Waiting on Wednesday: Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- Goddess in the Machine

I’ve had Goddess in the Machine on my for a few months now, but the cover has finally arrived! The cover is bright and eye catching and I’m certainly looking forward to this young adult sci-fi debut. The premise is fascinating – a girl traveling in cryogenic sleep across the galaxy wakes up after 1,000 years rather than 100 and finds herself being worshiped as a goddess. I absolutely love the idea and am really looking forward to this June 2020 release!

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan – Review

Cover- Blood of Empire

Published: December 2, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: Gods of Blood & Powder #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 592 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

As the final battle approaches a sellsword, a spy, and a general must find unlikely and dangerous allies in order to turn the tides of war in this epic fantasy tale of magic and gunpowder by acclaimed author Brian McClellan.

The Dynize have unlocked the Landfall Godstone, and Michel Bravis is tasked with returning to Greenfire Depths to do whatever he can to prevent them from using its power; from sewing dissension among the enemy ranks to rallying the Palo population.

Ben Styke’s invasion of Dynize is curtailed when a storm scatters his fleet. Coming ashore with just twenty lancers, he is forced to rely on brains rather than brawn – gaining new allies in a strange land on the cusp of its own internal violence.

Bereft of her sorcery and physically and emotionally broken, Lady Vlora Flint now marches on Landfall at the head of an Adran army seeking vengeance against those who have conspired against her. While allied politicians seek to undo her from within, she faces insurmountable odds and Dynize’s greatest general.


Blood of Empire is by far one of my most anticipated books of 2019 and it 100% lived up to my expectations. There’s nothing better than the conclusion of a series being both satisfying and awesome, particularly one that’s had such extensive world building. The Powder Mage Trilogy was stellar, so upon the announcement of a second trilogy following many of our favorite characters decades later, I was happier than a kid in a candy shop. To have the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy turn out just as powerfully as the Powder Mage books pleases me immensely as a reader! 

Wrath of Empire left some characters about to enter rather precarious situations and Blood of Empire saw them leaping headfirst into them. Ben Styke, Ka-Poel, and the Mad Lancers were speedily headed for Dynize in an attempt to secure the third godstone. Imagine their surprise when they arrive and find that it’s been found and is in quite a populous area. Madness ensues. Vlora is powder-blind and Olem-less and she’s near to the point of breaking as a result of the two. This made for some rather harrowing chapters, as she lacks the enhancements that made her nigh invincible on the field of battle and she must rely on others to take the big risks. Michel Bravis, former Blackhat and still a spy, was surprisingly one of my favorite characters in the series. His character growth (and change) was impressive and well, he’s a pretty tough dude and is ALWAYS in over his head.

This was a dramatic conclusion with plenty of action, treachery, and epic moments where I couldn’t help but cheer for the characters. I loved that we got to see inside Dynize culture and it really helped flesh out the story even more. We got bits of that in the second book where Michel became part of a household, but the characters being in Dynize was another level. I loved those chapters – so much dirty politicking!! I have one quibble with the whole book and it’s that the ending felt rather hurried, though on the other hand, it was nice to just one shot the bad guy without dragging the whole thing out. I had to go back and re-read that particular section just to make sure I hadn’t misread something. Nonetheless, it was satisfying and the number of epilogue chapters was fantastic – it answered things, though left room for you to imagine how lives might play out in this new world.

My overall opinion of this series is beyond positive and I can’t recommend it enough. This world Brian McClellan has so lovingly constructed for his readers ranks as one of my all-time favorites in terms of creativity, culture, and character. It’s quite something and has made me seek out other “flintlock fantasies” to fill the void in between reading his books. 

Subscription Box Review: The Bookish Box – November 2019

Basic Box Info

This box has a few different subscriptions options (shipping not included) :

  • Book + Shirt + Bookish Goodies – $43.00
  • Book + Bookish Goodies – $28.99
  • Shirt + Bookish Goodies – $29.99
  • Shirt + Book – $28.99
  • Book Only – $17.99
  • Shirt Only – $18.00

You can also pick whether you want the YA or Adult book subscription option, though it seems that the YA books are more popular!

They ship worldwide, so the only thing stopping you from subscribing is potential crazy shipping costs. I have no idea how much this would be, but if I remember correctly shipping was $8.00 for my box within the US.


November 2019 Unboxing: You Should See Me In A Crown

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Crowns, crowns everywhere!

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The book of the month is Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh sounds kind of like a fantasy death race. Sounds cool, though I hope it doesn’t end up being too Hunger Games-y.  As always, Bookish Box includes a unique dust jacket and this months was designed by Wolf + Bear Co.

