Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

(You can check out my review of Snow Like Ashes here)

WHY did I wait so long to read this gorgeous book?! I loved Snow Like Ashes, yet I didn’t buy Ice Like Fire when it first came out. I bought it in January and STILL put it off and didn’t start it until March. I regret that so much, and I know I’m going to be preordering Frost Like Night so I can have it as soon as it comes out.

So I read a couple reviews of the book on Goodreads and I was very surprised to see so many negative reviews! I mean, I can slightly understand why they don’t like the book, but I can’t understand WHY they don’t like the book?!

So I absolutely loved the character development in the first novel, and I felt this one really lacked that. I mean, I guess you got to know Meira a little more, and you got to know her thoughts and struggles about being herself or being a queen. But, other than that I felt a lack of character development. I also felt an increase in characters. It had been awhile since I read Snow Like Ashes, but I still remembered a good chunk of it and I didn’t feel like re-reading it. But I totally forgot who like half the characters were! Some that were minor in the first book became major in this one. I eventually got all the characters straightened out (I think), but I totally recommend, if its your first time reading the series, to read them both back to back so you don’t forget anyone!

But the characters were quite possibly my favorite part of the whole book! Since the beginning, I’ve taken an immediate liking to Meira and Theron (OTP), and they’ve still stayed my favorite characters through the series!

I did love how this book was interesting from beginning to end. I was really looking for a book to grab me out of my mini-slump I was in, and this one did just that! It hooked me from beginning to end. It was full of action and really set the scene for what will hopefully be an epic finale. September 20th (Frost Like Night’s release date) can’t come soon enough!

I also love how quotable this series is. Seriously. So many of my favorite book quotes come from this series!! Here’s a few:

“That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things for a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.” -Snow Like Ashes

“Even the strongest blizzard starts with a single snowflake.” -Snow Like Ashes

“Loving her was easy, a skill he had picked up methodically until one day he did it without thought.” -Ice Like Fire

As for cleanliness… It wasn’t too bad. The language was a little more than in the first book (especially with Mather), but it wasn’t overwhelming. The sexual content has still stayed surprisingly low, and I’m really happy about that. This is one of the cleanest YA fantasy-type series I’ve ever read, and it makes me very happy to see YA books that aren’t filled with inappropriate content.

Have you read Ice Like Fire? Do you plan on it? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lilian-

 

 

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The Library Project + Childhood Books

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Today I’m taking a break from my normal reviews and writing about an organization I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about lately. I’ve partnered up with them to share about some of my favorite childhood books and introduce you to this organization! Plus, I’m gonna turn this into a little challenge;) Read on to learn what I mean!

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Here’s a little info about The Library Project from their website:

Our strategy to improve children’s literacy is to provide libraries, literacy and librarian training.

The Library Project donates libraries to improve children’s literacy. Children gain access to a beautiful school library providing fun and interesting children’s books that spark their imaginations and promote a lifelong love of reading.

Literacy Camp has one simple focus; to get children excited about reading. We see this as the second part to a library donation. Once a library is in place, it is essential to properly introduce children to a world filled with books.

The Library Project provides a quality librarian training course. Our librarian training course is created specifically for teachers and administrators on how to manage their library. We have found that this training course results in 94% of our libraries being effectively used on a daily-to-weekly basis after the first year.

So The Library Project contacted me and introduced me to their mission, and then they asked me to share about my favorite childhood books. I read a lot as a kid. I was constantly kicking my younger sister out of the room we shared so I could have some quiet to read. So below I’ll highlight some of the books I remember reading that have left an impact on my reading now.

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1. The Camp Club Girls

I read these when I was an older-kid and entering my tween years. My parents got me and my sister like the first 18 or so books for Christmas one year. Me and her both quickly devoured all these stories. We were absorbed in the mysteries, and I’m pretty sure these books caused me to start shipping people. Looking back, these books really shaped me into the reader I am now, and I think they grew my love of mysteries. Plus, they’re still good nowadays. If I had the time, I would honestly go back and reread all of these, and buy the last few books I never got to read:(

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2. Little Women

When I was in middle school, I went through this “phase” of reading only classics. In that phase, I ended up reading a young-readers edition of Little Women (I thought it was the full version at the time) and I fell in love. I’d already seen the movie and loved it, and the book just sealed the deal. This became my favorite classic and remains that way still today. This book was significant in my reading life because I realized classics weren’t just boring, old-people books. I could actually read and enjoy them. That mindset really shaped my love of classics today.

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3. Geronimo Stilton

These were MY BOOKS in elementary school. My family would go the library once a week, and I’d grab a basket and run to “my section” to see if the library had got any new Geronimo Stilton books. They didn’t have many, so I didn’t get to read many, but I still treasured them. I don’t know exactly how these really shaped me as a reader today. I think they helped me just grow as a reader in general, and I’ll always have those treasured library memories.

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4. Junie B. Jones

MY CHILDHOOD. I loved these books. I read them as a younger kid, and as I got older, I would still read them, just faster. I remember bragging to my mom how could read a whole book in a day, with these being my books of choice. I would love when my mom found a few more of these hidden away at a thrift store and brought them home to me. These really supported me and practically turned me into a reader. Well, these and another series I’m about name…

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5. Magic Tree House

Along with Junie B. Jones, these turned me into a reader. I would get any new ones from the library whenever Geronimo Stilton wasn’t available. I loved secretly learning about history while reading about all these wonderful adventures. Plus I remember when they had the education guide books that’d correspond with certain books. I’d get those and read all about the educational things I overlooked in the originals. But I wasn’t allowed to read the Merlin Mission editions. My mom said they had “too much magic” and stuff like that… *shrugs* The originals were okay with me.

Now, time to make things interesting.

I really enjoyed digging up fun memories of my childhood, and I think a few others would, too. Plus, I enjoyed raising awareness about The Library Project and their awesome mission. So, I’ve decided to turn this into a challenge. I want to challenge you, a few of my fellow bloggers, to share about The Library Project and your favorite childhood books. If you write a post about your childhood reads and share about The Library Project, email a link of it to me at liliansbooks@gmail.com! If I get, say, 10 people to share about it, I’ll make a donation to The Library Project! Plus, I encourage you to donate yourself, or run a similar challenge to your blog followers! That’s all it is! It’s so simple. I look forward to seeing your blog posts!

Happy Reading,

-Lilian-

 

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

Ughhhh ahhhh ughhhh ahhh whaaaa ughhh ahhh uh. Those are my thoughts while reading this giant book. I didn’t know what to expect, so I didn’t really expect much, but it still was somehow different than what I wasn’t expecting.

I’ll stop it with the riddles now.

This is the story of Elphaba. That iconic wicked witch of the west in a land called Oz. When I first heard of the musical about a year ago, I was intrigued. Then I learned that its based off of a BOOK?! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Alas, I finally did read it, even if it took me what felt like forever to read.

So, you’re probably expecting a book about why Elphaba is green, why she’s wicked, and why she wants the shoes. Instead, you get a book about Elphaba’s stupid family, people contemplating the difference between animals and Animals, some deaths, and Elphaba going crazy.

Even with all its imperfections, this book is still pretty enjoyable. I loved Gregory Maguire’s writing. In the end, he pulled things together and ended it in a satisfying way that I liked. I don’t even know how to describe it. But it was good.

I thought that the book would have a lot more of Glinda in it, but I was surprised to see Glinda wasn’t in half the book. But I did really connect to Elphaba a lot more than I was expecting. I’m more of a Glinda personality, but I can see parts of Elphaba in me, too.

I enjoyed trying to find where the songs from the musical would fit into the book. I haven’t seen the musical, yet, but I listen to the music often, and I think I’m a bigger fan of the musical than the book.

I agree with lots of the goodreads reviews I read: Maguire was trying way too hard to make this an adult book. There are many unnecessary sexual scenes, foul words, and just overall inappropriateness. So much could have been easily left out, and you’d have the same story. Or at least it could have had less detail. I had heard there as sexual stuff in the book, but I didn’t realize to what extent it goes to. From the very beginning, inappropriateness is prominent. It eases in the last 3/4 of the book, but by then I’m already “scarred” by what I’ve read. This book is not kid-friendly, and I do not recommend it to young teens and under. Even for an older teen like me (I’m 16) , it can be too much. Some skimming may be necessary and probably recommended.

Overall, this was an enjoyable but not great book. I’ll probably skim it in the future, and I will be continuing on with the series eventually (cause I already own the second book).

-Lilian-

Three Wishes by Lisa T. Bergren

I received a beta-copy to read and review. This does not affect my review in any way.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. BECAUSE YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT.

Zara Ruiz is a normal California girl on the verge of graduating high school and thinking about her dawning future. But when dusk brings a shattering loss—and she discovers a priceless object in the shallows of a tide pool—she is thrust a hundred-and-eighty years into the past. There she meets handsome ranchero Javier de la Ventura—who has big dreams and bigger secrets—along with his enchanting family, in a land that is at once familiar, and yet utterly foreign.

Between cattle rustlers, pirates and a growing call for statehood, it is not a peaceful time to be a Mexican settler in young Alta California. But it is in that time and place that Zara must decide if she can find what she longs for most in the past, or if her heart’s THREE WISHES can only be resolved in the present.

This is it, River Tribe. We’ve been waiting for this book since the second it was announced, and it’s finally here.

I was so happy to have received an e-copy to beta read last month. When I read it, I knew you were all going to love it. Plus, I’ve heard the ending I originally read was cut, because it was too big of a cliffhanger. So count yourselves lucky that you didn’t have the giant cliffhanger to end with like I did!

So onto my review.

I was so very worried to start Three Wishes. I am such a mega-fan of the original series, and I had such high expectations for this book that I was scared Three Wishes would fall short. But, I’d have to say it didn’t.

Zara is such a head-strong, determined protagonist. She faces every situation with an admirable spirit, and she’s a great role-model.

Javier is a pretty great guy. There are a few stereotypical qualities about him, but I couldn’t help but like him in the end. I don’t love him yet, but I might love him in the next book. I think he has some good in him, it’s just hidden under some angst.

Zara and Javier remind me a lot of Gabriella and Marcello from the original River of Time books. Fans of them from the originals should love Zara and Javier’s relationship.

I loved Lisa’s writing, like always. This book was so beautifully written. It has many quotable lines and the story is artistically created.

This book isn’t perfect, though. I do feel there was just… something missing. I’m not sure what, and I’m hoping whatever it is, it’s in the second book. But this is still such an enjoyable book, I can’t help but give it 5 stars. It’s not better than the originals, though, in my opinion.

Have you read Three Wishes yet? Do you plan on it? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lilian-