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Posts Categorized: Hardcover

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel MirandaHamilton: The Revolution by Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Narrator: Mariska Hargitay
Published by Grand Central Publishing on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Non-Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Dear Reader

It may come as a shock for you to learn that I am a fan of the musical Hamilton. If it doesn’t….then you know me well and if you like Hamilton too then we can be besties! Anywho, when I heard about the Hamiltome I knew that I had to have it and when I was given an opportunity to review to audio I had to take that too. Because there really can’t be too much Hamilton in ones life. My only regret was that I didn’t have access to either prior to seeing the musical because reading this behind the scenes tale really ups the emotional punch of an already emotional story. I loved this behind the scenes look at the creation of this epic musical and getting a sneak peak at some of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s thoughts when it came to particular lyrics.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION is definitely a book that you’ll want to have if you are a fan of the musical. Its beautifully bound and the pictures just really add to the story vignettes that comprise each chapter. These stories and histories of the musicals creation are enhanced even further as they are often followed by the musicals libretto. This is where the audio suffers and you loose something when all you do is listen. I loved Mariska Hargitay’s narration but all she did was read the chapter text and all of Miranda’s notes are lumped together on a single disc. Without the context of the books layout I think it really hampers ones enjoyment of the audio. So I found myself listening to the audio in the car and then coming home to look at the sections and pictures that the audio skips over.

Overall, though I really enjoyed HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION and if you are a fan of the musical then you will enjoy it as well. This is a great book to give those who haven’t (or can’t) see the musical to get an up close and personal look at some of the staging and costumes. I loved reliving the show by looking at all these visuals and I loved the songs all the more when I knew more about Miranda’s thought process in how they were developed. I’m not gonna lie HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION totally had me tearing up at times and at the end of the book I breathed such a sigh of contentment. Reading this book was such an amazing journey and I’m so very glad that Miranda and company took the time to put it together to release into the world. I love the musical even more now and can’t wait until such times as I can see it again.

irishdarkblue

Click here to read my review of Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Click here to check out the Hamilton Book Tag.

five-stars
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa YeeWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls,
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on 01 March 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Metropolis // Paradise Island

First Line(s): It was barely the third week of school, and already someone had been expelled.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee is the start of a new middle grade series set at the fictional Super Hero High in Metropolis. This is the school where all the young super heroes go to learn how to use their powers and how to be a super hero. Or maybe not as not all those who go to this school have good intentions in mind. Wonder Woman is a total fish out of water when she starts at Super Hero High having been home schooled and fairly sheltered on Paradise Island by her mother. She knows of the outside world but she misses a lot of social queues and doesn’t always get the joke. She’s a very literal girl and so this makes her a tad bit socially awkward and that is part of what makes Wonder Woman, or Wondy as she begins to be called, a relatable character.

Going to a new school is always hard be it a transfer in, a move from home school to public, or even going from middle school to high school. Its easy to get overwhelmed at times or to sign up for too much. Not to mention all the pitfalls of making new friends (or enemies as the case may be) along with being part of the social media generation. Wondy learns all of these things, often at a comical expense throughout the course of WONDER WOMAN. Her roommate runs HQTV (aka Harley Quinn TV YouTube channel) and so often captures Wondy’s mishaps along with her fellow students much to Wondy’s embarrassment but its something she learns to deal with and become aware of. To think before she acts because you never know who may be watching and to learn to accept that she can’t be perfect all of the time.

Wondy is a bit naive at times and that wasn’t always the easiest things for me to read as an adult but I think that this is something that will really help her appeal to a younger reader.  Wondy is also filled with so much heart and dedication to do well and to be the best friend she can be. She’s the sort of girl who wants to be the best at everything and to win all the awards but she’s also humble enough to know when to share the spotlight with someone else. Even if doing so means sacrificing something else.

There were times when WONDER WOMAN made me laugh at loud, usually at something Harley Quinn said, and times where it made me cringe. I loved all the various characters that were incorporated into this story along with the superhero triathalon. I liked how this was a girl power dominated story in a universe that is typically overshadowed by boys. I thought that the mystery element was a little weak, choppy and highly underdeveloped but that is probably not something that will bother younger readers. But will also help in teaching them the impoartance of making assumptions and why that isn’t always a good thing. There are a lot of great teachable moments in WONDER WOMAN and its a book that I look forward to sharing with my niece as I think she’ll like it a lot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wonder Woman

 

Add Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to Goodreads (Click here for my review)

Add Gotham Academy Volume 1 by Becky Cloonan to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle MeadLast Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Spirit Bound
Published by Razorbill on 7 December 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 594
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Spirit Bound, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Pennsylvania // Harrisburg, Pennsylvania // Roanoke, Virginia // Altswood, West Virginia // Lexington, Kentucky // Paris, Kentucky // Ann Arbor, Michigan // Detroit, Michigan // Sturgis, Michigan // Greenston, Michigan

First Line(s): I don’t like cages.

