Book Review: Sufficiently Advanced Magic

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Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess.

He never returned.

Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won’t be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that, he’s going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity.

The journey won’t be easy, but Corin won’t stop until he gets his brother back.

Pros – familiar RPG world mechanics make it easy to understand the plot from A to B, friendship and communication are important here, The Voice of The Tower

Cons – Familiar RPG elements make this a repetitive read, Corin’s at times baffling thought process/leaps of logic, convoluted “bad guy” scheme

Notes – ok this review gets a little long winded and I apologize for that, but the book itself is pretty long (620ish pages / 22 hours audio)

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Book Review: Before She Ignites

before she ignites

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Pros – Mira, the entire theme of not being silenced (by yourself or others), dragons

Cons – Plot points brought up and left dangling (I know this is only the first book but still), the format, Mira toddled between realistic in her naivety and unrealistic a bit too frequently for me

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Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

 

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Pros – Jack, the Moors, Jill (yes I’m surprised)

Cons – None. Except you know poor Jack’s happiness…

Notes – While technically the second book in the Wayward Children series, this is a prequel to EVERY HEART A DOORWAY in terms of Jack & Jill’s story. As such if you already read EVERY HEART you know the outcome of Jack’s choice here, but the choices made to get to that choice are what’s most intriguing.

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Blog Tour: BEFORE SHE IGNITES

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Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)

by Jodi Meadows

496 pages

Expected publication: September 12th, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Synopsis:

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland. But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect. No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

US Amazon – UK Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

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Beautiful, Jaw-Dropping Collector’s Editions You Need to Pre-Order Right Away: City of Bones, Red Queen, Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Did you know…

That the powers that be are coming out with a 10th anniversary edition to City of Bones that looks like a book about magic and spells and pretty much awesomeness? Also according to EW.com the book will have “a cloth-over-board jacket with text and art stamped in foil”.

I can already feel my bookish senses tingling.

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Book Review: Soleri

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The ruling family of the Soleri Empire has been in power longer than even the calendars that stretch back 2,826 years. Those records tell a history of conquest and domination by a people descended from gods, older than anything in the known world. No living person has seen them for centuries, yet their grip on their four subjugate kingdoms remains tighter than ever.

On the day of the annual eclipse, the Harkan king, Arko-Hark Wadi, sets off on a hunt and shirks his duty rather than bow to the emperor. Ren, his son and heir, is a prisoner in the capital, while his daughters struggle against their own chains. Merit, the eldest, has found a way to stand against imperial law and marry the man she desires, but needs her sister’s help, and Kepi has her own ideas.

Meanwhile, Sarra Amunet, Mother Priestess of the sun god’s cult, holds the keys to the end of an empire and a past betrayal that could shatter her family.

Pros – Kepi, women came into power, friendship goals

Cons – Sometimes hard to keep track of who relates to who, plans got a bit convoluted and unnecessarily messy at times

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Book Review: The Blazing Star

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the-blazing-starSixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

Pros – Egypt! Sikara and Alex’s bickering, not insta-love just add teen lust

Cons – Alex’s general attitude, lack of context at times in regards to people, vague undefined time frame

Note – Isn’t that cover beautiful? You should also check out the book trailer, also gorgeous!

Spoiler – my historical note at the end contains spoilers for the Egyptian/Ancient Personages that appear in the book as well as documented history. Please refer to my GR Review if you’d like to avoid all of that.

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2017 Anticipated Titles: SFF Edition

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Ben Wyatt is literally my patronus

Friends, readers, laymen…lend me your eyeballs. As we approach 2017 let’s look at some awesome cool books coming out shall we? From the gloriously expected from authors we know will please us to newcomers, 2017 has some whoopers of titles being released.

Leading up to 2017 there shall be 5 posts about books I’m looking forward to in:

  • SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy)
  • Romance (link)
  • Anthology (link)
  • Whatever I Want (link)
  • Young Adult Contemporary (link)

Some books may cross over in terms of category, but I tried to list them on the list I consider them first to be.

Today’s edition is all about Science Fiction and Fantasy titles! What new worlds will we visit? What vistas shall we explore? How many Chosen Ones and Prophesized Ones will save the day? Let’s find out!

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Book Review: Vassa in the Night

vassa-in-the-nightIn the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

Pros – Babs (I will never not consider Baba Yaga a Pro in a book), the visuals of this book, Erg

Cons – The surreal nature sometimes makes it hard to understand just what happened, Vassa can be blind, dead things

Spoiler – If you know the original Russian fairy tale of “Vassilissa the Beautiful” you can guess how this will turn out.

Note – I got only one warning for y’all – if you have a weak stomach when it comes to dead things being described, be wary.

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Book Review: The Queen of Blood

 

queen of bloodAn idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

Pros – Daleina is a pragmatic heroine, the forest is dark and full of terrors, Ven’s training program

Cons – Some parts (such as the romance) felt glossed over and “then this happened” storytelling occurs, Ven’s an idiot, EVERYONE I LOVED [spoiler]

Spoiler – I won’t ruin the end, but literally keep a box of tissues handy if you ever get emotional over fictionals

Note -Durst notes this in the author’s note, but originally this wasn’t meant to be book 1, this is sort of a “prequel” to the events Durst was originally writing about. Which…I love Daleina, so I’m glad. Also I don’t trust trees now.

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