Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: Blood of My Blood

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Blood of My Blood.”

Thanks to the long weekend, I was actually able to post a recap before Friday! LOL. This season has been all about the big reveals which readers of the books are still waiting for, and we got another one in this episode.

Coldhands to the Rescue

Gotta feel bad for poor Meera. Bran is still in lala land, and she's trying to haul him in heavy snowfall. Bran is still processing all the knowledge that the Three-Eyed Raven gave him, and we see a montage of key moments from the world of GoT, including Daenerys's father, Aerys the Mad King, screaming for all of King's Landing and everyone in it to be burned. Bran wakes up to tell Meera that they've been found—to her horror, they're surrounded by wights. The situation looks completely hopeless until a mysterious man on a horse comes to their rescue.

Horn Hill Homecoming

Sam and Gilly are en route to his family home, Horn Hill. His plan is for her and little Sam to remain there while he goes off to the Citadel for his maester training. Gilly asks Sam what he's told his family about her—if they know she's a wildling. No, he hasn't, but he has claimed baby Sam as his so they'll take the boy in. Sam's mother and sister are kind and welcoming when they arrive. Lord Randyll Tarly is out on a hunt and isn't there to greet them, but we'll get an ugly look at him later in the episode.

Tommen Needs to Grow a Brain of His Own

In the Great Sept of Baelor, Tommen asks the High Sparrow if there's any way for Margaery to avoid doing a walk of atonement. The Sparrow says no, but he does allow the king to see his wife. Margaery is all cleaned up with shiny tresses (no haircut for her!) and spouting some BS about how amazing and right the Sparrow is. At least Tommen picks up on the fact that something is amiss here with Margaery suddenly wholly repentant and singing the Sparrow's praises. He even deducts that she's doing it for Loras's sake. Oh Margaery—Lady Crane should take some acting tips from you!

GoT Loves Its Awkward Family Dinners

Back at Horn Hill, the Tarly family, including intimidating Lord Randyll, is assembled for dinner. Gilly is all dressed up thanks to Sam's sister, but a change of wardrobe isn't nearly enough to disguise how terribly out of place she is. After a brutal insult from his father, Sam decides that another helping of bread isn't advisable. Lord Randyll, a supreme jackass, berates Sam throughout the meal but really goes ballistic when he figures out that Gilly is a wildling. Sam remains quiet as his father spews, but Gilly stands up for Sam. Lady Tarly finally can't take anymore and whisks Gilly and her daughter from the room. Alone together, Sam tells Gilly that he didn't speak a word against his father so that Lord Tarly would allow Gilly and little Sam to stay. Sam is to be forever exiled from Horn Hill and prepares to leave, but then he changes his mind and tells Gilly they're getting out of there—together. But first he swipes Heartsbane, the Valyrian steel blade that's been passed down through the family.

And Now We Know Who's Face Is Going to Be Added to the Hall

In Braavos, Arya is watching the acting troupe again. This time they're reenacting the Purple Wedding, and Arya is highly amused watching actor Joffrey die. Lady Crane as Cersei delivers a dramatic monologue during his death scene as Arya catches the jealous actress who hired the Faceless Men to kill Lady Crane mouthing her lines. Arya sneaks backstage and poisons Lady Crane's wine, and said lady catches Arya on her way out. Lady Crane has noticed Arya in the crowd before and thinks Arya is hanging around because she has acting aspirations of her own. Lady Crane seems to take a bit of a shine to Arya, who makes the fateful decision to knock the wine glass out of her target's hand just as she's about to take a sip. Not only that, but Arya announces in front of the whole troupe that the young actress is out to kill Lady Crane. As Arya leaves, we see the Waif, who goes back to the House of Black and White and reports to Jaqen. He tells her not to let Arya suffer, but the smirk on the Waif's face seems to say that she has other ideas. In the meantime, Arya has retrieved Needle from where she buried her beloved blade. Good thinking, Arya, because the Waif is coming for you.

Just a Would-Be Battle

In King's Landing, Jaime greets Mace Tyrell and his troops. Jaime tries to keep a straight face as Mace delivers a rather ridiculous speech to his men. I had a hard time keeping a straight face just because of the plume on Mace's helmet. Lady Olenna is there, too, as Jaime demands the release of both Margaery and Loras. Jaime charges up the steps to the sept on his horse, looking like a total badass. The Tyrell soldiers have their spears at the ready for the Faith Militant, but then the High Sparrow announces that there will be no walk of atonement for Margaery today because she has brought another into the light. The sept doors open, and out strolls Tommen, accompanied by the Kingsguard wearing armor showing the seven-pointed star and a crown, a symbol of their new alliance. Jaime is pissed that Tommen would do such a thing. Mace asks his mother what's going on, and she replies that they've been beaten by the Sparrow. Next in the throne room, Tommen dismisses Jaime from the Kingsguard; attacking the faith is now equivalent to attacking the crown.

In Case You Forgot Who Walder Frey Was

He's the geezer who hosted the Red Wedding. Now he's chewing out his sons for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish. They point out that some of the other Riverlands houses have rallied behind House Tully, and the Brotherhood without Banners is also causing trouble. Old Walder will hear none of their excuses, however, and wants the Blackfish to be reminded that the Freys are still holding a very valuable prisoner. After also being MIA like his uncle the Blackfish since Season 3, the Freys march out a ragged looking Black Jack Randall, I mean Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark's younger brother.

Jaime & Bronn's Epic Travels, Part II?

Jaime is bitching to Cersei about how he's being sent to the Riverlands to deal with the Blackfish. You know who else is being sent to the Riverlands, but to ally with the Blackfish? Brienne. Sooooo, maybe Jaime and Brienne are going to meet up there, like in the books? Look, I find Tormund's crush or whatever you want to call it on Brienne hilarious, but I've always shipped Jaime and Brienne. It really irks me that on the show he seems to be back with Cersei (and it grosses me out to say that, too) because that's NOT the case in the books. Anyway, TV Cersei tells TV Jaime to do as he's told; she'll be fine while he's gone because she's got Frankengregor as her champion for her upcoming trial by combat.

Knew. It!

And so readers of the books had a long-running theory confirmed by the show: Benjen Stark is Coldhands, the mysterious man dressed like a brother of the Night's Watch who also helped Bran and his traveling companions in the books. Benjen tells Bran and Meera how he was out with his ranging party and ran into White Walkers. One of them stabbed him and left him to turn, but the Children of the Forest saved him by stabbing him in the heart with dragonglass.

The Prodigal Dragon Returns. Again.

