Friday, April 27, 2012

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world...

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords... (from Goodreads)

I am very pleased to say that I really enjoyed A Storm of Swords - so much more than the first two novels in this series. I think that's evident by how fast I read this. It only took me about two weeks, while the second took me a month.

It only took two books and about 1500 pages but I am finally invested in the story. I'm to the point where I actually want to pick up the book and keep reading to see what happens next. There were a lot of unexpected twists in A Storm of Swords and that definitely kept the anticipation going. I'm really looking forward to the fourth book, even though I'm sure it's even longer than this one.

I didn't mind the high page count as much in this book (1128 pages in a mass market paperback) because there was a lot of plot and not as much of unnecessary description. Don't get me wrong; there was some of that and at times I did scan over some boring paragraphs. On the whole, however, George R.R. Martin did a much better job of cleaning up his writing.

The A Song of Ice and Fire series is definitely plot-driven, which is funny because there are so many characters and the book changes point-of-view every chapter between 8 or 9 protagonists. I pretty much like everyone, but there isn't that much character depth or development. It's really refreshing how easily Martin kills off characters, but when they die I'm not crushed. I'm usually a little sad but nothing more than that. Part of me is glad it happens because sometimes I'm ready for a new perspective.

Overall, I think A Storm of Swords is the best novel in this series so far, and much better than it's two predecessors. There were a lot of twists and turns, so I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from my brother.

2000/Spectra/1128 pages.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 83

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to learn about new books.
The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is
her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear. (from GoodReads)
I thought this sounded really interesting and it's a 2012 debut!!! Luckily for me, I was able to request to review this for Flamingnet, so hopefully I'll receive the book soon. The Princesses of Iowa will be released May 8.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 29

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like making lists about books.

Top Ten Favorite Book Characters

1. Katniss Everdeen - This is pretty obvious because Katniss is definitely the ultimate heroine! I love how brave and strong she is.

2. Jace Wayland - His sarcasm and wit make me love him even more than I should.

3. Will Herondale - Another Cassandra Clare creation (she makes the best characters!) who broke my heart into a million pieces in Clockwork Princess.

4. Hermione Granger - I identify so much with Hermione because she’s so studious and a bit of a know-it-all. I’ll admit that I probably have some of Hermione’s bad qualities but I love school like her!

5. Peeta Mellark - After seeing The Hunger Games movie my new husband is Josh Hutcherson but only because he played the sweetest character, Peeta. Plus, he can bake me cakes and bread.

6. Etienne St. Clair - The completely swoon-worthy protagonist from Anna and the French Kiss.

7. Jane Eyre - I had to throw a classic in here and Jane Eyre is one of the best ones! Jane is very plain and quiet so I can relate to that a little.

8. Jon Snow - This is from Game of Thrones but I love Jon and really enjoy reading from his perspective.

9. Gemma Doyle - She has red hair like me and lives in the Victorian period, enough said.

10. Violet from Mostly Good Girls - She made me laugh hysterically so that’s a great reason to be included on this list.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 82

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for readers and bloggers to discover new books!

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent.

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death. (From GoodReads)

I love mysteries so this sounds like a really good book! Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone will be released July 5, 2012.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 28

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like books and lists.

Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

1. Stay Active
This is important because it sucks when your favorite blog only posts once a month. I think posting at least a few times a week is good and keeps people coming to your blog.

2. Attractive Background/Layout
This is an all-encompassing rule for font, size, color, amount of things on your sidebars, etc. Keep it clean, simple and neat. Don't use colors that are harsh on the eyes. I think this is pretty obvious.

3. Good Grammar
I'm the grammar Nazi! Haha I don't like bad grammar and spelling mistakes so try to keep those at a minimum.

4. Include an About Page
I know this is the Internet and everyone needs to be safe, but if you're so inclined, it's nice to learn new things about the person behind the blog.

5. Add a Variety of Posts
Don't just post reviews. Include guest blogs, author interviews, contests, memes, bookish news, etc.

6. Be Patient
Don't expect to get a million followers right away! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to have a successful blog.

7. Comment on Other Blogs
I think this a great way to get your blog out there. Whenever someone new comments on a post, I always make sure to check out their blog and return the favor.

8. Use Twitter and GoodReads
I think these are great way to meet new people, network and learn about new books.

9. Don't Obsess Over Stats
Coming from someone who has almost had a blog for 4 years and doesn't have that many views/followers, I think this is sound advice. I try not to worry about the amount of people visiting and just...

10. Have Fun!
Blogging is a great way to connect with other book-lovers and it should be something you enjoy to do!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles. (from GoodReads)

This book almost took me an entire month to read! That is crazy. I'm normally a fast reader, but the combination of a ton of schoolwork, a long book, and prose that is difficult to read through made this a very long journey. I did like A Clash of Kings but there are definitely things I have problems with.

