Thursday, June 16, 2011


I’m not a book reviewer, but every once in a while I read a story that I must gush about before I drown in my love for it. For example: Rae Carson’s, debut novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.


What’s a word that means spectacular times infinity? Spectacfinitacular? If so, this book is Spectacfinitacular!

Funny thing is, I was mildly afraid to read this novel. And here’s why…

I met Rae at WFC last October. She was sweet, friendly, and comfortable to be around. She already had a book deal for TGOFAT, but she didn’t act superior to me or any of the other not-agented-and-have-no-book-deal-yet writers at our table. Then she invited me and two of my writer friends to her house for a party full of authors. (But that’s a whole different story.) To sum it up, I adored Rae as a person.

But what if I didn’t like her book?

I’d never publicly say anything bad about a book, but part of me worried that if I read her ARC and didn’t like it, I’d have to figure out a way to give an impartial opinion while still being nice. And then conveniently “forget” to post about it on my blog.

I should have known better.

I should have known Rae’s story would be as charming and beautiful as she is.

I should have prepared myself to be swept away by Rae’s amazing story telling—from the first page to the last.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is masterful. Seriously. Part of me questioned if I was biased because I liked Rae so much in person, but I’ve given it a lot of thought and no, even if I’d never met Rae I would still rave about this novel.

The main character, Elisa, is beyond likable. She’s the perfect balance of lovable and flawed. In fact, she starts out fat and sweats a lot, but that doesn’t stop her from savoring a couple honey-glazed pistachio buns. :) Elisa has realistic worries and fears, yet she’s by no means weak or helpless. She’s so well fleshed out and charismatic that by page 5 I wanted to be her best friend. I loved her so much that I wanted to jump into the book to assess her groom-to-be and make sure he was worthy of her. My feelings of love, protectiveness, and cheering Elisa on through her intense adventures and challenging relationships never wavered throughout the entire story.

I love Fantasy, so I ate up the world building and the mystery and history of the Godstone. I usually need a lot of romance in my stories to make me love them, but not this one. Romance wasn’t the main focus, yet I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I didn’t even realize how little hot-and-heavy romance there was until I had finished the book. The story itself, and the characters, are so strong that I didn’t require my usual overdose of in-your-face romance to stay engrossed. And that says a lot coming from a die-hard romantic like me.

Rae’s beautiful descriptions and exquisitely crafted writing inspired me to want to be a better writer. So many times I had to set the book down and just sigh, praying that one day I’ll be half the writer she is. I can’t say enough good things about The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

If you love YA, fantasy, or adventure, then pre-order your copy, or mark the release date on your calendar and read this story. Then sit and wait anxiously with me for book 2 & 3 to come out.

To show my support I’m going to pre-order one lucky winner a copy of The Girl of Fire and Thorns EVERY MONTH until its released! Harper Collins/Greenwillow has set its release date as September 20th. That means I'll choose one winner for June, one for July, and one for August! I will order now and have it shipped directly to the winners so they have it the day it comes out. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment (and be a follower of my blog) and I will select a winner at random on the 20th of every month.

WAIT! There's more...

Also, at some point I will give away my ARC of TGOFAT, but as of right now, my mom is borrowing it. (She read a few pages when I was at her house and was hooked right away.) But then if I can bear to part with it, I will also do an ARC giveaway.

UPDATE! August 20th (Sat) I am drawing a winner of an ARC. Leave a comment convincing me to choose YOU as the winner. Also, must be a follower of my blog.


  1. What a fabulous review! Rae is so freaking awesome--I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of her book <3

  2. First of all, that mermaid coming out of a book is pretty cool. Second, that books sounds amazing. Count me in.

  3. Oooh! I want to win! SOunds good!

  4. I'm going to ask about an ARC of this at the Harper Collins booth at ALA! :)

  5. yes, PLEASE. I loved Entwined and Mistwood (also pubbed by Greenwillow and edited by Martha Mahalick) and as this seems in the same fantasy vein I can't imagine not loving it, too.

    (jessica @ )

  6. Thanks so much for hosting this, Karen! And dude, your website is GORGEOUS. (, this comment is not a contest entry. :p)

  7. Sounds awesome! Count me in- love the review!

  8. Wow, this is a great an amazing giveaway, thanks for sharing this books with us!
    I loved your review and now I need to read the book too, so count me in, please!

    GFC: Alaiel Kreuz


  9. Thanks so much for your review on this. It sounds like an amazing read and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks also for the giveaway; you rock!

    GFC: dark_romance_luvr

  10. wow! what a fantastic thing to do for a fellow author, Karen! You rock. I would LOVE to win a copy. I've been waiting for this to come out forever!

  11. Sounds really good. Thanks for sharing it!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  12. OMG thank you for the awesome giveaway(s)! This book sounds amazing, I can't wait till it comes out!

  13. cool! thx so much!

  14. Wow--I can't wait to read this now! Please enter me :)

    arallison at gmail dot com

  15. Whoa, this looks amazing! Your review has totally convinced me to read it [: I love books in this genre, so it's right up my alley. Plus, the cover is gorgeous, which kind of helps (; ...sorry. But it's true. *shrugs*

    Thank you for the awesome chance to win! <3


  16. Such a great idea, KHoops! Sign me up!

  17. Wow, the way you desribed the book, I am adding this book to my must read list. I have heard so many awesome things so far, and your raving excitement for the book is the frosting on the cupcake. This book cover is gorgeous and I am truly ready to read more fun, captivating books this summer!! Thank you for this amazing giveaway!!


  18. Count me in among the winners! lol!


  19. I love the look of your blog. Great post!
    M.J. Macie

  20. Hooray! This sounds fantastic. Yay for supportive writers.

  21. Count me in, this book sounds so great!


  22. Ooooh, fun! I'd love to be in the contest!


  23. It Sounds amazing!

  24. What an incredible, honest review! Awesome. Well done, thanks, Karen!

  25. Wow, after reading your very complimentary review of this book i've decided i reallyyyy want to read this book!!

    twitter - @star_light91

    Tasnim x

  26. This sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. Thank you for the giveaway! I'm excited for the release!

    SteeleReviews (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  28. if the giveaway is international count me in too
    GFC:Ioana Lacatusu


    I always forget to mention that.

  30. Fun! Looks and sounds like a beautiful book! Thanks for the heads up! Will definitely need to pick it up!

    Also, how the heck long have I been gone from your place!? It looks beautiful! Your "new" layout is amazing!

  31. Oooh I've been wanting to read this! Couldn't find it at BEA. Thanks for the giveaway.


  32. ooh i'm probably too late to get in on the June drawing, but man, that book looks and sounds AMAZING! And i love it when you LOVE a book by someone you've met and/or know. It makes loving it that much easier

  33. OMGoodness...I will Love to read this story. You got me all excited now.

  34. It sounds AMAZING. With your recommendation you know I'll be buying this one. :)

  35. Sounds like a great book and I love when authors are like that.

  36. I'd love to win a preorder of TGOFAT. Sounds absolutely amazing!

    magabygc at

  37. Can't wait for this book! It sounds soo good! :)

  38. This book sounds so intriguing, I might buy a copy even if I win! Thanks for the second go. :)

  39. Oh my gosh. I wanted it before, but now I'm totally LUSTING for this book! Both a blessing and a curse having read your thoughts ;) It sounds incredible!

    Thank you so much for the great giveaway!!

  40. That sounds like a really amazing book :D

  41. Bit late to the party. This book sounds really good. Not the first place I've seen a rave review of it. Please count me in!

  42. Dear Karen,

    I've lived my whole life surrounded by fear. Insecurities run amok in my head, not to mention living with banal fears like bugs and ghosts. But the two fears that I've had to try to remove from my life are related in a way I never really realized: fire and rejection.

