City of Flowers by Mary Hoffman 

Continuing on with my review of the Stravaganza series as I (slowly) read through them. City of Flowers is the third book in the Stravaganza series and so far my absolute favorite. So much happens in this book, it really jumps into the thick of this story and world now. 

City of Flowers follows Sky, a young teen (who also goes to the same school as Lucien and Georgia do) who stumbles across a perfume bottle. Tired and worn out from taking care of his mother who has MS disease, sky stumbles into the world of Talia in the city of Giglia. Disguised as a monk and thrown into a feud between the DiChimici and the Nucci that has lasted years Sky must discover his purpose as well as stay alive. 

I loved this book in particular becuase the action really took a leap in this. Now we not only have the issues from the last books to deal with but a family feud between two warring families that must also be dealt with all the while keeping the Stravagante community hidden from the DiChimici Duke. 

Once again Mary Hoffman has captured my heart with this story, as well as a love for the fantasy world of Talia. I enjoy this books for many reasons, especially for the amount of work and research she did for them. Diversity plays a role in these books as well, which makes me love them even more. Once again diversity is a hot topic in the book community and these books definitely have that- with a variety of main characters as well as multiple supporting characters that all come from different backgrounds and races/ethnicities. These are wonderful books and I love the story so much. 

While these books follow a common theme they still vary widely between the sequels and I love that so much. Each book follows a different character, story line and city in the world of Talia. It also connects all the stories across the books as well, with tons of world building and story build up I feel as though I can never get enough of reading these books. I highly recommend them, especially for lovers of fantasy/SciFi novels. 

I rated a 5/5 on Goodreads, this book had so many action scenes I was immersed for the majority of the book, hooked and on the edge of my seat. This is a wonderful read and amazing series. 

A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

Okay I read this book a LONG time ago and it took me a while to even find the motivation for the review; mostly because I had waited so long to even write it. I had to remember everything that I wanted to right about, and I probably have done a review on this at some point (either the show or the book) but I had deleted it from my old blog. Silly me.

This has been one of my favorite series, mostly the tv show since that is what I started first but I love the books as well. I am currently on the second book because they take forever to read, but they are so good.


Goodreads Summary:

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. 

In the first book we are introduced to the world of Westeros and the characters that are in in. We follow King Roberts reign and his friend Ned Stark as well as the entire Stark family, the Lannisters and even the Targaryens (what is left of them.) We follow through al the intrigue of the crown and the death that seems to surround it, the start of a great (or not so great war) and the simple evil of humanity at it’s finest.

This book series is extremely complicated, if you’ve ever read Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit then you know what a complicated fantasy book is. Believe me though, these books are far more complicated than any of the Lord of the Rings books. They are amazing though, very well written and definitely worth the read. There is a lot going on, and the story is packed full but the quality definitely makes up for the mind mush the reader gets from tackling such a series.

Welcome to the world of Westeros and the seven kingdoms.

There is not single main character, and there are several stories going on. We follow several characters, from Ned Stark to all his children and his wife, to Dany Targaryen and her brother with their adventures with the Dothraki. This is a story of power and struggles, the fight to win and to gain. If you love fantasy or medieval stories then you will definitely love this.

I love being able to get more than one story, and as the story progresses and the separate houses split up and do their own things then we get to see how they travel through out the world and what they are doing while everyone else is doing something else.Not having a single main character can be a very good thing, or it can be a very bad thing. It can be hard to follow so many story lines and so much that goes on at any given time but it also really cool to see how all the story lines tie into each other and effect the rest of the Westeros world.

The writing in these books are simply amazing, and the more research I do on the author definitely adds to my love of this series. While the author writes about rather horrible things in this world he created, he is still a resectable man (at least from what I have seen). The writing is detailed, giving enough back story for the reader to understand the depth of the tragedies that are happening in this story as well as allowing the reader to connect with the characters and the relationships that were already built into the story from the start. I am really not that into fantasy books, they have always seemed rather daunting to me; and while this story is most certainly daunting and packed full it is amazing and 9 times out of 10 the reader will fall into this world easily.

There definitely is an adult theme in this book, but I felt as though this was done gracefully. I didn’t feel like any of the adult themes (the violence or the sex) were over the top or even unnecessary. Especially in the book and being able to read about it. There seemed to be a point with each encounter or more violent discussions. Everything ties in with each other at some point in this book. Sometimes you just have to wait for a while to be able to see how it fits into the story.

