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text 2015-08-01 15:34
July books
Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition - Jane Austen,Patricia Meyer Spacks
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice: A Revised and Expanded Edition - Jane Austen,David M. Shapard
The Science of Herself - Karen Joy Fowler
The Philosopher Kings - Jo Walton
The Star Side of Bird Hill: A Novel - Naomi Jackson Groves
China to Me - Emily Hahn
Ross Poldark - Winston Graham
Crystal Kingdom (The Kanin Chronicles) - Amanda Hocking
Imitation - Heather Hildenbrand

After receiving two annotated editions of Pride and Prejudice for my birthday in June, I started July by reading both at once, which took some figuring out. I soon settled on reading Austen's text on my Kindle so the flow of the story wouldn't be interrupted--those side notes were too tempting otherwise. Every chapter or two I'd go to the physical books to catch-up on the often fascinating annotations.


I loved reading Pride and Prejudice again, of course, but I'd forgotten how unsuited Elizabeth and Darcy seem at first. Even though I knew how the story goes it added some delightful tension to the story. 


The Patricia Meyer Spacks edition of P&P is a gorgeous hardback with color illustrations and more emphasis on discussing literary criticism critiques of Austen's work than David H. Shepherd's offering. Shepherd's book is a paperback with lovely black and white illustrations, and his book gave a little more attention to interesting bits of historical background than Spacks book did. 


While I was reading Austen I was also reading a pretty good Kindle freebie, Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand, that had piqued my interest by having a clone as a main character. It wasn't Orphan Black wonderful, but the story did hold me to the end. 


Below are links to the books I read and reviewed in July:


The Science of Herself

The Philosopher Kings

The Star Side of Bird Hill

China to Me 

Crystal Kingdom 

Ross Poldark

Source: jaylia3.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/july-books
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review 2015-07-30 14:31
Best in the series
Crystal Kingdom (The Kanin Chronicles) - Amanda Hocking

This action filled conclusion to Amanda Hocking’s Frostfire trilogy opens with Bryn on the lam, falsely accused of treason and murder, and forced to partner with dangerous and puzzling Konstantin Black who she has good reason not to trust. I’m a big fan of Hocking’s richly imagined  troll-verse, a world exactly like our own but with the addition of human-resembling trolls based on Scandinavian mythology who love nature, covet gemstones, prefer being barefoot, and live in elaborate out of the way communities, and  I’ve enjoyed both earlier books in the series, but Crystal Kingdom is my favorite for several reasons.


First, while Bryn scrambles to stay one step ahead of the trackers sent to apprehend her, readers are taken on a road trip that stretches from the swamps of Louisiana to the snowy northern reaches of Canada as she visits the home settlements of all five of the troll tribes in her quest to save her own community. They’re all trolls, but each group has unique features, abilities, and customs. We’re even taken to an especially remote and icy dumping ground for outcast trolls, where we meet 14-year-old Ulla who has a mixed tribe background--she’s part Omte, the super strong tribe that sometimes includes ogres, and part Skojare, the semi-aquatic tribe. Ulla’s parents were unmarried royals who abandoned her as a baby so she’s working as a maid when Brynn finds her in Iskyla--I’m really hoping to meet Ulla again in a future troll series.


Another reason I loved this book is that several major characters from Hocking’s first troll books, the Trylle series, make major appearances in the story. We had already seen Finn, but now Wendy, plays an important role and it’s wonderful to catch up with her and see how she’s managed the transition from changeling to queen.


Crystal Kingdom is full of other delights, Bryn’s friend Tilda proving that being pregnant doesn’t mean she’s not a formidable fighter for instance, and Bryn’s own struggles to reconcile love and duty. Amanda Hocking doesn’t write lyrical prose, but I can’t resist her moving stories, her spirited but conflicted characters, and her inventive settings. There are plenty of books about vampires, fae, witches, and werewolves, but not many about trolls so I’m hoping that Hocking continues to write about this world.



