Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Crown of Ice

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil
Published September 9th 2014 by Month9Books

Thyra Winther's seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith. Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal. A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts -- to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's desire, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing. CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.
*An ARC was provided by Month9Books in exchange for an honest review*

Crown of Ice is a book that I simply had to read, despite not being familiar with it's source of inspiration: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.  And here's why: the synopsis described the main character, Thyra Winter as 'scheming' and 'unencumbered by kindness'.  Those are definitely not the usual adjectives used to describe female protagonists - especially in YA. The blurb goes on to say that Thyra is logical and a gifted mathematician.  Again, this just sounded so fresh and different from the usual teenage heroines in YA that I was instantly hooked.  I needed to get to know Miss Thyra Winter. She just sounds so different.  Well, that and the fact that she's the Snow Queen! Because really, how freaking cool is that?
So.  Our Snow Queen is the eternal queen of winter. She's cold, calculating and powerful.  BUT, unless she reassembles a shattered mirror before her 18th birthday, she's doomed to become a wraith. I mean sure, she has magical Snow Queen powers, given to her by a cruel wizard, but at 17...her time is running out all the same as if she was a regular human. Bummer.  Crown of Ice introduces us to Thyra Winter this way and author Vicki L. Weavil doesn't hold back in showing the reader that this MC will not be the usual YA-heroine.  Early on we are shown just how cruel and uncaring this Snow Queen can be.  Clearly, a less-than-admirable protagonist was one of my favorite aspects of this book.  It was just so refreshing to read about someone who is completely apart from the cookie-cutter females in young-adult books that have become the norm.  
As the synopsis explains, Thyra quickly sets her plan in motion to lure a young boy from the village, Kai Thorsen into helping her.  She knows that his skills in math rival her own and with time running out to reassemble this mirror, she needs all the help she can get if she wants to survive. And she wants to survive more than anything - believe me: Thyra Winter wants to gain eternal life. At.all.costs. There's a terrible bit early on with a mother wolf and her cubs that nearly shattered my heart but because of it, Thyra gains another accomplice in the surviving young wolf cub.  The wolf,  Luki was another of my absolute favorite aspects of this book.  I simply adore animal companions in my fantasy books and Luki was incredibly well fleshed-out and completely endearing! Kai was likeable enough as a secondary character but I feel like his character could have done with a bit more background.  I didn't find myself caring for him as an innocent trapped in all this nearly as much as I felt I should have.  That being said, his story was an engaging one in it's own right and I respected that he and Thyra were intellectual equals. It balanced things out nicely, you know, considering that he is a human and Thyra was the magical Snow Queen.
There is a romantic aspect to Crown of Ice but it develops veeeery slowly and in a completely believable and logical fashion.  Obviously, this was another huge plus - we all know how hard insta-love sucks, right?  I am happy to say that the romantic bits here were slow coming and even then, things didn't fall into place all at once.  I am even more happy to say that when the story wraps-up, the romance bits don't end in the typical way either.  The feminist inside of me was incredibly pleased by that :D  And it wasn't just the romance that was nicely-paced; the entire plotline of the book was nicely developed, and as an MC, Thyra had a very nice character-arc, from who she was when the story began to who she becomes when the story ends.  I just wish that the villain, and the few other secondary characters (like Kai) could have gotten a bit more attention, not just in terms of 'page-time' but where their past and motivations were concerned.
Crown of Ice was definitely a book that was worth the read for me.  I was over the moon about getting to know a protagonist who was so unique and compelling.  Thyra Winter is a character I won't soon forget!  I thought the idea of a Snow Queen was fascinating, her powers were cool (no pun intended!) and her wolf-sidekick was adorable ♥  As far as I know, this book is a standalone - another rarity, so I would definitely recommend this one to fairytale-retelling fans and readers who like a very different kind of heroine, one who's both twisted and compelling. Needless to say, I've since added The Snow Queen to my tbr shelf :)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
About the author:

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing and visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.
Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

Friday, September 12, 2014

2 Year Blogoversary + Giveaway!

Hi Guys!  I've got something special going on over here because September 13th, 2014 marks my official 2-year anniversary as a book blogger here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews!!  It's kind of amazing to me that it's already been 2 whole years since I launched this little blog back in September 2012.  Time sure does fly when you're having fun :)  Last year, my blogoversary slipped by and I only realized weeks after but this year? I'm on it!  I wanted to mark the occasion with something special AND I also wanted to thank you guys for following the blog and making it what it is today.  So to show my appreciation and gratitude, I'm hosting a giveaway!

Since it's my blogoversary, I decided to celebrate it by spreading the love for some of my all-time favorite reads since I started blogging. As book reviewers/bloggers, we spend so much time gushing about our favorite reads, that I thought this would be the perfect time to pay it forward and give one of my favorite books to someone who might not have read them yet! #bookpusherforlife! So. Here's what's up for grabs:

One (1) Winner will chose one (1) book from the selection above -OR- you can choose another book in the series if the cover shown is a sequel. 
*If a title shown becomes unavailable on The Book Depository for whatever reason, the winner will have to chose another book*

 Giveaway Details:
Giveaway is for one (1) book of choice from the above selection of upcoming releases (or a previous book in the same series).

