Posted in Fantasy, Loved It, Rating

Seraphina

Seraphina

Teaser

“I heard a scream,” said Dame Okra. “I considered calling the Guard, but I decided to see what had happened first. Maybe someone merely saw a rat.” She sneered at Lady Corongi. “Close enough.”

Author: Rachel Hartman

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: Loved it

Here’s a synopsis of the book:

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I forgot what blog featured this book, but it looked so interesting that I decided to buy it. It was wonderful. I thought that the author had a very interesting take on dragons. I just about every fantasy book that I’ve read, Eragon being the exception, dragons are pretty much beasts. They aren’t usually portrayed as having a culture or being able to learn and grow. And certainly no fantasy I’ve read has dragons as being able to take human form and be able to sire children with humans. I am hoping that in future books, the author will go into detail as to how dragons are able to assume human form.

I really liked the character Seraphina. I really felt for her trying pass as completely human. What a knife’s edge to walk everyday!!! And particularly because she worked in the castle teaching the second heir to the throne. I’m surprised that she wasn’t found out long before she was. I felt rather bad for her father. I cannot even imagine learning that the person you married didn’t even have the courtesy to tell you that they weren’t human; to have someone who supposedly “loves” you put you in such legal danger without your consent. I was somewhat annoyed with the dad for not being a loving father to Seraphina, but then this world was medieval in their attitudes. If you’ve spent a lifetime being taught that dragons are soulless, that would cause a lot of internal conflict in how to relate to your half-dragon child. All things considering, he did the best he could.

Anyway, I’m really excited to see how this series turns out!!! This promises to be a very interesting kind of war- a war of ideology and different generations. I’m hoping that the human population does a lot of changing. The dragons really gave up a lot in order to keep peace, and they get little in return but contempt. You would have thought that one of the dragons would have snapped by now.

Maybe fighting together for peace will make the difference.

Anyway, I would highly recommend this book!!!

Posted in Monday Morning Update

Monday Morning Update April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Update

So this week the new Squire’s Kitchen Bake School magazine came out. So I tried one of the new desserts- a Strawberry Millefeuille. It is very yummy and very refreshing.

Mailbox Monday
1. The Clockwork Angel

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

2. The Clockwork Prince

True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the #1 New York Times bestselling second book of the Infernal Devices trilogy.

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.

3. The Clockwork Princess

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

4. Seraphina

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

What Are You Reading on Mondays?

I read all of the Infernal Devices Trilogy. I’m currently reading Seraphina.

Posted in Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday Teaser April 23, 2013

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week’s teaser is from The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

“Hang the Lightwoods,” muttered Will. “I believe he underestimated Bridget. She carved those creatures up like a Christmas turkey.”

Posted in Meme

Book Beginnings April 19, 2013

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Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

“Im afraid,” said the little girl sitting on the bed. “Grandfather, can you stay with me.” Aloysius Starkweather made an impatient noise in the back of his throat as he drew a chair closer to the bedside and seated himself.

This character appears in the Clockwork Prince. He's not likable, but I suspect it is due to the fact that he lost a child or grandchild. I think we are about to find out the backstory of the little girl’s demise.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog lovin

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So Google reader will be no more. Pity! I’m switching to Blog Lovin’. So far it is pretty nice. I’m using this post to claim my blog.

Posted in Meme, Monday Morning Update

Monday Morning Update Tax Time 2013

Monday Morning UpdateWell, it is that time of the week again!!!

I’m sorry I’m not going to be visiting as much this Monday. I have a trial starting today. But thanks for visiting me anyway! I’ll be around to see everyone next week.

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks.  So my mailbox is a little heavier than usual.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clara

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Martha’s American Food

In this beautiful volume, a love letter to American food, Martha Stewart, who has so significantly influenced the American table, collects her most favorite national dishes, as well as the stories and traditions behind them. These are recipes that will delight you with nostalgia, inspire you, and teach you about our nation by way of its regions and their distinctive flavors. Above all, these are time-honored recipes that you will turn to again and again.

Organized geographically, the 200 recipes in Martha’s American Food include main dishes such as comforting Chicken Pot Pies, easy Grilled Fish Tacos, irresistible Barbecued Ribs, and hearty New England Clam Chowder. Here, too, are thoroughly modern starters, sides, and one-dish meals that harness the bounty of each region’s seasons and landscape: Hot Crab Dip, Tequila-Grilled Shrimp, Indiana Succotash, Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Whitefish, and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Meyer Lemon, Arugula, and Pistachios. And you will want to leave room for dessert, with dozens of treats such as Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie, New York Cheesecake, and Peach and Berry Cobbler.

