Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Call of the Forgotten – Julie Kagawa

Hey there readers, I seem to be on a Julie Kagawa kick. I visited the library with Antonia on Wednesday to get the fourth book in The Iron Fey series, The Iron Knight. While getting this book I found The Call of the Forgotten books. After finishing The Iron Fey books I couldn’t help but immediately start The Lost Prince. My lack of self control when it comes to books kept me up until five in the morning this morning finishing The Iron Traitor. So, like The Iron Fey Series, I’ll be reviewing these two books together.

The Lost Prince – Book One
Summary:
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs-including his reputation-begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world-the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

Review:
I loved this book. I loved almost everything about it. The Lost Prince was fast paced, exciting and full of fun surprises. The prince may be lost, but my interest was certainly not. Kagawa has a way of making these characters and their world become ridiculously important to me. The way she writes, I can see the world she’s showing me perfectly. I loved seeing all the places these characters traveled to during their adventures.
Ethan Chase is more like his sister than he’d like to admit. He’s stubborn and determined. But unlike Meghan, he’s determined to keep anything fey out of his life. He fails at keeping himself out of it of course and the more involved he finds himself the more he starts to understand his sister’s choices. One of the things I really didn’t like about this book was Ethan’s feelings toward his sister and Ash. He resented his sister for leaving their family for the fey, and Ash for taking her away. I just wanted Ethan to love them as much as I do. I really can’t blame him for being upset with Meghan, I’d be pissed at her too if I were him. Ethan was an awesome main character. Being able to see his point of view and how he was affected by the fey, more than ten years after the first series, was really interesting.
Keirran was another very interesting character. The son of The Iron Queen and the former Winter Prince, he’s a very unique being. There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Keirran, some that even he doesn’t know the answers to. I think this definitely added a bit of suspense and wondering to the book. I absolutely adored Keirran. The product of two of my favorite characters, he was perfect. The stubbornness of both his parents, with Meghan’s curiosity and her knack for getting into trouble helps cause some crazy adventures.
The relationship that forms between Ethan and Keirran, Uncle and Nephew, was one that I really enjoyed following. They remind me quite a bit of Ash and Puck, always causing trouble, managing to get into situations they shouldn’t. Reading the pairs interactions were probably my second favorite thing about this book.
My favorite thing about this book was Mackenzie St. James. Kenzie added so much humor to this story. She also added a bit of romance and a surprise or two. Kenzie, like all the other characters, is insanely stubborn. She does what she wants and doesn’t let anyone get in her way. She handles herself very well, never really freaking out about what is going on around her. She’s strong and craves adventure. Adventure that Ethan gives her. In the process of the adventures and chaos the two fall in love. Kenzie and Ethan are completely perfect for one another. They help and support each other. The two are so cute and innocent, which was something I liked a lot. The innocence of the relationship among all the danger and saving the world was a great part of the story.
The Lost Prince was a fantastic start to this new aspect of The Iron Fey world.

The Iron Traitor – Book Two

Summary:
After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as “normal” as you can when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he’s forbidden to see her again. But when your name is Ethan Chase and sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, “normal” simply isn’t to be. For Ethan’s nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan’s and Kierran’s fates intertwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan’s next choice may decide the fate of them all.