Now that I'm familiar with the story and characters, it is easier to enjoy this series. I've always been interested in political intrigue and kings and courts and all that stuff so this is definitely right up my alley. The book changes point-of-view between about eight characters and each one has a pretty compelling story to tell. There are some characters I like better than others (Tyrion, for one) but I don't dislike any of them. Even the ones who are "bad", like Tyrion, I still enjoy reading about them. That's a pretty big accomplishment, in my book.

What I didn't like about A Clash of Kings is the same thing I didn't like about its predecessor, A Game of Thrones. The book is too long! There is so much description and unnecessary narration that these books could be so much shorter. And this is not a book that I would say is a quick read. It feels like it takes me five minutes to read one page and I would rather be able to rush through the pages because I'm so enthralled with the book. I like the story but the way it's written just makes it hard to read quickly. It's pretty annoying.

I don't want to talk about the plot too much because it's the second book but it's the same pacing, tone, and storyline as the first novel.

Overall, I like this series, but don't love it, which is unfortunate. On the next (and longer) novel! Hopefully I can read this one a little faster.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from my brother.

1998/Random House/761 pages.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 81

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers who like new books.

Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . .

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted fa├žade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect in this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel. (from GoodReads).
I think I can guess what Coley's secret is, but I'm really excited to read this. It seems serious but I hope it will pack a punch. Live Through This will be released October 2, 2012.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 27

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books that Were Totally Deceiving

1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Why: genre
I thought that this series would have a lot of fantasy but it’s really more of an alternate medieval world. There are a few fantastical creatures, such as dragons, but not enough to be actually classified as fantasy.

2. The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Why: title
For this one the title is super deceptive. Whenever I hear the word “pledge” I think of fraternities/sororities or a promise. Nothing in the book relates to either of those two things.

3. This One Time with Julia by David Lampson
Why: synopsis
This book sounds like it’s going to be a great mystery but it’s not at all. Besides the terrible plot, a dead character comes right out and tells the protagonist who the killer is!

4. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Why: the zombies
This was the first zombie book I’ve ever read and I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it. Luckily for me I LOVED it!!

5. Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance by Emily Franken and Brendan Halpin
Why: my expectations
I thought this would be very interesting: a celebrity couple who is pretending to be in love for the publicity. Unfortunately the execution wasn’t that great.

6. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Why: the cover
I was expecting a serious paranormal book because the cover is a little dark but instead it was much lighter and funnier than I expected.

7. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
Why: my expectations
I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy and at the beginning I didn’t like Glimmerglass. But by the end I was ready for more books!

8. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Why: the protagonist
I don’t read many books with male protagonists but I really should! This book was great and it was narrated by a guy.

9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Why: the time period
For some reason I was expecting the book to take place during the Victorian era (when Jack the Ripper actually reigned). Instead the book is present day.

10. My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin
Why: the tone
The only other book I’ve read by this author is The Lighter Side of Life and Death which, as you can guess by the title, pretty light. I was expecting the same but this novel is a lot more serious.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Blog: Eve Marie Mont

I love having authors write guest blogs because I think it's a great way to get some insight into a writer's head. Today the lovely Eve Marie Mont, 2012 debut author of A Breath of Eyre (published March 27, 2012) talks about her inspiration for her new novel:

I fell in love with Edward Rochester in my junior year of high school after reading Jane Eyre, and I’ve never quite gotten over him. So much so, that I ended up writing my first YA novel about a girl who gets lost in the book, Jane Eyre. Literally. As in she gets struck by lightning and wakes up to find herself living in Thornfield Hall, working for a mysterious man named Mr. Rochester, and falling in love with the ultimate bad boy. Even though I’m very happily married to a man I would describe as the ultimate nice guy, I still love Rochester almost in spite of myself. Because let’s face it: he’s dark, arrogant, moody, and he’s made a few mistakes in his life that are seriously hard to overlook. Besides, I’m too old to fall for a Byronic hero, right? Who do I think I am, a swoony teenager trying to reform the flawed hero?

But ultimately that’s the allure of Edward Rochester. He’s bad, but he’s not beyond redemption. Every time I read those long passages between Jane and Edward and watch their relationship evolve from master-employee to star-crossed soul mates, I am swept up in the romance of it all over again. Despite his flaws, I find myself rooting for Rochester, hoping he’ll get his act together and praying that Jane will forgive him and give us all the happy ending we’re longing for.

Thanks for visiting Eve! Make sure to check out her blog!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 80

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to find out about new books.

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship. But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before. (from GoodReads)
I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, All These Things I've Done, so I'm excited to read this! I also like how both titles together form a sentence. That's pretty cool! Because It Is My Blood will be released September 18, 2012.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 26

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books To Read in One Day

These are all books I either read in one sitting or just couldn't put down because it was so good!

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
6. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
7. Freshmen Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
8. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
10. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray