Reviews

Review: Thunderhead ~ by Neal Shusterman

Review: Thunderhead (ARC of the Scythe Trilogy book #2) ~ Neal Shusterman

504 pages ~ Genre: YA, Dystopian

2018 ~ Simon and Schuster

My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has done off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes – not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk her now – “Scythe Lucifer” – A vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames. Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone- or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead- the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

My Thoughts:

Absolutely Brilliant! I really loved Scythe, but Thunderhead takes the loose threads from book #1 and spins them into a whole new world of intrigue, danger, and suspense, with some really cool philosophical questions underlining the whole plot. While book #1 focuses on the Scythedom and Rowan and Citra’s place within it, book #2 continues this journey, but with more connection to the Thunderhead- the vast, all-knowing, God-like “server,” that monitors the world. Instead of being privy to the journals of the Scythes, we now get the journals/thoughts of the Thunderhead. The actions of the Scythes and Rowan, woven together with the thoughts of the all-seeing Thunderhead, created a brilliant contrast. This series just got even better! Here were some major highlights for me:

The journals/thoughts of the Thunderhead were so fascinating. “He” is a strange hybrid God/hard drive/protector of humankind and his thoughts contemplate this role as “God” and the future of humankind. “I am the child who has become the parent. The creation that aspires toward creator.” “Calling me unnatural is a compliment. For am I not superior to nature?”

Philosophical Concepts- This is a very thoughtful book. Every concept that is brought to light and explored in the story is carefully chosen. The question of the religious Tonist and whether or not they should be taken seriously is constantly brought up throughout the book. Yes, many of their ideas seem ridiculous, but there is so much good that comes from them too. They are able to offer Greyson a safe harbor and in the end are we meant to believe that they did in fact predicted the “Great Resonance”? These are all questions that Shusterman is leaving the reader to ponder. He also brings up questions that connect to the American Constitution. The rules (the Constitution) of Foundering Scythe’s (The Founding Fathers) are questioned and the readers is forced to ask – where do we draw the line when it comes to preserving those rules over 100s of years and still evolving? There is so much that Shusterman is asking the reader to ponder here and it is all done with the light touch that never feels forced but is still thought provoking.

Forbidden Love- The forbidden love between Rowan and Citra really grabbed my attention in this book. Since they are not able to see much of one another in this book, their love for each other and their longing seemed to grow. “Even now, when he was hunted and she was yoked with the heavy responsibility of scythehood, how could there be anything between them but a dark well of longing?” I wasn’t completely on board with their romance after book #1, but I am totally there for them now.

The use of fairy tales: I really liked the way that Shusterman managed to weave the subtle nods to fairy tales into this novel- the use of the Island of Nod were really clever and I can’t wait to see how that plays out in book #3.

Humor- There were so many moments that made me laugh:

“Deadish men tell no tales for a while,”

“Scythe Poe, who always seemed to be even more lugubrious than his Patron Historic said “I do not wish to be the harbinger of doom but……”the truth of this hit home for all of them just as thoroughly as a raven at the chamber door.”

Citra and Rowan individually- Because Rowan and Citra don’t spend much time together in this book, they each become major forces in their own unique ways. We know from book #1 that they are both “special” and selected by the Thunderhead to save the world, but they both become totally badass in this book. Rowan is out killing corrupt Scythe’s and Citra consistently uses her smarts to gain power within the scythedom. I really fell in love with them in this book and can’t wait to see what they accomplish in book #3.

THAT ENDING! I don’t want to spoil anything for future readers, but I will just warn you that the last 50 pages are crazy suspenseful, anxiety inducing, and freaking awesome!

I honestly have nothing negative at all to say. The writing is impeccable, so many interesting concepts are explored, the characters are endearing and complex, and the suspenseful ending is the perfect setup for book #3, which I am now so crazy excited for! If you love YA dystopian, this is it as its BEST! As always, I would love to hear from you~ happy reading!

For more information on Neal Shusterman and his books, check her out on Goodreads

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Reviews

Review: ARC for Girl at the Grave ~ by Teri Bailey Black

Review: ARC- Girl at the Grave ~ by Teri Bailey Black

336 pages ~ Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

August 7th, 2018 ~ Tor Teen

My Rating: ⅘ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description: Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer. Only one person believes Valentine is innocent- Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received the ARC for Girl at the Grave from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a giant sucker for Victorian Gothic novels, and Girl at the Grave had all the elements of a perfectly creepy gothic thriller. While I did find some issues with the plot, I honestly enjoyed this book so much. I could not put it down and I stay up till 3am two nights in a row because I had to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Here’s were some highlights for me:

  • Northanger Abbey vibe- Valentines lives alone in a giant, gothic, deserted, dilapidated, and haunted house, and she must use the clues left by her long dead relatives in order to understand her past and solve the mystery. “I heard the floorboard creak in the drawing room and paused in the opening, my heart beating faster. I lifted my candle and tried to see past the flickering light, into the dark corners. The air smelled damp and stale, like a tomb. The fireplace was cold and full of cobwebs; the portraits removed; the family who’d once laughed and talked and served tea in this room, all dead.” This was such a cool element and it reminded me so much of Northanger Abbey and the way that the house itself must help the heroine solve the mystery. I absolutely loved this!
  • The Romance- Although there is a bit of a love triangle in the novel, Valentines feelings for each boy felt genuine, and true to what a 17 year girl in her shoes would feel. Rowan is completely swoon worthy, and I loved the moments between him and Valentine. “Maybe you really are a woodland fairy,” he mused with a lazy smile. “Do you talk to the animals, Valentine, and tell them all your secrets? I want to know your secrets.”
  • The Twisted Town- The town of Feavers Crossings is just twisted and dark enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. It is very Twin Peaks meets Middlemarch. Every character has a sordid past, is involved in blackmail or intrigue in some way, and it was really fun peeling back all of the dark layers of this town.
  • Valentine- As the heroine of the novel I thought she was perfect. She gradually becomes more self aware over the course of the novel and I loved that she consistently stayed true to her own hopes and dreams. It was great to see a strong female character in this time period.

Some issues:

  • The issue that I had was mainly with the plot. There were portions of the plot that just felt like unnecessary moments of angst or drama that didn’t really move the plot along at all. Because this is a mystery, I wanted to stay with the mystery. However, there were several chapters that didn’t mention the murders at all and instead focused on trivial things. Valentine’s own father was missing for 4 months and she never tried to investigate or go to the police. This was kind of baffling. I would have liked more Nancy Drew moments with Valentine and Rowan trying to figure out what happened with the murders and between their parents, instead of so much unnecessary angst.
  • Certain moments in the writing would abruptly shift scenes. So sometimes I was left wondering if something was actually happening or if it was a memory or a moment of imagination. Or I would think something actually happened, only to discover later that it was just Valentine’s imagination. This was distracting.

Despite some of these plot issues, I still really enjoyed this novel. It was a thrilling mystery and a great chance to indulge in some creepy Gothic fun. Girl at the Grave comes out on August 7th and I would recommend this to anyone who likes Gothic mysteries! Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this ARC/E-galley.

For more information on Teri Bailey Black and her books, check her out on Goodreads

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Reviews

Review: The Darkest Minds ~ by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds ~ by Alexandra Bracken

Hyperion, 2012 ~ 488 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

My Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

My Thoughts:

It took me awhile to really get into this novel. I had a lot going on personally and there wasn’t much pushing me forward in the story until about halfway. The first half of the book was just a lot of running and escaping, but once Ruby and her crew found the clue about East River and the Slip Kid, it really picked up. I adored the four main characters. They all had their own funny, unique personalities and the friendship between the four felt so genuine. As a heroine, Ruby was perfect. She gradual comes into her own over the course of the novel, and her potential to be a full blown badass is definitely there. Below were some of the high points for me:

High Points:

  • Generation Freak– the fact that IAAN only affected children, automatically build into the story a connection between the kids that survived. “They were afraid of us- the ones who lived.” It felt like Bracken was setting up for a new race of humans, a super race, that Ruby’s generation will have to usher in. “Abilities. Powers that defied explanation, mental talents so freakish, doctors and scientists reclassified our entire generation as PSI. We were no longer human. Our brains broke that mold.”  I loved this element and thought that the idea of a shared trauma amongst one specific generation, especially a superhuman generation, would eventually make for a very powerful force.
  • The Writing- Bracken has an amazing writing style. I loved that certain pieces of information were not explicitly told to the reader, but left for us to put together through portions of Ruby’s flashbacks.
  • Ruby’s abilities- the nature of Ruby’s abilities made it so difficult for her to have meaningful connections. Her parents, her grandmother, Sam, and Liam- all the people that she loves must remain at a distance or she risks losing them. Because of this, she will always remain somewhat isolated. As heartbreaking as it was, I liked this element because I think it will lead to her becoming a stronger hero.
  • Memories- The emphasis on the memories as something wholly personal and scared was another element that I loved. Due to the nature of Ruby’s abilities, this topic came up a lot and it was one that felt really significant to me. We tend to think of our memories as part of our soul and what makes us unique, I thought it was really interesting how the novel played with this notion.
  • Ruby and Liam’s relationship- The gradual love and admiration that developed between these two never felt forced. It never felt like they fell in love simply because they were forced to live and survive together. I loved the way Bracken made it feel like their love was otherworldly, something completely separate from the story itself. Liam: “…frankly, the way I see it, you and me? Inevitable. Let’s just say if we didn’t get stuck in those god-awful camps….no just listen. I’m going to tell you the amazing story of us.”

Low Points:

  • I found issue with certain parts of the plot. As I stated above, a lot of the first half of the book was Ruby and the crew running and hiding from different adults. To be honest, at some points I lost track of who exactly they were running from and why. This seemed to go in circles and I lost interest at certain points. However, this does eventually taper off.
  • I would have also liked more background information on several important contempts in the book, such as the origins of IAAN, background on President Grey, and what was going on in the country as a whole. However, I’m sure that this will all be explained in later novels.

As always, I would love to hear from you!!

Happy Reading! ~ XO

Come find me on Instagram: Somewhere in Pages and on Goodreads: erinrossi

For more information on Alexandra Bracken and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Alexandra Bracken 

Reviews

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ~ by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ~ by Mackenzi Lee

Katherine Tegen Books, 2017~ 501 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LBGTQ

My Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Goodreads Description:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still, it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this year-long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Thoughts:

At the start of the novel, Monty is an absolute scoundrel! He is selfish, destructive, and hurts those that love him most. Despite all of this, I couldn’t help falling in love with him from the start. Underneath his destructive patterns, is a broken, caring, loving person who just has a really hard time showing this side of himself, which is something that I think we can all relate to. He is also adorable and funny, and the perfect narrator for his “Grand Tour horror story.” Watching him grow through these experiences and through his relationships with Percy and Felicity was an amazing adventure I will not soon forget. I can’t say enough about how much I adored this novel. Below were some of the high points for me:

High Points:

  • Monty- He is witty, charming, snarky, and absolutely hilarious. I was laughing throughout the entire novel. Monty’s sole purpose in life is to provide a witty retort at all costs and this gets him into a lot of trouble, but makes for a very entertaining read. “I understand less than half the words in that sentence, but God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.” – Monty
  • His growth throughout the novel is gradual and never felt forced to me. He changes in several ways but the most important changes affect his relationships with Percy, with Felicity, and also with himself. His lust for Percy matures into true love, and acceptance; and their love story is just so beautiful. Felicity and Monty also bond as siblings and begin to share a mutual understanding and appreciation for each other, despite their differences at the start of the novel. Most importantly, Monty also learns to accept and love himself, despite his past mistakes. He writes to his father: “It took several thousand miles for me to being believing that I am better than the worst things I’ve done. But I’m starting.” I found his desire to live life as his true self, despite the immense social pressures and obligations, to be really inspiring.
  • Felicity- I was getting major Hermione vibes from Felicity. Like Hermione, she helps Monty and Percy in invaluable ways. She helps Monty let go of his selfish, destructive behavior. She helps Percy understand the nature of his disease. She is the defiant, smart, kick-ass bookworm character that we all love! Like Monty, she also grows throughout the novel: learning to relate to her brother, and learning how to maneuver within social constraints and still be true to herself.
  • This novel is not just an amazing adventure story, it deals with several heavy themes such as child abuse, chronic illness, racism, feminism, gender expectations, and sexuality. All of this coupled with the backward 18th-century point of view on homosexuality, medicine, women’s roles in society, and race. Not to mention that Lee had to avoid using many of the above terms because they didn’t exist as they do today. Lee definitely had her work cut out for her, but she truly handled it all so so beautifully, and I was blown away! She managed to give each issue the respect and focus they deserve, while also making the story feel lighthearted and fun. It was so refreshing to read something that managed to deal with all of these heavy issues adequately, while still managing to feel like a fun, frivolous, adventure novel. It was truly the best of both worlds.
  • Adventure- That brings me to the adventure element, which was not at all what I expected, in a good way. When Montystarted out on his Grand Tour, I was really excited because as someone who majored in 18th-century literature, I was fascinated with this tradition. My brain jumped ahead of me and I was expecting Monty to grow primarily through his interaction with different cultures, art, history, ect., which he definitely does, but there was so much more to this adventure that made it so rich and complex. There is a fun mystery to unravel that is a little of bit magic and a little gothic horror, also mixed in with intrigue, politics, and scandal! It was a thrilling, completely unpredictable adventure and I loved every second of it.
  • Attention to EVERY detail- Lee has so perfectly made this world feel very 18th century- to the description of clothing, history, setting, even down to the slang the characters use, like “zounds,” everything made this story feel very much connected to this era.

Low Points:

  • The only slight low point for me was the ending, and this is really nitpicking. I liked the ending, but I just really wanted more resolution. With everything still left for Monty, Percy, and Felicity to figure out, it seemed to be hard for Lee to wrap-up everything with the nice little bow that I so desperately craved. However, I am super excited for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which is going to be Felicity’s story and comes out in October! Hopefully, we get more Percy/Monty resolution in that book.

As always, I would love to hear from you!!

Happy Reading! ~ XO

Come find me on Instagram: Somewhere in Pages and on Goodreads: erinrossi

For more information on Mackenzi Lee and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Mackenzi Lee

Reviews

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight ~ by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight~ by Sarah J. Maas

Bloomsbury, 2018~ 272  pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Goodreads Description:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

My Thoughts:

This novella is really hard to review because there is not much of a plot. It is a really fun, little window into the lives of Rhys, Feyre, and the rest of the Inner Circle, but there is no conflict, climax, or resolution to critique. There were some issues with the novella, but there were also some really funny, lovely moments of normalcy that we don’t get a lot of in a full-length book. After the trauma that all of these characters experience at the end of book 3, it was really great to see them just trying to be normal, and enjoy the simple things in life. Below were some high points and low points for me:

High Points:

  • Normal” issues that come with running The Night Court-It was great to see Rhys and Feyre deal with normal, everyday aspects of being High Lord/Lady, such as: listening to people’s complaints, dealing with alliances after the war, and trying to keep the Illyrians inline while still trying to train their females.
  • Everyday moments with The Inner Circle- I loved the casual conversations while the characters shopped for Solstice gifts, ate dinner, decorated, did puzzles, and walked through the festive city streets.
  • Feyre’s mysterious dressmaker – I loved that Feyre’s mysterious dressmaker was finally revealed to be Rhys’ mother. “Long ago, when I was still a boy, she made them – all your gowns. A trousseau for my future bride.” I loved this and I thought the connection to past, present, and future through the dresses was a nice touch.
  • Cassian and Feyre drunk decorating- this moment was just simply hilarious. I loved how Azriel had to come in and try to fix the mess they made. 
  • Feyre painting again- The connection between creativity/art and healing was a really prominent theme here. I loved that Feyre opened an art studio as a form of therapy for kids who were affected by the attack on Velaris. The weaver who has lost her husband states: “I have to create, or it was all for nothing. I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed. I have to create because I have no other way of voicing this. Her hand resting on her heart.” I really love the idea that something beautiful and enduring can come from suffering and pain. 
  • The description of The Night Court in Winter- Maas always does a great job of vividly describing her settings, and the winter wonderland atmosphere of the Night Court was no exception.
  • Feyre and Rhys’ Cosmic-Sex-Magic (my name for it) – Ok, I know a lot of people had reservations about this scene, but I’m not gonna lie, I loved it! These two people are linked in every possible way, it only seemed natural that magic would start to play a role in their connection.

