First Line Fridays: “Broken Throne” by Victoria Aveyard

First Line Fridays (feature photo)

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Hoarding Books.


Happy Friday!

June has been a busy month for me at work, leaving me little time to read. But a booknerd will always be a booknerd, and as is, I found other ways to get my daily those of stories. Audiobooks have been great for me recently. I have finished listening to a handful of books in the last month, and I’m going to be sharing the first few lines of the story I’m currently listening to.

42083967._sy475_

MARE

I had my pick of days, but in the end, the snow made the decision for me.

All the better. The choice was out of my hands. How long to stay, when to return to the Montfort capital – those questions disappeared when the weather turned. It was only six inches, barely a dusting for a place like the Paradise Valley, but more would follow. I’d been told the winters here were much harsher than those I was used to, worse even than the one weathered at the Notch. Here the snowdrifts pile up ten feet deep; rivers freeze solid; blizzards last for days on end. Too perilous for transports or dropjets. Of course, we could stay for the season if we wanted. Davidson made it clear in his last communication that the cabin outpost was at our disposal as long as we needed, but I didn’t even broach the subject with the rest of my family. None of us, myself included, have any desire to spend the winter buried in snow with only the geysers and the bison for company.

These lines are from Fire Light, the story featuring Cal and Mare. I didn’t know just how much I missed this series (and Mare’s sass) until this collection of short stories. To think that this might be the last I read about them from Victoria Aveyard makes me nostalgic. I’ll certainly miss these characters and this world and would definitely come back to it in the future. Meanwhile, if you know any good Red Queen fanfic, throw them at me. I need them to fill the gap.

💗💗💗

Rachel

let's chat

Come and join in the fun. Visit Hoarding Books to see what other FLF bloggers have to share.

The Mid-year Freak Out Tag, or The “Rachel, Why Are You Posting This Just Now? It’s Already Mid-July” Post

Mid-year BT

I know, you don’t have to tell me the date. I’m posting this mid-year freak out thing halfway through July. June has been a really busy month for me at work. The flu vaccines that we ordered were delivered and blah, blah blah…you don’t want to hear about it. I’m not griping. I actually love working at a clinic setting. As an occupational health nurse, I have more independence here compared to when I was working in a hospital.

This year has been good for me in all aspects. That includes reading and my life as a reader of course. Here are some of the highlights of my year so far:

🍂  Coming back from my hiatus: I’ve been blogging about books since 2013, but had a long hiatus (5 years) before finally coming back last April. I consider myself lucky that I still have readers, and that I’ve gained new ones. The bookish community has always been a friendly and supportive one. Know that I consider all of you my friends 🤗 🤗 🤗

🍂Breaking my writer’s block: I have had the worst writer’s block the past year. No matter how long I stare at my laptop’s screen nothing comes out, so it really feels so good to just be writing again.

🍂Finally getting myself a new bookshelf: I’m bad at keeping myself away from bookstores and, as it is, I’ve accumulated a ton of books, more than half of which I haven’t yet read. For some months, they were stacked in my room’s floor (okay, maybe there were 3 stacks *cringe*) This new bookshelf will keep my babies safe and protected.

SO, yay me! *pats own back* Anyway, before I go talk you into sleep, here’s how the first half of the year has been for me as a reader. I hope you enjoy reading my answers as much as I enjoyed thinking and writing them up.

🍂🍂🍂

How many books have you read so far?

28 (and still counting) 😁

My ultimate goal this year is to actually get out of my comfort zone and read more books from other genres. I love sci-fi and fantasy. Books from these two closely related genres are definitely easier to get into for me. But I’ve noticed that more than 50% of the books I’ve finished last year were from either of those two genres (not that I’m complaining) so spreading my wings a bit, so to say, is my target this year. I think I’m doing great so far.

🍂🍂🍂

What is your reading goal for the year?

A modest 40 books.

I used to set a very ambitious 100-200 books years ago (I was young okay!) but learned my lesson.

That 40-book goal is actually a step up from last year’s 30 and 2016’s 20, which I both surpassed. I’m hoping I’ll be able to reach my goal again this year, but if not, then it’s really no big deal. Hey, as long as I get to read books I’m happy. It ain’t no contest. (Yes, younger self, that goes out to you! 🙄🙄🙄)

🍂🍂🍂

38456024

Best book you’ve read so far

Sadie by Courtney Summers. This is, hands down, Courtney Summers’ best book so far. Sadie is so unapologetically dark and gripping. I can’t recommend it enough. Here’s a link to my review if you want to read more about how this book messed me up.

