Review: Goddess Interrupted

Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter
Release Date ~ March 27, 2012
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9780373210459
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis:


Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

As much as I enjoyed The Goddess Test (the first book in Aimee Carter's series), my experience reading Goddess Interrupted was very different from when I read the first book.  While the stakes are high for all the members of the council in Goddess Interrupted, the story mostly centers around Kate's internal thoughts and feelings and her relationship with a number of characters. It's interesting that the book's biggest strength was also its greatest weakness in terms of storytelling.

Regardless of any other events taking place in the book, the story is really about the romantic relationship between Kate and Henry; which is great for fans of books heavily influenced by romance, but lacking for those who may hope for something more well-rounded.

  1. Masterfully emotional writing:
    This is the one thing that really sold me on Goddess Interrupted; after being convinced that I wouldn't find anything interesting enough to redeem itself in GI, I was happy to discover that Aimee wasn't going to let me down and she threw in some heart-wrenching scenes that pulled at my heart strings. And boy, did she ever deliver! I'd go so far as to say that this book was emotionally manipulating me, and that wasn't always such a pleasant experience. But Kate asks so many questions of herself and even of Henry, intimate questions dealing with their relationship, which was nice to see in a YA book. It's definitely neat to see a YA book with a slightly older character (Kate's 19 in GI, I believe) and one who's married (in a semi-arranged marriage, at that!) because you get some really unique dynamics and questions being brought up that just don't get asked when you have a 16 year old heroine. And let's be honest, Kate and Henry honestly do have an extremely complicated relationship. My heart may just bleed a little bit for them- and I didn't even want it to! So there you go, major kudos to Aimee for accomplishing that.
  2. A twist I did NOT see coming:I probably pride myself a little bit too much on figuring out plot twists and whatnot (which is surprising, seeing as I seem to give this reason in a lot of my reviews for why people should read a book... maybe I'm not as clever as I think?) but yeah, I'll admit it: I was completely wrong about this one. I thought I had it alllll figured out and then WHAM- nope! Not even close! We get a FAST one pulled on us at the end, folks. There really isn't a hint that it's coming, but it still makes sense. And now I just kinda HAVE to read the third book. Because this is HUGE.
But- now, there's a big but to all of this: I didn't love Goddess Interrupted as much as I wanted to. I thought there was going to be tons of action and excitement going on, but the story largely revolves around Kate's feelings towards her marriage with Henry. Emphasis on "marriage" rather than relationship, because she isn't annoyingly obsessive about it the way some girls in YA books are, but it is a tad dull to read so many pages dedicated to Kate contemplating whether Henry will ever love her or not. And I sympathize. I do.
Which leads me to my next problem: Henry's pretty much a huge jerk. The conversations he and Kate have about their relationship? Um, I've had those. It's kinda freaky how they almost felt word for word. And my issue is that Henry can talk the talk... but he won't walk the walk. And for me, that's an issue in serious relationships. Maybe this is because I'm taking this a little bit too personally, because it hit a sore spot. And for me, I had to make a decision to walk away because it wasn't worth it. It was emotionally draining and really, borderline manipulative. I'm not okay with that, and I didn't feel that this was really discussed very well in GI. At times it seemed as if Kate was just being brushed off for being silly and paranoid; but she's NOT. Most of the time she's spot-on with her thinking, and I don't think she should have to brush off her feelings because Henry's vulnerable. I don't care if you've been hurt in the past, it does NOT give you any right or excuse to treat others poorly. Maybe I'm just extra bothered by this because they're supposed to be married, but the whole situation is actually pretty lame. Because they don't seem to comprehend what that might mean at all.

ALSO! Kate doesn't really DO anything. There's barely any fighting, and even then Kate's just told to stay at home... so she does. She sits in a chair and cries. And even if she does sneak off, there's no fighting. They just kind of all yell at each other. And then they leave, go home, and try to come up with a new plan. That's it. Huge disappointment for such a promising description.
I struggled with this one for a while because of the slow pace & large focus on romance (minus the romantic bits... go figure?) and it wasn't until the end when I finally felt excited and angry and frantic and annoyed. All. At. Once. But thankfully those last 50 pages or so really did bump up my enjoyment level for this one. And now you might see my two star rating and go "huh? But there were good things about it" and YES, that's true. There just wasn't enough of them. I'm definitely going to be picking up the next book, and I think a lot of people are going to like this one. There were just some pretty big issues in it for me, which detracted from a more positive rating.

