Posts Categorized: 4 star books

The Body Electric: Review

The Body Electric: Review

Raise your hands if you enjoy any of the following: Conspiracy theories! Fighting the man! Technology in the future! Androids! What it means to be a human! …or embodied! …or an individual subject! Playing “catch that allusion” re: sci-fi as a genre! Because The Body Electric thinks about all of these things, and if these are things you are also interested in thinking about, you’re in for a good time, I promise. While I wasn’t totally in love with everything in this book (and I’ll get to that), the book does a lot of things right: it entertains many interesting questions, features solid world-building, and is written beautifully. And those aspects were enough to make my readerly experience a positive one. Here’s the premise: our heroine, Ella Shepherd, lives in postwar Malta in the new city of New Venice, the site of a new global government. Shortly after Ella discovers that she… Read more »

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Exquisite Captive: Review

Exquisite Captive: Review

Finally, a paranormal romance where the focus is on the paranormal and not a human who unwittingly stumbles upon it. Exquisite Captive is a breath of fresh air. It has jinni in it. Jinni! This book is full of unique, immersive mythology, swooning romance, and the importance of free will. Although we briefly go into the heads of a few different characters, at the heart of it this story is about Nalia. Nalia is a jinni, and not just that. She is the last surviving member of the ruling class of jinni, called the Ghan Aisouri, meaning she is one of the most powerful jinni alive. After escaping the slaughter of her people by the fire-wielding Ifrit she is sold into the jinni slave trade, called the Dark Caravan, and enslaved to Malek, a man who never seems to age and refuses to use his third wish, which is the… Read more »

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Ancillary Sword: Review

Ancillary Sword: Review

Breq is a spaceship. Or, rather, she used to be. Once the AI consciousness of the ship known as Justice of Toren, Breq is now contained in a single ancillary (the how and why of which is detailed in Ancillary Justice). Perhaps some more explanation? An ancillary is a human body (most often a civilian casualty) with a ship’s consciousness and some rather tricked out implants that make them super soldiers. Ancillaries are an extension of the ship and see and know everything the ship does. Ships have many ancillaries and they are all collectively the same entity. When a human becomes an ancillary the person they were is dead forever. Through such means the Radchaai Empire has been able to conquer and colonize much of humanity. Okay, that’s as simple a primer I can do without giving too much away! Man, I just love this series. Finally, finally! Here… Read more »

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The Perilous Sea: Review

The Perilous Sea: Review

The Perilous Sea is one of those rare creatures: a sequel that is better than its (already pretty great) predecessor.  Where The Burning Sky sometimes dragged in places and was a little fuzzy on the magic and the rules of this fantasy world, everything in this installment is much improved. The plot zips along with breathless tension, more action, and a larger scope to the world of the story that never becomes daunting or confusing. The elemental magic is more present in the story and there’s none of the confusion of the first book. There are zigs and zags that I never saw coming and guarantees almost certain heartbreak. I devoured this book even more eagerly than the first and I loved every minute of it. The characterization is superbly done overall. Brave and stolid Iolanthe with her quick wit and easy bravado. Sweet Titus with his seriousness and sense… Read more »

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Winterspell with Claire Legrand + Giveaway

Winterspell with Claire Legrand + Giveaway

There’s nothing better than a retelling that manages to take a fairytale we all think we know and completely turn it on its head. Winterspell is completely original, while still staying true to its Nutcracker roots. It is a very dark, and very beautiful story. There were a lot of things I loved about this story, but probably my favorite is that author Claire Legrand is very good at capturing the shades of grey in every character. There is no character who is all good or all bad. Everyone has nuance. Everyone does great and terrible things. There are just too many great things I can say about this book. This is a must read for anyone who likes dark fantasy and the grittier side of fairytales. And, it’s a stand-alone, so no terrible cliffhangers! We’re happy to have Claire Legrand at The Midnight Garden today as part of the official… Read more »

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Unteachable: review + giveaway

Unteachable: review + giveaway

Sometimes when you take a chance on an indie book, you discover something incredibly special. I felt that way with Angelfall and And All the Stars, and I feel that way again with Unteachable by Leah Raeder. It’s a book I had no intention of reviewing, but when I finished it, the words just came pouring out! I’ve included my updated 2 am review below. But before that, you should know: This is not a YA book. It’s a new adult novel with a seriously messed up romance, in which high school senior Maisie enters into a relationship with  one of her teachers. This isn’t the kind of relationship that is ever okay in real life, which is why I initially hesitated about covering it here at the blog. While all of us read across a wide variety of genres, I am mindful of the responsibility we have to our… Read more »

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The Kiss of Deception: review

The Kiss of Deception: review

I first read Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox and was blown away by the beautiful language. The Kiss of Deception did not disappoint. This is a fantasy story filled with lush writing, a good mystery, and a strong female lead. Lia, like many young princesses in fantasy stories, is betrothed to be married, but instead of going through with the marriage, she runs away to live a life of anonymity as a bar maid. From this first act to the last page Lia goes through a massive transformation, from the girl who runs away from her problems and responsibilities, to a woman who takes control of who she is. I really loved seeing how she grew over the course of the story. The fantasy world was also very immersive. Although there was a bit of clunky exposition in the beginning, as the story went on the details… Read more »

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