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Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn {5 Stars}

Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn {5 Stars}

Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn (Whisper Hollow #1)
Published by Penguin on Oct. 27th, 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 292 pages
How I got my copy: BookLender
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In an all-new series, New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn invites readers to Whisper Hollow, where spirits walk among the living and the lake never gives up her dead…

Fifteen years ago, I ran away from Whisper Hollow, Washington, a small town on Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. But truth is, if you were born here, you can never really leave. I’m Kerris Fellwater, and when I returned, I inherited my grandmother’s house—and her gift. As a spirit shaman, it’s my responsibility to drive the dead back to their graves, because around Whisper Hollow, people—and secrets—don’t always stay buried.

When I was little, I was told my mother ran off. But now it looks like she was murdered. With the help of my mysterious neighbor Bryan, we begin to unravel the mystery of her disappearance, and in doing so, unearth a dark force seeking to bury Whisper Hollow. Now I must work with the dead, rather than against them, because our enemy will do whatever she can to destroy the town, and she means to start with me.

5 Stars

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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Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Indexing #1)
Published by 47North on Jan. 21st, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 404 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Goodreads
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“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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The Found and the Lost by Ursula K. Le Guin {2 Stars}

by Ursula K. Le Guin
Published by Saga Press Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Novella, Sci-fi
How I got my copy: Publisher

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

This is going to be a very different review than I normally post because I want to get down my thoughts, but they are scattered and completely due to where my brain is at currently. This is very much a time when my rating is a reflection on my experience only and not any attempt at an objective evaluation of these stories. Basically, I can’t evaluate these stories in a way that I consider fair because they just aren’t working for my reading mood right now.

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Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle {4.5 Stars}

Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle {4.5 Stars}

Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy #3)
Published by Harper Voyager on Dec. 27th, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Western Fantasy
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Winter is the most deadly season in Temperance. And it’s not just because of the fierce cold. Evil is stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, killing wolves and leaving only their skins behind.

As the snow deepens, Geologist Petra Dee is staring her own death in the face, while former Hanged Man Gabriel struggles with his abrupt transition back to mortality. The ravens and the rest of the Hanged Men are gone, and there are no magical solutions to Petra’s illness or Gabriel’s longing for what he’s lost…and what he stands to lose now.

Meanwhile, there’s a new sheriff in town. Sheriff Owen Rutherford has inherited the Rutherford ranch and the remnants of the Alchemical Tree of Life. He’s also a dangerously haunted man, and his investigation of Sal’s death is leading him right to Gabriel.

It’s up to Petra, her coyote sidekick Sig, and Gabriel to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being stalking them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.

4.5 Stars

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

Strengths:
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After Atlas by Emma Newman ARC {5 Stars}

After Atlas by Emma Newman ARC {5 Stars}

After Atlas by Emma Newman (Planetfall)
Published by Roc on November 8, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-fi
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
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Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes...

5 Stars

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

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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The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter (or three).

The Mountain of Kept Memory is a book that I considered for the Books on Dragonwings December box! It has a really cool world and blends fantasy and sci-fi in fascinating ways, but at 30% I was getting bored. So if you are in the mood for a heavy thinking book rich in details, check this one out.

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

The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier {Just Hatched}

The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier on Nov. 8th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Genre-bender, Sci-fi
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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In this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.

Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…

Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.

Then he learns that he is right. And invasion is imminent.

Meanwhile Gulien’s sister Oressa has focused on what’s important: avoiding the attention of her royal father while keeping track of all the secrets at court. But when she overhears news about the threatened invasion, she’s shocked to discover what her father plans to give away in order to buy peace.

But Carastind’s enemies will not agree to peace at any price. They intend to not only conquer the kingdom, but also cast down the Kieba and steal her power. Now, Gulien and Oressa must decide where their most important loyalties lie, and what price they are willing to pay to protect the Kieba, their home, and the world.

3 Stars

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Obsidian Son: A Novel in The Nate Temple Supernatural Thriller Series by Shayne Silvers {3 Stars}

This over-the-top urban fantasy packs enough action to keep pages turning as billionaire wizard Nate Temple hunts for his parents’ killer while trying to figure out what is so darn special about a rare book that someone is willing to kill innocent, mundane antiquarians in the attempt to find it.  Temple and his friends hardly get a chance to take a deep breath as they tangle with the Minotaur, numerous dragons (both friendly and decidedly not so), and the shadowy Grimm while tossing money, cars, magic, and double-entendres about with abandon.

Obsidian Son: A Novel in The Nate Temple Supernatural Thriller Series by Shayne Silvers {3 Stars}

Obsidian Son: A Novel in The Nate Temple Supernatural Thriller Series by Shayne Silvers (The Temple Chronicles #1)
Published by Argento Publishing on October 8, 2012
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 311 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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A city that doesn’t believe in magic. Bloodthirsty weredragons. Good thing this reckless playboy has superpowers…

It’s been said that monsters cry when a good man goes to war. But they should run screaming like little school girls when that man is secretly a wizard, and maybe not necessarily good…

Nate Temple’s all-consuming quest to avenge his parents is temporarily put on hold when shape-shifting dragons invade St. Louis. And perhaps cow-tipping the Minotaur for answers might not have been Nate’s smartest opening move, because now every flavor of supernatural thug from our childhood nightmares is gunning for him. Nate learns that the only way to save his city from these creatures is to murder his best friend…

Nate’s choice will throw the world and his own conscience into cataclysmic chaos: avenge his parents or become a murderer to save his city. Because to do either, he’s going to have to show the world that magic is very, very real, and that monsters are very, very hungry… To survive, he might just need to take a page from the book, How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters.

If you like Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, or Patrick Rothfuss, you will LOVE the first installment of The Nate Temple Supernatural Thriller series.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

Becky Chambers has done a superb job in writing this unique, engaging, and entertaining sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (spoilers for Angry Planet after this!).  Set in the same rich, multispecies universe, the action picks up just after the end of the previous book and follows the development of Lovelace, the rebooted AI of the Wayfarer, who decides to leave the ship in a highly-illegal simulated body.  Her journey of self-discovery and growth (while trying to avoid detection) is paralleled by that of a young escaped clone, Jane 23, who must rebuild a shuttle in order to flee the planet where she was kept as part of a slave work force.

The struggles of both sentients for self-determination and freedom kept me turning pages even as the philsophy student in me delighted to have found one of those special science fiction series that characterize the best of this genre – raising questions about ethics and the definition of personhood while spinning a good yarn in a detailed, vast, and complex universe.  Brava!!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers {5 Stars}

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #2)
Published by Harper Voyager on October 18, 2016
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 365 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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