Tag Archives: Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly BlackTitle: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: January 2, 2018 by Hachette, Little Brown
Source: ALAAC18, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: June 4 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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This was probably one of this biggest reads of 2018 and the hype was REAL. I definitely enjoyed it and there was a lot to appreciate here BUT I think the hype also got me a little bit.

I really loved getting to know Jude but I also felt like I wanted to get to know her a little bit more outside of the current events. There were several places in this book where I knew I felt like I was missing something and I just didn’t know what it was. I don’t know why I felt a slight disconnect from Jude but I did. We did get her backstory but… I don’t know. I think I just wanted more of a personal connection that I just didn’t get somewhere. I did love her personality and her ambition. She had a great balance of ferocity and loyalty.

This book was broken up into two parts and I really did wish that there was something more in the first half to really bring me into the story more. There was a lot of really great set-up but the pacing was just a bit off for a trilogy, I think. It felt like we were setting up a much longer series with so much more backstory and character development in the beginning. It wasn’t a bad thing but it was definitely a different pace. Gah, it’s so hard to explain because this was just such a different sort of book all together. It was a slightly slower pace but not in a bad way — it was in a way that allowed the characters to show us who they were and allowed the world to really get set up before the action set in. I think I just expected more action, or rather, an important piece of the action, to happen earlier on.

I also really, really wanted to get to know more of Cardan and his story in the first half. I really liked that Holly Black didn’t rush the romance and had plenty of action and development in the end, but it almost felt like Cardan wasn’t really important until the end of the book. He was a significant part of Jude’s life in the beginning as well, but I wanted to see more of him and more of the reasons why he was so important much earlier on.

I really did love all of the events in the end of the book! There were soooo many things and I loved how everything unfolded in so many ways. I don’t know if that was an intentional nod to The Princess Bride but I 100% was there for that. I think the set-up for THE WICKED KING was absolutely excellent and I think book two will be stellar! I’m really excited to see where things go from here.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Holly Black. I haven’t read ALL of Holly Black’s books but I’ve read a few and it’s so interesting seeing how different they all are! No matter the subject matter, I can see the same sort of tone throughout all of them but they’re all so unique! I also love how clever each book is.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoons. I don’t ACTUALLY need more swoons, but I was expecting more the way everyone talks about Cardan. He was an interesting character but once again, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was (as happens a lot with reviews/Instagram).

Addiction Rating
Read it!

THE CRUEL PRINCE was really enjoyable and quite the interesting read. I really liked the politics behind everything and it had a really great, mature tone.

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BOOKS LIKE THE CRUEL PRINCE

              

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly Black

Mini-Review: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) – Holly BlackTitle: Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: April 3, 2012 by Source: Audible
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 6, 2015
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2)

Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked?
For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it.
The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him?
Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.

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Just a mini-review today for BLACK HEART! I finished Holly Black’s Curse Worker series and really enjoyed it all throughout, but I sat down to write my review for BLACK HEART and found myself at a loss for words! Really, it’s just a bit of a recap of the whole series, a lot of which I said in my RED GLOVE review:

  • I really love the overall tone of these books! I don’t know if I’d call Cassel and anti-hero but I DO love how he’s not all “good guy”. There are definitely many shades of gray when it comes to doing the morally right thing and what exactly it means to be “right” (Legal? Illegal? Right for his family? Right for his friends? Right for himself?) and I loved that the answer wasn’t always clear!
  • Magic + mobsters = so much fun. I’m don’t think I’ve read many books with a mobster story line (most crime-family themes have been in passing in the books I’ve read) but this one was fun! I really liked how that played into the entire plot and involved Cassel’s family and therefore ended up pulling him into it.
  • I really enjoyed the magical elements of this book too! It was interesting that the Curse Workers really got pushed into crime families and it was more organized crime than vigilante justice or individual villains. And that it was hard to identify someone as a Curse Worker unless you witnessed them using their powers or that you were wearing an amulet that broke after they tried to curse you! It was a great take on the concept that really made it more urban fantasy rather than paranormal.

