Archives for March 2016

March 31, 2016

You Could Call Me a Fantasy Lover|The Emperor’sBlades Review

You Could Call Me a Fantasy Lover|The Emperor’sBlades ReviewThe Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley
Published by Tor Books on January 14th 2014
Pages: 480
Goodreads

Book one in an epic fantasy of intrigue and empire, for fans of George R. R. Martin and Douglas Hulick.
The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .
The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

 

As I sit here, having just finished reading The Emperors Blades, TRYING to formulate this review no words are coming to mind. Well, words come to mind but they all seem to jumble up and no COHERENT words come to mind. So, I’m going to take a second and begin.

Okay, here goes.

The beginning of the story gripped me from the very beginning. There are only a handful of books that completely and totally engross me in their stories quite like The Emperor’s Blades did (and still is because it is indeed a trilogy). Like the above little synopsis of the book explains, the story circulates between three children of the recently murdered Emperor (don’t worry that isn’t a spoiler, it happens pretty much at the very beginning). Eight years from the start of the story the siblings were all set on to their own paths, separated, and all groomed to do their own important tasks for the empire. Sounds like a typical fantasy novel right? This is where the typical aspect ends. Drops off a cliff.

I’m going to warn you, if you like action packed, seat of your pants action The Emperor’s Blades is probably not the book for you. This book is driven by character growth and a big “mystery” and so if you aren’t in the mood for that go ahead and pick another book.

With that being said, let’s begin with the characters:

First, there is Adare, the oldest child who was unfortunate enough to be born a woman. This negates (as in many fantasy novels) her ability to be the heir. As the only child who remains with her father Adare spends the majority of her life attempting to make her father proud by learning finance and political maneuvering. I won’t give too much of her character away, but she has a lot of growing up and unfortunately is one of the reasons this book did not reach a five-star rating with me. There was so little of her story that I raged sometimes at the unfairness. It seemed at times that because her brothers (I’ll get to them in a second) had more “action” packed roles that they gained more screen time than Adare. Believe me, she needs more time on screen!

Next, we have Kaden, the heir to the throne. For some unknown reason he was sent off to train at a monastery by the Shin. The Shin value discipline above all else and have no qualms with the fact that their next Emperor is a student. Kaden gets smacked, hit, cut, and at one point buried. Why? Well you’ll have to find that out, but just know that these monks are C-R-A-Z-Y. There are some scenes that just floored me about how people treated Kaden (you know being the next RULER and all) and I will talk about those later because I am still a little halfsies on whether or not I liked that or not.

Lastly, but certainly not least there is Valyn, the youngest of the three who has been sent away to join the military elite called the Kettral – the special forces or Navy Seals of the Annurian Empire.  While I enjoyed Valyn’s storyline he is the character that I found the most frustration with personally and I still am wracking my brain with as to why. There wasn’t really anything wrong with him and maybe it was some of the characters that surrounded him that made me pause. Especially Ha Lin but I’m not going to give anything away quite yet.

So there you have pretty much what this story is about. It is a slower type of book and focuses on the personal growth from sons and daughters of a king to what they were meant to be. Now, like I said above my ONE little pickle of a problem with this story was how these children were treated. Now, I’m glad that for once a story did not involve pampered spoiled rotten sons or daughters of royalty. What I DO have an issue with is that EVERYONE seems to have this idea that they can and will treat these children HOWEVER they want to with no consequences. It’s crazy to me that there isn’t more half and half, people who don’t like them because their royalty and those who want to butt kiss, especially considering they are getting older.

Sorry for the overlong review, but I honestly think that you should give The Emperor’s Blades a try. It is a gripping and fantastic start (and debut) to a fantastic sounding series!

 four-stars

March 29, 2016

Large Book Intimidation|Let’s Discuss

Lets Discuss

 

I have a confession to make.

 

You want to hear it?

 

Hello, my name is Lynette and I’M A BOOK SIZEST!

 

You might be scratching your head and wondering what could I possibly mean by this statement but I assure you it is both accurate and goddamned shame to admit. But I feel that this sizest behavior is not just me. As I watch and read others peoples blogs and videos on both the book blogging community and on BookTube I have noticed a trend on most of the TBR videos that has got me thinking about this epidemic in both myself and others. Again, you might be confused at what I mean and I am hear to explain and discuss what I mean about it.

First you should know something about me.

I have always been a book sizest.

At one point I told myself that I wasn’t going to read stories that were less than 200 pages because either there wasn’t going to be enough information and that would be sad if I loved the book so, I never read books less than 200 pages. But boy did I read large books. In 7th grade I read all of The Lord of the Rings books, Gone with the Wind, and various other lengthy novels. Novels that had adults raising an eyebrow at me and their minds full of silent questions.

Fast forward 13 years later.

I have joined this community that both is exhilarating and boisterous in the shared love of books and reading.  But a few weeks ago when I was looking at my TBR and attempting to find a book to read and putting down an AWESOME book that I am really excited to read it got me thinking. What was wrong with this book you might ask? It was an intimidating 1000+ pages long. I hesitated and then I asked myself why I hesitated. Was this book REALLY intimidating? Then it got me thinking to the word “intimidating” and how I’ve heard it a lot lately about describing books. Now, normally I wouldn’t think anything of people being intimidated by books because some dive into some serious stuff. But more times than not the books being described as intimidating were described as such only because of their size.

Are the books themselves intimidating or is the time spent reading them what is intimidating?

Hear me out, it goes back to my story about picking out the 1000+ book and how I described it to my husband. I said to him that in the time that it takes me to read this one book I can have read three regular sized books. WHAT?

Now that you know my shame I’d like to talk about it.

Are large books really intimidating or is it the time invested in reading them what is the intimidating part?
March 25, 2016

In Which I am The Minority|Salt to the Sea Review

In Which I am The Minority|Salt to the Sea ReviewSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel Books on February 2nd 2016
Pages: 391
Goodreads

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

 

As I write this, I am a little hesitant to post this review. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know that I absolutely love historical fiction books so when I heard about Salt to Sea I had to read it. I heard so many glowing reviews about the book that it settled it for me and I rushed to check it out at my library.

Unfortunately, Salt to the Sea was not the book for me. By no means do I want to diminish the time period that is being written about. It was a horrific time in our history and should be continued to written about and remembered for what it was.

One of the main reasons why I love historical fiction so much is because it blends two of my favorite things about reading. It gives me the ability to escape to a world (time period) that isn’t my own and live through other people’s lives that are completely different than my own. Thus it creates a bond between me and the characters. I know, I know, at this moment I might seem a little crazy but this is why I love reading so much.

This story is told in very short chapters; I’m talking 1-3 page chunks before it switches another character. For the most part, I love multi-perspective books. I love when you get more perspective than one. The way that Salt to the Sea was written did not work for me. This division created distance between me and the characters that created an apathy to what was happening to them in the story. This is not the normal for me, especially when reading about WWII. I love feeling connected to the characters that I read and I wanted to love this story and characters but couldn’t find myself emotionally invested because of the whip lash created by the constant switch of characters. I know that if I was allowed to spend more time per chapter with these characters that I would have loved them as much as everyone else does but unfortunately that isn’t the case.

two-stars

What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions!
March 20, 2016

#BLOGGIESTA SPRING 2016 GOALS/SIGN-UP

 

Bloggiesta-ButtonM21

BLOGGIESTA SPRING 2016 SIGN-UP

Oh gosh, it has been a roller coaster from hell for the last month and a half and because of that I haven’t had much time to post here. As previously posted, my student teaching has been extra stressful but next week is my last week and will be much less stressful so I will have more time to post! Yey!

This may sound odd but I came across the #Bloggiesta. This was the first time that I’ve heard of it (yeah so behind the times) and I thought that it would be a wonderful way of bringing in the spring and reflect and grow as not only a blogger but a reader as well.

I’m not going to lie, Bloggestia at first seemed daunting but it is something that I need to do. I need to buckle down and take my blog seriously as anything that I pay for (self-hosting fees and all).

First, you might be wondering what exactly is Bloggiesta.

In short, Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of the awesome bloggers doing the same thing. Our awesome mascot Pedro (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) is ready to break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a piñata or two! It’s nothing short of an awesome fiesta!

 

First things first, my goals for this blog FIESTA!

Spring 2016 #Bloggiesta goalsLet us see how many of these we can do!