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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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Caraval by Stephanie Garber ARC {4.5 Stars}

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is a luscious story of a girl willing to do anything for her sister, including win a game full of dark magic and dangerously lovely boys. If you are looking for an addictive and beautiful fantasy, look no further. This is the start of a new fantasy series that you don’t want to miss.

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

Caraval by Stephanie Garber ARC {4.5 Stars}

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on Jan. 31st, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 401 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

4.5 Stars

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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Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent ARC {5 Stars}

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent  ARC {5 Stars}

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent (Alfie Bloom #1)
Published by Scholastic on October 25th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Alfie Bloom's life is dull. Dull and lonely, and this summer is set to be the most boring yet. All of that changes when he is summoned to the bizarre offices of mysterious solicitor, Caspian Bone, where he discovers he has inherited a castle full of wonders that has been sealed for centuries. Alfie is astounded to learn he was born in that very castle six hundred years ago during a magical timeslip. There, Orin Hopcraft, the last of the druids hid an ancient magic inside him, which others seek but should never be used. With the help of his cousins Madeleine and Robin, and Artan the flying bearskin rug, Alfie must keep the magic from terrifying adversaries and ensure that the secrets of Hexbridge castle stay secret, forever!

5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of ALFIE BLOOM AND THE SECRETS OF HEXBRIDGE CASTLE from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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Enter a Glossy Web by McKenna Ruebush {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 four. Check out the announcement post for more information.

This whimsical fantasy hits just the right notes as a light-hearted fantasy adventure suitable for middle-graders to read as they curl up with a cup of hot chocolate on some of these dark, winter nights.

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

Enter a Glossy Web by McKenna Ruebush {Just Hatched}

Enter a Glossy Web by McKenna Ruebush
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on September 27, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Twelve-year-old George has no idea what to expect when she’s sent to stay with eccentric relatives following the disappearance of her brother. Soon after her arrival, she learns that Uncle Constantine has been kidnapped. George sets off to recover him and is joined by two orphaned boys along the way and Cavendish, a talking map. Together they visit magical worlds full of monsters, witches, and dragons as they attempt to find Constantine--the Timekeeper--a man of great significance. If he’s not rescued, events will cease to happen at their designated times, disrupting the unfolding of the universe. Can this ragtag crew save the future before being outwitted by evil captors?

3 Stars

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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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Windwitch by Susan Dennard ARC {3 Stars}

Windwitch by Susan Dennard ARC {3 Stars}

Windwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #2)
Published by Tor Teen on Jan. 10th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

3 Stars

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

Strengths:
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The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine ARC {4 Stars}

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine ARC {4 Stars}

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine (The Impostor Queen #2)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on 432
Genres: Fantasy, YA
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

4 Stars

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

Strengths:
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Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly {4 Stars}

Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly {4 Stars}

Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly (Seriously Wicked #2)
Published by Tor Teen on Nov. 1st, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 240 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.

Esmerelda is the mean girl of the witches. Valda likes to drop anvils on people’s heads. And Malkin—well, Malkin is just plain terrifying. Their idea of fun is a little game—they each pick a student from Cam’s high school and compete to see who can make their teen the most miserable. But Cam suspects one of the witches may have an ulterior motive…which means someone at school could be in worse danger yet.

Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.

Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?

4 Stars

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

Strengths:
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Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson {4 Stars}

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson {4 Stars}

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Tor Books on Nov. 22nd, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Page Length: 672 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Brandon Sanderson's first story collection: novellas and short stories set in the Shardworlds, the worlds of Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris, and more.

An all-new Stormlight Archive novella will be the crown jewel of Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection, the first book of short fiction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.

The collection will include eight works in all. The first seven are:
“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor's Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

Originally published on Tor.com and other websites, or published by the author, these wonderful tales convey the expanse of the Shardworlds and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect, including the Hugo Award-winning novella, “The Emperor's Soul.”

Arcanum Unbounded will also contain a currently untitled Stormlight Archive novella which will appear in this book for the first time anywhere.

4 Stars

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

The Hope of Elantris: Elantris is my hands-down favorite Sanderson book so I was unbelievably pumped to see more of that city. It’s been about three years since I read it, however, so I was grateful for the reminders snuck in here and there. I thought this story was a nice addition to the novel, but not a necessity to read. It did make me want to reread Elantris though!
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