Melinda's favourites book montage

The Mark of Athena
The Son of Neptune
The Lost Hero
The Last Olympian
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Titan's Curse
The Sea of Monsters
The Lightning Thief
Throne of Glass
City of Glass
The Red Pyramid
City of Ashes
City of Bones
The Golden Door
The Farseekers
The Poison Diaries
Catching Fire
The Hunger Games

Melinda's favorite books »

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Review: Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
An engrossing collection of stories from one of Australia's most loved fantasy writers, and creator of the acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles.
A girl is sent across the world to discover her destiny in the dark tunnels of the Metro. Another seeks a lost sister in a park where winter lasts forever. A young man fulfils a dying wish. A mother works magic to summon a true princess for her son. A man seeks an ending to his story. An old man goes in search of his shadow.
This is a world of desire and transformation, the real and the not real, from the queen of modern fantasy
Metro Winds
First, I again apologise for another late review. The reason that this review is late is because I had so much trouble trying to finish this book. It was not that I didn’t enjoy the book, I did, it is just that I found the last two stories really long winded, with not much happening in them. I really enjoyed this first four stories. All the stories were unique and interesting. They mostly dealt with otherworldly things such as unicorns, faeries and vampires and they were all definitely eye opening.

Each story was complex in their own different ways, at times maybe a little too complex. With some of the stories I had trouble keeping up with what was happening, particularly in The Girl Who Could See the Wind and The Wolf Prince. In the case of those two stories I think that the problem was the constant flashbacks, without much warning that the time of the story had changed.

The Wolf Prince almost felt like there were two stories occurring in the one, because we would get flashbacks of the Queen’s journey as well as the hunt her son was on. This was one of the reasons that I found it a bit complex. However I still had managed to guess roughly how the story was going to end, so I was a little disappointed about that. It was also one of the reasons why I had trouble finishing that story, because I felt like the Queen’s flashbacks were a little unnecessary.

I really enjoyed The Dove Game and The Stranger. Both stories where about travellers who were both looking for the answer to a question. I enjoyed the mystery that surrounded the story of The Dove Game, and I also really liked the main character in that. I loved mystique of The Stranger, with the feeling that there was something otherworldly involved from the beginning and then the ending was perfect for the story.
I did enjoy most of this book, but at times it was too complicated and a little slow. I give this book 3/5 stars.

I read this book for the Australian Women Writers Challenge and the Short Story Summer reading challenge.
Short Story Summer


Up next: Review – The Merlin Chronicles edited by Mark Ashley. 

Monday, 25 February 2013


So I have a huge apology to make for my lack of posting last week. I had a busy week and I got a little overwhelmed so I have decided to change my posting schedule so I can keep up with everything. I will be posting four times a week. I will be posting a review on Tuesday and Thursdays. This means that I am abandoning Throwback Thursdays. I will keep Seven on Saturday and the Wrap-up/Preview on Sunday. Sorry once again.

What will happen this week?
Tuesday - Review: Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody which I am reading for the Short Story Summer reading challenge and the Australian Women Writers reading challenge.
Thursday - Merlin edited by Mark Ashley
Saturday - Seven on Saturday: Books I thought  wouldn't like but I did


Up next: Review- Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Review: Little Fur by Isobelle Carmody

First thing, I need to apologise for not getting up the review for Beautiful Creatures on Monday. I had some issues with my laptop screen and I couldn't see anything on it which meant I either had to plug it into another screen or get a new computer. I got a new laptop and I will be able to get the stuff off my old one which means that I will be posting the Beautiful Creatures review next Tuesday! Today I am going to review Little Fur by Isobelle Carmody. This review is back in the old format because I wrote it before I changed the format. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Little Fur is an elf troll who lives in a secret wilderness at the heart of a great human city. She is a healer. She sings to the ancient trees that protect the small wilderness.
But one day Crow tells of humans who will come to burn the trees. To protect her home and her friends, Little Fur must venture for the first time into the dangerous human world . . .
Little Fur (The Legend of Little Fur, #1)

