Mundie Moms

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Top Ten Favorite Reads

Happy New Year's Eve! 
Wow! Where has this year gone? It flew by way too fast.
What an incredibly awesome year it's been. There are so many wonderful things I was able to do this year. Some of my highlights from this year include moderating various author signings, interviewing many amazing authors, being quoted / acknowledged in books, meeting new blogger friends, going to BEA, and being able to continue to do what I love, which is being cheerleader for books. 

This year was a huge year for books. 
There were a ton of awesome releases this year. A lot of my favorite series came to an end *sniffles*. Some of which I still haven't read the last book in, because if I don't read the last book in the series, that means the series doesn't end. At least in my mind it works that way.... With the end of some series, there were beginnings for others. Authors blew me away this year with their stories, and the characters I got to know. This year I also found myself falling in love with some incredibly written debut books. 

With all the books I loved reading, there are so many books I didn't get to read in 2014. I just need one more week this year so I can catch up. Out of all the years I've been blogging, (almost 6), this is first year I almost didn't hit my reading challenge. It's also the lowest amount of books I've read in long time. Just over 150. Life got crazy this year, which I won't go into details here with why or anything, but life got in the way of my reading. HAHA. It's embarrassing to look at the amount of books I didn't get to read. There are so many books I wanted to read this year, both YA and MG. That just means I've got a ton of books to read them in 2015. 

Speaking of 2015, have you seen all the awesome books scheduled to hit shelves in the new year? There are a ton. I can not wait for all the new releases. Before I get overly excited for those new books, I'd love to share which books made our top ten list this year. If you've followed Mundie Moms for awhile now, you know we do a top ten list at the end of each year, but I can't ever do a top ten list, so here's my top 14 list. 

These were the books that made us sigh, laugh, fall in love, fan our selves, took on us adventures, made us wish we were teens again (okay maybe for just a moment), and constantly reminded us why we love reading and promoting books. These books made us wish we could crawl inside of them, and that the characters we were reading about were real. Each author's book made us fall in love with reading all over again. 

My (Katie's) Top 14 Favorite Reads of 2014
I'm going to admit something I'm seriously embarrassed to admit. City of Heavenly Fire is not on my list, because I have failed as a TMI fan, and still have not finished it. I started it, but like I do with all my favorite series that come to an end, I wait to read the last book, because if I don't read the last book, then the series doesn't end. I didn't finish in time for the end of this year, but it will be read and featured on the blog within the next few days. 

1) Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
1) Heir of Fire by Sara J. Maas
I don't even know what to say about these two books, other than they are EPIC!!! I absolutely loved these two books, and it's no surprise they both tied for my all time favorite reads of 2014. I can not get enough of their of these series. 
I have a weakness, and it's Jennifer Armentrout's books. Who would have though gargoyles and demons could be so hot?! I know, silly me. Jennifer can make anything hot. Look at how hot she made aliens... just saying. She could write about anything, and I'd read it. Both White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch tied for second place. 
This debut was so beautifully written. If you're fantasy reader, this one is one you'll want to pick up. I loved it.  I'm looking forward to reading it's sequel in 2015. 
I think this might be Kirsten's best book yet. It's definitely my favorite of hers. It was so well written. I want to frame the book's cover in my library. 

Hello Dragons! I loved Julie's Fae world, but I think when it comes to writing dragons, Julie and dragons are a match made in YA heaven. I can not wait to get my hands on this sequel in 2015. 
Two words - IGNITE. ME. Okay, wait, I need to add in one more word, WARNER. That's all I need to say about this book.

Stephanie Perkins made me love contemporary books. The word contemporary used to be a word that  I would run from, but not after reading Stephanie Perkins books. This one is one of my favorite Stephanie Perkins books. Who am I kidding, I love all her books.
I know, two contemps are on my list! It's shocking. I'm not a huge contempt fan, but I've started reading more contemps, and surprisingly I've liked a lot of them. But this is one I loved. Holy awesomeness, I devoured this book in one sitting. I loved it! Romance, sports, and the boy next door. This was my kind of book. I'm looking forward to reading more of Kasie's books in 2015. 
This book is such a beautiful debut! I could not get enough of it. Thankfully there is a sequel coming out in 2015 that I've already pre-ordered, because this book was that good! Yes, you have to read it!
This is another awesome debut book that left me in awe after reading it. I am going to be shocked if this book doesn't win some kind of award or nominee. If Martina Boone isn't already on your book radar, she needs to be. I can't wait for this sequel to hit shelves. 
This is one of the series that I'm sad had to come to an end. This is such a great series with some wonderful characters I've loved getting to know. I'm looking forward to reading Robin's next YA book. 

