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Updates from the Lair 6/26/16

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!). 

Hello loves! I’m almost done with my crazy seven weeks of teaching. The final exam is this week and then I’m dooooooonnnnnne! It’s been a fun experience and a good learning opportunity, but I definitely need a break. We’re going up north for the 4th and I’m excited for the chance to read during the drive and relax by a lake.

My Week

ChosenI’m reading a lot of books at once by accident, but my main focus is Chosen! It’s a small pub sci-fi coming out later next month and I’m really enjoying it so far :D. It also is by and stars a black woman, so if you keep up with diverse genre fiction, don’t miss this one.

NevernightI’m also reading Nevernight and enjoying it so far. I’ve honestly been skimming a lot of the footnotes since they are just info about the world that isn’t all that important to the action and seems to just bog things down. It’s pretty dark, but has a HP vibe with the magic school, just for assassins instead ;-).

The Waking FireMy current audiobook is The Waking Fire and I LOVE it! It’s a lot like Novik’s dragon world in that there is industrial-age technology alongside dragons, though these dragons aren’t nice and don’t seem to like books, ha. The narration is freaking amazing and I’m loving every moment I’m in the car, I even don’t mind traffic!

MonstressFinally, I snagged an eARC of the full Monstress volume one and really enjoyed it. It’s pretty darn dark, but really gorgeous and with enough light moments that things aren’t too depressing.

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Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson Audiobook {3 Stars}

Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson is a novella I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I have great faith in Sanderson for always writing something interesting and inventive, so I had no idea what Perfect State was actually about before jumping in headfirst. I have to say that what I got was not at all what I was expecting and while it is definitely inventive, I feel like Perfect State tries to pack in a bit too much for a novella.

Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson Audiobook {3 Stars}

Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by Christian Rummel

Published by Dragonsteel Entertainment on March 31st, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Genre-bender, Sci-fi
Page Length: 87 pages
Audio Length: 2 hrs and 4 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.

Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.

Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

3 Stars

Strengths:
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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! I have a ridiculously exciting ARC to add to the pile today. I just finished it and absolutely loved it and it doesn’t come out until September, what???? Get you links in and remember you are encouraged to throw in your friends’ links too for more entries!

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 Big Sheep by Robert Kroese {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.

The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese shows its entertaining strengths right from the first chapter. If a Sherlock Holmes-esque investigatory duo set in a sci-fi future intrigues you, definitely grab a copy!

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

The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese {Just Hatched}

The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on June 28th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Los Angeles of 2039 is a baffling and bifurcated place. After the Collapse of 2028, a vast section of LA, the Disincorporated Zone, was disowned by the civil authorities, and became essentially a third world country within the borders of the city. Navigating the boundaries between DZ and LA proper is a tricky task, and there's no one better suited than eccentric private investigator Erasmus Keane. When a valuable genetically altered sheep mysteriously goes missing from Esper Corporation's labs, Keane is the one they call.

But while the erratic Keane and his more grounded partner, Blake Fowler, are on the trail of the lost sheep, they land an even bigger case. Beautiful television star Priya Mistry suspects that someone is trying to kill her - and she wants Keane to find out who. When Priya vanishes and then reappears with no memory of having hired them, Keane and Fowler realize something very strange is going on. As they unravel the threads of the mystery, it soon becomes clear that the two cases are connected - and both point to a sinister conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the city. Saving Priya and the sheep will take all of Keane's wits and Fowler's skills, but in the end, they may discover that some secrets are better left hidden.

4 Stars

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Steeplejack’s 5 Genres by A. J. Hartley {Guest Post}

Steeplejack by A. J. HartleySteeplejack’s 5 Genres!

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome A. J. Hartley to the blog to discuss his new book, Steeplejack :D. I absolutely loved Steeplejack and one of the things I loved was how it brought in elements from lots of my favorite genres for something entirely delightful!

Lots of books—especially mine—tend to straddle genres, and when I was first starting out as a writer I used to get a lot of agents and editors saying things like “I really like this, but I’m not sure what shelf to put it on.” The industry has changed a lot over the years and one of the things I love about where we are now is that I feel less like I have to follow strict guidelines to make sure my book is one thing and one thing only. So here are some of the genres I’ve used in building Steeplejack. Hope you like it!

  1. Urban Fantasy

Steeplejack takes place in a city called Bar-Selehm, a sprawling industrial mess of a place which is the center of a mini empire and surrounded by wild bush-like country reminiscent of parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It’s also a place built on the wealth generated by a particular industry, the mining of luxorite, a precious mineral which generates its own light. The city is a carefully detailed place and it’s the home of my protagonist who knows it exceptionally well because she works on its towers and tall factory chimneys. The result is that the city becomes kind of a character in the book: distinctive, quirky, and full of mystery.

  1. Mystery/thriller

Steeplejack is also a murder mystery, not a “cozy” in the Agatha Christie vein, but something more like an adventure, a thriller in which the clues require a lot of climbing and running and dodging enemies in addition to the more sedate activities of a detective story as clues are gathered and suspects quizzed. And the thriller aspect also is fed by the scale of the story. If Anglet—our hero—can’t solve the mystery of her murdered apprentice, the city will collapse into war.

