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Dispatches from Terabithia

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The Man With the Golden Torc
Simon R. Green
Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
The Iron Ship
K. McKinley
House Immortal (House Immortal, #1)
Devon Monk
In the Night Garden
Catherynne M. Valente
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. I had high hopes for this one -- I was really enjoying the beginning, but somewhere between halfway and 75% through, it just.. I dunno, lost it for me. I kept picking it up and putting it down immediately or procrastinating on reading it at all, and so  I finally called it quits. I just kept expecting something major to happen and it never did. Does this mean someone else wouldn’t enjoy it? No, of course not! But it wasn’t for me. I see it’s going to be a movie -- hopefully it’ll be better as a movie than as a book for me!

The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin

This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. This book had some really interesting ‘clicks’ in it where I realized very interesting things. The parallel story structure definitely allowed some neat twists. And I loved the way it was told -- it was everything I could do not to start reading it aloud to my husband.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows - M.J. Rose

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires. I think this book was exactly what I needed after the romp that was the last two books of the Leviathan Wakes series. It's quiet and arty and introspective. It was mythological and historical and magical and subtle above all else, and I really loved it.

Deceptions - Kelley Armstrong

Olivia Jones is desperate for the truth. The daughter of convicted serial killers, she has begun to suspect that her parents are innocent of their crimes. But who can she trust, in a world where betrayal and deception hide in every shadow? Liv does have one secret weapon: a mysterious sixth sense that helps her to anticipate danger. The trouble is, this rare power comes with its own risks. There are dark forces that want to exploit Liv's talents - and will stop at nothing to win her to their side. Now Liv must decide, before it's too late. Who does she love? Who is really on her side? And can she save herself without burning down everything that matters most? Okay, so, it’s a guilty pleasure. I love Kelley Armstrong. And really? This isn’t paranormal romance. It’s an interesting mystery and I like.



Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic Book 1) - Melissa F. Olson

After her twin sister’s brutal murder, former US Army Sergeant Allison “Lex” Luther vowed to protect her niece, Charlie. So when two vampires try to kidnap the baby, it quickly turns into a fight to the death—Lex’s death, that is. She wakes up to two shocking discoveries: she has miraculously survived the fight, and baby Charlie is a “null,” gifted with the ability to weaken supernatural forces...and a target for creatures who want to control that power. Determined to guarantee her niece’s safety, Lex makes a deal with the local vampires. She sets out with the mysterious—and undead—“fixer” Quinn to track down whoever’s responsible for the kidnapping, sharpening her newfound magic skills along the way. But the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her powers become. I admit it, I really enjoyed this. This was released in May, so it's the first book of the series. There was a touch of swooning, but that's about it. Read it this morning, included because I enjoyed it. ;) You know that shitty feeling you get when you read a book, then realize the next book won't be out until next year? Yeah. That's me today.

Last Song Before Night - Ilana C. Myer

This is a standalone, not a series. I think this book defies my every attempt to encapsulate it into a single synopsis. Let’s break it down to a cast of very unreliable narrators, every one with secrets, in a land where music is magic. A band of poets, facing down an evil censor in a battle for truth and art in the face of a plague that tells them that evil magic has once more been resurrected. The book is beautiful and lyrical and the city is atmospheric in the same way that GGK often is, and the story’s many threads weave themselves together to create an epic whole. Myer’s background as a journalist and living abroad is definitely reflected in her writing.

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir

Two first person perspectives and I read the first chapter to see if it was just a deviation, but then I couldn’t stop. Not epic, but good. :) Reads kind of like a milder Red Rising or Hunger Games; definitely a school-based battle for supremacy that only one of the two main characters are involved in. A revolution may be in the offing. Still dual-perspective, written first person.

Cold Iron - Stina Leicht

OMG OMG you guys, it's like Stina Leicht took all of her favorite fantasy things and stuffed them into a single narrative and it's AWESOME. READ THIS BOOK NAO. So you know how Brian McClellan got all those mad props for that crazy awesome flintlock fantasy a couple of years ago? This is that, except that along with the war and the scheming for the throne, you’ve also got a son who was disinherited for the throne in favor of a daughter, the rise of the old gods, sea monsters, a plague, and SO much more, all wrapped into one tidy narrative with some fantastic writing. THIS IS SO WORTH THE READ.

Magic to the Bone - Devon Monk

This book has been on my to-read list for ...years, probably. A long time, anyway. I've picked it up, read a few pages, put it back down. Picked it up, something turned me off on it, and I put it back down. I've listened to it in audiobook form, tried the physical book, tried the ebook, and it just never clicked.

Until this time. And then I clicked so hard that I read the whole series in one go. Woo. Loved it. :)

Prince of Thorns - Mark  Lawrence

I originally read Prince of Thorns in 2011. I just re-read it (3/15) for the Group Challenge for the r/Fantasy discussion group. My original review left a lot out, so here's a new review.

