Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Review: The Assassin and the Desert

Title: The Assassin and the Desert (A Throne of Glass Novella 0.2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: March 30 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 86 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 4 Stars

This is the second of four novellas that serve as prequels to Throne of Glass. I will quickly add that I maintain my suggestion to read the full novel first and then these prequels. Not that anything is given away but the allure of Celaena's mysterious past is one of my favorite elements of the full novel. Reading these after is helping me see why she acts the way she does later on but I am glad to not have known these details at the time.

Another reason why I would strongly suggest the reading of the full novel first is because we are seeing a completely different side of Celaena in these novellas.  We all know that Celaena is in the prison of the salt mines at the start of Glass of Throne.  Before this she was a bit... shall I say... stuck up and cocky?  Yep that about sums it up.  Her attitude is not bothering me as much because I know how Celaena will be once she gets knocked down a peg or two.  But if I had not read the full novel first I am unsure if I would really like Celaena in these. Although we do still get to see how noble she is in her beliefs and her hatred toward slavery so we do see a glimpse of the real Celaena behind the walls she puts up around herself.

The Assassin and the Desert picks up very shortly after The Assassin and the Pirate Lord.  We find Celaena being punished for her act of treason against her master, Arobynn Hamel.  In the main novel we do learn a bit about Arobynn and get the idea that he was not a kind man.  Well... if there were any questions about that then this novella sure helped dispose of the doubts.  What a complete jerk.

There is no Sam in this novella which was a bit sad, I was hoping to see more of him and Celaena.  She has been sent by Arobynn to the red desert to train with the Silent Assassins.  The story is fast paced and as always full of adventure and betrayal.

Another quick fun read!

Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Title: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (A Throne of Glass Novella 0.1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: January 13 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 63 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 4 Stars

This is the first of four novellas that serve as prequels to Throne of Glass. I read Throne of Glass prior to the prequels and would suggest this order. Other than Celaena the characters are new therefore it is not giving away plot to read them first. Although it is good going back now to learn more about Celaena, part of the greatness of her in Throne of Glass is the mystery of her past. I am glad that I learned of it slowly during the novel and am leaning more of her past now.

This novella was a quick fun read. We finally get to meet Sam which was nice to be able to see he and Celaena together. We only hear about little bits and pieces during the the full novel. This has the same action and adventure with a few pirates thrown in to make it truly swashbuckling.

So, I would suggest this novella but as I said I would read the full novel first. Now I am off to start The Assassin and the Desert which is the second novella in the series.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass ~ Book 1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 7 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 1599906953
Length: 416 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 5 Stars

This is going to be a very difficult review to write.  I am going to do my best not to come across as some kind of crazed, obsessed fangirl.  However, this can not be promised and please use this as a warning.  If you do not like to read reviews that gush about greatness and use words such as amazing, awesome, fantastic, spellbinding, glorious... then please turn away now.  If you are all about the rush of the terrific emotions that come from reading greatness then please continue onward.

I had been eyeing this book on Goodreads for sometime before it was released. Then when it was released I was in the middle of another series so decided to wait to purchase it.  Last week I was so close to buying it but decided to try my luck on a Review Copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  My book review blog is so new I wasn't sure if I would be approved.  You have no idea how excited I was when I got the eMail that I was approved and that my copy was ready to be sent to my Kindle, Christmas had indeed come early.  This was my first approved review copy as an official book blogger and it could not have been a better first choice for me to request.

Throne of Glass honestly has it all. Action, adventure, intrigue, fighting, friendship, betrayal, love... the list can go on and on.  From start to finish if I ever needed to put the book down I was dying to get back to it.

Sarah J Maas does such a great job describing the world her characters are living in.  Celaena is an assassin (this should actually say kick ass assassin) and you would think this would make her hard, worn and untouchable.  But there are so many moments when we see her just being a girl.  Wanting to do normal things such as going to a feast or to a ball.  Of course as an assassin she had been to many because of her 'hit' or 'mark' being there.  But when she puts on the fine clothes it's rather like a little girl dressing up and believing she can be more than what she was raised to be. It was very touching to see this side of her.  Of course we also see her kick ass side which is something to behold.  She is simply unstoppable, the best of the best and there is no denying that.

