Sunday, February 18, 2018

wild magic // tamora pierce

Title:  Wild Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 260 pages
Copyright Date:  1992
 "No, I do not have the Gift." Daine says it once, and she says it again. She says it every time someone suggests that she has magical powers. What she has is a knack with animals. They come to her, listen to her, obey her. It is at least partly because of that knack that now, at thirteen, with her mother and grandda killed by raiders, she has no home, no place she can call her own. People who know her are afraid of what she can do. But Onua, horse mistress for a special police group in the neighboring country of Tortall, does not fear her; instead she welcomes Daine as a valued help in driving a herd of ponies back to Tortall.

It is on that journey that Daine discovers, in a time of great peril, that she not only has power over animals but has the power to sense the presence of dangerous immortal creatures who are beginning to appear all over the land. It is then- and later when she meets King Jonathan and Queen Thayet; the king's champion, Alanna, and her husband the baron of Pirate's Swoop; and mostly when she meets the mage Numair- that she discovers that she has to learn to use her magic, that the fate of a kingdom might depend upon what she can do. The question then becomes whether she can learn enough, and whether her skills with animals and her ability to deal with immortals will prove strong enough when the test comes.

Those who have read Tamora Pierce's earlier series, The Song of the Lioness, will be glad to meet the characters they have come to know in those books. But the new readers and old will find these new adventures exciting and value Daine for the special person she is.

My Rating (★★★★): Obviously.

I was a shy, book loving 6th grader who spent every morning before class in the school's library. One morning, I had finished all of Meredith Ann Pierce's Birth of the Firebringer trilogy and was in the slump that happens after completing a reading marathon- the feeling of emptiness that hollows out your insides and leaves you wandering the aisles, and wondering what you could possibly read next to fill the void. I went to the fiction section, in the P's to see if I had missed any other books by Meredith Ann Pierce that I might be interested in, and came across another Pierce: Tamora.  There was only one book there but the title piqued my fantasy loving brain, Wild Magic, and the cover cemented my interest when I got an eyeball on it.

Wild Magic practically jumped off the shelf into my hands. It's cover had everything a 6th grade Stacy could dream of- a girl about my age as the main character, a horse on the cover fighting alongside it's master, a castle and a monster! My absolute gratitude goes to the librarian of my middle school who ordered Tamora Pierce's other books for me when I asked for them. I love Wild Magic for introducing me to Tamora Pierce, whilst my favorites of her books are the Song of the Lioness quartet that include, Alanna: the First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant. 

I feel like who I am as a person was shaped by reading about Alanna's adventures in Tortall, and it's no real surprise that Tamora Pierce's Tortall books are my favorites. As a now 36 year old, I am re-reading my Immortals quartet to re-familiarize myself with Numair Salmalin's character so that I can read Tamora Pierce's newest book out, Tempests and Slaughter, which is a story based on Numair's time as Arram Draper in the Empire of Carthak. I am super excited to read it, and honestly, excited to re-read The Immortals, as it has been YEARS since I have read Daine's story. 

I'm going to share my favorite scenes from Wild Magic next, so there may be some spoilers, if you haven't read the book. As I read the book, I marked every part where I felt either choked up or excited. The first is where I first heard about the character of Alanna:

'"At the end of the road-we'll see. We're bound for the capital of Tortall-"
The girl's face lit up. "Where a lady knight is the king's champion, right? And they let girls in the army? That Tortall?"'

The very next scene that I marked on my reading is my first real introduction to my all time favorite character, and I literally cried while reading this, probably because I was overly emotional due to the time of the month, and because I'm a sap when it comes to Tortall books and characters. 

'Daine gaped at the company that approached. Mail-clad warriors on beautiful horses rode in four rows, their white, hooded capes flapping grandly at their backs. The earth shook with the pounding of their steeds' hooves. Before them came a standard-bearer, his flag a silver blade and crown on a royal blue field.

Beside him was a full knight in gold-washed mail, his gold helm mirror bright. He bore a lance; on his left arm was a red shield with a device like a gold cat rearing on its hind paws. The knight's horse was larger than those of the white-caped warriors, though not as large as the chargers normally used by those who wore full mail or plate armor. It was as gold as the cat on the knight's shield, with a black mane and tail.

Together the company made a picture out of legends. "Oh, glory," whispered Daine.'

And next:

'She looked back: the men of the King's Own were in the saddle. "Forward!"

Daine, in awe, watched them go. This was what she'd dreamed when Onua said they were going to Tortall. Well, some things are different, she thought as the riders retreated from view. Pulling the badger's claw out of her shirt, she polished it with a thumb. She's shorter than I expected. And I never thought she'd swear, or make jokes. She's a legend, sure enough, but she's so human.'

About Daine, there were things that I wished I could do like Daine. What am I kidding? I wanted to be her too. Who wouldn't want to be able to talk to animals and heal them with magic?

'You may look like a human, but you aren't. You're the People: the folk of claw and fur, wing and scale.

