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Updates from the Lair 4/20/14

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!). 

So I just got back from California (where I met up with Pabkins of Not Yet Read :D) this past Sunday at about 11pm and as you are reading this (happy Easter to those who celebrate by the way) I’m in Minnesota visiting family! I also got another round of steroid shots in my back on Thursday, then hopped in the car on Friday to go visiting. April is a really busy month so far D: but I did get reading done on the plane as I’d hoped and hopefully lots of reading during the driving this weekend too! How is your April going??

My Week

Horizon by Jenn Reese

I’m so happy with myself for finishing Horizon this past week (on the plane!) just like I’d hoped :D. This was a great conclusion to this trilogy and I really can’t say enough how much I recommend this series to middle-graders and adults who like middle-grade. It’s just such a cool combination of sci-fi and fantasy along with some really great messages about friendship and acceptance.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Goblin Emperor was a bit of a struggle to read while traveling. It is a very thick and political fantasy (with a dash of steampunk). I really liked the world and characters, but I’m just not a fan of court intrigue and really never will be. I definitely see where some of you are coming from in your love for it, but it isn’t quite my cup of tea. I am really hopeful for more in this world though because it is SO COOL!

In the Shadows

As of writing this I haven’t actually started In the Shadows, but that’s what I’m planning to be reading this week as a break between long high fantasies ;-). I’m really excited for the graphic novel incorporation of this one and am just pumped for something rather different!

And in case you missed it, these were my posts this week:

Reports from Other Lairs

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Spoils, Tribute, and Planning to Pillage

Spoils and Tribute

Spoils and Tribute is a feature of On Starships and Dragonwings where I tell you about the books I’ve bought and received recently. I promise that I paid for all my spoils and I’m not letting the “tribute” go to my head ;-). Planning to pillage is just my version of Waiting on Wednesday where I share books that have caught my eye!

I’m trying out a suggestion from a couple of you and going back to splitting the weekly wrap-up into two posts. In an effort to round out Spoils and Tribute, I’m going to try attaching Planning to Pillage on as well. Thoughts?

Tribute

IMG_1480
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Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {SF/F Reviews and Giveaways}

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!

Woot, it’s Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday time :D. Reminder: Use one of the genre labels in your link titles for easier searching and don’t link up posts that have been linked in previous weeks please!

(Note for email/RSS subscribers: There are link-ups in this post that don’t show up for you, so click the post title to see them and find some great posts this week!)

  • SF – Science Fiction
  • F – Fantasy
  • UF – Urban Fantasy
  • PNR – Paranormal Romance
  • DYS – Dystopian
  • YA – Young Adult
  • A – Adult
  • MG – Middle-grade

Sci-fi and Fantasy Reviews

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8 Ways in Which Book Blogging is like Grad School

Book Discussion

8 Ways in Which Book Blogging is like Grad School

Since the end of the semester is fast approaching and this month has been crazy, I’ve been thinking a lot about grad school and less about interesting book discussion topics ;-). My second year of graduate school is also quickly coming to a close (plus or minus a summer, pfft), so I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I won’t lie: this semester has had some low points for me. For a bit I was seriously trying to figure out if grad school was the right choice and stressing a rather unhealthy amount. However, I decided in the end that it is and that some of my stress was coming from the freaky similarities between my hobby and my career. Therefore, I present the eight ways that blogging is scary-similar to grad school, perhaps in an attempt to be self-aware about both major aspects of my life!

1. You are never done, there is always more to do
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The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler ARC {4 Stars}

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a middle-grade story about a girl named Alice who stumbles into a world where reading books literally takes her to new worlds. Unfortunately, those worlds seem to frequently be filled with deadly beasts and the real world with ancient and heartless Readers doesn’t seem all that much better. The Forbidden Library pulled me in the second I saw the first illustration and I can’t wait for the sequel! The ARC I read didn’t actually have all the illustrations either, so I’m planning on buying the finished copy just so that I can go through and see all the ones that I missed; I’m that in love with these illustrations ;-).

Note: I received The Forbidden Library from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler ARC {4 Stars}

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on April 15th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Length: 373 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz ARC {4 Stars}

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz tells three love stories set in a world where Arthurian magic and legends are very much still true and alive at the turn of the 20th century, where a princess doesn’t want to be the queen and a young witch would happily take her place. The setting of The Ring and the Crown is deliciously fresh with elements of steampunk (alternative historical setting), fantasy (magic!), and romance (the feels!!). While I’m not actually much of a romance person  myself, the characters in The Ring and the Crown won me over easily and I found myself very much caring about how all of these relationships (romantic and platonic) would work out.

