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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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The Devourers by Indra Das {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.

The Devourers by Indra Das immediately caught my attention with the gorgeous cover and the fascinating premise. I also really love finding books originally published in another country that are crossing over into American publishers since they usually reflect a more authentic experience of that other culture. The Devourers is definitely such a book and I recommend it as long as you are in the right mood for something dark and weird along with the beauty ;-).

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

The Devourers by Indra Das {Just Hatched}

The Devourers by Indra Das
Narrated by Meera Simhan, Shishir Kurup

Published by Del Rey on July 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 306 pages
Audio Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
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For readers of Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, China Mieville, and David Mitchell comes a striking debut novel by a storyteller of keen insight and captivating imagination.

On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.

3.5 Stars

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In the Shadow of Bound Gods by Rachel Dunne {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.

In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne promises to be an epic fantasy on the darker side, but with anti-heroes that win over your heart despite themselves. I’m a sucker for dead god premises, so I am definitely intrigued right from the start.

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

In the Shadow of Bound Gods by Rachel Dunne {Just Hatched}

In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne (Bound Gods #1)
Published by Harper Voyager on June 21st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals, led by violent, secretive man, must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

3.5 Stars

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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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Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge eARC {4 Stars}

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge is a retelling of Red Riding Hood with a whole lot of creepy and spooky thrown in for good measure. Crimson Bound stands separate from her previous novel, Cruel Beauty, so have no fear, you can read them in either order but you won’t be able to resist reading both eventually ;-). Hodge returns with another amazing world and magic that is just creepy enough for me to be hooked without completely scaring the bejeezus out of me! I did have a horrible dream where my hands wouldn’t stop tingling though, which I think we all know can be blamed on Crimson Bound’s secondary character who doesn’t have hands….

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

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge eARC {4 Stars}

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer & Bray on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, YA
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Young Elites by Marie Lu ARC {5 Stars}

The Young Elites by Marie Lu is the start of a dark fantasy series set in a blissfully fresh fantasy world beset by a horrid fever that killed many and left a few with strange powers. Our main character Adelina is scarred physically and emotionally, missing one eye, and is a second class citizen because she survived the blood fever. She is everything you could want in an antihero and broken character and I loved her for it dearly. The world of The Young Elites is wonderful because of small and big details such as a completely new pantheon of gods and angels with fresh myths and magic. I got only four hours of sleep one night because I couldn’t put The Young Elites down and I did not regret it at all the next day!

Note: I read an advanced copy of The Young Elites. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu ARC {5 Stars}

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (The Young Elites #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenille on Oct. 7th, 2014
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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White Cat by Holly Black Audiobook {4 Stars}

White Cat by Holly Black is the first in the Curse Workers trilogy and introduces us to a world where everyone knows that magic is real, but generally controlled by several families mob-style in the USA. I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy for over a year ever since I met Holly Black at a signing, and I’m so glad that the audiobook was available and of solid quality so that I can finally fit this great series in! If you enjoy the idea of an alternative history mixed with a dash of magic, definitely check these books out and maybe even the audio versions ;-).

White Cat by Holly Black Audiobook {4 Stars}

White Cat by Holly Black
Narrated by Jesse Eisenberg
(Curse Workers #1)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 4th, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Top Ten Books if You Like Game of Thrones

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!

Since Game of Thrones has become such a popular TV show, I run into a lot of people who have seen the show and maybe started to read the books and haven’t read much other fantasy at all. I’m then forced to try to get them to read all the awesome other books out there that they should if they like Game of Thrones :D. Now, I know one thing that a lot of people like about Game of Thrones is the court intrigue, but I’m not actually a big fan of court intrigue, so I can’t really make book recommendations for that aspect >.>. However, I can make other types of recommendations :D.

More Epic Fantasy

The Way of Kings Elantris A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda The Demon King The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
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In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo {4 Stars}

In the Shadows is a marvelous combination of stories told in alternating illustrated pages and text. While it takes most of In the Shadows for the two stories to interweave, the revelation when they do is pretty awesome. The illustrations are gorgeous in full color and fully convey the action taking place. I’m really tempted to now go find the rest of Jim Di Bartolo’s work! The text story written by Kiersten White combines spooky elements of a mysterious cult with the fun of a summer in a small town for our five main characters. If you enjoy art interwoven with fantasy, you can’t miss In the Shadows!

Note: I received In the Shadows from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo {4 Stars}

In the Shadows by Jim Di Bartolo, Kiersten White
Published by Scholastic Press on April 29th, 2014
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch. 

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

 

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Ironskin by Tina Connolly {5 Stars}

Ironskin by Tina Connolly is a Nebula-nominated retelling of Jane Eyre set in an alternate history where a war against the fey has just come to an end and the technology that depends on fey power is slowly sputtering away. Seriously, you read that right: steampunk Jane Eyre with creepy fey. I was a little bit skeptical if Ironskin could live up to that awesome description but it did not disappoint! I wasn’t a huge Jane Eyre fan when I read it in high school, but Ironskin has made me love Jane Eyre more and kind of want to go reread it….

Note: I borrowed Ironskin from my library because my library is awesome.

Ironskin by Tina Connolly {5 Stars}

Ironskin by Tina Connolly (Ironskin #1)
Published by Tor Books on Oct. 2nd, 2012
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Steampunk
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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