Overall, the series had some really interesting twists that I enjoyed BUT I also thought there was room for a few more twists. I really enjoyed everything from start to finish, though! I constantly loved the feel of the books and couldn’t praise that enough throughout my reads and reviews. The audio was a ton of fun with Jesse Eisenberg narrating and it’s one I’d recommend for a fun, snarky, and a little bit of a dark read!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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BOOKS LIKE BLACK HEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN     POSSESS

Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) – Holly Black

Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) – Holly BlackTitle: Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: April 5, 2011 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 21, 2015
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.
Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….

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I’ve always been fairly picky about my urban fantasy but I picked up WHITE CAT last year when I was looking for an audiobook to borrow from my library and it sealed the deal when I found out that Jesse Eisenberg narrates! I loved the book but definitely wanted to continue on audio so it took me a while to finally read RED GLOVE because my library never got it in! I gave in and used an Audible credit because I was in the perfect mood to fall back into this world and I’m so glad I picked it back up!

The thing I love the most about these books is really just the feel. Like I said, I’m not a huge urban fantasy fan but I really love how the magic system and curse working just fits so perfectly into the normal world, like that’s the way life really is. (Also loved the line in this book about alternate universes and how somewhere there’s a universe where this magic doesn’t exist. Hee! Ours!!!) The tone of the book is just excellent. I love Cassel’s sarcasm, the sneakiness of his family, and the sliminess of the crime families. Mob + magic is a great combination and I love the way they blend here!

I really enjoy the sort of gray area that is pervasive throughout the book. There is obvious bad but Cassel is always somewhere sort of in the middle. His family isn’t full of bad people but they don’t always do good things and when you’re a worker, it’s hard not to get mixed up in the underbelly of society with crimelords bidding on your talents. I really liked witnessing Cassel’s actions and decisions as he keeps all of this in mind. He errs on the side of good but I just love that little gray area that makes it okay to root for a con artist, bookie, and liar.

Like the first book, I was never totally blown away but my interest was always held! There’s just something about this series that has me hooked. It doesn’t hold the most twists out there but there are definitely some good surprises and it was great to be kept guessing! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cassel Sharpe // Character Obsessions: Bets, magic, family, Lila.
I really like Cassel a lot! That male POV… I just love sarcastic and witty male leads and that is Cassel in a nutshell! As I said before, I also really love how he falls in this gray area. He’s been growing up with crime all around him and despite it all, he really is leaning towards the good… but not TOO good because we still get to see him participate in a lot of hijinks!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban Fantasy. I don’t really read a lot of urban fantasy. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t always appeal to me so I usually pick those reads very carefully! (Maybe all the vampire books wore me out? I’m not sure.) I’m so glad I picked up this series because I just LOVE the feel of the books and the characters are so fantastic.
Left Me Wanting More: OMG moments. The plot is great BUT if there was anything I would wish for, it would be a couple more twists or surprises. I don’t think it really needed it but that definitely would have hooked me that much more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

These books are just so much fun. If you haven’t read them yet, definitely get them on your TBR!

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BOOKS LIKE RED GLOVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN     POSSESS

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly BlackTitle: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 17, 2014
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

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Abilities. Cons. Male POV. Cats. Okay, well one cat. This book immediately had me hooked. WHITE CAT was my kind of book. I actually didn’t start it until I was looking for a new audiobook and saw that Jesse Eisenberg was the narrator — I just love him so I was really excited to find an audiobook that he narrated, and one that I really wanted to read, no less!

