Thursday, August 22, 2019

Bringing Down the Duke
(A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)
by Evie Dunmore

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....


I received a review copy from Penguin's First To Read program in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I don't typically read historical romance, but I am so very glad I took a chance on Evie Dunmore's Bringing Down the Duke. I loved every second of this book, and never wanted to stop turning the pages! I enjoyed the setting (even if I wanted to smack some misogynistic men around), and liked that the author was true to the time period while also touching on the women's suffrage movement. It's always eye-opening to see woman from an earlier time period fighting to obtain the same rights as men, and it astounds me that similar battles are still being fought today. I think that's why I usually avoid historical romance, because the time period itself makes me angry. Women were essentially property, and were only as important as the men they married. Grr!

Annabelle was an amazing character. She's intelligent, driven, and desires more from her life than what's expected of her. She doesn't want to raise her cousin's children, or take care of his house, and she certainly doesn't want to be married off for convenience, which is why Annabelle decides to trick her cousin into allowing her to pursue a higher education. He doesn't know who or what is offering Annabelle a scholarship, only that he believes her going there will somehow benefit him in the future. It's insane how Annabelle had to manipulate the situation just to attend a college and further her desire for more knowledge. Additionally, she had to work twice as hard to keep her spot at the school. She needed to study for her own classes, while also tutoring others so she send money home to her cousin (for her supposed replacement at the house, ugh). 

Sebastian was an irritating character. I couldn't decide if I wanted Annabelle to strangle him or rip all of his clothes off. One minute he's condescending to her, or mentally referring to her as a wench, and the next he's appreciating her intellect and determination. He likes Annabelle, but society dictates he marries someone more important (insert eyeroll here). I really enjoyed how complex Sebastian's character was, and I liked his relationship with his brother. He's torn between trying to set a good example, like a parent, and being present as a sibling. It causes a lot of conflict, but I thought their relationship was realistic and relatable.  

All of the women attending the college, and those involved in the woman's suffrage movement, were wonderful. The author incudes women from different stations in life, and also how their induvial choices have shaped where they are today. They were good friends to Annabelle, despite her unfortunate circumstances (insert another eyeroll here). They treat her as an equal because they like who she is as a person. It's also the right thing to do as a general life rule.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bringing Down the Duke, and the slow-burn romance was well worth the wait. Especially the scene at the end... the one where she describes him coming out of the water... phew. Evie Dunmore knows how to make you tingle down to the tips of your toes! It was hot. I recommend this book whether you're a fan of historical romance or not, because this story was fantastic from the very first page.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My Weekly Pull [84] & Can't Wait Wednesday [54]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday (when the stars align in my favor) to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Transformers '84 #0 by Simon Furman, Guido Guidi
Daredevil #10 by Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Fornes, Totino Tedesco
Canto #3 by David M. Booher, Drew Zucker

Jacob's comics for the week!
Absolute Carnage vs Deadpool #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Marcelo Ferreira, Tyler Kirkham
Deadpool Annual #1 by Various Artists, Aaron Kuder 
Guardians of the Galaxy #8 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Mike Henderson
History of the Marvel Universe #2 by Mark Waid, Javier Rodriguez
Strayed #1 by Carlos Giffoni, Juan Doe, Dustin Nguyen

This Daredevil series has been really, really good. I haven't read any of the others, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I'm enjoying Zdarsky's perspective. Canto is one I'm reading with my son, and it's been great so far! It's very unique and interesting--love the concept. I think Transformers '84 is supposed to be a prequel for the current ongoing series... Regardless, I'm looking forward to reading it!
Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Expected publication: January 7th 2020
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen--until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

I really loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and I loved Grey even more, so I cannot wait to read A Heart So Fierce and Broken! I need to know what happens between Grey and Rhen, because there are some serious secrets being kept, and I cannot wait to see how everything unfolds.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Narrated by Lisa Flanagan
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


I borrowed the audiobook for Spinning Silver from my library multiple times before I finally finished it. It wasn't that the story itself was bad, but the pacing was painfully slow. It was liking wading through a river with rocks in your pockets -- not impossible, but not pleasant either. I felt like it took the author a very long time to get from point A to point B, which resulted in a lack of interest on my part.

