Book of the Week-Crown of Midnight

So I apologize for the fact that this is a day late. This week, check I started school, went to TWO different book signings, worked and got a new tattoo. This is apparently just too much for me to handle and so I got a little behind in the blogging. However, I finished Sarah J. Maa’s new book, the second of the Throne of Glass series, last night and I can’t wait to share my review with you!

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas 

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?

Yes. This is the second novel of the Throne of Glass series

Warning: This post will NOT contain spoilers for this particular novel. However, there very well could be spoilers for any previous novels. Please check out my review of Throne of Glass here.

You May Like if You Liked:

The Tortall books by Tamora Pierce, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Plot Summary:

The book is a sequel to Throne of Glass. In Throne of Glass, the famous Aderlan Assassin Celaena is freed from a terrible work camp/prison in order to compete in a deadly contest to be the King’s Champion. The prince has chosen Celaena to be his sponsor, and after much dramatics, Celaena wins and becomes the King’s Champion. Spoiler alert. I told you that I was probably going to be spoiling Throne of Glass.

The thing about Throne of Glass is that Celaena is determined to become King’s Champion in order to guarantee her freedom, away from the mines, and away from the cruel and powerful king. When she accomplishes this, she merely has to serve the King for two years and she’ll be free. But there is way more going on than she realizes. She’s given the tasks to find and kill people who the king claims as traitors and rebels to the crown, until he gives her the name of someone she knew long ago. Her friend, the princess Nehemia, is determined to make more of Celaena’s power than she’s been using it for. Chaol and Calaena’s friendship has the possibility of being more, while Dorian watches on the sidelines and tries to forget about her. Celaena has to spend her time deciding who is right and who is wrong, who to trust and who is lying to her, all while trying to preserve her own life under the rule of this powerful and cruel king. Then a tragedy occurs, and everything that Celaena had known or guessed is now in question and she’s on a mission, a mission to make things right, for revenge, for justice.

The Bad:

Uh, that it ended? Seriously. I think the worst part of the book is the fact that it ended and who knows when the third book will come out. Without ruining anything for those of you who have not yet had the chance to read it, or can’t read it because it hasn’t released in your country, I will say this: this book breaks your heart in several different ways. And it leaves you absolutely begging for more. I stared at the last page for a long while, wondering if that was really the end or if there was going to be a little note “just kidding, keep reading”. Of course, there wasn’t, but I wish there was and I wish that I could read what happens next!

The Good:

Sarah’s ability to tell a story is absolutely fantastic. Just when you think that you have figured out what is going on, you’re thrown completely for a loop and you’re sent spiraling into a completely different direction. That is great storytelling. She creates these characters, every single one of them who is so well developed, so believable and so memorable and addicting, and she puts them into this complex and ever looping stories that you can’t help but be glued to the pages the entire novel. Because here’s the thing: Sarah doesn’t just make you addicted to Celaena’s story, she makes you care about all of them, even the characters that aren’t necessarily “good”. Every character has his or her own story, and all of these stories sort of build together, pile on top of one another and make one gigantic story. And since we don’t get everyone’s point views, the story creates this long mystery, a mystery that never really gets solved. Things unravel, piece by piece, and when one piece is uncovered, another mystery is revealed. I think that is a magical thing, to be able to build a story like that.

I also really love that she is so fantastic at world building. You may have noticed that most of the books that I read are fantasy or sci-fi, and yet, what I actually write is contemporary. And that is because the world building of some of these authors is just out of this world, and I am daunted by the task of doing that. Some people just are better at this, and Sarah is a genius at it. She makes this world that is so familiar and relatable but creates in in a completely new universe. What I love about it is that she takes elements from different stories, different myths and cultures, things we’ve seen before and creates her own universe and that is the mark of a good writer. She takes things that we’ve all used, all these fantasy writers tend to be inspired by, and really does a great job of creating her own universe based on it. I think a lot of people think authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling and such all have brand new ideas, but they don’t. They take myths and legends, different aspects of religion, different aspects from different stories and they build their own universes from that. It shows talent and research and imagination and creativity and it is really accomplished in this world, and its so impressive.

I also just adore the characters that Sarah creates in these books. I love Celaena the most, especially after the way Sarah described her when I met her a few days ago. She is a unique heroine in that she has this strength, she’s a fighter, a warrior…an assassin who has an ease for killing, who was trained to kill and to be good at it, but she’s also lovely, calm, intelligent, addicted to books…and she’s super girly! She loves clothes, and looking pretty and shopping for clothes and perfumes. I love that. I love that she is capable of being both, because so many times I feel that female characters are either one or the other. Its the reason I love Isabelle Lightwood from the Mortal Instruments because she embodies that so it was nice to see that sort of kindred spirit in Celaena as well. I also love Nehemia, and the strength that the princess shows, the loyalty and passion and strength of Chaol, and the openness and genuine nature to Dorian. I even love Fleetfoot, Celaena’s dog.

