BBH: Author Only Thanksgiving Party

Hosted at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This week, we are Thanksgiving themed!

If you had an author-only Thanksgiving party, who would you invite?

Gail Carriger

Jim C. Hines

Michael J. Sullivan

Martha Wells

Besides the fact that these four authors are quite possibly my four favorite authors that are still living (important distinction there, otherwise this would be more Halloween themed) I think they are each really great people. Sure, I’d want to pick their brain about writing, but beyond that, I think I could really talk to them. Some authors seem unapproachable, but I’ve read interviews with this authors or visited their blog/website and they all seem … like people. People that would be fun to hang out with and just talk to.

Who would you invite to your party?

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OMG That Song: Book and Music Tag

Music is so important to me, just like books. I hate sitting in silence and I can often be found ‘singing’ some song that’s currently in my head. (I say ‘singing’ because I have been told I can’t carry a tune – but that was said by my brother who’d say that no matter what I sounded like. And no one else has ever said anything to me about my singing.)

Anyway, the tag comes from Katesbookdate but I found it over at The Regal Critiques.

MY JAM

A song you MUST listen to every time it comes on, no matter how old or how many times you’ve listened to it.

So, this is actually a fairly new song, but I hear it all the time on the radio, listen to it a lot from my iTunes library and absolutely LOVE it. It is one of the few new songs that I ALWAYS stop to listen to.

A book you’ll never get sick of.

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I don’t reread books like I want to. As much as I say I want to and am going to, I’m always afraid that I’ll no longer love a book I used to love. But I think the Books of the Raksura series by Martha Wells is probably one series that I’ll always adore.

THROWBACK

A song that reminds you of the cringiest time of your life.

I went through several phases in my music journey. First, it was, like most kids, whatever my family listened to. (Country & Western) Then it became the new pop music. (*NSYNC) Then it became classic rock, and that was the time that I just think my life was the biggest mess. Do note, though I’ve moved on and now listen to whatever sounds good (though I’m mostly a fan of rock) I still like some of the classic rock and this song is one I enjoy. But whenever I hear it, it’s like instantly transported to cringe-ville.

A book that also reminds you of this time, or just something you wouldn’t like as much if you picked it up for the first time now.

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This was around the time I had just gotten into fantasy books and…well, these books (mostly Dragonlance, especially Weis/Hickman) do kind of make me cringe.

Replay

A recent song you have on repeat right now.

I have two that I have literally played on repeat in iTunes.

I love this song so, so much. It’s just incredibly catchy and I love the chorus beyond anything.

I love Lindsey Stirling’s music (she has re-awoken my want to learn to play violin) and I love Andrew McMahon’s quirky music. And this song is just ❤

A recent favorite book.

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This book is one of two that I credit for getting me out of a two month long reading slump, so, yeah. I adore this series and it just keeps getting better and better. A magic/steampunk flavored Revolutionary War with one of the sweetest YA couples ever.

GETS ME

This song IS ME.

That… all depends on my mood at the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a song and said: this song is me – but this song, yeah, I think does a pretty good job of ‘getting me’.

This book is me in book form.

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How can a book be you? I mean, I’ve read books that are perfect for me, but…that’s not this. However, I WANT to be Prudence. She’s awesome and kick-butt and such a free spirit that has amazing adventures with some of the best friends imaginable. Yeah. I want to be her.

WUT

Weird but I like it.

You’re welcome. Seriously, this song has a terrible habit of getting stuck in my head. And it is so different from my usual music and just a strange song to start with.

A unique book that stuck out to you for whatever reason.

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There is so much about this book that’s unique to me. The writing style is so different than what I usually read, and there are several moments that were very…strange. Yes, that’s a good word for several plot points: strange. (But I did enjoy it a lot.)

LET’S GO

Best pump up song (for workouts or just life).

A lot of my favorite songs have a kind of a you can’t beat me down vibe, but this one is probably my current favorite. And every time I hear it I just become so energized.

A book that inspired you.

*Shifty eyes* Do I totally read the wrong books? Because, I’m searching, but I’m not finding any book that ‘inspires’ me. I kind of want to put this book

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because it kind of does inspire me – because of how strong the women are and my cold dead, shriveled up little heart was warmed by their strength.