The side characters were also wonderful.  The Princess Nahemia being one of my favorite. It was great to have Maas introduce a beautiful character and not have the main character immediately jealous or feel inferior to the new person.  They instantly became friends and it was a breath of fresh air.  Too many times authors feel the need to have every female in a novel pitted against each other in some kind of jealous rage. 

Then of course there is the love triangle.  Yes, of course there is a love triangle.  The key players in this are Celaena, Prince Dorian and Chaol who is the Captain of the King's Guard.  So of course by the end you will be required to 'Pick a Team'.  This is mandatory with all love triangles as it will spark controversy with you and your fellow book lovers as you will be able to argue for hours over why one man is better than the other.  I will warn you though, I do think you will find it very difficult to pick a team in this instance.  So I am sure you are all dying to know which team I am on... so without further ado.
(insert drum roll)

Yes you heard it here first. I adore Chaol.  Don't get me wrong, I do also love Prince Dorian and I can see great things in the future for his character. But Chaol won me over very early on.  I simply love him.

Now that I have got you all excited about reading Throne of Glass and I am sure you will all be rushing out to start it right away, you may want to know there will be other books. Can we all have a collective round of applause please?  Oh, when is the next book you ask?  Well, Goodreads says not until 2013 (no month stated as of yet).  But alas, not all is lost.  If you did not already know there are four novellas that Maas has published that are prequels to Throne of Glass.

Now of course the wise thing to do would be to spread these novellas out.  Maybe read one every 10 books or so in order to keep the story alive while we wait for the 2013 publication of the next full novel.

Is that what I will be doing?  Of course not.  I had every intention of starting a completely different book after Throne of Glass but I am not ready to move on quite yet.  I will be reading these right away.  They are not very long and do not see it taking me more than a day or two but I need more Celaena now.

In closing, if you haven't already realized, I loved this book and would recommend it wholeheartedly.  I did want to leave you with a Pronunciation Guide that I found useful.  This is taken directly from the author's website.  I love unique names and I really feel they can lend a hand in creating the new world that is being described.  But I also hate nothing more than going through an entire book only to realize that I have been pronouncing the names and places all wrong.  So please use this has a helping guide as you read.  I mean honestly, when I first started I had no idea Chaol was pronounced 'Kay-all'.  I was saying 'Coal', then 'Charl'.  Then I found this little guide to help me.

Celaena Sardothien: Sell-lay-nah Sar-doth (like ‘cloth’)-ee-en
Chaol Westfall: Kay-all (like “chaos”) West-fall
Dorian Havilliard: Door-ee-en Have-ill-yard
Nehemia Ytger: Neh-heem-ee-ah Yet-gerre (like “garrison”)
Kaltain Rompier: Cal (like “calcium”)-tane (like “cane”) Rom-pee-ay
Arobynn Hamel: Arrow-behn Heh-mel
Elentiya: Elle-len-tee-yah

Eyllwe: Eel-way
Erilea: Err-rel-yah
Terrasen: Terra-sen (like “sent”)
Adarlan: Ah-dar-len
Endovier: En (like the letter N) –dō (like “dough”)-vee-er
Orynth: Or-inth
Anielle: Annie-elle
Melisande: Mell-iss-sand
Wendlyn: Wend-lin

Wyrd: Word
Wyrdmarks: Word-marks

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: Of Poseidon

Title: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon ~ Book 1)
Author: Anna Banks
Publication Date: May 22 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN: 1250003326
Length: 337 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 4 Stars

Let us start with the obvious shall we? How beautiful is this cover? I do my very best not to be drawn in simply by beautiful covers but honestly... who could resist this book after looking at that cover?

I really did enjoy reading Of Poseidon. I have to say I was a bit nervous because I had read some questionable reviews just before I started it but in the end I never let reviews sway my judgement when it comes to a book I know I want to read. I know this sounds odd coming from somebody who writes reviews for a her own book blog and that swaying people to read one book over another is exactly what writing reviews are meant to do. The irony of this is not completely lost on me.

In the book we get to follow both Emma and Galen (Prince of the Syrena, please do not say Mermaid as he will not be very happy with you). Emma's chapters are written in 1st person point of view while Galen's are written in 3rd person point of view. I really enjoy when books switch the POV in order to follow more than one character. It didn't really bother me that one was in 1st and the other in 3rd. The chapters are quite small and therefore there is quite a bit of flipping but it wasn't at all confusing and the story did flow nicely.

Another enjoyable part of this book were the side characters. Galen's sister Rayna and her mate Toraf are so much fun. I loved the interactions between everybody and the teasing that goes on between them all. The scenes that take place in the high school are very amusing, Galen truly is a fish out of water, yes I know... pun intended. I did laugh out loud several times and there was even one part toward the end where I was laughing so hard I honestly had tears in my eyes. My least favorite side character was Galen's human friend Rachel. It is not that I did not like her but to get across her character she says things like honey bunch, sweetie pie, etc... a lot. As in I am not sure that there is ever a time when she speaks to somebody and does not call them by one pet name or another. It did get a little old after a while but I still enjoyed her a little so it must not have been all that terrible.

I would suggest this as a light-hearted, fun, quick read. In the end it really only took me around five to six hours to finish. Oh and for those of you who are hoping for a nice little wrapped up ending... not a chance! Anna Banks already has book 2, Of Triton, listed on Goodreads and there is a whopper of a cliffhanger to keep you hanging in wait. It currently shows the expected publication to be in 2013 but it does not yet narrow it down to a specific month. Ooohhhhh... the waiting...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Review: City of Lost Souls

Title: City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments ~ Book 5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: May 8 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN: 1442416866
Length: 534 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 5 Stars

Let us begin with the bad... the very very bad.  Why oh why is Book 6 not due out until 2014?  Yes you read that correctly, 2014.  City of Heavenly Fire is scheduled to be the final in this 'second trilogy' and the actual release date is scheduled for March 19th, 2014.  That is 1 year and 7 months away, not that I am counting down or anything. *sigh* I guess I will just have to sit and wait with everybody else and hope that there is no large asteroid that is currently hurtling towards earth or that the zombie apocalypse is held off until after the release date.

Now with that little moan out of the way let us get on with the review of City of Lost Souls.  I really did enjoy it! I loved it much more than book 4, City of Fallen Angels but not as much as City of Glass. There are currently two camps you can join.  Camp One thinks that the original trilogy was so wonderful and ended so perfectly that it was a shame to carry on with a 2nd trilogy.  Camp Two can not get enough of Clare's wonderful characters and would read anything about them and love that she chose to continue them.

I have a leg in both camps. City of Glass for me has yet to be topped but I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters.  I was a little disappointed in book 4 but I really feel that City of Lost Souls stepped up it's game and I felt we are back to the style of writing I have come accustomed to from Clare.

I felt true despair in multiple parts and had no idea how it was all going to be made right.  I gasped and talked to myself so many times my husband probably thinks I am going insane.  I know deep down I should hate Sebastian and really I do but I just find him so sad and lonely.  A few times I so wished they could pull the bad out of him and it would all be fine and he and Clary could be a proper brother and sister and there would be family dinners and they would spend Christmas together... but this is not a Norman Rockwell moment.  He is bad. Evil. Black hearted... the list could go on and on.  And what is up with Clare's fascination with incest?  I felt dirty because I so desperately wanted Jace and Clary together in the first Three books and now we have Sebastian salivating over Clary.  Ewwww.  Just Ewwww.  I did have a little trouble understanding Alec in this book.  I understand how much he cares for Magnus but the lengths he goes to in this book was so out of character for Alec.  I am sad at how Magnus and Alec ended up but there is hope that it will all come together in the next book.  Oh... and how much do I love Jordan?  The answer is a whole lot!  So sweet.

I am quite happy with the ending and that is saying something because Clare is the queen of cliffhangers.  This book ends in a way that makes you want to carry on but not in a way that you will be pulling out every last hair on your head while you wait for the next book. Maybe she gave us this ending as some sort of a peace offering as she knew there would be so many upset people with the 2014 release date for the final book.

I have added the March 19th, 2014 date to my calendar, I have the final book added to my Goodreads 'Awaiting Release' folder and will be along with all of you kicking and screaming patiently waiting for our last look in on the characters we have all come to love.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hello New Followers!

