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Review: Dealing with Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1) by Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons

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Meet Princess Cimorene – a princess who refuses to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart…
And bored.
So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul – one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she’s coping with a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince and some very oily wizards.
If this princess ran away to finds some excitement, it looks like she’s found plenty!

 

 

This was adorable! I quite enjoyed every minute of this read – and I’ve been a very fussy reader lately.

Cimorene is curious about everything – except those things deemed appropriate for princesses. After being told by her parents she was going to be married off to someone she didn’t want to marry, Cimorene runs away and volunteers to serve a dragon.

One of the things I adored about Dealing with Dragons is that Cimorene gets to be quickly known for her common sense and clear thinking. This is definitely a book I could see giving to a young girl to read! Cimorene isn’t “too good” to do anything, her problem is that everyone wants her to do nothing. Princesses are pretty and ornamental but they don’t learn Latin or magic or sword fighting – everything that Cimorene finds interesting.

Instead of being content with her lot in life, Princess Cimorene takes action. She becomes the servant of a dragon, Kazul, and then proceeds to make herself very comfortable. Kazul expects Cimorene to cook, clean and serve. She also expects Cimorene to know enough (or learn!) to be a Librarian and she trusts Cimorene in her treasure room.

I love that this book explores and embraces being different and experimenting with new and different things until finding what makes you happy.

This was a fun but quick read. It’s much more MG than YA but I loved every second of it. It’s not a book I can see myself re-reading but I would like a copy in my library for future young readers.

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Review: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy thinks she’s lost forever when a tornado whirls her and her dog, Toto, into a magical world. To get home, she must find the wonderful wizard in the Emerald City of Oz. On the way she meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. But the Wicked Witch of the West has her own plans for the new arrival – will Dorothy ever see Kansas again?

 

 

 

I used to consider myself a Wizard of Oz expert. I’ve seen the 1939 movie a ton of times. I’ve seen the musical adaption movie The Wiz about a million times (Micheal Jackson, Diana Ross, Mabel King, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor? YES, please). And then – just to put 10 on the 20 – I’m a theatre geek from waaaaaay back. I served as Technical Director and Lighting Designer (and I also danced in!) for the stage version of The Wiz. I used to know that script backwards and forwards. So you can’t fault me for thinking I knew my The Wizard of Oz.

Well, guess what? I did NOT know my Wizard of Oz!

I went into this read thinking I knew what was going to happen. I had the movies and the plays all circling in my head so I spent the entire read fighting with my memories and knowledge of the adapted works. The Wicked Witch that Dorothy kills is wearing silver shoes; the Good Witch that meets Dorothy upon her landing is NOT Glinda and she’s an old, weak witch about the size of the Munchkins; The Wicked Witch of the West has very little on-page time and Glinda doesn’t get page time til the very, very end. Like, Glinda didn’t even know Dorothy was in town til she came pounding on the Witch’s front gate. And those are just the initial big differences. There was just so much changed…
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Review: Clean Sweep (The Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews

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This is a short novel, about 60,000 words.

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night… Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I loved this book! Loved it!

I first read this book a while ago. It’s available – in its organic form – as a serial on the Andrews’ website. I knew what to expect but boy was I surprised!

I hate squeeing. I swear, it’s rather undignified. But there’s really no way to truly explain how much I enjoyed this new and updated edition. This updated version of Clean Sweep has been copy edited and four beautiful color illustrations added. I can’t emphasize enough the need to read this on something that has color. I read it on my computer once I realized there were illustrations. The Illustrations…really gave me fond memories. My first few hard and trade fantasy books were illustrated – here and there but illustrations still. The copy-edit is seamless (as it should be) and has given more back story and detail to an already rich world. Dina, the heroine, has had some additional background filled in and the ending is less abrupt.

This book is written in a flavor you’re familiar with if you read Ilona Andrews: strong characters, new and fascinating magic systems/worlds, real alpha males instead of Alpholes and female characters that aren’t doormats.
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Review: Silver May Tarnish (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle #10) by Andre Norton & Lyn McConchie

silver may tarnish

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The Dales of Andre Norton’s Witch World have endured wars, natural disasters, the predations of strange creatures, and treachery. None loves the land as well as Lorcan, orphaned at birth, who has sought his birthright for as long as he can remember. Exiled from his native land when it was invaded by Alizon, he spent his youth in Paltendale where he was treated as an outsider, especially by Hogeth, an heir of that dale, who resented Lorcan’s presence when both were still young men.

