Fire and Thorns Trilogy- Rae Carson








So.  This series is what started my current hang-up on lady hero fantasy novels.

Elisa is a princess in her home of Orovalle, but being the younger sister she is not in line for the throne.  Bearer of the Godstone, she is a chosen one, destined to perform some great act of service.  When she turns 16, her father marries her off to the king of Joya de Areña and Elisa is forced to leave her spoiled, sheltered life.  As queen, Elisa is thrust into the middle of a sticky political situation and a war brewing at the borders of her country.  She is forced to step up and defend her new homeland from the Inviernos who threaten to destroy her people and her way of life, a duty she is not prepared for and which will require her to grow and find strength within herself.

The first book of this series was tough for me.  Elisa is still coming into her own and isn’t very likeable.  And there is a whole lot of slow and boring set-up going on.  But once the action started picking up, I had to know how the political situation would turn out.  The second two books were much better, as Elisa starts to become more confident in herself and her ruling abilities.  What I love most about this series is how Elisa changes and grows and goes through many trials to become a queen worthy of ruling her people.  And she does it on her own, without divine intervention, without special powers (though she has them).  And best of all, her strengths are her brains and her faith and her willingness to accept challenges and sometimes be wrong.  There was also plenty of action and political intrigue and world-building to keep things interesting, too.  Oh and also some romance, though I would say it takes a backseat (in my mind at least) to Elisa’s journey to prove herself and save her country and way of life.  Elisa has a big heart and is loyal to a fault, but also must shoulder heavy, life-threatening decisions.  I thoroughly enjoyed following along on her journey, despite getting off to a rough start with the series.  These books have motivated me to try some other fantasy that follows along in the same mold.


Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like to Start

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme brought to you by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish (the button also belongs to them).  This week’s theme is the Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet.

There are quite a few series on my TBR list.  It will certainly take me a long time to get through all these series, but here are the nine (I figured nine was plenty to commit to) I’d like to try one of these days!

1. The Across the Universe series by Beth Revis– I hear a lot of good things about this sci-fi mystery series.  I have the audiobook of the first one, but I keep forgetting to put it in my car to listen to it.  So uhh, this will get started sooner rather than later.

2. The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld– This dytopian series gets more mixed reviews, but I’ve been curious about it for a while.  I just took a long break from dystopia and haven’t really made my way back yet.

3. The Birthmarked series by Caragh O’Brien– Another dystopian series I just haven’t made it to yet.  This one is about a midwife, so that keeps piquing my interest, as I’m sort of interested in midwifery and childbirth (though I’m sure this book isn’t really about that).

4. The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson– I had heard good things about the first book, The Name of the Star, which has something to do with Jack the Ripper.  What can I say?  Unsolved serial killer books sound interesting.

5. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon– I have really no idea if I’d like this series, but I hear good things, especially about the romance.  I have been super intimidated by the size of the book and the series, though, and have been holding off on reading it as a result.

6. A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin– I feel really late to the game in trying to decide whether to start (or not) this fantasy series.  Fantasy is pretty hit or miss with me and my mother-in-law insists that Game of Thrones was a really boring book, but I sort of want to try it out for myself.  Again, though, I’ve been intimidated by the size of the books!

7. Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French– I hear really good things about her thrillers and have had the first book in the series, In The Woods, on my list for about six months.  I just keep waiting for it to have fewer holds at the library (without putting myself on the list… really, I make no sense sometimes).

8. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer– My mother-in-law raves about this children’s series and usually she has pretty good judgment… I just haven’t heard much else about it.

9. Myron Bolitar by Harlan Coben– This mystery series has been around for a while, but I never really paid attention to it.  More recently, though, it was recommended by a blogging buddy who has good taste.  I definitely mean to try it out sometime.  Mystery series are fun!

What series are you hoping to try in the near future?  Have you read any of mine?  Are they worth investing the time/money/energy a series takes?

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Haven’t Finished

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme brought to you by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish (the button also belongs to them).  This week’s theme is the Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished.

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry– I read this one when I was an adult, so I can’t use the excuse that the sequels didn’t exist when I read it.  I just don’t think this needs a sequel.  I like to pretend that Jonas made it to a good place.

2. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare– I was pretty disappointed when I read it as it did not live up to the hype I’d heard about it… and honestly, I really didn’t care what happened to the characters, so no point in finishing out the series!

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery– I want to read the sequels, but they never seem to make their way into my life.  I started the second book on audiobook and I think it expired before I could finish it!

4. Matched by Ally Condie– I really enjoyed Matched, but heard nothing but meh about Crossed, so decided to just leave the series alone until the final book comes out.  If it gets better reviews, I may finish the series.

5. The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty– I’ve read all but Perfect Fifths and just haven’t been motivated to pick it up.  I love Jessica Darling, but her early 20s were wearing me out!

6. Soulless by Gail Carriger– What a fun book!  It takes me a little convincing to get into steampunk (I get a little irritated with the portrayal of the Victorian era… just because people were supposed to be straight-laced, doesn’t mean they were in actuality), though, and while I started the second book, I had to return it to the library before I finished it.  Some day, maybe, but I think I have to be in exactly the right mood to appreciate these.

7. Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy– I LOVE this series of romances centered around NASCAR drivers, but haven’t been able to get a hold of all the books/have been trying to read more variety.  I will finish this series, it’s just a matter of time!

8. Divergent by Veronica Roth– Ok, this is sort of cheating as I have read both books that are currently published in this trilogy, but I promise you I will not be reading the third.  Insurgent just… argh, frustrated me and made me believe that everything I loved about Divergent was imagined.  I will save myself the frustration and avoid concluding this series.

9. Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery– The Fool’s Gold series features romances set in the quirky small town of Fool’s Gold, California.  The first book made me so angry that I punched the book.  I’m just pretty sure this is not the series for me.

10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman– I know, I know, how did I not race out and read Where She Went immediately after finishing this?  I don’t know.  I liked the book, thought it was quite beautiful, but as for what happens to Adam and Mia down the road?  I just don’t feel that impatient to find out.  I mean, clearly things weren’t going to be easy, but I like to think that their love could get them through the tough spots.  I don’t want to know if I’m wrong.  That story is too sad to not have a happy-ish ending.

Apparently I am very non-committal because this list was easy-peasy to put together!  What series have you not finished?  Why?  What am I missing out by not finishing these series?