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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2015
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), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

The queen has returned.
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.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena's epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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** This review will contain spoilers for the previous three books in the series but NO specific plot spoilers for QUEEN OF SHADOWS, however, if you have not read QUEEN OF SHADOWS yet, you may consider some things I talk about in my review to be minor spoilers (about the romance!) so reader beware! ** 

QUEEN OF SHADOWS was just utter, utter perfection for me. I was a bit of a late-comer to the Sarah J. Maas fandom having just started the Throne of Glass series last year (I binge read the first three books right as HEIR OF FIRE came out) and I absolutely fell in love. Even though it’s been a year since I’ve been immersed in this world, picking up QUEEN OF SHADOWS just felt so comfortable and I easily fell back into all of the magic that this series has to offer. It’s hard to review the 4th book in a major series without giving plot points away so I’m going to stay off of plot (for the most part) and try to talk about more about specific elements of the book that I enjoyed as well as how the book seems to be standing up to criticisms (yes, people have them and I don’t understand them).

One thing that I’m always incredibly impressed with is Sarah’s ability to really make this series one long story. Even though it’s broken up into six books, each novel relates back to another in the series and I’m always so impressed with not only how they tie in to one another but also how they are constantly connected right from the beginning and we only get to find out those connections as we dive further into the series.

I also really just love how this book feels like “coming home”. Reading QUEEN OF SHADOWS gave me that feeling of “Yes, I love this world. I know this world. This is where my heart belongs” and I feel that each time I read the next book in the series. Sarah J. Maas does a fantastic job of making these books come alive in every possible way. The settings and world building are incredible and I really do feel like I’m experiencing the novel as I’m reading it — I’m fully immersed. The characters and their personalities really just come to life and I feel like I’ve really come to know these people and places.

I’m constantly impressed with the character growth throughout this series as well. If you look at Celaena/Aelin from THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE or THRONE OF GLASS and Aelin in QUEEN OF SHADOWS, she’s a totally different person and I love seeing how much she’s grown throughout the course of these books. She went from arrogant teenager into blossoming queen and it’s been amazing to witness that slow and subtle transition. She’s really grown so much and she’s starting to own this queen-business and I am 100% behind her!
I was actually surprised that character growth seemed to be a negative thing in some reviews… I did a rather silly thing and read some one and two star reviews because I couldn’t fathom why people were so put off by the this book when I felt so in love with it and some people said that Aelin was totally different and where is old Celaena. But… YES! Of course she’s different! If the whole series had been about arrogant and cocky Celaena, I wouldn’t have liked it. There would have been no character growth at all. She’s been growing and changing this whole time and I think most of that happened in HEIR OF FIRE so I was kind of shocked that this — what I felt was slight — change in demeanor was so surprising and so many people were taken aback. I think Aelin has been growing up this whole series and I’ve been so impressed with the changes she’s made! I think she still has the same personality but because of her goals, because of what she’s been through, and because of what she’s learned, she’s changing from a girl into a young woman and handling herself differently. You can’t be a spoiled and arrogant queen.

The way the romantic feelings have evolved and changed have also been handled extremely well. Personally, I was never a Chaol/Celaena shipper. I would have been happy if they ended up together (hey, they still might — series isn’t over yet) but I was never fully invested in it for some reason. Things really start to change in QUEEN OF SHADOWS and as these characters grow, they start to explore their true romantic feelings and pulls even more and in some cases, they’re not quite what they used to be. It sort of felt like growing out of your old high school crush or boyfriend — what you had in common when you were younger may no longer be applicable and as people grow, they tend to change and refocus their goals, what’s important in life, and who a perfect match for them might be. I felt like that’s what happened with Aelin and Chaol. Maybe Celaena and Chaol would have worked well together but I don’t think Aelin and Chaol are meant to be. They’ve both been through a lot throughout the course of this series and their end goal is still the same but their paths may not be quite identical anymore. I think both characters started to realize this, especially in QUEEN OF SHADOWS.

Of course, the story itself was just amazing. QUEEN OF SHADOWS was a hefty book at over 650 pages and there was so much that happened… and none of it ever felt unnecessary. I never tired while reading QUEEN OF SHADOWS and wished I could stay within these pages long after the book ended. I was constantly captivated and didn’t want to put the book down! Sarah J. Maas is an expert story teller and I could get lost in the pages of her books forever. I’m a huge fan of this series and Sarah’s stories and I will be forever anticipating new works from her! This series is incredibly well-done and I can’t wait to see where else this plot takes us.

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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!

queen of shadows goodreads

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Aelin // Character Obsessions: Defeat of the Valg, protecting the kingdom.
I am so impressed with how much Aelin has grown throughout this series. I’ve loved witnessing her changes and how she’s been handling things in the past couple books. She’s still the same badass and has that same personality/attitude, but her focus has changed so much more now that she’s owned being the Queen of Terrasen.
Lysandra // Character Obsessions: Evangeline, debts, revenge.
There is SO much of THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE that we see coming back in QUEEN OF SHADOWS and guess what! Lysandra is back! I loved seeing the role she ended up playing in this book and I LOVE that it ties all the back to THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Epic epic fantasy. This is some EPIC epic fantasy. I love how books and series like this just fully pull me in and make me feel like I’m a part of the story.
Left Me Wanting More: Manon/Aelin encounters. I’m still enjoying the Blackbeak side of the story BUT I do wish there was a bit more connection to the main plot. I love Manon and I’ve been so happy to learn more about her but I can’t wait for this half of the book to tie in some more!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT NOW!

This is easily one of my all-time favorite series. The books, the characters, the world-building, the writing — all have grown throughout the series and I just can’t get enough.

