A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

Okay I read this book a LONG time ago and it took me a while to even find the motivation for the review; mostly because I had waited so long to even write it. I had to remember everything that I wanted to right about, and I probably have done a review on this at some point (either the show or the book) but I had deleted it from my old blog. Silly me.

This has been one of my favorite series, mostly the tv show since that is what I started first but I love the books as well. I am currently on the second book because they take forever to read, but they are so good.

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Goodreads Summary:

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. 

In the first book we are introduced to the world of Westeros and the characters that are in in. We follow King Roberts reign and his friend Ned Stark as well as the entire Stark family, the Lannisters and even the Targaryens (what is left of them.) We follow through al the intrigue of the crown and the death that seems to surround it, the start of a great (or not so great war) and the simple evil of humanity at it’s finest.

This book series is extremely complicated, if you’ve ever read Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit then you know what a complicated fantasy book is. Believe me though, these books are far more complicated than any of the Lord of the Rings books. They are amazing though, very well written and definitely worth the read. There is a lot going on, and the story is packed full but the quality definitely makes up for the mind mush the reader gets from tackling such a series.

Welcome to the world of Westeros and the seven kingdoms.

There is not single main character, and there are several stories going on. We follow several characters, from Ned Stark to all his children and his wife, to Dany Targaryen and her brother with their adventures with the Dothraki. This is a story of power and struggles, the fight to win and to gain. If you love fantasy or medieval stories then you will definitely love this.

I love being able to get more than one story, and as the story progresses and the separate houses split up and do their own things then we get to see how they travel through out the world and what they are doing while everyone else is doing something else.Not having a single main character can be a very good thing, or it can be a very bad thing. It can be hard to follow so many story lines and so much that goes on at any given time but it also really cool to see how all the story lines tie into each other and effect the rest of the Westeros world.

The writing in these books are simply amazing, and the more research I do on the author definitely adds to my love of this series. While the author writes about rather horrible things in this world he created, he is still a resectable man (at least from what I have seen). The writing is detailed, giving enough back story for the reader to understand the depth of the tragedies that are happening in this story as well as allowing the reader to connect with the characters and the relationships that were already built into the story from the start. I am really not that into fantasy books, they have always seemed rather daunting to me; and while this story is most certainly daunting and packed full it is amazing and 9 times out of 10 the reader will fall into this world easily.

There definitely is an adult theme in this book, but I felt as though this was done gracefully. I didn’t feel like any of the adult themes (the violence or the sex) were over the top or even unnecessary. Especially in the book and being able to read about it. There seemed to be a point with each encounter or more violent discussions. Everything ties in with each other at some point in this book. Sometimes you just have to wait for a while to be able to see how it fits into the story.

This world is a magical, yet altogether terrible place and the author did a fantastic job of portraying that. I do not recommend this book lightly, I realize that it is not for everyone. As much as I love this book I know that a lot of the themes and events in this book are very hard to handle. The book alone has a reputation for killing any and all characters, which I can confirm is very true. I don’t love this book because it is perfect and everything is nice. I love this book because it gets down to the nitty gritty, it’s real. I feel as though this could be an accurate portrayal of  a world like that, of people doing anything they can to get whatever they want. The characters are human and flawed and the story is not a happy one. It doesn’t take things lightly and that is why this story is such a great one.

I rated this book a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, it truly is a beautiful piece of work. Again I do not lightly recommend this book, it is definitely a bit cleaner than the show but it still has some very mature themes that might be hard to handle. If you love fantasy books though this might be the one for you. Especially if you are looking for a more realistic rough and tough and vastly serious book. It really is a great read and a wonderfully written book.

I will get the review up on the next book as soon as I can but it might be a while it is taking me a long time to get through these books.

City of Masks- Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman

City of Masks- Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman

I am back, after a lengthy but much needed break I am ready to jump into the blogging game again. I am kicking the restart of my reading and book blogging with a review of one of my favorite childhood books that I was recently able to re-read due to a friend loaning the series to me.

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City of Masks is the first book in the Stravaganza series and the first book in a wonderful fantasy series. Find the book on Goodreads here.

The book takes place in London following Lucien, a 15 year old boy with cancer. After being given a notebook from his father with Italian origins Lucien discovers that he is a part of a group of people called the Stravaganti. He is able to travel across time and different dimensions (best way I can describe that.) to a different reality and time based on the real life Italy. In this different Italy, called Talia, Lucien is no longer sick. He isn’t tired, weary or any of the things that he is in his mortal life. As he enjoys this new found freedom and cure, he explores the complex world of Talia and the City of Bellezza.

This book is unique in the sense that I haven’t actually read a whole lot of books on time travel, mainly because I am not that into Sci-Fi books or even the huge fantasy books that take ages to read. I love them once in a while, but when it gets to the sci-fi aspect of things I just haven’t found an author that I really like while reading about things that like. I loved this book though, and it didn’t really drag on for me. I felt like I could really get into the story without being overwhelemd by the time traveling and different dimensions of the book. The book was a fairly quick read I managed to read it in one day while doing other household things as well. That’s not to say that it’s not good, the first book is just a little smaller than the others and it took no time at all to get through.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, we didn’t always follow Lucien throughout the book and I enjoyed being able to get glimpses of other characters and what was going on in a world like that. Obviously being set in the 16th century (the alternate universe at least) things were a lot more complicated and definitely more tricky to deal with than just in our regular lives. There were different more strict rules, as well as feuding families and plots to overthrow certain powers.

