Tag Archives: Dragons

Talon (Talon #1) – Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon #1) – Julie KagawaTitle: Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
Publishing Info: October 28, 2014 by Harlequin
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 14, 2017
Related Posts: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

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I had no idea what to expect when I started TALON! I picked up it really only because of the audiobook narrators (MacLeod Andrews is one of my all-time favorites) when it was included in an Audible sale and wanting to start something fun a book that wasn’t TOO long (since I’m always behind on my Goodreads challenge).

TALON wasn’t anything super special for me but it was engaging and fun to read (or listen to). The characters were easy to follow and the book felt a little “typical YA” (things that you might place in a YA stereotype) but it was still a fun and enjoyable book. There was a love triangle which I didn’t expect at first but ya know, I didn’t hate it (maybe because there was a bad boy involved… just sayin’) and I would be interested to see where it goes except for the fact that I’m not sure that I’m motivated to continue the series. I wasn’t suuuper sold on the writing but it was still light and easy. There were two main POVs and then a third shows up halfway through the book so I thought it could have been structured better and I felt like the third POV probably should have been eliminated, even though I kind of enjoyed it.

The concept of dragons who can morph into humans was unique and the only thing I’ve read remotely like it, as far as dragons go specifically, was SERAPHINA. This was more on the contemporary side since it takes place in a contemporary time period, whereas SERAPHINA was more deep into the fantasy and a high fantasy world. I enjoyed the different feel that was involved here and it was fun to see the dragons incorporated into modern society. That being said, it also wasn’t the most well-done and there were some super obvious things about the dragons that I thought anyone should be able to pick up — especially a society that specifically hunts them — but I think this is one of those “suspend your disbelief for the sake of the book” kind of a thing.

The plot was fairly predictable but I still had fun with it. I wasn’t in it to be shocked and surprised so that wasn’t something that bothered me. I am curious to see where the rest of the series will go because it ended with kind of a cliffhanger there! BUT I also don’t know if finishing the series will be priority. Maybe Audible will have more sales for the rest of this series and I can finish that way, otherwise I probably won’t continue. It’s a sort of a read-it-because-it’s-there kind of a series and not one that I’ll really prioritize.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dragons! I haven’t read a lot of dragon books and it was interesting to see the dragon-to-human concept since it’s not one that’s done often. It makes you think a little different versus other supernatural-to-human creatures that you see more often in books.
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. I know I’m reading young adult novels and there’s the whole “teens are the target audience here” but sometimes YA is a little TOO YA for me and that was the case with this book. I’m sure going back to read TWILIGHT (I haven’t in probably… oh almost ten years now) I wouldn’t enjoy it the way that I had when I was much younger and that’s okay! But it’s things like obvious tropes, plot holes, and less mature language that leaves me feeling a bit old for the book when I continue to enjoy so many young adult books out there.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

This book was light, easy, and enjoyable but it didn’t really knock me off my feet. I think it’s something to consider if the concept sounds interesting and fun but I wouldn’t put it first on your TBR.

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BOOKS LIKE TALON

          

Seraphina (Seraphina #1) – Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina #1) – Rachel HartmanTitle: Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman
Publishing Info: July 10, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift from Alyssa
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 23, 2015
Related Posts: Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, The Audition (Seraphina #0.5)

     Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
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My history with SERAPHINA goes all the way back to… oh, maybe 2013. I borrowed the book from the library, seeing all of the wonderful reviews it was getting, and just never made it around to reading it before I had to return it. Then my lovely BFF Alyssa bought the book for me for Christmas in 2013 and I FINALLY read it this year right before book two, SHADOW SCALE, came out so I could keep the story fresh in my mind before diving in! Needless to say, the anticipation has been great but I’m so happy that this book didn’t fall victim to any hype that I had perceived in my mind!