"Impossible," the girl said flatly. "Look at me. I'm pink, my fur's patchy, I walk on two legs. I'm human, human all over."
On the outside, the pony insisted. Not inside. Inside you're People.

I have over 15 places marked in Wild Magic that I was going to share, but it would make this blog post too long! I look forward to moving on to reading Wolf-speaker next, and finishing up with Emperor-Mage and The Realms of the Gods.  I'm interested in doing a video about Wild Magic, or maybe I will wait until I have finished all of The Immortals and do a full review there, as well. 

I was thinking the other day, that Tamora Pierce knows everything about Alanna, and she must know how she dies, and that made me sad and envious, that I don't know more about Alanna, the Lioness. I think after The Immortals and Tempests and Slaughter, that I just may re-read Song of the Lioness, as well. 

Damn, I love these books.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

city of fallen angels // cassandra clare

Note:This review is mostly spoiler free.

I should probably preface this review with a comment: I’m annoyed that this is a book. City of Glass ended quite nicely, putting a cap on The Mortal Instruments trilogy, since, isn’t that what it was supposed to be? A trilogy? So, the fact that there are three more books feels like a money grubbing scheme to me, and it may have colored my review on the negative side.

I gave City of Fallen Angels a 2 star out of 5 rating on Goodreads when I finished reading it the other day, and now that I’ve let the book soak a little bit in my mind, I think I’m going to stand by that. Nothing about the book really grabbed me and shook me screaming, “Look how great I am!”.  It was like an extension of the previous books, Jace being a tortured soul not being able to be with Clary, Clary crying about Jace, Simon not belonging anywhere.

The new characters were… convenient.  I guess, it really felt like a poorly stitched together quilt?  And after thinking about it for a while, I really drew similarities between Jace and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Clary is Buffy Summers, Jace is Angel.  Tortured Soul believing himself to be undeserving of the protagonist’s love no matter the protestations of said protagonist.

The murders at the beginning felt unimportant, I hope for more depth from Camille in the next two books, or else I will feel cheated. I liked her character the best out of the new ones in this book. Also, can we talk about how Simon actually thought the first Cult member who tried to kidnap him was a mugger? That seems like an odd jump? Or else he is just dense. That could be too.

The cover of City of Fallen Angels is beautiful but… what’s with the bolt of arrows on the male’s shoulder? Is it Alec? It seems like it should be Simon, as that is who the story is mostly about, with Clary in the background. But Simon doesn’t carry arrows, so it must be Alec.  Does Alec wear Justin Bieber-like hoodies? I thought that was a Simon thing, as well. They dropped the ball on this cover you guys. We deserve better covers!  :D

Anyway, as much as I loved The Mortal Instruments as a trilogy, I’m not certain about this second set of books in it. I will still read City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire but so far, I’m disappointed. It could be that I am outgrowing (read: getting too old) for Young Adult fiction, as I have a hard time with a 16-year-old demon hunter, if you know what I mean? (Where's that Fountain of Youth anyway?)

But if you want to talk Freeform’s Shadowhunters, I’m all about that right now, so not all is lost.

Happy Reading!


The Deets:

Inside Jacket:

“The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And-most important of all- Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side-along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls-neither of whom knows about the other.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Author: Cassandra Clare
Publish Date: 2011
Pages: 424
Genre: YA Paranormal Fiction

Recommended Ages: 14 and up

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

cinder // marissa meyer

Title:  Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult
Page Count: 387 pages
Copyright Date:  2012
 Cinder wouldn’t fit in at a formal ball, anyway. Even if she did find dress gloves and slippers that could hide her metal monstrosities, her mousy hair would never hold a curl, and she didn’t know the first thing about makeup. She would end up sitting just off the dance floor and making fun of the girls who swooned to get Prince Kai’s attention, pretending she wasn’t jealous. Pretending it didn’t bother her.
Although, she was curious about the food.
And the prince did know her now, sort of. He had been kind to her at the market. Perhaps he would ask her to dance. Out of politeness. Out of chivalry, when he saw her standing alone.
The precarious fantasy crashed down around her as quickly as it had begun. It was impossible. Not worth thinking about.
She was cyborg, and she would never go to the ball.

My Rating (★★★★):

You should probably know this about me. Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale. I used to watch the Disney Animated Cinderella on VHS over and over again. When it was over, I would hit rewind and watch it again. I also had a obscene love for PB&J sandwiches, but that’s neither here nor there.

I read Cinder at the bequest of a friend of mine, well, she suggested it because she thought I would like it.  (Because of my Cinderella Love- I mean, I had a Cinderella Themed Wedding for gosh sake.) I wasn’t disappointed.

It isn’t even fully faithful to the fairy tale, I mean, there are aspects with each of these Lunar Chronicles books that take parts of the fairy tales they are sourced from but easily make them their own. The writing is entertaining and spunky and all of the characters are strong female heroes and I have a soft spot for SFH. Most of my favorite books are books that have female protagonists. Strong ones. Ones that wield swords and don’t need a man to save them. That kind.