Daenerys and Daario are riding at the head of khalasar, discussing how long it's going to take to get back to Meereen and then how many ships will be needed to sail to Westeros. She suddenly stops and rides off on her own. Daario becomes concerned and is about to follow her, but no need. She's flying Drogon, who is ENORMOUS. Then she delivers yet another epic speech; I've lost count of how many that makes now. XD

In the Next Episode

The Blackfish returns (so Littlefinger wasn't lying!)! Sansa meets with House Glover? Yara and Theon plot revenge. Tormund tries to rally the wildlings to Jon's side. Bronn is back!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Wink Poppy Midnight
By April Genevieve Tucholke
Dial Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: YALLFest

To Sum It Up: Wink Poppy Midnight follows the intertwined stories of three very different characters. Midnight, a sensitive and unusual young boy finds himself caught in between two very different girls. Poppy, the beautiful and very mean girl refuses to relinquish her claim on Midnight, but the strange and fairytale obsessed Wink seems to be winning him over. A haunted house in the woods will force the characters to reveal who they really are.

Review: I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I got this ARC while at YALLFest, but the important thing is that I finally got to read it! I have been in a severe book hangover since reading The Raven King, but Wink Poppy Midnight was the perfect book to help me out of the dark depths of depression. It was a quick and enjoyable read with short chapters and fluid transitions that kept the pace moving. That being said, I was able to finish it in a matter of hours. Although the book was nothing like I expected (I thought it was going to be paranormal for some strange reason) it successfully accomplished capturing the extraordinary in the ordinary. The complex characters, the fairytale-esque setting, and the shocking end worked well together to pull the reader into the world of the novel.

I love a good book with a haunted house, and Wink Poppy Midnight truly delivered. Throw in a charming farm and a wooded area and you have the perfect recipe for a place where anything can (and does) happen. While the characters are somewhat ordinary high school students, this setting is an excellent opportunity to do more extraordinary things while away from the routine normality of school.

Another thing I enjoyed about this story was the complexity of the characters. No one is truly what they seem, and I love when characters defy the expectations of the reader. I thought Wink, Poppy, and Midnight were somewhat gray characters, and I think that complexity brought the story to another level. Watching them reveal themselves to each other threw me for quite a loop. Although I did not particularly like any of the characters, I still had a lot of fun reading about them. Yes, I know how very little sense that makes, but it’s true!

Surprise endings can be a hit or miss with me. My golden rule is that above all else, the ending must fit the characters, and I was very pleased to find that this one did just that! The pace of the novel kept the reader moving quickly, so the end is even more of a jolt (but in a very good way!).

All in All: Wink Poppy Midnight was a quick and enjoyable read. It is definitely not what it appears to be, but I thought that was what made it appealing. I didn’t find anything wrong with this book, but for whatever reason this book was not able to work its way into my heart. That being said, you should really give this one a try!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fandom Mashups (56)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
WooHoo! You wake up in the morning to discover that you are now an animated character in a cartoon world. :D Who's going to show you the ropes to surviving this strange new reality?

This week's scenario is a total dream come true for me! I LOVE cartoons! I still watch them and enjoy them and feel no shame in doing so, lol.

  1. Homer Simpson: The "Woohoo!" in the topic title immediately made me think of Homer. XD He'd get us into a lot of trouble (probably), but it would be so much fun! Plus, he's somewhat experienced at being transported to an alternate reality, having been three-dimensional in one Treehouse of Horror episode and in Lego form in another.
  2. Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender): Aang woke up from a really long nap and had to adjust, so we'd be kindred spirits of sorts.
  3. Brain (Pinky & The Brain): Brain is a talking lab mouse, so I don't think a talking lab mouse would blink too much at a human turned into a cartoon character. In a perfect cartoon world, Brain and I would be best buds, maybe even plotting to take over the world together!
  4. Batman (Batman: The Animated Series): Did anyone else watch this in the 90's? This is one of the best animated shows EVER, with its deep story lines, gorgeous animation, and Mark Hamill as the voice of the Joker. I'd totally want this Batman to help keep me safe.
  5. Princess Allura (Voltron): Really going retro for this pick, lol. Voltron is my all-time favorite animated series. I faithfully watched it weekdays after school and when it was finally released on DVD a few years ago, you'd better believe I snapped those babies up. Princess Allura was awesome because there weren't a whole lot of cartoon heroines back then. Not only was she a kind leader who loved her people, but she also got to pilot one of the freaking robot lions. I'd just want to meet her and gush like a fangirl. :D

Friday, May 27, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Door

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

Way to break my heart in new and cruel ways this week, GoT! Whenever the episode titles are announced, I try to take a guess at what they might mean (and am usually so wrong, lol). This one totally had me stumped, but it all comes together at the end of the episode . . . .

Ughhh, It's Littlefinger

Sansa receives a letter from Littlefinger asking her to meet him in Mole's Town. I was proud of Sansa for 1) ripping Littlefinger a new one for marrying her to Ramsay, 2) bringing Brienne along for backup, and 3) threatening to have Brienne kill Littlefinger. He denies having known that Ramsay was a monster when he brought Sansa to Winterfell and offers her the help of the Knights of the Vale, who are camped at Moat Cailin. He also brings news that her uncle, Brynden Tully, the Blackfish, has retaken Riverrun.

This Play Is Not Funny

At the House of Black and White, the Waif soundly beats Arya's ass again and sneers that Arya will never be one of them. Jaqen, however, is willing to give Arya a second chance but warns there won't be a third. She scopes out her target, an actress named Lady Crane, who's playing Cersei in a comedic satire that's not hilarious at all to Arya because it portrays Ned as a complete buffoon. Back at the House of Black and White, Arya reports back to Jaqen and figures out that the younger actress in the troupe has hired the Faceless Men to take out Lady Crane. Arya seems to balk somewhat at the idea of the Faceless Men essentially being killers for hire.

So THAT'S Where the White Walkers Came From!

It's time for another vision, and this one sees the origin of the White Walkers. It was the Children of the Forest who created them—to help defend themselves against humans.

Those Crazy Greyjoys

The kingsmoot—or should we say, queensmoot— gets underway in the Iron Islands, with Yara putting her name forward and Theon throwing his support behind his sister. But then batty Uncle Euron has to show up and ruin everything. Euron tells the assembled Ironborn that he's going to take his ships and join up with Daenerys. While Euron is busy taking a dunk in the water he loves so much, Yara and Theon steal his best ships and sail away, leaving their uncle to rebuild his fleet. Well, order the Ironborn to rebuild it for him, more like.

Confession Time

Daenerys is deciding what to do about Jorah. She still can't accept him back, but he also saved her life, so she can't send him away. He says he'll send himself away and shows her his arm. He goes on to say that he'll end his life before his condition becomes bad and then admits that he loves her. With tears in her eyes, Daenerys commands him to find a cure and return to her, his queen.