Review:
LET ME JUST TELL YOU HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK. IT’S SO FUCKING NOT OKAY. AT ALL.
Okay, I’m done freaking out…for now. The Iron Traitor was a bit more chaotic than the first book. We were never sure what was actually going on. There are so many secrets that haven’t come into play yet. Though some of the characters know that others are hiding something, what’s being hidden has not been figured out yet. I have suspicions that I’m not going to like it, and it’s going to be traumatizing and heartbreaking.
This book was much like the others with it’s beautiful descriptions and seeing places that aren’t real. The uniqueness of these stories just keeps going. Keirran, the son of the Iron Queen and former Winter Prince, has a larger part in this story than the first. Ethan and Kenzie spend most of this book tagging along after Keirran trying to help him in anyway they can. Keirran, much like his father, is trying to find any way to keep his love from fading away. In the end, it seems that this mission will be his undoing.
In the second book, Ethan has grown a bit more accustomed to having some of the fey be a positive part of his life, rather than hating them all. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still not a big fan of the fey, but he’s getting used to the idea that they’re not all bad. I really enjoyed following Ethan as he grew to understand his sister more and resented her less. I liked Ethan way more in this book. He showed more of who he really was. He opened himself up to Kenzie as well as us readers. He always made sure he did the right thing the best he could. He did everything he could to protect his family. Ethan, much like Meghan, was a very admirable character.
Kenzie doesn’t change as much as the other characters in The Iron Traitor. She’s still the same stubborn, pushy, passionate girl that craves adventure. Something that I really liked about Kenzie was that even though she’s a pushy loudmouth, she knows when she needs to keep her mouth shut. She is absolutely not a stupid girl. She’s actually quite clever. Like me, she’s almost always prepared, or tries to be even when she’s not sure what situation they’ve gotten themselves into. I also really enjoyed watching Ethan and Kenzie’s relationship grow as the pair became more confident in their relationship. They are absolutely the cutest couple ever and I love them.
Although The Iron Traitor was not as good as The Lost Prince, it was still a thrilling read filled with action adventure and romance.

I’m really excited to see where this story is going to go next. Although there is no information released about the next book that I could find, I can’t wait to read it. I like The Call of the Forgotten series better than the first Iron Fey books. I’m really glad Kagawa decided to further the Iron Fey stories, especially with Ethan as the main character. I loved seeing these characters grow and develop and I’m excited to see where they go next. I would suggest these books to any readers that like any kind of supernatural, paranormal, fantasy type books. Also any readers that like action, adventure, chaos and romance, these books have all of that and more.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

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Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Goodreads Summary:A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn…
Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

I finally managed to get my hands on Princess of the Midnight Ball and it lived up to all of my expectations. It was fast-paced, funny, romantic, and just suspenseful enough to be interesting. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past: I. Love. Fairytale adaptations. It might be just that they remind me of being a child but they always leave me in a fantastic mood afterwards.
This story was no different. I haven’t heard the story of the twelve dancing princesses as often as others and having a more unique fairytale to inhale has made me ridiculously happy.
First, I’ll start with the characters. I thought George did a wonderful job of giving all the characters very distinct personalities without making it seem too crowded. Often I’ve found that authors can focus too much on the main characters and the secondary characters end up being rather flat. She obviously delved deeper into the personalities of the few main characters but I liked that I wasn’t left wondering who all the secondary characters are.
I thought Rose made a wonderful cursed crown princess. She was constantly trying to protect all eleven of her younger sisters which is a particularly admirable trait to me (I was the youngest of five siblings, so I know exactly how annoying little sisters can be.) I also loved how she tried to protect Galen by trying to prevent him from helping them, knowing how dangerous it would be for him.
Which leads me to my favorite part of the book. Galen was wonderful. He was charming and sweet, sensitive and tough, serious and funny. He was such a well-balanced character that I really couldn’t help but love him from the first chapter.
I think Rose and Galen complement each other very well. It was great to see them finally work together at the end of the book.
I thought the concepts and storyline of this book were new and very interesting. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the books in this series will bring. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult, fairytales or romance. As always, let me know what you’d think. I would love to hear your own feedback on this book.
-Antonia


The Iron Fey Series – Julie Kagawa

Hello fellow readers!
I just finished The Iron Fey series. There’s four books in this series. I couldn’t seem to stop myself from picking up the next book as soon as I finished one. So I’m going to review all four books together in this post.

Summary:
The Faery realms have always weathered the clash of Summer and Winter fey, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Now a new breed of faery has emerged to challenge both… to their peril. Forged by Man’s insatiable pursuit of technological superiority, the terrifying Iron fey are massing…and the fate of all faeries hangs in the balance. The greatest weapon in this epic magical war? A half-human teenage girl.

