Review: Empire of Storms

28260587Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 6th, 2016

Summary: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

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WARNING: This is not going to be a spoiler review but if you aren’t caught up with the series, I would read at your own risk. There will be potential mild spoilers in this review.

So I’m going to do something different than usual for this review. Normally I take the time to type out a big complicated review, going in depth on things… But I’m not doing that this time. You guys are getting a jumbled speed review because I’ve sat at this computer for days now trying to write a review and I just can’t. My brain and heart haven’t recovered enough yet. So here we go…

AELIN: My poor baby, you big selfless, crazy, ridiculously stupid brat. I love you but I want to punch you so hard right now. Through the whole book she was just being her usual sassy badass self but I KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP. I KNEW IT. And I was right. That ending wrecked me.

ROWAN: I love this guy. And I cried for him so much. Like I just can’t even think about him right now. What he did for Aelin and just thinking about the next book… These tears are real.

MANON: Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to love his girl any more than I already did, she went and got more amazing. She is just the perfect blend of cold, killing evil badassery, with a gooey heart hiding underneath. CAN THIS GIRL JUST BE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING PLEASE?

DORIAN: Still love him. His part didn’t feel as big in this book but he still shone like a little star. His magic powers are seriously becoming really impressive, Aelin might have some competition.

AEDION: Can I just say, thank god for this kid… If he wasn’t around, no one would be challenging Aelin or calling her out. Sure, he might be wrong most of the time, but I’m just relieved to have someone around who doesn’t think she’s the bee’s knees 24/7. Oh and I would totes marry this boy.

LYSANDRA: ALL BOW DOWN TO THE NEW QUEEN IN TOWN, THIS SHAPESHIFTING GIRL IS KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES. Lysandra is so cool you guys. Like, to levels that I really wasn’t expecting. I doubted her for a little bit and I take it all back, she is perfect. And that sea wyvern scene just… I can’t.

ELIDE: This girl is in my heart like on a more personal level. I feel like if I was a character in this book, this would be me; forgotten about, no flashy magic, not unbelievably perfect… BUT THIS GIRL DON’T CARE. Holy wow, she was so resourceful and brave and tough and I really wasn’t expecting the feels I got from this. You go girl.

LORCAN: I really didn’t have much of an opinion on this guy and now I don’t know if I want to kiss him or chop his head off. I mean, I get it, I get him, but that just doesn’t make it better. But then… the whole period shirt thing just makes me want to bawl and shove him and Elide together.

MAEVE: I’m so ready for this bitch to die. I don’t even care about that other bad guy, this bitch needs to die. I hope Sarah J Maas takes several pages to describe her suffering when it happens.

Of course, I have to touch on the ships because there are so many for this stupid book series and my heart can’t handle it.

AELIN/ROWAN: Perfect. Enough said.

DORIAN/MANON: YES. I’ve shipped them since they first met and I’m so satisfied right now. Their relationship isn’t all warm romance and rainbows but I kind of like that because as they fix each other, then it can turn into that in their own way. Also, can Dorian please just marry her already so she can be queen of like, everything. K thanks.

AEDION/LYSANDRA: I can wait. This is worth waiting for, I can feel it. And can we just talk about how awesome it is that Aedion likes everyone and is still super close to and besties with one of his previous male lovers? What a cool guy.

ELIDE/LORCAN: I was so not expecting this and I’m still struggling to understand why I ship it so much. I don’t even love Lorcan or anything but my heart just broke when he told Elide he wanted to go to Perranth. I need them together but not until Lorcan grovels A LOT.

And everyone keeps talking about the fact that this book has some fairly descriptive sex scenes in it, so I suppose I’d better too. I keep hearing lots of people talking about how they are mad that Sarah J Maas put them in the book. Basically, I agree that the sex scenes aren’t really necessary. But do I care? Nope. I get that they didn’t need to be in here and I feel bad for anyone that was offended by them. But that being said, I still enjoyed them in a way. I ship these characters and sex is usually something that happens in a romantic relationship. And I can absolutely believe that these characters would have sex. So it didn’t feel forced or unbelievable to me. Would the books have been just as good without the sex scenes? Yes. But Sarah J Maas is the author and if she wanted to write some smutty scenes, good for her. I’m just here to read and enjoy and having some unexpected sex in my book did absolutely nothing to change that.

Anyways… THE PLOT: Brilliant. Mind blowing. Heartbreaking. Like, I’m trying not to think about it so I don’t cry. Sarah J Maas continues to amaze me. I’m a filthy fangirl when it comes to her, I know, but I can’t help it. And I loved that this book had the feeling of like, the dream team slowly coming together. Now we just need Chaol and Nesryn to swoop in at a key moment in the next book. Calling it now.

