A Promise of Fire: Review

A Promise of Fire: Review

This is such a frustrating review to write. The story doesn’t have bad bones. The writing and plot are fine, and might well have been very enjoyable. There’s considerable action and adventure. But there were two major obstacles that prevented me from enjoying this (and they’re big ones). I couldn’t stand the main character, and I I did not at all care for the romance. Not liking the romance is going to be an instant downer in a book that is explicitly a fantasy romance. Cat is a young circus performer on the run from her abusive past. Cat makes her way in the world as a soothsayer, but her real “gift” is the ability to tell truth from lies. Anytime someone tells a lie in her presence Cat feels a searing pain. Considering the prevalence of lies in daily human interactions she spends the book in much less pain… Read more »

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Mini Reviews: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Round Up

Mini Reviews: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Round Up

Here we have three entries that show just how varied fantasy novels can be. There’s a historical, paranormal fantasy, a fantasy romantic comedy, and a graphic novel that is part steampunk, part epic fantasy. Let’s take a look!              Title: These Vicious Masks Author: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars Release Date: February 9, 2016 Publisher: Swoon Reads Age Group: YA Source: Borrowed I’m so glad I read this absorbing paranormal historical story set in Victorian London. If you typically enjoy books placed in this setting, These Vicious Masks will not disappoint. There are all the usual trappings: young heroine who defies Society and its restrictive gender roles, a dashing gentleman (or two), and a paranormal mystery/quest driving its heart. Evelyn is our sassy, independent MC on a quest to save her gentle, kind-hearted sister from the hands of a devious mad scientist bent… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (17): Top Ten Books Set Outside the US

Top Ten Tuesday (17): Top Ten Books Set Outside the US

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Ten Books Set Outside the US” and we’re happy to be participating! Well, this one was a little bit difficult! How exactly do you define “outside of the US?” Certainly I read many, many books that don’t even take place in this universe, let alone this country! But I decided that, for the most part, I would leave off any sort of fantasy/science fiction that clearly takes place off-world or in any sort of other realm entirely. I’ve also left off any works that take place only partially in this world but primarily in others (sorry, His Dark Materials).   The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley This is the second TTT I’ve done in a row that this book has earned a spot on! This book is the tale of 16 year old… Read more »

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The Invisible Library: Review

The Invisible Library: Review

Once again I find myself in the position with a book that is practically perfect in its premise, yet I ultimately fail to forge much of a connection with it. This is not a bad book, and I think it has its readers! I mean, it is a book about a great Library that has access to infinite alternate dimensions and universes. It also has werewolves, vampires, Fae, and dragons all romping around and creating magic, mystery, and mayhem in a sort of alternate steampunk “Victorian” London. Sign me way up for that. However, I get this sense of “fuzziness” for lack of better word to describe it with fantasies and other genre works where the world building is not at all clear to me. The Library is a very advanced institution that seems to exist out of time. It has its own Language that allows Librarians to alter their… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (16): Top Ten Under the Radar Reads

Top Ten Tuesday (16): Top Ten Under the Radar Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads” and we’re happy to be participating!     Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak This one is a beautiful mashup of contemporary and paranormal, with a dash of fairy tale thrown in for good measure. Aidan can’t remember swaths of his life. And he didn’t even realize it until an old friend reappears and lost memories begin to resurface. What happened to Aidan’s memories? Magic is woven into every line in the story. Its contemporary yet fairy tale feel reminded me a lot of the stunning Bone Gap. Bonus: this is an LGBT read. It’s also a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book! Taming the Forest King by Claudia J. Edwards I’m not at all surprised to see that this one has very few… Read more »

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Lucky Few: Review

Lucky Few: Review

It’s interesting that the blurb for this book compares it to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While I can see some common threads of interest (namely the contemplation of mortality), this is a very different book. First, no one in this story is actually dying. Next, the dynamics of relationships between the characters, the nature of their revelations, and the overall tone of the story is wholly different. Lucky Few is a funny contemporary that examines relationships, growing up, and the very nature of change through a sweetly morbid lens. The story is eminently readable. From the first page it flows with self deprecating humor and charm. The chemistry and interaction between the three main characters feels natural and adds a rhythm to the story that is noticeable for its absence when the characters are apart. Stevie is wry and judgmental, but with a good nature and easy… Read more »

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Steeplejack: Review

Steeplejack: Review

It’s interesting to ponder what qualifies as a fantasy and what exactly makes that so. You can have fantasy that takes place in whole other realms replete with magic and magical creatures. You can have fantasy that places in our very own world, but with elements of the wondrous. Then you have works like Steeplejack, in which there is no magic (or none yet presented) but the world it takes place in is not our own, and so it is a fantasy work. It just occurred to me while reading how interesting the many varietals of fantasy works are.  This is a book that reads very much like a historical crime novel that takes place in 19th century South Africa. But it is not 19th century South Africa, only a land in an unknown world that has many echoes and similarities to it. Does this seem like a complaint? Not… Read more »

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