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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman [Book Review]

Title: Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House
ASIN: B005IQZC2M
Source: Purchased


Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Timesbestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed. Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you've never imagined them before…
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. 
The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.
When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina's struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life. 
Seraphina was a true fantasy. I say this because of all the effort that was clearly placed into the building of the world. Hartman creates a world and a race of dragon that was very original, and the relationship between the humans and the dragons is a central concept of the novel that evolves and comes to light as time goes on. We all know that I am a huge fan of fantasy, it speaks to me, and Seraphina was special in its originality.

I loved, loved, the conflict between the dragons and man kind. I felt the relationship between them (and the mirroring that seemed to take place) as very interesting, but also important because there was still a clear difference between the two races that was tangibly felt.

Seraphina, is caught between two worlds that made an attempt at coming together, but never can fully reconcile. This from the beginning gave her a sense of depth of character as the conflict was apparent from early on as not just an inner turmoil but an outer turmoil.

The writing was beautiful, the addition of art and music to the stories central themes were a wonderful addition which made some passages read full, luscious and embodied with emotions.

While I liked all of these things, I also think that at times the world and story were so intricate if you blinked you missed things. There is a glossary for a reason, and as long as you use it you're fine, but for the reader who does not want to have to keep names and people straight this may be a problem.

This book was no Game of Thrones in complexity, but the world was so much world building that using the Glossary proved to be very helpful.

The romance in the book was sweet and it was definitely an element the reader rooted for. I am very excited to see where Hartman takes this particular element in the book to Shadow Scale. The relationship between Kiggs, Glassinda, and Seraphina was one that I really enjoyed reading. They all shared an unusual friendship in their own ways, which kept me interested and intrigued as the plot thickened.

Seraphina is a wonderfully developed story that will appeal to fans of fantasy, and to fans of romance. This tale has so many varying elements that it will hold the interest of many and the beautiful imagery will only add to the appeal as Seraphina's music and garden come alive in the most wonderful ways. While this book is long, it is definitely worth the reading.

If you love fantasy, don't miss Seraphina!



Monday, February 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Heroines I LOVE


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

When I think of heroines I think of classic fantasy, epic tales where dragons are battled and kingdoms saved. 

I will try to expand pass that realm in this post because every genre deserves some powerful woman love! 

1.Yelena from Poison Study
I love Yelena! The Study Series is one that has completely stuck with me over the years! I still haven't gotten my hands on the newest one (AHH). The reason I'm choosing Yelena is her fierceness and inability to give up. She is one character that never accepted second best and she never let any obstacle get in her way. 


2. Rose from Vampire Academy
I read the Vampire Academy in high school, and it was practically my obsession for a good two years. Rose was such a powerful protagonist and she really proved power through sheer strength physically and emotionally over and over and over. Rose is a bad A**. There is no other word for it. 



3. Katsa from Graceling
This is one heroine who truly sets the bar for power and strength. When I think of classic Fantasy in YA, I think of Graceling and Katsa did not disappoint in any department. She was strong, willing, able, and strove always for what was right. I loved everything about Graceling while I was reading it, and I still often long to go back to the world that Kristen Cashore created. 


4. Scarlett from Gone With the Wind
We all knew I couldn't get through a heroine list without mentioning Scarlett! Scarlett is a different kind of heroine, she expresses a true strength of will and does anything in order to survive. The true story of Gone With the Wind is a struggle for humanity. Scarlett is complex but she is most certainly not week in any way. Her strength to survive is uncanny, and that is why she is a heroine for all the lists. Click here to find more about my love of Gone With the Wind! I wrote a whole post about it.


5. Anne from Anne of Green Gables
Oh, how I love that Anne girl! She would never be the same as a Cordelia, and this heroine is one who enchants us for pages and then continues for a lifetime! I can scarcely go through a full day without having Anne references pass through my head. She is wonderful and has given me so much joy. Plus, her and Gilbert are perfect. So. So. perfect. 



6. Hermione from Harry Potter
I love her. I just do. She's me if I were cooler. I feel the Hermione in me come out all the time, I'm always super into accomplishing everything (which is how I end up in college, working, blogging, and having a very small business). We're just crazy people. And I love that she made me know that was okay. 

7. Ella from Ella Enchanted
This one may seem weird, but when I was a kid Ella Enchanted was my thing. I loved the book and when a movie happened I was in heaven. It was practically my perfect book at that age, not too tough and fabulous. I love Ella, and in some small way she shaped a huge part of my childhood and made me who I am. 


