All posts in the Books category

Book Recommendations: Fantasy Edition

Published July 24, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

This post is for those of you struggling through the fantasy challenge, or just looking for a good recommendation.


All excerpts taken from Goodreads.


Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, Khalifs and killers, is on the brink of civil war. To make things worse, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. And it’s up to Doctor Adoulla Makhslood to solve them.

“The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” Adoulla just wants a quiet cup of tea. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, he is drawn back to the hunter’s path. Recruiting old companions and new, Adoulla races against time–and struggles against his own misgivings–to discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.


A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony

Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled–where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave….


Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin’s younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. After sweeping down and destroying the remnants of their army, burning their books and destroying their architecture and statuary, he makes it so that no one not born in that province can even hear its name. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana’s royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer; Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family’s guilt; and Duke Sandre d’Astibar, a wily resistance leader thought dead. Meanwhile, at Brandin’s court, Dianora, his favorite concubine and–unknown to anyone, another survivor of Tigana–struggles between her growing love for the often gentle tyrant and her desire for vengeance. Gradually the scene is set for both conquerors to destroy each other and free a land.


I hope everyone’s challenges are going better than mine!


Um, Books and Stuff

Published March 27, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

I’ve been seriously slacking in the reading (and blog) department. But! I have read! Has anyone else been in a reading slump? Or better yet, does anyone have any good recommendations? I need some good sci-fi recommendations.

Anyways, so here is what I’ve been reading.





After waffling for a few weeks, I’ve finally decided on a theme for the A to Z challenge, which will be Culture. Each day will focus on a different culture/ empire/ whatever I could find to fit the letter of the day for your world-building inspirational pleasures.

There is an overwhelming trend to write fantasy in some sort of European Middle Ages Default setting, and while I dearly love some of these books, Middles Ages I do not. I mean, it’s so boring stacked against the WHOLE OF HISTORY. Lately, I’ve been veering towards more Asian inspired settings because they are different, refreshing, and well, interestinger. I would also really love to read a fantasy book based on an ancient or Native American culture. So, if you know any, you would make me an extremely happy person.

I will also post book recs and whatever else I deem relevant. Which, knowing me, will be completely random.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Historical Fiction Books

Published March 13, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

This meme is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.


10. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

This is about Mary, Queen of Scots and her years in captivity. I’m not usually a fan of Philippa Gregory, but I really liked this book, mainly because of the subject.

9. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

This book was so fun! It’s an alternate history where a British noble saves the French aristocrats during the French Revolution.

8. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Gutterson

The book is basically about the hardships Japanese-Americans had to face during WWII.

7. Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland

Shinju is a murder mystery that takes place in feudal Japan. The protagonist is a detective, trying to unravel the mystery of a suspicious suicide. Shinju is the term for a double suicide between lovers. For comparison, Romeo and Juliet committed Shinju.

6. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I personally preferred old Jacob to young Jacob, but it is a fascinating look into circus life during the Great Depression. Plus, Rosie is so charming! *Wants a pet elephant*.

5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

This a about two girls growing up in 19th century China who become Laotung, or “old sames”, which is a permanent bond of friendship. And, ah, the foot binding!

4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I loved how vivid and lush this book was.

3. Angelique and the King By Anne Golon

This is the second book in a series that takes place in 17th century France, during Louis XIV reign, but it is my favorite of all of them. I wish they would translate the last 3 into English…

2. The Book thief by Markus Zusak

I’ve pretty much already said before why I love this book.


1. The Silmarrion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Wait, that’s not historical fiction? Fine.

1. Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa

So, Miyamoto Musashi is my favorite historical figure. Ever. He was such a bad-ass. He is also widely considered to be one of the greatest swordsman who ever lived. Also, this book was the basis for one of my favorite mangas, Vagabond.


I sense a theme here…


Published March 5, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

Exciting news in the land of fairies and tales! A collection of 500! NEW! fairytales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth have been recently uncovered in Germany. Franz was a contemporary of the Grimm brothers, and combed the countryside for decades, painstakingly collecting these tales for our enjoyment. Sadly, due to disinterest, they were archived instead. But no longer!

Check out the full article from the Guardian here

I LOVE fairytales.

What are some of your favorite tales?

Some of mine include the Little Mermaid, the Stork Wife, the Snow Queen, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.

In other news, how is everyone doing with their reading challenges? the second half of February was kind of slow for me in that I only managed a couple of books.

I’m participating in the A to Z challenge this year. Which I’m kinda excited about. I have a theme planned, but I don’t want to say what it is in case I change my mind. I can be fickle like that.

top ten Favorite Book Quotes

Published February 29, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

10. “The North remembers.” Various people, A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin

9. “Time is the longest distance between two places.” The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams

8. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

7. “Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.” the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum

6. “The Fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Cassius, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare.

5. “Vengeance is the pleasure of the gods.” The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

4.“I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once.” Hazel Grace Lancaster, the Fault in our stars, John Green

3. “Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.” Hamlet, Hamlet, Shakespeare

2. “Words are so heavy.” The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak

1. “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride, William Goldman

I am waiting for the day when I can say that to somebody. Seriously. You have also been warned.

What are some of your favorites?