Review: Chalice by Robin McKinley

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Another buddy read with Keikii, this time gone much better than the last.

“It is a strange Mastership and a strange Chalicehood,” he replied. “The last Master and Chalice died ill, and without Heir or apprentice. We are making new ways because we must. We have had one burning between us. Let us have the sweetness now.”

Beekeeper Mirasol has recently been chosen as Chalice, the second most powerful person in Willowlands, whose task is to bind the land and its people together. Inexperienced and struggling, her task is made even harder by the fact that the newly chosen Master is a former priest of Fire and no longer entirely human. They have to learn to work together and care for their demesne, which is still reeling from the sudden loss of the previous Master and Chalice.

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Reread: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (World of the Five Gods #1)

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This is not the first time I have read this book. Not even the second. My best estimate would be about fourth or fifth – it’s simply one of those comfort reads I keep returning to again and again when I need a pick-me-up. The familiarity, the characters…it’s one of those books that never grow old and I feel I owe it at least a short review.

Any man can be kind when he is comfortable. I’d always thought kindness a trivial virtue, therefore. But when we were hungry, thirsty, sick, frightened, with our deaths shouting at us, in the heart of horror, you were still as unfailingly courteous as a gentleman at ease before his own hearth.

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Review: Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

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This book was so much fun.

Halla wanted to be the sort of person who yelled at her cousin and forced him to acknowledge that she had a choice in the matter. Unfortunately, it seemed that she was the sort of person who ran up the stairs to her bedchamber, grateful for the reprieve.

This was a depressing discovery.

Halla is a housekeeper. When her uncle dies and she inherits his estate, his relatives are not happy and lock her in her room, planning to marry her off to her cousin (with clammy hands). Planning to kill herself to escape them, she draws an old sword…and summons Sarkis who has been trapped inside.

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DNF: Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle

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I had such high hopes for this book. The cover is beautiful and I love slice of life. It seemed like it couldn’t have been more up my alley if it tried. Peaceful life in a small village? Small-scale plot? Yes please! Initially, it reminded me a bit of Stardew Valley in book form. Small setting, each villager has a complex and detailed backstory, but…well. The same thing that worked in a game doesn’t necessarily translate to a book. And it’s a massive shame.

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Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron (Heartstrikers #1)

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Nice Dragons Finish Last has been recommended to me a lot. Urban fantasy usually doesn’t appeal to me, but the amount of enthusiasm from people with similar tastes was enough to convince me to give it a try. And, well…it’s fun and charming and quite well-written, I would recommend it to many people, but ultimately still not really for me.

“You’re not ambitious, you don’t make plans, you don’t try to take things over. It’s like you were born with no draconic instinct whatsoever. All you’ve done since I let you out of training is hide in your room, avoiding the rest of us like the plague.”

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Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #2)

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As soon as I finished The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I knew I am reading the sequel on release. Long story short, it ended up in an impromptu book club/buddy read with a few other blogger friends and me finishing it in a day. It’s just that good.

Everyone has heard stories of women like us—cautionary tales, morality plays, warnings of what will befall you if you are a girl too wild for the world, a girl who asks too many questions or wants too much. If you set off into the world alone. Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.

Felicity Montague wants to be a doctor more than anything else. But living in a time when women weren’t allowed to study medicine, when the closest they could come was a midwife or a herbalist or a nurse, when passion and assertiveness are seen as hysteria and interest in medicine a phase that will pass when they marry…well. It certainly doesn’t make things simple. After her every attempt to get into medical school ends in disaster, she discovers a doctor she idolises is marrying her estranged childhood friend, and things get interesting.

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Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle #1)

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The best words to describe this book would probably be charming or whimsical. While meant for younger readers, I can see many adults looking for a lighter read enjoying it as well.

It was odd. As a girl, Sophie would have shriveled with embarrassment at the way she was behaving. As an old woman, she did not mind what she did or said. She found that a great relief.

Sophie is the eldest of the three sisters and following fairytale logic, this means misfortune. Initially resigned to her fate of inheriting her hat shop, she instead gets tangled with the Witch of the Waste, who turns her into an old lady. Then she stumbles into the Wizard Howl, and, well, an adventure begins.

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