CHILL

Favorite chill, relaxing song.

I could choose absolutely anything of Sara’s, because I love all her music so much and so much of it has such a relaxing vibe. (Especially compared to what else I listen to.) But this song just feels like calm fall days to me.

A book you’d curl up and read on a rainy day.

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What’s so funny is that on rainy days, I either want a thick, chunky fantasy or a sweet romance. So, I’ll go with either Theft of Swords which is the first in one of my favorite fantasy series or Empty Net which is one of my favorite contemporary romances (and it deals with things like eating disorders and abuse).

ADDICTING

Guilty pleasure song.

I so do not like the term ‘guilty pleasure’. I mean, I don’t think you should feel guilty for liking a book/song/show whatever. Especially not for silly reasons like it’s not cool enough or deep enough or something enough to satisfy everyone else. However…

I know the music from Power Rangers will never win any awards, but they are such fun. And I had to go with this one because when I told my brother I liked this song, he was surprised.

A guilty pleasure/trashy/fast/light read.

I’m not ashamed of any of the books I read. There are, however, those books that I either don’t read around my family or I read on kindle so they don’t see what I’m reading. This is not because I’m ashamed of them, but because I don’t want to deal with the conversation that’ll come from it. While the main books this happens with are LGBT romances that look like LGBT romances, it also happens with some of the more ‘bodice ripper’ looking romances as well as the Harry Potter books. (If my father knew what they were, he’d probably throw a fit.) That being said:

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This book works rather well as being something I can’t read around my family (okay, my parents) because of the cover and something that is truly a fast, easy read.

NOSTALGIA

A throwback you look back on fondly.

It took me awhile to enter a place where I could look back at some of the music I used to like and not go ‘why?’ and instead admit that some of it was actually quite good. This song is one of those examples.

A book you read forever ago that you look back on fondly or reminds you of a happy childhood time.

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So, as a youngster, I was super interested in Egyptology. (Still am, but I can’t imagine there’s a lot of twelve year olds that want to got to college to become an Egyptologist.) And this was one of the books that fed that fascination.

Finally got this tag finished! It’s embarrassing how long I’d been working on it and it was just sitting there, unfinished. I tag anyone that’s interested in doing this!

Top Five Nostalgic Book Crushes

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. It’s kind of neat that just last month To Ten Tuesday had a topic on current book crushes and now Top Five Wednesday is doing nostalgic ones. (Side note: I couldn’t actually come up with five.)

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Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Character: Sherlock Holmes

This was actually my first ever crush on a book character. To be honest, I was quite probably too young to be reading these stories, but I loved them and developed the biggest crush on Holmes. (It has halfway lasted to this day, interestingly enough. But now I mostly get my Holmes and Watson fix from Elementary.)

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Weis & Hickman

Character: Raistlin Majere

This comes from my first foray into fantasy books (thanks to my brother) and I totally fell in love with Raist. I can no longer read these stories, but I am almost positive I’d still love him as much as I did back in the day.

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Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley

Character: Abraxis Wren

You know, I keep thinking I should re-read these books. Anyway, Wren is actually, now that I think about it, a lot like Holmes. And, unsurprising, I liked him quite a bit.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Character: Celaena Sardothian

This is tempered with some bitterness because while I loved Celaena in the first book (and she just might have been the first female bookish crush I developed) I kind of grew to HATE her in the second. And will never read anymore. But, while what we had was fleeting, it was so fun while it lasted.

I told you I couldn’t come up with five. Honestly, I’ve impressed myself that I came up with four characters that I can actually remember I had a crush on. Who do you have a nostalgic crush on?

Top Ten Books I’d Want My (Hypothetical) Nieces and Nephews to Read

Hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Because I’m never having kids, (and, really, my siblings are getting a bit long in the tooth to be thinking about having kids of their own, but it’s still more likely than me having kids) I decided to go with books I’d give to my future nieces and nephews to read. Specifically, I’m thinking early to mid teens, so 13-15. (And these choices are the reason my sister would never let me give/lend her kids books. And my brother would just wave his hand and say ‘whatever’.) What I tried to do was pick out the books that I thought had a good message for teens everyone and would expand their horizons. Of course, I’m also hoping that by the time thirteen years pass that these type of books will become the norm and it won’t be so hard to find books that give good messages.

