Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
(Throne of Glass, #1)
Sarah J. Maas

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
(August 7, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1599906953
ISBN-13: 978-1599906959
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Adarlan's Assassin was never supposed to be more than that. The Crown Prince saw her as an escape from the routine life of royalty, the Captain of the Guard saw her as nothing more than a killer for hire, and the King has nothing but a means to an end. Nobody expected her to be their savior, but that's exactly what she was.

After suffering through Endovier's torture of a jail, after being betrayed by someone she thought was the most loyal, Celaena Sardothien has to agree to win the fight to be the King of Adarlan's Champion. She knows she has what it takes to put up with four years of following the King's orders to get her freedom, but the challenges soon become nothing to worry about when Champion candidates start turning up mauled to death.

I liked the fact that Throne of Glass was told through third-person perspective as well as from multiple points of view because it gave this mythical yet medieval world more depth. The love triangle could be spotted a mile away in this book, but I do have to give it points for originality. However, with all the little hints made that Celaena came from Terrasen's royal family, I got the vibe that the Crown Prince and Celaena would do better as siblings than love interests. I was probably far off in that assumption but I can't really say that they go well together, romantically speaking. I guess this puts me in a more Team Captain Chaol than Team Prince Dorian. Chaol was more of a repressed character in this book and I would like to see him subtly get closer to Celaena, as well as both of them getting to know each other better.

As far as the writing goes, I had no problem with the flow of the novel, and have to say that the descriptive portions with the creatures and otherworldly power was honestly spot on and thrilling. I know this has to do more with the plot than with the writing, but I liked that Ms. Maas was able to incoporate the gruesome scenes and Celaena's fighting scenes so flawlessly into the story line. The true problem that I had with the plot was that there were so many hints and clues that there was more going on with the kingdom, the castle, and its King, but there were very little answers. I understand that there's going to be more installments but I would have appreciated a more concrete standing in this world that these amazingly dynamic characters live in.

Overall I think it was a decent start to a series with a haunted assassin with too many demons and only freedom in mind. Though there were too many questions about her past that were not addressed in this installment and perhaps a bit too many secret plots, there's hope for Celaena and her mismatched crew that consists of a besotted Crown Prince, a no-nonsense foreign Princess, and the hardy Captain of the King's Guard.

Also, for those who really liked this book I would highly recommend reading Maria V. Snyder's works, especially Poison Study, the first in the Study series.


Source: Publisher via Netgalley


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Q&A and Giveaway: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear.
It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms.
"You didn't do that, did you? It was done to you?"
No one ever asked that question.
They stared. They whispered. They laughed. 
But they never asked.
So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

A Q&A with Katie McGarry

Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it alwaysfelt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek my- thology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un- fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (14)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...

Embers & Echoes
(Wildefire, #2)
Karsten Knight

Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire."Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she's ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she's also looking for love--because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess--and she doesn't get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire "continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.

Rebel Heart
(Dust Lands, #2)
Moira Young

Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy, which MTV's Hollywood Crush blog called "better than "The Hunger Games.""It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba's world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh's freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road," a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of"danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

If you want to check out my opinion on the first installment on both of these series, here are the links to my review of Wildefire by Karsten Knight and Blood Red Road by Moira Young.

What are you waiting on?