Monday, January 26, 2015

Spotlight: Blood Divide by John Sadler

Title: Blood Divide
Author: John Sadler
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Lion Fiction
Paperback; 352p
ISBN: 978-1782640899

Gripping, visceral, and accessible historical fiction

The Battle of Flodden in September 1513 was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, in which James IV, King of Scots, and virtually the whole of his nobility and gentry were annihilated in an afternoon along with 15,000 soldiers. Five centuries later, the slaughter still occupies a core position in the Scottish nationalist debate and in the pantheon of heroic failures. This novel puts you in the heart of the action; you'll feel the sweat and the fear, the curtain of red mist.

The narrative covers April through September 1513, focusing around a handful of key characters: John Heron, Bastard of Ford, swaggering, violent, and disreputable, the black sheep of a good English family; Sir Thomas Howard, leader of the English forces and skilled strategist; Alexander, 3rd Lord Hume, leader of the Scots, bold but impetuous; Isabella Hoppringle, Abbess of Coldstream, hub of a web of influential women throughout the Scottish borders, a woman of significant influence and charisma.

Laced with dark humor and fascinating period detail, Blood Divide reminder readers that political intrigue and human folly are timeless.

Buy the Book

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kregel Publications

About the Author

John Sadler is an experienced military historian, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the author of more than two dozen books. He is also a much traveled battlefield tour guide covering most major conflicts in the UK, Europe, and North Africa.
For more information please visit John Sadler’s website.

Blood Divide: A Novel of Flodden Field Blog Tour Schedule

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Monday, January 26
Spotlight at Ageless Pages Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 27
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, January 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, January 30
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Sunday, February 1
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, February 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, February 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Thursday, February 5
Interview and Review at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Saturday, February 6
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, February 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, February 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, February 11
Review at Forever Ashley
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, February 12
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, February 13
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: fantasy 
Series: Red Queen #1
Pages: 400
Published: expected February 10 2015
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3/5

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Another target of the hype machine and a good cover, Red Queen is nowhere near as awesome we hoped, but it's also not as bad as I feared. I can see (if I squint) the comparisons to Graceling (ps PLEASE STOP COMPARING EVERY YA FANTASY WITH A FEMALE CHARACTER TO GRACELING) but this is far more in the vein of The Selection than anything else it's been compared to in the epic marketing campaign behind this book. And while there is action to be found, on the whole Red Queen is more concerned with romance and labeling people into groups (Like.. Red Rising does. Like Divergent. Like The Hunger Games. See a pattern?) than it is in creating a viable fictional world, or even fully-rounded characters. It's a mixed bag of elements carried off to varied degrees of success.

The problem with Red Queen is that it tries so much to be so many things, to do so much - fantasy! dystopia! romance!, supernatural powers! fomenting a rebellion!-- the execution could never match the premise. It's an ambitious novel and while some of it worked for me, a lot left me scratching my head in confusion or rolling my eyes. For a book that tries so so hard to be original, it can all read and feel mind numbingly familiar to anyone who reads YA on a semi-regular basis. The division of people into groups, the ill-fated romance, the love triangle that posses zero chemistry... it just all left me so cold. When I liked Red Queen, it was when most of these factors were not involved. Mare/Mareena herself was intriguing but she was hampered by her surroundings and the plot half the time.

Getting back to Mare, she was a... decent character. For such a long book, though, I can't help but feel that I never really knew her, or totally understood her. I liked that she was proactive and involved in saving herself but she is distant from the reader in a way that made it hard to empathize or sympathize. All the useless girl-on-girl hate (though admittedly not limited to just coming from Mare) is problematic. If the only way to craft a "strong" character is to limit or stigmatize all other female characters....well... that's not really an empowered female character, is it? I have no problem with Mare being unlikeable at times, but having nearly all women hate her makes it even harder to connect with her.

Red Queen is also pretty slow, though in fantasy I don't mind that so much. Stories take time to build into more, but Red Queen almost seemed stalled several times. I would've appreciated it more if that slowness was due to expanding worldbuilding or establishing secondary characters to an identifiable degree. The worldbuilding is so slight it would topple from a swift exhalation from a mouse, really. The premise of Silvers (nobility/supernatural abilites) and Reds (low class, nongifted) is established early, but it's like Divergent in that it's a pretty silly system. If the book had focused more on creating and developing the tension between the two classes (beyond BECAUSE REASONS), both the worldbuilding and the novel itself would have been much stronger. Less romance, more foundation, please.