Review:
The first thing I noticed about this book was the descriptions. Julie Kagawa absolutely has a way with words. The imagery that was in this book was amazing. I loved being able to picture all of the places these characters visited. These were very fast paced books, with lots of action. The main character, Meghan Chase, was one that I really admired. She’s passionate, strong and determined. The series starts off with Meghan trying to rescue her younger brother who’s been kidnapped by the fey. Meghan would do anything for the people she cares about. As the books go on she does anything and everything in her power to protect the important people in her life. She seems to do a really good job of getting herself into dangerous and crazy situations. She does an even better job of getting herself and her loved ones safely out of these situations. All while saving the day in the process. Meghan is a wonderful strong female lead and I loved reading her story.
Meghan’s best friend Robbie, who is actually Robin Goodfellow also known as Puck, was a great addition to these books. He added hilarity as well as chaos. I loved Puck, but I also hated him. He is hopelessly in love with Meghan and she doesn’t see it until she’s fallen in love with someone else. I felt really sorry for Puck in this aspect. Pinning after a girl that would never love him. Although Puck was funny and someone I really enjoyed reading about, he had a tendency to piss me off. There were a lot of things he kept secret from Meghan that when we found out about them, I just wanted to punch him in the face. One thing I will say about Puck is that he tries to be a good friend. He’s always there for his friends even when they don’t want him there. He’s stubborn and sometimes annoying, but he always means well. I liked Puck, but not as much as other characters.
Ash, the Winter Prince of the Unseelie Court, was such an infuriating character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ash so much and if he was real I would find him and make him love me. But he was a real pain in the ass sometimes. He tried his best to be the cold, emotionless winter prince that everyone saw him as. I just wanted him to be himself. He spent so much time in the first two books trying to ignore his feelings for Meghan. He was always too ready to give her up. This really frustrated me. He’s so unwilling to try to find a way for them to be together, I just wanted to smack him. I have to admit, Ash stepped up later in the books. Ash was one of my favorite characters. As we get to know him better he shows us that he is another character who will do anything to take care of his loved ones any way he knows how. This is something he proves countless times. Toward the end of the third book Ash really shows Meghan how much he’s willing to give up for her. Even though The Iron Queen doesn’t end in the happiest way for the couple, the fourth book makes up for it. The Iron Knight is told from Ash’s perspective unlike the first three told from Meghan’s. I think the fourth book was my favorite because of this. I loved getting to know Ash much better in the last book. His thoughts and his feelings are something we actually get to see and I really enjoyed that. He literally goes to the end of the world to try to find a way to be with Meghan, talk about a grand gesture. Ash really shows his stubbornness and determination as well as many other things. I just loved Ash so much.
The last thing I’m going to mention that I loved about this story was the story itself. Kagawa really outdid herself with this series. Yes, there are quite a number of books out there about faeries, but the unique twists in these books had me captivated. There were so many surprises in this series that I had a really hard time putting the books down. The Iron Fey series was beautifully written with it’s own special twists. This is definitely a series that can be interesting to a wide range of readers. You like action? Kagawa gives you action. Romance, humor, suspense? She’s put all that into these four books.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts

I just finished Nora Robert’s Dream Trilogy at Amanda’s prompting and I absolutely adored it. They had everything I enjoy in romance novels. To make things easier I’m doing my reviews for all three books in one post.
Daring to Dream
Goodreads Summary:
Margo, Kate and Laura were brought up like sisters amidst the peerless grandeur of Templeton House. But it was Margo whose dreams first took her far away . . .
Margo Sullivan had everything a young woman could ask for. But while growing up along the rocky cliffs of Monterey, she couldn’t help but dream of bigger things. The daughter of the Templeton’s stern Irish housekeeper, Margo had been treated like a member of the family. Deep down, she knew that money could not buy the thing she craved most — her mother’s acceptance.
Maybe things would be different if she could be sweet like Laura — or had Kate’s shrewd head for business. But all Margo knew how to do was be Margo, and that meant doing things her own way — no matter what the consequences . . .

While I loved this book, as I do of any Nora Roberts book, it was my least favorite of the trilogy. Entirely because Margo irritated the shit out of me. She acts like a spoiled brat half the time and though I understand it’s mostly just the persona she constantly puts on, her attitude bothered me. I just wanted to smack her. Josh entertained me from the start. I loved seeing his protective older brother side and his romantic side.
What I loved most about this book was Josh and Margo’s relationship. They grew up together and have always been really close even though each secretly had a thing for the other for years. Watching their relationship change and seeing them try to figure out the dynamics of it was seriously entertaining.

