Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Non-Fiction


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

I rarely read non-fiction. I had to read a lot of it in college, and let's just say that it was less than page-turning reading for me. Fiction has always been my thing, though if a subject is of great interest to me, that's when I might check out a non-fiction book about it.

For instance, I read Paul Murray Kendall's biography of Richard III after reading Sharon Kay Penman's outstanding historical fiction novel, The Sunne in Splendour, in which the last Plantagenet king is portrayed in a much more heroic light than in Shakespeare's play. Kendall's biography is the perfect companion to Penman's novel, and if you're going to read Sunne, trust me, you'll want to find a copy of Kendall's book, too.

I love Jane Austen, and I've read two biographies about her: Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen: A Life and Jon Spence's Becoming Jane Austen. I thought both of them relied heavily on discussing members of her family for whom there is more biographical information available than it did about Austen herself. I think the best bet for possibly gaining some insight into her life is by reading the collection of her letters.

I'm not sure if this counts as non-fiction or not, but I also loved reading Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey. It's an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the making of all eight films, complete with gorgeous photographs of everything from the actors to the sets to the props as well as concept art illustrations. I had to own this as soon as I heard about it, and it was worth every penny. And if books about the making of movie/television adaptations of books count as non-fiction, then I'll also put in a good word for The Making of Pride and Prejudice (as in the one with Colin Firth as Darcy) and The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film. The P & P book is on the short side, at a little over 100 pages, but come on—it has photos of Colin Firth in it! The "diaries" in the title of the S & S book refer to the diaries of Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood), and she's an excellent, and often witty, writer.

I really don't have any non-fiction recommendations for someone new to the genre. Most of my non-fiction reads I pick up because I want to learn more about a particular topic. Do you read any non-fiction? Are there any subjects that you really enjoy reading about?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Giveaway!


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Yay! It's giveaway day! One winner will get to choose any paperback book up to $10. If you live here in the U.S., your book will be shipped via Amazon, otherwise it will be shipped via The Book Depository. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

** Giveaway **

  • You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
  • Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or else another winner will be chosen.
  • Book will be shipped directly from Amazon if the winner lives in the U.S., or from The Book Depository if the winner lives outside the U.S. and The Book Depository ships to your country (you can check by clicking here). We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged packages.
  • Giveaway ends at midnight on June 2, 2013.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Genre Fiction


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Today's book-related topic is genre fiction. Paranormal is easily my favorite genre. I am a big-time paranormal reader, particularly YA paranormal. Vampires, witches, wizards, warlocks, angels, demons, aliens, werewolves and any others I’ve forgotten—I love reading about them all, especially vampires. I read for escapism, and for me, nothing is better than a book that pulls me into a world where anything is possible and the impossible seems real.

Not surprisingly, a good number of my favorite books, the ones that I would reread over and over again, are from this genre. If I had to pick a few to recommend to someone looking to try out paranormal, here are the ones I'd go with:

  • The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead: I put off reading this for a very long time because the cover did absolutely nothing for me. I finally gave in last year and read it, and I LOVED these books! I love that Rose is no-nonsense, and Dimitri . . .aaahhh. Also recommended: the VA spin-off, Bloodlines. Adrian . . . aaahhh.
  • The Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand: I tried quite a few angel books before this series, and they were all duds. Unearthly turned out to be exactly what I'd been looking for, and the love triangle is exceptionally well-written (i.e., it doesn't make me want to pull my hair out. I actually LIKE this one!)
  • The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff: I read this a month ago, and I'm still thinking about it. Fantastic novel about demons.
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: I found the humor in this book laugh-out-loud hilarious. The novel also takes on a dark tone at times, but it was the humor that made this an instant favorite of mine. The one thing about this book that was not funny at all? That evil, evil ending (If you've read Unspoken, then you know what I mean.).

Are you a fellow paranormal fan? Or is there another genre that you happily read time and time again?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013: Classics


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

When it comes to the classics, I fall into the "Sadly Unread" category. My first real exposure to them was through my high school English classes, and the majority of books on my reading lists didn't really click with me. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, The Great Gatsby, 1984, and The Scarlet Letter are only a few of the books that ended up being meh reads for me. And almost 20 years later, I still don't know what A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man was about. At the time, I had to read the Cliffs Notes on that one before taking a test on it because I had no clue what was going on. (I also don't know where my copy went; I think I lent it to a friend who apparently never returned it, not that I was particularly heartbroken about it or anything.)

Maybe the fact that I was forced to read these books had some kind of influence on my opinion of them. I certainly wasn't very keen on spending my summers reading a stack of books that I never would have chosen on my own. It was even worse when a book ended up being as dull as I'd feared. Once I was out of college, I didn't picture myself reading classic literature voluntarily very often.

The two big exceptions to my lack of success reading the classics are Shakespeare and Jane Austen. I read Romeo and Juliet as a high school freshman, but it wasn't until I read Hamlet in senior year that I really fell in love with Shakespeare. Every line was just so brilliant to me, not to mention the madness and the regicide! I've read the four big tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear, and though I like the other three, Hamlet is by far my favorite.

I somehow never read Jane Austen while I was in school. I first became interested in her works after watching the 1995 movie adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. It took me about another five years to finally crack open an Austen novel, which was Sense and Sensibility. I read all six novels in succession, with Pride and Prejudice in the lead as my favorite until I got to Persuasion, which completely blew me away. The rekindled romance between Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth had me swooning for weeks after I read that book. It's my favorite Austen novel, my favorite novel ever period, and the one classic that I recommend reading to anyone who'll listen.

Now that I'm (a lot) older, I'd like to try reading the classics again, maybe even reread some of the ones that I originally found lacking, as a once-in-a-while type of thing. I hope that I've gained more of an appreciation for them over the years; it's something that I really didn't have as a teenager. Since I'd be reading them because I want to, perhaps I'll be able to sit back and enjoy them.

Are there any classics that you love and recommend? I'd love to hear about them!

Armchair BEA 2013: Introduction


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

We're extremely excited to participate in this year's Armchair BEA! We're new to the event, and we're really looking forward to all of the fun this week!

