Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2016!

Fall is my absolute favorite season. Nothing’s better than curling up with a snuggly sweater, a steaming hot cup of tea and a great book while the world outside consists of gray skies and crunching leaves. Fall is also usually when a big chunk of my most anticipated books of the year come out. The fall season and new books go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: 28260587I’m not even sure I need to explain this one, and yes, I know it’s already out but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Sexy fae warriors (yes, that is plural, as in more than one), Aelin kicking massive ass with her flame powers, tons more smoochy scenes, Manon slicing people’s guts out, bad guys being bad, and guaranteed heartbreak. What’s not to love?

18584855Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Another book by Marrisa Meyer? How could I possibly resist? Not to mention the fact that it’s a freaking origin story for the Queen of Hearts. I’ve been hearing so many raving reviews for this book already, so I know Marissa Meyer is working her magic yet again. Plus, I really need to know how an innocent baker becomes the evil, head-chopping Queen. I can’t even being to imagine how that comes about.

28448239Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge: After reading Crimson Bound, I can help but be excited for another retelling, this time featuring Romeo and Juliet. I have a love/hate relationship with Romeo and Juliet but I have complete faith in Rosamund Hodge to make it interesting and creepy enough to hold my attention and hopefully capture my heart.

23207027Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: I adore everything about this book. That cover makes my heart pitter-patter and the idea behind it, of dark magic and trickery, betrayal by those closest to you, and a rivalry between sisters that can only end in death… My stomach is fluttering just thinking about it. This book has so much potential to be one of my favorites of the year.

22299763Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Guys… this book. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings I get in my stomach when I think about it. Six of Crows was one of my absolute favorites last year and the wait has nearly killed me. But in a few short weeks, this book will finally be in my hands. There is not a single shred of doubt that I’m going to laugh and cry and probably scream at the heavens for ever cursing me with such a book.

22567184Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier: This author is one of the few that genuinely makes me cry from a place deep down in my heart. One of the most underrated actors that I love, she’s broken my heart many times with her incredible stories of love, faith, redemption, healing, and a little magic. This series is no exception. Blackthorn and Grim are back and no doubt, once again, getting in way over their heads with someone’s problems. Which I’m actually okay with because with every near death experience, the more their relationship grows and the more feels I get. Win win.

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: I’m not even sure how to describe Illuminae to someone who hasn’t read it, but if you haven’t, I’m pretty sure you should just go read it and find out for yourself. One of the most surprising and unique books I’ve read in a long time, and now the sequel is almost out. Be still my heart. But seriously, this book is going to wreck me if it’s even half as good as the first one.

What new fall releases are you guys most excited for?

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Giveaway Time!

Hey everyone, to celebrate my return to all things bookish, I’m hosting a new giveaway! Percy says enter to win a fabulous book!

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The winner will get to pick one of the books from above. This giveaway is US only and will end 9/18.

Enter to win on Rafflecopter.

You can get additional entries through twitter here: https://twitter.com/Book_Babe23/status/775053281919836160

And on Instagram. My username is rowanreadsandraves.

Thanks again to everyone that’s stuck with me this past few months, you guys are unbelievable.

I’m Back!

Hi everyone! I know it’s been an embarrassing amount of time since I last posted anything but I’m back and ready to roll out the reviews. Life has been a little hectic lately so unfortunately my bookish hobbies took a major backseat. To start with, I got a new job, at a bookstore of all places! Also, I moved into my own apartment, quickly followed by my first trip to the ER, which was definitely an experience.

And guess who went blue?

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And got two sweet new kitties?

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Life is pretty good now and with everything settled and going back to normal, that means it’s book time again. Thanks for everyone that’s stuck with me through these last few months, love you guys!

Spoiler Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395 Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: 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.

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This is going to a be a spoiler review of ACOMAF so if you haven’t read the book yet, read at your own risk. I did post a non-spoiler review which you can check out here.

Obviously, the big thing that I need to address is the fact that Feyre and Rhys are relationship goals for life. I can’t express how much I adored this relationship. Rhys is exactly what Feyre needs because he knows how broken she is but he also knows how she is strong enough to overcome it. He helps and supports her so much, but also realizes that she has to find the strength in herself to keep living and fight. He gives her everything she needs and is there for her time and time again. I love when he says, “Feyre is whatever she chooses to be.” He never holds her back or discourages her. All he wants is for her to be happy and achieve her fullest potential. That is a relationship that is worth fighting for. The relationship between them is deeper on a different level than Feyre and Tamlin. And I nearly died when he confessed that he had visions of her and knew who she was and did all of these things to protect her. He was perfect but still flawed and broken in his own way so his love and their relationship never felt fake.

A lot of people were mad about how Tamlin treats Feyre, calling him OOC and that Sarah J. Maas made him OOC just to give Feyre and Rhys a reason to get together. I couldn’t disagree more. Even in ACOTAR, Tamlin is controlling, overprotective and possessive. But now, he comes home with Feyre after being abused, getting his power taken away, and being forced to watch the love of his life risk hers. While he could literally do nothing. I personaly don’t find it a little unreasonable that he is struggling with being overprotective and having a lot of rage built up inside him. I find it ridiculous when people expect characters to remain the same throughout a series, even when they have to deal with some messed up shit, then act like the author is doing something horrible by being realistic and showing change. I think it would disrespectful to the readers and the characters to just act like nothing affected them and change doesn’t happen. I thought that the deterioration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was sad but not OOC and not unexpected.

