throne of glass

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI have one more final to finish before I’m officially done for the semester but I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes to publish this week’s Top Ten Tuesday considering how awesome it is! I’m a bit of a series addict so I will list those after the titles if it isn’t the first book.

December 16: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases). This will be a hard one but I’m going to try….might end up with more than ten books. I can live with that if you can 😉 After all, my goal is to read 100 books this year and I’ve already read 97, there are a lot to choose from! So in no particular order:

1) The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick – I stumbled across a series of YouTube videos that led me to this fantastic book. It’s basically a modern day Bennet family, except with only three daughters. The videos portray typical Bennet family life, which is quickly interrupted by crazy Mrs. Bennet and the arrival of yes, Mr. Bingley.

snow ashes2) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I cannot stress this book anymore than I already have. It is amazing. You need to read it. It has action and adventure, heartbreak and loss, secrets and lies, all wrapped up into another world that will make you want to move there immediately…you know if there wasn’t a war happening.

3) Horns by Joe Hill – Yes, it was a book before it was a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. And while it might seem a bit slow at the beginning, the story and the monologues are incredible. Once Iggy embraces his fate, you cannot look away. Hard to put down and will have you smirking right along with him.

4) The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine series) by James Dashner – Even if you’d read The Maze Runner and are totally sick of it, let Dashner take you to a whole new, brave, world. In the future, there are so many places to visit and you never even have to leave your own home. Virtual reality is the hot commodity, that is until that very way of life is threatened.

5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Another futuristic book that pulled me in and kept me entertained was this amazing feat of fiction. It is thrilling and terrifying as you’re sure that any moment death will come. There is a puzzle and a prize and Wade thinks he is the one who can finally obtain it. And maybe, just maybe, with the help of his friends, he can.

6) Good to Great by Jim Collins – This was a book I was required to read for school but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or interesting. It’s about business, and creating a successful organization, but it can be applicable in dozens of other situations as well. How to build a successful team and maintain a well-functioning way of life. Absolutely fantastic. I read it twice. cinder

7) Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer – Because who doesn’t want to read about what the future of our planet might be…and not just from the United States perspective. So many books focus on this part of this world but this series has a global initiative, combined with plague and cyborgs, that will make turning pages seem like nothing. It is heart-pounding and emotional, filled with trauma and love and fear. Fairy tales with a twist is how The Lunar Chronicles is advertized but it’s really so much more than that.

8) Ripper by Stefan Petrucha – Old world history comes to life by interweaving it with a personal story that is often so intense that I had to look away. Petrucha imagines the what-ifs and brings them to life on the page with a heart-stopping twist. Jack the Ripper is lose and a kid might be the only one who can find out where he is.

9) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – If you need a laugh or a pick-me-up, then anything by Sedaris will do. He is witty and poignant with a style that paints hysterical and cringe-worthy images in your mind. This is a collection of short holiday time stories that had me in stitches every time I picked it up.

10) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Dark and dangerous, this series takes Lu’s writing to an entirely new level. It explores what it means to be bad in a whole new way. Is evil made or is it born? It’s a question I often ask and one that is becoming more and more popular. If you read Legend and appreciated the character of Day, then come meet Adelina and see how she makes you feel, makes blood of olympusyou think, makes you wonder.

11) The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan – I know I just did a review of this book but it definitely merits being mentioned again. Riordan is one of my favorite authors, hands down. His stories are art that I could (and have) devour for hours on end. This is the final installment in a series that has so many complex characters and complicated friendships, all while fighting the end of the world, that it was hard to put down. Even to study.

12) Etiquette & Espionage and Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School series) by Gail Carriger – What can I say about a character I have come to love this much? Sophronia is witty and clever and an obvious trouble-making due to her overabundance of curiosity. Which actually all come in handy when she is shipped off to a finishing school that makes young girls into ladies…ones that can be spies and assassins. All while maintain proper dress and decorum.

13) Doomed by Tracy Deebs – A modern day Pandora, literally, opens a gift that unleashes hell on earth. Or at least on all the computer systems of earth, leaving everything in chaos and life as she knows it in ruins. It’s hard to predict what will happen next as the young heroine attempts to undo her mistake, all while in the company of two delicious sounding young men.