A Little About Us:

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

We're Ally and Lee, and we're (second) cousins. We've been blogging for a little over a year now, and we first got the idea to start a book blog while taking one of our after-dinner walks. We realized that every evening, from the time we left the house to the time we got back, we were discussing whatever we were reading at the moment. We also realized that no one else we knew shared our reading obsession, and we thought it'd be fun to connect with other readers who understood what a vital part of our lives books are (the rest of our family doesn't get it).

2. Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event?

This is our first year taking part in Armchair BEA. The blog was a little more than a month old this time last year, and there were so many things we didn't know then, like that this event existed. We found out about it too late, and we definitely didn't want to miss out this year because it sounded like so much fun and a great way to meet other bloggers!

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

Ally plays the flute and is a member of her school's marching and concert bands. Lee loves photography and is often seen with a camera, clicking away.

4. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

We're both obsessed with Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, and we had to sort of compromise over which character to choose. Ally loves Ronan and Lee's more of a Gansey fan, but in the end we went with Ronan because we'd like to meet his raven, Chainsaw, too. Dinner conversation with Ronan would be very interesting because he's often not the most sociable of people. We'd have to ask him how the search for Glendower is going, and if he can possibly tell us anything about the next book, The Dream Thieves, which we are dying to read.

5. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

Hogwarts! We'd get to do magic and have all kinds of adventures exploring the castle!

Please feel free to leave a link so we can drop by your intro post, too!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Center Stage May 2013 Character Spotlight

Center Stage is a monthly feature hosted by Ginger-Read Reviews, in which we highlight a character from the books we've read in the past month.

May 2013 Center Stage Character:
Bubba Burdette from Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I had a tough time finding a character to spotlight this month. Nobody really stood out, plus I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately. So I decided to go with Bubba Burdette, from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Chronicles of Nick series. I read the most recent book, Inferno, earlier this month, and though Bubba, who's one of the minor characters, doesn't appear as much in this one as he has in previous books, he's a big reason why I enjoy reading CoN.

Bubba is a friend of the title character, Nick Gautier, and is also the proprietor of the Triple B, a gun and computer store. That may sound like an odd combination, but as the Triple B's slogan goes, if Bubba can't fix your computer problems one way, he'll fix them another.

In his spare time, Bubba, along with his sidekick, Mark, helps keep the world safe from supernatural beings who are looking to cause trouble for humans. Bubba also has his very own panic room built into the Triple B in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Believe me, if there's a zombie apocalypse, you want Bubba and Mark on your side. Their adventures often land them on the wrong side of the law, such as when they go a little flamethrower-happy in Inferno, but they're all for a good cause.

Bubba may sound a bit quirky, but I find him incredibly cool. He's also brilliant—he graduated at the top of his class from MIT. I think what I love most about him, though, is how he looks out for Nick, whose father is not in his life. Bubba is one of the few characters who can silence Nick, who is a nonstop sarcasm machine, and I always look forward to Nick's visits to the Triple B.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Lovin' Read-a-thon

The Summer Lovin’ Readathon is a week-long readathon event hosted by seven independent bloggers! (Oh, Chrys!, Tumbling Books, Effortlessly Reading, Love Life Read, Shelf Addiction, Read Sleep Repeat, and Reviewing Wonderland)

I'm thrilled to participate in my first read-a-thon! I've always wanted to do one of these, and I'm hoping to make some kind of dent in my TBR pile, which is currently some ridiculous number (not that it stops me from adding to it). This might be the perfect opportunity to tackle my bookshelves at home, which hold quite a few books that I bought but never got around to reading.

The Details:

Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want to. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

As if that weren’t enough—the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.

Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?!

Discussing Game of Thrones: Second Sons

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Second Sons.”

Last week’s episode reminded me why I find attending weddings so awkward and stressful. There are always a few guests who don’t know how to behave, and you never know when the groom is going to threaten the King. As the HBO promo so sadly reminds us, there are only two episodes remaining in the season! (No new episode tonight; the next one airs on June 2.)

Good Morning! Yes, That’s a Rock I’m Holding Over Your Head

First the Brotherhood Without Banners was going to ransom Arya, now it’s the Hound. The Hound is a very sketchy character, but I have to admit that he has a knack for being brutally honest. He’s out for himself, and he doesn’t care what other people think of him.

So That’s Where All the Hair Styling Products Went!

Daario clearly used them all. Daenerys continues to try and build up her army, and she meets with the captains of the Second Sons, a sellsword company. During her travels, it looks like Daenerys has made a few pit stops at the local Pier 1 or something because that little tent of hers looks quite cozy. Daario was every bit the skeevy, arrogant pretty boy I remember from the books, and he’s one new character on the show I could without.

Where’s Roose Bolton When You Need Him?

In the novels, Roose Bolton loves his leeches, and that icky scene between Melisandre and Gendry brought him to mind. A big “eeewww” for the leeches, and a big “eeewww” for this scene in general. I felt really bad for Davos, who walked in mid-leeching with Stannis. Even Stannis looked a little grossed out.

You Call This a Wedding?

A depressed bride, a drunk groom, and a moronic idiot who needs to die (that would be Joffrey). Tyrion may have his vices, but I think he really is one of the more upstanding characters in the world of Westeros.

I Am So Not Your Sister!

Margaery seriously needs to learn when to shut up. She must have figured out by now that Cersei despises her, yet she continues to push her luck with the Queen Regent by laying on the flattery. Loras isn’t much brighter, attempting to make conversation with his future bride, Cersei, who doesn’t care what his father once told him. Oh these Tyrells . . . .

A Very Complicated Family Tree

I did chuckle as Lady Olenna explained to her grandchildren how they were all going to be related to each other once Margaery marries Joffrey and Loras marries Cersei. Loras will be Margaery’s brother plus her stepfather-in-law, I think. I’m not even sure I got that right because I started getting confused.

And the Award for Character Most Frequently Chased by the Others This Season Is . . .

Sam! Poor guy. He has the worst luck when it comes to staying off the Others’ radar. He and Gilly are still trying to make their way to the Wall, and seeing how scary their makeshift hotel accomodations are, I hope they reach it really, really soon.

What We Learned from This Episode

  • Always keep your dragonglass handy because you never know when an Other is going to jump out at you.
  • Daario is the type of person who refers to Daario in the third person.
  • “Sister” is apparently not always a term of endearment.