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

A Tyranny of Petticoats Anthology

Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies–and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

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An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

(One of the more mature books on this list, due to violence and language so I’d err more on the side of 15.)

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

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

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver

Celosia Brennan was supposed to be a hero. After a spectacular failure that cost her people their freedom, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance at redemption. Together with a gifted team of rebels, she not only sets her sights on freedom, but defeating her personal demons along the way.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—except for Ianthe, a powerful Ice Elementalist who happens to believe in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not just their country, but the entire world.

(The other more mature book on this list, due to non-explicit sex. Once again, I’d err more towards 15.)

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The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: “And they lived happily ever after…” Guess what? It’s not true. Life in never-never land isn’t all sweetness and light. Cinderella – whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) – does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the “happily ever after,” Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia – otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty – comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?

While I was putting this list together, I almost started to wish that I read more contemporary books. I’ve got this idea in my head that teens of this age bracket are more into contemporary than speculative fiction. I know I was about fourteen when I first started reading fantasy, before that it was all mysteries. Is this actually a thing? Are you 13-15 or do you know people that age and what do they like to read?

BBH: Favorite & Least Fav Parts of Blogging

Today is my first day trying out another meme. This one is hosted at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. I’ll be honest in that I don’t really know how long I’ll be sticking with this – there are some super fun sounding questions coming up though, and I couldn’t resist. If you’d like more information on the Hop, check out this link.

What is your favorite part of blogging?

The part where I actually talk about the books. You see, in my life, I know exactly one person that reads frequently: my mother. However, she usually reads very different books than I do. (I can loan her some of my old mystery novels and she did, very briefly borrow a couple of fantasy books before I think she got scared off of them for good.) She also doesn’t get as … involved with her books as I do with mine. I can talk about a book or character I love or hate and get very passionate. She doesn’t. I’m not even sure she’s ever really hated a book. So, for me, discovering a whole community of bloggers that are as obsessed with books as I am was just about the coolest thing ever.

Is there a least favorite part of blogging?

For me, there is. You see, I am a major introvert with some anxiety issues. As much as I love blogging and the community – seriously, you guys are the best! – I struggle so much trying to comment. It’s bad enough on other people’s blogs, but when I get e-mail telling me I have a comment on my blog, I get all jittery and nervous and push replying off for weeks, (besides, comment exhausts me) then I feel guilty because I didn’t reply when I should have and I feel like I have to now, but I’ve got a dozen comments to respond to and – it’s just not pretty. (Strangely, once I actually convince myself to reply to the comments, it’s not half as bad as I expect it to be.) That’s not to say I don’t love comments: I do. Comments make me feel like people are actually reading my posts which is the awesomest feeling. But when I get swept under by other things, (responsibilities or just taking time to unwind) replying to comments is the first thing to suffer and I kind of hate that. To everyone waiting for me to reply to comments: sorry! (lol I’m terrible at this.)

What are your favorite/least favorite parts of blogging?

Review: Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan

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Hollow World is a standalone time traveling sci-fi with a utopian-esque world and the hapless modern man that gets thrown into it. (Kind of like a more aware Time Machine. And less depressing.)

Hollow World on Goodreads

Maybe if Pax were a woman he might have offered a hug or something, but Pax wasn’t a woman. The best a man could do for another man was pretend not to see. Only Pax wasn’t a man either.
Ellis was lost.

(Truthfully, Ellis is often lost.)

Ellis Rogers, just diagnosed with a terminal illness and told he has, at best, a year to live, does what any normal, sane, married man in his fifties would: he hops into the time machine he’s been building in his garage. Even knowing it’s going be a one-way trip, he’s hoping for a cure for his illness and sets the device for two hundred years in the future.

When he steps out of the milk-crate-and-minivan-cannibalized time machine, he’s surprised (and a little disappointed) to find himself not in a bustling metropolis of flying cars and gravity defying buildings, but an old-growth forest. Where Detroit used to be. Let’s just say that nothing about the future is quite what Ellis expected.

And the book isn’t quite what I expected. Even knowing the author’s other (fantasy) work, I still half expected a book that was dry and ponderous and, well, privileged. I can’t help it, I am ashamed to say that I expected Ellis to be ‘privileged cis white man 1.0’ – pretty much like the one from the original time machine story. And like Warren. *shudder* Oh, so much like Warren.

