Thursday, February 26, 2015

Harry Potter MotW #79

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 DADA Teacher

Hands down, no contest, this honor belongs Remus Lupin

He taught Harry how to fight off Dementors, he was easily the DADA teacher the students got the most out of...not to mention how tragic and brave the guy was on any given day.  After Sirius, he was the closest Harry got to a parental figure and he always felt like family to me.  And I'm not just saying that because I share a birthday with the guy (*ahem* March 10th *cough*)   I just love Lupin to pieces and miss him terribly. ♥

Honorable Mention: Barty Crouch Jr. posing as Mad-Eye Moody 

Admittedly, he did teach them quite a bit of useful, valuable magic, despite his less than honorable motives. They might have been harsh lessons, but they were ones the kids needed to learn in order to face the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters! And let's face it, this is just another opportunity for me to look at this guy^^ hihi

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #11

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!

Happy Tuesday All! Wow, I haven't done a TTT post since 2012 o_O  I'd been meaning to get back into them for ages and  well, I've finally had the good sense, organization and time to do so, so here I am!  This week's topic is:

Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books

1. Celaena fucking Sardothien (Throne of Glass) - Clearly, she deserves top honors.  I am such a huge fangirl of hers.  She stole my heart in Throne of Glass and has basically been kicking it, breaking it and shattering it into a million pieces since then but I love her all the more for it ♥  Queen of Shadows NEEDS to come out already!

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - I think this one goes without saying.  Granger should get an automatic spot on ALL the lists, until the end of time. To infinity and beyond!

3. Vin (Mistborn) - This chick's like Madonna and Rihanna, no last name needed.  When you start off as a homeless street urchin and morph into the toughest, most feared fighter in the realm...and then proceed to save and change the world, feel free to drop your last name too.

4. Blue Sargent (The Raven Cycle) - This lady right here stole my heart from the very first pages of The Raven Boys. She might come off unassuming, but she's wicked cool and I for one want to hang out with her all the time. Of course, it does help that she's friends with Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah...and by being her friend, I could get to know the boys too LOL!

5. Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter) - Most under-appreciated heroine in life.  The movies did her a serious disservice too and because of that, generations of movie fans will never understand why she rocks so hard.  This girl is strong, feisty, determined and all kinds of powerful.  She got The Chosen One to respect her and you should too!

6. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) - The Girl on Fire.  Hell if she didn't start a freaking revolution all by herself and save the world in the process.  The damage that was done to her in the process breaks my heart...but...she survived and that means I should too *sobs*

7.Syl (The Stormlight Archive) - Are we allowed to pick a heroine that's not quite...human?  I hope so, since I just did.  Syl is like a little fairy. Who is also epically powerful and a weapon in her own right.  Yeah, she kicks ass but it's her role as confidente to my beloved Kaladin that earns her a spot on my list.

8. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) - I can never just pick one of the ladies in Harry Potter. Nope, once I mention any one of them, I just have to give props to the others as well. Luna is a role-model I wish the younger me could have known.  She'd have made me feel like I wasn't the only one who was a little strange...nor the only one who could see those Nargles ;)

9. Karou/Madrigal (Daughter of Smoke & Bone) - Another under-appreciated heroine coming through!  A lot of readers failed to fall in love with Karou the way I did, but so many things about her character touched my soul that she'll always hold a special place in my heart.

10. Linh Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) - Basically, all the heroines of The Lunar Chronicles deserve a place on this list but since I ran out of room, I went with the one we've known the longest.  The one who set this entire series in motion.  Cinder is such an inspirational character and considering my life-long love of Cinderella, I guess I just have a soft-spot for the little cyborg.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stacking the Shelves *45*

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 everyone!  I hope you're all doing great! Winter has struck our neck of the woods with a vengeance and we've been pummeled by one extreme snow storm after another lately.  Luckily, the boyfriend and I make the most of the snow by playing around in it with our snowshoes ;)  After a nice workout, I usually snuggle up with a good book while he takes a nap to recoup LOL  Although, I've been working like a madwoman lately, and haven't had quite as much time to read as I'd like, here are the books I've been lucky enough to add to my collection these past few weeks:

Let's start with review copies:

A Court of Thorns and Roses (!!!!)  Aaaaahhhhh!  *happy dance*  So, this one is clearly my precioussss *cough* Canada doesn't get the amount of ARCs  that reviewers in the US seem to get, so I even reached out to Bloomsbury Children's directly but luckily Penguin/Razorbill Canada surprised me with a physical ARC ♥ I clearly could NOT resist diving in straight away, and even though I'm reading three books at the moment, I'm still making pretty decent progress with it. And so far? LOVE.  The Wrath and The Dawn was a title I featured as a WoW pick a while back, and I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC from the lovely people at Razorbill. I actually finished it not too long ago - look for my review later this week!

Moving on to glorious giveaway winnings:

The Emperor's BladeThe Mirror Empire and Promise of Blood were all giveaway winnings from an awesome giveaway Mark had on Twitter, which I was lucky enough to win. Actually, I shared his giveaway without checking if it was U.S only or International. D'oh!  It was U.S. only, but Mark was kind enough to send these up to Canada for me all the same :D  Thank you so much Mark - I'm dying to get into all of these pretties!

Oh and I was beyond lucky and actually won another giveaway:

One of my favorite bloggers, Aylee @ Recovering Potter Addict celebrated her 4th blogoversary recently and I was one of the lucky winners.  Since we became friends in large part due to our shared Potter obsession and love of all things JKR, it seemed fitting that I pick something by our queen. Afterall, I can't very well call myself a fan and still not own a copy of this one^^, right?!

Finally, here are my recent(-ish) book purchases : 

Both of these are pre-orders I'd placed over the holidays with Amazon giftcards my mom gifted me for Christmas.  Fairest finally arrived a few weeks ago... except it arrived with it's book jacket missing. Yeah.  Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I opened up the package only to see my baby NAKED.  Naked as the day the book gods made it. After all my recent issues with Amazon, I wasn't too pleased but luckily it's replacement has already arrived - fully clothed - and it is glorious! Well worth the wait...although I'm seriously (still) not amused at Amazon. Again. *grumbles* Luckily, A Darker Shade of Magic arrived in perfect condition this Friday, so at least there's that.

Anyway, those are my pretties this week! Don't forget to link me to your hauls :)

HUGE thank yous go out to Penguin/Razorbill CanadaBloomsbury Children's Aylee & Mark for all the lovelies ♥ (but Amazon, not so much).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Harry Potter MotW #78

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 Trelawney Prophecy

Good old Trelawney.  She comes off as such a flake - and I mean, a large part of her is just that. She's a fraud to the full extent of the word because so far as she's aware, she has no sight. She just walks around telling stories, spreading false prophecies wherever she goes. Until...well, until she goes into one of her trances and actually says something worthwhile, true and important. I can totally see why Dumbledore wanted to keep her close.  Out of all the prophecies she's come up with - legit or otherwise, my favorite has to be:

Her very first prophecy
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives..."

I remember feeling all hyped up about discovering a prophecy that involved Harry and Voldemort.  I mean, I'm sure it didn't feel all that cool to Harry, but he's my hero and when we do finally discover the words to the prophecy, I got chills! The wording of it is just so enigmatic and impressive.  And let's be honest, other than this one^^ and the one Trelawney makes directly to Harry in PoA, we're just left with stuff like this:


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday *110*

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 what I'm waiting on this week:

The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
The School for Good and Evil #3
Expected Publication: July 21st 2015 by HarperCollins

In the epic conclusion to Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series, The School for Good and Evil, everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story.

As A World Without Princes closed, the end was written and former best friends Sophie and Agatha went their separate ways. Agatha was whisked back to Gavaldon with Tedros and Sophie stayed behind with the beautiful young School Master.