12) Defy by Sara B. Larson / Ignite by Sara B. Larson 
I think debut authors are taking over my list, as this is another awesome debut author, who's two books are ones I'd definitely recommend picking up. The third book will be released this next year. I can't wait to see how this series will end.
If you can't tell, Fantasy has ruled my list this year. This book is great. Leah was one of the first YA fantasy authors I read that really hooked me back when I first started blogging. I love her books. 

14) The Young Elites by Marie Lu
This dark, fabulously written book kicks off Marie's new series. It's so good! I was a little worried I wouldn't like it as much as her others books, but I did. It's sequel will be out in 2015.  

Sophie's Top 10

1) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

Isla and Josh. Crush-worthy characters plus Paris. Oh, Paris.

2) Sublime by Christina Lauren

Such a perfectly bittersweet love story in a gorgeously written haunted world.

3) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Everything about this story -- pitch perfect, story-telling perfection.

4) To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

It answered the question what if all your past crushes realized you had a crush on them. And it answered it in lovely layers of sisterly responsibility and family love.

5) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Such a gorgeously written high fantasy. For those of you who are like me and love a well written love triangle, boyohboy, wait until you read this one.

6) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The tense paranormal plot, the humor and that over-achieving Harper Price. I loved it all!

7) Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

The perfect ending for Aria, Perry and Roar.

8) Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

 I have to throw in an NA story on this list. Mia and Ansel have one of the sweetest stories filled with misunderstandings and true laugh out loud moments.

9) Scintillate by Tracy Clark

The characters, setting and most of all the unexpected twist make it a perfect post-holiday read. It's a satisfying, page-turner of a story.

10) City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Cassie gave us everything we wanted and then some in this last TMI installment. There is no question left unanswered and for that, I am so grateful

What were some of your favorite reads from 2014? 

IGNITE by Sara B. Larson, Blog Tour: Guest Post & Enter To Win!

Hello and welcome to today's IGNITE blog tour stop. I am so thrilled to have author Sara B. Larson on Mundie Moms today, to talk about moments from her debut Defy. If you've not picked up Defy yet, I highly recommend that you do. You can read my review here. After you read it, I recommend you go pick up it's sequel, IGNITE, which was released yesterday. 

My Favorite Quotes/Moments from Defy

I have so many quotes and scenes from DEFY that I love, for different reasons. These are just a few of the quotes I love (and that readers have loved, too).
“Sometimes it seemed like those with the most rotten interiors were blessed with the most exquisite exteriors.”   (Isn’t this just the truth, though?? And this kind of becomes a theme throughout the book—what is true beauty? Something we see only with our eyes or something that shines through from within us?)
“Have you ever heard of the theory that it is better for one man to die than an entire nation to suffer? Do you believe that to be true? Is it ever okay to take a life in hopes of saving others?” (I feel like this was a powerful moment when you start to see the real Damian—to understand the weight he’s laboring under, and the terrible choices he’s trying to make to help his kingdom and his people.)
“You were attacked by a jaguar, and you didn’t think to tell me? Are you all right?”
“You knew I was a girl and you still came out to talk to me in the middle of the night without a shirt on?" I shot right back.
"You did what?" Rylan cut in, his eyes wide. (This conversation just always made me giggle a little bit!)
One of my favorite scenes to write was the tent scene with Alexa, Rylan, and Damian. Such delicious tension and such an awkward situation. I’ll admit I had a lot of fun with that one! I really enjoyed writing so many of the scenes with Damian, especially when he knew the truth about Alexa, but she didn’t know he knew yet. He’s such a tease sometimes!
And these are two of the most powerful quotes in the book that I just love:
“Because you understand. More than anyone. Because you know what it's like never to trust anyone - to be completely alone, lost in a disguise of your own making.” (Damian is being completely honest with Alexa, allowing her [and the reader] to see into his heart and what his life has been like. He recognizes the similarities of what they’ve endured. I love his vulnerability that he sometimes allowed her to see.)
“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”  (This is one of the most important moments in this book for me. These lines just flowed out. I really felt like it was something that was supposed to be said and could hold a lot of meaning for a lot of people. And it echoes Alexa’s earlier thoughts about the difference between external and internal beauty.)

By: Sara B. Larson
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: December 30, 2014
Series: Defy #2
Add it to: Goodreads 
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?

About Sara:
Sara loves writing, reading, and dessert--but the order varies by the day. She wrote her first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a "to scale" drawing of the baby's size--while her mom was pregnant. To say she was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that she’s an adult, she writes books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). She lives in Utah with her husband, two young sons and baby girl. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims that she should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. she is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Check out the trailer for DEFY:

Enter To Win
1 Finished Copy of IGNITE and a Dagger Charm. US Only.
9 Finished Copies of IGNITE. US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
12/29/2014- Reading YA RocksInterview
12/30/2014- Crossroad ReviewsReview
12/31/2014- Mundie MomsGuest Post
1/1/2015- Fiction FareReview
1/2/2015- Dark Faerie TalesInterview                                                                                  
Week Two:
1/5/2015- A Backwards StoryReview
1/6/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Guest Post
1/7/2015- The Book CellarReview
1/8/2015- Supernatural SnarkInterview
1/9/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark, Waiting on Wednesday #234

By: Katie Van Ark
Published by: Swoon Reads
To Be Released on: January 6th, 2014
Add it to Goodreads

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.  

Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

I can not wait to read this book! I can't help it, I have to say it, "Toe pick!" If you've seen the movie Cutting Edge, you'll know why. haha I totally love this cover. The premise of this book had me at boy next door and figure skating. This one sounds like it will be a great read, and I'm looking forward to kicking off 2015 reading it. 

What book are you waiting to get your hands on?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

Hello & welcome to this week's topic - 10 Goals / Resolutions for 2015. 

As 2014 comes to a close, I've found myself reflecting back on this year, and thinking about all the things I wish I had done or feeling bad about the things I still haven't finished. It's been one that has been full of highs and lows, both in my personal life and on the blog. Though it's been a crazy, insane year, I feel very blessed for all I've been able to experience, and do this year. There have been numerous authors I've had the chance to interview (and yep, I'm still behind on posting all my authors interviews), book signings I was able to moderate, I met new bloggers, attend a variety of awesome Bookish events, went to BEA for the second year in a row, and sat in wonderment at how fast 5 years of blogging has flown by. 

Thank you to all of you, my readers, authors, publicists, and book sellers who fuel my love of reading, and have supported what I do for almost 6 years. Without you, well, I don't know what I would be doing. THANK YOU!! I sincerely appreciate each of you, and your support in what I do. In thinking about all that's gone on, and happened in the last almost six years of blogging, I've realized this year there is something I missed. 

I've missed the basics of blogging. 
I've missed the simpleness of just blogging, promoting books, and connecting with bloggers. Sure I've blogged this year, but it's not been how it's been previous years, because I've been incredibly busy. I feel I've complicated things with my blogging. I've gotten wrapped up with trying to make sure I post each day, when really it doesn't matter if I post each day. I've stressed far too much over blogging this year, than I should have. The heart of blogging, at least for me, is promoting books. 

 I love being able to do what I do. Promoting books. 
I love reading. I love talking about books, recommending books, reading books, and promoting them. 
Often times it feels like there is so much to do when it comes to blogging, that I feel it's very easy to get side track on things. I feel that this year I lost my enthusiasm behind promoting books. That is not to say I don't love books, nor have I stopped loving promoting them. I haven't. But I feel like my enthusiasm got lost in the shuffle of everything else going on, and that showed on the blog. 

So, I'm simplifying this year. 
I'm going to take more time to be me on my blog, and promote the heck out of books. I'm also going to take the time to connect with other bloggers. I've missed connecting with fellow readers. I've missed visiting your blogs, and commenting on your posts. I love all the comments y'all leave for me. Even though blogger keeps deleting my comment replies back to you, I still reply and read each comment.

This year I'm going back to the basics. It's all about the books and simplifying. 

Here are 10 My Goals/ Resolutions for this 2015:
  1. Get Back To The Basics - The reason I started blogging was to promote books. This year I'm not losing sight of why I enjoy book blogging. I'm going to keep it basic.
  2. Simplify - There's a lot of background noise when it comes to blogging. This year I"m cutting it out. I'm keeping things simple this year. If it doesn't fit into my schedule, than I'm not stressing out over doing it. If I can't do it, then I'm saying no. 
  3. Saying No - Sophie and I always laugh about how we just can't say no when it comes to books or helping out with things. This year, I'm saying NO, and I'm not going to feel bad about it. 
  4. Have Fun - I've missed all the fun that Mundie Moms used to be. I'm challenging myself to bring that fun back to the blog.
  5. Stay on Track and Don't Fall Behind - this was a huge down fall for me this year. From reviews, to announcing giveaways, to post interviews and everything else. I hate being behind, and this year I felt like I was behind on everything. 
  6. Make The Time - Blogging is extremely time consuming. With how crazy busy life is, this will always come second to my family, and now my Substitute Teaching job. I am challenging myself to make the time each day to blog. If don't, than I'll fail at my #5 goal.
  7. Re-Connect - I have missed chatting with blog friends. I know we're all busy, but I'm challenging myself to do a better job at staying in touch.
  8. Review more Middle Grade - I love MG books as much as YA, and this year I reviewed hardly any MG. I don't know what happened. Well I do, I didn't have time to feature what I've read with the my kids, nor did I make the time to keep track of that on the blog. This year I'll be featuring more MG books. Most of them will be featured on Mundie Kids.
  9. Read More Books - It's really sad to say this, but I read under 200 books this year. I know I can do better than that this year. This year I'm mixing it up and reading both new releases, and making a dent in the piles of books I have that have been waiting to be read, but are collecting dust on my shelves.
  10. Add more Reviewers- I've needed to do this for awhile now, but I haven't. I need to add more reviewers to my blogs. I've got awesome helpers, Em and Shandra who look after the Mundie Moms forum, and Sophie who keeps me sane on the blog, and helps me out when needed. I don't know what i'd do without them. But, all of us are so incredibly busy now. I can't keep up with everything on the blogs, and I think adding 1-2 additional reviewers would seriously help out, a lot.
Here's to an awesome 2015 and accomplishing these goal! I'm excited to see what the New Year holds. I'm even more excited to start fresh, and tackle the year head on. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, Book Review

By: Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Bloomsbury
Released on: 9.2.14
Source: arc from BEA / purchased book
Rating: 5 Stars - I would give it 10 if I could
Add it to Goodreads
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love? 

EPIC! This is Sarah J. Maas's best book yet! It's also tied for my number one all time favorite reads of 2014. Oh the feels I have for this book.

This book deserves 10 stars! Sarah's writing is highly addicting, and incredibly enticing. Everything I had hoped would happen in this book, and then some, happened. I have loved this series since Throne of Glass. Each book has gotten better and better, but this book takes the cake. Everything I've loved about this series is present in this book. The characters, the world building, the action, romance, plot twists, and the way each of the relationships is developed are all masterfully done.

Magic, Fae, Shifters, and more.

Heir of Fire introducers readers to a whole new kingdom, with some unforgettable characters. Magic, Fae and more make up this kingdom. Celaena will stop at nothing in her quest for answers and to reclaim a crown that is rightfully hers. Nothing about her quest will be easy. If you thought she had already been through hell and back up to this point, you've not seen anything yet. Celaena has no idea what she's in store for until it's too late. Celaena's journey in learning and claiming her true destiny is one that breaks her, literally. It's during this time that I swear I about emotionally broke for her. It's been awhile since I got teary eyed over a character, but I did with Celaena, thanks to Rowan. Everything that Celaena has been through and dwelt with up to this point in the series does not compare to what Celaena has to learn to over come, accept, and lose in this book. One of those is learning to use and control the magic she's worked so hard to hide. Through all this, she comes out stronger and more determined than ever. I loved how much she grew as a character and how bad a she was.

I claim Rowan as mine!

I have a new favorite character in this series, and it's Rowan. I loved how Rowan's character was introduced into this series, and the way his character developed. All the emotions that Celaena felt towards him I felt. Rowan is a fierce Warrior and tied to Celaena is a surprising way. I'm leaving this review spoiler free, so you'll have to read it to find out why they're tied together. There's so much more to Rowan than his being a brute during his training Celaena. I loved the way Maas wrote and developed Rowan and Celaena's relationship. It was down right maddening, beautiful, heartbreaking, and so well done. They offer each other what no one else has given each other before. Individually they've been through their own personal hell, but together they give each other strength and hope. I liked that it takes awhile for their relationship to build up to that. Their friendship is one of my all time favorites in all of the YA books I've read. As I mentioned, I'm keeping this review spoiler free, which is a little hard when it comes to these two, because there is so much I have to say about them. Oh the feels. These two emotionally broke me, and in a good way.

The world building is as awesome as ever.

Heir of Fire's world building is down right awesome. I loved how Maas expanded the world in this series. She's created such an amazing, vast world that she gave readers a glimpse of in her previous two books. In doing, she has also introduced characters to come well known characters in the Fae world. I loved how they are all introduced. I'll just say things are about to get crazy in this series. Readers begin to see how the kingdoms are tied together, and the games the various rulers are playing to control them. Within this world of power is deceit, deception, secretary, dark magic, magic and at the heart of it is a courageous heroine who's on a mission to re-claim her crown. She will stop at nothing to keep her promise and claim what is rightfully hers.

I seriously need the next three books in this series now. I need to know what happens with all my favorite characters. The plot twists were as brilliant as ever, making it extremely hard to predict what was going to happen next. That ending! I thought I had things figured out, but I now have no idea what's going to happen next, and part of me fears what that means for a couple of the characters. If you've not picked up this series, I HIGHLY recommend it!! It's one of my all time favorites!

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin, Book Review / Middle Grade Monday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

There were so many awesome MG releases this year. Unfortunately I've got a stack of MG books I was hoping to read before the end of 2014, and sadly still waiting to be read. Thankfully I've got a whole new year ahead of me to read them. This weekend I did manage to read a couple MG books, and The Ice Dragon was one of them. I seriously loved this book. Though it's short in length (only 120 pages), it's a beautifully story, and one that even my son, a non fantasy fan, enjoyed. The illustrations alone are worth picking up this book. 

Illustrated by: Luis Royo
Published by: Tor Teen
Re-Released on: 10.21.14
Source: purchased book
Rating: 5 Stars 
Add it to Goodreads
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember. 

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

This is an epic children's fantasy. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is George's debut book in children's literature. I'm amazed at all George R. R. Martin gave me in only 120 pages. It only took page one to hook me, and by the end of the first chapter I was in love. This is definitely a book fans of Martin's, children's literature, and fantasy will love. 

The story follows that of a young girl, Adara, who was born in winter. Being a child of winter made her come across as different than children born during the other seasons. Not one to show much emotion or to receive much affection, she finds relief in the winter. The only time she never feels alone. Being born during the cold season gave Adara a special ability to connect with the feared and rare Ice Dragon. She loves spending time with the feared creature. When her family is threatened she and her beloved Ice Dragon will made a courageous, and very surprising sacrifice to save them. 

I loved this story. I love the illustrations that accompany it. They are gorgeous. The cover art on both the inside covers of the book are my favorite. This edition of the book also includes a poster found on the inside of the cover jacket. Check out more of The Ice Dragon illustrations here

Stop by Mundie Kids to what other children's books I'd recommend picking up.

Mundane Monday #230 - Jace & Clary

I can't believe it's the last week of 2014. Where has this year gone?
Enjoy a little Jace & Clary from the end of City of Heavenly Fire *spoilers*.

"Every time," he said quietly,. "Every time I think I'm missing a piece of me, you give it back."

There were no words, so she didn't say any; just turned around in his arms and kissed him on the cheek. He was beautiful under the night sky, the stars shedding their light down over him, gleaming against his hair and eyes and the Herondale ring shining on his finger, a reminder of everything that had been, and everything that would be. 

We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.

"Do you like the name Herondale?" he asked.

"It's your name, so I love it," she said. 

- Jace & Clary, City of Heavenly Fire

Saturday, December 27, 2014

TLH Snippet - The Beautiful Cordelia

Tis the season for Shadowhunter gifts! Cassandra Clare gave fans another gift via her recent TLH snippet. Have I mentioned how much I love Shadowhunter gifts from Cassie?

