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 – Legendborn

Title: Legendborn (Legendborn #1)

Author: Tracy Deon

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 15th, 2020

512 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Review

Meet Bree, a 16 year old girl from rural North Carolina. Her mother just tragically died in a car accident, and she is headed to UNC for an Early College program. Her first night there, she heads to a party off campus and encounters something strange… magic. She’s busted for being off campus and has a mentor assigned to her. Nick, a 2nd year EC student, is with her when she experiences magic, and a magical being for the second time. Not only is he not surprised at this, he fights it off and leaves Bree very confused. Enter the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. In a whirlwind, Bree is brought into a secret society and starts to learn magic, as she comes to believe her mother’s death was NOT an accident. But the fact that she knows anything about magic is dangerous, because she is different and has separate abilities. Her Southern Black Girl Magic threatens the White Boy’s Club that is the Order, and Bree must fight for her life.

WOW oh WOW. I loved this book so much! Hands down, Legendborn will be in my top five for the year. Everything about this book pulled me in and kept me captivated until the very end. I am absolutely obsessed. The writing is superb, the characters are interesting, insightful, and dynamic, and the plot is action packed and filled with plot twists and shocking moments. I adored the romance and would have even loved more of it. Bree’s struggle with racism from the Order, the school, and police along the way was so well written, and Bree was really given a strong voice to push back against the rhetoric.

The magic system is very complex and there is a lot of information about the Order given, which can be hard to grasp. It isn’t info-dumped, it’s sprinkled in along the way and it was like creating a word map throughout the story for all the different elements. More information was introduced through to the very end, so if you prefer books with a carefully laid out magic system and world-building in the beginning, this may not be the book for you.

With a splash of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters and a sprinkle of ACOTAR, Tracy Deonn has created a rich world not too different from our own, but one where demons exist and the past needs to be told from all perspectives in order to be understood. Legendborn is a retelling involving a secret school society and black girl magic in a part of the world that is still working towards anti-racism.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In Case You Missed It

Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: Lindsey Kelk

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: September 8th, 2020

400 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Ros steps off a plane after four years away she’s in need of a job, a flat and a phone that actually works. And, possibly, her old life back. Because everyone at home has moved on, her parents have reignited their sex life, she’s sleeping in a converted shed and she’s got a bad case of nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her new phone begins to ping with messages from people she thought were deleted for good. Including one number she knows off by heart: her ex’s.

Sometimes we’d all like the chance to see what we’ve been missing…

Review

Ros moved to America for the job of a lifetime, but returns to England, tail between her legs. She’s forced to move back in with her parents, who are having a sexual reawakening, and finds out they build her a shed in the backyard to live in. She gets back together with her ex-boyfriend, Patrick, whom her friend group doesn’t particularly like, but something seems to be missing. Her new job requires her to work with a 14 year old video gaming prodigy named Snazzlechuff on a podcast. Basically, she is missing the earlier days of life when she was in her 20’s and everything was better. But her friends and family are moving on, so will Ros be left behind or realize the best days of her life are still happening?

I enjoyed Ros as a character, she was funny and witty without taking herself too seriously. Patrick, was the worst. He was definitely the example of who NOT to date, but he truly helped Ros along in figuring out what she was wanting from life in the present instead of the past. And Ros’ friend group was AMAZING. I legit want a separate book for Sumi, and to know more about Lucy and Creepy Dave! I loved that even though she was in America for 3 years, she came back and they fell back together like nothing had changed.

I genuinely wish there was more romance with the endgame guy. He was a part of the book, but not enough in my opinion. You don’t get to know much about him, and the romance didn’t feel very organic because they really didn’t have a lot of interaction together, let alone positive interaction. It would have helped if his POV was included in the book.

The Snazzlechuff plot line was actually pretty funny, along with her parents and their sexual reawakening. I will never look at sushi the same way (if you know, you know). I gave this book 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for GR purposes. It was cute and easy to read, I read it all in one sitting, but there were just some things that could have taken it to an even better read.