Purchase Links
United States

Cover Reveal: Entice

Ahhh! This has to be one of my favourite cover reveals yet!
A while ago, I was part of the blog tour for the US release of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (you can read my review for it here, if you're intereested!) and today, I'm doubly lucky to be able to be a part of the cover reveal for its sequel, Entice!
Entice is one of those sequels that has me squirming in anticipation! I cannot wait for this one to be released :) I'm so looking forward to seeing what happens next with Violet!

Isn't that just incredible?! I love this one SO much more than the one for Embrace (which was pretty as well) but ahhh! This one is stunning. Yet gritty. I like that, and think it definitely gives us a good idea of what's to come in Entice!
And Sourcebooks Fire has some really exciting info to share with us too!

A little excerpt:
“Two tutors and three students from the Grigori training center in New York were arriving in two days and I couldn’t be happier.  I was going to be able to learn from the experts and have people my own age to train with, something I really needed.  I was sure with their help I would be able to get over whatever it was that had been holding me back. 
Griffin had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the two senior Grigori –the intelligence, resources and backup they could provide was much needed.  The Scripture that can decipher the identity of all Grigori, even those who have not yet embraced and are therefore defenseless, was at stake. 

I would not stand by and watch it fall into the hands of exiles.  If they found they key to destroying all Grigori and gained the upper hand, the slaughter would not stop until all the humans knelt before them, worshipping them as gods.”
Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden’s is back! With a destiny is to protect humans from the vengeance of exiled angels it becomes clear that it won’t be easy as even her partner, Lincoln, is hiding something.  And now she has to learn to live with her feelings for him while they work together to stay alive and stop the exiles from discovering the key to destroy all Grigori.  It isn’t easy. Especially when the electricity between her and  Phoenix ignites and she discovers his hold over her has become more dangerous than ever.  Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme with a race halfway across the world to find the one artifact that could tilt the balance of power between Angels and Exiles.  And the ultimate betrayal will be exposed.

If you want more, the first two chapters of Entice are available for you to read here!
Check out Jessica’s brand new video blog post where she sits down with a cup of coffee and invites us into her home.  From her favorite chair to her love of befriending characters in a series, Jessica chats with us about her perfect setting for a good read! 

Exciting News!!  Jessica Shirvington will be traveling to the U.S for a two-week national book tour for ENTICE starting September 18.  Keep an eye on www.embracetheseries.com for more details

So tell me - are you excited for Entice? Have you read Embrace yet? What are your thoughts on the new cover?


Teen Review: Eyes Like Stars

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata #1) by Lisa Mantchev
Release Date ~  July 7th 2009
Square Fish (Feiwel & Friends) ~ Macmillan
ISBN13: 9780312380960
Book purchased personally
Goodreads Synopsis:
All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater. She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. That is, until now.
Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book — an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family — and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.
Open Curtain.

