“Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of MidnightI really want to like this series. Everyone does and I’d like to be a part of the excitement. But after reading this book, I have to admit that this series isn’t for me. I don’t like the characters and I’m not curious about what will or won’t happen. This will a series I won’t complete.

Quick summary:

I borrowed an e-copy of this from the library and read it back in early March so some of the details have since faded away, which means I don’t think I can give a good summary of the story. But basically, Celaena is now the king’s Champion, she develops feelings for one of the guys, secrets are revealed, someone dies, and there’s a witch and an annoying talking doorknob.

My thoughts: (some spoilers)

Warning: This is a rant. erenTghts may bhoue incoht.

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“Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of GlassI read this one a couple weeks ago for a variety of reasons. First, I bought it because of all the hype I heard which made me curious. Then I read it because I woke up one morning in the mood for something purple and the dusky cover of the Throne of Glass caught my eye.

Quick summary:

Celaena Sardothien, the most feared assassin is just an eighteen year old girl. A year prior to the events of this book, she was betrayed and carted off to the salt mines of Endovier to work as a slave until the end of her days. But one day Prince Dorian visits and presents Celaena with a deal she can’t refuse.

Prince Dorian’s father, the King of Adarlan, is steadily expanding his empire and wiping out all traces of magic while he does so. Magic is outlawed. The King has conquered all countries to the east of the Oakwald Forest except Eyllwe, a country to the south that is barely hanging on. To hasten his interests, the King decides to host a competition from which he will select a Champion to carry out his illicit deeds. The best criminals (it seems) are chosen to compete. If Celaena wins, she will work for the King for four years after which she will receive her freedom. With the promise of freedom in mind, Celaena acquiesces though she despises the king.

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Wishes for My TBR Pile: Booktubers Got Me Pumped; 9 Books Added

As you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve discovered booktube and I’m hooked. I even went ahead and created a YouTube channel though I haven’t posted anything and probably never will because I am just that shy. But I’ve been watching many videos and commenting on them. I just love to see people excited about books and reading. It’s infectious!

Most of the books on this list are recommendations from booktubers. They were so excited about these reads that I got excited too and immediately added them to my list. I think I’m forgetting a few, though, because I sometimes get caught up in the video and forget to hop over to Goodreads to update my to-read list. Anyways, the books:

Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (October 14, 2014)

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior — and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics — and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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“The Blood of Olympus” by Rick Riordan

This is the UK cover, which I like best. The heroes look like they mean business and Gaea is just lurking underground, waiting for their blood to spill. I also like that she takes up most of the cover.

This is the UK cover, which I like best. The heroes look like they mean business and Gaea is lurking underground, waiting for their blood to spill. I also like that she takes up most of the cover.

The long-awaited final installment of the Heroes of Olympus series was released on October 7th, 2014. I wasted no time in getting it. As soon as I was finished with TIME magazine’s issue on great empires, I grabbed The Blood of Olympus to read and boy was it worth it!

So we’re done with the House of Hades and the Doors of Death. The heroes are plagued by nightmares and monsters, as always, and now they have other worries: getting the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood before Nico disappears into the shadows; avoiding Orion’s arrows; figuring out how to stop Gaea from waking and if/when she does, how to get rid of her; and defeating the giants gathered at the Parthenon. Our heroes have a lot on their plate, not to mention their constant anxiety over their companions’ safety as well as the preservation of their respective camps. We can’t help but wonder whether the heroes will accomplish all their tasks and save the world and whether they will need therapy after the events of this book.

As always with Riordan’s books, The Blood of Olympus is fast-paced; however, it has a more mellow moments throughout that the other books. The characters reflect on their actions and futures more and they are not as obsessed with their significant others. —Well, expect for Annabeth but we’ll excuse her since she went through hell with Percy.— I was glad to see that certain characters stepped up while others took a back seat. The most improved is Piper, who starts to kick some serious ass. She finds her strength, which is in her emotions and instincts, and she trusts in it to whip a giant’s butt while soothing Annabeth, who has an emotional breakdown. I think Piper is strongest in this installment. In the other books she is too focused on her relationship with Jason, which detracts from her strength and sense of purpose. Though she does care for Jason in this one, it does not consume her purpose.