SERAPHINA was such a delight. Right away, it was easy to fall into the story and I think most of that has to do with Rachel Hartman’s writing style. I can’t say that the book was similar to SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo but there was something about Rachel Hartman’s writing style that brought me back to The Grisha Trilogy and it felt like home again. I’ll admit that it was a bit intimidating to start SERAPHINA, coming in at just under 500 pages, but I never once felt like the book was cumbersome to read — in fact, it was just the opposite. It may have taken me a bit longer than usual to complete due to length, but I was always wholly interested and utterly captivated by Rachel Hartman’s story-telling, world-building, and wonderful characters.

I’m actually glad I waited until now to read SERAPHINA. I wasn’t always a fantasy fan and I had a hard time finding which fantasy books were “right” for me. I had actually picked up Sarah J. Maas’ THRONE OF GLASS at the same time I had borrowed SERAPHINA from the library and actually returned it without finishing it because I just wasn’t clicking with it and SERAPHINA could have suffered the same fate at that time if I had had the time to try it. Now that I have some more fantasy books under my belt (and am, in fact, in love with them), this book just really clicked with my current reading tastes and bookish fascinations. Dragon-human hybrids?! I honestly wouldn’t have imagined liking that a couple years ago but it just worked so well in this book and I’m glad I read it at the right point in my life!

Everything about this book was just wonderful. I immediately got along with Seraphina herself and found her to be an interesting, intelligent, and fierce heroine. I loved her journey throughout this book and the things she not only learned about herself but also the people who surround her. It was excellent to see so many layers of the various characters and how as the reader discovers each new layer, a new piece of the plot reveals itself as well — and there were so many wonderful pieces to discover! SERAPHINA is complete with intrigue, secrets, politics, dragons, friendship, respect, and even a little bit of romance. The book also really stuck in my mind which is a fantastic indicator that I loved it considering I have terrible reading recollection and can’t even remember details about my favorite books (seriously. It’s the worst. I think I have way better long-term memory than short-term so this is another reason why I re-read things)!

SERAPHINA was just a total hit for me. I’m really glad I read it so close to the release of SHADOW SCALE so I can start that one very, very soon! I’m a huge fan of this book and it also reminded me of a few other books that I truly loved while at the same time remaining so unique. It’s a bit on the heftier side as far as page count goes but every one of those pages it worth it!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Seraphina GR updates

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Seraphina // Character Obsessions: Music, secrets, scales, family.
I loved Seraphina. I just loved her overall personality and I just REALLY got along with her as a character. It was just so lovely. I love that she’s brave but also she’s afraid and has her own secrets to keep. I loved her friendships and how she approaches relationships. All around, she’s totally my kind of girl.
Glisselda // Character Obsessions: Mischief, fun, friendships, politics.
This character was just so brilliantly crafted. She’s kind of a brat sometimes and I really expcted her to be a mean girl but she’s really just very much a go-getter. She knows what she wants and doesn’t give the time of day (or actively tries to spoil) what she’s not interested in but that doesn’t mean she’s mean-spirited. I actually really loved her spunk and the surprising friendship (well surprising to me) with Seraphina.

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Kept Me Hooked On: DRAGONS. Okay, I like the concept of dragons but they’re surprisingly absent in my reading history. Knowing my trepidation for what I like to call “creature fantasy” (non-humans being the main characters or the majority of the characters), I’m always a teensy bit afraid of the role dragons will play in a book. Usually it’s totally awesome (A Song of Ice and Fire, an obvious example) but naturally I was afraid about dragon/human hybrids. Eeeek. “Creature fantasy”, right? But it totally worked! I’m not sure if this concept is growing on me or if it was just Rachel Hartman’s awesome writing — maybe both — but I’m glad it worked out awesome!
Left Me Wanting More: Romance? I mean, I really loved everything about this book. It was a 4.5 star read for me and I can’t ask much more from a book! I actually really did like that the romance wasn’t a main plot point. It was there to keep our hearts fluttering and I loved the banter between Seraphina and Kiggs but I also love that it wasn’t rushed or forced.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

This is was so, so great. I’m so glad I finally read this book (thanks to Alyssa for buying it for me!) and I cannot wait to read SHADOW SCALE!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE SERAPHINA

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE   GRACELING

Moth and Spark – Anne Leonard

Moth and Spark – Anne LeonardTitle: Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
Publishing Info: February 20, 2014 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: Marked as DNF February 2014

    Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.
Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.
Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
 

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From the reviews I’ve been seeing so far, it seems like MOTH AND SPARK will either be a “love it” or “hate it” book and I haven’t seen too many things in between. I only bothered to check other reviews after I was mid-way through so unfortunately you know what that means… I was struggling.