8. Holly from Breakfast at Tiffany's
I did an entire post about this recently, so it should come as no surprise. I love Holly. If you want to hear my rant click here. I love how simply complicated she is, and her inability to see it. 


9. Meira from Snow Like Ashes
This is a new heroine to love! I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes, the world, the story telling, and Meira are all wonderful contributions to my list of favorite stories! I loved Meira's persistence and her constant search for understanding. I'm so excited for the sequel! 



10. Catwoman from Catwoman When in Rome
I know this one is super weird. I'm a comic fan too, and Catwoman has a story to tell. Whether she is a villain or an ally is a bit of a stickier issue, but in this comic especially we see her inner turmoil and her struggle with Bruce Wayne. We see the need to know who she is and where she comes from. We see true depth to a character that previously could have been written off as unimportant. I love Catwoman. Hear me meow! 


What are your Top Ten favorite Heroines? 

I would love to hear about them in the comments! 











Friday, February 20, 2015

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This week will be all about books I have received for my Kindle as of late. It has been a pretty intense couple weeks for Kindle, so I will try to include everything. 

**All review books were received via Edelweiss.

Bought: 


These are on sale right now! Could not resist I loved Cinder and still haven't read the rest!


These two are on a $1.99 sale, you should check it out! 


For Review: 




Thanks so much to Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Edelweiss for making me do many happy dances this week! I'm so excited for them all, as I'm sure you guys know as I think three of them have been in recent Waiting on Wednesdays! 

What did you guys get this week? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien [Review]

Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Source: Purchased
ISBN:  0618002227 
The first volume in J.R.R. Tokien's epic adventure The Lord of the Rings"Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." — C. S. Lewis"Exciting... Mr. Tolkien's invention is unflagging." — W. H. AudenOne Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind themIn ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told inThe Hobbit.In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) is one of the twentieth century's best-loved writers. His books, which include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, have been translated into more than thirty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

 I'm actually taking a Lord of the Rings class in college this semester, so this review is being done after just having completed this first installment of this master trilogy. The class combines Anglo Saxon literature with the world of Lord of the Rings to allow us a better understanding of the historical and textual points of the novel as they sometimes go hand and hand.

I grew up in a house where Tolkien was a God, a demi-God at the least. My father read the trilogy when he was a teenager and since had found no other books to compare to them. I began this reading understanding more about the writer and the Anglo-Saxon world in general which made the events in this book to make even more sense and make Tolkien's achievement even greater.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for your lives, The Fellowship of the Ring is the first installment of a trilogy that depicts an epic adventure in Middle Earth, a land where hobbits (halflings), Man Kind, Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, and other fantastic run amock.

This first book is a fantastic introduction and Tolkien really tries to make the reader feel how full this world is. There are paragraphs that show that everything in Middle Earth is connected, everyone having thoughts and histories all their own. This is something that really sets this series apart because of how vast an undertaking it is. Tolkien wrote the story for the language, not the language for the story as he was a linguist and medieval scholar. This tale really combined his two great loves, which is very evident upon reading because it is clear it was a work that came out of much thought and plan.

Though Tolkien did not have the entire plot planned upon first writing, he did eventually make up such a vast world that three ages of history were recorded. The small details often go missed without reading secondary material, but no question was left unanswered... except perhaps what the purpose of Tom Bombadil really is to the whole thing.

While the beginning may appear slow, there are so many quotable lines in this book that you can't help but continue. Constantly are you wanting to know will happen next in this world where anything seems to be possible.

The call back to classic Anglo-Saxon literature is one that is very apparant when this series is read with that in mind. The Anglo-Saxon culture saw exile as the worst thing that could happen to a person and community as the only way to survive. In The Lord of the Rings this idea is continued and turned on its head a bit as exile is chosen, and spoken against. Characters choose to go alone, the Fellowship is eventually broken, but no worries, after all "not all those who wander are lost..."

If you're a fan of epics, Tolkien, the LOTR movies, or would like to view Tolkien's turn on Anglo-Saxon literature this series cannot be missed!

If you love epic adventures, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise! (As Belle from Beauty and the Beast would say...) You need not look any farther, because Tolkien has it all here for you!

Highly, highly recommended.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Illusionarium 
by Heather Dixon
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circus meets Pixar.
Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.

I am so excited for this book! I really loved Entwined by Heather Dixon and am eager to read another by her! 

What are you guys waiting on this week? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Top Ten Bookish Problems

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!