I also adored Velaris and the everything about it and when Rhys and his friends talk about being the Court of Dreamers, I was legitimately tearing up. Feyre just seems so perfect and comfortable there, like it’s her home and where she was always meant to be. I love everything it represents and says about Rhys and how hard everyone was willing to fight for it. Listening to Rhys’ story of everything he did and had to go through was so heartbreaking but wonderful at the same time. My emotions are so jumbled. I hated seeing how he was treated by everyone and how much being a slave killed him, but I have so much respect for everything he did to save Velaris and to help Feyre. I think the fact that he did everything he did in the first book, like behind the scenes, and to realize how much he loved her, then that he was going to let her live her life with Tamlin, just speaks volumes about him. I just want him to scoop Feyre up and fly her home to Velaris where they can spend forever together, watching the stars and dreaming. If Velaris is not still standing by the end of this series, I’m going to have some issues.

And is anyone else freaking out over how awesome Feyre’s powers are? She is a mega badass to the max. Her and Rhys are the ultimate power couple. And my heart melted when he declared her his equal, like formally to the court. Rhys is such a dream boat. But seriously, I can’t wait for Feyre to fully discover the extend of her powers and mess some bad guys up in some huge battle. Just imagine her and Rhys flying side by side, winnowing in and out of places to slaughter bad guys. Ughhhhh, I can’t wait. I’m also super excited to see where Lucian and Elain go because uh, apparently they are mates… Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder if Cassian and Nesta are mates too because they definitely had something going on there. The chemistry between the two of them was sizzling. I think Nesta needs to seriously pull that stick out of her butt and go for Cassian because they would be an awesome couple and he seems like the sort of guy that she needs desperately.

Speaking of the ending, I’m having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight. I’m so happy that Rhys trusts Feyre to spy on Tamlin and the Spring Court and I nearly sobbed in relief when he said they still had their bond. I can’t wait for Feyre to screw up all of Tamlin’s evil plans and go flying back into Rhys’ arms. I’m really upset that at least the beginning of the next book is going to focus on her and Tamlin which means less lovey time with Rhys. But Rhys is probably going to be busy trying to save Cassian from dying (that poor baby, I’ll die if his wings are gone forever) and keeping Velaris from being destroyed. I’m actually really nervous to see how Elain and Nesta handle being fae now but I feel like Rhys will take good care of them and his court is a good place to be since they don’t have many formalities and can handle Nesta raging out. I don’t even know what I think about the bad guys except that I want the queens to die horrible deaths and suffer for all of eternity.

I realize this was a huge jumbled mess and I didn’t talk about the plot nearly as much as I’d wanted to but I’m too emotional overwhelmed right now to care. Mostly, I’m dying inside because I want the next book so bad. Help. I don’t know how to handle this right now.

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395 Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: 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.

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I know I wasn’t the only person feeling nervous going into this book. I loved the first one, Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship seemed perfect, and ACOMAF seemed like it was introducing the dreaded love triangle. Where could this book go that wouldn’t bother me or ruin my love for the first one? I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. I’m genuinely embarrassed that I ever doubted Sarah J. Maas.

The first thing I really need to address is the fact that this is absolutely not a love triangle in any way, shape or form. So if you are worried about that, don’t be. And that’s all I’m going to say. For those of you that haven’t read this book, I’m not going to risk spoiling anything for you, but just know that there’s nothing to worry about as far as a love triangle goes.

But more importantly, THAT ROMANCE. I know I can’t be a jerk right now and spoil anything but I can’t just not address the fact that this romance absolutely blew my mind. This was exactly how a romance should be. It was give and take and honestly one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve had the pleasure of reading in my life. Just seeing the support and love and faith that is freely given to Feyre, it made me want to cry. Okay, maybe I cried. Five to seven times. I’m having a hard time explaining the feels this relationship gave me because it was that perfect and wonderful and Feyre is such a lucky woman. I adored seeing someone believing in her and encouraging her, and never holding her back, encouraging her to thrive and flourish. Someone that understood her struggles and depression and did everything in their power to not let it destroy her. Guys, I’m ranting and like legitimately tearing up right thinking about it.

Moving on before I curl up into a ball and cry, there are a lot of people I’ve seen who are having a hard time with certain changes characters go through. There has been lots of talk of characters being OOC and I couldn’t disagree more. Without spoiling anything, I’m simply going to say that Feyre and Tamlin are having some struggles after everything they dealt with in the last book. Tamlin is a little overprotective and Feyre is a little damaged and people are calling both of them OOC. I think that Sarah J. Maas is a master at showing character growth and the changes that people go through. Changing and struggling with things is not OOC. Tamlin was placed in a horrible position, getting his power taken away and the love of his life basically getting destroyed while he watched and couldn’t do anything. I think the fact that he becomes over protective, a little rage filled and distant is completely understandable. And Feyre isn’t doing much to fix things because she’s messed up and struggling too. I can’t help but compare them to couples who lose a child or something tragic along those lines, and they become distant, both struggling with what they did and didn’t do and handling that while trying to focus on their significant other. Sometimes it tears couples apart. Sometimes it doesn’t. But things like that change people. I think that readers who expected Tamlin and Feyre to be the same after what they went through should have realized that’s not realistic or Sarah J. Maas’ style.

