Tag Archives: fantasy

a deadly education

Book Review: A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik

I borrowed an audiobook copy of Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education through my local library.

a deadly education audio

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

my review

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if Hermine Granger entered a magical Hunger Game? I hadn’t, but I feel like it would be something like this book. I quite enjoyed it. I thought it was creative and I liked the powerful, angry girl/himbo hero dynamic a lot. (I’m calling him a himbo even if he isn’t described as super handsome. I feel like he still fits the not overly bright, oblivious description.)

I did think Orion was a bit of a cardboard cut out. We see him almost entirely from El’s POV and, while you get a feel of what he is, you get don’t any real depth into who he is. El, however, I felt had quite a lot of personal growth and I appreciated that.

I did feel like the narrative wandered at times, with long diversions in the middle of other events. It was distracting. But all in all, I liked the book on the whole and had planned to jump right into book two (The Last Graduate), until I realized it’s not out yet. Bummer.

a deadly education photo


Other Reviews:

Book Review : A Deadly Education

Book Review: A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik

the wisteria society of lady scoundrels banner

Book Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, by India Holton

I won a book stack from Waves of Fiction and among the books was India Holton‘s The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels.

the wisteria society of lady scoundrels cover

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

my review

I adored this. It was an absolute mad-cap adventure, full of sarcasm and pointed cognitive dissonance. I adored Cecilia and all of her morally ambiguous, but completely proper aunties. I thought Ned was a marvelous love interest. It would be difficult to call him a hero, since Cecilia has so little need of one. But he does try, bless his heart.

As much as I loved the witty repartee and utter lack of seriousness, it did become tedious at times, making the book feel a little like a one-trick pony. But every-time I started to think it, the book would throw some sarcastic aside at me and I’d find myself laughing again. I also disliked how easily Cecilia went from strong, smart, and capable to silly and how often. One sip of alcohol and she’s giggling drunk, for example. But that’s a relatively small complaint in the larger picture.

I’m so glad to see Alex will be the male focus of book two. I’ll be lined up to read it on it’s release.

the wisteria society of lady scoundrels photo


Other Reviews:

Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels #1) by India Holton

THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS by India Holton – Review

wolf marked harper a brooks

Book Review: Wolf Marked, by Harper A. Brooks

Here we are at last, reviewing the last Wolf Marked book in my Wolf Marked reading challenge. As a reminder, three different books titled Wolf Marked were promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight fairly close together.

wolf marked calendar

I was so amused by this that I decided to read and review all three. The whole thing took a little longer than I usually like challenges to, because I had to wait for the last Wolf Marked (this one by Harper A. Brooks) to actually become available. In fact, it doesn’t actually comes out until the end of this week. I got to it a little early as a for-review ARC through Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR.

Wolf-Marked harper brooks

The cycle of the moon can bring love… or death.

Time is running out for Astrid. If the wolf-shifter doesn’t find her soul’s mate before her twenty-fifth Blue Moon rises, the consequences will be fatal. With only three weeks left, things aren’t looking good… until Erec, a smooth-talking rogue wolf, lands at her feet.

The strange spark between them leaves Astrid wondering if this mysterious man could be the one meant to break her curse. But can she trust him?

From the moment Jerrick killed the only man Erec ever looked up to, Erec vowed to stop the crazed wolf. Partnering with the west-side pack seemed the logical move to accomplish that goal. But he never expected to fall for the alpha’s beautiful daughter, and now this lone wolf is wondering if she could be the one to save him from the curse.

With imminent dangers looming and the swirling patterns on their skin marking them for death, can Astrid and Erec save the west-side pack from the encroaching pack before their last Blue Moon rises in the sky?

my review

This wasn’t bad, if you like the kind of thing. I acknowledge that it’s competently written and edited and has a great cover. But I was only so-so on the book for personal preferences kind of reasons. Mostly, I consider a lot of the plot components low-hanging fruit in the storytelling department.

If you’re going to design a whole new fantasy world, but populate it with all the same mores, biases, and social norms as the real world, I consider it kind of lazy. And that’s what Brooks does here. One of primary tensions of the book is a woman who is always struggling to exist outside of men’s protective shadows. She’s considered amazing because she excels at some skills considered male. She (and other women eventually) want to prove themselves, so she convinces leadership to let women participate in some previously male-only activities and show themselves to be competent and useful. (There is no acknowledgement of the importance of female skills, only that women are equal because they too can do the things men do. But that’s another issue all together.)

Similarly, you see the big reveal (twist) coming about a mile off. It’s another plot device that’s frequently used. Having said all of that, both are tied into Brooks’ plot nicely and aren’t even overly ham-fisted. So, if you like this sort of story, I imagine you’ll like this one. It’s not badly done. It’s just been done and done and done again.

I will grant that Brooks’ claim “each book in the Shifters Unleashed series can be read as a standalone,” is proved true. I always distrust being told a book in a series can be read as a stand-alone. I’ve been burned so many times. But here it is 100% true. Other than sharing one origin myth, Wolf Marked and Tiger Claimed (which I also reviewed) have zero cross-over. They truly can be read as stand-alone books. I think whether you choose to and how much you’ll enjoy them will truly come down to a matter personal preferences.

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