Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

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

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My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.

via Goodreads 

I talked about my initial reactions to this book in my First Impression Friday post a few days ago. I am a tad disappointed in how my expectations compared to reality.

First, I will start off by saying that the book wasn’t bad, but it didn’t blow me away like the previous books either. More than anything, this book felt like a giant recap of everything that happened in the other books. Maybe that explains why this one was #3.1 in the series, and not book #4? Outside of catching up with each of the characters, there didn’t feel like much of a story line, which was what I found disappointing.

Aside from that, I loved getting to escape back into Velaris and the world of the High Fae. The chapters alternate between different POVs…sort of. The chapters following Feyre and Rhys are in first person, but the ones following the other characters are not. I found this a bit odd. We get a glimpse at the rebuilding of the city in the aftermath of the war. We also get to see how each of the characters is responding to the war and the devastating things that they experienced.

I have some mixed feelings about the progress of the characters and how they’re coping…but I don’t want to open that can of worms because then I’ll have to share too many details.

Overall, I liked it, but I was hoping for way more. I’ll still read the next installment, whenever that comes out.

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: A Court of Frost and Starlight

It’s time for First Impression Friday again! FIF is a weekly meme, created by J.W. Martin. The idea is to talk about a book you’ve recently started and what your initial thoughts are: Do you like it? What are your predictions? etc. After you finish the book you can link back to your post and talk about whether your predictions were accurate or not.

This week I’m going to share my initial thoughts on A Court of Frost and Starlight. Given that I’m almost done with the book, I’m cheating a little bit. I’ll only talk about what my initial reactions were though, since that’s the whole point.

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The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.

I was soooooo excited when this book arrived this week! Considering how much I loved the rest of the ACOTAR series, I was eager to see what the future held for Feyre and Rhys.

My initial thoughts while reading this:

“Wow, there’s a lot of recapping going on.” It was good because it helped me remember some details I had forgotten about, but I worried that too much of it would take away from the story.

My predictions:

  • We would not see the end of Tamlin. I expected some kind of altercation between he and Rhys.
  • There would be a lot of sadness. (I mean, they just finished fighting a major war and people were slaughtered. I expected a somber tone.)
  • Elain and Lucien would finally start bonding.
  • Feyre would struggle to find her place as High Lady. (She did a good job in the previous book, but now that the war is over and she didn’t have that to focus on, I expected she might be overwhelmed by her new title and would experience a lot of guilt.)

Like I said, these were the original thoughts and predictions I had when reading the book. I plan on finishing it during my lunch break today, so I should have a review up this weekend.

 

 

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I’ve been home sick the past two days battling a kidney infection. Unfortunately, this is not my first rodeo. I get kidney infections frequently. It’s getting to the point that I’m keeping a list of my favorite kidney infections. I figure it’ll make a fun Top Ten Tuesday post at some point.

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One good thing about being sick is that I’ve had plenty of time to read and was finally able to write a review for To Kill a Kingdom. I also got plenty of snuggle time in with my two favorite furry sidekicks. 🙂 (Beaker has been sharing his toys with me in attempt to cheer me up. He’s so thoughtful like that.)

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Princess Lira is one of the most lethal sirens in the sea. With seventeen hearts and the nickname “Prince’s Bane” under her belt, she’s more than ready to take her mother’s place as the Sea Queen. That is, until her cruel mother decides to punish her for her wrongdoings. She takes Lira’s song from her and abandons her on land, with human legs instead of fins. 

Lira ends up on board the ship of Prince Elian, the notorious siren killer. Now, she must decide if she’s working with or against Elian to destroy the Sea Queen and reclaim the title that was promised to her. 

As a huge fan of both The Little Mermaid tale and Disney movie, I’m often excited when a retelling of it pops up. Most of the time, however, I am unimpressed. I’m not sure what it is that makes The Little Mermaid so difficult to remake. Whatever it is, Alexandra Christo figured it out and kicked it’s ass.

This version had all the elements of the classic story, with more complicated twists. The backstories for Lira and Elian were interesting, but not overly drawn out. I would have liked to read a little more about Lira and her life as a siren, simply because the world she lived in was so fascinating. The Sea Queen was more wickedly delightful than I anticipated. (She makes the Disney version look like a kitten.) The rest of the sirens and the mer-folk made for awesome support characters, even if we didn’t learn about many of them specifically.

Elian made a good love interest, but, to be honest, I wanted a little more from his character. There was nothing inherently wrong with him, but it just felt like he could have used a tad more personality. His crew and the other human characters rounded out the story well, but, again, none of them were favorites of mine.

I loved the plot of this story, especially the ending. The author did a terrific job of creating a very unique version of the original story without sacrificing it’s integrity. The only “complaint” I really have is with some of the dialogue. Both Lira and Elian have sassy, stubborn personalities, which comes through in their dialogue. There is a lot of jesting and lighthearted insults passed between the two. Overly so. At times I wish they would have toned it down and just had normal conversation. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me, but it did get on my nerves a few times.

Overall, this one gets 4 stars from me. Definitely read it if you’re a fan or re-tellings, The Little Mermaid, or just want to read a twisted fantasy with a unique setting.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Recently Added to the TBR Pile

Continuing with the theme of last week’s post, here’s a few more books that I’ve added to my TBR list recently that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

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The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Have you added any books to your TBR list this week? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kaz and his crew have pulled off the heist of a lifetime. They should be rolling in riches by now, but instead they’re back to fighting for their lives. They’ve been double-crossed and need to come up with a plan quickly before they all get arrested (or worse). 

Some of the most powerful influences in the world are after them and the secrets of jurda parem, a drug that could ruin the Grisha. Old rivals team up, new enemies are made, and loyalties are tested as the clock runs out. 

The first book in the duology, Six of Crows, was pretty damned good. Naturally, I had high expectations for the second book. Not only were my expectations met, but they were surpassed with flying colors and hand grenades. I found myself staying up late and getting up early, just to get in a few more pages. It’s that freaking good.

The characters that we were introduced to in the first book become even more intriguing as you learn more about their backgrounds and the complexities of their personalities. It’s an amazingly diverse group of characters, all with pasts that have left them scarred. The way they all fit together and support each other, despite their differences, is incredibly inspiring.

I loved the themes that were present in this book – fear, thoughts being challenged, past experiences haunting the present, questioning loyalties. There was way more insight into what drove the characters and gave you a much better appreciation for each of them.

Normally, I find romantic feelings in YA books to be cheesy or over the top. Bardugo did an amazing job at factoring this in without it sabotaging the story. The relationships she built were realistic and complicated, rather than being hormone-fueled.

I cannot praise this book enough! Read it. Then read it again.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Favorite Reads of 2017

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Brilliant. Asolutely fucking brilliant. Jenny Lawson may have changed my life with this one.
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I really enjoyed all of the books in the series, but this one grabbed me the most. The complexity of the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand was awesome. I loved the way they understood each other and learned how to help and lean on each other after going through such traumatic events. Their story was way more than I anticipated.
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Rothfuss is an amazing storyteller. The detail and history that make up Kvothe’s story are definitely worth a read. I’m still waiting on the last book to come out, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be something epic.
  • Shadow and Seas by Colleen Oakes – I devoured parts 2 and 3 of the Wendy Darling series faster than any other books this year. Oakes managed to improve the beloved tale of Peter Pan and then some. It was a beautiful world and an even more beautiful story, even with it’s sinister twists. I cried a little on the inside when I finished these because I didn’t want them to be over.
Adult · Books · Fantasy · Sci-Fi · Young Adult

Series I Don’t Intend to Finish

There’s nothing more heart breaking than finishing a really amazing book. If you’re anything like me, you cry a little on the inside and walk around for a few days asking everyone “What am I supposed to do now?!” Cue the book series. With a book series there are hours and hours of reading before you reach the book withdrawal phase.

Unfortunately, not all book series justify such a huge time commitment. Why read a few mediocre books when there are series like Game of Thrones out there?!  Here are a couple that I’ve started over the past few years that I probably won’t be finishing:

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The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman – This book had potential, but it just missed the mark a little. The overall concept was a good one, but all of the characters felt incredibly flat.

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The Borden Dispatches series by Cherie Priest – Lizzie Borden meets Lovecraft. I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. It was a little heavy on the horror/sci-fi aspects, which is fine, but there wasn’t enough to keep me interested beyond the first book.

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The Magicians series by Lev Grossman – I believe I’ve already expressed my opinions of this series on here before. Maybe once…or like five times. For my new readers though, allow me to fill you in: YUCK. I hated the main character of this book so much that I gave up reading it halfway through. Twice. The magic system and the world they were in didn’t do much for me either. (Several people told me that the tv series was better than the books, so I gave that a try for a while. I gave up on that also.)

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The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard – This one felt like another one of the Hunger Games/YA dystopian ripoffs. *yawns*

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The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve actually gone back and forth on whether or not to continue this series a dozen times. I actually loved the first couple of books. I love Jamie and Claire and I love the unique story that Gabaldon created. Unfortunately, after the first few books I felt like things started too get a little too…wait for it…outlandish. The over-the-top action and ridiculous scenarios became too much and took away from the overall story. I stopped a few books in because I didn’t want to start hating it.

Blogging · Books · Fiction · Young Adult

Vacation Books (and 100 Followers!)

First of all, I would just like to mention that I’ve reached 100 followers! Thank you to all of you who follow my blog. I am incredibly appreciative. 🙂

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I’ll be going on vacation in a few weeks and I’m already trying to figure out which books I am going to pack in my suitcase. The problem (aside from the fact that I probably spend way too much time thinking about these things) is that I am terrible at planning reading lists. I constantly come up with lists of what books I want to read next or during a certain time frame, only to completely throw the list out the window two days later. I had a long list of books I wanted to finish in the duration of 2017, but instead if picking up one of those this week I started re-reading Rebecca and Harry Potter again. Heh.

I have no idea what books I’ll take on vacation with me, but there are a few new releases hitting shelves soon that I am interested in. Maybe I’ll bring one of those with me…or not…who knows! 😛

These are some July releases that I am looking forward to checking out:

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Because You Love to Hate Me by various authors

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The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

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Shadow (Wendy Darling) by Colleen Oakes

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What kinds of books do you like to bring on vacation with you? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah Maas

23766634My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, although things are different this time. This time she’s working against her former lover, Tamlin, in an attempt to figure out how to stop the King of Hybern from destroying all of Prythian. As the threat of war looms closer every day, Feyre doesn’t have much time. 

It’s a cruel and deadly game everyone is playing, but nothing will stop Feyre from finding a way to keep her people and the man she loves safe. 

 After the awesome ending to ACOMAF I couldn’t wait to see what Maas was going to do to end the series. This book, like the previous two, sent me on an emotional roller coaster that did not disappoint.

Feyre’s role at the Spring Court was brilliant. It was so interesting to see how much her character has changed and developed over the course of the series. She is no longer the terrified, broken girl that she used to be. She’s fierce, clever, cunning, and ruthless. She learned to wield and take ownership of her magic, making her an incredibly powerful High Lady and player in the game of war.

I loved the addition of Feyre’s sisters to the Court of Dreams and the development of their characters, as well. Up until now, they didn’t serve much purpose in Feyre’s life, so it was nice to see a family bond developing. I also loved getting to see the bonds between the rest of the Court growing deeper during such a troubling time. Additionally, we got to learn more about the other High Lords of Prythian and other side characters, which only added to the complexity of the story. (I particularly liked what Maas did with the relationship between Feyre and the Suriel. It was quite touching.)

ACOWAR was the perfect ending to the series, filled with unexpected twists and lessons on love, sacrifice, and fighting to make the world a better place.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Young Adult

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah Maas

Happy Saturday! I’ve had a bit of a rough start this morning, as I am experiencing both a wine and a book hangover. The wine is self-explanatory. My biblio-hangover is to blame on this awesome read:

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Feyre survived the worst. She escaped from the sick, twisted clutches of Amarantha’s court, and lost her mortal life in the process. Now, returning to the Spring Court with the powers of a High Fae, she should  be able to begin the healing process, only it’s not that easy. The horrible events that transcribed Under the Mountain have pulled Feyre and Tamlin apart, leaving her feeling alone and tormented. 

Then steps in Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, to hold Feyre to her half of the bargain she made with him. Never does she suspect what her life is to become once she gets intertwined with Rhys and his friends.

Now, with war on the horizon, Feyre needs to learn how to navigate the darkness that lies both within herself and throughout Prythian. 

This series, oh this series…*swoons* I mentioned in my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses that I was hesitant to read the second book because I was afraid it would tarnish my love of the first. Now I am kicking myself in the ass for waiting so long.

Okay, fangirl moment is over. (Keep yourself together, Kiersten!)

The characters in this story were amazing. Feyre’s character evolved a great deal since the beginning of the series. Having gone through so many horrific things Under the Mountain, she was completely torn apart and in a very dark place. It was interesting to see how differently each of the characters coped with the same experiences. Even more interesting was how some of them were able to come together and support each other, while others lashed out. (An accurate representation of how everyone deals with grief differently.) I was amazed at the developments in Rhysand’s character also. He was nothing at all like I expected him to be; he was so much more. The complexity in his character and his relationship with Feyre was absolutely beautiful.

The author, once again, did an amazing job at showcasing both the wonders and perils of love. The relationship between Feyre and Tamlin was a good representation of what happens when two broken people try too hard to love each other. The feelings and good intent might be there, but ultimately will end up failing. The relationship between Feyre and Rhys was built on a more solid foundation – one of trust, understanding, and friendship. Both of them, as damaged as they were, understood and tried to help each other heal, which is what lead them to develop such a close bond later on.

Maas sure knows how to make you fall in love with her characters. (And make you want to bang a few of them. 😉 That woman sure does know how to write a sex scene.) Even the side characters in this book, like Rhys’ inner circle, were well developed and powerful. There badassery among the Illyrian court made Tamlin’s court pale in comparison.

I had a hard time putting this one down. I’ve had an even harder time getting through writing this post, because the third book is already waiting for me.