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writingthedreamblog

The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Month

July 2016

My Musings: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

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This book was a fun read filled with romance, magic, and wonderful worldbuilding. Many of the elements of the story resembled those of Harry Potter and Eragon, but the tension-filled relationship between Prince Titus and Iolanthe was unique in its own right. The most interesting aspect of the story was watching the budding romance between these two wonderful characters. Despite Iolanthe being presented as the main protagonist, destined to be the chosen one meant to defeat the evil Bane, I found Titus to be the most lovable of the pair. I admired Thomas’ delicate and carefully crafted portrayal of the almost king as a boy weighed down by his destiny, while heroically struggling to be brave and uphold his duty to his people. Iolanthe was every bit the spunky heroine, but not nearly as well developed, and I couldn’t make myself feel as much of a connection to her.

Overall, the story was interesting, but not action-packed. For all the time and effort spent by the author in creating this dramatic sense of the potential greatness of the two main characters, I found the ending to be somewhat disappointing and anti-climatic. The action scenes were fast-paced, but many times vague and confusing. This drawback was very evident in the final scene, and that was partly why I was left somewhat detached at the conclusion. Aside from this, the novel was a pleasant and romantic read. I would recommend it for fans of high fantasy with an English flair.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for fans of high fantasy with an English flair.

If I could summarize the book in one word: Enchanting

Here’s an official summary on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★1/2

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“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” – Anna Quindlen

My Musings: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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After seeing several reviews on this novel, I was somewhat hesitant to buy it, however after reading the blurb several times, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. The concept of a warrioress tasked with hunting evil faeries and saving the world in the process isn’t an exceedingly original one, but I found this to be a surprisingly fun read. While May’s worldbuilding is somewhat lacking, the relationship between her characters were interesting enough to keep me entertained. Aileana was a compelling heroine, and I loved her strength throughout the novel. I also enjoyed reading the banter between her and Kiaran, and honestly their alliance/romance was the highlight of the book for me. Without giving any spoilers away, I will say that I found the ending to be both short and confusing and not satisfactory at all. I am as big of a fan of cliffhangers as anyone else, but this ending didn’t even feel like an ending at all, and to be honest, I most likely won’t be reading the sequel.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for any fans of faeirie folklore and steampunk looking for a fast read.

If I could summarize the book in one word: forgettable

Here’s the official summary on goodreads.

My rating: ★★★ 1/2

Through the Forest Old

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On and on we walked

through a forest that was old,

older than civilizations,

older than seemingly the earth itself.

My Musings: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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As soon as I picked up this book and read the blurb on the back cover, I was intrigued. This story was advertised as having many things: mystery, suspense, masterful storytelling, and a gothic setting. Indeed, it delivered all of these factors to an extent, and yet, by the close of the novel, I felt something was lacking.

Let me first say that the language was beautiful from beginning to end. I loved the author’s description of the protagonist’s special relationship with books. Over the course of the novel, the various books and the stories featured within them are developed with such care that they nearly become characters in themselves, even more so at times, than the actual humans. The setting effectively established the haunting mood of the tale. Nearly every scene was heavy with unspoken memories, shadows, and dust.

What didn’t really grab me was the suspense aspect of the novel, or rather, a disappointing absence of it. The story’s pace was relatively slow. Yes, there is mystery as well as a distinct feeling of uneasiness that spans throughout the novel, but suspense? No. That factor only comes into play during the last few pages of the novel, but even that quickly fades after barely sputtering to life. The Thirteenth Tale is a thought-provoking, yet slow read. I kept waiting for something totally unexpected to happen. I kept waiting to be scared out of my wits.

While the ending indeed was surprising, the build-up was hardly gripping, and in the end I was left with a feeling of disappointment for what it could have been. Overall, I would compare the reading of the novel to the process of sitting down to assemble a thousand-piece puzzle on a rainy day. Does it thoroughly occupy your attention? Yes. Is it enjoyable if, at times, rather drawn-out? Yes. Are you happy to be finished with it? Definitely.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for those looking for a gothic unsettling read and beautiful prose.