The author was also really big into Italy and that whole culture, so it really tied over into the book and her writing. She made things very different yet almost the same as real life Italy, and it definitely added to the story and her writing. You could tell that the author knew a lot about what she was writing about, and it flowed over very nicely into the book. It didn’t seem as though it was far fetched, but as if that world she created could be real. The rules and the customs of that particular culture were complex and well thought out. World building is not an easy task but it was definitely pulled off very gracefully in this novel. Being able to capture the aspect of a culture while still making up a culture that parallels is amazing and Mary Hoffman did a wonderful job.

I loved the mystery and the intrigue of this book, although I can not tell you if it was shocking to me since I have read this book before. I remember when I was younger I was so glued to this book though, and re-reading it was amazing. Even knowing what was going to happen I was still anticipating the plot twists and the inevitable events that would happen. I didn’t feel like there really was a dull moment, as there was so much to learn in the book- about the culture and the world that was built- I didn’t feel as though a part of the book drug on or slowed down. There wasn’t any fluff or padding, just a heartfelt story and introduction to the world of Stravaganti.

If you love fantasy books, especially if you are looking for something equally good but not as dragging or draining as other books, this is definitely a good read. There is a great historical aspect to it as well, with all the research that went into it. It’s a great read, and I felt as though the author pulled off the concept to this book very well. I am eager to dive into the rest of the series as I have never actually finished this series before. This book is not for everyone, I have seen some complaints about not being terribly complex or thought provoking but I had no trouble with it. If you love the long fantasy books and need something extremely complex to read then I do not recommend this book. I really enjoyed this because I felt that the author did a wonderful job and it was refreshing to read a fantasy book that didn’t make me want to go into a months long reading slump. I rated this a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, partly because I really loved it and partly because of the nostalgia of reading it as a kid.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End by Lemony Snicket

The final book, the end of the end. The close, no more of these.

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I was a little sad that these had finally come to an end, I felt like I was giving up a part of my childhood I had never realized I should of had until now. But this one definitely went out with a bang as was just as good as the others.

The Baudelaire’s find themselves sailing with Count Olaf, after fleeing the hotel and burning it to the ground they are trapped out the sea with him and there is no where to go. Suddenly they get ship wrecked on a island that holds a whole story of mysteries in itself. V.F.D is now scattered and with no way to know what is going on the children try to settle into a new life with the islanders, but as usual there is something wrong.

This book added a whole new twist into the series and proved that the story of their parents was far more complicated than ever let on my Snicket. This book was maddening, saddening and everything in between. For the first time in a long time the children gained some peace with this end, maybe not happiness but at least some peace.

I will make this short as well because I do not want to spoil anything, but if you really want to know how it all ends and spoil it for yourself just google it like I did.

I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it. It is depressing and sad, but also a great read and educational as well as thought provoking. A great read and a great series, I rated this series 5/5 all across the board. Loved it so much! Highly recommend this. Okay, now I am finally done and I need to take a long break from typing because I am so exhausted after so many reviews.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

BOOK TWELVE AND ALMOST DONE!

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I think at this point I am just really sick of writing and kicking myself for not grouping these together into one post but hey, too late now right?

After narrowly escaping Count Olaf AGAIN the children hop in a cab and take a ride to the Hotel Denouement in order to meet with the members of V.F.D on Thursday. Working as hotel employees the children are now the eyes and ears to find out what is happening with the schism in the organization.

These get more gut wrenchingly depressing and sad as they go on and if you think you will ever get a break from that you are wrong. The story only gets worse from here, but it is so beautifully written and so full of twists that even I was taken by surprise with this one. Lemony Snicket has really outdone himself with this series and I have no words to describe how amazing I truly think this series is.

This book starts to delve more and more into the morals of the children and I love that because it really begins to tackle the hard issues of life and what is right and wrong. It’s great that a children’s book covers all this because I feel like most of them don’t actually do that. It’s great to see that an author can write for children and at the same time make it complicated and mysterious as well as educational and thought provoking.

Once again I rated this 5/5 I love love love this series and highly encourage all to read these books.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket

Book Eleven and counting!

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In this thrilling Eleventh installment the children find themselves on a submarine hiding from count Olaf and in search of the lost sugar bowl from V.F.D. In a rush to find the bowl before Count Olaf does the children inadvertently push themselves even further into danger.

I may be a little biased but I loved this book and I love this series. It is so good, even for a children’s series and they just keep getting better and more complex as they go along. They are crazy and quirky and have no ounce of reality and that is okay.