Ellis, actually, handles the whole thing – drastically changed earth, massively changed human culture – rather well. He’s a curious sort. He wanted to be an astronaut when he was younger and I can’t help but think that prepared him at least a little. He’s likable because he doesn’t dismiss the world. He doesn’t understand it, he misses his world, but he’s not going to say his world was better. He faces everything with a healthy dose of curiosity and – even if I was yelling at him for one awful decision he made – I liked him because of all that.

The other characters were a mix. Pax is absolutely wonderful, without a doubt my favorite in the book and definitely one of my favorite this year. The others weren’t so likable to me, but there was only one character I truly hated. (The evil, creepy villain, because yes, this story does have a villain that I wanted to kill in the worst way possible.)

I don’t really want to get into the world building because I don’t want to give out spoilers. Let’s just say that it was interesting and very believably handled. I could see the things happen that did, and I could see humanity reacting the way they did. Also, I have to add that the populace still speaks English. It’s a little changed, but I was so thrilled that there wasn’t a translation phase where we were left at sea.

This book takes a look at gender, love and individuality (and religion to an extent) and how much they matter – or don’t – in the grand scheme of being human. I’d tell you more, but, really, this is a book that it’s best to just go along with the ride and not know where it’ll end up.

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Content Advisory: Some language/curse words. There’s a couple moderately described scenes of violence, a clinical description of a dead body and mentioned off-screen consensual maiming/body modifications. And a truly vile villain. Trust me, they deserve a special advisory all for themselves because I can’t imagine anyone that they won’t insult.

Top Five Genre Bending Books

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. I know this was actually last week’s topic, but I missed it and would much rather do this topic than the actual one for this week – so bare with me.

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Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Vermin they’re called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella’s world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.

Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn’t expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.

Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society’s boundaries, Ella could lose everything – home, head and her heart…

Genres: Historical urban fantasy with zombies and romance.

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

Genre: Contemporary coming-of-age sci-fi with magical girls that fight giant monsters.

Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver

Celosia Brennan was supposed to be a hero. After a spectacular failure that cost her people their freedom, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance at redemption. Together with a gifted team of rebels, she not only sets her sights on freedom, but defeating her personal demons along the way.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—except for Ianthe, a powerful Ice Elementalist who happens to believe in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not just their country, but the entire world.

Genre: Sci-fi second world fantasy with elemental magic and automobiles.

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The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp

What if a high-tech computer game was a gateway to the dangerous Realm of Faerie?

When a game…

Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch — or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.

Turns real…

Tam Linn is the perfect hero — in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her.

Winning is everything…

Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late.

Genre: Contemporary sci-fi fantasy retelling.

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Genre: Steampunk fantasy fairytale retelling. With faeries.

Ah, genre bending, how difficult you make shelving my books. What genre bending books have you read?

Top Ten Leaders I’d Follow

Hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish. This was not an easy topic for me. The fact is, I tend to not think about things like this when I’m reading books – watching anime shows, though, this is something I often think about. I nearly twisted this around and made this people that would be bad leaders, but that list might have even been more difficult.

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The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Leader: Pearl

Just based on the first couple books of this series, Pearl isn’t a good leader. She’s grieving and pushing aside her responsibilities and causing strife among her people. Which is why it’s so great to see her develop into an amazing leader that cares about her people – even if she does get impatient with them – over the course of the series.

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

Leader: Persephone

Persephone is far from my favorite character in this series, but she is such an awesome leader. She cares about her people, she’s smart and thinks outside the box and she’s great at motivating people and getting them to work together.

Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth

Leader: Reese

Reese is the kind of person I’d leap at the chance to follow. She cares about her ‘family’ – though early on she’s more likely to cut her own tongue out than admit it – and they get into some of the most terrible scrapes ever.

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The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Leader: Queen Bea

Imagine if Charlie from Charlie’s Angels was a totally badass Queen that gathered up the heroines from various fairytales to form her own secret service. Yeah, that about sums up Bea. She saved several of her girls from bad situations and is just such a kind, strong person that she’d be great to follow.

Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver

Leader: Celosia

I don’t think she’s an obvious choice because Celosia is what happens when the chosen one fails. People kind of hate her because she was supposed to save the world and she didn’t. What she did, though, was pick herself up, go back to work for the people she’d failed, even though she gets hatred thrown at her a lot. She doesn’t quit and I think that’s one of the things that her team started to respond to.

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Leader: Henry

While Henry isn’t the leader of the rebellion, he leads his own cell of friends. The best part is that he is basically leading them against his own peers. He’s smart and definitely not the most cautious, but he’s also determined and has a lot of bad ideas.

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Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

Leader: Torin

As a member of the military with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, she not exactly the ‘leader’ in name – but she rides heard on both her subordinates and her inexperienced superiors. She’s tough and truly cares about her people and will do her damnedest to make sure her people survive. (They usually don’t so, knowing my luck, I’d be a dead body if I followed her.)

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Leader: Maia

Imagine if you’re the bastard son of the king, you’ve been disinherited and packed off to live with unpleasant relatives and no one – least of all you – expect you to rule. And then a few deaths mean you are next in line to the throne. That’s what happened to Maia. He’s totally out of his depth, not used to the court politics and manages to keep his kind, warm heart and make friends. And, honestly, with a king like him, the nation would be looking up.

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

Leader: Loch

I do like to get into trouble, so this leader of a group of thieves would be the perfect person to follow. Loch’s ideas are not always the most well thought out, and sometimes she causes more trouble than she solves, but she’s so lively and cares about her team without being mothering that following her would be great.

So, what leaders would you follow? What sort of list did you do this week?

November Releases I’m Excited For

While there aren’t many books I’m excited for this month, I know I’ll be buying at least three of the four. The fourth one, I’ll be waiting for reviews before I completely decide. And I’m making a pretty decent bet that at least two of them I’ll be buying ASAP.

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Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Releases November 5th

Werewolf in trouble…

Biffy, newly minted Alpha of the London Pack, is not having a good Christmas. His Beta abandoned him, his werewolves object to his curtain choices, and someone keeps leaving babies on his doorstep.

Professor Randolph Lyall returns home to London after twenty years abroad, afraid of what he might find. With his pack in chaos and his Alpha in crisis, it will take all his Beta efficiency to set everything to rights. Perhaps, in the process, he may even determine how to mend his own heart.

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a charming gay love story set in her popular steampunk Parasolverse. Featuring the long-awaited reunion between everyone’s favorite quietly capable Beta and the werewolf Alpha dandy who let him slip away. This sweet romance is full of unexpected babysitting, holiday decorations, and no small amount of pining.

Delicate Sensibilities?
Contains men who love other men and have waited decades to do so.

Wait, where does this one fit?
The Supernatural Society novellas stand alone and may be read in any order. But if you’re a stickler, this story chronologically follows Imprudence and ties specifically to events in Timeless. Look for surprise appearances from popular side characters and the occasional strategic application of italics.

While I love Carriger’s writing, I have fallen dreadfully behind with her romance novellas. I should buy this one, the previous one (wherein the delightful Genevieve finally gets herself a girlfriend) and the one connected to the Finishing School series at the same time. And then spend a weekend reading them. *sigh* I wouldn’t be surprised if I do.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Releases November 7th

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

And this is the book I’m just not sure about. I mean, I loved The Lunar Chronicles (note the past tense, because I’m not sure I still love them) and won’t touch Heartless for anything. But this is superheroes. I mean, c’mon. Of course I want it. I think I do, anyway. Maybe. (And this is my usual thought process with this book.)

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Terminal Alliance by Jim. C Hines

Releases November 7th

In his hilarious new sci-fi series, Jim C. Hines introduces the unlikely heroes that may just save the galaxy: a crew of space janitors.

The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, they happened to arrive after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. You know—your standard apocalypse.

The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn around and go home. (After all, it’s hard to have diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.) Their second impulse was to try to fix us. Now, a century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is surprisingly bright (for a human). As a Lieutenant on the Earth Mercenary Corps Ship Pufferfish, she’s in charge of the Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation team. When a bioweapon attack wipes out the Krakau command crew and reverts the rest of the humans to their feral state, only Mops and her team are left with their minds intact.

Escaping the attacking aliens—not to mention her shambling crewmates—is only the beginning. Sure, Mops and her team of space janitors and plumbers can clean the ship as well as anyone, but flying the damn thing is another matter.