“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?”

The world has been left a deserted wasteland after the night of a thousand suns a millennium ago, and what was left broke into a hundred feudal kingdoms ruled by a hundred feudal, bloodthirsty, greedy kings, and one emperor who rules them all. Bands of robbers roam the land, and each king engages in a brutal game of power.

Jorg is the son of one such king, and as a child, witnesses the barbaric murder of his mother and younger brother, left for dead in a bed of briers that held him tight. And that broke him.

Now he's the definition of an anti-hero searching for vengeance, but without a shred of conscience. As what we would still consider a child, he leads a band of brothers -- yes, Robin Hood really reflected here for me -- but doesn't really flinch at the idea of them dying. He kills his friends, he attacks his family, theft and rape and murder don't really shake him.

But in the midst of all of this, he's also examining himself and the world around him through the lenses of his education, stretching from Plato to Sun Tzu to Nietzsche, and thinking about concepts like free will and morality. I really think the concept of free will versus the guiding hand are going to be following in the remaining books, and I'm curious to see what will happen.

Trigger warning for my friends: if you bat an eyelash at any sort of brutality -- bloody mayhem, rape, murder, swearing, whatever, steer clear. This book has been extremely controversial for how dark it is, but I think it's got an interesting redemption in some of the underlying story themes. And sometimes you just want a great big old violent frolic anyway.

London Falling - Paul Cornell

Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career when his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Now, the team must find a suspect who can bend space and time and alter memory itself, a suspect who will murder again. And they begin to realize that London is not the city they thought it was, but instead, that it is the home to sinister magic. They have two choices: panic, or use their new abilities they barely understand. Together, they begin hunting a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics, but while learning the rules of this new game, and quickly. London Falling seems to be a story about what happens when police fall into the weird and have no real guidance about what they’ve gotten themselves into. There’s a lot of flailing about with little payoff. I DO appreciate how… well, honestly, this book is really dark. Really dark. But the aimless flailing really bothered me, and I ended up trudging through the end of it.

Pines - Blake Crouch

Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho in search of two missing federal agents, but is involved in a violent accident within moments of his arrival. He awakes with no memory, no ID, no cell phone, no briefcase. And something’s off. Everyone seems helpful enough, but why doesn’t anyone believe him? And why is there an electric fence around the outside of the town?

By pure coincidence, I made the mistake of reading this at the same time as American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett, so we’ve got two weird but nice town books happening at the same time. This book sort of faded into the background of American Elsewhere, unfortunately.

Of the two, it was definitely the more creepy and stressful to listen to, which makes me think it far more deserving of the horror tag. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep going with the series.

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray may be in over her head. She went out to go clubbing -- but instead, starts seeing monsters and finds out a whole other shadow world is real. And then her mother disappears. With her whole world turned upside down, Clary is facing down trying to get her mother back and keep her friends safe, all without the training, allies or even memories she needs.

What the hell? This doesn’t really read like it was written by the same author as the Infernal Devices trilogy. I’m sort of confused. MUCH more childishly written, the langauge is nowhere near as smooth, the story not as intricate. I feel cheated. Going on to read the second because I am both insane and kind of curious to see if it improves significantly since Clockwork Angel was so good.

Relic - Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. I’ve been meaning to read this for forever, and now that I have… I dunno. I hit the halfway point and literally quit reading it, decided to give up forever and marked the book DNF and done. And then decided I could at least follow the major exhibit’s opening, and ended up finishing the book, and was kind of pleased that I had. While it felt like X-Files, the investigations felt incredibly forced and like an awful lot of running around with very little to show for it, and I found that a huge boring drag. The action’s good when it happens, at least. Not really all that scary for me -- very little atmosphere, very little build-up. And I wish we had seen more of Pendergast, who is nominally the lead for the series, and less of Margo.

The City and the City - China MiƩville

How much does perception shape reality? Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad finds a deadly conspiracy beneath a routine murder, and joins Detective Qussim Dhatt of his sister city Ul Quoma in trying to untangle the sordid web of nationalism and unificationism in twin cities that just happen to occupy the same space.

This was an incredibly China Mieville novel, if that makes sense -- and its concept, while interesting, was incredibly confusing for a good long while. It was both fascinating and overwhelming, and it absolutely overshadowed the story in a lot of ways.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir - Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. She takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor.

I always loved following the blog of The Bloggess, mostly because she’s so unrepentantly, irreverently offensive, and willing to display her own mortification for doing things that we all do and by doing so, make us all feel that much more human and that much less shame. She’s been great for my mental health, and I’ve been shoving this audiobook at everyone who might need even the slightest pick-me-up. As long as you don’t mind reading about vaginas.