Through sidebars about the flavors that define each region and stunning photography that brings the foods—and the places with which we identify them—to life, Martha celebrates the unique character of each part of the country. With all the dishes that inspire pride in our national cuisine, Martha’s American Food gathers, in one place, the recipes that will surely please your family and friends for generations to come.

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

With its delectable recipes and charming girl-next-door tone, Homemade With Love is sure to be a welcome addition to the kitchens of longtime readers of the blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen. Jennifer Perillo has long written on the pleasures and importance of cooking from scratch, buying local, and eating at home. Jennie shares her love for her farmers’ markets and local purveyors while dishing out a hearty dose of practical culinary know-how for the working parent—or any busy cook.

Jennie has been writing online since 2006, and developing recipes for more than 15 years, even after the sudden death of her young husband, Mikey, in 2011. Gathering her family together around the table was her recipe for healing; though many things about her life have changed, her commitment to eating for nourishment—physical and spiritual—has not. A seasoned recipe developer and personal chef, Jennie has crafted shortcuts (like two homemade all-purpose baking mixes, used as a base for baked goods such as breads, muffins, and cupcakes) to make good eating just a little easier. Try recipes like Orange-Scented Waffles, Carrot Fennel Soup, Lentil Ricotta Meatballs, Drop Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie, Strawberry Blender Sherbet, and Lemon Buttermilk Doughnuts. Simple, soulful recipes for every meal of the day emphasize farm-fresh produce and whole foods. Jennie’s distinctive voice is an evangelist for eating close to home, lingering around the table.

What Are You Reading on Mondays?

I read all of the Cassandra Clare books. I’m ready to start on The Infernal Devices series next.

So how was your week? Is anyone watching Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge’s?

Posted in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

Welcome to the 2013 Ultimate Blog Party

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Welcome to the 2013 Blog Party. I’m kind of late to the par this year. Do you know that I actually forgot? Yeah I know! I’ve been participating in the Ultimate Blog Party for 4 years now.

Anyway, a little bit about this blog. My name is Brooke/Bluestocking. This is a book review blog! I read just about anything with a cover. However I don’t like bodice rippers. This blog is in a state of transition. I am moving over here to WordPress. Hopefully this will be my last move. So have a look around. And keep coming back because I”ll be adding new reviews and reporting old reviews. While you’re here grab a cupcake! Don’t forget to leavealink so I can visit!

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Posted in Fantasy, Loved It

Stolen Magic

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Author: Stephanie Burgis

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Overview

In this conclusion to the Regency-era fantasy trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem,” Kat is tasked with saving her family, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself.
With just days to go before her sister Angeline’s long-delayed wedding to Frederick Carlyle, the impetuous Kat Stephenson has resigned herself to good behavior. But Kat’s initiation into the magical Order of the Guardians is fast approaching, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere.

First, Kat must contend with the wretched Mrs. Carlyle’s attempts to humiliate her sister; the arrival of the mysterious Marquise de Valmont, who bears suspicious resemblance to Kat’s late mother; and Frederick’s bewitching cousin Jane, who has Charles Stephenson tripping over his feet. But when a menacing boy with powerful magic starts hunting Kat, a dastardly villain tries to kill Angeline, and the Guardians face a magical robbery that could spell the end of their Order, propriety becomes the least of Kat’s concerns.

Can Kat save her sister’s life, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself before it’s too late?

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I’ve been waiting a positive age for this last book to come out. On one hand I am happy, but on the other hand I’m a little bit sad. I was hoping that this would be a long running series. It certainly has that potential. Then I saw that the author said this was the last book for now. I believe it was a business decision on the part of the publisher. I won’t post what I think of the publisher’s intelligence. Needless to say, it isn’t overly charitable.

The book was fast paced. There a few twists and turns in the plot. There was some interesting character development i.e. Charles. Boy did he clean up his act! Who knew he had the potential to be a protective older brother! I really enjoyed the fact that Elissa came to terms with her witch blood. And then Lady F- Kat’s “godmother,” will that woman never get her comeuppance? Though I suppose that Kat finally being initiated into the Order is quite a punishment. I am glad that Kat finally has a mother figure in her life that can keep up with her and then some. I always found her to be in particular need of motherly love.

I really did enjoy the book. I couldn’t put it down. I’m just really sad that this series is really starting to get going, but is now shut down due to a “business” decision. I just hope one day the author can come back and give us more Kat.