Tag Archives: New Adult

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 2, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 12, 2017
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

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This read went pretty much about how I thought it would. I used to LOVE Sarah J. Maas books and I had a really hard time with the pacing and characters ever since A COURT OF MIST AND FURY and EMPIRE OF STORMS. I was wholly sucked into QUEEN OF SHADOWS and ever since then, I lost the magic. I feel like the books aren’t well-edited anymore and Sarah J. Maas is so big that she is allowed the freedom to write whatever she wants and things don’t get pared down when they should. I’m not saying that actually is the case but that’s how it feels sometimes. I’m totally okay with books being long, especially series finales like A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN, but there were several parts that could have been cut down and a lot of things in the past two books in this series could have used a fair bit of editing, from pacing to structure to dialogue. I felt very alone in these opinions with ACOMAF but it seems like this happened a little bit more with ACOWAR which actually surprised me, but I’m glad that I wasn’t alone in that feeling!

The highlight of this series for me is the Inner Circle! Azriel continued to be my favorite, I think because he was, well because he was broody first and foremost but I loved his quiet gentleness and yet he had a ferocity about him on the battlefield and also towards his friends and family. He is a warrior after all! Cassian is also a favorite with his lightness and humor to go along with his brute strength and warrior-mode. Amren is delightfully dark and I love her sass and Mor rounds out the “lesser” characters of the Inner Circle to add a caring and warm quality to the group. I love their squad goals and how well these four fit together. Yes, four… not six. I actually didn’t care about them being involved with Rhys and Feyre (even though Rhysand is the whole reason this group exists). They just had so much personality and I wanted to see them shine even more. I think they were really deserved more of a spotlight in this book after being introduced in A COURT OF MIST AND FURY because they were so important in so many ways and they really brought so much to this book/series. I felt more connected to Azriel and Cassian because I felt like their histories were detailed well and reiterated several times throughout the series. Amren was so amazing and she should have had more of a history in this book and not just the breeze-through conclusion in the end, and we get to know more about Mor but I felt like she was often pushed to the background too. Feyre’s sisters ended up being a big part of the book and Nesta did get much more “on-screen” time but I don’t think Elain got the attention she deserved either, nor did Lucien after setting up his whole part in this series in the second book. He did do big things in this book but again, it was like he was there for the “big things” and then pushed back into the background. There was a whole story line with him and Elain that was established and then not really developed.
These characters really were the highlight of this book for me and I really wished I could have had more from them, like their own chapters or something. This book, especially, being from Feyre’s POV only really limited what action readers could see and it just pushed my favorite characters in the background because the focus was on Feyre and Rhys. I feel like Sarah J. Maas has a tendency to introduce these characters that we love and then they get pushed aside for the main characters instead of getting their own development. Then more characters get added, and more characters get added, and readers get even less of that development that they’re craving (or at least in my case).

For some reason, I’ve never been a Feyre and Rhysand shipper. I loved Rhysand’s darkness and that forbidden allure to him in ACOMAF and he was just a little too perfect in this book. I know we discover in ACOMAF that there’s much more than meets the eye to Rhys and he’s actually a pretty good guy, which ughhh. I liked his darkness! He still has that snark and sass but the darkness is pretty much gone in ACOWAR which was something that really interested me. I especially felt this in ACOWAR and I got bored with Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship. It was like once they got together, the spark was gone, and so much of their relationship felt forced. The details of the relationship just felt like TOO much at times. Too perfect, too over-the-top, just too much. And speaking of too much, the sex scenes just felt way too forced as well. Not necessarily in content, although that didn’t feel natural either, but there were far too many and in random places. Every time something good happened it was like yay, let’s celebrate with sex! I just felt shoved in there for the sake of sex scenes and keeping it steamy the end and I would have rather had SOME fade to black scenes instead of every single instance being full detail. I don’t have a problem with those scenes at all (I read the occasional romance) but it was more the fact that I felt like I was reading a romance novel sometimes instead of a strong fantasy book with solid character, world, and plot development.

I also got really annoyed that every single main character had to get paired off into a couple or if not in a couple at the end, the single person had some unrequited love going on. I can see that war makes you want to be with the one you love or match up while you still can but I got annoyed that characters that I thought would be awesome on their own (I won’t say who because possible spoilers, I guess) ended up pairing off with someone and it very felt out of character. I was excited about the Elain/Lucien set-up in ACOMAF and was super disappointed that wasn’t used to its fullest potential here. It was set up and then never really went anywhere and I found myself wonder why it was introduced at all. If that hadn’t been established in the second book, it really wouldn’t have affected the third book or in the moments it had, the action could have resolved in some other way. It all felt forced and superficial and that bond wasn’t even there. It was a total waste of character development that could have been put towards something else since it wasn’t even developed anyway.

Mostly, I just wasn’t impressed with the writing. As I said before, I feel like the book needed much more editing. There were a lot of out-of-character things, strange pacing, an excess of characters, and the world-building was just off. To be honest, I feel like Feyre, Tamlin, and Rhysand all went through personality flips since the first book (at least in perception like in Rhys’ case, if not true character changes). There’s a difference between personality development and taking things to a totally different realm and I think it’s good that Feyre isn’t the same person that she was in A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES because she should be different and show some growth but I felt like the person that she became didn’t feel characteristic of the person she once was and it seemed like too much of a personality change.

I was also missing so many details on some really interesting things like the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and other unusual creatures/gods/immortals. I even found myself asking myself what exactly the Cauldron was all about. The Cauldron! A huge part of this series!!! It didn’t feel like infodump when I first learned about all of these things and yet I felt like I couldn’t remember any of those details later on in the series or recall learning more about them in other spots. Those are the parts of a book that I love and I just felt like a lot was missing. I think Sarah J. Maas missed a lot of world-building opportunities that really could have brought this world together even more.

The ending was a little too perfect and happy for such a huge war and giant conclusion. I felt like a few things were cop-outs even though they were happy things. I had set myself up for some Big Things and was disappointed for some reason when bad things didn’t happen to good people…? Truly, I just think it’s just realistic within a war that not all of the good people survive or end up mostly untouched. Things did happen, though I won’t go into detail, but I think we all braced ourselves for some really bad stuff so it almost felt a little anticlimactic! For some reason the Rhysand chapter at the end was also totally cheesy and I don’t know why but it reminded me of TWILIGHT… I think the observation and listening in on Feyre? I don’t know — don’t ask. But that was the vibe I got from it so it was just a little too sappy and not necessary (though I wished we could have had his POV throughout the rest of the book).

So yes, this was a lot of venting or however you want to take it but those are my feelings and my opinions. Although it was a lot of things I wished that would have been better, that’s actually what I expected to feel when I read this book. I wanted to finish to finish the series so I wanted to finish this book but I didn’t expect to love it and it actually went pretty much as I thought it would. After feeling a lot of the same things with ACOMAF and EMPIRE OF STORMS, I almost definitely won’t be reading the spin-offs for this series, and I guess we’ll see how the next Throne of Glass book goes. I definitely still want to finish that series since I’m so invested in it time-wise and I do want to know how that concludes but after Throne of Glass finishes, I’m not sure if I’ll be reading more Sarah J. Maas books.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Inner Circle. These characters were truly the best part about the book. Serious squad goals, banter, loyalty, ferocity, and a great mix of personalities. Truly the highlight of the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Development. I just don’t feel like it’s there and I don’t know what happened! QUEEN OF SHADOWS was one of my favorite books from that year and I just don’t feel that magic anymore.

Addiction Rating
Take it or leave it

It’s the last book in Feyre’s story so it’s worth finishing to conclude the series but I also think if you’re having the same issues, it’s not a huge deal if you don’t.

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    FALLING KINGDOMS

The Book Addict’s “GUIDE”… to Queens of Contemporary!

My reading tastes have changed a lot over the past few years, especially since I started blogging, but I still have a big place in my heart for contemporary romance and realistic fiction in my heart! I’ve been picking up a lot more light & fluffy contemporary stories lately, more so than the serious realistic fiction, but this compilation of Contemporary Queens includes a little of both!

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all of my favorites but it includes many of my favorite authors who currently have multiple books out, and I left a few off the list who I loved but I hadn’t read the majority of their current contemporary releases (like Elizabeth Eulberg and Robin Benway)! It also doesn’t include books of different genres from the authors listed below (like Kasie West’s paranormal duology and Rainbow Rowell’s dip into fantasy) to keep the list strictly contemporary!

The guide is mainly geared toward young adult authors and novels but also includes any “crossover” books by the same authors including Rainbow Rowell’s adult novels and Liz Czukas’s novels as Ellie Cahill for her new adult releases! Lastly, it also only includes full-length novels so any novellas or extras have not been included here (but you should totally check those out too)!


young adult contemporary

BOOKS MENTIONED

  1. Sisters In Sanity by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  5. Just One Year by Gayle Forman Amazon // Goodreads
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  7. Leave Me by Gayle Forman | Amazon // Goodreads
  8. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  9. On The Fence by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  10. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  11. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  12. By Your Side by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  13. Lucky In Love by Kasie West | Amazon // Goodreads
  14. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  15. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  16. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  17. Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Amazon // Goodreads
  18. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  19. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  20. When We Collided by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  21. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord | Amazon // Goodreads
  22. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  23. Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  24. Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas | Amazon // Goodreads
  25. When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  26. Call Me Maybe by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  27. Just A Girl by Ellie Cahill | Amazon // Goodreads
  28. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  29. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  30. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  31. My True Love Gave to Me curated by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  32. Summer Days and Summer Nights curated by Stephanie Perkins | Amazon // Goodreads
  33. Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  34. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  35. The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt | Amazon // Goodreads
  36. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads
  37. Nantucket Red by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads
  38. Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland Amazon // Goodreads

Who are your queens of contemporary? I also love Elizabeth Eulberg, Robin Benway, and Lauren Morrill but I need to catch up on some of their earlier books or latest releases!


Looking for more reading recommendations?
Here are some more posts to check out!

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul Krueger

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul KruegerTitle: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Publishing Info: June 7, 201 by Quirk Books
Genres: Adult, New Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 23, 2016

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.
College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

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I immediately jumped on the chance to read LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE after seeing it in Shelf Awareness and at BEA 2016. Quirk Books asked me to be a part of the blog tour and with a description that calls it “Harry Potter for adults,” naturally I couldn’t refuse. I was also anxious to check out the new adult/adult feel of the book and watch magic and mixology collide!

What I loved the most about this book was the magic of mixology. There’s a magical underground where bartenders are the keepers of the paranormal and mixing just the perfect drink provides them with special powers in the form of some sort of physical or mental strength. I really, really loved this concept because it was something that I’ve truly never seen before. I loved the unique magical system and how there was a real structure for each power that the drink endowed. The type of liquor determined whether an ability was mental or physical and the various ingredients affected, enhanced, or shaped that overall idea. It was so neat and really well done! The only thing was that it was so well structured that I would loved to have had more details on each drink like maybe some sort of chart, or even just spent more time really getting into what each cocktail did. Most of them were mentioned as the characters were using them but I would have loved a little lesson within the book breaking things down even more. It’s the fantasy-nerd and school-nerd in me! If there happened to be a sequel (which I’d totally read), I’d love for even more detail!

I really enjoyed the tone of the book as well! It was quite entertaining and maintained a lighter tone with characters who made bad jokes, silly puns, fun atmosphere, and a just a really great cast. The terrors were dark but the feeling was light and I really love that sort of feel in an urban fantasy sort of setting. The book wasn’t terribly long but it was easy reading that also made it breeze by!

I think overall, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE could have used a little “more” — a little more background, a little more detail, a little more plot, a little more romance — but despite that, I really did enjoy it! It was still a solid read but if there’s ever a sequel for some random reason, I’d love to see more development come in book two. I guess that means I just have to check out future works from Paul Krueger, which I am definitely interested in doing! 
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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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Kept Me Hooked On: Mixology. I’m not a cocktail girl (I’m a beer girl)  but I loved the involvement of alcohol as a magical element in this book. It was just so much fun and so original!
Left Me Wanting More: Magical details. When it comes down to it, I just really wanted more details on the magic system. I’m nerdy like that and would have loved some sort of chart or a more detailed lesson in the book because it was so cool and I thought it totally deserved some more page time!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This book was just a lot of fun and if you’re up for something not YA and pretty original, you should really check this one out!