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BOOKS LIKE QUEEN OF SHADOWS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) – Patrick Rothfuss   A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

The Fixer (The Fixer #1) – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer (The Fixer #1) – Jennifer Lynn BarnesTitle: The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publishing Info: July 7, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 5, 2015

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

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I was in a bit of a reading slump and needed a good “me” book to pull me out and renew my faith in reading (just kidding. I could never totally lose my faith in books!) when a perfectly timed tweet from Andi bumped up THE FIXER on my TBR! As soon as I had heard about it from Bloomsbury, I knew I was interested so I dove right in! Thankfully, THE FIXER was just what I needed and really lived up to its name — fixing my reading slump!

The back cover of my ARC pitched the book as HEIST SOCIETY meets 24 and that I can totally agree with. Normally I’m afraid of the “this meets that” comparisons for books because I don’t usually feel that the comparisons are accurate but this one was totally spot on! I definitely got some HEIST SOCIETY feels from the characters as well as tone, plus the dash of intrigue and political society throughout the book. I think the 24 vibe definitely came into play towards the end and all together, these elements worked really well! The book was fun with dynamic and entertaining characters right from the beginning and it closed with some excellent action and intrigue!

The book was really just a blast from start to finish. I just loved the characters and how much the enhanced the overall story. Tess was kind of a fireball and I loved her sarcasm combined with her won’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude (just like Ivy)! The supporting characters were also tons of fun. They provided a range of personalities and feelings for the book so it was just a really fun range of emotions that I got to experience.

I really loved the pacing throughout the book. There was an excellent blend of high stakes action, investigative work, personal moments, and theorizing. I thought everything came together really well. I zipped through the first fifty pages of the book and the rest was a breeze too! I didn’t find my interest waning and I really always felt engaged! Jennifer Lynn Barnes really put together a solid novel and I was so pleased with how much I enjoyed it! I actually wasn’t sure if this was a series when I finished (it is) and I really liked how the book closed one chapter but still really left it open to continue later on down the road!

THE FIXER was a really fun read for me and even though it was almost 400 pages, it didn’t feel like a long book at all! I really got lost in the pages and everything just seemed to fit together. The characters brightened the whole book and really made it come to life! I can’t wait to read more of this series.

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!

the fixer gr updates

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Tess // Character Obsessions: Her grandfather, taking action, solving problems.
I kind of love that Tess’s personality essentially pushes her to become a “Fixer” even though she has no intention of being one. She’s very strong-willed and doesn’t like to see injustice so she naturally sort of falls into that role. I also love how fiercely protective she is of her friends and family. Sometimes I feel like that protection is over-emotional but I really loved Tess and the combination of her take-charge attitude and intense connection to the ones she loves.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Political thrillers. I think political thrillers are hard to find in YA (naturally, because most political scandals surround adults) but I really loved how this was done! I don’t actually feel the draw to pick up adult political thrillers but I loved the way this was handled in YA!
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary characters. There were a lot of great secondary characters — friends, friends of Ivy, relatives, politicians — and I wouldn’t say that I didn’t get enough of them but I’m definitely interested in finding out more! I’m really glad that this is a series because I found myself wondering about more backstories and I can’t wait to learn more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

THE FIXER was both fun and thrilling. I loved the personalities within the book and the plot really constantly kept moving forward! Excited for more of the series — and more from Jennifer Lynn Barnes!

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BOOKS LIKE THE FIXER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

HEIST SOCIETY     ALSO KNOWN AS

Series Review: Scarlet, Lady Thief, and Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

I had been meaning to read SCARLET for a long time and when I heard that A.C. Gaughen was coming to Illinois for an event in June, I knew it was finally time to start… and binge read the whole series! Since I read them all so close together, I wanted to write a series review instead of individual reviews back to back to back!

Each book is reviewed individually and then I have some overall feelings on the series, all spoiler-free!

SCARLET

SCARLET had just a lovely feel to it. I’m not a Robin Hood buff, but I’ve always enjoyed the stories and I just really loved this adaptation. Scarlet — or Scar as her friends call her — is a tough gal who hangs with Robin Hood (Rob) and his band of thieves, although everyone knows her as Will Scarlet… the boy. I really loved that you were able to see her strength throughout the book and at the same time, see where she was vulnerable. She’s very humble and never claimed to be anything great and overall her character just felt very sincere!

I really loved the interactions between Scarlet and Rob and OH MY, the tension! It was kind of glorious, though. Scar doesn’t really think she’s worthy of Rob or that he could fall for her and although it made me want to shake her at times, it make for an interesting dynamic and constant romantic tension. The thing I didn’t really love regarding romance, though, was that it was pretty triangle-y. John also has affections for Scar and although she knows his feelings don’t run deep, she doesn’t always push him away. It was a bit frustrating to see her accept some affection from him and then ultimately push him away, meanwhile having feelings for Rob. I felt like the same feelings and emotions could have been conveyed without so John pursuing Scar so much, BUT at the same time, I also think that’s fairly realistic. It’s hard to say no to flattery and even if you know it’s not someone you want to BE with, the affection is nice for a little while.

I also just really enjoyed the overall story. Right from the beginning we know that Scarlet’s past is somewhat secret and there are definitely a few traumatizing events that have shaped her to be who she is now. Some of the reveals weren’t so surprising and some totally floored me but I like the way all of them were handled! The end of the book had me in a big ball of nerves and I was basically shouting in concern as I read!

LADY THIEF

It was kind of hard to start LADY THIEF… Everyone seems to love this series SO MUCH and they were so excited for me to finish SCARLET and start LADY THIEF that the book became quite hyped for me. It’s a bit frustrating, for lack of a better word. I know that everyone was just very excited but then the book and the series as a whole really had a LOT of praise to live up to. All said and done, I still enjoyed all three books but especially the hype for LADY THIEF was a killer.