I felt like the book started off strongly — we’re introduced to dragons, mystery, action, and intrigue — but after the prologue and the first few chapters, things really, really slowed down for me. I’m okay with being introduced to a fast-paced opening scene and then slowing a book down to start getting deeper into world-building and character development, but the pacing overall just didn’t work for me.

Once the two main characters of the book go through the initial events that set up the entire plot, the book really slows down. Corin returns from the North somewhat changed, although even he himself is unsure quite how, and having survived a battle or two, he resumes life back at court. Once Tam witnesses a gruesome death, presumably be poison, she begins the games and politics of court as well. Court. One of my least favorite things about historical fiction or high fantasy. I just struggle with it so much. The politics of it all, the wedding plots, the forbidden dating between classes… It’s just something that doesn’t quite interest me unless it’s done juuuust right. Unfortunately in MOTH AND SPARK, it just wasn’t holding my attention. I felt like so much of the book was inside of the palace and just not enough time out exploring the world, which is one of my favorite elements of fantasy novels!

I just was not a fan of the romance. Some feedback was that the romance was very insta-lovely which honestly, I don’t entirely mind. (Hey, my own relationship started out with insta-love, more or less. True story.) The thing I did mind was that Corin seemed TOO affected by Tam. I understand it’s easily to be entirely infatuated upon meeting someone but… How can I put this? You know how in most books that are accused of insta-love, it’s the girl falling for the guy and then their entire world is about that guy and everything else important is forgotten? I had that sort of feeling about Corin falling for Tam. I guess it’s impossible to really know much about his character before the book, but I just had that his character just changed upon meeting her.

The romance just took up too much of the book for me. I wasn’t connecting with it so I don’t know if it just felt like a lot for me since I wasn’t as interested in it or if it really did take up that much of the book! I was given a teaser of dragons in the beginning — Dragons! Magic! Visions! Mystery! — and yet, I felt like I was left pining for it for too long. I do love romance in fantasy and I love action in fantasy. I can’t say that there wasn’t a good balance because I think there was a fair amount of both but they didn’t seem to flow well with each other. Any period of constant action or constant romance in fantasy can become tiring and they just felt like very distinct sections and very separated. Action and romance can be easily intertwined to keep the book moving and I think the separation of the two really hurt the pacing.

Overall, this just wasn’t the book for me. The romance seemed to dominate the book while I was reading and while I do appreciate heavy romances in fantasy as well as world building, I just didn’t get into the groove of this romance so it truly impeded my progress and overall opinion of the book. I think too many exciting moments and reveals came far too late when my attention and patience was already waning.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy. This book was compared to A Song of Ice and Fire and I can easily see why! Dragons, magic, fantasy, court, politics…
Left Me Wanting More: Action. Action. All the more action and adventure and fighting and quests. The romance just dominated this book too much for my personal tastes and left me wanting more for too long.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I may be the black sheep on this one… I’ve actually seen quite a few good ratings for it and some people who LOVED it. I just couldn’t connect with it like I had hoped. Was it the comparison to A Song of Ice and Fire? Maybe in part, but not in full. It was just hard for me to get through and not the book for me.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MOTH AND SPARK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        A Game of Thrones         A Clash of Kings

Guest Post: Moth and Spark author Anne Leonard + Giveaway!

