Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Edition: Paperback, 562 pages
Publication Details: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.

Review

I don’t know what it is about this series. I love it at the time of reading, but then I fall out of love with the idea of it and I struggle to find the motivation to pick up the next book. That’s what happened with Heir of Fire.

I bought a copy not long after its release but it took me this long to pick it up. And even when I finally did, I couldn’t get into it at all! I was pretty close to giving up on the series altogether to be honest…but then I got hooked again. Ugh make up your mind, Woman!

I think I only fell in love with this book about half way through, but then I didn’t want to put it down.

In this, the third instalment of the Throne of Glass series, Celaena Sardothian, the once all-powerful, all-confident assassin is a broken woman. She’s walking the streets in a booze-induced stupor, almost starving, getting into fights and losing most, because her strength has all but gone.

She doesn’t seem to have any direction, and although I found it interesting to see this fall from grace, it was all a bit dull to start with. Until, that is, she meets Rowan.

Rowan, a prince of fae is ordered to train Celaena to control her fae powers so she can once again fight against those who plan on enslaving her and her people. Of course, she’s reluctant at first, tired of fighting for other people, but it’s not long until the fire in her is ignited, and with the help of brutal Rowan, Celaena slowly becomes herself again.

I’m not gonna lie, for a lot of this book I didn’t really know what was going on. I kind of skimmed the beginning because I couldn’t get into it and then when I got to the good stuff I was confused. But I couldn’t go back, because I couldn’t tear myself away.

I loved how the relationship between Rowan and Celaena developed and as much as I wanted them to get in on – he is clearly mega hawtttt – I’m glad that instead their friendship became solid and trustworthy. I felt like Celaena really needed that instead of another romance. It was refreshing.

There were a lot of things I didn’t like about this book, for example, I had no idea what the witch-clan chapters were all about, and I found myself skipping some of them but they are pretty terrifying characters and make great villains so I’m hoping it’ll be explored better in the next book.

Despite everything, I still ended up loving this book. I can’t really explain it. I think I’m just destined to have a love/hate relationship with this series.

As it stands, I can’t wait until the next book, but by the time it comes around, I’ll probably feel differently. Sigh!

unicorn rating 4

Heir of Fire is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements [Out Tomorrow]

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Title: The Silvered Heart
Author: Katherine Clements
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 448 pages
Publication Details: May 7th 2015 by Headline
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

The legendary figure of Kate Ferrars, the infamous highwaywoman, is brought gloriously to life in this gripping tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival.

‘The distant thrum of galloping hooves conjures nothing but doubt and fear these days.’

1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world Katherine Ferrars knows is crumbling under Cromwell’s army, and as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to do her duty and marry for the sake of family.

But as her marriage turns into a prison, and her fortune is decimated by the war, Kate becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets the enigmatic Ralph Chaplin, she seizes the chance he offers. Their plan is daring and brutal, but it’s an escape from poverty and the shackles of convention. They both know if they’re caught, there’s only one way it can end…

Review

The Silvered Heart was my first Katherine Clements read, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Lady Katherine is an intriguing character. She is an orphaned heiress who has been used to the finer things in life. But when it comes time to do her duty and marry for the sake of her family, everything she knows is taken from her.

She must leave her beloved mansion for Ware Park, where her husband Thomas, who appears cold and incapable of kindness, basically leaves her to rot. With the state of affairs as they are, Thomas is constantly away, and money is non-existent, turning Ware Park into a run-down, neglected palace, where workers go unpaid and starvation is just around the corner.

I felt for Katherine a lot, and found myself completely engrossed in her story. Her marriage was entirely love-less, and she goes from riches to rags and does it all alone, with the exception of friend and maid, Rachel.

I was very wary of Katherine as a heroine, though. She never seemed to know what she wanted, and a lot of the decisions she made drove me mad! I found her quite shallow and petulant at times, and it annoyed me that she thought she was cleverer than she actually was, but it made for a thrilling read.

I loved that she became this great, almost mythological figure of a cold-hearted highway woman, and all the excitement and danger that came along with it.

The Silvered Heart is an epic tale of betrayal, double-crosses, plots and politics, and one that really gives us a vivid picture of that period in history. It’s also the story of one woman who will do anything to get what she thinks she deserves. A great read!

unicorn rating 4

The Silvered Heart is available in paperback from Waterstones tomorrow!

Book Promo: Dumped ~ Stories of Women Unfriending Women

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Title: Dumped; Stories of Women Unfriending Women

Author: Edited by Nina Gaby

Genre: Non-Fiction; Anthology

Publication Details: March 3rd 2015 by She Writes Press

Amazon // Goodreads

About the Book

Getting dumped sucks—and no, we don’t mean by a significant other. We’re talking about the atom bomb of abandonment: Getting dumped by a best friend. Millions of women who know the universally-experienced-but-rarely-discussed trauma of being dumped by a close female friend can relate to the candid stories in Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women.

