Friday, June 23, 2017

The Chocolate Tag

I was tagged over at Books Bags Burgers (thanks Uma!) for this one, and it looks like fun, so here it is- the Chocolate Tag. 

1) Dark Chocolate - a book that deals with a dark topic 

Girl Out of Water

This was a pretty positive book but Anise does deal with her missing mom, who is basically a drifter and comes and goes. 

2) White Chocolate - your favorite lighthearted or humorous read 

Big Little Lies

3) Milk Chocolate - a book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read 

Roar (Stormheart, #1)

4) Chocolate with a caramel center - a book that made you feel all goey in the middle while you were reading it 

Love & Gelato

5) Wafer free kit kat - name a book that has surprised you lately 

Radio Silence

6) Snickers - a book you're going nuts about 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

7) Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows - a book you would turn to for a comfort read 

Eight Hundred Grapes

8) Box of chocolates - what series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and something for everyone

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)

So that's it. I'm hungry now (off in search of chocolates) but if you feel so inclined, feel free to consider yourself tagged and share your chocolatey answers with us. 

Bookcover Spotlight

Kalahari (Corpus, #3)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brave New Girl

Brave New Girl (Brave New Girl, #1)

Brave New Girl is a YA dystopian (are they still writing those?) about a girl- Dahlia 16- who is a clone. One of many. The society she lives in genetically engineers everyone- having babies is apparently obsolete- and Dahlia is a hydroponic gardener, grown for just that task. Her group exists to be gardeners- and other than some recreation they really don't do anything else. They don't have any rights and are not allowed to indulge any interests, and they don't question this because they're engineered and trained to obey, not question. 

The problem arises when Dahlia gets stuck in an elevator with Trigger 17, an elite defense cadet who *gasp* speaks to her. They're not allowed to communicate with other groups, so she's scandalized, but they have an hour alone in a defective elevator so he tries to draw her out. She discovers that as a defense cadet he has more freedom than she does, and slowly she starts to question her worldview. It's hard though because she's literally never done anything- and has never felt attraction before. As you can probably guess that changes with Trigger 17! 

This was a pretty solid YA dystopian. It didn't blow me away at first but as I got into it I liked it more and more. It picks up some momentum as it goes, and I liked that Trigger 17 wasn't the usual bad boy. He's actually being groomed for leadership, although that goes out the window when he and Dahlia decide to hoof it. It kind of reminded me of Divergent in the sense that Dahlia has no idea what is outside the compound- all she knows is inside. Trigger has been out though on patrols and he tells her a little. Their relationship seems mostly realistic, he's definitely a risk- taker and she is not, but that changes as it goes along and she discovers some things about her background. 

I liked the sense of mystery and I'm always predisposed to like a cloning story if it's done well. I did think it a bit unrealistic that she didn't question things a little more, but we sort of get an explanation for that- it appears the clones are literally engineered to not question. The fact that she does is of course part of the mysteriousness. So the science is iffy, and if you've read a lot of YA dystopian this may seem familiar, but I still liked it. There are some twists at the end that were welcome as it expands the story, and there's a cliffhanger ending- it didn't really bother me though, and instead made me anxious for the next book! 

All is not as it seems in this world, and I thought the worldbuilding was mostly solid. I'm not entirely convinced by the society she's building here, but I am invested enough to keep reading. It took me a couple chapters to get involved but once I did it was off to the races. I enjoyed this a lot. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Game of Thrones: Jon Snow

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)

Jon Snow... certainly one of the more important characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. Bastard son of Ned Stark (or is he?) and Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, his story arc is one of the most eventful and compelling in the series. The bulk of Jon's story takes place in the north, much of it beyond the Wall, so it is through his eyes that we learn about the Watch, the Others and the forbidding lands of the wildlings. For this post I wanted to take a look at some of the major points of Jon's life, mainly from the perspective of the books. Some of this will apply to the show as well, since there is overlap, but I'm coming mainly from the book perspective here. And there will be spoilers obviously. 