GUEST POST FROM ANNE LEONARD: PATIENCE

I’m really excited to host a guest post today by MOTH AND SPARK author Anne Leonard! When I first read through it, I was a bit afraid. You see, Anne addresses a concern among readers when first picking up a book — the feeling that it starts off slowly. I actually had a post about my issues with slow starts a few weeks back so I was a bit nervous that the post wouldn’t fit me very well but once I had finished, I felt like my eyes had really been opened to something that I was shutting out. Yes, I do like my books to grab me the instant I begin, but there’s also something wonderful about easing into a fantastic world and marveling as the author gently guides us on a new adventure. One specific example that comes to mind is my experience picking up A Song of Ice and Fire. I fell in love with that series but there are also plenty of times the readers need to be patient with all of the things that the author is setting up.

Anyway, I think the best person to talk to you about this today is Anne Leonard so without further ado, I hope you enjoy her guest post and maybe take something away from it like I had — something you didn’t even know you were missing.

PATIENCE

For this guest blog post, I thought I would do something a little different and talk about a readerly and writerly virtue: patience. In daily life, patience is something that I need to practice more and which seems increasingly hard to do in the face of the flood of information around me. Wait until Wednesday for my UPS package? OK, sure, but I’m going to watch the tracking updates in case it comes early.  Irritated with the point someone is making? I’ll just look at something else on my phone. We’re in a culture which continues to increase in speed, and the more one expects something to come soon, the harder it is to be patient.

One of the comments I’ve seen from early readers of Moth and Spark is that it’s a bit slow at first. My first reaction was “What? There are a dozen dead bodies by the end of the first chapter!” But I do write with a slower, more deliberate pace than many writers. Much of this pacing probably comes from reading nineteenth century novels and from an academic background which values consideration and devalues hastiness.

But since I started thinking about this, I’ve realized that this is also a preference of mine. I’ve read several books recently that rushed by with the protagonist in one danger after another. It seems like the first chapter can’t end without a death, a chase, a knife fight, or so on, and the second chapter has to pick up immediately. Then, after that first frantic breath, it slows down a little.

As a reader, I’m finding myself increasingly dissatisfied with this. Books that start out fast and continue fast and just zip along in the reading leave me feeling unsatisfied at the end. I finish the book, and it’s like coming down from a blood sugar rush. It’s as though I’ve gobbled a package of chocolate chips instead of eating a truffle one small bite at a time, letting the chocolate melt, savoring the tastes. (As an aside, characters who rush headline from one adventure to another can start looking pretty stupid for not thinking through things. And for me, once the protagonist is stupid, the game is over.)

For me, part of the pleasure of reading is the immersion. I don’t want to rush back into my own world. I want to spend some time somewhere else, to linger in this new place where I don’t know what will happen next. I want to explore. Of course I want events and changes in my story as much as anyone else, but I’d rather ease into them than merge onto the freeway at 80 miles an hour on page 5. When I drive fast, I don’t see anything except what’s immediately around me.

It’s really easy for readers to get impatient. Whether it’s anticipating the behaviors of the characters and wanting them to get on with it, flipping to the next chapter to see if the story stops being stalled, or harassing George RR Martin for the next installment of Game of Thrones, readers often lose patience pretty quickly. I do this too. I’m especially aware of that tendency in myself when I pick up a big fat slow book that takes a while to unfold. But as a reader, I am trying to practice patience and take the book on its own terms.

As a writer, I also need to practice patience. Mostly this is patience with my writing process: patience to wait when the well runs dry, patience to think through something before writing a lot of words that will later be cut, patience to finish a scene fully instead of rushing on to the next one. But it’s also patience with my own story. I need to have the patience to let the story take me where it wants to go.

I’m not talking here about plot ideas. I’m fully capable of letting lots of plot ideas take over and ending up with a knot that I can’t untangle. I need to have less patience with some of those. I’m talking about the “aboutness” of the story. It has its currents, and when I try to alter the flow, bad things happen. To continue with the watery metaphors, I get beached or capsized, there’s a flood, or I cause a beautiful waterfall further downstream to dry up. Then I arrive where the waterfall should be, wonder what the hell happened to it, and have to go back to knock down the dam.

I get to choose how to tell the story. But I don’t always get to choose the story that’s being told. Just as I need to allow the story to be told on its own terms when I’m reading, I need to allow it its own terms when I’m writing.

A big thanks to Anne for sharing that with us! I really appreciated the little lesson in patience which is really something that I need more of in my life from time to time! Blogging and reading can lead to a fast-paced attitude with the need to constantly stay on top of reading, blog posts, reviews, and social media, so I really loved this post from Anne Leonard to remind us that patience while reading can really allow us to absorb things that we might not even realize we’re passing by!

MOTH AND SPARK is out now! Check out all the info below for more about the book and author Anne Leonard!

MOTH AND SPARK by Anne Leonard
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Info: February 20th 2014 by Viking Adult
Links: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
Goodreads Synopsis:A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost.
    Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.
    Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.
    Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.

http://anneleonardbooks.com/ • Twitter: @anneleonardauth • https://www.facebook.com/anneleonardbooks

GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a copy of MOTH AND SPARK? Just enter the giveaway below! The winner will receive one finished copy of the book. US entries only, please

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) – George R.R. Martin

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) – George R.R. MartinTitle: A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R.R. Martin
Publishing Info: July 12, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 31, 2013
Related Posts: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1), A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2), A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3), A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4)

    In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
    Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.
    Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
    From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

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A DANCE WITH DRAGONS was my very last read in 2013, closing out the year epically! I’m so glad I got to finish this in 2013 to totally finish the read along for A Song of Ice and Fire all in 2013! PHEW!!!! And now that I’m finished… Can you say series hangover?

So A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. It’s a toss up between that and A STORM OF SWORDS to name a favorite of the series so far because both were pretty epic in their own rites (although for the love of Pete, these are all flipping epic) but A DANCE WITH DRAGONS felt a bit more anticipated simply because of the full-length novel set-up that was A FEAST FOR CROWS. As stated in my review for AFFC, this was more the “part two”, focusing back on the main characters that dominated the first three books and boy, was I happy to see them again!

First things first: THE DRAGONS. WOOOOO!! Loved seeing their prominence in this book and consequently, how badass (yes, even more so) that Dany became because of her dedication to them. She’s also pretty badass on her own and she’s still one of my favorite characters! I loved how much the dragons affected the characters themselves as well as the overall plot of the book.

One thing I notice looking back from when I first picked up A GAME OF THRONES is really how different these characters are from when the series first started. The villains have shown their softer side and they’ve suffered their own plights as well. Many people that started off the series as antagonists had me feeling quite a bit of sympathy for them! Also, of course, spending so much time with all of the characters has really instilled a place in my heart for them. We’ve been reading these massive books for ten months now and when I finished…. I honestly didn’t know what to do. Sometimes I still feel weird that I’m NOT reading them because I hadn’t taken a break for ten months!

As usual, GRRM throws in a few insane twists that you did not see coming. And I love it. At times, sure, I still want to throttle him (as I’m sure most of his readers do), but I also appreciate that the heroes of these books are never fully safe. I find something realistic about that because hey, bad things happen to the good guys too.

The way this plot has grown from the first book is incredible too. There are so many different layers of the story — from one character to the next and multiple characters being involved in many different big events. Even the smallest things they do can turn out to have a big effect on the entire story. It’s quite fascinating how detailed this world is and yet how well GRRM keeps it all together and constantly moving.

