Mundie Moms

Thursday, December 13, 2012

#BIR2012 Day 4: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor / Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Best I've Read is back! I'm excited to be taking part in this for the third straight year. Through out the entire week I'll be spotlighting some of my favorite reads along with hosting some giveaways. I'm not the only one featuring my favorites, myself along with Page TurnersOnce Upon a TwilightReading LarkBooks Complete MePortrait of a BookAmethyst DaydreamsA Reader's RamblingsCindy Thomas, YA AuthorI Am A Read, Not a Writer, are all also taking part in this year's week long feature. 

In addition each of our posts, don't miss all of our top favorites which will be featured on Best I've Read's blog along with giveaways! Collectively as a group we came up with our shared favorites which are being featured on the BIR blog each day. So you have numerous chances this week to win some fabulous goodies. You can check out each blog's individual schedule's here. Next week you'll have more chances to win goodies with our annual Mundie Moms Best of series. 

Today's Feature Favorites are: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.

Published by: Little Brown
Released on: November 6th, 2012 TODAY
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas. - quoted from Goodreads

This series is in a league all it's own! Laini Taylor has created a series that's not just another one of those books that full of angel/demon lore. There is so much for to this intense, richly detailed, mesmerizing world. Normally I have favorite things I like about a book and one or two, or sometimes a few things I don't like. The only thing I didn't like about this book is it ended! I am in love with Laini's writing. Seriously, she is a literary genius. I mean who can right a book that has this absolutely breath taking romance, without even having the two characters together in the book!? If you've read the book you'll know what I mean. If you haven't read it, you are missing out! This is a book brimming with everything I love in an urban fantasy. There's romance, danger, fabulous characters, action and plenty of intrigue. You can check out my full spoiler free review here, to see why it made this list and my 2012 top tens list. 

Thank you to Little Brown, I have a copy of Days of Bloods & Starlight to giveaway to one lucky winner. 

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Published by: Bloomsbury
To Be Released on: August 7th, 2012
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble IndieBound

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison. 

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world

There's a running theme for each of the books I've chosen to feature this week, and that is that each one of them is flawlessly written. Throne of Glass is an incredibly well written story with equally incredible characters.  This is a story filled with sizzling romance, plenty of danger and introduced me to one heck of an amazing heroine. I loved Celaena from the moment I met her. It's not just her rags to riches story that got to me, but the fact this girl isn't just incredibly strong, she's smart and I love that she's a character who thinks for herself. If you love a story with a great romance, well just wait till you meet the Captain of the Guard and the Prince! I HIGHLY recommend picking this book up!! You won't regret that you do. You can check out my full review here.

Thank you to Bloomsbury, Portrait of a Book and I have a copy of Throne of Glass we're giving to one lucky winner. Be sure to enter here:

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Splintered Blog Tour: Guest Post / GIveaway

I'm excited to be today's stop in the Splintered blog tour hosted by the Mod Podge blog tours. Today's feature is a guest post from author A.G. Howard and a giveaway courtesy of Abrams books.  

Ninth stop: Wonderland’s Secrets
On the ninth day of Splintered, we return to the library for the unveiling of two secrets. We’re ushered into a hidden room where the evolution of Lewis Carroll’s original artwork and Splintered’s cover art are on display. I have to admit, it felt like Christmas to me when I received that first mockup (far right easel):

The title was spelled wrong and the font hard to read, but the picture was stunning. Choosing vivid colors lent a whimsical feel which is important so the reader goes in knowing to expect some strange silliness along with the creepiness. The model is beautiful, but also looks very innocent, like my MC. I loved the fact that her face is partially covered by her hair (speaking of her hair, the model’s is exactly how I pictured it!). I liked Alyssa being front and center, and how subtle details were woven in (the bugs and flowers who talk to her, the snaky vines). The only problem? There needed to be more darkness … shadows and a disturbing mood. This was a bit too angelic / Garden of Eden. So with a few creative details, the artist and designer settled on the final version (middle easel).

With the addition of the key around her neck, and tarnishing her innocent doe-eyed expression to the wild and haggard version (because believe me, she goes through some crazy stuff), the artwork and mood was perfect. Much darker, while still retaining the whimsy. And the vine-like font for the title sealed the deal.

