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Waiting on Wednesday: June 6, 2012: “The Crimson Crown” by Cinda Williams Chima

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly me hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine (gotta love the name!). The idea is that it spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. So, here is my pick for the week:

The Crimson Crown
by Cinda Williams Chima
Publication Date: October 23, 2012

From Amazon:
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she’s falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.

Ya’ll, I can’t even tell you how upset I was a few weeks ago when i learned that The Gray Wolf Throne was NOT the last book in the Seven Realms series. I had been waiting to read the books until they were all released and someone I managed to convince myself that it was only a trilogy and I could go ahead and read them all.

I only discovered I was wrong when I was halfway through the third book…and now I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for the fourth (and final book for real) to come out in October. Cinda Williams Chima is an expert at high fantasy and she does not disappoint in this series. If you’re a fan of Robin McKinley or Tamora Pierce you should really check this series out.

 

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Armchair BEA June 5th: Best of 2012 and Giveaway!

I cannot believe that we are already into June! It does not even seem possible that we are now halfway through 2012, but I supposed this is what happens as we get older. Without further adieu here are my top 3 books I’ve read in 2012 and the top 3 books I’m waiting on to be released!

3 Favorites in 2012

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I CANNOT stress enough how much I loved this book. I’ve read it twice since January and it only got better on my second read through. But there are no words really, just feelings and I think this image i found in The Book Smugglers review sums it up quite nicely:

2. Two Kisses for Maddy by Matt Logelin. I reviewed this book back in April and I could barely form the words for the review. This book broke my heart into a million little pieces and then ever so gently put it back together again. It’s a true story and a touching memoir of one man’s journey through life and love and single fatherhood. You will not regret picking this one up at all.

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I came a bit late to this party, as I only read Divergent about two weeks before Insurgent was set to release. It was basically a blessing in disguise as I don’t have to wait as long to find out what was happening to Tris and Four. I’ve very much enjoyed this series and am itching to see how it all ends in the third book.

Team Dauntless all the way baby!

3 Books I’m (impatiently) waiting for in 2012

1. Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn. So, it’s no secret that Timothy Zahn is the hero of the Star Wars EU book world and my favorite sic-fi writer. So it’s certainly no surprise that my top most anticipated book is his newest. This one focuses on Han and Chewie (and Lando!) so it’s a bit of a divergence from his normal focus of Mara Jade and Luke. But I’m still hoping the awesome red head makes at least a tiny appearance.

Also, just look at that cover. How will it not be made of awesome?

2. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. Adrian Ivashkov. Need i say more? He’s one of my favorite things about the Vampire Academy world and I can’t wait to see more of him. Oh, and Sydney and Jill and the intrigues of the Moroi court, of course. But mostly Adrian. Cause that’s how I roll.

3. The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima. The Seven Realms series is one of the best YA epic fantasies I’ve read and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. I made the mistake of reading the first three thinking that’s all there was and I was both ecstatic and brokenhearted hearted to realize there was still one more book. Mostly only broken hearted cause fit doesn’t release until October and that’s just too darn far away.

What books did you guys pick as your top of 2012? I know it’s only Juen but there have already been so many great books that it was difficult to narrow it down! I can’t wait to see what made everyone’s else’s lists.

If you get a moment be sure to check out the official Armchair BEA site for a guest post from Joe Foster from Edelweiss. He’ll be talking all about digital review copies and the many exciting changes at Edelweiss that effect us as book bloggers.

OH! Also, don’t forget the first Armchair BEA twitter party! Find our more here: For detailed information, visit the Twitter Party Announcement Post. Hope to see everyone participating!

Okay, so now for the fun stuff (c/mon we all know why you’re here!)! If you’re interested in winning a $25 dollar Amazon giftcard simply signup for my email list here: http://eepurl.com/b8GB1 and leave a comment on this post. There will be a random winner selected from all of the new subscribers/commenters!

(If you’re an existing subscriber and would like to be eligible to win simply shoot me an email and I’ll adjust the signup date manually to allow you to enter the contest).

Winner will be announced on Friday by 4 pm!

