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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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Merrow by Ananda Braxton-Smith eARC {4.5 Stars}

Merrow by Ananda Braxton-Smith is a quiet and beautiful tale of a girl trying to understand her mother’s disappearance and the rumors that have been circulating about her fantastical parentage. This book combines a rich historical setting of Ireland as Christianity is just starting to come into the land and the question of whether the Merrow (Irish mermaid/selkies) are real or not. If you’re looking for a book that sneaks up on you before sweeping you away to a mystical land, this is the one.

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

Merrow by Ananda Braxton-Smith eARC {4.5 Stars}

Merrow by Ananda Braxton-Smith (Secrets of Carrick #1)
Published by Candlewick Press on Nov. 8th, 2016
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 240 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
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In this breathless and beautifully crafted tale, twelve-year-old Neen Marrey must separate town gossip from town lore to learn the truth about her mother—and herself.

The people of Carrick Island have been whispering behind Neen’s back ever since her father drowned and her mother disappeared. The townspeople say her mother was a merrow and has returned to the ocean. Neen, caught in her hazy new in-between self—not a child, but not quite grown up—can’t help but wonder if the villagers are right. But if her mother was a merrow, then what does that make Neen?

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal {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.

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal is a book that will instantly grab attention with that gorgeous cover and then intrigue you with the idea of mediums being used to gather intelligence from soldiers after they die. I am already impressed with how the mediums are involved in military operations and definitely want to read more.

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

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal {Just Hatched}

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
Published by Tor Books on Aug. 16th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy, Military Fantasy
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she's just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

4 Stars

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The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford {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 Left-Handed Fate blends historical fiction with a touch of middle-grade adventure fantasy.  The protagonists are all tweens and teens who step into adult roles alongside older family members during the war of 1812.  As people on both sides of the British-American and British-French conflicts strive to find the pieces of a mysterious magical object that will end the war, loyalties and friendships are challenged.

Note: I received an advanced copy of THE LEFT-HANDED FATE from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford {Just Hatched}

The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on August 23, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, MG
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Lucy Bluecrowne and Maxwell Ault are on a mission: find the three pieces of a strange and arcane engine. They're not exactlysure what this machine does, but they have it on good authority that it will stop the war that's raging between their home country of England and Napoleon Bonaparte's France. Despite being followed by mysterious men dressed all in black, they're well on their way to finding everything they need when their ship, the famous Left-Handed Fate, is taken by the Americans.

And not just any Americans. The Fate (and with it, Lucy and Max) are put under the command of Oliver Dexter, who's only just turned twelve.

But Lucy and Max aren't the only ones trying to put the engine together, and if the pieces fall into the wrong hands, it could prove disastrous. Oliver is faced with a choice: help Lucy and Max and become a traitor to his country? Or follow orders and risk endangering that same country and many others at the same time--not to mention his friends?

3 Stars

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Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley ARC {4.5 Stars}

Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley is the story of a young woman struggling to make ends meet in a place similar to South Africa in our world, but with just a bit of magic thrown in. I feel like Steeplejack is a direct answer to our demand for more diverse characters in fantasy, while also being an addictive and action-packed read. I was really happy I had an entire day to do nothing but read, since I didn’t want to stop for a minute!

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

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley ARC {4.5 Stars}

Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley (Alternative Detective #1)
Published by Tor Teen on June 14th, 2016
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, repairs the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of luxorite, is stolen, it makes the headlines. But no one cares about the murder of Ang's new apprentice, Berrit—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, who offers Ang a job investigating Berrit's death. On top of this, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister's newborn child.

As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon's theft rise, Ang navigates the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into chaos.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin ARC {4.5 Stars}

A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin is a reading experience to savor. It tells the story of a small village during a war without specifying where or who exactly is involved. This story could have taken place on either side of World War II, and it was delightful realizing how similar the experiences of villagers probably was. Of course, this particular grandmother has some magical secrets she is hiding from all but her grandson as well as some not so magical secrets.

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Green and Ancient Light from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin ARC {4.5 Stars}

A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin
Published by Saga Press on June 7th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

A gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Pan’s Labyrinth and John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things.

Set in a world similar to our own, during a war that parallels World War II, A Green and Ancient Light is the stunning story of a boy who is sent to stay with his grandmother for the summer in a serene fishing village. Their tranquility is shattered by the crash of a bullet-riddled enemy plane, the arrival of grandmother’s friend Mr. Girandole—a man who knows the true story of Cinderella’­s slipper—and the discovery of a riddle in the sacred grove of ruins behind grandmother’s house. In a sumptuous idyllic setting and overshadowed by the threat of war, four unlikely allies learn the values of courage and sacrifice.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak ARC {4 Stars}

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak is a historical urban fantasy set in 1920s Chicago starring Saint George and the dragon he slew! I feel like I can just end the review here with that sentence ;-). But I suppose I won’t, since I do want to tell you about how fun this mash-up of genres was to read and that includes a dragon and a great female protagonist to help out Saint George (who prefers to go by Nick).

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

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak ARC {4 Stars}

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak (Black City Saint #1)
Published by Pyr on March 1st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 390 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.

Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.

Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him…but ever seeking escape.

The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms…then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman {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.

Legacy of Kings is a fantasy romance based loosely on the early life of Alexander of Macedonia, later known as Alexander the Great.  Since he was one of my favorite people of the ancient Middle East, I eagerly volunteered to read and review this book and gave it a solid six chapters before I realized that this is not a book for me.

Published by Harlequin Teen, it fits into the Harlequin Romance genre of bodice rippers.  Every woman in the book is lusting after the closest handsome man, and even young women who start out as strong-willed people with missions of their own are literally chasing after the guy who they turned down within a chapter or two.

For some readers, this semi-historical romance will be a good fit, but I just could not get further in the book to give a final review.

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

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman {Just Hatched}

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (Blood of Gods and Royals #1)
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Romance
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedon's sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn't account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

1.5 Stars

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Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein {4.5 Stars}

If you like your fantasy subtle and have an interest in Japanese culture, both modern and historical, then Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein might be a book that you will enjoy.  The book alternates between large sections of urban and historical fantasy, following the paths of several samurai swords, created by a legendary, master swordsman in Medieval Japan.  These swords became cursed or blessed and affect the lives of the people who possess them … and sometimes, they create waves that may nudge the course of whole countries.

The magical aspect of the swords is so ephemeral during the early part of the book that it seems to be mere superstition or legend to the main character, a Japanese police detective who follows hard evidence and bucks a system and culture that constantly throws up barriers to a woman trying to be taken seriously in a “man’s job”.  But as coincidences mount … and a few surprises lend credence to the tales of the old scholar whose sword looks to be a target for theft … both the detective and the reader finally realize that the Fated Blades really do possess incredibly strong magic.

Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein {4.5 Stars}

Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein (The Fated Blades #1)
Published by Roc on January 10, 2012
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 468 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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Purchases made support this blog

Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho {4.5 Stars}

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is a historical fantasy that beautifully combines humor, magic, and writing appropriate to the historical period. I didn’t expect to be as amused and enamored by this one as I quickly became, but trust me, as long as you don’t mind fairly advanced vocabulary and dense-writing, this is a fantastic story that will have you laughing out loud.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho {4.5 Stars}

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Sorcerer Royal #1)
Published by Ace on Sept. 1st, 2015
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 371 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Purchases made support this blog

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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