What I liked about the book?
  • It was interesting and I thought that the plot was unique.
  • I liked that Little Fur was part troll, part elf. It meant that she was a part of both sides and I liked that.
  • I really liked how Carmody portrayed the messages of human nature and showed how we treat the earth and the things around us. 
  • I enjoyed how the animals were portrayed. I loved that they talked and I loved how each of the different species had different personality traits. 
  • I loved the idea that Little Fur could talk to trees and I loved her connection to the earth magic. I liked that she could join her dreams and thoughts with the trees because of the earth magic. 
  • It was an interesting take on animals and how they might view us and our creations. I particularly liked the "Road Monsters".
  • It was an interesting study of human life and interactions.
What I didn't like about the book?
  • I didn't like the way Carmody had the animals speaking English incorrectly, especially when she used it to dumb down an animal.
You had to read this book remembering that it is a kids book because the writing is fairly simple and the story can be predictable at times. I give this book 4/5 stars. 

I read this book for the Australian Women Writers 2013 reading challenge.


Up next: Throwback Thursday - Lord of the Rings

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Yet another week has passed which means it is time to remember what happened on this blog last week and what you can expect from the week ahead.

What Happened last week?
Friday - Review: Green Monkey Dreams by Isobelle Carmody. I just need to add that I read this book for both the Australian Women Writers 2013 and the Short Story Summer reading challenges. I forgot to put this on the post.

I received no books this week, but I do know that my copy of The Host by Stephenie Meyer that I bought a couple of weeks ago will he here this week!

What will happen this week?
Monday - Review: Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Wednesday - Review: Little Fur by Isobelle Carmody
Thursday - Throwback Thursday - Lord of the Rings
Friday - Review: Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody
Saturday - Seven on Saturday - Books I thought I wouldn't like but I did.

Hope you had a great week and am looking forward to the coming one as much as me!


Up next: Review - Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Seven on Saturday - Favourite Covers

Seven on Saturday is a blog feature created here where I list seven things related to a bookish prompt. This weeks prompt is favourite covers.

This week I am not going to give an explanation to why the cover is on this list because basically these are the covers that I think are the best I have seen.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

2. Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races 

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

4. The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)

5. Wither  by Lauren DeStefano
Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

6. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

7. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

So these are my favourite covers. I will just say that I haven't read all of these books yet. What are your favourite covers?


Up next: Wrap-up/Preview

Friday, 15 February 2013

Review: Green Monkey Dreams by Isobelle Carmody

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
I ride this day upon the Worldroad, alone, except for Courage, who rides on the pommel of my saddle fluffing his feathers. I did not dream of journeying thus as a child...'
This is the unforgettable world of Isobelle Carmody, presented in fourteen stories written over a period of thirteen years.

Within it you will find roads of paradox on which an angel might be a torturer, or a princess might reject a prince to save a rooster. These are paths travelled by seekers of the difficult deepest truths never found on straight roads; here a boy searches for his truename, a group of pilgrims is led by a song on an ancient journey, and a beast discovers hope.
Enter this world and you will never again be sure where reality ends and imagination begins, for sometimes the greatest truths can only be told through imagination... 

Green Monkey Dreams: Stories

This is an amazing collection of short stories. Each story was different and unique. There were so many different themes throughout the different stories. Unlike the other collection of short stories that I reviewed, I won't review each individual story because there are just too many stories.

I love Isobelle Carmody's writing. She is so descriptive without using heaps of words, which meant that each story had depth. The complexity of the stories was quite amazing. The depth of the characters and the intricacies of the plots where amazing for being so short.

The themes and subjects broached in the stories where fairly deep. The book was separated into three sections and each section covered one broad theme. The first section, The High Path, looked at hope and that no matter how dark or hard your life seems there is hope of a new beginning. Most of these stories were set in a later version of our world where war and other things have destroyed life as we now know it. I liked how Carmody showed how hopeful a new start can be.

The second section, The Way of the Beast, was darker than the first. It covered how when we grow up our dreams are often broken. Most of the stories where set in "the real world", with one of my favourite stories being set in the Depression. Most of the stories ended with the person realising that there dream was no longer possible, and often they accepted that. It was very thought provoking .