There was almost five years between my reads of BLOOD PROMISE (no review) and SPIRIT BOUND (my review) and I told myself that it wouldn’t that much time pass before I actually finished up the series. I had meant to read LAST SACRIFICE almost immediately after SPIRIT BOUND but it can be so hard for me to say goodbye to a series that it took me a few months before I was able to pick it up. As an ending, I liked LAST SACRIFICE and I managed to read this 600 page book in about a day. It was a quick read and fast paced but it isn’t my favorite in the series. Maybe its just the distance from my devouring of the first four books between now or maybe there was something else at play. For one, LAST SACRIFICE is a bit of a love triangle and we all know how I feel about those.

The main character, Rose, has been in love with Dimitri since VAMPIRE ACADEMY (my review) and they’ve had their ups and downs throughout the series. But in the final two books Rose has put aside those feelings and has started a relationship with Adrian only she really hasn’t. Which makes my heart hurt so much for Adrian who I’ve grown to love so much over the course of the series. Granted I never thought of Rose and Adrian as OTPs but he deserved better than how she treated him and I know that did affect my feelings towards this story in many ways.

Last Sacrifice Quote

I also think that LAST SACRIFICE could have been shorter than it was. Yes, there is the mystery of trying to figure out who framed Rose but I just felt it was a little stagnant at times as the characters just sort of shuffled about. Then the end result was kind of anti-climatic and didn’t seem to justify nearly 600 pages. Most of which was spent running around America getting to know the alchemist Sydney more as her story will be the focus of the BLOODLINES spinoff series (goodreads). I also really wasn’t a huge fan of how often Rose peaked into Lissa’s life. I get that there was no easy way to tell the reader all that was going on in court but I would have preferred a dual POV story than all the mind-link stuff. Especially since no matter how often Rose said she’s still full away of her surroundings when she was in Lissa’s mind she really was anything but.

Overall, I am glad that I finally finished this series and I know that I will be continuing on with BLOODLINES, which hopefully won’t take me over five years to read! But I wasn’t in love with the end of this series as I was in the beginning. I think that with time I’ve changed as a reader and I know for a fact that I’m a lot harder on books now than I was five years ago. I was invested in the story but I could have done without some of the angst and with what happened to Adrian. That boy needs love and he didn’t deserve to be treated as he was by Rose. I’m told that he makes an appearance in BLOODLINES so I’m hoping that there is a better end to his story than this.

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon SandersonWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2
Also in this series: The Way of Kings
Published by Tor Books on 04 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Girls & Women, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, War & Military
Pages: 1087
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Way of Kings

Place(s) Traveled To: The Shattered Plains, Roshar

First Line(s): Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson is the second book in his epic fantasy series The Stormlight Archive and it picks up not long after the events in Way of Kings (my review) end. As with the first book, Words of Radiance took me forever to read because it is a chunkster, weighing in at over 1000 pages, and unlike the first book I had this one in hardcover. In order to make it through the book I decided to read it a small bit at a time so it wouldn’t seem so daunting or kill me from the weight. This method also really allowed me to savor the story and all of its rich details and intricaces. And while I loved the audio of Way of Kings there is something nice about reading the physical book. For one, I get to see how all the names are really written (though the audio was a godsend for pronunciation!) and I got to see all the artwork as it appeared in the book. The artwork really adds to the story and just brings this whole world to life.

As with Way of KingsWords of Radiance is told from mulitple points of view though the main one was Shallan. Shallan is Jashnah’s ward and apprentince and oh my stars a truely annoying character! I wasn’t a fan of Shallan in the first book and so wasn’t thrilled that most of Words of Radiance would focus on her. I much prefered the storylines of Khaladin’s and Dalinar’s POVs and still want to know ALL THE THINGS about them both. Though I didn’t mind Shallan’s present POV as much as I thought I might I did find her backstory to be a bit slow and I just didn’t care. Not gonna lie, I find Shallan to be boring and a bit of a dumb bunny at times.

