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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

This week I'm excitedly waiting on…

By Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (Macmillan)
Release Date: June 17, 2014

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.


I think this might be my most anticipated sequel releasing this summer. It's almost here! Only a couple more weeks.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic is open-ended, so here are some book recs from diverse authors:


                                                             







8. Ash


Saturday, May 24, 2014
Handbook for Dragon Slayers
by Merrie Haskell

Thirteen-year-old Princess Matilda, whose lame foot brings fear of the evil eye, has never given much thought to dragons, attending instead to her endless duties and wishing herself free of a princess's responsibilities.

When a greedy cousin steals Tilda's lands, the young princess goes on the run with two would-be dragon slayers. Before long she is facing down the Wild Hunt, befriending magical horses, and battling flame-spouting dragons. On the adventure of a lifetime, and caught between dreams of freedom and the people who need her, Tilda learns more about dragons—and herself—than she ever imagined.


Merrie Haskell, author of The Princess Curse, presents a magical tale of transformation, danger, and duty, starring a remarkable princess as stubborn as she is brave.

Review: Handbook for Dragon Slayers is an engaging fantasy story featuring a disabled heroine who is completely awesome. Matilda, or Tilda, a girl who only wants to be alone with her beloved books, is constantly interrupted by her responsibilities as manager of the estate while her mother is away. When her treacherous cousin succeeds in deposing her and she is forced to go on the run, she views it as a relief. She can finally escape the people who, due to her clubfoot, view her as bad luck and unfit to be a ruler. Rather than plan a way to retake her estate, Matilda embarks on a dragon-slaying adventure with her friends in order to get material to write a book of her own.

           Tilda is a complex heroine who is smart and brave while having some very human flaws. Her clubfoot is painful and often forces her to rely on her companions for assistance, and the poor way some of her superstitious subjects treat her has shaped her insecurities. However, she is a character who can think her way out of most tricky situations and whose kindness and compassion serve her well on her journey. Judith, her maid and best friend, is a character who is great in her own right. Far from being the stereotypical obedient servant, Judith is not afraid to tell Tilda harsh truths and it is she who has the initial yearning for adventure. Rounding out the team is Parz, the knight in training Tilda has a crush on and whom Judith relies on for dragon-slaying instruction. Refreshingly, a love triangle between the trio never materializes.

The story itself is a blend of fairytales elements with historical details including the role of noblewomen as administrators, convents as stand-ins for places of learning, etc. One classic fairytale in particular is used, and I will not spoil the surprise but I did enjoy how it was handled. Through these various adventures Tilda and her friends come to realize that dragon slaying is very different from what they imagined and learn you cannot escape your responsibilities. In a way that is not at all overtly preachy or didactic, Tilda comes to reconcile her own wishes with her responsibilities and accepts her duty to her people. All in all, this is a great read for anyone who loves fairytales, historical fantasy, and dynamic characters. 

4.5 Magical horses
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,

This week I'm waiting on…

By Merrie Haskell
Release date: May 27, 2014
Published by Katherine Tegen Books

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?



To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.



With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell's The Castle Behind Thorns tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

As someone who found Merrie Haskell's previous fairytale retellings charming and delightful, I'm really looking forward to this release.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is books about friendship, something I love reading about but have a hard time finding books that focus on it exclusively. So here's my top books that feature great friendships:

1. 
The plot is driven by our herione Mel's concern for her best friend Cathy when Cathy becomes involved with the new vampire transfer student.
2. 
Young women forming friendships while learning the fine art of assassination in a dirigible. 
3.
Also known as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, Ezra reconnects with his childhood friend after an accident robs him of his jock status.
4. 
Jacob finds love and a new family among this uniquely gifted group.
5. 
Lady Matilda has great friends in Judith, the servant who is not afraid to tell her hard truths, and Parz the squire, who secretly trained Judith in dragon slaying.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

This week I'm excitedly waiting on…

By Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (Macmillan)
Release Date: June 17, 2014

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.