Holding the Dream
Goodreads Summary:
Surrounded by the sweeping cliffs and beauty of Big Sur, Kate Powell treasured her life at Templeton House…and the family who raised her like one of their own. Although Kate lacked Margo’s beauty and Laura’s elegance, she knew she had something they would never possess–a shrewd head for business. Driven by ambition, Kate measured her life’s success with each soaring promotion. But now faced with professional impropriety, Kate is forced to look deep within herself–only to find something missing in her life…and in her heart.
I liked Kate a lot. She’s very career oriented and is almost too meticulous in the way she plans things. Like Amanda, her complete disregard for her health bothered me. I’m not a nutrition/exercise nut, but I don’t understand how some people can pretend the way they eat (or don’t eat) won’t negatively affect their health. When she gets the state of her health slapped in her face (with some help from Byron), she does a complete reevaluation of her life. I loved watching Kate finally step back and look at herself. She grew into herself throughout this book and became someone I both admire and want to be friends with.
I adored Byron. He was the perfect Southern gentleman and I loved the way he took care of Kate when she needed someone to take care of her. They were perfect together and I loved watching the way they stubbornly avoided their feelings until Byron realized what he wanted and kept pushing at her to try to get her to see his way of things. This obviously made Kate push back harder but that only made it even funnier.

Finding the Dream
Goodreads Summary:
Laura Templeton found out the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed. The daughter of a wealthy hotelier, she had always known comfort, privilege, and security. But by the age of thirty, her storybook marriage had been destroyed by her husband’s infidelity. Laura’s divorce left her both emotionally and financially devastated–but determined to rebuild her life without the Templeton fortune.
Laura had always defined herself as a wife, a daughter, or a mother. Now, she must finally discover Laura the woman…

Laura and Michaels story was, by far, my favorite. I wanted them to end up together from the first moment I saw them interact; in the prologue…of the first book. I loved Laura from the beginning. She’s sweet, romantic and generally sees the best in everyone. But she’s not weak and she’s not a push-over. She has a strong temper when it’s called for and I loved watching her let it go occasionally. She’s a fantastic mother who absolutely dotes on her two daughters. I hated seeing her hurt throughout the first two books because of her asshole ex-husband and seeing her grow more confident throughout this book was fantastic.
I’m pretty sure Michael is the new love of my life. He had so many different traits that clashed against each other but still managed to work. He was so unhappy because of his past and didn’t think nearly highly enough of himself. I just wanted to make everything better so he could be happy. I think I literally swooned watching him with Laura’s daughters, he was perfect with them.
Michael and Laura’s relationship fed into the hopeless romantic in me. They balance each other out perfectly.

Overall, I adored these books. My favorite part of all of them was Margo, Kate and Laura’s friendship. They love each other unconditionally and are there for each other no matter what. I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys romance. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
-Antonia


Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow – Jessica Day George

Summary:
When a great white bear promises a young girl-known simply as “the lass”-untold riches in return for accompanying him to his castle, she jumps at the chance. And even though she’s offered every luxury at ihs ice palace, she begins to feel like a prisoner. Then the servants start disappearing, and it becomes clear that something sinister is lurking nearby. Determined to learn the truth, the lass must set out on a grueling, windswept quest to save the man she loves.

Review:
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a good book to just sit down and read the whole thing. I really liked how this book was written almost like a fairy tale. Antonia actually got me to read this book. I was in the process of moving and needed a book to read because all mine were packed away. I’m really glad she had me read this. It was a wonderful story. I loved almost everyone in this book.
At the start of this book I felt really bad for the lass. Her mother didn’t even give her a name when she was born. I wasn’t a fan of the lass’s mother. She was never happy with anything she had. She always wanted more. I think she expected too much from her children. Regardless of her negative mother the lass was a great character. She’s determined and smart. I really liked how independent the lass is. She makes her own choices, within reason. What I liked best about the lass was that everything she did was to try and help her family and others in her life. All she tried to do throughout this book was help other people.
One of my favorite parts of Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was the relationship the lass had with her brother Hans Peter. You can tell that Hans Peter is keeping a secret. Hans Peter is the only one that really spends time with the lass. I wish I could have a close relationship with my brother like these two have. The other relationship I loved reading about was with the lass’s pet wolf, Rollo. He was the funniest character in the book. He always had something witty to say. Rollo tried to be the reasonable one of the pair. I loved the interaction between the lass and Rollo. I think that’s mostly because I think Rollo is exactly how I’d imagine a pet wolf would behave.
Something that would have made me like this book even more would be for the isbjorn to have a bigger role. I would have liked to get to know the lass’s prince a bit better. As for the other characters that were stuck in the ice palace, there were a few I didn’t care for. For the most part all the servants in the palace were all characters I liked. As for the palace itself, I wish I could live somewhere that beautiful. Without the evil princess part of it all of course.
Overall this was a really fun book to read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants something quick and fun to read, or anyone that likes fairy tale stories.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Literary Children’s Names