Thank you to HarperCollins and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Recommended for You

Title: Recommended For You

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

272 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Review

Recommended for You is a short, cute YA Contemporary with a hint of adorable romance, and all the book loving vibes! Shoshanna works at a book store in the mall, and it’s Christmastime so it is very busy. She gets a new coworker, Jake, who gasp DOESN’T READ! They don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they are instant rivals. When the book store owner announces a contest to see who can make the most sales, Shoshanna is sure she will win. But Jake is sneaky good at sales, so she has her work cut out for her…

I’m serious when I say this book is super cute. I loved that the main characters were Jewish, it’s not something you see in books often but really should be represented more. It was pretty short, less than 300 pages, but didn’t FEEL short. Like sometimes short books can see underdeveloped, or too quickly paced, but I felt like this book did a lot with a little. The pacing and flow was spot on, and it covered a good few weeks worth of time.

In terms of the characters, I like Jake more than Shoshanna. Shoshanna is a bit… much. She’s uber perky and bubbly, but it’s almost unrealistic with just how happy and optimistic she is, all the time. Or maybe I just can’t imagine being that happy! It’s certainly a bone of contention with Jake, because he initially interprets it as immaturity (they are 16). But Jake. Now Jake is that brooding, hot guy who is quiet and snarky, which is just a type of character I love reading about. But then you learn his backstory and it rounds him out so. well. BUT, I desperately wanted his POV. I would’ve adored to hear his snarky remarks in his head to Shoshanna and her perkiness, so I did feel like it was missing that opportunity.

Overall, a well done and interesting read, very quick and reminiscent of Jenn Bennett. I recommend if you’re looking for Jewish MC, a quick read, or a good rivals love story.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Kiss Quotient

Title: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1)

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 30th, 2018

323 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Review

“All the things that make you different make you perfect.”

helen hoang, the kiss quotient

I got this book through a trade with some friends, and I hadn’t even heard of it before! But now I’ve read it twice, and read the sequel The Bride Test. Yes, I somehow reviewed the second one before the first, no idea how that happened! Anyway, I adored this romance novel with an autistic main character. Both MCs are also Asian, so there’s multiple different reps going on here – which I love to see. AND the book is Own Voices because Helen Hoang has autism herself. I think Stella is modeled after Helen herself.

Stella and Michael were amazing characters, and I loved them from the jump! Michael is an escort Stella hires to teach her how to have sex, because she generally doesn’t enjoy other’s touch. What she finds is that Michael’s touch is more than tolerable, it’s addictive. They make a longterm agreement (to not fall in love), and of course that doesn’t work. Their relationship was amazing, even if it wasn’t perfect all the time. Stella has some failed forays into life with Michael’s family, but was able to patch them over. Honestly I love these two.

I highly recommend this book for everyone who enjoys romance novels. It does have some level of steam – I’d say medium/high on my scale. There are some pretty detailed scenes that might not be interesting or comfortable for some people to read. It’s well written, and it really can be skimmed over without losing too much of the storyline.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bone Houses

**Owlcrate Special Edition Cover, which is the edition I read**

Title: The Bone Houses

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication date: September 24th 2019

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

Review

“It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they’d leave someday. Then let go of them, when they did.”

emily lloyd-jones, the bone houses

Gravedigger, zombies, fae, and a sweet love story. What more could you ask for in a spooky season release? I highly enjoyed this book, it was captivating and complex, yet simple enough for a stand alone that didn’t feel rushed or like it needed more to round out the story. Lloyd-Jones is able to pack a lot of story into one 350 page book – a rich backstory for the world with urban legends, great backstories for the characters, and a harrowing adventure through the countryside to save their town. And did I mention the zombies?! Called bones houses in this book, the zombies come out of the forest after dark to wander and destroy, even to kill. Ryn as the gravedigger is the only protection the village has yet even the residents don’t believe the danger they are in.

Again, holy wow to this book. I loved the new take on a zombie book, which I generally don’t enjoy as much. Ryn was a very capable MC, hard yet soft, strong yet vulnerable at times. She worked well with Ellis, the traveling mapmaker who finds himself wrapped up in the bone houses. Also, the goat was by far the best character. IYKYK. The love story between Ryn and Ellis was so sweet and subtle, which I enjoy just as much as passionate, crazy love affairs. I love the storyline of being able to find love in the middle of a crisis, when it’s more about the little moments than getting wrapped up in each other. But I digress.

