Waiting on Wednesday: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

waiting on wednesday

the orphan queen by jodi meadowsThe Orphan Queen (Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
Release Date: March 10, 2015

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

I’m a big fan of Jodi Meadows. I’ve been looking forward to THE ORPHAN QUEEN ever since it was announced. I really enjoyed her first fantasy series, Newsoul, and I’m curious to see what other worlds and characters she’ll create. Plus, this series is a duology, so I won’t have to wait 3 years for the whole story.

One more awesome thing? In the book, Wil is great at calligraphy. So Jodi decided to learn it too, and has been sharing tons of photos. I even got a card with quotes from her first series!

Thank you, @unicornwarlord! Even prettier in person.

A photo posted by Leeanna (@leeannadotme) on

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

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half the world by joe abercrombieHalf the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercombie
Release Date: February 17, 2015

Sometimes a girl is touched by Mother War.

Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named a murderer by the very man who trained her to kill.

Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior.

She finds herself caught up in the schemes of Father Yarvi, Gettland’s deeply cunning minister. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit.

Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon.

Beside her on the journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill, a failure in his eyes and hers, but with one chance at redemption.

And weapons are made for one purpose.

Will Thorn forever be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path?

Okay, so I’m cheating just a bit here, as I’ve already read HALF THE WORLD, but I want every fantasy fan to read this book! It’s earned a place on my future Favorites of 2015 list, just like HALF A KING, the first book in the Shattered Sea trilogy, made my Favorites of 2014 list.

Anyway. If you like fantasy (YA or adult), check out HALF THE WORLD. I mean, what’s better than a strong, bad-ass female main character (we know I love those!), a world that’s Viking inspired, and a fantasy series that feels epic without being 800 pages?

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear


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karen memory by elizabeth bearKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Release Date: February 3, 2015

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Hugo-Award winning author Elizabeth Bear offers something new in Karen Memory, an absolutely entrancing steampunk novel set in Seattle in the late 19th century—an era when the town was called Rapid City, when the parts we now call Seattle Underground were the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a “soiled dove,” a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper-type story of the old west with the light touch of Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

I first saw KAREN MEMORY on someone else’s Waiting on Wednesday post — sorry, I can’t remember who! I’m in the middle of watching Penny Dreadful right now, and this book sounds like a perfect fit to my mood from that show. Just the feel of it, y’know?

Anyway, I’ve wanted to read something of Elizabeth Bear’s for a long time, but I just haven’t. So KAREN MEMORY will hopefully be the first, because this seems like a perfect book for me. Steampunk? Check. A bordello? Check. Historical AU? Check. Tons of awesome things? Check.

Bring on February!

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig

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atlanta burns by chuck wendigAtlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig
Release Date: January 27, 2015

You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.

Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault.

You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.

Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.

Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?

I’ve wanted to read something of Chuck Wendig’s for a while. His blog is awesome and I’ve heard his books are fantastic. So ATLANTA BURNS is coming along at a perfect time. This sentence in the summary is the one that did it for me: Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. That’s all I need to know!

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

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golden son by pierce brownGolden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown
Release Date: January 13, 2015

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

AHHHH! I am SO bloody damn excited that I was approved for an ARC of GOLDEN SON. I absolutely loved RED RISING, and having to wait a year for the sequel was harder than usual. I’ve been in a reading slump, but I’m thinking GOLDEN SON might shatter it.

I cannot wait to dive back into Pierce Brown’s work and see what he’s come up with this time. If you haven’t heard of RED RISING yet, now’s the time to check it out if you like any of the books mentioned in the summary, or if you’re looking for some crazy cool fantasy/science fiction.

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

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the diabolical miss hyde by viola carrThe Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1) by Viola Carr
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy retelling of the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Henry

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching “the Chopper” could make Eliza’s career—or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.

Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free . . .

Ungh. THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE sounds like it has so many things I enjoy! Some retelling, steampunk, fantasy, evil curses, forensics, magic, a dark twin… I am super curious! February isn’t too far off thankfully, so maybe I’ll get to check this out sooner rather than later.

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

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the price of blood by patricia bracewellThe Price of Blood, Emma of Normandy Trilogy #2 by Patricia Bracewell
Release Date: February 5, 2015

Menaced by Vikings and enemies at court, Queen Emma defends her children and her crown in a riveting medieval adventure

Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.

As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.
Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

SHADOW ON THE CROWN, the first book in Patricia Bracewell’s trilogy about Emma of Normandy, was one of my favorite books of 2013. I was sooooo excited when I saw the cover and summary for book two, THE PRICE OF BLOOD. This is historical fiction just the way I like it: realistic and dark, with an incredibly strong woman at the forefront. February cannot come quickly enough: I need this book now! I scavenged the Internet for everything I could find about Emma after I finished SHADOW ON THE CROWN, but I’d much rather read the continuation of her story from Patricia than watch another documentary :D

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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the sin eater's daughter by melinda salisburyThe Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Release Date: February 24, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

I first saw THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER in a Waiting on Wednesday post on Mother, Gamer, Writer. First, I dig the cover. I really hope it doesn’t change for the final version of the book. Second, I dig the summary. The concept sounds unique: the embodiment of a goddess who kills? We all know how much I love that sort of thing! Give me this book now! I have high hopes — the author says she’s a Slytherin :D

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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno

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star wars: tarkin by james lucenoStar Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno
Release Date: November 4, 2014

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction. (summary from goodreads)

In case you didn’t know, I am a HUGE Star Wars fan.

Evidence:
star wars bookshelf

That’s most of my Star Wars books. I haven’t liked every experiment the Expanded Universe has undergone, but books about classic villains? Yes please. I’ve always been intrigued by Grand Moff Tarkin, and so I’m super excited that he’s getting his own book. Fingers crossed that this returns the EU to a good place, like Luceno’s STAR WARS: DARTH PLAGUEIS did for me.

On a related tangent, I’ve been thinking of doing super short videos, on my favorite characters in books. Instagram length videos, so 15 seconds. Usually I don’t like to watch videos, but 15 seconds isn’t too bad. Any opinions? Cool idea, or silly?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

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unteachable by leah raederUnteachable by Leah Raeder
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.

But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.

When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.

That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.

Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.

Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script. (summary from goodreads)

You might ask why I’m featuring UNTEACHABLE if I’ve already read and reviewed it. Answer: I love Leah and her book, and Atria picked it up and is releasing UNTEACHABLE! If you like teacher/student romance and some sexy NA, this is the book for you. I can’t wait to have a paperback of this baby on my shelf.

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– leeanna