The Waking Land


I received this ARC courtesy of Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Elanna has been raised a hostage in a foreign land-well treated by the king, educated, castle dwelling-but a hostage just the same.  She cares for botany, for her best friend and dreams of heading off to study under a master.  Her memories of her hometown have faded to nearly nothing, her home is Laon now.  The rumors of magic from her homeland all but forgotten.

Then the nightmares faded; my tutors taught me that, while magic is considered anathema, in truth it simply has no place in the rational, modern world.

Everything changes when her father comes for her, at long last.  Accused of regicide, her “otherness” has never left her.  To Caeris she must run, to a land and a people she no longer knows.  It’s time for a revolution, birth land against homeland.

No one in this revolution is ever alone.

A motley crew of assorted figures fill out our cast of characters and Bates’ writing shines.  I loved the prose, loved the plot, loved the world-building.  Follow along as El goes to war against an empire, and herself.

All the gods damn it.  I hate battle, El.  I hate it-I hate what it makes me into.  It makes people’s lives seem not to matter.  But they do.  No one should have to die like that, not even for freedom.

You see, Elanna isn’t just a hostage.  She has the power to wake the land.  What does that mean?  Read and find out!

4 stars.

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Gilded Cage


I received this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I am a couple of weeks late getting out!

There are two types of people in Britain (and the world); those with skill, the Equals, and those with none, Commoners.  Skill equals power, over nature and society.

Government is not what defines us, Chancellor. Nor is power.  Not wealth.  Skill is what defines us…

Ten years.  All Commoners are required to do ten years slavedays.  Ten years of serving the Equals as a slave.  Abi is lucky, she and her family will complete their decade on the estate of the most powerful Equal family.  She thought so anyway, until her younger brother Luke is sent to a slavetown instead.  The slavetown are factory neighborhoods, six day workweeks under brutal conditions.

Things aren’t what they seem.  The Equals aren’t known to be benevolent but are they entirely evil?  Will Abi and Luke do their time or will they dismantle the very foundations of Equal rule?

Your allies aren’t always who you think they are, Miss Matravers.  And neither are your enemies.

This book is in no way reinventing the wheel. The troupe isn’t new but it is interesting.  I’m keen on extraordinary powers and dystopia, this fits the bill.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.

Three stars.

Publication Date: February 14, 2017


A Girl’s Guide To Moving on


I received this ARC from Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

This is chick lit.  I have never been known to read chick lit, but boy did I (guiltily) enjoy this!

Nichole has recently left her philandering husband, inspiring her mother-in-law-Leanne- to do the same.  It seems like father, like son held true in this case.  Moving into the same apartment building in downtown Portland, the two create a guide to help them start their new lives-a guide to moving on.  Nichole starts teaching and volunteering part-time and Leanne puts her Master’s degree to use at last and becomes a volunteer ESL teacher.  Both finally have purpose and as their broken hearts mend they endeavor to weather oncoming storms and even find love again in unlikely places.  These women are bent but not broken and have a dash of spunk thrown in for good measure.  I especially enjoyed Leanne as she came to terms with ending a 35 year marriage and being alone for the first time ever.

He told me I was no longer alone and I believed him.

This book is not particularly imaginative and it is not a tale you’ve never read before but it is feel-good, earnest and cute.  I enjoyed reading it and I’m sure my constant “awww” could be heard all over Kurdistan.  I would not turn down another Macomber galley.

How blessed I was to have found the courage to move on.

Three stars.

Expected Publication: February 23, 2016

As Night Falls

as night falls

Once again I am seriously late (over two weeks after publication) with this review.  I came home from my year in China last month and have been a combination of busy and lazy since.  It took me over a month to finish this gem.  Apologies to the publisher!

I received this ARC from Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

GPS, satellites.  People could watch things from the sky, or from the objects small enough to fit in a pocket.  Their possessions.  Their children.  Themselves.

Sandy leads an idyllic life; gorgeous new home on a beautiful piece of land, a career as a therapist, dutiful and hardworking husband and intelligent and pretty daughter.  At first glance there is little worthy of a second glance.  This all changes when two strangers are blown in with a snowstorm.  These men are dangerous, posing a threat to the very carefully crafted life Sandy has built for herself.  Can she outsmart the men on the run?  Does she want to?

Therapists didn’t use physical means to encourage people.  They had other techniques.

I really enjoyed this one.  It was very slow at first but after the first 20% or so I was drawn in.  I pored over it on a flight, highlighting interesting sentences and pondering Milchman’s writing style.  I don’t often read suspense and I’m even less often unaware of what’s happening as late as I was with this one.  I definitely plan to go back and read her previous novels.  I took something away from this one, sometimes what’s buried is more dangerous than we think.

The knowledge, putrid and buried for so long, was somehow liberating.  It was like the moment you finally allowed yourself to be sick, then lay back afterward, panting and sweaty and emptied.

Four stars.