Twenty-five celebrated writers—including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ann Hood, Carrie Kabak, Jessica Handler, Elizabeth Searle, Alexis Paige, and editor Nina Gaby—explore the fragile, sometimes humorous, and often unfathomable nature of lost friendship.

The essays in Dumped aren’t stories of friendship dying a mutually agreed-upon death, like falling out of touch. These are stories of suddenly finding yourself erased, without context or warning. There should be an Adele song for this—and now, the millions of women who have cried over the inexplicable loss of a friendship can bond over the raw, charming, funny, and soulbaring stories of women who know how they feel.

From teenagers to soccer moms, teachers to friends, Dumped is for women who enjoy Bridesmaids as much as Little Women, or HBO’s Girls as much Anne Lamott and Alice Munro. It will make women ages 16-70 smile, cry, laugh, and best of all, say “Me too!” as they learn that being Dumped by a close friend doesn’t mean going it alone.

Meet the Editor

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NINA GABY is a writer, widely shown visual artist, and psychiatric nurse practitioner whose essays
and fiction have been published by Lilith Magazine, Creative Non Fiction’s In Fact imprint, Seal Press,
Paper Journey Press, Wising-Up Press, The Prose-Poem Project
, and on Brevity.com.

What People Are Saying About ‘Dumped’

Brilliant, charming, heartbreaking, truth-telling, soul-baring, extraordinary…I defy any woman
not to identify with at least one of these stories.”

—Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom

Links

Goodreads
Contact the Publicist
Facebook
Twitter

Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner

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Title: Ice Massacre
Author: Tiana Warner
Series: Ice Massacre #1
Edition: Paperback, 375 pages
Publication Details: September 18th 2014 by Rogue Cannon Publishing
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Amazon
Xpresso Book Tours

A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

I really enjoy stories that are rooted in mythology, and I haven’t read any based on mermaids so I was excited for this one.

Ice Massacre is centred around Meela who is just about to leave for the annual mermaid Massacre. She has been trained to be a warrior who will travel out to sea with nineteen other girls to fight the mermaids that have plagued Eriana Kwai for years.

The mermaids are beautiful and seductive, and use this seduction to enthral and kill men who come into contact with them. The Ice Massacre was once a man’s job, but this time it is girls that have been trained to kill in the hopes that the mermaid’s powers of seduction won’t work on them the same way, giving them an advantage.

I really enjoyed this book. It was completely action-packed. It started at a good pace and maintained it almost all the way through.

I liked that from the start we know Meela has a childhood secret that she keeps from her friends, and we then go back to when she was 10 years old to find out what it was.

It was a time when Meela had befriended a mermaid her own age, called Lysi. Lysi wasn’t evil like everyone said mermaids were. She was kind and fun, and Meela saw her in secret most days. Also at this time, Meela’s brother had still not returned from the previous year’s massacre, causing a lot of tension and sadness in their family.

This backstory was intriguing and suspenseful, and set up the present-day story well. I felt like I knew and understood Meela very early on, and I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to her and Lysi’s friendship. But one thing was for sure – it was obviously not going to end well.

There were so many great moments in this book. I loved how vicious the mermaids were, and that Warner didn’t shy away from graphic violence, just as the title suggests. But it is also a great coming of age story. Meela must come to terms with her past, conquer her enemies, and learn how to trust again.

I think a lot of people will find something to relate to in this book, just as long as you can stomach the bloody massacre. I couldn’t get enough…and I get the feeling there is room for a sequel…

unicorn rating 4

Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books About Friendship.

I actually found this topic harder than I expected to, but I think I’ve managed to come up with ten books that I love (OK 9 – I cheated on one) and that hopefully won’t be on everybody else’s lists.

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The BFG by Roald Dahl: This book is definitely in my top 3 Dahl books! Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant are just so cute together. He even makes her a dress.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson: This one is the cheat because I haven’t actually read it yet…I have no idea how or why! However, if the film is anything to go by, the friendship between outsiders Jess and Leslie is beautiful, and inevitably heart-breaking.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I really didn’t rate the film, but this is one of my favourite books, and definitely one that will make you think about how important friendships can be.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green: This is one of my favourite coming of age stories, set around what sounds like an amazing high school musical.

A Million Little Pieces & My Friend Leonard by James Frey: Sometimes in the unlikiest places with the unlikliest of people, friendships can strike and that’s what happens in Frey’s controversial books about one man’s struggle with drink, drugs and rehabilitation.

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The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: Oh this book. Has friendship ever been so dangerous?