Low Points:

  • Nesta- ok, despite everything, I like Nesta. I am fully committed to sticking with her through her trauma and hopefully I’ll get to see her eventual growth. But I don’t think that her trauma and her reasons for seeking solitude are ever fully explained. At the end of book 3 she seems to be finally coming around to Feyre, Prythian, being Fae, and to the other members of the court, Cassian in particular. Her and Cassian share a very profound moment on the battlefield – she is prepared to die for him/with him, and he reveals that his greatest regret is that they didn’t have more time. I felt that their relationship might finally be going somewhere. But in this novella, Nesta has retreated even further into herself. I understand that she has lost her father, and the experience of the battle itself was traumatic, but I was really scratching my head through this book asking why she is so upset. This was especially surprising because I thought that she had finally turned a corner at the end of book 3. One example of this is when Rhys states: “Nesta had made it clear enough she had no interest in Cassian- not even in being in the same room as him. I knew why. I’d seen it happen, had felt that way plenty.” Ok- I have so many questions here. He saw what happen? Her becoming Fae, losing her father, protecting Cassian? What is he referring to? And why did he also feel this way at one point in his life? If I am missing something here, I would love for someone to explain it to me. Overall, I would just have liked more insight into her, so that her actions lined up with who I thought she was and where I thought she was going as a character.
  • Lack of a plot- As I said, there is no real plot in this novella. It seems to more or less setup potential conflicts for future books to solve. Other than seeing the members of the court prepare for Solstice together, finally celebrating together, and seeing them deal with minor issues of state, not much else happens plot-wise.

Overall, it was really fun to spend more time with all of these characters. I really do love them all and I will blindly follow them where Maas takes them. It was nice seeing the moments of normalcy and watching them deal with the everyday issues that come with running the court, rather than a full-blown war. I feel that it is unfair to compare it to a full novel because I don’t really think it was meant to have that kind of scope. But based on my own enjoyment and my love for these characters, it was still a 3.5 star read for me!

As always, I would love to hear from you!!

Happy Reading! ~ XO

Come find me on Instagram and on Goodreads

For more information of Sarah J. Maas and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Sarah J. Maas

Monthly Wrap-Ups

May Wrap-Up/June TBR

May Wrap-up: Books, Music, Movies/TV…(ya know, the important stuff)

May was all about the ACOTAR Series for me. I have been wanted to read it for awhile now and I’m so glad I finally got around it. I love all of these characters so much. I was also able to read the ARC for Stephanie Garber’s new book, Legendary (Caraval #2). I really enjoyed this book, too, maybe even more than the first. Check out my reviews of all four of my May reads below:

Books:

Click on the title to read my reviews for each:

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (by far my favorite in the series)

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Legendary (Caraval #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

June TBR:

Here is what’s on my radar for June:

  • A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1 novella)
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • Thunderhead (Scythe #2) – Super excited for this since Scythe was amazing!
  • Darkest Minds
  • Tower of Dawn (ToG #6) – Even Though Choal is not my favorite, I want to read this before the final ToG comes out in Oct.

Music:

This month I have fallen in love with Billie Eilish! Some of her songs are more on the pop side, but she also has an amazing variety of music. Her voice is ethereal and sultry, I just love her! For more information on Billie Eilish or to check out her music: click here 👉🏻 Billie Eilish

Watched:

I honestly didn’t watch much this month since I was so engrossed in the ACOTAR series. I did manage to catch up on The Handmaid’s Tale. This show continues to blow me away. It’s frightening and intriguing. You can’t help but ask yourself if this could actually happen. The scariest scenes for me are the moments from “before” where we see the slow poisoning of society. These moments give me chills. Of all the book to film/television adaptations that I have seen, this has to be one of the best!


May was a great month of entertainment for me! Here’s to an even better June!!

Happy Reading! And watching/listening 🙂

You can also find me on Instagram& Goodreads

Reviews

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin ~ by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin~ by Sarah J. Maas

Bloomsbury, 2017~ 736  pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t think that anything could top ACOMAF, but this book came pretty close! Feyre and Rhys continue to be the most swoon-worthy couple ever! I love their humor, their banter, and the team that they have become. But I really fell in love with Feyre as an individual in this novel: she fully steps into her role as High Lady, her relationship with her new family continues to grow, and she is never overshadowed by her relationship with Rhys. There is so much that I loved about this book. Below were some high points for me:

  • Elain as the seer. I loved that she now has the ability to see bits and pieces of the future. Her random visions were kinda creepy (very Bran Stark/Three Eyed-Ravenish) but I loved it!
  • Feyre’s Father- He was such a let down in the first two books. I couldn’t understand why Maas had even bothered to include him as a character if he wasn’t going to contribute to Feyre’s life in any significant way. So I was happy that he finally had an opportunity to redeem himself. Although it is short-lived, he is finally able to do something for his family.
  • The Description of the other courts- It was so cool to meet some of the other High Lords and get a visual for the other courts. The Dawn Court sounds positively lovely!  
  • The Death-God sibling trio- one of the coolest elements of the battle scene was when Feyre and Rhys managed to reunite The Bone Carver, The Weaver, and Bryaxis. While it was really fun watching them tear through Hybern on the battlefield, I also really liked the “monster turned savior” theme that Maas seemed to be playing with here.
  • Swan Lake reference- The mortal Queen Vassa’s story was a really cool twist on Swan Lake. She is cursed to be a Firebird by day and is forced to dwell on the lake of her master/captor, while some part of her still remains human. I really hope we get more her story in future books.
  • Complex Relationships- Even though Rhys and Feyre’s relationship is basically perfect, not every relationship in the book is. I actually really liked this because I think it added a realistic element and showed that families are not perfect. Every character in the series has had to overcome trauma, but they all continue to support and fight for each other despite everything. I love how real, vulnerable and rounded Maas’s characters are.
  • Feyre’s Creative imagination- Feyre’s moments of creative inspiration were a really cool touch throughout the novel. Although she doesn’t paint in this novel, certain moments are made more signification with her momentary inspiration for a painting. The reader sees her vision for a future painting, and that moment is then solidified both in Feyre’s mind and the readers.
  • Feyre going into the Hybern camp as Ianthe. This moment was anxiety-inducing and thrilling to read! I was so nervous the entire time. I also loved that Feyre was able to use the mask of the women who tried to make her meek and docile in order to rescue her sister.
  • Everyday moments with Rhys and Feyre- Even though so much of this book was about the war, preparations for the war, and gaining allies, ect. I loved that Maas still managed to give us moments of normalcy between Rhys and Feyre. Through their conversations, their banter, and their private moments together, we get to see them grow as a couple, as a team, as individuals, and as High Lord/Lady.
  • Feyre grows so much from book 1-3, but I loved how we actually see Rhys grow in this book too. We see him trying to learn how to share his burdens with Feyre and with his family.
  • Epic battle scenes- the scope of Maas’s battle scenes always amaze me. She is able to keep us engaged in so many different schemes, attacks, plots, and surprises!
  • THE END! I am still not quite over it. I was ugly crying for the last 5 chapters and when I finished, I just sat in silence and hugged the book!

Overall, I absolutely love this series so far!I do understand and acknowledge some of the complaints that people have with SJM’s writing. She definitely has some writing crutches, and it can become repetitive at times. However, those things never diminish the story and the overall experience for me. The scope of her stories, her characterization, and her world-building, more than make-up for any repetitiveness for me. I am really looking forward to more books in the series, and I hope that some of these amazing characters get their own time to shine.
As always, I would love to hear from you!! Happy Reading! ~ XO

Come find me on Instagram and on Goodreads

For more information of Sarah J. Maas and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Sarah J. Maas

Reviews

Review: ARC of Legendary ~ by Stephanie Garber

ARC Review of Legendary ~ by Stephanie Garber

Flatiron Books, May 2018~ 416  pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Goodreads Description:

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

Note: I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the ARC of Legendary through NetGalley and Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my review of the book.

My Thoughts: First let me say that I LOVED Caraval! The setting, the romance, the mystery, and the constant plot twists– made it such a thrilling read. I loved that Tella and Scarlett had to rely on their love for each other in order to overcome their traumatic pasts, while also staying true to themselves. And I am happy to report that Legendary did not disappoint! It was just as good as the first book, if not better! Everything we thought we knew about “the game” in Caraval, is veiled in a whole new mystery here and it is absolutely magical!