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This week’s prompt for the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is Rewind. You get to pick from any past topic they’ve done. Like we did for a past rewind, Amanda and I decided to do each other’s topics. My choice is Top Ten Characters or Literary Figures I Would Name My Children After. Here’s our choices:

Antonia’s Picks
Although I might not name my children after all of these names to avoid them being made fun of in school, in an ideal world where that wasn’t a possibility I would love to give my future children any one of these names.
1. Raisa from The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima- I adore this name and the character. She was such a strong character that I admired very much. I would love to give my future daughter a strong namesake.
2. Idalia from the Obsidian Mountain Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory- Another admirable heroine. As a side benefit, my grandmother’s name is Ida so I could also commemorate her in this way.
3. Soteria from Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon- I think this name is beautiful and love the nickname, Tori.
4. Brenna from the Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy by Nora Roberts- I love Irish names. This one is pretty and strong at the same time.
5. Arya from The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini- I’ve loved this name since the first time I read Eragon.
6. Jane for Jane Austen- I would love to name my daughter after such a prominent literary figure.
7. Georgiana from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- I think this name is gorgeous.
8. Bryony from The Outcast of Redwall by Brian Jacques- This was the first Redwall book I read and they meant so much to me as a child. I think the name is beautiful (even if the bryony flower isn’t all that pretty).
9. Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- I don’t think I could ever love another character more than I love Fitzwilliam Darcy. He’s such a strong, intelligent character. I would love to name my son after him even if it’s just as a middle name.
10. Benedict from An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn- I’ve always loved this name. It’s strong and noble.

Amanda’s Picks
1. Alaska from Looking for Alaska by John Green- This is my favorite book ever, which if any of you actually read what I post you should know this already. It’s often translated “that which the sea breaks against,” and I just think that’s beautiful.
2. Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- I just think this name is so pretty. If I could have a daughter that’s even half the person Hazel is, I’d be blessed.
3. Beatrice from Divergent by Veronica Roth- I’m actually not a huge fan of the name Beatrice but I absolutely adore the nickname she’s given in the book, Tris. If I named my daughter Beatrice it would be so that I could give her the nickname Tris.
4. Tobias from Divergent by Veronica Roth- I just loved everything about Four even his name.
5. Jasmine from Aladdin- Aladdin has always been my favorite Disney movie. I’ve always loved Jasmine.
6. Kaeleigh from Identical by Ellen Hopkins- I just love this name. It’s unique in its spelling and it’s just such a pretty name.
7. Sebastian from 10 Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn- For some reason I have always loved the name Sebastian. I knew this had to be on my list.
8. Jessamine from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare- Although I didn’t really like Jessamine as a character, I really liked her name. It’s very feminine.
9. Schuyler from Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz- It’s pronounced Skyler. This is a name I’ve always loved. I also really enjoy the different way of spelling the name.
10. Dimitri from The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead- I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually name my son Dimitri, but it’s absolutely going to be on the list.

We’d love to hear what kind of bookish names you would give to your own future children (or might have already given). Let us know what you think in the comment box.
-Antonia and Amanda


Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Rewind

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week we post our Top Ten for the weeks topic. This week’s is a rewind so we get to pick a topic we missed or wanted to revisit. I chose to do my top ten book I wish I could read again for the first time. Antonia chose a different topic, but also liked this one so her top ten is here along with mine. We hope you enjoy!
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Amanda’s Top Ten:

1)Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– I’d like to be able to re read this whole series for the first time because well, it’s Harry Potter and I love them.

2)Looking for Alaska by John Green– This is my all time favorite book ever. I would love to be able to read this for the first time again. It was an amazing book and I’m going to try to put it on as many Top Ten’s as I can.

