Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday [35]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads

1 - The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

Finished on March 12, 2016.  

This review will be coming shortly

2 - Winter by Marissa Meyer

Finished on November 21, 2015. 

3 - A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Finished November 4, 2015. 

4 - The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

Finished on October 27, 2015.

5 - Immersed by Katie Hayoz

Finished on October 25, 2015.

6 - Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Finished on October 18, 2015.

7 - Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Finished on October 9, 2015.

8 - The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Katie Rorick and Rachel Kiley

Finished on October 6, 2015.

9 - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Finished on September 29, 2015.

10 - Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Finished on September 22, 2015.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday [34]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About Enough/In A While

1 - Burning City - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle  

This book is fantastic, such an amazing world and captivating story.  

2 - Watership Down - Richard Adams  

My all-time favorite book.  You really can't beat communist bunnies. 

3 - Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut 

My favorite Vonnegut book (and to put things in perspective, Vonnegut is in my top 5 favorite authors) although Cat's Cradle is a close second.  I haven't read either of them in a long time and I've been dying for a reread.

4 - Nightfall - Issac Asimov  

My favorite short story I've ever read.  This story is so amazing.  There are no words for this one, I get the feels every time I read it, every time I think about it.  Amazing stuff, Asimov is a literary genius.

5 - Martin the Warrior - Brian Jacques 

I grew up loving the Redwall series, but this book is by far my favorite.  Martin is so much more awesome than Matthias and Mattimeo, and the others are equally amazing: Gnoff, Grumm, Laterose 

6 - Timeline - Michael Crichton  

Another one of my top 5 favorite authors - and this is my favorite book by him.  Travelling back in time to medieval France with a bunch of medieval historians and archaeology students?  Yes please.  This book may have been my inspiration to get a degrees in history and French with a minor in archaeology.  You never know, they quantum foam just may make me roam.

7 - 1984 - George Orwell  

This is probably the book I reference the most in the real world (have you seen the state of the US lately?)  But on my blog I don't think I've ever mentioned it.  I really love this book, it's so amazing and I'm unhappy to say that his predictions are coming true, if a few decades off.

8 - Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen  

Of course this one would make the list.  I'm such a romantic and this is pretty much the greatest romance ever written.  Seriously, I've yet to meet a girl who didn't want a Mr. Darcy of her own.

9 - Fairy Godmother - Mercedes Lackey 

Hey look! another of my top five favorite authors made the list!  And this one might be my favorite book by her, although some of her other stuff is pretty amazing too.  I love how she turned fairy tales into horrible things that people dread being a part of.  The world she created in this book is just fantastic.

10 - The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson 

There's something about this book that I just love, I can't put words to it and so it usually goes without much mentioning.

And my three favorite series that I probably talk too much about:

1 - Red River - Lauraine Snelling  

I keep finding ways to bring up Thorliff, but hey, when you've been crushing on a character for almost your whole life and the series continues so he grows up with you, what else can you do?

2 - Anna/Lola/Isla - Stephanie Perkins 

It kind of bothers me that this series doesn't have a name...But I seriously love these books, and I've noticed, like Thorliff, I keep finding ways to mention them.

3 - His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman 

This is my all-time favorite series.  I went for a long time without mentioning it, but between the graphic novel coming out and getting my friend to read it I feel like I've been bringing it up a lot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday [32]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating

This week I am waiting on Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima (April 19, 2016)

Summary From GoodReads

The first in a thrilling new four-book fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima, set in the same world as her beloved Seven Realms series, a generation later
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

Why I'm Waiting

This story sounds so cool.  I love prophecies and magic and uprising against evil kings.  I've never read the Seven Realms series, but this sounds like a pretty solid story that doesn't need the previous series to appreciate.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday [33]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

1 - Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings

I actually picked this one up over the weekend to start, but haven't actually opened it yet, so it will be the first book I read after this post.

2 - Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

I really really need to go and buy this book so I can read it, I saved a spot on my newly refilled bookshelves specifically for it.  Now I just have to get it

3 - Broken Crowns by Lauren DeStefano

So excited for this one to come out!

4 - Rodin's Lover by Heather Webb

I swear I'll read this one this time!  This book has made an appearance in several of my TBR lists, but other books keep getting in the way.  Not this time! I hope...

5 - Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

I need to actually get this book so I can read it, but it will happen!  

6 - Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

I've been wanted to read this one for a while, but it came out during my reading slump AKA obsession with Hamilton and Density, but now that I'm on the upswing of that I'll finally get to it.

7 - Venom by Fiona Paul

I need to read some of my Italy books before I get there.

8 - Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier

Another book to read before my trip.  It's probably for the best because I'll have little else on my mind in the coming months.  I've already started a count down!

9 - Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson

I'm hoping I can get to this one before I leave for my trip.

10 - Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

I'm so excited for this collection! I will be reading it the day it comes out!

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Sword of the Maiden

by Kathleen C. Perrin

Summary from GoodReads

The Sword of the Maiden is Book 2 in The Watchmen Saga, which begins with Book 1: The Keys of the Watchmen. 

After being abruptly separated from Nicolas le Breton during the battle to save Mont Saint Michel from the English siege in 1424, Katelyn Michaels finds herself back in her normal twenty-first century life as an American teenager. Depressed and anxious to be reunited with Nicolas, she is comforted when a series of events and impressions lead her to believe she is being prepared for another mission as a Watchman. 

After her beloved mentor, Jean le Vieux, comes to her in a dream and gives her the injunction to “Learn of the Maiden and take her the sword,” Katelyn understands that her mission involves assisting one of the most iconic figures in all of French History. 