Melisandre II

Back in Meereen, Tyrion and Varys greet Kinvara, the Red Priestess of Volantis. Tyrion asks her to use her influence to help spread the word about Daenerys. A skeptical Varys brings up Stannis, who was also supposed to have been chosen. Kinvara creeps Varys out by talking about his past in very, very eerie detail.

This Is Why You Shouldn't Touch Stuff

Everyone is asleep inside the cave, so Bran decides to go vision questing on his own. He touches a branch and finds himself surrounded by snow. Then there's a horde of wights. Then there's the Night's King and his White Walker buddies. Then it seems like all of the wights are looking at Bran, and when he turns around, THE NIGHT'S KING IS STANDING THISCLOSE TO HIM! AND TOUCHES BRAN'S ARM! Bran wakes up in horror, and his yelling wakes everyone else up. There's a mark on his arm where the Night's King touched him, and the Three-Eyed Raven says they all have to get out because the Night's King knows where to find them because of that mark.

Strategy Meeting at Castle Black

I LOVE this ragtag war council: Jon, Sansa (who's pretty much leading it!), Davos, Brienne, Tormund, and, lurking in the background, Melisandre. I'm not entirely sure that Mel is trustworthy with this kind of stuff, but she did bring Jon Snow back. Anyway, there's some major strategizing going on, as the group tries to figure out which northern houses might still be loyal. Sansa pipes up with the news about the Blackfish and Riverrun but lies about the source, saying that Ramsay had received a raven before she escaped. Later when the two are alone, Brienne questions Sansa about her lie and also says that she doesn't feel comfortable leaving Sansa to go recruit the Blackfish's help. Brienne calls Jon brooding and says not to get her started on that Tormund fellow. BAHAHAHA!

In Which We Learn the Meaning of This Episode's Title

Meera is getting ready to leave and is happy to be doing so. As she's talking to Hodor, she notices that their breath has suddenly become icy, which means one thing: THE NIGHT'S KING AND HIS ARMY ARE HERE! All hell breaks loose as the wights descend upon the tree and the Night's King and his associates walk straight through the ring of fire that Leaf and her companions create. Inside the cave, Bran is in the middle of a vision back at Winterfell, where a young Ned is saying goodbye to his father before departing for the Vale. Meera tries desperately to wake Bran up so he can warg into Hodor and carry Bran out. Meanwhile, the wights are EVERYWHERE, and they swarm around poor Summer. Not Summer, too! :'(

The Night's King strolls into the cave and kills the Three-Eyed Raven. At last, Bran wargs into Hodor, and they make a mad dash for the door that leads outside. Leaf sacrifices herself, trying to buy them some time to escape.

After Hodor struggles to get the door open, he, Meera, and Bran are finally outside the cave, but the wights are right behind them. Back in his vision, Bran hears Meera screaming at Hodor to hold the door. The Raven tells Bran to listen to his friend, and just as the Night's King and the wights could see Bran in that other vision, the young Hodor in this vision can see Bran. Bran tells young Hodor to hold the door. The latter collapses and starts screaming "Hold the door" over and over again, until it just becomes "Hodor." So it seems that Hodor was destined to save Bran all these years, and now his sacrifice has been made. I teared up at the end of this episode, which I don't think has ever happened before, even after the Red Wedding, maybe because I'd read the books and knew that it had to happen eventually. But this—this was a total surprise, and it knifed me right in the heart like Valyrian steel. RIP Hodor. RIP Summer.

In the Next Episode

Sam takes Gilly home to meet his dad, and the meeting doesn't look very pleasant. Margaery is set to do her walk of atonement—with possible bloodshed in the streets of King's Landing (again).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (128)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Who Would Your Professor Crush Be?

It would be Lupin! He's just a really, really good guy, and I especially loved how he kind of took Harry under his wing in PoA. And his classes were so much fun, too!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
By Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Feyre freed Prythian from Amarantha’s brutal rule, but she’s haunted by all that happened Under the Mountain. As Feyre struggles to move forward with her now immortal life, a new threat to both Prythian and the mortal world is building. Feyre also knows that any day, she will have to uphold her side of the bargain she made with the High Lord Rhysand, a deal that demands her presence at his dreaded Night Court.

Review: Another Sarah J. Maas book read, another lingering feeling that I’ve just been steamrolled. What. The hell. Just happened?!

I didn’t realize what a hulk of a book A Court of Mist and Fury was until I opened up the box. Maas gets down to business straightaway: although Feyre liberated Prythian from Amarantha’s reign of terror, she has constant nightmares about her time Under the Mountain. It’s not long before things unravel, and Feyre starts down a long, painful path to healing. At first I was a bit jarred by the shift in Feyre’s circumstances; I think because it brought back memories of a certain . . . something in Maas’s Queen of Shadows. I also just have trouble adapting to change in general, even outside of books, but A Court of Mist and Fury gave me over five hundred pages to adjust, and I’m OK now. In fact, I’m perfectly fine with the direction the story went in, and I admire Maas for going with it. Oh, and I know I’m being kind of cryptic, but I’m afraid of spoiling anything. This particular aspect of Feyre’s journey in this book absolutely needs to be experienced for yourself.

So what can I go into detail about? Ah—the world-building! Just as she’s done with Throne of Glass, Maas takes us beyond the world of the previous book, and it’s an amazing tour. Oh, some places are totally terrifying, but you’re thrilled to go there anyway! Feyre’s bargain with Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, in A Court of Thorns and Roses promised that we’d get to see said court in the sequel, and damn does Maas do a knockout job of bringing that court to life. The Night Court was NOT what I expected, but then maybe I should have expected being surprised because Maas is such a genius. All I can say is: I want to run away to the Night Court, okay?

The character depth in this book . . . defies adjectives. Rhys’s development is superb, and I’ll leave it at that because again, that’s something you’ll want to read for yourself. A Court of Mist and Fury also introduces Rhys’s Inner Circle: Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren. Be prepared to love them all.

If Prythian thought it was going to get a little breather with Amarantha’s downfall, its powers of clairvoyance need some work. A new, horrible threat is on the horizon, and as much as it chills your mortal bones, it’s also thrilling to watch Feyre, with the help of some new allies, rise up to meet the approaching danger. There are also the usual court politics and betrayals, which add to an already tense atmosphere that explodes in the book’s final pages. Armor your heart now.

One final note: this book SERIOUSLY needs to come with a warning label strongly advising not to read it without the air conditioner or a fan cranked way, way up because of the heat factor. There WILL be smoldering! Five scorching, white-hot stars for the romance alone!

All in All: Yet another tour de force for SJM! Feyre’s growth is spectacular, the expansion of the world-building is spectacular, and Rhys is spectacular. If only I could will book three into existence this very second; the wait for it is going to be nothing but C-R-U-E-L.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fandom Mashups (55)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
The Force is strong with you. You've been told that you have the potential to be a legendary Jedi . . . or a badass Sith. WHO's going to train you up for the task?

I SO want to be just like Kylo Ren when I grow up—joking, joking! XD I have to say, Darth Vader was a total badass, so going Sith is a little tempting. In the end, though, I don't think I could use the Force for evil (at least all the time, haha!), so Jedi it is.

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars): Since I only get to choose one character from the Star Wars universe, I'm going with this guy. He's wise and kind and doesn't talk in riddles like a certain little green guy, as much as I love him. XD
  2. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender): Zuko knows what it's like to have an evil dad and overcome that to transform into a hero! I think he'd be good at keeping me from giving in to the Dark Side.
  3. Aelin (Throne of Glass): Since Aelin had to work at mastering her Fae magic, I feel I could go to her for advice on how to stay focused on my training. I'd also want her to teach me fighting techniques!
  4. Professor Charles Xavier (X-Men): Because sometimes a Jedi needs to pull off a mind trick or two, who better to get some tips on using that aspect of the Force than from the world's most powerful telepath?
  5. Spock (Star Trek): Jedis need to learn self-discipline, and this guy is a master of it. Plus, I want to see a Star Wars/Star Trek crossover!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: Book of the Stranger

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Book of the Stranger.”

Story arcs are converging fast this season, and this episode saw one of its sweetest meetings between characters yet! And I do mean "sweetest" literally; on a show where a character or two is expected to die every episode, reunions are a rare, rare thing.

Quite Possibly the Greatest GoT Moment Ever!

At least on the show, because we're wayyyy beyond the books now. At the Wall, Jon is packing up and talking to Dolorous Edd when the horn sounds. The gate opens dramatically to reveal Brienne, Pod, and Sansa. Sansa and Jon. Together. In the same place. At the same time. In the same scene. Emotion overload! Later, as they're sitting together by the fire, Sansa shows some figurative fire and urges a battle-weary Jon to help her take back Winterfell. She vows to do it herself if she has to.

Yep, I Did It

Melisandre is still looking sad, and when Davos asks her what she's going to do next, she says whatever Jon Snow says; he's the prince that was promised. Davos laments that Stannis wasn't that prince and then questions Melisandre about what happened to Stannis—and Shireen. I'd been wondering when/if the show would ever get around to Davos finding out what went down after Stannis dispatched him back to the Wall. But then Brienne interrupts the conversation and bluntly says that she was the one who killed Stannis.

The Knights of the Vale May Finally See a Fight

It appears that since Littlefinger left the Vale, Robin Arryn hasn't improved his archery skills at all under Lord Royce's watch. Littlefinger returns with a falcon for Robin, who's completely distracted by it. Meanwhile, Lord Royce quizzes Littlefinger about how Sansa ended up at Winterfell instead of the Fingers and calls Littlefinger out when the latter lies and says they were set upon by Bolton men. Littlefinger, having just given Robin a present, can persuade him to do whatever he wants, including dispose of Lord Royce for his insinuations. Littlefinger spares the lord, though, and also gets Robin to agree to send the Knights of the Vale to help Sansa, who Littlefinger tells Robin is on the run from Ramsay.

Tyrion Tries to Work His Negotiating Magic

The masters arrive in Meereen, and Tyrion makes a proposal: they'll have 7 years to end slavery, with slaveholders receiving fair compensation, if the masters cut off support for the Sons of the Harpy, which they deny they've been doing. The offer is a tough sell all-around, particularly for Missandei and Grey Worm, who know all too well what it's like to suffer under the masters.

Umm, Yeah, I've Been Trying to Hide My Greyscale

Daario and Jorah are just outside of Vaes Dothrak, and Daario is teasing his companion about his age. Jorah reminds him that they need to work together to rescue Daenerys, which they'll attempt at dark—and without their weapons, which are forbidden in the city. As Daario goes to hand Jorah his knife, he spots the greyscale. Once night falls, they sneak into Vaes Dothrak and have to fight their way out of a run-in with two Dothraki, one of whom belongs to Khal Moro's khalasar. Jorah and Daario finally find Daenerys outside of the temple of the Dosh Khaleen. Their prospects of escaping the city alive look bleak, but Daenerys has a plan.

Margaery Tries to Keep It Together

Septa Unella brings Margaery from her cell to the High Sparrow, who blah, blah, blahs for a bit. Afterwards, Margaery is allowed to see Loras, who's been enduring gods know what. He's clearly been broken, and although at first his sister urges him not to give in, she's stricken when he begs her to make the Sparrow and his lackeys stop whatever torture they've been inflicting on him.

A Shaky Alliance

Cersei boots Pycelle from his talk with Tommen, during which Tommen warns his mother not to antagonize the High Sparrow because he has Margaery in his custody. Tommen also reveals to Cersei that Margaery is to do a walk of atonement. She and Jaime take this news to Olenna and Kevan. Olenna is like seven hells, nooooo, my granddaughter will NOT be doing THAT. Jaime proposes that the Tyrell armies march on Kings Landing, and when they arrive, his uncle, who's been forbidden by Tommen to engage the Faith Militant lest they harm Margaery, is to just stand down. After Cersei asks him if he still cares about Lancel, Kevan seems willing to go along with the plan.

A Rather Frosty Welcome Home

Theon finally arrives home to the Iron Islands, but Yara isn't exactly thrilled to see him. She's still upset that he didn't go with her when she tried to rescue him from Ramsay, and she's also suspicious of his timing, so soon after their father's death. Yara thinks Theon wants to claim rule of the Iron Islands for himself, but instead he tells her that he'll support her at the Kingsmoot.

Will the North Remember?

At Winterfell, Osha tries to distract Ramsay so she can kill him, but he grabs the knife first. RIP, Osha. At Castle Black, everyone is enjoying a yummy meal (no, not really), and Tormund is giving Brienne some sly glances. Not only did I find this hilarious, but I also chuckled at Dolorous Edd's reaction when he spotted what was going on! Getting back to business, Jon receives a disturbing letter from Ramsay; as if Ramsay would write anything but a disturbing, disgusting letter. He lets Jon know that he has Rickon captive and that Shaggydog is dead. Sansa tells Jon that they have to rescue their brother and take back their home, and that there are still northern houses that will fight for him.

Flashback to the Season 1 Finale (Without Dragons)

In Vaes Dothrak, the khals are ready to decide Daenerys's fate. She's brought before them and is defiant. Just as Khal Moro declares that she's going to pay for her sass, she starts knocking over the fires in the temple of the Dosh Khaleen. Clearly the temple is not up to the fire code, as it's engulfed in flames almost immediately. Since fire cannot kill a dragon, all of the khals burn and Daenerys emerges from the blazing ruins of the temple unscathed. And just like that, she's khaleesi of ALL the Dothraki.

