Top Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Hahaha, oh boy this list could be a long one. Hahaha. Hooey. Okay. Let’s try and keep this to ten, shall we?

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The Dream ThievesThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads | Amazon

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Four and a half stars

Thanks to Scholastics and NetGalley for this eARC! This title will be released September 17th, 2013.

Warning: this review will contain spoilers for The Raven Boys. See my review of the first book HERE.

Given my last review, it will come as no surprise to anybody that I love this book. If the writing was only good instead of awesome and the plot was only so-so, I would adore it for the characters alone. But the writing is amazing—maybe the best yet. I had to resist the urge to quote random sentences at literally everybody.

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

I tried to remind myself that ‘memorable’ does not always mean ‘awesome’, but this came out mostly good guys anyway, with the exception of Kossil and the technical boy.  Do the bad guys not get fleshed-out secondary characters?  Or am I just low on imagination right now?  (Also, hi everybody!  First Real Marina Post is apparently a Top Ten post!  Welcome to my literary tastes!)  Anyway, in no particular order…

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ARC Review: “The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads | Amazon

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

5 stars

Thank you to Scholastics and NetGalley for this ARC! You can get a copy for yourself on September 18th, 2012.

*Note from Gretchen: Before this review gets started, I would like to take a moment to welcome my first guest reviewer! As this blog gets bigger and bigger, I’ve found I can’t handle to review load on my own. Therefore, I turned to a longtime friend to help with the load, and this is her first review! So give a warm welcome to Marina, who also happens to be a HUGE DIEHARD Maggie Stiefvater fan.

I have a confession to make: I did not agree to guest-post here because I was doing a favor for Gretchen.  I agreed because she said “Raven Boys!” and I said “GIMME.”  Because I am very fond of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.   I am not Gretchen, but I assure you I’m usually very picky, so all the gushing I’m about to do is completely out of character for me.

But with that out of the way, READ THIS BOOK.

There are complicated, damaged characters who behave like real people.  There’s magic just inaccessible and strange enough to be believed, and there are trees that speak Latin.  There are guns and helicopters and fancy cars that break down.  There’s even a raven named Chainsaw.  What’s not to love?

Read this book because it will surprise you.  I’m used to knowing vaguely what’s going to happen, because I read way too much and after a while there are patterns, but this one surprised me no less than three times (and possibly more, I wasn’t counting.)   It’s been a long time since I’ve been genuinely astonished, and it was immensely satisfying, even though I was left staring in horror at the words and saying “MAGGIE WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.”

Read this book because Blue is not a boring only-there-for-the-romance female protagonist.  She’s an actual, interesting character who is unusual and awesome in her own right.  When Gansey gets condescending, she doesn’t just get offended; she shames him and then shames him again and again until he behaves.   Love at first sight is not on Blue’s agenda.  Actually, relationships as a whole are not on Blue’s agenda, and when she does get into one it’s sweet and quiet and cautious—just like first relationships should be, particularly with the addition of Blue’s “If you kiss your true love he will die” curse.  Unlike a lot of the insta-love relationships that Gretchen’s always complaining about, this one felt real.  Because the characters are shy and careful, the relationship was too, and to me, at least, that made it all the sweeter.

Speaking of relationships, the relationship between the raven boys—Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Gansey—was brilliant.  They’re all damaged, they’re all struggling, and the group quietly makes adjustments for whoever needs it at the time.   When Ronan, who is definitely the most outwardly damaged, is discovered to be missing, the seamless way his friends come together to search for him is heartbreaking, because it’s so clear they’ve done this before.  They know where to look and how to look.   They’re not demonstrative; sometimes—often—they’re not even that much alike.  But they’re unflaggingly, ferociously loyal to each other, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

My only objection: this is the first book in a four-book series.  While it is a self-contained story, there are plot threads that I am dying to have resolved that just really aren’t.  The part of me that is a writer (I write stuff, by the way) accepts this and understands why it works.  The part of me that is a reader is dying to read more.  The last line is…not a cliffhanger, since cliffhangers imply unresolved action, but suffice to say that several of the raven boys are hiding things, and not all of them explain those things before the book is through.   Now I have to wait another year to find out and it’s KILLING ME.

