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The Novice by Taran Matharu ARC {3.5 Stars}

The Novice by Taran Matharu is the first in a new young adult fantasy series staring magic, dwarves, elves, a white orc uniting the other orcs, and demons that magic users can collect and battle with! I can’t help but describe The Novice as a combination of Harry Potter (magic school), Pokemon (catch the critters!), and World of Warcraft (all the fantasy races!). The Novice started a little slow and reads pretty young for young adult, but is a light and fast fantasy if you are in the mood to have fun.

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Novice from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Novice by Taran Matharu ARC {3.5 Stars}

The Novice by Taran Matharu (Summoner #1)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Length: 398 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 5/24/15

Updates from the Lair

Updates from the Lair is my weekly wrap-up post that includes what happened in my real life, what I’ve been reading, my posts from the week, and what I’m thinking about reading next week (and would love your advice on!). 

My first week of summer work! I had the official conversation with my advisor about what my dissertation chapters will roughly look like and have been working on my various summer projects. I managed to pull the main muscle in my right lower back (ie the one that is super weak from a year of not using it) while packing books, but IcyHot is a miracle that I just discovered and love. I’m trying hard to take it easy, but I really suck at that when it comes to packing and such.

My Week

The Wrath and the DawnI decided to take your recommendations and try listening to The Wrath and the Dawn (partially because Audible’s most recent update keeps crashing so I couldn’t use it….). The narration isn’t my favorite and the heroine is rather indecisive about loving versus killing this guy, but I can see the appeal if you like romance more ;-). I want to know about the magic!

Magic ShiftsI was sent an eARC of Magic Shifts this week and couldn’t resist starting it right away to bribe myself to walk on the treadmill longer (and then pulled my back….). It’s so much fun and I love Kate and Curran soooooooooo much! Once my back is feeling better, I see a lot of walking in order to read more ;-).

The Girl Who Feel Beneath FairylandThis weekend I’ve been home alone since the husband had to work, so I decided to pick up The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland because I needed some whimsical awesomeness to cheer me up! I love September and this writing very much, you all must read this series!

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Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein is the latest in a string of stories surrounding jinni and their mythology, so of course I had to check it out. I’m really liking the jinni trend, though I’ve yet to find the perfect jinni book ;-). Becoming Jinn is a pretty light fantasy from what I could see, with a contemporary setting and the potential for lots of girl drama not related to cool jinni powers. I found myself getting annoyed with the female teenage characters early on, so decided to stop, but if you’re generally a fan of contemporary with just a splash of fantasy, Becoming Jinn could be a good book for you.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Becoming Jinn from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein {Just Hatched}

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (Becoming Jinn #1)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 21st, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

2 Stars

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Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {ARCs and $5 Giftcards Weekly!}

Sci-fi And Fantasy Fridays

Link-up Your Sci-fi and Fantasy Reviews and Giveaways!

I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, to the point that that is really all I read anymore. Therefore, I decided to start a weekly feature where I get all of you to gather the sf/f reviews and giveaways you’ve published and found so that we can all discover new books, blogs, and giveaways in our favorite genres!

Congrats to this past weeks’ winners, enjoy your books! Now that the craziness of a wedding is past, let’s add some new books to the giveaway pile!

NIL Unlocked The Novice

Every week I’ll pick a random link and the email address that submitted that link will get $5 at Amazon or two ARCs from my SFFF-Books shelf!

Here are the more stringent rules concerning links for the giveaway:

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The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler is the sequel to The Forbidden Library, a story of a girl with the power to enter books, bind magical creatures to her, and summon their powers back in the real world. The world of the Readers is dark and dangerous though, and The Mad Apprentice delves into just what happens when a Reader loses control of his apprentices and creatures! There aren’t major spoilers below since The Mad Apprentice stands alone pretty well, but feel free to check out my review of book one instead to be safe ;-).

Note: I received an audiobook copy of The Mad Apprentice from the publisher. Listening to a book significantly impacts my reading experience.

