Friday, December 30, 2016

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Year: 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

This is the 5th installement of the Throne of Glass series. There are 6 total books planned for the series & a colllection of novellas. I've listened to all of them on audio & the reader Elizabeth Evans is very good. She can do all of the voices & has a great energy. Because of this I do my best to spell all of the names right. I have really enjoyed all of the previous books in the series and this one especially hit home. There was many times while driving that I had to pull over because I was going through some VERY strong emotions. This book broke me & it was a truly beautiful experience.

The story begins with Aelin Ashryver Gaathynius & her court of misfits making the journey to Terrasen in order to take back her kingdom & raise & army. From there they hope to find all 3 wrydkeys to defeat the Valg King Erawan who resides in Morath. The group includes Rowan Whitethorn, Aeidon Ashryver Galathynius, Lysandra, a small girl named Evangeline, & the loyal Fleetfoot. Unfortunately when they get there their bretheran are not as excited by their arrival.

Dorian Haviilliard the King of Aderlan stayed behind to rule his new kingdom after the destruction of the beautiful glass castle. Meanwhile Manon Blackbeak, along with her flying 13, are awaiting orders from their leader Manon's grandmother who has allied with Erawan in Morath.

However things go downhill for the different groups very quickly. Aelin's group gets turned away immediatey after arriving in Terrasen then decides to reach out to old friends & call in some debts for help while making their way to Skull's Bay. Dorian escapes a Rifthold under seige by the witches with Rowan who comes to his rescue & Manon is having family issues as a result of the attack. Also while all that is going on Elide Lochan is wandering through the Oakwall Forest looking for the 13 unaware of what has happened. She eventually runs into one of Maeve's henchmen, Lorcan, & the pair start making their way North to try & find Aelin.

Eventually Aelin's group hooks up with Dorian & Rowan in Skull's Bay. There while making a deal with Captain Rolf they encounter two more of Maeve's thugs Gavirel & Fenrys. The pair are searching for Lorcan under orders from Maeve but in the meantime they decide to help the cause. It isn't long before they all hit the high seas on their way to the stone marshes & Manon "falls right into their path''. In the stone marshes they discover that the lock they seek is not what it seems & Elide & Lorcan join them.

Now armed with two of the three wyrdkeys necessary to complete the gate & banish Erawan to the otherside forever, plus a whole armada of ships & soilders thanks to some old friends & life debts Aelin is ready to go to Morath in search of the third & final key. Nameless is the price & Aelin is ready to pay it in order to use the lock but they run into a big problem...the Queen of the Fae-Maeve. Will they have enough magic & power to defeat her or will they get crushed in the darkness? 

Likes: This book like many of the others develops slowly then boom! Hits you when you least expect it, keeping you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride.

All the different characters come together to help Aelin & they unite for the greater good which is a hard & amazing task.

The concept of nameless is my price has been building since book one & once you know that will kill you!

Every individual bonds with a mate & the love that holds the group together is beautiful.



Monday, December 26, 2016

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns & Roses

***I'm posting this from my new tablet so we'll how it goes***

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Year: 2015
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

I originally read this book by listening to the audio when it first came out last year & fell instantly in love! I will go as far as saying this is my favorite book, even above Harry Potter...which is crazy but true. The second book might be a tie LOL. I've been having some trouble at work recently & needed something to cheer me up so I picked this one up & it worked wonders. I reread it within 2 days. It's been a long time since I've done that with a book!

In this first book of a trilogy we meet Feyre. She is a mortal hunter trying to provide for her family the best she can. She lives with her 2 sisters Elaine  & Nesta, & their father. Years ago their father lost all of the money & belongings through a bad business deal. Since then the family has lived in a hovel on the outskirts of town & are barely able to survive on the meat & money Feyre is able to get for them by hunting in the nearby woods. One day while she is out Feyre encounters a wolf that is way to big to just be a common woodland creature. She suspect that he crossed over from the nearby wall that separates the mortal realm from the realm of the fae.