As for the original Wonderland secret? Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) actually went through an interesting evolution with the illustrations of his manuscript. In the beginning, it was illustrated by Dodgson himself. He had 37 sketches (which can be found in an 1887 facsimile edition). John Tenniel provided the wood engraved illustrations that are in today’s published version of the book. His illustrations of Alice don’t portray the real Alice Liddell, who had dark hair (see the portrait hanging on the wall). But Carroll’s did, as demonstrated by the sketch on the far left easel. Contrary to the author’s original vision, John Tenniel’s artwork immortalized Alice as a blonde, blue-eyed sprite.

Speaking of sprites, they will be our next visit over at Pages From My Thoughts tomorrow! Sprites have a very unique way of lighting up a Christmas tree; maybe, if you’re lucky, you can capture some of that magic.

About the Book:

Published by: Abrams Books
To Be Released on: 1/1/13
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. -quoted from Goodreads

Sounds like a debut you want to read doesn't it? Trust me, you do! You can enter to win your own copy here!!

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Thoughtful Thursday: 10 Middle Grade Books I'd Giveaway As Gifts

Nothing says the perfect gift like the perfect book! Since I'm featuring my YA favorites next week here on the blog, I wanted to take a moment and feature some of my favorite MG/Kid books. Next to reading YA, I love reading MG, and not just because of my kiddos are reading these books to. There's something exciting about stepping into the world of a MG book that a YA book doesn't have. If you haven't picked up a MG book lately, I highly recommend picking on up soon.

Today's spotlight is ten of my most favorite 2012 middle grade books I've read this year that I'd give away as gifts. In no order:

  1. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
  2. The Unwanteds: Island of Silence by Lisa McMann
  3. The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen
  4. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
  5. The Heroes Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
  6. Underwild Wood by Colin Meloy
  7. Winterling by Sarah Prineas
  8. The Book of Wonders  by Jasmine Richards
  9. The Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
  10. The End of Infinity by Matt Myklusch
Honorable Mentions:
If you're looking for a great MG book to give as a gift, I'd recommend taking a look at each of the books featured on the list. There are also a lot of great origination's you can donate books to this Christmas/Holidays season as well! Later this month on Mundie Kids I'll be featuring more of my favorites on the blog. What were some of your favorite MG books you read this year? 

A Magic Most Foul: Guest Post; Classic Inspiration

I'm thrilled to be apart of today's Sourcefire Books blog tour for Leanna Renee Hieber's The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart. Today's stop includes a guest post from Leanna. First, here's a little bit about her book.

I'm coming for you.

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something...unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting.

She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity...her soul.

Leanna Renee Hieber
Raised in rural Ohio and obsessed with the Victorian Era, Leanna’s life goal is to be a “gateway drug to 19th century literature.” A three-time Prism Award winner for Fantasy Romance, her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is being adapted into a musical theater production. An actress, playwright and bestselling author, she lives in New York City and is a devotee of ghost stories, a finely tailored corset and a good Goth club. Visit

Classic Inspiration: Leanna discusses where her interest in Gothic literature stems from and the importance of loving classic novels.

The first author I can recall having a profound effect on me as a pre-teen was Edgar Allan Poe. I was entranced by his stories, enraptured by his poetry. I felt like he and I saw stories with the same eyes; his ability to weave the macabre with the beautiful defined my earliest style. I’ve been a Goth girl ever since, at least in spirit. ;) And while being a Goth girl doesn’t necessarily correlate with being a Gothic novelist (Gothic literature having its own separate definition and trajectory than “Goth” culture), there are most certainly parallels. Books like The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Dracula, these books excited my keen flair for the dramatic, my interest in the supernatural and satisfied my craving for rich vocabulary. Big words are sexy. And the historical context of the classics allowed for another fantasy world to be taking place; delving into another time entirely. You are what you read as a writer, and the most formative novels, the ones I connected to on the viscerally dramatic and soulful level in a way I found only Gothic fiction could really do, are what defines me today. My books all pay homage to classic novels in one way or another. My goal in life is to be a “gateway drug to 19th century literature”. It’s my hope that sharing my love of the classics, using them as the building blocks of my storytelling as a modern Historical Fantasy author, keeps me tethered to my earliest inspirations, the closest fires to my muse.