Words of Radiance quote

The overall storyarc though was super-fantabulous. I just love how Sanderson is weaving all these details together and only revealing what needs to be revealed when it needs to be. But also leaving little seed trails along the way so that when something happens your eyes widen a bit as you flip backwards through the book to find the moment it was just hinted at and see how it all started. And, as with most second books, Words of Radiance really shines in being able to build upon the things that came before. You get to know world and all of the characters better as this book progresses and there is just so much crazy tension throughout the story. I loved all the scenes with Khaladin and Dalinar, even when Dalinar was breaking my heart. Not to mention all the things I want to know about Renarin as I feel as if it all came out of nowhere so hopefully Sanderson will go into that a bit more in the next book.  I’m also still not a fan of the Interludes but I do love how everything in this crazy ass world is connected.

In the end, while Words of Radiance, started a little slow. I liked this one better than Way of Kings. I liked how twisty it was and how Sanderson manages to keep me guessing, even when I think I’ve figured everything out. Where there parts I could have done without? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t trade a thing in this book because I know that the final payoff will be worth it. I just hate that there is so much time between books because I want more of this world now!! Not next year or the year after that. I also don’t know how I am going to make it through 10 books of this series…its such a huge time commitment…though I know that I will be there buying up each book the moment its released. Though in ebook form because the hardcovers may kill you if you aren’t careful!

irishdarkblue

IR - Way of Kings

Add Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss to Goodreads.

Add Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadSpirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Last Sacrifice
Published by Razorbill on 18 May 2010
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Last Sacrifice, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairbanks, Alaska // Unnamed, Montana // Bethleham, Pennsylvania // Las Vegas, Nevada // Unnamed, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.

I first discovered the Vampire Academy series in late 2009 and found myself quickly devouring all the books that were out. Then I had to wait for Spirit Bound and I was nervous and antsy and rushed out to my local Borders (RIP pretty book store) and snapped up a copy the day it was released. But then I realized there would be a wait until the last book would be released and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle it so I held off reading until I had a pretty copy of Last Sacrifice sitting on my bookshelf. AND that’s where my fear of endings started to take hold of me because once I read the last two books in this series then they would be over. That’s it. No more Rose. No more Lissa. No more Dimitri. And I. COULD. NOT. HANDLE. THAT. So I ignored the books and knew in my heart of hearts that all was well as this series wasn’t over just yet. At least, not for me.

Then earlier this year I was looking for a book and stumbled over Spirit Bound and it looked so sad sitting on the shelf unread and I thought that maybe now was the time to finish this series. Or at least, get one step closer to finishing. So I picked it up, dusted it off, and after five years of waiting I cracked open its pages and was sucked back into this world. Oh how I missed this world and these characters and just everything about it. I was mad at myself for waiting so long to read but I think that the wait made it all better and I savored the words more as a result. You might think that it would be hard to pick up a series after five years and I will admit there were a few things I didn’t remember. But Richelle Mead’s little reminders in the text on the backstory quickly cleared up any issues I had. For while I may be terrible with names and faces I have an excellent memory for things I’ve read.

Spirit Bound Quote

Spirit Bound was filled with action and feels and I found it hard to put down once I picked it up. This story finds Rose graduating from school and starting her adult Dhampir life. There are threats all around her and she’s reeling from a bad break up (to put it mildly) and trying to move on with someone new. And oh my stars was I not so happy about that at first but then I accepted and cheered and had my heart broke. Because evil authors are evil and Richelle Mead really knows how to write stories and characters that you get invested in. Though the worst part of this whole book was its ending. That was just so very evil!! Not Orphan Queen (my review) level of evil but bad enough to make me glad that I didn’t read this one right when it came out. I would have struggled with the wait to learn what happens in Last Sacrifice after that.

Let’s also just pause for a moment and think on the title, Last Sacrifice, I just…I just can’t. So it should come as no surprise that I haven’t picked that one up yet. But I want to because I need to know what happens to Rose next because seriously….that ending! Those final words!!! Killer!!! I’m still struggling with my endings phobia but I think that soon. Very soon. I’ll be able to give that one a go. After all I do have the Bloodlines series to keep me warm and living in the Vampire Academy world.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon HaleThe Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
Series: Ever After High,
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 08 October 2013
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Books & Libraries, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 305
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairy-Tale World

First Line(s): Once upon a new school year, Raven Queen was packing.