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BOOKS LIKE LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

WHITE CAT    HOLD ME CLOSER NECROMANCER

Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the Ants

MINI REVIEWS

I’ve somehow fallen extremely behind on book reviews (that’s life!) so I’m combining a few audiobook reviews into one post today! Life has been so busy that I’ve been finishing way more audiobooks lately than I have print copies — but I’m always a fan of audios! Here are a few thoughts on 738 DAYS by Stacey Kade, TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovich, WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: 738 Days by Stacey Kade
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 7, 2016

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.
Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.
Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.
To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

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I was in need of a new audiobook when I started 738 DAYS and it seemed the most appealing choice out of my current selection! I had heard a lot of good things about it and although I wasn’t feeling any of my options, this one seemed to be my best bet for my mood at the time. I hadn’t realized it was so realistic/contemporary (I thought it was going to be more thriller/action — ah, the curse of going in mostly blind) but I did enjoy the book! Since I wasn’t in the mood for a serious contemporary novel, I ended up getting a little eye-rolly at some of the mushy parts (it was my own fault!) but 738 DAYS was a really well put together novel.

I thought the characters were quite realistic. I liked the array of emotions from Amanda. I could easily see how the trauma of her past still affected her — and likely would affect her for a long time or even the rest of her life — and yet she was determined not to to get stuck from it and have that trauma hold her life back. I loved her strength and determination. It was nice to see that gusto and not have her be too gung-ho or the type that constantly refuses someone’s help just so she can do something herself. There was a great balance of growth and seeing that moving past this wasn’t easy. I also really liked Chase and that we met him in his days of redemption. I think it’s easier to like a character when the bad stuff is in their past versus watching them go through the periods of self-destruction. It’s easier to distance yourself from that negative side and it was really nice to see Chase already in the process of that change to be a better person. He and Amanda really just clicked together and I liked how easy that relationship felt. I’ll admit that since I was thinking it was a bit more thriller (oops) that I wasn’t really excited about the romance at first (I know, I know, that’s what the whole book was ABOUT) but the great thing is that it totally grew on me. To swing me from not thrilled to totally loving it says a lot!

I’d say this is more of a New Adult title (given age range and sexual content I wouldn’t say it’s YA) and if you’re hesitant about reading New Adult given some of the more cheesy titles that have previously given it a bad name, this is a great place to start! It’ll definitely be one of my New Adult recommendations for people looking to try some.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | 738 DAYS had dual narrators for the two main characters. Andrew Eiden voiced Chase and Shannon McManus voiced Amanda. I didn’t really like Shannon’s voice much but it wasn’t enough that I actively disliked it (which has happened in the past and I’ve turned an audiobook off). Her voice is high and clear, very feminine, but it has kind of that Valley Girl intonation that bothered me a little bit. I did like Andrew Eiden’s voice but I still wasn’t overly in love with his narration. I’d say a solid 3.75 – 4 stars for the narration on this one.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 17, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 19, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16)

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.


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I am loving that the Stephanie Plum books are coming back around to being actual stories that I care about and not just throw-away, silly novels. TRICKY TWENTY-TWO actually had the characters addressing serious issues. We hear talk of marriage and serious commitments, and not in just the silly way of how the characters are usually afraid of commitment or Stephanie’s caught up between Morelli and Ranger. I loved that things got a little deeper and the characters became more real again and not just caricatures of themselves.

The plot was better too! Less crazy, wild animals and more actual cases, bringing that sense of mystery back to the book and not just a silly thriller aspect. I do love these books — they’re fun, familiar, and the audios are SO quick. I’m really glad that they’re coming back around and keep me excited for more! For a while I was starting to grow tired of them (not like I’d quit them!) but I’m really happy that I’m getting that faith back in the series.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | As usual, Lorelai King was a lot of fun! I think she’s really good at all of the different voices (and there are a LOT of distinct ones) and she really brings these books to life. I don’t think I’ve read Stephanie Plum book in print for maybe ten books (or more!) because they’re just so much fun on audio and somehow they go by so quickly!!

Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Publishing Info: January 19, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 26, 2016

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.


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I hadn’t picked up WE ARE THE ANTS for a while because truthfully, I was afraid of the whole “abducted by aliens” thing. While I will agree that it is a big part of the book, it’s not a main portion of the action. Henry does believe that he keeps getting abducted and that he has the ability to save the world or let it be destroyed but it’s more about the question of his decision than it is about the aliens.

The book is a lot deeper and a lot more realistic fiction than I thought it would be too! Obviously aliens had me believing it was sci-fi but it was really more of Henry’s story, what he was going through since his boyfriend’s suicide, the bullying that’s occurring in his life, and his relationship with his family. It was a heart-achingly beautiful novel, quite realistic and really thought-provoking. It was darker than I had anticipated but there was also a wonderful balance of humor to ease that darkness a little bit. Shaun David Hutchinson did an amazing job and really brought me into a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own (alien abduction is really just a turn-off for me) and I like how that whole idea was incorporated into the book! I was poignant, original, and very well-written.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | Gibson Frazier was a really good narrator! This is the first time I’ve ever listened something he’s narrated (I have a tendency to listen to my favorites) and he was really great! Sometimes a little monotone but I also think that was a bit of the character so I’m not sure if it was him or Henry. I liked how well he seemed to fit the character and I really enjoyed him in this book. Sometimes I did wish for more emotion but I’d be interested to listen to more from him.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 3, 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Audible, Amazon
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 25, 2016
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5), Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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** Warning: This is NOT a spoiler-free review like I usually write. I won’t give away twists from the very end but I WILL be discussing things that happened throughout the beginning and middle of the book! **

I was pleasantly surprised when I read A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES last year because going into it, I knew it was a story with a strong fae presence. By this point in time in my reading career, I wasn’t new to fantasy but I was still a bit picky about what sort of fantasy I liked and fae did not fall into that category of selected themes… But knowing how much I loved Sarah’s Throne of Glass series and the fae presence there, I dove into ACOTAR and loved it! It had a bit of a BREAKING DAWN ending so I wasn’t quite sure where the second book would go but naturally I had very, very high hopes for it since I hadn’t been let down by a Maas book yet!

I won’t sugar coat it — it actually took me a really long time to get into the swing of this book. I was enjoying the plot but the beginning felt so incredibly dramatic and I just didn’t feel like things were moving forward. There was a lot of time spent on Feyre’s PTSD from her time Under the Mountain and I absolutely understand and don’t think that her traumatic experience should be just brushed over. I do felt like there was too much time dwelling on it though. ACOMAF isn’t a short book and I think some pages could have been saved and still gotten the point across throughout a few sections in the beginning. If the book were more character-based instead of plot-driven, it might have been more appropriate but the plot really seemed to suffer because of this and this isn’t the first time I felt this way in a Maas book either. I understand that these characters have gone through something that truly does change them but I felt like I was reading about totally different characters when I started ACOMAF. Feyre and Tamlin were just not themselves and I think had ACOTAR ended with a bit more of this shadow or if it had slowly creeped in throughout ACOMAF, it wouldn’t have been as much of a surprise. I just really felt like I was thrown into a totally new environment and it was really hard for me to adjust to, especially since I had read ACOTAR over a year before I got to start ACOMAF.

I continued to have issues with Feyre throughout the book. I don’t know why but she was just really bothering me. Instead of snarky, witty comebacks, I felt like everything with her was taken as an insult and she was constantly being defensive and kind of hated everyone. It was really hard to watch her interact with characters and I started to latch onto new (or new-to-the-spotlight) characters like Rhysand and his gang. It did make me extra thankful for Rhys coming onto the scene and shaking things up, though! The interactions between Feyre and Tamlin were just unbearable and painful to read. Then I ended up on the flip side where although I didn’t want Feyre and Tamlin to still be together, I also felt really weird that Tamlin was almost totally absent from this book. He was there in the beginning and I won’t speak of the ending but this book was straight up about Feyre and Rhysand and it almost felt like a waste that we spent all that time building up a romance between Feyre and Tamlin in ACOTAR to have it totally change. I absolutely love where it went but it’s confusing to understand why the Feyre/Tamlin romance was so important and developed in ACOTAR and why Rhysand wasn’t more of a main character throughout that courtship to really get his foot even more in the door.