I still hold true to the belief that these are absolutely perfect for children. In this book it tackles morals and choices. As well as strong family bonds in the middle of a tragedy, changing personalities and much much more. The lessons in these books are never ending, and they don’t sugar coat things for the sake of a young reader. It tells it how it is, which is why I love these books so much. Life sucks, life is hard, bad things happen and yet we have 3 kids that still make the best of things and still have hope that it can all be alright.

I will bever stop recommending these books, read them and read them to your kids. Depressing as they are I feel as though they hold so much truth in their crazy quirky pages. So go, if you haven’t by now, go read these books.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket

The Tenth book, slowly making my way down the line with these reviews and still trying to make them short.

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In the tenth books the Baudelaire children struggle in an icy mountain to rescue Sunny who has been kidnapped by Count Olaf. Left behind they struggle to make their way back to Sunny, and inadvertently stumble across V.F.D headquarters and finally get the answers that they were looking for this whole time.

This book was such a huge relief for me. I hate being stuck in a cliff hanger and finally being able to get answers was a weight lifted off my shoulders for sure. Sunny is also growing up in this book, and we really begin to see that in these books. It was really cool to see that even though this is a children’s book series the author took the time to add in the fact that the kids age and grow up. A lot of children’s books tend to forget that part of their stories.

The writing as always is really good and quite clever. I can’t get over the fact that even though it is written for children the book can be enjoyed by adults as well. That is the mark of a good book for sure.

I still recommend this book to pretty much anyone. The mystery and the thrill, along with the depressing story is so much fun to read and enjoy. You won’t get a cheesy happy ending either like you do with most children’s books so you don’t need to worry about being let down in the end with fake happiness forced at the end of the book.

This is great for children as well, I feel as though it tackles issues in a good way and definitely has many vocabulary lessons along the way.

I of course rated this book a 5/5 on Goodreads as well, just like the others.

As always, be wary of such a depressing tale!

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

This book was extremely well done, I was very surprised with it and I loved just about everything about this book. I connected hardcore to the characters and the story and all in all I just fell in love with this one. I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on twitter for an ARC copy of this book and I was not disappointed.

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If Birds Fly Back is a novel about Linny and Sebastian. Linny is lost after her sister Grace up and takes off, trying to fit the pieces together of her mystery she gains an interest in people who have taken off and reappeared. Maybe if she can figure out why these people came back she can find a way to bring Grace back. Sebastian is into the sciences, and wants to figure out the mystery of his father and finally fill the missing pieces in life. They have one thing in common: missing novelist Alvaro Herrera. He went missing three years ago and has made a sudden reappearance with no explanation. As the two band together to uncover the mystery of the missing novelist; they begin to uncover the answers they have been looking for this whole time.

This novel was unlike anything I have ever read, and immediately I connected to this story. I can relate to the run away sister side of the story and it was comforting and saddening to read about a character who was feeling the same confusion about something like this. It was definitely a heavy book to take on for me but I loved it all the same.

The writing was amazing, I felt like this could be a realistic story with realistic characters and conversations. The characters were well written and well developed. I especially loved Linny, being able to relate with what she was going through helped with this a lot. But she was also a writer (screen play/playwright) and she spent the entire novel working on her screen play of her and Grace. It dug down into the nitty gritty of her feelings about her sister leaving her and it was all too real and absolutely beautiful.

I loved the romance in this story as well, it didn’t feel too forced and it felt extremely realistic and well done. It happened slowly through out the entire novel and it wasn’t the main focus of the book either. It didn’t over power the story, and really it just added to it. It helped to shape the characters more as the story progressed and get them to a comfortable position with themselves and the answers they were finding.

Sebastian was a harder character to connect to but I still loved him, and with each chapter flip flopping between Linny and Sebastian we got two sides of the story and got the opportunity to see into his head and understand him more. I ended up loving Sebastian as much as Linny. I couldn’t relate to him as easily as I could Linny, but I know who my father is so I didn’t have a real life connection with him like I had with Linny.

The only thing that I really had trouble with in this book it that it took me a while to get through it, and that was entirely my fault. I had hit a little bit of a slump and slowed down a little bit in my reading. But once I got back into it I sped through the rest of the book really fast. I want to do a re-read later to fully love this book. I felt that with a reading slump issue I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it and it affected my rating of the book.

The ending to this book really made it for me. I was scared to finish this book, worried that it wasn’t going to end how it should end. I was worried the author would somehow try to make things something that just weren’t. But that didn’t happen, it ended how it should of ended and it was so much better than I ever thought that it even could be. The ending allowed for so much, but at the same time didn’t and it perfectly complimented the story. I loved it, it was flawless and wonderful.

I rated this book a 4/5 stars on Goodreads, because it took me a while to get into this I felt as though I didn’t appreciate this story as much as I could. Like I said a re-read is definitely going to happen for me. I loved this book so much and I would recommend this to contemporary lovers. It is a perfect contemporary book, and it’s not all sappy happy and fun which I loved. It’s real life, it was hard to swallow (at least for me) and I love books that make me feel things. This is definitely a book that will do that no doubt about it. This book is set to release on June 27th 2017, so I encourage you all to pre-order because you do NOT want to miss this read. You can pre-order it here on Amazon.