For all my issues listed above, I did enjoy Red Queen enough to rate it a 3/5 and mark the sequel to-read on Goodreads. If you can turn off your brain it makes for an interesting read. It just definitely feels (and reads) like a debut novel -- so many small missteps that add up over the course of the 400 pages and take away from what does work. I would say borrow not buy this series opener -- or at least wait for the cheaper paperback in a few months.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Title: Ticker
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Genre: steampunk, scifi, young adult
Series: N/A
Pages: 275
Published: December 1 2014
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

I had a lot of fun with Ticker. I raced through it in under three hours and was hugely amused and entertained nearly the entire time. Sure, it's not a perfect novel and the romance is a little bit too much too fast, but between Penny, Marcus, Nic and all the steampunkery, Lisa Mantchev has made this a memorable and highly engaging read. With just enough flair and retrofitted technology and just enough spirit and witty retorts, Ticker is great introduction to steampubnk if you've never read it before or a perfect new read for fans of the genre looking for Gail Carriger-esque humor and creativity.

I am not one that is much for highlighting passages in my kindle, but I did it for Ticker no less than four times. And that is down to main character and all-around BAMF Penelope Aurelia Farthing. She has spirit, stubbornness, intelligence, arrogance, and more. Even while dealing with a lot of grief with the loss of both her sisters, one of which had a fiance who turned evil and is the antagonist of the story, Penny shines. She is the kind of girl who says things like, "I can't see where I am going if I only look where I have been, my good man!" as she nearly runs someone over.  (My other favorite was "Come, come Mister Stirling, don't tell me your soul quails at a bit of subterfuge and espionage!") Her characterization is fantastic throughout the story. She is a whole, complete version of a person, made up messy parts (sometimes metal ones) and she makes mistakes. But Mantchev has crafted a great protagonist and allows her to a complex woman.

The secondary characters are nearly as good as Penelope. Penny's twin brother Nic is also allowed to be human -- he's a good person, but not infallible. He makes mistakes, he fights with his sister, but his love for her is evident. Violet, Penny's best friend, was not as defined as the Farthing siblings, but her stalwart attitude and readiness for fisticuffs quickly endeared her to me. Marcus, the Legatus, was another pleasant surprise. He was much more than he first appeared and I appreciated how Mantchev slowly allowed more pieces of his personality to emerge throughout the novel. I do wish that the Farthings' friend Sebastian had been more rounded -- for much of the novel all we know about him is that he's a gentleman and a gambler.

Similarly, the antagonist wasn't as present throughout the novel as I would have liked. While he carries a palpable tension and menace into the book and the scenes he is in -- with his bombings and murders and kidnappings and mindcontrolling - he's still pretty one-note as a character. The author does give him a bit more to work with late in the novel, but it's not enough to make him more than a pretty generic villain. But! If he is imperfect at his presentation, he's also smart, capable, and more than a fair match for Penny. Their personal tete-a-tete, rife with history and pain, is played out in an actiontastic novel but the scenes with just the two of them matching wits packed just as much of a punch.

With a few well-planned twists and plenty of steampunk goodness, Ticker was just madcap fun. It was clever, it was creative, it was full of shippy goodness and it entertained me completely for the duration. It's a standalone and while I am glad that not every new release is a series opener, I am sad to leave this world and these characters behind. I also know that I am now making getting to Mantchev's other books a priority because this was an excellent introduction to her work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Inked by Eric Smith

Title: Inked
Author: Eric Smith
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Series: N/A
Pages: 208
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.

Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.

And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can't escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.

But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.

Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.

Eric Smith takes you on a high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep.

Inked is a fun, creative foray into fantasy for author Eric Smith, known for such awesome nerdery as The Geek's Guide to Dating. It's a pretty short novel (especially for the oft-longwinded fantasy genre) but it's one that's packed with action and creativity. Eric Smith has laid down the bare bones for the worldbuilding and culture, as well as created some memorable and intriguing characters... and he did it all in under 215 pages. I do wish the story had been extended but thoroughly enjoyed what Smith had to offer in Inked.

The magic system is admittedly cool and the high point of the fantasy aspects for Inked. Where there's not much  info to be found worldbuilding-wise, Eric Smith knocks it out of the park with his magic/Ink. It's both creative and functional; it makes sense but is still original and wholly unique to Smith's created world. The author also slowly doles out info about how it all works - Conduits/Inked/etc - a slow reveal that really worked for the plot.

I liked this but, on the whole, it all felt... rather simple. Some of that is just down to how short the novel is. A lot of things happen and they happen fast. There's not a lot of time for characterization, either. It's an action-packed read, but meaning can be lost in sheer amount of deadly deeds and feats of derring-do that Caenum and Drey and Kenzi go through during Inked. Despite all that action, there's also plot issues. The ending, especially, suffered because of this and felt realllllly abrupt. 