*If the winner chooses an upcoming releases, the book will be pre-ordered and shipped when it becomes available*

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipment.

Open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your location.
Giveaway ends September 22nd, 2014.
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Cheaters will have their entries deleted - please follow the rules carefully.**

Once a winner is chosen, they will have 48 hours to respond to their e-mail from me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #59

Harry Potter Moment of the week is a weekly meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share one favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!    For information on how to join up & for upcoming topics, click here.

  Least Favorite Book

Now before I even begin to answer, I feel like I ought to clarify: I adore ALL the books in the Harry Potter Series.  Like anyone else I have favorites, but I would NOT discard even the smallest bit of of any one of these books.  To me, all of them are absolute perfection.  That being said, I have a compulsive need to sort things, make lists, and pick favorites so I've always known which of the books in the series are my most favorite, and, in this case, which is my least favorite book:

Chamber of Secrets

Chamber of Secrets starts off on a high note, with Harry being whisked away to The Burrow. (♥) This is where we meet up with Dobby for the first time and we have the uber-cool mystery of who -or what is Petrifying the students.  Ginny finally joins Hogwarts as a student herself, we learn of her adorable crush on Harry and then she gets saved by the boy himself!  Sounds awesome right?  Well it is.  Except...

Except, I've always felt so bad that Harry turns into public enemy number one for the first time, at such a young age. It pains me to see how others lose faith in him so quickly but at the same time how can you blame them.  He speaks Parseltongue in front of everyone and keeps freaking showing up whenever the snake strikes.  It isn't the last time Harry becomes an outcast, but to me this time always seems worst.  And seeing that this is the second book in the series, I find that the trio hasn't matured much from how they were in the first book.  They're still kids after all but at the same time, knowing how epic the series gets as it goes, I always find myself looking forward to getting into the darker, grittier stuff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *90*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where book bloggers spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick of the week:

Woven by Michael Jensen &
David Powers King
Expected Publication: January 27th 2015 by Scholastic Press

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
A middle-grade fantasy adventure with ghosts?? Count me in! I love the sound of this twisted little story with nobility, secrets, castles, murder and ancient magical objects with mysterious powers!  I can't wait to get to know Nels and Tyra and tag along as they try to solve the mysteries at hand. Woven sounds truly briliant, I need this book in my life!!

Thoughts on this one? Let me know when you link me up :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Bookish Seven Deadly Sins

I've been tagged to do the Seven Deadly Sins Questionnaire (created by BookishlyMalyza) by the lovely Aylee @ Recovering Potter Addict & since I had so much fun reading her answers, I didn't think twice about joining in.  Thanks girl!

1. Greed. What's your most inexpensive book? What's your most expensive one?

My most inexpensive books would probably be those 0.99$ steal of a deal ebook sale books.  I have more than a few, I always jump at the chance to get my hands on a book on my tbr shelf and who can pass up 0.99$ deals anyway?!  My most expensive books are my huge, hardback Lord of The Rings and Chronicles of Narnia volumes, which are bind-ups of the entire works in single huge tomes.  Both were gifted to me by my boyfriend ♥  More recently, there would be my current read, Words of Radiance, book 2 in The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.  That beast is over 1100 pages, hardback and full of glorious, full colour maps and illustrations. It's gorgeous and well worth the money I spent on it!

2. Wrath. What author do you have a love-hate relationship with?

Oooh this is a tough one, usually I tend to full-on love or full-on hate, with little room for conflicting feelings like these.  I guess, I'd have to say Stephenie Meyer.  I love that her books were among the first to get me back into reading after a period I like to refer to as 'The Dark Ages'.  Both her Twilight Saga and The Host were books I devoured and often times re-read because I could not get enough of her addictive writing style and fantasy worlds.  At the same time though, I hate that the books were reduced to love-triangles and sub-par film adaptations. 

3. Gluttony. What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame.

This one will come as no surprise: The Harry Potter Series.  I've read the entire series of seven books a grand total of seven times!  When I finished reading the books the first time, I literally closed Deathly Hallows, sat in a daze for like fifteen minutes, got up and picked up Philosopher's Stone and started all over again.  I simply could not let go.  This happened more than once and for a bit I was reading the series once a year.  It's been a few years now since I've gone back and re-read them all so I'm beginning to miss The Boy Who Lived and the rest of the gang.  I'm thinking re-read number 8 won't be too far off :D

4.Sloth. What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin.  It's just such a MASSIVE series and you keep hearing about it everywhere, so while part of me needs to feel caught up, the other part just wants to quietly read them when all the buzz dies down. So I wait...

