ARC Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

vassa in the night

Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fairytale Retelling
Series: N/A
Rating: B+


Brooklyn is cursed and people barely seem to notice. A single night in Brooklyn can last for what amounts to days in the outside world. Vassa and her step-sisters spend the long nights fighting off boredom with movies and books. When all the lights suddenly burn out in their apartment, Vassa is sent to the only store that remains open the whole night, BY’s.

BY’s dances on chicken legs within a circle of decapitated heads. A warning to potential shoplifters of what will happen to them if they attempt to steal anything. For Vassa, who has always been wrongfully perceived as a kleptomaniac, it’s suicide to step inside. Wanting to prove everyone wrong, she takes the chance.  When Vassa is inevitably accused of shoplifting, the owner of BY’s makes a deal. If Vassa can work three nights in the store without messing up, she’ll be free go home. Vassa quickly learns that the store and it’s inhabitants has no desire to play fair. To survive, she’ll need to rely on some unlikely allies. Continue reading

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Review: Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

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Good Morning, Midnight
Author: Lily Brooks-Dalton
Published: 2016
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian
Series: N/A
Rating: C+


When you’ve sacrificed everything for your career, how do you make sense of life once civilization falls and everything you’ve striven for no longer matters? This is a question that aging astronomer Augustine and a group of astronauts have to ask themselves when they discover they’re among the small handful of survivors at the end of the world.

When the evacuation party came to remove Augustine from his post at a research facility in the Arctic, he refused to leave. He had accepted the position with the knowledge that he would eventually die there and had no intention of changing his plans. When he discovers a young girl left behind, he has to accept a responsibility he has been avoiding his entire adult life. Continue reading

ARC Review: A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey

a study in sable

A Study in Sable
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Elemental Masters #12
Rating: B-


It’s been forever since I read a book from Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series. So, I’m pretty behind. However, I couldn’t resist jumping ahead a little once I saw that this one was promising a Sherlock Holmes inspired story.

“A Study in Sable” centers on the friendship of two women with special abilities. Nan can read people’s thoughts and summon a Celtic warrior when threatened. Her counterpart, Sarah, sees dead people and can help them cross over to the other side. The two have been working together for years to keep various magical entities in check. After taking a job to banish a horde of ghosts that have been plaguing an opera singer, Sarah becomes enraptured with the prima donna. As Sarah changes and starts to distance herself from her friends, Nan begins to suspect that there is something insidious going on. Unsure if her guess is correct or if it’s just jealousy, Nan enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Continue reading

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Published: 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: N/A
Rating: B+


I had been hearing so many rave reviews about “Uprooted” that I had to give it a shot. Luckily, this one didn’t let me down. I inhaled the book in only two sittings, which is a rarity for me nowadays.

Agnieszka never expected to be the one chosen as sacrifice to the Dragon. She, and everyone in the village, expected beautiful Kasia to be selected. So, it’s a shock when the Dragon selects Agniezka to live with him for 10 years.

The Dragon is a wizard in charge of keeping the corruption of the Wood at bay. In return for his service, he asks that the village allow one young lady to live with him for 10 years. At the end of those years, the women return but are always different and never content to stay in the village any longer.

Agnieszka is resigned to make the most of her circumstances, but longs to return to her village. Especially, when the brooding Dragon insists on teaching her magic that leaves her drained and exhausted.

This was a really interesting young adult high fantasy that went in a route I hadn’t expected. From the backcover description, I expected an odd cross between Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard. Instead, I got something much more unique and thought provoking.

The highlight of this book is seeing Agnieszka come into her own and that it didn’t rely on the Dragon showing her the way. Instead, she cleaves much of her own path and has to convince the Dragon to be more flexible in his way of thinking. It was also great seeing how much action she was able to take by herself to help save the village and those she cares about.

I also loved the quiet romance in the book and that it didn’t overtake the main story. However, I do wish that we had a least one more chapter. My main complaint with the book is that at the end, I felt like something was missing. I think a lot of this could have been resolved with one or two more chapters.

All in all, this was a fun young adult fantasy. I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the genre and looking for a good standalone story.

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Six of Crows #1
Rating: A+


Six of Crows” is my first book by Leigh Bardugo and one of the most hyped novels of 2015. After finishing it, I can say all the buzz is well deserved.

Kaz Brekker will not let anything stand in the way of his revenge. He plans to take apart the man who ruined his life, inch by inch. When a huge job that could put him closer to his goal comes across his path, he can’t turn it down. The heist seems impossible and most likely to get everyone involved killed. So, Kaz assembles a team of people just as desperate as him: a sharper-shooter with a gambling addiction; a Grisha heartrender attempting to make-up for a past mistake; a convict with a grudge; a wraith with a conscious; and the son of a wealthy merchant…for insurance. Continue reading

Review: The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

the fire rose

The Fire Rose
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published: 1995
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Elemental Masters #1
Rating: A


The Fire Rose is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, which re-imagines classic fairy-tales. This one is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but is set in the early 1900’s in California.

Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died; leaving behind a mountain of debt and no way to pay it all off. Now all Rose has to her name is a couple of ratty dresses and a handful of worthless mementos. And, since this is 1905, her options of employment are pretty limited. So, when Rose receives a job offer to be a governess for the railroad baron, Jason Cameron, she accepts it and moves to San Francisco. Continue reading

Review: Radiance

Radiance

Radiance
Author: Grace Draven
Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Rating: A +


Radiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog before getting released as an ebook.

Ildiko and Brishen, are the royal spares in their respective families. Each only important enough for a marriage of convenience to strengthen the relationship between the Kai and humans. Issue is that humans tend to flee in terror at the sight of Kai, who are armed with sharp teeth and claws. The Kai are equally off-put by human features, believing the way their eyes roll around in their sockets creepy. Despite their misgivings, Ildiko and Brishen are determined to be allies against a brewing battle over trade routes and the poisonous atmosphere of court.

It’s hard not to gush about this book because there was just so much that I adored about it. The slow build-up of a relationship between Ildiko and Brishen was wonderful. I loved how honesty between them was often painted in a courageous light and was the foundation they built their relationship on. Watching them overcome their knee-jerk reactions to each other’s appearance was also a delight. It’s hard to find a romance where both parties think the sight of each other is disturbing and rather hideous. The funny thing is that Draven did a great job of making the things the Kai found creepy about humans believable. Quite a few times in the story I sat there going “huh, I guess that would be a little odd.”

Aside from the relationship, there was also an intriguing political plot occurring in the background. From the epilogue (which acts as more of a teaser for the second book) it seems this will be more of the focus for the next book. It’s the political machinations at work that often had me thinking that things will never be smooth sailing for Brishen or Ildiko. Too much is at play and working against them in ways neither expected. So, I’m on the edge of my seat to discover how they’ll manage to continue forward and remain happy.

I can tell that this is going to be a book that I continually try to force people to read. If you like high fantasy with a strong romance, then I suggest you check this out. I’m already stalking Draven’s website to see when the next novel will be released.