This is a good, creative, and most of all, fun fantasy read. I am not sure it's a good fit for seasoned veterans of the genre but it's something I would definitely recommend to a reader looking to try out fantasy (or reading for pleasure). Eric Smith has created an original, creative piece of fantasy and I look forward to what he writes next, be it in this world or in a new one.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Tour Review: The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

Title: The Blood of the Fifth Knight
Author: E.M. Powell
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: The Fifth Knight #2
Pages: 352
Published: January 1 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for attempting to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.
As Palmer races to secure the throne for the King, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and a worthy follow-on to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

Tackling the historical tangle around Thomas Becket, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and King Henry II is a big task, but E.M. Powell proves herself equal to it with The Blood of the Fifth Knight. Built around the premise that King Henry had a secret wife and daughter (named Amelie and Theodosia respectively) Powell offers up a totally different (and wholly plausible) plot and history for hr characters -- both real and imagined -- to act out.

The mystery that the novel's main storyline pivots around has its roots in the book's predecessor, called The Fifth Knight. However, this is a duology that can be read independently of its other parts; each can be read as part of the overall series or as standalones. I hadn't read the first book by Powell before starting and was easily able to glean the necessary and relevant information. The book frequently and subtly alludes to what happened before so it's not hard to fill in the gaps.

The cast of characters is varied and shared through a third-person POV. It makes for an all-encompassing picture of the larger plot, but characterization can be hit or miss. The primary character of Benedict is obviously the recipient of the most definition but his wife, King Henry, and Geoffrey are also handled well. Where it fell apart was the antagonists --- Eleanor is never seen on page, Raoul de Faye her agent/uncle is hardly seen, either. The bulk of the antagonism results from two other characters, both of whom felt rather one-note.

The dramatic tension, the atmosphere, the well-constructed mysteries and twists were all high points for me while reading The Blood of the Fifth Knight. While most of the book is true to history, Powell's inventions and divergences make for a cohesive and streamlined story. With perhaps a bit more emphasis on defining characters, I could see this easily being a 5-star read. That said, this is a very solid, enthusiastic 3.5/5.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, January 1
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, January 2
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, January 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, January 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 12
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, January 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, January 14
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 16
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Saturday, January 17
Interview at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, January 19
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, January 20
Review at Books and Benches
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, January 21
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, January 26
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, January 28
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, January 30
Review at Bookramblings

Saturday, January 31
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, February 1
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, February 2
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, February 3
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Let them Read Books

Wednesday, February 4
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 6
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Christmas Book Haul Part the Second

Hello! It's been a minute and my Book Outlet order came in.... and I had some wonderful it's time for another book haaaul!

First from the lovely Pixie for Christmas:

Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick (Ashes #3) - last in a series I have been dyiiiing to start. And also: another TOOTHLESSSSS figurine. Mine, mine, mine. All the Toothless products will be mine.

Next up, the Book Outlet awesomeness.

Here we see Penny demonstrating the size of this 17-poud box

aaaand inside:

Red Glove by Holly Black - CurseWorkers #3
Beautiful by Amy Reed
Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - The Queen's Thief #1
The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts - Dark Inside #2
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev - Theatre Illuminata #3
Over You by Amy Reed

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block - Love in the Time of Global Warming #1
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - Anna #2
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones - The Chronicles of Sword and Sand #2
Quintessence by David Walton
After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn - Golden Age #1
Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica- Hidden Sea Tales #1

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard -- SIGNED!!

Bought books:

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan - Taj Mahal Trilogy #1
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (I only had the mmpb so this was a must)
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - Slains #1
Everneath by Brodie Ashton - Everneath #1
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - A Song of Ice and Fire #1 (lending copy)
The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose - for my dadd

aaand...... sent from Bloomsbury because they are awesome and fantastic and out to crush my feels:

finished copies of the first two Princess Academy Books (Princess Academy, Princess Academy: Palace of Stone)
aaand an ARC of the third, The Forgotten Sister (that illustrated coooover).


They also sent me.....


LION HEART BY A.C. GAUGHEN. Aka the best Robin Hood retelling of them alllll. I can't wait for this to destroy my heart/soul/emotions.

Understandably, it's been a good week, book-wise. How did you lovely people fare with your book buying bans and hauls?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review Take Two: Grim edited by Christine Johnson

Title: Grim
Author: Christine Johnson, Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Julie Kagawa, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Jeri Smith-Ready, Saundra Mitchell, Kimberly Derting, Myra McEntire, Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Sonia Gensler, Tessa Gratton, Jon Skrovon, Shaun David Hutchinson
Series: N/A
Pages: 476
Published: February 2014
Source: publishers via NetGalley

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

The Key (Bluebeard) by Rachel Hawkins - 3/5

I really liked this despite some qualms; it was clever and a nice modern twist on Bluebeard. I do wish it had been a bit longer because you don't really have a feel for the characters. (If you want a longer retelling, look at Sarah Cross's Killing Me Softly.)