But as they settle into their new lives, their story begs to be re-written, and this time, theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the villains of the past have come back to change their tales and turn the world of Good and Evil upside down.
We finally have a cover!  Ahhhh, I love it ♥ Well, I've had a lot of fun with this trilogy and it's always bittersweet when the last book comes around.  A part of me hates to see it come to a close but another part is eagerly awaiting to know how the story ends for Agatha and Sophie!!  I'm very much hoping this series ends on a high note and manages to surprise me just as the other books in the series have.

Any fans of the series out there? Give me a shout!
And don't forget to link me up to your post this week :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
His Fair Assassin #1
Published April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts - and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin & serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. 

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany - where she finds herself woefully under prepared - not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
After years of waiting, I finally did it guys - I finally dove in and read Grave Mercy! This is one of those books I always knew I'd enjoy and there's no excuse to explain why I waited so long to finally get to it.  It might not have been a fast read - mostly due to my current busy schedule rather than the actual size of the book, but Grave Mercy caught my interest quickly, and every moment I did have to devote to the story kept me glued to it's pages, eager to unravel its mysteries...

Grave Mercy starts off by introducing us to Ismae, a poor, abused girl, sold off to a monster in marriage by her own father, a monster in his own right.  Ismae barely escapes a fate worse than death *shudder* by being offered refuge in a convent where the sisters serve Saint Mortain; or Death Himself.  Yeah.  Here, Ismae learns that she is connected to Death in her own very special way and that, if she so chooses, the sisters will train her in St Mortain's arts, meaning she'll be trained as an assassin to deal out Death's will.  How do you not get hooked into a premise like that?!

As the main protagonist, I connected to  Ismae right from the word go.  Without being overtly aggressive, she manages to come off as deadly. She's calm, soft-spoken and kind, despite all the hardships she suffered, but she's also filled with a steely resolve.  She more than welcomes the opportunity to deal out death to vile, corrupt men, instead of being forced to serve them as the historical setting dictates.  And so Ismae begins her training with poisons, (which were seriously cool and one of my favorite aspects of the book! I wonder what that says about me...) self-defence, concealment and even seduction - ooh la la. All the skills she'll need to trick and scheme her way to striking down those the Convent deem worthy of death.

Despite it's slowish start and overall steady pacing, I found myself quickly wrapped-up in this world of assassins, court-drama, political intrigue, romance and suspense.  While I briefly wished that we would have been privy to the entirety of Ismae's training with the sisters, I was quickly swept away by her new (undercover) task within the high court of Brittany.  I enjoyed watching our heroine learn to navigate the court while staying true to herself.  Despite it's historical setting, I was pleasantly surprised by how Grave Mercy didn't relinquish women to being hopeless and subservient.  Even more surprising is the fact that a YA-novel managed to pull off a deliciously slow-burn romance without a hint of a love-triangle. Ismae never once lost her head to silly romantic notions. Instead, she relied on herself, her skill and her brains to figure out how to act - even when surprising revelations threatened to pull the rug out from under her.  My hat goes off to author Robin LaFevers for accomplishing such an admirable feat - one rarely seen in young adult fiction today

So we've got assassins, an awesome protagonist, Death incarnate, and a seriously swoon-worthy, realistic romance (that I'm trying very hard not to gush about...OMG Duval ♥).  What more could a girl ask for? Well, full disclosure: As much as I adore political/court intrigue in my adult fantasies, I wasn't completely swept away by those aspects in Grave Mercy.  Some of the finer details tended to blur together for me. I found wishing for those parts had more kick to them because they fell a bit flat compared to the rest of the book.  All things considered though, I really enjoyed this book a lot. I can't believe I waited so long to read it.  I certainly won't be holding off too long to read the next book in the series!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Harry Potter MotW #77

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.