    As a little girl, I burned my hand. The fear of fire has stayed with me since then, to the point where I can't hold a lit candle without having a panic attack. I chose to be a writer but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. More writers are rejected and ridiculed every day than find success, and it really can be a bath of fire sometimes. But books like Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns inspire me to keep going. One day, it will happen for me, and in the meantime I have to find a way to break away those fears. Somewhere out there, there may be another young girl afraid to spark the flame of passion and joy inside her and I might be the lucky person who can help her. Isn't that the best thing a writer can achieve?

    So in conclusion, I'd really love to read this book. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that you can be surrounded by fire and the thorns of ridicule and still survive.


  43. Nice review!

    If you select me, I can assure you that this book will be taken gratefully into a loving home, read repeatedly, and placed with honor on the lighted shelves of the personal library that I built from the blueprint of my childhood hopes and dreams. Oh, and I'll also do a giveaway on my blog and do a preorder for the winner, just to spread the ripples even further.

    Ah yes, the gauntlet has been that how you say that?

  44. Okay, so no bookcase built lovingly with lighted shelves (though I did buy one from IKEA and put those nifty little lights you wave your hand in front of...way too much nonsensical fun found there by the way its like clap on/clap off for the lazy...anyway...) I also have been surrounded by fire and thorns of ridicule many times so I totally commiserate with that one.

    But my own reason for wanting to win the ARC and read this book. I want to get to know Elisa and the romance. A charismatic, honest, engaging, fun character is one I want to know. I know you said it did not hold the romance you are so used to enjoying...ahhh..but it did you one better Karen, you found the Romance only it is within your love affair with the book. Your descriptions have me itching to magically enter the world wide web and try to open the cover in your picture...just to get a taste. That is a book I want to read. Where the reader walks away knowing that an element they always desire in a story was missing yet it took nothing away from the story to have it gone because in their own way they put it there with each turning of the page and each line of dialogue etched into their memory...what a book it must be.


  45. Spectacfinitacular? Lol...

    I'm afraid too. I'm afraid that I'll like an author so much and then read his book or her book only to find out that I'm not satisfied with the story.

    The last super epic book I had which didn't have so much hot-and-heavy romance (but it was there in miniscule amounts) was The Silmarillion which I absolutely loved! So yea I get what you mean about The Girl of Fire and Thorns being an absolute page turner.

    Did you read it yet?

  46. OMG what an awesome giveaway! I'd love to get my hands on a copy of this book specifically, because the original cover is soooo much prettier than the new one! I'd even lend it to people who are on Goodreads so they'd review it too!


  47. So, here I could tell you how much I want this book because I NEED to read it, but I won't, because lots of other people will tell you that as well. No, I've decided to tell you about the fact that at the store today i found color changing nail polish AND...wait for ittttttttttttttttt....nail polish that's suppsed to smell once it dries, and not like, the yucky nail polish smell, but like an honest to goodness not nasty smell! Now I tell you this because...well, first, the nail polish that's suppsoed to smell good, it matches the color of the girl's dress on the cover (which means when I read it my nails could match the cover, which is always fun because, I mean...when isn't it!?) so basically, yeah, you should check out the nail polish, it's called "color club" that's the brand name, it has a nice flower on it too. Also, I've heard this book is amazing so why would you not want to read it? I love books, so I do want to read it too.


  48. Hey thanks for this giveaway !

    and here is why I ( FISHY ) should have this book... I Live a fantasy ( wait I wish i lived a fantasy) but either way I just bought my prom dress ( 2 years early i know from India ) and it looks if not exactly EXTREMELY close to the Dress on the Original cover, the new cover not so much...and plus i have the long black hair which would me twins with the girl on the the point is i want, no i need to match with the Cover, so when i don't have a prom date ( not going out with a guy ~the parents said so) i shall have the book as my date, only 2 years earlier, and then I can read it again at my prom, while I'm not I need this book, because it will be my date to prom :D but if that's not convincing enough, i can truly say, it will be taken into an amazing home, stocked with tons of bookshelves and will be loved and cared for like a child :)
    thanks !

  49. Does Canuckistan count as international? It's another world, I know... but still.

  50. thanks! You should pick my comment to win because I actually do collect (and of course read them) books with gorgeousssss covers, and I LOVED the original cover of this!!!

