Bitter Kingdom
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher:  Greenwillow Books
Release Date: Aug. 2013
Pages: 433
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Rae Carson says it all in her beautiful, heart-pounding conclusion to the Fire and Thorns Trilogy!

The love of her life and the key to saving her kingdom has been taken hostage, her kingdom is about to be thrown into civil war, and get back her throne, Elisa is done waiting for her destiny. She’s going after it herself. She will have to outmaneuver her enemies, out wit her allies, be tougher (making decisions she never thought she’d have to before) and stronger than ever before if she is to rise and become the champion. With her faithful friends, she may be able to do it. But there’s no guarantee everyone will survive.

The ending though not what I expected…. On further thought is absolutely perfect. She becomes more than just the Godstone Bearer, more than just queen, she learns what it means to be just Elisa and that makes her such a strong character.  She struggles with coming to terms with who she is and in the end, wields her power with grace dignity and beauty. Elise grows on me so much thought this whole book it was like reading from the beginning again and falling in love ALL over again.

She’s not your usually description of a bad ass warrior queen but she definitely is one. She determined and strong. Despite she has so much power at her hands, she is smart, and cunning–and it’s not shoved down your throat it is just there waiting for you to notice who she really is. Which a lot of the times you don’t see that in character. (Usually having the power corrupts but Elise does great things!)  That makes it more enjoyable as reader and also gives some sense of control of how I interpret the story.  She never falls into self-pity she shoulders it and makes what she can with it, and in that sense, she  shines like true queen and I love her so much more for it. Rae Carson captured a true queen in all her glory in this book and it was magnificent.

Hector was amazing. So loyal but also honest and totally in love. He is truly a bleeding heart for Elisa, and it is the most entertaining thing ever to see someone so manly, acting so in love.  And though at times I felt there love was too much… I also didn’t mind because they deserved it after all they had been through, and that made it more believable.  Hector’s dedication and humbleness make him a truly remarkable character. Also the POV from Hector’s perspective finally give us readers a glimpse of the workings of his mind and I love it.

Storm was another great selling point in this conclusion. His dedication and commitment to Elisa is the sweetest thing ever. They need each other more than they know. Storm really cares for everyone, and you can tell in the little things he does. He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but if you look between the lines, you can read him like a book.  I think what makes Elisa and Storm click so well is the sense of family, and love they receive from each other which they never got from their blood families. This could also be said about their whole group though, they are truly a bunch of misfits, but they fit together. It’s great, fabulous.

The new love and faces we meet along the way keeps the story entertaining and fresh. Rae Carson perfectly blended the new and the old, not leaving any unanswered, or questions so te story never became confusing or too unrealistic. We see every character grow and that’s what makes the book so noteworthy. The characters are real and you feel for them and become even more attached to them the more you read. And by the end of the book, there will definitely not be any bitter feelings towards The Bitter Kingdom.

Positive: A MemoirTitle: Postive
Author: Paige Rawl
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: Aug. 2014
Pages: 288
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Synopsis: A memoir written by Paige Rawl, a girl who was born HIV positive, tells about her struggles with bullying because of her HIV.

I absolutely loved this book. It was a very brave look into bullying and the stigmas that come with having HIV or AIDS. I feel like this book will really raise awareness about this problem. So many people today still cast HIV and AIDS in a very bad light and it’s really effecting the people that have it. Paige wasn’t any of the things that are usually associated with those who have HIV, she was born with it. That didn’t stop people from shunning her and calling her terrible names like PAIDS. We need more education and acceptance so what happened to Paige won’t happen to any one else.

I really admired Paige’s determination. Even after all the terrible things she’s been through she still kept pushing and fighting. This is a really inspirational and educational story. Anyone who has ever been bullied or shunned for a illness or disability will really be able to relate to paige. I love this book and she did a great job telling her story.

Kiss of Broken Glass

Title: Kiss of Broken Glass
Author: Madeleine Kuderick
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Release Date: Sept. 2014
Pages: 224
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Synopsis: When Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom she is sent to a facility for a seventy two hour psychiatric hold. While there she meets some new friends and realizes she is addicted to self harm.