The third section, The World Road, looked at being different. It looked at breaking out of the norm and being what you want to be. Most of these stories were either set in a different world, or had magical aspects within the stories. One my favourite stories followed a guy who was looking for his lost love. Another followed a princess who had run away from her prince because she wanted to be free. All these stories captured my imagination and still brought thought provoking questions.

I really enjoyed these stories. Some of them were a little odd, particularly Green Monkey Dreams which I had a bit of trouble keeping up with. I give this book 4.5/5.


Up next: Seven on Saturday - Favourite Covers.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Throwback Thursday - Chronicles of Narnia

Welcome to another episode of Throwback Thursday! This week I am looking back on Chronicles of Narnia.

The Chronicles of Narnia captured my imagination in a way that only Harry Potter had done previously. I had heard of the books before the first movie came out, but I hadn't read them. This was another one of those cases where I watched the first movie before I read the first book. I then read the books, in reading order, before the next movies came out. 

I loved C.S. Lewis' imagination and the world that he created in this series. I loved his writing and all the deeper meanings that could be found. I loved all the different characters and watching them all develop.

My favourite book is The Horse and His Boy because I loved the idea of a horse that could talk and have such an amazing bond with his rider. As a horse rider myself, that always called to me and I would always imagine what it would be like to have my horses talk to me. 

I always loved the talking animals. My favourites included Mr and Mrs Beaver from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Reepicheep and, of course, Aslan. I particularly loved Reepicheep because he was so fierce, even though he was so small. I also loved all the magical creatures, such as the centaurs and the dryads. I loved the idea that trees had spirits. 

My favourite memory to do with the series was when my mum gave me her box set that she had read when she was a kid. The covers were all warn and some of the books had started to fall apart because she had read them so much, but it just meant so much to me that she would give them to me.

Have you read the Chronicles of Narnia? If you have let me know what you think of them and what your favourite memory of them were in the comments below.


Up next: Review: Green Monkey Dreams by Isobelle Carmody

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Review: The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas

Just a quick note before I do my review. I have decided to change the format of my reviews because I don’t really like what I have been using (with what I don’t like and what I do like) and I don’t really think it works for me. So this review is going to be in my new format! Let me know what you think.

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 
Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose.
The Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass, #0.4)

Today I am going to review the final Throne of Glass novella, The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas. This story was a little darker and twisted than the others and it is possibly my favourite of the four. This story covered the events that landed Celaena in the prison that is the salt mines of Endovier. As with the previous novellas, it was nice to know what actually happened leading up to Throne of Glass.

I found Celaena to be less annoying in this story compared to the others and I think that this may have been because she was willing to give everything up to be safe with Sam. I still found her a little vain and stubborn, but she had softened a little. I also felt that she was more aware of what was going on around her and she didn’t have blind faith in Arobynn anymore. In saying that, I still think she trusted Arobynn a little too much. She also thought things through a little more than in the other books, particularly in how she planned to leave Rifthold and in planning their final job.

I felt like Sam had become darker in this story. We saw him needing to be violent, as such, when he fought. He did say that it was because it was easy money, but I also felt that he needed it to sort out his feelings. I liked that Sam only trusted Celaena. He had no faith in Arobynn. I also liked that he would do anything for Celaena. It was also nice to see him be a bit rash at times, particularly in his need to leave Rifthold behind. I also felt that he was a bit rash when it came to the mission, particularly that he wanted to take it on by himself.

The plot was fairly original, but not necessarily unpredictable. From reading Throne of Glass, I knew who was going to die and that someone betrayed her. It was from reading the novellas that I guessed who it was that betrayed her, and the book proved me right. There were some surprises, like support from an unexpected front, but I mainly knew or guessed what was going to happen. In saying that, if I had of read this before reading Throne of Glass I think it would have been a lot less predictable.

This was a great story to finish the novellas and a great lead up to Throne of Glass. I am satisfied that I now know the events prior to Throne of Glass and I am eagerly anticipating the release of the second book, Crown of Midnight, in August this year!

