Review: The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin & Giveaway

Illustrated By: Luis Royo
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Reading Level: Young Middle Grade
Pages: 128 (Hardcover)
Source: From Publisher for Review
The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

This new edition of The Ice Dragon is sure to become a collector’s item for fans of HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones.
 
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

GAME OF THRONES is on my must-read binge list for January intercession, so when I was given the opportunity to read the re-released version of George R. R. Martin's middle grade supposedly set in the same world, I was in. Before I begin this review, I have to say that Luis Royo's gorgeous illustrations on the cover and nearly every page are beautifully haunting and purchasing a copy of this book is worth being able to see the pictures alone.

Martin's writing is also beautiful. This is a middle-grade short story that can be read in under an hour, so it almost has a novella-like feel for elder readers. Furthermore, it reminds me a dark fairytale or piece of folklore. It has that type of whimsical yet moral vibe to it. If you are into fantasy and want to read a book that almost feels as if it is a children's bedtime story about courage, love, and embracing one's true nature, then this is a solid recommendation for you. I say this because this story is lacking great depth. It skims the top of the surface and tells you a beautifully written tale while a unique plot, but it doesn't delve into the plot and examine anything. It's simply there.

The story is that of Adara, a young girl who carries the winter inside her because she was born during the harshest of winters. Because of this, she can communicate and even tame the ice dragons that her world is so fearful of. When enemy dragon-riders attack her town and family, she must give away her secret and protect her family before it is too late.

The ending of this novel is what I both love and hate. I love it because it's what gives this story such a folklore-esque vibe, but I dislike it because it almost seems abrupt. Really, the entire story had a lot of potential to be expanded on, but it simply wasn't. The ending, though, definitely needed more explanation to it. While I found myself smiling after the very last page, I was also left with many questions and a crushing sense of dread that I won't get those questions ever.

All in all, I would say that I enjoyed this. It definitely satisfied me and I did find this to be a memorable read. I just wish there was a bit more depth and explanation to the tale. However, the exquisite art and young vibe of this story will allow it to appeal to younger readers. This is one of those books that will be more appreciated by its target audience than slightly elder generations, though fans of George R. R. Martin will find themselves smiling at his beautiful writing and unique lore creations.

~*~Links~*~

~*~Giveaway~*~
Tor was kind enough to provide three beautiful hardcovers for a giveaway! This is a US only giveaway! Enter below and may the odds be ever in your favor. ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review. 

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly featured hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This was such a hard list to make!

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
3. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge


4. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
5. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay 


 
6. Liars Inc by Paula Stokes
7. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
8. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
 
 
9. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
10. A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Don't forget to share your thoughts below!

Stacking the Shelves #88


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This was an awesome week.


Rebound by Noelle August (Thank you William Morrow and Edelweiss!)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (Thank you Harper and Edelweiss!)
The Retribution by Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler (Thank you Bloomsbury!)

What did you add to your shelves?

Epic Recs Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 256 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell.

Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Bekka the ultimate Epic Recs partner has done it again! Seriously, my rec-ing powers are super inferior compared to her. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting to like this one. I enjoyed Kuehn's debut, CHARM & STRANGE, but it took me the entire novel to really love it. Similarly, that was the case with this one. While I had my theories about this or that, I didn't actually love this novel until this psychological thriller full of twisty turns finally came full circle and the answers I so desperately craved were revealed. Kuehn managed to craft such a twisted psychological thriller that I couldn't put the book down and the ending envoked serious emotion in me. Whoa, guys, just whoa.

Jamie Henry isn't your typical high school student. His older sister, Crazy Cate Henry, is known for, well, being a complete lunatic. She set a farm on fire two years ago and was just let out of a juvenile detention center after serving two years for her crimes. Because of this, Jamie's a bit of a pariah. And to make matters worse, he has this weird condition called cataplexy where the muscles in his hands weaken to the point of him not feeling them when he experiences any negative emotions like sadness or anxiety. The usage of this condition was super interesting since I've never heard about it before.

When Cate is let out, weird things begin to happen. Jamie's cataplexy begins to act up much more often, several different houses and establishments are set on fire like the barn, and the town begins to suspect trouble. It doesn't help that while his world begins to spiral after two years of calm since the first time he was adopted alongside his blood sister Cate, he meets the girl of his dreams and enters his first true relationship with someone that doesn't seem to care about his sister's history. She can differentiate between Jamie and Cate.