In the Next Episode

Sansa confronts Littlefinger! The Kingsmoot. A new Red Woman? BRAN AND THE NIGHT'S KING!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

By Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Chronicle Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: May 17, 2016

To Sum It Up: Genevieve “Gena” Goldman and Stephanie “Finn” Bartlett’s shared love for a TV show brings them together online. They form an instant rapport that quickly develops into friendship both online and in real life. All of the time Finn spends texting, emailing, and chatting online with Gena starts taking a toll on Finn's relationship with her steady boyfriend, Charlie, who isn’t aware of how deep Finn’s devotion to her fandom runs. When Gena desperately needs a friend by her side, though, Finn can’t turn away, even if it means not having a future with Charlie.

Review: I don’t remember the last time I read a book in a day, and a contemporary to boot. The narrative format of Gena/Finn is quite unique; the story is told through blog posts (with comments!), fanfics, texts, emails, chats, and even good old-fashioned handwritten journal entries. I’d never read a novel structured like this; I’ve read an epistolary novel or two, but Gena/Finn includes just about every form of digital communication. As a blogger, my interest was definitely piqued when I opened the book to a blog post, and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

The novel’s format is a winner, and perhaps because the blog posts and email/text exchanges aren’t all that long, the book is a very compulsive read. I confess that I’m usually a little skeptical of books that go out on a limb with the narrative structure because I’m afraid they’re going to end up being a gimmick that overshadows everything else. There is no such issue with Gena/Finn, and I’m really impressed with the creativity that went into telling this story in a rather unconventional fashion.

Gena is a boarding school student who’s about to graduate and attend a prestigious university. Finn is a college graduate who followed her boyfriend to California and is working jobs that help pay the bills but which don’t utilize her degree in art history. What Gena and Finn share is a hardcore love for a TV series called Up Below. Both post online about it, and that’s where they meet. They click immediately, united by their passion for their fandom. I completely understood the instant connection; it’s the same thrill I feel every time another book blogger says, “Hey! I LOVED that book, too!” There’s something very comforting in knowing that there’s another person out there in the world who loves the same thing, whether it’s a book, a TV series, a movie, etc., on the same level that you do, especially when your family and friends greet you with quizzical looks whenever you fangirl over Book X or Movie Y. Yet again.

Gena/Finn features lots of hilarious snark, which I very much enjoyed. The book takes on a heavier tone later on, but the shift doesn’t feel abrupt, and the turn of the plot underlines just how strong Gena and Finn’s friendship has become. This is a cleverly written novel that grabbed my attention straightaway and didn’t let go. It was also a very relatable book; truly the greatest thing about blogging has been the friendships that have formed over the past few years. There’s quite a bit of resonance to be found within the pages of this book for anyone who’s part of an online community, as well as a poignant story told in a very unique way.

All in All: This book was a super fast read, and an enjoyable one. My inner nerd especially loved all of the details that went into the book’s formatting, like the vertical scroll bar graphics on the edges of each page that accurately marked your progress in the book. Clever!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fandom Mashups (54)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
Boys! Boys! Boys! Whip up a team with your 5 favorite leading men!

  1. Harry Potter: Truly one of the greatest literary heroes ever, at least in my opinion. This list wouldn't be complete without him.
  2. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender): I love the transformation of his character so. Damn. Much!
  3. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices): I fall hard for the snarky lads, and Will charmed me from the very first page.
  4. Han Solo: I also love scoundrels! Han just looks so cool at EVERYTHING he does.
  5. Gansey (The Raven Cycle): Oh, Gansey. You're truly my kindred spirit fictional character. I've said it so many times before: I love him for his unfailing loyalty to his friends, his dedication to his quest, and for just being Gansey. ♥

Friday, May 13, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker

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

Nap Time Is Over

Davos and Melisandre learn that her magic actually worked last week—Jon Snow is alive! Jon remembers being stabbed, specifically by Olly in the heart, but nothing after he actually died. Jon laments to Davos about trying to do the right thing and getting killed for it. It's a pretty epic scene when Jon steps outside and everyone is stunned to see him. Loved the bro hugs between Jon and Tormund and then Jon and Edd.

Lest We Forget About These Two

Sam and Gilly are on board a ship, and Sam is terribly seasick. Gilly learns that she won't be going to Oldtown with Sam, like she'd thought; he's dropping her off at Horn Hill with his mother.

The Tower of Joy!

Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in another vision, this one of a young Ned and Howland Reed, Meera's father, confronting Ser Arthur Dayne, the legendary Sword of the Morning, and another Kingsguard outside the Tower of Joy. Ned tells Dayne that the Mad King Aerys and Rhaegar Targaryen are both dead, and he demands to know where his sister is. A fierce fight ensues, with Dayne wielding two swords and cutting down every man except Ned and Howland Reed, who saves Ned's life by stabbing Dayne in the back. Ned starts up the tower steps but of course it's at that point that the Three-Eyed Raven announces to Bran that it's time to depart.

Well, It's Not Quite the Pyramid Back in Meereen

Daenerys is back in Vaes Dothrak, and the Dosh Khaleen don't exactly roll out the red carpet for her arrival. Daenerys broke the rules by not going there immediately after Drogo's death, and now her fate will be decided by the other khalasars that have gathered in the city for a special event.

Varys Does What Varys Does Best

Back in Meereen, Varys questions Vala, the woman who helped the Sons of the Harpy last season. He offers her safe passage for her and her son on a ship to Pentos if she tells him who's funding the Sons. His persuasion works as he later tells Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm that Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis are all funding the Sons.

The Small Council Bolts

Qyburn creepily hands out sweets to the little birds who used to work for Varys and reminds them to tell their friends that there are still open positions in the spy network. Jaime, Cersei, and Frankgregor, whose true identity is totally out in the open, enter the dungeon. Cersei plans to have Franken-G be her champion in trial by combat. Next the trio crash the Small Council meeting being presided over by Uncle Kevan, who is a no-nonsense kind of man, and walk in just in time to catch Pycelle talking crap about the former Mountain. Jaime asserts that he has a right to be at the meeting as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Cersei demands to know what's going to be done about Dorne. Kevan, however, just takes the meeting and its attendees, Lady Olenna Tyrell among them, elsewhere.

The High Sparrow Is One Smooth Talker

Tommen musters up as much kingly courage as possible and confronts the High Sparrow, demanding to know when Cersei can see Myrcella's resting place. The High Sparrow replies that there needs to be a trial and proceeds to talk so persuasively to Tommen that by the end of the conversation, Tommen has cooled off considerably.

Arya Can See!

It's more stick sparring with the Waif for Arya, who at least has been allowed to return to the House of Black and White. Jaqen offers Arya some of the water that she knows is fatal to drink, but she does it anyway, and tada! She gets her eyesight back!

Will Winterfell Ever Be a Happy Place Again?!

