Friday, April 13, 2018

Meeting Madeline Miller!

I make it no secret that The Song of Achilles is my all time favourite book. After all, I have 6 different copies and am constantly purchasing more (I might have a problem)! So when I heard that Madeline Miller was going to be at Parnassus Books in Nashville, I knew there was nothing on Olympus or in the Underworld that could keep me from going.

For those of you poor souls that haven’t heard of The Song of Achilles, I have a gushing review. If you’re a classics fan, if you’ve read the Iliad, or even if you had that Percy Jackson phase, I 1000% recommend.

Her next book, Circe, is about the goddess with the same name. It’s a sort of retelling of The Odyssey from Circe’s perspective and gives insight into her life in a way that ancient mythology didn’t delve into. Now, I haven’t read The Odyssey in years and I barely remember Circe at all. In fact, the only reason I know her name is the role she played in Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. I look forward to hearing more about her character. From the excerpts I’ve read and from the answers that Madeline Miller gave during the event, I can’t wait to read about a badass goddess that uses witchcraft and turns men into pigs.

It came as a shock, but apparently, in Greek mythology, divine power and witchcraft are considered different. Whereas divine power is simple and straightforward, witchcraft is hands on and gritty.

I must have looked like the nerdiest person there. Not only did I sit in the first row (right next to V.E. Schwab who I could not for the life of me bring myself to talk to), I wore a sweatshirt that said ‘Patroclus’ right across the front and hugged my stack of assorted SoA copies. I’m positive that I had the most books out of everyone (5 as opposed to the 1-2 that most people had). By the time I reached the front of the signing line I stammered out how amazing The Song of Achilles was and that it changed my life. Madeline Miller is the nicest person ever, guys, because she commented on how she noticed my shirt and the crowd and instantly thought “I need to meet that girl!” My inner fangirl was screaming. How I wasn’t a sobbing mess is beyond me.

As if my swooning over her book wasn’t enough, I just had to hold up the line to ask questions. The #1 question that was swirling around my brain was “Why did you make Patroclus pacifistic when, in The Iliad, he’s seen as second to Achilles?” Patroclus is freaking badass and a crazy fighter, so seeing him so tame was different. In case you were wondering, my boy Pat made the second most kills in Homer’s story just behind Diomedes and ahead of Achilles. It takes Hector, some random dude, and freaking god Apollo to take him down! Her response was simply that she pulled the idea from Troilus and Cressida instead of Homer.

My #2 question was nitpicking and, in hindsight, not necessarily worth questioning, but I had to know. When Patroclus is scaling the walls of Troy, Apollo is depicted as being cold and aloof, which I totally understand as a god, but he was mentioned as having dark hair. In every painting I’ve see and every mention of him, he is almost always a blond. My thinking is; He’s the god of light and all, so why dark hair? Not surprisingly the answer was that Apollo has been vastly westernized and, therefore, given the Nordic features that we so commonly see. “I wanted to get away from that kind of ideology” is essentially what she said. She also mentioned that Achilles is mentioned as “fair haired”, but that the Greeks used colours differently. This can mean Achilles was blond, light brown, or even red (which might give insight as to his name ‘Pyrrha’ on Scyros). The ancient Greeks called blood purple, so interpretation is pretty open!

When I asked to take a picture she said “Of course! You’re wearing a Patroclus shirt!” and I don’t think any other phrase has made me smile that much. I felt a little weird about it, because no one else was talking so long and no one was really asking for pictures, but it was an amazing experience. To those of you that were stuck in line behind me, I am so sorry I talked for like 10 minutes. Madeline Miller is an awesome, unique individual. She really helped re-spark my love of Greek and Roman mythology (and my love of Patrochilles) and everyone needs to read her beautiful, lyrical books!