The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale is the first book in the Ever After High series which was created by the same people who did Monster High and is a spin off of sorts. Though instead of “monsters” this story is filled with the children of the fairy tales we grew up listening to. We quickly learn that all the children in this story have a destiny that they need to fulfill and that destiny is to live out their fairy tale story as written and as determined by the Storybook of Legends. If your mother was an Evil Queen then you are supposed to grow up to be one too, even if you don’t feel so very evil. Which is Raven Queen’s dilemma as the new school year starts. This is her legacy year, the year she signs the book of Legends and seals her fate. Only she doesn’t want to be evil and wonders just what will happen if she doesn’t sign the book after all.

Along the way you meet her friends and a girl named Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, and the girl that Raven is supposed to grow up and poison so she can have her happily ever after. Apple is supposed to be good but what I love about this book is that the lines are blurred between good and evil and just because someone is perceived to be good doesn’t mean that they are. I really liked how fun and imaginative this story was and I did so enjoy the youtube cartoon tie-in as well. I liked all of the characters and the mystery that was contained in its pages. It was a fun fairy tale retelling and one in which I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

 

Storybook of Legends Quote

While I enjoyed the story I did get a little frustrated at times because I couldn’t understand why if each fairy tale character had two parents then why did Raven have to follow her mother’s path when her father was a good king. And what about the fairy tale characters that had multiple children? How do their stories play out as if there are 3 girls then they can’t all be Cinderella, can they? And just what happens if you don’t follow your destiny but instead forge your own path? These are all questions that I hope get answered as the series moves on. But for now, I was happy with it and do think that younger readers will enjoy it as well.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storybook of Legends

Add The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review)

Add Kat, Incorrigable by Stephanie Burgis to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Lady Thief by A.C. GaughenLady Thief by AC Gaughen
Series: Scarlet, Book 2
Also in this series: Scarlet, Lion Heart
Published by Walker on 11 February 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 308
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Scarlet, Lion Heart

Place(s) Traveled To: Edwinstowe, England // Nottingham (roughly 1191)

 

First Line(s): The fire breathed, the dying embers flaring and cooling in a hot pulse.

 

Lady Thief by AC Gaughen is the second book in her Scarlet series which is a retelling of the Robin Hood story where Will Scarlet is not a boy but a kick ass girl. Lady Thief starts out with a bang and its not long before my emotions are turned to a pile of goo. I had tears in my eyes by the time I hit the half way mark and didn’t know what else Gaughen could do to make the ending so horrible. Until I got there and I wanted to toss my book across the room. AC Gaughen is an evil evil author and that ending was so uncalled for!! But damn if Gaughen didn’t deliver a stellar book as she systematically ripped out the heart of this poor reader.

When you hit the end of this book you just sit back and go…wow.

Its a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions and the action is pretty much non-stop once it gets going. And if you thought that Guy of Guisbourne was bad, just wait until you meet Prince John! This book is filled with lots of old friends and includes so new one as well. Stepping into its pages is like stepping into a hug until you are knifed in the heart by all emotions and feels that this book brings. This book made me swoon and it made me cry and it made me shout things like “No! No! No!!” There is tension and intrigue and so much goodness that the pages just fly by.

 

Lady Thief Quote

 

Lady Thief is a book that is far and above its predecessor Scarlet. Everything is just so much more in this story and once I started I found it hard to put down and when I hit that ending I was so glad that I had Lion Heart by my side because my need to know totally surpassed my fear of endings. Seriously, I don’t know what readers have done with themselves as they waited for the third book to come out because as I said on Goodreads when I hit the final page “WTF is up with that ending?!?! Sweet mother but Gaughen is the most evil of authors right now!!!!”

The dialect speak does still get to me a little but it seems like its less in Lady Thief than it was in Scarlet or maybe I’m just more used to it now. Lady Thief is a wonderful little book (even if it hurts your soul a little) and its one that I strongly recommend for all to read. There is something in it for everyone…action, adventure, romance, intrigue, and so much more. If you haven’t checked it out yet then you are seriously missing out. I’m also giving away a copy of Lady Thief (or other book in this series) as part of my January 2015 wrap up post just head over to this post and enter for your chance to win!