Prepare for a brief scene of intense sadness. I did not see it comes but I was shook by the surprise. Yet even in the middle of their adventure, Ryn doesn’t let it impact her goals which I thought was so amazing and strong of her. I highly suggest reading this book, and it’s coming up on Halloween, spooky times so it’s the perfect season for this book!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Guest List

Title: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication date: June 2nd, 2020 (first pub date March 19th, 2020 in the UK)

330 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Review

I picked The Guest List as my June BOTM choice as I try to open up the genres that I read. AS one of my first thriller/mystery books, I had high hopes. However, it didn’t exactly do much for me, which was fairly disappointing. However, I plan to keep trying this genre because I like to mix up my books these days so it’s not all the same.

Anyway, onto The Guest List. There are 5 POVs in this book, which was really the crux of my issues with this book. It was just so much. I enjoy multiple POV books but 5 seems excessive to me. I also didn’t particularly like any of the characters in the books (but I think this is part of the point in this book). I ended up just being really confused, and it took me time to really get into this book because it kept switching around to different POVs.

On a more positive note, I could not for the life of me figure out who did it. It really came down to the wire for who killed the person, and there’s was no expecting it. On top of that main mystery, you find out so many more shocking things. The last 25% of the book is just bomb after bomb being dropped. So as much as it was hard to read for the first 75% of the book, the last quarter really picked up and heightened my experience of this book.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Crown of Midnight

Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication date: August 15th, 2013

420 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Review

“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

sarah j maas, crown of midnight

Well this book was so intense! As a sequel the Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight picks up right after TOG ends. Celaena is the king’s assassin and has been working to fulfill his orders. Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and Nehemia are all still large factors in this book, and they have much to work on. Celaena continues trying to understand her calling from Elena down in the tunnels. These books truly manage to put so much plot and action into a fairly normal sized book.

The magic in this book is so interesting, and you just know that so much more with it will happen over the course of the series. The romance in this book was also very interesting. It was surprising, but also not surprising, at the same time. I thoroughly approved, even if heartbreak comes later for the characters. Also, Celaena is a crazy cook assassin and even though she murders people with joy, you somehow also end up feeling badly for her. She really is a complex character, not at all redeemable but you kinda want to forgive her.

THAT ENDING. Frankly, the ending of this book was spoiled for me due to bookstagram, but if you’re one of those rare birds who hasn’t read this series yet, and hasn’t had it spoiled, there is a HUGE BOMB DROPPED at the end of this book. Just be aware the last chapter is so intense! It isn’t a huge cliffhanger though, so I wasn’t itching to pick up the next book, Heir of Fire.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Where Dreams Descend

Title: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdoms of Cards #1)

Author: Janella Angeles

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

464 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review

Kallia is a female magician, stronger than most others, in a world where stage magicians are only accepted if they are male. She learned everything she knows from Jack, the master of Hellfire House, a club near the city of Glorian. She is the headliner of the club, but she longs to be on stage as a true magician, not a show girl. So she escapes to Glorian to enter a magic competition being held – but not before she finds out Jack has been lying to her all along. Now in Glorian, she is faced with opposition like never before, and she must remember that not everything is as it appears, especially when looking into mirrors…

I had a hard time reviewing this book, because the beginning and middle of the book were very different than the end. Throughout the book, I had no trouble putting it down. I just wasn’t fully drawn into the plot and the cast. BUT the ending was crazy insane and completely changed my mind on the entire book. Kallia is a great character, and her assistant Aaros made me laugh through the whole book. But Demarco wasn’t exactly what I would look for in a love interest, BUT I have high hopes for him in the second book! There was a lot of Kallia having to be strong against male opposition, due to all the misogyny in the book.

The world Angeles has built is super interested. You don’t know much about the world outside of Glorian or the Hellfire House, but it’s all very intriguing and mysterious which makes for a good read. I would’ve liked some more explanation into the magic system, I didn’t leave the book feeling like I truly understood how it all worked. BUT the descriptions and writing of the magic and the circus and the competition was glorious and so well done.

As you can see, this is a bit of a mixed review. I’m very much invested in reading the sequel when it eventually comes out, because I just MUST know what happens to everyone after that ending. Prepare yourselves for a decently large cliffhanger!

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!