Review: Black Chamber (Tales from the Black Chamber #1) by S.M. Stirling

When this book came across my desk for review—I was stoked. I don’t read a ton of alternative history, but this one sounded so so so good that I was eager to read it without question.

I sounded like alternative history mixed with some espionage and sci-fi so how could I pass? I couldn’t!

In 1912, just months before the election, President Taft dies suddenly, and Teddy Roosevelt wastes no time in grabbing power as he wins another term as president. By force of will, he ushers the United States into a new, progressive era with the help of the Black Chamber the mysterious spy organization, watching his back.

Luz O’Malley–a brilliant, deadly, and young Cuban Irish American agent of the Black Chamber–heads to Germany. She’s on a luxury airship swarming with agents of every power on earth, as well as conspirators from the Mexican Revolutionary Party and the sinister underground of the reborn Ku Klux Klan, yet none know her true identity.

Her anonymity will be essential as she strives to gain the secrets of Project Loki, an alarming German plan that Roosevelt fears will drag the U.S. into a world war. To gather this intelligence, Luz will have to deceive the handsome yet ruthless Baron Horst von Duckler. She, along with naive Irish-American Ciara Whelan, has to get this vital information back to the U.S.–or thousands of lives might be lost (summary from Goodreads).  (more…)

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Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

As 2017 comes to an end, I couldn’t ask for a better book to close out the year with.

This book was all over my Instagram feed for weeks and it was also on Book of the Month so it basically got a lot of hype. I was really hesitant because of the hype, but believe me when I say—the hype is real!

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

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Review: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

Well it was bound to happen at some point in my literary review career…..the dreaded DNF (did not finish) tag. But little did I know that this would happen to one book that I was convinced I would love.

When I finished the A Song of Ice and Fire AKA Game of Thrones series, I was longing for something similar and just as epic. I can’t tell you how many times The Dark Tower series was recommended…..countless times.

I have it in paperback and on my iPad, that’s how much I wanted to read it. I even waited until the mood was perfect and I was ready to get into an epic. And with the first trailer for the film being released recently, I knew the time was right for me to start this one.

So on a rainy spring Saturday morning, I sat down to start this long awaited novel….and then it happened…..the question looming in my mind…..what the f*ck am I reading?

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

This book has been all OVER my social media feed for months but especially the last few weeks with the upcoming release of the second book in the series.

So I decided on a whim to try it out. The cover is totally eye catching and the premise for the story sounds intriguing, plus I haven’t read a really good fantasy in a while so I picked this book up.

Kell is one of the last Travelers, which is a rare magician who choose a parallel universe to visit. Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered (also home of Kell), and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Lila Bard, a thief with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

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Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman

After reading Up To This Pointe earlier this month, I was dying to read something else set in the ‘north’ or in the ‘cold’.

The Golden Compass has been on my TBR shelf forever and now seemed like the perfect time to read it since it features the Northern Lights and the north pole as well as a host of other things!

Lyra Belacqua has been raised at Oxford’s, Jordan College, most of her young life. It is here that two very important people come to visit. the first is her uncle, Lord Asriel, who is an explorer and who has just returned from the north with some dangerous findings.

Lord Asriel suspects that there is an alternative universe on the Northern Lights which he believes he can access. Lord Asriel intends to venture back to the north to continue his research, immediately.

The other visitor is Mrs Coulter, who is put in charge of Lyra. Mrs Coulter is cultured, rich, and charismatic…..she too is an explorer and has a scientific operation in the north. Mrs Coulter intends to take Lyra to the north with her but not before she ‘grooms’ Lyra and gets her accustom to London society.

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