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The t-shirt design this month is inspired by the Throne of Glass series. I like the quote and the colors of the shirt, though I’m not entirely crazy about the design. The shirt quality is actually quite decent and I’ve now replenished my stock of shirts to wear around the house.

I really love both the pin and necklace designs this month! Last month’s pin was an absolute dud so I’m really pleased to see the quality has gone back up. The design is by Forensics & Flowers. The necklace is nice and well, kind of motivational. I did have to do a little repair on it as soon as I took it out of the box – one of the links in the necklace wasn’t closed and came apart. Quick fix with some needle-nosed pliers and a bit of patience.

Can I just express how AMAZING and girly this pen is!!?? It’s my favorite thing in the box (rose gold with polka dots) and I’m trying to decide if it’s going to be my new purse pen or if it’s going to live a safe life at home. A nice little tote bag was also included in this month’s box with a quote from A Darker Shade of Magic.

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Lastly, here are all the little paper bits for the month. The zodiac bookmark designed by Gabriella Bujdoso feature Feyre this month. The tarot cards feature characters from A Court of Thorns and Roses (Feyre), Throne of Glass (Dorian), and A Curse So Dark & Lonely (Rhen).

Waiting on Wednesday: A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

If H.G. Parry keeps up with the interesting titles, covers, synopses… I might explode. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is quite the wordy title, but maaaaaan it sounds awesome! Great names like Robespierre and L’Ouverture happen to be magicians and magic is a hot political topic along with revolution and abolition. The concept is quite unique and I’ll be thrilled to get my hands on a copy when it’s released in June 2020.

Currently Reading: 11/25/19

Cover- Bright Steel

Bright Steel by Miles Cameron

Wrapping up what has amounted to a fine trilogy this week! I’ve really been enjoying this so far and can’t wait to see how things turn out in the end.

 

 

 

 

Cover- The Rise of Magicks

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

As soon as this is available for download Tuesday I’m going to start my listen! This is another finale to a trilogy I’ve greatly enjoyed. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy a Nora Roberts book, since I never really associated her with the fantasy genre and didn’t know much about her books (thought she wrote romance). I’ve been pleasantly surprised and hope this ends with a bang!

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason – Review

Cover- How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

Published: October 8, 2019

Publisher: DAW

Series: The Thorne Chronicles #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

First in a duology that reimagines fairy tale tropes within a space opera—The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia.

Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium.

Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world.

When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination—how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history


How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse was a perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy. It was wonderfully unique in its execution while having a tradition plot at its core – a princess is married off to a foreign kingdom for peace. 

Rory Thorne, princess in question, is certainly not your traditional prim princess. She’s been given weaponry training for much of her life, she’s wickedly clever, and has twelve blessings and what may be construed as a curse from 13 fairies present at her naming. Oh, and rather untraditionally, she was born a girl in a line that had produced only male children for generations.

The Thorne Consortium was peaceful right up someone detonated a bomb that killed Rory’s father and the King of a visiting kingdom, prompting the two kingdoms to go to war. The war lasted years, though eventually an agreement was made wherein Rory was engaged to the heir to the throne of the Free Worlds to secure peace. There is much in the way of political intrigue, as the Regent of the Free Worlds is beyond conniving and has plans of his own. Rory and her retinue of her bodymaid (Grytt), her advisor (Rupert), and four guards  end up having some of the craziest adventures. Actually, adventures is too light of a term – more like situations of likely peril – since most of these “adventures” end in some sort of violence or imprisonment. 

This book was phenomenal and ended in such a way that it would work perfectly well as a standalone, but it’s confirmed to be a duology (SO EXCITED!). The plot felt surprisingly light for something as serious as a dangerous arranged marriage and political espionage. The author threw in just the right amount of humor and almost sardonic narration and the combo jived perfectly with my mood at the time. I actually laughed out loud on multiple occasions! In all honesty, I could probably sit down and re-read this with just as much enthusiasm as I did the first time around. If you’re looking for something that stands out from the crowd of traditional sci-fi and fantasy you might want to put this on your TBR.

Subscription Box Review: OwlCrate – November 2019

Basic Box Info

This box only has two options – Owlcrate, which caters to fans of Young Adult books and Owlcrate Jr, which caters to Middle Grade readers.

  • Owlcrate (29.99 + Shipping)
  • Owlcrate Jr. (27.99 + Shipping)

Boxes are shipped between the 15th and 20th of each month. Shipping is available worldwide, with the exceptions of Mexico and Peru. The FAQ said that delivery was proving to be unreliable in these countries, though if a more reliable shipping service is available service may resume in the future.