1. Time. 
Everyone says they don't have enough time, but by golly it is true. I'm a senior in college, I work at an insurance company, I read, I write, I have to do grown up things like clean, I have a very small business that requires attention and I have animals in my life that get upset if I don't feed them. I began to notice though that when I didn't read I wasn't as happy. When I wasn't blogging, I felt like I was missing something. I now make sure that I fit time in somewhere - even if I don't sleep as much because of it.


2. I don't have room anymore. 
This seems to be one that a lot of people feel the pain of. I cannot walk into a store without browsing the book section and this turns into a problem when you're on your seventh bookshelf and still going strong. 


3. To Be Read Pile. 
It's gotten to the point where I can't even look at me TBR pile anymore without immediately wanting to stop all other aspects of my life and READ. I have so many books that I want to read, I need to read, and I don't have the time to read them all. Not too long ago I realized I may never be able to read them all in my lifetime. That was a sad day. Great books keep coming out, and I keep buying them. Meanwhile, the bookshelves aren't getting bigger and the minutes keep passing on... 


4. Physical Books vs. Kindle. 
I love my Kindle, and I love all of my physical books, though both for different reasons. Physical books feel better, but they bend, and require more room, and they're more difficult to read in bed. Plus they're SO HEAVY which is difficult when you have to be seven places every day. My kindle is much more convenient needing no light in the dark, all the books are there... but no one knows what I'm reading. You can't display a kindle. 


5. No One I know Reads. 
This isn't completely true, my best friend reads but she lives in Nashville and we don't always see eye to eye. Very rarely do I find anyone who has read the books I have or who even knows an awesome book is coming out soon. My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy, my parents keep expecting me to let go of my bookish ways and enter normalcy. So here we are. 


6. Mood Reading. 
I am a mood reader, I request books that are wonderful but have to be in the mood before I can pick them up. My mood doesn't completely determine what I read, but my schedule doesn't always go to plan. If I'm doing a blog tour that ALWAYS comes first, after that are books from publishers, and then finally the books I want for myself. In those subsets though moods matter. 


7. I'm an English Major... so I Already Read CONSTANTLY.
I'm in one of those awkward stages of life where the thing you love becomes the thing you hate and vice versa. I'm an English major who averages 100 pages of reading a night anyway plus two essays a week. It's a lot. I hate it. I want it to stop. And this emotion has led to a constant pull between what I have to do and what I want to do. Yes, I want to read the awesome books... but I've already been reading for two hours tonight. 

This has only been seven, but tis no bother! 

What bookish problems do you face? 







Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews


This week was a pretty crazy week as far as books went. I received physical and e-books this week, though I think I may save the ebooks for another post as that list is quite the sight to see. 

So this week I received... 


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Winner's Curse by Maria Rutkoski
By J.R.R. Tolkien... 
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 
The Tolkien Reader
The Silmarillion
Unfinished Tales
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

I'm actually taking a class in college right now in J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings so that is partially why it has become a mini obsession. 

The two Young Adult books in this list are books I have been wanting FOREVER. The first time I heard about the Red Queen was a blip/mention of it by Aveyard's agent when it was still two years away from release. I am so, so excited to finally have it! 

What did you guys get this week? 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday...

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine


City Love
by Susane Colasanti
Release Date: April 21st

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.
Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?
Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?
Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn't resist, she may find herself in city love.
Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl's life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

I love books that take place in New York City and this one sounds awesome! I love varying viewpoints and I have always imagined running off to the big apple and fending for myself... but have never been brave enough to let it happen. This is a book I can't wait to read!

Plus, it's Susane Colasanti and she's just great.

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Top Ten Things I Dislike and Like in Romances


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Dislikes
  1. Love Triangles. Well, sorta. I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles because while I feel they are overdone - they do add an extra dimension at times that I think is truly valuable.  I don't like love triangles for the sake of love triangles. If they don't bring anything to the table it needs to pass on by. 
  2. Damsels in Distress. This is something that I don't see as much as I once did *bravo* but there are times when this is still a true problem. I want strong female characters that DON'T need saving. They don't need a man to help, they got this. Strong female characters are essential and I think at times we've missed out on them. 
I want more of... 

  1. Historical Fiction. I know what you're thinking, "But Christina we have more historical fiction." I DON'T CARE I NEED MORE! I want another YA regency like Sarah McLean's The Season because it was awesome. I want a Civil War era YA. I want some more Tudor YA. I want a freaking awesome Renaissance YA. I just want MORE. 