3)Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn– I read this book when my older brother was in school and he had to read it for one of his classes. I’m really glad I got to read this book and it’s one that I’ll keep rereading forever.

4)Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich– I would like to read this book for the first time again for purely x rated reasons. This is one of my favorite books in the now twenty book series.

5)Exit Here by Jason Myers– This is another book that has made it to my favorites list. I’d love to read this again for the first time so that I can fall in love with the story all over again.

6)Burned by Ellen Hopkins– Ellen Hopkins needs to be on this list somewhere. Burned is my favorite of her books.

7)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This book was amazing. I did just recently read The Book Thief, but I’d love to read it again and again.

8)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I know, haha. I put Twilight on this list because this saga was a huge part of my younger years and I read it so many times I could almost recite it to you. If I could read these books over for the first time, I wonder how I would feel about them.

9)Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith– I put this on this list mainly because I would love to be able to sit down with all of the books and just go crazy reading the whole series for the first time.

10)The House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast– This is also on the list because now that the whole series is out I would love to be able to have all of them and read them all for the first time. I think I lost interest in this series because I couldn’t keep waiting for the next one to come out.

Antonia’s Top Ten:

1)The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory– This is a given for me. It’s my favorite series of all time and I wish I could meet the characters all over again.

2)The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima– These books made me feel so many different emotions. I wish I could experience that all over again.

3)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I wish I could love this series like I did when I was fifteen before the movie and all the twihards ruined it for me.

4)The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis– I wish I could feel all the feelings these books made me feel before they ruined my childhood by ending.

5)The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks– It’s one of my favorite love stories ever. I wish I could read it again without knowing how it ends.

6)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I wish I could fall in love with Dimitri again without knowing what happens to him.

7)The Shack by William Paul Young– This book literally ripped my heart out, stomped on it with steel toe boots and shoved it back into my body. As masochistic as it sounds, I wish that could happen again.

8)The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling– I shouldn’t have to explain this one to anyone.

9)The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini– I wish I could read all four of these books consecutively for the first time. So much time passed between the release dates that I ended up forgetting too many details between reading them.

10)The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout– I only wish I could read all of these consecutively for the first time, after the last book comes out this summer. I had so many feelings for all of these books.

These are our top ten books we’d love to read again for the first time. What are yours?


Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Summary:
In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon-when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach-an “outlander”- in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny is soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidding Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review:
This eight hundred fifty page book took so much out of me. It took mostly time to read the pages, but also little pieces of my heart. Outlander was a book that was almost forced upon me, by Antonia’s mother. She is a fellow reader, but I generally don’t like the same kinds of books as her. She made me take Outlander home and I’m very glad I read it.
This book was beautifully written. It is definitely a long book, but it was such a good one. The description of Scotland in the seventeen hundreds was amazing. A place I would totally love to go and visit. Outlander is told from the point of view of Claire, the outlander herself. Reading this story from Claire’s point of view was awesome. I felt like I was part of Claire’s life going through everything right along side of her. The title of this book, Outlander, fits our main character very well. It’s definition is an outsider or stranger and that’s exactly what Claire is when she finds herself in 1743.
I adored Claire. She proves herself more times than I can count in these pages. If I found myself two hundred years in the past, I probably would handle it nearly as well as Claire. She adjusts to this new life with a few bumps in the road but ends up fitting in fairly well. Claire is strong, brave, courageous, and an amazing main character. She loves fiercely and makes a point to protect what and who she loves.
Which brings me to Frank, Claire’s husband in the present. I really liked Frank from what I got to see of him. He loved his work and Claire. He was passionate about the things he enjoyed, even if he made himself look silly. I do wish that Frank could have played a larger part in this book and I’m hoping that I do get to read about him again later in the series.
Now to talk about Jamie. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. I could go on about Jamie forever. He’s a Scottish version of that mysterious, handsome, strong man that you want to whisk you away in your dreams. I really enjoyed getting to know every side of Jamie in this story. He has this innocence about him that can turn to an almost scary intensity at times. He loves with all he has and would do anything to protect those in his life. Jamie is honorable, trustworthy, honest and so much more. He’s really just an all around good person.
Going into this book thinking that I wasn’t going to like it very much didn’t change the fact that Outlander was an amazing book. I think anyone that likes books needs to try this series. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it. I loved every page.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.


Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Goodreads Summary: Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.

I am so glad I discovered Jessica Day George and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I’d seen a review for Princess of the Midnight Ball a few months back but hadn’t gotten a chance to get it. When I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and saw her name, I knew I’d have to get at least one of her books. Unfortunately, they only had Princess of the Silver Woods (the third in the Twelve Dancing Princesses series) and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. Though Sun and Moon wasn’t what I’d originally been looking for, it looked interesting enough so I decided to try it. I’m so happy I did. I read this book straight through and enjoyed every part of it.
First off, I loved the fact it was written the way an old legend would be told. I have a soft spot for legends and myths, so I immediately fell in love with the writing style.
The lass entertained me from the very beginning. She was quiet, but strong, brave and intelligent. She cares about people and animals in need even if she’d be better off ignoring them. She faces her fears instead of letting them control her. I admired the lass more with every page I read.
I also loved the bear though I wish I could’ve seen more of him. He remained pretty mysterious for the majority of the book and I would have enjoyed getting to know him better.
Rollo, the lass’s wolf pet, was hilarious. He acted and spoke exactly as I’d imagine a pet wolf really would. The other secondary characters didn’t play enough of a part for me to have grown terribly attached to but I loved seeing different types of creatures you don’t see often in other fantasy books.
Overall this book is a quick read but a very entertaining one. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, young adult, or old stories and myths. As always, I’d love to hear your opinions on the book itself or my review of it.
-Antonia


How to Marry a Marquis – Julia Quinn

Summary:
When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a copy of How to Marry a Marquis om her employer’s library, she’s convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she’s become? A guidebook to seduction might just be the thing she needs-and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?
James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager, and his primary suspect is his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth. Intrigued by the alluring young woman with the curious little rule book, he gallantly offers to help her find a husband…by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides that there is only one rule worth following-that Elizabeth marry her marquis.

Review:
Lately I’ve been on a romance novel kick, ever since I read Nora Robert’s Dream Trilogy. My go to author when I’d like to continue this kick is Julia Quinn. I absolutely adore reading about these characters in a time so different from now. I just love being able to fall so deeply in love with these characters.
How to Marry a Marquis opens up introducing the Hotchkiss family dilemma. They’re running out of money. The oldest Hotchkiss, Elizabeth, has decided that to solve this problem, she needs to marry. I really respect Elizabeth for most of this book (there’s some parts that make me want to shake some sense into her). Her number one responsibility has always and will always be her two younger sister, Susan and Jane, and her younger brother, Lucas. I really admire Elizabeth’s character because despite all the bad she’s been handed, she’s still given herself and her siblings a pretty good life. Elizabeth has a job as the companion of the infamous (if you’ve read other Quinn novels) Lady Danbury. Elizabeth’s personality really comes out when she’s with Lady D. She’s funny, witty, and spunky. But she’s also humble, full of love, and more like Lady Danbury than she would like to admit. I absolutely adores the pages with their interactions.
Now, enter James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale. Although, Elizabeth knows him as James Siddons, Lady D’s new estate manager. And so begins their crazy love affair. James and Elizabeth are slightly hilarious together. Don’t get me wrong, they’re perfect for each other, with all the adorable and cuteness and whatnot that’s needed. But the way they behave around one another, always trying to pretend there weren’t any emotions involved, and the irony of the whole situation! Elizabeth needed to marry someone wealthy, which is why she struggled so much with her feelings for “Mr. Siddons”. Little did she know he was in fact the Marquis of Riverdale. They were just hilarious together and I was completely in love with them as a couple.
I would like to mention Blake and Caroline Ravenscroft even though their part in this story is minor. Friends of James, the couple intervenes with James and Elizabeth’s situation. I adored the couple and I’d like to find their story and read it next. Caroline was such a genuine person and such a good friend to Elizabeth. Blake more or less just agreed with his wife. The pair was just so caring and added so much to the hilarity of this novel.
I really just loved everything about this book, which isn’t a surprise because Julia Quinn is the author. How to Marry a Marquis was hysterical and heartfelt. Another amazing love story by Quinn. Any and all readers should try at least one, or all of her books.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.