The land containing the beautiful & immortal fae is called Prythian. In this realm there are 7 courts (Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, Day, Dawn, & Night) & 2 other lands (The island of Hybern & a terrible place called Under the Mountain). Hundreds of years ago there was a great War between the humans & the fae. A result of that war is the wall protecting the human world as well as a treaty governing the two races. 

Several days after Feyre slaughtered the fae wolf, a great beast comes to the door demanding that a life debt be paid in exchange for the killing. Feyre willingly but unhappily goes with the beast to save her family. It isn't long before her & the beast are over the wall & she begins the remainder of her life living in the Spring Court of Prythian. The court is lead by a high fae named Tamlin. He resides there with his emissary Lucien & a large court.

While there Feyre learns that there is a curse upon all of Prythian caused by a terrible blight. It has been plaguing the land for the past 50 years! It effects each court differently, for example, in the Spring Court all its members have been stuck in animal masks since the night the curse was put upon them at a ball. Other consequences of the curse include diminished magical abilities of the people & a problem with the wards protecting each court. This means Feyre is seeing strange creatures in the woods & rose garden surrounding the manor.

Over time Feyre comes to enjoy Prythian, her companions, & especially the handsome high lord. The pair eventually fall in love, but because of the curse Tamlin must send Feyre back to the human realm before she becomes a pawn in this terrible game.

Feyre doesn't spend much time back on her side of the wall, she quickly senses something is wrong & returns to Prythian.  He love for Tamlin is to strong so she flees back over the wall & finally learns the truth. Tamlin's court has been taken by the blight. The terrible thing plaguing the land is actually a woman named Amarantha. She resides Under the Mountain & has ruled unjustly in Prythian for the past 50 years. She was sent to the realm from Hybern as an emissary & quickly took power into her own hands. She has a grudge against mortals because of a conflict during the war with her sister. Jealously for Tamlin also makes her hatred for Feyre even stronger.

Feyre alone has the power to break the curse & free Prythian from this long plague but can she live through Amarantha's trials? Or will she become worm food Under the Mountain? With the help of Lucien & a new dark enemy she must overcome the darkness to be with Tamlin again. The question is does love or evil conquer all?

Likes: This book has a great world! From the beautiful & interesting characters to the scenery it takes your breath away.

The story is very akin to the classic tale of Beauty & the Beast. But it has some new elements that keep you on the edge of your seat.

It could easily be a standalone book but it also leaves a little hint of what's to come next & makes you want more.

The story itself is magical & the love that drips from feyre & Tamlin is addictive. We should all want that kind of love!

Dislikes: ---


Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights

Author: E.K. Johnston
Year: 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Retelling
Age: YA 13+

I want to start by saying that I only picked up this book because I received the second one (Spindle) on Netgalley not knowing that they were a duology. I plan on reading and reviewing the second book as well in the near future.

I have never read the book that inspired this one but I know a little bit about the tale. It’s inspired by the book One Thousand & One Nights or Arabian Nights depending on your country. It’s a collection of works featuring Arabic, Persian, Indian, & Egyptian stories. The main story that serves as the inspiration for this new book is about a king that discovers his wife is unfaithful, & has her executed. From then on he is of the mindset that all women are this way. So the king has the vizer help him marry a different virgin in succession only to kill them the next day. At some point all the virgin girls are gone so the vizer’s daughter offers herself to the king. On the night of their marriage the daughter begins to tell the king a story. But she does not finish it so she lives until the following night. This pattern continues for 1,001 nights. All the different variations of the story have different details but the ending always ensures that the girl lives.  

So in this retelling the main character is a nameless girl who goes with the king in place of her sister. The King, Lo-Melkhiin has killed thousands of girls already & the newest one intends to end this horrible practice. She lives through the nights by telling the King stories from her village. Back home her sister & the rest of her village all worry for her life, so they pray for her and to their smallgods so that she will live.

The girl that is the new Queen has a special gift. She can use something she calls “copper fire” to see things around her, in her village, & predict when things will happen. This combined with her skills in weaving makes her an interesting target for Lo-Melkhiin. It is said that the King has a demon inside of him and that makes him a bad man. When Lo-Melkhiin visits her each night she sends her copper fire to him & his cold demon suffocates it. But as time goes by she is becoming more & more useful to him because of her gift.