I liked this book. I fell in love with the story from the beginning and I wanted more at the end. Kenna and the people she meets during her seventy two hour hold were amazing and funny. I commend the author for being able to create such believable characters in a short book.

One of my favorite things was that the author didn’t just do the typical story about a girl who cuts, which is usually a very pretty girl who has a lot of problems in her life and she uses cutting to help relieve emotional pain and she manages to heal her self through out the course of the book , usually with the help of a boy blah blah blah. This story was completely different. Kenna was pretty normal, she didn’t really use cutting as a release for something else, it was the actual act of cutting that she enjoyed. She didn’t start cutting because of some big emotional trama, it was peer pressure from girls at school. She used it as a way to fit in the way someone might smoke or drink to seem ” cool”. It was a very different and interesting take on a story told many times before.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was Kenna’s brief relationship/ encounter/ crush on Jag. I felt that it wasn’t needed and it just cluttered the story.

All in all this was a good book, I just really wanted more. More of the characters, more of the story, more of Kenna’s friends and her recovery. All of it. I feel like this book would have knocked my socks off had it gone beyond the seventy two hour hold.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass)

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: Sept. 2014
Pages: 565
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With all characters: bad and good, new and old, Sarah J. Maas is turning up the heat in the Heir of Fire. Deadly, beautiful, intoxicating, and a breath of hope for the first time for Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol… this is the beginning of a revolution, the beginning of an end.

Celaena broken and destroyed by Nahemia’s death sent to the one place where she will be forced to face her fears once and for all. She has been running from it all: her past, her destiny, her memories, herself. But with the constant reminder of her promise to Nehimia and a little tough love and care from her new friends in Wendlyn, will this get Celaena back in action or will she remain broken forever? Celaena will have to learn embrace all she is if she wishes to keep the promises and bring value to the sacrifices people continue to make to push her towards success. Celaena develops into such a strong character, for the first time I feel like we really know the real Celaena… and who she was before she became Ardalan’s greatest assassin.

Lucky for Celaena, she meets kickass, no nonsense Rowan. Rowan Whitehorn definitely will have a special place in your heart. In the beginning he’s secretive, and brooding and full of sharp wit–specially directed at Celaena. He challenges her and doesn’t put up with her act. Rowan is hard on her, beats the stuffing out of her at times too. But he forces her to look at herself for the first time in a long time. And he is exactly what she needs. The more time the two spend together, the closer they become and what blossoms from their dark past is an intimate(not in the romantic sense) relationship so beautiful it puts the Titanic, the Notebook, Romeo and Juliet to shame—you will know they were made for each other. When the once scarily intense, stubborn, lethal Rowan begins to soften around the edges; when he smiles, cracks a joke or two, and begins to open up? The feeling of contentment and happiness that they feel and what it will cause you to feel…is just beautiful. 

Another new character introduced is Manon Blackbeak— an Ironteeth witch who is heir of the Blackbeak Coven. She and the other witches are revealed to be the king’s latest schemes. Although presented on the enemy’s side, Manon fiery, determined, sassy spirit makes it hard not to just love her. On her adventures, we start to see a side of Manon that is not usually associated with the villain, and it makes her stand out. She, has a character, is full of so much promise.

Meanwhile back in Adarlan, Chaol is still reeling from the shocking discovery of Celaena and Dorian’s powers. He feels betrayed and is not sure where to place his loyalties. This puts even more strain on his relationship with Dorian–which is already in shambles do to what happened in Crown of Midnight, and I have to say through most of this book I want to kill Chaol, simply because he is acting so immature. Yes, what happened is a shock but you have to move beyond that. But in the end Chaol definitely redeems himself, when he makes a hard decision.

And finally there is our wonderful, broken prince, Dorian. Struggling because he feels left behind and betrayed by his only true friends, Celaena and Chaol he does not know what to do with himself. But when a magical mishap leads him to befriending a shy healer, things are finally looking up for our humble prince. This is Dorian finally growing beyond Celaena and finding his own footing. 

With great character development even for the new characters, Sarah has created a real piece of art. Heir of Fire is bringing hope, loyalty, and badass-ness to an all new level. The Throne of Glass can be compared to a fine wine—it just gets better with age!

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