As they struggle to keep the Pufferfish functioning and find a cure for their crew, they stumble onto a conspiracy that could threaten the entire alliance… a conspiracy born from the truth of what happened on Earth all those years ago.

I’ll be honest, this is not my usual sort of book – but I adore the author. I think he is truly a wonderful person and I’ve at least liked all his books that I’ve read. (Actually love most of them, and this books sound like more my type that the book/s of his that I merely ‘like’.)

Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley

Releases November 21st

There’s nowhere to hide.

Not when you’re an Effigy. No matter where they go, Maia and the other Effigies can’t escape the eyes of the press—especially not after failing to capture Saul, whose power to control the monstrous Phantoms has left the world in a state of panic. It’s been two months since Saul’s disappearance, and there’s still no sign of him, leaving the public to wonder whether the Sect—and the Effigies—are capable of protecting anyone.

When Saul suddenly surfaces in the middle of the Sahara desert, the Sect sends Maia and her friends out after him. But instead of Saul, they discover a dying soldier engineered with Effigy-like abilities. Even worse, there may be more soldiers like him out there, and it looks like the Effigies are their prime targets.

Yet the looming danger of Saul and this mysterious new army doesn’t overshadow Maia’s fear of the Sect, who ordered the death of the previous Fire Effigy, Natalya. With enemies on all sides and the world turning against them, the Effigies have to put their trust in each other—easier said than done when secrets threaten to tear them apart.

I pretty much love the first book in the series and this one shows signs of being even better. I am beyond excited for this book. I cannot wait to see what happens next and how these girls continue to grow and develop both as fighters and as people!

What books have you excited this month?

Review: Alice, the Player by A.W. Exley

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Alice, the Player is the sequel to Ella, the Slayer. Although this says book three, it is the direct continuation of Ella’s story. Book two is a side story prequel to the main tale that is not necessary to read second.

Alice, the Player on Goodreads
Ella, the Slayer on Goodreads
My Review of Ella, the Slayer

It wasn’t just the boys who liked to see stuff blow up, and it sounded far better than marking latitudes and longitudes on our maps.

This time around, we zombie-fy Alice in Wonderland. When Ella’s best friend Alice is kidnapped by newly turned queen Elizabeth, Ella travels with Seth to the underground hive to rescue her.

I can’t really comment on the retelling aspect this time, because I have never read Alice in Wonderland. There are a few specific notes that even I recognized, like croquet, and a few more direct references to the story.

There’s also several reveals about the vermin along the way that has Ella wondering if science or magic will explain them.

This series is so much fun. I like the slow revelations concerning the zombies. Even as they’re being killed, they’re being investigated and studied. I don’t usually deal with zombies much in the stuff I read or watch, but I love the way it seems like there’s actually going to be an explanation.

Ella and Seth are concerned as much – if not more – about how the vermin/Turned were created and why as they are will actually killing the individuals. It’s not just a case of ‘well, we have zombies…somehow’ and I really have high hopes for the answers in the finale.

But, for as much as I love that, the characters are what I really adore. Ella is great, she’s no meek, timid Cinderella. She’s tough, a strong fighter, will defend those she loves at any cost and for all that, she’s still very much a person. She gets sad and angry, she worries about romance. She’s a person, a teenage girl that was thrown into something she wasn’t prepared for and made the best of it she could.

It is so great seeing her and Seth work together, because they are true partners in this. Seth trusts her, relies on her, and even seems to appreciate her strength and abilities. She does the same for him, loving him more for the way he stands beside her, lets her do what she’s good at and they both know she can. (Seeing Ella with a flamethrower was priceless!)

This book also deals more with Alice and her boyfriend Frank. I think it was wonderful to see Alice come into her own and, while she’s not really a fighter, she has different strengths that she’s decided to use. I, much like Ella, don’t know if the relationship between Alice and Frank will stand the test it’s been put under, but it is nice to see a beta couple instead of a love triangle.

4

Content Advisory: About the same as the previous one, maybe a bit less. Let’s see, some violence, gore and moderately graphic descriptions of zombies as decomposing bodies. References to the use of flamethrowers in the war and thoughts/conversation on the effects on humans.