OVERALL: Darrow can die, Maeve needs to die slowly, no one on the dream team had better die, and I’m going to die after the next book.

RATING:

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?

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: 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) 23299513

Author: C.J. Redwine

Publisher: Blazer+Bray

Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

Summary: Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

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Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed already, I absolutely love a good fairy-tale retelling and this book definitely seems to be playing around with a few Snow White aspects. Except Snow White is now a bad ass magic wielder/lost princess/savior of the people instead of a cutesy animal loving maid. Is anyone actually going to have a problem with these changes? Yeah, I didn’t think so. On top of that though, we also have potential for some steamy forbidden romance and buckets of angsty goodness. I love reading books about royals trying to save their kingdom because you know at some point it’s going to come down to them getting all conflicted and emotional about picking love or their people. I’m sure Kol is in for a great time. Also, I’m assuming this book is going to bounce between Kol and Lorelai’s POVs which I’m already super excited for and hopefully it means we get tons of character growth from both of them. The main thing I’m really hoping for is that the evil queen actually has some back story instead of just being evil for the sake of being evil, and maybe we can actually get a well developed villain for once. Fingers crossed. Overall though, this book looks super promising and exciting and that cover is just giving me a serious case of the grabby hands. I want it now *grabby hands*

Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Title: Winterspell (Winterspell #1)18475593

Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Summary: The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

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This was one of those cases where cover lust got the best of me and now I’m regretting it. I’d read many reviews of this book and heard all about it’s flaws and I still went and bought it just because the cover was pretty and there was a map inside; I should have known better.

One of my main issues with this book is that lots of things in it are just… strange, and not really in a good way. Now I knew going into this book that lots of people had laughed over the fact that Clara, the main character, is apparently in love with a statue. I assumed that it was over-exaggerated and she was probably just fascinated by the statue and admired it. But I was so wrong; it was even worse and even more uncomfortable that I had imagined.

The hard lines of the statue’s thighs, belly, chest, scraped against her skin, snagging at the cotton of her chemise and she found herself moving slowly so as to prolong the contact. Molding herself to the metal, she sighed. Her palms slick with sweat, she slid them up the statue’s chest to cup the chiseled, handsome jaw, and pressed herself closer.” 

This goes on for a while, Clara reminiscing about all the times she would rub against it and at night, in her bed, how she would feel need for it. It was honestly just uncomfortable to read about because she wasn’t just fascinated by this statue, she was straight up consumed by lusty feelings for it. And on top of that, she is living in 1899 and struggles with the fact that these feelings are apparently wicked and wrong. Which I get is a part of that time period, but it was another thing that was just weirdly addressed throughout the book. Clara was constantly ashamed but curious of her body, which is understandable, but also would think that she deserved being pursued and forced into things she didn’t want by this one creepy man, because she would wear a revealing dress or he would catch a glimpse of her skin. It was honestly just distressing to read and it was constantly shoved in your face throughout the book.

” And besides, wasn’t it her fault, that he gazed at her so? She could have gone home; she could have stayed dressed. Instead here she stood, obscene, indecent, and as she stared at the floor, flushing miserably, she knew whatever Dr. Victor might do was what she deserved.”

As if that didn’t make the book hard enough to read, there is also the fact that it was just plain boring most of the time. This book was about 450 pages long but it felt like a million and took me forever to trudge though, and now that I’m finished, it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. And a lot of the things that did happen felt really unnecessary, like they could have (and should have) just been cut out and it wouldn’t have mattered. It was hard reading this book and realizing that although there was a lot of filler, the actual plot moved forward at a slug’s pace.

When it came down to the characters, I had just as many issues as everything else. Clara was not likable, she wasn’t strong and she definitely wasn’t anyone I would want to be friends with. At one point, she was going to let a girl on the street get probably raped and killed, telling the other person with her to just sit down and cover his ears and pretend it wasn’t happening because she was too scared to help. But it wasn’t just being too scared or too weak to help, it was the fact that she was okay to just let it happen, which is utterly despicable to me. Besides Clara, we have Nicholas, the long lost prince/statue boy and he was just as unlikable. He lies to Clara constantly, uses her, betrays her, then comes crawling back with apologies and sweet words, thinking it will change everything. I probably disliked him more than Clara, which is really saying something at this point.

