Friday, December 27, 2013

Fun Friday: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Book 2 in a series
5/5 stars
Forever Favorite
Recommended 16+
Read my review for Book 1, Throne of Glass

Dear Sarah,





Well, there is a lot to say right now.  A lot to say.  Since 98.798% of the time I'm too wordy for Twitter, and I still wanted to tell you personally how I felt, I decided to write you a letter.  Problem solved, right?  But no, there was still one more problem: I figured it'd be selfish of me to just email you this letter.  No, no, that wouldn't do, because I want the whole world to know how I feel, and I'm not about to be quiet about it.  So I'm writing you this letter and posting it for the world to see and read and feel with me.

I have a lot of feelings.


I think the most important thing for me to tell you is this: I love Chaol with the very essence of my being.  People may say I'm being overly dramatic or unrealistic or just plain dumb, but NO.  I am not.  I am totally rational.  I love him.  I probably sound like every other fangirl, so let me put it this way, writer to writer...  When I started reading ToG, I loved him.  Seriously from the second he was introduced.  And you of all people know how much I swooned over the "Get up!" scene.....it makes me swoon even just thinking about it now.  But when I opened CoM...I realized something.  I love him...the same way I love my own characters.  It's a deep passion that I can honestly say I've never felt for any character other than my own...until now.  And I'm sure you know how that is.  Your own characters are like your own children.  So this is saying something.

Same goes for Celaena.  She had me wondering for a lot of ToG.  But whatever you did in CoM...it just made my poor heart so anguished.  It was like I had written the words, carried out the death sentence (figuratively), myself.  And it was beautiful.

I'm really just amazed by this book.  Everything about it...I just can't say enough.  I'll try to keep it mellow, but mellow's not really an option right now.  I'm already excited just thinking about it.


After Chaol and Celaena, let's just say that my mind is still REELING from the cliffhanger/twist at the end.  When I say reeling I MEAN IT.  Okay?  Okay.  My friend, who's currently reading the copy of ToG that you signed at LATFOB, was talking about her thoughts on the book, and I literally just dropped my head in my hands and started making my famous moaning cow noises (don't ask) and felt a nervous break down coming on.  All I could say: "THE END OF BOOK TWOOOOO."

The conversation ended there.

Me, falling into my feelings:

(And everyone I know watching, confused.)

I also love what you've done with the side characters.  I love them all the same, good or evil.  They are all freaking fantastic and awesome and can I have them all?  Kthxbai.

I would also like to tell you what I think of your epic world building, expressed in .gif form -



If that doesn't accurately express how I feel, I don't know what will.  I feel like my eyes have been opened, and I understand so much - while also understanding that there's so much I have yet to understand.  Savvy?

What I'm trying to say is.... Crown of Midnight is beautiful.  Your world is beautiful.  Your characters are to die for...they have become my nearest and dearest.  Your writing is just beautiful and wonderful and everything I love.  You've broken my heart more than once, actually over and over and over again whenever I think about CoM, and it is the best kind of heartbreak.  It is the heartbreak of deepest emotion.

In a few words, "Well done, Sarah.  Well freaking done."



Much love and lots of hugs and "drift well" and all that,
Sierra
XOXO

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013


Hosted by the lovely Broke and the Bookish.  They are awesome.  FOLLOW THEM!

This is a super fun topic!!  I've never really thought about these authors as being "new to me".  Even though they are.  So let's celebrate the awesome finds of this year (and maybe boo a few, 'cause I'm rude).


1.  THIS IS MY FAVORITE DISCOVERY EVER.  Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.  They have DESTROYED ME with their glorious work of art, These Broken Stars.  Review coming soon.  It looks mostly like this:  a;dlskfja;skldjfaklsdjf;kaldsjf;lkasdjf;al!!!!!! a;sdlkfja;sldkfjkla;sj!!! a;dslfjASD;FAW;EIOGHAIW;LJF!

2.  Markus Zusak.  He also destroyed me.  In a much different way than the two women above and probably more long-standing.  Anyone who has read The Book Thief will know what I mean.  It is, without doubt, one of the greatest pieces of literature the world has seen, or ever will see.


3.  *hangs head in shame* John Green.  I know, you're all throwing tomatoes and eggs and cabbages at my head.  I deserve it.  It is true.  I had never read John Green before this year.  Before like, September.  Now, however, I'm definitely officially a Nerdfighter and I don't forget to be awesome, thank you very much.

4.  Melissa Jensen.  I just ADORE her book The Fine Art of Truth or Dare.  It really struck a chord with me, as I was able to connect with Ella perfectly.  The story tugged at my heart and made me cry and laugh and all the wonderful things of the world are wrapped up inside it's pages.  I definitely want to read all her books now!

5.  Kelly Creagh.  *glares hatred and fiery darts and evil poison arrows and all sorts of other killing objects*  This woman writes with a style I have never read before, steals my heart away like a thief in the night, and then CRUSHES IT.  And still I love her...aside from wanting to strangle her for that ending in Enshadowed.  All in all, she is freaking brilliant.


6.  Leigh Bardugo.  I love this woman.  I met her at a signing right after Shadow and Bone came out, but I didn't read it until this year...and then proceeded to snatch up Siege and Storm without a moment of hesitation.  She is brilliant and her world of the Grisha has inspired me unlike any other.