I read a free ebook advanced review copy of Crystal Kingdom, supplied to me by the publisher through NetGalley. Review opinions are mine.



Source: jaylia3.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/best-in-the-series
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review 2015-02-26 03:39
Frostfire By: Amanda Hocking Review











Hidden deep in the heart of a snow-covered wilderness lies the secret kingdom of the Kanin—a magical realm as beautiful as it is treacherous…Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society. Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider—a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank. But she’s determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves. Her dream is to become a member of the King’s elite guard, and she’s not going to let anything stand in her way…not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden. A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can’t fight her attraction to him. And she’s beginning to think he feels it too. Meanwhile, there’s an attack on the kingdom—one that will test Bryn’s strength like never before. Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago. It’s up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again. But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn't accept her for who she really is? And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart? (From B&N)


Ok I just want to start by saying thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me this book to review. You guy's are amazing, and I'm really grateful for getting the opportunity. I loved this book so much.


So in case you didn't know this series is a spin off of Amanda's Trylle series. Which I loved. But to tell you the truth I think I might actually like this new one even better. I love Bryn's story and find her fun and one strong chick. She is so different from Wendy in the Trylle series and I liked how independent she was.



When Amanda Hocking introduced us to the world of Trylle I thought it was new and exciting. But as we delve further into it in this book I fell more in love. Seeing the world of the Kanin gives us a much better look into her crazy magical world, and allows us to see things from a different perspective. Instead of being introduced to the world from an outsiders prospective like we had during Trylle, we got to see what this incredible place looked like from someone born into it. To me it was interesting to see it this way. And see how the different tribes histories were all intertwined and fit together better.



As I said before I love Bryn. She is spunky and smart and so independent. She had to work her way to where she is and I respect reading about a character that proves just how amazing she is. Don't get me wrong now, I love me a good story where the hot guy comes in and saves the day. But it's nice to see a strong leading lady now and then. 

I actually really liked how different Bryn was from the other Kanin too. While it presented a problem to her, I liked how it made her unique and stand out. Plus it makes her stand out to Ridley *wages eyebrows. 



Speaking of the sexy Rektor ;)

I absolutely loved him. Oh Ridley!!!

He is incredibly caring and passionate about his work. While he might be to old to be out in the field as a tracker, he has taken the position as their leader. He makes sure everyone is ok, especially Bryn. The hotness that is the man with his persistent five o'clock shadow and unruly hair that has grown out adds so much more to this story. While he is the growing romantic interest of Bryn, he also serves to show just how hard she is working to gain a spot on the royal guard and to help support her through her struggles with the evil Konstantin Black (Well the presumed evil Konstantin Black *Que suspenseful music *DUN DUN DUN)




Hocking also did an incredible job of creating a great supporting cast. I loved Bryn's friends. They have a way of seeing deeper into her, and making her realize things she would rather try to pretend aren't happening. They also make her realize that she cannot do everything on her own. Ember in particular is my favorite. And who doesn't love a crazy Trylle who doesn't exactly fit the mold like everyone else? Any who her supporting characters are the best and I adore them all, even Bryn's parents are interesting and add a lot to the story.




Overall this book was great. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one Ice Kissed that comes out in a month or so. 


I give Frostfire




Source: pagesbetween.blogspot.com/2015/02/frostfire-by-amanda-hocking.html
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review 2015-02-21 19:44
Brief Rant: Frostfire
Frostfire - Amanda Hocking

Frostfire -- Amanda Hocking

Book 1 of Kanin Chronicles

2015 Release -- St. Martin's Griffin

Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance



Frostfire is really NOT a terrible book. I just didn't like it.

In fact, the world in Kanin Chronicles DOES do quite a decent job balancing modern society with a somewhat, age-old world of trolls who are all still stuck in their own traditional monarchies. Setting aside the fact that I know nothing of the world of Amanda Hocking’s previous books about the Trylle (and now learning that this book was set in that world), I could come to like this world. Also setting aside the reasoning behind why trolls require changelings to luxuriate their greedy communities (which I don’t really agree with, but whatever, it’s their culture), I could STILL learn to like the world and the culture built around the different troll tribes.

