Recent Reads

Hey! Yes, it’s been awhile. Life kind of got hectic there for a bit. I’ve still been reading, though, never fear. Here’s what I’ve gotten into lately:

Within the Sanctuary of WingsWithin the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5) by Marie Brennan.
This is the final book in the wonderful Lady Trent series, and it did not disappoint. She visits another remote locale chasing after a legend, and makes another discovery regarding dragons – the biggest one yet by far. It had just the right blend of adventure, honestly human moments, and Lady Trent’s signature acerbic commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it a satisfying end to the series. I am a little sad it’s over now, but it went out with a bang. If you’ve loved the other books in this series, have no fears with this final chapter. If you haven’t read the other books, pick up the first one now!
4/5 stars.

station elevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Disaster strikes. The human population is decimated. Governments and infrastructure collapse. Chaos and survivalism rule. But some find that survival alone is not enough. Enter The Travelling Symphony, a group of itinerant actors and musicians who make their way in this post-apocalyptic world by playing classical music and performing Shakespeare. The story jumps around between different time frames and characters, but they all weave together. I loved this book. The writing is so good, and the story draws you in. You have moments of humanity at its worst (violence and cults and bullshit), juxtaposed against humanity at its finest. You get the before and after of civilization, and the joy as a reader of picking up on the little pieces that tie the parts together. It’s so good. And it’s a standalone novel, so you have no excuse not to try it.
4.5/5 stars.

A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
This was a book club read that I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, and that would’ve been a shame, as this was a really entertaining read. Count Alexander Rostov, for crimes of his lineage balanced against action for the revolution, is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest at Moscow’s eminent Metropol hotel. There begins a decades-long adventure within its walls. The cast of characters is brilliant, Rostov’s narrative wit is perfect, and the backdrop of those tumultuous years of Russian history was an interesting change from my normal sci-fi/fantasy fare. It’s not a quick-paced story by any means. But it is a humorous, and heartbreaking, and satisfying one. Highly recommend.
4/5 stars.

Cousins O'Dwyer TrilogyThe Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts.
Yes, that Nora Roberts. This series is her attempt at marrying modern day fantasy with Celtic/Irish tradition and her usual romance. With mixed results. I think the idea at the core of this series is good. An evil sorcerer, a good witch, a bloodline tasked with finishing the job centuries later. The cast of characters was fine, if predictable in how they would pair up. There were some good moments that were particularly funny or touching. But overall these books suffered from a slow pace, and a surfeit of telling not showing. There is way more talking about what the characters are going to do then there is the characters actually doing it. Notice that didn’t stop me from reading all 3 books, though, so take from that what you will. If you want an easy, mindless read with a touch o’ the Irish, maybe give book 1 a try.
3/5 stars.

Yeah, I’ve been all over the place with books lately! Next up on my list is a Civil War romance, some Norse mythology, and a modern-day YA.

What have you been reading lately?

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Book Review: Chasing Embers

Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett. What if all of our myths were true? When humanity started to really dominate the planet, the creatures of legend and folklore banded together to form the Pact. In order to escape humanity’s notice (and persecution), only one individual of each kind of creature would be allowed to remain, the others passing into a Sleep until the day a lasting peace might be achieved. The Remnants who stayed awake agreed to keep a low profile, not fight one another, and help enforce the Pact on any who broke it. Red Ben Garston […]

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Book Review: The Waking Fire

The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria #1) by Anthony Ryan. Imagine if dragons existed (in four colors: Black, Red, Green and Blue), and each type of blood granted certain powers to a select few of the population. Imagine the era of monarchies and governments had faded, to be replaced by corporations- who, of course, control access to this dragon blood. They’ve gotten rich and powerful off it, particularly the Ironship Syndicate, which has empire-like control of vast lands. Decades pass. And now the breeding lines of drakes are weakening, and the wild ones more scarce. The old myth of the […]

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Book Review: The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine. Princess Lorelai has a great life- a loving family, a kingdom that dotes on her, budding magical power. Until her mother dies, and her father remarries. Her new stepmother seems charming at first, but is soon revealed to be an evil witch. In the disaster that claims her father’s life, Lorelai escapes with her brother and a trusted guard. She spends the next decade planning and building her strength (both physically and magically) in order to finally face the evil queen. When the king from a neighboring land (who also happens to […]

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The Art of How to Train Your Dragon 2

I received a free copy of this book for review from Harper Voyager. This past weekend the boy indulged my fixation with dragons and took me to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. We both liked the first movie, so this wasn’t too much of a hardship for him. 🙂 I thought the first movie was a lot of fun, and the 2nd movie was a good follow-up. Still fun (and obviously full of dragons), but a little more serious and a little more mature, which fits for taking place 5 story-world years after the first movie. And I […]

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Book Review: Hidden


Hidden (Dragonlands #1) by Megg Jensen. I received a free copy of this book for review from NetGalley. Oh, where to start with this one… How about the cover? You’ll notice there’s a dragon on it, and that the series is called Dragonlands, so it should be no surprise that I jumped on this. It’s the story of Tressa, a girl growing up in the village of Hutton’s Bridge, which has been surrounded by a mysterious (and deadly) wall of fog for the past few decades. Each year, 3 people are sent into the fog to try to find a […]

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Book Review: A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. Right, you thought I could walk by this cover in the library and not pick it up? Ha. This book is a fun little adventure story. The conceit is that it’s told as a memoir, from the point of view of Isabella (Lady Trent), one of the preeminent dragon experts of her day, looking back on her youth and start of her career. It’s a completely fictional world, though Lady Trent’s native Scirland sounds amazingly like Victorian England, right down to tea and Society. Isabella, of course, […]

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