That being said, I really did enjoy the book still. It definitely had a bit of darkness too it and the layers added to LADY THIEF really showed the reader more about the characters and I mean ALL of the characters. I actually found it really interesting how much I learned about Gisbourne and Prince John. Prince John became even more of a villain for me and I was really surprised that I started to feel like Gisbourne wasn’t ALL awful. I KNOW. But I got to know more things about him and that doesn’t mean I LIKED him, but it was interesting to see some human sides of a huge antagonist/villain.

Some really heavy things DO happen in LADY THIEF — that wasn’t an oversell — but with all of the hype, they weren’t a shock and they didn’t hit me as hard. I did have some great Scar/Rob feels and I definitely became more invested in everything as I read! I really, really enjoyed all of the characters and they really brought the book to life for me. I still didn’t QUITE get to a “love it” status with LADY THIEF but it was still a solid read for me!

LION HEART

LION HEART was also a solid read for me BUT I did feel myself growing tired as I read. Talking to friends who had read the series, I nailed it down to the fact that the Scarlet series grew as its popularity grew, so what originally started of as one book and then a duet, turned into a trilogy. I did enjoy all three books but for me, LION HEART felt like it should have been combined with LADY THIEF. I feel like some of the action was just filler to bring exciting scenes to the book and other pieces (that I can’t get into due to spoilers) with Scarlet would have been better for her character development in LADY THIEF. I really just felt like the last two books would have been better as one.

My feelings for Scar and Rob did grow and I loved the final pieces of their story in this book! It was also great to see Scarlet really grow and step out of her comfort zone to do what she needed to do for her people. The characters and overall conclusion were my favorite parts of LION HEART, but again, it did seem like it dragged just a bit with most of the exciting and shocking moments happening in LADY THIEF.

SERIES AS A WHOLE

I really enjoyed all three books but none of them really quite got to a “love” status for me. SCARLET was my favorite because that was where I felt the most emotion and connection to everything — characters, plot, action, romance — and I felt the most engaged. I think LADY THIEF could have been a favorite but the hype was too great and I was preparing myself so I wouldn’t be let down. I’m not sure if I prevented myself from loving it because of that or if I prevented myself from feeling disappointed… but either way, it was still about a four star read for me. LION HEART was a nice conclusion but again, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of plot or action going on and I think it would have fit better with LADY THIEF as one book.

The hard part about binge reading a series that I’m not absolutely in love with is that I started to notice myself wishing for the end. I really enjoyed all three books but without that extreme passion for everything, I didn’t quite feel the PULL for me to keep reading. Of course I did and I’m very glad I read the series but it’s not quite on the favorites list of mine. They were all pretty solid four-star books and I can see why so many people love them! I think a combination of hype and knowing that I was binge-reading them all had me a bit more detached.

Have you read the Scarlet series? Which book was your favorite?
If you haven’t read, are you thinking of starting these soon?

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Addiction Rating
Read them!

I didn’t personally fall in love with this series BUT that could also be because of hype. I definitely think they’re worth the read though! I really enjoyed the Robin Hood adaptation and the books were really very good!

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BOOKS LIKE THE SCARLET TRILOGY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GRAVY MERCY     THIS DARK ENDEAVOR

The Devil You Know – Trish Doller

The Devil You Know – Trish DollerTitle: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 4, 2015
Related Posts: Something Like Normal

    Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.
A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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I was really excited to read THE DEVIL YOU KNOW! I’m always looking for good YA mystery/thrillers, feeling like there’s always room for more, so I was really pleased to find out that this was a thriller (I thought it was just contemporary at first) and how the book played out as well!

The first half of THE DEVIL YOU KNOW mostly sets the scene. Usually that’s something that makes me feel really impatient because with most mysteries, I want some clues dropped or the mystery to be set up towards the beginning. I think because this was more on the thriller side, I didn’t really mind as much. It definitely also helps that Trish Doller just really sucked me in with her characters! I immediately liked Cadie (short for Arcadia) and there was a dangerous short of charm surrounding these two stranger boys who Cadie happens to meet. The book starts off with Cadie finally seeking some adventure after basically taking care of her family for so long after her mother passed away. In her desperation to let loose, the bad decisions start to fly, really allowing the book to pick up momentum and start to take shape.

I think the scariest part about this book is that I’ve been there.  Okay, I haven’t run off with people I just met for days upon end, traveling here and there but I’m sure many of us in our teenage years and early 20s have made similar decisions — hanging out with kids we just met, putting ourselves in bad situations, leaving a bar with new friends, going back to someone’s apartment alone. Those sound familiar? Ever done any of those? I know I’ve done a few, and books like THE DEVIL YOU KNOW make me shiver thinking that I could have been in a situation just like Cadie.

It’s interesting and sad at the same time that a big part of this is putting your trust in the wrong people (actually in a few ways in this book). I used to be someone who was very trusting of others and generally aimed to see the good in someone, not assuming they had malicious intent. I don’t know what’s happened over the years — too many horror stories in the news? Maybe just growing up? I’m not sure — but I really feel like I tend to not trust new people that I meet, and that sort of saddens me. I think of all of the people I’ve met randomly in my life (at college, through a friend, on spring break (we still talk to some of those guys too)) and all of the relationships I would have missed out on…. But there’s also a way to be safe about establishing those friendships and Cadie was so desperate to have fun and just be a teenager that she put herself in harm’s way. Of course, she thought she was being safer by bringing a friend along but… well, we’ll let you read the book and see how everyone’s story line plays out!

I actually found myself hunting down twists at the end of the book and was really pleasantly surprised to find quite the neat wrap-up. Things didn’t get incredibly or overly twisty and it was kind of nice just to have that final answer and that was that. Don’t get me wrong, I really love twisty books, but I also love that Trish Doller had an answer to the book and it wasn’t necessary to include ten extra twists in there! It was kind of refreshing.

I sped through THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and it was so entertaining! I really enjoyed seeing the thriller-aspect develop as well as seeing the character development as the book progressed! It was a really great read for me and I recommend it for thriller veterans and newbies alike!

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!

the devil you know gr updates

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Cadie // Character Obsessions: Freedom, having fun, friends, summer romance.
Oh, Cadie. Honestly, we’ve all been there but sadly Cadie’s poor decisions led to a REALLY bad ending. I really liked her, though! I really felt bad for her and also felt like she did need to have some more fun in her life! Although maybe not like she did. It was a really poor decision to run off with strangers and actually abandon her family for DAYS. One day, maybe two… okay. Eeeep that was a lot.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Thrillers! I’m usually look for more mysteries but there’s something to be said about a good thriller. They usually have a bit of mystery themselves, but there’s more focus on the action and suspense than actually a whodunit. I really like the heart-pounding pace and THE DEVIL YOU KNOW just made me want to keep reading!
Left Me Wanting More: Respect. I think the only thing that really bothered me was that Cadie left her family for DAYS. I know she’s a teenager and all teenagers get a little disrespectful to their parents sometimes but leaving for days really felt too far over the line. Maybe that’s just a personal thing but I can’t imagine doing that!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was so much fun to read… in a creepy way. I had a blast racing through it and it was definitely very exciting!

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BOOKS LIKE THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

(Click the cover to see my review!)

DANGEROUS BOYS     THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING

Blog Tour: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | On Friendships

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Welcome to the blog tour for
 THE START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord!

Firstly, many many thanks to Bloomsbury for putting on this blog tour and asking me to be a part of it! I became a HUGE Emery Lord fan last year when I first read OPEN ROAD SUMMER and upon finishing THE START OF ME AND YOU, I knew that fellow fans’ love would only grow.

For my stop on the tour today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the friendships featured in Emery Lord’s books. OPEN ROAD SUMMER brought us Reagan and Dee, two best friends who had everyone reeling about the powerful bond between a girl and her BFF.  THE START OF ME AND YOU is no exception to the strength of friendships but I love that it features a few different kinds of friend groups throughout the book.

Reading an author’s sophomore novel is always a scary thing for me. I knew I was in good hands with Emery Lord but with having the only book out by her so far, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so naturally I was looking for similarities to OPEN ROAD SUMMER. The great thing is that three major themes exist in both books (and I have a feeling this great trend will continue): a girl who’s trying to figure out her future and change her life, a romance, and almost even more prominent than the romance, a life-long friendship. THE START OF ME AND YOU is the story of the start of me and you emery lordPaige who reaches a breaking point in her life. She notices that she’s struggling after her boyfriend’s death and feels like it’s finally time to start moving on with her life but doesn’t exactly know how to start. Her determination to find happiness again is her own decision but her friendships play instrumental roles in helping her achieve this goal and find a proper balance in her life again.

“In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”

I really enjoyed that the friendships were very different in THE START OF ME AND YOU than they were in OPEN ROAD SUMMER and yet they were just as powerful. Paige has a close group of three best girl friends. Her friendship with each one of them is unique and as a group, they become even stronger. Paige also attempts to get to know her current crush Ryan better throughout the book and one of her goals is to finally make that kiss between the two of them happen. As she’s trying to set herself up with Ryan, she actually starts to form a true friendship with him (and of course his cousin Max, who you will get to know ALL about in the book!) and *gasp* Paige’s group of girl friends and Ryan’s group of guy friends COMBINE. I honestly think this was one of the best friendships I have read in a book because the ease at which the two friend groups merged just felt so natural and reminded me of my own groups in high school. I had my best gal pals and we had friends who were also guys. We spent time apart but we also spent a lot of time together and although in the book a romance develops, crushes are formed, and advances are turned down, there was so much time with guys and girls just being friends and it was SO refreshing. This is definitely something I’ve been missing for a long time!

This was actually something I loved about OPEN ROAD SUMMER. Yes, a romance does spark between Reagan and Matt and there is a bit of complication based on what’s implied with Matt and Dee but there never is a love triangle and the feelings between Matt and Dee are nothing but platonic. Friendships and relationships can be messy but I really loved which messy points Emery Lord chooses to include. Her main characters are girls with flaws who are just trying to get a hold on their life and humans are just imperfect so naturally there will be confusion, hurt, jealousy, and misunderstandings but every relationship felt so unique — in both books — and the drama doesn’t feel melodramatic because the relationships are just so relatable. I love how these friendships really made me reflect on my own and the people in my life. I noticed that I was contemplating different things than what I had in OPEN ROAD SUMMER, too. Each character brought out a different side of the book and a different side of me and I loved being able to recognize that as I read.

“Nothing, not even sadness could be greater than the sum of us.”

Emery Lord is just a pro at sharing natural friendships with her readers. They never feel forced, they always feel strong, and that level of personal connection outside of a romance really helps me as a reader connect with the characters and the book even more. I really feel like I’m peering into someone’s actual life and forget I’m reading a book. I hope for many, many more books with excellent friendships from Emery Lord and I have a feeling we will see just that in the future!

Want to learn more about Emery Lord and THE START OF ME AND YOU? We’ve got the hook-up below!

Emery LordEmery Lord is the author of Open Road Summer. She lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati, with a husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes. Open Road Summer is her first novel. Visit her online at www.emerylord.com and on Twitter @emerylord.

// Want more about the books?

OPEN ROAD SUMMER
Goodreads // Amazon // Review
THE START OF ME AND YOU
Goodreads // Amazon // Review

// And don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

GIVEAWAY

Bloomsbury is graciously providing a copy of THE START OF ME AND YOU for giveaway too! The winner will receive a hardcover copy of the book. US entries only, please. Must be 13 years of ago or older to win.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 25, 2014
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), 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), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

     When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
    As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
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2014 was the year I became a Sarah J. Maas fan. Yes, I was a bit late to the game but I devoured the first three books in her debut Throne of Glass series and that made me even more excited for her new series releasing in the spring of 2015, A Court of Thorns and Roses. Thankfully, I got to read the first book in the series (of the same name) early. VERY early. In December, in fact, which I’m almost positive is the earliest I’ve ever read a book before it was published but I just knew I had to read it as soon as possible and I was definitely not wrong about this! A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is a book you will want to read as soon as you can get your hands on it because it certainly did not disappoint!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is described as “a blending of Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore” and that’s a pretty accurate description — but what I loved the most about the book is that the Beauty and the Beast hints are very subtle. There are moments that definitely reminded me of the fairy tale (and even other fairy tales as well) but ACOTAR was very much its own story. Blending is absolutely the perfect word. It’s not a retelling and I suppose it could be described as a loose adaptation or interpretation but ACOTAR is absolutely unique, thrilling, and  mysterious.

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know I NEVER used to like faerie stories. In fact, I actively avoided them, convinced faeries were just one thing I would never get along with as far as my fiction went but Sarah J. Maas not only made me excited about picking up a book about fae but absolutely had me falling in love with it. I think for me, part of the reason why it stuck was that Feyre — the heroine of the book — was not fae herself. After crossing the High Fae that rule the lands to the north, she avoids punishment by death by going to live with with the Prince of the Spring Court (see the subtle Beauty and the Beast feel there?) and the readers along with Feyre discover the mysteries and politics of the fae little by little. I really feel like the human aspect really kept me linked to the story whereas if there had been no human characters and only fae, I might not have had the same reaction.

The characters in this book were just phenomenal and the dynamic between each and every one of them was fantastic. Each character is so carefully crafted and it was fascinating to see just how entwined all of their stories were. I loved watching those connections unfold and how each new piece of the puzzle affected the friendships and relationships between each character and Feyre as well as amongst the rest of the cast. Each relationship is utterly unique, special, and important and these characters really just brought the book to life.

The overall plot of the book was just wonderful as well. The action picked up and slowed down at just the right times. There was plenty of time for world building while we were learning about characters and even throughout action scenes. Sarah J. Maas is a master at layering plots and outlining an overall series (as I’ve learned from her Throne of Glass series which is only on book three out of six and I’m already incredibly impressed) so with what I’ve already learned from one volume of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’m already highly anticipating what else we will get to learn and what else will be built upon the things we’ve learned from the first book.

Every reveal feels perfectly timed. Every action scene feels perfectly choreographed. Every character feels utterly real. The romance aspects just made me melt and the struggle felt REAL. The forbidden romance aspect really heats things up and also brings tension levels too an all-time high. It stressed me out but also those moments where things finally fall into place — even if only for a second — give you just the best feeling in the world.

I just love how Sarah’s writing grows with each book she writes and I look forward to reading every single one of her works in the future. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES was absolutely delightful to read (agony and all) and I’m so glad I didn’t wait as long as I had to start Throne of Glass. I won’t make that mistake any more! This book deserves all of the praise and hype that it’s getting and I think it appeals to a wide range of readers — from YA to adult, fantasy to romance — A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES really has it all.

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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!

A Court of Thorns and Roses updates

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Feyre // Character Obsessions: Her family, her vow, duty, love, freedom.
Feyre is another fantastically strong character from Sarah J. Maas and it’s wonderful to see the same confidence and strength that Celaena possesses but to be able to see the two heroines from each series as totally separate characters. I feel like too often it’s easy to compare characters from different series when they possess some of the same traits, but Feyre was definitely not Celaena 2.0 — she definitely had the strength and attitude to rival Celaena but she always felt 100% unique.
Lucien // Character Obsessions: Friendship, loyalty, bravery, passion.
I know that Tamlin is the main interest here but I absolutely LOVED Lucien. Tamlin was definitely a bit more broody and serious (which don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed) but I immediately latched on to Lucien’s snark and attitude. He was SO much fun and I loved how protective he was of Tamlin too. It was totally a great bromance between these two men and I really, really loved their friendship. I also loved Lucien’s character development throughout the book and how his interactions with each character evolved. Gah. I just loved him.
Rhysand // Character Obsessions: Amarantha, the Night Court, tricks, secrets.
Okay, Rhysand HAS to be mentioned because I actually kind of loved him too. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with him… except for that fact that I didn’t really hate him and actually loved him. But you WANT to kind of hate him. He’s a very complicated and complex character and along with Rhysand himself toying with Feyre, the pondering about his character and his actual place in the story sort of messes with you too. There was just something about him that was so appealing but also kind of made you want to hate him… So naturally I loved the conflict!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Faeries. I am NOT a fae person like at all… But I just totally click with Sarah’s stories and actually get EXCITED for books about faeries and THAT is something pretty magical.
Left Me Wanting More: X factor. Okay, I don’t even know what that means. But I don’t know how else to describe it! I LOVED everything about this book but there was just a teeny tiny bit of something that wasn’t quite five stars but it was honestly 4.5 stars to 4.75!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

This is definitely a book and series that you want to start! I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to read more of this series. I’m so impressed by Sarah J. Maas’ writing and I am totally a big, big fan. Definitely an auto-buy author for me!