I give this story 4/5 stars.


Up next: Throwback Thursday – Chronicles of Narnia

Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The mission is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer—and she doesn't like what she finds there. 
 The Assassin and the Underworld (Throne of Glass, #0.3)

The Assassin and the Underworld is the third Throne of Glass novella. This book was set entirely in Rifthold, unlike the first two. I really enjoyed the setting and finding more about the dynamics of the assassins.

What I liked about the book?
  • As I said, I really enjoyed learning more about the dynamics in the book. They interactions and the hierarchy were really interesting and added depth to the book. I particularly liked the interactions between Sam and Celaena and the both of them and the King of the Assassin’s.
  • I love Sam. He was so caring, despite his profession, and forgiving in regards to Celaena, despite what she had done to him.
  • I liked that we got to see more to the story than just the mission that Celaena was given. We saw her go to a party and the theater which both originally started out for the mission but it ended up more than that for her. I also liked to see her in the times that she was more feminine, gushing over presents, I felt like it was a relief to all the thoughts about the slave trades, the mission and Arobynn. I also enjoyed her playing the piano.
  • I thought that the new characters added depth to the story, particularly Lysandra. I also liked getting to know some of the older characters more and learning what drives each one a bit better.
  • I found the plot was less predictable and more original than the first two and was more intriguing as well. There were a couple of twists and turns that I didn't expect as much as I did in the last novella.

What I didn't like?
  • This is similar to the other reviews. I found the lack of description of some of the places annoying, particularly considering trinkets and clothes were described in good detail when they didn't need to be.
  • Celaena annoyed me even more in this story. She was more vain and up herself than usual and very proud. She looked down on others because of their profession, even if they had no choice in the matter, the same as she did. She also let people’s behaviour blind her to what was really going on. I found her very blind to some things going on around her, particularly in regards to Sam. It all just annoyed me a little.
Other than that I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and action-filled. I gave it 4/5 stars.


Up next: Review: The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Wrap-up and Preview

So the first week back of normal programming is now finished. It's time to look at what happened this week and what to expect of the week to come.

What happened this Week?
Monday and Wednesday brought reviews for the first two Throne of Glass novellas, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord and The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas. Thursday brought the third addition of Throwback Thursday, where I looked at The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Friday brought another review, this time Eternal: More Love Stories with Bite edited by P.C. Cast, which I read for the Short Story Summer Challenge. Finally, Saturday brought the third edition of Seven on Saturday, where I looked at book peeves.
This week I received two books in the mail that I purchased last week. These books are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson and The Scorpio Races by Margaret Stiefvater.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millenium, #1)   The Scorpio Races

What can you expect to happen next week?
Monday - Review: The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas
Wednesday - Review: The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas
Thursday - Throwback Thursday - The Chronicles of Narnia
Friday - Review: Green Monkey Dreams by Isobelle Carmody, which is read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge and the Short Story Summer Challenge
Saturday - Seven on Saturday - Favourite Book Covers

Hope you all had a great week guys!


Up next: Review: The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Seven on Saturday: Book Peeves

Seven on Saturday is a blog feature created here where I list seven things related to a bookish prompt. 

