Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Palace of Stone

Title: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #2
Published: 2012 by Bloomsbury
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Christmas gift :)

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding. There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. Picking up where "Princess Academy" left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for.

First Sentence:
Miri woke to the insistent bleat of a goat.”

WARNING: If you have NOT read the amazing, wonderful book that is Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy, you might not want to read the review of this book (since this is the sequel). So how about this: go find Princess Academy, read it, and then come back here. :)

So when I heard that Shannon Hale was writing a sequel to Princess Academy, my first thought was OH MY GOSH YESSSSS!!!! But then, I thought more about it and became very worried. What if something happened to these characters I love? What if it is a terrible book and takes the first one down with it?

I can hereby assure you that Shannon Hale is flawless and everything she writes is worth it.

In this sequel (by the way, do not worry if you forget a lot of Princess Academy. There is not that much that carries to this one from it, plot-wise), Miri and several of her friends have received the chance to travel down to the capital for Britta’s wedding. Miri is going to have the chance to study at the famous Queen’s Castle! It is what she has wanted forever, to learn all there is to learn. But soon she learns that there is political upheaval and her year will be spent trying to decide what is right and whether to save her best friend or her family (or both, hopefully).

I gotta say, I was not expecting this plotline for the sequel, but it was EXCELLENT. There were many things thrown into the story. A rebellion, a boy with hot-headed charm, a discovery about the royal family, another retelling of the bandit tale, and, obviously, more quarryspeak.

Peder and Miri’s romance is sweet and progresses at a perfect pace. I love their conversations and their awkwardness and everything. I pretty much just LOVE Miri though. She is strong even when she feels scared. She has big ideas yet feels insignificant. She convinces people to be strong and independent. She is incredibly loyal to her friends and family.

Now while I wish that Shannon Hale would write more books featuring Miri, I know it probably will not happen, seeing as this was an unexpected gift. But I am excited for anything else Shannon Hale writes, seeing as everything so far has been perfect.

Content Warnings: Nothing

5 Pigs

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Friday, January 18, 2013

2012 Round-Up!

So my total book count for the year is…..
That’s 21 less than 2011, and I blame it purely on college and the way it eats up your time.

Also due to my general laziness and college work, I have not reviewed hardly any. And that sucks. I realize that, so I’m going to try to spend time on the weekend reviewing multiple books to post during the coming week. I’m also going to try to nail down a schedule of weekly posts I will participate in. So look forward to a more organized blog this coming year!!

(As I finally review them, I will update this list!)

Final list of books read by month:

January 2012:

The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

The Agency: The Body at the Tower - Y. S. Lee

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin

Deadly Cool - Gemma Halliday

Masquerade - Nancy Moser

Death Cloud - Andrew Lane

February 2012:

Mistwood - Leah Cypess

Variant - Robison Wells

The Future of Us - Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Faithful - Janet Fox

March 2012:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

A Million Suns - Beth Revis

Fever - Lauren DeStefano

Legend - Marie Lu

The Boy Book - E. Lockhart

April 2012:

Out of Sight, Out of Time - Ally Carter

Social Suicide - Gemma Halliday

Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi

Spell Bound - Rachel Hawkins

May 2012:
Firelight - Sophie Jordan

Prom & Prejudice - Elizabeth Eulberg

Prisoners in the Palace - Michaela MacColl

Article 5 - Kristen Simmons

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

The Merman and the Moon Forgotten - Kevin McGill

First Date - Krista McGee

Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

Insurgent - Veronica Roth

Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley

June 2012:

Starters - Lissa Price

Supernaturally - Kiersten White

Making Waves - Lorna Seilstad

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

Wanderlove - Kirsten Hubbard

Enchanted - Alethea Kontis

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore

The Pledge - Kimberly Derting

Obsidian - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cool Beans - Erynn Mangum

Latte Daze - Erynn Mangum

July 2012:

