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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 7th 2013
Pages: 404
Goodreads
five-stars

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

I don’t really know what to say about this book that hasn’t already been said because HOLY MOLY is it good. It’s got the whole package: memorable characters, twisty story lines and of course, a rich and creative world for the setting.

I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much is because of a certain sharp-tongued, funny and bad ass assassin named Celaena. I see why others have compared her to Katniss Everdeen. Celaena is strong. She takes hits but keeps rising back up to take more. She pretends that she can control her emotions but deep down she cares far too much and at times it influences her decisions. However unlike Katniss, Celaena’s got a more vibrant personality. She’s a flirt and likes to push buttons, sometimes for nefarious reasons and other times, just to be a pest. She’s got a hilarious sense of humor. Nothing against Katniss, but I totally love Celaena more. She seems more well rounded and well, more interesting in general.

There’s two potential love interests but don’t let that deter you. It’s a side story line that is weaved into the main plot but doesn’t draw away from what is truly important, like the demonic presence stalking the castle Celeana resides in.

So yeah, this book rocks and I’m totally P.O.’d that I waited so long to read it when everybody else I know has been praising their love of it for years.

Totally getting book 2 asap! Next book on my tbr list be damned!

five-stars
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Waiting on Wednesday 9/7/16

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on” pick is: King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard. 

Publication: February 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 448
Here’s the book summary. It’s surprisingly spoiler-free considering it’s the third and potential last book in the series.
In the third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, Mare is forced to play a psychological cat-and-mouse game with an old and deadly enemy, where the stakes are not only the future of the Red Rebellion but the sanctity of her own mind.

Why I’m waiting

I’ve read, raved and reviewed both book one (here) and two (here). This series is X-men meets Game of Thrones meets The Selection – three of my favorite things!

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Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid Kemmerer

Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid KemmererSacrifice (Elemental, #5) by Brigid Kemmerer
on September 30th 2014
Pages: 324
Goodreads
four-stars

Earth. Fire. Air. Water.

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.

They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

Thanks KTeen, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Because Sacrifice is the fifth book in the Elemental series, this review will be relatively spoiler-free. If you haven’t heard of this series, I recommend checking out Book 1, Storm. Although I felt like some were stronger than others in this series, as a whole, the Elemental books are solid, and addicting.

Each book in this series has been narrated by a different set of characters. Sacrifice is told through the dual point of view of Michael and Hannah. I enjoyed getting to know more about Hannah in this last book, but in comparison to the past female main characters, Hannah’s story just wasn’t as compelling to me. I think it’s because the ladies in the past really overcame something intense, especially Quinn in the fourth book.

After following the story through the eyes of the three youngest Merricks, Chris, Gabriel, and Nick, Sacrifice finally gives us a complete Michael Merrick-centric story. Like the rest of his brothers, Michael is super complex. Ever since they tragically lost their parents (years before Storm begins), Michael has been raising his three younger brothers. Michael simultaneously works crazy hours to keep food in the fridge. He doesn’t have much of a social life. You could say he’s sacrificed his whole childhood/young adulthood to raise his family.

Sacrifice was high stakes, and intense, which I totally expected, given it’s currently the last book planned. Nothing is sugarcoated in this installment. There are a lot of casualties, including the loss of a pretty important character. I didn’t see this death coming! I’m so heartbroken because of who it is and how they go. But I also accept it. In terms of where the story went, it logically made sense. But still… so sad!

I really hope Kemmerer continues writing in this world. There are plenty of other supporting characters that I’d love to learn more about. If you like supernatural contemporaries with a lot of action, and emotion, definitely give this series a shot.

 

four-stars
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Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard three-stars

WARNING: This is the second book in a series which means this review contains spoilers from Book 1.

Glass Sword takes place directly where Red Queen left off. Mare and Cal are still reeling from the death of the king and the ultimate betrayal by Cal’s brother Maven. Another twist at the end of Red Queen involved Mare’s thought-to-be dead brother Shade, who turned out to not only be alive, but also to possess the same rare blood type as Mare. However, instead of controlling lightning like Mare, Shade has the ability to teleport.

