Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Gem & Dixie

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: Gem & Dixie  

Author: Sara Zarr 
Release Date: April 4, 2017


Gem & Dixie is the new novel from renowned young adult author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr—a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.

Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table; and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie, on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she's tried so hard to keep.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr has written her most personal and affecting book yet—an unforgettable story of breaking apart and of coming together again. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

I always enjoy stories about strong sister bonds, maybe because I have a little sister and we're very close. I also love Seattle, so what more could I want from this book? Definitely a 2017 publication I want to check out. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas


Title: Queen of Shadows 
Series: Throne of Glass Series #4
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA 
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Format: Paperback 

Page Count: 565

Rating: 


The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world. (taken from goodreads.com)


Okay, so I'm pretty sure that everyone is getting tired of me working my way through this series. I've only been reviewing the Throne of Glass books recently, and I have to admit, it's getting more and more difficult to review each book simply because they are all quite similar. However, I can happily admit that I found Queen of Shadows to be the best book in the series yet. 

For some reason, I was struck by the immense similarities between this fourth installment and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The epic struggle against a supernatural evil, the need to destroy powerful items of jewelry, and of course, the lovable cast of underdogs fighting against a far superior enemy.... It all struck me as very Tolkien. In my eyes, this isn't a bad thing, mostly because I adore the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It's as though Maas took the overall feel of Lord of the Rings and transferred it to a new, more modern YA adaptation. 

The characters truly make the story, as is the case with most of Maas' novels. Aelin, Rowan, Chaol, Aedion, and the other fierce personalities bring the plot to life and have earned Maas a loyal fandom over the past few years. There's a reason so much fan art and merchandise for the series exists: everyone loves the characters. They've grown since the first book or two, and I'm impressed by the character development Maas has interweaved with the thickening plot. 

Personally, I have noticed a big leap in Maas' writing style. Over the past few years and the publication of her most recent novels, her skills have definitely improved. Her recent books impressed me far more than her earlier ones, and if this trend continues, Maas is on track to become one of the next huge names in YA literature. I mean, she already is a huge name, but I mean HUGE. Like, Suzanne Collins or Cassandra Clare huge. I wonder when someone will suggest a movie or TV show adaption... It can't be long now...

So, why not give Queen of Shadows five stars if I love Maas' writing and I thought this was the best installment yet? I don't know. I'm sorry, but that's the truth. I feel like Maas is still holding back a little, like there's some untapped potential that I think she can find. Perhaps Empire of Storms will finally coax me into awarding this series a five star rating. What do you guys think? Which book in the series is your favorite? 

   
         
Aelin bears a striking resemblance to Daenerys in Game of Thrones... 
I can't be the only one who thinks that, right? Either way, they are both total badasses. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dragon's Price

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: The Dragon's Price 

Author: Bethany Wiggins
Release Date: February 21, 2017


Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.

When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of this one's cover. However, the praise the novel has received and the synopsis have convinced me to overlook it. I'm a sucker for any books about dragons, and seeing The Dragon's Price compared to The Wrath and the Dawn has me excited. This one hits shelves in less than a week, so get excited! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas


Title: Heir of Fire 
Series: Throne of Glass Series #3 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA 
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Format: Paperback 

Page Count: 565

Rating: 


Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish. (taken from goodreads.com)


So, as the latecomer that I am, I've been working my way through Maas' most popular series over the past few weeks. Each book seems to pick up speed and gain depth, and I am happy to say that I think the third book is the best installment in the series yet. Of course, I've still got the fourth and fifth books to tackle, so maybe they'll change that statement.... 

While reading the first two books, I couldn't help but want Maas to do more. I wanted more character analysis, more epic developments, more more more. Thankfully, she did provide more in Heir of Fire. Caelena/Aelin use to annoy me so much with her sense of entitlement and ridiculous attitude. Now, I'm learning to love her, thanks to Maas excellent character portrayal and story development. Maas also ups the level of magic and other-worldliness, which I appreciated. I need some truly epic battles and abilities in my fantasy novels. The addition of new characters from various places also earned my approval. 

This third book switches points of view much more often than the past two, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Like I said, new characters are added, and almost every chapter is from a different person's point of view than the one before. On one hand, it adds more complexity to the plot, but on the other, it forces the reader to constantly switch from person to person. Maas even adds a brand new character, Manon, whose storyline barely even affects the other characters' lives. Even after finishing the book, I couldn't decide if I enjoyed the constant switching or if I found it distracting. 

So, why not give Heir of Fire five stars if I thought it was such an improvement? Honestly, I don't know what it is, but I just can't make myself fall in love with this series quite as much as I did with the ACOTAR series. Maybe it's the characters, maybe it's the story, or maybe it's just the writing style. Yet again, I hold out hope for the next book. Maybe it'll finally receive the five-star award I so badly want to bestow upon this series. 

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed Heir of Fire, simply because Maas is an incredibly talented writer and character creator. I didn't fall head-over-heels like I wanted to, but that does't mean I don't really appreciate this series. 

   
         
Things are growing in intensity, and I'm so excited to give the next book a chance.