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Anne Brashares: I really liked the first book in this series, but the second one just didn’t have the same magic so I read no futher. If I’d read these when I was at school though I’m absolutely positive I would have loved them. Every girl longs for a close circle of friend like these girls have.

Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lindqvist: A lonely, bullied boy and a strange, wild girl who only seems to come out at night makes this the epitome of an unlikly friendship story.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman: If you think Romeo & Juliet had problems just see what Sephy and Callum have to put up with. This story of racism and prejudice blew me away, and at the heart of it is such a beautiful friendship, despite everything going against them.

What would make your list?

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #2

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

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1. Divergent

At some point this week I will be watching Divergent. I can’t wait to be able to rant about it! Last Saturday I walked through Leicester square and they had it all set up for the UK Premiere the following day, and I must admit seeing all the faction flags was pretty exciting.

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I did have a chuckle at all the kids who were already queuing up (overnight!) to get a good view of the red carpet. I had to text Di about it, apologies for the ‘freaks’ comment…all in jest I assure you (I was secretly really jealous, obvs)!

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And while we’re on the subject, the awesome Di has an amazing rant some thoughts on Insurgent which I’ll hopefully steal off her for a guest post. Watch this space.

2. We like Graves

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This is turning into a bit of a Dianne Tanner special, but this weekend just gone, Di and I had a lovely time wandering round Nunhead Cemetery, taking photos, looking for Narnia, and generally enjoying the spring-time sun.

Check out her photography blog, Icefloe which will feature much better Nunhead photos than these at some point.

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3. Crazy Golf is best with Dinosaurs

I had a work outing on friday to Jurassic Golf which is so much fun, despite them playing the Jurassic Park Theme Tune ON REPEAT. I’ve been humming it all weekend. Also, I didn’t lose for once, and my team came in second place (OK so there were only 3 teams). I also bet on the Grand National and came 2nd with Balthazar King. I’m waiting for my dad to let me know how much I won…maybe even a whole five pounds!

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4. ❤ Patrick Ness' Twilight Tweet-Along!

Patrick Ness had me in creases last week as he read Twilight and tweeted about it. I like that his tweets were hilarious, but not derogatory or patronising. He made it clear that any book that has been that successful deserves respect.

Here were some of my favourites:

Seriously, they are all gold! Go and read them all and behold the joy!

5. Fail

Regular readers or Goodreads followers may have noticed that I started Marcus Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood. I was really intrigued to see what his first adult book would be like but I had so any ARC deadlines at that time and I fell behind. I did start it, but I only read about 5 pages and really couldn’t get into to it. Plus, I was desperate to get to Vampire Academy 2 which had just arrived in the post. So when A Love Like Blood was archived in NetGalley just a few days after the release date I decided to just scrap it. :s Hopefully, I’ll give it another go sometime!

6. Game of Thrones

GoT!!! That is all!!!

7. M’s the word

The ‘m’ on my laptop keyboard is buggered I have to hold it down and show it soe love before the M actually works, see! MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Danit. So if you see soe missing mmmmm’s, please fill in the blanks. Why thanks.

Have a good week everyone.

Blog Take-Over: B.I Woolet on the inspiration behind their World of Arcas series.

I’m absolutely delighted to hand over my blog today to B.I Woolet, authors of The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister (HBSS). I fell in love with the world they built instantly and I was intrigued to find out where their inspiration came from.

But first, here’s the low-down on HBSS:

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Title: The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister
Author: B.I Woolet
Details: E-Book, Paperback
Publication Date: January 28th 2014, by ArcasArts

When a beautiful and powerful stranger throws Jackson into the world of Arcas, his predictable midwestern life instantly vanishes into an all-consuming adventure.

The last kingdoms of Arcas possess enduring youth, beauty, and wealth but have slowly crumbled under the weight of endless apathy and a painful past.

The rising evil of Gurges Ater now threatens to reopen the ancient kingdom pillars created long ago as passageways between Earth and Arcas. With access to both worlds, Gurges Ater will quickly conquer the weak kingdoms and establish his own throne.

Can Jackson along with a paranoid bear, a lone hunter, and the surviving seventh sister work together to protect both Earth and Arcas?

Or will the unlikely heroes allow their own fears, pain, and past to paralyze them as Gurges Ater opens the pillars and claims the throne?

Leave your own world behind, dive through the shimmering portal, and join Jackson to discover the beauty, danger, and adventure awaiting you in the World of Arcas!
Read my review here.

Thanks Lipsyy for letting us take over your blog today! 🙂

Fantasy and Sci-Fi adventures…

have always been an enjoyable part of our life. Like many others, we grew up escaping to the worlds of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. We loved to “journey” to other worlds but never thought that we would actually create one. Many readers have asked us about our inspiration behind The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, so today we hope to give you some of the inside scoop on our journey through the fantastical world of Arcas.