14) Illusion (The Chronicles of Nick series) by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Nick Gautier is a smartass who doesn’t have a cluecrown of midnight when he should keep his mouth shut. Often causing him to get into more trouble than is strictly necessary. And in this fifth book, Nick has become mired in a whole new set of consequences that no one else acknowledges. How can you change what is happening if no one else can see it coming? Absolutely brilliant.

15) Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas – I enjoyed the first book in this series and the third as well but I think this one, the second, was the most powerful. Every page created new intensity and the hits jut kept on coming. The reveals never stopped and so much information is conveyed, it is well worth the read, even if the worst is yet to come.

Top Ten Tuesday

In typical fashion, I have once again missed Top Ten Tuesday posting on the actual day of the week that it is supposed to happen. But hey, it’s my last week of classes, cut a girl some slack. Plus I will have 3 books reviews headed your way so I promise to make it worthwhile for you 😉

Top Ten Tuesday

This week is December 9: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014 and what a VERY exciting topic this is!!

etiquetteGail Carriger – I am so in love with her writing and her characters, it’s late 19th century England with an irresistible steampunk twist. Her series Finishing School and the Parasol Protectorate are both wonderful to read, especially if you like to meld history with your fantasy.

Nancy Martin – For awhile there, all I was reading was the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. Catchy and poignant, humorous and murderous, what’s not to love? There is high society gone wrong and a family on the edge of total annihilation, in the fiscal sense, all told by a witty narrator. cinder

Marissa Meyer – Okay, how many more times do I have to tell you to go read Cinder? The Lunar Chronicles is the best series to happen to me since…well, I can’t think of a good example. But it’s Grimm Brothers mixed with Science fiction in A Brave New World. *pant, pant, pant* Waiting for the next one…

Tracy Deebs – I’ve only read one book from her, the series she is known for doesn’t really interested me, but DOOMED is worth reading. It’s the actual end of the world, not post-apocalyptic which totally sucked me in and had me on edge for days. Definitely look into her work.

Peter Lerangis – After reading so much Rick Riordan (aka everything he’s written), you’d think I would be sick of kids saving the world but somehow, I’m not. Luckily, Lerangis’ series Seven Wonders is about Atlantean mythology and has a bit of a different plot than Percy Jackson but still fan-freakin-tastic

hornsStefan Petrucha – Wow, just wow. One book and I am totally hooked. Ripper was an amazing story that led me through history and murder and intrigue, it wound fact and fiction so closely together that I could almost believe everything was true. It was hard to tear myself away, can’t wait to see what else he does.

Joe Hill – I know I’m about to ruin everything but for those of you who don’t know, Hill is the son of the infamous Stephen King and his style is just as dark and interesting as his father’s. I’ve only read Horns so far but I’m hoping to pick up more of his books since I couldn’t put the first one down.

Jonathan Stroud – Apparently I’ve been missing out on this author for reads. I stumbled into the Lockwood & Co series while shelf browsing and was terrified and in love with the story I read. It’s a little scary, a little swashbuckling, and a lot of fun. Bright characters armed with wits and swords, getting into trouble and hunting ghosts. Um, yes please!throne of glass

Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass has pretty much taken over my life in the last two months. Witty and sharp-edged, there is struggle and heartbreak, magic, mayhem, and sword-fighting. I enjoy all the characters, especially picturing the men shirtless, and the series just keeps getting better. Please publish the next one soon!

snow ashesSara Raasch – I can’t get through a post these days without talking about Snow Like Ashes, but hey, why should I? I’ve been highly enjoying series set in other realms and this one has one where it SNOWS ALL THE TIME. I want to be there, even if it has been destroyed. This debut is fast-paced and interesting and I am impatiently waiting for the next one!

Honorable Mentions:

Because I couldn’t pick just 10, here are two others to enjoy.

Leigh Bardugo – A friend of mine recommended The Grisha series to me and put it off for months before finally getting around to it and I was pretty glad that I did. The style of write flows nicely along, although some of the plot points made me cringe a bit, I’m glad I read some of Bardugo’s work.

John Green – While it might seem cliched, I read Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars and was pleasantly surprised with Green’s style and humorous insight. It’s not all drab and tears, there is actually quite a bit of humor and life lessons. Not something I could read every day but nice when I’m in the mood for something a little deeper and more touching.

