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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on Feb. 20th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

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

Thoughts:
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Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb {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.

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb {Just Hatched}

Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb (The Fitz and the Fool #1)
Published by Del Rey on August 12, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Page Length: 667 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

3 Stars

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Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on Sept. 5th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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rozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Girls Made of Snow and Glass from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

I’ve been being so picky with my reads lately that I have a number of DNF’s that I’d like to talk about. Remember that DNF is my default, so if I’m not absolutely loving a book, I won’t finish it. Therefore this doesn’t AT ALL mean this isn’t a good book that could probably have gotten 3 stars from me if I forced myself to keep going.

Strengths:
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Mae by Gene Ha {3 Stars}

Mae by Gene Ha {3 Stars}

Mae by Gene Ha (Mae Vol 1)
Published by Dark Horse Comics on Feb. 7th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Page Length: 136 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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When she was just a girl, Abbie discovered a portal to fantasy world and for the last couple of years has been having great adventures there: defeating horrible monsters, power-mad scientists, and evil nobles. But by the time she turned twenty-one it all came apart and she decided to return home. Her sister, Mae, has had no idea what happened to Abbie after all this time. Her tales are too hard to believe--that is, until the monsters and other terrible creatures start to cross over to our world...
Collects the first six issues of the fantastical all-ages series, in the 6- x 9- format!

3 Stars

I grabbed this randomly from the library shelf, as I do with any graphic novels that show up where the art appeals to me and looks like it is vaguely speculative.

Strengths:
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The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan Audiobook {5 Stars}

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan Audiobook {5 Stars}

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
Narrated by Kate Reading
(The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2)
Published by Tor Books on March 4th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 331 pages
Audio Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's The Tropic of Serpents . . .

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews {5 Stars}

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews {5 Stars}

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #6.5)
Published by Penguin on Aug. 16th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 83 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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lona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts—once again pulls readers into the dark and dangerous world of the Kate Daniels novels...

Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau may be a powerful healer and magic user, but she’s far from what might be called “normal”. She dislikes the violence and bloodshed that are a way of life for most of her kind, even going so far as to become a vegetarian. The last thing she wants is trouble...

Jim Shrapshire is an original, hardcore badass. A jaguar shifter, he’s been tasked with keeping Atlanta’s Cat Clan in line, which he does with swift and lethal force when necessary. His only soft spot is for the petite Dali, whose kindness he calls upon when he is injured.

When Dali is approached by a desperate woman whose grandmother has vanished, Jim is concerned enough to help investigate. But what they find may just be the end of them—an enemy whose skill in the dark arts is matched only by their willingness to kill anyone in their way...

Magic Steals was originally published in the anthology Night Shift.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik Audiobook {5 Stars}

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik Audiobook {5 Stars}

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Narrated by Simon Vance
(Temeraire #2)on April 25th, 2006
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 398 pages
Audio Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.

Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.

Here’s another bare-bones, just-my-notes review ;-).

Strengths:
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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo {4 Stars}

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo {4 Stars}

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on Sept. 27th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 536 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

4 Stars

All right, so I have a problem. During November of last year I took a break from blogging to win NanoWrimo. But of course I was still reading! I’ve been debating what to do with the notes that I took after finishing each book. I had a plan to write out a full review of them based on the notes, but three months later and I have to admit that that is just not likely to happen. I still want to talk about the books with you though! So here is a barebones, just-my-notes chat about Crooked Kingdom!

Strengths:
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The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne {4 Stars}

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne {4 Stars}

The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne (Oberon's Meaty Mysteries, The Iron Druid Chronicles)
Published by Subterranean Press on Sept. 30th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 112 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Thanks to his relationship with the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, Oberon the Irish wolfhound knows trouble when he smells it—and furthermore, he knows he can handle it.

When he discovers that a prizewinning poodle has been abducted in Eugene, Oregon, he learns that it’s part of a rash of hound abductions all over the Pacific Northwest. Since the police aren’t too worried about dogs they assume have run away, Oberon knows it’s up to him to track down those hounds and reunite them with their humans. For justice! And gravy!

Engaging the services of his faithful Druid, Oberon must travel throughout Oregon and Washington to question a man with a huge salami, thwart the plans of diabolical squirrels, and avoid, at all costs, a fight with a great big bear.

But if he’s going to solve the case of the Purloined Poodle, Oberon will have to recruit the help of a Boston terrier named Starbuck, survive the vegetables in a hipster pot pie, and firmly refuse to be distracted by fire hydrants and rabbits hiding in the rose bushes.

At the end of the day, will it be a sad bowl of dry kibble for the world’s finest hound detective, or will everything be coming up sirloins?

The Purloined Poodle is another exciting novella entry in Kevin Hearne’s New York Times best-selling Iron Druid series.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower {4 Stars}

Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower  {4 Stars}

Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower (A Magical Bookshop Mystery #1)
Published by NAL on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Paranormal Cozy
Page Length: 345 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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From Amanda Flower—who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan—comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good...

4 Stars

Strengths:
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