Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik


I had a mini breakdown halfway through this book because I was intrigued by what had happened, scared of what was going to happen next, and terrified of all of my emotions being all screwed up after finishing the entire book. I’m happy to say that Uprooted is more simple than it seems with all its fantasy and magic and princes, and although it did get all my feelings twisted into knots, it had the perfect ending that brought everything together. Cheers to all books that take pity on the readers’ feelings! 🍸

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Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Dreamer's Pool
Good books are like good food – not only do you need the right ingredients, but you also need some technique and flair. Dreamer’s Pool has magic, romance, and mystery, as well as some great narratives and foreshadowing (albeit sometimes a little too much of the latter). It seems like I’ve been reading a lot of books about evil woods these days (with Uprooted and Messenger), but I really enjoyed the fairy tale/folklore elements in this one.
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Mini Reviews: Pegasus in Flight & Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey

Behold, science fiction upon science fiction upon science fiction! (As in: Sophie reads quicker than she reviews, so here are mini reviews because she can’t keep up with all the books.) These Anne McCaffrey stories are not amazing, but are pretty good. They definitely have an 80’s feel to them, haha.

Pegasus in Flight

Title: Pegasus in Flight
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Series: The Talent #2
Publication Date: 1990
Category: (Adult Fiction) Science Fiction

Years have gone by since To Ride Pegasus, and Daffyd op Owen’s granddaughter, telepath Rhyssa, is now in charge of The First Center for Parapsychics (“The Center”). This story showcases the current state of affairs in the world, such as the beginning of implementation of a space center, the increasing importance of Talents to society, and the the hidden potential of Talents. The two main characters in this story, twelve-year-old Tirla and fourteen-year-old Peter, have unique talents that are fascinating to read about. The drawback in this story, however, is that the stories of Tirla and Peter are completely discrete for a long period of time until the storylines join, and it felt like I was reading two different stories (which I was, I guess)… this is one of those books that I picked up for the cover and the author, and my expectations exceeded reality. But still a good read.

Crystal Singer

Anne McCaffrey does it again! Crystal Singer has an amazing premise – people with perfect pitch can find crystals that can be used to power communication systems across the galaxy – and breath-taking adventures. This is pretty old-school sci-fi, and the parts that I didn’t like (such as the romance and the lack of connecting with the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions) were overshadowed by the engrossing, risky adventures that Killashandra Ree, our protagonist, takes. I still can’t get a good feel for Killashandra’s personality, as McCaffrey has put the focus on the plot and the world-building, so I’m not sure if I like her enough to read the next story.

Mini Reviews: The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

This series (or at least the first book) filled a void in my fantasy-loving heart. As my first exposure to Maria V. Snyder, the Study series has some of her best characters and plotlines yet. The stories, cultures, and worldbuilding in this series are captivating, and there’s just the right amount of romance, politics, betrayals, and everything else. (Well… okay, maybe still a little too much romance, but I always err on the side of caution when it comes to romance.) Also, happy 10th anniversary to Poison Study!

Poison Study



Nineteen-year-old Yelena faces execution for murdering an Ixian general’s son, but is given the choice of becoming the food taster for the Commander of Ixia. She chooses to live, although she is continuously tested with poisons by the Commander’s assassin, Valek. In Ixia, where magicians are killed on sight, Yelena struggles with her own developing powers while she gets entangled in a conspiracy she wants no part in. I love the premise, because magicians + poison + conspiracies + assassins = WOOHOO FANTASY! The worldbuilding is also really well done, and it’s interesting to compare Ixia’s magicless, militaristic structure with the different societal structures in other parts of the world, like the council-governed, magic-driven Sitia in the south. Yelena is also a heroine who I can support wholeheartedly because of her determination to live and her ability to strategize and think calmly. Her personality allows her to make unlikely friends and survive when the odds are against her. It’s also incredibly easy to empathize with Yelena because of what she’s gone through (physical and psychological abuse), but this book is also a darker world than most YA fantasies. (I don’t even know if this is YA or just adult fiction? Not that it matters much…) A wonderful adventure that provides a solid conclusion that hints of another journey yet to come for Yelena! Also, Valek…

Magic Study



In this second installment of the Study series, Yelena is a free woman and starts her training as a magician. Although they aren’t sure if that’s what she is, since she doesn’t display the same magical abilities as the standard magician. Aside from that, Yelena is once again involved in a plot that she doesn’t want to be involved in – this time, from the other side of the border. I really enjoyed seeing some of the old characters again, and the new ones are just as exciting. I wasn’t a big fan of the conspiracy this time around, but what I liked most about this book was Yelena coming to terms with herself and realizing how her powers work.

