Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

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

A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) – George R.R. Martin

A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) – George R.R. MartinTitle: A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) by George R.R. Martin
Publishing Info: November 8, 2005 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 30, 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 Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

    With A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth volume of the landmark series that has redefined imaginative fiction and stands as a modern masterpiece in the making.
After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it's not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes...and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
  

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While A FEAST FOR CROWS wasn’t my favorite of the series so far, it was definitely still enjoyable. It’s hard to review because like all of the other books, SO much happens throughout the course of 1000+ pages, but as always, I will do my best!

A FEAST FOR CROWS is an interesting concept as far as plotting A Song of Ice and Fire goes. George R.R. Martin had SO much to tell about his characters and especially during this specific point in the series that A FEAST FOR CROWS that books four and five are basically one book split into two parts. AFFC follows the more minor characters like Arya, Sansa, Brienne, Sam, and we also get some interesting POVs with Jamie, Cersei, and various Greyjoys. Admittedly, without the “powerhouses” like Jon, Dany, Tyrion, and other favorites, it is a bit hard to get into and… I hate to say it, but I struggled until the last few chapters were things got AWESOME — but I get ahead of myself…

So we follow more minor characters in A FEAST FOR CROWS, but the lack of power players is made up with scenery changes. We get to explore places like Dorne, Oldtown, and other places outside of Westeros. I think this book really adds a deeper layer to the series, seeing more places, adding more history, and really weaving everything together. There were definitely less “OMG” moments seeing as the major plot points are typically following the stronger characters, but we eventually work up to some pretty awesome twists and surprises at the end of the book. AFFC is definitely a slower pace, especially after coming down of the highs and sudden drops in A STORM OF SWORDS, but we receive a lot of important information in this book. I can also say that having already started A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, I’m already seeing these story lines looping back into the main plot and why they were important to see standing on their own.

I really struggled with some of the Greyjoy chapters (Greyjoys. They’re the new Davos.) but I think that was partially because I just really didn’t know that much about them aside from meeting Theon and briefly Asha. It’s always hard to start chapters with new characters whose histories I’m not familiar with yet. Those chapters also take place in the Iron Islands which is a territory I’m also not familiar with so it just becomes to be too much of an unknown and I get swamped in all of the details. They do have an interesting history and what seems to be an important part of the series, but those were my one big struggle in A FEAST FOR CROWS.

I actually didn’t know that this was a sort of “Part One” type of book before I started so I was really missing people like Dany, Jon, and Tyrion when I first started. I definitely think it’s important to know that it’s more like a piece of the bigger picture before starting! The last couple chapters were incredibly interesting and we finally have some “OMG” moments that the rest of the book seemed to be lacking. I’m glad it had an epic ending because it really made me more excited to start A DANCE WITH DRAGONS and the final push of our Song of Ice and Fire read along!

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Brienne of Tarth // Character Obsessions: Finding Sansa, finding Sansa, finding Sansa, Jamie.
I loved Brienne in previous books, but admittedly her chapters were DULL in this book. She’s so focused on finding Sansa as her last vow to Jamie and still working on her vow to Catelyn Stark and yes, her journeys take her all over this fantasy world but… It’s a LONG journey. We get a little of her history and FINALLY something incredibly interesting in Brienne’s last chapter in the book, but wow. It took a long time to get there!
Samwell Tarly // Character Obsessions: Protecting Gilly and Aemon, trying not to be a craven.
Sam’s chapters were actually pretty interesting. I wanted a bit more from them at times but Sam’s travels were much more exciting than Brienne’s. I really liked the history that he discovers and the end of his chapters also set up for many questions and left me extremely curious!
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Kept Me Hooked On: The minor characters. It is a bit difficult reading 1000+ pages without our favorites, but I really enjoyed getting the back stories of some of the more minor characters and especially some of the people who were originally portrayed as antagonists like Cersei Lannister.
Left Me Wanting More: Action. With the first three books featuring a lot more action and adventure, A FEAST FOR CROWS was definitely a slower pace. I needed more OMG moments to carry me through and I did enjoy the book but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Well, you’ve made it three books so no read to stop now, right? I think as long as you know that book four is sort of a “part one” for books four and five, it will help prepare you. It doesn’t quite have that faster pace like the rest of the books, but it’s still a very important installment of the series and it’s not like you can stop now anyway! 🙂

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE A FEAST FOR CROWS

     Shadow and Bone      Rift

A Song of Ice and Fire Read Along: A Dance With Dragons Reading Schedule

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PHEW. We’ve made it to book FIVE in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE! How is everyone holding up?? Enjoying the series?! No offense, but book four was a biiiiit slower than I would have preferred, mostly because I was missing our favorite main characters! Join me for book five, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS and let’s jump back into the reading with a bang!

