Book Review – Queen of Shadows

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication date: September 1st, 2015

648 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Review

“She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows, and these men were already carrion.”

sarah j maas, queen of shadows

SWOON.

Seriously, I’m not sure how much else of a review one needs than that one, simple word. But, I feel somewhat obligated to so I will try to assign more words to my feelings about this book (again, without spoilers).

I was SO much more invested in this book. It’s a story of revenge, vengeance, love, and redemption – pure AMAZINGNESS. A lot of our friends are back together again, somewhat working together to meet similar goals. There is almost less of Rowan in this book, which made me sad, but then he appeared and completely made up for it. I refer you back to my original point of SWOON. On the topic of characters, I ended up liking Manon’s character more by the end of this book. I at least have a better understanding of where her character is going, which helps me enjoy her POV. She also helped enter another character that will be important later on, I’m sure.

The sheer intellect and deviousness of Aelin slays me every time. She is so damn… smart. Like, her plans are air tight almost always and she has such a way of predicting others moves. Her plotting in this book was prime and lets just say, certain people got what was coming to them. Also, I appreciated a character from Throne of Glass getting a serious redemption arc, and magical powers!

At the end of this book, I felt the most need to start the next one that I’ve found throughout the series so far. But, I still didn’t pick it up. It didn’t move me enough to abandon my TBR plans. I’m interested to see if Empire of Storms will break that cycle. Anyway, another Throne of Glass book, completed!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Heir of Fire

Title: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication date: September 2nd, 2014

565 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Review

“You didn’t need a weapon at all when you were born one.”

sarah j maas, heir of fire

So this review will likely be fairly short, just to try and avoid any spoilers! As it is the third book in the series, a lot of important things happen in this book and if you’re one of the few people in the community that haven’t read this series… well it would ruin it for you! So I’m going to attempt to not do that.

Overall I found this book to be very good. I enjoyed the different POV’s provided, because the main characters aren’t all together anymore. You also get two new POV’s, one that gets more page time than the other. Rowan and Manon are presented to the world – with mixed feelings on my part. First off, I love Rowan Whitethorn. I will die for him. But Manon? I wanted to skip over her chapters as quickly as possible. I understood her purpose to the story, it shows what’s happening in another portion of the world a la Game of Thrones. It gives added context to the reader that the characters aren’t privy to. BUT, she boring. In my opinion. I’m hopeful her arc will be more interesting as the books go on.

Back to Rowan though. His part of the book was so needed and I love it so much. He truly helps extend and explain Celaena’s arc throughout the series so far. Everyone she meets helps grow her and helps her come to important realizations and he is no different. I will love him forever and if she wasn’t the world’s greatest assassin, I would fight her for him.

Outside of my distaste for Manon’s chapters, I felt the pacing of the book was perfect. The chapters ended at painful times, done on purpose to keep the reader reading and working to get back to that POV to find out what happens. Throughout the book you’re racing to the end to see where your beloved characters will fall. But again, like I said in my Crown of Midnight review, the end did not force me to abandon my plans and pick up the next one. I’m still waiting for an ending that will grip me so hard that I must continue on.

I still say everyone should read this series if you haven’t. And if you haven’t read them, and you’re somehow here reading my review of the fourth book, listen to my words & go start Throne of Glass.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Havenfall

Title: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: March 3rd, 2020

320 pages

3.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Review

**Thank you to Bloomsbury YA, Netgalley, and Sara Holland for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Havenfall was one of my most highly anticipated releases for 2020. I really loved her Everless duology and was stoked to get the opportunity to read the start of her sophomore duology. Havenfall didn’t exactly live up to my expectations, but was still a very solid read with a unique concept.

Havenfall follows Madeline Morrow, the niece of the innkeeper of Havenfall. Havenfall is the connection between three realms, where the peace treaty is enforced. The Innkeeper, Marcus, maintains the alliance and peace between Haven (Earth), Byrn, and Fiordenkill and plans a summit every summer where delegates can come to Haven without worrying about being seen by humans.

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. It was good, but not great. I liked the characters and the twists and turns, but the flow and pacing seemed off. By the end, I was very much into it and I will definitely be reading the sequel, but it took too long to rope me in. I wanted more from it. One thing I noticed is there is so much time spent on world building and setting the scene – even to the point of being repetitive and redundant. That may be cleaned up in edits, so I’m not holding that against Havenfall too much.

I liked the amount of twists and reveals, it seemed like more than a usual YA book. I didn’t see a few of them coming, so that is always a plus for me. The ending was nice too, because it was action filled and suspenseful without leaving it on a huge cliffhanger. I wanted more from this book, so I’m excited to see if the sequel will have a strong ending.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – We Are Blood and Thunder

Title: We Are Blood and Thunder (We Are Blood and Thunder #1)

Author: Kesia Lupo

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: March 3rd, 2020 (US version)

448 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear – those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke’s Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won’t hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine … Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within.

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Bloomsbury YA, and Kesia Lupo for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Note, the cover art included in this post if the UK cover art, which I prefer! For the US cover, please visit Goodreads! The UK edition published April 4th, 2019.

We Are Blood and Thunder is a tale of hidden magic and betrayal. Lena is a cryptling, she is Marked and was forfeited to the crypt in Duke’s Forest at birth to work for the rest of her life. Constance is a mage, which is not accepted within Duke’s Forest, even though she is the heir to the duchy. Lena and Constance’s paths cross as Lena is escaping the duchy after being convicted and sentences to death for being a mage. Constance is returning to the duchy to regain her rightful place as heir. Their paths will cross again, but in a much different context…

The magic system in WABAT is very different than what I’ve read before, and I felt like it could have been explained better. I am still somewhat confused as to how it works. I would have liked some more world-building. The characters were well described and given a clear background, which I always appreciate in fantasy novels as that can be skipped at times. There is a touch of romance, but not enough to take the attention away from the story line.

Overall, I was going to rate this lower until I got to the end and was completely shocked by the twist. I had a hard time getting into the book and being invested, but the twist ending caught me completely by surprise and I give the author a lot of credit for that! I automatically like a book twice as much if the author manages to surprise me with a twist.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Gravity of Us

Title: The Gravity of Us

Author: Phil Stamper

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: February 4th, 2020

320 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Bloomsbury YA, and Phil Stamper for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Oh. My. Goodness. This is the cutest book I have read all year. The Gravity of Us has amazing characters, a complex and wholly intriguing plot, and LGBTQIA representation with a m/m relationship. I found myself rooting for Cal every step of the way and wanting him to succeed. I hurt for him, cheered for him, and supported him throughout this storyline of growing up, learning about life, and fighting for what is right.

Cal wants nothing to do with his dad applying to be an astronaut in Texas for NASA. He loves his Brooklyn life and he has some serious social media success with his journalism efforts, that he doesn’t want to give up. What he doesn’t realize is that his life is just waiting to begin in Texas. He meets friends and is able to stand up for what he believes is right and important, and use his platform on social media to do so.

Cal is my lil cinnamon roll and I will protect him with everything I have. His character is just so darn endearing! I loved the social media and science blend in the plot, it’s unique and like nothing I have read before – and I couldn’t put it down. I started reading and I looked down what felt like 5 minutes later, and I was 30% into the book. I love books where kids look to take down an oppressive regime – which you normally find in fantasy novels not contemporary BUT IT WORKS.

Go put this book on your TBR, pronto mucho.

Happy reading, folks! 🙂

eARC Review – The Map From Here to There

Title: The Map From Here to There (The Start of Me and You #2)

Author: Emery Lord

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: January 7th, 2020

368 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions. 

Review

**Thank you to Bloomsbury YA, Netgalley, and Emery Lord for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

In the second installment of Paige’s story, you get to see how her senior year of high school goes after everything that happened with Max. Paige is going through the age old struggle of trying to balance school, her future career, and a boyfriend. No matter what she does, one starts to fall and she can’t bear to see it be her boyfriend. Mix in mental health issues causing severe anxiety to flare up – it’s a roller coaster ride of a year. Of course, she’s got her friends, but for how long? Who knows where everyone will end up at the end of the year and she is terrified of making the wrong choice.

I was super into the first book, The Start of Me and You. Watching Max and Paige’s friendship and relationship blossom was beautiful, and so reminiscent of high school. I was less invested in the second book, because I don’t feel like it really WENT anywhere. Things happened for sure – ups and downs, twists and turns. Paige puts herself out there in ways she didn’t in the first book and grew up a ton. But it also came with some sacrifice and sadness as well.

I was not a fan of the ending. I almost felt like I read that whole book for… nothing? The ending doesn’t really explain what happens or what Paige chooses – which is a pet peeve of mine for books. If you love a cliffhanger ending that leaves it up to you to decide what happens – I highly recommend. That just isn’t my favorite writing style and I wanted oh so much more from my fave guy and and gal.

This duo is so beautifully written though. I love how LGBTQIA and mental health themes were added into the second book, because it’s important to remember that these issues will affect teenagers. It also provided some good character definition for the characters who were affected.

Overall, a good ending to Paige’s story, but I wish it didn’t have to end. I’d read a play by play of Paige and Max’s relationship for the next ten years if I could.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