 

irishdarkblue

 
IR - Lady Thief

 

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J MaasThe Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass,
Also in this series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Published by Bloomsbury on 04 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Anthology, Assassins, Death & Dying, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas is a collection of the prequel novellas that introduce people to Celaena Sardothien, the main character of her debut fantasy novel, Throne of GlassThrone of Glass has been on my radar since it was first released and I thought that a good way to lead into reading that book. I enjoyed The Assassin’s Blade and below you’ll see my thoughts on the various novellas contained in the book as well as my individual rating of them.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Place(s) Traveled to: Rifthold, Adarlan // Skull’s Bay, Dead Islands (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): Seated in the council room of the Assassin’s Keep, Celaena Sardothien leaned back in her chair.

I think that The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was a good introduction to these characters and this world. I enjoyed the banter and interaction between Sam and Caelaena. The story was fast paced and interesting and its one that I wish was longer though its not without its flaws. As with all novellas it was short and so some things were glossed over. More detail could have been given and I would have liked to have seen Celaena being a bit more assassiny.

3 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Healer

Place(s) Traveled To: Innish, Melisande (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): The strange young woman had been staying at the White Pig Inn for two days now and had hardly spoken to anyone save for Nolan, who had taken one look at her fine night-dark clothes and bent over backwards to accommodate her.

Oh man I wish that I had skipped this one! I was not a fan of Yrene’s voice, which was so very whiny. I didn’t like how this novella was less about Caelaena and more about Yrene. There was nothing new given to Celaena’s story here and it didn’t seem to have much purpose other to act as a transition, of sorts, to the next novella in the book. I really didn’t like Calaena either…gone is the fun arrogance and instead is this surly unlikable women. As for the plot, I was not a fan of the victim blaming and it felt a bit preachy. I also missed Sam. A lot.

2 stars

POV: Yrene Towers, Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Desert

Place(s) Traveled To: The Red Desert // Xandria, The Deserted Land (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): There was nothing left in the world except sand and wind.

How many times do we need to be told that Celaena is Ardarlan’s greatest assassin? Stop telling & start showing already. At this point these novellas are getting repetitive with how she’s the best assassin and how her guild is all men and how she is so super special and young and amazing. Ugh! Heard it the first time can we please move on to something new? Also Celaena’s feelings for Sam also seem so sudden considering how much she detested him in the first novella. I also thought that some of the dialogue was a bit pedestrian and obvious. Calaena, who I again started to like after The Assassin and the Healer,  seemed to be going a bit boy crazy in this one and it just seemed so out of character. My main take away from this one was that I still miss Same and that Caelaena alone just isn’t as fun. Overall, liked this story but it was a bit predictable

3.5 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Underworld

Place(s) Traveled To: Rifthold, Adarlan (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): The cavernous entrance of the Assassin’s Keep was silent as Celaena Sardothian stalked across the marble floor, a letter clutched between her fingers.

*le sigh* Celaena is such a naive fool sometimes…we’re always being told how smart and fierce she is but her actions never match that. I guessed the twist in this one early on. Despite my annoyances with Celaena I did enjoy this one. Most of all I loved the return of Sam.

3.5 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Empire

Place(s) Traveled To: Rifthold, Adarlan // Endoviar, Adarlan (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): Curled into the corner of a prison wagon, Celaena Sardothien watched the splotches of shadows and light play on the wall.

Oh what a foolish foolish girl Celaena was. So much could have been avoided if you had just used your brain child. The Assassin and the Empire was just so very obvious in its plot twists and story ARC. I liked the writing of the story but it was just so very predictable….and then there was that one thing that made me so very mad!!!

3 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

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three-stars
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Something Real by Heather DemetriosSomething Real by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 04 February 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 403
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: I'll Meet You There

Place(s) Traveled To: Clovis, California

First Line(s): It took me four years, seven shrinks, three different hair colors, one Zen meditation retreat, and over six hundred mochas to get to this moment.

I am not a big fan of reality tv and there are only a couple of reality shows that I will watch but ones the follow around the lives of celebrities or similar aren’t among them. So the fact that I was drawn to Something Real by Heather Demetrios is out of the ordinary for me as it is a book that goes behind the scenes of a large family who spent the bulk of their life starring on a reality tv show. Something Real is told from the point of view of Bonnie(TM) as she struggles with being forced back on reality tv. Her mom and stepdad come up with a slew of reasons why its necessary to do the show again but Bonnie(TM) wants none of it especially with all the reasons why the show went off the air in the first place. To make matters worse, Bonnie(TM) seems to finally moving forward with her crush, Patrick Sheldon, and she fears that being constantly watched and edited for tv will ruin her budding romance.