  1. Steampunk

I said that Steeplejack was an exotic city, but I didn’t say that it was an exotic Victorian city, so its technology, its people, its clothes, weapons, etc. are all roughly mid-nineteenth century. This gives the book a distinctive sense of atmosphere of the Sherlock Holmes type, adding a particular feel to the fantasy elements, and positioning the story at the heart of the period’s colonial expansion and racial tensions.

  1. Young Adult

I know that YA isn’t really a genre so much as it is a target readership, but YA novels often have a coming of age feel to them that fits Steeplejack personally. Anglet is figuring out who she is as she leaves behind the world of her childhood (a work gang) and becomes, effectively, something between a spy and a detective operating on behalf of some very powerful people. In the process she has to determine what she wants, who she wants, and what she stands for.

  1. Realist social fiction

The world of the story is saturated by the complex social dynamics of the place, particularly its feuding racial populations. This creates a rich background for the main plot and allows me to explore things I might otherwise avoid in writing a generically simpler kind of book. The story and characters are the focus, but much of what is going on and who these people are is informed by their place in Bar-Selehm society.

So yes, Steeplejack is a hybrid novel with lots of different influences. I hope you find the way they come together as exciting as I do.

Revan by Drew Karpyshyn Audiobook {3 Stars}

To anyone who is a fan of the Old Republic in the Star Wars Universe, Revan is a larger than life character.   One of the few people who have been well versed in both the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, Revan has done both great and terrible things in the years (and games) that precede this book.  You’d think he’d have a chance to retire and relax, kick his feet up and train a few padawans … or at least enjoy life with his wife and child.  But that’s not the destiny of this greatest of heroes and worst of villains in this fast-paced adventure that connects the Knights of the Old Republic game with the online Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR).

Revan by Drew Karpyshyn Audiobook {3 Stars}

Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
Narrated by Marc Thompson
(Star Wars the Old Republic #1)
Published by Random House Audio on November 15th 2011
Genres: Sci-fi
Page Length: 289 pages
Audio Length: 10 hours and 55 minutes
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

There’s something out there:
a juggernaut of evil bearing down to crush the Republic—
unless one lone Jedi, shunned and reviled, can stop it.

Revan: hero, traitor, conqueror, villain, savior. A Jedi who left Coruscant to defeat Mandalorians—and returned a disciple of the dark side, bent on destroying the Republic. The Jedi Council gave Revan his life back, but the price of redemption was high. His memories have been erased. All that’s left are nightmares—and deep, abiding fear.

What exactly happened beyond the Outer Rim? Revan can’t quite remember, yet can’t entirely forget. Somehow he stumbled across a terrible secret that threatens the very existence of the Republic. With no idea what it is, or how to stop it, Revan may very well fail, for he’s never faced a more powerful and diabolic enemy. But only death can stop him from trying.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood {4 Stars}

The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood is a story about a girl who just wants to raise a dragon, but instead has to deal with corruption on one side and an ancient evil on the other. Obviously I had to read this book based on the presence of dragons alone, but I didn’t expect to discover a dragon-filled world so reminiscent of Pern and full of so many delightful dragons!

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

The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood {4 Stars}

The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood (The Evertide #1)
Published by DAW on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life.

The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia’s desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world—and of herself.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 6/19/16

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!). 

Hello loves and happy Father’s Day! I hope you’re having a good day whether or not you are celebrating. I’m gearing up for another week of teaching and realizing that I need to get the final exam prepped soon since there are only two more weeks of class :D.

My Week

A Shadow Bright and BurningFirst, I tore through A Shadow Bright and Burning this weekend completely unexpectedly. I’m on the blog tour for it, so I wanted to get my review prepped far in advance, but I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. It is seriously a delight, full of cool magic, terrifying monsters, alternative Victorian England, friendship, sexism, sweet romance, and so much more. I can’t recommend you put a pre-order in enough!

The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsI started the audiobook of The Slow Regard of Silent Things because my hold came in at the library and I’m really enjoying it. I hadn’t realized that Rothfuss narrates it, but he does a great job. I love Auri and so I knew this was going to be fun, but it’s nice that that has been confirmed ;-).

Paper and FireFinally, I am about halfway through Paper and Fire! I’m reserving judgement so far, things don’t seem as amazing as the first book, but I’m curious to see what still develops. It’s still a cool world with a lot of interesting things, so I’m enjoying myself even if I’m not blown out of the water.

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The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish is the start of a new urban fantasy series featuring a world where everyone knows that the paranormal exists and zombies can be raised for will disputes! I’m always game for another urban fantasy series to get addicted to, so I couldn’t resist this one even though zombies are scary. I’m quite glad I got over my zombie fears since these are nice zombies, its the ghosts you have to watch out for turns out.

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

The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish
Narrated by Susannah Jones
(Kincaid Strange #1)
Published by Vintage Canada on May 10th, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 352 pages
Audio Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only 27. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.

And then she becomes the target...As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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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!

You know when you find a book that has time travel properties because your entire weekend mysteriously disappears? Well, this is a book that did that to me, hence why I want to share it with you :D

How to Hang a Witch

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:

[Read more…]