Here’s what I loved most:

  • I did have some reservations in book 1 with the Scarlett and Julian relationship– I found it disingenuous at times. The “good girl,” “bad boy” act was a little predictable. However, the romance in this book is completely different and it is Super steamy, mysterious, dangerous, and I loved it! But don’t worry, there is no shortage of bad boys in this book either! In fact, there are several of them and they are all completely swoon-worthy!
  • I found some of the plot twists in book 1 predictable, but book 2 was full of surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming at all! I don’t want to spoil anything, but the twists in Tella’s game are so brilliantly crafted, while still leaving lingering questions for the next book.
  • The “game” of Caraval continues to be a constant labyrinth of mystery, but the scope was so much bigger and more dangerous in book 2. Tella’s stakes for playing the game felt so much higher, so I was much more invested in her journey. It is not only her own destiny on the line, but her mother’s and Legends.
  • In book 1, I also really wanted Scarlett to have more agency in her own game. However, Tella is everything you could want in a fierce female character. She plays the game on her own terms and stays true to herself throughout. I really fell in love with her character in this book.
  • I loved that Garber played with the theme of “fate” in this book. I don’t feel that there was much of this theme in book 1, but I loved that so much of Tella’s story grappled with the idea of fate. From the Deck of Destiny to her mother’s ring, everything connected back so beautifully to a grand plan for Tella’s future.

Few Things that I didn’t like:

  • The stark contrast between the sisters. They were just so different that it didn’t feel natural at times. I get that sisters are usually very different, but it seemed like Garber was going overboard in her attempt to make them complete foils of each other, maybe in order to make the two books contrast each other. This just seemed to be heavy handed at times.
  • Sadly, Scarlett was not involved in this story much. This was a shame because one of the things that I loved so much about the first book was the dynamic of the sisters. Even though Scarlett was the one in the “game” in book 1, it still felt as if Tella was somehow working in her favor and doing her part to guide Scarlett behind the scenes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that feeling with this book. Tella felt very much on her own, so I was really missing the sibling support from this book.

All that aside, both Caraval and Legendary were brilliant, well written, and thrilling reads! I would recommend them to anyone looking for a little adventure, magic, and mystery. As always, I would love to hear from you. Leave me a message or come say “hi” on Instagram or Goodreads!

Happy reading!

Come find me on Instagram and on Goodreads

For more information on Stephanie Garber and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Stephanie Garber

Reviews

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury ~ by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury ~ by Sarah J. Maas

Bloomsbury, 2016~ 626  pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My Thoughts:

After reading book one, I was not completely sold on Feyre as a character. I admit, I was unfairly comparing her to Aelin and her lack of a backbone was driving me crazy. But, wow! She completely transformed in this book! Like Aelin, Feyre hits rock bottom and has to battle back from a really dark place. I loved that she emerged with a stronger sense of self and purpose. She finds her true place in The Court of Dreams and finally starts realizing what a badass she is. She does all of this on her own terms. With the help of her new family and Rhys, but very much based on the dream she realizes for herself. This book was so action-packed, fast-paced, funny, steamy, and an epic adventure all around!

Here’s what I loved most:

  • Again, yes, Rhysand! I love him even more now, which I didn’t think possible. He is such a lovely, dark, fallen prince. Just like the night, he has hidden beauty if you know where to look. My favorite Feyre/Rhys moment was when she was telling him about the time she unwittingly painted the night sky on her dresser.
  • “I painted the stars and the moon and clouds and just endless, dark sky. I never knew why. I rarely went outside at night- usually, I was so tired from hunting that I just wanted to sleep. But I wonder…I wonder if some part of me knew what was waiting for me. That I would never be a gentle grower of things or someone who burned like fire- but that I would be quiet and enduring and as faceted as the night. That I would have beauty, for those who knew where to look, and if people didn’t bother to look, but to only fear it…Then I didn’t particularly care for them anyway. I wonder if, even in my despair and hopelessness, I was never truly alone. I wonder if I was looking for this place-looking for you all.”
  • Rhys helps Feyre find her own purpose, her place in The Court of Dreams and helps her discover what she truly wants. Unlike Tamlin, who only wants to mold her into the person he wants and the future he envisions for her. Rhys sees her as his equal from the start and fights until she sees herself in the same light. “Not consort, not wife. Feyre is High Lady of the Night Court. My equal in every way; she would wear my crown, sit on a throne beside mine. Never sidelined, never designated to breeding and parties and child-rearing. My queen.”
  • While I continue to hate Tamlin, I was happy that there was no love triangle between the three of them. I like that Feyre left Tamlin of her own free will and took time to heal herself.
  • I loved the Persephone and Hades homage that came with the bargain Feyre made with Rhys in book one. The banter and filtration between the two and their mind reading constantly made me smile. I loved their friendship just as much as their romance.
  • The wedding scene! Rhys’ entrance, the dress, Tamlin’s reaction! This scene was so perfect.
  • The Court of Dreams- Feyre’s new “family” is perfect flawed, and broken in so many ways, but they also have such hope and love for each other that I found them really inspiring. I also liked that Feyre’s sisters came back into the plot. I’m so excited to see how they fit in with Feyre’s new chosen family and for the Lucien/Eline plot line.
  • Velaris- I love that Maas always paints such beautiful locations. Velaris is such a gorgeous homage to city life filled with cafes, good food, shopping, music, art, and culture.
  • The Ending – I was crying and honestly yelling at the book. It was pure torture! But I was so happy with the “Fox in the chicken coup” plot twist! So brilliant! 