Overall, this book really just didn’t do it for me. I will admit that the writing wasn’t awful and certain aspects of the book could have been interesting, but it was hard to even focus on that when I was constantly annoyed or repulsed by everything else going on it the book. I have no problem with sexual situations being in a YA book since that’s part of being a young adult, but this book just crammed it down your throat in so many uncomfortable ways that it was almost unbearable. The characters were all unlikable and their interactions were flat, the plot was boring and uneventful, and I’m honestly amazed I made to the end. When I was finished though, I was very disappointed that I wasted my time on this book.

RATING: 

Rowan Recommends: Romance

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m going to recommend some of my favorite romance books, for all those fan-girls that are spending today with a book. I don’t really books that fall exclusively under the romance category, so the books that I’m recommending today feature some of my favorite romances.

1656001 The Host by Stephanie Meyer: I know, I know. You might be laughing at me right now but I’m not ashamed to admit that I love this book. In The Host, aliens have invade Earth and their “souls” get put into people, so they take over their body and basically erase the person. Wanda get’s put inside Melanie who refuses to fade away, instead showing her memories of her brother and the man she loved, so Wanda goes in search of them. I just think this is such a beautiful romantic book and I love all of the characters. Every time I’m in the mood for a sweet romance that makes me cry, I read this book.

“It’s not the face, but the expressions on it. It’s not the voice, but what you say. It’s not how you look in that body, but the thing you do with it. You are beautiful.”

Graceling by Kristin Cashore: This book isn’t romance driven, but the romance plays a huge part and it’s so beautiful.3236307  I love this romance I adore Katsa and Po so much and they really just needed each other. Katsa never wants to marry or have children and it terrified of being tied to a man, so watching her find love and realize she can have Po without those things, makes me get all teary eyed. I also just love how they are so different but similar and how they continuously support each other through everything.

“I know you don’t want this, Katsa. But I can’t help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I’m afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you’ll… oh, I don’t know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me,” he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. “I love you,” he said. “You’re more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be.”

1562090 Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: This book you guys, this book… The amount of feels I have for this book is ridiculous. I love it so much and every single time I read it, I cry like a huge baby. If you want a beautiful story with some of the most amazing writing and characters and a love story that makes you want to crawl under your bed and never come out, this is the book for you. The romance is so subtle and watching these characters slowly fall in love, a love without words because the main character can’t speak, it’s just so beautiful. This whole series is full of amazing romance, but this book is the start of it all and will steal your heart.

“He would have told her – he would have said, it matters not if you are here or there, for I see you before me every moment. I see you in the light of the water, in the swaying of the young trees in the spring wind. I see you in the shadows of the great oaks, I hear your voice in the cry of the owl at night. You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are – you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath.”

38619Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews: Okay so this book is definitely not very romance-y but let me tell you, the romance that happens through this series is one of my favorite of all time. The author does such a good job of making you fall in love with the characters and really get to know them so you know when they start to fall in love. The thing is, this book doesn’t really have much in terms of romance, but that’s why it’s so great. The romance feels so natural because it happens over a few books and it isn’t forced or rushed. The author gives us two people who are both strong, independent, and unbearably snarky, so of course they won’t admit their attraction. I just adore how we get teased book after book and the romance just builds up until finally the characters can’t take it anymore. This is definitely my favorite sexy, adult romance.

“He grabbed me and kissed me. The kiss sent a wave of heat from my lips all the way to my toes. Curran’s eyes laughed. “For luck,” he whispered, his breath a hot cloud on my ear.”

 222063Stardust by Neil Gaiman: How could I not include this book? Stardust is a tale of magic, adventure, witches, and true love. In this book, a young man named Tristan promises the girl he wants to marry that he will bring her back a fallen star in exchange for her hand in marriage. So he sets off into a magical land where he finds that the fallen star is actually a girl. This book is so cute and fun and heart warming, with a sweet romance that just makes you wanna jump up and down. I love it because they have absolutely no idea that they are falling in love, so it’s almost funny to watch them be such oblivious idiots. And the ending brings a tear to my eye every time, it’s such a perfect, romantic ending.

“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.”

 8490112Daughter of Smoke and Bone: I have to admit, I read this book a while ago and don’t remember everything about it, but what really stuck with me was the romance. This romance made me feel so hopeful and overwhelmed and sad beyond words. It was beautiful and unexpected and heartbreaking. Like, thinking about it right now is making me get a little teary. Not only was this book and the world amazing and beautiful in general, but the love story was one of the best I’ve ever read. I don’t know how this series ends, so if it ends tragically, I apologize, but I promise you, it will be worth it. This is one of those loves that defied all odds and went up against time and war and death. Ugh, my heart.

“Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”

 

 

14 Favorite Books of 2014

Well guys, 2014 is officially over. There were lots of good and bad books that I read this year, but when I looked back, it seemed like there was more good than bad, which made this list just a little harder to pick. But here you go, my fourteen favorite books of 2014, which by the way, are in no particular order.

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray: This book was so great, with it’s amazing time period, cast of mysterious and interesting characters, and spooky villain. The writing was great and drew you in and the mystery and suspense kept you on your toes through the whole book. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes paranormal or supernatural books.

2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas: The third book in the Throne of Glass series, this book was without a doubt, my favorite of the series so far. Introducing new and intriguing characters, Celaena undergoing some serious changes and struggles, and the whole diabolical plot thickening, I could not put this book down.

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: I actually read this whole series this year, so I’m including The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue in this one. This series is one of my absolute favorites. If you read these books, you can’t help but fall in love with every single one of the boys and adore them all in there own way. The writing is beautiful and mysterious and unlike anything I’ve ever read.

4. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan: Once I settled down and actually thought about the book, I did have a few problems with it and was kind of disappointed in general by the ending. But I still did enjoy reading it and it holds such a special place in my heart, being the end of the Heroes of Olympus series and possibly the last we will ever see of Percy.

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: Again, this is another one where I read the whole series so I’m including Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. I had a rough start with the first book since I didn’t really like Alina, but the Darkling really carried this series for me. One of my favorite villians of all time, he was so seductive and mysterious and made the dark side so tempting, I loved it.

6. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: I read this whole trilogy in like two days then cried like a baby once it was over. It was one of the most interesting, well written, plot twisting, suspenseful, amazing series I’ve ever read. I recommend this series to everyone, it’s a must read.

7. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard: I equally loved the first and second book in this series, so I’ll include Her Dark Curiosity. These books are spooky and dark and gritty, but the thing I love most is that they really ask some morally gray questions, and you never really know what side you are on. Plus they give you the chills, but in the best way possible.

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer: The third book in the Lunar Chronicles, I loved it just as much as the other two. Which is a lot. This series for me is so much fun and I almost screamed in excitement when I saw how big Cress was. I cannot wait for the final book, I might die when this series is over. Oh and in this book, Captain Thorne was delightful. Enough said.

9. Red Rising by Pierce Brown: This book was so much better than I thought it would be. It was so smart and emotional and the constant suspense made me want to die. I loved all of the characters and the way it was written was super unique and worked so well in my opinion. Darrow really made the book for me, being such a well written and interesting character with faults and problems, I loved him.

10. Written in Red by Anne Bishop: Everything about this book was so good and amazing, from the realistic and original world building, to the funny, well rounded and weirdly lovable characters. The mystery is this book was so intriguing, but what I really loved was seeing the world and it’s rule and how all the characters fit into it. One of the best urban fantasy books I’ve ever read.

11. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Roth: An interesting mix of dystopian, survival and superpower hoopla, this whole book series kept me interested from start until finish. The romance was so sweet and sad and wonderful and I loved all of the characters, but especially Perry. The world was interesting and dangerous, and I really enjoyed the survival aspect, as well as seeing all of the different tribes in the world.

12. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman: Where can I even start with this book? It was a beautiful story of survival and love and lots of weird things. Haha, but seriously, the mystery in this book almost drove me insane and the whole thing was a huge emotional roller coaster. I adored both Lilac and Tarver, and seeing all the struggles they had to go through almost broke my heart. And that cover is gorgeous.

13. Legend series by Marie Lu: This series is one of my favorite dystopian series of all time, and I loved the contrast between June and Day but how well they still worked together. Day was such a sad and interesting character, and I loved the whole rebellion/fighting the power theme that was going on through the whole book. I highly recommend this to dystopian fans.

14. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski: This was one of the most unexpected books that I fell in love with. Kestrel, the heroine, was one of my favorites this year. She was so witty and quick with her smarts, I loved seeing a woman that was bad ass without kicking you through a wall or karate chopping you in the neck. I also really loved all of the political conflict in this book and seeing both points of view.

All right, so those are my favorite books of 2014! Let me know what you guys read last year and loved!

Review: Red Rising

Title: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) 20766595

Author: Pierce Brown

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: January 28th, 2014

Summary: The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

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I can’t believe that I waited almost a whole year before reading this. That’s a whole year I went without this book in my life. A whole year I can never get back.