I'm not going to exhaustively go through his history- that would take lots of posts- I'm going to share some thoughts and relevant quotes from key moments. The first is from Jon's early relationship with Donal Noye, the blacksmith of the Watch. He's the one who kills the giant Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg in the tunnel beneath the Wall, losing his own life in the act. He has an interesting perspective on the Baratheon sons. 

"Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day."

And here's what Stannis thought of Noye. 

"Noye made my first sword for me, and Robert's warhammer as well. Had the god seen fit to spare him, he would have made a better Lord Commander for your order than any of these fools who are squab bling over it now."

Noye is the one who taught humility to Jon, and urged him to fight with the other recruits, not just to lord it over the others. 

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Let's talk about Ygritte. The love of Jon's life, he encountered her high in the Frostfangs on a scouting mission with Qhorin Halfhand. The Halfhand later died and Jon joined the wildlings, as he was commanded to do, to spy on them. This whole sequence in A Clash of Kings, when Jon meets the wildling host and sees giants and mammoths for the first time, is one of my favorites. And his relationship with Ygritte is awesome. 

"You're mine. Mine, as I'm yours. And if we die, we die. All men must die, Jon Snow. But first we'll live. "

Jon's relationship with Stannis is fascinating. Stannis clearly likes Jon, and Jon knows that Ned Stark respected Stannis even if he didn't love him, so their verbal sparring is amazing. You get a sense of it on the show, but in the books there are whole chapters to revel in where they go back and forth. I like this exchange where Melisandre is walking with Jon after a meeting with Stannis.   

"His Grace is growing fond of you."
"I can tell. He only threatened to behead me twice."
Melisandre laughed. 

And since we're talking Melisandre... their relationship is amazing too, and she has warned him numerous times that he is in danger. The frustrating part is that he does not listen.  

The ruby at Melisandre's throat gleamed red. "It is not those foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back. You would do well to keep your wolf close beside you. Ice, I see, and daggers in the dark. Blood frozen red and hard, and naked steel. It was very cold." 
"It is always cold on the Wall." 
"You think so?"
"I know so, my lady."
"Then you know nothing, Jon Snow, she whispered."

Next time I'll look at Jon and his relationship with Tormund Giantsbane as well as a few others including Arya. And I'll speculate a bit on where Jon's story might be headed... 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't


 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week is a look at those series that we've been meaning to start- but for some reason haven't.  

Child of a Hidden Sea (Hidden Sea Tales, #1) 

Within the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5)

 Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

The 100 (The 100, #1)

The 100! MY favorite show- how can I not have read these books? Well I heard they sucked, but... it might be time. 

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

I just read this and it was AWESOME. There's another one coming and I will be all over that. 

Barbary Station (Shieldrunner Pirates, #1)

This isn't due until December, and Goodreads says it first in a series, but space pirates? I'm in. 

River of Teeth

This just looks like it's a trip. 

And... since that's about it, time for a bonus round. Here are some that I've tried that have rocked. 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

I absolutely love this book. And do you know how hard it is to get it in this cover? At least for me- Hodder & Stoughton show it as unavailable, and the copy I ordered was the other cover. 

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan, #1)

I love this series. 

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)

Yup. Love it. 

Tuesday Tagline #44


Love Hurts. Love Kills. How awesome is that? I LOVE this cover. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cover Characteristics Swamps

Cover Characteristics is a meme by Sugar and Snark- every week a characteristic is selected and we post 5 books with that week's theme.   

This week's pick- Swamp

Swamp - a fun topic. I knew urban fantasy had some swamp covers but I found some others I was not expecting- including the recently released River of Teeth which is my clear favorite. 

Dinosaur PlanetImage result for dinosaur planet goodreadsMossflower (Redwall, #2)Image result for river of teeth goodreadsDead on the Delta (Annabelle Lee, #1)

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Mossflower (Redwall, #2)
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Dead on the Delta (Annabelle Lee, #1)

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