In the Next Episode

Robb plans to strike Casterly Rock, the heart of Lannister Land; Jorah worries that he’s about to step into a trap; Jon must decide where his loyalty lies.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan Every Day
By David Levithan
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers

To Sum It Up:

For A, a new day means life in a new body. He never knows who he’ll be next; he could wake up as someone of any ethnicity, male or female. A has always tried to avoid interfering in the lives of his hosts, but that’s before he meets Rhiannon. While in the body of her boyfriend, Justin, A falls for her, and soon he’s risking exposing what he is to be with her. Someone already knows that A isn’t who he appears to be, though, and just might reveal A’s secret first.

Review:

I can’t think of any novel I’ve previously read that even comes close to the premise of Every Day. I love how it’s a fairly straightforward concept, yet there’s a multitude of directions to take it in. And David Levithan most definitely makes the most out of it.

The novel dives straight into the story without any preamble about why A changes bodies every day. It’s just a fact that has to be taken as is. Although I couldn’t help being curious about whether A was an alien or something of that sort, I found that I was okay with not having the details of A’s origins. Credit Levithan with pulling off this idea as though it’s a commonplace thing and could happen to anyone. Normally I would have taken issue with the lack of A’s background history, but my attention was too engaged in the stories of the people whose lives A experiences for a day to really notice.

We get to meet several characters through A’s eyes, characters who are given quite a lot of depth considering how short-lived A’s time is as each person. Never knowing who his next host will be, A is thrown into a variety of scenarios. The most heartbreaking for me was when he found himself in the life of a young woman named Kelsea who was planning to commit suicide. This presents one of the biggest challenges to A’s policy of minimizing his interference in the hosts’ lives. On the whole, I thought A was a principled character (I’ll get to the part where I felt he went astray in a bit.). In Kelsea’s case, A truly wants to help her, and he does what he can for her.

A enters a much grayer ethical zone where Rhiannon is concerned. During the time he spends as her boyfriend, Justin, A falls in love with her. Yup, it’s Insta-Love, but if you’re already rolling with the idea of A’s daily form shift, then you might as well go with this, too. That’s how I viewed the situation, anyway. So not only did Every Day get me to look past the protagonist’s missing backstory, but the book also convinced me to turn a mostly blind eye to Insta-Love. The novel was this good, at least to me.

Once A realizes how much Rhiannon means to him, seeing her again starts taking more and more priority over leaving a host’s life in the same order he first encountered it. I’d stop short of calling A reckless, but this certainly isn’t the same A from the book’s early chapters. I couldn’t really fault him for some of his actions, though, because the nature of his life makes it so hard to form relationships, especially long-term ones. That’s not even counting the gigantic hurdle of having to explain to someone what the dawn of a new day means for A. I did feel that this part of the novel, where A tries to stay connected with Rhiannon as much as possible, put the most strain on my suspension of disbelief. A just so happens to inhabit a succession of hosts who live within a reasonable distance of Rhiannon’s location. A brief mention is made of how A has to go on a long journey if that’s what the host does, but that did nothing to enlighten me about how A manages to remain fairly close to Rhiannon in the geographical sense. Considering everything about the novel that I did accept at face value, I feel like I’m nitpicking here. And I probably am.

Overall, Every Day was a unique, absorbing read with a very unconventional romance. The book sends a strong message about the importance of loving each other based on what’s inside our hearts and regardless of however we appear on the outside, a message that is resonant without sounding preachy or cheesy. I tend to read a lot of series; it was refreshing to read a standalone for a change, and an excellent standalone at that.

All in All:

Every Day could almost pass for a contemporary novel—A’s extra special circumstances aside. I’d wanted to read this for quite some time, and when I finally borrowed it from the library, I was not disappointed with it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: I'm Nobody by Alex Marestaing

I'm Nobody by Alex Marestaing I’m Nobody (The Lost Pages #1)
By Alex Marestaing
Publisher:
Mymilou Press

* A copy was provided by the author for review.

To Sum It Up:

Following the death of his older sister, Caleb Reed withdrew from the world. Now thirteen, agoraphobic, and obsessed with watching the same recorded episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos every night, Caleb also keeps a wary eye on the abandoned mansion across the street. The precise, orderly bubble that he’s enclosed himself in is shattered when the mansion suddenly shows signs of activity, and a mysterious note penned by a stranger turns up on his doorstep. Both afraid and curious to find out what’s going on, Caleb works up the courage to leave the safety of his house for the first time in years. He needs to know who’s writing to him, but the answer may not be at all what he was expecting.

Review:

I’m Nobody is one of those books that’s a bit difficult to classify genre-wise. I’m drawn to these types of reads because I like seeing how the author synthesizes the elements from different categories of fiction. I’d say that I’m Nobody has an overall contemporary feel to it, but once you factor in the possibility that Emily Dickinson may be corresponding from beyond the grave with a thirteen-year-old boy, well, there’s your genre twist right there. Alex Marestaing does a wonderful job of both giving this premise plausibility and incorporating Dickinson’s poetry into the narrative.

This is a deeply poignant, and ultimately uplifting, novel. I don’t think it’s possible to not have your heart torn apart by the main character, Caleb. At thirteen, he’s a shut-in, obsessed with maintaining the meticulous routine he’s established for himself over the six years since the death of his older sister, Anneliese. It’s a loss he hasn’t recovered from, much to the distress of his parents. Caleb’s father is exasperated with his son’s condition and wants to send him to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Caleb’s mother prefers to just hope that he’ll get better on his own, a hope that she knows isn’t likely to be realized. This portrait of a family broken by grief is gut-wrenching, but not in a way that comes off as cloying. My patience for books that push sappiness to its treacly limit is almost nonexistent, but the shadow of tragedy that hangs over I’m Nobody feels all too real.

I was absorbed by Caleb’s battle to overcome his fear of setting foot outside of his house to retrieve the cryptic notes that begin appearing out of nowhere. His progress is agonizingly slow, but it’s progress nonetheless. Each tiny step away from his front door represents a victory, and I cheered him on the entire time. Watching him grow more and more confident and eventually connecting with people whose lives his sister touched were the highlights of the book for me.