Note: I received The Ring and the Crown from the publisher for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz ARC {4 Stars}

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (The Ring and the Crown #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1st, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Romance, YA
Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen ARC {4 Stars}

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen starts with a kidnapping, adds in a pinch of French-based fantasy, and proceeds to sweep you off your feet with a painfully beautiful romance. There is a reason everyone is loving Stolen Songbird so much and it really comes down to how gosh-darn readable it is! I wasn’t planning on finishing it and then all of a sudden it was 1 AM and I was done with the book; how did that happen??

Note: I received an ARC of Stolen Songbird from the publisher for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen ARC {4 Stars}

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy #1)
Published by Strange Chemistry on April 1st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Length: 436 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Updates from the Lair 4/12/14

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, my book haul for the week, books I added to my wish-list (sort of like Waiting on Wednesday), and what I’m thinking about reading next week (and would love your advice on!). 

As I’m writing this post, it’s Monday because that’s how on top of things I am this week :D. In reality, it’s just because I’m hopping on a plane on Wednesday and really didn’t want to risk assuming I’d have time to prepare something Friday night like usual. It seems highly likely I will have no time at this conference since it is only a few days! In any case, I’m at a conference this week/weekend which should be fun enough since it’s pretty low pressure (I went last year). I’m hoping to get lots of reading (Dreams of Gods and Monsters!) done on the plane, therefore I’m only guessing what I’ll be reading by the time you read this! Helloooooo future!

Yeah, it’s a weird night, don’t mind me ;-).

My Week

The Ophelia ProphecyI’m reading this one currently (ie early in the week) and hopefully will finish soon! I’m really enjoying it even though it’s technically “romance sci-fi”. I don’t find the romance to be eyeroll-worthy and think I’ll probably end up really liking it. The whole genetically manipulated humanoids taking over the world thing is done quite well, my inner biologist is happy with this sci-fi :D.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Of course this is what everyone will be reading this week! I’m going to be listening on audio and therefore going slow. I’m loving it so far! Also, I must admit that I’ve never liked these covers… they don’t really make any sense ya know?

And in case you missed it, these were my posts this week:

Also as a special bonus this week, I got to be a part of Fantasy Cafe’s Women in SF&F Month and spread my love McCaffrey this week :D.

Reports from Other Lairs

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Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {SF/F Reviews and Giveaways}

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!

Woot, it’s Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday time :D. Reminder: Use one of the genre labels in your link titles for easier searching and don’t link up posts that have been linked in previous weeks please!

(Note for email/RSS subscribers: There are link-ups in this post that don’t show up for you, so click the post title to see them and find some great posts this week!)

  • SF – Science Fiction
  • F – Fantasy
  • UF – Urban Fantasy
  • PNR – Paranormal Romance
  • DYS – Dystopian
  • YA – Young Adult
  • A – Adult
  • MG – Middle-grade

Sci-fi and Fantasy Reviews

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Finding Diamonds in the Rough

Book Discussion

Finding Diamonds in the Rough: Going Forward

I’ve gone through a number of phases when it comes to book blogging and what I want to read. Back before I started blogging, I only found out about new series if they caught my eye in the bookstore. My parents and I read a lot of the same books, so if one of us found a series that was awesome, we would all read it. However, that meant that we then ran out of recommendations for each other it seemed, or maybe they just didn’t want to share what they were reading sometimes!

Once I started blogging, I was exposed to this whole new world of books in the YA genre. I was skeptical at first, but Angelya convinced me to give Under the Never Sky a try and I’ve slowly read more and more YA since I hear about them from other book bloggers. Book blogging also introduced me to the idea of advanced copies, which meant that I suddenly had a lot of motivation to keep track of upcoming books so that I could request them. I also found out that *gasp* Goodreads had information about the publication date of nearly every upcoming book!

This realization and book blogging in general started me on the hype train of doom: trying to read every new release that people were geeking out about. I wanted to be able to join in the conversations about these super popular series, so I tried to read and review as many of them as I could. This marked a shift in what books I was reviewing, since previously I had been reviewing a lot of older sci-fi and fantasy and now I was reviewing mostly recently-published YA.

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