Book Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Book Review: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae CarsonThe Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
Published: August 27, 2013
433 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Library

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.
4 Stars

Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series. 

Elisa has been growing and changing throughout the series and The Bitter Kingdom was no exception.  She starts to define herself by trying new things and seeing what she likes instead of focusing on comparing herself to others, especially her sister, and coming up short.  In fact, she purposefully learns and pursues the things that were hidden from her or that scare her and it made her a fascinating character to read about.

I liked the friendship that developed between Elisa and Storm.  He seems to be a very loyal friend but the culture that he grew up in makes him not completely trustworthy.  His culture also gives him a very literal personality that I found endearing.  One of my favorite quotes from the novel came from Storm when he’s explaining the Joyan culture to someone and how it’s different from his own.

“Joyans consider it rude to express one’s true opinion unless it is unequivocally flattering.”

- Rae Carson, The Bitter Kingdom, pg 235

There has been romance throughout the series, but it starts to rival The Princess Bride with the devotion and the kissing scenes that have lots of spark that I know the kid from the Princess Bride movie would definitely want to skip.

The writing had a few cliche moments.  I liked the writing from the first two books better.  Each book has a journey, but for some reason this one felt a tad bit long. However, the plot was such a fun adventure that reminded me of entering the mines of Moria that it kept my interest very well.  There was also a very brief reference to “machine magic” that isn’t really expanded on, but it does support my theory that I discussed in my Crown of Embers review that perhaps the Joyan race came from our world.

Overall, it was a fun adventure with epic romance and a main character who is constantly growing and changing into someone I would want to be.

Content Rating: Medium, for mildly graphic violence and a suggestive scene.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Rae Carson

Rae Carson

I write books about teens who must do brave things. I'm originally from California, but I moved to Ohio to marry my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. We live in Columbus with my teenaged stepsons, who are awesome. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don't know the answers to.

Book Review: Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.

Book Review: Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.
Published: 1948
224 pages
Genres: Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction
Source: Library

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father -- a famous efficiency expert -- who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.
4 Stars

Cheaper by the Dozen is a charming story about a dad full of personality and how he raises his twelve kids.  The dad is witty, blunt, sarcastic, slightly over protective, eccentric and a little strict.  The father is what really makes this story because it was delightful to read about him.  There’s some back story about the dad and my favorite story from his childhood was when he was talking to a brick foreman about how to do things more efficiently and no matter how much the foreman threatens and swears at him, he carries on about his ideas without missing a beat.

I admired the way he parented his children.  He always had them learning things by turning them into games.  He plays jokes on the kids and has a lot of fun with them.  He was such a bad driver that the kids voluntarily became look outs. Even though he was a really strict dad and never dreamed of bending the rules, he knew when to show them extra love, too.  The story of the roller skates was such a touching story of teaching his kids a lesson but in a loving way.

As much as I enjoyed all of the stories about the family, I thought the father was a little too eccentric and strict until I read the ending.  The ending was so beautiful and not at all what I expected.  The father is adamant about saving time when doing even the smallest tasks.  I think he would have been a huge fan of life hacks.  People would ask him “But what do you want to save time FOR?”  It was a reminder how precious time is and to spend as much of it with your family as you can.

Overall, it was a charming story about his dad and his eccentric ways of raising a family that had a beautiful message and ending.

Content Rating: None.  Clean read.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Ernestine Moller Gilbreth, Mrs. Carey (April 5, 1908 – November 4, 2006) was an American author.

Born in New York City, she was the daughter of Lillian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Bunker Gilbreth, early 20th-century pioneers of time and motion study and what would now be called organizational behavior.

The upbringing of the twelve Gilbreth children was chronicled in the successful, comic memoir Cheaper by the Dozen (1948, adapted in a 1950 film). The book, as well as a sequel, Belles on Their Toes (1952), was written by Carey with one of her younger brothers, Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.

About Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.

Frank Gilbreth Jr

Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. (March 17, 1911 – February 18, 2001) was co-author, with his sister Ernestine, of Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes. Under his own name, he wrote Time Out for Happiness and Ancestors of the Dozen.

He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the 5th child (and first boy) of the 12 children born to efficiency experts Frank Gilbreth, Sr. and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and grew up in the family home in Montclair, New Jersey.