Here we go! Here’s the chapter breakdown:

March – April: A GAME OF THRONES hosted by Alexa Loves Books
May – June: A CLASH OF KINGS hosted by Books with Cass
July – August: A STORM OF SWORDS hosted by Books Take You Places
September – October: A FEAST FOR CROWS hosted by Gone Pecan
November – December: A DANCE WITH DRAGONS hosted by The Book Addict’s Guide — NOW! 

November 3rd – November 9th: Chapters 1 – 9
Prologue (ch 1) || Tyrion I (ch 2) || Daenerys I (ch 3) || Jon I (ch 4) || Bran I (ch 5) || Tyron II (ch 6) || The Merchant’s Man (ch 7) || Jon II (ch 8) || Tyrion III (ch 9) ||Ends with “…bowing once again.”

November 10th – November 16th: Chapters 10 – 18
Davos I (ch 10) || Jon III (ch 11) || Daenerys II (ch 12) || Reek I (ch 13) || Bran II (ch 14) || Tyrion IV (ch 15) || Davos II (ch 16) || Daenerys III (ch 17) || Jon IV (ch 18) || Ends with “…never comes to that.”

November 17th – November 23rd: Chapters 19 – 27
Tyrion V (ch 19) || Davos III (ch 20) || Reek II (ch 21) || Jon V (ch 22) || Tyrion VI (ch 23) || Daenerys IV (ch 24) || The Lost Lord (ch 25) || The Windblown (ch 26) || The Wayward Bride (ch 27) || Ends with “…from his antlers.”

November 24th – November 30th: Chapters 28 – 36
Tyrion VII (ch 28) || Jon VI (ch 29) || Davos IV (ch 30) || Daenerys V (ch 31) || Melisandre I (ch 32) || Reek III (ch 33)  || Tyrion VIII (ch 34) || Bran III (ch 35) || Jon VI (ch 36) || Ends with “…to conquer those.”

We’re halfway done!!!

December 1st – December 7th: Chapters 37 – 45
Daenerys VI (ch 37) || The Prince of… (ch 38) || The Watcher (ch 39) || Jon VIII (ch 40) || Tyrion IX (ch 41) || The Turncloak (ch 42) || The King’s Prize (ch 43) || Daenerys VII (ch 44) || Jon IX (ch 45) || Ends with “… Protect me.”

December 8th – December 14th: Chapters 46 – 54
The Blind Girl (ch 46) || A Ghost in Winterfell (ch 47) || Tyrion X (ch 48) || Jamie I (ch 49) || Jon X (ch 50) || Daenerys VIII (ch 51) || Theon I (ch 52) || Daenerys IX (ch 53) || Jon XI (ch 54) || Ends with “… The wind was rising.”

December 15th – December 21st: Chapters 55 – 63
Cersei I (ch 55) || The Queensguard (ch 56) || The Iron Suitor (ch 57) || Tyrion XI (ch 58) || Jon XII (ch 59) || The Discarded Knight (ch 60) || The Spurned Suitor (ch 61) || The Griffin Reborn (ch 62) || The Sacrifice (ch 63) || Ends with “…to know your name.”

December 22nd – 28th: Chapters 64 – 70
Victarion I (ch 64) || The Ugly Little Girl (ch 65) || Cersei II (ch 66) || Tyrion XII (ch 67) || The Kingbreaker (ch 68) || The Dragontamer (ch 69) || Jon XII (ch 70) || Ends with “… Only the cold…”

December 29th – 31st: Chapters 71 – 73
The Queen’s Hand (ch 71)  || Daenerys X (ch 72) || Epilogue (ch 73)

WHEW! Lots of interesting chapters names and I am REALLY looking forward to this book!! Happy reading, good luck, and I also hope you’ll join us to chat online using the hashtag #SOIFRA! It’s low pressure, no scheduled time — just adding your thoughts as you read (no spoilers please) and we can all chat about the book via the hashtag!