This week’s prompt is Book Peeves.
Nightshade  NightshadePB_CAT
  1. Changing the covers midway through a series - It really annoys me when this happens, particularly if I started getting the books before the change of covers and they no longer produce the old covers for the new books. I am not that particular about my covers, but I do like them all to be matching. It annoys me even more if they change from a really nice cover to one that isn't as nice. An example of this, which is probably one you have heard plenty of times before, is the change to the Nightshade covers.
  2. Pages missing from books - I often by second-hand books from my local market to save on money. I get really annoyed if I get a second hand book that pages are either missing or are sitting loose in the book. I know that this is a downfall of getting second-hand books, but it still really annoys me. It annoys me even more if the page that is missing is the front cover, like my copy of The Lord of the Rings. 
  3. Corners of the page being folded  over – Sometimes this happens by accident (particularly the bottom corners of the page) but sometimes it is deliberate and I really dislike reading books with the corners folded over. In saying that, I used to be one of the people who would fold the top corner of the page as a bookmark, until my librarian told me off for it and then I started to dislike it too.
  4. People borrowing books and then not giving them back, or taking forever to give them back – I am occasionally guilty of not giving books back quickly, in fact I still have a copy of City of Fallen Angels which I haven’t finished reading and so I haven’t given it back to my friend yet (sorry Lu). I just think that there is nothing worse than going to read a book and then not finding it because you have leant it to someone and they haven’t given it back.
  5. Badly made books – By badly made books, I mean ones where the cover falls of the first time you open it or you have to crease the spine to open the book enough to read it. Another one that annoys me is when the pages are really tight to open and you pretty much have to force hold it open to read it.
  6. When you have to wait ages for the next book of a series to come out – Isobelle Carmody, who I love, is one author that makes you wait for ages for the next book of a series to come out. I am still waiting for the final instalment of the Legendsong series and have been for around 10 years now. It just really annoys me because I really want to know how the story ends. If you haven’t read the Legendsong series, I suggest you do because they are one of my favourite series ever, even if you do have to wait for the last book.
  7. Different heights of books – I get annoyed when I try putting my books in my bookshelfs and they are all different sizes. I would really like it if there was a universal height for paperback books and hardcovers.

These are my seven book peeves, which I had difficulty coming up with. Tell me what yours are, and feel free to use Seven on Saturday, just make sure you credit me and if you could put a link in the comments it would be great.


Up next: Wrap-up/Preview

Friday, 8 February 2013

Review: Eternal: More Love Stories with Bite edited by P.C. Cast

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Eternal: More Love Stories With Bite presents all-new YA stories featuring vampires, the romantic heroes and heroines that still hold the reading public enraptured. A mix of writers from the first anthology and new contributors makes for a fresh new collection with all of the dark romance of its predecessor, and a book that’s sure to thrill vampire romance fans old and new. 
Eternal: More Love Stories with Bite

Eternal is a collection of short stories that involve vampires. The stories are all different and interesting in their own right and there is plenty for everyone who likes vampires. I have reviewed each story separately.

Bloodshed by Claudia Gray
This is a story that belongs in the Evernight universe. Set in World War II, Bloodshed is a story about a vampire, Patrice, who is in love with a human, Charlie, who is about to be shipped off to fight in the war. The story deals with interesting themes such as free will, loving an illusion of someone instead of loving the actual person and whether we really know someone or not. The story also took an interesting look on how war can change people. I really enjoyed the plot of the story. It was fairly original and not at all predictable. I also enjoyed the characters, particularly Ivan, but I did find Patrice to be a little vain and annoying and at times I found Charlie had little depth. I give this story 4/5 stars.

Say Yes by Lili St. Crow
Straight out I need to say that this is not my type of story and I didn’t like it at all. It is about a girl who last sees her friend at a party in the company of a vampire before she is found dead. It then follows the girl as she tries to deal with it and face the killer. I did not like the writing style of the story, most of it seemed like a train of thought, with unnecessary events put in. This resulted in there being little depth to the story. I also felt very little emotion throughout reading the story, even though the plot demanded it, because it was all actions and very little thoughts. The only thing that I liked about was that the plot was interesting and there was a nice twist at the end. I also liked how the vampire was kind of shady and creepy. I give this story 2/5 stars.

The Other Side – Heather Brewer
This was a very interesting and original story. It started with Tarrah and her boyfriend, Corey, being trapped in a basement, and because I knew that there were vampires in this story, I thought I knew where this was going. When the monster came in and was just how you imagined a vampire to be and then takes Corey out and drains most of his blood, it cemented what I thought was going to happen. Boy was I wrong. When the monster came and collected Tarrah the biggest, most unexpected twist jumps out. I really enjoyed the plot, but I felt like the story was lacking something. I didn’t really feel anything. It should have been a terrifying story, but I didn’t feel it. I should have been sad at one point, but I wasn’t, and I felt that it might have been because I didn’t really connect with Tarrah. I found her to be annoying and whiny and she had little emotion. I was also annoyed by the romance, which I felt the story would have been better off without. It was one brilliant twist though, so I give this story 3/5 stars.