2. Epic Fantasy. I know, we have more of this than we once did but there's a difference between epic fantasy and fantasy elements. I want a wonderful YA (which I may have just not read yet) that reads like an epic that would make the Anglo Saxons proud. I have high hopes for Red Queen but Graceling by Kristin Cashore was really the last YA fantasy that I would call epic in fashion. I want epic quests! And sword fights! And dashing young warriors! 


Likes

  1. Tension. There has to be tension for me to get into a story. There needs to be something/someone for me to instantly root for or I lose interest and force myself to finish. This is something I love about romantic books because if they are written correctly they will have this very early on. I want passion, and glances from across the room, secret notes, and an element that makes the love/romance feel impossible. This is the classic recipe for something swoonworthy. 
  2. Fairy Tales. I know we have seen a lot of fairy tale retellings, but I can't help but really love the concept. I'm a huge fan of the series Once Upon a Time so I love when classic tales are retold from different cool angles. The idea of bringing something classic back to life by reimagining it is one I really enjoy. I love that this is in YA lit so much recently. Keep up the good work! 

These books are some of my favorite that fit the best of these categories... 












Friday, February 6, 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's [Book vs. Movie]

Breakfast at Tiffany's 

Book vs. Movie

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a book written by Truman Capote that was made into a movie featuring this lovely lady.


If you haven't seen it, it may be official that you're not an actual human being because it is iconic. Everyone has seen the classic representation of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly... and everyone has seen renditions of it EVERYWHERE.
No. Seriously. 

While it is such an iconic piece of film, the book never gets enough attention. If you haven't seen the movie, go watch it. It's my favorite movie and it took me a good three times before I got it and understood what it was that made me keep coming back. 

Essentially, the movie is about a girl who doesn't have her life together but the focus isn't what you expect. The true aspects of the movie are always hidden, mentioned, and then glossed over like they do not matter. But they do. The things we glance over create who we are. Especially for Holly Golightly. 



In the book, this glancing over of the issues is even more apparent as it is told completely in reflections. Paul tells a story about a girl he once knew... Holly Golightly. And in it understanding of her is never actually established. 




Even her name tells us tons about her character. Holly Golightly, she lives her life moment to moment, and doesn't seem to make any long time plans... other than marrying rich, which the one guy who cares about her is not. 

Holly Golightly is a very fascinating character because of her light attitude. She is practically always positive - and chooses to forget. She has no stability, and that is what she wants. 


Her couch is a bathtub. She keeps her phone in a suit case. She has dreams of a better life, but she is stuck due to her own choices. It never gets better. 

The movie does a great job at portraying Holly as she is, flighty and even some what oblivious to her choices and their effect on her life. 

The book puts Holly through a more distant lens, still the same character, but more distant, and in many ways more dreamlike. The movie makes her visually more real and even slightly more relatable. 
She doesn't want to be controlled. She doesn't want to be caged in. So she continues the cycle, looking for some sort of happiness her self will allow. 


The difference between the book and the movie really boils down to the way it is told and Holly's depiction as a character. In the book, Holly is somewhat stronger and the reader does not feel as much for her character when she makes mistakes because she is distant. 

Maybe it's just Audrey Hepburn, but the movie really displays her in a more relatable light and you root for her. 


This movie is really one of those few times I feel as if something separate was created. The book is great, fantastic even, but it is different. The movie has an entirely different feel to it, and while it does change a few small details, the way the story is told feels more personal. 





While I love both the book and the movie, I feel the movie has more to love about it. This is probably the only time I will ever say anything like this, but Breakfast at Tiffany's was recreated with the movie and through the sensational cast something truly magnificent was created. 

If you haven't seen it, you need to. 



It might just break your heart. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine! Make sure to check out her page for more titles you shouldn't miss out on. 


99 Days 
Author: Katie Cotugno
Release Date: 4/21/2015
Day 1
Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that's how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I'm serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.
Day 4
A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn't finished. I'm expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it's just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. "For what it's worth, Molly Barlow," he says, "I'm really glad you're back."
Day 12
Gabe got me to come to this party, and I'm actually having fun. I think he's about to kiss me—and that's when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who's supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who's never going to forgive me.
Eighty-seven days of summer to go, and history is repeating itself. The last thing I want is to come between the Donnelly brothers again . . . but the truth is, the Donnellys stole my heart a long time ago.

This book sounds very fun! I think it would be an adorable and semi-cute read. I LOVE the way this one seems to play out through first person diary entries and I cannot wait to give it a try! 

What are you waiting on this week?  
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