Additionally, the perspective changes periodically and without warning. The author doesn't specify who is speaking at the start of each chapter, so you're left trying to figure it out on your own. I will say that I didn't have too much trouble telling the characters apart, both because of the narrator and the drastic differences in the characters themselves, but it was always touch and go at the beginning. Sometimes I would start listening to a chapter thinking it was one person, only to rewind and start over once I realized it was someone else.

I really enjoyed the girl power in this book, and how the three women refused to accept or bend to the expectations of others. The father of one didn't want to harass people for the money they owed him, and his daughter was tired of seeing her family suffer because of it. She took over his business and made it profitable, simply by holding other people accountable. She didn't back down when they laughed at her, and she didn't accept their excuses. Another daughter was mistreated, both physically and verbally, yet she still managed to work towards a better future for herself and her siblings. She didn't let his words or his fists control her life or break her spirit. The third daughter is cloistered away because her father feels like she's unimportant. He doesn't think she has anything to offer the world, and only sees his dead wife whenever she's around. He wants to use her station as a means to improve his standing, and she manages is to twist it in her favor. These girls knew they were more than their circumstances, and they fought against the men that wanted to use and control them for their own personal gain. I thought their individual stories were compelling, and loved when their lives started overlapping and there were more interactions between them.

Naomi Novik is a very skilled writer, and the details in Spinning Silver were clever and vast. Everything is connected. A tree, a name, a forgotten house... all of the induvial threads were woven together until there was a big, beautiful tapestry at the end. I have no idea how the author managed to keep everything organized, because there was so much happening simultaneously. I would often disregarded details as inconsequential (just more padding for the story), only to later realize they were actually crucial to the continuation of the story. It was brilliant!

If you don't mind books with a slower pace, I would highly recommend this. The story itself is fantastic and I wish I had more patience for stories like this one. The characters were strong, intelligent, determined, and not afraid to fight for themselves. The setting was both lovely and eerie, and I enjoyed experiencing the world from multiple perspectives.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My Weekly Pull [83] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [53]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday (when the stars align in my favor) to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Loki #2 by Daniel Kibblesmith, Ozgur Yildirim 
Gwenpool Strikes Back #1 by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Terry Dodson 
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #10 by Tom Taylor, Ken Lashley, Andrew C. Robinson

Miles Morales Spider-Man #9 by Saladin Ahmed, Javi Garron, Patrick OKeefe 
The White Trees #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Kris Anka 
Once and Future #1 by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora

Jacob's comics for the week!
Usagi Yojimbo #3 by Stan Sakai
Hit-Girl Season 2 #7 by Daniel Way, Goran Parlov, Andre Lima Araujo
Absolute Carnage Scream #1 by Cullen Bunn, Gerardo Sandoval
Absolute Carnage Separation Anxiety #1 by Clay Chapman, Brian Level, Philip Tan
Amazing Spider-Man #27 by Nick Spencer, Kev Walker, Ryan Ottley
Punisher Kill Krew #1 by Gerry Duggan, Juan Ferreyra, Tony Moore
Symbiote Spider-Man #5 by Peter David, Greg Land

We're getting sooo many comics this week! I wasn't going to continue reading Loki after the first issue, but it was still on Jacob's list. I keep forgetting to ask him if he actually liked it, or if he added the second issue because we read the first. Regardless, the second one is on its way, and maybe it'll be better.

Gwenpool is back! Gwenpool is back! One of my very first comics was The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings. I was heartbroken when it ended over a year ago, so I'm thrilled to see that Gwen is getting another series. I also love that she chooses to unmask Spider-Man as her way in! Loving the cover! There were so many to choose from, but I like how angry Peter looks, haha.

I'm still behind on Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man... shh.

The last issue of Miles Morales Spider-Man made me shed a few tears. I have to remind myself that he's still a child, even though he's also a superhero. This is the first time I've seen him really and truly suffer at the hands of someone else, and it's heartbreaking. What he's going through...ugh. Saladin Ahmed is brutal.

Doesn't White Trees just look amazing? I think the guy on the left looks like Nick Offerman, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that it's written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Kris Anka! Also, the premise is really interesting, and I'm curious to see what these guys will do with the story. Zdarsky's newsletter said something about elf dong, so there's really no telling what will happen.

Once and Future is already on its FOURTH printing! They were selling out long before the comic's actual release date, so they kept making more (which continued to sell out). Fortunately for me, I pre-ordered this one in advance, but I'm considering buying additional copies because some of the other covers are pretty badass...hmm.

