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Flights of Fantasy: July 2014 Books of the Month

The July 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them. I meant to have this posted early last week for those who are joining in on the reads. 😦

 

Red RisingYA/MG:
Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1)
Decision: Maybe

The war begins…

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable – and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda…

 
 
Ancillary JusticeSci-Fi:
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)
Decision: Maybe

From Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Award nominated debut author, Ann Leckie, comes Ancillary Justice, a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Continue reading

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2014 Book Purchases: May

I always start the draft for these monthly book purchase updates at the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to look back over the previous month and encourage myself to do better throughout the coming month.

Update: I went over my book budget by $1.22. That’s not too bad. Not too bad at all… But I still need to work on my spending.

 
 
Cordelia's HonorBook: Cordelia’s Honor
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Cost: $0.58
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 07-May-2014
Notes: Omnibus Edition, FoF read Shards of Honor as a group for April 2014
 
 
Howl's Moving Castle (trade)Book: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Cost: $4.75
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 07-May-2014
Notes: Gift
 
 
FederationsBook: Federations
Author: John Joseph Adams (Editor)
Cost: $0.01
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 08-May-2014
Notes: Picked up on a whim from the library, discovered a short (sequel to The Ship Who Sang) in the Brainship series by McCaffery. HAD to purchase ASAP. Review Here
 
 
BounceBook: Bounce
Author: K.M. Jackson
Cost: $0.99
Format: ePub Ebook
Date Purchased: 12-May-2014
Notes: Dear Author strikes again…
 
 
Bone RiderBook: Bone Rider
Author: J. Fally
Cost: $1.10
Format: ePub Ebook
Date Purchased: 13-May-2014
Notes: Damn Dear Author review! Had to buy after reading the review.
 
 
Beast Master's PlanetBook: Beast Master’s Planet: Omnibus of Beast Master and Lord of Thunder
Author: Andre Norton
Cost: $0.21
Format: Hardback, Omnibus
Date Purchased: 16-May-2014
Notes: Andre Norton Collection
 
 
Blood SongBook: Blood Song (A Raven’s Shadow Novel)
Author:
Cost: $6.94
Format: Hardback
Date Purchased: 16-May-2014
Notes: FoF May 2014 Group Read, borrowed from library but decided to purchase
 
 
It Happened One WeddingBook: It Happened One Wedding
Author: Julie James
Cost: $6.64
Format: MMPB
Date Purchased:
Notes: OMG! LOVED IT. Found a new author! Review Here

 
 

 
 

May 2014 Totals:
Total Books Purchased: 8
Total Amount Spent: $21.22
Malazan Books Purchased: 0
(M) Amount Spent: $0
(O) Amount Spent: $21.22
Potential Sales Abandoned: 0
Money Saved (Lost Sales): $0.00
May Budget Available (not including Malazan purchases): -(1.22)

Flights of Fantasy: June 2014 Books of the Month

The June 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them:

The Alchemist of SoulsFantasy
The Alchemist of Souls (Night’s Masque #1)
Decision: Maybe

When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods–and a skrayling ambassador–to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?

Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador’s bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally–and Mal his soul.

 

The StrainHorror:
The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1)
Decision: NOPE

The Strain

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months–the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city–a city that includes his wife and son–before it is too late.

 

The Amulet of SamarkandYA/MG
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Sequence #1)
Decision: Maybe

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.

 

The Last PolicemanSci-Fi
The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1)
Decision: Still thinking

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

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.

Flights of Fantasy: May 2014 Books of the Month

The May 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them:

 
 

Dealing with DragonsYA/MG
Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)
Decision: Yes

Cimorene 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 finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.

 
 
Blood SongFantasy
Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1)
Decision: Yes

From ”a new master storyteller” comes the beginning of an epic fantasy saga of blood, honor and destiny…
The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

 
Let the Right One InHorror
Let the Right One In
Decision: NOPE

It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….

 
The MartianScience Fiction
The Martian
Decision: Maybe

Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

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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Flights of Fantasy: April 2014 Books of the Month

The April 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them:

 
 

SeraphinaYA/MG
Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
Decision: Maybe

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

 
 
ViciousFantasy
Vicious (Vicious #1)
Decision: No

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
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