This book just worked for me on all levels. I loved the characters, I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the twists. I really enjoyed the urban-fantasy feel, which isn’t always a genre that works for me. I loved how it was the world as we knew it, except with the large factor of Curse Workers — people with specific powers who can perform specific abilities — and they’re everywhere. Not every family has a Curse Worker, but they’re commonplace enough that the general population wears gloves at all times to prevent unwanted curses since the strongest curse can be performed with a simple touch. It just so happens that Cassel comes from a whole family of Curse Workers and somehow he’s the only one who doesn’t have any powers… Although he does have the memory of murdering his best friend Lila three years ago… So there’s that.

I just clicked with Cassel’s character. He’s not quite a loner but he doesn’t really do so well with friends. His mom was a Curse Worker (emotions) and a con artist so Cassel happened to take after his mom with his ability to con since he had no supernatural abilities to fall back on — and you know I love a good con artist. I like that Cassel really kept to himself but he did still have his roommate who he considered kind of a friend and over the course of the book, he begins to open up to others just a little bit more. He’s always there for his family — even when he doesn’t want to be — and he’s got a great sharp tongue that always kept the dialogue light and fun.

The book also had some great twists. Some were mildly predictable. Others not so much. No matter where the plot was going, it was always moving and I was always interested. I was fascinated by the family dynamic and how that dynamic really revolved around the family members’ abilities and the way that they used them. All of the characters were just really great and I felt like I really got to know the family.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I read this book on audio specifically because I found out Jesse Eisenberg narrated and I just love him. He did a really great job with the narration, but sometimes I just have small issues (with any narrator really) when I think that that’s not how the character would really say something — but I can’t complain, really, when I give up the narrating to someone else! His voice and performance is exactly what you’d expect from Jesse and he was a great person to narrate Cassel’s POV because I can totally see them as the same personality — wickedly smart, sly, and not always fond of others. He wasn’t always the most dynamic voice to listen to but I enjoyed it all the same!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cassel // Character Obsessions: Cons, odds, Lila, dreams. 
I loved Cassel. I’m always a sucker for a good male POV and Cassel was the perfect character for me to connect with. He was smart, clever, and well-spoken. He didn’t always have a lot of friends but the ones he did make, he found out that he was strangely loyal to them. Probably because his family was always very loyal to each other and yet there was still a volatile family dynamic as well. Very excellent.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban fantasy. If you just said “urban fantasy” and pointed a book at me, chances are I’d turn you down… But WHITE CAT wasn’t the stereotypical urban fantasy like I picture it. It was really just a world almost identical to our own except for these powers that just exist and are commonplace. It was very cool and I loved that it just fit so well, without question.
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary character development. I totally connected with Cassel but I would have liked to know a bit more about his family and his friends. We do get some development from the secondary characters but I think I just wanted to inhale the story and really feel like I was a part of it. I just wanted to know them a bit more, but it really was fantastic.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed WHITE CAT. I honestly can’t wait to keep reading this series. It feels like just the series I would enjoy and I hope the rest of it goes well too!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WHITE CAT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Raven Boys     Bloodlines

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly BlackTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Publishing Info: September 3, 2013 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 22, 2013
Related Posts: White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

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I felt like I had heard quite a few good things about THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN before I started so I had high hopes going in but of course, I was still hesitant about “another vampire book”. I hadn’t read a vampire book since Vampire Academy and Bloodlines and those series were ones that I really enjoyed for its ability to sort of stray from the “vampire stereotypes”. I think after a supersaturation of the genre, it was only natural to be hesitant, but I still went into the book with high hopes.

I thought the book started out with a bang. Sort of “bad girl”, Tana wakes up at a party to find that everyone else who was there is dead. Mutilated, drained, and ravaged by a roving pack of vampires and somehow she’s the only one left alive. If I was unsure what was about to come, the very first chapter of the book surely set it up for me. Holly Black is not afraid to let the gore fly and honestly… It was kind of awesome. I still cringe at gory descriptions but I also liked that she didn’t shy away from keeping it real. I feel like that was a big purpose of the book — for Tana (and others) to know that being a vampire isn’t always glamorous like they portray it to be on the internet and TV — and so I really appreciated how it served a real purpose in the book as well.

