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Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson ARC {5 Stars}

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic sequel that brings back what we loved about Mistborn while adding a distinct western flavor to keep things interesting. If you haven’t read The Alloy of Law yet, check out my review of that instead and jump in to this great series! What I most want to emphasize though is that while I enjoyed The Alloy of Law, I loved Shadows of Self and am delighted to see Sanderson continuing to build this series into a truly unique fantasy experience. Just be sure to brush up on the events of the Mistborn trilogy and Alloy of Law first!

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

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson ARC {5 Stars}

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #5)
Published by Tor Books on Oct. 6th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Western Fantasy
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

5 Stars

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Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon {3.5 Stars} + Giveaway!


Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon is an action-packed thrill ride starring a warrior from the Trojan War that has made it to the present day by working for Athena to keep humans safe from the supernatural. I’m always a fan of urban fantasy that brings in new and interesting myths, so of course I had to jump on the chance to review Havoc Rising for the blog tour! If you’re looking for non-stop action, an author who did his research, and minimal romance, Havoc Rising is for you.

Note: I received a copy of Havoc Rising from the tour host.

Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon {3.5 Stars} + Giveaway!

Havoc Rising by Brian S. Leon
Published by Red Adept Publishing on June 16th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 250 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Eternal life. Eternal battle.

Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign.

Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history.

Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.

3.5 Stars

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Updates from the Lair 10/4/15

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!). 

Yey, it’s October! I think October might be my favorite month, though all the autumn months sort of tie since I just love autumn ;-). It’s getting cold here fast so I’m hoping the trees turn colors nicely instead of just drop their leaves immediately! This week is the wedding ceremony and reception though, woot woot! So I’ll be traveling back to Minnesota and seeing a lot of friends and family. It’s actually our least packed schedule for a trip back though since normally we’re driving around all over the state, ha. Wish me luck!

My Week

The White RoseI absolutely adore the writing in this series, so I’m digging The White Rose! I don’t honestly care about people’s comparisons to Hunger Games since the magic is awesome and the characters feel like my best friends. I’ve been holding off dedicating too much time to reading The White Rose this week since I had other things that needed doing, but I probably will finish it today ;-).

The House of Shattered WingsMy wish last week came true! The House of Shattered Wings features dragons :D. The plot towards the end here has felt a bit scattered with a weird middle climax that makes the end feel like its dragging, but I have really enjoyed the unique world and will definitely be sticking with this series. The audiobook is pretty excellent too if you are into those things.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2015 I finished the Nebula Awards Showcase 2015! I really enjoyed trying out a lot of new-to-me authors and found a few that I’ll need to track down their other works. I’m honestly a bit confused how some of the stories count as speculative fiction though >.>. In any case, a great way to try out a bunch of short stories that are all pretty high quality.

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The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin Audiobook {5 Stars}

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin is the start of a new epic fantasy series that combines unique writing, amazing world-building, epic global conflict, and a kick-butt heroine, meaning that this is basically my new favorite series. I’m going to have to try hard not to break down into a gibbering mess during this review…. I absolutely loved The Fifth Season and I especially loved it on audio because the narrator does a fantastic job bringing these characters to life. Fans of epic fantasy should really drop everything and go get a copy of The Fifth Season immediately.

Note: I received an audio copy of The Fifth Season from the publisher. Listening to a book on audio significantly changes my reading experience.

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin Audiobook {5 Stars}

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by Robin Miles
(The Broken Earth)
Published by Hatchette Audio, Orbit on Aug. 4th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 449 pages
Audio Length: 15 hours 31 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

5 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 Michelle for winning last week! Hope you love Illuminae :D. This week I’m adding several exciting titles:

An Inheritance of Ashes Legacy of Kings Departure

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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Last Song Before Night Guest Post and Giveaway!

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Today I’m thrilled to have Ilana C. Myer onto the blog to discuss the best safety practices when visiting Eivar in her new fantasy Last Song Before Night! I will definitely be taking these tips into account when I dive in to this beautiful book ;-). Last Song Before Night is out now (affiliate link), so go get yourself a copy and don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom!

Visiting Eivar for the Midsummer Fair? You’ll be rubbing shoulders with nobility, merchants, and entertainers from around the world. Perhaps the most important things to know are these: Songs must be approved by the Court Poet, on pain of mutilation or death. And you don’t want to be caught worshipping a false god. If you keep to these laws and adapt to local custom, the delights of the Fair, and especially its music, await you.

Here are more facts that are essential to your integration and enjoyment of your visit:

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The Rose Society Signed ARC Giveaway!

Book Giveaway

Signed Rose Society ARC Giveaway

Oh man all, I’m so excited for today’s giveaway! When I saw that there not only were Rose Society ARCs at ALA but also that Marie Lu would be there signing them, I couldn’t focus on much else until I was through that line ;-). I’m happy to report that I’ve finished and enjoy The Rose Society and kept the ARC in pristine condition so that I could pass it on to one of you!

[Read more…]

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ARC {4.5 Stars}

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is the first in her new series set in the same world as her Grisha trilogy. There has been a lot of anticipation and hype for Six of Crows and I can happily say that it lives up to expectations and more. I can really see how Bardugo has developed as a writer and absolutely love how she is building her world and giving us a whole lot more characters to fall deeply in love with.

Note: I borrowed an advanced copy of Six of Crows. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ARC {4.5 Stars}

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (The Dregs #1)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on Sept. 29th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

4.5 Stars

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Updraft by Fran Wilde Blog Tour + Giveaway! (US/CAN)

Updraft Blog Tour

Updraft by Fran Wilde Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Today I’m pumped to welcome Fran Wilde, author of Updraft, to the blog to discuss the wingtest that people in the world of Updraft must pass in order to fly solo freely! Updraft is available now :D. Be sure to check the bottom of the post for a giveaway of a copy of Updraft AND a one-of-a-kind wingtest marker to let you fly around without supervision ;-).

There are many great tests in genre fiction:

  • Tests of intelligence (sometimes via a game)
  • Tests of moral character (Take the ring, Frodo…)
  • Tests for humanity (the Gom Jabbar in Dune, any Turing test)
  • Tests of endurance (Maze Runner)
  • Tests of skill (the Gamemaker training score in Hunger Games).
  • Sorting tests and sorting choices (The Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, the factions decision in Divergent) that serve to divide focus characters into groups.

And then there are tests to see if a character can abide by or achieve certain community standards — a driving test is a common one.

I’ve been asked a few times whether the wingtest in Updraft is a driving test, and today, I’m going to take my turn at Starships and Dragonwings (thanks so much for having me!) to reveal what the wingtest really is (more or less). [Read more…]

Last First Snow Read-Along {Week 3}

Last First Snow Read-Along

Week 3!

We’re getting so close to the end!!!! This week I’m hosting again and you are welcome to play along if you’ve read the book already but please be sure not to spoil the end for me ;-). This week is up to page 303, so there will be spoilers up to that point below!

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