At first I wasn’t too thrilled with Iris, a former classmate of Caleb’s whose dreams of becoming a famous filmmaker bring her to Caleb’s street. She gets the brilliant idea to make a film about him, and I was uneasy with the potential exploitation of Caleb's adversity here. I was relieved to discover that Iris wasn’t devoid of a conscience; she asks Caleb for his permission to film him. The two strike up a friendship that is very sweet and built up at a nice, gradual pace.

I really enjoyed reading this, though I thought the ending cut off a little too soon. I know this is the start of a series, but I could have used a few more pages of closure for this installment. It’s a minor thing, however, and doesn’t detract from how moving Caleb’s story is.

All in All:

I think this would make an excellent middle grade read, though the depth of the writing, story, and characters easily makes the book appealing to a YA audience as well. As an adult, I found this to be a compelling read. I’ve never read any of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and while being familiar with it might enhance one’s reading experience with this, it’s certainly not required in order to enjoy the novel.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

* This review may contain spoilers for the previous book, A Great and Terrible Beauty. *

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2)
By Libba Bray
Publisher:
Delacorte Press

To Sum It Up:

Gemma Doyle is getting ready to go home to spend Christmas with her family. The holidays promise to be a busy time filled with many social engagements, but balls and dinner parties aren’t all that await Gemma. The Rakshana want her to bind the magic that she set free in the realms, but not without giving them the control of it they believe they are entitled to. Gemma knows that her enemy, the power-hungry Circe, is also still looking for her. With the fate of the realms’ magic resting in her hands, Gemma is a target and cannot afford to trust the wrong person. She has to put her faith in someone, though, because it is the only way she’ll find the Temple, the source of the magic and where Gemma must journey in order to contain it once again.

Review:

After being wowed by A Great and Terrible Beauty, I couldn’t wait to dive into Rebel Angels. Libba Bray’s writing in the first Gemma Doyle book was fantastic, and I devoured the follow-up as fast as I could. I was all too happy to return to Gemma’s world, or should I say worlds, because once more, we’re transported back to Victorian England as well as to the magical realms, where anything you can imagine is possible.

In A Great and Terrible Beauty, Gemma destroyed the runes that bound the realms’ magic. Now that it’s free, it can be used by anyone for any purpose. Gemma’s nemesis, Circe, is still on the loose, desperate for a way into the realms so she can seize their magic for her own evil plans. The secret brotherhood of the Rakshana is all for binding the magic—in its own name.

Meanwhile, Gemma is preparing to go home for Christmas. Even after all she, Felicity, and Ann have been through together, including the loss of Pippa, it’s business as usual between the young ladies. This means petty jealousy, occasional cattiness, and plenty of scheming. There’s a lot going on in this book just on the non-supernatural front. Felicity concocts a sob story for Ann; she’s now descended from Russian royalty and the long-lost relative of a duke. Ann continues to be besotted with Gemma’s older brother, Tom, who takes much more notice of Ann once he hears about her “lineage.” We also find out the horrifying secret Felicity’s been hiding about her family life. Yes, all that happens in this little group can approach soap opera-level dramatics at times, but that’s a big part of the appeal of this series for me. I enjoy reading the minute details of these girls’ lives, even when they’re acting less than sensible. You don’t know how many times I wanted to tell Ann to shut up because she was burying herself alive with her big mouth. I was embarrassed on her behalf!

I do wish that the girls had shown a bit of character growth from the previous novel. Ann is still timid, Gemma still wavers between being snippy and letting her conscience get the better of her, and Felicity is still, well, Felicity. I was a little torn between this feeling of comfort that went with being back among familiar characters and this tiny, nagging sensation that they seemed all too familiar, like they hadn’t learned much from their prior experiences. This is particularly true for what went down in the realms in the last book.

The romance gets turned up in Rebel Angels, with Kartik from A Great and Terrible Beauty continuing to be a presence in Gemma’s life and the introduction of Simon Middleton, the son of a viscount. Gemma can’t help but be attracted to Simon; he’s handsome, wealthy, and has all the right social connections. Yet Gemma can’t quit thinking about Kartik, especially since he seems to be showing an interest in her, as well. I was surprised to see the novel head into love triangle territory after the romance was rather low-key in the first book. Fortunately, it doesn’t overtake the story, and no one mopes over heart-related matters.

Where Bray knocks this out of the ballpark is with the descriptions of the realms. The imagery! Although Gemma and company spent time there in the preceding book, the realms are explored at much greater length here. The unbound magic is changing them, blighting their beauty. The girls also meet some of the inhabitants: centaurs, water nymphs, and a gorgon who’s a living part of a boat. Most aren’t friendly, and the Poppy Warriors, these sort of demonic knights who feed on fear, scared the hell out of me. Why do I always wind up reading the most frightening parts of books late at night? Every time Azreal, their apparent leader, creepily addressed one of the girls as “poppet,” it was as chilling as Naughty John’s whistling in Bray’s The Diviners. I’ve gushed before about how brilliantly Bray makes the paranormal feel so real, and what she does here with the realms is exceptional.

Rebel Angels is longer than A Great and Terrible Beauty, but I didn’t find the additional pages to be an issue. I actually stayed up late one night to finish the 200 or so pages I had left because I needed to know what happened. While the book doesn’t end on one of those scream-inducing cliffhangers, I still have several questions that I’m eager to see answered. Looking at the size of the final book in the trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing, I’m hoping that I’ll find everything explained satisfactorily.

All in All:

The realms truly made this book for me. I enjoyed reading about Gemma’s London life, too, but I was completely mesmerized by the magic here, even when it gave me a severe case of the creeps.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)
By Libba Bray
Publisher:
Delacorte Press

To Sum It Up:

Gemma Doyle longs to leave Bombay, India for England. She gets her wish, but it is under the most tragic of circumstances. Following her mother’s mysterious death, Gemma is packed off to Spence Academy, a London finishing school for young ladies. At Spence, Gemma must contend with being the newcomer as well as make sense of the visions that began when she foresaw what would happen to her mother. Gemma is not the only person who knows about her ability, though, and she is warned to put an end to the visions. It is not an easy task, and when Gemma learns that there were once others with a similar power who could enter a magical world called the realms, embracing her gift seems all the more enticing.