The girl believes that she can vanquish the demon but she will need the help of Lo-Melkhiin’s mother, her village, & some special animals to make it happen. Will she sacrifice her life & become a smallgod to her family, or will her knowledge of the desert & her fire overcome the darkness inside of Lo-Melkhiin?

At the end of each review I usually do likes & dislikes but this was one of the weirdest books I have ever read! I’m still on the fence about it overall. It wasn’t a bad book by any means. It was beautifully written, had great characters, an amazing setting & the description of the world around them, & had a mix of stories & dialogue. But that being said I felt that there was a little too much story telling about her village. There would be whole chapters about herding sheep or how they get water.  Intermixed with the stories were also small chapters that I think were supposed to be from the demon/Lo-Melkhiin’s point of view. I was pleased to see in the end that it had a happy outcome after all of the heartache. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Top 75 Books or Series

I was recently asked to create a list of books I would recommend from things I had read. I have read a lot in my short life time & I plan on continuing for many years to come. But here is a short list in no particular order of books or series I have read & loved!

Now be aware some of these series are on going, I frequently check on Goodreads to see what's to come in the future!

The books with a * at the end are series or duologies.

      Matilda by Roald Dahl
   The BFG by Roald Dahl
James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Twits by Roald Dahl
The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson*
 Fablehaven by Brandon Mull*
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling*
Short Stories from Hogwarts by J.K Rowling*
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany
Beautiful Creatures by  Kami Garcia*
Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia*
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead*
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer*
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas*
A Court of Thornes & Roses by Sarah J. Maas*
Janitors by Tyler Whitesides*
 Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard*
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede*
Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen*
The Detour by S.A. Bodeen
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
The Raft by S.A Bodeen
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen
Floors by Patrick Carman*
Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Water Tales by Alice Hoffman*
 Green Heart by Alice Hoffman*
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Summer by Sarah Dessen
The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen
 Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Dumplin by Julie Murphy
 The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
The Lone City by Amy Ewing*
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
Peter & the Starcatchers by Dave Barry*
Neverland by Dave Barry*
The Great Library by Rachel Caine*
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull*
Robert Langdon by Dan Brown*
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult*
Once Upon a Time by Misc*
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey*
Blackout by Robinson Wells*
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
The Maze Runner by James Dashner*
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Holes by Louis Sachar
 Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Wicked by Gregory Macguire*
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan*
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer*
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris*
1984 by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum*

I have done some reviews or book trailers on quite a few of these so see my other blog posts for more info!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

 Image result for heartless book
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Year: 2016
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Age: YA 13+

Marissa Meyer is the critically acclaimed NY Times Best Selling author of The Lunar Chronicles series. That series (also a fairytale retelling) is equally amazing and I throughly enjoyed it as much as this standalone gem.

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland. All to familiar is the ruthless and evil Queen of Hearts. But how did she become the Queen? Was she always evil? In this story we get to find out!

Our main character is the young daughter of the Marquess & Marchioness of Rock Turtle Cove. Her name is Catherine "Cath" Pinkerton. Cath loves to bake more than anything & she dreams of opening her own bakery with her equally eager ladies maid Mary Ann. They live in a quaint little town by the ocean called Hearts. The storefront Mary Ann & Cath have their eye on is currently occupied by a cobbler named Mr. Caterpillar (we know him as Absolem). While Cath knows what she wants for her future, her mother has other plans.

Cath's mother wants her to capture the simple minded, giggling King's attention and become the new Queen of Hearts. Cath is not thrilled with this idea and plans to do everything in her power to keep it from becoming a reality.

The King's court has a new member, the joker, named Jest. He is from Chess, the town on the other side of the Looking Glass. Chess is home to the Red & White kingdoms that are at war & have been for so long no one can remember a time of peace. Jest has been sent to Hearts on a secret mission from the White Queen.

Before you know it Cath has a new love interest & it's not the King. Although it would be wildly inappropiate, her & Jest wish for a better life together in Chess. Little do they know about all the obstacles they must overcome to be together.

But unfortunately...