Free Week

This week we get to pick our own topic and since I missed two pretty awesome topics during my Holiday hiatus, I decided to revisit one of them:

Favorite Death Eater

Now I'll be the first to admit that I don't hold much love for any of the Death Eaters.  In fact, in the books, I hated them right along with Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Order (Gryffindor Pride!) I did however grow to appreciate Bellatrix in the films, mostly because of my love for Helena Bonham Carter as an actress and the way she committed herself to portraying Bella with such reckless abandon. Other than her, there are only a couple other Death Eaters that deserve mention here:

Regulus Arcturus Black 

For being the first one to discover Riddle's secret, for going out of his way to get his hands on Riddle's stolen Slytherin locket, which was already a Horcrux, and for losing his life to the task. Clearly, the guy made some poor choices early on, but he had some of Sirius' bravery and smarts to him and he made the right choices in the end.  I just wish we could have gotten to know him a bit more...

Barty Crouch Jr.

Now, when I first read the books, I remember pitying this guy ^^  When he gets caught by his father, he pleads with him, begs him to give him the benefit of the doubt. I remember thinking Barty Senior was incredibly harsh, cold and calculating.  Of course, that was before he escaped from Azkaban, toyed with Harry all year and eventually set a trap to send Mr Potter directly to Voldemort.  After that, my sympathy pretty much went out the door....Until they cast my favorite actor to bring him to life. Uhm, yeah, this is a selfish pick on my end. I just wanted an excuse to look for gifs of this guy :D

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday *109*

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 what I'm waiting on this week:

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater
(Pip Bartlett #1)
Expected Publication Date: May 2015 by Scholastic

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.

Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.
Whaaaa??!  A middle grade fantasy illustrated by Maggie Stiefvater and co-authored by her + Jackson Pearce?!  This Sounds. INCREDIBLE. I must have it!  I mean seriously, Maggie Stiefvater is a goddess, both for her magical writing AND her amazing drawing skills. Seriously, the woman is clearly a wizard.  And while I haven't read anything by Jackson Pearce, her books do make an appearance on my TBR shelf. Clearly, there is no way in hell I'd pass this one up. I adore a good quality MG read and let's be honest: this one has a variety of magical creatures to discover!  Eeeep :D  Is it May yet?

And that's my pick this week^^
Let me know what you think & link me up to your posts!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Harry Potter MotW #76

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.

Worst Harry Potter Death

I debated a lot which way to go with this question, since it seems like there could be more than one possible answer. And let's face it: there are A LOT of deaths to choose from within the series *sniff* So I decided to highlight three deaths from the series that could fit the bill, depending on how you approach the question. Are we talking worst death as in most cringe inducing? Then Snape's easily takes the cake. Dying at the jaws of Nagini was truly awful, I can't think of anyone deserving of that. Even Snape.

If we're talking worst death as in most tragic, then obviously, I'd go with Sirius' death.  I will never be ok with him dying, not completely. I JUST WANTED HARRY TO HAVE SOMEONE GODAMMIT *sobs*  And I love his character so, so much ♥

Also, the worst Harry Potter death could also relate to Harry Potter specifically...I mean, the boy did 'die' an awful lot O.O In this case, I'd pick the time when he was just a baby, because what kind of monster tries to kill a BABY?!?  Voldemort. That' who. D:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday *108*

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 what I'm waiting on this week:

Those Above by Daniel Polansky
The Empty Throne #1
Expected Pub Date: Feb 26th '15 by Hodder & Stoughton

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.
Those Above is an adult high-fantasy - and you guys know how much I adore those, so I guess it's no surprise why this one made the cut this week. I've never read anything by Polansky though but this seems like a good a place as any to start: oppressed people, a brewing revolution, swords, super-human enemies...YES PLEASE. And that cover is stunning; swords are always a draw for me, probably because they hint at epic battles and lots of action. Sign me up!

What do you guys think of this one? Any Polansky fans in the house?
Oh and don't forget to link me up so I can see what you picked!