The idea of writing a fantasy story did not start on the side of a glorious mountain or before a marvelous sunset descending upon the crashing ocean. The World of Arcas was born during… a baby shower. I (Benji, the “B” in B. I. Woolet) was by sitting by the fire on one cold November evening in 2011. Actually, I was hiding a bit from the whole awkward feelings about being a man at a baby shower that wasn’t for my wife or for my baby. So, I sat alone in the back room, enjoying the warmth of the fire and looking out at the snow covered ground. Perhaps I secretly wished to be transported away, so I wouldn’t feel so out of place. “What would happen if I transported to another world?” I thought, staring at the flaming logs and breathing in their smoky incense. Thus, the dawn of a new world, the breath of new characters, and the rumors of a new adventure in the World of Arcas were all conceived during a baby shower.

The backbone of The World of Arcas Series is the union of astronomical science and fantasy. When we first started writing HBSS, the links to objects in the celestial universe weren’t totally formed yet. As fate would have it though, about the same time as the genesis of HBSS, my wife and I got interested in astronomy. As beginning stargazers, we started by learning the constellations and how to star hop. Once we recognized individual stars and the various characters in the night sky, we could use our telescope to find cool deep space objects.

orionDuring the day, we were creating a fantasy world. At night, we were gazing at the stars. As we searched the dark sky one night, the powerful figure of Orion—the hunter—almost demanded to enter the story. We knew there were already stories about Orion from various cultures throughout human history, but those stories seemed so removed from our world, so distant. It was time for the stars to come to life for a new generation. After all, the constellations do not just belong to the ancient world; they belong to those of us who are breathing, and seeing, and enjoying them right now. They needed a new story for a new age.

Now, of course, we didn’t get rid of the old legends all together. We did what most people do while forming a creative work: borrowed, altered, and added. Otava (which comes from the Finnish name for the constellation) is the great bear Ursa Major. However, in American culture, many people don’t even know it’s a bear; we usually think of it merely as the big dipper (which makes up the back half of the bear). Hence, we made our bear into a culinary enthusiast! And we also added a few jokes about Otava’s “big dipper.” But there are also many new and interesting aspects of the bear that we added to make him a loveable, powerful, and quirky character!

Ok—beware! I’m about to get super geeky on you now!

Another example of mashing together science with fantasy is found in the chapter “The Ring and the Lyre.” My “go-to” constellation is Lyra when I stargaze. I first use a trick my uncle taught me to test my optics out on the “double-double” (a set of two double stars in Lyra that you can “split” with the telescope). Then, I immediately look for the famous Ring Nebula (M57). It’s an amazing nebula, and I wanted something special for it. For the musical fans out there, the idea formed out of something similar to the dream sequence in Oklahoma.

ringWe turned the stringed Lyre into a magical instrument. So when Sulafat (Gamae Lyrae – the second brightest star in Lyra) plays the lyre, a cloudy magical ring appears that is reminiscent of the Ring Nebula: Upon reaching the bank, the cloud formed a ring swarming round and round, displaying blues and greens in the center along with golds and reds on the outside. The colors were vibrant yet muted by the white haze. A beautifully haunting tune quietly radiated through the ringed cloud.

There are so many other amazing star connections to be discovered as you journey with The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister! Don’t get me started on the epic Horsehead Nebula in Orion, our inspiration for the warhorse Alnitak. Or the gravitational modeling involved in creating a planet within a trinary star system.

But don’t worry! Even if you are not into astronomy, you can enter the World of Arcas and enjoy the ride in complete bliss without worrying about star names or constellations or nebulas. It’s a fun adventure story for the whole family to enjoy. The backbone of Arcas may be the celestial universe, but the life of Arcas radiates through its memorable characters and on-going action.

HBSS was a two-year writing project and all this science stuff is great, but it doesn’t reveal our greatest inspiration. We were fortunate enough to receive continual encouragement from close friends and family to follow our dream and finish this first book. Every day at the gym, one of my closest friends asked (consistently for two years!) how the book was coming along. Now folks…that is real inspiration. Friendship.

Meet the Authors

b.i
B. I. Woolet (Benji & Ila Woolet) is the author of The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, the first book from the World of Arcas series. Benji studied Music Composition leading to a Bachelor’s in Music, and Ila studied English leading to a BS in Education. When they aren’t working, writing, or chasing their three little girls around, they are active in their local community and church. The couple enjoys creating lyrical and literary arts, playing music together, and exploring nature. They are happily married and live in Indiana.

Links
Website: World of Arcas
Facebook
Twitter
Find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Goodreads.

Image Credits:
The Ring Nebula: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2002/28/image/d/

Orion: images adapted with the courtesy and written permission of IAU and Sky and Telescope Magazine.