I love talking about signings, because no two are the same. Each author has their own way of explaining things and interacting with the audience. Some of them might be disappointing and some of them are fantastic. Meeting Madeline Miller was definitely the highlight of my year!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Grown Ups' Crusade - Book Blitz

36104250
Title: The Grown-Ups' Crusade
Author: Audrey Greathouse
Series: The Neverland Wars #3

Synopsis:

Gwen has returned to Neverland with Peter Pan and the lost children, but this time, the adults are following close behind.
The Anomalous Activity Department has plans to finally conquer Neverland by bringing the final battle to the vulnerable island. The children will have to rally fairies, mermaids, and allies from other magical realms to stand a chance against the shadow-casting army of grown-ups heading for them.
The black-coat soldiers are far from their only problem. Lasiandra is missing. No one has seen her since Gwen left her at the lakeside with Jay, and the mermaids searching have found only grave omens in the stars. With the island on the cusp of a war that threatens to strip the land of its magic, the last thing Peter and Gwen need is the ancient flagship that appears on their horizon, sailing pirates straight for their shores.
When the battle begins amid old and new enemies, Gwen’s maturity will be a double-edged sword. She will either grow stronger or grow up… maybe both.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104250-the-grown-ups-crusade?ac=1&from_search=true


Purchase:Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grown-Crusade-Neverland-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B078SZLVYVB&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grown-ups-crusade-audrey-greathouse/1126998003?ean=9781634222822#/iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grown-ups-crusade/id1273748373?mt=11Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-grown-ups-crusade


Excerpt:

Gwen gathered fruit as fast as she could in the dim of the early morning. Mangos and
marionberries, peaches and papayas, star fruit and oranges… she shoved the land fruit into
her bag, never breaking pace as she trekked weast across the island. She needed to get to
the coast and back before any fairies awoke. The entire fairy population had indulged in joyful
revelries the night before, celebrating some amorphous holiday unknown to humans. The
dawn would find even the most temperate fairies still lolling in drunken dreams and merry
slumber. But dawn had not yet arrived and not everyone slept; stars still speckled the bluing
sky and certain inhabitants of Neverland were still speaking with them.
Tromping over vines and fungi, Gwen bushwhacked her way through the forest-jungle
on anxious feet. The mermaids had not been helpful as of late.
The new mermaids she’d met wouldn’t even give her their names. Eglantine and
Cynara had been snide at best, and contemptuous at worst. Gwen wouldn’t have minded
it—she didn’t care what mermaids thought of her—but she felt certain they knew what had
happened to Lasiandra and refused to explain. This drowsy morning offered her a chance to
tempt them with an overabundance of land fruit without anyone noticing. She would persuade
the mermaids to cede their starry secrets and hurry back before any stray fairy or curious
child found her at the incriminating lagoon.
Gwen reached the wood’s end and hurried down the steps carved into the chalky cliff
face. She moved so fast she half-flew toward the slender figures half-submerged in the
lagoon.
Gwen had not seen Lasiandra since the night she escaped with Jay from Lake Agana.
In the chaos, she had never retrieved the scale from Lasiandra, and thus lost her ability to call
her friend. She hadn’t worried about it—until days and weeks passed without sight of her at
the lagoon.
“What business have you with Lasiandra?” Eglantine had demanded last time Gwen
visited. “What matter is she to you?”
“I’m just worried about her,” Gwen had answered, innocent and truthful. The region’s
entire Anomalous Activity Department had been on duty that night, trying to apprehend lost
children and capture whatever magic followed them. Lasiandra’s disappearance was
ominous, to say the least. A few fairies had not returned from the mission, and there was no
question of what fate had befallen them.
In response, the mermaids had only mocked her, contorting their melodic voices into
cackling imitations of her land-dwelling accent, “I’m just worried about her.”
“Worried about her! Concerned about a mermaid?” Cynara had declared, insulted and
amused. “We are not of such a feeble nature as you landmaids. Mermaids have more
strength in a single scale than you have in all of your heart. You need not worry for a
mermaid, girl. We can take care of ourselves.”
Gwen had wanted to believe her.


http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232367/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="d04251232367" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_fhk2n77i">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Most Anticipated February 2018 Books

February 2018 has a lot of amazing books that are being released!  Here are two that I'm dying to get my hands on.