    So jealous you got to meet her! :)

    Americangirlie1991 at yahoo dot com

  51. You should choose me because I am lovable and flawed (seriously flawed), and I love YA and fantasy. And I have a weakness for pretty covers.

  52. Gosh, I want to read this book so bad! :)


  53. Bless me, Karen, for I may have sinned.

    Specifically, if "may" can be understood as synonymous with "most definitely" and "slightly embellished" likewise with "employed gross hyperbole in," then I may have slightly embellished my previous comment. My bookshelves and the attendant lighting may have an IKEA sticker on the back. Whooo, that's a load off.

    Still, even after the catharsis of confession, I must admit my self esteem has taken a blow from being caught without sawdust on my hands. Hopefully something will happen soon to make me feel better about myself--like winning an awesome ARC giveaway on an awesome blog.

  54. First of all, I'd like to tell you that I agree with your review of this book 100%!!!
    Second of all, I love that word you used: Spectacfinitacular! I think I'm going to steal your word and use it ALL THE TIME!!! Unless of course it's copyrighted..... or you tell me I can't. :'(
    Third: I really would love to win!!! I want to win so badly that I'm going to keep my fingers crossed...... and my toes...... AND my eyes till the release date (or until I win.... **cough-cough**)!!! And just so ya know, this is going to make me look pretty riDUCKulous. <-- This is how I pronounce ridiculous. Funny, huh??? :D
    Antyways, that is all, thanks for the awesome giveaway!!!
    P.S.- I have a blog too!!! It's called The Cozy Reading Corner ( and it's a book review blog!!!
    P.S.S.- I'm following your blog as Kris-10
    P.S.S.S.- If I win you can contact me at: kristen10horses[at]yahoo[dot]com
    THANKS!!! :))
    P.S.S.S.S.- Your blog is very pretty!!! ♥

  55. I am a new follower as Jess :)
    I don't think I have a convincing or creative reason to win. I haven't read the book but I do have it on my TBR list, so I'd be grateful if I won an early copy of it so I don't have to wait for the release date (I get jittery when waiting for good books). :) I realize that I'm pretty boring in my entry, I couldn't think of anything exciting or fun to say :).

    Thanks for the great giveaway, and chance to win! I absolutely love the background on this website.

    Jess @ The Midnight Bookworm

  56. First: Because Mexico will not have the book until a 2012-2013 or so.
    Second: This cover is very nice.
    Third: I did requested to do a book tour through Latin America on my blog, because I love to give the opportunity to more Hispanic guys reading this book, which is unlikely to come to their countries.
    Fourth: I'll thank you very much, I presume in my blog and I will give credit as the donor of the book for the book tour :)
    Fifth: You will make happy many Hispanic guys. In the case of course, that this is an international giveaway. And if I win it :P


    GFC Follower

  57. GEEEE! This is such an amazing giveaway!!! I'm a follower (:
    I want to read the book because..
    COVER- Hawt and Cool and very much Eye-catching!
    I love the story! I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'd be really really grateful if I won, I'll spread the word to my friends here and 'round the net. And... waa! I want to be the one to read this in our country! :DD

    Thanks again for this awesome giveaway!!!
    If I am lucky enough to win, you can reach me at:

  58. Why should I win this book? Well, I dont have a good reason for that actually. I am blessed in so many ways and live a good life. But I am a book lover and I enjoy reading so much. It's a compulsion to find and read new books. I just had to take a chance and enter your giveaway. Thanks for the chance.
    GFC: LadyVampire2u

    Ladyvampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  59. I would LOVE to win this ARC, even if I misspelled the name of it on Goodreads as THE GIRL OF FIRE AND HORNS! Hmm. A book about a girl with horns... This could be fun. :)

  60. After reading the reviews, I thought this would be a unique book that would be engaging and entertaining. Apparently all of the people who left good reviews on this book were twelve years old (most of the reviews had terrible spelling) and thought that this book was something worth praising. I found the main character to be whiny and boring. She was a 'flat' character with no personality. She did not grow or mature in any way through out the book.


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