I've actually been meaning to read this book for a while.  I first saw it around a year ago, where I read the back cover and it intrigued me.  I didn't buy it though.  Recently I finally bought it.  When the chance to finally read it came around, I was so excited!  Like Brenna, I am a very big Hunger Games fan, so when I noticed Suzanne Collins praising the book on the cover, I got even more excited.  Thankfully, it failed to disappoint me.
  1. Life on the Stage:
    I found that the whole setting of this novel to be very original.  I mean, living in a theatre isn't too peculiar, but having the actors in each individual play be alive and real....  That was a really intriguing concept.  The way that Mantchev explains the whole theatre is really cool.  It made me believe that the theatre was one of the most magical places imaginable.  Come on, tell me that Hamlet and Lady Macbeth and the fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't one of the cooolest ideas that you've ever heard of.  You don't even really need to be the type of person that knows all about Shakespeare; I've never read Macbeth or Hamlet and I followed along just fine.
  2. Bertie's Sassy Personality:
    Bertie is a headstrong girl who lives in the theatre, although she doesn't exactly belong there.  She has this really indignant attitude towards others when they don't listen to her.  I really loved Bertie as a character because she was a person that had a lot of flaws, but she was just so likable and relatable that I didn't even care.  Although she is a big apprehensive as first, she can take charge as leader when needed.  She's a bit eccentric, but I absolutely LOVED her.
  3. Cobweb's, Moth's, Mustard Seed's, and Peaseblossom's Mischievous Antics:
    The scenes in the book with these four fairies are by far some of the the funniest.  This past year in my English class, we read A Midsummer Night's Dream, but my view on these fairies was much different.  I pictured them as very calm and serious.  When you read this book though, your whole opinion on them will change drastically.  They get into the funniest situations, and even just their interactions with each other was enough to get me to laugh outloud, which doesn't happen often with books.

If you are looking for a different sort of book, or are a fan of the theatre in general, I think that you will like this book.  This novel isn't even too long once you get into it, either.  My one complaint is that I wish the way that the Théâtre Illuminata works would be explained earlier, but other than that, the rest of the novel is really quite good.

Purchase Links
United States


Waiting on Wednesday {29}

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!
This week my WoW pick is...

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle!
Release Date ~ September 25, 2012 from Graphia (HMH)

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

So this book popped up on my radar when one my blogger friends received it, and the idea is just so out there that I decided that I MUST read this one! I desperately want to read more scary books that send shivers down my spine :)

Plus, I keep seeing Lauren DeStefano raving about how we all need to read this one- and if another author loves a book that much (when I love said author's books) then that's enough to convince me to give a book a chance all on its own.

Tell me though, what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday??

Review: False Covenant

False Covenant (Widdershins #2) by Ari Marmell
Release Date ~ June 26, 2012 (although it's available on a few online retailers NOW!)
Pyr Books ~ Prometheus
ISBN13: 9781616146214
ARC received from publisher for review

My review for False Covenant is spoiler-free for the series, but the synopsis itself isn't - you can also check out my review for Thief's Covenant (Widdershins #1)!

Goodreads Synopsis:
A creature of the other world, an unnatural entity bent on chaos and carnage, has come to stalk the nighttime streets of the Galicien city of Davillon. There’s never a good time for murder and panic, but for a community already in the midst of its own inner turmoil, this couldn’t possibly have come at a worse one.

Not for Davillon, and not for a young thief who calls herself Widdershins.

It’s been over half a year since the brutal murder of Archbishop Wil­liam de Laurent during his pilgrimage to Davillon. And in all that time, Widdershins has truly tried her best. She has tried to take care of Genevieve’s tavern and tried to make a semihonest living in a city slowly stagnating under the weight of an angry and disapproving Church. She has tried to keep out of trouble, away from the attentions of the Davillon Guard and above the secrets and schemes of the city’s new bishop.

But she’s in way over her head, with no idea which way to turn. The Guard doesn’t trust her. The Church doesn’t trust her. Her own Thieves’ Guild doesn’t trust her.

Too bad for everyone, then, that she and her personal god, Olgun, may be their only real weapon against a new evil like nothing the city has ever seen.

Can we just talk about how good this book series is for a little bit? And how it seriously needs to be read by more YA readers? The fact that this book series is so unknown is shameful; Ari Marmell successfully balances clever humour, horrific villains, a plucky young heroine in a delightful, charming new favourite.

I adored the first book in this new series, Thief's Covenant, but I'm in awe of Ari's ability to craft an even BETTER sequel to an already outstanding book! Everything I loved about Thief's Covenant was there, just amped up a notch or two; whether that was romance, terror, poetic writing or action. It's all there and it's all incredibly satisfying & enjoyable!

  1. Fun romance... that isn't overdone:
    While Thief's Covenant only HINTS at some blooming romantic feelings, False Covenant is where we finally get to see it acted on (not all of it - I won't spoil who's involved!) which definitely adds a bit more emotional investment to the characters. It's uncommonly sweet and endearing, yet it never overpowers the rest of the story which is where it's true potency comes from. The complications which arise from it are so painful (UGH! Why do authors do this to me?!) and the consequences devastatingly real... yet all are perfectly appropriate for the story, I can't deny that. Did Ari kill me with his ending? Yes, he did. But for some crazy, book-loving reason in me, I sort of love him or it (or hate... I think I have a love/hate relationship right now, because I'm taking this a little bit too personally. But honestly, you'd understand if you just read the books!) It's impossible NOT to care about these characters <3
  2. A writing style specific to an author:
    I actually tend to like this when author's do this, but I enjoy reading books when an author has their own specific style of writing that stands out from other authors. Lauren Oliver is one person I admire for her ability to do this in all her books; no matter how different they are, they still sound like a Lauren Oliver book. Ari's definitely one of those authors as well, who has such a distinct way of writing that appeals to me as a reader. In his Widdershins books, this easily comes across as a witty, precocious young woman with a poetic writing style which works so well for the mystical, creepy ambiance of the book/fantasy world.
  3. Dark, horrific villainry:
    I can't stand it when an evil villain doesn't meet my expectations; I find too often that the bad guys turn out to be incredibly lame and rather mundane. But mundane doesn't exist in Widdershins books. Not one bit! Ari's familiarity with writing horror novels comes across so well in his descriptions of the villains Widdershins comes face to face with; which are such truly terrifying ideas, with graphic descriptions that just come alive right off the page that they're some of the best creations I have ever read in a book. Ever; it's completely brilliant!
  4. Mystery, action, fighting, secrets!
    There is so much excitement for the number of pages this book has; so much happens, and I love that the development of the characters, world, and story continue right along from where Thief's Covenant left off. It's refreshing to read a fantasy book where the author has clearly invested a large amount of time and thoughtfulness to establish such an interesting setting for an equally fascinating story; and even rarer when you find a story that holds both the setting and story to such high standards and both come across as extraordinarily well done. And the fighting scenes are so good, they completely grab (and hold) your attention.
  5. A delightful fantasy world:

    I love the different aspects of fantasy which are incorporated in these books; the religious aspect of the series is extremely important, and the mythology created for the various gods and goddesses and their role in public life is so intriguing. And the way that magic & mysticism are semi-related, yet still separate add to this mysterious facet of the world. Plus, I love that there's a Thieves' Guild, because let's be honest- Thieves' Guilds ALWAYS make things more exciting :)
Honestly, I could go on. And on. But then I'd spoil the whole book for you, and that would be a shame because Thief's Covenant & False Covenant are some of the masterpieces of YA. I'll be quite content if Ari continues to bless us all with lovely fantasy works like this one (more please)!
But honestly, why are you reading my review for False Covenant when you should be reading the book? 
I adored this book that I really don't have any complaints, except that I'm the founder of Julien's fan club. And I'm still a little bit upset on his behalf for what happens to him (read: heartbroken! devasted! I'm not getting over this anytime soon).

Purchase Links
United States


Kindred Reads {12}

Kindred Reads is my weekly feature highlighting YA book recommendations based on their similarities to each other. Each week a theme or idea is chosen, and a few books will be highlighted for dealing with that theme.
This week's theme: Revolutionary dystopian heroines
I LITERALLY mean revolutionary for this one. These girls all end up breaking out of society's expectations for them and end up fighting against the society for what they believe in.
Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

My review for Eve.

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My review for the audiobook of Delirium.
Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow

My review for Crossed (Matched #2).

All three of these books have strong lead female protaganists who ultimately make a decision that will not only change thier lives, but the future of their society altogether. If you're a fan of stories like this, then make sure to check out all three for more! (Although I have to say that Delirium is my favourite by far!) So, so good.

Let me know what you think of any or all of these books if you've read them!


Stacking the Shelves {4}

Welcome to another week of Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga!
As Tynga explains, all you have to do is:
  • Create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my official graphic or your own, but please link back to Tynga’s Reviews so more people can join the fun!
  • You can set your post any way you want, simple book list, covers, pictures, vlog, sky is the limit!
  • I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.
  • Visit Tynga’s Reviews on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!
  • Visit other participants link to find out what they added to their shelves!

This week I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Indigo Summer Preview event for irewards members with Wendy from A Cupcake and a Latte! It was another fun and well put together party from Indigo, and Kim Izzo (author of The Jane Austen Marriage Manual) was in attendance as well!

  • Notebook (from Indigo Chapters ~ gift bag)
  • $5 gift card to Indigo Chapters (from Indigo Chapters ~ gift bag)
  • Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez (from Indigo Chapters ~ gift bag)
  • SIGNED The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo (from Indigo Chapters ~ gift bag)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (purchased from Amazon)
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (purchased from Amazon ~ this is the Puffin Classics cover! So pretty)
  • Year of the Golden Dragon by B.L. Sauder (received from Coteau Books for review)
  • The Broken Thread by Linda Smith (received from Coteau Books for review)
  • SIGNED Sirenz: Back in Fashion by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman (received from authors for blog tour)
  • Veil of Magic #1-3 by Maureen Bush (received from Coteau Books for review)
  • Matching bookmarks for the Coteau books & Sirenz swag from authors (there was chocolate, but I already ate that haha!)
And that's it! Another good week, and fun event to go to :) I've been getting LOTS of reading done which is nice too!

  • Oops, I almost forgot that Wendy is very kindly letting me borrow her ARC of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson :) Thanks Wendy!
Feel free to leave a link to your post so I can stop by and visit yours!


Review: Fire

Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore
Release Date ~ October 5, 2009
Dial ~ Penguin
ISBN13:  9780803734616
Hardcover personally purchased
Goodreads Synopsis:
She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.

After finishing Graceling, I immediatley jumped into Fire although I was curious to see how I would find it; I knew it was a companion novel and thus doesn't direclty deal with the same characters and events in Graeling, but I was optimistic that Kristin Cashore could lure me in to this new story!

Thankfully, I wasn't wrong about that- and I don't think I could pick a favourite out of Fire or Graceling. I adored them both, but for very different reasons :) But Fire clearly establishes Kristin as an author to be watched and one of the best found in modern YA.

  1. A book that stands all on its own:
    Fire doesn't rely on anything from Graceling to make it a great book; it easily stands all on its own as a new favourite, with diverse & fascinating characters and an equally intriguing storyline. Moreover, I was impressed that Fire stood out as a completely separate story from Graceling. I was wary that the storylines and characters would be eerily similar to those found in Graceling and was pleased when I discovered that they weren't! There is one thread that remains familiar between the two, but ultimately the pair give us a fuller sense of the world Fire and Katsa live in. And even the Dells is such a different world from the one encountered in Seven Kingdoms.
  2. But it keeps the good elements of Graceling:
    Books like this can also turn out another way, when they strike gold once and then try so hard to be different in the second book that they completely miss what made them so enjoyable in the first place. This isn't the case with Fire. You still have contemporary issues being discussed in a fantasy world, plenty of action, romance, and an high stakes. ALSO: I need to add here that I'm a HUGE fan of natural, slow-building, gradual romances. I found that (and loved it) in Graceling and Fire has that as well, so that's a HUGE win in my books! :)
  3. A focus on relationships:
    Fire features a large number of extraordinarly complex and interwoven relationships, something that I found particularly interesting to read about and seems to be a partial focus of the story. It's fascinating seeing how these characters interact with one another and how they react differently towards others, and it's these relationships that truly set the stage for the rest of the novel. It's truly a remarkable feat to capture such realistic portrayals of relationships and interactions between people in writing.
  4. Fire & Brigan are NOT Katsa & Po:
    It's understandable that a comparison between these four would be made, but I was relieved to find out that they are completely different types of people with rather opposite personalities. Marriage makes Katsa nervous and she's more focused on her actions and what she can actively accomplish; Fire desires commitment and a family more than anything, but she fears it as well and puts a lot of time into thinking things through. Similarily, Po and Brigan are different types of men as well.
But there are a couple of similarities: Katsa and Fire are both unique, and fear this uniqueness they hold more than anything. Po and Brigan show their love by being supportive and encouraging rather than trying to control.

Kristin Cashore's books are so rich in detail and familiarities that it's hard to believe aren't real, and that this is a fantasy world. But the issues she raises (love, relationships, sex, female empowerment, etc.) aren't foreign to us and I think this is where their true impact lies.

Purchase Links
United States


Audiobook Review: Graceling

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
Release Date ~ October 1, 2008 (Audio ~ June 1, 2009)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Audio ~ Full Cast Audio)
ISBN13: 9780152063962
Audiobook purchased from Audible
Goodreads Synopsis:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

Fantasy books were my first love when it came to reading, and I grew up on stories bursting with mythology, knights, and princesses (my favourites were those that had characters who could be both a knight AND a princess). Nothing gets my heart pounding and the pages turning like a magical, adventurous fantasy novel!
I first heard of Graceling immediately after reading The Hunger Games a few years ago - I kept getting recommendations for it, but for whatever reason I didn't pick it up until recently. Waiting to read this book until now was one of the biggest mistakes in my reading history! I'm convinced that Kristin Cashore is a genius and this book is proof of that.

  1. A richly developed fantasy world:
    This is a must for good fantasy books; I need to buy into the magical world and the best ones have a well-established world with its own rules and norms, but with enough similarities that we can relate to them. Plus, I like books that include MAPS of the fantasy worlds. That's pretty legit for me. And the names of places, things and people should be vaguely familiar but not so overdone that they come off as silly and fake. Graceling easily avoids any and all of these issues and stands as one of a few YA fantasy books that works so well!
  2. Familiar problems & issues:
    I don't think it's much of a secret that Graceling delves into some questions regarding the role of women within a society and the obstacles in their way as equal members of society. What may be surprising, however, is how WELL Kristin deals with this and successfully weaves it into the story. I wouldn't call it subtle, but it is oh-so poignant. Katsa is a bit of an anomoly in her world, where women are often mistreated and lack the means to protect themselves; but as she slowly begins to recognize how problematic this is and ultimately questions if she can do anything about it. It's striking, and resonates so well because of how familiar it is to us.
  3. Katsa & Po's friendship:
    I love Katsa, and I love Po! Even separately, they were fantastic characters that I found amusing and amiable. But it's the way that they played off each other and slowly grew closer together that truly sold me on them as characters and their role in the story. Here's a couple you can't help but root for the whole way through; and most of all, I loved seeing a respectful male lead who wants to encourage the heroine and do everything he can to help her in the way she needs and respect her decisions.
So, I've now joined the ranks of Graceling/Kristin Cashore fans. I'm KICKING myself for waiting this long to have read it, and I've moved on to Fire already :) Graceling is a thought-provoking and addictive read, one that will leaving you craving more. I could honestly say so much more about this one, but I'm going to save it for a spoiler-filled review, coming soon :) Perfect read for anyone looking for a heartbreaking, emotionally touching, thought provoking read.

This one has a well-deserved new space on my favourites shelf; and I can't wait to finish off Fire and then get started on Bitterblue (as soon as I manage to get my hands on a copy)!

Thoughts on the audio:
A few people had told me that I must listen to Graceling on audio because it was good- and they were right (again. Clearly I have awesome people recommending books to me). This would actually be a perfect book to introduce a new listener to audiobooks because it's Full Cast, although you'll also be spoiled by it for other books. Full Cast is fantastic because it's such a great quality; there are multiple narrators, all of whom are excellent. Plus there's a little bit of background music at times that helps create a good atmosphere for listening to the story. Hands down, the best, most addictive audio book I've ever listened to. WELL worth the cost of buying it!

If you're new to audiobooks, or just haven't given this one a try yet then I HIGHLY recommend that you pick it up. Like now. Plus the audiobook is under $10 to download from Audible if you're a member!

Yes, I know the trailer isn't exactly up to par with newer ones. But keep in mind this one's from 2008!

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