Book Review

Review – Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I spend a LOT of time browsing Overdrive through my library. I also have been having headaches that make the thought of looking at words sound like torture. So I happened upon the audiobook of Uprooted by Naomi Novik and decided to give it a try.

Have you read Uprooted? What did you think of it?

22544764“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. (Goodreads)

I give Uprooted 4 out of 5 stars!

I started out thinking I wouldn’t even be able to finish the story. The narrator for the audiobook has (or read with) an accent to match the feel of the book – very eastern European sounding.  After a few listens though, I was able to stop focusing on how much the accent grated on my nerves and enjoy the story being told. This is not to say I don’t understand what was being worked toward with the choice of narrator (immersion in the story/setting), just that personally I didn’t enjoy it as much as some do.

Other than the accent though, I thought the reader did a very good job. By the end I was glad to have chosen this format. I admit I’m not good at names, or slowing down to pronounce names, and that I would have likely confused the places and people and had a hard time knowing what was really going on. Hearing the names of the people and places, however, made it easier for me to keep straight which was a town, which was a person, and what part they played in the story.

Ok, now that I’ve covered the audiobook aspect of this reading, let’s talk about the story itself.

I really enjoyed Agnieszka’s voice and descriptions. While listening to the book I was right alongside her. I enjoyed that she wasn’t “the most beautiful” or “the smartest,” that she was considered clumsy, that her mom made her sit still once she was ready for a festival so that she didn’t ruin her clothes.

The story was really pretty episodic. There were a lot of adventures in the story, but they all tied into and built up the bigger story, which I really enjoyed. I remember at one point in time I was thinking “what did that have to do with anything?” but it all evened out.

I loved the magic in this story. The different approaches Agnieska and the Dragon took were very interesting. I loved the descriptions how Agnieska navigated the currents of magic, and how it bewildered the poor Dragon (and the other wizards, too).

So what’s stopping this from being a 5-star read? Well, at times it felt like magic was an easy out of certain situations, and times when Agnieska seemed to just ignore the rules of how much magic to use, but there weren’t consequences for this. There was also a time or two when I felt like the story was starting to drag, and at the beginning Agnieska would drop a big bit of backstory and all I wanted to know was what’s happening NOW.


There were a few things that I want to discuss, but I think they’re considered spoiler-y, so here they are.

As someone in a Twitter chat pointed out, could the Dragon read minds? Or was Agnieszka’s face that readable? Sometimes I wasn’t sure which it was. Also-did all the girls he took have an affinity for magic? Or was Agnieska the first?

I don’t know if I’m spelling this right, but Alyosha’s injuries? They were never mentioned between the Dragon and Agnieszka, and I kept waiting for a conversation about it, but it never came. Then in the end it was just “she’ll take a long time to recover.” Not the closure I was looking for in that part of the story, I guess.

I LOVED the attraction between Agnieszka and the Dragon. LOVED IT. I should be able to elaborate on this…but I’m having difficulty doing so. I think it had to do with the fact that she started out absolutely HATING him, and then that undeniable attraction between them and their magic intermingling and OOOHHHH!

Kasia. What will become of her? I’d really like to know if eventually she might return to the Wood.

At the very end, I had resigned myself to the idea that the Dragon was gone. I pretty much squealed when he showed up.




Personal · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


Hello there! Welcome to This Week’s Five, a somewhat-weekly reminder of the good things from the past week or so.

It’s summer, do I really need to say anything more? Hah.

Here are five things that have brought a smile to my face this past week:

  1. We’ve been getting some summer rain these past couple of days, and it is so nice! My garden is enjoying it, too. The rain has brought slightly cooler temps to us, which is extra nice considering our air conditioner is acting up again.
  2. IMG_20160612_105606Flowers in my garden! Also, I’ve posted a #GardenWithJulia video on YouTube, keep an eye out for the companion post sometime soon!
  3. Bookmail! This week I’ve received books from a couple of giveaways. Check out tweets 1 and 2 for pics.
  4. Having evening coffee with hubby’s parents.
  5. I’m just so happy it’s summer, and our family gets to spend so much time together.

What about you? What’s something that’s made you happy this week?

#RockMyTBR · Tag/Meme

#RockMyTBR – May Recap


The #RockMyTBR Reading Challenge is hosted by Sarah K, The YA Book Traveler. Click here for more info.

[My #RockMyTBR list]

May Recap

On par with most of the other months, I didn’t read any books from my #RockMyTBR list. I did read a few things, they just weren’t from THIS list.

How did your challenge go this month?  Leave me a link and I’ll check out your recap!

Book Review · Guest · LSBBT

Blog Tour & Review – No Other Will Do

Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Western Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 368
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper’s Station, a women’s colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.
Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he’s always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.
As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper’s Station must choose between safety or risking everything to fight for their future.
“Witemeyer’s latest is an entertaining read with plenty of drama and action, a smidgen of suspense and two main characters with perfect chemistry . . . And of course, the romance is tender and sigh-worthy—a key reason why her readers keep coming back for more.”  
—RT Book Reviews



Continue reading “Blog Tour & Review – No Other Will Do”

Personal · This Week's Five!

This Week’s Five!!!


Whew! What a week! Here are five things that made it great!

  1. The lovely S. Usher Evans stayed with me this weekend. She was at the Dallas Fan Expo giving her award-winning schpiel to anyone she could grab long enough to listen. I helped her out on Saturday and Sunday, and it was just awesome to see her work! I hope everyone that grabbed her books enjoys them as much as I do.
  2. Also awesome was sharing the table with Christina McMullen, J. Leigh Bralick, and S.K. Valenzuela. I had not yet met Christina and S.K. in person, but I’m so glad that I have now! All these authors are lovely human beings that I’m happy to call friends.
  3. Since there was rain all last week, I didn’t do too much with my garden. I did pick a couple of the biggest poblano peppers and use them in a recipe. The bell pepper also has gotten much bigger. Video and post to come soon!
  4. IT’S SUMMER BREAK!!! This means all three of us get to be home together until mid-August.
  5. I really enjoyed listening to Uprooted by Naomi Novik on audiobook. Review to come soon.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear something that made you smile this week!

Stacking the Shelves · Tag/Meme

Stacking the Shelves – June 5

Stacking the Shelves

Hello there! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. Usually a weekly meme, mine pop up on a monthly basis. These are the books I’ve acquired since the May edition.


Beginnings by S. Usher Evans

122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Shizzle, Inc by Ana Spoke

Borrowed / Advanced

Every Bride Has Her Day by Janice Thompson

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer


Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristey Harvey

What books have you acquired recently?

Garden · Personal

Gardening With Julia – Update 10

Garden Graphic (3)

Hey there! Welcome to my tenth garden update! From the last update to this, the only major change is this pinot noir bell pepper that has sprouted up! Oh, and I harvested my green onions.

Continue reading “Gardening With Julia – Update 10”