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: Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James. In this alternate England, magically-gifted aristocrats (Equals) rule the land, while ungifted commoners must serve 10 years as slaves. When in their life they serve those 10 years is up to them, but serve it they must. Not everyone is happy about this arrangement. The slavetowns are backbreaking and bleak, and it’s becoming more clear that being Skilled with magic is not the straight genetic shot everyone thought it was. Three young people find themselves in the midst, in different ways, of this political turmoil and magical hotbed. Luke, a teenage boy, […]

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Book Review: Passenger

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken. Etta thinks that she’s a normal girl. Well, maybe not normal. She is a world-class violinist approaching her debut, after all. But one night something goes horribly wrong. Etta wakes up not only somewhere else, but somewhen. Her mother and her haven’t been close in recent years, but you’d think she’d have mentioned that Etta comes from a line of time travelers. But now, separated from everyone and everything she knows, she has to figure out this new ability and why she’s been wrenched from her life and how to get back to it. […]

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Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1) by Zen Cho. What do you get if you mix 1 part Jane Austen style, 1 part historical fiction, 1 part mystery, a whole lot of magic, and a dash of playful absurdity à la Gail Carriger? This fun book. Sorcerer to the Crown tells the story of Zacharias Wythe, the Sorcerer Royal, tasked with the upkeep and oversight of England’s magic: practices, practitioners, and general levels. He’s new to the job and already has a few things against him. 1) He’s an emancipated slave in a world of white men. 2) He […]

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Book Review: Salt & Storm

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper. Salt & Storm is the story of Avery Roe, latest in a long line of witches inhabiting Prince Island. They have helped keep the island’s sailors safe for generations, and are both feared and respected. While Avery has the ability to interpret dreams, she has yet to come into her full power as a witch. Her grandmother is waiting for her to take over and willing to teach her, but her mother has left that life behind and forbids Avery from communicating with her. When Avery has a dream that foretells her own murder, […]

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Book Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers. If you’re looking for a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, intrigue and romance through a young adult filter, this book is for you. It’s the story of Ismae, a young girl in late 1400’s Brittany. Horribly scarred from birth, Ismae has always thought she was cursed. But after escaping an abusive arranged marriage, she is taken in by the nuns at the convent of St. Mortain. She discovers that her scars and certain other talents mark her as a daughter of St. Mortain (aka. the old world god of Death), and […]

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Book Review: The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go. This is a book I added to my TBR pile because of Casee Marie’s fabulous Notable New Releases series (probably the biggest contributor to my ever-expanding TBR pile, by the by). It’s the story of Tristan, a modern-day 20-seomthing who learns he may be heir to a huge inheritance – if he can prove that he is in fact the descendent of the trustee. The problem being that the original trustee went missing back in the 1920’s and was never heard from again. So begins his quest through the archives and […]

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