Throwback Thursday: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)

Hardcover, 449 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Even though this book has been on my physical shelf since its release (as well as books 2 and 3), I just now read it for the first time.  And I actually listened to the audiobook to start with, but couldn’t wait for time to continue listening.  So I finished it with the physical book!  I liked this one a lot.  I’m a bit angry at myself for waiting so long to read it.  But I am hoping to fit the other two in before the end of the year now.
This was a fun take on the gender swap to avoid detection trope, and it led to some very amusing circumstances.  There was plenty of action and suspense.  As well as an abundance of secrets and mysteries.  Hopefully, those will be uncovered more as the series continues.  I would highly recommend this to any fantasy reader.

Summary:

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

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Throwback Thursday: Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

Mass Market Paperback, Greenwillow Books, 329 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Harper Trophy
Another book I’ve recently decided to re-read/listen as an audiobook at work was this classic, Howl’s Moving Castle.  I loved this as a young reader, and I think it has aged rather well.  I still love how the author subverted certain fantasy tropes by calling them out in the text.  And who doesn’t like the flame demon, Calcifer?  It does have some random loose threads that still bother me.  Like the missing prince, war that is only sorta mentioned as a plot device, and certain magic pieces being left unexplained.  But, it still holds the same charm and happiness that my memory has fed me all these years.  And because of that, I will continue to promote it to readers who haven’t had the pleasure yet.  Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Studio Ghibli re-imagining.  While it didn’t keep a lot of the plot points, and changed many others, it was a great story, and I re-watch it quite often.
Image result for howl's moving castle

Summary:

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Throwback Thursday: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
 To be completely honest, Leigh Bardugo wasn’t on my radar until after the release of Six of Crows when I attended ALA for the first time through work.  I had heard really great things about it and that the sequel would be releasing soon, so I bought a used copy of Shadow and Bone to get signed and made up bookplates as well.  Just in case I fell in love with her writing 🙂
After meeting her briefly in the signing line and seeing her have lots of fun up on stage with Marissa Meyer, who I did love, I was convinced I would love Leigh’s books as well.  Unfortunately, I still didn’t get around to making time to read any of them until last week.  When I knew I was planning to meet her on tour tomorrow!  (I think it might have been that the original cover doesn’t appeal to me very much.)
The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
When I finally did start reading the first Grisha book, I was not at all surprised to find that I did like the story.  A lot!  I was compulsively reading it whenever possible and finished it quickly.  There are a lot of reviews out there that break the book down and talk about worldbuilding and characterization (both are great).  And plenty of fans that will tell you how amazing the author is (it’s true).  Plus several that will mention that the story isn’t new (because it’s not).  However, the only opinion that matters is how this story makes you feel.  That’s what reading is all about, right?
I liked this story a lot.  The characters were fun and the world was interesting (if a little confusing on some points).  But it made me remember why I like reading.  And that’s pretty awesome 🙂  So I definitely plan to finish this first trilogy and dive into Six of Crows with high expectations.  And hopefully, Leigh stills has some stories to tell in this world!
Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Summary:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Throwback Thursday: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1)

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published August 19th 2014 by Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins

Here’s a book that’s been on my TBR for ages (well I guess only 3 years since that was when it was released), and I finally made time to read it.  To be honest, it happened because I find out that the author was coming to ALA, and I wanted to collect her signature 🙂  But I’m so glad that I did!

After reading Roar by Cora Carmack earlier this year, I was ready to read more weather magic stories.  Storm Siren did not disappoint, and, as a bonus, had some intriguing eccentric characters that I wasn’t expecting to see.  The world building was also intriguing, and I hope we get to explore more of that in the second and third books.  Overall, I basically ploughed threw this book to finish it as quickly as possible because it was so good!  Great pacing and characters do that for you though 🙂

One thing that killed me: it ends on a major cliffhanger!!  Normally, I hate that, but since the whole series is out, I can pick up the story where it left out at any time.  Also, I checked the beginning of book 2 and can tell you that it retells that last bit of this book and continues right where it left off.

Have you read this book/series?  What did you like or dislike?

Summary:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

Throwback Thursday: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti (Binti, #1)

Paperback, 90 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Tor.com
Novellas, short stories, and other short fiction and I have never really gotten along.  Mainly because I grow attached to characters and always want more of their stories.  That said, I recently discovered the wonderful collection of novellas published by Tor.com, and fell in love with the wonderful worlds and splendid plots laid out by the authors.
Binti by Nnedi was one that I was drawn to upon learning about its main character’s heritage (drawn from African lore I believe) and the strange jellyfish-like aliens that she encounters.  I did find myself growing attached in such a way that when I turned the last page it was with regret for having to leave that world after only 90 short pages.  Luckily, Binti’s story is not over.  There is a second book already out and a third is planned for January of 2018.  I think I’ll wait to read them all together though as I don’t want to face the same heartache too soon.
Nnedi’s other work includes Akata Witch, which I’m excited to start reading soon, and Who Fears Death, which has been recently optioned for a TV series with HBO.  I hope they don’t screw it up 🙂

Summary:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

Throwback Thursday: The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagne

The Saga of Rex

Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Image Comics
Considering this is a mostly wordless graphic novel that originally featured in the Flight anthology series, The Saga of Rex is absolutely adorable and tells a fun but traumatic story of a little fox on an epic journey through space.  The artwork is quite amazing and I was hooked from the title page art, which shows the little fox bent down and nose-to-nose with a little, orange fish-bug.  The whole story conveys deep emotions from all over the spectrum and constructs a heartwarming tale of love and adventure.  There isn’t much else I can say, except read it and share it (careful with the really young readers though).  And then go watch the short video on YouTube that the author created!

Summary:

A little fox named Rex is plucked from his home world by a mysterious spaceship and transported to the arcane world of Edernia, where he meets Aven, an enigmatic biomorph with a flying saucer. Follow his epic journey as he travels through outer-worldly landscapes, faces strange perils, and makes surprising encounters.

Throwback Thursday: The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey

The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey

It’s been awhile since I had a chance to re-read a book, so I chose a shorter one to focus on.  I don’t remember what exactly triggered my desire to re-read The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey, but I’m glad that I picked it up.

I think my favorite part of this book is how the author interwove the “parables” into the main story without compromising either part.  Or it might be that the narrator breaks the fourth wall occasionally, which I greatly enjoy in both books and movies.  I do know that the initial reason I picked it up, when I was younger, was because of my love for the 1001 nights.  And although I haven’t read all of those tales, I have read quite a few re-tellings/adaptations that were quite fun.

I haven’t had a chance to read The Wrath and the Dawn yet, but with all the amazing reviews, it may bump this version from my favorite version’s seat.  Here are just a few of the others I’ve read over the years:

Shadow SpinnerCastle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2)Keturah and Lord Death

What do you think?  Have you read any of these?  Which is your favorite version?  Did I miss it?  Let me know in the comments!

Throwback Thursday: Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers

Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

by Charlotte Rivers

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.)

Give it Time (It’ll grow on you.)

Pros:

  • Easy to read layout with informational text and photographic examples
  • Multiple examples from all over the world
  • Great hands-on, step-by-step projects
  • Ability to lay the book flat while working on your projects
  • Written without too much unexplained jargon

Cons:

  • The title led me to believe the book would focus more on making your own projects

Overall, I really enjoyed both the layout and subject matter.  Having recently completed a college course in bookbinding, I would highly recommend this book to anyone taking a similar class or who is interested in learning about bookbinding across the globe.  Public and school libraries would find this title to be a useful addition to their craft section.