🍂🍂🍂

Best sequel you’ve read so far

Hmmm…tough one. 🤔 I’d have to give it to Dark Triumph, the second book in Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin trilogy (which I loved) but War Storm by Victoria Aveyard comes at a very close second.

🍂🍂🍂

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Definitely Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It’s been receiving a lot of buzz, the most recent of which is being featured on The Tonight’s Show book club as their first read. Plus, I’ve heard great things about it so I’m really excited to read it just as soon as time allows me to sneak it into my TBR pile.

🍂🍂🍂

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Wildcard (screams) I just have to know what happens next especially after that ending in Warcross!!! (I requested for a review copy of this but was declined. Penguin semi-hates me.)

🍂🍂🍂

Biggest disappointment

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. I don’t want to explain it again so here’s my review. (I’m still amazed I finished it. Oh well 😑)

🍂🍂🍂

Biggest Surprise35430013

It’s a tie between A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, and The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and The Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones.

Anthologies, generally, are a hit-and-miss for me, with more misses than hits, but this collection of re-tellings of Asian myths, legends and folklore turned that around. I loved most of the stories in it, and it just felt so good to read one centered on my people and our culture. It’s another step towards diversity in books.

Okay, now my nerd is going to come out. I loved Dan Jones’ The Wars of the Roses. It’s about, as the title suggests, the fall of the Plantagenet kings and the rise of the Tudors. Did you know that Owen Tudor married Catherine of Valois (Henry V’s widow & Henry VI’s mother) in secret because they were not allowed since Owen was Welsh? I sure didn’t. It was interesting to learn more about how the Tudors came to power in England. Plus, Dan Jones’ books are just so easy to read, it’s like reading a story only the story he is telling happened in real life. (Addendum: Dan Jones has a few documentaries in his portfolio. You should check them out. I think his Great British Castles docu-series is a great place to start. Another addendum: He’s really cute! 😍)

🍂🍂🍂

Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

Kristina Pèrez. She’s a debut author and she just released her first book, Sweet Black Waves, last month. It’s a re-telling of the ancient Celtic legend Tristan and Iseult. It’s swoony, and full of magic and alludes to Celtic culture. I enjoyed her work a whole lot and now waiting (impatiently) for the sequel to come out next year.

🍂🍂🍂

31179006Newest fictional crush

While no one will ever replace Tobias Eaton in my heart, (He’s still my ultimate book boyfriend and not just because he is played by the gorgeous Theo James in the movies. Brave, smart, patient and kind – he’s just the whole deal) I have found two new book boyfriends the past 6 months. Gavriel Duval from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and Prince Tristan of Kernyv from Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pèrez. Those two just make me swoon. 😍😍😍

🍂🍂🍂

Newest fictional character

The broken but still fierce Sybella d’Albret from Robin LaFevers’ Dark Triumph. My love for this baby is more than a truckload. I just want to hug her and cheer her on as she gets her revenge on the people who hurt her.

🍂🍂🍂

Book the made you cry

Sadie. It made me cry ugly, angry tears for what has been done to Sadie. Really guys, I couldn’t wait for it to come out, so you could read it already. Let’s commiserate together after you guys are done with it, okay?

🍂🍂🍂

Book that made you happy

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. It’s such a funny and sassy re-telling of Jane Eyre.

🍂🍂🍂

Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year

Sharp Objects. It’s not really a movie, a limited series on HBO, and it’s only on its first episode but it’s soooo good. Plus, Gillian Flynn, the “Gillian Flynn”, herself, wrote for the series.

🍂🍂🍂

Favorite review you’ve written this year (so far)

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings because it was one of my most detailed ones and, personally, I still find reviewing anthologies hard. Here’s the link to it if you want to check it out.

🍂🍂🍂

Most beautiful book you’ve bought (or received) so far this yearws

War Storm. You can only imagine the happiness and pleasure I get from seeing all four RQ books + Cruel Crown together on my shelves. You have one happy girl here.

(P.S. I want that crown!!! 👑👑👑)

🍂🍂🍂

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

🍂  Cruel Prince : I have this now. Oh, the cover is soooo pretty!!!

🍂  Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom : I just can’t seem to find this in my local bookstore. I might have to order it from Book Depository. But I am definitely going to read this within the year.

🍂  Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide : I actually started on Carve the Mark but am putting it back on hold. It’s the kind of book you need a lot of time to read. I’m reserving it for December when I will go on a bit of a leave from work and blogging (just one week, y’all) for the holidays.

🍂🍂🍂

There you have it! The first half of my 2018 has been productive so far. Here’s to a more bookishly fruitful last half. Cheers! 🥂🍻

💗💗💗

Rachel

Music Mondays: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Lorde)

Music Mondays

Music Monday is a book meme where you share a song you really like. It is hosted by The Tattoed Book Geek.


