But that’s not what he said! He distinctly said “to blave.” (Thanks to Wendy again. Let’s find those examples of True Love!) OK, the “To Blathe” reference is new to me, so I’m going to go with True Love! (and hope I have it straight!) Corin and Tam from Moth and Spark by Ann Leonard So, a prince goes undercover to enjoy the experience of a Carnival as…