Fire Study


Title: Fire Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study #3
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
Genre: (Young Adult/Adult Fiction) Fantasy / Adventure


Fire Study is the third (but not last now because there’s going to be more Yelena books!!!) book, and by far my least favorite of the three. The plot is not as exciting or as fast-paced as the previous books, and although the ending was interesting, we could’ve gotten there faster. There are times when I wished that Yelena would just make fewer mistakes, so a lot of face-palming on my part.

Altogether, the Study series started out very strong but dwindled as it went on. I’d definitely recommend Poison Study because it’s amazing! The other ones? Take them or leave them.

Have you read the Study series?
What fantasy concepts/themes excite you?
(Mine is magic being banned!)

Mini Reviews: The DUFF & Wallbanger

I’m really averse to doing things that I don’t like, which includes giving presentations (but I still give them), getting flu shots (but I still get them), going to tennis camp (but I still go), and writing reviews for books I don’t like (but I’ll still do it). I can actually feel an invisible, mental barrier come up every time I think about doing these things, but I push through anyway. It makes me a better, stronger person in the end… I think.



I must admit that I wanted to read this book because I saw the movie trailer and really liked it. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way about the book. The DUFF is about seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper who gets into a frenemies-with-benefits relationship with “man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush” (I didn’t say this, the synopsis did!) – the very boy who nicknamed her the Duff (designated ugly fat friend). The reason why Bianca got herself into that situation was because of problems at home that she didn’t want to deal with, and lo and behold, she ends up developing feelings for Wesley. I think my main problem is that I didn’t like Bianca that much, and this first-person narrative didn’t help. She’s a very volatile character, and lashes out often because she doesn’t know what else to do. While she gets more and more involved with Wesley, Bianca is completely blind to the changes in her relationships with her best friends and her family. Then Love Triangle happens, and it’s a downward spiral from there.

Aaand adult fiction through the link!
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Review: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

Small Blessings

Small Blessings was such a feel-good read. It made me feel like I was floating on a piece of fluffy cloud, just drifting across the sky and looking down yonder on the mountains and the forests and with little birds flying around me. It made me feel content. There are some weird things that happen in this story, all of which I kind of took in stride. I was scared that the OTP ship would not sail, but it did, after much goading and pushing from the supporting characters. ⛵Read More »

Review: The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey


This is definitely not my favorite Mercedes Lackey book, but it’s acceptable. FYI, I’m usually pretty biased towards fairy tale retellings in that I almost always like them, haha. The good thing about fairy tales is that there’s always a happily-ever-after, and this one is no different. This Beauty and the Beast retelling has both good points (smart, confident protagonist) and bad points (protagonist forced into a damsel-in-distress role), and it’s a quick and action-packed read.
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Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens was everything I’d wished for in a fairy tale: engrossing, dazzling, and truly magical. Beneath the grit and drama of this Rapunzel retelling for adults lay hints of that same fairy tale I loved as a child. Kate Forsyth wove together an intricate story that spanned three different time periods with three beautifully written protagonists, and both the plot and the characters make this an engrossing read.
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Mini Reviews: The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern & Turned On and Off

It’s December… which means time for some comfort reads, oh yeah! The great thing about the Cat Who… series is that it’s like a neverending adventure that I can start and pick up whenever. And interesting fact: I started to collect cat-related things after starting this series – I even have metallic cat bookends, a motivational cat poster, glass cat figurines, and those cat-in-a-basket dolls! 🐱

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

Qwilleran is back in this second book in the Cat Who… series with a new assignment at The Daily Fluxion. This time it’s interior decorating, and obviously Qwill is just as outraged this time as he was when he got stuck with the art scene reporting last time. I think the plot in this one was slightly more complicated than that of The Cat Who Could Read Backwards because of the number of characters and conspiracies, but it never felt overwhelming. But again, the lack of explicitness of the action and the murder scenes is actually a bit off-putting for me, and the POW WHAM CRASH sound effects got a little boring. (I also read this soon after reading The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, so next time I’ll probably space these “cozy” mysteries out a bit more.) Yum Yum makes her first appearance in this one, so I’m very excited for the next book!

The Cat Who Turned On and Off

Title: The Cat Who Turned On and Off
Author: Lilian Jackson Braun
Series: Cat Who… #3
Publication Date: 1968
Category: (Adult Fiction) Mystery / Cats

Qwill is doing a Christmas piece for Junktown, a rundown part of the city where antique dealers and collectors gather. He manages to find a new home in Junktown for him, Koko, and Yum Yum, but when he discovers that a prominent Junktown citizen had fallen to his death recently, Qwill had a suspicion that it might’ve not been an accident. This third book in the series also introduces Mrs. Cobb, Qwill’s new flirtatious and food-making landlady, who also shows up in later books. I didn’t like the plot of this book as much as some of the others, and I think it was because there were so many suspects and unpleasant personalities. However, Qwill – once again – is very fun to watch, and Koko and Yum Yum are quite the pair.