It kills me to say it, but I feel like Glass Sword succumbed to the dreaded second book slump. For example, the pacing was very slow. At the end of Red Queen we were promised that Book 2 would focus on locating the other special Reds like Mare and Shade before Maven could get to them, but this task didn’t even begin for a nearly a hundred pages. Nothing of real significance happened in the first hundred pages which made the first quarter hard to get through. I don’t know about any other readers, but if Glass Sword was the first book in a series and I could barely make it through the first hundred pages, I probably would have given up all together.

So far I’ve only spoken negatively of Glass Sword — but don’t get me wrong — I didn’t think it was all bad. True, I had a hard time getting through the book, but there were still parts that I really liked such as the growing bond between Mare and Cal.

Some romantic tension had flickered between Mare and Cal in Book 1, but the fire was definitely hotter between Mare and Maven. With Maven’s betrayal though, and Mare and Cal on the run, the relationship between Mare and Cal grows in Glass Sword. Even though the two are trying to avoid “distractions,” they can’t help but be drawn closer together both mentally and physically. I was a die-hard Mare and Maven fan in Book 1, and although I still secretly hope they could be endgame in some way, I really like the progress of Mare and Cal’s relationship. In Glass Sword they start out as allies, become friends, and then slowly realize that there’s something deeper between them. They are still 100% focused on their task, but they also share sweet moments of vulnerability here and there. This relationship is organic and slow-building and entirely realistic.

Like I said in my review for Red Queen, this series is definitely the type of story X-Men lovers will like. Mare takes on a very Professor X-like role in Glass Sword, hunting down other “mutant” Reds in a stealth ship while she and her crew wear matching suits.
I can only give this book three bolts because I don’t think it was nearly as amazing as Red Queen. However, after the cliffhanger in Glass Sword, I’m eager to see what happens next.

Thanks HarperTeen for giving a copy in exchange for a fair review.

three-stars
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The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer GrahamThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, #1) by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
Published by Vintage Books on March 25th 2014
Pages: 324
Goodreads
five-stars

From Rob Thomas, the creator of groundbreaking television series and movie Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling new mystery series.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

SPOILER ALERT: If you aren’t up-to-date with all the Veronica Mars TV episodes or more importantly, haven’t seen the Veronica Mars movie, you might not want to read this review.

My first question after finishing Thousand-Dollar Tan Line: When can we expect the next Veronica Mars book?!! Minus the briefly mentioned Dick Casablancas spin-off web series, and the fact that a movie sequel, which hasn’t been confirmed, would take 1+ years, the book(s) are what’s going to keep the Veronica Mars flame alive and current.

Thousand-Dollar Tan Line was great, bafflingly so. I tend to avoid books that spring from TV shows, say, Buffy, because they aren’t exactly cannon. Although I can appreciate a good fanfic, I have a hard time believing in or loving anything that doesn’t come straight from the creators or writers of the show. Which, Thousand-Dollar Tan Line luckily doesn’t suffer from, because it was plotted by Veronica Mars creator, Rob Thomas.

Taking place about 2 months after the Veronica Mars movie, Veronica is working small and boring cases in the absence of her recovering father. Mac, the brainy and always witty sidekick, is now a sort of joint receptionist-hacker for Mars Investigations. Thousand-Dollar Tan Line sees Veronica jumping on the case of a missing girl who happened to have gone MIA during Neptune’s busiest season: Spring Break. Thousands of students flock to Neptune this time of year, which makes the search for the missing girl, even harder. I won’t get into the details, but trust me, this book was just as good as any episode of the Veronica Mars TV show. The author Jennifer Graham, got the character’s mannerisms and dialogue down perfectly. Reading this book was like sitting down to an episode of Veronica Mars. The case(s) were original and intricate with twisty leads and shocking reveals.

Unfortunately some of our (read: mine) favorites didn’t get much line-time like Weevil and Logan, but at least in the case of the latter, if you’ve seen the Veronica Mars movie you’d understand why. Although I loved the movie, it was apparent that Rob Thomas tried to cram in as many show-favorites as possible, unlike Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, which treated the story like a regular episode of the original show, where only the essentials or characters that made sense, appeared.

Overall I was very pleased with this book. I hope it’s the first of many more to come, just as long as they remain nail-biting and true to the show. If you’re an old Marshmallow or semi-new Marshmallow like myself, you’re going to speed right through this book.

five-stars