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BOOKS LIKE A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        SHADOW AND BONE   daughter of smoke and bone

The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You – Emery LordTitle: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Publishing Info: March 31, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 15, 2014
Related Posts: Open Road Summer, When We Collided

     It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
    Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

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I think a lot of people’s reviews for this book will start the same way: “After falling in love with Open Road Summer, I didn’t know if this book could live up to it.” It’s a very hard part about reading a sophomore novel from a favorite author, and really there are only two ways it can go: Either the 2nd book is just as good, or it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the favorite. I went into THE START OF ME AND YOU with very high expectations and unfortunately, it didn’t QUITE live up to what I hoped it would be BUT I still definitely enjoyed it a lot.

Everything about this book was truly wonderful but I just found myself not connecting as much with Paige and her friends as much as I had with Reagan and Dee — and the same goes for the romance. Weird, right? You would think that I would connect more with this kind of nerdy girl who has a crush on the popular hot guy and falls for the nerdy guy instead, but somehow I connected with the pop and country music stars *shrug* I’m not sure what it was but I think OPEN ROAD SUMMER just came more alive to me and felt like it popped off the pages more and for some reason it just took me longer to get there with Paige and THE START OF ME AND YOU. But okay, enough comparing. I really don’t like comparing two totally different novels by the same author because they’re not the same, but alas. It’s what we do.

Paige was a really great character. After her boyfriend died, she was forever labeled by that event so THE START OF ME AND YOU shows her attempt to move on with her life — but think about it. That’s no easy feat and there’s plenty of guilt just by thinking about trying to shirk that title even though it’s something that Paige really needs to do to start living her life. I felt like her internal struggles were very realistic and although we may not go through the exact same events, I could definitely relate to this constant debate of doing what she really, truly wants to do and still balancing her friends, her family, and school. It’s not only a struggle that a lot of teens have but really anyone at any age can appreciate and I thought Paige handled everything extremely admirably and I loved watching her grow throughout this book!

I wasn’t as big of a fan of the friendships in this book and it’s sort of something that just dawned on me as I was writing the review — groups of more than three girl friends are very hard for me to connect to as realistic. Why? I truly have no idea and it’s totally a personal thing for me as a reader (I guess I really only had two close girl friends at one time in high school/college…?) and nothing really with how Emery Lord portrayed this friendship, which really is a great group of girls. I think at times in with so many female characters involved, they all have to come off as very different to stand out and not blend together so I think it’s hard for me to connect with so many strong or colorful personalities or hobbies and have them feel very realistic. Again, totally a “me” thing — I know plenty of people who just loved this friendship as much as Reagan and Dee in ORS (there I go comparing again…) BUT if you notice yourself feeling like that too, maybe something you’ll notice as well.

What I DID really enjoy and connect with was how Paige’s group of friends and Ryan & Max’s group of friends ended up melding together. I loved seeing the friends really get along and not even just because of romantic interests (although obviously that’s initially how it starts) — once these characters start hanging out, the friendships just feel so natural and I love seeing groups of guys and girls because those were some of my favorite times in high school. That blend of personalities really brings the events in the book to life.

The romance was super sweet too! I definitely loved Max (oh, yes, a nice nerdy boy) and it was also really interesting to see that slow realization in Paige and how she felt towards him and not even a strong initial crush. I really loved how I was wondering if she really would end up with Ryan somehow or if things were supposed to swing to Max (obviously as a reader, I was led towards Max and was rooting for him!) because the friendship that developed between Paige and Ryan was also very genuine and he wasn’t just some stereotypical popular guy who turned out to be a total jerk once Paige got to know him. Definitely interesting to see how these story lines were carefully woven!

THE START OF ME AND YOU was very sweet and lots of fun to read (QuizBowl! What an awesome idea and so great to incorporate) and it was another very solid contemporary from Emery Lord. I know I said it didn’t take over as my favorite from OPEN ROAD SUMMER but I still REALLY enjoyed this book (obviously a teeny tiny bit of sadness that I wasn’t AS blown away) but I know that was more of a personal connection than content because Emery Lord really is a master! She’s definitely an insta-buy author for me and I can’t wait to read many more books from her because I know they will continue to wow us!

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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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Paige // Character Obsessions: Her list, Ryan, Quizbowl, her family (esp Grandma).
I really admired Paige. On many different levels, it’s not easy being the girl whose boyfriend died, and on top of everything, she has to figure out how overcome some of her bigger fears and start living life to its fullest potential. She just felt very genuine to me and although I didn’t connect with her on every level, I really saw eye-to-eye with her a lot.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Nerdy love interests. I love the hot-nerd love interest. Emery Lord definitely made Max intellectual, a bit nerdy, adorable, cute, caring, and the perfect all-around guy!
Left Me Wanting More: Investment. I wasn’t AS invested as I hoped I would be. I still loved the book but there was just a little something missing for me that prevented me from falling head over heels.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

THE START OF ME AND YOU was a wonderful read. I have no doubt that readers will fall in love with all of Emery’s book and this one is no exception. I didn’t get as personally invested as I had hoped but I still really loved everything about it.

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BOOKS LIKE THE START OF ME AND YOU

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        FANGIRL       going vintage

GIVEAWAY!

I’m giving away my ARC of THE START OF ME AND YOU to one lucky winner! Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. Winner must have a US address for me to ship to (sorry! Can’t afford international at the moment) and must answer the giveaway email notification within 48 hours, otherwise the prize will be forfeited to the next person. Enter & enjoy!!!! 🙂
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There Will Be Lies – Nick Lake

There Will Be Lies – Nick LakeTitle: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Magical Realism, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 1, 2015

Shelby Jane Cooper is seventeen, pretty and quiet. It's just Shelby and her mom, Shaylene, a court stenographer who wears pajama jeans, stitches tapestry, eats ice-cream for dinner and likes to keep Shelby safe. So safe she barely goes out. So safe she doesn't go to school. Because anything could happen, to a girl like Shelby. Anything. When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it's not just her leg that's broken: Shelby's world is shattered. Her mom turns up to collect her and drives off into the night, like it's the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run, like Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there's a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe.Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? If the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust?