Review:

I think I’ve figured out what would have made Victorian novels like Jane Eyre a lot more appealing to me back when I was a teenager. If only Jane had gotten herself involved with a clique of mean girls at Lowood and possessed a paranormal ability that allowed her to transport her and her “friends” to a place where they could have anything they desired, I would have been totally hooked. This is only the second Libba Bray book that I’ve read (the other being The Diviners), but once again, I’ve been blown away by her talent for seamlessly blending historical fiction with the supernatural. From reading her novels, you’d think that the two naturally went hand in hand.

Set first in Bombay and then in London during the reign of Queen Victoria, A Great and Terrible Beauty centers around sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle. My initial impression of her was that she was a brat with a me-centric attitude. Everything changes, though, when Gemma is seized by a terrifying vision of her mother dying that then comes true. Gemma is sent to Spence, an all-girls school in London. At this point my opinion of her began to change—for the better. Gemma proves to be a wry observer; her snarky commentary on everything and everyone really won me over. Upon her arrival at Spence, she immediately assesses the social hierarchy. She winds up with mousy Ann Bradshaw for a roommate, while snooty Felicity Worthington clearly has the run of the school. A game of one-upmanship that’s meant to show Gemma who rules Spence ensues between Gemma and Felicity and her entourage, which includes Felicity’s second-in-command, Pippa Cross.

I couldn’t help but find myself engrossed in the drama here. I hadn’t expected this mean girls aspect to the novel, but writing about situations that could easily be transplanted to modern times while completely maintaining the authenticity of the period the story is set in seems to be a specialty of Bray’s. It’s one that she excels at, too. I also liked how Bray didn’t have the girls go skipping off together as besties once they sort of reached a truce, brought about by that good old equalizer, blackmail. The pettiness and the competition to be Felicity’s favorite continue, though with some toning down. The friendship between Gemma, Ann, Felicity, and Pippa stands on tenuous ground, and this is made even more so by Gemma’s supernatural gift.

Gemma’s visions persist while at Spence, and they eventually lead her to the discovery of the Order, a secret society of sorceresses who could once access the realms, a world of powerful magic. Despite warnings from Kartik, a young man who’s followed Gemma from Bombay and who is a member of the Rakshana, another secret organization with its own agenda, Gemma finds her way into the realms. She brings the other girls, too, and they are all stunned to learn that whatever they dream is possible in this place. Ann sees herself with the beauty that she so desperately desires; Pippa literally has a knight in shining armor. On the surface, experiencing the magic of the realms brings the girls closer, but you have to ask: would they still be friends without this? Every time I thought that the hatchet had been buried, it would rear its head. I’m definitely not complaining about the seesaw-like quality to the friendship, though; it made for some absorbing reading.

The wish fulfillment of the realms ends up being a double-edged sword because it magnifies how constrained the girls’ lives are back in their own world. In the realms, they have the freedom that does not exist in reality. My heart really went out to Pippa, whose parents are forcing her to marry some old geezer whose sole attraction is his wealth. The importance of keeping up appearances is a recurring theme throughout the book, from Pippa having to marry for social status over love to the Doyle family covering up how Gemma’s mother really died. Seeing how much the girls yearn to have the power that’s at their disposal in the realms outside of them is quite heartbreaking.

If I were to go on about how thought-provoking and multi-faceted A Great and Terrible Beauty is, this review would be as long as the novel. Bray’s prose is outstanding, and I loved how she made Gemma realistically flawed. The finesse with which Bray writes paranormal, as though it assuredly exists, is why both this and The Diviners left me grasping for the right words to describe how incredible they are.

All in All:

Paranormal historical fiction doesn’t get much better than this. I loved the setting and how true Gemma’s narrative voice felt to her time. I don’t know how I managed not to read this book much sooner; it was absolutely my kind of read.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Bear and the Maiden Fair

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”

The title of last week’s episode says it all. I had been anticipating this episode for a long time, since I first read this scene in A Storm of Swords. It’s one of my all-time favorite scenes from the books, and I was kind of freaking out while watching it. The pacing of the episode seemed really busy to me, with a lot of cutting away to different characters.

The Awkward

I figured I’d get all of the awkward stuff out of the way first. With the exception of how badly I ship Jaime and Brienne, I can give or take a lot of the romances in the books and on the show. I didn’t like Robb’s wife in the books (where she’s a completely different character, right down to her name), and I don’t like Robb’s wife on the show. There’s something about her that I don’t trust. This scene seemed to drag on, and with some of the sappiest dialogue; I just wanted to see the freaking bear already. The news that the two are going to be parents is a total departure from the novels; can’t wait to see where this turn of events winds up.

Poor, poor Sansa. That was one uncomfortable girl talk she had with Margaery. From the look on Margaery’s face and the amused tone of her voice, I don’t think she learned all of that from her mother.

Another week, another scene of Theon being tortured. This was the absolute worst one.

Lovelorn Orell

Orell pours his heart out to Ygritte, but she’s clearly not interested. I’m not the biggest Ygritte fan, but she does make me laugh when she teases Jon. Unfunny moment: when a somber Jon tells her that the Wildlings are going to die trying to take Castle Black.

What the Hell Am I Supposed to Do with a Gold Chain?

Tyrion presents Shae with the gift of a ginormous gold chain, and she’s just like, WTF? You are marrying someone else, buddy! Shae is another character who’s very different from how she’s portrayed in the books, and again, it’ll be interesting to see how this impacts later events. And you gotta love how practical Bronn’s view of the world is. He and Tyrion should get their own sitcom spin-off because their conversations are always so hilarious.

Arya Gets a New Traveling Companion

The Brotherhood gets wind of Lannister soldiers nearby, and they can’t pass up a plundering opportunity. Arya demands to know why they aren’t taking her to Riverrun and then makes a break for it. She’s caught by none other than the Hound, and we all know how much she loves him (not).

Lord Tywin Makes Climbing Steps Look Cool

Stupid Joffrey whines to his grandpapa about not being included in Small Council meetings and how he’d have to climb all those stairs in the Tower of the Hand. Lord Tywin offers to have him carried up. Maybe Joffrey would like a bottle and a diaper change to go with that as well. I’d hoped that Lord Tywin would have taken advantage of his close proximity to Joffrey to beat the crap out of him, but alas, that didn’t happen.

Here’s a Present for You . . . Your Life!

