August Recap and Bookish Bingo Wrap UP

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
And, just like that August is over. It was a pretty good reading month for me, both pages-wise and rating-wise.

Let's break it down:

Books Read: 31

Notable Favorites:
The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May (The Falconer #2)
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan (Memoirs of Lady Trent #4)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Nevernight Chronicles #1)
Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Reviews Posted:

Two Minute Review: 100 Days by Nicole McInnes
Discussion Review: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Fun Stuff:
Top Ten Unread Books That Have Been On My Shelf From Before Blogging

Best Bookstagram: I was terrible at instagram this month, so feast your eyes on this beauty from July

And that was my August! See ya in September! And maybe I'll find a way/the energy to review more than a couple books ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So August felt super short, right? Like just gone in a blink. I had a lot of family stuff going on, parties and canning and I started Secret Sister again, and I really just can't believe September is here. I'm watching you 2016. You're a suspicious year.

Books Read: 18

Notable Favorites:
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Princeless: The Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Reviews Posted:
The Wrong Side of Magic by Janette Rallison
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (Octobery Daye #2)
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
To All the Books I Forgot To Review Part 1 and Part 2
Whatever by S.J. Goslee

Fun Stuff: 
TTT: Ten Books I'd Buy Right Now If Someone Handed Me a Fully Loaded Gift Card
Harry Potter Spells Book Tag
Get to Know Us Uncomfortably Well Tag

We usually do this as a separate round-up, but I felt like we were doing a little much this month, so I've decided to combine them with no outside input from J. <333 

Look at all these summer reads! We both covered 20 squares! Jess got three bingos (though I think she totally had like eight books she could have counted for white cover and brought that up to five.) And I got five for Bingo supremacy! Weather words. Who knew that would be the most impossible?

Name in Title: Penelope's Daughter by Laurel Corona
Aussie Author: Marianne de Pierres (Burn Bright series)
Magic: My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand
Water on Cover: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
Political Intrigue: And I Darken by Kiersten White
July Release: Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (Arabella Ashby #1)
4+ Book SeriesA Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)
PoC MC: Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
 Starts with "S": Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
2016 Debut: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
Monsters: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
 500+ Pages: The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams (The Copper Promise #2)
Middle Grade: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi 
F/F and M/M Romance: The Silver Tide by Jen Williams (The Copper Cat #3) 
A Book about Books: Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes (Aeon's Gate #1) 
Red Cover: The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes (Bring Down Heaven #1)
Yellow Cover: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer 
Folklore or Myths: The Call by Peadar O'Guilin 
Historical 1900 - 1950: Mischling by Affinity Konar 
Outdoors: The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

Middle Grade: The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder (6/1)
Monsters: San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (6/7)
Red Cover: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (6/7)
Starts With S, U, M, E, or R: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (6/8)
Yellow Cover: Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant (6/14)
Name in Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (6/26)
POC MC: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (6/29)
June, July, Aug. Release: A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody (7/4)
Magic: White Sand by Brandon Sanderson (7/9)
Over 500 Pages: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (7/14)
Folklore or Myths: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (7/25)
2016 Debut: Whatever: or how junior year became totally f$@ked by S.J. Goslee (7/26)
Food on Cover: So Right by Rebekah Weatherspoon (7/27)
White Cover: The Wicked + The Divine, The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen (7/29)
4+ Book Series: Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews (7/30)
Outdoors: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson (7/31)
Aussie Author: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil (8/10)
Book about Books: Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett (8/18)
F/F Romance: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (8/23)
Historical Setting: 1900 -1950: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (8/31)

Backlist Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: awesome, supernatural, steampunk
Series: The Falconer #1
Pages: 393 (ARC edition)
Published: expected May 6 2014
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 4.5/5

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

Let's run through that checklist of things Aileana is promised to be in The Falconer:
Heiress. Check.
To all manner of surprising things, in fact.
Debutant. Checkcheck.
In more than one role.
Murderer. Checkcheckcheck.
Many times over...... but not in the way you think.
Fully Badass and Awesome. Checkcheckcheckcheck.
Okay, that one isn't implicitly stated, but you hoped, didn't you, upon reading that blurb, that Aileana Kameron would be realistic but badass, smart but flawed, feminine and capable. You were right to, because she is all those things, and more. She carries this novel easily on her Buffy*-like shoulders, transporting readers into her steampunkian Scottish world.

As part of a generation that has grown up with (and as one who genuinely loves) the Disney version of fairies and fairy tales, and The Falconer makes reading the subverted versions of those well-known fae tropes even more fun. These are fae that are evil, gross, destructive, not happy little sprites eager to raise human babies/braid hair/sing a jaunty tune. No, they like human energy and they kill to acquire it. Fighting them is a battle, and Aileana Kameron is one hell of a warrior. Powered by grief and rage, she is a fae-killing machine. She is the kind of girl who hides a lightning pistol in her petticoats, you know what I mean? Basically, if Buffy was an 18th century 18-year-old Scottish noble with vengeance against the fae on her mind, her name would be Aileana Kameron. This is a girl to be reckoned with on her own, but when paired with her teacher and, yes, love interest, Kiaran, she is nigh unstoppable.

Until she does something kinda stupid and which: does help her solve the mystery of her mother's death, but also puts her through some serious hell while racking up a body count. (It also provides a whole lot of momentum for the plot, so it's quite neat and smart from a reader standpoint while being totally horrible for the characters.) That's Aileana for you. For the most part, she plays it cool and collected, if not wholly inconspicuous in her dual life. Occasionally though, she messes up big time (see: disobeying Kiaran's orders about hunting, ditching Derrick when he is protecting her) but I liked her all the more for her faults. Aileana is a whirl-storm of emotions and impulses, but May has the voice and narration down pat. It's all authentic here - from vocabulary to weaponry - you know that Aileana is Scottish, angry, smart, and deadly.

There's a lot of cool, inventive stuff going on in the pages of The Falconer. There's the creepy, deadly version of the sithichean (which is much more than just Seelie/Unseelie, btw), but the author doesn't stop there. She also envisioned and created Aileana's role of a Falconer (aka seabhagair), a hereditary female trait, which endows her ability to fight the fae. As part of her powers, the daughter of the marquise can also "taste" the different kind of fae when in proximity - a revenant will taste of sulfur and ammonia, but daoine sith will "taste" of honey and nature. There's also a rare thistle - seigflur - which allows her to see the fae for 13 days before losing its power. What you need to know is that Elizabeth May has recreated Scotland and retrofitted it to fit in real fae. And she sells the hell out of it.

And all of that is not even touching the steampunk aspect of the novel. Once again, this debut author demonstrates a lot of ability for fusing her imagination into cool-sounding, easily-envisioned effects. Here we have things like "stitchers" medial spiders (ew) that can help sew up a wound, or a lightning pistol, or Aileana's ornithopter (that she built herself, natch). There's a wide array of ways May explored and infused 1844 Scottish society with steam technology and it's a pretty seamless blend all told. The supernatural and the steampunk are well matched, work together,  and help to balance the narrative rather well.

I do admit a few elements of The Falconer confused me as I read my way through it in less than a day. Where did the line "crimson suits you best" come from? Who said it? I get what it implies, but the origin was never mentioned? Also, the way time is referred to is different -- "elevenhours" "fourhours" - and it's also never really explained.

With all that The Falconer packs in in a relatively short amount of time and page - mythology, fae, steampunk, revenge - there's a lot going on character-wise. Aileana is the breakout star, as she should be, but her compatriots are nothing to complain about and can hold their own with or without her. Aileana's best friend Catherine might not feature a lot, but she has a lot of personality for how little she appears. Gavin, though less explored than he could be, is quite interesting for his own reasons and grows even over the short period of time he is on the page in The Falconer. Aileana's father, and her relationship with him, are both relatively complex, but needed more screentime with the two of them together to really create pathos.

I'm almost to the end and I would be remiss if I didn't mention Kiaran. The other character highlight of the novel, Kiaran is also the love interest. Aaaand he's mysterious and broody and kind of an asshole. He's also way, way more than that because this is Elizabeth May, come on now. Everyone has history and backstory and facets and secrets, and Kiaran has more than most. Like Aileana, it takes time to care about this charming bastard, but you will. Oh boy, you will. Think Sturmhond levels of adoration. He is a scene-stealer and I absolutely love how May handled the romance. Essentially, there really isn't much of one. And you will WANT there to be. By making the readers love each character individually, May could not prove more how much these two belong together. But life is complicated, because reasons. Read the book.

