Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves *42*

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews showcasing new books we've gotten a hold of (bought/given/gifted/trade/for review).

Hi all! I hope everyone had a magical holiday season :D  I was unusually organized this year and got all my shopping and preparations done early, which is a nice change from my usual Holiday rush. Then I was able to relax and take in the festivities ♥  I'm still sort of recuperating from all the socializing and overindulging, so if you were wondering why the blog was a bit quiet lately...that would be why.

This Stacking the Shelves post is a bit of a pre-holiday edition - despite it going up post-holidays. I ordered myself a few goodies before the Holidays, since I'd been really good not buying ALL the books this year. Mostly I just ordered some hardback replacements for paperback/ARC editions I already had. When it comes to favorite books/series, I get especially obsessive about having matching sets. Some of these had been on my list for a looong time, so I figured it was time...I was just a bit lazy whipping up this post.

The Way of Kings (hardback) by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive #1), Throne of Glass (hardback, autographed) by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1), Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

I'd ordered The Way of Kings back when all I'd read from Sanderson was the first Mistborn book. Needless to say once, I read it, I promptly pre-ordered the sequel, Words of Radiance (in hardcover). As soon as I was all caught up, I added to matching hardcover TWoK to my wishlist. Guys, these books are STUNNING, with full colour maps, artwork and are gorgeously bound.

Now. I have a story for you: those of you who follow me on Twitter, or remember past StS posts, might be aware that I've been on the hunt for the hardback edition of Throne of Glass with the *NEW* cover to match the rest of the series since BEFORE the publisher announced they were releasing it.  Yeah.  I had an ARC which I tried to replace and ended up with a stupid, ugly library bind-up edition >.<  I asked the publishers at BEA this year and made no progress that way either. BUT. I didn't give up! Once Bloomsbury announced that they were  releasing the matching hardback edition, I thought my struggles were over. I ordered a copy from Amazon only for them to send me the old, original cover. I got in touch with them and was assured they had the right version in stock and that they would gladly replace mine. And then the replacement arrived and it was once AGAIN the old, original cover. Gah! O.O  After contacting other book outlets, Canadian publishers, distributors, etc...Bloomsbury themselves came to the rescue and pointed me to Books of Wonder, a NYC indie bookshop.  Books of Wonder promptly reached out and told me that they did indeed stock the new Throne of Glass hardback! Eep! And the best part? It was autographed by SJM herself!! Cut to me freaking out and obviously placing an order the very next day. Needless to say, when it arrived I was ECSTATIC. Life? Complete.

Finally, (and on a much simpler note), I replaced my ARC of Scarlet with a shiny new hardback to match Cinder and Cress!

Oh, and before I wrap up this particularly babbly and picturific StS post, I also got a few ARCs to share with you:

Adventures through an alternate London? Yes Please! Illusionarium promises parallel worlds + humor and I can't wait to see how that will work! And even though I still haven't cracked open my copy of Cruel Beauty, I couldn't resist requesting Crimson Bound.  Who could resist something that sounds SO amazing...and looks like that ^^

That's it for me this week  ~ but there's more holiday treats to come!
Stay tuned! And don't forget to link me up to your haul posts :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

End of the Year Book Survey

End of Year Book Survey - 2014

This will be my first year participating in the End of Year Book Survey, created by The Perpetual Page-Turner. Usually I whip up my own yearly recap posts but I thought I would be fun to give this one a go this year! I hope you all enjoy it too :)  Here we go:

2014 reading stats

Number Of Books You Read: *groan* This year was my worst yet. With working multiple jobs, moving, and general real life craziness...not to mention reading 2 books that were BEASTS at over 1000 pages, I read all of 35 books this year *hides in shame*

Number of Re-Reads: none.  I used to re-read ALL.THE.TIME.  But, since I started blogging, I can't seem to find the time... Le sad.

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy, of course!

 Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Words of Radiance ♥ by Brandon Sanderson & Heir of Fire ♥ by Sarah J. Maas. OMFG.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Hmmm, there were quite a few of those this year unfortunately, but the one that stands out in my mind is Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

In a good way? Every Breath by Ellie Marney.  My first 5-star contemporary read, ever!
In a bad way, see my answer to question #2 above ^^

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Quite a few of my friends got Sanderson books for Xmas so I'm hoping EVERYONE reads SOMETHING by him in 2015 *ahem*

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

I'm trying to keep from repeating the same books here so: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is the best series I started this year.  Best sequel would be Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and the best series ender would be The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Maggie Stiefvater, hands down.

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Every Breath by Ellie Marney - those who know me know contemporaries aren't my usual thing...but... I'm sure you're all aware:

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Cress by Marissa Meyer- man, that book was STACKED with action!

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Hmmm, well I am planning a ToG series re-read, so I'll go with Heir of Fire.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

The Assassin's Blade or The Dream Thieves *dies from the pretty*

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Kaladin fucking Stormblessed.  And Celaena Sardothien of course! I love them both so much it's a little crazy.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Oh gosh...Dreams of Gods & Monsters. Laini Taylor writes prose I want to bathe in foreverrr!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

 Hmmm, I guess Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  It didn't change my life, but it did make me think a lot about social anxiety and introverted people.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin - I'd read the first book (Ashfall) early 2013 but waited till halfway this year to read the sequel! It didn't quite live up to the first book, but I'm still glad I read it.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

This was nearly impossible to narrow down, so I just went my one favorite quote from each of my favorite books this year.  So, pack your bags, we're going on a feels trip:

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” -The Way of Kings
“My name is Celaena Sardothien, she whispered, and I will not be afraid.” -The Assassin's Blade 
“Gansey had once told Adam that he was afraid most people didn't know how to handle Ronan. What he meant by this was that he was worried that one day someone would fall on Ronan and cut themselves.”  -The Raven Boys
“Because I am lost," she whispered onto the earth. "And I do not know the way.”  -Heir of Fire
“You sent him to the sky to die, assasin," Kaladin said, Stormlight puffing from his lips, "but the sky and the winds are mine. I claim them, as I now claim your life.” -Words of Radiance
“And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.”  -The Dream Thieves

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest was Mitosis, an e-novella part of the Reckoners series by Sanderson, which was 35 pages. The Longest book was also by Sanderson, Words of Radiance clocks in at 1087 pages!

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

The Hero of Ages, without a doubt! The twists, the world-building and THAT ending! Gah!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Celaena + Chaol and Ronan + Adam. I DON'T CARE, I'll NEVER STOP shipping them!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Celaena + Rowan, hands down.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You've Read Previously

All the Sanderson and Maas of course!

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Every Breath & Fangirl, both contemporaries that EVERYONE loved and I wouldn't have gravitated towards otherwise.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Mycroft from Every Breath. Seriously though...

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Scorched by Mari Mancusi was a very promising debut!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Hello,obviously The Stormlight Archives by Sanderson - best worldbuilding OF LIFE.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones and A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Heir of Fire!!! I teared up like every other chapter *sniff*

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Oh gosh, I don't feel like I read any 'hidden' gems? The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier maybe, though I feel enough people are aware of that one. It was a wonderful little MG read :)

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Words of Radiance, Heir of Fire, The Hero of Ages. I doubt I'll ever recover from any of those.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon - even though we didn't quite get along, I can't deny it's uniqueness.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?

Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I really enjoyed the book but there were some rage inducing moments in there courtesy of vile villains doing awful things.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

Snowflakes & Spider silk, The Bibliosanctum, The Roaming Librarian, My Reading Dress and all the blogger's I've kept in touch with since meeting up at BEA this year (too many to list) but I love you all ♥

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?  

