Fire {book review}

This book in 6 words : can’t believe waited to read this

I put off reading Fire by Kristin Cashore. I LOVED Graceling and believe I was hesitant out of fear that it wouldn’t live up to the first book and would cause Graceling to lose some of its magic. I was wrong. It only made me love the world Cashore created even more. If I had to pick a favorite between the two I’m not sure that I could. I will say that although others have said that you could read these out of order, I believe it’s best to read Graceling first and then Fire.

With wild, irresistable appearance and hair like the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.  – inside book cover

Fire is set in the same world as Graceling but across the mountains in a kingdom called the Dells and years earlier. The Dells doesn’t have native Gracelings, however they do have monsters. Beautiful, colorful, mind-stealing monsters of all kinds. Fire is the last human monster. The kingdom around her is in the middle of an internal battle and Fire must find her place in the war.

This book is much more adult than Graceling. There is plenty of action, but most of the conflict is emotional. It is also darker and more complex. There are more characters, but I never felt confused. I will say that I cried more than I expected. I think I realized how talented Cashore really is when I came across a twist in the story that was kind of obvious, but I had completely overlooked it because I was so entranced by the story.

THANK YOU to everyone who voted for this and got me to finally read it!! I highly recommend this to everyone, but again I must insist that you read Graceling first. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, Bitterblue, to come out! I’m now suffering from severe PABD 😦 — Wait, you don’t know what PABD is? Well then head over here and see if you have it and how to live with it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain {Guest Review}

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Here is a guest review by my blogger friend, Aманда.

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Rating * * * * *

It is rare for me to give one book in a day five stars, let alone two books.  But this book has captured my heart in much the same way that Marley & Me did when I first read it (note: I have not yet seen this movie, but I want to, and it is on my list).  And it moved me to tears.  It is a story of a dog, his family, his life and all the triumphs and heartaches that went along with it.  The book is narrated by the dog, Enzo.  Being a HUGE sucker for dogs, Enzo is everything I imagine my own dog(s) to be.  From the back of the book:

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope – a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

Which says everything I’m capable of saying right now.  If you are the type of person who believes their animals to have individual personalities with their own thoughts and feelings, and, like me, talk to your pets as if they can understand exactly what you’re saying, this book is well worth the read.  Favorite quotes:

  • “The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague.”  (Because it’s so true)
  • “I’m sure my father was a terrier.  Because terriers are problem solvers.  They’ll do what you tell them, but only if it happens to be what they wanted to do anyway.”  (because this totally reminds me of Kyle’s dog)

The Light, The Dark, & The Ember Between {Book Review}

This book in six words: magically brought real love to life

I am super excited to be a part of J.W. Nicklaus’ virtual book tour! I recently finished up The Light, The Dark, & The Ember Between and I will be rereading it after loaning it out to my friends and family. The book is comprised of a collection of stories that evoke thought, sadness, happiness, and warmth. The writing is pure magic. I found myself rereading whole paragraphs to just soak in the imagery again and again. I don’t normally get into short stories. Don’t get me wrong, I like them for a quick read. However, I normally don’t connect with the characters. J.W. has a way of instantly wrapping you up in the drama and mystery to the point you can hardly stand to wait to see how it ends. I was surprised at how often I laughed out loud. I was going to pick a favorite out of the fifteen pieces, but I don’t think I can pick just one. I very, very  much enjoyed “Paper Doll”, “10:18”, and “Four Letter Session”, but I can honestly say I liked them all. I’m going to recommend this to everyone. If you like fiction, short stories, a touch of fantasy, comedy, drama, and/or realistic characters (people you could very well know).

“She cried.

The tears fell like flecks in a snow globe, slow and pristine. Few things break my heart like a woman crying. How awful is the outward manifestation of empty, broken dreams, with a companion broken heart to mend.”

– beginning of “Paper Doll”

About the Author:

J.W. Nicklaus resides in a place not entirely fit for human habitation about five months of the year. No pets to speak of, only the apparitions from which all romantics suffer.

An Arizona native, he’s been from one coast to the other, and a few places in between. College brought an AA in Journalism with a minor in Photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. His work experience has run the gamut from Creative Director for a small advertising firm in Tucson to a litigation support bureau in Phoenix (and assuredly some awkward stuff in the mix).

Snow has been featured prominently in his stories, perhaps because of the seasonless cli-mate he lives in. Nature was meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not hidden from the senses. So to that end, he hopes someday to live amongst those who are able to live through four true seasons, and not just blast furnace and warm.

He enjoys the occasional Arizona Diamondbacks game with his son, as well as watching him grow up. The experience of being a single dad has taught him far more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Within the expanse of every waking moment, he hopes his guardian angel keeps its arms open wide and heart ever watchful, for there but for one true Hope goes She.

For more about J.W. visit www.avomnia.com.

Tour Dates:

Tuesday, Dec. 1
Interview l Chat l Book Giveaway at Pump Up Your Book
Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, Dec. 2
Interviewed at Examiner

Thursday, Dec. 3
Interviewed at Working Writers

Friday, Dec. 4
Guest blogging at The Impression I Get

Monday, Dec. 7
Interviewed at A Book and a Chat Radio Show
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, Dec. 8
Guest blogging at Beth’s Book Review Blog

Wednesday, Dec. 9
Book reviewed at Reading on the Beach
Guest blogging at Market My Novel

Thursday, Dec. 10
Book reviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Guest blogging at Blogging Authors

Friday, Dec. 11
Book reviewed at The Life of an Inanimate Flying Object

Monday, Dec. 14
Book reviewed at 25 Hour Books
Interviewed on Introducing Writers Radio Show

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Book reviewed at Books, Books, the Magical Fruit
Interviewed at AllVoices

Wednesday, Dec. 16
Interviewed at Broowaha
Book reviewed at Review From Here
Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Graceling by Kristin Cashore {Review}

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This book in 6 words: Made me want to have heterochromia.

graceling I wasn’t planning on reading this yet. There were other books higher up on my TBR pile. However, I couldn’t help but start it last night at 2:00am and then I could not put it down. I finished it early this morning and should probably sleep before writing this review…. oh well…

I LOVED Graceling by Kristen Cashore!! I literally couldn’t put it down. Now I do have a tendency to do this on occasion, but I usually don’t want to slow down so that the book won’t end. The story was absolutely captivating. It was complex without being confusing. There were so many twists and turns and tense moments that were well balanced with the right touch of relationships and romance.

We follow 18-year-old  Katsa, a Grace — meaning she was born with an extreme skill… killing. She is controlled by her uncle, King Randa, and expected to do his dirty work. This is starting to wear on her and she feels less comfortable with the tasks she is sent to perform.

Then she meets Po, a Graced fighter. She is struck by how relaxed him seems around her and how she always feels him staring. She doesn’t plan on befriending him or how drastically it will change her life. She soon learns a secret that could ruin all the kingdoms of her land.

I loved the characters. They were so well-written that I laughed and even teared up at times. The only small thing that kinda bothered me was that Katsa is yet another girl who refuses to marry… I will, however, consent that this is very different since it is set in a medieval-like period and marrying would make her the property of someone else. All in all, it was a minor factor in the overall story. I also having read Hunger Games recently, kept wanting to call Katsa – Katniss and Po – Peta 🙂

I will buy this book and reread it (although I think the magic of all the surprises will change the story). I’m also picking up Fire and anxiously awaiting Bitterblue. I think it goes without saying that I highly recommend this book, although I think more so for those who like Fantasy and YA.

* This book counts towards my 101 Books Challenge and my A-Z Books Challenge

Fledgling by Octavia Butler {review}

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review_butler_fledglingI am very glad that I stuck with this book… I’m just not sure how to review it without giving too much away…

Fledgling by Octavia Butler tells the story of Shori. The book begins with Shori waking up in the woods in extreme pain with no memory whatsoever. She doesn’t who, what, or where she is. She appears to be a little black girl of maybe 10, however, Shori is a fifty-three-year-old vampire. A lost child of an ancient species living in symbiosis with humans. Shori is genetically modified, the first of her species to be able to not only be awake during the day but also able to walk in the sun. She is able to do this in part because she is one of the first black vampires.

