Friday, June 28, 2013

Sworn To Raise - Terah Edun

In A Nutshell:

  •  3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • fans of authors such as Tamora Pierce and Maria Synder
Part of getting back into the swing of things, for me, is hitting up NetGalley to look for some stuff to work on (something that I will forever recommend to anyone interested in trying to run a book blog). A great new feature they have up is the ability to search for books with automatic downloads, which means not having to wait for approval--and since I've been offline for a bit, this seemed like my best bet. Sworn to Raise was one of the first books in this category I found that wowed me.

Sworn to Raise is the story of a young girl, Ciardis, who grew up as a poor laundress. Her biggest claim to fame was a secret recipe for soap that didn't make red dye bleed from clothing and the hard calluses she'd built up from years of hard labor. Then, one day, a woman comes looking to buy Ciardis' recipe, and instead ends up inviting Ciardis to come join her and become a companion--lifting her out of poverty. Now Ciardis must train to become the best companion she can be, and to catch the attention of a wealthy patron.

I really, really liked Sworn to Raise. I initially grabbed it because I assumed it was a sort about something like courtesans, but I was really pleased when I realized that it's actually more about mages and magic! I couldn't tell you if companions actually are some sort of high class prostitute or mistress, actually, in addition to their magics, although there are indications in the book that companions often become wives and consorts. In fact, if the idea of Sworn to Raise turns you off because you're assuming the book is mostly about romance and trying to woo guys, you should actually give it more of a shot--Sworn to Raise is much more magical fantasy than anything else, with a setting and magical rules that would appeal to most fans of Tamora Pierce or Maria Synder!

In fact, my favorite part of this book was the exploration of magic and magical talents! In Sworn to Raise, mages specialize in one thing and one thing only--there are telepaths, mages who can amplify sound or other people's magics, and even magical copiers who can transfer their own learned abilities to others to borrow! I'm excited for the sequel just to see where else the magic system goes!

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this book. That isn't to say it's perfect--far from it. The writing style takes a little getting used to, the character development could use some work, and there are times that the story does feel a little bit rushed. But the story is very interesting, the universe is fascinating to read about, and I do feel like the good in the book outweighs the bad. I will certainly be looking forward to a sequel!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Golden Lily - Richelle Mead

In A Nutshell:
  •  4.75 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • fans of YA vampire lit looking for something different than the last twelve they read
    • fans of any of Mead's other YA books
    • anyone with an interest in urban paranormal YA

Knowing that I'd read Bloodlines and enjoyed Mead's work, a friend of mine threw this my way last Christmas. Sadly, I never seemed to have the time to get to it, until Zenita invited us to New York shortly after graduation for a book signing that Mead was going to be at. I reread Bloodlines the night before, and read Golden Lily on the ride up.

Golden Lily is a great sequel to Bloodlines, and continues the story of Sydney working to protect Jill in sunny Palm Springs while also balancing potential romance on all fronts, new secrets, and her own experiences with the belief system that she's been raised with.

I liked Golden Lily. Like most of Mead's books, the Bloodline series makes you want to keep reading, and there are so many plots that are subtly twisted into the books that I found myself wanting to reread bloodlines -again- just so I could look back and find all the hints for future plots that I didn't even think twice about the first time I read it!

Character development is one that that Golden Lily does -not- lack! I don't think there's a single decent character in this book who didn't change and progress over the course of this novel, and it's amazing how well Mead manages to juggle so many characters! Sydney especially is great to read about, because the belief system she's been raised into and places so much trust in is challenged almost constantly by the things she sees and does every day as she works with the Moroi, and Mead's portrayal of Sydney and her slowly morphing belief system is spectacularly believable!

One thing that I find myself hating in modern YA is the constant presence of a love triangle in almost every book I seem to put my hands on. Mead does not hesitate to place hints of this trope in her book--yet I still found myself wanting to read despite my minor annoyance as I noticed the slow formation of what seemed like one, which is very notable considering that I have been known to throw a book down if the romance becomes too excessive. I consider the fact that the romance in this book barely phased me to be a star for Mead. She is capable of doing what many other authors are not: including romance in a story without deriding the plot. I love her for it.

Overall, I enjoyed The Golden Lily a lot. I loved it so much, in fact, that I stole Zenita's copy of The Indigo Spell from her while we were waiting in line to see Mead at the signing, and managed to finish it before we got home that night! I'd definitely recommend The Golden Lily, and in fact, the entire Bloodlines series to anyone with an interest in urban paranormal YA, anyone who enjoyed Mead's other YA, and anyone who is interested in a book series about vampires that doesn't read like the hundred other vampire books flooding the market!

If any of those describe you, you should definitely look into picking up a copy the next time you're looking for something new to read!

"Sophie used Rejuvinate!" - Blog Overhaul!

Hey, guys!
Phew, it's been a while, but I hope you're happy to hear that I'm back! I have my first degree, I'm doing nothing but working this summer, and I head to my first choice transfer college in late August, where I'll hopefully have much more time to work on the blog now that I'm not being weighed down with the 2+ hours of transportation time, the six classes, and the frantic attempts to balance work with excessive amounts of homework!
My goal this summer is one post and one addition to the queue per week, so we'll see how everything turns out. I'm going to play around with some review types while I'm at it, so if some stuff changes, that's why. If you see something you like or dislike, let me know that I'll consider that in future reviews.
I'm going to go work on my reviews for this week in a few minutes, but first let me update you all on what's happening here on the blog! Last week I turned 20, making me question the blog name a bit. I'm considering if I want to do anything with it, but I may leave it as it stands--mentally, I'm probably still a teenager anyway, haha.
I did a quick refresh of the blog, redoing the theme and fixing up some things, so hopefully it's a bit nicer and more welcoming now. I've also created a companion blog for anyone interested in following on tumblr! If you want to follow me there, the url is
I'll be posting reviews to both blogs, and the tumblr is likely to also be scattered with random reblogs, pictures of books, etc. It's up to you.
I hope I don't let you all down!