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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Revisit! Nine years later... Graceling by Kristin Cashore [Book Review]

I've been a reader for a very long time, and as such, I often find myself remembering titles that I read years prior. What often happens with me is I remember liking a book but beyond that I remember NOTHING else.

I've recently come across a new favorite app (guys, apps weren't even really a thing when I first started this Blog -- how times have changed) called SCRIBD which has a wonderful selection of audio books.

Graceling was amongst the audiobook selection so I decided to feast on the memories of years prior and OH was it a wonderful feast.

Here is my review of Graceling, (nearly) ten years later, nine years older, nine years wiser.

Kristin Cashore

Length- 512 pages

Publisher: HMH for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 07, 2009

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


After the first time I read Graceling I remember thinking to myself that this book, more than any I had read prior, was truly epic fantasy... at least in the young adult genre.

Graceling is fantasy done right -- the world feels large and all encompassing. The story is gripping and while in the world I found myself truly in her world and fully entranced by the story.

Some fantasies lead me to eye rolling when the plot becomes too convenient, but with Graceling this was not the case.

We begin the story with Katsa showing her colors, and one thing I truly loved about Katsa is the fact her imperfections are not hidden. She's a killer. She's killed many, many people and this has led her character to be different than the typical YA heroine.

The idea of Graces was a nice addition to the plot line and it made sense to the world, and I especially loved that the author did not use a blanket opinion of Graces the same for every land or culture. While this world is incredibly large, we also find out that different members of it see the Graced differently.

The relationship between Katsa and Po was slow building making it feel more genuine.

If I were to have a complaint -- it would be only that the end in some ways did feel rushed. For such a long story the end and completion seemed to come quickly and end swiftly. There was very little finality with the end which did leave me ever so slightly dissatisfied.

All in all, nine years later I agree with my previous rating of 5/5.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Release Date: May 3, 2016 

In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.

Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold.

Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose.

Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.... 

What are you guys waiting for this week? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Let's Talk: Surprising Books You've LOVED!

So, have you guys ever received a book and expected not to like it? 

I think sometimes we condition ourself to our "thing" and then don't want to accept something outside of it. 

For instance, I am a historical, fantasy, and contemporary girl. I don't do mysteries, and I don't typically do anything too cutesy/serious. I don't like for drama to be too crazy, because it tends to throw me off. I also don't like for all of the characters in a book to read like they have a smile plastered to them. 

However, there are always the exceptions... 

Like these!

So, what are some books you guys didn't expect to like but ended up loving?

Did it change you as a reader, or do you still stay away from that type of book in general?

Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Release Date: May 3, 2016 

A romantic and exhilarating historical adventure about a girl who must unlock the secrets within Paradise Lost to save her father—perfect for fans of Revolution and Code Name Verity

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Viviani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father . . . and tear apart the very fabric of society.

Historical fiction is pretty much my life. 

What are you guys excited for this week?  

Monday, February 29, 2016

Ten Books to Read if You are in the Mood for Adventure!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish 

What books fulfill your need for adventure?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Top Book Couples That I LOVE!

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

This week was a Valentines day freebie, so I decided to make an awesome list of the book characters I love to feel the love with. 

1. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley: I feel like I need to go ahead and get this one over with. This couple made me fall in love with falling in love. I loved their chemistry and the slow build up that literally left us all frustrated from feelings of, "Come on, just let it happen already!" While the rest of the world is all excited for these additional Harry Potter things (and I am too) I am constantly hoping for a Hermione and Ron: The In Between Years story of some sort.

Forget the Mauraders, I want to read about Hermione and Ron's first official date and all of its akwardness.

2. Anne and Gilbert Blythe: I've talked about this one before, and I do feel like their relationship build up is actually quite similar to that of Hermione and Ron's. I don't think there is a word that has been discovered yet for Anne and Gilbert's kind of perfection though. It is a slow build, but it also has a great reward which is something I really appreciate. Anne and Gilbert make me very, very happy. 