Letters to Romeo – Nancy Holder
I found that the plot and the setting to this story really interesting. The story follows Romeo, who was unknowingly turned into a vampire when he committed suicide, in his search for Juliet after seven hundred years. When Romeo was turned he was promised that Juliet would be brought back to him by a Friar, who just so happened to be a magician. It was definitely an interesting story. It compared how much Romeo had changed, in his bitterness of losing the love of his life to the boy who first fell in love with Juliet. It also asked some questions about how strong love is, if it is just beauty deep or does it go all the way to the heart. I really enjoyed the twist. I also really enjoyed seeing Romeo’s rage as a vampire, which made the story, and Romeo, more believable. I also liked the flash backs that were in the story that covered how Romeo was changed. It was interesting to see Romeo compare modern day lifestyle, with all its technology, to the lifestyle that he had come from. I give this story 4.5/5 stars!

Drama Queen’s Last Dance – Rachel Caine
This story was not what I was expecting. I expected to not like the main character and I expected that there would be a fair bit of death and destruction in this story, but there wasn’t. The story is a Morganville Vampire story and followed Eve while she dealt with a new vampire in town, who happened to be attracting every male, including Eve’s boyfriend Michael. It was a really funny story and despite what I thought I actually found myself liking Eve. She was funny and we didn’t see much of her Drama Queen side. It was good to see her mature to face the problem. I also really loved Michael and Eve’s relationship. It was so sweet and real. The only thing bad that I have to say about this story was that there was no twist, what happened was what you expected to happen. I still really enjoyed the story and found myself laughing along to it. I give it 4.5/5 stars!

Thief – Jeri Smith-Ready
Thief is a story set in South Carolina and follows an Irish Traveller named Mary Cassidy, or Cass. It was a really interesting setting for a story, where I learnt about a culture that I didn’t know much about. That aspect of the story really fascinated me. The story went into a little detail about the marriage customs, in particular marriage being arranged by the parents for the benefit of the family. Cass was originally betrothed to Liam, who she loves, but then circumstances changed and she was then betrothed to someone else. We then see what lengths both Cass and Liam would go for love. I really enjoyed the vampire aspect of this story, which came in late and was a little unexpected. I loved how it then caused some extra problems that had to be overcome. I really loved Cass and Liam’s romance. It was sweet and beautiful. I loved that she loved him no matter what, and that they would both do anything to be together. I give this story 4.5/5 stars.

Although the ratings of the stories where from one end of the scale to the other, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was better than what I expected it to be, and I found some of the stories really interesting and amusing. Overall, I give this book a 4/5 stars!

I read this book for the Short Story Summer challenge hosted by Book Lover Book Reviews. Click the picture to see the details.

Short Story Summer


Up next: Seven on Saturday

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Throwback Thursday - Inheritance Cycle

This week brings my third edition of Throwback Thursday. I have decided to look at a series I read for the first time around six years ago. 

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is one of my favourite series of books. I first came across the series through the movie, Eragon. I liked the movie and then found out that it was based on a book, so I went out and found a copy, which just so happened to be in my High School Library. I read it, and absolutely loved them. It was one of those times when you just go, “What on earth did you do to the movie?” and now I can barely sit through the movie!

I love dragons and the idea of a dragon having a connection with a person, whether they be elf or human, was really fascinating to me. I also loved that there were fierce, wild dragons that were the typical image of dragons. Saphira was certainly one of my favourite characters, I even named my cat after her. I loved how she was witty and independent of Eragon, in some ways, and how she both taught Eragon and learnt from him. I think that their relationship is perfect for two young characters starting out in a world that they are unfamiliar in.

