Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Been a While, Huh?

How ashamed of me would you be if I told you I've only read two books since I officially went on hiatus in September? I hope not too much because I am already judging myself - hard.

Since that time, I've kind of replaced the obsessive reading/blogging with knitting and crocheting. I know - crazy, right?! I taught myself to do both once I quit my part-time job and realized that if I didn't find a "productive" hobby, I'd be sitting at home every single night after getting home from my day job and watching 5 hours of Netflix and having nothing to show for it.

I reached this major slump in reading - I just couldn't find anything that I really wanted to read. I am still dealing with this issue somewhat, but I'm at least reading again. I went weeks without picking up a book - WEEKS!! Everyone who knows me was shocked to hear that. Hell, it still shocks me when I say it out loud.

I read Legend by Marie Lu after I went on hiatus which I enjoyed but didn't love. Then I started Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta which took me ages to read because it's a very intense and involved book, and ya know, slump and all. But I finally finished it, and it was amazing and I'm slowly getting back into a reading groove. I honestly can't see myself reading two books a week anymore because I really love this needlework hobby I've picked up, plus I'm really engrossed in a few Netflix shows (One Tree Hill, Heartland, Vampire Diaries [which I'm just re-watching], etc.). But I'd really like to get back into the bookish blogosphere.

I feel like I have no idea what is going on these days, what books have released lately or what's being released soon. I think you can expect to see more of me once I can catch up on all the reviews I never wrote, but maybe you can help me out? What have I missed? What are some of your most anticipated released for the end of the year and the beginning of 2015? What really great debuts should I read that came out in the last couple of months? I mean, Christmas is coming and I need to submit my book requests soon. Can't wait to hear from all of you and to check out everything I've been missing out on thanks to Netflix and yarn.

A.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Taking a Break

I know, I know. You're all sitting at your computers day after day, wondering where the heck I've gotten off to, right? Kidding! - I know that the only person who truly cares about this post is me. But for the sake of my ego, and the few good friends I've made through blogging, rather than ignoring my blog entirely, I wanted to tell you all that I am officially on hiatus!

It'll only be for a few weeks - probably until after my birthday in the first week of October. Why, you ask? For basically the same reason most bloggers take breaks or leave entirely: reading has become a chore again. This happens to me every so often. I took a month long break at the end of last year and it felt amazing, and I was back and better than ever in January.

I haven't been able to really get into and enjoy anything lately and I was pushing myself to read things I just didn't want to read. You can also thank The Sims 4 for taking over my life because once that game released, I realized I was choosing a video game over literature and knew I needed some time to myself.

I do have a few ARC reviews and scheduled posts so I won't be totally gone. But I'm going to play the Sims to my heart's content and go on the search for the book that will get me back into my groove. Any suggestions?

What do you all do when the pressures of book blogging worm their way under your skin? Do you take a break altogether like I am? Change up your reading "schedules"? Re-reads? (I'm totally going to devote the next week to HP just to be reading something I know I love) Or are you one of the smarter bloggers who make sure to keep things light, fun and low-pressure most of the time to avoid things like this? I'd love to hear what you do when you start feeling the heat!

I'll be around - I'm sure I'll be back to posting regularly soon!


A.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

ISBN: 9781619630659
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Released: September 2, 2014
Length: 565
Goodreads  |  B&N

     SUMMARY
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

     REVIEW

I went into this book definitely feeling afraid of what was to come. I loved Crown of Midnight so much. I knew I would love Heir of Fire too, because Sarah J. Maas is a genius and this series is a new favorite of mine, so that isn't why I was afraid. I'd seen a lot of posts about new characters, intense feels, being utterly ripped apart over and over again, etc. You can see why I had some reservations. Not to mention this is a beast of a book. I love myself a good long book but I always know it's going to take me a while to get into it, especially when it's something I'm really in to.

Heir of Fire definitely did take a day or two for me to get in to. It's a slower start. Celaena is unhappy. Actually, unhappy is the understatement of the century. Celaena is utterly broken, and though it takes quite a while, we journey with Celaena through every bit of her broken heart, soul and spirit. Sometimes slower paced books are not for me. I loved it in HoF, though. Every last word devoted to Celaena's pain, healing, gaining of power, etc., was worth it. It was necessary, even if it tore me apart while I was reading it. Maas writes pain like no other.

New characters: there are some. Are you surprised? This is one of the best epic fantasies I've ever gotten my hands on, incredibly in depth, so you can imagine how many characters we have to deal with here. There is Rowan, likely the most important of the new characters. You've probably heard/seen tons of people shipping Rowan/Celaena, and I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking when going into this. HELL NO, NO ROWAN NONSENSE CHAOLAENA FOR LIFE! I was adamantly against any other ships for Celaena. Don't worry, things don't go as you would expect in this area and it is perfect and wonderful, and for Chaol/Celaena shippers, you'll find yourself rooting for Rowan in a few different ways even if you think there is only room for Chaol in your heart. Trust me, I'm still team Chaol.... but I wouldn't be mad if something took a turn in a future book and it didn't go that way. As a matter of fact, I have some speculations. Not really educated guesses, just regular old guesses - things I suspect could happen... if you've read all of the books, send me a private message. We can discuss all of the horrible (and wonderful) things that could happen!

There was also Manon, a POV from a not so nice person - a witch. I won't go into much detail, but I will say this: Maas, you are a genius. How do you make me interested and even feel FEELS for evil people? HOW!? Some may have thought this POV was pointless, but I get the feeling it will be very important in the rest of the series. I have high hopes for this POV actually.

This world, this story, everything in it is so detailed, so many nuances and "storylines" to remember that all wrap into one amazing ball of brilliance. And Maas keeps adding more and I'm almost inclined to wonder how the hell this is all going to work out and tie together but the thing is is already does! Every aspect of every book matters. I remember when I read ToG, thinking that the whole magic aspect seemed out of place. I take nothing for granted in this series now. Nothing is out of place. Nothing.

HoF wrecked me, by the way. I cried like a baby for Celaena, for Dorian, for Chaol, for Rowan. But I also cheered for them, grinned like a fool, laughed like a loon. Maas knows how to write characters we will love (or hate, but in that she-writes-really-good-villians kind of way) so, so much, and I can't even fathom having to let one of them go, because we all know that there will be someone, if not multiple more someones, who don't make it out of this alive. Listen, I'm still mourning over Sam and he was only around for a few short stories.

I feel like it is impossible to not like this series. The only book I can see not liking is ToG, but if you trust me, if you trust the rest of the bookish world, CoM and HoF (oh and Assassin's Blade) will change that for you. It will change everything for you.


     THE BREAKDOWN

RATING: ★★★★1/2 - Really enjoyed it!

I loved Heir of Fire so much! It added so much to the world, a world that I didn't think could expand that much more, and I get the feeling Maas is going to give us even more come the next book somehow (which by the way we have to wait God knows how long for and it is killing me).

I know most of you loved this book. I've seen your reviews and status updates. I now this one killed you inside also. But I have so many thoughts on what could possibly be coming and I want to talk to someone about it without worrying about spoiling. I want to know what you thought, but I also want to know what you think is coming!

Also, can we talk about how excited I am for the other series Maas has coming out next year - A Court of Thorns and Roses?! A Beauty and the Beast retelling! God, I can't wait!!

So tell me your thoughts on all things Sarah J. Maas. Go!
A.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

ISBN: 9781619630628
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Released: August, 2013
Length: 420 pp
Goodreads  |  B&N

     SUMMARY
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

     REVIEW

We all know that so far Throne of Glass is the last amazing of this amazing series. After reading ToG I went into Assassin's Blade which changed my entire view on ToG. Then along comes Crown of Midnight which Sarah J. Maas took upon herself to use to wreck her entire fanbase and rip our hearts out. And that's putting it nicely.

There were so many amazing things about CoM that I don't even know where to start. First of all, for those of you who haven't read Assassin's Blade but were disappointed with Celaena's lack of Assassin-y skills, she surely redeems herself in the best ways possible in CoM. I won't go into detail because it is actually a wonderful aspect of the storyline, but Celaena really is the best of the best.

The world building gets deeper here, too. We learn little tiny tidbits about Celaena's past, how Adarlan came to rule and other things important to the story. Maas builds an even richer, more detailed world than what she gave us in ToG and Assassin's Blade. It also really brings together several different aspects, such as the assassin thing, the magic thing (which felt so displaced to me in book one), some other barely mentioned aspects from book one that take on a huge and amazing role in book 2. I love that Maas brings it all together. It's not one storyline per book with small connecting things along the way. No, it all matters, it all interconnects, so make sure you're paying close attention!