35098412
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

I'm so ridiculously excited for this book to be out in the world so that I can finally talk about it with someone! I did a review with Rebecca Ross a while back and she's just an all-around amazing person. The Queen's Rising is a great story about a magical world that I 100% recommend.


23367265
As two lethal elemental gods set out to destroy Mytica, sworn enemies must become allies in the final fight to save the kingdoms.
Jonas continues to willfully defy his destiny, but the consequences of plotting his own course are drastic. As the fight for Mytica rages on, he must decide just how much more he's willing to sacrifice.
Lucia knows there's something special about her daughter and she'll do anything to protect her, even if that means facing Kyan alone.
Amara is called back home to Kraeshia. Grandma Cortas has her own plans for Mytica's future. She promises Amara power, revenge, and dominance if she agrees to be part of her scheme.
Magnus and Cleo's love will be put to the ultimate test. Dark magic is causing widespread destruction throughout the kingdom. Enemies across the sea are advancing. And unrest is stirring throughout the land. Is their love strong enough to withstand the outside forces tearing them apart?


I've only had about 5 freakouts about this book...this week. Mytica is perhaps one of my favourite fantasy worlds to date and MAGNUS. If you haven't read the Falling Kingdoms series...what are you doing with your life? This is the 6th and last book of the series and it promises to be a fantastic ending. I'm genuinely afraid to read it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Earth's End by Elise Kova - Review

27878671
Title: Earth's End

Series: Air Awakens
Author: Elise Kova
Rating: 4/5

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

Can we just take a minute to applaud Baldair on just being a genuinely amazing person? *soft clapping sounds in the distance* Lovely. I’m confident enough in my own ability to latch onto unsuspecting characters enough to be able to go out on a limb and say that he could possibly be my favourite character from this book. I know, I know, “But Price Aldrik is everything you love in a love interest, what has happened?!” Well, hear me out.


Alright, for starters, Aldrik legitimately creeped me the hell out. In Air Awakens and Fire Falling, it was like “Ooh dark prince, me likey”. And at the start of Earth’s End, this is much how I reacted. He was hurt, he needed Vhalla, and then his reaction to her absence when he woke up was just amazing and I freaking loved it. However, I don’t think Aldrik completely has his wits about. Not only does he essentially openly attack his father, but he does it in such a flamboyant and over-the-top fashion that it’s...unnerving. You know nothing good can come from that. Then, when he started snapping at Vhalla more and more about her “prying” I started getting those uneasy feelings that remind me of Tamlin from ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas. He is unstable and not in the sexy way that the dark prince usually is, but like serious disturbed. When Vhalla finally allows herself to see his drinking problem, I think that solidified my resolve. The fact that she turned to Baldair in that situation speaks volumes to me. Not to mention he put off his own affairs to help her. Aldrik is like...clingy in a creepy way and throws around “my love” WAY too often for it to be smart. Just saying, uneasy vibes.


There’s two more books to this series, I knew this one couldn’t have a happy ending. The fact that Aldrik and Vhalla both thought they could get away with their...to avoid spoilers...plan for the end of the war was just ridiculous. They basically flaunted their plan and were asking for it to be dismantled. Once again, I turn to Aldrik’s unholy reaction. I don’t know what it is with people and just pushing their significant other away at inopportune times, but stop. The last 10 pages were probably the best part of the entire book just because of the sheer magnitude of everyone’s reactions. Not to mention it’s when Vhalla is the most badass because she basically says “Screw you” to everyone and just *poof* disappears.


I love this series and the fact that I’ve been dragging it out as long as I have is both amazing and terrifying. I do hope Aldrik cleans up his act, because I’m getting real tired of his bs while Baldair is out there being the golden boy (ha). His character alone and a few of Vhalla’s “WTF” moments are the only reason I couldn’t bring myself to give this a full 5 stars, but it was STUNNING nonetheless.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best Books of 2017!

It's that time of year again! 2017 is almost over and this year I'll be doing my top 7s from 2017! These are all in my opinion!

Best Books from 2017*

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Traveler by L.E DeLano
3. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
4. The Battlemage by Taran Matharu
5. Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
6. Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
7. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

*Note: These are my top choices of books I've read that were published in 2017.

Best Covers from 2017*

1. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright
2. Hunted by Meagan Spooner
3. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
4. Roar by Cora Carmack
5. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
6. Windwitch by Susan Dennard
7. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

*Note: The amount of time this section took was astounding.

Best Characters from 2017*

1. Rhysand from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Julian Blackthorn from Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
3. Finn from Traveler by L.E. DeLano
4-5. Cassian and Azriel from a Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
6. Maven Calore from King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
7. Mark Blackthorn from Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

*Characters based on books I read that were published in 2017

And finally, here are my top 17 books that I read in 2017, regardless of publication year.

Top 17 Overall Books of 2017

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
3. The Queen's Rising (ARC) by Rebecca Ross
4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
5. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
6. The Fever Code by James Dashner
7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
8. Traveler by L.E. DeLano
9. Dreamer (ARC) by L.E. DeLano
10. Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
11. Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
12. Catalyst by Lydia Kang
13. Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes
14.  The Novice by Taran Matharu
15. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
16. It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
17. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The 17 overall was nearly impossible to figure out because I'm positive I'll never be able to organize them perfectly. I read 66 books over the year (including rereads) and picking just 17 of those is ridiculously stressful. I loved all of the books above and suggest all of them!

It's been a good year, getting to read all these amazing and beautiful (and some not so amazing and beautiful) books. I look forward to a great 2018 filled with all new books. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Debut Author Bash - Rebecca Ross





35098412When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

1. Q: Which passion would you pick and why?

A: I would definitely be a passion of knowledge (although I think dramatics have the most fun!).

2. Q: What gave you inspiration for your world (books, movies, etc.)?

A: Since I'm a very visual person, I glean a lot of inspiration from Pinterest; I have a board for TQR that is full of landscapes and castles and costumes. I think there is something about the Renaissance that really draws me; I love the thought of culture going through a rebirth. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is one of my favorite books ever, and I loved the world she created in that story. And I'm also a huge fan of the movie Ever After! I think all of these things really built up my own imagination.

3. Q: Which character do you relate to the most?

A: I relate the most to Brienna. I feel like she and I would be pretty good friend in real life :)

4. Q: Will we learn more about Brienna’s passion-sisters or Cartier?

A: Yes! You will definitely learn more about Cartier in the second installment. And Brienna's passion-sisters are some of my favorite characters, so I hope to also do more with them.

5. Q: Do you have any writing habits?

A: I must always have a drink with me when I'm writing. I typically have coffee, water, herbal tea, and kombucha on my desk (sometimes all of those at one time!).

6. Q: What kind of research did you do for The Queen’s Rising?

A: Here are a few things I did research on before I got started writing: clothes, music, castles, food, medieval swordsmanship. I feel like most fantasy is grounded in history, and while I didn't use all of my research, it definitely provided a good jumping off point for me to get started writing.

7. Q: What kind of books do you read in your freetime?

A: I love to read fantasy in my spare time.

8. Q: Do you have an author you always read/a favourite author?

A: My top two favorite authors are Juliet Marillier and Melina Marchetta. They know how to write characters and create worlds like no one else (and they also have both made me ugly cry in their books).

9. Q: What can we look forward to from you in the future?

A: Definitely more stories! TQR is a trilogy, and I'm actually going through edits for Book 2 right now. Book 2 is a direct sequel (not a companion book).

10. Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: My advice for aspiring writers is to write. And I know that sounds simple, but you really must learn how to dedicate time to getting words on the page. You don't have to necessarily write every day (although I do feel like it helps turn it into a good habit), but you must hone the discipline to write even when you don't feel like it. You learn the most about crafting a novel by going through the whole process: the beginning, the middle, the end. And be prepared to rewrite. All good writing is rewriting.

And a Giveaway!!!!!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Review

Image result for the song of achilles
**Quotes based on the US paperback
“Name one hero who was happy...you can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I can’t”
“I know. They never let you be famous and happy...I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.” He took my palm and held it to his. “Swear it.”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re the reason…” (pg. 104-105)

The Song of Achilles tells a twist of The Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus. It follows the life of Patroclus from being a young, simple prince and all the way through the Trojan War. It tells a heartbreaking tale of him meeting Achilles and the progression of their relationship from strangers to companions to something more. 

I latched onto this story from the very start. In my freshman year of high school, before I knew this book even existed, I wrote a retelling of The Iliad where Achilles and Patroclus were implied lovers, but never explicitly said so. When I heard of this book, I knew I had to read it. This story was beautifully tragic and wonderfully heartbreaking. In the beginning, Patroclus is so depressing (yet somehow humorous) that you can’t help but feel bad for him and the bad luck the Fates seemed to bestow on him. 

“She wants you to be a god,” I told him.
“I know.” (pg. 55)

Watching Achilles grow in his experiences from a perspective other than Homer’s is unexpected and something I welcome. Seeing him embrace Patroclus as a friend so readily was so heartwarming. 

Thetis. The wrath I felt for the minor goddess was not something I had anticipated. She clearly loved Achilles and the fact that she wanted him to become a god is something I had never looked at before. Heracles became one, so why shouldn’t he? Her disdain for Patroclus was gut-wrenching and left me tense with every interaction. By the end, I was almost completely over her character, but the last few pages left me feeling only grief for the goddess.

“There is no law that gods must be fair, Achilles,” Chiron said. “And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone. Do you think?” (pg. 84)

It was when the war came that I truly began to feel the full weight of this book. Anyone who has read The Iliad or read up a little on Greek stories/history knows there is only one way for this book to end. I saw a deep change in Achilles during the Trojan War. He was no longer the same innocent boy and he knew what the war would mean. Not only for himself, but for Patroclus. In the war, it is the first time Achilles feels the full weight of his mortality as realization sets in that he will not be a god.

Achilles was looking at me. “Your hair never quite lies flat here.” He touched my head, just behind my ear. “I don’t think I’ve ever told you how I like that.” (pg. 182)

Patroclus makes it clear to the reader that he has no intention of surviving the war or ever leaving Troy. He will do anything to keep Achilles alive and even goes as far as to keep him from killing Hector. It is a running theme during the war for Achilles to claim he has no reason to kill Hector. It is obvious that he is doing this not only to buy time from the Fates, but to remain with Patroclus for as long as possible. 

The time in war weighs heavily on Achilles and even starts to change who he is. His hubris begins to consume him as he realizes that the gods never promised how much or why he will have fame. Patroclus fears that people will remember him for the wrong things, the terrible things he does in war instead of the Achilles he knows and loves. There is even a time in which Patroclus considers suicide in a fit of rage to punish Achilles for his selfishness. 

I forced my voice to match his in lightness. “I’m sure you’re right. After all, Hector hasn’t done anything to you.”
He smiled then, as I had hoped he would. “Yes,” he said. “I’ve heard that.” (pg. 247)

This book was the most beautiful book I have ever read. I could read the story of Achilles and Patroclus and still cry at the end. That is how amazing this is. I could go as far to say that this is now my favourite book and that I play to read it many many more times in the future. The Song of Achilles truly makes you appreciate the time you have while on earth, however short it may be. 

Achilles makes a sound like choking. “There are no bargains between lions and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.” (pg. 344)