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Dany // Character Obsessions: Dragons, marriage, peace.
I think Dany may have it the hardest of all the characters as far as personal decisions go. The weight of a kingdom is on her shoulders and she’s still a young girl, thinking about marriage and if that includes love. Managing dragons. Protecting her followers. Bringing peace to warring nations. It’s a lot of one person to take on and she’s totally kicking ass.
Ayra // Character Obsessions: Changing identities, swapping names, livin’ it up at the House of Black and White.
Arya — or I guess “not Arya” as she goes by many different names — is perplexing. I’m really enjoying her story line and how different it is from the other plots at the moment although… I’m not entirely sure where this is going! She’s so far removed from everyone (or so it seems) that I think I’m the most anxious to see how she comes back into the story. I honestly thought it would be in this book!
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Kept Me Hooked On: Westeros. I’m loving this world. Since I’ve been reading the books for ten months straight, it was almost hard to see how invested I was until I stopped and I felt that longing to read the next book… Except it’s not out yet. Although now I DO have the show to watch! 😀
Left Me Wanting More: Action. As with A FEAST FOR CROWS, I still wanted a bit more action. Not to say that things didn’t happen in this book because boy oh boy did they — It’s just SUCH a massive book that there are so many details and I tend to lose myself in the slower parts. There are some chapters that are just slower than others so the pieces that don’t involve a lot of action are sometimes harder to push through.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Come on. If you’ve read the first four… And honestly, this is one of my favorites of the series so far! If you’re iffy on the series, this one really pulls it together and I think they’re all worth your while anyway 🙂

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

        Prophecy     Graceling

Defiance (Defiance #1) – C.J. Redwine

Defiance (Defiance #1) – C.J. RedwineTitle: Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
Publishing Info: August 28, 2012 by HarperCollins
Source: Won
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 1, 2013

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.
    When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.
    As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

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Oh, blogger friends…

I Trusted You
I trusted you on this one! Your ratings are all four and five stars! (Except one.) I bought the second book! *shakes head* Why did I do that? I should know better than to buy a sequel (and have it personalized) before I finish the first book.

DEFIANCE. I’ve heard so many good things and I’ve been wanting to start this one for a long time, so I finally did before I went to the CJ Redwine & Rae Carson event at Anderson’s. I hadn’t been able to read that much before the actual event, but it was interesting to hear both of these ladies talk about their books even though I hadn’t read them yet. I knew lots of my blogger friends really loved this one so I was so excited to meet CJ! She was really nice and the event was a lot of fun, as a whole!

But then I started getting further into the book. I was hoping that my initial qualms with Rachel would resolve themselves as I got deeper into the plot AND the romance, but instead of getting better… They got worse. Rachel is one tough chick. But she’s stubborn. That’s not always a bad thing, but I got a bit of a martyr complex from Rachel, having to do everything herself. Always. Her father is gone so she had no parents to rely on like she used to and things are uneasy with Logan, her new guardian. So naturally, Rachel takes it upon herself to take care of business. That could have been all well and good but for some reason I just got these really bad vibes from the way her character was written. She felt angry. She felt negative. She felt stubborn and immature and defensive. Sure, I’ve seen this in lots of YA characters, but just the way it was written for Rachel did not work for me. She acted without thinking (Logan was the thinker in the book) and I actually got mad at her for a few specific incidences.

I was actually okay with Logan in the beginning, but soon he became too much of a character and didn’t quite feel like a real person to me. He was more logical and techy as a polar opposite to Rachel’s physical strength and quick decisions — I actually really liked that he was more of a “brains guy” than “braun guy”, but then… Things started to go downhill. Everything became SO thought out and overcalculated… I started rolling my eyes at his Best/Worst Case Scenarios. If you guys know me, you KNOW how much I hate hearing things repeated over and over and over again in books and this was one thing that just pushed my buttons.

The romance in DEFIANCE between Rachel and Logan just never came together for me either. I guess it’s kind of hard if I’m really not into either character to get into their romance, but I never felt the chemistry there, even from the beginning when I was still trying to root for them to get together. I actually really liked the forbidden romance kind of aspect and that Rachel and Logan knew each other and had a big history and hadn’t just met for the first time. I guess I was hoping to feel that connection from their past but I just never got that either.

