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

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Rating: 3 Stars

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I’M BACK, BITCHES–I mean…bloggers. Where have I been, you ask? Working on computer science and eating pounds of fudge while crying, of course. But no need to worry. Since my last post, I have achieved a solid A in all of my courses–all higher than 95 percent. Including my computer science class. *cheers myself on*

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And, in celebration of school ending soon, I’ve decided to slowly get back into the swing of actually reviewing the books that I read.

SO. What better way to kick that off than to review yet another hot book?

A Court of Thorns and Roses. Here we go.


I had high expectations for this book. I’m a rabid fan of Sarah’s other works, and A Court of Thorns and Roses has FAERIES and WICKED SHADOWS and a STUBBORN FEMALE CHARACTER. When mixed together and cooked at exactly the right temperature (with appropriate adjectives and action-packed scenes sprinkled on top), these characteristics almost always equal deliciousness.

But wait, what’s that I taste? Forced romance? Cardboard characterizations? Boring and flowery scenes piled onto more boring and flowery scenes? I never would have thought that Sarah was capable of such mediocrity.

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, #4)

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Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

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To my forest Fae fans, frosty Dorian dames, spunky Chaol warriors, and Celaena fangirls of all shapes, species and sizes:

Stand At Attention, maties! Every ship must go down with the pirate captain!

There are SPOILERS for the first three books in the summary below! Proceed at your own discretion. For those who wish to continue, I welcome you into the beautiful, bloodthirsty and fiery world that I have come to love so much.

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Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

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Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Note: I received an eARC of A Thousand Nights in exchange for an honest review.


[This Book in One Sentence: Arabian legend comes to life as a murderous ruler marries a girl who holds the faith of her village and a talent for stories that might save herself, his soul, and their kingdom.]

First of all, both cover editions are stunningly beautiful. When I saw A Thousand Nights on NetGalley, I was mesmerized by the description and cover illustration!

The summary itself is fascinating. The tale of this young bride, brave and unyielding, has been told more than a thousand times in more than a thousand ways.

Does this novel measure up? Does it break through barriers and bring a special light to the legend?

Well, kind of.

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Review: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

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2.5Stars

Rating: 2.5 Stars

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos. Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting…

I didn’t know how to write this review–how to critique part of a universe that comprised the most amazing and beautiful parts of my adolescence.

Aftermath doesn’t live up to its status as a Star Wars product. It doesn’t even stack up if you compare it to other Sci-Fi publications. I wish I were saying something else, anything else, especially since Aftermath is steadily receiving vomit-filled bucketloads of hate from all sides.

This novel may not be the mass cesspool of ignorance and idiocy that some claim it to be, but it is indeed representative of mediocrity–worse, mediocrity that’s practically catapulting off the shelves.

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Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

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2.5Stars

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate… or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

[This Book in One Sentence: In the Victorian era, two high-society girls are taken to their Romanian homeland to learn a shocking family secret that could unravel the very fabric of European society.]

Another book with potential that never even came close to the quality-based finish line.

I was introduced to this novel by the Goodreads new releases page. Silver in the Blood‘s beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis made me take further steps to obtain it–namely, checking it out at the local library! *high-fives the librarian*

Actually, I take that high-five back. Go away, librarian.

….

Silver in the Blood just doesn’t have the literary it factor.

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Review: Seraphina (Goredd, #1) by Rachel Hartman

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4stars

Rating: 4 STARS


Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

[This Book in One Sentence: In a fantastical medieval kingdom with dragons, knights, and courtiers, one secretive girl works alongside a heartthrob prince to rid the city of its bigotry.]

I was at my local independent bookstore (Changing Hands–the best in Tempe) when I spotted this literary gem. Seraphina was clad in its rich purple cover with a portrait of a dragon soaring over a vast medieval city. The cover art interested me enough to take a glance at the synopsis. As it turns out, every element of the story was an ultra-fave: dragons! magic! a clumsy girl with a secret!

Seraphina is an engaging work; the exquisite prose and complex characterizations made me want to jump into the story and become one of the main protagonist’s best friends. I really, really liked it–but I didn’t love it.

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Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha Trilogy, #2)

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four-and-a-half-stars

RATING: 4 1/2 STARS

Warning, warning! Danger, danger! SPOILERS for SHADOW AND BONE ahead! Avast, there be spoilers! If ye have not read Shadow and Bone and wish to do so, TURN BACK, me hearties!

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

[This Book in One Sentence: Alina Starkov returns in Shadow and Bone’s thrilling, heart-wrenching sequel; war is brewing, and no one is safe.]

Siege and Storm is the sequel to Shadow and Bone and the second installment in the Grisha Trilogy. Of course, I requested this book from the library as soon as I finished the first one. Upon completing Siege and Storm, I immediately bought it on Amazon after a near-lethal injection of fangirl into my veins. Thanks, Darkling. Thanks for being such a magnificently crafted character. You’re gonna kill me one day. 👿

“I’ve seen what you truly are,” said the Darkling, “and I’ve never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?”

Siege and Storm picks up where the previous installment left off. Alina and Mal are attempting to build a new life together–away from Ravka and the Darkling’s influence. As Shadow and Bone sadly revealed, the Darkling has much bigger plans for Alina than anyone could have guessed. With Mal’s help, she manages to escape, but not before being traumatized by events that were gory, sorrowful, and could have been stopped.

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Review: Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon

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2.5Stars

Rating: 2.5 Stars

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Note: I obtained Everything, Everything from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

[This Book in One Sentence: 18-year-old Madeline has a rare illness that can kill her if she ventures outside, but when she meets her new neighbor, she’s willing to sacrifice everything for a taste of true love.]

The sick teen theme (or trope; depends on how you look at it) is an actual trend in YA, which is understandable; the topic brings needed diversity to a culture that is so often focused on ableism. I did not have any problem with the subject matter. However, the words that come to mind when asked to describe Everything, Everything are “contrived,” “silly,” and “sad.” Not a positive trio for a book about young love against all odds. Not even for a novel about a sick girl who finds herself.

Everything, Everything is another creature entirely–one that’s not snarling and angry, nor cute and sassy, nor even kind and sorrowful. If this story were an animal, it would be a toad that seems shiny when you first notice it puttering around in a damp, dull swamp. But this is a toad with a particularly boring and off-putting personality. The falsely shimmering skin surface is its only interesting component.

And so, I feel no pain in critiquing this new publication. More editing and proofreading should have been done. Too late for that now. Here’s the gist of it.

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


[This Book in One Sentence: 18-year-old Cath loves fan fiction, her identical twin sister, and Simon Snow, but these relationships and more are threatened when she starts college.]

Fangirl has been on every fandom-lover’s shelf since its publication. The premise is cute, original, and what’s more, I can strongly relate to Cath’s experiences. When I was in high school, Harry Potter fan fiction was sometimes the only thing that kept me going. (Although… I’m a steadfast Dramione shipper. I just can’t do Drarry; sorry gals.)

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