This is a book about people who desperately want something—not always the same things—and the reasons why they want it, and what they’re willing to do to get it.  It’s a book about people who are trying very hard, despite a number of different things making life difficult, from abusive parents to prophecies to awesome sad things I can’t say due to spoilers (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, NOAH AND RONAN).  The characters are gorgeous, the relationships are delightfully, painfully real, and the plot…will definitely keep you on your toes.  I’m giving this four and a half stars because as a guest reviewer I don’t feel right giving five.  I assure you I’m normally quite picky, and if this was my blog it would be five, so don’t let the missing half star fool you; read this book! [Note from Gretchen: Don’t be silly, Marina. I finally got around to reading this, and we’re totally going with five stars. And that is my endorsement of this review.]

* P.S.   Gretchen has given me permission to translate the untranslated Latin in Chapter 12 (as a Classics major, I can do useless things like Latin but not useful things like cooking), so here goes: Ostendes tuum et ostendam meus means I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.  That seems out of the blue now, but it will all make sense when you meet Ronan Lynch.  And his Latin teacher.  You’re welcome.

Top Ten Books I Have But Need To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

So, this week’s TTT is a freebie, so I chose a topic very close to my heart. We bloggers are used to our TBR lists being out of control – that’s normal! However, it is our CHOICE to make the list of books we need to review get out of control as well, and I have so definitely done so. So, I figure, I can tell you guys all about the books I need to get around to and maybe y’all can provide some encouragement or sympathy. Or, you know, laugh at me. (All title links go to Goodreads.)

1. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I don’t want to tell you how long I’ve had this one from NetGalley. However, since it isn’t published til November, I keep pushing it back in favor of reviews I have to get done first! Still, can’t wait to read this one. Sounds so good!

2. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

This one isn’t so bad, because I did just get this from Edelweiss like yesterday. But still, I never should have requested it in the first place. Yet, I did. And I’m not sad about it at all. I’m way too intrigued by this.

3. Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Scholastics bombarded me on NetGalley the other day with THREE different review acceptances, when I’d requested the books all at different times. Oh how I’m not a fan of that. I already finished one of them, but I’ve still got this one and…

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE THIS. Just … eeeek! I’m dying to get started on this one, since it’s next in my que to go! 😀

5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

This one begins the books that isn’t from NetGalley or Edelweiss, but it’s still really important I read this one soon. Why? I’M GOING TO MEET THE AUTHOR. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you guys all about it.) Speaking of which…

6. Fudoki by Kij Johnson

This is another author I’m going to be meeting, at the same event as Catherynne Valente. I’m going, by the way, to the Alpha Fantasy, Scifi and Horror Writing Workshop for Young Writers. It takes place in Pennsylvania and is SPECTACULARLY AWESOME. I will also be meeting John Joseph Adams and Tamora Pierce there.

7. Tithe by Holly Black

I got this in a book swap a few weeks ago for good reason: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan are doing a book signing in my area! I’ve read her stuff before, but I don’t own any of it, so I had to make sure I get on that. Oh, and actually reading this would be nice. Not to mention…

8. Valiant by Holly Black

This one as well! Thank you Vivien (@deadtossedwaves on Twitter) for making this possible! 😀

9. Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner

You guys may or may not remember that I interviewed Desiree a few months ago! Well, she also gave me an ecopy of her book the read and review at my leisure, and I’d like to make my leisure NOW because I’ve been dying to read this since she sent me the blurb! Still just haven’t gotten there, though.

10. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Got this for my birthday because I’ve been dying to read it for FOREVER. I’m still taking my sweet time getting around to it, though! I wish I read so much faster.

BONUS ROUND! (Otherwise known as where I show you how insane I really am.)

Rounding out my have-but-need-to-read-list on Goodreads are:

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson ~ Chime by Franny Billingsley ~ Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce ~ Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray ~ The Iron King by Julie Kagawa ~ Crescent Dawn by Clive Cussler ~ Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ~ Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce

Stacking the Shelves #2

Welcome to my second Stacking the Shelves, as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews! This week is another crazy book haul, mostly thanks to NetGalley. Don’t miss the video, where I talk about all these fantastic books and also about a summer reading event I’m participating in during August that you don’t want to miss! (Sorry about the buzzing noise. No idea where that came from, but it won’t go away.)

This week’s books:


Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson – Goodreads


The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry – Goodreads


Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch – Goodreads

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Goodreads

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan – Goodreads

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron – Goodreads

Blog Tour:

Destiny’s Fire by Trisha Wolfe – Goodreads

(The event that this is part of will be running from August 6th-11th. My post goes up August 10th.)

Author Request:

Flicker by Kaye Thornbrugh – Goodreads