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Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire eARC {3.5 Stars}

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire eARC {3.5 Stars}

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)
Published by Tor.com on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 189 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

3.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Down Among the Sticks and Bones from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Thoughts:
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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is an audiobook and novella not to miss. I was originally worried about the ‘horror’ label that got stuck on it, but it’s really just dark fantasy with a bit of gore. More importantly, the worlds described and characters trying to get back to them will sink into your heart and make you exceedingly relieved that this is a series!

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

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Cynthia Hopkins
(Every Heart a Doorway #1)
Published by Tor.com on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 173 pages
Audio Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde eARC {3 Stars}

The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde is an ambitious novella packing the world of an epic fantasy into just a hundred pages. I loved the magic based on living jewels and the rigor that magic users must go through to keep their minds from being influenced by those same jewels. However, this just wasn’t enough pages for me to really feel that I got a complete story given everything that was packed in.

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

The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde eARC {3 Stars}

The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde
Published by Tor.com on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Novella
Page Length: 96 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Buried beneath the layers of a traveler's guide is a hidden history: two kingdoms, powerful gems, and the even more powerful Lapidarys who bind them. Lin and Sima, caught in a web of intrigue and deceit, must find a way to escape the traps set by the past and save their kingdom.

An epic fantasy, in miniature.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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The Devil You Know by KJ Parker eARC {4.5 Stars}

The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker is a novella telling the story of a demon working for a rather bureaucratic version of Hell and his favorite philosopher who just sold his soul for suspicious reasons. I absolutely love the spin on selling your soul to the devil and grew strangely attached to both of these characters!

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

The Devil You Know by KJ Parker eARC {4.5 Stars}

The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker
Published by Tor.com on March 1st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Novella
Page Length: 128 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care.

But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus–the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust.

He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor eARC {4 Stars}

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a sci-fi novella about a woman going to a university in space when usually none of her tribe ever leaves their home. This story combines beautiful inspiration from Nigerian culture with an alien first-encounter unlike any I’ve ever read. I am once again left wishing for a full novel or even a series about this world, but for now we must content ourselves with this glimpse

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

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor eARC {4 Stars}

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Published by Tor.com on Sept. 22nd, 2015
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 96 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal eARC {3.5 Stars}

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal is a near future sci-fi novella told by the main character typing up her story on an old typewriter she is planning to sell for its unique nostalgia. I love the future depicted in this story with collectors wanting antiquities for the unique experience they contain, but I wish we had gotten more answers about what Katya actually got involved with in this strange world.

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

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal eARC {3.5 Stars}

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
Published by Tor.com on March 8th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 88 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her…

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle eARC {4 Stars}

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle is a novella set in an alternative 1920 New York where magic has more of an influence on the world than people think. The writing is artistic and lovely and portrays a young man struggling with racism and being forced to make difficult decisions. There is also a touch of Lovecraft, and I always love Lovecraftian elements in my fantasy!

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

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle eARC {4 Stars}

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Published by Tor.com on Feb. 16th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy, Novella
Page Length: 160 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster eARC {4.5 Stars}

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster is a novella fantasy about a girl on the run and the three sailors who help her despite being rather suspicious of the odd storms that keep appearing around them. I’ve been looking forward to this novella ever since I saw that gorgeous cover and I’m so happy that it completely lived up to my expectations! If you have been looking for a novella to try or already love novellas, definitely check this one out for fun magic and a diverse cast.

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

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster eARC {4.5 Stars}

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
Published by Tor.com on Jan. 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 144 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the archipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders' sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers' magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people.

Tazir has seen more than her share of storms and pirates in her many years as captain, and she's not much interested in getting involved in the affairs of Windspeakers and Dragon Ships. Shina's caught her eye, but that might not be enough to convince the grizzled sailor to risk her ship, her crew, and her neck.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell eARC {4 Stars}

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell is a fantastical and spooky novella that tells the story of three women in a small town who realize that the superstore wanting to move in is much worse than it seems. I love stories that depict witches in the modern day masquerading as strange women. This novella includes a wonderfully prickly old lady, a priest in a crisis of faith, and an atheist new-age shop owner, who all have more power than they first appear to.

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

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell eARC {4 Stars}

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell
Published by Tor.com on Sept. 18th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Novella
Page Length: 144 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Traveler, Cleric, Witch.

The villagers in the sleepy hamlet of Lychford are divided. A supermarket wants to build a major branch on their border. Some welcome the employment opportunities, while some object to the modernization of the local environment.

Judith Mawson (local crank) knows the truth -- that Lychford lies on the boundary between two worlds, and that the destruction of the border will open wide the gateways to malevolent beings beyond imagination.

But if she is to have her voice heard, she's going to need the assistance of some unlikely allies...

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter eARC {5 Stars}

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter is a novella about strong women who happen to have a bit of magic at a time when the church is really not okay with that. This is the best kind of novella because it packs a full story into a short page count so you can skip over all the slow buildup in the middle of most novels and enjoy every minute of action and dialogue in a lovely afternoon. Even if you tend not to read much short fiction, go check out this story, you won’t regret it!

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

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter eARC {5 Stars}

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter
Published by Tor.com on Oct. 13th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 160 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda's Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word—Gideon has been good to them, and it's always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.

When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end.

Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?

5 Stars

Strengths:
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