This book is an incredibly fast read. It doesn't occur over a long stretch of time and its fast pace combined with its short length allows you to finish this in a single day. The mystery in it grabs you from the very beginning and you desperately want to figure things out as Jamie deals with Cate's weird behavior and delves into his past to discover answers to why she so desperately wants to see him upon her release from juvie. When all of the hidden secrets finally come to light, your jaw drops and time literally pauses and you can do nothing but sit there screaming WHAT over and over again.

In true Kuehn fashion, the ending is what makes this novel. In a mere ten pages you are taken on the King Da Ka of rollercoaster rides where your shock morphs into every other possible emotion and the very last page makes you forget how to breathe. My one issue is that while I was enveloped by the story waiting for the end, it literally took the entire book to make me flip out as much as I did. Otherwise, I was almost emotionless waiting for that inevitable emotional overload that Kuehn is guaranteed to deliver.

Read this is you want your mind to be messed with. There's simply no other way to put it.

Warning: There is sexual situations, underage drinking, cussing, violence, death, and the mentions of drugs in this book. Not suitable for young readers.
 

4 stars

~*~Links~*~

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This was such a great list to make, but it was so hard to narrow it down to just ten sequels! Ah! I don't think I have to explain any of the below titles because my love of them is super intense. <3

1. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
2. Remembrance by Meg Cabot
3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
4. Invaded by Melissa Landers
5. The Pirate Code by Heidi Schulz
6. Winter by Marissa Meyer
7. Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
8. Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas
9. The Archived #3 by Victoria Schwab
10. A Darker Shade of Magic #2 by Victoria Schwab

Don't forget to link your TTT posts below!

Sisterhood of the World Book Bloggers Tag

I don't know exactly who started this tag, but I love the idea of uniting book bloggers!
I was tagged by Dana at Dana Square. Thanks for the fun blog post, girl! This is a great way for my followers to get to know better.

~*~Guidelines~*~
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website.
2. Post the award's logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked.
4. Nominator ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions.

~*~Questions~*~
1. What was the last book you read that you gave 5 stars to?
I gave five stars to The Start Of Me and You by Emery Lord last week, but the review hasn't been posted yet. Does that count? haha. Anyway, this book made me cry and it was so perfect and powerful. Emery Lord knows how to wow me.

2. What book got you into reading YA?
Honestly, it was probably The Lightning Thief and its subsequent books by Rick Riordan. I was re-reading them a while ago and once I began, I never stopped. I know they're not technically YA, but they brought my love of reading back after it was broken a few years ago.

3. What character from a series deserves their own spin-off book or series?
Definitely Kenji from the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. This guy was so hilarious and he was not only comedic relief, but integral to the plot at certain moments. I would love to see more of him, even after that disappointing series ender.

4. What is your most recent favorite genre?
My favorite genres have never really changed. I am still a sucker for any kind of retelling/reimagining or a high fantasy novel, so I guess fantasy in general is just my thing.

5. Do you collect anything other than books?
Yes! I actually collect snow-globes. My parents bought me a ton of them when I was little and as I got older, I would begin asking for snow-globes for the holidays or whenever my friends go on vacation, so the collection has sort of grown. 

I also collect various forms of money from the different country's I've visited, just save a few coins or a bill here and there before I convert for memory's purposes. 

I also now collecting Broadway tickets and Playbills for every show I see, so that collection is growing as well. It's just a bummer because I am missing a few playbills from my childhood when I didn't collect these seriously. I didn't start this collection until I was 18, but I'm already about to hit 20!

And lastly, I realized I also collect swag from my college. I have 16 (and counting) articles of clothing from my school and it's wonderful because I've only actually paid for two of those items.

6. What is your favorite TV show?
I have a couple. My favorite off the air TV shows are Veronica Mars and Breaking Bad. My favorite TV show that is still going on is the amazing Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black, and my favorite reality show is Big Brother, partially because my entire family likes this show so it is a family affair.

7. What is the next book on your TBR pile?
I am preparing to read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas because I have my own copy and I don't have the willpower to wait, but also Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn because it is my November Epic Rec and it's due back at the library soon!

8. Who is your most owned author?
I own the most books by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This woman is a writing machine, it makes it hard not to own a lot of her books.

9. When did you start blogging?
My first ever post was May 20, 2012. Once I started, I never stopped. Though I cringe a lot when I look at those reviews from the beginning. My taste and writing style has changed so much since then.

