Thesis Thursdays: An Introduction

Okay, nobody panic. This feature sounds kind of pretentious and crotchety, but it isn’t. In fact, this feature (which may not always be weekly) will be a combination of book reviews, tirades against academia, writerly panic and frustration, rants about book tropes and fan girl freak-outs–usually about Sarah J. Maas, probably. Let me explain.

I’m a senior this year. *INSERT PANIC HERE* I have chosen to inflict upon myself the year long English Honors Thesis course that my Department offers here. Now here you might expect me to say that I’m studying Shakespeare or some post modern writer or something.

Well, you might. But you’ve been following me on this blog and you know that that isn’t my style.

First things first, remember that post I wrote about being an English and Writing double major? While I’m writing this English Thesis, I’m also completing my Writing Senior Project, which is a novel. This will come into play later.

16034235The topic of my English Honors Thesis, broadly, is YA publishing trends and female assassins. It’s conception came from me saying HOW CAN I JUST KEEP REREADING THRONE OF GLASS FOR CREDIT? Turns out, my thesis adviser really likes what I came up with. I’m not going to bore you with the academic details, I’m just going to say that I’m going to be writing about the tropes of these books and therefore reading a bunch of books like Throne of Glass to make my point. Which is where the rants about annoying tropes and the book reviews come in. I’ve actually got a short list on Goodreads about what books I’m considering.

The YA publishing trends component of this is going to mean that there are some books on there that don’t make sense, but don’t fret. I’ll explain that all in due course whenever I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Don’t forget that novel I’m writing! It occurred to me, rather late in the game, that if I was doing all this work talking about tropes of female assassins and what they do well and what they don’t that maybe I should WRITE the book that destroys all the tropes I hate and is actually more like what I want to read. So far I’m two chapters in and while I’m way rusty (more on this later), I’m making myself laugh so that’s about the best I can expect.

Still with me? If not, that’s cool. I honestly don’t know if anything remotely interesting will come out of this besides amusing rants and more book reviews, but that’s okay. At least it’ll help me sort out my thoughts.

Tune in next week when I discuss Poison by Bridget Zinn, why I can’t tell if I like it or not and why I’m confusing myself as to whether or not to consider it for my thesis!

Worth It Wednesdays: “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

16034235Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012

Goodreads Description: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Why it’s worth it: LISTEN PEOPLE. I WORSHIP ON THE GROUND SARAH J. MAAS WALKS ON. I tend to have a thing against high fantasy novels for being too detailed, but sometimes YA fantasy teeters too far the other way. The Throne of Glass series is absolute perfection.

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ARC Review: “Crown of Midnight” by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of MidnightCrown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads | Amazon

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s for this eARC! This title will be released on August 27th, 2013. 

WARNING: This review WILL have spoilers for the first book, Throne of Glass. Read my review HERE or watch my book club discuss this book with Crown of Midnight vague-spoilers HERE

It has taken me a week or so to write this review. Why? Because I CANNOT HANDLE ALL THE FEELS I AM FEELING. STILL. EVEN NOW. Sarah J. Maas, someday I will meet you and cry at your feet because alksfkasdjbfsdfb. Erm. Anyways…

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Bibliomancy for Beginners Review + Hangout Video for “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

This week on Bibliomancy for Beginners, we’re reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas! This is my pick, and a book I’ve read before. If you want to see my review of the ARC I got last year, click HERE! If you’ve never heard of the book before, there’s some info below. Oh, and for next week we’re reading The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman.

Oh, and guess who just finished reading her ARC of Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)? Me. So guess who might drop some hints in this video? 😉

Throne of GlassThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Bibliomancy for Beginners Hangout: “Wards of Faerie” by Terry Brooks

Welcome to this week’s hangout, which comes out a wee bit late but no less awesome! This week we’re reading Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks! Several of the Bibliomancers struggled to even finish the book, so this should be really interesting! For next week, get excited because we’re reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!

Wards of FaerieWards of Faerie (The Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks

Goodreads | Amazon

When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled—and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart.
 
Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins.
 
Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. For whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come. But Aphenglow and her allies—Druids, Elves, and humans alike—remember the monstrous history of the Demon War, and they know that the Four Lands will never survive another reign of darkness. But whether they themselves can survive the attempt to stem that tide is another question entirely.

Waiting on Wednesday #37

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Crown of MidnightTitle: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: August 27th, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

See my FANTASTIC review of the first book in this series, Throne of Glass, for why I’m SO EXCITED!

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

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

Okay, just fyi – TEN IS REALLY HARD. So don’t take this as the only top books I read. But this is what I could cull it to. And this is in no particular order.

Wings of the Wicked1. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Okay, you guys all know how much I love this books and Courtney herself. I believe I used the phrase “rapid machine gun of awesomeness” to describe this book in my review.

2. Incarnate by Jodi MeadowsIncarnate

There are far too many CAPS in my review of this book. I mean, really. But I went so gaga for it I themed my prom dress around it. Okay, so that wasn’t originally intentional but it soon became that way.

The Immortal Rules3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Not going to lie: this was the first Julie Kagawa book I ever read. I’ve now caught the Julie Kagawa bug and want to read everything from her books to her shopping lists. See my review here.