 
 

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Book Review: Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

History of the Seven Realms Series: (from Cinda Williams Chima’s website)

The Seven Realms Series is set in a traditional fantasy world of medieval technology, swordplay, castles and keeps.

The action takes place in and around The Seven Realms—seven loosely-related realms once ruled by the Gray Wolf Queens and their wizard consorts or kings.  The Seven Realms include the mountainous queendom of the Fells, the kingdom of Tamron, the kingdom of Arden, the southern kingdoms of Bruinswallow and We’enhaven, the Southern Islands, and the Northern Islands.

The Gray Wolf queens ruled in a loose alliance with the upland clans. The clans are practitioners of earth magic and masters of materials: they are masters of healing, medicines, and the makers of the amulets and other magical tools and weapons that allow wizards to use their power.

Wizards have native magical ability that must be collected and channeled through amulets in order to do sophisticated charmcasting. Targeted charmcasting also requires spoken spells.

My Review: I purchased The Demon King a while back and it’s just been sitting on my shelf as my intention was to wait until all the books in the series were released before I started reading. Well, for some reason I managed to get it into my head that The Gray Wolfe Throne was the last of the series and so it was okay for me to start reading. Annnddd, only when I finished did i realize that there’s a fourth and final book due out in October!! So, now I’m forced to wait five more months before the story is resolved! *sigh*

First of all, Heidi at YA Bibliophile said it best when she said to me on Twitter that “Cinda Williams Chima does fantasy right!”. There’s no better way to state that! And this epic YA fantasy series is one of the best I have read in quite some time. It has all the elements you’d expect from a high fantasy, a Princess in danger, magic, war, murder, mystery, intrigue and a handsome stranger who may hold the key to it all.

The Good: There is so much good in this series that I don’t even know where to begin. Chima does an incredible job with world and character building. Fire Dance, Willo, Han, Amon, Averil and Raisa the Princess Heir are just a few of the characters who carry larger story lines over the course of the books. And even juggling a large cast of diverse and interesting characters Chima somehow makes them all standout in their very own way.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Amon Byrne and his unfailing devotion to Raisa as the Princess Heir but more importantly as a friend. My heart breaks for him knowing that he will always choose duty over all else, it takes an incredibly strong man to do that.

While with Raisa there are times I alternate between thinking she’s a spoiled brat to wondering how her mother managed to raise such a kind hearted and generous daughter. She’s a strong woman and that becomes even more apparent as the series moves forward. Raisa will make an excellent Queen, both fair and just and will work towards equalizing all of the people in her Queendom.

The Bad: While I know tat the details of the Naeming and the Breaking are left purposefully vague (we do get the general gist of things, but it’s very obviously things are being left out) to further the plot of the series, it gets rather frustrating to go through three books and still be left unsure as where everything is all heading. I do sincerely hope that the fourth book wraps up my unanswered questions about these large events and helps me to understand how the effects have survived 1000 years.

I had a hard time with the character of Micah Bayer as I never quite felt like Chima knew what to do with him. He was as slippery as an eel and seemed to change sides at the drop of the hat to whatever was the most convient for him. However, I’m putting my faith in Chima that she knows what she’s doing and that Micah’s true colors will become apparent in the final book.

The Great: The intrigue and mystery that lie behind events long in the past, such as the Naeming and the Breaking only intensifies the readers curiosity for  the impact they’ll have on what is happening in the present day. I could not put this series down once I started as it moved at a breakneck pace pausing only to answer questions raised in earlier chapters just enough to satisfy you before leaving you with even more answeres to search for.

Also, I love that Chima populates her story with characters of different colors, religions, genders and different backgrounds. From the people of the Vale who seem to fit very nicely into the mold made by the Kings and Queens of England, to the clan who are so reminiscent of our own Native American Indians to the people of the Southern Islands with their dark skin, braids and deeper accents and everyone in-between it’s refreshing to see a YA book with a diverse cast of characters. The tensions that exist between characters due to race, religion and gender feel very real and in this fantasy world of magic and wolves it’s something most of us can relate to.

This is must read for any fantasy lover, although I’ll understand if you want to wait until October before you get started so you can blow through all four books at once!

What are some of your favorite fantasy reads? I’m always looking for new books to get excited about!

 

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