The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel - Y.S. Lee

Beguiled - Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand

Pretty Crooked - Elisa Ludwig

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers

Double Shot - Erynn Mangum

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund

Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier

Keeping The Castle - Patrice Kindl

Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen

August 2012:

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood

Garden of Madness - Tracy L. Higley

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Steifvater

Dark Life - Kat Falls

Angelfire - Courtney Allison Moulton

September 2012:

Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols

A Midsummer Tights Dream - Louise Rennison

October 2012:

Ripper - Stefan Petrucha

November 2012:

The Crown of Embers - Rae Carson

The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan

December 2012:

Because It's My Blood - Gabrielle Zevin

Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson

Middle Ground - Katie Kacvinsky

Girl V. Boy - Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky


Some Favorites of the Year (in no particular order):

The Agency Series by Y.S. Lee

There’s one more of these coming out soon which I can NOT wait for. These books are fantastic. Mary has remarkable and realistic character development, the mysteries are always surprising, and James is super amazingly hot and perfect with his imperfections. I could read these again and again.


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I really loved this book. I thought the romance was great and the whole “so I’m evil but don’t you still find me kind of hot?” bad guy to be an unexpected villain aspect. Even though in the end, it took an unexpected turn and I’m still confused about her “ability,” I really feel like the sequel is going to be amazing.


Legend by Marie Lu

I’m very excited to see where the sequel takes this story. Usually I’m not a big fan of dual narrators, but with the font change it was easier to read. I loved both protagonists and the conflicts they overcame. From the ending though, I have no clue where this story will go.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ahh! Love!! Love the concept, love the characters, love the direction it’s heading. I love everything. I identified with Cinder more than any other protagonist I remember reading lately. I know that’s weird since she’s a cyborg and such, but it makes sense, I promise.


Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Did any Divergent fans NOT love this book? I felt that it continued the story in an excellent manner. The only thing I didn’t like was Tris and Four’s relationship development. That sucked. Oh well, the actual plot was awesome.


Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is a genius. I could not have been more eager for this book or more thrilled after reading it. Bitterblue was a perfect sequel to explain the continuing story we all wondered about. How did Bitterblue get the kingdom back to normal? How did Katsa and Po’s relationship progress? Also this book explained a lot about the Graces and just…it was so beautiful. I mean the actual book was beautiful. With the maps and diagrams, the black and white divider pages…I loved it. I love Kristin Cashore.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I came into Shadow and Bone with very high expectations that were all fulfilled. This was the most perfect book. From the detailed setting to the complicated romance, I loved everything. Seductive villains and childhood friends turned lovers. Character development from shy and overlooked to strong and confident. If you have not yet read this. Read it.


Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

You know how assassin books are always awesome? No exception here. Make those assassins formed from a group of men-hating nuns and add in some great faking-the-feelings-turns-to-real-feelings romance, and you have a real winner. Also, it’s super long. Which I LOVE!


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver always manages to break my heart. Whether it be through a terrible ending, another terrible ending, or yet again a terrible ending. Goodness woman, I can only hit a book in frustration so much. You suck. I love you. Keep writing. Forever.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This was my first Stiefvater book, and it won’t be my last. She has blown me away with her beautiful writing and characters that I just love. This was a stand alone too, which I LOVED because I’m sick of having to wait a year to continue a story. Even though the ending wasn’t all I hoped for, it was good. It included all it really needed to.


Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Rae Carson can not get anymore wonderful. Although I kind of hated her a little for certain events in Girl of Fire and Thorns, I got over it. I moved on, embraced the new happenings until the end of Crown of Embers. OHMYGOSH. I NEED THE SEQUEL. You can’t end a book that way, it’s just wrong. Genius and a perfect setup for a sequel, but MEAN.

So that’s the end of it. I loved many other books, but those definitely stood out. I encourage you to check out the reviews I have linked of the books I read this year. And I will get right on the whole “actually posting reviews” part of blogging real soon. :)

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