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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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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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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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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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Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson ARC {4 Stars}

Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson is the fifth book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series and starts wrapping up the events currently making DJ’s life a bit exciting, but also leaves room for an exciting conclusion! I’ve heartily enjoyed all of these books and firmly recommend you binge read this series!

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

Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson ARC {4 Stars}

Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans #5)
Published by Tor Books on Nov. 8th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu is the concluding book of the Young Elites trilogy. Adelina must confront the growing darkness in her and decide whether her sister’s life is worth rejoining with her friends-turned-enemies to save the world. If you’ve been wondering what these Young Elite powers really are, this is the book for you!

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

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Narrated by Carla Corvo, Lannon Killea
(The Young Elites #3)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on Oct. 11th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 316 pages
Audio Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Stone and a Hard Place by R. L. King {3 Stars}

While waiting as patiently as possible for the next book in the Harry Dresden series, I decided to try similar series, diving into the world of Alastair Stone, professor of Occult Studies and occasionally practicing mage, the first book called Stone and a Hard Place by R. L. King.  Stone does his best to keep his two worlds apart, letting colleagues and students believe that there is no such thing as magic. This neat separation falls apart when he’s asked to convince a friend’s relative that her house isn’t haunted ….. except that it turns out to be very much the real deal.

Stone and a Hard Place by R. L. King  {3 Stars}

Stone and a Hard Place by R. L. King (Alastair Stone Chronicles #1)
Published by Magespace Press on March 16, 2015
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 351 pages
How I got my copy: Gift
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It’s hard enough for Alastair Stone to keep his two lives—powerful mage and mundane Occult Studies professor—separate without an old friend asking him to take on a new apprentice. Especially after a university colleague wants him to investigate a massive old house for things that go bump in the night. Still, Stone figures it’s an easy job: just turn up, put on a little show, and announce that the house is clean.

Only it isn’t. A malevolent spirit is reawakening in the basement, imprisoned between dimensions and intent on escape. If it succeeds, countless people will die. Worse, a trio of dark mages want to help it break free so they can control it for their own sinister purposes. They’ll do whatever it takes—including seducing Stone’s young apprentice and using him against his master—to get what they’re after.

With time running out, Stone has to stay alive long enough to uncover the spirit’s secrets. But even if he does, he fears that his own power won’t be enough to send it back.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Left-Hand Gods by Jamie Lackey {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.

Left-Hand Gods by Jamie Lackey is a new fantasy that takes a unique angle to magic in a fantasy world that feels both familiar and fresh. I’m definitely intrigued and hoping to find time to finish this one, and not just because I’ve been promised a dragon and a magic horse ;-).

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

Left-Hand Gods by Jamie Lackey {Just Hatched}

Left-Hand Gods by Jamie Lackey
Published by Hadley Rille Books on July 15th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 244 pages
How I got my copy: Author
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Purchases made support this blog

Elizabeth Avigaline has spent her whole life hiding because of the magic in her blood, a gift to left-handed people from the Left-Hand Gods.

People like Beth have been hated, feared, and burned at the stake in Cadarnfel for over three hundred years, ever since magic broke the old Empire. But the new Queen is left-handed, and things are finally changing.

Beth leaves the safety of her home and travels to Cadarnfel’s plague-ravaged capital with her unwanted fiancé, her scheming mother, and Solas Brightwind, a handsome mage sent to fetch her. Soon after Beth arrives, Dumarion, the only left-handed dragon, arrives with a warning.

An army of demons is preparing to attack the city on the night of the next new moon.

The demons won’t stop after destroying the city–the fate of the entire world rests on the defenders’ shoulders, and they have less than a month to prepare.

4 Stars

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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
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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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