I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. Tana has complicated relationships with quite a few people and it only gets worse after the night of the “incident”. Because of the events of that night, she ends up deciding to travel to the nearest Coldtown — a city or section of a city that has been zoned off for vampires or people who have been infected and not yet turned. She ends up reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend who is now infected, a mysterious vampire who seems oddly helpful, and a couple of kids who are heading to the Coldtown because they have been dreaming of being turned into a vampire. Then she still has her sister and her dad back home to think about and still try to protect, even if she’s not sure she’ll ever make it back to them. I loved how each relationship was just so unique and Tana really had a different connection with each person. Even the people she meets inside of the Coldtown were fascinating and I loved the connections she made with them as well.

While the characters were great and felt very vivid, I just couldn’t get into the plot as much as I had hoped. I liked the history of how the vampire sort of “outbreak” started and even how it had affected Tana and her family before the night of the “incident”, but the plot as the story progresses just didn’t reel me in. I was anxious to see what the Coldtown would be like, but it all felt very much like an amalgam of all of the vampire books I’ve read to date and for me, it just didn’t feel like it was anything new. I actually listened to the acknowledgements once the audiobook was over and I almost feel bad for saying that because it sounded like Holly Black had always wanted to write a vampire novel and it was something that shaped her as a reader and a writer so I’m sure producing this book was an amazing life-long goal of hers. I guess for me personally, I’m finding my way out of the vampire trend and was hoping this book would say, “Don’t worry about trends! If the book is good, it can still knock you off your feet regardless!” but unfortunately, I just didn’t find it here.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was still a good read and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t hold the “amazing” factor that I was hoping for. There was a bit of a lull in the middle for me after the fast and exciting beginning and the ending was good and action-packed, but still felt like the other vampire books I’ve read before. If that’s what you’re looking for, I definitely think you’ll find it here, but if you’re feeling tired of the vampire trend, you may notice that a lot as well.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

The audiobook was really enjoyable! Christine Lakin narrated it and I just really liked her tone of voice and her delivery. I thought she was perfect to voice Tana and she had kind of… almost a husky quality to her voice which was great for a darker book. I get easily annoyed with female narrators who sound all breathy and delicate so I really enjoyed her voice for this book! The entire production was pretty great too. I’ve only listened to a couple audiobooks that have actual music interspersed into the narration for a sort of movie feel and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN had some suspenseful and creepy music to play out some of the more scary moments! I actually didn’t feel like it was always perfectly placed, but I appreciated it when it popped up!

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Tana // Character Obsessions: Coldtown, infection, Pearl.
Tana was a great character for me. She was that kind of mix between bad girl, badass, and big sister. I really liked her personality and she just felt really realistic to me. It made me wonder what I would do in her shoes (I think she handled it better).
Gavriel // Character Obsessions: Secret plans, helping Tana.
I liked Gavriel’s mystery but I do wish we had gotten to learn more about him earlier on to make a better connection. I think he’s the one character I have reservations about because I just wanted to know more about him and why he was so important earlier in the book. Not to give away any secrets but just to establish that deeper relationship with Tana.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Vampires? I’m not sure if I’m over the vampire trend but I did still enjoy it in this book. I did admit that it felt a bit tired and yet, it reminded me of all of the vampire books I had read previously and gave me that hint of nostalgia. Kind of a mix of negative and positive points there.
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. I really wanted a bit more romance in this book. That’s not to say I wanted it to take over and be a melodramatic Edward/Bella romance, but I didn’t quite feel like Tana and Gavriel had a strong connection until all of a sudden it was THERE towards the end. I just really wanted to see it developed and established a little bit more gradually.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Several of my Goodreads friends LOVED it. If you’re in the mood for vampires, it’s definitely worth the read! I enjoyed it but my hesitance was just that — vampires and a trend that may be on the way out. Up to you to try it and satisfy that craving if that’s what you’re looking for!!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

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