Daenerys sets her eyes on the city of Yunkai and potentially adding to her number of troops. This was a great scene, especially with the dragons, but I cannot erase from my head the Daenerys from the books who annoys me to no end. I skimmed a good number of her chapters in A Dance with Dragons. I feel like the show goes out of its way to make her all badass, and while I tolerate this version of her character, her story line is the one I’m least invested in.

Finally . . . the Bear!

Jaime sets off for King’s Landing . . . without Brienne. Their goodbye was so poignant, and I loved how Brienne called Jaime by his name instead of Kingslayer. These two have just been brilliant all season. Already away from Harrenhal, Jaime learns from Qyburn that the ransom Brienne’s father offered for her return has been refused. Locke believed Jaime’s story about Tarth being rich in sapphires and is holding out. Realizing the consequences of his words, Jaime gets Bolton’s man to take him back to Harrenhal, where Locke has put Brienne, still in that hideous pink dress, in the bear pit, armed only with a wooden sword. Jaime offers to pay the ransom himself, but sadistic Locke won’t be swayed. So Jaime jumps down into the pit to help Brienne! Greatest GoT fangirl moment ever! Both are pulled to safety, and a standoff between Jaime and Locke ensues. Jaime reminds him how much more valuable he is alive, and parts with,“Sorry about the sapphires.” The look on Jaime’s face as he said that! Bahahahahaha!!!!!

What We Learned from This Episode

  • The Blackfish has seen wet sh*ts he likes better than Walder Frey. Oh God, I love this guy! Why didn’t they bring him in sooner?!
  • When Lord Tywin says you’ve been counseled, you’ve been counseled. End of story.

In the Next Episode

Dany squares off against another adversary; Sam fends off something scary; the Lannisters face off against each other.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (35)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's an opportunity for everyone to share the new books that we've acquired.

My cousin and co-blogger Ally, who's been absent around here thanks to AP exams and rehearsals for her band concert, did find time last week to read Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian plus get me to read it along with her. Thanks to Ally, I had to immediately buy copies of Onyx and Opal after finishing Obsidian. I also spotted For Darkness Shows the Stars, which I've desperately wanted to read, on Amazon for $7.20, and I grabbed that, too.

For Review:

The Iron Queen by Kaitlin Bevis
Thanks to Kaitlin Bevis!

Borrowed:

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

Bought:

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

What did you add to your shelves this week? Please link me up!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff Paper Valentine
By Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher:
Razorbill

To Sum It Up:

Since the death of her best friend Lillian, Hannah Wagner has been haunted by Lillian’s ghost. As Hannah struggles to cope with the daily reminder of how her friend died, a string of murders throws the community of Ludlow into a panic. The victims are all young girls, and the killer leaves a paper valentine at each crime scene. Hannah’s ability to see ghosts becomes key to stopping whoever’s responsible, but it’s not going to be easy to explain how she knows what she does.

Review:

Paper Valentine makes me think of a string quartet. Individually, each instrument produces a beautiful sound; put them together, though, and the music is even more powerful. That is this book. Each story thread draws you in, but taken as a whole, you have one knockout novel.

Hannah Wagner sees the ghost of her dead best friend, Lillian Wald. Never able to please her mother, Lillian essentially starved herself to death. Its impact has affected Hannah in several ways. Of course there’s the fact that Lillian is haunting her, and Lillian can be quite the disruptive ghost. Under her outward appearance of calm that is underscored by her cheery outfits, Hannah is wrestling with the guilt she feels over just looking on as Lillian wasted away. Lillian was also the leader of their circle of friends, and without her, Hannah begins to realize that she shares nothing in common with the remaining members of the group.

Watching Hannah deal with the loss of Lillian made for a compelling story on its own. While she seems to be carrying on with her life, she’s not okay. It’s subtle, but it’s there. This book is full of nuances that are slowly built up; it’s when you view the assembled picture that you feel the full weight of what’s happened throughout the novel. It takes Hannah some time to become aware of how much she’s holding in, and adding to that burden are her conflicted feelings toward Finnegan “Finny” Boone.

Hannah has known Finny since childhood, and he is most decidedly trouble. Yet there’s a gentleness to him that belies his sharp edges. Finny is the type of boy whom Lillian and the rest of their clique never would have allowed Hannah to be seen with. What they think isn’t really an issue anymore, though. The tension and uncertainty about what exists between these two are riveting, and again, here’s a fraction of the story that stands strongly by itself.

And now for where the title comes in. A serial killer is targeting young girls in Hannah’s community and leaving paper valentines at the crime scenes. The book takes its darkest turn yet with this part of the story. The paranormal plays a significant role in catching the killer, and it’s cleverly worked into the murder mystery aspect of the novel. I did, however, find the big reveal of the killer’s identity somewhat wanting. For all of the meticulous plotting that led up to this moment, I felt like it went by too quickly, as if there were fifteen minutes left in a movie and all the loose ends needed to be tied up.

Ending aside, Paper Valentine was a fantastic read. Brenna Yovanoff is a brilliant storyteller, and I’m just in awe of her literal and figurative uses of ghosts in this. It’s a paranormal read like this one that reminds me why I love the genre so much.

All in All:

Reading Paper Valentine late at night gave me the chills. The dark tone and build-up of suspense are so well done, as is its incorporation of the supernatural.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: You Are Mine by Janeal Falor

You Are Mine by Janeal Falor You Are Mine (Mine #1)
By Janeal Falor

* A copy was provided by the author for review.

To Sum It Up:

Serena has reached her seventeenth birthday, an event that she’s been dreading. It means that she’s old enough to have her blood tested to see how much magic it contains. The more magic within it, the higher the price her father will be able to demand for her hand in marriage. For Serena, marriage doesn’t mean escape from her father’s house and his cruel punishments; instead, she’ll just become the property of her new husband. A surprise turn of events leads to Serena being contracted to marry a warlock who’s an outsider to her country, and therefore, the subject of much suspicion. The last thing Serena expects from him is kindness, but Zade is not at all like the other warlocks she’s known. For once, Serena dares to hope that she might find some freedom in her life.

Review:

You Are Mine takes place in a world where only males are able to use magic. Females carry magic in their blood, but they cannot wield it, only pass it on to the male children they’re expected to provide for their husbands. Women have no rights, and those who are not submissive face severe punishment, including being tarnished—shunned by the rest of society.