You can also grab the button if you’re just starting the read along with book five — it’s never too late!

<div align="center"><a href="http://wp.me/p2lWzN-mu" title="A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Read Along"><img src="http://www.bookaddictsguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SOIAFbutton.jpg" alt="A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Read Along" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

I hope to see you along the way during A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (Dragons!! EEEP!) — Let me know if you’re joining in by commenting below!

Fan Art: Game of Thrones Sigils for Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy

A couple weeks ago, Alyssa was reading SHADOW AND BONE for the first time so naturally, we got in a grand discussion about it. We looked up all of the Grisha powers and decided which ones we would be (I’m a Squaller, in case you were wondering). I was looking at Leigh Bardugo’s website with those fantastically designed sigils/shields for each of the Grisha Orders and the idea came to my head to create sigils for the main characters, Game of Thrones style. The GoT ones are generally a bit plane, so I took my own liberties in adding some extra flourishes because hey. It’s my art. I can!

So without further ado, here are the sigils I created for The Darkling, Alina, Sturmhond, and Mal.

THE DARKLING

TheDarklingSigil

lines

ALINA

AlinaStarkov

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STURMHOND

Sturmhond

lines

MAL

Mal

 

That’s it for now! If you choose to use these pictures or re-post them anywhere, PLEASE link back to me! 🙂 Hope you all enjoy them!
I’m thinking of doing this for more series as well… Knowing my love for The Lunar Chronicles, that will probably be next haha! If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions, I’m always open! I am by no means a photoshop pro, but I have fun with my amateur skills and I think these turned our pretty well!

 

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

My Latest Bookish Addiction [5] – Fantasy. The RIGHT kind of fantasy.

MLBA

In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Fantasy. The RIGHT KIND of fantasy.

I always used to think I didn’t like reading fantasy. With the exception of Harry Potter (because come on… It’s Harry Potter), I was convinced it was just a genre I wasn’t ever going to LOVE. I tried reading LORD OF THE RINGS and it just never caught me. Everyone loved Julie Kagawa’s THE IRON KING but it just wasn’t for me. I had basically given up on fantasy unless it had involved wizards.

When I started blogging and reading YA, I gave fantasy a few more tries. THE IRON KING was one of them and I got more and more settled in my ways. But then I picked up GRACELING by Kristen Cashore thanks to some suggestions from my fellow bloggers and I LOVED it. SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo convinced me that I was not giving fantasy a fair shot — I mean, amazing world building AND magic galore. This was totally what I loved! I just hadn’t figured out which types of fantasy I should be going after and which were not quite for me. I finally started figuring out the type of fantasy that I enjoyed and it’s somewhat specific: I enjoy mostly high fantasy with a medieval-type feel. Books that helped me realize this? GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers, RIFT by Andrea Cremer (I had not read any other part of the Nightshade series), and then finally, picking up George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series for #SOIFRA.

     

I’ve figured out I don’t like a lot of fantasy that deals with different kinds of “creatures”, especially in modern times. For some reason, all of my fantasy needs to feel somewhat historical. I guess I don’t believe that it would happen in present day? I’m not totally sure how my brain even works… But my fantasy has to be somewhat… believable, despite the fact that it’s fantasy. I can wrap my brain around magic, spells, and some creatures like dragons but when it comes to fairies, elves, and hobbits, somehow I’m just not buying it.

I also love fairy tale retellings. THE LOOKING GLASS WARS by Frank Beddor was one of the first fairy tale retellings I read, followed by CINDER by Marissa Meyer and TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I already have the basis for those stories in my head since these are the stories (and Disney movies) I grew up with. If things start to get a little fantastical there, I basically already have a general idea and concept that the book may stretch my imagination a bit more than I’m used to.

 

The one exception to ALL of these rules was DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. Chimaera? In present day? Totally not my thing… But Laini Taylor did such a great job with this book that I really ended up loving everything about it! I was really transported into this world and somehow it all felt totally real to me. I guess sometimes I just have to throw my rules out and trust some recommendations!

Now I’m trying more fantasy books than ever. It turned from a genre I almost never read to one that I’ve become really, really interested in. I’m always looking for new recommendations so if you have any favorite fantasy books, throw ’em at me!