10. Which book do you love that you think deserves more hype?
Ahh so many. I think my two biggest least-hyped books are Dark Star by Bethany Frenette. Hello, we are talking superheroes! I also adore The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors because I love retellings and this is an Ugly Duckling retelling! It's not perfect, but it's near and dear to my heart and I like to force it on everyone who will listen.

~*~My Nominees~*~
1. Jessie at Ageless Pages Reviews
2. Bekka at Great Imaginations
3. Angie at Disquietus Reads
4. Ashlea at Disquietus Reads
5. Summer at Blue Sky Bookshelf
6. Nikki at There Were Books Involved
7. Nicole at The Quiet Concert
8. Shae at Shae Has Left the Room
9. Mary at Mary Had A Little Book Blog
10. Montana at The Book Belles

~*~My Questions to My Nominees~*~
1. When and why did you start blogging?
2. What is your favorite genre and why?
3. Recommend a book that you love that you think deserves more hype.
4. Aside from reading, what are your favorite hobbies?
5. Top 3 books you have ever read?
6. Who are your favorite authors and why?
7. What is the best book you have read so far this month?
8. What book is responsible for making you the reader you are today?
9. Do you collect anything other than books?
10. Tell us a weird fact about yourself that we probably wouldn't know.

Just a cute post to get to know me and get to know other bloggers! What do you think of my answers? Do we have anything in common?

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

 Series: Mara Dyer #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Original Review Link: Here
Original Review Date: July 4, 2012
Pages: 452 (Hardcover)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is the first book in a series that is getting a whole lot of hype. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m actually wary of these types of books. The more hype a book receives, the harder its fall from grace is if it’s not what someone expected. However, Michelle Hodkin found a way to deliver! This “dark” young adult novel will make you encounter things that you won’t find often in the young adult writing industry. Because of this, I have so many positive thoughts swirling around in my head that I cannot even begin to fathom how I can write an articulate review.

What made this book for me is the main character: Mara Dyer. To put it simply, Mara Dyer is completely insane and that’s why I love her. She survived a horrible accident that took the life of her best friend, Rachel, but went a little crazy because of this. She forgets her memories, hallucinates, and has a mother that’s hell-bent on committing her to an asylum. She’s slowly trying to make sense of the world and what happened on that horrible night that forever changed her life. Her memories are slowly restored with the help of flashbacks that will definitely keep you turning pages. She doesn’t have an easy life, but she fights through it all with the help of her brothers and the infamous Noah Shaw.

Noah was easily able to make me weak in the knees, but I couldn’t help but notice that he’s “too perfect” and full of clichés. A childhood disaster made him seem outwardly cold, so he used his bad guy image to his advantage to get what he wanted from any girl he was interested in. But the second Mara, the new girl, shows up at their expensive private school, he does a complete 360 and falls for her immediately despite his many years of being a womanizer. Luckily, as the book progresses you learn more about Noah and his special *ahem* capabilities and his characterization will become more complex than it is cliché.

An accident that nobody can remember, a girl that’s slowly going insane because she can do things that nobody understands, and a mystery that has unexpected plot twists in high supply are all weaved together in a greatly descriptive writing style that makes the entire story play out vividly in your mind. The combination of the mystery, the thriller, the paranormal, and the romance that rivals the best out there will leave you breathless and begging for more. And when I say that I mean that.

The ending of this book is one of those endings that stops time around you while the cameraman does a full shot of your face just as your mouth drops in complete and utter shock. It’s perhaps the biggest bombshell thrown at you in the entire story and once you get to it you just want to find Michelle Hodkin and beg for the release date of the second book in the series to be moved up. While the first book is absolutely amazing, you pretty much have to read the second book to truly understand Mara Dyer, her powers, and how they originated. This book focuses on her discovery of her powers and her finally beginning to understand them, so you’re left with a lot of questions by the end of the book, just as Mara is. The second book will explain exactly why Mara is the way she is because this book didn’t and couldn't fully explain everything, which made some parts of it seem nonsensical.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who is willing to buckle up and enjoy the roller-coaster ride that is Mara Dyer’s life. It’s full of twists, turns, and loops that’ll leave your head spinning. This mystery is a must-read for any mystery reader and its romance is beyond powerful.


4.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Please note: This post was transferred to Lili's Reflections as part of the Tynga's Reviews transfer detailed here. No plagiarism has happened because I wrote this review originally on Tynga's and am archiving it here.