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THERE WILL BE LIES was a really different book for me… BUT not quite in the way I had hoped. I went in expecting an exciting mystery/thriller with some possible psychological twists (it seemed like that could be the case based on the title?) but really what I ended up reading was part thriller, part magical realism. I really wish I had known about the magical realism side — which was a very good chunk of the book. Maybe 30%? More? — because I actually probably would have passed on it. I am very, very picky about magical realism in books because it often times dances too closely on the line of reality which makes it unbelievable to me. In the very beginning of the book, I was actually really interested. It sort of held a Donnie Darko feel to it which really pulled me in but then the cut-aways to the magical realism scenes… just really hard for me to get through.

That being said, I really did like the thriller aspect of THERE WILL BE LIES. Shelby’s fate is essentially told to her (through the magical realism deal here) that “there will be lies” — two lies and then one truth that will change her life forever. Believing that to be true, Shelby embarks upon a mission to figure out what these lies (and truth) might be and it really does take her down a path that she never expected — and one I didn’t expect either! The story was really quite interesting and there were actually a couple of hooks I didn’t see coming which was really fun to read.

The style of writing was very unique as well. The dialogue was written a bit differently (in italics instead of quotation marks) and it tripped me up ever-so-slightly when I first started reading, but it also added a different feel to the book somehow, which I actually ended up enjoying. Later on in the book, the readers find out exactly why the book is written so differently and it was something that I thought was very impressive!

Overall the mystery/thriller side of the book did intrigue me and keep me interested, but every single cut-away to this magical realism side totally took away from my reading experience and once I got to the last portion and I saw why it was included, it felt totally unnecessary. At least to me, it felt like a series of dream sequences or something along the lines of Shelby working things out in her subconscious, and it was something I really felt that I would have connected with more if I had read it as a stream of consciousness or dialogue that she worked out with either herself or someone else. I wonder what my experience with this book would have been like had it not been for those elements. I think I could have enjoyed it so much more!

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!

TWBL

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Shelby // Character Obsessions: Baseball, her mom, reading.
Shelby was a really interesting character. I’m actually not quite sure why she was having the weird flashes to a dream world…? It wasn’t quite ever reasoned (I guess hence the magical sort of aspect) but clearly she’s also had a sheltered life and quite possibly it serves her as an escape as well. I really enjoyed her personality and admired how she handled situations as the book progressed, though.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Thrillers. The actual plot of this story was quite interesting! I liked where the story went and it really was not something I expected.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. What was going on in the real world was actually interesting! I just wish the book had spent more time there. I know I would have enjoyed it more if it was more of a straight-up thriller than including the magical elements — and I think the same goes for a lot of other readers too.

Addiction Rating
 Read some reviews before you try.

This one really wasn’t for me… I think it may come as a surprise to a bunch of people that is has a magical realism element because I surely didn’t know! I’d say check out some more reviews before you decide to commit to it. It’s over 400 pages so it’s a bit lengthy to read if you’re just iffy about it!

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BOOKS LIKE THERE WILL BE LIES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        BELZHAR       SHADOWLANDS

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) – Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) – Shannon HaleTitle: The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) by Shannon Hale
Publishing Info: November 3, 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 26, 2014

    Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

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For On the Same Page’s September post, we read THE GOOSE GIRL which is one of Amy’s favorite books. She had read it and loved it but Alyssa and I have never read it so we chose it as one of Amy’s picks! We all have fairly similar reading tastes with minor variations here and there so even though THE GOOSE GIRL wasn’t really on my radar before this, I was hoping I would love it just as much as Amy did!

Fairy tale adaptations can be a tricky thing for me. I love SO many retellings and some of them are actually some of my favorite books/series — but I think in order for me to really fall in love with a fairy tale, I’m usually hooked into that modern twist as well. Looking back on the book, I think I figured out and actually ended up using that for this month’s post as a sort of discussion! Unfortunately, it was just a combination of very, very little things that I’ve discovered make a big difference for me as a reader and I was SO upset that this combination of elements just didn’t work for me.

I feel like SUCH a black sheep. I think just about everyone I’m friends with on Goodreads who has read this book has given it four or five stars and I really, really tried but I just wasn’t getting along with THE GOOSE GIRL. It was really general tone of the book combined with setting/time period and for some reason that combination really just doesn’t seem to work for me in anything I read. (I had a similar experience with Cruel Beauty which I didn’t realize was sort of the same deal going on until just now. (And Alyssa and Amy also loved it while I did not so maybe I should have seen this coming?) It’s not a bad book. It’s not bad writing. This was really, truly “It’s not you — it’s me.” The whole talking-to-animals thing just generally doesn’t work for me either so that was just one more thing that was thrown into the mix (and a big part of the story)!

I actually did a full discussion on why the book didn’t work for me so I won’t really rehash it here (even though this is my review) so really think of this as more of a collection of thoughts than a review (and see the previous post for details)! I’m so sad I couldn’t get into this but the good thing is that Amy knows and she’s not disowning me or phasing me out of the friend group. (She promised.)