What I’m Reading

currently reading 12.5.14

While I’ve been trying to make time to read, the only time I’m really able to do it now is before bed. Not that I’m complaining, reading before bed is very relaxing to me…unless I get caught up in a plot like with Blood of Olympus.

So what’s on the docket now? Well, I finished Pawn so I picked up Captive from the library, it’s still very much waiting to be read. And then of course, I’ve been reading The Calling for about a month. Not only is it a huge book but it’s also rather intense and gory at times, making me cringe and need to read something else, so I’ve been taking my time with that one.

Heir of Fire is almost finished, hopefully before I go home for the holidays I will have it read. That is also intense and needs to be put down every now and again and I can already feel the itch to read the next one. The series is just so complex and interesting. Plus it features lots of gorgeous, shirtless men. No complaints here 😉

I stumbled upon The Jewel while getting recommendations from Goodreads and it sounded like The Selection mixed with something a little dark, maybe The Young Elites. Either way, I’m pumped to read that!

As for Soulless, it’s by the same author as another series I love, featuring similar and sometimes the same characters (or so I’m told) and I found it on the library shelf and decided to give it a go. Thus far, proving to be a great decision. The main character is a little older but she is feisty which I’m enjoying.

I also possess the next book in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series but that’s on hold until I finish a few of these others. I’ve just received my first audiobook as well, hopefully something to keep my occupied during the long drive home next week. I’m a very visual person so I’m not sure how well I will like this but it never hurts to try.

What are you reading?

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes

I don’t know about you but I enjoy a good book about a different world. Especially Primoria where thsnow ashesere is an entire kingdom that is in permanent winter! Not to mention ones that are dedicated to Spring, Summer, and Fall plus four others that get to appreciate all the rhythms of nature.

The book follows Meira and her exile: the life that has been cobbled together from the ruins of the Kingdom of Winter which was brutally taken over by Spring (ironic, yes?) sixteen years ago. She is with a ragtag band of rebels who managed to escape the labor camps that the rest of their people were forced into. Unfortunately, that means that they are responsible for intense and often frustrating burden of setting things right and giving Winter back to its people.

When half of the ancient locket containing the magic powers of their kingdom is found, Meria decides to disobey orders and go after it herself, creating more than one problem. But that’s not all the adventure in store for this young orphan. There is plenty of danger to be had in a world where magic and politics exist in spades.

If you want an action adventure story, one that isn’t about dystopia or the end of the world as we know it, if you want a love story about family and relationships that will knock the wind out of you on more than one occasion, if you want a strong female lead who never gives up, this book is for you.

Sara Raasch’s debut novel is amazing. It is well written, fast-paced, and makes you want to experience the world for yourself. Although I was disappointed that it contained a love triangle (as I’m rather sick of those), it was actually really well done. There wasn’t a ton of pining, longing, or indecision that lasted for 100 pages. Instead, Meira grudgingly accepts her fate time and time again, picks up the pieces of herself, and continues moving forward.

Meira is a great character who is far more capable than she thinks other people think she is. She is strong and willful, stubborn and courageous. There is fear but she doesn’t let that stop her. She takes risks and utilizes what she knows to be her best skills to gain the advantage for her kingdom. Truthfully, she is sometimes a pawn but even that won’t prevent her from doing what she thinks is necessary, even when she ends up in more trouble than if she had just listened.

The orphan is surrounded by interesting supports like Sir, her surrogate father who rescued her from the rubble of the capitol city, and Mather, the future king of Winter who she is desperately in love/best friends with, who help her in ways she doesn’t fully understand until the end of the book. She is also introduced to a handsome prince, his father–a selfish king, and the man who is trying to destroy everything the people of Winter have created, all of which shape various events in this book in their own way.

There is magic in these words and on these pages; it jumps out at you and won’t let go. There are plenty of secrets to go around and keep you on your toes plus a couple of twists that left me breathless, especially a character death. There is intrigue and mayhem, war and politics, often all happening at the same time. It’s a bit like Game of Thrones mixed with Eragon (minus the dragons) mixed with Legend: Sword fights, magic, and fighting for your country (kingdom).