Cinder doesn’t fail to make me happy. The only place that I felt it fell short was at the end, it clearly is only part of Cinder’s story and that kind of bugged me. It was anti-climactic for me (even though the end scene is supposed to be the climax), I was disappointed that it wasn’t a book that could really stand on it’s own, it’s obviously a part of a series, which to me, sometimes, feels like a way of cutting up what could be one large story into smaller sections to make more money and that is kind of annoying.

As much as I love Cinderella retellings, this wasn’t my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles’ series, but I still really liked it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes retellings, or sci-fi, or young adult in general.

Happy Reading, Y’all.

Friday, November 27, 2015

top 5 wednesday // top hunger games moments (Spoilers)

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads Group created by Gingerreadslainey. She also has a Youtube account! You should definitely check her out, if you haven't already. I did my first Youtube video for Top 5 Wednesday last week and haven't been able to get to this week's yet. But I do want to get back into regularly updating my blog, so I'm going to share this one right now. Hopefully I will soon get to film this week's topic!

My Top 5 Hunger Games Moments:

5.) The Scene where Peeta announces in Catching Fire that Katniss is pregnant. I just love Peeta, and Cesar Flickerman's reaction. And the crowd. And Katniss after the fact. It's a funny scene, and I remember laughing out loud in the theaters when I saw it. 

4.) Katniss' episode after the Quarter Quell announcement where she withdraws into her house and just hides in the closet for days or however long it was, I found the truth and honesty in that reaction to be quite breathtaking. I really do like how honest a character Katniss is in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I love her brokenness and her humanity amidst all of the war and horribleness around her. 

3.) End of The Hunger Games AKA The Berries AKA Together? Together. Nuff Said. 

2.) Katniss Honors Rue.  All the tears. 

1.) I Volunteer! I Volunteer as Tribute.  Seriously? Even the trailer for The Hunger Games made me cry. I love these books and movies. Ugh. So much. I have to re-read them soon.

Well, that's my first Top 5 Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed and I hope you come back again.

What's your favorite top 5 Hunger Games moments?

Monday, October 12, 2015

throne of glass // sarah j. maas

Title:  Throne of Glass
Author:  Sarah J. Maas
Ideal Age Range:  Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback:  416 Pages
Blurb:  After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Rating:(★★★) Overall, I feel like the last one hundred or so pages made up for the first part of this book. I think I might have outgrown my love for Young Adult fantasy books. It’s totally possible that the immature love and story lines that include tropes like a love triangle just don’t float my boat anymore.
In general I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to read and pretty fast paced. I thought the Celaena wasn’t a believable assassin, but I don’t know any real assassins so, what do I know about what assassins are like? I didn’t like the love triangle, it’s t a tired story arc. Why can’t it be a love rectangle sometimes?
It wasn’t amazing, but I liked it.
Quotes: “No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

fight club // chuck palahniuk

Title:  Fight Club
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Ideal Age Range: Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 218 pages
Copyright Date:  1996
 The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.
The second rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.
The third rule about fight club is two men per fight.
The fourth rule about fight club is one fight at a time.
The fifth rule about fight club is no shoes, no shirts in the fight.
The sixth rule about fight club is the fights go on as long as they have to.

My Rating (★★★★):

I liked Fight Club. I loved the writing style. I loved it’s fast pace. The jumpy writing style didn’t even bother me. It was something different for me to read, outside of my normal reading style.

The characters were all unlikable, human characters. I hate the idea of anarchy and chaos, so the story wasn’t that great to me, well, it was a fine story, I just don’t like those things so they make me uncomfortable. Overall though, I thought it was great!

I feel like I need to watch the movie again now.  J

a husband of her own // brenda novak

Title:  A Husband of Her Own
Author: Brenda Novak
Ideal Age Range: Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 298 pages
Copyright Date:  May 2003
 Who’s going to win the battle of Dundee, Idaho?
The town’s bad girl or its favorite son?
Rebecca Wells desperately wants to overcome her reputation. She’s finally trying to put an end to her twenty-four-year rivalry with the perfect Josh Hill, a rivalry that began when she was a kid and the Hills moved in across the street. Great-looking, popular, a successful horse rancher, Josh is Dundee’s golden boy- and the son her father always wanted.
But even when her father insists they call a truce, it’s hard for Rebecca to drop her resentment of Josh. She refuses to acknowledge that she feels more for him than she’s ever let on. The man she loves to hate is also the man she’d hate to love!

My Rating (★★★★):

I don’t usually read Harlequin Superromances. If I read a romance, it is normally a Regency romance and the author is usually Eloisa James or Julia Quinn. (They’re my favorite Romance authors) But we were having a garage sale, and A Husband of Her Own was one of the books that we were trying to sell. I just happened to pick it up, and started reading the first few pages and never stopped.

It was a fun read. It got me intrigued and I love the rivalry aspect. The characters’ chemistry was pretty undeniable (that’s always a nice thing). I thought the story was funny and easy. I didn’t have to struggle through any of it, which, after A Game of Thrones, I really needed.

It was definitely a good, easy and exciting read. I might read more of the series, and I might read more of Brenda Novak.