Monday, September 22, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erica Johansen

"Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighboring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive..."

Hello, all! My name is Valerie, and I am the latest addition to this fabulous blog. My reading interests are all over the place, but I mostly stick with fiction, epic fantasy being my weakness. I hope that the reviews I will be posting on here will be of interest to you!

Speaking of reviews, I cannot say enough about The Queen of the Tearling. This was a book that I happened to grab on my way out of the library one day this summer, and I have no regrets in finishing it in one very long sitting. Kelsea, the main character, goes through a truly wonderful character development throughout the book, and the entire time I was reading I was cheering for her. She does not fall into the trap of an angst-filled love triangle while fighting to keep her life; instead, Kelsea takes ahold of the massive job that is handed to her and she runs with it. Immediately upon arriving at what is apparently her new castle, the young queen starts overturning and disrupting every single way of life that had been allowed to become stagnate and foul while she was coming of age. Reading about this scared young woman stepping far out of her comfort zone and seizing the chance to make things better even though she is sacrificing everything is really an incredible read. The fact that there is an attractive bandit hiding out in the woods and loads of fascinating new magic thrown around in the story definitely helps, too. 

Also, one thing that made me want to start over again at page one when I finished the book was a little nugget of information near the end that hinted that the entire storyline that was just read is not entirely what you thought it I don't want to divulge any of the books tantalizing secrets, I will leave off by telling you, dear readers, to go and devour this book. Well, not literally. But I do hope you grab a copy of The Queen of the Tearling and read it if you get the chance, as it is a swashbuckling, adventurous, and magical book that I would easily give a sound five stars to.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Change in the Wind...

Hi! Soo, you might have seen this coming or not, I have an announcement that I think is gonna change things but maybe have an upside! Just hear me out.

Essentially, my free time is at an all-time low. I need to have a serious talk with whoever said junior year was going to be the hardest--yeah, no. Senior year is the year of ten million things and I'm going crazy. The book-a-week thing, while incredibly fun and I love doing it, I have no time for. To that end, I've enlisted my wonderful and gorgeous friend Valerie Chinalski to help me tag-team this blog. At this point we're each going to post one a month, so you'll get a review every two weeks. I know, slower and everything, but trust me, this is gonna work a lot better for us and I'm super excited to have Valerie help me. She's awesome, trust me. And if you, dear reader, love to read and would love to give your quick opinion on a book every month, talk to me! I'm always open to more people!

Alright, that's it for now! Thanks for bearing with me!

Monday, September 15, 2014


I know, I didn't upload yesterday. I succumbed to one of those freaking viruses floating around, and right now I need to sleep and catch up on the homework that was just loaded on me. Sorry, I think that week's kind of a lost cause. I'll have one up for this coming week, though. I hope. Feeling awful can't last forever, right?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

"Still Life with Woodpecker is a sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty, and pregnant cheerleaders. It also deals with the problem of redheads."

So, this was recommended by a friend (incidentally, the same one who gave me Good Omens, so I tend to trust her judgment. This one did pretty well, too). Remember when I said Kurt Vonnegut required a certain type of person to enjoy his stuff? Yeah, that's what's going on here, too. Even more so, if possible. That's not to say it wasn't good--it was. It was pretty unexpected, from every angle, but funny and with some spot-on themes presented very uniquely. The characters were all very colorful, though admittedly none were really completely sympathetic. The problem was just that their choices and actions were, every once in a while, a bit strange or not understandable. The friend who lent me this explained it perfectly: something about a Tom Robbins book just gives you a faint suspicion that you might not like the author very much if you met in person. That's the best way I can find to form it into words. But that's not to say that it was an unenjoyable book, on the whole. He has an interesting relationship with the English language and metaphors/similes that captures things unexpectedly and perfectly (it only occasionally strays into weird nonsense) and there are some really priceless themes in it. Overall, it's a book about a redheaded princess living in Seattle, the redheaded bomber she falls in love with, and the central question of how to make love stay. If you're into Kurt Vonnegut or surrealism, this might be a hit. I think it's one that you kind of just have to form your own opinion about... it's at Kettleson in the fiction section. Try it!