The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

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The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Goodreads || B&N || Kassie’s Twitter

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED FEBRUARY 11TH, 2020

4.5 STARS

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Pub Day Prophecies || February 2020

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There’s nothing like a glimpse into the future, and based on today’s Pub Day Prophecies, what a future we have in February 2020! Between tantalizing debuts and tense series conclusions, there’s plenty in store for the month.

And what do you know? This month we have one extra day to try and take it all in!

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Monthly Wrap || January 2020

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January 2020

The January 2020 Monthly Wrap is special not only because it’s the first of the year, but because it’s the first on Hail & Well Read! There’s a lot to cover, what with all the changes this month, and we’d better get down to it. Best to be quick, so we can get ready for all the things happening in February… 👀

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Tower Talks || Spyro the Dragon: Reignited

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Spyro the Dragon: Reignited

Believe it or not, I didn’t play Spyro the Dragon games as a kid. I grew up in a Nintendo household, and never had the right console to grow attached to this little purple dragon.

But now I’m in my 20s, Spyro is on the Switch, and every single one of you probably saw this coming. I love dragons. I love video games. And smashing the two together and handing it to me for Christmas?

This is a game tailored exactly to my interests, which means putting it down long enough to write this post was a challenge in its own right! Yes, it’s that worth playing. But I can get a little more descriptive, no worries! See for yourself what makes the first entry in the Reignited Trilogy worth playing!

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The Wednesday Pen || An Introduction

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Welcome to the Wednesday Pen!

Built to replace Writing Wednesday, the Wednesday Pen is a blend of new and the old and written word. I spend so much time talking about reading that I sometimes neglect writing, and this will (hopefully) serve as a counter to that habit!

This month, I’m only introducing you to the bare bones intent of the topic. What with the redesign and other factors, writing has not been my primary focus through January. In the months to come, though, I plan to push it closer to the forefront, which means more to share!

So, what can you expect?

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Top 5 Tuesday || Anticipated Books of 2020

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2020’s New Releases are Coming…

My anticipated books of 2020 list is probably a mile long. Narrowing it down to only five, as per the rules for Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm’s wonderful meme, is hard.

Never let it be said I back down from a challenge, though, because here they are: my top five picks for the whole year.

Fingers crossed they’ll all clock in at 5 stars, huh?

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The Best of Elizabeth Bear by Elizabeth Bear

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The Best of Elizabeth Bear by Elizabeth Bear

Goodreads || B&N || Elizabeth’s Twitter

From the start of her career, Elizabeth Bear has been one of the most distinctive voices in modern speculative fiction. Her debut novel, Hammered, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2005, the same year she received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In the years since, she has produced an impressive array of standalone novels (Undertow) and multi-volume series (The Eternal Sky Trilogy, The New Amsterdam Series), along with a steady stream of stories and novellas, the best of which are gathered in this generous, absolutely necessary volume.

The Best of Elizabeth Bear contains 27 stories and novellas, many never before collected, that encompass an astonishing range of themes, settings, ideas and emotions. The collection opens with “Covenant,” a tale of serial murder unlike any you have ever read, and closes with the extraordinary “Erase, Erase, Erase.” The latter is a surrealist tour de force in which the unnamed narrator, a former cult member, reflects on her life, her nebulous but guilty past, and her constantly diminishing sense of self. In between these bookends are more than two dozen carefully crafted tales that never fail to resonate beyond the final page.

“Tideline,” winner of both the Hugo and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, tells the surprisingly moving story of Chalcedony, a former “war machine” determined to preserve the memories of her dead human companions. “Shoggoths in Bloom,” another Hugo winner, offers a fresh take on H.P. Lovecraft’s Mythos, setting the action in a pre-WWII II world marked by racism and virulent anti-Semitism. “Faster Gun” is a tale of the Old West in which Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo encounter an impossible alien artefact. The long novella “In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns” takes place in Bangalore, India fifty years from now and tells the story of a murder in which the victim’s body is literally turned inside out. In the affecting “Sonny Liston Takes a Fall,” we are brought to an entirely new understanding of one of the iconic moments of boxing history.

These are just a few of the complex pleasures contained in this singular collection. Each of the remaining stories is a fully realized gem. Each one offers something new and unexpected. Whether you choose to read this book from end to end, or to parcel the stories out in a more leisurely way, The Best of Elizabeth Bear will provide you with endless hours of provocative, deeply intelligent entertainment. This is imaginative fiction in its purest, most highly developed form. It doesn’t get better than this.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED JANUARY 31ST, 2020

3.5 STARS

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Weekly Wrap || January 25, 2020

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January 25th, 2020

We’ve reached the first Weekly Wrap of the year, and more importantly, the first Hail & Well Read Weekly Wrap! It’s time to bust out a shiny new featured image, and to break down the week.

As ever, we’ll cover what’s happened beyond the blog, posts that have gone live this week, and a preview of the week ahead! All standard stuff, is it not?

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Dragon’s Den Discussions || How I Use a Bullet Journal to Run My Blog

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How I Use a Bullet Journal to Run My Blog

I haven’t talked about it at length before, but I have one super valuable tool for blogging: a bullet journal. It’s not terribly hard to find one for yourself and make it work for you, and it’s so easily customized given just a little bit of time, effort, and colorful embellishments (from crayon to fancy watercolor, up to you)!

And because I like using it so much, AND because we have a new year hovering just around the corner, today I’m going to lay out exactly how I make my bullet journal work on behalf of my blog!

(I’m also using this opportunity to introduce the mascot for Dragon’s Den Discussions, the lovely red bookwyrm above. He doesn’t have a name yet, but for the next day and a half, you can vote on Twitter to decide his fate!)

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