I cannot wait to read these! Are you starting any new comics this week?

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy, #4)
by Ilona Andrews 
Expected publication: August 27th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

I pre-ordered this book months ago! I recently received and email that said my order was being processed for shipping, so yay! It's nearly here! I adore this series, and cannot wait to see what it looks like from a different sister's perspective. Ilona Andrews is a dream duo, and I hope they never stop writing books. (This was my CWW back in March, but it's worth repeating!)

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Mini Reviews [31]

Ghosted in L.A. #1 by Sina Grace,
Siobhan Keenan & Cathy Le (Illustrators)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In Los Angeles, finding an apartment is killer—unless you live with the dead. Rycroft Manor may be old. It may be abandoned. It may even be haunted. But Daphne Walters doesn’t care about any of that—it has a pool and the rent is free. 

New to LA, coming off of a bad breakup and having a pretty terrible week, Daphne might need to crash on this haunted couch for a while, but having undead roommates might be more than she bargained for! Will the dead be able to help Daphne find the life she’s been missing in the big city? 

From GLAAD Award-nominated Sina Grace (Iceman) and illustrator Siobhan Keenan (Clueless, Jem and the Holograms) comes a story about learning how to make friends, find love, and live to the fullest with a little help from some friends whose lives didn't end at death.


The artwork is phenomenal! I really loved every frame. Unfortunately, the main character is obnoxious and unlikeable. She's petty, flighty, and unbelievably naïve. It's clear she's having an identity crisis, but her flippant attitude kept me from caring about her problems. She's also a sucky friend, childish, and way to willing to move in with ghosts she knows nothing about. Hard pass. 

Saban's Go Go Power Rangers: Forever
Rangers #1 by Ryan Parrott, 
Dan Mora, Eleonora Carlini, 
Simona DiGianfelice, Raul Angulo
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Everything in GO GO POWER RANGERS has been leading to THIS MOMENT! Don’t miss the epic conclusion as The Power Rangers face off against Alpha 1 and the reveal of Rita’s true plan; a familiar newcomer whose arrival in Angel Grove will change everything.


My son and I were really excited about this one, but it was way too confusing, especially for a first issue. The first page starts with Alpha-5 and Zordon, which makes sense, but then we jump to the Power Rangers fighting Alpha-1 with no warning or explanation. Everything about the fight scene was jumbled, and I had a hard time following what was happening. After the battle, we see them interacting with each other at school, but then we flashback to Zack nearly being abducted (I'm assuming it was a flashback since he was in other frames later). Saban's Go Go Power Rangers: Forever Rangers might be okay if you've followed the previous comics, but for someone that just grew up watching the television show, it was too erratic and labyrinthine.

The characters weren't introduced until the very end, which left me making assumptions about who each person was for most of the issue (I know there are certain characteristics about each character that should stand out, but it would have been nice to have a refresher at the beginning). I feel like the first issue shouldn't assume that people will automatically know what is going on. Instead, it should be informative and offer explanations while also setting up the story. My son wants to continue reading this one because it's the Power Rangers, and he's recently started watching the television show (love sharing things from my childhood with him), but I'm not sure if I want to invest time and money into something that's confusing and inconsiderate of new readers.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Rage (Stormheart, #2) by Cora Carmack

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it's that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

This feels like more than rage.
It feels like war.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I was really looking forward to reading Rage, but I almost gave up on it a few times. Skimming ahead piqued my curiosity, but just barely. I think my biggest issue was that nothing really happened. The story progresses, but there was a lot more adventure and excitement in the first book. Roar had been willing to go outside of her comfort zone and risk her life for knowledge and answers. In this book, Roar felt more timid and unsure of herself, and her self-deprecation really got on my nerves.

"Aurora was no general in an army, nor was she a leader of a rebellion. She was a princess--a naïve and defective one at that. How had she ever thought she could make a difference? Could do any of this?"

Roar does this a lot. She'll pretend to be assertive and tough to get what she wants, but then she worries about every decision she makes, constantly second-guessing herself and what kind of person she is. She was also stupid and unbelievably selfish, which really made me want to stop reading. Do you remember her secret from the first book? The one she kept promising to share with the others? It takes over 100 pages before she actually confesses the truth to her friends. Why? Because she didn't think they would help her if they knew the truth, and she wanted them committed to the task so they couldn't back out once she told them.