Snippet from TLH 1:
Cordelia glanced over her shoulder. “Is it — I mean, I wish to chat alone with you, too, but are we being dreadfully rude asking your brother to walk behind us?”
“Not a bit,” Lucie assured her. “Look at him. He’s quite distracted, reading.”
And he was. James had a book out and was calmly reading while he walked. Though he seemed entirely caught up in whatever he was perusing, he nevertheless skirted oncoming passers-by, the occasional rock or fallen branch, and once even a small boy holding a hoop, with admirable grace. Cordelia suspected that if she had tried such a stunt, she would have crashed into a tree.
“You’re so lucky,” Cordelia said, wistfully, still looking over her shoulder at James.
“Goodness me, why?” Lucie looked at her with wide eyes. Where James’ eyes were amber, Lucie’s were a pretty pale blue, a shade lighter than her father’s. The famous dark blue Herondale eyes had gone to Will’s sister’s children.
Cordelia’s head snapped back around. “Oh, because —“ Because you get to spend time with James every day? She doubted Lucie thought that was any special gift; one didn’t, when it was one’s family. “He’s such a good older brother. If I’d asked Alastair to walk ten paces behind me in a park he would have made sure to stick by my side the entire time just to be annoying.”
“Pfft!” Lucie exhaled. “Of course I adore Jamie but he’s been dreadful lately, ever since he fell in love.”
She might as well have dropped an incendiary device on Cordelia’s head. Everything seemed to fly apart around her. “He’s what?”
“Fallen in love,” Lucie repeated, with the look of someone enjoying imparting a bit of gossip. “Oh, he won’t say with who, of course, because it’s Jamie and he never tells us anything. But Father’s diagnosed him and he says it’s definitely love.”
“You make it sound like consumption.” Cordelia’s head was whirling with dismay. James in love? With who? The look he had given her when she stepped down from the carriage, perhaps she had imagined that?
“Well, it is a bit, isn’t it? He gets all pale and moody and stares off out of windows like Keats.”
“Did Keats stare out of windows? I don’t recall hearing that.”
Lucie plowed on, undeterred by the question of whether England’s foremost romantic poet did or did not stare out of windows. “He won’t say anything to anyone but Matthew, and Matthew is a tomb where James is concerned. I heard a bit of their conversation once by accident, though —“
“Accident?” Cordelia raised an eyebrow.
“I may have been hiding beneath a table,” said Lucie, with dignity. “But it was only because I had lost an earring and was looking for it.”
Cordelia suppressed a smile. “Go on.”
“He is definitely in love, and Matthew definitely thinks he is being foolish. He does not like her.”

No, that can't be all of the snippet. I need more!

TDA Christmas Snippet & Some Shadowhunter Holiday Cheer

I hope everyone has had a great Holiday. 
For Christmas, Cassandra Clare treated Shadowhunter fans to some Christmas fanart and a TDA  snippet!! Check it out below. 

This fanart of Will and Tessa gave me a good laugh. I can only imagine the horror Will would have felt with Tessa giving their children ducks. Here is what both the artist and Cassie had to say about it:

The year Will Herondale’s wife got their children duck plushies for Christmas (he forgave her).
Ink and watercolor. Thanks to cassandraclare for these beautiful characters. Happy 135th Anniversary!
Aw, beautiful Christmas art.

For Christmas Cassie treated fans to a TDA snippet featuring a phone call between Clary and Emma.
“Hello? This is Clary Fairchild.”
“Clary? It’s me, Emma.”
“Oh, Emma, hi! I haven’t heard from you in ages. My mom says thanks for the wedding flowers, by the way. She wanted to send a note but Luke whisked her away on a honeymoon to Tahiti.”
“Tahiti sounds nice.”
“It probably is — Jace, what are you doing with that thing? There is no way it’ll fit.”
“Is this a bad time?”
“What? No! Jace is trying to drag a trebuchet into the training room. Alec, stop helping him.”
“What’s a trebuchet?”
“It’s a huge catapult.”
“What are they going to use it for?”
“I have no idea. Alec, you’re enabling! You’re an enabler!”
“Maybe it is a bad time.”
“I doubt there’ll be a better one. Is something wrong? Is there anything I can do?”
“I think we have your cat.”
“Your cat. Big fuzzy Blue Persian? Always looks angry? Julian says it’s your cat. He says he saw it at the New York Institute. Well, saw him. It’s a boy cat.”
“Church? You have Church? But I thought — well, we knew he was gone. We thought Brother Zachariah took him. Isabelle was annoyed, but they seemed to know each other. I’ve never seen Church actually like anyone like that.”
“I don’t know if he likes anyone here. He bit Julian twice. Oh, wait. Julian says he likes Ty. He’s asleep on Ty’s bed.”
“How did you wind up with him?”
“Someone rang our front doorbell. Diana, she’s our tutor, went down to see what it was. Church was in a cage on the front step with a note tied to it. It said For Emma. This is Church, a longtime friend of the Carstairs. Take care of this cat and he will take care of you. —J.”
“Brother Zachariah left you a cat.”
“But I don’t even really know him. And he’s not a Silent Brother any more.”
“You may not know him, but he clearly knows you.”
“What do you think the J stands for?”
“His real name. Look, Emma, if he wants you to have Church, and you want Church, you should keep him.”
“Are you sure? The Lightwoods —“
‘They’re both standing here nodding. Well, Alec is partially trapped under a trebuchet, but he seems to be nodding.”
“Jules says we’d like to keep him. We used to have a cat named Oscar, but he died, and, well, Church seems to be good for Ty’s nightmares.”
“Oh, honey. I think, really, he’s Brother Zachariah’s cat. And if he wants you to have him, then you should.”
“Why does Brother Zachariah want to protect me? It’s like he knows me, but I don’t know why he knows me.”
“I don’t exactly know … But I know Tessa. She’s his — well, girlfriend seems not the right word for it. They’ve known each other a long, long time. I have a feeling they’re both watching over you.”
“That’s good. I have a feeling we’re going to need it.”
“Emma — oh my God. The trebuchet just crashed through the floor. I have to go. Call me later.”
“But we can keep the cat?”
“You can keep the cat.”