Heir of Fire & Words of Radiance (no big surprise here right?)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Writing more discussion posts is a goal for 2015, but I have to say my BEA recap post is my favorites this year.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

BEA'14 of course (LIFE.MADE.) and The Way of Kings read-along that I took part in at the start of the year :D  It was my very first read-along and I loved every second of it!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

MEETING SARAH J. MAAS at BEA this year - which ties with meeting BRANDON SANDERSON at last year's BEA *fangirls*

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My BEA recap post - no big surprise there;)

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I'm quite satisfied with the number of traffic I got on all my posts this year :)

8. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

BOOKS OF WONDER!  They saved my life on my quest for the new Throne of Glass hardback with matching cover - and it was AUTOGRAPHED by Maas herself.  More on that to come on my StS post later this week! *happy dance* Hopefully the next time I'm in NYC, I can drop in and get lost in that store for everrrr.

9.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I never ever participate in reading challenges. I know I should, but I feel like I'd be setting myself up. And I failed my GR reading goal too >.<

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?  

Too many to list here, but The Lies of Locke Lamora, Shadow and Bone and Fire & Thorns are a select few that I *need* to get to next year.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

ACOTAR!! or A Court of Thorn and Roses for you Muggles out there :P

 3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Magonia, Red Queen, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and The Girl at Midnight to name a few...

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

All the Sanderson Mistborn Sequels and of course Throne of Glass #4

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Integrate more discussion posts into the blog AND I mist complete my GR reading challenge next year!  Oh and maybe participate in another read-along...and I'm hoping some more buddy-reads too :D

 6. A 2015 Release You've Already Read & Recommend To Everyone

Well, I'm reading Owl and the Japanese Circus atm, and so far so good.

*Here's wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season  and nothing but the best for 2015*

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #71

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

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.

Best Minerva McGonagall line

I've been looking forward to this topic since the moment I saw it on the topic list.  Minerva McGonagall is BOSS.  She's a no-nonsense woman, a brilliant role-model and an absolutely EPIC witch.  Pretty much all the moment's she's in are memorable, whether they be snarky moments, or heart-warming ones, but one particular scene always come to mind when I think of her at her best. Unfortunately, it didn't make it to the films (big surprise) but it will always be my personal favorite:
‘I've been sent to see you,’ said Harry stiffly.  
‘Sent? What do you mean, sent?’  
He held out the note from Professor Umbridge. Professor McGonagall took it from him, frowning, slit it open with a tap of her wand, stretched it out and began to read. Her eyes zoomed from side to side behind their square spectacles as she read what Umbridge had written, and with each line they became narrower.  
‘Come in here, Potter.’  
He followed her inside her study. The door closed automatically behind him.  
‘Well?’ said Professor McGonagall, rounding on him. ‘Is it true?’  
‘Is what true?’ Harry asked, rather more aggressively than he had intended. ‘Professor?’ he added, in an attempt to sound more polite. 
‘Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?’  
‘Yes,’ said Harry.  
‘You called her a liar?’ 
You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?’  
Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, frowning at Harry. Then she said, ‘Have a biscuit, Potter.’  
‘Have – what?’  
‘Have a biscuit,’ she repeated impatiently, indicating a tartar tin lying on top of the piles of papers on her desk. ‘And sit down.’

And here's a fan-made edit with someof the highlights of this scene, for my more visual peeps:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *103*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight an upcoming book release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
The Girl at Midnight #1
Expected Publication: April 28th 2015 by Delacorte Press

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
PURPLE!! I freaking love purple!  And if you click through the link to author Melissa Grey's Goodreads page, you'll see that she also has PURPLE HAIR! ♥

*Ahem* So, besides my colour loving here, The Girl at Midnight got me excited for a lot of other reasons. Namely? THERE ARE MAGICAL PEOPLE living beneath the streets of NYC. Living there, in secret, via age-old enchantments! Only one person can see them: our protagonist, Echo. And let me tell you, Echo sounds like the kind of chick I could really get behind. She's a thief, and she's described as clever and daring.Win! Then she apparently sets off to find a mythical Firebird (!!!), whose powers might just help Echo avoid an all out war. DIS book. I need it.

