I Changed my Mind About Bitterblue

Helloo! I have been pretty busy non-stop for the past few weeks with babysitting, editing, and going down to PA for a friend’s wedding (which I still can’t believe happened) so this blog hasn’t been updated for a bit.

But today I am excited to be back an talking about a book I read earlier in the summer (after this I will finally be caught up with reviews so that’s exciting).

A few summers ago I read Graceling by Kristin Cashore and it’s companion novel, Fire, both of which were amazing. I also read Bitterblue, the sequel to Graceling, but I decided I didn’t like it, and I never ended up finishing it.

12680907Over the summer I’ve been rereading a few things, including Graceling and Fire, so I decided to give Bitterblue another chance. And I ended up loving it!

The first time I tried reading it, I didn’t have a lot of time to read so I would only read a few pages at a time before falling asleep, and I ended up losing track of the plot. I think that has a lot to do with my first impressions of the book. But this time I read it during my vacation time and I devoured the book in my favorite reading chair over the course of a few days and it was great!

If you haven’t read the first two books, I recommend doing that before reading this review because there will be some SPOILERS.

Bitterblue starts years after Graceling. Bitterblue is a young adult now in charge of her own kingdom that is still working to recover from King Leck’s tyrannical rule. Bitterblue, tired of signing papers in her tower with her team of advisors, decides to get to know her city on her own. When she sneaks out at night she finds a crazy cast of characters and many unanswered questions, like why is the city in such a state of disarray, and what are the majestic bridges leading nowhere? So she sets out to find out the answers to these questions on her own.

There are a lot of subplots to this story that don’t come together until the end, which may have had to do with why I lost track of the story on the first read, but I was really able to enjoy the structure of the book on the second round.

I also really liked Bitterblue’s court life and the way it was portrayed in Cashore’s world. I’ve always enjoyed court novels, probably has to do with all the Tamora Pierce books I’ve read. Court novels just lend themselves so well to intrigue, secrets, and gossip, which Bitterblue (the book, not the character) thrives on. It was also interesting to see Katsa and Po from an outsider’s point of view. During Graceling I thought they were super cute, but there were times during Bitterblue where they got a little clingy I thought. Bitterblue also has a closer relationship to Po, which makes sense since they are cousins, and becomes intimidated by Katsa at different points in the story, which is also understandable. Katsa is a force to be reckoned with. I really liked the way Po cared for Bitterblue, and it was nice to see another perspective of him beyond the mysterious character that he is portrayed as in Graceling.

The minor characters of the story are also well portrayed, and while I like Saf and Bitterblue’s relationship, I could also see her doing well in a relationship with Gidon. I’m not usually one to create my own ships for characters that aren’t cannon (other than Neville and Luna in HP – they BELONG together!), but I did like how Bitterblue and Gidon get along. She always felt comfortable with him, which was important considering everything else that was going on in her life. But she does well with Saf too, and I can see them getting along well in the future beyond the end of the book. Thoughts?

There are many puzzles and riddles throughout the book as Bitterblue tries to figure out what’s going on which made for a good read. There was a lot going on but the pace moved along well, and the story was always pushing forward.

I also liked the way Bitterblue tied the two previous books together, especially towards the end. It also painted a strong picture of Leck, even though he died two books ago. He remained a strong character throughout the three books without having too much “screen time”, which made for an interesting read.

Anyone else read Bitterblue out there? What are your thoughts?

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My 100th Post!! (and The Liebster Award)

Hello everyone, and welcome to my 100th post and summer makeover! It sounds corny but it’s hard to believe I’ve gotten this far, and I am so excited to see where this blog will go in the future! I have never really been too good at keeping something like this blog up, so the fact that I am here still is pretty exciting. It’s gotten to the point where I feel guilty if I get to the end of a week without posting. So whether you’ve read one post or you read every post (I don’t know if anyone actually does) – whatever you do thanks for sticking with me.

I would also like to use my special 100th post to accept The Liebster Award, which Shannon from Beauty and the Mess (http://beautyandthemessblog.wordpress.com) nominated me for a few months ago.

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I had seen the little Liebster Award stamp on different blog’s sidebars before, but I didn’t really know the details behind it, so this gave me a good excuse to go look up the rules. From what I could tell there were a few different variations to the rules, but the gist of the Liebster Award is to

(1) answer 11 questions about yourself

(2) ask 11 more questions to your nominations and

(3) nominate 11 blogs to pass on the award by linking to their blog and then letting them know about the nomination.