I’ve followed the romances in Sarah J. Maas’ books quite well, I think, considering they’re not always simple and straightforward. I know some people who have issues with love triangles or already have their OTPs with the first love interest really have trouble moving with the characters as they fall out of love or move from one interest to realize that their true match is someone else and I feel like I’ve followed along with that fairly easily. I can see where people feel like the romance in ACOMAF is a love triangle and I guess to a certain extent it is, but Feyre also does not have interest in both men at the same time. It is quite complicated though so if you’re sensitive about triangles, you almost definitely won’t like the romance.

I personally loved the development of Rhysand as a love interest, especially once Feyre really started to struggle with Tamlin. I found it telling that at the hardest points in their lives, Feyre and Tamlin drifted apart and just couldn’t find a way to even communicate instead of being able to rely on one another and get through a hard time together. That doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t be with someone but in the case of story telling, it’s a pretty big sign that the main character isn’t where they should be. I’ve heard this complaint from other Maas readers but this is the first of her books where I really felt like the romance started to take over the book. While I did love the new Rhysand/Feyre development, I felt like there was a lot of back and forth between them before anything major (finally) happened and that could have been cut down to some more meaningful interactions instead of repetitive, similar situations that happened more than a few times throughout the course of the story. Their romance actually is a very important part of the plot so it’s not like I wanted it to be downplayed but I just felt like so many points of the large general story were pushed aside to develop the romantic moments and it started to turn more romance story than epic fantasy — and yes, there are some cheesy romance book-worthy moments. Let’s just say this is NOT A YOUNG ADULT BOOK, friends. There are some very explicit scenes so if you have teens or are directing/teaching teens who are reading this series, you may not want to put this book directly into their hands. (Not that I’m saying censor them but. Ya know. Read it first so you know what you’re giving them.)

The sections where the plot progressed were really quite delightful. Sarah J. Maas is still a master at layering stories and it’s so interesting to see how much of a previous book comes back in a different light in a subsequent book. There were so many moments that the reader is able to recognize from ACOMAF and see from a different character’s perspective or reassess it with more information and it makes the story that much deeper! Once things started to really take off around halfway through and a little thereafter, the book was simply addicting and I couldn’t wait to see where the entire plot of the series was going! Sarah really does have an amazing ability to craft an overall series arc and it’s so fun to watch that develop. The ending positively floored me and it was hard to remember why I had been so frustrated for a while throughout earlier sections of the book. So many things were revealed, actions taken, and trusts betrayed that I just really didn’t know what was coming. The twists and surprises were epic and once again, I was left in utter anticipation of the next book!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Purchased from Audible
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Performance: Very good! I might not seek out more narrations from her but I did like her narrator of ACOMAF.

Jennifer Ikeda was a great narrator for Feyre! I think her demeanor really worked well with the character (or she adapted her demeanor very well to Feyre’s tone) and she was great with the quips and sass and rudeness. There were times I wasn’t totally into her narration but overall she was very good. I’m not sure if I’d seek her out but if there was another book I wanted to listen to, I’d definitely listen to her again.
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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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Feyre // Character obsessions: Freedom, Rhysand, independence.
Feyre was just so hard to get along with throughout the beginning of the book. I remember significantly noting that I liked how she was strong and fierce but her character did NOT feel like Celaena from Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Once Feyre started to heal and move past her PTSD, she was understandably hardened from it but then she absolutely started to feel like the same character as Celaena and I was a bit disappointed. That essence that made her feel different was gone and I loved the badassery but and took that over the weird, rough Feyre that I couldn’t get a hold on.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New Adult non-contemporary. Most of the New Adult books I read (when I do read them) are of the contemporary romance variety due to that being the main market for NA. It’s interesting to read New Adult as a fantasy! I guess it’s not really that much different than YA or Adult fantasy but it feels so much different when actually classifying it as such!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus on the plot. I’ll tell ya. I was really missing the plot in the beginning. The beginning and middle were quite character-focused which I don’t have an issue with… when I’m not expecting the book to be plot-driven. It really took me a while to adjust.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

The ending was just fantastic and really kind of made up for the rocky times I had in the beginning. If we have similar reading tastes, just beware of possibly having the same issues here!

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE WINNER'S KISS    shadow and bone

Just A Girl – Ellie Cahill

Just A Girl – Ellie CahillTitle: Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill, Liz Czukas
Publishing Info: June 21, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 28, 2016
Related Posts: When Joss Met Matt, Call Me, Maybe, Throwing My Life Away, Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.
Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.

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I don’t read a ton of New Adult but I do have my favorite NA authors and Ellie Cahill is definitely one of them! I fell in love with her YA debut ASK AGAIN LATER and her NA debut WHEN JOSS MET MATT and every book from her since has been an insta-read for me. When I got approved to read an early copy of JUST A GIRL, I started almost immediately because I knew the book would be fun, flirty, and just the kind of romance I was in the mood for!

I really loved the music hook/theme throughout JUST A GIRL and it added such a fun and unique vibe. I love books that can really pull off a music scene because I’ve read several that involve music but JUST A GIRL is one of those books that really pulls you onto the scene and makes you feel like a part of the action! Ellie Cahill does an amazing job at establishing the musical settings, from music store to concert stage to practice rooms, and creating characters that wholly encompassed the feel as well. I’m always so impressed with an author who can really bring music to life in a book because I feel like that’s the hardest sense to evoke when reading and I was constantly able to make up songs in my head or identify with already-existing songs when referenced. I also really loved Presley’s playlists in between chapters based on what had just happened to her! They really added a little extra something to the book and they were so much fun, not to mention totally spot on.

As with any New Adult read, you expect romance and that is surely what you get in JUST A GIRL! The romance was cute, fun, and realistic. Presley ends up falling for a guitarist that teaches lessons at her parents’ music store and the two instantly hit it off. I actually really liked that Paul (the love interest) was a bit shy and found it refreshing to see some social anxieties in a male character instead of stereotypically finding in a female character. Presley is strong and confident, loving the stage and while Paul loves music, he has incredible stage fright that really prevents him from sharing his music in any way. I really enjoyed seeing the two characters work together in a romantic and mental sense and how they grew from getting to know each other. Their relationship was easy-going and yet meaningful as they both worked through their own issues to end up better people on the other side of this story. I really appreciated how realistic the whole book felt even with a sense of celebrity attached.

The whole book was just a fun and easy read. I loved getting swept away by the romance and again, the musical aspect was also just such a great touch. I was nearly done with the book and things were going so well that I almost forgot there had to be a big conflict! I was afraid of a little self-sabotage on Presley’s part but I really liked how the whole story ended up resolving and I thought it was a great conclusion without being too over-the-top happy ending. It was a very satisfying conclusion and very grounded.

Ellie Cahill (or Liz Czukas if you’re reading YA) is always such a delightful author to read! I love the levity to her books while still addressing serious issues. Any book of hers is an instant read for me and I’m always waiting for more! If you’re in the mood for some fun romances, her books are exactly what you need! 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!

just a girl ellie cahill

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Presley // Character Obsessions: Singing, performing, friendship, honesty.
Presley was a fun main character! She’s much more out-of-her-shell than I am so it was fun to have her take the lead in the story and I got to live vicariously through her a little! It was nice to see her have a little bit more of a confident and dominant personality over Paul and I kind of like that the stereotypical “norms” were flipped there.
Paul // Character Obsessions: Music, teaching, friendship, family.
Paul was a cute, boy-next-door-who-can-also-play-guitar type. He was a little bit edgy with his music a total softie and it was just adorable. I loved that sensitive side of him and that he had his own issues to work through that had nothing to do with relationship issues. It was great to see a different source of conflict and a thing to overcome that wasn’t a relationship hang-up.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Music in books. Gosh, it’s just so rare that music and a musical atmosphere really comes ALIVE when reading. I love how JUST A GIRL really made me feel like I was on the scene. I could totally picture everything!
Left Me Wanting More: Tender moments. There were plenty of swoony and sexy moments but I was hoping for just a teeeeensy bit more personal connection between Presley and Paul. Just a couple more cliche cutesy moments that didn’t relate to Paul’s anxiety would have sealed the swoon for me!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan of any of Ellie Cahill’s books (well I guess this is the third NA so you only have two New Adult books to choose from so far…) then you need to grab JUST A GIRL! It’s fun, clever, and just a delight.

