Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Hartman’

TTT: The Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, vloggers and bookworms to join in.

As you can probably surmise form the reduced number of post from me over the last few months ( well year really), things are pretty busy here at Big Book Little Book HQ. Who knew that a newborn and her big siblings, a large labrador and house renovations took up so much time 😉 As a result of not being able to commit as much time to the blog, or indeed to reading in general, I have made a concerted effort to not acquire many new books. I hate to call it a ban, for me that is as effective as saying no to chocolate because you are on a diet, it just makes me want it MORE. No matter how hard I try, every now and then i’ll come across a book that I simply can’t say no to, that I simply HAVE to say YES PLEASE, SIGN ME UP, TAKE MY MONEY and occasionally there are those gorgeous little little unsolicited, bubble wrapped, surprises that land on your doormat.

In no particular order (because I am so disorganised and have no idea as and when these beauties came in to my possession )

1. Colour Me Mindful: Underwater by Anastasia Catris
When the lovelies at Orion offered me the opportunity to take a look at the latest thing in relaxation and mindfulness I couldn’t resist finding out what all of the fuss was about. I think that it is safe to say that I am totally hooked. I started out using my children’s colouring pencils but quickly found myself frustrated at the limited colour selection. Now my obsession is such that I have had to order my very own set of fine line colouring pens. The only thing not relaxing about this book and its Birds and Tropical counterparts, is keeping them away from my seven year old.

2. The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is one of those authors who’s work caught me attention early on, when I devoured entangled, and who’s subsequent works I have collected but not gotten around to reading. When the Bookish Brits ( view our channel here) were offered the opportunity to read Cat’s latest book for June’s book club I jumped at the chance to take part.

3. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
I know, I know, I know and this being a blog which prides itself on reading books from all age categories! I’m almost embarrassed to have not yet read this hugely hyped middle grade book. Because I have only heard good things, from peoples who’s book recommendations I trust implicitly, I couldn’t resist snapping this up at a recent ebook sale.

4. Fail Human Heart by Zoe Marriott
The final book in the Name of the Blade trilogy. I love this series so much and I can’t wait to get suck back in to this urban fantasy.

5. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
It’s Ness, enough said.

6.Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
I absolutely loved Seraphina, so much so that I listed its sequel as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. Oppps I think some one was a little over excited! Shadow Scale was actually released in March of this year and not only did I preorder the hardback I also preordered the audiobook too.

7. The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
One of those bubble wrapped surprises. Lucy is a UKYA author about which I have heard only good things. I am ashamed to have not discovered her work for myself yet.

8. One by Sarah Crossan
A YA book written in verse! I can’t wait to give it a try.

9. The Curious Tale Of The Lady Of Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
Pruedence raved about Catherine’s previous book Sawbones (click here to read her review)when she read it last year. Once again Catherine delves in to history, this time to share her version of the events surrounding real life Mary Wilcox. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

10.The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li
Non fiction books are like busses. You don’t see any on Big Book Little book for ages and then two crop up in one post! When the lovely people at Pavilion offered me the opportunity to take a look at this gorgeous fact book I just couldn’t resist. I find human biology absolutely fascinating and I am attracted to anything that allows me to share this fascination with my own children. It’s been a hit so far with the seven and five year old fighting over who got to use the magnifying glass!

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Posted by Caroline

What was the last book you bought, borrowed or requested?

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Seraphina

Rachel Hartman

seraphina hbFour 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 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.

Seraphina first captured my attention over a year ago while I was exploring Goodreads and compiling a list for our 2012 debut reading challenge. The unique woodcarving aesthetic of the cover (not pictured) hinted at the medieval world hidden within and the idea of dragons taking human form and living among us was immediately intriguing.

While I didn’t manage to include Seraphina in my 2012 reads, I was still curious enough to add Seraphina to my personal wish list. Recent award wins; increased media attention and the paperback publication pushed the book in to the forefront of my mind. So that when fellow UK blogger Raimy ( from Readaraptor) was reorganizing her bookcase, I jumped at the opportunity to rehome her hardback copy and endeavored to make it my next read.

Having been attracted to this book by the promise of the world building, I was delighted to discover a comprehensively constructed world. Without resorting to “information dumping”, pages of descriptions and explanations, Hartman was able to bestow The Kingdom of Gorred with it’s own monarchy, history, art, vernacular, belief systems and political and religious tensions.

The world building was so encompassing and felt so authentic, that in no time I was fully immersed in the story and had no difficulty suspending my disbelief and accepting that not only did huge fire breathing, head eating dragons exist, but that they are able to fold themselves in to human form, albeit uncomfortably, and walk around Hartman’s pseudo medieval world.

All of the characters, even seemingly minor ones were well thought out and three dimensional and I loved how Hartman challenged my expectations. A character I quickly and harshly labeled in my mind as vacuous and shallow, turned out to be a loyal friend with backbone of steel and innate poise.

I adored Seraphina. Although at times she is crippled by self-doubt and self-disgust, I admired her strength of character, intelligence and determination. Whatever muddle she finds herself in, by design or accident, whether she is filling in last minute at a concert or interrogating knights, she throws herself in to the task and gives 100%. It was a joy to follow her developing from socially awkward, self-loathing keeper of secrets to a confident and hopeful young woman.

The romantic element of Seraphina was beautifully done. While there is no doubting the connection between the characters there was no sign of the dreaded “insta love”, but rather a foundation of mutual respect and team work from which their relationship was allowed develop organically. Not that they don’t suffer from their own brand of angst. For one thing, Lucian is promised to someone else. For another, how do you reconcile a relationship between a girl whose very existence is protected by a veil of lies, and a boy who has pledged his life to the pursuit of truth.

I was completely enamored by the experience of reading Seraphina. I found myself in that wonderfully joyful situation of total absorption and enjoyment of a book while realising that I had over fifty percent to go. All too soon though, I’d raced through the pages and found myself staring at the final chapter. Sentimental fool that I am, I delayed reading the last few pages because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Gorred and it’s inhabitants.

Verdict: Reading Seraphina was an absolute pleasure. The countdown for the July release of Dracomachia begins.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: July 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Gifted
Challenge: None
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