Lastly, I love that there are so many depths of this novel. I love that it follows up this completely great debut novel, and it doesn’t disappoint. You sometimes wonder with an original novel, whether the sequel will be as good and this one doesn’t disappoint in this slightest. I love that it was completely worth the wait, and that it was a continuation of the previous story but it brought about new stories, new enemies while sticking to the conflicts of the previous novel. I also am attracted to the fact that there are SO many elements to the story: romance, action, adventure, revenge, fantasy, justice, drama, so MUCH. There are so many layers to the novel, and that is what makes it SO good. If I were to write a paper about this, there are so many angles that I could take on it, so many themes and so many conflicts and ideas going on in there. I absolutely love it and it makes me excited and anxious for more novels.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?

Yes. Of course. Especially if you’ve already read Throne of Glass. If you loved Throne of Glass, you’re going to read this book and wonder how it was even possible to get better than that, but it did. She took a book that was an amazing debut and made it even better in the sequel. I met her Tuesday (check out the pictures below!) and she informed us that there would be six to seven books in total for the series. I canNOT wait!

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week review!

Don’t forget to check out previous reviews here! And stay tuned for more awesome this weekend!

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

The year is halfway over. Its July and its full on summer mode here in Southern California. The 4th of July is that turning point of the year; its half way over.

And I’m sitting here, viagra approved enjoying my summer vacation before I start my last two years of college, thinking about all the awesome things that have already come out and happened this year. Clockwork Princess. WonderCon. Meeting SO many authors. Star Trek premiere. So many cool things.

But then I was thinking about it, and I was like, there is still SO MUCH MORE to look forward to with the rest of the year. So much more.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Premiere Date: August 12, 2013

Release Date: August 21, 2013

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I am SOOOO insanely excited for this. The Mortal Instruments series is one of my absolute favorite book series and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen. When they first started making it, I admit I was extremely wary. I was afraid of them making another Twilight, and while this series keeps getting compared to Twilight, its nothing like it and it looks amazing! I was also super wary of some of the casting, especially the casting of Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland but I ended up being proven so wrong, at least of what I’ve seen so far. So far, the directors, producers and movie studio have gone out of there to stay connected to the fans, to see what we’d like to see and what we like about we’ve seen so far and they’ve responded in kind. And the trailer shows me a seriously badass movie. I am looking forward to this movie adaptation because its looking like the best that I’ve seen in awhile.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and 12th Doctor Announcement

Release Date: November 23, 2013

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I LOVE DOCTOR WHO, and my love for Doctor Who only increased when I went to Gallifrey One, the Doctor Who convention in February. I enjoyed Series 7, though it wasn’t my favorite, and I have been eagerly anticipating the GREAT 50th anniversary special that is sure to come this year. That is when they announced that David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) would be joining Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswin Oswald) for the 50th. I literally squealed with fangirl excitement. David Tennant is amazing, and his rendition of the Doctor is just…its the best and I ADORE Rose and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans that these four get up to. Then Matt Smith announced that he would be retiring as the 11th Doctor and all eyes and ears in the DW fandom are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the 12th Doctor. So much amazing DW coming our way :)

Tammara Webber’s Here With You

Ebook Release: August 6, 2013

Paperback Release: August 27, 2013

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I wasn’t even aware that there would be a fourth book in this series but I am so excited that there will be, especially since Reid Alexander is a main player in this book again. If Reid Alexander were a real celebrity, I’d: A, want him to play Jace Wayland in City of Bones and B, I’d be WAY obsessed with him that way girls are obsessed with Justin Bieber. I have a feeling a lot is going to be going on with this book, and I think the past that Reid has with his ex, Brooke, is going to come up big time with this book. I think we’re finally going to see more of that then we’ve ever seen before.

Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight

Release August 27, 2013

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The first of these books, Throne of Glass, is an absolute masterpiece and its no wonder, as it took Sarah nearly 10 years to write. Its an epic fantasy, with a badass character in Celaena, who is literally a legendary, almost mythical assassin. She can fight, and kill and she has a wicked sense of humor and she likes to curl up with a book. And she has two very different men falling in love with her, and she’s too busy trying to get her freedom. And…even though I absolutely loathe love triangles, I can’t decide which man I like better: Dorian or Chaol. But what a wonderful world that Sarah has created and I can’t wait to see this story continue and to see what other wicked adventures Celaena gets herself into.

