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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh ARC {4 Stars}

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh ARC {4 Stars}

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 16th, 2017
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 393 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

4 Stars

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

Thoughts:
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The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
Published by Harper Voyager on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Genre-bender, Sci-fi
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .
An emerging AI uprising . . .
And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

5 Stars

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

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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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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Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson ARC {4.5 Stars}

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson ARC {4.5 Stars}

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson (Audacity Jones #2)
Published by Scholastic Press on January 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 176 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Audacity Jones and her best friend, Bimmy, are setting off from Miss Maisie's School for Wayward Girls on an extraordinary adventure! In the glittering city of New York, the girls meet Harry Houdini, the world's most famous magician, as he prepares a new spectacle: Houdini plans to make an elephant disappear from a crowded theater.

But Audacity and Bimmy discover a nefarious plot that puts Houdini's illusion in jeopardy. Who could be trying to sabotage the master magician? Audie will need all her smarts, the help of friends new and old, and even her best juggling skills to solve this mystery. Will she manage to save the show in time?

Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson brings readers a magical romp of a mystery that will delight and thrill to the very last page.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of AUDACITY JONES STEALS THE SHOW from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White ARC {4 Stars}

The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White  ARC {4 Stars}

The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White
Published by Little Brown on September 13, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG, Sci-fi
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Anne has spent most of her thirteen years dreaming of the day she and her best friend Penelope will finally leave Saint Lupin's Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children. When the big day arrives, a series of very curious happenings lead to Anne being charged with an epic quest. Anne, Penelope, and new questing partner Hiro have only days to travel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes--or face the horrible consequences.

Packed with action, humor, and endless heart, this debut novel marks the first volume in an irresistible and original fantasy series.

4 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

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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The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin was one of my most anticipated sequels this year because the previous book, The Fifth Season (huge award winner!), was probably my favorite book last year. The things I loved about The Fifth Season are continued and made more epic in this sequel, and they include a unique and fascinating world, part of the story told in second person that actually WORKS, and amazing narration for the audiobook. As a bonus, lots of underrepresented voices are important in this series, including many characters of color, a transgender character, and many non-straight characters *celebrates*.

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

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by Robin Miles
(The Broken Earth #2)
Published by Orbit on Aug. 18th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
Audio Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney ARC {4 Stars}

In The Monster on the Road is Me by JP Romney, figures from Japanese mythology complicate the life of Koda Okita, a social misfit in a modern, ordinary (just read the sign), quiet Japanese mountain town.  But when several of his classmates commit suicide for no apparent reason, Koda begins to question the official explanations, turning up an ancient mystery with the help of an even more mysterious classmate.

Note: I received an advanced copy of THE MONSTER ON THE ROAD IS ME from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney ARC {4 Stars}

The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney
Published by Farrar, Giroux, Strauss on August 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

It starts with the crows. When you see them, you know he's found you.

Koda Okita is a high school student in modern-day Japan who isn't very popular. He suffers from narcolepsy and has to wear a watermelon-sized helmet to protect his head in case he falls. But Koda couldn't care less about his low social standing. He is content with taking long bike rides and hanging out in the convenience store parking lot with his school-dropout friend, Haru.

But when a rash of puzzling deaths sweeps his school, Koda discovers that his narcoleptic naps allow him to steal the thoughts of nearby supernatural beings. He learns that his small town is under threat from a ruthless mountain demon that is hell-bent on vengeance. With the help of a mysterious - and not to mention very cute classmate - Koda must find a way to take down this demon. But his unstable and overwhelming new abilities seem to have a mind of their own.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Reader by Traci Chee ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Reader by Traci Chee will catch your eye immediately with that cover, but it will keep you hooked with its beautiful writing, fascinating magic, protagonists you just want to befriend, and pirates! I had high hopes but didn’t know what to expect from this book, and within a few chapters I could hardly contain my excitement because I had found one of those really special fantasies that remind you why you love reading.

Note: I borrowed an advanced copy of The Reader. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Reader by Traci Chee ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Reader by Traci Chee (The Sea of Ink and Gold #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenille on Sept. 13th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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