I think this might be my most anticipated sequel releasing this summer. It's almost here! Only a couple more weeks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Diverse Author Book Recs

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic is open-ended, so here are some book recs from diverse authors:


                                                             







8. Ash


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Handbook for Dragon Slayers
by Merrie Haskell

Thirteen-year-old Princess Matilda, whose lame foot brings fear of the evil eye, has never given much thought to dragons, attending instead to her endless duties and wishing herself free of a princess's responsibilities.

When a greedy cousin steals Tilda's lands, the young princess goes on the run with two would-be dragon slayers. Before long she is facing down the Wild Hunt, befriending magical horses, and battling flame-spouting dragons. On the adventure of a lifetime, and caught between dreams of freedom and the people who need her, Tilda learns more about dragons—and herself—than she ever imagined.


Merrie Haskell, author of The Princess Curse, presents a magical tale of transformation, danger, and duty, starring a remarkable princess as stubborn as she is brave.

Review: Handbook for Dragon Slayers is an engaging fantasy story featuring a disabled heroine who is completely awesome. Matilda, or Tilda, a girl who only wants to be alone with her beloved books, is constantly interrupted by her responsibilities as manager of the estate while her mother is away. When her treacherous cousin succeeds in deposing her and she is forced to go on the run, she views it as a relief. She can finally escape the people who, due to her clubfoot, view her as bad luck and unfit to be a ruler. Rather than plan a way to retake her estate, Matilda embarks on a dragon-slaying adventure with her friends in order to get material to write a book of her own.

           Tilda is a complex heroine who is smart and brave while having some very human flaws. Her clubfoot is painful and often forces her to rely on her companions for assistance, and the poor way some of her superstitious subjects treat her has shaped her insecurities. However, she is a character who can think her way out of most tricky situations and whose kindness and compassion serve her well on her journey. Judith, her maid and best friend, is a character who is great in her own right. Far from being the stereotypical obedient servant, Judith is not afraid to tell Tilda harsh truths and it is she who has the initial yearning for adventure. Rounding out the team is Parz, the knight in training Tilda has a crush on and whom Judith relies on for dragon-slaying instruction. Refreshingly, a love triangle between the trio never materializes.

The story itself is a blend of fairytales elements with historical details including the role of noblewomen as administrators, convents as stand-ins for places of learning, etc. One classic fairytale in particular is used, and I will not spoil the surprise but I did enjoy how it was handled. Through these various adventures Tilda and her friends come to realize that dragon slaying is very different from what they imagined and learn you cannot escape your responsibilities. In a way that is not at all overtly preachy or didactic, Tilda comes to reconcile her own wishes with her responsibilities and accepts her duty to her people. All in all, this is a great read for anyone who loves fairytales, historical fantasy, and dynamic characters. 

4.5 Magical horses

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Castle Behind Thorns

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,

This week I'm waiting on…

By Merrie Haskell
Release date: May 27, 2014
Published by Katherine Tegen Books

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?



To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.



With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, Merrie Haskell's The Castle Behind Thorns tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

As someone who found Merrie Haskell's previous fairytale retellings charming and delightful, I'm really looking forward to this release.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books About Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's theme is books about friendship, something I love reading about but have a hard time finding books that focus on it exclusively. So here's my top books that feature great friendships:

1. 
The plot is driven by our herione Mel's concern for her best friend Cathy when Cathy becomes involved with the new vampire transfer student.
2. 
Young women forming friendships while learning the fine art of assassination in a dirigible. 
3.
Also known as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, Ezra reconnects with his childhood friend after an accident robs him of his jock status.
4. 
Jacob finds love and a new family among this uniquely gifted group.
5. 
Lady Matilda has great friends in Judith, the servant who is not afraid to tell her hard truths, and Parz the squire, who secretly trained Judith in dragon slaying.