I have had this site up and running now for around four days and I have 67 new fellow book lovers following me!  This makes me very happy and I wanted to give a BIG thank you to each and every one of you... and of course a BIG thank you to all of my future followers as well.

I have been spending quite a bit of time getting Rainy Day Reads up and running and I think for now it is in a good place... which means I can focus a bit more on the actual 'reading' part of having a book blog.  I am currently 54% through City of Lost Souls.  I should have it finished this weekend and you can expect a new review very soon.

I think we are all going to have a lot of fun together!  Of course I am open to any suggestions or thoughts from those of you who have been running successful book blogs and from those of you who are not your suggestions are equally important to me.  Again I thank you all for following, it really has helped show me this will all be worth it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Review: City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments ~ Book 4)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: April 5 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN: 1442403543
Length: 424 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 4 Stars

Where to start... Where to start...  I found myself delaying starting this book, which I found very odd because of how much I loved the first three. I think it was because City of Glass ended so wonderfully for me that I was nervous to have everything start falling apart.  My fears seemed to have been justified.

This book largely focused on Simon, which I did like. I felt his transition in the previous books was glanced over too smoothly.  We finally get to see what he is really struggling with and how he deals with those struggles.

I do have to say there was many a time where I just wanted to tear my hair out in frustration. I love a good love story and I'm desperate for things to be all smiles and rainbows. Sadly the rainbows are few and far between... However there is currently a thunderstorm and I am not giving up hope that once that has passed that the sun will come out and not far behind that the rainbow I am desperately hoping for will appear.

One thing I can say... This ending has made it impossible for me to not immediately start the next book, City of Lost Souls.  As that is the last of the published books in this series, with book 6 not being released until 2014, I am sure to die of despair once I am finished.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Review: The City of Glass

Title: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments ~ Book 3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication Date:March 29 2009
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Length: 560 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 5 Stars

Where do I even start?  I guess first I should say, I friggin' loved this book!  I loved the first two books also but this was my favorite so far... They just keep getting better and better.

I have been reading all 1st person point of view books as of late and I had forgotten how good a well written 3rd person point of view book can be.  It's just so enjoyable to read Cassandra Clare's writing style.  The whole book I felt I was on a roller coaster. Not the kind that makes you want to get off and throw up but the kind that makes you want to throw your hands up and yell at the top of your lungs, then you get off and want to do it all over again.

You know those cliffhangers at the end of books that make you just sit there and stare at the final sentence for a few minutes? Well that is how I feel at the end of each one of these chapters.  With it being in 3rd person POV a chapter will end with a surprise or a important statement and then next thing you know you are in a different location with a different character.  This is why it is so hard to put down... you find yourself reading to the next chapter to get back to the other character only to find the current chapter ends in a way to push you even further to get back to it again.  It's a vicious and wonderful cycle and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Always with reviews I hate saying too much about the specific events of the book as I hate when books are ruined for me... So I dislike doing it to other people.  I would strongly suggest this series to anybody. This has been a joy to read and I will immediately be starting the next book in the series.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review: City of Ashes

Title: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments ~ Book 2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: July 5 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN: 1416914293
Length: 434 Pages
Link to SynopsisGoodreads
Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

My Rating: 5 Stars

Another amazing book in The Mortal Instruments series. I love when series books carry on exactly where the previous book left off and this series has appeared to do just that.  No 'Meanwhile... A year later...' just right back where we were.

I also very much enjoyed that the author did not spend a lot of time catching everybody up on what happened in the last book. There is nothing worse than being excited to start a new book in a great series and you find yourself reading the same story...  again! Who is going to start a series on the second book? And if a person does do that it's their own fault. This author says just enough to keep you reminded but not so much you get bored.

One of the things I have enjoyed most is the author's ability to make you feel as though you are right there.  The details of the place, the smells, the noises... I become immersed in the story.   I also find I am unable to out my Kindle down a lot of the time. I will give myself little goals such as 'At the end of this chapter I will get up to make dinner'.  Then at the end of the chapter I just have to read on and find myself trying to make the same promise to myself at the end of that chapter but it fails again.  Not that I am complaining... This is a good issue to have.

I will be starting City of Glass first thing tomorrow.   I am so happy that I started these books at a time when I had two weeks off from work. I would be quite upset if I had to wait until after work to read.