There was one version of the rules that I liked which said to also give 11 facts about yourself, so I am doing that as well, although it might be optional. I don’t know. The nominees are also blogs with under 200 followers (or 2,000 one version said (some of my nominees are over 200 but under 2,000 so I’m going to say I’m in the clear) to give a nod to the smaller blogs on the internet, and I am honored to be part of that group. 🙂

So here we go.

The Questions 

Here are the questions that Shannon asked me:

What’s your favorite animal?
 Definitely dogs. I love seeing all the different dogs in New York, and there is a dog park near my house that I stop by sometimes. There’s are benches and a regular park there too so I’m not always that person in the dog park without a dog, even though that has definitely happened.
 
What’s something on your bucket list?
Probably travel more. I have been getting some wanderlust recently, and I would love to do something about it. I don’t know where in particular. I would love to go to France and Istanbul again and Greece, which I’ve never been to before.
 
Read any good books this past year?
Yep. Just look at a few of my other posts to see some of them.
 
If you had a million dollars, what are a few things you would do with it?
I have answered this question so many times in French class whenever we studied the subjunctive, which deals with uncertainty so that’s the ultimate short essay question, but I never really thought about it much beyond that. I would love to use some of it for travel, and I would like to think that I would donate some and save some as well.
 
What’s your favorite TV show?
I’m bad at superlatives, but I was a huge fan of Gilmore Girls and LOST in high school. Right now I like Parks and Rec, Elementary, Castle, Doctor Who (Ten is the best – I love David Tenant!), Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Foyle’s War etc. but I’m always looking for new shows to watch. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!
 
What’s something you’re afraid of?
Heights. Also I have had many different dreams about elevators going too fast either up or down, but I’m not afraid of elevators really. And I’ve grown up taking elevators all the time so it’s nothing strange for me. Take that as you will.
 
If you could see anyone in concert, who would it be?
Since The Beatles were my first favorite band when I was little, and they have soo many songs, I would probably say them. When I was in college, I heard that Paul McCartney had gone on tour in 2008, and I didn’t know about it at the time so I didn’t go. But friends of mine did, and I was so jealous of them. I’m sure he went to NY and played at Madison Square Garden, and I could have gone to see him there!
 
What’s your favorite book?
Again I’m bad with the superlatives, especially when it comes to books, but Harry Potter will always hold a special place in my heart. But if you ask me this question at different times the answer changes beyond that.
 
If you could go bowling with any fictional character, who would it be?
Good question. Ginny Weasley always seemed like an awesome person to me. Maybe just the whole Weasley family. That would be great. Seeing their dynamic bowling would be amazing with all the kids and Molly and Arthur. And it would make Arthur’s day to do such a muggle thing as bowling. (Also this would be pre-book 7 for obvious reasons).
 
Why did you start a blog?
I started my blog a month or two before graduating 2 years ago so that I would have something to do post-graduation that would keep me on somewhat of a schedule since I didn’t know what I was doing after school ended at that point. Also I realized that after graduation I would be able to read for fun, which was something I hadn’t gotten to do as much of as I wanted to over the past 17 years because school. I kept it going for the NYU Summer Publishing Program as a professional online presence for the summer after graduation and just continued on after that.
 
What’s your favorite season?
Definitely summer 🙂 I live for the warm weather, the beach and sitting in parks.
 
The Facts
 
Here are some things you may or may not know about me:
 
  1. Most people change what they want to be when they grow up a lot as a child, but I always wanted to be a writer. Always. It morphed a bit in high school and college to working with books/editing but it never changed much beyond that, and I still love to write.
  2. I am a born and bred New Yorker, and I love the city even though I knew I didn’t want to stay in the city for college (which I didn’t). That being said, I love the weekends that I spend in the country too.
  3. I am left-handed, and have always been strangely proud of that fact.
  4. When I was 8 I wrote a story called Little Horses that was loosely based on Little Women – I say loosely because I hadn’t read Little Women yet. Little Horses was well over 100 pages long in my notebook (I want to say 180 something). It had a plot in that things happened but that was about it. 
  5. I randomly didn’t watch TV for a few years when I was a kid. There was no particular reason for this, I just didn’t.
  6. I love the beach. Any beach. Absolutely love it.
  7. I am currently working as a freelance editor and babysitter, and while I am still trying to figure out my life (as much as I don’t like the phrase 20-something that’s where I am right now) I am really enjoying the structure, freedom, and experience that these two jobs have given me.
  8. I am an avid Disney fan, but I never really liked Disney movies as a kid. I always thought they were too scary, too loud, or too sad.
  9. I tend to judge books very quickly, especially if I am not sure what to read next. If the first few sentences don’t grab me it’s hard for me to get any farther.
  10. I really liked The Sound of Music when I was little. As in I was completely obsessed with it. I probably watched it at least once a month, if not more, and I was also fascinated with World War II. Looking back on it, that seems kind of strange, considering I was about 9, but I blame Julie Andrews, American Girl, and the fact that I am a partial history geek.
  11. I was born on February 11th, and 11 is one of my favorite numbers along with 2 for obvious reasons.