One of the Umbers, and I'm not sure which one, asks Ramsay for help fighting Jon Snow and the Wildlings. He's even brought Ramsay a present, which turns out to be two captives with their heads covered. One is revealed to be Osha—isn't she supposed to be hiding Rickon on Skagos? No, wait, she's not, because the other mystery figure is Rickon. Most upsetting of all, at least for me, was when Umber presented Shaggydog's head! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

The Lord Commander Gives His Notice

That he's quitting, apparently! But first there's the matter of executing the traitors: Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck, Alliser Thorne, and Olly. I thought for a moment that Jon might crack and spare Olly, but he did not. And then Jon handed off his cloak and command of the Wall to Dolorous Edd. Jon Snow out!

In the Next Episode

Sansa and Brienne possibly make it to the Wall?! Littlefinger and Robin Arryn are back. Theon and Yara have what looks like an unhappy family reunion. Jorah and Daario may have to execute a rescue operation.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (127)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
If You Could Change One Thing from Book Three, What Would It Be?

Wormtail getting away! His rat-face would go on to cause soooo much trouble, plus thanks to him, Sirius couldn't officially clear his name. Believe me, I was outraged on Sirius's behalf when Wormtail escaped! Ah, but if this hadn't happened, the rest of the books would have been very short, right? XD

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Loot (23)

Is it just me, or do all of the awesome books tend to get released almost at the same time, thus putting extra heavy strain on your wallet? XD Such was the case with both The Raven King and A Court of Mist and Fury, both of which I needed to have in my desperate hands before I had some kind of breakdown.

I won't bore you again with the horror show that was pre-ordering TRK from Amazon and them failing to deliver on release day. I obtained my copy from good old Barnes & Noble, and since I was extremely stressed when I got to the store due to my quest for TRK (it was very Glendower-like), I had to calm myself by also buying the Sirius Black Funko Pop! figure and some lovely Keep Calm and Carry on magnetic page clips, which were especially apt for this situation, lol.

And the adorable Snoopy and Woodstock Funkos were a gift from Ally and Melissa. They always say that they're my cousin/children since I don't have any kids of my own; this was their gift to their cousin/mother on Mother's Day. ♥

For Review:

Burn by Paula Weston
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Thanks to Tundra Books and Chronicle Books!


Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Book Hangover

Out of curiosity, I checked my Goodreads 2015 shelf to see how many books I’d read by this time last year. I’m about five books behind 2015’s pace, and I’m not sure if I’m going to catch up because I’m currently nursing a massive book hangover thanks to Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King.

There’s always something extra special about finales of beloved series, and The Raven King was no exception. In addition, the book itself was just phenomenal, a masterpiece of prose and character study and plotting. It’s been a while since a book so thoroughly demolished me and has led to the following:

  1. Hesitance to start a new book: Because I just can’t move on right now! I want to linger in the world of The Raven Cycle just a bit longer! Also, I may be in absolute a tad of denial that The Raven King is, in fact, the end of the journey for Blue and the Raven Boys.
  2. Rereading after rereading of favorite passages from the book: I am 100% guilty of this one, so much so that I should probably just reread the whole book.
  3. A review that’s not so much a review as a love letter to the book: My gushiest, rambling-est reviews have been of books that blew my mind into subatomic particles, like The Raven King, Clockwork Princess, Queen of Shadows, The Dark Days Club, and very recently, A Gathering of Shadows. These novels all rendered me incapable of logical thought, resulting in babbling, overwrought “reviews” that were essentially essays on why I adored these books so much.
  4. Inability to resume life as you knew it before reading the book: You should be cleaning the bathroom or folding laundry or something, but instead you’re mentally replaying your favorite moments from the book that has just irrevocably changed your life. Or maybe you can’t tear yourself away from the whole rereading favorite passages thing. All you know is, you cannot fathom how the rest of the world is going about business as usual while you’re still attempting to process what you’ve just read.

I may have exaggerated a little here and there (or have I . . . ?) to add a spot of fun to this post, but #1 to #3 have definitely happened to me. I hope to have started a new book by the time this post goes live on the blog because I really, really want to make my Goodreads goal this year, lol.

Has a book ever left you with a huge hangover after reading it? Which one(s)? What made the book(s) so unforgettable?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Gansey’s quest to find a Welsh king has begun to leave more questions than answers, but he has found a set of friends more than willing to help him complete his quest. Finding Glendower is becoming more of an urgent matter as the year begins to slip by and the promise of death and loss looms over the group. Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam, and Noah are starting to become desperate as the threats begin to multiply, but their loyalty to each other proves to be a force of great power, perhaps even equal to that of Henrietta's ley line.

Since The Raven King is such a special book, it's getting a bit of special treatment today, with reviews from both Melissa and me! We warn you now: there's not so much reviewing ahead as unabashed fangirling!

Lee's Review: Three years ago, I read a book called The Raven Boys that completely enchanted me with its magical story of a girl, four boys, and a sleeping king. I loved this book immensely, and yet, somehow, each successive novel in the series found still more to love about these characters and everything about them: their lives, their fears, their flaws. Now, four books later, we’ve reached the last chapter for Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, and what a magnificent swan song it is.

I knew—knew—that The Raven King would crush me heart and soul, but anticipating a thing and experiencing it are very often two different beasts. My mind is a storm of thoughts. My heart still beats irregularly when I reread certain passages. I don’t label books “life-changing” lightly, but this book and this series permanently own a piece of my heart. My brain refuses to compute that I’ve just read the final installment in a series that is perfection defined.

To discuss The Raven King in depth is to spoil it for those who haven’t read it, so please pardon my vagueness. Believe me—I am DYING to talk about EVERYTHING that made this book an absolute feast for anyone who loves words. Maggie Stiefvater’s prose is magic transformed into words on a page. Her Wolves of Mercy Falls series imbued winter with a life of its own. Here she literally gives sentience to the otherworldly forest of Cabeswater; the imagery Stiefvater employs in the Cabeswater scenes never fails to transport you to that magical place where every sight and sound is so real, you can’t help feeling like you, too, are standing in its wondrous midst. And when Cabeswater is threatened, you, too fear for it.

The Raven King finds Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam running out of time to find and wake the legendary sleeping king Owen Glendower, which means that they’re also running out of time to save Gansey’s life. My heart ached and fractured for my beloved Gansey over and over again while reading this because he fully realizes that he may not be able to fight fate, but he wants to live oh so much. He’s devoted most of his life to this quest for his king, and the countless painstaking hours of research and global travel may have all been in vain. Gansey’s search isn’t just about actually locating Glendower and requesting a favor; it’s also about finding validation, that the life he was given back after a deadly hornet attack has had a purpose.

