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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin *spoilers*

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

GRRM is…an incredible writer. He manages to jam a lot of things and a lot of emotion into few words (when he wants to).

GRRM also seems to be a big fan of rape. I’m NOT saying that he has/wants to/dreams of raping someone personally…but he damn sure seems to be unable walk away from any opportunity to rape someone in prose. *rolls eyes* And that shit makes me upset. I don’t want to hear any BS about “realistic” either – these are GRRM’s authorial decisions and nothing more.

So. “The Ice Dragon” is the story of Adara and her family. Adara was born during a very cold winter and her mother died in child birth. Adara was “full of winter” – she could be outside and barely feel the cold, unlike her siblings. Adara was not just physically cold, she was emotional cold as well. She didn’t smile, didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion. Adara could play with ice lizards when others could not – the body heat that other people created would melt and kill the ice lizards. Adara also had an Ice Dragon. Made from ice with the breath of pure winter, Adara’s ice dragon would come to her in the winter…extending each winter year after year.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: Stable of Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

I’ve been working my way through a Romance anthology, Hot Alpha SEALs, and I was starting to get burned out. Too many “meh” novellas in a row. I decided to try to mix it up a bit and start on a different (Fantasy/Sci-Fi) anthology: Wings of Fire. I’ve had this book on hold for quite some time now so this is a good time to start. I have pretty decent hopes for the entire anthology – this is the second anthology I’ve bought that has been edited by Jonathan Straham (the first was Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery with Lou Anders).

The first story in Wings of Fire that I’ve read is “Stable of Dragons” by Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn). “Stable of Dragons” is a poem. A very interesting and yet exceedingly odd poem. Only a few pages long with slightly unusual formatting, “Stable of Dragons” tells of a man who owns a barn full of dragons. There’s a twist to the poem that I don’t want to spoil but it totally surprised me and thus required a higher rating than the 3-3.5 stars I had originally planned to give.

Review: The Spirit Thief (The Legend of Eli Monpress #1) by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Thief

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Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.

Like a king.

 

 
This one was a slog.

I bought this as part of omnibus based off of a great blurb. I started and stopped it a couple of times but I finally buckled down and read in starting in January.

It took me forever to finish this book – it’s not particularly small but it’s not that big, either. It’s well written and the writing is engaging.

So why was it such a slog for me?

I’d have to say it was the characters. Well, one character in particular: Eli. Eli Monpress is supposed to be rather charming. I’m guessing he’s supposed to give the reader a “gentleman thief” kind of feel – someone extremely likeable but untrustworthy – maybe like Pierce Bronsan’s Remington Steele or Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora.
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2014 Reading Challenges!

I am doing four reading challenges this year! That’s right. Four. Yes. I am a little obsessed with reading, lol. I’m doing these challenges in conjunction with two bookclubs and I’m rather excited about all of them.

 
The Challenges

1. Series Challenge: This challenge is the most complex and has the most rules. It’s geared to finishing up the millions of series that we’ve all seemed to have started. You know, since no author seems to be able to write standalones anymore. *rolls eyes* This challenge is scored but I’ve not included the scoring guide here (it’s too complicated).

The Rules:

1. This is a reward based challenge, with points assigned for meeting certain goals. It is not meant to be a competition between participants. That is, you don’t have to cut each other over high scores. Your competition is yourself, and your own habits of series reading.

2. The goal is to complete one series book per month. Or two, or three. Each participant can set their own goal.

3. The reward for reaching this goal (besides knocking out series books) is a credit that you may use to start a new series. Say I reach my goal in February, then I can start a new series without a scoring penalty.

4. There is scoring, but as I said it’s a self tracking system. Yes, we’ll have an overall leader in points, but since everyone will be setting their own self-goals, the scores will mean different things to different people.

5. Points are cumulative.

2. Review Challenge: It is what it is, lol The goal is to review all the books read during 2014.

3. TBR Decimation Challenge: The goal of this challenge is to try to read as many books off of my TBR (to be read) list as possible. Considering that my TBR list has grown to the point that I have dubbed it “Mt. TBR” I think I have a pretty large selection to choose from.

4. Purchase Challenge: This will be the most difficult challenge for me in 2014. The goal of this challenge is to try to limit my book purchases to no more than $20 a month. This is going to hurt but it is what it is. I’m pretty lucky because I bought a ton of books at the end of December 2013 (that are still coming in) so I think January 2014 will be the easiest month for book purchase control for me. 🙂

Review: Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera

Ivan

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Desperate to find her sister, Erin goes to the only man in Houston who can help her–Ivan Markovic. The intimidating, tattooed Russian operates one of the most elite mixed-martial arts training centers in the world but it’s his shadowy past and reputed connections with Houston’s underworld that interest her most.

To find her sister, she’ll need the help of her big, scary Russian protector—but asking for help from a man like Ivan carries a steep price, one that might just include her heart.

Short and sexy, this book was a fun read!

Erin has discovered that MMA trainer Ivan Markovic is the only person who can help her find her missing sister. Erin’s sister is a junkie dating (another) junkie who used to train at Ivan’s gym. Erin goes to the gym and asks Ivan to help her find her sister and her sister’s boyfriend because they are in trouble with two different drug running gangs.

Ivan decides to help Erin. He tells her to stay home and wait for his call but she gets a call from her sister and runs after her. When Erin arrives at the location her sister gives her, she finds her sister gone and a drug dealer looking for said sister. Ivan shows up (he had Erin followed) and saves the day.

From there Ivan takes Erin to his house where they have a heavy petting session. I was…surprised that Erin had sexual relations with Ivan so quickly. By this time she had known him for less than a full day and the text tells the reader that Erin isn’t that kind of girl. The heavy petting was…somewhat hot but it read a little…strange, lol.
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