Most of all, I was confusing by the world building. It reads like fantasy and HI, there’s a dragon who lives underground, which AWESOME! Dragons! But wait… I thought this was this is speculative/dystopian? It’s that too! Then were did this random dragon come from? How many years in the future are we? CJ Redwine clearly stated at the author event that Baalboden is in a post-apocalyptic Tennessee and the characters make the journey all the way to former-Louisiana. (Remember that one giant sign aka billboard that referred to “the king”…? Tennessee…? Get the reference?) How did SO MUCH destruction happen over such a vast expanse of land? If the Cursed One was really what destroyed everything, where did it even come from? Why didn’t we bomb the ones that were out there with the technology we had before the Cursed Ones started appearing? How are things still so bad? I just had so many questions and it felt like a mash up of too many genres. I can appreciate genre mash-ups but these just didn’t seem to mix well.

Basically, this one just didn’t work for me on really any level. I tried really hard to make it work and finish with at least a somewhat positive outcome but it came to a point where I skimmed a good portion of the end because the chapters were dragging on. I really, really wanted to like this one but after trying to force it for over 400 pages, there comes a time where you just have to say, “It wasn’t for me.” To top it off, I wasn’t smart about my book buying and I guess I now have a personalized book two that I don’t plan to read. Bummer.

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Rachel // Character Obsessions: Weapons, saving her father, avoiding Logan.
Sadly, I just didn’t connect with Rachel. I love kickass females, but she was a bit too stubborn and too defensive for me. She was rash to act and didn’t think about a lot of her actions, some which caused major destruction. Since I was struggling with her character, those moments made me like her less instead of feeling sympathy for her.
Logan // Character Obsessions: Gadgets, technology, protecting Rachel, planning.
Logan was much more calculated than Rachel was, but even that started to go overboard for me. He didn’t feel like a nice mix of head and heart… More like SO many thoughts/plans and SO many emotions and he went overboard with both. I liked his techy side and that his gadgets were helpful to his and Rachel’s plans, but it was weird part of the plot because I couldn’t get over how high fantasy it felt, which always reminds me of medieval times, and it just didn’t seem to fit. I know it’s also a speculative fiction novel, but everything just jumbled together for me and Logan’s character didn’t seem to fit the times in my head.
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Kept Me Hooked On: Dragons. Okay. So it’s called The Cursed One and not actually a dragon. But it’s a dragon. I may or may not have been rooting for it sometimes.


Left Me Wanting More: World Building Answers. I love a book with awesome world building and I just had SO many unanswered questions in DEFIANCE. I know I won’t be able to get ALL of the answers, but I feel like I got so many at the signing but… None of those answers were in the book. The fantasy feel of the book and the knowledge that it was supposed to be speculative fiction/dystopian just didn’t compute in my head. I needed SO much more information to figure out why the world ended up like it did.

Addiction Rating
Try with caution

LOTS of bloggers liked and even LOVED this book. This one just was not for me. Since there are so many positive opinions, I’d say give it a try, but maybe be a little wary of the issues that I had with it. Or check your trusted bloggers and see what they thought! Hopefully you’ll find a review that you trust to guide you!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE DEFIANCE

        Prophecy          Eve

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) – George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) – George R.R. MartinTitle: A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R.R. Martin
Publishing Info: October 31, 2000 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 24, 2013
Related Posts: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1), A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2), A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4), A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...

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HAHA, um, wow. So how do I review A STORM OF SWORDS??? Okay, I guess let’s go back to the beginning… I first started this two months ago for A Song of Ice and Fire Read Along, book number three! Unlike books one and two, I was actually immediately hooked and ended up breezing through over 100 pages in one sitting.

I feel like each book is going deeper and deeper into the political plots of the world of Westeros (and beyond) and there are some characters’ chapters who solely exist to show a different side of that political conflict (like Davos… *eye roll*… Davos.) because otherwise we’d be completely clueless as to what people like Stannis Baratheon are doing. As a person who doesn’t usually get into political conflicts, I’ve actually been pretty engaged with most of it. It’s incredibly interesting to see the battle for the Iron Throne and who really will become the true king. There are several people battling for it let’s face it… This is George R.R. Martin. ANYTHING can happen.