Thoughts on Girl at Midnight?
Let me know below when you link me up!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn #3
Published October 14th 2008 by Tor

*Caution: Synopsis contains spoilers*

To end the Final Empire and restore freedom, Vin killed the Lord Ruler. But as a result, the Deepness---the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists---is back, along with increasingly heavy ashfalls and ever more powerful earthquakes. Humanity appears to be doomed.

Having escaped death at the climax of The Well of Ascension only by becoming a Mistborn himself, Emperor Elend Venture hopes to find clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that will allow him to save the world. Vin is consumed with guilt at having been tricked into releasing the mystic force known as Ruin from the Well. Ruin wants to end the world, and its near omniscience and ability to warp reality make stopping it seem impossible. She can’t even discuss it with Elend lest Ruin learn their plans!

The conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy fulfills all the promise of the first two books. Revelations abound, connections rooted in early chapters of the series click into place, and surprises, as satisfying as they are stunning, blossom like fireworks to dazzle and delight. It all leads up to a finale unmatched for originality and audacity that will leave readers rubbing their eyes in wonder, as if awaking from an amazing dream.
*Review contains minor spoilers*

The Hero of Ages is the third book from the original Mistborn trilogy (there's also a sequel trilogy set centuries after the original trilogy, the first one of those, or fourth overall - The Alloy of Law - has been out since 2011 and the next one, Shadows of Self, is coming out late next year) and believe me when I say I did NOT want this story to end.  I first started the series in 2012 and read the second installment early in 2013.  But it took me until now to finally take the plunge and finish off the original trilogy. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye guys!  And it turns out, I had NO IDEA how NOT READY I really was!

Firstly, I have to say that I had no problem at all getting right back into the Mistborn-world, because as usual, Sanderson flawlessly refreshes the readers memory, without being repetitive in the least. The Hero of Ages picks up around a year after the events of The Well of Ascension, and the situation is more dire than it has ever been before.  When Vin and Elend thought they were saving the world, they ended up releasing an ages old force of destruction, a thing called Ruin.  With the very planet falling apart around them and little time to spare, Vin, Elend and the rest of the crew must work quickly if they want to have a world to save. Needless to say the story started out with a bang and just got more and more intense as things began falling into place, not just for this book, but for the overarching plot of the trilogy as a whole.

When you get to the end of a series, it's always a bittersweet affair. Sanderson clearly knows this as well, because The Hero of Ages had a distinctly nostalgic feel to it, as it revisited some key moments from the previous two books.  It really put the insane journey that is the Mistborn Series in full perspective.  The world changed so.much. from the first book up to this point. So many things shifted or altered in some way by the events that have taken place thus far.   Character-wise, this trend was especially satisfying as it showed how the main character Vin evolved throughout the entire story-arc. It's no secret that I am a HUGE Vin fangirl, so seeing how she grew, throughout the series from poor, abused street-urchin into a fierce, level-headed warrior made my heart very, very happy.

The other secondary characters in The Hero of Ages brought all kinds of feels as well.  There's the wonderful Elend Venture of course. Sigh. Elend!  His transformation from The Well of Ascension to this point is nothing short of legendary. He's had to make some seriously tough calls during his rise to Emperor, and I don't think anyone could have done a better job of it than he did. Elend owns my heart. That's all there is to it.  As a couple, Elend and Vin are seriously one of THE best couples EVER.   Their character growth complemented each other to perfection and this time around, it felt as though their relationship was the most balanced it's been; they truly complemented each other perfectly. ♥

I could go on and on about my love for these characters. Sazed's struggles broke my heart time after time and when his moment finally came along I was SO.READY.  Spook was another brilliant one, the way he was introduced as such a minor character in the beginning of the books...and to have him transformed into a full-fledged powerhouse of a character this time around? Wow.  Breeze, Arlianne...MARSH (sobs quietly) ALL.OF.THEM.  I adore all.of.them!

