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Tag Archives: author: carson

11780276_10105425642116601_389225880_oI’ve never hidden the fact that my local indie is awesome. Besides the fact that they know me by name and joke I should be a part time bookseller (I could never do it. I would never have a paycheck), they get amazing authors to come to town. Because of them I’ve met more authors than I can count and have the shelves to show for it. However, it’s always a surprise to see what YA authors will come to town. There is a reason I go to book festivals on the other side of the USA. We don’t get everyone! It’s shocking I know! I was pleasantly surprised when Bloomsbury announced Sarah’s tour and said she would be stopping here. Turnout is always a game my friend, another Sarah, and I joke about. Some events everyone shows up, some events no one shows up.

I’m proud to say the YA community came out. We showed up and had standing room only. It was so bad when my friend Sarah and I showed up we thought the talk was canceled because there were so many people. We’ve gone to (only) signings and that’s what we thought this was because there was such a turn out.

Because I was in the middle of the crowd, I’ve stolen a photo from Maas’ CN8akH5VEAA27jNpublicist. I know where I am in that photo and can barely find myself. It was an awesome group to be part of because the vibe was amazing. What was even more amazing was local author, Rae Carson, was the moderator. I could not pick a more perfect moderator for the event. They worked well off of each other, they both geeked out and flailed over each other. There was also talk about my favorite thing: kick ass females.

Some highlights of the night include:

  • Maas calling her husband Dobby.
  • Maas admitting that maybe just maybe she’s Slytherin.
  • Maas saying more than once “I just really love Disney.”
  • Maas discussing her friendship with Susan Dennard and Alexandra Bracken and you could feel why she wrote strong female friendships, because she had those of her own.
  • The question “Where does ship come from?” And without missing a beat Maas goes “Jesus?”

I also loved that Carson asked her how to pronounce her characters names, because as someone with a midwest accent, lets be real I tend to give up.

This event was by far one of my favorite that I’ve gone to. The vibe was amazing. The questions were amazing. It wasn’t awkward. You could tell both of these authors love their jobs, love geeky things, and love their readers. Thanks to the publisher, authors, and Changing Hands for making an unforgettable night.

Photos include: me with Rae, me with Lizzy (who happens to be a friend, hence the selfie) and playing the pronounce the character names.

 

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19346537The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories (Fire and Thorns 0.5-0.7) by Rae Carson
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A paperback edition of three novellas set within the world of the New York Times bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns series, previously available only digitally: The Shadow Cats, The Shattered Mountain, and The King’s Guard.

The Shadow Cats is told from the perspective of Elisa’s older sister. Discover how their sibling rivalry looks from Alodia’s viewpoint, and find out why Alodia agrees to marry her sister off to King Alejandro of Joya de Vega.

The Shattered Mountain revolves around Elisa’s best friend and handmaiden, Mara. Before she meets Elisa at the rebel camp in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, she suffers her own tragedy. Her village is destroyed and she must lead the few young survivors to safety.

The King’s Guard centers on Hector, Commander of the Royal Guard and Elisa’s true love. Set years before The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it shows us fifteen-year-old Hector as a new recruit. He must prove himself—and he discovers a secret he must keep forever.– Goodreads

Review:

Last year I read and loved Rae Carson’s series The Girl of Fire and Thornswhich to be honest I’m still a little shocked about. Mostly because to this day I am not a fantasy person. But..I liked it. And recently when Carson’s short stories came out in one volume I knew I wanted to read them. Of course a TBR happens and well, books get pushed down. Then, thanks to my library overdrive app, The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories appeared as an audiobook and it was fate. FATE I SAY.

This was a solid set of three stories, all short and take place before the first book in the series. While they are not needed to understand the series (for those who hate novellas) but they do add to the story, and they made me miss the characters. Mostly Hector, because I do love and adore Hector. Hearts in my eyes for that Hector. But the first two weren’t about Hector and I still enjoyed them. You learn more about Elisa’s older sister, and you understand her from a completely different point of view. Same goes for the second story, The Shattered Mountain, you learn more about Mara, Elisa’s best friend, and she goes through so much that the reader doesn’t really understand and then in The Shattered Mountain your heart breaks for her so much.

And then there is The King’s Guard which it’s obvious to whom it’s about. HINT: Hector! Oh Hector, our sweet boy who learns more in his 15 years than anyone should. Again, while it isn’t required to read these to understand The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, I do recommend it. It gave me feels I was in denial about for years.

Also? HECTORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

 


tcoeThe Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Review:

I understand you’re confused. Ashley, the contemporary lover is back with another high fantasy book. WHAT IS GOING ON?! Tina and I were recently discussing that it is interesting: she’s more into contemp and I want to read all the fantasy on my TBR list.