3. Wes and Macy (from The Truth About Forever): I feel like contemporary fiction couples are often not as recognized as fantasy couples are when it comes to these kind of lists. Wes and Macy to me are just as good as a romance that spans a series because they just work. The beauty of The Truth About Forever, is that all of the characters interact together in such a way that they feel real, and the ultimate realization and obstacles that they overcome create a resolution that fits in with our own expectations. Maybe they don't change the world, and so what if not much hinges of whether they're together or not, but Wes makes broken things whole again, and Macy learns to look at perfection in a different way. 

4. Yelena and Valek: Just thinking about this couple makes me want to go back and reread. This is one of those romances that is just forbidden enough to make the story feel like you can't read it fast enough. I loved the way these two interacted, and the relationship felt very fleshed out. The author successfully creates a world that her readers believe in and cannot get enough of. We can probably read books about Yelena and Valek for years to come with no complaints. 

5. Rose and Dimitri: When I read Vampire Academy in high school I was obsessed with this couple's story. While I do feel the romance and relationship dissipated a bit as the books continued, those first few installments will always remind me of the intensity of that relationship. Just thinking about it makes me want to reread! 

6. Batman and Catwoman/ Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle: A true classic in the realm of couples that are loved, but sadly often forgotten. While there have been so many different attempts at the Batman and Catwoman story, you just can't deny that they belong together. As far as comic book couples go, these two will always be my favorite and I will never accept them with anyone else. 

That is all for this week, what couples did I miss?

What couples do you love to love? 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sit! Stay! Speak!: A Novel by Annie England Noblin [Book Review]

Title: Sit! Stay! Speak! 
Author: Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Received from Publisher for honest review.
Release Date: September 18, 2015

Echoing the novels of Mary Alice Monroe, Allie Larkin, and Holly Robinson, this charming debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a rescue dog that helps a struggling young outsider make peace with the past.

Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!

People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.

Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.

It should come as no surprise that I enjoy dog books. I am a huge believer in dogs as wo(man)'s best friend, and I do truly believe that without those fuzz balls in my life, life just wouldn't be as complete. I am an animal rescuer myself and am a proud dog mom foster failure (because I adopted them!) so I was greatly looking forward to this one as I felt I should be able to relate. Plus, I live in the South -- what is there not to love?!

Our story's heroine, Addie, is stuck in between her past and her future. She is unsure of what her next steps are and I found myself hurrying along trying to find out what she was going to do next.

Jasper Floyd is essentially country boy perfection. Not only does he work on his farm, but he is also a fancy pants lawyer. Talk about a swoon! If you end up in the middle of Arkansas, he is what you hope to find.

I found their relationship to be sweet, if not a bit fast at times. I wanted more build up to their actions, but I definitely felt an emotional pull for them which added depth that worked really well. If Jasper was gone for too many pages I started to get antsy, which is never a bad thing when reading any story.

I enjoyed Addie's relationship with her fellow neighbors, and I even enjoyed seeing the Southernisms through her eyes. As a Southerner I don't think things are odd or unusual until they're pointed out, and this book added some humor by using classic Southern charm.

I didn't always believe the extent of her ignorance for simple Southern things. For instance, I feel like everyone should know what a hush puppy is -- but then again I feel like the rest of the world should drink sweet tea as well. (BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS) Perhaps it is being a Southerner that makes this stretch hard, but maybe these things really are strictly "Southern" and don't appear above the Mason Dixon Line.

All in all I felt this was a nice, enjoyable and (mostly) fun read.  If you're looking for a nice and sweet story about a girl overcoming her past, and moving towards her future, this book will gel with you. If you're looking for a "dog" book, this may not suffice quite as much. The dog, Felix, in this story is really more of a background character and more of a plot device used to drive the story action rather than creating all of it. I enjoyed this, but if you want a story solely about a dog, you may be disappointed.

I enjoyed the simple mystery that drove the story's plot, and was greatly satisfied at its conclusion.

I am also slightly in love with the cover!

Ultimately, if you are a fan of dogs, or just enjoy good stories, this book is for you. If you like reading about characters who discover who they are and find themselves again, this book will be perfect to curl up with.

If you are not from the South and have read this book I would love to hear about your knowledge of these "Southernisms." Do you know what hush puppies are? I know they don't serve sweet tea up north... but be honest, don't you wish they did? 

Let me know what ya'll think! 
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