If I could summarize this book in one word: Disconcerting

Here is an official summary on goodreads for The Thirteenth Tale.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★

But the sea which no one tends is also a garden when the sun strikes it and the waves are wakened. -William Carlos Williams

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Book Recommendations

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HAVING TROUBLE FINDING AN ENGROSSING READ WHEN STANDING BEFORE THE MASS OF BOOKS AT YOUR LOCAL STORE? WELL NO MORE!

NOTE: The order of these has nothing to do with rank, but rather, the simply the order in which they popped into my head. Also, all of the titles have links to connect you to a full summary of the first book in the series on Goodreads. Enjoy!!!!

The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare-These are some of my favorite books with beautiful writing and amazing character development. These two series, though not dependent on one another, connect wonderfully and both serve to further enrich the Clare’s world of shadowhunters. I, personally, love the Infernal Devices a little more with its Victorian London setting and heartrending characters.

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa-It’s amazing with a love triangle and lots of suspense! I love it I love it! Kagawa’s writing is poetic and moving.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas-It has a great and intricate plotline with a strong heroine, action, and romance.

The Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck- I thought that as whole the series was a good one and definitely unique with the strong Indian culture influence. Great love story!!!!

Star-Crossed Series by Rachel Higginson-This four part series is amazing and addictive to read with great and emotional development of characters and a nail-biting storyline!!!

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson-This book is not just a retelling of Peter Pan, but rather a more realistic view on a coming-of-age tale. This is not a sweet love story, but it is beautiful all the same. I loved the poignancy of Anderson’s writing and the lasting effect it had on me long after I had closed the book.

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown-these are some of the most suspenseful books I’ve ever read. Brown has a real talent for writing action sequences and jaw-dropping plot twists. Once you get into these, they’re impossible to put down.

Splintered series by A.G. Howard-the author’s reimagining of Wonderland and beyond is extremely rich and intriguing. While the love triangle was at times tiresome, I thoroughly enjoyed this series because of the amazing growth that the female protagonist undergoes. Team Morpheus all the way!

Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton. This series is made up of the kind of books that are perfect for snuggling down in blanket on a cold winter day to just relax and read. Actually reading it in the spring, summer, or fall would be just as fine, but you get the point. Wonderful romance (Are you catching on to a major theme in all these books) and great suspense.

Ember series and Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates-I love her books because the characters seem so real and relatable. Definitely unique storylines and very entertaining reads!!!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater-I loved this standalone book because Stiefvater’s writing instantly drew me in. In this novel there is no magic or anything paranormal, however the island setting and concept of water horses was utterly original.

Hope you enjoy!

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My Musings: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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I had been looking forward this fourth installment of the Throne of Glass series for months, and I am thrilled to say it did not disappoint. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it! Everything about this story—the plot, the worldbuilding, the new characters, the returning characters—all of these factors were well crafted and just plain exciting to read. While, I must admit that the last two books did not quite make me feel the same magic when reading of the first, I am ecstatic to say that the fourth novel exceeded my expectations. In fact, I would go so far as to claim this as my favorite of the entire series. Why did I love it so much? One of the main reasons is Celaena’s love interest. Now, I’m not going to give away any specifics, but I was already rooting for this couple, and the fact that their relationship developed into a romance in this installment surprised and thrilled me to no end! There were also other romances beginning to bloom within the main cast of characters, all of which I really liked and am eager to see grow. The plot in this novel was absolutely amazing. I was literally sitting on the edge of my bed throughout the duration of my read, tearing through the pages to see what would happen next. Maas has a gift for buildup and suspense, while also never failing to deliver unexpected twists and turning points.
As usual for Maas, the character development was phenomenal. By the conclusion of the story, I felt Celaena’s emotional journey had almost come full circle. I loved how in this book, the distinction between Aelin’s and Celaena’s personalities is clearly laid out before the reader. While I instantly became attached to Celaena in the first book precisely because of her courage and charmingly reckless attitude, in this volume I came to appreciate Aelin so much more, and I really was impressed by how different Maas presented the two identities to be. Indeed, it seemed as if all of the major characters had fully realized story arcs. While the conflict is far from being resolved, I found the ending to be satisfying, more like a closing of one chapter of the story and the opening of the next.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for those who love high fantasy.

If I could summarize this book in one word: Epic

Here’s an official summary of Queen of Shadows on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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