Foreboding and urgency dominate The Raven King; the characters constantly dance on the edge of a precipice, one minute misstep away from tipping over. Dreams and nightmares, which have been important to the series from the beginning, become so entwined with reality here that the distinction between them blurs at times. With ominous happenings and shadowy people descending on Henrietta, Blue and her Raven Boys are hyperaware that their journey together must reach its crescendo very soon. They’re totally conscious of what’s at stake, including the lives of both Gansey and Cabeswater.

Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah are the lifeblood of this series, and observing their character development over the span of four novels has been one of the most incredible reading experiences I’ve ever known. I absolutely savored each of these last precious, exquisite moments with them, these friends whom no force, of this world or a magical one, could ever tear apart. Loyalty, sacrifice and love—so much love—define this group, and God, what I wouldn’t give to be even a tangential part of it.

I think I’ve written more of a sobbing, gushy farewell to the series than an actual review of the final book in said series, but this is all I’m ever going to be capable of. I also believe this marks the first time I’ve ever NOT wanted to finish writing a review, because then that means The Raven Cycle is well and truly complete. But if I must say goodbye, first I’d like to declare once again how much I’m going to miss the following: Blue Sargent, Richard Campbell Gansey III, Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish, Noah Czerny, Chainsaw, the amazing ladies of 300 Fox Way (Maura, Calla, Persephone, Jimi, Orla), the Gray Man, Matthew Lynch, Henry Cheng and RoboBee, the Pig, the Barns, and the ethereal wonder that will always be Cabeswater.

All in All: Five billion stars and then some. It’s very likely I’ll read additional five star books this year, but The Raven King will still be my favorite book of 2016. Gansey—you will forever be king of this girl’s heart. I miss you and your friends so much already.

Melissa's Review: Finally! It seems like I’ve waited an eternity for the last installment in The Raven Cycle. The Raven King has been a wonderful way to start the summer. I actually picked up my copy of the book at my college bookstore while I was returning my textbooks. Having not read any YA in months, The Raven King was the perfect book to start my summer reading frenzy. I’ll warn you in advance, this is going to be more gushing than actual reviewing.

I hardly even know where to begin! The Raven King was mind-blowing. Pure magic, I tell you! Well, to be honest the entire Raven Cycle series is spectacular, but The Raven King ties everything together beautifully. While readers definitely got the answers they wanted/needed, The Raven King makes it very difficult to let go of the series. (I’ve been in a book depression for over a week. I guess the only solution is to reread the series. Oh darn.)

Don’t even get me started on Stiefvater’s writing. I barely have words for it. I can honestly say that I am incredibly jealous of her ability to craft such wonderful characters and write so cleverly. This is the type of series where you become so invested in the characters, it hurts you when the final book ends. I’m still in awe over how much I have come to love all of these characters and how very real they seem. Although the gang is in pursuit of Glendower, the book revolves more around their relationship with each other than the actual adventure. I don’t know if that sounds weird, but it really works. Since the series is so character driven, it has really become something far beyond what some other YA books could ever hope to be. If I could steal her bitching writing powers, I totally would. If you haven’t read any of her work yet, you are missing out big time.

Again, I’m sorry this isn’t much in the way of a review. I am too worried about saying anything about anything in fear of spoiling something by accident. So much goes down in this book, you really must experience it for yourself. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that The Raven King was so phenomenal that I couldn’t even write a cohesive review for it.

All in All: You must read The Raven Cycle! Hopefully my gushy babbling has convinced you of its awesomeness in lieu of a more traditional review.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fandom Mashups (53)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You've awoken in a strange place with no memories of who you are or why you're there. Total blank slate.  Who are you hoping to run into to help you survive AND put the pieces together?

  1. Hermione Granger: Hermione is incredibly kind and always ready to help someone in need. Plus she wouldn't give up until she helped me get my memory back.
  2. Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender): Aang is another kind-hearted character who would be more than willing to lend a hand.
  3. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices): I'll never forget Will and Tessa's first meeting, when he rescues her from the evil sisters holding her captive. He knows nothing about Tessa but sees that she's in trouble and jumps into action. That's the kind of guy I want on my side in this situation!
  4. The Tenth Doctor: Not a bad face to see first thing when you open your eyes after losing your memory. XD Maybe we could travel back to before I forgot everything?
  5. Gansey (The Raven Cycle): I have no doubt that my dear Gansey would not only help me survive, but he'd also be absolutely persistent in retracing my past until we found out who I was. In the worst case, I don't get my memory back and I just hang out with him, Blue, Ronan, Adam, and Noah for the rest of my life. XD

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Discussing Game of Thrones: Home

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

Wow. That's all I can say about the first two GoT episodes of this season. "Home" was another whiz-bang affair that ended with arguably one of the show's most memorable moments ever.

Bran Is a Tree

Well, it's more like he's in a giant tree with the Three-Eyed Raven? After being absent for all of Season 5, Bran, Hodor, and Meera are back. Bran finds himself in a vision where he's taken back in time to Winterfell, where a young Ned and Benjen are sparring in the courtyard. We also see their sister, Lyanna, and a young Hodor. Bran wants to remain in the vision, but the Three-Eyed Raven takes them back to reality, which is inside of a cave.

Knock, Knock

Time is up for Davos and the loyal Night's Watch brothers holed up in the room with Jon's body and Ghost. Thorne and his men are ready to fight, and just as the door gives way, Wun Wun the giant turns up, along with Edd and the Wildlings. A very stupid Night's Watch man shoots Wun Wun with a crossbow bolt and promptly gets crushed to a pulp. This instills fear in most of Thorne's men, who throw down their weapons. The lot of them are to be put into cells. Tormund goes to see Jon's body and says that he'll have his men get a fire ready to burn the body.

Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown

Back in King's Landing, Cersei, escorted by Frankengregor, tries to make her way to the sept for Myrcella's funeral but is barred by soldiers acting under Tommen's orders. In the sept, Tommen and Jaime have a little therapy session, with Tommen lamenting how weak he's acted in protecting his mother and his wife. The High Sparrow shows up, and Jaime shoos Tommen off to go to Cersei. Jaime gives the High Sparrow a piece of his mind and looks like he's going to draw his sword, but the High Sparrow isn't cowed, especially when a bunch of his followers appear in the sept—armed. In the Red Keep, Tommen finally faces his mother and apologizes to her for not allowing her to attend the funeral and for not going to see her sooner.

Please Don't Eat the Help

In Meereen, there's still no word on Daenerys's whereabouts. Meanwhile, the masters have retaken most of Slaver's Bay. Tyrion gets the maybe-not-so-brilliant idea of going to see the remaining dragons, Viserion and Rhaegal, who are still chained up beneath the pyramid. Varys goes with him but stays as close as possible to the door, lol. To the amazement of both Varys and Tyrion, the dragons allow the latter to undo their chains, further fueling fan theories about Tyrion everywhere.

