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review 2020-06-05 13:45
Winterglass
Winterglass - Benjanun Sriduangkaew

 As her homeland of Sirapirat is being conquered by the Winter Queen and it's people being fed to the ghost kiln, Nuawa is given a tiny shard of glass to swallow by her mother.  Nuawa survives the ghost kiln and is taken in by her Aunt.  Nuawa trains relentlessly to be a fighter and one day avenge her homeland and mother.  Her chance comes with a tournament where the prize is to be trained by General Lussadh, the Queen's right hand.  Nuawa easily qualifies for the tournament and moves forward, gaining favor with General Lussadh who quickly recognizes Nuawa as a glass-bearer. 

 
Winterglass is  an intriguing retelling of The Snow Queen with a science fiction spin.  The writing is beautiful and pulled me into the scenes of the brutal landscape and resilient people. I was immediately fascinated by the world that was created, the mysterious Winter Queen, the ghost kiln and the many different people now living in everlasting winter.  However, I kept feeling that I was missing something of how and why the Winter Queen came to be and why she is so destructive.  Nuawa is a very decisive character.  She has one purpose and knows she will fulfill it no matter what.  This makes her motivations clear, but also a little difficult to get to know.  I really liked the idea of the glass fragments as well as all of the other enchantments in the world, but I really wanted a little more time to get to know about them.  I also give a big kudos for this world being built with gender neutrality and fluidity.  The pronouns for some people are 'ey' as in they and sexual preference is a non-issue.  This is a shorter book and is very action packed.  There is some explanation of the Winter Queen and glass fragments near the end, but not nearly enough.  This is book one of a series, so I will definitely want to check out what happens next.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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review 2020-06-04 16:37
Audiobook Review: Steal the Dragon (Sianim #2) by Patricia Briggs (Narrator: Jennifer James Bradshaw)
Steal the Dragon - Patricia Briggs

 Steal the Dragon
 Sianim #2
 Patricia Briggs (Narrator: Jennifer James Bradshaw)
 Epic Fantasy
 Penguin Audio
 December 6, 2011
 Audiobook
 9 hours and 28 minutes
 Bought

 

Patricia Briggs' "unique" (Kliatt) novel of a slave, swordwielder, and spy gets a second life with an exciting new package to attract the fans that made her Mercy Thompson novels bestsellers.
 
 

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Steal the Dragon is book two in the Sianim series by Patricia Briggs and narrated by Jennifer James Bradshaw. This one is very intense, deep, and exciting. It’s filled with wizards, mages, and spies. 

 

I want to get out of the way; dragon. The dragon in the title is miss leading. Their is one appearance in a dream of a dragon, but there are no dragons in this book. 

 

Now, I loved book one and four in this series. Both those books focus on Aralorn who is an interesting character, but in Steal the Dragon we get different characters in the same world just a different part of the world. The only common thing is the mercenary guild. 

 

This novel reads as a stand-alone. You don’t have to read in order as you can see I read books one and then jumped to four and then came back for two. 

 

Rialla is a former dancer/slave who is asked to return to the land of her slavery on an important mission for the Spymaster of the mercenary guild. She does this, but it’s not easy for her. Has she really left slavery behind her, even though she’s found her way to the mercenary guild and a new life. I felt for our lead and what she’s trying to do and all that she had to go through to complete the mission/goal. 

 

Things don’t go as planed and Laeth her slaver spy partner is accused of murder. She ends up finding help in an unexpected place. Tris our healer is more then he seams. He’s not quite human. He helps Rialla and Laeth. With Laeth on his way back to the mercenary guild with part of the information, Tris and Rialla stay behind to find the real killer, which puts her in her former owner’s clutches again.

 

There is slavery and all that that entails. It was hard to listen to the scenes of abuse and rape. Rillalla’s internal conflict is intense and well done. Tris was a nice love interest, tho the focus is the mission with love blooming slowly. I like that they solve their issues with brain power rather then muscle power and even at times running away.

 

Steal the Dragon is a sneaky chess game with skill and strategy. The storytelling is vivid and outstanding. 

 

Narration: Jennifer James Bradshaw does a wonderful job! I’m glad I listened. It made the story move along and brought out the hardships and issues these characters face. I like how vivid the different voices are for everyone and it felt like the story was coming off the pages. 

 

Rated: 4 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

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I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

 

 

Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2020/06/audiobook-steal-the-dragon-sianim-2-by-patricia-briggs-narrator-jennifer-james-bradshaw
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review 2020-06-04 13:02
The Rules of Magic
The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman

by Alice Hoffman

 

A prequel to the book, Practical Magic. Having not yet read that book, I went in without knowing the characters or where the story might go.

 

The Owens children, Franny, Jet and Vincent, are 'unusual' and are given specific rules to help them avoid situations where they might do magical things. No walking in moonlight, red shoes, cats, crows, books on magic and definitely never fall in love.

 

I found the style quick, clipped and very fast moving through the early part of the book as a lot of background information was explained. The one thing I really didn't like is that there are no chapters! I know Pratchett gets away with this but for me, it makes it difficult to set daily reading goals. It took longer to read this one as a result. The book is divided up into six parts, but I didn't feel that those separations made much of a difference to the overall flow.

 

I think the lack of chapters was a factor in me starting to lose interest early on, though mainly I just didn't connect with any of the characters. I found their cousin April to be particularly irritating. Everything just seems to ramble on endlessly moving from one scene to another without any plot demarcations to stand out and make a point. The issue of falling in love went through a predictable development in true fairytale form, but the emphasis on restrictions along the way felt overdone.

 

The writing itself was good and I expect fans of Practical Magic will enjoy this a lot more than I did. It just didn't grip me and I expect that already having a connection to the characters from the other story would make the difference.

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review 2020-06-04 12:42
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman,Neil Gaiman

by Neil Gaiman

 

This is a prime example of what is known as Magical Realism, a story set in the ordinary world that wanders into some magical situations. It's an enchanting story about a man who visits his childhood home and the house of a girl who lived at the end of the lane, Lettie, who became his friend during a difficult time in his life.

 

The story has a genuine feel to it, as if the author is writing of his own personal experience, yet some of the things that happen challenge believability and bring up the question of how much childhood imagination might color our memories of early years. Gaiman has suggested in interviews that he drew on his own childhood experiences for some of the events in the book, though the reader wonders where childhood imagination leaves off and actual strange occurrences might have actually happened.

 

The narrative has a dreamy, poetic quality to it at times that suits the story very well. I'm inclined to think it's the best thing Gaiman has ever written, though I haven't read all of his books. Lettie shows the boy alternate realities in a way that feels very real and her family comes over as party to these magical experiences as well.

 

This is an easy 5 star read and a re-read for me.

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review 2020-06-04 12:34
The Museum of Things Left Behind
The Museum of Things Left Behind - Seni Glaister

by Seni Glaister

 

My first impression of this one was that the language was cheerful and flowery, like you might expect from a story that promises to stretch the bounds of imagination. It then settled into a sort of Victorian feel. The use of language was really pleasant, but around the fourth chapter I was still wondering who the main character was and where the plot was going.

 

Eventually I caught on that Sergio, the president, was our hero and that the story was more about the political situation than about a museum. The museum does make an appearance, but in a fairly minor way.

 

The book made for pleasant reading, but seemed to lack a point. Characterization was strong, but plotting was weak. There were some amusing bits, like when the president deals with a protestor outside his home, but I would be hard pressed to explain a main conflict.

 

Some very nice writing though. I would try this writer again.

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