September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Every Heart a Doorway and Blackhearts

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's WoW theme is: heart-associated titles :D

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire


Goodreads' description:

"Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost."

I believe this is an adult novel, and not a specific retelling of any particular fairy tale, but more about what happens to the children who have somehow fallen into fairy tales and have now returned to the real world. I have the feeling this will probably be pretty dark and mature, but I'm really interested by the premise.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman


Goodreads' description: 

"Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. This is their story.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay."

This is the origin story of Blackbeard, which I really don't know much about (it just makes me think of the fairy tale Bluebeard) so I'm interested to learn more. 

What books are you waiting for?

September 1, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Just Didn't Click With

The Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is characters that we just didn't click with. I always kinda enjoy ranting about characters I didn't like, so I thought I'd join in this Top Ten Tuesday.

Plus, I just realized I haven't participated in a Top Ten Tuesday post since August 2014... how is that possible??! (Answer: the busy, stressful life of a grad student... but hey, that's over now! I'm done my program. Hopefully that means I can devote a little more time now to blogging.)

Anyway, without further ado (and in no particular order), here are the top ten twelve characters I didn't click with:

*Links are to my reviews of the books, so you can read in more detail about why a character didn't work for me. 

1.) Anna from A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton— specifically, the character Anna becomes once she falls in insta-love with Seth. I liked Anna to begin with, but am no fan of insta-love and what it does to characters I had initially liked well enough.

 2.) Dora from Secret Letters by Leah Scheier — she's annoyingly overconfident in her sleuthing abilities (without any reason that she should be, because actually, she kinda sucks at sleuthing) and sometimes when reading it I'd just be sitting there cringing and going, "No, Dora!!!" in my head.

3.) Victor and Eli from Vicious by V. E. Schwab— I think I'm one of the only people who didn't rave about Vicious. Sorry, but I just found the characters so dislikeable! I know that was the point, but partway through the book I was just hoping really hard for both of these guys to die at the end.

4.) Lucy from Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley — this one is perhaps less a case of "not clicking" and more a case of a character being kinda boring and flat. Lucy was a pretty relatable character, but I just didn't really care about what happened to her.

5.) Sage from The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult — I really disliked Sage in the first part of this book. I'm not sure if that's what the author intended, but Sage was involved in an adulterous relationship and that will often turn me off a character. She did redeem herself somewhat towards the end, but overall I'm just not the biggest fan.

6.) London from Forgotten by Cat Patrick — I had issues with pretty much everything about this book, but the characterization was definitely one of them. London is a very flat, forgettable sort of character (I guess the book is aptly titled.) As I wrote in my review, "I'm not sure I could name one activity London enjoys doing in her spare time if I had to (I'm not counting hanging out with her friend or boyfriend)."

7.) Sandinista from The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell — unlike some of the others on this list, it wasn't that Sandinista was so flat and boring that I couldn't click with her. It was the opposite problem — she was so "edgy" and cynical that I had trouble relating to her.

8.) Jacinda from Firelight by Sophie Jordan — she was one of these wishy-washy characters that keeps flip-flopping around, changing her mind every other page. And she loves to bring the angst.

9.) Sunshine from Sunshine by Robin McKinley — she was too sarcastic and jaded even for me, and I can appreciate sarcasm. Worse, she was self-absorbed and whiny, and the stream-of-consciousness writing style made following along with her thought processes even more tedious.

10.) Libby from Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm — I liked some aspects of Libby's character, but she was so dense when it came to the two guys in her life. It was so obvious to the reader (in part, because this book relies heavily on tropes/stereotypes and is very predictable) which was the "good" guy and which was just a player. But Libby just blindly ignored what was staring her right in the face.

11.) Celaena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas — I know this series has a huge fanbase, but at least in the first book, Celaena and I weren't always on the same page. She comes off as sorta full of herself to start with, and pretty judgmental at times of others. We're told she's Adarlan's greatest assassin, but we really don't see it. Plus, she basically leads on two guys at the same time, and I always lose respect for characters who do that.

Did you have trouble connecting with any of these characters?

July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Servant of the Crown, The Impostor Queen, and The Shadow Queen

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

Sense a theme? I'm getting my royal fantasy on in this week's "Waiting on Wednesday" post.

Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShane

Goodreads' description:

"Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.

When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.

Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

A quest to save the Royal Library. Hate-turned-to-love romance. A threat to the government. What is not to like here? Plus Sherwood Smith liked it, so there's that, too. This book has a very YA-fantasy-esque cover but I believe it's actually an adult novel.

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

Goodreads' description:

"Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

I haven't read any of Sarah Fine's previous books, but I have had her on the blog as a guest blogger for Psychtember! Interested to see how the magic system is handled in this book, and also the social strata.

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine.


"Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

I'm always up for a fairy tale retelling! In this case it's Snow White... but with dragons? Should be interesting... I haven't read C. J. Redwine's first series, but I've heard good things.

What books are you waiting for?

May 23, 2015

Short & Sweet: Bloodlines, Rivals in the City, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Nightspell

So it's been, um, about 3 months since I posted here... sorry, guys! All is well, I've just been super busy with school (and now my final internship)! Which means I have had little to no time for either reading (for fun) or blogging. But I have read a few books that I haven't reviewed, and I'm not sure if/when I will get around to writing up a review. I did put short blurbs of my thoughts up on Goodreads, though, so I figured I would post those here too. Without further ado...

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
8709527Very slow start to this one – things didn't really get going until about halfway through the book, but once they did my interest was caught. Sydney does not have the sort of bold personality/voice that Rose of the original VA series did, but I think her character could grow on me as the series continues. Plus, interested to see where things go with the Sydney/Adrian potential...
Verdict: 3.5 stars.


Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
Sad that this was the last Agency book! I liked that some of the characters from the first book were brought back, and overall it was a pretty solid conclusion to the series. Plus, James is adorable. But there was very little of the usual Mary-James romantic banter in this one! :(
Verdict: 4 stars.

18080771Dark, and weird, and tangled... Despite this book being utterly fantastical in some ways, Neil Gaiman manages to touch upon very real thoughts and emotions. Interesting exploration of the adult/child power dynamic in particular. I kinda wish we'd seen more of the narrator's life in the present, to compare with the past. Also, I am left with a few questions, one being, whose funeral was he attending?
Verdict: 4 stars.
Nightspell by Leah Cypess
I still have a lot of questions about this one, especially why the author chose the ending she did. Unfortunately I found it rather anti-climactic after all that build-up. Also, the characters seemed to follow leaps of logic and come to conclusions at a pace that left me going, "huh?" Interesting, though, that the focus in this book is really on sibling relationships (rather than romance), and it certainly raises some thought-provoking questions about life, death, and being "undead." (I do still wish we'd been given Kestin's POV, however! I think that would have been fun.)
Verdict: 3 stars.

February 9, 2015

Guest Posting about My Fair Lady!

Why yes, I *am* still alive!

Just wanted to give a quick head's-up that I've got a guest post today over at Bring My Books. I'm chatting about the awesomeness of the film My Fair Lady, and I invite you to hop on over and join me!

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