Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop-International

bestof2013

December 18 marks my one year anniversary of book blogging. I’d say I jumped in on an amazing year of books with some of my favorites releasing. I had to join this giveaway hop to share with you, my readers, some of my favorites along with the chance to win one. This is an international giveaway and you can request and earlier book in the series if you would like to. I’ve selected all of my 5 star reviews for books that released in 2013. Click on the title to read my review.

  World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)These Broken StarsThe Bone SeasonScarlet by Marissa Meyer
World After by Susan Ee, These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

 In the Shadow of BlackbirdsCrown of MidnightNot a Drop to DrinkThe Burning Sky
In the Shadow of Catbirds by Cat Winters, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

 The Dream ThievesSiege and Storm
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Showcase Sunday #21

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review (via NetGalley):
Tandem by Anna Jarzab, The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

 

From Harper (via Shelf Awareness Pro):
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

 

Won:
Thank you Katrina at Bookish Things and More
City of Bones (movie tie-in) by Cassandra Clare, City of Bones Official Illustrated Movie Companion and The Shadowhunter’s Guide

Purchased:
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas<

I got to meet Sarah J. Maas and have her sign my books. Check out my international giveaway of the signed book and signed original art created by My Friends Are Fiction


See my Crown of Midnight review

Event Recap: Sarah J. Maas + Giveaway

 Throne of GlassCrown of Midnight

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Sarah J. Maas’ event at Blue Willow Bookshop. The lovely Kate from Ex Libris moderated and had us all laughing. We began by playing a game seeing if anyone could pronounce the names and locations from the Throne of Glass series correctly.

 

Sarah then talked about the origins of her character’s names. I loved her explanation for Celaena. It goes back to The Last Unicorn a classic fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle and a 1982 film by the same title. There was a harpy named Celaeno trapped by a traveling witch in her midnight circus. The harpy was her most prized capture and the most dangerous of all the mythological creatures the witch had in her circus. Celaeno in Greek means the ‘Dark One’ so Sarah always thought it would be an excellent assassin’s name. Being a child of the 80’s that movie had a major impact on me too.

The Last Unicorn
Sarah spoke about her journey to being published and her writing process now. She said she doesn’t use outlines (they crush her creative soul) but she does use music, movie scores in particular, as a backdrop and inspiration. She said without knowing it she had been outlining to some degree with her song choices. She associates certain scenes with songs and so moves them up or down her playlist according to where it falls in the story.

Kate did an amazing job moderating and Sarah J. Maas was funny, incredibly likeable and personable. It was a blast. If you follow My Friends Are Fiction you’ve seen the Lego cover we did for Crown of Midnight. I had a few printed up and had them signed. Sarah loved it and totally recognized it when I went up to get her to sign my books. Was a really awesome moment. Of course I gave her one and am keeping one for myself…but I have one for a lucky giveaway winner.

 

 This is an international giveaway:

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Review of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of MidnightCrown of Midnight
By Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: August 27th 2013

Thank you Stephanie from Read, Rinse, Repeat for letting me borrow this book!

My Rating:
star

This is book two of a series, it will contain possible spoilers for book one, Throne of Glass. If you’ve not read it yet check out my review here.

Summary (via Goodreads):
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt. But her heart never wavers.

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?

My Take:
In good fantasy the author has successfully created a world and characters that the reader can relate to- though they are capable of fantastic feats in a world with different boundaries than our own. Great fantasy has the reader so enraptured with the author’s creation that it becomes real. In essence convincing the audience that somewhere this world inhabited by those characters exists (even if only in our imagination).  Maas has created great fantasy with her latest installment of the Throne of Glass series.

Crown of Midnight starts off slowly, easing the reader back into the Celaena’s story and world. Now that she is the King’s Champion her life is different, her most pressing problem the King and his list of targets to assassinate. She has to slip under his radar yet keep her sense of self and adhere to her own morals.

Maas did an amazing job giving depth and realistic flaws to her main cast of characters. Celaena still felt the weight and stress of her role but she also felt that she was a coward and dealt with her own self doubt. Favorites from the last book, Chaol, Nehemia and Prince Dorian all play as important of a role in this latest installment.  Maas developed their characters even further as we see Celaena interact with them.

About midway the pacing took off and I was totally held captive by Maas’ words as the stakes got ever higher and I truly couldn’t see how our characters would get out of the mess they found themselves. I cried, I stressed, I flip flopped between emotions while being completely glued to the story.

Final Thoughts:
I enjoyed Crown of Midnight more than Throne of Glass because I connected more with the characters and had the backstory behind their actions. I loved where Maas has taken this series and am so excited and eager for the next book.

Be sure to check back later in the week for the Crown of Midnight cover in Legos

Crown of Midnight Book Trailer:

Teaser Tuesdays #11

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Crown of MidnightI’m reading Crown of Midnight the sequel to Throne of Glass. I am loving it and it might just be even better than the first.

For a heartbeat, there was something in his eyes that reminded her of a world long-since burned–a glimmer of color and power that still stalked the edges of her nightmares. But he blinked, and it was gone.  Page 147

Summary (via Goodreads):
An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt. But her heart never wavers.

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