The novel opens with this terribly bleak outlook for its female characters, including the protagonist, Serena. As the story unfolds, though, there’s a nicely built and gradual shift in the situation. From the outset, you get the impression that Serena has a rebellious side that’s clamoring to run free. She occasionally slips and says exactly what she’s thinking, but she can only do so much while still living under her father’s roof. He’s only too happy to punish not only Serena but any of his daughters who misbehaves. To spare her younger sisters from his cruelty, Serena takes the blame for any wrongdoing as often as she can. Once she’s out of his house, however, Serena slowly starts taking control of her life. She stops wearing the face paint that women are supposed to use and has clothes made to suit her tastes for once. These may seem like small things, but merely having a choice in these matters is a huge gain.

I thought the strongest story line belonged to Katherine, a tarnished dressmaker who befriends Serena. Despite her social status, Katherine leads a life that is on her own terms. Her friendship with Serena is mutually beneficial, with both women inspiring strength in each other.

Where the novel didn’t work for me was in how delineated the characters were: the good ones were really good, and the bad ones were really bad. I tend to be drawn to morally ambiguous characters, particularly when I read fantasy. Here there’s hardly any middle ground. Serena’s father, Stephen, was just loathsome, and I felt like her fiancĂ©, Zade, was depicted in an extra heroic light to make up for how horrible Stephen was. I didn’t have a problem with Zade being a good guy. He was so wholly noble, though, that he came off as too perfect to me, even as Serena feared that he was putting on an act. I was never convinced that Zade was going to turn out to be like Serena’s father; in fact, I got a bit annoyed with her for continuing to doubt Zade’s kindness. I understood where her wariness came from, but it was already apparent to me that he wasn’t going to hurt her, and I wanted her to realize it, too.

The magical element of You Are Mine is weaved well into the story, but I would have liked to have seen it utilized even more. It sometimes takes a secondary role to whatever is going on in Serena’s everyday life, like going dress shopping. I like fantasy that’s a little more action-oriented and has characters with an edge to them, and this didn’t quite line up with what I look for in the genre.

All in All:

This was a little too light on the fantasy elements for me, but I would suggest trying it to anyone who’s been looking for a starting point into the genre. The plot is straightforward and the world easy to jump into.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Author Interview with Malia Ann Haberman

Today I'm excited to welcome to the blog Malia Ann Haberman, author of the middle grade fantasy novel Chase Tinker and the House of Magic. This was such a fun read, and you can check out my review of the book here.

Welcome to Rally the Readers, Malia! Thank you for answering a few questions today.

What made you want to write a book about magic?

I love fantasy and magic because so many fun and incredible things can be done with the worlds that are created. You can let your imagination go pretty darn crazy. After all, where in real life can you conjure a pepperoni pizza from your nose? Or really become invisible? Or shoot lightning bolts from your eyes? I have such a good time coming up with all the different ideas.

Are there any particular challenges you face writing for younger readers?

There are so many distractions for kids these days; I would say one challenge is writing a book that's fun, exciting and interesting enough to hold the reader's complete attention. You don't want them tossing aside your book just because they became bored or discontented with it.

Growing up, what were some of your favorite books/who were some of your favorite authors?

I really can't remember any particular favorites. I just read tons of books. I always had a book in my hands. (I'm proud to say that I mastered the art of reading and watching TV at the same time.) Oh yeah, I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan.

I absolutely loved the whole concept of every room in the Tinker house having its own magical power. How did the idea come about?

Almost 7 years ago, I was working as a Real Estate Agent. After a day of showing homes to my clients, that night I dreamed I was living in a huge house where every room had magic in it. I don't usually remember my dreams, but this one stuck with me. And it's a good thing, or Chase Tinker would be in the same dark place as all those other forgotten dreams. :)

What can we look forward to in Book 2, Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets?

Well, I can't give too much away, but I can share that an awesome and unexpected character joins the cast, and a stunning revelation knocks the pants off everyone. Lots of exciting stuff.

And now for a few random questions:

If you could have any magical power, what would it be?

I'd want the ability to teleport. I'm kind of afraid of flying so with that awesome power, I could go anyplace in the world in the blink of an eye. I'd also use it to constantly drop in on my family members who live in other states. Ha! I'm sure they would love that.

Favorite room in the Tinker house?

The Library. Besides having tons of books, you can conjure up almost anything you want in that room. Plus, it has a pirate ship, a hot air balloon, a tree house and other fantastic things to have fun with.

Period in history you'd most like to travel back in time to?

As long as I didn't have to live there, because I happen to love indoor plumbing, electricity and my computer, I wouldn't mind visiting the wild, wild west with lots of, hopefully, sexy cowboys. :)

Favorite color?

I like all different shades of blue and purple. And green. And red. And gray. Oh, and pink.

Thanks again for your time, Malia! I really appreciate it!

You're welcome, Lee! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. :)

About Malia Ann Haberman

Malia Ann Haberman Author

Author of "The Chase Tinker Series" Malia loves dancing, reading, writing, sunsets, ladybugs, playing video games on her iPod, watching TV, and chocolate. She also has terrible motion sickness and hates onions. She's always wanted to have the ability to teleport and the power to move things with her mind. She lives in the Seattle area with her four wild and crazy ferrets.

You can find Malia on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout Obsidian (Lux #1)
By Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher:
Entangled Teen

To Sum It Up:

Katy Swartz is the new girl in town—a very small town in West Virginia. Her next door neighbors happen to be around her age, but one meeting with Daemon Black leaves Katy vowing that they’ll never be friends. Daemon’s twin sister, Dee, is completely different from her brother, though, and Katy quickly finds herself hanging out with Dee. Of course this means crossing paths with Daemon, too, and there’s something odd about both him and his twin. Katy’s eyes are about to be opened to a world that seems straight out of one of her beloved books but which poses a very real danger to her.

Review:

I remember when Obsidian first came out, and it seemed as though everyone had Daemon Black’s mug as a profile picture. Curious to see what all of the fuss was about, I dutifully purchased a copy of Obsidian then proceeded to do what I usually do with new books: let it sit on my bookshelf for months and months. My cousin Ally strong-armed asked me to buddy read this with her, and so I dusted off my long neglected copy.