Talking of favourite characters, I loved Brom. He was so mysterious and complex. He was wise and a great teacher for Eragon. *SPOILERS* I also loved how he kept adding to the storyline even after his death and the fact that he was Eragon’s father really added to the story and I think explained some questions about his relationship with Eragon *END OF SPOILERS*. I also loved Angela. She was so cheeky and nosey, and she always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

My favourite book of the four would probably by Eragon because it was a brilliant start to the series and really set the scene for the rest of the series. I also really enjoyed the second, Brisingr, because of the revelations that it brings. My least favourite would be the third, Eldest, because it was a little slow going. I really enjoyed the last book, but the end annoyed me somewhat.

*SPOILERS FOR INHERITANCE* Of the couples in the book, Nasuada and Murtagh would be my favourite, even if they didn’t end up together at the end. Actually the fact that they didn’t end up together and neither did Arya and Eragon really frustrated me. I loved Nasuada and Murtagh because I felt that they each brought out the best of each other and also brought out their softer sides. I loved that it was because of Nasuada that Murtagh’s real name changed and released him for Galbatorix’s control *END OF SPOILERS*.

I recommend these books to anyone who enjoys magic, dragons and the like, particularly if you like Lord of the Rings. If you have watched the movie and haven’t read the books, don’t let the movie put you off. 


Up next: Review: Eternal edited by P.C. Cast

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Review: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive 
The Assassin and the Desert (Throne of Glass, #0.2)
The Assassin and the Desert is the second of the Throne of Glass novellas. I really enjoyed reading it and it was nice to again learn more about Celaena’s past, in this case more about the Silent Assassins.

So what did I like about the book?
  • The plot was entertaining. I really enjoyed the idea of the Silent Assassins and the difference between them and the Northern Assassin King.
  • I loved the cool horses. Ok, I have to admit something here which is that I really love horses. So when any book has a cool horse, in this case two, my thoughts of the book are generally improved. The Asterion horses were great with their fast speed and incredible strength. I really wish I could own one.
  • I really like Celaena. It is a surprise for me that I actually like the main character because quite often they annoy me, but in this case I do. I admire her morals, because even though she is an assassin she respects people and she respects human life. She always tries to find an alternate way than killing someone, even if it makes the job about ten times more difficult than it already was. I do find her a bit arrogant and vain, which are traits that usually annoy me, but the way she cares for others and the wrongs that happen to other help me to overlook this.
  • The new characters that were introduced were really good as well. I loved the Mute Master and his son Illias. The difference between the Master and Arobynn and their interactions with Celaena was interesting to see. I loved the continual comparisons that Celaena made of Sam and Illias, as well, and I was hoping that it would make her more aware of Sam’s feelings toward her. I found Ansel intriguing but she annoyed me a fair bit and I never trusted her. I felt for her though when the truth about her past came out. I also liked Mikhail even if he didn’t play a big part.
  • As always with Maas’ writing I found that the sentences flowed really well and drew you into the story. They weren’t too long and they weren’t too choppy.

Now to what I didn’t like (which in this case are more annoyances than not liking).
  • I had predicted who was going to betray Celaena fairly early on in the book, so when the betrayal actually came I wasn’t at all surprised by it.
  • I would like a little more description, but I can understand why it doesn’t seeing it is only a novella and not a full novel.
  • I got annoyed by Celaena always going “I am Celaena Sordothian, Ardalan’s Assassin.” I think that it could have been left out more often than not because you still got that she was proud and vain without her constantly repeating it.
I really enjoyed this book. It was fairly well written and it was entertaining. I rate it 4/5 stars.


Next Up: Throwback Thursday - Inheritance Cycle

Monday, 4 February 2013

Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about. 
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)

This is the first of four Throne of Glass novellas that are set before the Throne of Glass book. Each novella covers the events that lead up to Celaena being imprisoned. I really enjoyed this book, it was great to find out part of Celaena's back story that was mentioned in Throne of Glass but not really explained.