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) – George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) – George R.R. MartinTitle: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R.R. Martin
Publishing Info: November 16, 1998 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 30, 2013
Related Posts: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1), A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3), A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4), A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

    Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon;who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky, a comet the color of blood and flame, six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard's son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King's Landing. Robert's two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.
A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.
Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment;a tale of pure excitement you will never forget
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Phew! A CLASH OF KINGS was a little bit heftier than A GAME OF THRONES and I have to admit, I felt it just a bit. Not a lot, because let’s be honest… I did read over 400 pages on the train to and from CT/NY during BEA week so clearly things were going well! I just found a couple more lulls in A CLASH OF KINGS as we delve into a few more political and war-themed aspects. I was mostly interested in all of the character development, the way all of the characters end up tied in to each other, and all of the crazy mysteries to be uncovered.

I loved seeing more of my favorite characters like Jon Snow, Dany, and Arya, specifically. It was really great to see more character development from them and how they’re changing not only from book to book, but really chapter to chapter. I actually really started to find myself sympathizing with Sansa for as much as I disliked her in most of the first novel. Her predicament was not a good one by far and I really enjoyed seeing how much she’s changing and acting more like an adult little by little. Even the villains were incredibly interesting. There are so many villains that are multi-layered and as much as I hate their guts, I do see certain reasons as to why they’re so hardened and vicious. I’m starting to almost like some of the bad guys… I think Alyssa would be proud.

I think A CLASH OF KINGS didn’t have as many “HOLY CRAP” moments as A GAME OF THRONES did and in a way, that both upsets me and makes me feel at ease. There was one specific moment in GoT that really upset me and there was a total fake out moment that really upset me in this book, but nothing TOO traumatizing (although I’ve heard that all goes out the window in book three). I was hoping for just a few more exciting moments because I had mentioned, I did find quite a few more lulls. There were a few chapters that I felt could have been summed up a little neater and didn’t need to go into that much detail, but it all helps build that world!

There was a sense of relief when I finished. You know… 970 pages will do that to you! But really once I finished, I almost immediately wanted to grab book three because I’ve heard so many (vaguely) incredible things about it, thankfully no spoilers! I’m excited to read book three just to see what everyone’s talking about from watching the TV show (and thank you for not spoiling it for me since I’m reading the book before watching the show)!!!

Updates on A Song of Ice and Fire Read Along: The SOIFRA read along is going well! I’m loving how we’re doing this with one book every two months. I’m still able to read other books and then designate time to read these books each week. I don’t always follow the schedule chapter by chapter… More a general sense of not falling TOO far behind. All of my reading on the train really helped me get ahead so I didn’t have to worry about it for a while, but that also hurt me a bit because then I spent so much time away from the book and forgot a few things here and there. Hopefully book three will be unputdownable (Really? Spellcheck didn’t question that. I think that’s a win) and that I’ll love it even more!

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Buy it!

These books are just so enjoyable. Hefty, complicated, but enjoyable. Excited for the rest of the series!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE A CLASH OF KINGS

     Rift      Graceling

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. MartinTitle: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin
Publishing Info: August 1, 1996 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 28, 2013
Related Posts: 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), A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

    Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

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Already read book one but not book two? Want to join in on the Song of Ice and Fire Read Along? It’s not too late to join in and continue reading the epic series by George R.R. Martin! 

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So wow. I’m kind of in shock that I actually finished this book! Just the sheer mass of this whole series was SO intimidating and to be honest, I couldn’t have done it without the Song of Ice and Fire Read Along! The participants have been reading this book for the past two months (we’re giving ourselves two months for each book of the series) and I really think that was the perfect was to read it! I didn’t feel intimidated or pressured so I was really able to relax and enjoy the book.

Now I haven’t seen the TV show so I was really going into A GAME OF THRONES pretty blind. I barely knew the basics of the books, but I knew that they were high fantasy which is a genre I’ve really been getting into lately. The first thing I have to say is BRAVO, George R.R. Martin for being able to keep track of all of your places and characters because holy cow. I could not. If there was one negative thing I have to say about the book, it’s that — Besides being high fantasy and trying to keep track of these new settings and foreign lands, I also had to keep track of a NUMBER of characters which was pretty difficult at first. I kind of cheated and watch only the first episode of the TV show just so I could give myself a face for some of the names and that actually really did help! Then the more I got into the book, the more I was able to tell (most of) the people apart.

