Tag Archives: Graceling

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!

Top Ten Tuesday – October 30, 2012: Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This Week’s Topic is: Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

Oh yes, I will have lots of fun with this topic! Kick-ass heroines are something we’re seeing a lot of in today’s YA literature. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Ismae from Grave Mercy (assassin nun)
2. Katsa from Graceling (assassin and survivalist extraordinaire)
3. Tris from Divergent, Insurgent (Dauntless and a fighter)
4. Katniss from The Hunger Games series (archer, Hunger Games champion)
5. Rose from the Vampire Academy series (dhampir and guardian)

6. Tiger Lily from Tiger Lily (strength and beauty)
7. Alina from Shadow and Bone (powerful and humble)
8. Ember from Rift (fierce and talented)
9. Kat from Heist Society (sly and thrifty)
10. Leah from Such a Rush (strong and a kick-ass pilot)

Can’t wait to see what other heroines other people chose!

This week at The Book Addict’s Guide…

Monday: Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Tuesday: 
Top Ten Tuesday: Kick-Ass Heroines
Wednesday: Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 4 and Review
Thursday: Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Friday: Casting Call [8]: Lola and the Boy Next Door

TGIF – August 24, 2012

It’s time for TGIF again, thanks to Ginger at GReads!

So this week’s TGIF topic is:
Back to School Reading: Which books would you like to see in today’s high school Literature classrooms?

I actually just briefly touched on this in my rant discussion post from August 1st (Are Books Back?).

My high school (albiet almost 10 years later) reads awesome books. Well, NOW they do. When I was there, it was all classics. Here are some books that would have been nice to read in high school (2001-2005):
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (2003)
Looking For Alaska by John Green (2005)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)

And here are some books that I’ve read lately that I think high schoolers now would enjoy and would even fit well in classrooms:
Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Help by Kathyrn Stockett

What do you guys think? Agree with any of these? Know what’s going on in your (old) high school?

TGIF – August 10, 2012

It’s time for TGIF again, thanks to Ginger at GReads!

I’m actually on vacation right now, but I figured I’d schedule a TGIF post so you didn’t miss me too much 🙂

This week’s TGIF topic is:
Unexpected Books: Which books did you have reservations about reading, but ended up loving once you did?

  1. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks – I’m not really one for mermaids or mermaid-type stories, but Anna Banks does a fantastic job of this! It’s so different and I love the twists and turns she takes with it. Plus, I love her sarcastic and witty sense of humor! I really ended up liking this one a lot! Now if she’d only write the Sasquatch love story…
  2. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – Okay, so I figured I’d like this book. I didn’t think I’d end up falling in love with it! You can check out my fangirl review and that pretty much sums it up!
  3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I borrowed this book from a friend. She said she really enjoyed it. I was pretty skeptical! But this was pretty different from the typical vampire stories. I actually liked it a lot and got totally sucked in by the second book.
  4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – I really not a big fantasy/high fantasy person, so when I read all of the awesome reviews for Graceling, I was hesitant, but decided to pick it up. Turns out, it’s a lot easier to relate to than I thought! I really loved it!
  5. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – Another historical fiction type book but it’s got such great paranormal element to it! And apparently almost any book with a kick-ass heroine will have me sold. I really, really enjoyed reading this one, and highly recommend it!!

Top Ten Tuesday – July 31, 2012: Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

It’s time again for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

Oooh okay. This reminds me a bit of my good old Freaky Friday posts (for those of you who were lucky enough to catch them or unfortunate enough to be put through that, depending on how you want to look at it) before I realized it was a really hard weekly feature and promptly took it down after a few weeks…. Whoops. This will be more fun! A quick post and people I actually want to switch places with. Hmm, okay. Here goes!

1. My good old stand-in, Stephanie Plum (a creation of Janet Evanovich). First off, I think I’d fit well in her life (Italian family, pretty accident-prone, etc) so I think I could take it on! Not sure how I’d handle tackling bounty hunters… Maybe that would be Stephanie’s day off! But I sure as hell wouldn’t mind getting mixed up between Joe Morelli and Ranger! Plus I think it’d be a hoot to hang out with all of Steph’s kooky friends like Lula, Connie, Sally Sweet, and her crazy Grandma. I’m in!

2. Anna Whitt from Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. Two words: Kaidan Rowe. I just finished this book (review scheduled) and this is just a preview of my fan girling over this book. Granted there are many temptations that Anna faces and evils she has to deal with, but 24 hours with Kaidan Rowe would be worth it! Plus I’d get to use all her super awesome Nephilim powers and that would be pretty awesome. Let’s hope I catch her on a good day!

3. Izzy Spellman from The Spellman series (by Lisa Lutz). Coming from a hilarious family of private investigators (okay, maybe not as hilarious to her since none of her life is private), I think if it was only 24 hours, it’d be hilarious to hang out with this family that gives each other code names and does not at normal whatsoever! It’s a riot a minute in these books and her sister Rae also seems like someone I’d totally get along with. I’d just love to see where I fit in somewhere in that wacky family.

4. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling). Smart. Classy. A witch. And totally badass. Not to mention once that whole Voldemort mess is over, she’s on to bigger and better things, together with Ron, and has an awesome friend like Harry. And magic? Hell yeah, let me in that club! Pottermore just isn’t enough. I want to really experience Hogwarts! I’m sure it was just Errol who lost my Hogwarts letter… Right?

5. Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Once Katsa finally breaks free of her uncle’s reign, she’s onto awesome missions to help people in need, has amazing fighting skills (and then some), and starts a romance with Po. Katsa’s world just seems like a place I would love to experience! I’d love to see how the Graces worked and try out her abilities.

6. Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series (Richelle Mead). Wait a minute… Am I choosing all of these people based on the romance that’s involved in the book? Okay well… kind of guilty there. But I really do love the vampire world that Richelle Mead creates! It’s interesting, it’s refreshing, and Rose is another awesome fighter (sheesh, for not fighting at all in my own life, apparently these are the people I want to switch places with). She’s got a great friend in Lissa and helloooooo Dimitri! Swoon.

7. Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Princess, but used to be a commoner. Tough but a total romantic. And then there’s Westley. I love this love story! And I love the sass and wit that not only is the movie (which I saw first), but I learned that ALL of it came directly from the book. I’d also love to hang out with Inigo and Fezzik, you know, just riding around on white horses after totally humiliating Prince Humperdink. I’ll just stay away from the R.O.U.S.s – So is it a deal? Can we make that happen? Just say it – “As you wish.”

8. Lena Haloway from Delirium/Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. So maybe it wouldn’t be such a great time in Delirium, but I love the love story of falling in love. I totally fell in love with that book and really liked following Lena’s story – I’d definitely like to switch right where Pandemonium left us at the end. Lena’s got some awesome stuff to deal with and some crazy revelations (none of which I will reveal since they are huge spoilers!) but she’s morphed into such a stronger person than she ever though she could be and it seems like that’s the turning point in her life! It would be a great place to jump in and totally take charge.

9. Heather Wells from (created by Meg Cabot). I just started reading the 4th book in the Heather Wells series, Size 12 and Ready to Rock, and I’m really enjoying it so far! Even after all these years, I’m still in love with her relationship with Cooper and she just seems like so much fun! In so many ways, I really relate and she kind of handles situations how I (think) I would handle them.

10. Ismae from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. This is another one that I just read recently and usually I wouldn’t pick such a historical setting – I’ve never been one for the middle ages, but with Ismae, it just totally works. She makes the middle ages tough and desirable. She’s got awesome powers (albeit dark ones used for killing) and she’s in total control of her life. I’d love to switch places with her with all her confidence too. And of course, I’ll mention the love interest of Duval. How could I not?

So upon completing this list, apparently I picked a lot of these girls because they were A) strong and fighting heroines or B) have swoony relationships. I’m not quite sure what that says about me… But I’m interested to see what everyone else picks! Link me up with your choices! I’d love to see them!!!

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) – Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) – Kristin CashoreTitle: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
Publishing Info: October 8, 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 15, 2012
Related Posts: Jane, Unlimited

    Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight -- she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.
    When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
    She never expects to become Po's friend.
    She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace  or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...

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I picked up GRACELING due to the many, many glowing reviews I’ve seen around the blogosphere. Usually I’m not one for fantasy-type stories or settings in kingdoms. For some reason, I’m not usually captured by medieval stories or fantasy worlds — But GRACELING was just so much more than that!

I loved the idea of Graces. It’s only a few people who develop Graces and they must protect themselves fiercely for the fear that they’ll be taken advantage of by those who have power over them. Katsa’s Grace was abused by her uncle, King Randa of Middlun, and she was forced to do his bidding of pain and killings against his enemies with her Grace ability of fighting and killing.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Katsa is a fighter — She’s tough, she’s strong, and she’s built up a wall around herself that’s tough for people to break. Her only close companions are her cousin Raffin (who’s another extremely enjoyable and funny character) and less close, her companions of the Council and her servant Helda. The relationship that develops between her and Po is extremely hesitant at first, but easily became one of my favorite relationships in a book. Katsa and Po are both extremely strong characters, but together they create a perfect team. Katsa is more serious, and always has been, and Po has an excellent sense of her and is able to bring the humor. I love his teasing of Katsa and he really breaks her down and is able to create such a trusting and loving bond with her.

The mystery behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather was also a great development in the story. It’s not just fighting and romance and fighting and romance. We learn more about the true nature of a few of the kingdoms as we also develop more of the characters. It’s many layers of a story that unfold so nicely and seamlessly carried me throughout the book.

Bitterblue, who we meet later in the story (and I’ve grown to not hate her name as I had before I read the book!), is another great character addition. She’s a little fireball and another strong character. Even with all of the strength in this book, I was never overwhelmed, which looking back on it is surprising.

GRACELING just had it all: A great story line, a fantastic world, an element of almost “supernatural” with the Graces, fighting, romance, humor, more romance, evil, action, the outdoors, fantasy, wonderful character development. And I just loved Cashore’s writing style! It felt a little medieval without being overwhelming or confusing with the language. It put me in the perfect mindset while reading and really helped develop the story that much more.

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Buy it!

 I loved it! And that’s exactly what I exclaimed after I finished the book and closed it. And hugged it.

QUOTES

  • p 134: Katsa didn’t think a person should thank her for not causing pain. Causing joy was worth of thanks, and causing pain was worthy of disgust. Causing neither was neither, it was nothing, and nothing didn’t warrant thanks.
  • p 187: (Po to Katsa, humorously) “And I suppose it never occurs to you to start small. If I told you my roof needed rebuilding, you’d start by knocking down the house.”
  • p 202: Po sat back in his chair. His eyes flicked lazily around the room. He drank from his cup of cider, and his finger traced the wet ring it left on the table. He leaned his elbow on the table and propped his head in his hand. He yawned. He looked, Katsa thought, as if he only needed a lullaby and he would nod off to sleep. It was a good act.
  • p 431: King Ror: “I have no doubt that you are more than capable of bringing the Monsean queen and my son and the rest of my sons and a hundred Nanderan kittens through and onslaught of howling raiders if you chose to.”

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE GRACELING