Figment (Puss in Boots) by Jeri Smith-Ready -3.75/5

I'd never before read a Puss in Boots retelling, but this was good. Loved the fresh applications of the story and how Smith-Ready still carried the same vibe. Possibly one of the most well-written contributions to the entire anthology.

The Twelfth Girl (12 Dancing Princesses) by Malinda Lo - 3.5/5

This was good, bordering on great. Certain aspects worked well (location, diversity) but it was kinda.. flat at times? Very recognizable as a 12 Dancing Princesses but with an added air of creepitude I really enjoyed. Again, a story that would have benefited from a longer length.

The Raven Princess by Jon Skrovon - 2.75/5

A little bit grim at first, but also can feel a bit... treacly? A little... saccharine? The ending was neat, but a bit too pat and easy for an anthology named Grim.

Thinner Than Water (Cat-Skin) by Saundra Mitchell - 5/5

I freaking loved this. It brought all the grit and grimness I had been waiting for. I was unsettled by it (as I am by the Cat/Donkey Skin fairy tale in general) but thought it was GREAT how Mitchell ended it. Melura is a badass character and one I'd like to see in a full-length novel. Just maybe focused on a different fairy tale. It definitely made me curious to seek out Mitchell's novels.

Before the Rose Bloomed (The Snow Queen) by Ellen Hopkins - n/a

Skipped because verse does not work for me outside of poetry.

Beast/Beast (Beauty and the Beast) by Tessa Gratton -3/5

A decent retelling, but again, one sorely lacking the grimness promised. I appreciated Gratton's version of the characters, but didn't overly care about or invest in them.

The Brothers Piggett (The Three Little Pigs) by Julie Kagawa - 4/5

Fun, clever, almost as dark and twisty as I wanted it to be. Kagawa does a The Three Little Pigs a new kind of justice and it is so fun and awesome and GRIM.

Also now I want pie.

Untethered (The Shroud) by Sonia Gensler -2.5/5

This is one I didn't know the original story so it's hard for me to compare and judge in that regard. However, has some good prose and I liked it? I don't have much else to say.

Better (The Pied Piper) by Shaun David Hutchinson - 3/5

uhh.. sure, this is a Pied Piper retelling. If I squint and don't focus too hard. It definitely seems moreso towards the end, but most of this story does not gel with the whole "fairy tale" theme. It was grim yes, but also felt so misplaced here. Also would have been stronger without a romance.

Light It Up (Hansel & Gretel) by Kimberly Derting - 3/5

Decent, but I never really manage connect to Derting's writing or her storytelling methods just don't work for me. Add a shorter length and I was never really gonna go for for this one.

Sharper Than a Serpent's Tongue (Diamonds and Toads) by Christine Johnson - 2/5

I hard a hard time with this? It just didn't connect with me and failed to do anything really new or interesting with the established fairy tale besides using it in a modern setting. (Also Jewels in Killing Me Softly and Tear You Apart is a far more exciting example of a modern version for a Diamonds and Toads retelling.)

A Real Boy (Pinocchio) by Claudia Gray -3.5/5

Surprisingly, I really liked this because of the romance. Buuuut I am running out things to say about it. Well-written, engaging and a pretty good length.

Skin Trade (The Robber Bridegroom) by Moira McEntire - 1/5


Beauty and the Chad (Beauty and the Beast) by Sarah Rees Brennan - 3.5/5

This worked better than it should have? Some parts didn't gel as well as they could, but it was pretty amusing (after all, it is Sarah Rees Brennan). Though, again, not very grim.

The Pink (The Carnation) by Amanda Hocking - 2/5

I've been complaining about length the whole time but The Pink had the opposite issue of most here -- it felt too long. It doesn't help that I've never truly enjoyed a Hocking novel; her style just does not work for me.

Sell Out (Snow White) by Jackson Pearce - 3/5

Decent, but not engrossing the way the better stories have been. It fits in the anthology and Pearce is a good storyteller, but, once again, majorly hampered by the lack of length.

Final thoughts: Grim is a mixed bag and while the theme is only carried by some of the stories, it can be a fun read. It also made me curious to seek out longer stories from Saundra Mitchell because she basically won the anthology. This also just reaffirmed my love for Sarah Rees Brennan. Julie Kagawa also reminded me why sometimes her books and characters can be so much unexpected fun.

A few authors were new to me -- Jon Skrovon, Shaun Hutchinson, and Jeri Smith-Ready. I am definitely interested in reading more from JSR, as well.

Also this is a long anthology made up very short stories. I would definitely sacrifice the large number stories (17!) for more time with the good ones/ones that are on theme. 

5-stars: 1
4-stars: 1
3.75-stars: 1
3.5-stars: 3
3-stars: 5
2.75-stars: 1
2.5-stars: 1
2-stars: 2
1-star: 1
No rating: 1

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