Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

So Six of Crows has been much talked about online and, as usual I did some quick research and found out that this was the first book set in the same world.  I really don’t understand why people in this situation would go for Six of Crows over Shadow and Bone.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2) by Django Wexler


Synopsis: When Alice’s mysterious Uncle Geryon sends her to help capture a rogue apprentice–a boy who has the same ability Alice has to Read himself into stories–she knows to expect a wild and unpredictable trip. But even though Alice has visited the magical realms inside libraries before, this adventure is far more dangerous. Because Torment, the magic creature holding this library together, has gone mad.

But he might also have information about Alice’s missing father.

I did enjoy the first book in this series.  The plot hits the right points to hook readers in.  Before The Forbidden Library I read The Thousand Names, also by Django Wexler, which I also enjoyed.

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The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library #2) by Django Wexler

Battle Magic (The Circle Reforged #3) by Tamora Pierce


Synopsis: While visiting the God-King and the First Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion.

Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxe to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle.

But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?

I’m a fan of Tamora Pierce, though more of the Alanna and sequel series.  I actually thought I’d already read this so it was a nice surprise to be wrong.

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Battle Magic (The Circle Reforged #3) by Tamora Pierce

Goblins! A Survival Guide in Four Parts by Brian Froud and Ari Berk


Synopsis: Anyone who brings home this book will be in big trouble. Renowned artist Brian Froud and scholar Ari Berk have conducted a thorough investigation into the goblin realm. (For the uninformed, goblins, a subspecies of faery, are those maleficent creatures that cause all manner of havoc in the human realm.) The fruit of their labor, however, turned out to be a rotten apple: the book is infected with goblins.

Now, thanks largely to Froud and Berk’s continuing carelessness, the noxious, viscid, and largely nonsensical volume has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Among its pages are reproductions of the ancient, odoriferous Codex Goblinensis; a glossary of common goblins and their markings; and a gazetteer of goblin photographs taken with the arcane Goblin Camera. Those fearing an infestation can refer to the section detailing how to determine if you’ve “got goblins” and, if so, what you can do about it. (There is nothing you can do about it.)

Combining the folkloric approach of Faeries with the utter wackiness of Lady Cottington, this is the team’s most visually rich and outrageous opus yet.

We’ve had Faeries on the bookshelf at home ever since I can remember, next to Gnomes by Poortvliet and Huygen, Giants by David Larkin et al, and Peter Dickinson’s The Flight of Dragons.  Needless to say,

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Goblins! A Survival Guide in Four Parts by Brian Froud and Ari Berk

Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley Beaulieu


Synopsis: Çeda, the heroine of the widely anticipated, just-released novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this prequel, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf; none but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, an Ehrekh, a sadistic creature forged long ago by the god of chaos. The Ehrekh are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda’s struggle becomes a battle for her very soul.

I always make a point of it (when I can) to read series in the order in which they were published, as in my experience the ability of authors to conceal what they need to conceal varies greatly.

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Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley Beaulieu

Eden Green by Fiona Van Dahl


Warning: Contains body horror, contamination, implied eternal suffering, gun use, needles, and spiders.

In a single drop of contaminated blood, there writhe millions of needle-shaped cells. When introduced to a host, they spread — healing wounds, replenishing fluids, patching bone. The host becomes unstoppable; even complete destruction of its brain isn’t necessarily the end. All their cells are gradually replaced, enhanced.

Eden Green is the third human to see the needles in action, after her best friend Veronica accepts them without thinking. Patient Zero is Tedrin, a shady manipulator who offers the corruption as a path to immortality. Only Eden, a rationalist by nature, questions Tedrin’s motives; she can’t help imagining an eternity as a human weapon trapped in a body made of needles.

Armed with reason, humor, and a shotgun, she sets out to learn as much as she can about the parasite — and how to save her sanity, Veronica, and the world.

I was given a reading copy of this by the author, Fiona Van Dahl.  Goodreads author page.

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Eden Green by Fiona Van Dahl

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger


Synopsis: Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child — an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.

I’ve read a fair amount of Audrey Niffenegger, just about everything she’s written, if not everything she’s illustrated.  Not because I’m a huge fan but she’s interesting and not very prolific.

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Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger