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Book Review | Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

One of the first fantasy series I can remember reading was the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce and I fell in love from the very first page.

Song of the Lioness follows the life of one Alanna of Trebond, a young girl who switches places with her brother so that she can be a knight and he a mage.

Along the way, she discovers that the gods have taken an interest in her, even if she would very much rather they hadn’t.


Alanna of Trebond has always dreamed of being a knight, of protecting the kingdom of Tortall and proving herself a hero worthy of great tales.

But she doesn’t take into account the years of hard work and secrets she must keep from those closest to her. Alanna can tell no one that she is a girl, not when she is being bullied and certainly not when puberty hits an her body begins to change against her will.

Be warned: this isn’t a story where things come easy to our main character.

One of the best things about this series is that Alanna questions her decisions. When she begins her training as a knight and discovers just how much hard work it takes, she wants to give up and go home, thinking ‘how could a girl ever do this?’ Instead, she buckles down and works hard to get what she wants.

The first hints of the strength of Alanna’s magical abilities and glimpses of her grand destiny begin to show, no matter how hard she tries to ignore them, but the will of the gods can not be ignored. Her begrudging attitude towards the use of magic is one of the things I like most about Alanna, she isn’t afraid to backtalk her friends, superiors, or even the gods.

Alanna’s interactions with her friends and mentors is so, so great! These people have become her family and she would die for them, if she needed to. Not only does she befriend the nobles, but she also manages to become close friends with George, the “king of thieves.”

I think that the relationships are what really makes this series great… you can’t help but find yourself rooting for everyone in whatever situation they may find themselves in.


Format: e-Audio book
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Source: Overdrive
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

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Two Book Tuesday

So, I started reading Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee about two weeks ago and had to put it down because I was busy with work and life in general.  My plan is to start back at the beginning instead of picking up where I left off…

Seven Tears at High Tide by C. B. Lee is a young adult fantasy / romance about a teenage boy who wishes for a summer of love, a wish which is granted by a nearby selkie who overhears his heartfelt plea.

Kevin Luong has had his heart broken by the boy-next-door who decided he is no longer gay and doesn’t want to “fool around” with boys anymore. Instead of spending the summer together with Miles, Kevin is suddenly alone and feeling particularly unloved.

On a whim, he sheds seven years into the ocean and makes a wish, asking for just one summer to be happy and in love. He doesn’t really expect his wish to be granted.

What Kevin doesn’t know is that someone hears his wish. Morgan, a selkie boy, happens to be swimming near enough to hear and hope that he will be the one chosen to fulfill the request. His mother, and matriarch of his selkie herd, grants him permission to shed his skin and go ashore to meet Kevin.

So begins a summer of innocent love, with Kevin teaching Morgan how to be both human and to pass as a normal teenage boy.  But, as the boys grow closer, they begin to realize that there is something sinister in the works in their little seaside town.


Semiosis by Sue Burke just flat out sounded like a cool book.  I remember getting an email about it pre-release date and wanting desperately to read it.  I even texted my friend, and local librarian, asking her to purchase it for the library so that I could read it!

This book appears to be right up my alley, with first contact situations, space colonization, and an alien (possibly plant-based) intelligence. With the summary including fun words like “bizarre, inexplicable, and grapple” who wouldn’t want to read this?  😀

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Two Book Tuesday

It’s been rather a long while since my last Two Book Tuesday post.  A fact, for which, I am sorry, but I let both work and school distract me from this blog and am now working to remedy that failure.  While I haven’t been posting, I have continued reading and rediscovering the joy of having a book in my hands, turning the pages and wanting to make notes about each new story.  So, let’s get this post started!

The Sky Below

I am currently reading The Sky Below by Stacy D’Erasmo, an interesting piece of literature that follows the life of one Gabriel Collins, who writes obituaries for a “ratty paper in lower Manhattan.”

Honestly, I can’t stand Gabriel.  He is exactly as the author has written him, a drug-dealing thief who manipulates those around him for his own gain.  However, his life story is a pretty compelling one and, as much as I dislike Gabriel, I can’t stop reading.

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As for my second book in this post: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee is a story I have wanted to read since I came across a review for it in a professional library journal and decided to purchase it for my library’s collection.

It is a super terrific sounding tale of a girl who is trying to find her way in a world full of superpowers, heroes, and villains. Along the way, she gets the chance to be closer to her crush, Abby, takes a job interning for a super villain to spite her superhero parents, and discovers that maybe she has more power than she originally thought.

Seriously, I can hardly wait to start reading this book!  It was ridiculously cool to meet the author at the 2017 Romantic Times Book Convention in Atlanta this year and to have her sign my book.  I can admit to feeling a little awestruck to meet C.B. Lee, she is super sweet and was giving away the best buttons at her signing table!

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Book Review | Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

I really enjoyed Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember.  It seamlessly combines elements of our world with the fantastical to create a place full of excitement and wonder.

Both of the main characters are interesting and well rounded. I found myself rooting for Mnemba from the first and was desperate to learn more about her life before becoming a guide for her cousin’s business.  Kara took a little longer to warm up to, but I enjoyed how independent and curious she was… even with the mermaids, lol.

Unicorn Tracks doesn’t shy away from the topic of rape or the aftermath of it.  While Mnemba’s attacker was punished for his crimes against her, she still ended up leaving her home because of the judgement and expectations of those who would claim he was a good man and this was a one-time incident.  It was an especially heartwarming moment when her father said that he would kill Mnemba’s attacker if ever he were set free.