If you liked The Lunar Chronicles, Shadow & Bone, and/or Throne of Glass, then this might be your next favorite addition to the bookshelf. It’s a book about fighting for what’s yours even if it’s been taken from you. About finding your identity within and your cultural identity from those who still knows what it means to be from there. It’s about knowing your worth even when others think you are worthless. And more than anything, it’s about finding a way to be true to yourself even when your life isn’t going as you planned.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 95

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 9
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Book Review: Crown of Midnight

crown of midnightI said this on my Twitter when I finished the book and I’ll say it here again: Drop whatever you are do and go read this book! Of course you should probably read Throne of Glass first because that is book one but definitely start this series!

This second installment finds us face to face with the King’s Champion, Celaena. She is going about her job, obeying the orders of the king, and killing enemies of the crown. But that’s not all that’s happening. When an old friend is listed as her next target, Celaena quickly finds herself mired in a mystery that even she has trouble solving.

Things are never as they appear to be in this world and Celaena knows that better than anyone. So on top of finding out her friend might be a traitor, there is also suspicion about Princess Nehemia’s motives and actions, and a creepy cousin to the Crown Prince added another layer of disturbing. Celaena is hearing nothing but silence from her ghostly benefactor, Elena, which becomes particularly troubling as the castle starts to reveal secrets of its own.

Monsters, mayhem, and murder, this book has it all. Magic is coming back to the kingdom and Celaena might actually be falling in love; two things no one ever thought would happen. The Champion doesn’t know who to trust anymore and after a deadly game goes wrong, her world is truly turned upside down, forcing her to unleash the beast inside herself.

I cannot express how much I loved this book. It was creepy and a little scary at times, I even found myself crying and shaking from the onslaught of emotions that were conveyed to me from the writing. Maas is a master of her craft and she builds a world that is beautiful and deadly at the same time. You couldn’t look away even if you are tempted to.

I was glad to see the progression of “happy” emotions even if I knew they wouldn’t last. And digging deeper into the mystery of Celaena, I found my initial suspicions of her to be accurate, even though I was beyond excited when I finally read the truth. (If you’ve read the first one, you know what I’m talking about.) She is complex and simple at the same time. She is a young adult shouldering more than her fair share of pain and triumph and you can see all that taking its toll.

This is a brilliantly written and executed second book and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 96

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 9
  • Invokes emotion – 10
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayOctober 14: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)

1) The United Kingdom, England, London, Hogwarts – Harry Potter series, books by Jane Austen: Who doesn’t want to visit a land of magic, love, and tradition? Modern day or Georgian era, I’d be happy with either, as long as a Hogwarts tour happens.

2) New Orleans – The Dark Hunter series, Chronicles of Nick: A festive city with people and daemons and really hot guys who kill supernatural entities, yes please. Colorful place with great food, art, and history, sounds just up my alley.

3) Alagaesia – The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon): A land of dragons, elves, magic, and mayhem. It might not always be a ton of fun to be in that world but it will definitely be interesting.

4) Kaeleer – The Black Jewels Trilogy: While the books contain three realms (Terrielle and Hell are the other two), Kaeleer sounds like the most interesting (and safest). Not to mention it has unicorns and large cats who also possess badass magic.

5) Narnia – The Chronicles of Narnia: A lion who rules the world and talking animals fighting for it? Definitely a war that I could be a part of. Plus they have a shimmering ocean and magic that can be harnessed. Oh and learning to duel with a sword with centaurs? Awesome.

6) Montana and Oregon – Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series: Mountains, werewolves, and magic, that’s my kind of place. Montana is the refuge and Oregon is the place you run away to. Both have mountains and forests and men with protective instincts.

7) Ancient Greece – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Gods, demi-gods, mythology. All these elements roll into one big party that could come crashing down any time. Friends and enemies at the same camp, and quests to make your toes curl.

8) Ireland – The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy: So this one is a bit of a “throwback” considering I’ve already been to Ireland but come one, that country is so fascinating. It has magic and myth everywhere and I would love to go back.

9) Erilea – Throne of Glass series: Swordfights, dead magic, and an evil king? Doesn’t sound like a fun place to be but the women wear dresses and the men are soldiers. I’d like to drop in for a spell.

10) The Seven Realms – The Seven Realms series: Definitely one of the most interesting realms I’ve ever discovered in a book. Chima combines “natives” with haughty locals and gives them a princess born a both, a thief to annoy her, and a kingdom falling apart. Take me there so I can attend school with all these people.