Also, there is Chaol. In case anyone was wondering who I ship, it's Celaena/Chaol. Pretty sure I've made that abundantly clear in the past but just in case.. ya know.. it's Chaol. CHAOL CHAOL CHAOL. This book has all wonderful things Chaol. The great part is that Dorian isn't all of a sudden cut out and forgotten just because great Chaol-things happen. Actually, some really awesome, important Dorian things happen. I just happen to heavily ship Celaena/Chaol.

Crown of Midnight basically builds you all the way freaking up, just to tear you the hell down. Like, rips your soul right out of your body. Yes, bad things happen. It's an epic fantasy series, so I know you weren't expecting things to be all hunky dory. But it is for a reason. A really, really important reason, and I forgive you Sarah J. Maas for ending me the way you did.


     THE BREAKDOWN

RATING: ★★★★★ - Absolutely loved it!

When I started Throne of Glass a few months ago, I didn't think I'd find my new favorite fantasy series. I didn't think I'd find another set of books that keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time I'm reading them, a ship that would make me f*cking cry when happy things are happening, characters that I become way too attached to, a main character I admire and identify with (I love that she's such a brat sometimes. Like me! Oh and she's a bit of a book worm), etc., etc.

Seriously, I hope this review finds its way into the hands of readers who are on the fence about Throne of Glass, people who kind of liked it but want to see what Celaena is capable of and see this series at its full potential. Well I'm telling you right now, everything you were hoping for in ToG takes off at such a high level in CoM that there is no way for you to be disappointed. I promise, you'll go from on the fence to absolutely in love right from the beginning of CoM.

I'm currently reading Heir of Fire and I can't to talk about it with those of you who have read or are reading as well. So If you haven't read CoM, get your ass up and read it, so you can move on to the epically epicness of HoF!

Have you read Crown of Midnight? I'd love to know what you thought of this one, especially in comparison to Throne of Glass and with/without having read The Assassin's Blade. As you can tell, I'm obsessed. I want to know what you thought!



Let's talk books!
A.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

ISBN: 9781408852590
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Purchased
Series: Throne of Glass #0.1 - #0.5
Released: March 4, 2014
Length: 448 pp
Goodreads  |  B&N

     SUMMARY
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.
     REVIEW

This collection as a whole rivals literally every short story I've ever read. I tend to read the occasional short story to enjoy some more of the world and see some scenes I may have read about in passing. Most novellas/short sorties are nothing special - usually. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started the Assassin's Blade, but it was so much more than what I was expecting.

The first story was interesting enough - it was just about a covert mission of sorts that Celaena undertakes for Arobynn Hamel, her Master, I guess you would call him, with an associate of hers that Celaena really disliked: Sam (<3 <3 <3). I remember thinking that the story was what I'd expected - a story about "before", a fun little read that didn't add much to the story. Well, alone, it would have been exactly that. A nice insight into before but nothing life changing. That is, until I realized that the short stories in The Assassin's Blade read almost like one long book. Yes, that's what I said. The Assassin's Blade is like a very important, full-length prequel to Throne of Glass. The Assassin's Blade literally leads us right up to how Celaena came to Endovier, right before ToG starts, letting us see exactly what was Celaena's downfall.

And for those of you who have only read ToG, and were frustrated with Celaena's lack of apparent assassin-y skills, here is your fix. Not only will you get to see Celaena is action, which is amazing all on its own, but you will find out some of the reasons why Celaena is the way she is in ToG.

Basically, if you are having doubts about reading The Assassin's Blade after ToG, I implore you, pick it up - you won't regret it. I'm not a short story kind of person - nine times out of ten I don't even bother picking them up. But these are essential to the Throne of Glass series. YOU MUST READ THEM.

THE BREAKDOWN

RATING: ★★★★ 1/2 - Really Enjoyed it!

I loved The Assassin's Blade more than I've ever loved a collection of short stories before. It seems like every author is cashing in on the novella thing these days, but I didn't feel as if I was reading something written to make more money or to give the series a push. It was a prequel to ToG, plain and simple. Just go read it already so I can stop trying to convince you that it's necessary, that you won't regret it and that it makes ToG make so much more sense! Okay? Okay.

Have you read The Assassin's Blade? Did you read it before or after reading ToG and CoM? I read it in between the two, and while I wished I'd read it before ToG, I was fine with the feeling of having an epiphany once I realized what Celaena had been through and why she acted the way she did. Did you love tAB like I did? Or did you find it to be an unnecessary collection of stories? I'd love to know what you thought about The Assassin's Blade.

Let's talk books!
A.