Posts Categorized: Fantasy

TLC Review: The Queen of the Tearling

November 16, 2016 Fantasy, Fiction 14

TLC Review: The Queen of the TearlingTitle: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)
Author: Erika Johansen
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This book was perfection, from the world building to the character development to the plot, pacing, and tone.

“Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.” (source) Lost heir, fate of the kingdom, etc… you get the idea. Personally, so many descriptions of fantasy novels sound the same to me, they’re not what draw me in. I knew enough to jump at this book because other bloggers had raved about and so now I’m here to do the same for you, because this is a book worth picking up! Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Tyranny of Petticoats

March 2, 2016 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism 13

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Tyranny of PetticoatsTitle: A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Hit or miss, like all multi-author short story collections, with the misses primarily being too simplistic and the hits mostly being moving stories about important historical events and/or those with great fantasy world-building.

Short story collections, especially by multiple authors, are always hit or miss for me, but the focus of this book on young women in history was too interesting for me to pass up. Surprisingly, an awful lot of them also turned out to have elements of magical realism or were full-on urban fantasy.  I thought the editor did a great job organizing the stories, which progressed chronologically and generally moved from those with fantasy elements to those without fantasy elements and with more solid grounding in specific historical events. In addition to the diverse genres, I enjoyed that every story was set in a different location and at a different time period and that many stories features main characters who were non-white, LGBT, and/or differently abled. Read more »

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Love is Red

May 20, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Thriller 11

Love is RedTitle: Love Is Red
Author: Sophie Jaff
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a book that really shouldn’t have worked for me, but I loved the writing and I can’t get the story out of my head.

After centuries of dormancy, the Sickle Man has been awakened. His sole purpose is to hunt down Katherine Emerson, a woman with a dark destiny, but first he must gather the emotions of other victims. As his brutal crimes terrorize the women of Manhattan, Katherine must decide how much she trusts the two new men in her life. Although one is dark and brooding (of course!) and one is kind and handsome, it’s not clear what they are each hiding from her. Read more »

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Shadow Scale

April 13, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12

Shadow ScaleTitle: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Although I still loved the politics and world-building in this sequel, I found the pacing too slow and the action unengaging.

As a half-dragon, Seraphina has a unique connection to others of her kind. However, her country of Gored has only recently made peace with the dragons and now this fragile peace may be shattered by a dragon civil war. The fragile peace means that many humans still hate dragons and that most half-dragons such as Saraphina must hide who they are. Each half-dragon has unique gifts and together they might be able to protect Gored if Seraphina is able to use her own unique powers to find them. To do so, she will have to avoid humans and dragons who want to stop her. But the biggest threat is one very bitter and very dangerous half-dragon who uses her powers to control others and manipulate the war for her own purposes.
Read more »

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Nightbird

March 23, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism, Review 8

NightbirdTitle: Nightbird
Author: Alice Hoffman
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Cute, short, light, with a very fairy tale feel. I enjoyed this a lot, but wish the author had take the time to develop the plot further.

“Twelve-year-old Twig’s town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell, and the rumors draw as many tourists as the town’s famed pink apple orchards. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother, a baker of irresistible apple pies. Because of a family secret, an ancient curse,Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig’s family. But Julia turns out to be Twig’s first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse and smooth the path to true love for Agate and James.” (source) Read more »

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Well Written Fiction in Mini-Reviews

March 14, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Review 24

Well Written Fiction in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Author: Susanna Clarke
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

 

This book isn’t just well written, but well written in a unique way. The style of the writing reminded me a bit of Charles Dickens, if Dickens wrote about magic. This writing style contributed to setting the scene and made me feel as though I was in nineteenth century England. However, I’m still going to offer what may be an unpopular opinion of this much-beloved book and say that it really dragged for me. It took a long time for anything exciting to happen and even when interesting things were going on, the writing style, though enjoyable, didn’t convey any sense of urgency or excitement. I was also disappointed that the book didn’t give any explanations for how magic works. The writing made this book feel as though it could itself be one of the magician’s memoirs the characters consult and it would have been enjoyable to learn something about the technical aspects of magic in this world. Although personally, I was mostly just excited to finish this book, I can definitely see the appeal of the writing and recommend checking out the many more positive opinions out there before making up your mind about this book. Read more »

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YA in Mini-Reviews

December 26, 2014 Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Thriller, Young Adult 4

YA in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Mortal Heart
Author: Robin LaFevers
Source: FirstToRead, Giveaway
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

20522640Like the previous two books in this series, I loved Mortal Heart. The premise of assassin nuns was obviously awesome from the very beginning and the writing is beautiful, but what I think makes these books so perfect is the world building and character growth. As in the previous two books, the main character has lived through some difficult times and isn’t quite comfortable with who she is. She’s also questioning her faith, particularly her role serving the god of death. As Kelley points out in her review at Oh, The Books!, part of the reason this series is successful is because the author makes you feel for the main character. I also particularly love that at the end of every book the author has managed to surprise me with new information about the mythology of the world she’s created. Seeing this wonderfully creative mythology intersect with the main character getting a happy ending is something I’ve found enjoyable and heart-warming in each of her books. They always leave me smiling. Thanks to Christina at You Book Me All Night Long for the giveaway of this great book!
Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Well of Ascension

September 7, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy, Fiction, Review 2

Soundbite Sunday – The Well of AscensionTitle: The Well of Ascension
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Source: Bought
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

 

As always, listening to a Brandon Sanderson book read by Michael Kramer was a fun experience. The character growth was, as usual, a real strength of the book. Some of the characters were a bit angstier than usual, but they always fell just short of becoming annoying. A new character, who became one of my favorite characters in the series, was introduced in this book and brought with him some interesting new hints about the world the story is set in. There was a huge twist at the end which was believable because of previous clues without being obvious or expected. My least favorite thing about this installment in the series is that it did drag a bit. There’s always the possibility with an audiobook that a story feeling slow can be attributed to the format and that might be part of it here. However, I’m also certain that the characters spending the whole book trying to achieve one goal and making very little progress also slowed the story down.

Do you find that audiobooks often seem to drag more than a book you’re reading yourself?

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Beyond the Pale

September 1, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy 4

Beyond the PaleTitle: Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology
Author: Gillian Philip, Heather Brewer, Jane Yolen, Jim Butcher, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Peter Beagle, Saladin Ahmed
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: I liked almost all of the stories included in the collection and loved the diversity of the mythologies on which the stories were based.

This collection of short stories includes those I would categorize as paranormal, urban fantasy, magical realism, and a few bordering on horror. All stick relatively close to reality but step “beyond the pale”, including some mythical element. Several previously published authors contribute short stories related to their published series, but all of the stories can easily be read on their own.
Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Way of Kings

July 27, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy 7

The-Way-of-Kings-610664Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★★
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »

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