I’m always skeptical of books with heaps of hype surrounding them because I typically wind up being the lone weirdo who fails to like a much-loved book. Through the first few chapters of Obsidian, I was a little worried about how it was going to work out. While I was interested, I wasn’t head over heels in love with it.

As I continued reading, though, I found myself thinking about the book when I had to put it down to, you know, carry on with life outside of books. I can’t say exactly when Obsidian became a page-turner. This was just one of those times when a book gradually grew on me until one day I realized how much I was enjoying it.

I liked Katy from the beginning. She’s a book blogger! I had to laugh when she talked about writing up her Waiting on Wednesday posts and checking for new comments/followers. The blogging details were spot-on. I also laughed at how Katy’s thoughts kept drifting back to Daemon despite how much he enraged her. And Daemon is rage-inducing. There’s a definite Twilight-esque vibe at times to Katy and Daemon’s relationship, but to her credit, Katy doesn’t get all angst-ridden over him. She really does hate him sometimes, and not in an I-Love-to-Hate-You way. Katy doesn’t put up with Daemon’s mouth, either; she matches him insult for insult.

As for Daemon, the face that graced many a social networking media avatar, I found him to be as grating on the nerves as Katy did. He’s a Grade A ass: arrogant, rude, and occasionally plain crude. Having said that, there was a part of me that was highly amused by him sometimes, in spite of my better judgment. Like most bad boys, Daemon has a reason for behaving like a jerk—he’s just trying to protect his twin sister, Dee. I didn’t think him as much of a jerk after that, although—and I know this goes completely against the tide of popular opinion—I didn’t find myself as in love with him as so many other readers are. We’ll see if that changes with the sequels.

My favorite aspect of Obsidian was its take on aliens. I really liked how they were portrayed in the novel and how Jennifer L. Armentrout made it seem entirely possible that they could be walking among us. Right now. The amount of alien books I’ve read numbers in the single digits, but Armentrout’s aliens definitely make me want to read more. Obsidian isn’t an overly complex novel, but it was very entertaining. I am impatiently waiting for my copies of Onyx and Opal to arrive.

All in All:

Sometimes a light, fun read is in order, and that’s what Obsidian was for me. Although I wasn’t blown away by it, I can understand why the Lux series has such an ardent following. And who knows? Depending on how the next two books go, I may yet sign up for a Team Daemon membership card.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Climb

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Climb.”

This is already the sixth episode out of ten for the season—nooooo! It’s going way too fast!

The Skinning Knives Are Out

Ah, the joys of traveling together and getting on each other’s nerves. Osha and Meera argue over the right way to skin a rabbit as Bran tries to broker peace. The ladies reach an uneasy truce when Jojen, who’s having one of his visions, draws everyone’s attention. He tells the group that he saw Jon Snow, who was on the wrong side of the Wall . . . .

If Rock Wall Climbing Isn’t Challenging Enough, There’s Always Ice Wall Climbing

You couldn’t pay me to scale the Wall for anything. I would have passed out just looking up at it. Orell is such a turd—nice of him to cut Ygritte and Jon’s tether as they dangled in midair.

I Thought I Signed Up to Be a Smith!

Poor Gendry! He’s all ready to make weapons and armor for the Brotherhood when, BAM! Creepy Melisandre shows up, hands the Brotherhood some gold, and off she goes with Gendry in chains. This wasn’t in the books—Melisandre had her eye on another of Robert Baratheon’s bastards, Edric Storm. It’ll be interesting to see where this plotline goes.

The Skinning Knives Are Out, Part 2

I’m squeamish, and I couldn’t watch most of this scene between Theon and his mystery captor, who’s one of the sickest characters ever. And on a show with no shortage of sickos, that’s really saying something. The show is really taking its time with the “Guess Who I Am?” aspect of this story; I’m wondering if those who haven’t read the books will find out who this guy is before the season’s end.

Who Will Lady Olenna Visit This Week?

Why, it’s none other than Lord Tywin! It seems that she has a sit-down chat with a different character every week, not that I’m complaining, because I love Lady Olenna! I loved this scene, especially when she snapped Lord Tywin’s quill in half.

Who, Me? Yes, You, Edmure!

This guy is such a doofus. It’s too bad the Blackfish isn’t Lord of Riverrun because Edmure doesn’t strike me as the intelligent type. Speaking of the Blackfish, I love this man more every time he’s on screen. “The laws of my fist are about to compel your teeth.” Hahahaha!!!!

My Hatred of Littlefinger, Part 999

I was kind of hoping that he’d trip and fall face first on the Iron Throne and, you know, impale himself. Littlefinger’s arrogance about how smart he perceives himself to be is a thousand times more unbearable than Cersei’s arrogance about how clever she thinks she is. #TeamVarys

Well, This Is an Awkward Dinner

Brienne looked like she was about to put her dinner knife right between Roose Bolton’s eyes, and he deserved it just for making her wear that hideous dress alone, never mind what an ass he was being to Jaime. I LOVED how she and Jaime appeared to be a team, united against the skeevy Bolton. What is this nonsense that Brienne is going to be tried for abetting treason? Oh, hellll nooo! Jaime, do something!

Things We Learned from This Episode

  • Osha’s signature way of greeting you for the first time is holding a knife to your throat.
  • If you’re going to go Wall climbing, do not pick Orell as your climbing buddy!

In the Next Episode

Attention fellow Jaime and Brienne fans: if what I think is going to happen in the next episode happens, you seriously do not want to miss it. I’ve been waiting to see this moment adapted for television for almost two years, since I first read A Storm of Swords. So far, the show has never let me down in bringing the biggest events from the books to life, so this is probably my most anticipated episode of this season.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (34)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's an opportunity for everyone to share the new books that we've acquired.

I got some of these the previous week, but I was too lazy to write up a post in time, so this post covers two weeks. I spotted The Eternity Cure for under $10 on Amazon, and well, I couldn't resist that price.

For Review:

I'm Nobody by Alex Marestaing
Gravity by Abigail Boyd
Thanks to Alex Marestaing & Abigail Boyd!

Borrowed:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Bought:

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

What did you add to your shelves this week? Please link me up!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...