The epicness of this book is not understated. The book has everything — violence, battles, romance, traitors, adults, children, creatures, gods, royalty, humor — you name it. Honestly, there is something for everyone in this book and despite it’s sheer volume of pages, I really think that so many different people can easily get into this story and really enjoy it. (Just take your time!!!)

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I really felt like each of the characters was very well developed right from the start and so many different personalities shined and really felt different from one another. I truly, truly hated the villains and my heart went out to the heroes. There were plenty of surprises and shocks throughout the book (I’ve been told no character is safe in Martin’s books!) and I just really got invested in the story.

A GAME OF THRONES is really just so long and so in depth, I find myself having a hard time on where to start specifically so I’ll just keep this review simple! It was such an amazing ride and I honestly did not think that I would finish the book and feel so connected to the series, but really all I want to do right now is forget all of my other books and pick up A CLASH OF KINGS and just get lost in the story. If you haven’t started this series yet, take it from a doubter — I think so many people would love it who really hadn’t thought of giving it a chance before!

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YES, there were CHARACTERS GALORE. Umm, usually this is where I do my character breakdown but honestly, there are just too many to go one by one. Let’s do this instead:

LOVED: Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Bran Stark
HATED: Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Lysa Arryn, Robert Arryn, Viserys Targaryen
THEY GREW ON ME: Dany Targaryen (she has the most immense change in my eyes), Tyrion Lannister (he was just so sarcastically funny), Eddard Stark, Robb Stark, Khal Drogo, Sansa Stark, Catelyn Stark

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Buy it!

Wow, this was so good. Very complicated but I’m so, so happy I loved it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE A GAME OF THRONES

     Graceling      Prophecy

A Song of Ice and Fire Read Along: Intro Post

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After much discussion, it’s finally official! Five of us ladies – Alexa, Cass, Kristina, Alyssa, and I – are hosting the SERIES readalong for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by Geroge R.R. Martin!! It sounds incredibly daunting to read this enormous but epic series, so we bounced some ideas off of each other and came up with this totally relaxed read along to help us stay on track with the books, but not to overload ourselves!

This read-along is more for each of us to be able to (finally) read this series, and have each other for support while we do! Everyone who is interested is welcome to join us, as we will be having Twitter chats (join in with the hashtag #SOIFRA (Song Of Ice and Fire Read Along)) every two weeks. We’re also hoping to set up an email thread per book where we can discuss all the things that are happening (and so we prevent the tragedy of spoiling things for other people!).

Each book that’s out (five in total at the moment) will be read over a period of two months. Every two months, a different blogger will be “hosting” the read-along on their blog. You can check out the schedule below:

March – April: A GAME OF THRONES hosted by Alexa Loves Books
May – June: A CLASH OF KINGS hosted by Books with Cass
July – August: A STORM OF SWORDS hosted by Books Take You Places
September – October: A FEAST FOR CROWS hosted by Gone Pecan
November – December: A DANCE WITH DRAGONS hosted by The Book Addict’s Guide

We really hope you decide to join in! It’s very low pressure. The purpose of the read along is mainly just to have some support while reading such an daunting collection of books (I know I’m a little bit scared to tackle it!) and to be able to talk to each other while we’re reading. We’re keeping it super casual so if you want to join in, just let us know in the comments and join in the Twitter chats with the hashtag #SOIFRA. Leave us your info so we can let you know if we have an scheduled Twitter chats! Most of it will be pretty informal, but we want to be able to keep you in the loop! Also, if you decide to join in, make sure you grab our button for the read along!

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Without further ado, let’s get this read along started!! Alexa will be hosting the first book, A GAME OF THRONES over at her blog Alexa Love Books all through March and April. 

A GAME OF THRONES READING SCHEDULE: 
March 3-9: Chapters 1-10
March 10-16: Chapters 11-19
March 17-23: Chapters 20-28
March 24-30: Chapters 29-37
March 31-April 6: Chapters 38-46
April 7-13: Chapter 47-55
April 14-20: Chapter 56-64
April 21-27: Chapter 65-73

We really hope that you decide to join in the read along!! If it feels too daunting, just remember that we’re reading right along side you! We really hope to be each other’s cheerleaders and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to read an entire series with other bloggers. I feel like it’s going to give it a little something extra and create a personal connection to the series being able to talk to other people about it as well, because as book bloggers, that’s part of what makes the books we read so exciting!