5. Pride. What book do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Hmmm, I don't think I use books to sound more intellectual, since I think the simple act of reading to be an intellectual one...but, I guess maybe like Lord of the Rings, since it's a classic but not everyone has actually read it, what with the films coming out relatively recently. It makes me feel a bit clever to know some obscure detail that was in the books but not in the films ;-)

6. Lust. What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

In male characters, I like a bit of a tortured soul.  I like them brave, clever, snarky but also dark and moody with their own demons to face and all that fun stuff. *swoon*

In female characters, I like feisty, brave women who know how to kick some ass while being clever at the same time. Think Celaena, Hermione, Ginny, Luna...

7. Envy. What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Oh wow, how about all the other Harry Potter editions that I don't own yet! Like the original U.S. Scholastic Editions and the new 15th Anniversary Scholastic Editions to start! What a dream come true that would be :)

Alright, Now it's my turn to tag some people :D Here are my picks:

Lee, Ally & Melissa @ Rally the Readers
Alise & Bec @ Readers in Wonderland

AND anyone else who would like to participate, there were 7 tags to give out but I could have gone on with more!

**If any of you have done this tag already and I missed it, I apologize and I'd love it if you linked me up to your post so I can visit back!**

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: Mitosis

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
Reckoners 1.5
Published December 3rd 2013 by Delacorte Press

From "New York Times" bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's action-packed novel "Steelheart" comes "Mitosis," a short story set in the world of The Reckoners series, exclusively available in the digital format.

Steelheart may be dead, but Epics still plague Newcago and David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

Catch all the action before, "Firefight" is the exciting sequel to "Steelheart" hits the shelves.
Mitosis in a novella within Sanderson's Reckoners Series that is meant to bridge the gap between book 1, Steelheart and the upcoming sequel, Firefight due to be released early next year. I actually just featured Firefight as my WoW pick a few weeks ago and it got me in the mood to return to the world of The Reckoners so it seemed like the perfect time to get into Mitosis.

The story wastes no time getting started with Mitosis, which is perfect when dealing with a novella!  Fresh off of the events of Steelheart, David and his crew of Reckoners are dealing with the new reality of Newcago: a city freed from the evil tyrant Epic, Steelheart himself.  David seems to feel like people should be out celebrating and getting back to their normal lives now, but people are largely still living in fear.  Fear that another Epic will take Steelheart's place and the chaos will start up all over again.  But while David and his crew are trying to restore a sense of normality to Newcago, another Epic strolls in...hell bent on causing his share of chaos.

It was kind of amazing to me how Sanderson managed to get me right back in the groove of the Reckoners world without even trying.  I read Steelheart last year but from the first few pages of Mitosis, I was right back in the swing of things!  I thought it was really cool to see how things had changed in Newcago since Steelheart and how the character's lives have been impacted by their heightened status.  See, the Reckoners used to operate under a veil of secrecy, but when you tangle with an Epic, you kind of gain some notoriety. 

There was also some heavy foreshadowing of what I can only assume will be important themes with the upcoming sequels.  All Epics are said to have a weakness, but David seems to have figured out some kind of clue or pattern to how each Epic ends up with any given weakness.  It seemed random in the first book but now there might be some sort of logic to it, which could be helpful in taking down other Epics.  It was a tantalizing detail and I can't wait to see it all fleshed out!

Bottom line: if you enjoyed Steelheart and can't wait for Firefight, I definitely recommend checking out Mitosis.  It's the perfect way to return to the world of the Reckoners for a quick spell, either right after reading the first book, or in preparation for the sequel!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #58

Harry Potter Moment of the week is a weekly meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share one favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!    For information on how to join up & for upcoming topics, click here.

  Favorite Editions of the Books

This is a tough one.  It seems like there are like a ton of gorgeous covers to choose from with these books - especially when you consider both the U.K. and U.S. editions... and the fact that the series has a variety of both children's and adult covers.  We all have our favorite(s) and I couldn't narrow mine down any more than this:

Bloomsbury Adult Edition (U.K.)

This is the set that I own and I remember seeking these covers out specifically as I was buying the books.  I was in my early 20's then and thought I was 'too old" for the children's editions or something I guess ;-)  Actually I just thought it was really cool that Harry Potter, widely considered as children's lit had adult covers as well.  I've always thought these ^^ were really cool looking, how they each highlight one specific item or location that's important to the story.  My favorites among these are DH and OotP.

Original Scholastic Edition (U.S.)

Being from Canada, the U.S. covers are far more commonplace than any other ones, so these^^ were everywhere, and while I didn't feel the need to own them when they were coming out, I've gotten a bit sentimental about them... and now I want to own a set with these covers too.  I think my favorite aspect about these is the bright, vivid colours.  The earlier books in the set aren't my favorites but I adore HBP...the green, and that scene with Harry and Dumbledore...it just looks incredibly magical to me ♥  I'm also partial to DH because Harry looks inherently heroic on it - and the blue OotP cover is pretty sweet too!

Scholastic 15th Anniversary Edition

Out of all the new/anniversary covers to come out recently, these ones^^ are my favorite.  And with these, I actually prefer the earlier book covers; my favorites being CoS - how welcoming does the Burrow look there?! - PS, because of Diagon Alley and Hagrid, and PoA (PATRONUS!) I really want to own all of these sets.  If only I had a secret vault in Gringotts xD
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