Church sleeps on Ty's bed!!! Someone needs to draw a picture of this. Now I'm really curious as to why Jem gave Church to Emma. There has to be a reasoning behind this. I can't wait to read this series, and to read about when Emma learns more about Jem.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Book Review

By: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt
Released on: June 17th, 2014
Rating: 4.5 Stars - I Really Enjoyed It!
Source: book from publisher to review / purchased 
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to: Goodreads

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Another favorite series of mine comes to an end this year, and what an ending it was. Ruin and Rising was everything I had hoped it would be, and then some. Ruin & Rising is an action filled, emotionally charged book. The stolen moments between some of the characters was so bitter sweet, and perfectly paced with all that is going on around them. The character banter in this book is awesome! It provides the right amount of sass in the midst of so much despair and destruction.

Leigh Bardugo has created such great characters who's relationships and banter are great in this book. Out of all the books in this series, the banter in this one is my favorite. I really enjoyed seeing how the characters grow and evolved. Their strengths and weaknesses made them more relatable and realistic than ever. With all that is going on, and in the face of war/a revolution, I admired the characters who bravely stood behind Alina, and the cause they all believed in. Each of the characters all support each other when needed, and I really liked that about each of them.

Bardugo does a brilliant job at emotionally pulling me into her story. War makes up much of this story. Understandably this has a far reaching effect on all those in this series. It changes each of the characters. It causes new alliances, causes strategy changes to be made, allows for sacrifices to be made, and emotionally changes the characters. Together, they lift and support each other, even when at times it seems like they should just give up. 

The men of this series made it harder than ever to pick a favorite. Banter wise, Nikolai takes the cake. I seriously loved him in this book. I Leigh wrote a book about Nikolai, I would go pre-order the book right now. Oh Mal. I have been torn about him since the previous book, and his not so awesome choices. But, I had faith in him, and he proves he's the Mal I had hoped he was. This war has changed him, like it has all the characters. The one thing that hasn't changed is his devotion to Alina. What I wasn't excepting to feel is something for the Darkling. Sympathy. I loved how Bardugo told his back story through Alina's wanting to understand him more and the power that binds them. The men of the Grisha are fabulous in this book. You can check out my interview with Leigh about them here.

Alina and the women of the Grisha series prove that they can definitely hold their own with the guys. I love that they are just as tough and strong as the men are. I liked that Alina learns to open up to them more through the heartbreak over the death and destruction that rages on in this book. Something that effects all of them. She realizes she can trust them. Alina herself is someone, like Mal and like the Darkling, who is broken. Like the guys, her brokenness and her strength drive her to accomplish what she has set out todo, even if it seems impossible. 

The relationships between Alina, Mal, Nikolai, and The Darkling are well created. I liked that each of their relationships comes full circle in this book. Bardugo does a great job at allowing readers to understand why Alina feels the way she does about each character. Why she's drawn to them the way she is. I loved the stolen moments she has with a certain character, and the friendship she has with another. I also admire her for giving another character the closure he desperately needed. 

Ruin and Rising is a fitting ending to a series I'm sad has to come to an end. It's such a great series, and one I've been a huge fan of since I first got my hands on an arc of Shadow and Bone. If you've not yet read this series, I highly recommend it.