November 2019 Unboxing – Through the Enchanted Forest

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Best box yet??

The featured book this month is Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw. It’s appropriately wintery, and woodsy and has an exclusive white cover and blue-sprayed page edges! Also, isn’t the embossing on the book just awesome? It’s on both the front and back covers!

This box was chock full of really excellent items this month, including this reading planner from Blue Star Press. I can’t wait to start using this in January! It’s actually totally blank, so you can begin using it at any time. I just love all the natural designs inside!

You can’t have a planner with out frilly little stickers to go along with it, now can you? These adorable stickers from Pipsticks have lots of owls, trees, and magical bits of crystal to embellish your planner or whatever else you might fancy. It’s got a bonus sheet of OwlCrate bookish stickers.

On the left here we’ve got a super cool (and totally fitting for my Christmas tree) ornament inspired by The Raven Boys. The design done by Juniper and Ivy Designs is so detailed and the laser engraving quite precise.

This months pin design is like, earthy yet sort of goth with the skull moth. I completely love it and I’m going to have to find something to stick it on! This was designed by Four Seasons Fox.

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A METAL BOOKMARK! It has a quote from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and was designed by Her Paper World. My bookmark collection has been steadily growing with all these book box subscriptions!

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The grand finale of the box is this WAY cool throw blanket with designs and a quote from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black! I’m in love with this and it’s either going in my library or to work with me for the winter. This was designed by Bookmark’d Tattoos (with all the fussy official licensing that the author now requires).

This might actually be my favorite of all the book boxes I’ve received up to this point. All the items were really well done and the theme incorporates so many of my favorite things – how could I not love it!

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Ranger of Marzanna

This COVER! The Ranger of Marzanna has a cover that embodies all the things that ten-year-old me loved and that current me still loves. I am such a sucker for the flowing fantasy steed that will surely carry its rider through danger. I’ve not read Jon Skovron’s books before (lack of time) but I will certainly be making time for this lovely, chunky book. Goodreads shows that it will have over 500 pages and I’m for ice trekking ranger chicks, over-powered magic users, and more RUSSIAN INSPIRED FANTASY! The Ranger of Marzanna will be released in April 2020.

Shield of the People by Marshall Ryan Maresca – Review

Cover- Shield of the People

Published: October 29, 2019

Publisher: DAW

Series: Maradaine Elite #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 400 (Paperback)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The second novel in the Maradaine Elite series blends fast-paced high fantasy and political intrigue.

After stopping Tharek Pell and saving the Druth Parliament, Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall find themselves on the margins of the Tarian Order: lauded as heroes in public but scorned and ignored in private, their future in the Order hazy. Dayne is given an assignment that isolates him from the Order, and Jerinne is hazed and bullied at the bottom of the initiate rankings.

But it’s a grand holiday week in the city of Maradaine, celebrating over two centuries of freedom and the foundation of the reunified modern nation, and with that comes parades, revelry… and protests and demonstrations. A dissident group called The Open Hand–and their mysterious, charismatic leader, Bishop Ret Issendel–seeks to disrupt the Parliament elections with their message of secession and dissolution.

Despite orders to stay out of the public eye, Dayne and Jerinne are drawn into the intrigue of the Open Hand and kept apart by dark powerful conspiracies that brew around them. Dayne and Jerinne must fight for their own principles, and protect the will of the people as the election is thrown into chaos.


Shield of the People is the second installment in the Maradaine Elite series. I’ve been a fan of the Maradaine universe since I picked up A Murder of Mages a few years back. It’s quite a work of art and has been built so caringly and in such detail! I was quite excited to get my hands on the latest series, focusing on the Tarian Order. 

Dayne Heldrin had his dreams somewhat crushed after the first book and he’s taken on a new post away from the Order’s headquarters. Jerinne Fendall and her reputation both were somewhat battered after the first book and with her damaged leg she is struggling with training. Both she and Dayne are so determined nothing will keep them down for long! Dayne is such a goodie two-shoes that I end up liking Jerinne’s POV so much better. She’s interesting – she has doubts and I think has a more realistic worldview than Dayne. 

The plot has plentiful action, but I wasn’t invested in it. I didn’t really care what happened and there were a few times that I found myself checking to see how many pages were left. Overall this missed my expectations, though not by much. I knew going in to this installment that I didn’t like these characters or their plot arc as much as those in the other Maradaine series. Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad book it just wasn’t for me and I’m also comparing it to the other books in the series. These characters are more interesting when interacting with, for example, Satrine and Minox.