Her relationship with Kara was slow going, as they figured out how to work past the trauma of the past, but it was all the sweeter when they were finally able to connect.  At the end of the story, Mnemba isn’t “over” what happened to her, but she is able to keep moving forward with the support of her lover, friends, and family.  ❤

I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, or alternate histories.  It’s a quick read, but a darned good one!

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Two Book Tuesday

I do have two titles for Two Book Tuesday this week.  My favorite thing about this week is how odd the two books are, lol.

First, we have a book that I desperately wanted to find and read.  Sadly, I couldn’t remember the title or author, and I barely remembered the cover art and general premise of the story.  Emily B., a co-worker of mine, was kind enough to help me dig through the depths of the internet until we found it!  

So, the first book for Two Book Tuesday is The Cure by Sonia Levitin.

A strange mixture of science-fiction, dystopian fiction, and historical fiction, I first read The Cure when we lived in Baltimore, MD.  If you are a fan of the recently-popular Divergent series, then The Cure is right up your alley with “factions” and forced conformity into these factions.  Deviants are criminals with only two options: to die and be recycled or to accept a mysterious cure that is supposed to bring them back into the fold.

Gemm, a deviant and the main character of the story, chooses to take the cure and suddenly finds himself living the live of a 16-year-old Jewish musician in 1348 at the beginning of the Black Death.  As a young reader, this book was such a great experience that is has stayed with me over a decade later and is a title that I re-read every few years.

The absolute terrible part of this whole search process is that the library no longer owns this title and I need to look elsewhere if I decide that I want to read it, which I do.  I cannot put into words the sense of betrayal I felt that this book was no longer available at my library.  I have to wonder if this is how most patrons feel when we go through a period of healthy weeding of our collections.

And the second book I have for you this week is Beauty written by Hubert, with art by Kerascoët.

Apparently, I placed an Inter-Library Loan request for this title a few weeks ago and it finally arrived…  The strange thing is that I don’t remember anything about the request or the book itself!  So, I find myself with the opportunity to read a pretty great looking graphic novel that I may not have otherwise picked up.

I’ll let you know how it is.  🙂

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Book Review | City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7614652-city-of-glass

Book three of the Mortal Instruments story is full of unexpected (but not undesirable) twists and turns and while I sort of had one of the big plots twists figured out, the way that events actually unfolded was SO worth the read.  You’re gonna enjoy it, I promise.

In City of Glass Clary makes her way to Alicante, the ancestral home and capitol city of the Shadowhunters, where she learns more about her family’s past and the (sometimes dark) secrets they’ve kept, the decisions her father made that we are only just now seeing the effects of, and discovers a way to save her mother, Joceline.

Clary is still far too impulsive, always running headlong into danger without taking even half of a second to consider who might be hurt by her decisions.  This is one of the traits I don’t like about Clary but I would like to think that her heart is in the right place.  When she isn’t thinking about herself, nearly all of her choices are driven by her desire to help those she cares about.

I feel that Cassandra Clare is far more brilliant an author than I was expecting or originally thought.  As the series continues, things we heard about in book one are finally being explained even as new questions and mysteries are unfolding.  She is really quite good at both world-building and continuing the Mortal Instruments story through many books.  If you stop reading, or try to skip forward a few pages, I can guarantee you will miss out on a great story-line and vital information.

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Book Review | City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/256683.City_of_Bones

In City of Bones, Clary Fray sees what she believes to be a murder committed right before her eyes and discovers that there is a whole other world beyond what she knows.  A world that she has been hidden and protected from, and one that her mother has kept secret for her entire life.  With these unexpected and somewhat unwanted revelations coming to light, Clary has to decide if she’s going to step up and be a part of this new world or continue hiding from it.

Initially, it was hard for me to get into this book. Clary is such a whiny teenager!  I’ve long since grown out of that stage of life and it was far too annoying for me to read.  I had to put this book down for an afternoon in order to accept that Clary is a kid dealing with things that are entirely beyond the realm of normal.  After that, it was quite easy to fall into the world of Shadowhunters, mages, werewolves, and more.

I’m excited to see what happens with Clary, Jace, and everyone else in book two of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes.

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Book Review | The Course of True Love (and First Dates) by Cassandra Clare

The Course of True Love (and First Dates) is a short novella written by Cassandra Clare and is a part of the larger Bane Chronicles.  It shows Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s first date and the chaos that ensues, in addition to a glimpse at how Magnus views Alec.  It was an interesting read, but mainly left me wanting both better writing and a better story for these two characters.

While there were some really good bits in this novella, it mostly felt rushed and untidy, as if Cassandra Clare was struggling to meet a deadline.  I was left wanting the rough edges polished and smoothed out.

The following is one example of how good Clare can be with words.  It reads just like poetry, as if she were painting with words.

“If Jace was gold, catching the light and the attention, Alec was silver: so used to everyone else looking at Jace that that was where he looked to, so used to living in Jace’s shadow that he didn’t expect to be seen. Maybe it was enough to be the first person to tell Alec that he was worth being seen ahead of anyone in a room, and of being looked at the longest. And silver, thought few people knew it, was a rarer metal than gold.”

I’m working through the Mortal Instruments books and they seem to be better written and much less rushed, for which I am glad because I really wanted to enjoy the series.