When he came of age, Lorcan left to seek his own destiny. Since then, he has fought valiantly to rid the Dales of the Alizon invaders, but not even his efforts can prevent the deaths of many people, and the destruction of many keeps and garths. The war now over, he has survived, but so have those who would plunder the lands of the survivors. And among the plundering bandits is his nemesis from Paltendale, now more bitter and determined to vanquish Lorcan.

During his travels Lorcan has joined with five blank shields, who, fighting together for common cause, become his boon companions. Then he meets a young noble lass, from a dale known as Honeycoombe for its beekeeping. Her dale has been decimated by the war, but with Lorcan and his band, she will try to rebuild a home where they all can live in peace. Lorcan feels that he might at last find happiness with the valiant fair maiden. But Hogeth now leads marauders across the dales, destroying what they cannot rightfully have, and there will be no peace in the dales until Lorcan and Hogeth settle their old, bitter score.

This isn’t going to be the best review ever. I’ve read the book too many times. I love this book and this series too much.

This book is several books into the Witch World series but it is a stand alone. While it can be read without prior knowledge of the Witch World…Norton writes with the assumption that you know what she’s talking about.
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Clean Sweep Read – In Progress (SQUEE!)

My best friend is a huge Lil Wayne fan. I don’t understand it, personally. We are way too old for him to be a Lil Wayne fan but regardless of that, he is.

One day I was over his house hanging out when he whips out his phone to show me his tumblr (instagram? IDK, I don’t use that stuff). He was super excited because he’d posted a picture of Lil Wayne tagged as “best rapper alive.” And Lil Wayne “liked” his picture. He was almost bouncing with joy. “Lil Wayne liked my picture! He knows I exist!” I’m sure I must have looked at him like he was insane. He admitted that it was more likely that one of Lil Wayne’s assistants (or someone like that) had liked the picture but “Still, it doesn’t matter! Someone in Lil Wayne’s camp knows I exist!”

Not gonna lie, I joked the shit out of him about that.

Then Ilona Andrews announced that she was going to be sending out ARCs of her new self-published book, Clean Sweep, to review blogs. I requested a copy…

…and not only did Ilona Andrews approve me for an ARC of Clean Sweep, she answered my email and said my first name.

OMG!!

Ilona Andrews knows I exist! OMG.

It took me like two days to open the damn email, lol. And by that I mean I’d open the email and read it before flagging it as “unread” and then reading it again.

OMG. I swear I had a bookgasm when I saw the email. Embarrassingly, I was at work – so I had to share this information with my coworker…who gave me the serious side eye.

LOLOL! At least I have the ability to laugh at myself. Cause I’m in for a ton of joking when my friend finds out about this – especially after the way I ribbed him about Lil Wayne. Cause now I know exactly how he felt. Ilona Andrews knows I exist and she said my first name!

New Ilona Andrews ARC Release Announced: Clean Sweep

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Dina Demille runs a Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town and tries her best to pretend to be normal. Her broom is a deadly weapon, her house is a sentient magic inn for otherwordly visitors to Earth, and her only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, normal can be a little difficult.

Now something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth begins hunting dogs in her neighborhood. Feeling responsible for the welfare of her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with an alpha-strain werewolf and a cosmic vampire, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’d ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Please excuse me while I do some fangurling. 😉

OMG. I’m a HUGE Ilona Andrews fan. HUGE. I’ve all of her books (in print, thank you very much) and I’ve even gone and bought the books that hold her printed short stories. She’s one of my (very) few autobuy authors. 😀
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The Man With the Golden Torc (Secret Histories #1) by Simon R. Green

the man with the golden torc

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From the “New York Times” bestselling author of the “Deathstalker” and “Nightside” series comes a new kind of hero in an old kind of war. “All those things you hear about as a kid? The boogeyman under the bed? The creature in the closet? They’re for real, people.” Eddie Drood knows they’re for real. His family has kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. For ages, they’ve held back the nightmares, locked the doors, barred the gates, and put righteous boot to monster arse on a nightly basis. But now Eddie’s in trouble. One of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie’s become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he’s on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence. And he knows how dangerous the Droods can be-because he’s one of them.

I loved this book! It started off with a bang (in that way only it kinda reminded me of Monster Hunter International and the pace stayed pretty fast the entire novel. This was my first Simon R. Green novel and he just made a convert. I went out today and purchased 3 more of his books (with plans to buy even more). This is the type of Urban Fantasy that people love – likeable characters, quick pacing, great chases, lots of action and tons of explosions.
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