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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)



SYNOPSIS
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.


She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...

REVIEW
Graceling is actually the first book in the series, but I read it second since Catching Fire was the prequel, so I felt that it would be better if I read the story in sequence. 

In the seven realms, some children were born Graced, meaning they had a special talent or gift. In certain places, children who were born Graced had to be surrendered to the King for their use, unless the King finds their abilities useless and send them home. Katsa was blessed (or cursed, if you see it the other way round) with the Grace of Killing. This Grace makes others wary and fearful of her, and her training since young had made her an unbeatable fighter, but she is usually tasked to run dirty errands for King Randa.

As with Catching Fire, this book is wonderful, and I find myself unable to pull back from the siren song that was the book itself, reading into the wee hours of the night. I loved Katsa's character, her indomitable spirit and her Grace (which turns out to be something else altogether). As for Po, I would really love to see his silver and gold eyes! 

This story starts off with the kidnapping of Prince Po's grandfather, and eventually more mysteries rise up the dark gloomy apparition of a placid lake that was the kingdom of Monsea. Turns out the King of Monsea was named Leck, and though people praised his kindness and generosity, Katsa and Po were doubtful.

SPOILER! I think that Po's attempt to assassinate King Leck was real stupid, and I still wonder now why they are foolish enough to try it (alone!) They should have read Sun Tze's Art of War before even considering this kamikaze. I knew they were going to fail. I mean, what are two Graced fighters chances against one King whose Grace is powerful enough to keep the whole nation entranced, more so when he is constantly surrounded by Graced bodyguards? Stupid move, I would say. But that doesn't diminish the fun of reading it.

Leck made a few appearances in Catching Fire, and I must say that it was him and his unbelievably cruel, twisted character at the very beginning of the novel piqued my interest and kept me reading throughout. I won't reveal more, you just read and find out what happens. ;)

RATING:
4.500 

Warning: Contains a non-graphic sex scene. Parental guidance recommended for children under-15.

Fire by Kristin Cashore

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Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)

Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by 



SYNOPSIS
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.


REVIEW
I had had the honour to read an ARC of this book. And I thought that the story was great - it holds more complexities than a normal novel would contain, and I enjoy discovering the lies and truths that were kept secret at first. 

Fire was described as a monster with fiery red hair with streaks of pink and gold, her beauty made people swoon and some to open their minds up to her. She had the ability of penetrating one's deepest thoughts, and control minds of most persons. Although of monster descent, she did not inherit her late father Cansrel's wickedness, brutality and viciousness. But she had to make certain hard choices that made her doubt herself and her identity. 

The story-line was interesting enough, though at 400+ pages I would say that it may have contained many unwanted plot branches that may as well be trimmed off. The characters in this book seem to have free sex every now and then, with sex between childhood friends, child born by rape, men who fathered illegitimate children, or friends who find themselves impregnated by the same man. But surprisingly enough, none of these people harboured any hatred towards one another despite their complex relationship which would have made best friends rip each other apart. They were very open to the notion of having bastard heirs/sons/daughters/grandchildren and even quite receiving towards them.

Apart from the way Kristin Cashore writes of relationships, which basically can be summed up with one word: messy (not the writing, but the idea it portrays), this book is filled with many wonders, and I find myself wishing to really see the monsters in their full glory, especially Fire herself, and perhaps the raptors. 

RATING
4.500

Guest Post: Lost In Starlight Playlist

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The Bookaholics are proud to take part in Sherry Soule's blog tour for her new release - LOST IN STARLIGHT! Today we are going to share with you a playlist that is specially compiled for the book!

Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new upper YA series: the “Starlight Saga” (paranormal romance with a Sci-Fi concept) with scorching-hot character  chemistry and exciting  suspense on June 26, 2014. 

To help promote this amazing interstellar love story, “LOST IN STARLIGHT,” Sherry is doing this fun promo to share the news with fellow booklovers.

STARLIGHT SAGA SONG LIST

Some of the most ambiguous lyrics take on new meaning when you’re writing a book, even correlating to some of the scenes or giving insight into Hayden and Sloane’s romantic relationship. Sherry has put together just a  few of the awesome songs—a collection of her character’s electric tastes in music—mentioned throughout this epic new series in this post. Enjoy!

“Still Into You” by Paramore
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons:
“Boom Boom Pow” by Black Eyed Peas
“Titanium” song by Sia
“I'm Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance
“Stay” song by Thirty Seconds to Mars
“Counting Stars” by OneRepublic
“Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy
“Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri
“Cello Sonata, L 135” by Debussy

While writing LOST IN STARLIGHT, Sherry listened to this amazing track on a loop, “4 Hours of Emotional Music” composed by the talented, Adrian von Ziegler. She found the melody really set the mood to the type of romantic tale that she wanted to write. At its core, LOST IN STARLIGHT is basically a love story about two lonely hearts finding each other and how their star-crossed relationship changes both of their lives.

Listen to his music on YouTube
We hope that you enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book!


VOLUME ONE: Starlight Saga

High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.

Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.

They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.

Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....

The LOST IN STARLIGHT eBooks can be purchased from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & iBooks on June 26th.

The paperback edition from Amazon on June 16th 2014.

Eager to read a sneak peek? HERE
Places you can visit Sherry Soule:
Official Blog
Twitter @SherrySoule
Please add LOST IN STARLIGHT to your TBR on goodreads

VOLUME ONE: Starlight Saga