4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversgrave mercy

Historical fiction. Assassin nuns. Fly to the bookstores right now. If assassin nuns doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. It certainly did for me!

Code Name Verity5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This historical fiction piece on World War II made me cry. And I never, ever, should have liked this book because it’s written with a few of my pet peeves. But it’s one of the best things ever, and here’s why.

6. Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent

It’s Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Do I have to explain it to you? (If so, read my review!)

city of lost souls7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Okay, okay, I’m still not a fan of continuing the series after what I thought was the perfect ending. But if there was a way to continue the series, this is it – here’s why.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass

High fantasy for young adults. They said it was impossible, but Maas did it. ALL OF THE LOVE. Another review with too much excitement.

The Golden Lily9. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

It’s Richelle Mead and Adrian. I love Adrian. I love him so much I might almost love him more than Dimi– oh dear, I feel the fan girls descending. Go read my review for more!

10. What’s Left of Me by Kat ZhangWhat's Left of Me

The main character is two girls in one body. That is all. For more, read my review.

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

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

I am SO excited for this topic, I have NO IDEA how I’m going to pick just ten for this topic! Also, if you’re seeing this, I’m so happy because that means I haven’t been swallowed by Hurricane Sandy. Or wait. I have Auto-Post. Maybe I have… Er. ANYWAYS!

1. Yukiko from Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Anybody who can befriend a thunder-tiger deserves to make this list. She isn’t bad with a small knife, either. And she has no problem murdering emperors. (See my review HERE!)

2. Calaena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Teenage female assassins? Uh, YES. There is no way she DOESN’T make this list. She also never shies away from violence, and loves to cause a ruckus herself. (See my review HERE!)

3. Allie (Allison) from The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Kick ass theif turned kick ass vampire. It doesn’t get much better than that. (See my review HERE!)

4. Ismae from Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

This girl was raised to be an assassin by KILLER NUNS. I have yet to see an assassin training establishment that awesome. (See my review HERE!)

5. Ellie from Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

She’s snarky, has swords of light and totally knows when to cease the killing and go to a party. Need I say more? (See my review HERE!)

6. Rose from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The Queen of Snark right here. Also the queen of snarky kick assery. It doesn’t get much better than her!

7. Kel from First Test by Tamora Pierce

Okay, she’s a little less snarky than the other girls on my list, but there is no way you can weild a sword better than this girl.

8. Alanna from The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Not only is she the best at weilding a sword, but she can also kick ass with magic. Her temper is pretty fierce, too.

9. Eona from Eon by Alison Goodman

Pretends she’s a guy so she can prove her kick assness. Also controls a dragon. Do not mess with.

10. Evie from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Her weapon of choice is a pink, glittery taser named Tasey, but don’t underestimate her even without it–she can kill with snark alone, I swear. And also fashion sense.

Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read During The Lifespan Of My Blog

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

This is a really hard topic for me this week. How do you pick FAVORITES? I mean, I liked this book for this or that book for that… I love so many books. I’ve been doing this for YEARS. However, I guess the simplest way would be to start with the ratings system… (All title links go to the reviews.)

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This was the first five star review I ever gave, and … oooh boy is it embarrassing. There is so much squealing and CAPSing going on. Still, I love it lots, and it would be faster to list the TTTs that I HAVEN’T listed Anna on than haven’t because SO. MUCH. LOVE.

2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Holy moly guys. Sometimes I give out 5 stars because I just lovey dovey squeal over a book. I did that with this one for sure but … wow, it was something else. This was one of the most powerful books I’ve EVER read. 5 stars doesn’t even begin to cover it.

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but it’s not often that I find it done well. Grave Mercy was not only historical fiction, it was fantasy historical fiction and IT WAS AMAZING! It’s also a huge book AND it can be read as a stand alone, which made it the answer to so many of my prayers it was unreal. 5 stars.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Guys, it’s Insurgent. If I have to explain this, you haven’t been paying attention. 5 stars.

5. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Though I still haven’t entirely forgiven her for taking a perfect trilogy and making it into 6 books, City of Lost Souls at least redeemed the series for me, if not the idea to turn it into 6 books. 5 stars.

6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT PICKED THIS UP YET? What’s WRONG with you? This was the PERFECT book. I ADORED IT. It was funny, there was a kick ass heroine, the love triangle WORKED and wasn’t cliche to death, the world was epic and the builiding flawless and– guys. Just read it. 5 stars.

7. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

This book actually hasn’t been released yet, but I’m going to tease you anyways. This book was GREAT, guys. It was mysterious, it was exciting, it had great writing and fantastic characters. Zhang somehow managed to ROCK writing two characters inside one body. 5 stars.

8. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

My feelings about this book can be summed up into what I “retitled” it: a rapid machine gun of awesomeness. Seriously. It NEVER STOPPED MOVING. I knocked it down to 4 1/2 stars for reasons that CAM later dispelled over Twitter, so … I should probably actually file this under 5 stars.

9. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The first major book NetGalley ever got me, with FANTASTIC results. I’d never read Kagawa before, and now I’m DYING for more. This is the best YA vampire book I’d read in terms of the dark side of vampires, hands down. 4 1/2 stars.

10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Beautiful cover. Beautiful book. Beautiful author. (Twitter is the best place.) Words cannot describe how awesome this book is. I even themed my prom dress around the cover because YEEEEES!