Say Your Name

In Braavos, the Waif arrives for her daily roughing up of Arya. Then Jaqen materializes, and he tempts Arya with offers of shelter, food, and her eyesight if she just says her name. Arya insists that she has no name, and Jaqen pronounces her no longer a beggar.

How Low Will Ramsay Go?

The guy has no concept of low, apparently. News reaches Winterfell that the men Ramsay sent to bring Sansa back are dead. Her likeliest destination seems to be Castle Black, so Ramsay proposes storming it and killing Jon (a little late for that). Roose isn't all that enthused about this idea, but the discussion is put on hold when Maester Wolkan interrupts to announce that Lady Walda has given birth to a son. Ramsay proceeds to kill his father and orders Maester Wolkan to send ravens to the other northern houses saying that Roose was poisoned by enemies. Ramsay also demands that Lady Walda and the baby be brought to him. Walda immediately senses that something is wrong when she's met by Ramsay, without Roose. Ramsay leads her to the kennels and releases the hounds.

Theon Heads Home

Sansa asks Brienne about Arya and admits that she should have gone with Brienne when she had the chance. Now that Sansa has accepted Brienne's service, Theon tells Sansa that he's going to go home to the Iron Islands. Even after she assures him that she would vouch for him once they reach Castle Black, Theon believes that Jon will kill him for everything he's done to the Starks.

That's Why You Shouldn't Walk Across Rickety Bridges in a Storm

Speaking of the Iron Islands . . . . Yara pretty much tells Balon that their campaign is over, but he won't hear it. He goes outside in a vicious rainstorm and is crossing a very unsafe looking bridge when a cloaked figure appears on the opposite end. Grumpy Balon demands that the mystery figure move aside. The mystery figure is Balon's brother, Euron, who lost some of his marbles while at sea. Balon draws his weapon but he's too slow for Euron, who just tosses him over the bridge. And so the fifth king falls.


Melisandre is in her chamber, sitting by the fire and looking very, very glum when Davos pays her a visit. He asks her if she knows of any magic that could bring Jon Snow back. She hasn't made such a resurrection attempt before, but she decides to try. Her efforts seem to fail, and one by one, Mel, Tormund, and Davos file out of the room where Jon's body is. Ghost appears to be sleeping, and when he wakes up, guess who also wakes up???!!!!

In the Next Episode

R + L = J?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (126)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Which Books Would You Recommend to Hermione?

Is there a book that Hermione hasn't read? LOL. I tried to go with books featuring strong female protagonists and/or strong bonds of friendship.

  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: Of course I'm going to recommend one of my all-time favorite series to Hermione. ♥ Epic quest? Check. Epic friendship? Check. Feisty heroine? Check.
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I'd love for Hermione to meet Celaena/Aelin!
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I feel like this would be a very Hermione series, complete with a badass heroine and rebellion against totalitarianism.

Monday, May 2, 2016

April 2016 Recap

So I have a little rant to make about the month of April. I'm pretty sure everyone within a million mile radius knew how badly I needed to get my hands on The Raven King, and I geekily planned my April reading schedule around it. I ended up not reading anything for over a week because I was afraid of starting a new book and not being finished with it by the time I got my copy of TRK. I also had a knitting project with an urgent deadline that I needed to finish up, so I devoted the time I would have spent on reading to knitting like a fiend instead. (I made my deadline with a day to spare, whew!)

I was all set to hug my copy of The Raven King on the 26th. Well, the 26th arrived, and I still hadn't received an email confirmation from Amazon that the book had shipped. You can imagine my panic. When I finally got an email, it was on THE RELEASE DAY to say that there was a delay with shipping, and THEY DIDN'T HAVE A NEW ESTIMATED SHIPPING DATE. BS, I SAY! BS! All I wanted last week was to seal myself off from the world and devour this book, but NOOOOOOO. Epic fail, Amazon. Epic. Fail.

I no longer live close to a Barnes & Noble because that store closed. I tried Target and Walmart last Tuesday night without a lot of optimism, and nada. I went home angry, tired, and sad. And probably hungry.

I was all set to trek to a B & N on Saturday, but the AC upstairs decided to die on Friday night, so I had to wait for someone to check out the system on Saturday. The bad news is that it's very likely going to be a very pricey fix and there was nothing that could be done to it over the weekend, so still no AC, which in Florida = no bueno. OK, I know I should look on the bright side, which is that there's AC downstairs. But when I'm home I spend most of my time upstairs, where the office and desktop computer are and where I also watch TV and sleep. I've tried blogging on my Kindle and while it's doable, it takes forever. So if I'm slow returning comments and visits this week, it's because I can only blog in the office for a limited amount of time before I turn into a sweaty, melting, disgusting mess, LOL.

I did, however, set out on Sunday with more determination than ever to get my damn copy of The Raven King! I found a B & N 40 minutes away and nearly had a coronary in the store because I didn't see the book right away. Fortunately, there were two copies in stock, one of which I now call MINE.

Hmmm . .. that ended up being more than a "little" rant. XD In fact, this may be the longest recap post ever, lol. Hey—I'm hardcore when it comes to The Raven Cycle!

On a much happier note, we celebrated our fourth blogoversary on April 11! Thank you again to all of you who stopped by that post. Your lovely comments truly made my heart happy! ♥

I only read 2 books in April, and my favorite without question was:

If you've at all been hesitating to start this series, READ. IT. NOW!

My favorite quote of the month comes from, no surprise, A Gathering of Shadows!

"People survived by being cautious, but they got ahead by being bold."

Reviews Posted:

Featured Posts:

The Raven Cycle Posts:

Discussing Game of Thrones Posts:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fandom Mashups (52)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You're a Muggle _______! You've stopped crying over the fact that your Hogwarts letter never arrived *sniff*, so you decided to become a magician - the Muggle equivalent of a Wizard (kind of). But: you need instructors. Who's it going to be?

Welp, even if I can't go to Hogwarts, I'm still going to try to learn how to do magic from real practitioners of the craft, and not some guy who pulls rabbits out of a hat. XD

  1. Harry Potter: I don't care that I'm not a witch! I'm being a rebel here, and I still want Harry to teach me magic, LOL!
  2. Aelin (Throne of Glass): Aelin had to work her ass off to unlock her magic, so I think she'd be sympathetic to someone who's also willing to work hard for it.
  3. Kell (Shades of Magic): I love this guy more than ever after recently reading A Gathering of Shadows. Surely Kell can whip this Muggle into magical shape!
  4. Magnus Bane (The Infernal Devices/The Mortal Instruments): Magnus would probably make a sarcastic comment or two about my Muggle-ness first, but I think he'd give in and take me on as a pupil.
  5. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender): Like I'm going to pass up the chance to learn firebending from one of my favorite characters ever, LOL.
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