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BOOKS LIKE JUST A GIRL

(Click the cover to see my review!)

OPEN ROAD SUMMER    DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie Cahill

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie CahillTitle: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill, Liz Czukas
Publishing Info: February 9, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 21, 2015
Related Posts: When Joss Met Matt, Just a Girl, Throwing My Life Away, Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t even an option. Of course, the last thing Clementine does before departure is grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go that easy. The only problem? It turns out that Clementine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

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I’m a huge fan of Liz Czukas’ YA novels and absolutely adored her first NA, WHEN JOSS MET MATT. When I heard about CALL ME MAYBE, I knew I had to get my hands on it quickly! Like all of her other novels, CALL ME MAYBE was a fun and quick read. It was also, however, the book of hers that I’ve had the most issues with to date.

CALL ME MAYBE started out incredibly cute. Readers get to know Clementine who seems just like the girl next door… if the girl next door’s family was filthy, filthy rich. Chaos and adorableness ensues when Clementine and mysterious hot stranger accidentally switch phones and end up making a connection while talking. The phone conversations were absolutely adorable and I was quickly falling in love with these two characters and their relationship! I loved how they got to know one another and since it’s New Adult, we got to dip more into the sexy side of flirting. Some of it actually really reminded me of text conversations I had while in college (well, maybe they weren’t sexy like that but the texts reminded me of my own) when I had all of the feelings for a new crush!

Fellow book bloggers might also love that Clementine is a book worm and blogger just like us! At first I was super thrilled because hey, she’s just like me! But as the story progressed, I sort of felt like I was reading something that I had written… but not really in a good way. Don’t get me wrong! This wasn’t the author’s fault, but I have a terribly, terribly bad habit of “writing what I know” aka, I fictionalize my own life when I run out of creative ideas when writing (seriously. This is why I’m a reader and not a writer) so it sort of started to feel like that for me. I also ended up having a hard time with Clem’s job choices and how easy/hard it was to find something in her field. Trust me — we as bloggers would love to write reviews and blog and get paid for it but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some things just felt like they happened a little too easily since for me/us, the struggle is real.

My big hang-up, though, was that Clementine really ended up self-sabotaging and that was THE reason for conflict in the book. Things were going just fine until she started getting suspicious, jealous, and freaking out for honestly no reason at all. There really could have been some other conflict or maybe something more justifiable for her to freak out like she did but I really didn’t feel like her actions were warranted and that totally turned me off. I didn’t really feel sorry for her because any drama that happened, she really did it to herself.

I was so bummed that it started out so cute and really lost steam about halfway through. I just wanted so much more from this book considering WHEN JOSS MET MATT is still one of my favorite contemporary books and was easily a favorite from 2015. CALL ME, MAYBE just didn’t quite live up to its predecessor and was so sad that I didn’t fall in love with it.
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!

call me maybe gr updates

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Clementine // Character Obsessions: Reading, blogging, family, privacy. 
Oh, Clem. We hit it off so well and then you had to go and get all paranoid. It was really such a bummer because I was positively glowing at the beginning of the book and you can really see how quickly things changed for me by my updates. Such a shame that she had to get so insecure.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New adult. I don’t really read a lot of new adult but these books always remind me why I love the ones that I do. Though really, where was all of the good new adult sexy times in this?
Left Me Wanting More: Confidence. Clem didn’t have to be crazy confident but I would have appreciated something there that prevented her from getting so paranoid. That was really hard to watch and totally lost me.

Addiction Rating
Try it

The beginning was super cute and I loved where the book was headed. If insecurity doesn’t turn you off as much as it does for me, hopefully you won’t have a big issue! I just couldn’t look the other way.

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BOOKS LIKE CALL ME, MAYBE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT    THINGS I CAN'T EXPLAIN