7.  Kimberley Freeman.  She writes adult fiction, which I seldom read except for book club.  And wowowowowow I was BLOWN AWAY.  I cannot even handle this woman's excellence in story-telling.  I read Wildflower Hill and will be purchasing it to read again, ASAP.  And the rest of her books, since I'm addicted.

8.  Sylvia Plath.  Oh man oh man this gal is crazzzy.  Ummm, no pun intended?  I loved The Bell Jar and really cannot wait to read more of her work.


9.  *whispers* Michelle Hodkin.  Oh GOSH how can I not mention her.  I devoured both books, Unbecoming and Evolution in about 4 days.  And now.  I'm dying.  For Retribution.  Can someone give it to me NOW?!?!!?!

10.  Sarah Ockler.  This woman creates such a beautiful story with her words!  Bittersweet was my introduction and I cannot wait to read more!  I am utterly fascinated by Ockler's stories! :)



All righty...there's my list!  What about you all?  Who have you discovered this fine year? :)

XOXO
Sierra

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mini Monday: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Stand-Alone
4/5 stars

A few years ago, I was a no-contemporary girl.  Fantasy-only, that sort of thing.  I saw this section in my local bookstore and scrunched up my nose and went on to my fantasy section.
Then I met my lovely bestie, who also had a book blog, and I was inspired by her love for Sarah Dessen - and I read Keeping the Moon.  I haven't stopped reading contemporary since then.  (Here: read my review for my favorite contemporary book EVER.)

Along for the Ride is officially my 2nd favorite Dessen novel, right after The Truth About Forever.  This book...it just means something to me.  Everything that happened, with Auden's insomnia, her parents, Eli, the baby...I just adore it all.  I couldn't put the book down.  I loved Auden and who she was as a person, and how she grew and changed for the better.  She is a wonderful character worth remembering.  I love how she dealt with having a step-mother, how she handled her father's selfishness (I haven't been so angry at a character in so long), how she worked through things with Eli (faulty though it was)....  Yeah.  I could go on.

And Eli.  Need I say anything more?  His depth - what happened to him, how he handled it - made him SO real to me.  What the ended up naming the bike shop?  Genius.

Which reminds me - I ADORE this cast of side characters.  All of them.  The food fight scene seriously made me ridiculously happy.  And the kiss.  The first kiss was DREAMY.

(Oh, and I looooooved Jason's cameo.  I was so intrigued by that.)

This book reminds me of...
Staying up...really late
Car crashes
Food fights
Rising above
Real life issues
Quiet boys
Biking by the beach (think, Coronado)

Content level -
Ages 15+ for some brief language


Summary
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thorough Thursday: The Prey by Andrew Fukuda (#2)


The Prey by Andrew Fukuda
Book 2 in a trilogy
5/5 stars
My review for:  The Hunt (#1)

Bear with me.  I finished this book last night.  I am STILL in shock.

Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I really genuinely loved the first book.  (I rated it a little lower because I couldn't stomach some of the scenes...but really.  It was BRILLIANT.)  And that cliffhanger, right?  Ok well this was worse.

ANDREW FUKUDA I LOVE YOU.

Currently sitting in my chair contemplating the meaning of life because of this book.  And I can't say anything to you all because...well...you might not have read it.  But really.  It was right under my nose (see book for reference) the WHOLE TIME and I didn't have a clue.  I thought I was guessing some things but then...nope.  I've come to the conclusion that Andrew is smarter than 90% of all life on this planet....or he just knows how to weave a really great story.  Or both.  Either is fine with me.  And totally believable.

Can we talk about how much I love Gene?  Because I LOVE Gene.  He is so incredible.  I could kiss him.  I love that this book has a male narrator - if it had been a girl, it wouldn't have had the same weight.  I love female narrators, don't get me wrong, but I don't pass up any opportunity to read sci-fi from a man's POV.  (See Tempest.)

And then there are the side characters - Sissy, Ben, Epap, Jacob, David...and some new faces.  Clair, Krugman, the elders, the pregnant women.  And we see some great returns, too, one of which I totally called.  There was another I wasn't so sure about and...yeah.  Zipping my mouth shut now.

Also - Sissy grew on me so much within the first 50 pages.  I liked her before, sure, but now I just LOVE her.  She's a rockstar.  I want to be like Sissy.  She has so much to offer to this story and I can say that she definitely eased some of my pain about that one character in The Hunt who made incredible sacrifices and made me SO SAD.  Sissy was like a salve on my wounds.

Can you all just read this book?  Kthxbai.

This book reminds me of...
Creepy men (seriously, I'm not joking)
Pregnant women (again, not even kidding you)
Prisons disguised as safe havens
Suspense that just hangs in the air even though nothing is happening and everything feels safe
One single word that I can't say because it gives away the entire ending (if you've read it, you KNOW)
Incredibly complex plot twists that blow my mind to pieces
Trains.  Scary trains.
Incredibly amazing book boys that deserve to go into a hall of fame or something
Nearly drowning
Etc, etc.
(Basically all this book reminds me of is horrifying and creepy things, and somehow this is a good thing.  Pregnant women, in of themselves, are not creepy, but his book....... *dies* Don't ask me how Fukuda did it, but he did.)

Summary
(Spoilers for the 1st book!)
For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast... and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.