The Questions II

  1. If you could travel anywhere on your next vacation where would you go?
  2. Why do you blog?
  3. What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?
  4. What is your favorite type of book to read?
  5. What is your favorite movie?
  6. What TV shows do you binge watch?
  7. Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
  8. Do you cry easily with books/movies? What book or movie made you cry?
  9. Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
  10. Who was your favorite high school teacher, college professor, or mentor that you have had?
  11. If you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be?

The Nominees 

I really enjoyed going through the blogs that I follow and finding new blogs to follow to nominate people. The nominees are:

  1. http://readandsurvive.wordpress.com
  2. http://bookscleverness.wordpress.com
  3. http://rookienotes.wordpress.com
  4. http://dollymadisondesigns.wordpress.com/
  5. http://theegotripper.com
  6. http://withinmylens.wordpress.com
  7. http://knowedits.wordpress.com 
  8. http://astoldbylaura.wordpress.com
  9. http://boscafelife.wordpress.com
  10. http://readingwithtea.com
  11. http://amandaliew.com

Here are some bonus cute puppy pictures for my 100th post. Happy Wednesday!

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Two Cute Twins Dog Wallpaper

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Ruin and Rising: A Great Ending

Hello everyone and happy Friday! And welcome to my 99th post!! I have been pretty busy these past couple of weeks between going to camp, babysitting, and editing which has been great! I love keeping busy but I also haven’t had much time to blog recently so I am making up for that today.

Other than Harry Potter, I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought a book on the day that it came out, but I started reading the Grisha series at the perfect time for the third book release back in June (still playing catch up a bit), and I was able to get it on its release date, which was pretty exciting. 🙂 I am sad that this review took me so long to get to, but I am really excited to finally talk about it and hear what anyone else thought about this final installment or the series in general. Leave your comments below!

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I must say I was a bit apprehensive about this book before reading it because I have read many trilogies where the third book isn’t as good as the first or second, and I really did not want that to happen with this series. But I can safely say that that was not the case with Ruin and Rising. At all. So don’t worry. It was amazing.

Many of the things that I enjoyed about Ruin and Rising were continuations of what I have already talked about in my last two reviews, so I won’t go in to as much detail with this review, but it was an amazing book and everyone should read it. The characters were complex, sarcastic, and real. The Darkling continued to be terrifying in his complexly enticing way, the Russian fantasy world setting continued to spellbound, and the action in the book kept me reading, even if the pacing was different from the previous two books.  Also if anyone hasn’t read the series be warned that there will be spoilers although I will try to keep them at a minimum. But feel free to check out my thoughts on the first or second books.

Ruin and Rising picks up shortly after Siege and Storm with Alina living underground as Ravka’s current patron saint, a life that has been touched on in the previous two books, but has never been fully explored until now. She is weak and broken after the events of the second book, but she is still on a mission to beat The Darkling by collecting Morozova’s third amplifier. 

Alina is also not the same character she was in the first or second books. After her stand off with The Darkling at the end of Siege and Storm she is much darker, and works to regain the power that she had before she was broken down, and find power that she never had (hence the Rising). She and The Darkling are now more similar than ever, and The Darkling is more powerful than before, which furthers the Mal/Darkling/Nikolai debacle which was about so much more than a love triangle. (thank you!)

I have a lot of feelings about the ending of this book that I would love to talk about here, but I don’t want to give too much away, which is why this review is on the shorter side. While I was reading avidly throughout the entire story, it was really the last couple of chapters that really got me going. Plot twists tend to do that. So if anyone has thoughts – good, bad, or ugly – on the series, the characters, the ending leave them below and we can talk! 

Also I am so excited to announce that this is my 99th blog post! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far, and I have loved blogging for the past 2 years (my gosh, that’s a long time…) Well, on to 100!

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