All of this love & whimsy is being interrupted by the Jabberwock. The Jabberwock is a mysterious mythical beast of legends past & it can only be slain by someone of noble blood whielding the Vorpal Sword. One big question is where did the beast come from? That answer lies behind the shiny, orange skin of a magical pumpkin.

So can Jest win Cath's heart? Will the slightly mad Hatta (Mad Hatter), the Haigha (March Hare), and his troop of unruly folk get eaten by the monster? Or can all the answers be found under the magic treacle well with the Sisters, through the Looking Glass?

Likes: All of the original characters that we know & love are in this story! And there are some delightful new ones like a pumpkin farmer named Peter (from the children's rhyme) & a cute turtle that suffers a terrible fate.

We all know the ending of the story obviously byt its the journey that makes it fun & worth while.

The story is full of love & whimsy & color which makes for a great fairytale!

Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite authors! I would recommend any of her books to fans of fairytale retellings or YA fantasy novels.

Dislikes: The idea of where the Jabberwock comes from is given away very early, but the story behind the beast still makes it interesting.

The reason Cath becomes the Queen is very sad but necessary to the development of the story.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Year: 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

***This review & book contain spoilers from the original series Throne of at your own risk!***

This is a book compilation of five Throne of Glass novellas previously only available on ebook. It contains The Assassin & the Pirate Lord, The Assassin & the Healer, The Assassin & the Desert, The Assassin & the Underworld, & The Assassin & the Empire.

In the first story The Assassin & the Pirate Lord we are introduced to Sam, the fellow assassin that Celaena loved & lost. They have been sent to a remote island called Skulls Bay that is infamous for a giant chain stretched across its bay called Ship Breaker that keeps out unwanted guests. Arobynn Hamel the leader of the ruthless Assassin’s Guild in Rifthold has sent Sam & Celaena to meet with the Lord of Pirates Captain Rolfe. They are to complete a deal between the two men to buy 100 slaves & bring them back to Rifthold. But Celaena has other plans & Sam is willing to help her no matter what…

In the second story The Assassin & the Healer Celaena has been punished after ruining the deal with Captain Rolfe. She is sent to The Red Desert to be trained by the Master of The Silent Assassin’s. But before she makes the journey she stays in the port town of Melisande at a fine establishment called the White Pig Inn. There she meets a barmaid whose ancestry runs deep with healer blood. The two strike up an unlikely friendship & Celaena teaches the young healer girl a thing or two about handing the unruly men in the bar.

In the third tale The Assassin & the Desert Celaena makes it to The Silent Assassin’s where she isn’t immediately welcomed by the master. But she does become friends with a girl named Ansel from the flatlands of Briarcliff. Ansel is there to learn skills from the Mute Master & get revenge from her family’s death. But it isn’t long before Celaena finds out what Ansel is really up to. Ansel has a deal with Lord Berick to attack the Silent Assassin’s in exchange for an army of men for her revenge. But Celanea has other plans.

In the fourth tale The Assassin & the Underworld we travel back to Rifthold & get to see Sam Courtland again. In exchange for her services to the Mute Master Celaena was given three giant trunks of gold. She uses the newly found wealth to buy freedom from Arobynn for Sam & herself. Sam & Celaena move out of the Assassin’s Keep & into an apartment above a warehouse in the slums.

In the final story The Assassin & the Empire we learn how Celaena ended up in the salt mines of Endovier as a slave which is where we first meet her in Throne of Glass. After separating themselves from Arobynn, Sam & Celeana have one more job to do before they leave the Guild & Rifthold behind the forever & move to the Southern continent. But thanks to a trick Arobynn has up his sleeve, driven by his jealously of Sam, neither of them will make it to a new life.

Likes: I think the compilation of books into one makes it easy for fans of the series to enjoy the previously only ebook stories.

The stories really enhance the background of Celaena & Sam’s story. You find out where she starts, how she ends up a slave, & how she & Sam fall in love.

We finally find out why Celaena has a burning hatred for the King of the Assassin’s.

Dislikes: This isn’t a bad aspect of the story beacause it’s good to finally know the truth, but it’s sad…Sam’s death & Arobynn’s involvement.