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“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

The cover does make me think Hunger Games.

The cover makes me think of Hunger Games.

As with Vampire Academy and Beautiful Creatures, it’s the movie that sparked my interest in this book. I enjoyed watching the protagonist, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, develop from a shy, reserved girl into a confident, fearless young woman. I was drawn to the slow progression of her relationship with Four and, of course, I loved it when Four (played by actor Theo James) ripped his shirt off to show Tris his tattoo (…well, he didn’t exactly rip his shirt off but in my mind he did). Wanting to know how similar the novel is to the movie, I decided to purchase the book to find out.

Quick summary (spoilers):

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, where all that remains are structural skeletons of our present society. The city is surrounded by a huge, electric fence that’s guarded by a security patrol. Something beyond the city threatens it and citizens are warned not to venture far beyond its limits.

Within this barricade is a society organized into five factions—Dauntless, for the brave; Erudite, for the intelligent; Candor, for the honest; Amity, for the harmonious; and Abnegation, for the selfless. Tris’ family belongs to Abnegation but Tris yearns to break from the restrictions of her faction. She doesn’t feel as if she fits in. Instead, she is attracted to the Dauntless and often wishes to run free with them but her loyalty to her family leaves her ashamed of such thoughts.

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“Eragon” by Christopher Paolini

EragonEach time we revisit a text, we approach it with a new perspective because we’re always changing. While some may see rereading as a waste of time, I enjoy revisiting texts to observe how much my views and enjoyment of it has changed. It’s highly unlikely that my reaction to the reread is the same as my initial read. My enjoyment of the text shifts either because I can better understand and appreciate the author’s craft and message; or because I am able to spot the faults in the story, which curdles my enjoyment. Sometimes my reaction to the text is altered by experiences that have changed my outlook on certain issues. Other times my involvement with people and other media influence me toward certain opinions that may affect how I interpret a story.

Since I reread A Game of Thrones a while back, I decided to reread Eragon as well. Actually, it was under the duress of being late for work that caused me to grab this book from my shelf. I did not have time to mull over a decision so I grabbed the first thing I thought would be pleasing. I enjoyed reading Eragon the first time so I’ll enjoy it as much this time, I thought.

Quick summary:

A fifteen-year-old boy name Eragon discovers a mysterious blue stone on one of his hunting trips into the forbidding mountains of the Spine. He carries it home to the farm where he lives with his uncle and cousin on the outskirts of a village, and tries to determine what type of stone it is. Stumped, he shows it to his uncle who determines that the stone must be of great value because of its peculiarity and decides they should trade it. However, because of the harsh conditions in the country (called Alagaesia) caused by urgal attacks, it’s impossible to trade the stone, which no one knows the value of.

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Best Friends to the End: “Vampire Academy” by Richelle Mead

The is the movie poster. I prefer it to the book covers.

The is the movie poster. I prefer it to the book covers.

Watching the movie before reading the book seems the best way to go. I first tested this theory with Beautiful Creatures. I enjoyed the movie so much that I forced myself through the first pages of the story to discover a book I enjoyed. Again, the theory proves true for Vampire Academy. The movie was entertaining and Zoey Deutch, who played Rose, was funny (after reading the book, I realized that she did a great job of capturing the character).

Quick summary:

Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway and the princess, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir, are best friends connected by a one-sided psychic bond that allows Rose to access Lissa’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. They attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, a boarding school for vampires (moroi, the good vampires) and their guardians (dhampir, half-vampires that protect the moroi from strigoi, evil vampires). When the novel begins, Rose and Lissa have been on the run for two years. St. Vladimir’s is no longer a safe place for the princess so Rose, who proclaims herself Lissa’s guardian, hatched a plan to ditch school and seek protection in the wide, unknown world.

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