During World War II, he served as a naval officer in the South Pacific. In 1947, he returned to The Post and Courier as an editorial writer and columnist. In his later years, he relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where he went on to be a journalist, author and newspaper executive. Under nom de plume Ashley Cooper, he wrote a long-running column, "Doing the Charleston," for the Charleston paper The Post and Courier; it ran until 1993.

My Mailbox (56)

My Mailbox (56)

My Mailbox is where I show all the books I’ve gotten by various means throughout the month.

I will be linking up with Mailbox Monday and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Since I LOVE book cover art on my kindle, I took my own pictures of the covers of my ebooks.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs from Quirk Books. Thank you!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?  Leave a link and I’ll come look!

Book Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Book Review: Infinite by Jodi MeadowsInfinite by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #3
Published: January 28, 2014
418 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Library

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.
4 Stars

Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series. 

Infinite was the best book in the Newsoul series.  I thought it had a great, quick pace which the other two books before this lacked. My favorite thing was getting to see more of the creatures that were just mentioned in the other books.  I was hoping that would happen after I finished the book before this one, Asunder.  I also loved learning even more about the sylph and the dragons.

Sam has been one of the most boring love interests that I’ve read in young adult.  It makes me sad to say that because I felt like I should be able to relate to him since he’s a musician like I am.  Sadly, no.  Sam and Ana’s relationship is perfect and cheesy and therefore boring to me.  Until Ana decides to be independent and do something on her own that she thinks is right.  Then they (finally!) get in a fight.  That at least was interesting.  The thing with Sam and the dragons kind of gets explained but kind of doesn’t.  I didn’t understand it all the way but at least it was brought up.

Ana developed into a fascinating hero.  The resolution was perfect.  The ending was twisty, bittersweet, and satisfying like a nice maple bacon donut.  There was only one tiny thing at the end that I wondered about.  View Spoiler »

Overall, this was my favorite book out of the series with new creatures and a great resolution though sadly I could just never like Sam.

Content Rating: Medium, for some violence.  There might have been a few make out scenes but I don’t remember for sure.  They weren’t very long if there were any!

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy (her cat), and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae CarsonThe Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Published: September 18, 2012
410 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

 
The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

Elisa is a hero.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.
5 Stars

Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series. 

The Crown of Embers reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones.  There was a religious quest, skeletons turning to dust, and hidden artifacts. We get to journey through the ocean this time instead of the desert and it was a lot of fun.  This was a great second novel in a series.

In the last book, we saw Elisa grow as a person who gained confidence in herself.  Elisa continues to grow as a character but this time it’s about finding the power from within herself.  I liked watching her learn that just because she is young, she shouldn’t let people walk all over her or dismiss her.  She has to learn one of the biggest lessons we all learn when we grow up – that we have to decide what is best for our own future instead of letting people decide for us.

She has not always wanted what is best for me. She has always wanted what she thinks is best for me. And she has never hesitated to work around me or anyone else to accomplish it.

- Rae Carson, The Crown of Embers  (Kindle Locations 4037-4039).

Religion continues as a theme in this book.  Elisa is slightly irked when she constantly meets people telling her what “God’s will” is which I found amusing but also very truthful.  Religion is part of the clash of the different cultures in the story.  How do you end a war that’s been going on forever between cultures that don’t understand each other? I thought that was such a relevant question and I enjoyed the exploration of the answer to that and what part ignorance can play.

I have a theory.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler since it’s never answered and it’s left up to your imagination.  Elisa’s people were supposedly brought from a dying world into the world where Crown of Embers is set.  I couldn’t help but think that maybe the dying world referred to was actually our world.  I have one quote to support this theory.  The quote sounds very similar to the bible which is what spawned this theory in the first place.

“I swear my life and service unto you. I swear to protect you and to honor you. I am yours to command in all things. For as long as I live, your people shall be my people, your ways my ways, your God my God.”

-Rae Carson, The Crown of Embers (Kindle Locations 3653-3655)

What do you think? Did you have any theories about this book?

Overall, it was a great adventure novel about a girl who learns to find power within herself that I couldn’t put down.

Content Rating: Medium, for a mildly detailed scene of a girl observing herself naked.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

About Rae Carson

Rae Carson

I write books about teens who must do brave things. I'm originally from California, but I moved to Ohio to marry my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. We live in Columbus with my teenaged stepsons, who are awesome. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don't know the answers to.