Where do I even start? This book was so far beyond what I had expected. I don’t think I’ve ever been so upset about being late to read a book before. Red Rising had amazing, developed characters, a plot that was full of twists and turns, and was just a beautiful, emotional read that kept me interested from start to finish.

This book is about a boy  named Darrow who is part of a colony of people, Reds, who mine under the surface of Mars and live in awful conditions, competing for food and following strict laws that if broken mean death. But they are okay with it because they believe that they are making Mars habitable for people, that their sacrifice is necessary for the good of the people. Through a series of events that I won’t tell you to avoid spoilers, Darrow finds himself about to die, but instead is smuggled out by a rebellion of people who show him that the surface is already full of people happily living on the world that his people made through blood and sweat, only to be treated horribly and still forced to slave away. The rebellion decides to turn Darrow into a Gold, the highest class of people, and have him infiltrate the system. But to do so, Darrow has to compete  with other young Golds in a sort of strategic battle where if you do bad, the consequences are either disgrace or death.

Darrow as the main character really carried the book for me. He was so rage filled and wanted vengeance and blood for his people, so sad and lost when his world gets turned upside down and he has to question everything, but he still has such a big heart under all of that. I loved that he was so smart, but not like genius smart, more like street smart, people smart and very intuitive. He had a way at looking at a situation, seeing all of the possible outcomes, then picking the one that worked the best to his advantage. On top of that, he has such a way of earning the loyalty of his followers and comrades, by making them all equals. He becomes the best leader anyone could want, just not in the way he is supposed to. I heard a few critiques that Darrow was too perfect, but I completely disagree. We see him fail multiple times through the book, but we see him grow and learn from his mistakes. And I don’t think when he does well in the competition that it’s because he is The Chosen One, I think it’s because he wasn’t raised like a Gold and it’s the differences between him and them that really matters.

On top of Darrow, I also found most of the secondary cast to be full of well developed, interesting characters. Pierce Brown had a way of writing that really made you feel like you knew the character’s soul, that you knew who they were as a person right after they were introduced. Every character brought something important to the story, had some important part to play, and the chemistry and interaction between them was so interesting and always felt very intense. Plus, so many of the characters were so colorful, like Sevro who wore a wolf skin and slipped around in the dark, slitting peoples throats, or Pax, the giant who could crush your skull with his bare hands but had a girly laugh and a heart of gold.

I knew I was going to like this book when less than fifty pages in, I was crying like a baby. Some bad stuff happens, but I was already so emotionally invested in these characters, that it actually caused me emotional distress. Fifty pages in and I already cared about the people and felt this world so much that I was crying over horrible the injustice done to the Reds and how they were treated as a people.

The writing style of this book was really strange but refreshing and enjoyable. It was so gritty and kind of jumpy at times, very realistic, but it also seemed so beautiful and poetic at times. It was really effective to me and definitely a reflection of the book itself. It was very sad and dark and disturbing at some parts, but then Darrow’s thoughts or the messages the book was conveying were beautiful and emotional. It had such flow to it and as I read, it conjured up a lot of visuals, so I became so much more immersed in the story and the world. It was refreshing compared to a lot of other YA authors because most of the things that I’ve come to associate with YA books were absent from this one. There was no cheesy romance, no quick, easy plot line, no predictable changes… Instead, what little romance there was felt really layered and had a lot of depth, and the plot was filled with so many twists and turns that I never knew what would happen next. Darrow would always be like three steps ahead, but as the reader you aren’t three steps ahead with him, so you don’t know why he is inserting himself into situations that are clearly traps, or how he is going to get out of them. The constant tension and excitement kept me on my toes the whole time and I loved it.

This book spans over two years, so it did feel like there was a bit of filler sometimes, but most of the time it felt like necessary filler. It was the sort that really built up the world and the characters, so you understood the world and what it is was Darrow is fighting for and why he needs to succeed and bring down the Golds and free his people. But besides that, the story was so quick paced and interesting and unpredictable that it seemed to fly by and the ending just came out of no where. I felt genuinely disappointed when the book ended because it felt like there was still so much to tell and I was dissatisfied with having to stop and wait for the next book.

In case you couldn’t tell, I absolutely adored this book. I honestly can’t think of a single complaint about it, except that the beginning is a little slow and confusing. But I promise you, if you stick with it, you won’t regret it. This book is a must read for dystopian lovers, and is an intense read, full of plot twists, amazing characters, a great message about fighting oppression, some great bloody fight scenes, and generally just everything you could want from a book. I bloodydamn loved it.

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