This world is a magical, yet altogether terrible place and the author did a fantastic job of portraying that. I do not recommend this book lightly, I realize that it is not for everyone. As much as I love this book I know that a lot of the themes and events in this book are very hard to handle. The book alone has a reputation for killing any and all characters, which I can confirm is very true. I don’t love this book because it is perfect and everything is nice. I love this book because it gets down to the nitty gritty, it’s real. I feel as though this could be an accurate portrayal of  a world like that, of people doing anything they can to get whatever they want. The characters are human and flawed and the story is not a happy one. It doesn’t take things lightly and that is why this story is such a great one.

I rated this book a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, it truly is a beautiful piece of work. Again I do not lightly recommend this book, it is definitely a bit cleaner than the show but it still has some very mature themes that might be hard to handle. If you love fantasy books though this might be the one for you. Especially if you are looking for a more realistic rough and tough and vastly serious book. It really is a great read and a wonderfully written book.

I will get the review up on the next book as soon as I can but it might be a while it is taking me a long time to get through these books.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 

So recently I finished reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This was a book I hadn’t realized was a book until I watched the movie for it. I had loved the movie so much that I had to read this book as well. I was not disappointed. 

The book follows Susie Salmon (like the fish) on her journey through heaven. Susie was brutally raped and murdered at the age of 14 on December 6th 1973. Susie is trapped watching from heaven as her family tries to deal with her death. Unable to reach out, unable to move on the story follows Susie, her family and friends as they grow up and learn grow past her death. 

This book is a hard book to swallow, and a harder one to read. As much as I loved this book I wouldn’t just recommend this book to anyone. It was not well liked by a good majority on Goodreads and I can understand why. To follow something as tragic and horrifying as this story, it’s just not an easy read. I did really enjoy this book, for many reasons. But I can’t say that I loved it because of how great the story was. While the book was (in my opinion) well written for the most part the hardest thing about this book is really the story. 

We read from Susie’s point of view, having been murdered and having to cope with her sudden appearance in heaven we get to witness her watching her family from above. Unable to do anything and unable to reach them. The story is a very melancholy one at best. But it is the uniqueness of the story that really made me fall in love. In her untimely death, I was able to fall in love with Susie and feel for her as she questioned why her? What had she done to deserve this? It was tragic to read and I am still unable to piece all my thoughts about this book together. 

The writing, I felt, was truly amazing as well. Some parts were hard to understand the comparisons and similes that the author used were definitely unusual but I felt that they only added to the story. I hardly noticed these to be honest until someone else had pointed them out in their review of the book. This was part of the reason, I had discovered, that so many people disliked the book; as I read though the reviews people have done on Goodreads this seemed to be a fairly often complaint. That did not stop me from disliking the book, rather I felt as though the authors writing style really set up the book for the time period that it was in. While unique and different I felt that this could be a book that was written in the 70’s rather than just being based in the 70’s. 

At first there didn’t really seem to be a real purpose to the story, after Susie herself says in the first few pages of the book what happened to her. There is no real surprise as to what is going to happen, the description of the book sets us up for all the major events that happen in the book. It is a mild book, hovering around a huge tragedy. But I had no trouble realizing the point and purpose of this story. We are following Susie family and friends that she left behind, watching home struggle to move on and come to terms with her death. The Salmons are unable to move on, her school friends unable to move on and Susie is unable to move on as well; she spends her time in heaven watching her family while others move around her and move on in heaven. 

This is a profound book on a whole new level, it is unlike anything I have ever read and will keep me thinking well beyond what a normal book has me thinking. I felt that this was an amazing story about the tragedy of young loss and the abilities among several people to cope with that. We even get a glimpse at Susie and how she is dealing with her own death. 

I rated this book a 4/5 stars on Goodreads, as much as I loved it it tended to drag on at some points and while I wasn’t exactly bored at these parts I felt that they could of been condensed a little bit. Susie having been 14 at the time of her death was stuck in a perpetual mindset of her age and I felt like this influenced the way the book was written a little bit. 

I would recommend this book with caution, it has some triggers I believe if you are sensitive to stories like this; as well as being all together a rather depressing tale. If you’re looking for a sunny happy ending in a book then don’t read this, however if you want a different book and don’t mind that the book as a whole is depressing then I feel like you will really like this book. It truly is a great read and makes the reader really think and ponder on the story.