Words can not accurately describe how much I loved Something Real I loved Bonnie(TM)’s story and loved her relationship with Patrick. They were just so sweet and genuine and they just made my heart ache. But the relationship that I loved most of all was that between Bonnie(TM) and her brother, Benny(TM). They were siblings and best friends and I would have been happy if the entire book was just those two talking to each other. There were moments of pure joy when Bonnie(TM), Benny(TM), Patrick, and Matt were all on the page together. I would have loved this book if it was just a straight romance but there was more to Something Real than that. There was conflict in this book and drama…oh so much drama. But not the sort that you normally see that causes a break up of the main love interests so praise be an hallelujah for that.

No the conflict comes between Bonnie(TM) and her mother. Oh. My. Stars. I have not seen such an evil, manipulative parent in a long time. I almost prefer the absent parents to ones like Beth Baker-Miller. Ok so she wasn’t really evil but she wasn’t a good mother either always putting her own wants and desires above those of her children. Letting her kids get exploited all for ratings and not caring about the damage that the show did to them. If I could have reached into the pages and shaken one character it would have been her. Though Bonnie(TM)’s stepdad and real father weren’t all that much better either. My heart broke for Bonnie(TM) over some of the things that she had to deal with in the story and if it wasn’t for Benny(TM) and Patrick she might not have survived it with her sanity.

Something Real is one of those books that you don’t necessarily expect much of when you first pick it up but then you find yourself lost within its pages. When you hit the end of the story your heart aches because there is no more. The writing is strong and compelling and its hard to believe that this is a debut novel. I fell in love with Demetrios’s writing style and I am eagerly awaiting her next contemporary story, I’ll Meet You There (February 2015, Henry Holt), as I am sure that it will be another emotional, feel good story that will make my soul happy. I am less sure of her fantast story, Exquisite Captive (Oct 2014, Balzer + Bray). I’m sure that the writing is good but I’m just not sure if I want to get started on another series at this time. Have you read Exquisite Captive? If so, let me know in the comments if its worth the read. And if you have checked out Something Real yet then you really need to get on that as its such a good book.

 

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Something Real Quote

five-stars
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Far From You by Tess SharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 08 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Harper’s Bluff, California

First Line(s): It doesn’t start here.

 

When I first heard about Far From You by Tess Sharpe I wasn’t sure if it was a book that I would like. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a story about addicition and recovery so I didn’t think much of until. That is until one night in NYC where I was getting tipsy with Andi from AndiABC’s that she talked it up so much and was such and book bully for it that I decided to give it a go. (Also, how nerdy are we to be talking about books in a bar?!? But that’s just how we roll.) So I made a library request for it right there and then and fates had it waiting for me not long after I got home. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Far From You by from the opening lines until the end this book had me hooked.

I loved Sophie’s voice and how Sharpe crafted her story with bits of the past woven into the present day narrative. I loved following the clues of how Sophie ended up where she did and wondered what really happened to Mia that night. While I did figure out the mystery fairly early on, the knowing didn’t detract from my enjoyment on how this book was written. I found myself whizzing through the pages and loving how Sophie changed and grew as a character despite all the gossip about her. I liked how she stood up for herself and stood her ground even though no one believed her story. I liked how she fought to uncover the truth about her friend and most of all I liked how this one barely had a romantic story line to it.

All to often in books these days the story is bogged down because the main character gets distracted by a boy. She almost forgets herself to angst over her love and everything else takes a back seat. In Far From You, Sophie could lose herself into a romance but she doesn’t. She admits she has feelings but she doesn’t act on them in memory of her friend. Her focus is on Mia and even though Mia is dead Far From You is very much a friendship story. We get to know Mia thorugh flashbacks and your heart aches that her life was ended before it ever really began.

Its hard to belive that Far From You is a debut novel and I am so glad that Andi pushed me to read it. I loved Sharpe’s writing and am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. I would love to see more stories set in this town but I also love how this was a standalone novel. Its a great story and one that I don’t think that you’ll regret reading. Its not perfect but its well told and I love it because its slightly flawed. If you’ve been hesitating about Far From You then stop because you don’t know what you are missing.

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far from you2
four-stars
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