Review: A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin

10664113Title: A Dance With Dragons

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: July 12, 2011 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy

Series information: Book 5 in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Kindle, 1016 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Anyone who enjoys fantasy. Seriously. Read this series.

I made it! I read all 5 of the published books in A Song of Ice and Fire series! I FEEL SO ACCOMPLISHED!! Not only did I read them all (that’s around 5,000 pages) in TEN MONTHS! All while reading other books, working full time…and ya know LIVING LIFE! Also…I got a bit behind during Christmas, but I was determined. I made A Dance With Dragons my LAST READ OF THE YEAR and I literally read 57% of the book in five days. FIVE. *collapses* I feel accomplished, sure, but I also have quite the epic book hangover, and I miss those characters that were such a huge part of my life for almost a full year! Let’s get into the quickie review (no spoilers!)

I had a lot of feels over this book…here are some of my updates via Goodreads:

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So, as you can see I had many emotions while reading this one. I didn’t love Stannis, to be honest, he is kind of a jerk and I just want him to lighten up a bit. The Reek bits broke my heart to pieces, I was rooting for him throughout which was quite a change in perception for me. We didn’t see much of Cersei but for someone so “crazy” she does know how to play her part well to get what she wants, I respect that! We got to see a lot of Jon Snow in this one and his struggles with his vows and his love for his family, it was really quite tragic and heartfelt.

There were many parts of A Dance With Dragons that shocked me. For the most part these moments were not like the other books where something comes out of the blue (except at the end, which we will get to) but a lot of intrigue and things that came together from the other books that really surprised me. I am unsure how to feel about Dany’s part in A Dance With Dragons, I love her but I am not sure that she is moving forward in the best way for her cause. Arya’s plot is coming along nicely, I am actually very invested where she is going, as well as Bran’s – which surprised me as prior to this novel they were falling a bit flat for me. There was a part (as you can see from above, it is near the end) that really gave me some feels. George R.R. Martin leaves the readers with quite an epic cliff hanger and honestly I went through so many stages of emotion. I was first SHOCKED and UPSET that this thing potentially happens..and then I was ANGRY. So angry. Honestly, who does this guy think he is? Just leaving his readers stranded at the edge like this with no end and answer in sight? Looking back I am still pretty angry and I think that is helping me cope with the potential devastation that will come if the THING that maybe happened actually happens.

All of that being said, I can’t WAIT for the next book (I see what you’re doing there, GRRM) and I am left with an epic book hangover that can only be cured by endless hours on forums dedicated to A Song of Ice and Fire.

“Women do not forget. Women do not forgive.”

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Book Hoarders Anonymous: Best of 2013

I haven’t done a Book Hoarders post in a while so I thought to close out the year I would do a little survey like I did last year and focus on some of my favorite personal literary moments of the year! Sorry in advance..it’s link and picture heavy 🙂

Book that reminded me that I love to read: The Sandman series did this for me. The graphic novels are so different from anything that I have ever read and I found myself enamored at the inclusions of different character from history popping up into stories. It really made me think and remember what knowledge I had of these historical figures, or superheroes, etc. and that made me love it even more.

Favorite BAMF: I think Daenerys takes the cake for this one. She is so incredibly young but so fierce. I love her so much. Especially when she says things like “Dracarys!”

Favorite companion: Ravens! Though not technically “fantastical” by nature but some of the ones I read of this year were pretty amazing. Matthew, from The Sandman series and Fiacha from my (ahem 4th? 5th? re-read) of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite companions, EVER.

Favorite debut author: For sure Cat Winters, the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The book was absolutely fantastic and heartwrenching. Ms. Winters was so gracious and lovely after I reached out to her upon finishing the novel, and she moved quickly to the top of my auto-buy authors.

BFF: Hands down Sybella from Dark Triumph. She was so dark and brave throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but love her. Truly, some of my closest friends describe her as my “spirit animal,” and I can’t wait to see what she and the other ladies get in to in Mortal Heart.

Most swoon-worthy lad: Okay, I am doing it, I’m cheating. I tried to look elsewhere but the title of most swoon-worthy lad goes to Captain Carswell Thorne, hands down. I can not tell you how many pictures I took of his lines and how many flailing texts were sent to my friends while reading Cress. He has made my top 5 of best swoons EVER, and that is saying A LOT.

Favorite pick found while perusing: Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. I was handed this by a bookseller at The Book Barn because she noticed that I like Patricia C. Wrede and assured me that this title was a readalike. I was pleasantly surprised over the nostalgia, I obviously also loved the strength in the main lady and the swoons in the main dragon!

Fantastical creatures: Not sure if he counts but, Death personified! He was breathtaking in Keturah and Lord Death and I look forward to reading more novels with him in the center!

That bad boy you shouldn’t love, but…: UMM hello? THE DARKLING 4EVA. I love, love, LOVE him so very much…from his quartz like eyes to his brooding demeanor. I just picture him controlling darkness and I get all “humina humina” to MAH BONES. *swoons* Honorable mention goes to Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard

Favorite male lead: KVOTHE. Ohhhh Kvothe…I spent so much time with him this year (umm..over 50 hours of audio – which reminds me, OH HAI, Nick Podehl <3) and my heart sang and broke for him at times. He is so interesting and witty and hello, he’s a ginger, how can I not love him so?!

Favorite female lead: Eleanor, from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. For the good and the bad, she reminded me of me when I was in high school.

Best summary in less than ten words: Scary vampires in an Amish setting. (Thanks, Ame!)

A return to an old favorite (title, genre, etc.): WOO! ROBIN HOOD, BABY!! I chose Robin Hood as my focus for our Classics Retold event and I am so glad that I was able to go back to the story that I love in Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I am excited to read book 2 and 3 in the series as soon as possible!

So glad I judged by it’s cover: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. The piercing gaze of the girl on the front and the ethereal being behind her, I had to have this book. I am so glad that I jumped to request this from Netgalley upon seeing it because it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

Broke my Heart: The Fables installments from this year really got to me. I have become WAY too invested in the characters and have fallen in love with the story, I love these graphic novels so much but boy did they crack my heart a little. Let’s not even get started on A Song of Ice and Fire…

Heightened by the narrator: For sure A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket narrated by Tim Curry is first in my mind when thinking of narrators who make the series for me. I started reading this series years and years ago and never finished because as I grew older I had a hard time making it through these novels in print. However, the audiobooks are absolutely stellar. The parts that I tended to read over because of annoyance or lack of interest, sprouted from my speakers and made me smile and laugh out loud.

Gave me the creeps (which I love): The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki, I sincerely hope that this author starts writing adult horror because he is FANTASTIC.

It’s in the words..: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself bookmarking every few pages. It was a simple, yet gorgeous read.

Biggest disappointment: Hmm probably Towering by Alex Flinn. I have heard a lot of good things about this author and it might have just been a wrong book, wrong time sort of thing but I did not enjoy this novel AT ALL.

Worth the hype: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. First, I was lucky enough to meet Rainbow at BEA this year and she was so fantastic, she also has great hair. Second, I am not a contemporary reader, and the sickly sweet romances are not usually my thing…HOWEVER Eleanor and Park was recommended to me by so many people that I trust and I fell so deeply in love with it, I immediately added all of Rowell’s books to my TBR. Never has hand holding been so romantic.

Newest addiction: Audiobooks!! As some of you may know, I am incredibly picky when it comes to audiobook narrators. Jim Dale is an obvious love and I fell into loving Neil Gaiman as soon as I heard his free audiobook Click, Clack, the Rattlebag but I had a hard time finding someone else to enjoy. I seem to have a problem with the jarring tone of a female narrator and and I felt sort of lost for a while until Heidi and Amy convinced me to try Nick Podehl, the narrator of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Well WOO BOY am I happy that I gave him a listen! over 50 hours of audiobook later and I am IN LOVE! I was also lucky enough to find some audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry, The Series of Unfortunate Events and a lovely version of Dracula, while perusing!

Favorite villain: Krampus wins this one, I think, though I don’t know for sure that he is considered a villain despite his “evil” ways. This novel by Brom is absolutely enthralling, I read it almost a year ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Favorite laugh out loud moment: Like last year, I have to go with a Duncan moment from the second installment of The League of Princes: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. “Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!” This series is honestly fantastic and I can’t wait for book three!! Honorable mention goes to the final installment of A Tale Dark and Grimm: The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, this one had me laughing out loud as well!

The kissy bits: WOO Shadow & Bone had some yummy moments, as did Dark Triumph by LaFevers, Splintered by Howard, and Eleanor and Park had some epic hand holding (also CRESS because seriously..*faints*) Seriously, you guys…*FANS SELF*

Biggest ugly cry moment: Ya know, I didn’t really have any ugly cry moments this year..I don’t usually read those kinds of books so I somehow missed out. I did, however, tear up a few times while reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. They were both lovely books, though I did not love them or get as attached as other readers.

Favorite new to me genre/book: Historical fiction! Between In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and The Caged Graves, I quickly jumped on the historical fiction bandwagon and asked Hannah and April for some suggestions. Needless to say, my TBR pile grew a lot and I am excited to move into some non Tudor England historical reads!

Mind. Blown.: Man, I feel sorry that I can’t explain myself better here but…that THING that happens in A Storm of Swords (and it’s not the thing you think)..yeah, I did NOT see that coming. I am so thrilled that I read this series, I can’t even begin to explain how worth it it is to take on the epicness that is A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thank you, Netgalley!: Splintered by A.G. Howard was a titled that I found on a whim while looking through Netgalley. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome – a twisted fairytale, Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton in novel form? Sign me up! The world was vivid and the swoons were aplenty.

Non-bookish THINGS that I loved in 2013:

LOKI: Now, you all know that I love the villains SO MUCH and Loki isn’t really NEW on my radar since I have read and LOVED Norse mythology for as long as I can remember, but I started working hardcore on my WIP this year and…well..there are some Loki like bits in there. That got me delving more into his character, which only made me love him more. Also look how cute my new shirt is…

Game of Thrones: Again, not so new, but some of you may know that I participated in a Song of Ice and Fire Read Along this year and though it was very time consuming…it was AWESOME. Honestly, it is totally worth it, the series is so epic and you just fall so into the world, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

Neil Gaiman: Okay, I may have mentioned him a time or…five..but I was lucky enough to see Neil Gaiman THREE TIMES this year, and I MET HIM FACE TO FACE a few months ago and it was just a once in a lifetime experience. He is so amazing and gracious, and genius. Also his wife, she is pretty fantastic as well. No words.

Literary Lushes: I started a second website with my best friend Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) which focuses on ARC tours and Twitter chats. It has been such a great experience working with someone that I love and it has really opened me up to new bloggers and experiences which makes me incredibly happy!

Going forward I would like to introduce some new fun features on the blog – (including a new review feature!) and obviously share some wonderful reviews with you all! What about you guys, what can you tell me about your favorite literary moments of the year? I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!! As always, thanks for reading!

Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

Title: A Feast for Crows

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: October 17, 2005 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book four in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 755 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

WOO BOY was this one a bit harder to get through. I still loved it, but after the craziness of A Storm of Swords I just kept waiting for awesomeness to occur. I will go along with everyone else who has reviewed this bad boy and say that I really missed those characters that we don’t see, the BIG NAMES from the previous books. I already started A Dance With Dragons and the second chapter is one of my favorite characters and I had a major sigh of relief upon reading his name. That being said, I did think it was interesting to read about some new characters, and I REALLY enjoyed seeing more of the world created by George R. R. Martin.

There were quite a few moments that made me gasp, particularly with Brienne, and it was very intriguing to be inside the mind of Cersei, she is just a ball of crazy. Other than that, it was a bit more world building and trying not to swoon over Jaime. Littlefinger has proved himself to be the most cunning, though some of us already knew that, and if I am being honest I find those from the Iron Islands to be a bit of a snoozefest. I fell into the world as I always do and have no regretted this read-along for one moment. I am already thinking in dread about the time that is nearing when I won’t have any new Game of Thrones chapters to look forward to. I just send happy thoughts to GRRM and hope that he remains healthy and writing, because 2015 is a very long time away.

And my final thoughts upon completing A Feast for Crows was, of course…

The North Remembers

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Review: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Title: A Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: March 4, 2003 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book three in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 1177 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and, dragons, layered characters, intrigue, mystery…ALL THINGS REALLY!

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

This book. Oh, this book. The first thing to be said about this book is that it was long oh, so long…but it was overwhelmingly fantastic and didn’t feel long, isn’t that the best thing ever?! The best thing about this book is that I was NOT prepared for the things that were unfolding because even though I do watch the HBO show, this book was vastly different and so much more in depth it was like a totally new experience reading it. I knew of the BIG THING that happened due to it traumatizing me on the show, but there is so much more to this book and I was so continuously shocked by so many things that I couldn’t put it down.

The one thing that I can say for George R.R. Martin (besides the obvious – don’t get too attached to his characters) is that he has a knack for writing layered characters. Perhaps Gregor Clegane isn’t really two sided but if you didn’t already have a soft spot in your heart for Jaime Lannister prior to reading this book, A Storm of Swords will definitely sway you to feel for him immensely. The reader can also see deeply into characters such as Arya and Jon who try their best to maintain their father’s loyal nature but due to circumstances beyond their control they must do what needs to be done to survive. I wasn’t sure that it was possible, but I love Jon Snow even more after reading A Storm of Swords. Dany is beyond amazing (how is she just 14?!) and I honestly spent so much time fist pumping at her moves. Also The Hound, I love The Hound.

Let’s talk briefly about THE THING (or should I say, THINGS)…I am not going to spoil this for anyone so…well, THINGS, they HAPPEN in this book. They are jaw dropping and heart wrenching, and unbelievable. As I mentioned, I knew about the one BIG THING that was going to go down, but I had no idea that this book included so many other incredible twists and turns. Honestly, the last LINE of the last page in the entire book was mind blowing, that’s how amazing this book was.

I know, I KNOW, this series is HUGE and ominous but I think everyone should give it a go because it is, well, EPIC.

“DRACARYS!”

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Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

GoTTitle: A Clash of Kings

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: May 28th 2002 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book two in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 761 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

Wow! We made it through two books of this epic series! For those of you who have stayed strong with me, give yourself a pat on the back, this is a serious accomplishment and I am proud that we have made it this far! Go #SOIFRA!!

As we all know, Game of Thrones just concluded it’s third season, which means that for the first three books I haven’t been as surprised as some of our other readers. I think this is a really fun thing because it gives me a different feeling while reading the books, that being said, I can’t wait to go into the rest of the series “blind,” to what is coming. With that in mind, I found that reading A Clash of Kings really provided some much needed detail on many of the characters and their motives. I was especially affected by the THINGS that came up that I knew to be foreshadowing events in future books, specifically book three. I was literally taking pictures of parts to send to Amy, who has already read the series with little notes like “This is interesting,” and “EEP!” because it is a totally new experience to know what is coming next (in detail) prior to reading!

In terms of characters, I still love Dany, and Tyrion is still totally awesome, though in all honesty, I wasn’t extremely blown away by anyone in this book. My love for Jon kind of wavered, he is brooding, for sure, but he is becoming a little too good for me. Sigh. I am LOVING the Bran storyline, and I can’t wait to see how he grows with THINGS, and admittedly, I still read through Catelyn’s chapters as fast as I can. I will say that I am glad to be reading about the “other” families living in this world. The Greyjoy Family has definitely become more prominent in my mind (grumblegrumble), and I am intrigued to see what is up with the Bolton Family (though I know some stuff from the show and OH EM GEE.)

When reading epic fantasy novels I tend to fall right into the world, to where I am thinking and dreaming of it more often than not. Westeros is no different for me, these are the books that I am reading while on my lunch, or in line at the post office. I can’t get enough of them, and if there is one thing that I am taking away from this series, it is:

Valar Morghulis.

Read Along Schedule: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

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I will now be taking over hosting duties! Here’s a bit of information about A Storm of Swords, including our reading schedule for July and August! I am pretty excited about this one since I hear it is a tad different from the HBO show, and after watching this season, specifically after watching “The Red Wedding”, I just can’t wait to see the emotions that this one is going to bring.

6307964A Storm of Swords: by George R.R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #3

Publisher: Bantam Books

Publication Date: March 4, 2003

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Reading Schedule:
July 6-13: Prologue to Tyrion II (Chapter 12)
July 14-20: Tyrion II to Arya IV (Chapter 22)
July 21 – 27: Arya IV to Tyrion IV (Chapter 32)
July 28 – August 3: Tyrion IV to Dany IV (Chapter 42)
August 4 – 10: Dany IV to Arya XI (Chapter 52)
August 11 – 17: Arya XI to Jaime VII (Chapter 62)
August 18 – 24: Jaime VII to Jaime IX (Chapter 72)
August 25-31: Jaime IX through Epilogue (end!!)

Let me know if this schedule is confusing or wrong, it isn’t easy with a book that has so many formats and pages!!

For more information on this read along, check out my intro post, anyone can join! Also don’t forget to join the Twitter chat using #SOIFRA ! Happy reading!!

Book Hoarders Anonymous (6)

June is here! That means freedom that the school year is almost over, which means I will have quite a bit of time to read ALL THE BOOKS! This is a good thing since I just got back from BEA and I picked up some excellent titles. I won’t be featuring those in this post, but check back for my BEA recap in a few days!

From the Library:

Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham – I have been eagerly anticipating this next installment in the series, I can’t wait to start! Also, did you hear that Fables is being adapted into a movie?? By the same producer as the HARRY POTTER films? OMG. OMG. OMG.

From Netgalley/Edelweiss:

Love and Lament

Love and Lament by John Milliken Thompson – Family curse, historical fiction!

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein – Companion to Code Name Verity!

Black Spring by Alison Croggon – Inspired by Wuthering Heights

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones – Traveling freak show!

The Kingdom Of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal – “a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history.”

North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler – (MG) “The sleepy seaside village of Porthaven hides a mystery…”

A Wounded Name by  Dot Hutchison – A retelling of Hamlet!

Bought/Received:

Yes, I know that I was just on a three day trip in which I was given SO MANY BOOKS…that doesn’t mean that I can’t still treat myself. Right? RIGHT?!

Brittany and I went to The Book Barn, and while we were in NYC I also gifted myself with a few books from The Strand, and Books of Wonder, because…obviously..

photo-33

Above we have The Last Tempation and Chu’s Day (signed) by Neil Gaiman, Oz: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (signed) by Eric Shanower, We Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni, The Blade of Fortriu, The Well of Shades, Wolfskin, Child of the Prophecy, Son of the Shadows, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen, What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire, The Thirteenth Child and The Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede, Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, and The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark.

Sync is again offering free audiobooks throughout the summer, I was lucky enough to download Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, and The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

I was SO excited to be a winner from The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle giveaway on Mod Podge Books because look at the AMAZING artwork (and hardcover!!) I received!!

Hero's Guide Artwork

I was also lucky enough to be a winner during Candice’s birthday giveaway and she sent me a gorgeous frame featuring one of my favorite quotes, EVER. Also bustedtees and teefury had some awesome shirts (and sales) this month so I treated myself!

shirts

What Did You Miss?

I reviewed one of my favorite, and one of the funniest books of the year, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy.

Sign ups for Classics Retold closed, and I decided to focus on Robin Hood. After much deliberation I decided on some awesome books, movies, and shows to focus on this summer!

A Song of Ice and Fire Read Along is still happening, and I am going strong! You can read my thoughts on book one, and if you are further along in the series, consider joining us!

After reading one of my favorite books of the year, I am able to conclude that I have a serious love for historical fiction novels. Check out my review of The Caged Graves to learn about the deeply layered, mysterious, and SWOONY novel by Dianne Salerni

What’s to Come?

As you all know, I went to Book Expo America and had a fantastic time. Look for a recap of the whole conference, and a separate author recap because I HEARD NEIL GAIMAN SPEAK and wow..it was amazing.

In terms of reviews, look for my thoughts on Bloodspell by Amalie Howard, The Name of the Wind audiobook by Patrick Rothfuss (OMG.), and some other upcoming titles.

I picked up quite a few books from BEA that will be used for giveaways, some of them are signed but I won’t tell you which…just stay tuned…especially if you enjoyed Code Name Verity. Just sayin’!

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

6984678Title: A Game of Thrones

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: August 1, 1996 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book one in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 790 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

As you may know, I am reading the entire Song of Ice and Fire series for an amazing read along. This book is MASSIVE and is filled with ALL THE THINGS so I don’t want to even come close to spoiling ANYTHING. Therefore, instead of a traditional review I am going to just provide you with my THOUGHTS on the book, the characters, and the epicness that is this series.

*I am just going to say before we begin that I KNOW that I am not on the same page as everyone for the most part. I usually love the villains, and dislike the characters everyone else loves. *shrugs* I’m a Slytherin so one can only assume that I would be a Lannister as well.

I am a huge fan of the TV show Game of Thrones, and I was worried that I would be bored by the first book because I heard that it was so well done that the book and show were extremely alike. I’m not going to lie to you, HBO did an amazing job with season one of the show, and they were very alike. However, I am so relieved and thrilled to tell you that the book was so much better. I absolutely adored the way that the reader was able to get into the character’s minds and know what they were going through. I especially felt this way about Sansa, who I had a very hard time liking in the show. As I neared the end of the novel, I really felt for Sansa and I was surprised at the strength that she was able to show, I will definitely look at her differently while watching the show from now on.

Speaking of amazing characters, I LOVE DAENERYS. She is amazing in the book and the show and I WILL NOT SPOIL but WOW does she turn into a BAMF. Tyrion is fantastic, I love how witty and strong he is despite his disabilities. I also love Jon Snow with a deep burning in my being. Also Ghost. I can’t even. *dies*

I actually really like Cersei in the show, I know, I KNOW, she is appalling and “evil” but I don’t care I think she is strong and awesome (creeptastic elements aside), and I was kind of sad that we didn’t see her as much as we do in the show. Eddard is, of course, loyal and amazing. Arya, pigheaded and strong, yet she still bothered me, though not as much as she does on screen. Catelyn kind of annoyed me, I know she is supposed to be strong, and she totally is, but for the most part I was questioning everything that she did. Also I was happy to see that I enjoyed Bran more in the novel, I think this was largely because of ALL OF THE DIREWOLVES, YO!! I hope to see a lot of growth with his character in the future novels.

Anywho, in terms of plot, WE HAS IT. So many things happened and even though I knew most of them were coming I was still like “sayyy whaaa” at a lot of parts. I am absolutely giddy to see where things go. Many friends who have read the series in its entirety have told me on more than one occasion to not get too attached to the characters, and to be quite honest, I am equally excited and so scared to continue on. I will positively have hysterics if something happens to Ghost one of the direwolves.

In short, I loved the book.

Winter is coming, you guys, and I can’t wait for it.

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Read Along: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

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This March, some fabulous bloggers and I are embarking on what is sure to be the most epic of journeys. That’s right friends – we are tackling A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George R.R. Martin!

We have all desperately wanted to read the series for a while, but let’s be serious – those are some big books, and frankly, it’s scary (I mean, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m scared..) After realizing we were not alone in our desire (and wariness) to read this series, we decided to set up a (casual) A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE READ-ALONG.

This goal of this read-along is  for each of us to be able to read the series, with fellow bloggers to lean on and help cheer us through! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us, as we will be having Twitter chats (#SOIFRA) while we read. We’re also hoping to set up an email thread per book where we can discuss all the things that are happening – and because we don’t want to get all spoilery for others.

Each book currently out in the series will be read over a period of two months, and every two months a different blogger will be “hosting” the read-along on their blog. You can check out the schedule below:

A GAME OF THRONES – Hosted by Alexa over on Alexa Loves Books from March-April

A CLASH OF KINGS – Hosted by Cass over on Books with Cass from May-June

A STORM OF SWORDS – Hosted by ME here at Books Take You Places from July-August

A FEAST FOR CROWS – Hosted by Kristina over on Gone Pecan from September-October

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS – Hosted by Brittany over on The Book Addict’s Guide from November-December

If you do feel like joining us in the read-along or if you have already read the book and want to chat along with us, let us know! We would love to hear from any of you! The idea is that we are keeping it casual so that everyone can enjoy the novels without getting too overwhelmed!

Head over to Alexa’s blog to read more about A Game of Thrones and to find our reading schedule for book one in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Also feel free to use our hashtag,  #SOIFRA on Twitter or grab our button on the side!