Jennifer L Armentrout’s Origin 

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I can’t WAIT for this book (did I mention that this book and the previous two mentioned ALL COME OUT THE SAME DAY!). If you’ve read the end of Opal, the third book in the Lux series, you’ll understand. MAJOR cliffhanger, and you just know that Daemon is PISSED and he’s ready to take on the world to get Katy back and its going to be amazing. Just the differences in covers alone shows that this is going to be a VERY different novel from the previous. I hope it’ll be more action packed and it’ll take the story in completely new directions. I am SO excited for this book; I’m counting down the days.

Veronica Roth’s Allegiant

Release Date: October 22, 2013

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I read Divergent TWO days before the release of Insurgent and stayed up til 3 a.m. reading Insurgent on its release day. It was released on May 1st, 2012 and I’ve already been waiting for over a year for this book. I know plenty of other Divergent fans who haven’t waited nearly as long as I have, so trust me haha, I’m dying for this book to come out, especially with the damn cliffhanger this book leaves you with! I remember reading this SO late at night and thinking, “No…no way. No, Veronica Roth, you don’t do this to me.” This is one of the most anticipated releases of the year in the YA genre, and with the movie wrapping up filming this month, its sure to be a best-seller within minutes. I canNOT wait to see the conclusion of this epic dystopian series.

Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades

Release Date: October 8, 2013

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Again with the cliffhangers. The Mark of Athena, the book right before this one, leaves off with an EPIC cliffhanger. Sorry I’m about to spoil it so if you haven’t read the previous books, I would move on to the next time on the list. I’m warning you. Okay, we leave off with Percy and Annabeth (one of my OTP!) literally FALLING INTO TARTARUS, the deep depths of the Underworld and the Romans of Camp Jupiter charging toward Camp Half Blood, with attack the only objective on their minds. What a way to leave off. Only a year in between books but it is SO hard to wait. And this cover, with an extremely beat up Percy and Annabeth, running from…something, just gets me wriggling with anticipation. Rick Riordan has never failed to disappoint me so this is definitely a book to count down on.

Catching Fire Release

Release Date: November 22, 2013

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I can’t wait for this movie for three reasons. One, I loved the first one but I wasn’t incredibly impressed with it. I’m hoping CF is better :) Two, Finnick Odair. Do I need to say anything else? And three, my friends all went to the Hunger Games premiere last year and had an awesome time and now we are going to the CF premiere and its sure to be a FANTASTIC time. This is a great book series, and the movie is chock full of great actors like Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Haralson, Donald Sutherland, Jenna Malone and so much more. I am excited to see how they accomplish the build up that Catching Fire is. I also am really curious to see how well they pull of the Quarter Quell and the ridiculous arena that is the 75th Hunger Games. I remember reading it and thinking it was crazy, and its going to be epic on the big screen.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Release

Release Date: December 13, 2013

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Okay, I don’t care what any of those so-called fancy Hollywood movie “critics” say. They aren’t fans of the Tolkien universe and they just don’t know. This movie wasn’t made for the critics; it was made for the fans and all the fans that I know…LOVED the first movie. I know I did. I was incredibly impressed and I wanted it to go on forever and I loved the extra stories they added from The Silmarillion and the appendices. This movie is bound to be epic because we get to see more elves (including Thandruil and Legolas) and Benedict Cumberbatch’s sexy dragon voice and so much more. I just know that the movie will continue to be as epic as the first one was. My super cool friend, Kathleen, from New Zealand got me some epic Hobbit shirts and I can’t wait to wear them when seeing this movie for the first time.

Cinda Williams Chima’s The Enchanter Heir 

Release Date: October 1, 2013

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I am so incredibly…okay I’ve said it like a hundred times now…excited for this book because Cinda Williams Chima is a fantasy GENIUS. Seriously. I will push her on you until the day I die because she is an absolutely brilliant and talented writer and I don’t think its fair that she doesn’t get the credit that she deserves when there are extremely popular YA authors out there, with huge fandoms, that aren’t even good. Okay, moving on, this is the 4th book in the Heir Chronicles, though it can be read without reading the first three. Its an urban fantasy, a brilliantly crafted fantasy world wrapped up in modern day worlds. I read all seven of Cinda’s previously released books in a matter of about a month and so now I am dying to have my socks knocked off again by this amazing writer.

Anniversary Edition Harry Potter Books

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I hate change. I really do. I would rather things just be left alone and kept the way they originally were meant to be. Like the original Star Wars trilogy. Why George Lucas, why, did you add all that unnecessary CRAP  to that movie? Ugh. So when they announced that each book in the Harry Potter series would be getting updated covers for the 15th anniversary of the Sorcerer’s Stone’s publication in the US, I wasn’t really thrilled. Until the covers started to be revealed and I was thoroughly impressed. As much as I believe that Mary Grandpre’s covers are the best and will always remain my favorite, these covers (so far, five have been released) are just so beautiful done and are so incredibly impressive and full of artistic talent. I went from shaking my head, to looking at these with eyes wide and immediately rushing to Amazon to place my pre-order. And of course, this box set comes out the EXACT SAME DAY as Origin and Crown of Midnight and Here Without You…

Marie Lu’s Champion 

Release Date: November 5, 2013 

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This is going to be the most epic finale to the BEST dystopian series that I have ever read. Yes, better than The Hunger Games, and yes, better than Divergent. Marie Lu creates a one of a kind dystopian universe (she actually talks about countries besides the US!) and she creates two conflicting, yet in love characters, and her back and forth point of views just leave us with a breath taking, addicting story. I adore both June and Day and the cliffhanger she leaves us with (SPOILER: Day is dying…and he didn’t tell June) is just too much for me to handle. Luckily, after reading Prodigy on its release day in January, I didn’t have to wait long for Champion’s release, which is in November! Not even a year. That, my friends, is possibly the best news a reader can get.

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

Release Date: August 7, 2013

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I was incredibly disappointed in the first movie. I don’t think its as TERRIBLE as everyone makes it out to be but it definitely isn’t a good movie. Its kind of one of those guilty pleasure movies; plus, Logan Lerman is so adorable, I just want to eat him up. But it wasn’t great, and it failed in the box office, so it surprised me immensely when they announced that the second book, Sea of Monsters, was being filmed. Pleasantly surprised but also wary. Now, I’ve seen stills and trailers and I’m not completely sold yet but I do like this book a lot and I am hoping that they are able to revamp this movie series and we can get to Titan’s Curse, which is my FAVE of the Olympians series. I hope, I hope!

Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12

Release Date: September 24, 2013

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Heather Wells is one of my idol characters to look up to because she makes me feel better about myself, both inside and out. Heather is a bigger girl, and she used to be a smaller, famous pop star who basically lost everything but as the books go on, she gains more and more confidence, and becomes so happy in the skin that she’s in and I love that. I love that the more I gain confidence in the size that I wear (which is, a size 12), the more I feel like this badass heroine. Now, after all these books, I am so happy that she is finally getting married and to the person that she’s always wanted to be married to, and I can’t wait to see what adventures she is bound to get into because its Heather and someone is bound to die and Heather is bound to catch them.

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I am also looking forward to the return of Once Upon a Time in the fall for season 3, the new series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, as well. I am excited for Vampire Diaries and the new series, The Originals. I am also anticipating the return of Sherlock, season 3, though I believe that may be in 2014. So much is coming!

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So that was a really long, epic post but I hope you all enjoyed it! There are just SO many cool things left to look forward to in 2013!

What are you most looking forward to in the next six months of 2013? Book releases, movie releases, TV shows returning? As always, share in the comments!

Book of the Week-Throne of Glass

Hello everyone :) Welcome to this week’s Book of the Week. I have to tell you, I read three new books this week and it was kind of hard to narrow it down to just one to review for this week. I chose this one because it most fits what I usually review and its awesome but I’m thinking…

Should I maybe do a video blog occasionally? Maybe like, “Sara’s Quick Picks“, and I’ll profile the other books I read that week that don’t make it to the Book of the Week? It’d be like…quick reviews of the other books? What do you guys think? Let me know!

Anyway, I saw this book all over GoodReads and people were talking about it and Im like, I need to get on this train and I added it to my “to-read” list. Then I went shopping at Barnes and Noble last week to pick up some books to get signed at the Ontario Teen Book Fest and I saw this sitting on the shelf and was like “LOOK AT THAT COOL COVER!” and immediately grabbed it off the shelf.

And read in a couple days, as per usual. Its a very good book, but I’ll tell you all about it below :) Check out this week’s Book of the Week!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
The first book in the Throne of Glass series. The second, Crown of Midnight, will be released this summer!

You May Like if You Liked:
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling

Plot Summary:

Celaena was trained from the age of 8 to become an assassin, and she becomes the most feared assassin of them, until she is caught and sent to Endovier, to the salt mines, where most criminals do not survive very long with the hard labor. However, Celaena continues to survive until the Crown Prince of Erilea, Dorian, comes to fetch her. He has has a bargain for her: if she participates in a contest of sorts as his Champion, a competition where former criminals battle it out to become the King’s Champion, a coveted role. Dorian wants Calaena as his Champion, so that she can win, serve his father for four years and then earn her freedom. Celaena immediately agrees, though she doesn’t have much of a choice. She comes from a country that no longer exists, taken over by Dorian’s father, and has worked against him her whole life. But this means her freedom.

When she arrives, things don’t go the way she expects them to. She is gaining a lot of attention from both Dorian and the captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol. She’s forming a close friendship with a princess from a nearby land. And she’s having to hide her skills so as not to gain too much attention. But then weird things start happening. Marks called Wyrdmarks start appearing, in a kingdom that has absolutely forbidden magic, and Champions are turning up dead, in seriously gruesome ways. Celaena now has to worry about making it past all the Tests and not ending up dead like the other Champions…

The Bad:

The love triangle. I’m sorry. I mean that in the best way possible. But I am so tired of the love triangle. I am so insanely over it. Please make it go away. I understand it makes for a more interesting story, blah blah blah. I was so excited in Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Obsidian because there’s no love triangle. Not in the slightest. It was amazing. And I will say that the love triangle in this novel…its very, very subtle. Its not in your face, so there is that. I’ll also add that its subtle enough, on both sides, that you’re not really rooting for either one. At the end of the novel, I’m left going “OHMYGOD, who do I ship?” Haha. But this a very slight love triangle, and honestly, more of an annoyance than anything.

The Good:

Celaena is such a badass. She is up there with all the super badass heroines that we’ve been getting. At first she really reminded me of Katsa from Graceling. They both are kind of trained at a young age to become an assassin. I do think there is a difference between them. I love Katsa and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling but I did have some issues with Katsa; she’s very…unemotional and lacking of humanity sometimes. Sometimes its hard to relate to her. Celaena is trained as an assassin but has such a deep personality and human feelings and emotions. I love that she has a ton of humor and sarcasm. I love that she is this badass assassin with the power to kill people fairly easily and yet she loves to curl up with a book and enjoy a story. I love that she loves dogs and doesn’t want the grumpy runt of the pack to be killed.

I love the sort of repertoire she builds with the different characters in the novel. She spends the most time with Dorian, Chaol and the princess and she is Celaena with all of them, but she has a different relationship with each of them and while reading, I get eager to see what sort of interaction she will have with each character. She plays all these different parts and she doesn’t hold back. I think that’s what really attracts both Dorian and Chaol to Celaena. She is this beautiful fighter, talented warrior, gifted and brilliant and everyone knows who she is, has heard whispers of her. But I think once this famed assassin is given a name, a personality, a face…Dorian and Chaol are able to really see her as a person. And the princess, Nehemia, is really able to see what Celaena is like because she doesn’t know her true identity or her reason for being there.

I also really love the conflict that goes on within Celaena. She’s an assassin from a country that was brutally taken over by the king, and she’s spend much of her “career”, fighting and killing and working against him. And she is sent to the salt mines, where she isn’t fed well, and she’s fighting off would-be attackers and doing extreme hard labor. Of course this isn’t a place that she wants to be at. She’s given the chance of freedom, but at the cost of working for someone whom she despises. Its a very strange internal struggle for her, as she fights to win the King’s Champion position, knowing it’ll both mean her freedom, but preceded by four years of killing for a man that she definitely does not see as her king. I love that we don’t just get to see her physical fight, but we get to see her fight internally as well.

I loved the ending to this book as well, but as I’m trying to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible because before, I just spoiled things like crazy, I won’t say too much. I loved how everything was wrapped and yet completely not wrapped up at the same time. You had a conclusion, an ending but there are so many loose ends, especially toward the end when you start getting different points of view and you see sort of the inner workings of this kingdom and what could possibly go wrong. So it leaves you both happy and frustrated which is the mark of a good ending.

And it makes me absolutely can’t WAIT til August to read the sequel. Maas has created a very realistic, fantastical world. She said it started out as kind of a throwback to Cinderella but I think the story kind of had a mind of its own and took on its own life form. She builds a world as real as Tortall or Fellsmarch or Middle Earth. You believe its real and you believe all these characters are real and it sucks you into the story. I very much enjoyed this book.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. If you like fantasies with girls that kick ass, this is the book for you. Celaena is a badass character with the right emotions and personality for you to both love her and hate her, and follow her story eagerly. I literally inhaled this book because I just had to find out what happened next.

As always, the book title above will take you to the Amazon page and the author’s name will take you to their website.

Definitely check this book out!

Last little note: I hope she comes to California soon because I would adore meeting her!

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If you missed it yesterday, here is my interview with best selling author, Eoin Colfer!

And check back soon for my post all about the Star Trek Into Darkness red carpet premiere!