I love music. Next to books and writing, it’s my second love. So I thought, why not post something about music and connect it to books?!? (Well, I don’t think I can make a song-book connection every time but if I can’t I’ll just post music I love listening to.)

Today’s Music Monday is inspired by Victoria Aveyard’s War Storm, which I reviewed over the weekend. (Psst…you can check it out if you want. Here’s the linky 😄)

I think Everybody Wants to Rule the World, the version by Lorde specifically, is a perfect fit for this book. From the book’s title, you can tell there’s a lot of fighting and in-fighting – the Nortans vs the Lakelands and Piedmont, the Reds and Newbloods vs the superpowered Silvers, the Calore brothers against themselves. There’s a whole lot of power struggle and it fuels a big part of the story. I love this series, guys! Really! I won’t shut up about it.

What are you guys and gals listening to today? I’d love to here from you, so share away on the comments section.

💗💗💗

Rachel

Review: Victoria Aveyard’s “War Storm”

ws

Title: War Storm (Red Queen #4)

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen/HarperCollins

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it:

IndieBound | Book DepositoryBarnes and Noble | AmazonBooks-a-million

 

 

If you’re like me, the ending of King’s Cage left you – well, there’s no better way to put it – hanging on a cliff. Waiting for the next book was emotionally (and almost physically) painful. The promotional quotes and snippets, not to mention the teasers Victoria Aveyard herself posts on her social media (because she damn knows how to tease us!) only made the waiting more unbearable.

But now, it’s FINALLY here!

And it is as epic as promised.

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

Goodreads

War Storm immediately picks up where King’s Cage left off. We find now 18-year old Mare Barrow on the precipice of war – war for the throne of Norta between the Calore brothers, war against the combined forces of the Lakelands and Piedmont and, most especially, war for equality between Reds and Silvers. It’s the culmination of everything Mare has ever fought for.

I was actually a little wary going into this book for a number of reasons. First reason, the number of POVs. I get the need for it in King’s Cage since Mare, being held captive by Maven, is mostly absent from other key parts of the story so Victoria Aveyard needed other characters to be her readers’ eyes. Five, though, just sounded a lot to me especially since, from what teasers were released before the book was published, most of the characters who get their own POVs appear to be together in the same place.

Another concern I had was the length of this book. At over 600 pages, the longest in the whole series, War Storm is a hefty book. I had a problem with the way King’s Cage was paced. The first half moved too slow for me, so I was worried that with its length War Storm might have the same problem.

I shouldn’t have worried.

Needless to say, with everything that is happening, War Storm has a complex storyline. Aveyard, however, deftly weaves together story threads she has laid out in the first three books to tie it off as neatly as she can, paying careful attention to what her characters’ arcs call for. The world building is rich and expansive, the pacing almost seamless, and that ending, golly gosh, it gave my broken heart hope. I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to this series.

I loved reading about Montfort, the faraway democratic country where Red and Silvers live in peace, and the Lakelands, Norta’s longtime enemy country. They’ve been mentioned so much in the previous books that it was nice to finally have part of the story set in those two locations.

Also, for such a hefty book and so many POVs, War Storm moved right along. It just hit the ground running. The transition between chapters went along smoothly, too. Each character had their own agendas and motivations. They see things differently, react differently. Using several POVs actually made realize just how unreliable a narrator Mare is. Her POV is heavily influenced about what she feels (and how she thinks she must feel) that often times she doesn’t pay much attention to what’s in her periphery (I mean the girl was basically clueless about her brother and Farley being together in Glass Sword. I should have realized this sooner.)

Another thing I loved about this? Well-written female characters. It’s a strong point of this installment in the series. From the protagonist Mare Barrow to former competitor Evangeline Samos, I loved how Aveyard fleshed out her characters showing their development and just how much they’ve changed throughout the four books. I only wished she could have done more for her male characters, Maven and Cal, especially Cal since I think his character still has a lot more to give.

Overall, War Storm is a strong finish to such a good series. It ties off much of what has been laid out in the previous books, but still leaves room for readers to imagine the Red Queen world continuing beyond the pages.

 

First Line Fridays: “War Storm” by Victoria Aveyard

Make dreams come true

Happy Friday (and almost Saturday) everyone!

This is my first post for First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books.

And this Friday’s line comes from (drum roll)…

ws

“We drown in silence for a long moment.”

I’ve finished this one just yesterday and I’m still nowhere near over it. I’m still a mess, still gathering my thoughts just enough for a coherent review, which I may publish some time next week.

Anyway, War Storm is already out on stores. Get it, get it guys. It’s a totally awesome series ender!