My advice with this series, as with Throne of Glass, is not to judge it on the first book. The second book was so epic!

As always, I would love to hear from you. Happy reading!

Come find me on Instagram and on Goodreads

For more information of Sarah J. Maas and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Sarah J. Maas

Reviews

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses ~ by Sarah J. Maas

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses ~ by Sarah J. Maas

Bloomsbury, 2015~ 416  pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description: “Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.”

My Thoughts:

Since finishing The Throne of Glass series a few months ago, I have been itching to get into another SJM world. The mixing and blending of different fairy tales and myths in ACOTAR #1 were so exciting! I kept getting hints of stories that I recognize, but then things would shift and morph into another completely different tale. This is often considered a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I would consider it more of an homage since it really takes on a whole new direction halfway through. As a reader, this really kept me on my toes. ACOTAR #1 gripped me from page one, but not just in the “I can’t wait to see what happens” way, I genuinely loved this world and I wanted to stay there. It was like the comforting fairy tales that I loved as a kid, but with dark twists and turns.

Here’s what I loved most:

  • Ok, first and foremost, Rhysand! Ahhhh! I just loved his character so much. He is so funny, witty, dark, brooding, and mysterious. There are so many layers to him that are hinted at, but we never quite get a full picture of him (at least not yet.) We don’t know really know why he is helping Feyre, what his motives are, or if he is evil/good…so many questions! But I loved the banter between him and Feyre, and the “I hate you, but I am also really intrigued by you” conflict that Feyre felt for him.
  • Prythian- I am such a sucker for a really great setting, and I fell hard for this gorgeous Fae world. Maas’s descriptions kept me so engrossed in the world, the different courts, the holidays, and traditions. The world was such an interesting mix of primal and civilized life. I just loved it all!
  • Plot/Myth and Fairytale- As I stated above, the blending of the fairytales and myths in this book were brilliant. Maas is definitely playing with these traditional stories here, while still adding in her own dark twists.
  • Amarynthe – Ok, she is completely evil and ruthless, but she is a great villain. I loved her cunning, the way that she played the High Lords against each other. And the whole Jurian’s eye in her ring element!? Keeping him alive but making him watch all her evil doings. This was brilliant! Yes, Amarynthe breaks Feyre in the end, but I think Feyre will come out stronger for it.

Few Things that I didn’t like:

  • Tamlin (not just because I am totally smitten with Rhys), but he was just so boring. He is obviously hot and fits the “Princess with a good heart” trope, but he just never did anything for Feyre that made me think “true love.” It just seemed rather convenient for him that she did end up falling in love with him and breaking his curse. Because, of course, Feyre fell in love with him! The poor girl had been living in a shack, with her two needy sisters and her lazy father, eating rabbits. The Tamlin love just seems way too convenient and a little boring.
  • Feyre- Ok, hear me out. I like her, I really do, but I just wanted her to have a little more backbone. She is just such a pushover and I became really frustrated with her at times. Maybe I am unfairly comparing her to Aelin, who is honestly really inspiring as a female lead. I know this is an unfair comparison, but Feyre just didn’t inspire me in the same way.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Leave me a message or come say “hi” on Instagram or Goodreads!

Happy reading!

Come find me on Instagram and on Goodreads

For more information of Sarah J. Maas and her books, check her out on Goodreads: Sarah J. Maas