The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Mad Apprentice by Django Wexler
Narrated by Cassandra Morris
(The Forbidden Library #2)
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on April 21st, 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, MG
Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

When Alice's mysterious Uncle Geryon sends her to help capture a rogue apprentice--a boy who has the same ability Alice has to Read himself intostories--she knows to expect a wild and unpredictable trip. But even though Alice has visited the magical realms inside libraries before, this adventure is far more dangerous. Because Torment, the magic creature holding this library together, has gone mad.

But he might also have information about Alice's missing father.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness + Swag Giveaway!

Book Giveaway

The Book of Life + Swag!

Book of Life Mirror

To celebrate the release of The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness in paperback, Penguin has offered a whole lot of cool stuff for me to giveaway to one lucky winner! If you missed out on the Commonplace book giveaways previously, now is your chance to snag one along with some awesome other goodies and a paperback of The Book of Life :D.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik eARC {5 Stars}

Uprooted by Naomi Novik took me completely by surprised and I can’t remember the last time I loved a book so much. Uprooted is the story of a girl from a small village who ends up living the not-so-happy fairytales of her childhood, but as long as she has friends and allies on her side, she can take that terrifying Wood! If you are a fan of creepy and dark fairytales, Uprooted is basically a new tale to add to the classics so don’t miss out :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Uprooted from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik eARC {5 Stars}

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey on May 19th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 5/17/15

Updates from the Lair

Updates from the Lair is my weekly wrap-up post that includes what happened in my real life, what I’ve been reading, my posts from the week, and what I’m thinking about reading next week (and would love your advice on!). 

I’m a married woman! We had the civil ceremony in the courthouse on Friday and now I just need to plan the formal ceremony and reception in the fall, woot. There was an entertaining moment when my ring didn’t fit onto my finger because the resized one hasn’t come back yet, but we made it work ;-). Needless to say I haven’t had a whole lot of reading time with family in town, but still a little!

My Week

The Gospel of LokiMy reading has been pretty all over this week since I haven’t had a chunk of actual reading time, but I started The Gospel of Loki in the car while showing the family around and am already hooked. I got a bit burnt out on Loki stories so I was nervous, but as long as I don’t picture him as a certain very attractive super villain, I’m enjoying it a lot! It’s very funny :D.

The Second GuardI’m conflicted about my other read this week, The Second Guard. I was really enjoying it at first and then it got rather typical and preachy MG and I found myself not wanting to read at all (and hence set it aside for Loki). I’ll probably come back to it sometime, but it wasn’t fitting my mood.

Sword of the NorthI am only 100-ish pages into Sword of the North and have been switching it off with lighter fantasy, but I’m excited to be back in this grimdark fantasy world. I’m also REALLY FREAKING EXCITED about the direction the plot seems to be going because it is referring to ancient races coming back and I love that so so so much.

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Planning to Pillage {New Feature!}

Planning to Pillage

New Feature: Planning to Pillage

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to showcase books that I think look interesting after I decided to stop doing book haul posts, since a fair number of people pointed out how useful it is to see what titles they should keep an eye out for. Similarly, I like the idea of Waiting on Wednesday and similar memes in that they are a chance to talk about a book you are newly excited for and think others should keep an eye on. Therefore, I’m bringing Planning to Pillage back to feature books that I’ve added to my lists either because I just found out about them, or because they showed up in my mailbox recently and look interesting.

(Covers link to Goodreads so you can add these too!)

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Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {ARCs and $5 Giftcards Weekly!}

Sci-fi And Fantasy Fridays

Link-up Your Sci-fi and Fantasy Reviews and Giveaways!

I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, to the point that that is really all I read anymore. Therefore, I decided to start a weekly feature where I get all of you to gather the sf/f reviews and giveaways you’ve published and found so that we can all discover new books, blogs, and giveaways in our favorite genres!

Hello loves! Another crazy week here since I’m getting married today!! So I don’t have new books for the pile, but I wanted you all to still get to exchange links and there are 70 books on the list as is :D.

Every week I’ll pick a random link and the email address that submitted that link will get $5 at Amazon or two ARCs from my SFFF-Books shelf!

Here are the more stringent rules concerning links for the giveaway:

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