Katelyn is once again whisked back to the turmoil of medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War and to Nicolas. However, before the two can consider the future of their relationship, they must first complete their mission to take the sword to the Maiden. Little do they know that their old nemesis, Abdon, is already on their trail and will do everything in his unhallowed power to stop them.

About the Author

Katherin C. Perrin holds bachelor’s degrees in French and Humanities from Brigham Young University and is a certified French translator. Besides being the author of The Watchmen Saga, she has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti.  Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and French Polynesia.  She and her French husband have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country —where they have a cottage—and have taken tourist groups to France.  The Perrins have three children and currently reside in Utah.
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Thoughts on the Book

I received this book as part of the France Book Tours, which I'm super excited to be participating in!  Emma from Words and Peace mentioned this book to me in a Top Ten Tuesday post and I visited her blog and immediately got sucked into the French books blogging world.

I'm also participating in the giveaway for this book, there will be five winners for either a print or digital copy of Sword of the Maiden and an additional three winners will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.  This giveaway is also open internationally. You can enter here:

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]

May the odds ever be in your favor.

My Review

I started this book without realizing that it was part of a series.  Since I've been in a reading slump and this post actually had a deadline I didn't go back and read the first one before continuing, and really, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book much.  It did, however, make be really want to go back and read the first one, I really want to see how Nicolas and Katelyn first met!

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the time period and the settings.  Mont Saint Michel is one of my favorite places in the world and I've been to Chinon where Jeanne d'Arc identified Charles (in the exact room where it happened).  So reading about those places was very cool.  There were some things that I wasn't too keen on that made the reading experience not the best.  

Let's first start with the characters.  Katelyn.  I'm not really a fan of her, she dwells on things a lot.  And what's with all the crying?  For a strong badass female protagonist she cries an awful lot, over every little thing.  It doesn't fit with her awesomeness.  She also is all-consumed with Nicolas, but I really can't fault her for that, even though it did get annoying when it was brought up out of the blue.  Another thing about Katelyn that really bothered me were the pop culture tangents, especially the Princess Bride.  I love that movie as much as the next person, but she brought her laptop into medieval times for the sole purpose of playing the movie for Nicolas?  And the references were one off, they had to be explained, as were all modern pop culture references.  They weren't even explained to the medieval characters, they were part of her internal monologue, as though she was explaining to herself.  Katelyn also repeated things ad nauseam like Jehanne's (Jeanne d'Arc) fate and how she couldn't change it and her and Nicolas not having time to talk.

Nicolas, on the other hand, was awesome, definitely my favorite character.  His constant thinking about Katelyn wasn't nearly as annoying as Katelyn's constant thinking of him.  He was also a badass character, the stuff he went through and had to figure out, a lesser man would not have been able to do it.  Another awesome character was Brother Thibault, I wish he was in it more.  His role in the book seemed very superfluous, he was a plot device to get the sword, then to return Katelyn home.  I also really liked Jehanne, she was another super strong awesome character. 

The parts of the book that annoyed me the most were the unnecessary explanations about things (like the Princess Bride references), the heavy reliance on modern technology for everything, and most of all Katelyn's obsession with planning out her entire future with Nicolas.  The "no time" mantra that they had got really annoying really fast.  Really?  There was no time to talk at all, not in the hour or so they were packing and waiting for Katelyn's parents to leave?  Not with the extra four days they stayed at Mont Saint Michel waiting for Thibault to finish the sword?  Not before then when Katelyn was lying in bed recovering after arriving?  Or later when Nicholas was lying in bed recovering in Chinon?  Discussing their relationship really shouldn't be all that emotional.  But I suppose it would have been for Katelyn and Nicholas would have to waste all their time consoling her endless tears.

The technology bit seemed a bit like a cop-out.  For some things, sure, brilliant, for others, was it really necessary?  All the pictures and research she did seemed a bit much too.  Why did she need to bring her iPad with her?  Or her laptop.  She couldn't have just printed out the pictures?  Call them miniature paintings?  It was as though Katelyn didn't know how to function without copious amounts of modern tech with her and that bringing the tech was her only purpose for being in the past.

Another thing that took away from fully enjoying the book was the different perspectives.  I don't mind chapters flipping between characters, what I do mind is the point of view changing.  Katelyn was always in first person, and everyone else was in third person.  Frankly, the third person sections were so much better.  Katelyn being in first person is probably why I disliked her so much, had her sections been told in third person a lot of her annoying narrative bits wouldn't have been there.

Despite my dislikes of the book I did really enjoy it.  I was a history major in college, and was sorely tempted to get my PhD either in Viking history or Medieval French history, so I'm a stickler for not messing up history.  Some things I'll forgive a tweak to progress the story, or make it a more cohesive narrative (IF it's a work of fiction) but I judge books hard on accuracy.  This book, what a wonderful job!  Even with the changes for modern tech it was wonderfully woven into the story without changing any of the major points.  The tech was used mostly to explain people's change of mind or to make the character's lives a bit easier.  Nothing actually effected the historical narrative.  I especially loved the end of the book when Perrin took the time to go into the few changes she did make and to explain decisions she made.  Even Katelyn's annoying explanation of the events that led up to that point of the 100 Year's War was very accurate and really nice to have in the book.

Overall I give this a 7/10.  The story was great, the historical nature of it was great, Katelyn was super annoying and unimportant things got very repetitive.  I recommend this if you're looking for a fun time travel book with lots of accurate history from one of the coolest time periods.  I'm definitely going back and reading the first in the series and I'll be waiting for Perrin to publish the next!


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