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Top Ten SF/F Series I Want To Start

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!

What is up with Top Ten Tuesday topics that force me to own up to all the books I meant to have read a long time ago? ;-) This is going to be another list where you will need to refrain from gasping too much because you might hyperventilate once you see the series that not only have I not read yet, but I haven’t even start despite the best of intentions!

I’m Waiting Until It’s Finished?

The Burning Sky A Natural History of Dragons Falling Kingdoms The Golden City The Archived
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The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima continues the story of Raisa and Han as they both venture outside of their homeland and learn about magic and fighting :D. The Exiled Queen is the sequel to The Demon King and so there will be spoilers for the first book in the blurb. As long as you skip that though, you’re pretty safe since The Exiled Queen is pretty removed from the events of The Demon King. The Seven Realms series continues to have a seriously awesome strength of strong and logical female characters, and The Exiled Queen has the added bonus of a magic school!

Note: I listened to The Exiled Queen on audiobook, which strongly shapes my experiences with it.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Narrated by Carol Monda
(Seven Realms #2)
Published by Hyperion Books on Sept. 24th, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Length: 586 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 10/19/14

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!). 

Hmmm, what to say about this week? I was finally able to dive into my research projects again both due to having time outside of classwork and two very productive meetings with advisors on projects. I banged my head against some coding which I still haven’t figured out, but that happens. I’m starting to feel a bit in need of a vacation between the work for class and what I’m trying to get done with research, but it’ll be a while until that can happen (Thanksgiving only kind of counts since visiting family isn’t really a vacation for me, ha). I did read some good books this week though and got lots of walking in :D. I’m excited to carve pumpkins with friends (who read this blog, *waves*) on Monday! I freaking love pumpkins.

My Week

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackI never seem to be able to stick to my plans for reading for the next week, oh well! On a whim I decided to start The Darkest Part of the Forest since a friend had a physical copy when I met her for coffee and I randomly read the first page and remembered why I was so excited to read this one at BEA. It’s because it is SO DARN COOL! Also a little spooky and honestly a bit over the line of spookiness I can tolerate when reading just before going to sleep >.>. But really really good!

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFeversI had to start Mortal Heart as well given the amount of encouragement I got to do so ;-). With the first sentence I was reminded why I love these books so much! I’m only a few pages in, but I’m already making excuses to fit in more reading time :D. I can already tell that there is going to be lots more information about how the magic of Mortain works, which is the exact thing I’ve been wishing for ;-). A girl whose mother froze to death is completely impervious to the cold :D.

Shadow ScaleIn an effort to make sure I actually do get to this asap, I’ve also started Shadow Scale even though I’ve only read the prologue so far. But the prologue starts with us finding out how her mind garden was actually established! :D Omg I love this book already and again find myself wanting to just spend all day reading >.>. Don’t worry, there will be a giveaway as soon as I finish!
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Love in YA: Make Me Believe

Book Discussion

What I Need to Enjoy Romance in YA

First I just need to take a step back and laugh at the fact that I’m even writing a post about romance at all. I was pretty firmly against romance of any kind in books the last time I checked (by which I mean that I just didn’t care, and really didn’t want it to be the main focus). However, somehow YA has softened this stone heart of mine and I actually used the verb “to ship” in a review this past week (if you’re not gasping, you should be!). I’m now finding myself in a strange spot though, because I’ve started liking romances that other reviewers specifically DON’T like and I just don’t know what to do with myself! Specifically, I’ve found myself attached to two types of YA romance “faux pas” that I used to dislike as a general principle: love triangles and insta-love. Don’t freak out though! It’s not just any love triangle or instalove that I’ve fallen for, but very specific ones with pretty specific elements. Let’s break this down by romance trope shall we?

Also just a note of warning, I’m discussing the romance elements of The Jewel, Hunger Games, The Infernal Devices, and Snow Like Ashes below. I aimed to not spoil anything major, but this will give you an idea of what romance develops, in case you want to avoid knowing anything about these books.
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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 Molly for winning last week and enjoy The Killing Moon and Sworn in Steel :D. This week I’ve continued to glare at the excessive piles of books in the apartment, so one more week of two books! Here are the new ones you can win:

Talon Thursdays with the Crown Fairy-tale Matchmaker

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

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

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Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4.5 Stars}

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell is a story about love, family, death, and what it really means to live that happens to be set in a world with coyote and wolf shape-shifters, Seers, Thaumaturgics, and Immortals. I’m not generally a fan of character-driven stories but Joshua and Ada were such amazing main characters, and assisted by my many favorite characters from Destiny Binds and Infinite Harmony’s companion novel, Fragile Brilliance, that I find myself converted to the character-driven novel as long as the writing is as strong as Blackwell’s ;-). If you haven’t read any of Blackwell’s previous books, that’s really okay! Infinite Harmony stands alone very well and is also a good intro to the many cool magics that exist in this world. You will spoil a couple of things from the first trilogy by starting here, but I don’t think you’ll lessen your enjoyment at all :).