"Goddess, she was selfish. If she had any honor, she would tell them right here, right now and let them leave before they got involved any further. But the greedy part of her was not going to make it any easier for Kiran to leave her."

That's not love! She was using Kiran and her found family, her friends, for what they could offer her. She wanted their skills and abilities on her side so she wouldn't feel alone. She didn't even give them a chance to make up their minds for themselves. She should have trusted them enough to tell them the truth instead of blindly leading them into danger. Yes, she admitted to being selfish, and to wanting to keep Kiran close, but it was shady and manipulative. I thought she was trying to be better than the other Stormlings? She used people to her advantage, and then wanted them to feel sorry for her when she inevitably felt guilty and wanted to cry. Honestly, I think her tears were just another form of manipulation. 

Some of the story felt repetitive, but it could also be my review copy, so it doesn't count towards my rating. It was mostly when Kiran couldn't decide how he felt about Roar after she tells him her secret. He was torn and conflicted, which is understandable, but he repeats his thoughts often. His reasons for keeping his distance also didn't feel believable to me, so it was hard to forgive his actions. If I were him, I would've been more upset about her lying and withholding information, not the secret itself. He also kept making decisions for Roar, instead of just asking her what she thought. If he'd just asked her what she wanted and why, they would have avoided a lot of hurt feelings and sleepless nights. 

There's a sentence in this book that really bothered me: "Aurora's cheeks flushed, recalling just how adult he had made her feel the night before." Having sex shouldn't be what made her finally feel like an adult. She's a princess that abandoned her people for mostly selfish reasons. Yes, she was trying to escape an evil family and a marriage she didn't want, but she also wanted to find answers for herself. She traveled through dangerous lands with strangers, and accumulated the information and skills she would need to better help others. She survived countless obstacles with her new crew, yet sex is what finally made her feel like a grown up, ugh.

Additionally, Roar thinks Cassian is obsessed with her. How conceited of you, darling. She often talks about his obsession, and why her poor choices wouldn't spell disaster for everyone, because he wanted her so much. She risked countless lives because of a hunch that was based on nothing. Yes, Cassius did look for her when she left, because he thought she'd been kidnapped, and he's not a completely despicable person. He is trying to keep the people safe in his own way, and he's by no means a nice person, but he's not deplorable. He's the product of brutality, fear, and a lack of love. He felt a connection to Roar, sure, but I never felt like he was obsessed with her. He had his own reasons for wanting the marriage, and it wasn't simply because he was dying to have her by his side. He was weird about some things, but I think that said more about him than her.

I really wanted to know more about the secondary characters, too. Zephyr, Sly, Jinx, Ransom, Duke, Bait, Novaya, and even Cassius. I feel like they have the potential to be complex and independent characters, but they move through the story like a blob. No one really sticks out, and I don't feel like we learn anything new about them during this book (with the exception of Nova). Also, the flashbacks or whatever were weird, even though I understood their purpose. I wish they had shed more light on a certain someone, but really they just pulled me away from the rest of the story.

A lot of aspects about this book really rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm not sure if I'll continue the series. It doesn't feel like anything really happened in this book, and Roar was just incredibly frustrating. If she wasn't pushing thoughts aside to dwell on later, she was wallowing in self-pity and whatever else. I'm also not a fan of how this one ended, although I shouldn't be surprised after the cliffhanger we're left with at the end of the first book. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Córdova
[Blog Tour: Spotlight & Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: A Crash of Fate blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I was supposed to review this book for the tour, but one of my monsters spilled juice all over the computer's keyboard, and I wasn't able to get my post up on time. Sadly, I haven't been able to do any posts while waiting for a replacement. This is just a spotlight post, which highlights information about the book and the author, but with the added benefit of a giveaway!

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Pub. Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 352
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Izzy and Jules were best friends until Izzy's family abruptly left Batuu when she was six. But now she's back, and Jules, the boy who never left, is unsure what to make of her. While on the run from vengeful smugglers and an angry pirate, Jules and Izzy will come to terms with who they are, and what they mean to each other.

About the author:

Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series and The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old, a YA anthology forthcoming from Imprint/Macmillan in fall 2020. Her upcoming YA novels include Star Wars: A Crash of Fate (Disney/LucasFilm 2019) and Incendiary, book 1 in the Hollow Crown duology (Disney/Hyperion 2020). Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning her next adventure. Photo credit: Sarah Younger

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of STAR WARS GALAXY'S EDGE: A CRASH OF FATE, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

8/5/2019- Kait Plus Books- Excerpt
8/5/2019- Careful of Books- Spotlight 

8/6/2019- Country Road Reviews- Excerpt 
8/6/2019- Lifestyle Of Me- Review 

8/7/2019- Character Madness and Musings- Interview 
8/7/2019- Moonlight Rendezvous- Review 

8/8/2019- The BookWorm Drinketh- Excerpt
8/8/2019- A Bookish Dream- Review 

8/9/2019- Do You Dog-ear?- Review
8/9/2019- Dani Reviews Things- Excerpt

Week Two:

8/12/2019- Eli to the nth- Review
8/12/2019- What A Nerd Girl Says- Review

8/13/2019- Jena Brown Writes- Review
8/13/2019- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt

8/14/2019- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
8/14/2019- Wishful Endings- Review

8/15/2019- FyreKatz Blog- Review
8/15/2019- Novel Novice- Excerpt

8/16/2019- Little Red Reads- Interview
8/16/2019- Book-Keeping- Review 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Court of Mist and Fury, Wings and Ruin, & Frost and Starlight
(A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2-4) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) by Sarah J. Maas 
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas
Warning! Potential spoilers for the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

First of all, I want to start by saying I don't hate Tamlin. Honestly, I really loved him in the first book. It was after everything happened Under the Mountain that I began to question his motivations. I do think he's weak and allows his emotions to control him, but I don't believe he's inherently evil. Misguided maybe. The High Lord of Spring does have some serious anger issues, and I think they seemed passionate in the first book, but only because his powers were so diminished (thanks to that lovely little curse that brought everyone together in the first place). Once he has full control of his powers again, his outbursts were more violent and damaging, but he was still weak-minded. I don't know if he was broken by Amarantha, or if something happened to him before the curse, but he was clearly not himself afterwards. He let hate and fear fester inside of him, and his friends and allies paid the price, Feyre most of all. His protectiveness from the first book turned into possessiveness, and his affections became smothering and slightly crazed. He needed Feyre, but for what? Himself? His court? It didn't seem like he had her best interests at heart, only his selfish desires.

I also think Tamlin is a coward. He wrong Rhysand in the worst possible way, and has shown no remorse for his actions. I'm sure he decided to choose his family and his court over his friend, but he did something unforgivable and didn't even try to make amends (not that it would have helped). Rhys had every right to challenge him, and that was before Tamlin nearly destroyed his mate on multiple occasions. Despite all of this, I want Tamlin find happiness and love. I hope he's able to crawl out of whatever hole he's in, and start piecing himself and his court back together. I want him to stop obsessing over Feyre, because some of the things he said about her just because his feelings were hurt... grr! My blood was boiling on her behalf. I half-wished Rhys would take him out right then and there. I don't know what Tamlin needs in order to move forward with his life, but he has a lot to atone for. He did occasionally do good in the other books, but it was all so confusing and complicated. I have no idea what his motivations or intentions were, so I don't know if they came from a good place. I'm particularly disgusted with how he treated Lucien, since he would have willingly stood by Tamlin's side for eternity.

Speaking of Lucien, I felt like he had more of a backbone in the first book. I also thought he was Feyre's friend, so it hurt when he allowed Tamlin to break her spirit. It wasn't like he couldn't see what was happening. Feyre was literally wasting away and he barely stood up for her. I'm very conflicted about him as a character right now, because like Tamlin, I think he deserves to find his happiness. However, I think he's going to have a long, hard road ahead of him. Everything regarding his situation is super complicated, and he isn't even aware of half of it. Fortunately, he was there when Feyre really needed him, although I suspect his motivations were mostly for his own benefit.

Let's see... Cassian, Azriel, Amren, and Morrigan were phenomenal characters! I really loved their group dynamics, and how their inner circle felt more like a family. They love each other and their city, and they were so welcoming when Feyre entered their lives. Even though most of those relationships were complicated, they were all there for each other when it really mattered. I loved learning more about each and every one of them, and I cannot wait to see what happens to them in future books. I laughed so much when all of them were in the same room together, and I'm smiling now just thinking about it. Illryian babies.

Elain and Nesta are complicated additions the story. They were in the first book, but only briefly. Their lives have changed drastically over the course of this series, and I don't think they're adjusting as well as their sister (Feyre). I understand that they've been through something traumatic, but Nesta was cold and distant long before that. It seems now those emotions have amplified, and I really don't like her very much. Elain seems weak and delicate, but I have a feeling she's going to surprise us all. I'm really curious how her little love affair (or lack thereof) is going to work out.

Rhysand is amazing. He sees Feyre as his equal in every way, and genuinely cares about her safety and well-being. He could have stepped in at any time and forced her out of a bad situation, but he tried to let her make her own decisions. He loved so fiercely, and always put everyone else's needs before his own, even when it nearly killed him to do so (sometimes I wish Amarantha was still alive just so she could suffer some more for what she did to him). I liked how patient he was with Feyre, and how willing he was to give her space and time to figure out her thoughts and feelings. He never pushed, but was always there when she needed him. I really loved watching their relationship flourish in A Court of Mist and Fury, and then seeing them together throughout the next two books. Everything just felt right. They didn't have to try when they were together. They were able to just be themselves, and there was no holding back or pretending. They connected mentally and physically, but it was their bond that really stood out. Their souls were entwined and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

Feyre isn't always the best at everything, but she never stops trying. Even when her actions feel hopeless, she keeps going. She pushes herself to be better, not only for herself, but for her newfound family. She also doesn't need Rhys to fight her battles for her, although he's more than willing to do so. She proves time and again that she can take care of herself, and fight for what she believes in. She needs a little help every once in awhile, everyone does, but she's able to hold her own with faeries that have been alive for centuries.

I also liked watching Feyre learn to wield her new powers, and her interactions with the other High Lords. All of that was fascinating! Everything she did was an adventure, and I enjoyed all of it. The slow-burn of her relationship with Rhys, her falling in love with Velaris, her training with Cassian and Aziel, everything that happened at the Summer Court with Amren (hah), and her friendship with Mor... all of it was worth experiencing.

A few quibbles... They are constantly making "vulgar gesturs" at each other, and that phrase popped up way too frequently. I wish those gestures had been a little more specific, or at least worded differently. Also, why did Feyre start using faerie slang all of a sudden? Humans don't believe in the Cauldron or the Mother, yet she started using those phrases seemingly without thought. "Cauldron boil me" or "Mother help us" would slip out of her mouth, and it felt weird since she still used human terms occasionally. Additionally, we learned pretty quickly that Rhys would listen whenever Feyre needed him to, and that he thought of her as an equal, but Feyre was constantly mentioning those qualities (or some variation of them). I never forgot those aspects of his character, so it felt like the equality was shoved down my throat a little bit. The same goes with Cassian and Rhys trying to fight for the Illryian females. It's important, yes, but it could have been mentioned less. The point would've remained.

I really loved this series and the world Maas created. I'm already jonesing for more, and plan on re-reading this series very soon. I especially want to re-read A Court of Thorns and Roses with fresh eyes, and knowing what I know now. I feel like I might have a different perspective when certain things happen, which makes me curious and eager to find out. It's also an amazing read, and I want to immerse myself in the world again. A Court of Frost and Starlight was an enjoyable read, but it didn't have the same sense of urgency and adventure the previous three did. I know it's supposed to be a bridge between this series and the next, but it was mostly fluffy stuff.

There are so many aspects of this series that still need to be addressed, and I cannot wait to see what Maas will do with those threads. Despite leaving a lot left unanswered, the main story wrapped up beautifully. I really like where Feyre and Rhys ended up, and what their futures looks like at the moment. They have so much hope and love... it's wonderful. The creatures they encountered throughout the book were mostly terrifying and crazy powerful, but they were also interesting and very surprising. They definitely kept everyone on their toes... the bargains and sacrifices, a bad deal made for a slightly better outcome... there was just so much going on.

I could seriously go on and on about this series, which is why I decided to review them all at once. I thought I would get all of my main feelings out there, and not overload everyone with my enthusiasm. I also didn't want to risk being too spoilery by commenting on too may of the specifics. It's something you'll want to experience all on your own! It's been a long time since a book or series has consumed me so completely, and I absolutely loved every second of it. I was wholeheartedly invested in the characters and totally immersed in the story, so it felt like I experienced everything alongside Feyre and the others. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. For those of you worried about a love triangle, don't be. It's not an issue.