I think a lot of the magic of the book, specially in the beginning is that you are learning along with Shori. So I don’t want to give too much away. I will say that I think you have to have an open mind when you read this. The story jumps into racism, family, free-will, polyamorous relationships, genetic engineering, sex, and pride. The author created a whole new vampire. I love her take on the mythology. It was different, but it worked. It was one of the most realistic versions of the lore I’ve read.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I should write about the part of the book that bothered me in the beginning. I wanted to tell you something that would make it not seem so bad, but I think it’s supposed to bother you. So all I’ll say is don’t give up on it. It may weird you out at first, but it will be ok.

I do highly recommend this book and not just to those who like the paranormal genre. I think that this is more sci-fi/science based than fantasy. And at the bottom of everything it’s really about people and how they treat and think of others.

* Counts towards my 101 Books Challenge

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli {Review}

Stargirl table

stargirl

I don’t give books five stars very often. Actually this may be only the second time I’ve done so (the first was The Time Traveler’s Wife). This isn’t because I don’t love books, but because I’m afraid that if I give one book five stars and then read another book I love more… then what? I did not question giving Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli five stars. I LOVED this book!!

She was trying to get herself discovered for the movies.

She was sniffing fumes.

She was homeschooling gone amok.

She was an alien.

Her parents were circus acrobats.

These are just a few rumors surrounding the newest student at Arizona’s Mica Area High School, Stargirl. She wears odd costumes, decorates her desk, and pulls out her ukulele in the cafeteria to sing to fellow students. She dances in the rain and laughs at nothing. In a place where being normal is necessary for social survival, she doesn’t care about how different she is. We meet Stargirl through the eyes of Leo who becomes entranced by her charm. It’s not long before the rest of the student body falls for her and starts mirroring her weird behavior. She is loved by everyone. “It was a rebellion she led, a rebellion for rather than against. For ourselves.”

Unfortunately all doesn’t end well… soon people are baffled by her showing up at funerals where she knows no one and even worse, cheering for the other team at sporting events. That doesn’t stop Leo from falling in love with her. He says “she was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day“. But things soon get worse. The silent treatment the school is using on Stargirl flows over onto him. He must choose between being with Stargirl and remaining shunned by the student body.

The book is fairly short (only 186 pages), but it moved me. It made me want to dance in the rain and send cards to strangers. It made me want to be more unique. More me. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this story, Love, Stargirl. PLEASE read this book!

* counted towards: 101 Books, 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, & A-Z Books

{Review} Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was the first book picked for a book club a friend and I started, Books that Bite. After reading the back of the book, I was intrigued and probably would have put it on my to-read list if it hadn’t been picked. However, I had no idea I would it love it this much!

In the future what we know as North America has been devastated by natural disasters and war. This leaves the Capitol to rule over the remaining 12 districts. As a reminder of the Capitol’s power every year they host the Hunger Games. The twelve districts hold a lottery of all boys and girls ages 12-18. One girl and one boy is chosen from each district to compete to the death for entertainment.

We meet Katniss who at the age of 16 is the head of her household. She spends her time hunting and gathering illegally in order to provide for her littler sister and grief-stricken mother. Her worst fears come to life as she hears her little sister’s name called for the Hunger Games. After throwing her self forward and volunteering to take her place, things get worse. A boy who helped her in the past is chosen as the male tribute from her district.

The book was so emotionally charged that I often found myself in tears one second and biting my nails with worry the next. The romance is very PG, but tangled with torn feelings. I was surprised at how violent the book was in parts. I knew it was about fighting and killing, but I thought as a YA book it would gloss over those parts. It didn’t. The author did an amazing job building the characters and leaving you at the edge of your seat. I’m trying to hold out until the library gets the second book in, but I have a feeling I might cave and buy it 🙂

While looking for a picture of the cover, I came across an article claiming that a movie was in the works. Has anyone else heard this?