It’s really actually quite creative and sparked an interest in wanting to know about the different tribes around the world of trolls.

What I DON’T like, unfortunately, are the underdeveloped characters, the lackluster storyline, the uninspiring narration and writing style, the random uses of pop culture references that are misused in at least three cases, the logic fail of the troll-changeling culture, and the multiple logic fails behind all of Bryn’s condescending, yet contradictory monologues of righteous tirade as to why the society of Kanin and the whole changeling thing works and why Bryn is the best tracker in the world and why everyone should see things her way and what a true tracker is really like: and I also don’t really like Bryn much either because she just lacks development most of all as the main character.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like that she's strong and independent and can hold her own and is uber kickass--we all know fiction lacks a lot of such strong heroines and I could have really liked her as well. But she's so all-powerful and she's always right and knows what's best for everyone and the community and she's so perfect... what's left to develop? Her biggest flaw is that she's a condescending bitch who is rude to her parents and her friends, throws childish tantrums, and lacks empathy and open-mindedness; and even as the end of the book rolled around, I'm not sure that particular trait was going to change.

And also, the entire story was kind of boring and long-winded with 80% of it feeling very much like random tangent anecdotes and only 20% of it actually being about the main conflict. Oh, and the romance was also laughably predictable and eye-roll worthy too. So I don't have a summary for this book because I don't even really know what story we were aiming to tell despite the fact that I have an inkling about the direction the story was taking.

At least the ending ended on an exciting note, even if it DID supply an abrupt and unsatisfying cut-off cliff hanger in which I turned the page after the last sentence and went, "Wait, it's done?" but not in that "Man, I wish there were more!" way; it was more of a "Hmm... that was unexpected..." way.

Overall Thoughts: I have a lot more thoughts written down about all the many ways I don't like Bryn, but I'll spare everyone my soapboxes and personal tirades. I figure, this book is so popular that maybe I just don't understand it's popularity. Maybe I have to go back and read Amanda Hocking's first few novels about the Trylle... except that the small spark of interest I have is very much overshadowed by the many negatives I developed about this book. Chances are, I won't be finishing this series and neither will I be interested in picking up her previous books.

Her writing style is probably not my cuppa.

On a final note, it bugged me a little bit that there was sort of an underlying implication that, after having a baby, the trackers who are female pretty much give up their career as a tracker, as if having a baby means you're immediately a stay-at-home mother and nothing in the book seems to imply otherwise.


It's that whole deal where a lot of women in fiction I've read are made to choose between career or family (or career or love) and can only have one or the other, but never both.  It rankles me just a little bit.





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text 2015-02-17 07:10
Reading progress update: Chapter 1, Page 16
Frostfire - Amanda Hocking

He was still youthful looking, especially for a guy in his mid-twenties, but thanks in part to his persistent stubble, he couldn't pass for a teenager any longer.


(The bolded part is me.)


The day I suddenly realize that mid-twenties is not considered youthful is the day I start feeling those cricks in my back and my neck, I suppose...


Also... stubble signifies a non-teen male?  I figure that even if you have a baby-face, stubble won't make much of a difference.


I'm sorry.  I must be much more far removed from my high school years than I thought.  I'm sure I remember all of my brothers starting to shave while they were still in high school.


This is as bad as the weird Cinderella comparisons she made in the prologue.  Or maybe I'm just being too picky.  I should probably quit scrutinizing the writing and try to see where this book goes.



As for the book itself, it seems we are taking an Urban Fantasy approach to the setting and story, so I will adjust my reading mindset accordingly.  Although I still don't know in what capacity of Urban Fantasy we're dealing with yet.  Hopefully it'll all come together soon.

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