While this book was as good, or even better than the first book The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I did however have problems getting into it, because as we discussed before, if I’m not reading fantasy on plane my mind wanders. Once I got into it, I was sucked in. Hector and Elisa made me feel like I was back home. Into their world where things are dangerous, questionable and of course exciting.

And then I could not put the book down, that was honestly in part to the slow burn that is Hector and Elisa and the fact it is so slow it’s close to perfect. (I cannot believe I just said that. I am so not a slow burn person.) But the slow burn works because while Elisa understands she is supposed to get re-married and produce another heir, Carson has Elisa more worried about being strong and worrying about survival. Which of course is an awesome genius thing to see in a YA book. Elisa also spends a good portion of the book fighting for what her faith means to her and coming to understand when one grows up their view changes and sometimes that hurts.

However, this book did make me swoon harder than most books do. Which is weird for me, because I read a steady stream of romance novels for a solid decade there. But things like this get said and my heart was all SWOOOOON.

I am wholly and irreversibly in love with the commander of my Royal Guard. —The Crown of Embers p 191

That simple line got me because Elisa did not see it coming. It slapped her in the face with shock. The romance is such a slow burn. So. So. Slow. But anything else wouldn’t have worked. Really. Mostly because the relationship sneaks up and scares Elisa. She doesn’t know how to handle these feelings or what to do with them and it’s adorable to see her flounder in an area of her life. But like I said above: romance isn’t the point of the novel. Someone is after Elisa’s life and everyone is worried about her and her safety and a good portion of the novel is dedicated to escaping the assassin only to end up where the assassin wanted them all along.

I cannot wait to see the conclusion of this trilogy in The Bitter Kingdom.


fireThe Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do. – Goodreads

Review:

Yes. I have already reviewed this book once before, on goodreads. It was quick and to the point, very much like “I get why this book has rave reviews. It is not for me…” Because most high fantasy is not for me.

But here’s the thing. I saw Rae Carson speak at the Keynote at YALLfest and I had to give this book another shot. There had to be something I was missing. And that is when I figured it out. High fantasy is my thing when I’m on vacation or on a plane. Who knew?!

I was sucked in. Could not put it down and read any of the other books in my bag sucked in. See the photo to the right of the bag of books I was carrying on the plane. My name is Ashley and I am cheap for shipping. Plus they were autographed. Back to Carson and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I was sucked in. Heck, I’m still sucked in. Mostly annoyed that I put the second book in a box to be shipped home and now I have to wait. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. And it is high fantasy?! Tina is doing the contemporary books, I’m doing fantasy. ALL SORTS OF CONFUSION AROUND HERE.

All that was said, because you know what. I really, really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. (Also enjoyed the girl in the airport thinking  I was reading A Song of Ice and Fire..HAHA. No.) I loved that Elisa is a strong girl. She is not the “typical” YA heroine, and I must have overlooked that last time. How, I don’t know, because Carson writes so well that this time I couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what happened to Elisa. Things I remember bothering me the first time I read it no longer bother me. I was enthralled. I cared about Elisa and her growth. And Carson writes her in such a way that her growth needed to happen, not for a boy, or her father, or anyone but for herself. And to have a chachter be a strong woman in that way was awesome to me as a reader.

I cannot wait to see where Elisa’s path of greatness goes in The Crown of Embers. WHERE ARE YOU BOX?! WHERE ARE YOU?!


tbkThe Bitter Kingdom (Fire & Thorns #3) by Rae Carson
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Edelweiss/ALA 2013
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The epic and deeply satisfying conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.

Review:
Hnnnggggg. Gguuhhhhh. What are words? I have none. This series…I love it so much. It is simply amazing. Rae Carson is THE BEST. And now that I’ve read the whole series, I want it back! I want to experience it all from the beginning again, like RIGHT NOW. It took me so long to be able to write a coherent review after I read this, because I loved this series so much. I didn’t give this one five stars, because I felt like the conflict at the beginning was solved too easily, but the summary isn’t wrong. This story is a deeply satisfying ending to the trilogy. I’m not sure I have ever felt more content with the end of a story before. Carson is so good at describing characters’ feelings, and the things Hector says to Elisa can be so heartbreaking, but I loved it. I loved that the power imbalance was addressed, I loved that they wrapped up the Godstone story… I loved almost everything about this one.

Elisa has learned to be strong, but she still needs to learn to lead, and by the end of the novel, she is indisputably a leader. She makes hard choices that she knows her friends won’t like, and she tries to make allies of those who have hated each other for centuries. It’s so hard not to spoil anything from the previous two books, but I have to say that I really liked how Elisa made mistakes, that people got hurt because of her, and how she couldn’t save everyone. And Hector. OMG. I just don’t even know what to say. They are one of my favorite couples to ever read about. Their story is just so awesome, and Hector is so sweet. Honestly, I didn’t realize Hector would be the love interest in the rest of the series, but the choice is perfect. This series is probably one of the best YA fantasies ever, and I can’t recommend it enough. This series is so worth your time, and don’t forget to check out Carson’s short stories set in Elisa’s world! Thanks so much, Rae Carson, for this beautiful half-coming of age, half-romantic series!


Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

  1. tcoeGrave Mercy — I honestly thought I’d not like this book. It’s not what I would call an Ashley book. And my review is coming soon, but let me say I devoured it. I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t recommend it fast enough.
  2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe — I recently told my friend I could live inside of this book and I could. It’s perfect, lovely and a bit heartbreaking all at once. It makes me feel like I’m home. I reviewed it here.
  3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns — Everyone in the world love and adored this book. I did not sadly. I thought it was just okay. But thankfully we have Tina on this blog and she loved it and reviewed it.
  4. Something Strange and Deadly — The book I started something new with. I didn’t finish it. Talked about it here.
  5. Carrier of the Mark — Thinking of this book causes me pain. It could have been something good, and instead turned into a book that makes me rage.
  6. Poison — I should have loved this one, because I always like fairy tale retellings and especially plucky brunette teenagers with magic. It just didn’t work for me though. The whole story was too juvenile, and I thought the author did a lot of telling instead of showing. Still cute though.
  7. Unspoken — I did not expect to like this one as much as I did after the beginning of the book. I thought it was going to be like angsty fanfiction, with the typical oblivious girl and the guy with the hard life and attitude problems. But I really love 6527740SRB’s writing style, and the whole thing turned into something deliciously sad and complex.
  8. Vampire Academy — I resisted starting these books SO HARD because I read Mead’s urban fantasy series and hated it. Despite my feelings on the final few books in the series, I loved reading about Rose Hathaway and her adventures in Moroi society.
  9. Magisterium — I love sci-fi. I’m basically the sci-fi queen here at YAR and I was at our old blog as well. This one just did not do it for me. I think it had a lot to do with the protagonist being the same stubborn, uninformed protag as usual, but I also found myself not caring what happened to anyone in the story only a few chapters in.
  10. Innocent Darkness — In addition to being the sci-fi queen, I also love fairies to the point of distraction. Alternate history plus fairies plus Victorian era should have been a five star novel for me. Sadly, not so much. The problem with a lot of fairy novels is they tend to descend into morality tales in which fairies learn to appreciate human morality. Usually it becomes a misogynistic sob story. This one…wasn’t for me.

tcoeThe Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Review:
Here we go again, back to Elisa! You can read my review for The Girl of Fire and Thorns here, but it has spoilers, so fair warning! This book starts off with two attempts on Elisa’s life, one by an animagus and another by an unknown assassin. Elisa’s advisers are untrustworthy to the point of being suspicious, and take advantage of her while she is incapacitated, using the time to abuse their power and help their own machinations along. I hated them all, regardless of if they thought they were doing the right thing for their country. I wanted Elisa to order them all hanged. They raise taxes without her consent, and they murder a guard for basically no reason. They’re awful. But it all keeps coming back to Hector, who you must know Elisa is beginning to love. He stands by her through everything, doesn’t leave her alone with her treacherous advisers, and just generally provides moral support. I think even I started falling in love with him.

This book is a little different from the last one, in that there is much less adventure. There’s still a lot of intrigue, though, and Elisa is almost killed more than once. I loved her even more in this one, maybe because she is so unsure of her position as queen but she is still kind, true to herself, brave, and unafraid. Her maid, Mara, is a welcome addition to the cast as well. There’s some introspection in this one that we didn’t get during the first novel, and I think The Crown of Embers is better for it. I think I liked the sequel just as much, if not more, than the first. Elisa is learning things that challenge her faith, and yet she still manages to take things in stride, trying to do what is best for her kingdom. It was fascinating learning just a little bit more about the Inviernos, because before now they’ve just been faceless killers out to destroy Joya d’Arena.

Every scene with Hector and Elisa overwhelmed me, sometimes with squee, but I did cry at least twice, because their situation is a hard one. Especially given outside forces and their plans for both Hector’s and Elisa’s futures. The romance is so delicious though, because it has that thread of angst, that very good and simple reason why Elisa and Hector cannot be together. What made it even better is that Hector is so very aware, and enlightens Elisa as well, to the power his queen has over him, not only as her personal guard and Lord-Commander, but as a man in love with her. She could command him to do anything, and he would have to do it. He looks out for himself and for Elisa, and it was nice to see the power imbalance talked about for once. Another thing I liked was the openness about sex. Mara is instrumental in Elisa’s romantic education, and it was nice to see the topic talked about so freely, as if it were just a natural thing (which it is), without a mention of virginity or judgment. It was great. Carson outdid herself. Pick this one up right away and check back here in August/September for the review of the final installment of the trilogy, The Bitter Kingdom.