What did I like about this book?
  • As I said, I enjoyed getting the back story of Celaena, particularly finding out about Sam. We hear in Throne of Glass that Sam was a love interest of Celaena's and that he was killed, so it was nice to actually meet Sam at the start of their relationship where Celaena hates him. It was great to see this relationship grow, and to see Celaena start to trust him more. 
  • It was also great to learn about the hierarchy at the Assassin's Keep. It was great to see Arobynn and his relationship with Celaena. It was also good to see Celaena start questioning her blind faith in Arobynn.
  • I really liked Sam. He intrigued me at the start because of what we knew about him. I was also intrigued by Celaena's original thoughts about him, seeing him only as a rival and a threat, and how biased she was against him. I also had a feeling that what she thought he felt for her was probably the complete opposite of what he did actually feel for her. I also liked that he had a moral compass, even though he was an assassin, that I felt came from his background.
  • I liked the fact that despite Celaena being an assassin she is compassionate and feels for other people. I liked that she found it difficult to kill someone who wasn't a murder/slave-trader etc. All this made her easier to connect to because if she didn't have that compassion I think it would have been impossible.
  • It was also nice that Celaena didn't have to kill everyone to complete her mission. I like the fact that she was good at knocking people unconscious or leaving them too wounded to chase after instead of just killing in cold blood. I found it really refreshing to have an assassin who didn't have to kill everyone.
  • I really enjoyed the plot. It was interesting and fairly complex, with some good twists and it caused you to aske questions about morality and the like. It probably wasn't the most original plot but it was enjoyable.
  • I also like Maas' writing style. Her sentences weren't too long, but also weren't short and choppy. I felt like everything flowed really well. 

What didn't like about this book?
  • It wasn't as descriptive as it could have been, or I would have liked it to be. I understand that it being shorter than a normal length book that the descriptions would have to be cut short but I felt that there wasn't enough for me to even form a vague mental image of some things. In saying that I really loved the description of Skull's Bay which reminded me of Tortuga from Pirates of the Caribbean. 
  • The arrogant, headstrong side of Celaena annoyed me but I did see that there were other sides to her that didn't annoy me as much.
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was a great start for the background story of Celaena and definitely leaves you wanting to read the rest of the novellas. I gave this story 4/5 stars.

Another note relating to Throne of Glass, is that the title for the sequel was released at the end of January. The title will be Crown of Midnight, and I must say that I am even more excited for the release of this in August than I was before!


Up next: Review: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Preview for the week ahead

This being the first week of February means that I am now back from holidays and returning to a normal posting schedule.

So what can you expect from the week ahead?
Monday: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas review.
Wednesday: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas review.
Thursday: Another edition of Throwback Thursday, this time looking at the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Friday: Eternal edited by P.C. Cast review.
Saturday: Another edition of Seven on Saturday. This weeks topic is Seven Bookish Peeves.

That is about all for this week. I have ordered some books that I am hoping to get some time next week and I didn't get any this week.


Up next: Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas.

New Releases for February 2013

There are seven books that I am really looking forward to being released this month! There are others that I also like the look of, but here are the main ones.

Released on February 5th
Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School 1)  by Gail Carriger
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Adult
Synopsis (from Goodreads): It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Released February 7th
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
Shadow on the Crown
Publisher: Viking Adult
Synopsis (from Goodreads): A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen.
In 1002, fifteen­-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.
Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Released February 12th
Sever (The Chemical Garden 3) by Lauren DeStefano
Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis (from Goodreads): With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
Pivot Point (Pivot Point 1) by Kasie West
Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows 1) by Yelena Black
Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .
Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . . 
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed.  
Released February 16th 
Dominion (Gaurdian Angels 1) by Melody Manful
Dominion (Guardian Angels, #1)
Publisher: Melody Manful
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
I Dare You.
Look Over Your Shoulders.
Do You See Them?
They are behind you...
They are always behind you.
Abigail Cells had a nightmare the day before she met Gideon, the new guy in school who has every girl drooling just to be near him. In her nightmare, she was murdered by a magical creature. As she gets to know Gideon, she begins to remember pieces of her nightmare, and was shocked when Gideon turned out to be the creature from her nightmare. Who is Gideon really? Should Abby allow herself to fall completely for him, or is he the next disaster waiting to happen?
Released February 19th 
Mind Games (Mind Games 1) by Kiersten White 
Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)
Publsher: HarperTeen
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. 
Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Up next: Preview for the week ahead.