There’s one thing I noticed, particularly while reading A STORM OF SWORDS, and that’s that Martin has a way of very slowly unrolling a chapter and then BAM! It ends on some kind of wild and crazy note or line or event. I love the surprise but it kiiiiind of drives me nuts. I’ll be a bit bored throughout the chapter and then it ends with something that totally catches me off guard in a bit of AWESOME and I’m left waiting for that character’s chapter to roll around again. Then again, those are the kinds of things that make the Davos chapters bearable. (Can you tell I’m not quite a Davos fan?)

So, guys. I’ve seen all of two episodes of the TV show so far which I only watched after I finished those chapters in the book. And I watched this clip of Dany because Alyssa told me I had to watch after I finished that part in the book (okay, obvs don’t watch it if you need to avoid spoilers!) and once more confirmed… Dany is BADASS.
Anyway… the point that I was making is that I had heard about The Red Wedding but somehow managed to avoid spoilers of what actually happened until I read it in the book. This was both good and bad. I was so happy & proud that I managed to avoid ALL of the spoilers floating out there (it was not easy…) but I was also just WAITING for it to happen the. whole. book. I was basically reading so I could get to The Red Wedding because I HAD to know what happened. The suspense was incredible but at the same time, I almost hyped it up for myself too much because I imagined every possible and terrible situation that could happen and I was so scared as to what it could possibly be. When I finally got there…. Yes, it was insanity FOR SURE, but I think I imagined way too many things and the shock factor was lost on me a bit. I was waiting for it and I knew it was coming so although I was surprised by what actually happened, I wasn’t caught off guard by it… Although I will say that imagining watching that will probably be WAY WAY worse than reading it. Okay, I’ll stop. No spoilers, I promise.

A STORM OF SWORDS had the most shocking moments for me, I think, with maybe a few exceptions that totally knocked me off my feet in A GAME OF THRONES. It was definitely my favorite of the series so far and folks… if you’ve only watched the show and haven’t read the books, I have it on good authority that the show stopped before several surprises at the end of book three were revealed… Be prepared for some more good twists in season four!

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Daenerys Targaryen // Character Obsessions: Her dragons, her mission, being a kickass queen.
If Dany wasn’t my favorite character before, she sure is now. Everything she does in A STORM OF SWORDS is basically a big pile of awesome. From the way she handles herself (easy to forget she’s 14 when she’s older in the show) to her political aspirations to how she handles the people she gathers to follow her… She’s pretty much as badass as you can get. I can’t wait for the day when she marches back to Westeros. Holy crap.
Arya Stark // Character Obsessions: Her prayers, valar morghulis, her family.
I’ve always loved Arya. I love her spunk and her determination and I just love girls who aren’t girly girls haha. Her story has been one of the more interesting ones in the series for me. She’s seen A LOT go down and she’s got a struggle ahead of her, always. I’m always rooting for Arya!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The series. This was the longest book of the series so far but it was AWESOME. Let’s be honest… You’d better have chock full of awesome if you’re writing a book that’s 1177 pages long. (At least my version was.)
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. I mentioned those chapters that ended with a crazy surprise but the beginnings of a lot of those were quite slow. I can understand the build up to a surprise but don’t leave me to the point of almost wanting to skim to get the chapter overwith because a few times I had to go back and read what just happened because I almost missed the details!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

I still need to watch the show, but even with the lengths of the books, they’re worth the read!! If you can read more than one book at a time, I highly advise taking your time and spreading out the read of this series so it doesn’t get overwhelming like we’re doing for #SOIFRA. I’m falling in love with the series a little bit at time and spreading them about has helped me not get overwhelmed and anxious to finish and it’s also allowed me to savor moments and think on things if I need to.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE A STORM OF SWORDS

     Shadow and Bone            Rift