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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Ani // Character Obsessions: Speaking with animals, avoiding bad guys, politics.
SO many reviews say how strong of character Ani is but I just really had trouble connecting with her. For reasons unknown, she just felt very YOUNG to me and I just didn’t feel that depth in her character. She may have been strong but I just didn’t feel that depth. I really wanted to like her but I just had troublesssss.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Lesser-known fairy tales. I actually have no idea if this is really “lesser-known” or not but it is for me because I hadn’t really known much about it before this book! It’s interesting.
Left Me Wanting More: Everything. I just was not handling this book well. I finished, but it was really hard because I just couldn’t connect to really anything. It all seemed like something I SHOULD like but in the end, it didn’t work out.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

The ratings for this book are generally high. Like, really high. I’m a black sheep on this one, but I guess check out my opinions and those of others to see where you may fall!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

     alt=            chantress

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) – Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 3, 2014
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), 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), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

    Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.
    While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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** This is a spoiler-free review for HEIR OF FIRE but please note that there ARE spoilers for the first two books, THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, if you have not already read them. **

HEIR OF FIRE in one word? Brilliance. I’ve binge read the series up to this point and I think that makes it even more obvious to me how much Sarah J. Maas has already grown as a writer throughout this series as it stands. With each book in the series, my love for it only grew and by the time I finished HEIR OF FIRE, I was pretty much in total awe of what Sarah’s done with this series so far.

HEIR OF FIRE is by far the longest book yet at over 500 pages, but it’s one of those books that never felt long. The book follows the story lines of characters we’ve grown to love in previous books (Celaena, Dorian, Chaol) but we also get a new major plot and character with Manon Blackbeak, a fiercely awesome witch with a badass attitude. At first I was afraid with the introduction of a new character receiving their own story line (though I know it will eventually tie into the main-Celaena story line) because I recently had a more negative experience with this concept and it kind of ruined part of the book for me. BUT I know I shouldn’t have doubted because Sarah J. Maas is a master-plotter and even though Manon didn’t end up connecting with Celaena and the gang in HEIR OF FIRE, there’s no doubt that she’s going to play an important role in this series and I never once felt like her story was irrelevant. It added a hefty amount to read, but I loved every minute I spent with Manon and I can’t wait to see more of her in future books.

My absolute favorite thing about HEIR OF FIRE was the fact that now that we’re three books in, readers are able to see larger pieces of the puzzle. Since this series is longer than the current trilogy fad, there’s so much more time to be able to detail not only the characters but the plot as well. Longer arcs don’t have to be rushed and there’s so much more time to let ideas and mysteries simmer. In HEIR OF FIRE, we see certain items and events and places from THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and how they all tie together. There were several instances in which I had totally forgotten about something because it had already been used as a major plot point in previous books BUT its role in the series isn’t done and that just totally blew my mind. I feel like I’ve read so many series lately that use certain elements and then they get discarded, specifically put in the story for that one event. Not that I have an issue with that — more so that I was just so impressed to see how carefully Sarah J. Maas has crafted this overall series arc and how well all of the books flow from one to the next.

The character growth has also seriously impressed me. If you’ve read the novellas, you’ve pretty much seen Celaena’s entire history (aside from the more mysterious aspect of her childhood but no worries because *flails* you get more info in HEIR OF FIRE!!) and know exactly how she acted when we first met her — confident, cocky, brash, and invincible. After her time in Endovier, she became much more closed off, but still had an air of arrogance about her. Even after everything she’s been through, Celaena still somewhat has a sense of entitlement, but new character Rowan is NOT having it — and I was SO thankful for his presence in this book! I like Celaena. I really do… but she needed someone like Rowan to come in and really change her perspective a bit. Celaena IS so good at what she does and she does have that confidence in what she can do that it’s hard for someone else to really challenge her. Rowan is the perfect person to really push Celaena to become a better person in many different aspects of her life and I loved how much he enhanced this book and helped Celaena keep moving forward. I think she really needed someone like him to do that.

I feel like I could talk about this book forever but I’ll wrap it up with the reiteration of how much this book amazed me. At only a quarter of the way in, things were already escalating to the point where I was floored by what was going on and there were still so many adventures left to have in the book. By the time I reached the end, I was nearing the point of being speechless. HEIR OF FIRE was simply magical to read and I absolutely cannot wait for the rest of the series. It’s clear that Sarah J. Maas just keeps improving her writing with each book and I look forward to seeing where she takes us for the rest of this journey.

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“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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THIS BOOK THOUGH. I don’t usually swear in my reviews/updates/on Twitter but “holy shit” were the only words I could use to describe that last part of the book. 

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Celaena // Character Obsessions: Magic, training, protection.
I think Celaena really grew up in this book… quite a bit. That was a really great thing for me personally because sometimes I got a taaaad bit annoyed with her attitude and cockiness but I think she really just needed someone to help her realize that she may think she’s acting like an adult and yes, she may really have the skills she feels confident of but there’s still so much more to learn. Celaena needed to learn how to conquer some things she was hiding from and also how to let the right people in.
Rowan // Character Obsessions: Training Celaena, duty, responsibility, loyalty.
Rowan is my new favorite character. I absolutely loved his role in this book and there couldn’t have been a better time for someone like him to appear here. His character really just blew me away and I LOVED the relationship that he and Celaena developed. They really grew to respect one another and I couldn’t have asked for more.
Manon // Character Obsessions: Honor, winning, leadership, wyverns.
Manon was also awesome and I did not think I would feel that way about her. Her story was amazing to witness and it was great to see how much my feelings changed for her the more I read about her. I can’t wait to see how she fits in to the overall plot when her storyline does connect!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Big books. I’m so thankful for how long this book was. I NEVER say that. Usually I’m afraid of the bigger books because they just take so long to read and even though this did take me a while to finish, I enjoyed every word and didn’t want it to end. Don’t let the size intimidate you because every word was enjoyable and absolutely necessary!
Left Me Wanting More: … Of the series? I binge read the series up until this point…. MAYBE not the best idea since I had instant gratification with being able to read the next book and now I have to wait a loooong time for the next. Whoops?

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

I already loved the series, but whoooooo boy, HEIR OF FIRE totally floored me. I’m so impressed with how much the series has grown so far and I can’t wait to read more of it! If you’re hesitant, take it from me — IT’S ALL WORTH IT.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HEIR OF FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     dreams of gods and monsters    rift nightshade #1