Note: I received an advanced copy of Infinite Harmony from the author. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4.5 Stars}

Infinite Harmony by Tammy Blackwell
Published by Author on Oct. 14th, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Length: 227 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Ada Jessup lives for the moment, knowing the promise of tomorrow can be all too easily broken.

Joshua is an Immortal, a heavenly warrior who will still be fighting long after the rest of the Alpha Pack have turned to dust.

When a gunshot wound forces Joshua to tell Ada the truth of what he is, there is more at risk than the safety of the Alphas he's sworn to protect. For Joshua, the real danger is the way he feels drawn to the human girl. After all, what can the future hold for a girl whose days are numbered and a boy whose life has no end?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George ARC {4.5 Stars}

Thursdays with the Crown is the third book about Castle Glower, which seems to be alive, and the royal family that lives within its magical walls. Thursdays with the Crown can be easily read without having read the first two though, so if you like the idea of a spunky young princess, her feminine but strong older sister, and their various friends and relatives (including a griffin or two!) then definitely check out this whimsical and downright fun middle grade fantasy!

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

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George ARC {4.5 Stars}

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George (Castle Glower #3)
Published by Bloomsbury on Oct. 7th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Length: 224 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Castle Glower has been acting weird, so it’s no surprise when two towers transport Celie and her siblings to an unknown land. When they realize that no one from home is coming to get them, the kids – along with Celie’s pet griffin Rufus – set out through the forest to figure out where they are and what’s happened to their beloved Castle. Instead, they discover two wizards and an entire lost people, the oldest inhabitants of Castle Glower. And it seems they may know more of the Castle’s secrets than Celie. But do they know how to get her back home?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! (INT)

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is one that I love and have been participating in for three years now :D. Since I’m so in love with Autumn and particularly all the gorgeous colors, my winner will have their choice of the following gorgeous fall-colored sci-fi and fantasy books! Fun fact: it’s a lot easier to find red covers than orange or yellow…. Also since I know some of these are series, if you’d like a different book in that series, that’s fine even if it’s not properly colored ;-).

Grave Mercy Dark Triumph Scorpio Races White Cat Eon Stormdancer Endsinger In a Handful of Dust The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland The Martian Fireborn Copperhead
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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch eARC {3.5 Stars}

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is the story of a young refugee finding herself and going through hell to help her scattered kingdom. Snow Like Ashes has one of the coolest fantasy settings I’ve read where there are four king(queen)doms that are forever in one of the seasons and four king(queen)doms that experience all four seasons normally. The magic in the world of Snow Like Ashes is lost except for eight royal conduits, objects that the royal line can channel magic through to help and control their peoples. How can four of the regions be forever in one season you ask? Because they are closest to the source of the world’s magic, that’s why :D. But I said the magic was lost you ask? It is! Under a mountain of stone that is ;-). As our characters learn quite well, just because you know where something is, doesn’t mean you can get to it, mwahahahaha.

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

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch eARC {3.5 Stars}

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes #1)
Published by Balzer & Bray on Oct. 14, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 10/12/14

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!). 

Hooray for a fairly average week, I’m tired of swinging between crazy productive and crazy unproductive ;-). This week was pretty much completely consumed by a parallel programming assignment that I spent literally five full work days on and still didn’t actually completely finish when I turned it in. It is kind of blissful to be able to look at the last couple of points on an assignment and admit that they don’t honestly matter for the amount of time it would take to figure out how to earn them. I’m freeeeee! And I read middle grade this week and have no regrets!

My Week

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day GeorgeI really adored reading Thursdays with the Crown. I’ve liked this series since I read the first two books last year and was so pumped to pick up a copy of book three :D. You can easily start with this one if you don’t feel like catching up and want to jump into a fun fantasy adventure with adorable baby griffins, spunky kids, great role models for girls and boys and an actually quite intriguing plot even for adults! I read it in two nights and could have easily read it in one if I wasn’t so darn tired these evenings!

All Our YesterdaysI started listening to All Our Yesterdays this week and I’m really digging the audiobook and the story :D. My two hour drive this Friday went by soooooo quickly since I was figuring out what all the craziness was that All Our Yesterdays starts with ;-). I hope it stays as action-packed and intriguing!

Pennyroyal Academy

I decided to continue my middle grade binge with Pennyroyal Academy and wow, this is not the whimsical silliness that I was expecting. It is SO MUCH BETTER. Seriously, it starts with the main character running through haunted woods and she doesn’t have a name! It’s not that she doesn’t remember her name, it’s that she literally doesn’t have a name, her parents never gave her one. I was so intrigued from the very beginning and have been loving the reveals and the emphasis of princesses being valiant and good and brave. This has the potential to be a seriously rocking series! [Read more...]