Moving past the characters and plot, the suspense was absolutely INSANE in The Hero of Ages as the pieces started falling into place with the forces known as Ruin and Preservation.  As any good high-fantasy read, things started gradually, but with the stakes already so high at the end of the second book, it didn't take long for things to escalate here.  By the end I was barely holding on. I did not want it to end, but at the same time, I needed to know how things would go down. I'm not going to lie: the ending for this one shattered me.  It took my already swollen heart, brimming with feels, and punched it. Hard. I won't go into the gory details but suffice it to say, this was basically me:

 I know I've said so before, but here I go again: If you haven't read the Mistborn Series. You NEED to do so. Like, now.  It is a truly brilliant and epic story, one that you won't soon forget.  I'm already craving a re-read so I can go nuts about all the foreshadowing I surely missed along the way. Bottom line?  The Hero of Ages was a stunning conclusion to an absolutely incredible trilogy! I need to mourn these characters and their story (quite a bit) before I jump into The Alloy of Law, but I know I'll be returning to this world soon.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #70

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

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 Dragon Species

DRAGONS! I had a lot of fun with this topic, researching all the different dragon breeds that exist in the Harry Potter Universe. I knew some of them wouldn't have been mentioned in the books or films so I went off hunting for dragons ;-)

I already knew that my favorite breed would not be the Hungarian Horntail.  If Hagrid of all people admits the best is nasty, I'll be taking his word for it thanks. And we all know how vicious it was when Harry faced his in the Triwizard Tournament.  But other than that, we really don't get much info on other breeds of dragons in the books - unless you've read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - which I have, but my memory was a bit fuzzy. I expect we'll be getting a lot more fun details when the film comes out :D

Anyways, after looking up the different breeds, I've decided that my favorite dragon is:

Antipodean Opaleye

The Antipodean Opaleye is a breed of Dragon native to New Zealand, although it has been known to migrate to Australia in search of territory. 
Eye colour: MulticolouredSkin colour: PearlyNative range: New Zealand 
It resides in valleys, which is unusual as dragons typically reside on mountains. It is generally considered one of the most beautiful dragons, with pearly scales that line its body, and glittering multi-coloured eyes that have no pupils. The Opaleye's eggs are pale grey and have been known to be mistaken by Muggles for fossils and its flame is vivid red. 
The Opaleye is not particularly aggressive, rarely killing unless it is hungry making it the easiest of dragons to train. Its prey of choice is sheep, but it has been known to attack larger animals. In the 1970s, several kangaroo killings were thought to have been caused by a male Opaleye that had been ousted from its territory by a dominant female. 
The dragon that was chained in the Gringotts vault shares the same characteristics as an Opal-Eye, although the dragon is believed to have become pale due to a lack of sunlight. It is revealed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, however, that the dragon guarding the Lestrange Vault is actually an Ukrainian Ironbelly. -Source
 The Gringotts Dragon, since it most resembles the Opaleye

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *102*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight an upcoming book release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Expected Publication: April 28th 2015 by HarperCollins

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
The second I read the blurb for Magonia, I was sold. You don't often come across a concept this unique, so when one does, it makes an impression.  I love the idea of Magonia and Earth coexisting as their fates collide, with the protagonist Aza stuck in between both worlds.  And, I mean, there are ships sailing above the clouds! I am so there.

Anyone else waiting on Magonia? Let me know
Oh and don't forget to link me up ;)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: The Bone Season

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season #1
Published August 20th 2013 by Bloomsbury

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.
*An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.*

The Bone Season is a book that garnered MAJOR buzz when it came out. Right from the start it was announced that there would be a 7-book deal for the series and a film based on the first book is already in development.  This set the bar for this one pretty high, especially since everyone was comparing this to the Harry Potter series.  Naturally, I was a bit skeptical of that last claim, but nonetheless, I went in with an open mind and reasonably high hopes.  I'm not sure what exactly I was imagining in terms of content but now that I've read it, I can honestly say that it was not what I was expecting.

