Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crown of Embers

Warning: Spoiler alert.  If you haven't read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, read it immediately!

I absolutely adore the world Rae Carson created in her Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy (watch Rae Carson give an introduction to the trilogy here).  If possible, I think I enjoyed The Crown of Embers (watch Rae Carson discuss the book here) even more than The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Elisa continues to become a strong and confident character despite all of the obstacles she faces.

As The Crown of Embers begins, we see Elisa continuing to attempt her attempts at bringing Joya d'Arena back to its glory.  She learns that this may be more of a challenge than she originally expected.  Rumor has it that her late husband's ruling style was weak at best.  Also, it seems as though some members of the council are conspiring against her.  As if that weren't enough, spies may have also infiltrated her circle as well.  Being a young, foreign queen is tough stuff.

Also, Elisa learns that her service as the godstone bearer has probably not been fulfilled.  She learns of a quest that she knows she must complete.  She is convinced that accomplishing this task will prove she is a worthy leader, complete her service as the bearer, and unite her country. 

It was an amazing adventure.  To add to all of the excitement of the quest there is also Hector.  Ahhh, Hector.  His relationship with Elisa becomes even more complicated.  I mean, how long could Hector go on being absolutely perfect before Elisa took notice?

This one ends as quite a cliffhanger.  I really look forward to the final installment of the trilogy.  Elisa is a character that I hope gets everything she wants in the end.  I guess we'll see.

I am hoping for another novella that will give us insight into other characters like Shadow Cats did. Since the third book, The Bitter Kingdom, isn't available until fall of next year, I will need more of this magical world before then!   I absolutely encourage you to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Shadow Cats, and The Crown of Embers.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blood Wounds

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer caught me totally by surprise.  Truly.  I really thought I saw where this book was going early on, but no, no, no.  I could never have anticipated where this story would take me.  Let me explain.

As the story begins we meet Willa.  Willa lives with her mother, step-father, and two step-sisters.  Willa knows how lucky she is that she and her mother have found Jack and his daughters because their life is quite comfortable with them.  However, as it turns out, Willa isn't as happy as she thinks she ought to be.  Willa is a cutter.  So, from that bit of information, I thought I knew this book would be about her descent into depression, therapy, and rehabilitation.  But, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The comfortable existence is rocked to the core when a call from Willa's mothers oldest friend brings some shocking news.  It seems that the father Willa never knew who remained in Texas after Willa and her mother left years ago has committed an unbelievable crime.  He has brutally murdered his current wife and two of their three daughters.  Ummm, can you say unexpected?  I thought my mind would be blown off at this point!

As the rest of the story unfolds, Willa must decide how she will deal with the unbelievable truth about the family she never really knew she had.  Willa has to confront her own fears and acknowledge the imperfections she has been trying to overcome.

This is a page turner!  I couldn't sleep while reading it;  I simply couldn't stop thinking about the book.  Clear a day from your schedule and snuggle up with this book.  Lock the door though;  it's creepy!

Susan Beth Pfeffer also wrote the Last Survivors series.  Check out my review here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beautiful Redemption

Spoiler Alert!  But seriously, if you haven't read this series, you are at risk of being culturally deprived!

I have such bittersweet feelings about the dramatic conclusion to the Caster Chronicles.  I've spent the last few years loving them, waiting for them, reading them, and loaning them.  Now, I will look forward to seeing the movies brought to the big screen and rereading them.  Beautiful Redemption (watch the trailer here) is absolutely breathtaking.  Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia are so gifted in their abilities to create a beautiful world that is so hauntingly appealing, yet fearful.  I sit in awe of them. 

Beautiful Redemption picks up after the breathtaking (seriously, I thought I would choke) end of Beautiful Chaos.  After his decent from the Gatlin County water tower, Ethan is fairly surprised to wake up.  As you may expect, it isn't the normal awakening though.  Ethan wakes up on the other side, where his mother is waiting for him.  I really love this part.  Finding out about his mother has always been so important to Ethan (and me as a reader), that I delighted in the opportunity to spend time with her character.  At seventeen, Ethan isn't ready to commit to his death.  Luckily, there are people who are willing to help him.

As Ethan begins his quest to retake his life, he learns he must also get help from the living world.  In order to do this, he must learn how to gain the attention of Amma and Lena.  This is tough since he can't kelt, speak, write, or touch them.  But, Ethan didn't grow up with Amma without learning a few tricks.
Of course the Dark Casters must stand in the way.  But there are a few surprises in who is able to actually stand in the way and who is able to offer assistance.  Oh my, my, my.
I absolutely with my whole being love this series.  This weekend I traveled to YALLFest, where I was excited to be up close and personal with both Margaret and Kami.  These two women are phenomenal.  I even had a chance meeting with Margaret Stohl.  That's right, be jealous.  The day prior to the festival, my friend and I decided to investigate the venues so we could properly plan our attack the next day.  While doing this, Margaret came into the Charleston Music Hall, introduced herself, invited us to the screening session, and thanked us for coming.  My heart filled with happiness.  Oh, and the screening session I mentioned was a special sneak peek of the movie, which will never be available online and was only previously screened at Comic Con.  I am one of the luckiest girls in the world!  (Notice those front row style pictures taken by yours truly!  Be jealous some more!)

If you haven't read the rest of the books and are interested, learn about them in my previous reviews Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful DarknessBeautiful Chaos, and Dream Dark (Link's story).

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I have one word for Revolver.  Unexpected.  Seriously, I really didn't see the end coming.  Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (watch Sedgwick read the first chapter here), a Printz honor book,  is a fast paced read that certainly caught the attention of this reader. 

Revolver tells the story of Sig Andersson, who is 15 and lives in an old cabin in the Arctic Circle.  Sig resides here with his step-mother, sister, and father.  However, the problems begin when his father stepped through a weak spot in the ice and unfortunately died.  Now, Sig is alone with the corpse after his step-mother and sister have gone for help.  As if being alone with the corpse of his father weren't bad enough, now a mysterious stranger, Wolff,  has appeared on the scene.

This is no ordinary stranger.  This man claims to be connected with Sig's father.  He claims that Sig's father owes him money, but since he is no longer able to pay, he will collect from Sig.  This is certainly new to Sig, as is the news that his father could have been involved with this nefarious man. 

Thank goodness, Sig's father taught him how to use his prized revolver.  It's as if Sig had always been trained for the moment Wolff might show up.  Now, Sig is faced with the determining how to best rid himself of the stranger.  Will he shoot?  Will he survive? 

Although this may not be the best reason to recommend a book, I'll divulge this anyway.  This book is pretty short and extremely fast paced.  The chapters are short, which always helps me read faster.  It is the type of book you could probably read in a day.  Because of this, I know several reluctant readers (as well as some who aren't) I'd like to loan this book.  Well played, Sedgwick, well played.