If you just want the short of it, know The Falconer is unputdownable for a lot of reasons. It's fun, actiontastic, creative, and just bloodthirsty enough. Aileana is a standout character. She reminds me of Karou in that she really doesn't remind me of any other character (literary-wise, we aren't counting Buffy). As someone who has always dreamed of living in the past but hates the roles for women back then, Aileana is the perfect kind of unconventional heroine. She may not be perfect, the Ton may gossip about her dance card, but she can handle an ornithopter and a crossbow, while being sarcastic. Who would you rather hang out with? 

Be prepared for me to push this book on you all year long. Until the next one is out.

Recommended for: fans of Crown of Midnight aka those who enjoy fierce heroines, great male leads, complex worlds, lots of mythology. 

*credit to Meg of Cuddlebuggery for that astute comparison

The Get to Know Me Uncomfortably Well Tag

Ellis tagged us in this "get to know me" tag back in May and we are disasters who forgot to do it. No more! We actually used to do these kind of surveys all the time when we met back on wotmania, so this is nostalgic goodness mixed with the terror of TMIing in front of all your friends. Awesome.


J- Leigh! I actually like this name better than my given name.
D - Like every other woman I meet who was born in the 80s, it's Marie.


J - I am a Scorpio both by birth month and by nature
D - Gemini, the most maligned of signs. (Shout out to my twin, Ellis)


J - I love all shades of blue, but deep blues are my favorites.
D - I'm really into bright colors: chartreuse, tangerine, teal, etc. And I love pink and red.


J - uuugh, I had a dream about not calling in sick to work, forgetting to show up, and then being fired. I woke up very frustrated - both for being dream-fired and also for just dreaming about work on my days off! Rude, subconscious, rude.
D - I really can't remember. I woke up stressed out, but the why escapes me.


J - nope! Not even a little bit (also I don't believe in psychics, so....)
D - I also don't believe in psychics, but I did make extra cash in high school reading tarot cards, so take that how you wish.


J - I have a lot, but the top ten is mostly made up of Florence and the Machine and Adele.
Florence: Rabbit Heart, Queen of Peace, Breath of Life, Howl, Third Eye
Adele: Rolling in the Deep, Send My Love (To Your New Lover), Someone Like You, Chasing Pavement, Water Under the Bridge
D - Oh god. Wait for It from Hamilton, Mary Lambert's cover of Jessie's Girl, Yeah Yeah Yeah's Heads Will Roll, X-Ray Spex's Oh Bondage, Up Yours. Oh! And Kacey Musgrave's Cup of Tea! I call my taste "eclectic" to feel better about myself.


J - partner for what? Crime? Dani. 
D - πŸ˜˜


J - oh I am a wanted criminal! Ha, nah, just a few warnings for being "drunk in public" in the downtown areas of my hometown in my early 20s. In my defense, that's where the bars were and I had to walk to the DD's car from the bars!
D - Nope. I'm a total bore - I've never even spoken to a cop outside of a traffic accident when I was 16. (Passenger. I wasn't even driving!)


J - hmmmm, outside of authors, nope! But I have met Laini Taylor, had drinks with Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer, and chatted with Jay Kristoff!
D - I've met a few bigger name wrestlers - Asuka, Emma, Paige from WWE. Little Richard stole my coffee at an airport once. Weirdly, not a lot of celebrity run ins in Ohio.


J - YEP. My whole family besides myself and my mother are all competitive archers. I've been able to string a bow since I was 10. 
D - ...and I fired a bow once at summer camp.


J - "fuck"! It has so many uses and so many applications. I am also a frequent user of "bullshit."
D - Also fuck. I have a fucking potty mouth.


J - more than I can count. I have arrow scars, knife scars, fall-down-because-I-have-no-balance scars, karate scars, sunburn scars.... there are a lot.
D - Lots of little ones from cats. A pretty big one on my left bicep from gouging myself on a nail. One on my right knee from falling off my tricycle and then ripping the scab off on another nail. Why does my house have so many loose nails?


J - I can be? My parents aren't the best at detecting my bullshit but my sister, best friends, and husband can easily. 
D - Not really. I'm too anxious for real lies. I do embellish stories too much because I don't think I'm interesting.


J - I am infamous among my family for my random penchant to start using accents. British, Irish, Australian are the ones I am good at. 
D - I slip into Southern really easily if I'm around people from the south. I spent a lot of summers in Logan county West Virginia.


J - I'm never more Irish than when I get to have potatoes. Mashed potatoes are probably my favorite food, but I also am always down for baked potatoes, fries, etc. 
D - This is why we're best friends. I am Samwise Gamgee. Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.


J - hmmm.... maybe "fuck that" or "fucking no!"
D - "[blank] is everything" I'm basic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


J - I am not a huge fan of lollipops but because I am 2[redacted]-going-on 84, I love butterscotch candies. And those? I bite even tho I try NOT TO.
D - Lick and suck. Never use teeth.


J - as I write these answers, even.
D - Yep. And I narrate. "As Danielle typed in her answers, she wondered, will anyone read this?"


J - I love to sip tea. I am not a malicious gossip, but I also think "gossip" is pretty much just social news and have no shame in that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
D - The. Worst. I'm sorry. Do not tell me anything you don't want my husband, my girlfriend, Jessie, and my co-workers to know.

J - I was a kid mostly because I was always expecting aliens to land. Not so much now, especially since I live in a goddamn desert. Dark = cool.
D - Yep. I'm 29 and I have a nightlight. It projects stars on my ceiling.


J - unfortunately so. 
D - So ticklish you don't even have to touch me.


J - celebrity, I'm assuming? Since I doubt any of you knew Chris M. from norther Arizona in 19[redacted]. So.. that would be Garth Brooks. I had a burning passion for the man from age 8 to... welll... late teens?
D - David Bowie in Labyrinth, Han Solo, and Sailor Mars.


J - just 2 ear piercings. I've always wanted more but my skin is super sensitive and I am allergic to most metal jewelry :(
D - Four. Ears, right nostril, and tongue.


J - I'm no Usain Bolt, I'll tell you that. 
D - No.


J - kinda? I have a journalish book called "My Dysfunctions" that I use to channel my anxieties and issues into when they crop up in daily life.

D - Nope. I am the worst chronicler of all time. I can't even do 30 day challenges or take my meds daily, let alone write down that I forgot to take my meds.


J - I like it better than the the ones that are going to come next.
D - I can't think of another I'd prefer. God forbid I have to go back to being 19 or even 24.


J - willful ignorance is a big one. Cruelty to animals is probably the one that gets me most.
D - Being taken advantage of/not being appreciated. Republicans. Inexplicable anxiety.


J - ehhh, it's alright. My mom and sister also have J- names so I like the alliteration, if not my own personal version. Also, it is just Jessie NOT Jessica. 
D - Yeah, Danielle is a good name. I like the diminutive. I like how it sounds with my sister, Michelle. And I find it very me.


J - nope! My ancestors were regular people from Ireland, England, France, and Germany. 
D - My uncle got really into tracing our lineage to Scottish clans and found a coat of arms that's super obscure and hard to verify, so I have to doubt it.


J - blue and grey! 
D - White and kind of salmon-y.

So there we go, loves! You know know way too much about us. If you want to participate, you can choose to either answer the same questions we did or pick minimum 15 from the full list.


Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf From Before Blogging That Are STILL Unread

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Top Ten Tuesday is all thanks to Broke and the Bookish!

So I have been blogging for almost 6 years. That's a long time and my book-buying habits have only gotten more intense as the years go by. There are just so many good books to read! I always have new books I am dying to read, old books I still intend to read, and books I love that I want to REREAD.  But there are a few that I have that predate this blog that I WILL get to, one day.  

1. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naΓ―ve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

2. Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier 

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all...

3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura's story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. 

Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.

4. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

What is Un Lun Dun?
It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

5. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Provence, in the south of France, is a part of the world that has been—and continues to be—called a paradise. But one of the lessons that history teaches is that paradise is coveted and fought over. Successive waves of invaders have claimed—or tried to claim—those vineyards, rivers, olive groves, and hills.

In Guy Gavriel Kay’s new novel, Ysabel, this duality—of exquisite beauty and violent history—is explored in a work that marks a departure from Kay’s historical fantasies set in various analogues of the past.

Ysabel takes place in the world of today: in a modern springtime, in and around the celebrated city of Aix-en-Provence near Marseilles. Dangerous, mythic figures from the Celtic and Roman conflicts of the past erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.

The protagonist is Ned Marriner, the fifteen year-old son of a well-known photographer. Ned has accompanied his father, Edward Marriner, and a team of assistants to Provence for a six week “shoot.”

6. Society of Steam series by Andrew P. Mayer

This new steampunk series opens in 1880, when women aren't allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime. But twenty year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a hero. Her opportunity arrives in tragedy when the leader of the Society of Paragons, New York's greatest team of gentlemen adventurers, is murdered right before her eyes. 

To uncover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with the amazing mechanical man known as The Automaton. Together they unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the Paragons that reveals the world of heroes and high-society is built on a crumbling foundation of greed and lies.
When Sarah comes face to face with the megalomaniacal villain behind the murder, she must discover if she has the courage to sacrifice her life of privilege and save her clockwork friend.

7. The Plantagenet series by Sharon Penman 

A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England's King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry's beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned.

Sharon Kay Penman's magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendors to come—the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world.

8. Shanghai Girls & Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. 

Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

9. Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

Welcome to Newford…

Welcome to the music clubs, the waterfront, the alleyways where ancient myths and magic spill into the modern world. Come meet Jilly, painting wonders in the rough city streets; and Geordie, playing fiddle while he dreams of a ghost; and the Angel of Grasso Street gathering the fey and the wild and the poor and the lost. Gemmins live in abandoned cars and skells traverse the tunnels below, while mermaids swim in the grey harbor waters and fill the cold night with their song.

10. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts (Empire Trilogy #1)

Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan…

Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle.

Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction.

Daughter of the Empire is the magnificent first book in The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts.

Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive.

Daughter of the Empire is the first in Feist and Wurts’ wonderful epic trilogy – one of the most successful fantasy collaborations of all time. The trilogy continues with the second book, Servant of the Empire.

“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.” - Joseph Joubert

Two Minute Review: Whatever by S.J. Goslee

Monday, August 22, 2016
Title: Whatever.: or how junior year became totally f$@ked
Author: S.J. Goslee
Genres: Contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 272
Published: Ausust 2nd, 2016
Source: ARC via Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.

Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.

It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.

With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.

I hate the writing of Whatever. The third-person present is distracting and confusing to read. It makes no sense why it's not written in first-person, especially since the writing is so "voice-y" you might as well be in Mike's head anyway. I found the character and writing to be kind of alienating, the use of only last names, even for siblings, the sports, the constant thoughts of attractive men and women lent themselves to a very stereotypically masculine book that I couldn't relate to, even while dealing with LGBT subject matter. I actually think the juxtaposition could work for teen boys, but coming at it as an adult woman, it wasn't for me.

I have no real issues with the plot, though it takes far too long to get moving. I do have issues with the Thanksgiving scene. Mike, struggling with being bi or maybe just gay, is confronted by his grandmother, whom Mike's mom has outed him to. She proceeds to uncomfortably grill him about his relationship options and insinuate that being gay is a choice before outing him to the entire family. Mike's upset for a hot second. His mother's overstepping is never mentioned, despite being just as inappropriate. The scene's not really played for laughs, but it definitely has a light tone meant to evoke that Grandma means well and really it could have been worse! No. Bad book. No cookie.

August Book Haul

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Hello! It's been a minute since I did any real posting over here - Real Life things both good and bad got in the way for a bit. Dani's been holding it down like the champ she is, but I thought I would ease myself back into the game with a new book haul, especially since it's been quite a while since I've posted one of those. 

From NetGalley:

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

Pretty cover, intriguing synopsis, great comparisons!


Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not dealing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break-up of his marriage.

Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack.

As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, he finds himself reluctantly working with Noor LeBrac and her younger brother, Jimmy Sarraf.

And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter.

Tell the truth. Shame the devil. Bish can’t get Violette LeBrac’s words out of his head. But what he may get is some sort of peace with his own past as the worlds of those involved in two bombings, years apart, collide into the journey of his life.


From edelweiss:

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

This sounds like it will be a fun read and also right up my alley!

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

I've really enjoyed this series since the first book, but book 2 was a game changer. I am very curious to see how it all wraps up!

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

This sounds like such a Jessie book and readers/agents I trust are already loving it. Sign me up!

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

I love the premise for this and I am excited that it's a standalone fantasy! 

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

Thursday, August 18, 2016
Though we're cribbing this from Scribbles and Wanderlust without being tagged, like rebels, credit for tag and graphics to Kimberly Faye Reads and BookNerd Betsy.

an upcoming release you wish
you could get your hands on right now

D - Empire of Storms! Gimme that Sarah J. Maas goodness. Let's throw book six in there too, for good measure. I need my Aelin fix.

J - Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill -- fantasy and archery and kingdoms clashing and Y.E.S.

favorite series starter

J - A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - I love the whole series but the first one remains my personal favorite. It's what I love about fantasy in one package -- great worldbuilding and atmosphere, interesting characters, unpredictable plotting.

D -  This was really hard, because my first instinct was Throne of Glass, but to avoid having no one by Maas on this list, let's go with Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. The Final Empire didn't just start my series obsession, but my Sanderson obsession in general, so A+. Write more Vin stories now, Brandon.

a book that gave you all the warm fuzzies 

D - The noises I made while reading Strong Signal by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson cannot be properly heard by humans, though your dogs probably perk up whenever Kai came on the page.

J - I was so amused and happy when reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It's got it's fair share of trials and tribulations but this book made me happy more than anything else.

 a book that made you ugly!cry

J- I am not quiiiite as weepy as Danielle, but there are more than a few books that hit me right in the emotions. Code Name Verity is always one, even when I know what is going to happen to the characters.

D - I am a weepy human, as you can tell from my twitter bio, "The girl who cried at Clownfellas", but no book has ever ever made me cry as long and hard as The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I cried until I couldn't see; until I couldn't breathe. I cried hysterically. I cried like I'd watched every Nicholas Sparks movie and Up on the day of my period. You should read it.

bookish hero/heroine you want to protect you in real life

D - Alana from Brian K. Vaughan's Saga can give birth, get up, take out a squadron, and escape into a sewer without ever unlatching the nursing baby. Yep, I'm woman enough to just stay behind her.

J - Falcio val Mond  from Sebastien de Castell's Saint's Blood (and previous three books) might not be the best swordfighter or the best archer, but he never gives up. The bastard is tenacious, so tenacious he lives even when he ought not to. I don't think there's much he wouldn't do to protect someone in his charge. That is how he has survived four books in a world that hates him ad his kind.

a book you intentionally spoiled for yourself

J - ooh, this is hard. Oh wait,  A Court of Mist and Fury! I was starting a reread of ACoTaR and Gilly from Writer of Wrongs told me why it was unnecessary. I still read ACOMAF, but having a vague idea for the ... way it plays out probably helped me not to DNF.

D - When Jess published her review, I texted and was all, "I gots t'know!" Yeah, it still makes me laugh. Good decision spoiling this one, pastMe.

a book you wish you could make everyone read

D - I'm going to go a little outside the box on this one and recommend Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels. Romance is such a reviled genre, even more so than other genre fiction like mysteries and fantasy, and Sarah and Candy from Smart Bitches Trashy Books do an amazing job of explaining the history of the genre, the conventions, and how you can read romance and still be smart and feminist. Plus there are MadLibs.

J - THE LAST MORTAL BOND BY BRIAN STAVELEY. So, technically, this is the third in a series. So really I would make people read The Emperor's Blades and Providence of Fire in order to get this. But this is a series based on Tang-era China with NINJAS who ride GIANT BIRDS for SPECIAL OPS MISSIONS. It is awesome.

a book/series you wish never ended

J - Duh.

D - Duh?

a book with an uplifting ending or message

D - This is so sad, but I have to pass on this question. I'm not sure I've ever read one. 

J - Wanderlost by Jen Malone. This is a cute and fun book, but I loved how the MC grew up and learned about herself on a trip.

a book you wish you could forget you ever read


J - well this one is easy. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, as referenced from above. A thoroughly pointless and lame novel. I only wish it was as forgettable as it was annoying.

D - Could you imagine re-reading the ASoIaF series without knowing how it ends? A fresh re-read with an adult's mind? Spoiler NED'S FUCKING DEATH?????? I would kill for that experience.

an author whose books always get you out of a slump

D - Courtney Milan! Her romances, historical and contemporary, are perfect for hooking my brain.

J - Brandon Sanderson is a champ at this. He's never let me down and even just going back over books I've read and loved often reinvigorates my reading. He's just so clever and his books are intricate convolutions that are fun to read AND dissect.

a swoon-worthy hero or heroine

J - The ONLY answer is JONAH GRIGGS from Marchetta's Jellicoe Road. (Jk, I have many others but JONAH. GRIGGS.)

D - Literally every single POV character in Six of Crows. On my first read though I thought the most swoon-worthy were Kaz and Inej, but on my second I realized that it's really Jesper. Or Mathias? 

a book that caused you to stop doing all other things until you finished it

D -  The whole Hunger Games trilogy fits this question. I'm not usually able to read 400 pages in a day, but Mockingjay wasn't just a one day read. It was a one sitting read. One Saturday spent with my butt latched to my couch and a box of tissues ready for the end. 

J - One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have a hard time putting down any TJR novel, but my emotions were so snarled by this one I could NOT do anything until I knew how it would end.

a book that was painful to read or broke you

J - Heir of Fire? Heir of Fire.

D - I think this book gave me Stockholm's Syndrome.

a book that had you laughing out loud

D - Let's Pretend This Never Happened! Anyone who's read Jenny Lawson's blog should know she is side splittingly funny, so obviously her memoir had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks, as I called my doctor to be evaluated for anxiety. Thanks Jenny!

J - Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes. This book is both sad and hilarious -- aka the Marian Keyes charm. It deals with loss and life and it's just fantastically amusing, as are the other connected stories dealing with other characters in this.

a book that made you want to send it flying

J - literally anything by that hack Terry Goodkind. I do not know why I suffered through five books of this slop (there was an EVIL CHICKEN in one. They called it "evil incarnate." I laaaauughed.) But I did and they were terrible and should fly and keep flying into space, forever.


bookish world that you wish you could visit

D - I know it's something of a cliche, but it's always going to be the world of Harry Potter for me. Not least because I'm an epic fantasy fan and there's no goddamn way I'm going to Westeros et al. 

J - THE COSMERE. I don't and won't pick a single world so I'm going to say all of them in Sanderson's creative universe. I wouldn't mind starting in Roshar, though. I've always wanted a spren.

a book with a shocking twist or ending

D - WHY HAVEN'T YOU READ FEED'S TWIST YET? I list it on every one of these tags.

a character death that destroyed you

D - Nehemia Ytger is not dead. My ship is not sunk. Everyone is going to be happy. 

That's all I have to say.

J - It's been over ten years and I am still not okay with what happens to Oberyn Martell. I will never be okay. It won't. HE WAS TAKEN FROM US WAY TOO SOON. #denial #thisiswhyheadcanonsarenecessary #oberynlives

best series conclusion

J - It could be because it's my favorite (so far) book of the year, but The Last Mortal Bond really fucking killed it. I was so into that book I had a hard time when it was over. Props to the author for that and for getting this series done so quickly. It's a world I need more of (and will be getting!) but this arc was fabulous.

D - Going through my shelves, I realized I've actually finished very few series and those that I have, Sookie Stackhouse, The Selection, are awful. Even good series I've finished, Mistborn, HP, I found the last book to be the least satisfying. So even though Dreams of Gods and Monsters is my least favorite of the series, Laini Taylor's conclusion is still miles better than lesser authors'. My biggest wish is more stories in the world.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.