The Bone Season has been marketed as a fantasy read but that's wasn't my impression with it at all. I'd categorize it as a mix between sci-fi and dystopian.  It starts off in this strange future with very little in the way of world-building.  At first, it felt very confusing but I get the impression that that was done on purpose.  Even though the story is set in the future, the world here had a very alien and foreign feel to it.  Once I was able to get past all the strange vocabulary and get into something of a flow, things seemed to improve a bit.  The first half was compulsively readable, despite my issues with the lack of world-building. Apparently the less I know about a world, the more motivated I am to get me some answers! Soon I was immersed in this world that had a seriously strange vibe and I was eager to know more.  Unfortunately, the information was not forthcoming on how the world morphed into what Miss Samantha Shannon has imagined here, which is a shame. Sure, it's crazy unique, but I need more than that. Lay me some ground work. Make me believe.

Character-wise was where The Bone Season really fell flat for me.  The main protagonist, Paige should have been an instant favorite, given her clairvoyant skills and the situation she gets thrust into, but I never truly felt any kind of a connection to her.  She came off sort of bland and I didn't feel like I knew much about her - a trend that continued till the end I'm afraid - I still don't have much of a read on her.  I certainly admired her resilience and the way she adapted to being imprisoned by the Rephaim. I just couldn't make myself care all that much about her predicament.

Speaking of the strange creatures called the Rephaim.  I still have absolutely no clue what they are, where they come from or how they got to Earth.  I mean, I know there's 6 more books to come but I feel like I should at least know something about them.  The sparse details made it challenging to properly imagine the creatures throughout the book.   As much as mysteries can be alluring, what I felt was a lack of important details in The Bone Season was really frustrating.  Of course, given the high-fantasy kick I've been in lately, maybe I was just in world-building withdrawals ;)

Unfortunately, I mostly lost interest in The Bone Season beyond the halfway point.  Sure real life was crazy busy, but I didn't lose interest in the others books I was reading at the time, so to me that says something.  I just couldn't bring myself to care about these character and this world when so little explained and so much was left up in the air.  I mean, the stakes are sky-high throughout but it just didn't move me the way it should have.  The ending brought some level of resolution, but considering the planned length of the series, lots of plot-points were still unresolved.

The Bone Season would have gotten a 3-star rating, if the ending had really stepped things up a notch, but sadly, it didn't.  I'm still planning on checking out the sequel, in case the world-building and character development really pick up as the story progresses but for the most part, this was a letdown for me.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #69

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

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 Magical Pet

Ahhhh ♥  I love the magical animals in the Harry Potter world!  I feel like I could never, ever limit myself to just bringing one pet to Hogwarts with me.  On the one hand, I'd want an owl, cause they're dead useful.  I'd want my own special guy bringing me my correspondences and I've always been partial to the fiesty black owl Sirius uses in the GoF film - the one who takes a bite out of Harry:
 PS- careful the bird bites.   
...On the other hand, I can not even imagine heading out to Hogwarts and not having a cat with me. And considering I currently have two, I'd want to bring them both.  O.O  Might as well start my own menagerie at Hogwarts!

  My little guy Nox, named after the incantation Lumos/Nox. Since he's black, it seemed fitting.  And my little lady Jazz.

Waiting on Wednesday *101*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight an upcoming book release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Expected Publication: April 28th 2014 by Razorbill

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Vow your blood and body to the empire.

Keep your heart for yourself.
"Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world..."  With that sentence, this book had it's hooks in me.  I honestly didn't even need the epic fantasy - even though you all know that's my jam!  Both the male and female lead protagonists are instantly appealing to me, so I can hardly wait for the sparks to fly when their worlds collide.  This just sounds.SO.intense.  And I must be a part of that intensity.  Gah, this book. I need it.

What are you waiting on this week?
Link me up :)