The Master Magician

Holmberg, Charlie N. The Master Magician (2015). 47north. 226 Pages. $4.99

The Paper Magician | Book Three

Holmberg-TheMasterMagician-19817-CV-FT-V4This is the third book in a series, and this post may contain spoilers for the first two books: The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician.

From Amazon

Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own—an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.

First Lines

Ceony, wearing her red apprentices’ apron over a ruffled blouse and plain brown skirt, stood on her tiptoes on a three-legged stool and stuck a square of white paper against the east wall of the Holloways’ living room, right where the wall met the ceiling. The family was celebrating Mr. Holloway’s awarding of the Africa General Service Medal, and had submitted a request to hire the local Folder– Magician Emery Thane– to fashion the party decorations.

Of course Emery had passed the “frivolous task” on to his apprentice.

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Six of Crows

Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows (2015). Henry Holt and Co. 479 Pages. $9.99

First book in the Six of Crows Series
Set in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Universe

23437156From Amazon

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

First Lines

Joost had two problems: the moon ans his mustache.

He was supposed to be making his rounds at the Hoede house, but for the last fifteen minutes, he’d been hovering around the southeast wall of the gardens, trying to think of something clever and romantic to say to Anya.

If only Anya’s eyes were blue like the sea or green like an emerald. Instead, her eyes were brown– lovely, dreamy… melted chocolate brown? Rabbit fur brown?

(If you’d like to hear this clip, check out the Read More; Audible has provided a sample of the audiobook which begins with the intro.) 

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Days of Blood & Starlight

Taylor, Laini. Days of Blood & Starlight (2012). Little, Brown books for Young Readers. 516 pages. $8.99

Daughter of Smoke & Bone | Book Two

Days of Blood & Starlight is the sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. This review could very well contain spoilers for Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Please proceed with caution.

12812550Truly, even the synopsis has spoilers… 

From Amazon

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is–and what she is. But with this knowledge comes anoher truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

First Lines

Prague, early may. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching. Satellites had even been tasked to surveil the Charles Bridge, in case the… visitors… returned. Strange things had happened in this city before, but not this strange. At least, not since video existed to prove it. Or to milk it.

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Spinning Starlight

Lewis, R.C. Spinning Starlight. (2015). Disney-Hyperion. 336 Pages. $10.09

SpinningStarlightFrom Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’sThe Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.

First Lines

After sixteen years, you think I’d be used to the incessant buzz of vid-cams swarming to chronicle every breath I take. I’m not. Good thing, too, or I might not have noticed when one of the tiny airbourne devices slips into the hovercar with me like an errant bumblebee.

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Filed under Book Review, Fairy Tales Retold, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Teen Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Meant to Be

Morrill, Lauren. Meant to Be (2012). Delacorte Press. 306 Pages. $5.99

11721314Before even beginning my review, I just… this is a Teen book. Deliberately with a capital T. It is about teens having teen adventures and finding teen romance, and that is awesome, and I enjoyed reading it, but if you choose to do so based upon my review (to follow) please do be aware of that.

From Amazon

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

First Lines

There are certain things in life that just suck. Pouring a big bowl of Lucky Charms before realizing the milk is expired, the word “moist,” falling face-first into the salad bar in front of the entire lacrosse team…

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Filed under Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Romance, Teen Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke & Bone (2012). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 448 Pages. $12.00

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone | Book One

DSB_final_6_1From Goodreads

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

First Lines

Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Kaoru had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight – but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

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Hyperbole and a Half

Brosh, Allie. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013). Touchstone. 384 Pages. $6.99

Book Cover Final threeFrom Amazon

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative– like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it– but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

First Lines

It seems like there should be some sort of introduction to this.

Here is a recreation of a drawing I did when I was five:

It’s a guy with one normal arm and one absurdly fucking squiggly arm, If you look really closely you can see the normal arm under the squiggly one. What you can’t see is that in the original, the squiggly arm continues for the entire length of a roll of butcher paper. It started on one end and then just kept going until I ran out of paper.

I remember drawing it and thinking. This is insane… I can’t even believe how long this guy’s arm is. If I had not run out of paper, who knows what would have happened.

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