But on a more positive note, we get some of my new favorite characters in this book and they added so much to the story for me and raised the stakes when it came to the conflict. We obviously get to see Rhys more, who I’m adding to the top of my fictional boyfriends list. But since Feyre spends time in the Night Court, we get to meet his friends and I was dying. So many sexy men with wings. I never even realized that wings were actually something I found attractive before this book. But when big muscular men with tattoos were flying around kicking ass, I could help but drool. And the ladies all kicked ass too. I had a hard time deciding who I had a bigger crush on.

I guess I should probably talk about the plot too. This book was the perfect blend of action and mystery surrounding the potential looming war, while still focusing on Feyre’s struggles and growth and relationships with others. The world building was so expansive in comparison to the first book and I devoured every bit of information I could get on the other courts. We get to see new places, characters and creatures. The pacing was perfect, even when it slowed down, there was so much still going on that it never actually felt slow. And so many cool powers were in this book, I couldn’t believe some of the awesome things that Rhys and his friends could do. Jealous to the max. And the ending nearly killed me. Not even kidding. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

After reading this book and discovering it was so much better than I had hoped, it makes me sad to see all these people who aren’t even giving it a chance because they are afraid or sure they won’t like it. It’s sad to think they are missing out on something so amazing and beautiful. If you are on the fence, I hope I’ve convinced you to read it because you won’t regret it. And then you can join me in this pit of sadness and depression waiting for the next book, while fighting the overwhelming urge to re-read ACOMAF constantly until then.

RATING: 

Brief Update!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to give a quick update and let you all know that I’m still alive. In the last few months, I made my first move and then promptly got super sick so I’ve been a little preoccupied. Now that I’m settled into my new place (first apartment, YAY) and finally feeling better, I plan on jumping headfirst back into reviewing books and raving about my fictional loves.

Thanks so everyone that has stuck with me over these last few months!

 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362 Title: Passenger (Passenger #1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: January 5th, 2016

Summary: passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

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Sigh… I’m sorry to be that person but seriously, this book was such a huge disappointment. If you’re like me and expected an epic adventure of time travel and treasure hunting and a well developed romance, don’t even bother with this one. Really, just don’t. To put it pretty bluntly, a single episode of Doctor Who has more time travel, more heart, more character development and a better story line.

I have to address the biggest issue I had with this book which was it’s romance that just completely overshadowed all other elements of the story. While I didn’t hate both characters, I grew to despise them for their constant musing over each other and sighing wistfully as they stared into the distance, wondering how they ended up with someone so perfect. This is a story where the heroes have only a few days to find this treasure and WAY too much time was spent on them cuddling in the dark or stopping to talk about their feelings. Not to mention it was one of the biggest cases of insta-love that I’ve had the misfortune of reading in a long time. It was unrealistic, overly mushy, rushed and to be honest, so frustrating at times.

Since a majority of the time was spent on the romance between  Etta and Nicholas, that means that the adventure was at the bottom of the priority list and you could tell. It wasn’t even much of an adventure, it was more just the two of them walking through one passage, ending up in a new time for a chapter so they could make out in some secluded place, then they would move on to the next passage. Nothing really felt difficult, it was one of those books where it felt like all of the answers were handed to them. And all of the places they went to felt so one dimensional, like you were given a description of how it looked but never quite got the actual feel of the place.

And the fluff in this book, holy-…. Okay, I seriously think that this book could have been half as long as it was. A ridiculous amount of it was Etta or Nicholas constantly pondering or sitting in the dark thinking deep thoughts and overly describing everything. It got to the point where I would just skim read whole chunks of pages because nothing important was happening, just more endless feeling sorry for themselves and internal conflict over every little thing.

The one thing that saved this book was that Nicholas and Etta weren’t the worst. Etta was okay at best, she had so much potential as a genuinely strong heroine but that was ruined with the stupid romance and constant drooling over her companion. Nicholas obviously had the same issue but I liked him a little more as a conflicted character and because we got to see how horribly people treated him because he’s African American. The lack of diverse characters in YA is something we all know about and it was really refreshing to read about someone who struggles with inequality through all of these different time periods they travel to. It was sad and upsetting to read about but also added a layer of depth to his character, to see how much he struggled with letting his race and the limitations of it throughout time periods define and control him.

I know I’m probably in the minority here but for the life of me, I can’t understand why so many people are going crazy over this book. It was a big confusing mess at the beginning, so slow and unnecessarily long, and the romance wasn’t well written and took away from all the things that could have actually made this book good. It ended up being nothing like I had hoped, with generic bad guys, forced insta-love and one dimensional settings. Take my advice and skip this one.

RATING: