In Appreciation of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna Books

As a lifelong reader, there are many books I read when I was young that have shaped me into the person I am today.  Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables (which I didn’t actually read until high school… but it still shaped me), the list could go on.  I remember loving Julie Andrews’ The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and tearing through every Boxcar Children book I could get my hands on.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve returned to several of these books and have found them disappointing.  Whatever spark they ignited in me no longer connects with the person I am today.  They lose their savor and I can no longer remember why I returned to it again and again.

But that’s not always the case.  There are some books that, when I enter in with my grownup perspective, only get better–books that I can go years without and, upon opening the first page, feel the magic rise up in me once more.

Tamora Pierce is one of those writers for me.

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Firebrand by Kristen Britain

30688516Firebrand by Kristen Britain

Format: Kindle ebook

My Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Amazon / Goodreads

My Summary: The sixth installment of Britain’s Green Rider series, the book takes place where the previous one left off.  After her journey through the mysterious Blackveil Forest and adventures in the future, Karigan has returned home to the castle.  While resuming her duties as a messenger to the king, she struggles to find peace and healing after her long journey.  Eager to establish a sense of normalcy, she is sent on a mission to establish allies among a mythical moose-people in the North, near the territory of the Second Empire, who is trying to overthrow the crown.  Meanwhile, the castle is attacked by an ice elemental, who kidnaps and impersonates King Zachary.  This sets off a sequence of events that puts the future of the kingdom in jeopardy.

Karigan, as a protagonist, wears on me at times–she’s a fantastic Green Rider, an honorary Weapon and sword master, the avatar of the death god, has a magical mirror eye, is blessed by the elven race, loved by the king… and on and on and on.  How special can one person be?!!!

My favorite thing about this book is that we got a large amount of Zachary’s point of view, which was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been reading this series on and off for years.  Britain writes so slowly that, by the time another book comes out, I’ve forgotten everything that has happened.  Thankfully, she sprinkles reminders of past events and plot details into her narrative–which helped me get my bearings.  While this is helpful, it simultaneously comes across as sloppy.  Actually, most of the book feels sloppy and gratuitous… but in an endearing way.  Britain tries to write epic fantasy, but the result is more campy than anything.  The writing may not be great, but when I read Britain’s work, I’m wholly engrossed and having fun.  I spent six days on this 700 page long read and enjoyed every minute.

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Check out my regular reading update posts

What I’ve Been Reading…

Things have been busy in my corner of the universe lately and, while the reading hasn’t stopped, the recording of it definitely has.

In my reading update posts, I normally do an Inbox (what I’m about to read), an Outbox (what I’ve recently finished), and sometimes add a Currently Reading section.  Because I haven’t done one of these in a month or so, I’m going to switch things up and talk about all the things I’ve finished.

Over the past couple of weeks, soooo many of the books I’ve been excited for have come in for me at the library.  My pile is at least ten books high.  It’s a bit overwhelming, but very fun.

So here’s what I’ve been reading lately! Continue reading

Top Ten Books that Feel Like Summer

I’m joining in Top Ten Tuesday once more, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is a summer freebie.  I’ve decided to do my list around books that feel like summer–which, for me, means a lot of things.

Some summer reads actually take place in the sunny season–featuring fluffy, light romances that are prefect for reading on the beach.

Others are funny and fun, which put me in the mindset of summer no matter the season.

Something about summer always puts me in the mood for epic fantasy… or just something really long that I can sink into.

And then there are the books that are a summer tradition.  Not a year goes by that I don’t listen to Tolkien on audiobook.

Here’s the list…
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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Couldn’t Put Down

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is books that you read in one sitting.  Now that I’m working full time, I’m not able to read for hours on end anymore.

So here is a list of books and series that, if possible, I would have consumed in one sitting.  I couldn’t limit it to just ten.

  1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  4. Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
  5. The Evermen Saga by James Maxwell
  6. His Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers
  7. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  8. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  9. The Selection series by Kierra Cass
  10. Everything Rainbow Rowell has written
  11. Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
  12. Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan
  13. Everything Morgan Matson has written
  14. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  15. Everything Sarah J. Maas has written

Have you read any of these?  What books have you read that were so addicting you couldn’t put them down?


Like bookish travel?  Read about my Literary Pilgrimages

Check out my biweekly Inbox//Outbox to find out what I’ve been reading

For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

Black, White, and Shades of Grey: Morality in Fantasy Literature

Who wouldn’t want to hear their favorite authors speak together on the same stage?

Recently, I was inspired by staff at Eventbrite about putting together a dream panel of authors I’d like to see at a conference.  Eventbrite is an organization that helps people create and share events that bring communities together.  For more information about their conference management tool, check out their website.

I love attending conferences, but have sadly never been to one that is book-related.  (That is likely to change now that I’m working as a librarian.)  Still, I assume that most events follow similar structures and that there is a great deal of freedom in what goes on in a panel.  That being said, I spent some time brainstorming what group I should bring together.  There are so many genres that I love and so many topics that would be interesting to explore.  I ended up settling on…

dreamconferenceblogbanner

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Inbox // Outbox 1/23/16

Inbox

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I’ve been on the list for this at the library for quite a while.  I’ve never read anything by Fisher before and, in honor of her passing, am looking forward to exploring what she has to say.  In addition, I’ve been engaging with Star Wars a great deal lately and this fits right in.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

This memoir has been on my library list for a while… I’m not really sure what to expect, but am going to give it a chance.

Darth Vader, Vol 1-4 by Kieron Gillen

This graphic novel series takes my current obsession with graphic novels and combines it with my Star Wars kick.  Vader isn’t my favorite character, but my brother told me these were good, so I’ll see how this goes.

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Top Ten Books in Worlds Not Our Own

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is to generate a list of books that take place on X.  I decided that X would be worlds that are not Earth.  Here we go…

  1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  3. Symphony of Ages trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon
  4. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  5. Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
  6. Evermen Saga by James Maxwell
  7. The Silmarilion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis*
  9. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin**
  10. Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey

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On the Shelf: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is one of those books that have been sitting on the shelf for years, waiting to be read.  I knew I’d get to it eventually… and now I have.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

My Rating: 4 / 5

Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come….

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On the Shelf: Fantasy Trilogies Galore

I’ve been reading a lot lately, but have totally shirked my book reviews.  Oops.  The stresses of my new job have me spending evenings rolling around on the couch in a sweater and leggings, avoiding anything that requires thinking.

So, until I’m able to write any focused reviews, here’s a bit of what I’ve been digging into over the past few weeks!

His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers:

I’ve been seeing things about this trilogy for quite a while, but never engaged until now.  I downloaded an ebook version of the first novel, Grave Mercy, from my local library and was off to the races.  I completed the trilogy in five days and loved them so much I ran online to order physical copies.

These books aren’t the most well-written in the world, but they’re incredibly fresh and original.  The premise is a convent in medieval France where they are dedicated to serving Mortain, the patron saint of Death.  Novices are trained as assassins and sent into the world to do Death’s bidding.  Each book is very different in flavor, although all have their share of romance.  Grave Mercy is, in many ways, a political thriller.  Dark Triumph is very dark and personal.  Mortal Heart is a coming-of-age tale.

If you like historical fiction, fantasy, and romance, these books are a must-read.

The Symphony of Ages trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon

I read the first three books of this now-longer series in high school and have been hankering to revisit them ever since.  That being said, I picked up Rhapsody on a Friday and had all 2,000+ pages of the series read ten days later.  You’d think that a series this long would have dull points, but I couldn’t put these down.  (And this is my second time through!)  Haydon has created a story that suck you in and doesn’t let go until the ride is done.

The books tell the story of Rhapsody, a young singer who finds herself swept into an adventure across Time to learn of a prophecy that foretells her destiny to be a key force in destroying evil.  Through her journey, she encounters a vast array of characters that are diverse, complex, and wonderful.  Haydon’s universe is vast, with deeply structured, believable cultures and religions.  Her world-building is top-notch.  The scope of the story is epic, leading up to a satisfying, memorable conclusion.

If you’re a fantasy fan, add these to your list.

Right now, I’m also re-reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I’m loving it even more this time around.  Maybe I’ll make a focused On the Shelf discussing it in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, when I finish that, I’m going to dig into Winter by Marissa Meyer.

Here’s to more books!  Keep an eye out for more On the Shelf posts in the coming weeks.