A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

acowar_usTitle: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Previous Books in the Series:
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses
2. A Court of Mist and Fury
Date Started: May 18
Date Finished: May 25
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

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

I wish there were enough words for me to describe how much I loved and adored this book, but at the moment words are failing me so forgive me if this review isn’t up to my usual standards. A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) was probably my number one anticipated book of 2017 and after the way ACOMAF ended I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to get through the months of wait. I somehow managed and ridiculously cursed myself when I got a stack of library books to read the week before ACOWAR’s release. But when I did finally get through that stack of books and started this, I was a little hesitant at first. What if ACOWAR didn’t live up to my high expectations and fell into that ‘final books of series doldrums?’

But I should have know that Maas wouldn’t let it. She created a wonderful roller coaster of a novel. *please do not read further if you have not read the book, spoilers abound ahead!* ACOWAR still had its problems, which I’m going to list right this second. I didn’t really like Feyre’s time at the Spring court, while on one hand she did get some sort of vengeance on Tamlin, she also destroyed an innocent court in the process and almost hurt Lucien unforgivably. Seriously, it was cool to see Feyre plot so intricately and finally go up against Ianthe, but at the same time she should have guessed what the consequences of her plotting would be. I also didn’t like how secretive she was with her plans even from Rhysand! You would think after her time at the Court of Dreams she would have learned that they love her and will support her no matter what – ‘actions and decisions are your own’! And then the final thing I didn’t like was the fact that after all the shit that Tamlin put her through, the emotional abuse and the things he said at the High Lords meeting, he still gets fucking redeemed. Are you serious?! That guy deserved to die in battle damn it.

With that being said, there were a lot of things in this novel that I loved – more than just Rhys/Feyre’s relationship – which includes, but isn’t limited to the relationship that Feyre has with the other members of the Court of Dreams (Mor and Azriel in particular). The way Feyre’s relationship with her sisters has evolved since book 1. And believe it or not how completely evil Maas was with some of her plot twists. Yes, my emotions were pouring out of me (especially that ONE scene near the end), but to me it’s not a good novel if that doesn’t happen to you at least once while reading it.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I know there were a few things I didn’t like, but overall this novel was really wonderful. It tied up some loose ends – while leaving others open for the series to continue – and was action packed. I cannot wait to see where Maas decides to take the stories of these characters next.

Bookshelf worthy? Wouldn’t that be cool to actually be able to winnow? I could then have multiple libraries all over the world.

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance, Sarah J Maas, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

wild-magicTitle: Wild Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals Quartet
Date Started: May 17
Date Finished: May 18
Format: Hardcover from local library

Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

When I was a kid, after the awesomeness of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, I was a little bit disappointed with the first book in the Immortals Quartet. Daine is very shy – with good reason as it turns out – and she isn’t too trusting of others. It takes her awhile to come out of her shell. But when she does she develops fast friendships, even if she can be a little thickheaded like a certain Lioness. Her power with animals too is quite striking. I never noticed in my several previous readthroughs how attached she is to those she takes in. It’s actually really adorable.

I still love how characters from the original series crossed over to the new. It’s nice to see Jonathan, Alanna, George and Thayet all grown up and parents themselves! I always forget how much of time jump there is between the original series and the next until the kids are introduced. As for the new set of characters, other than Daine, I’m intrigued by her teacher Numair. He wasn’t really in the first series, and yet he’s already friends with Alanna? (See this where knowing how much time has passed would be a good thing!) I also like how quickly he takes to Daine and takes her under his wing. He’s very understanding, if a little bit drill mastery at times.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This book has a very slow start and it isn’t until the Stormwings – one of the new mystical creatures that have made their way into Tortall and the surrounding countries – makes their appearance that things pick up in pace. It’s been at least ten years since I’ve last read these books so I’m curious to see if I love them as much now as I did then.

Bookshelf worthy? Another set of books on my Kindle wishlist.

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Authors, Tamora Pierce, The Immortals Quartet series, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

28686840Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Date Started: May 15
Date Finished: May 17
Format: Hardcover from local library

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

I wanted to like this book. I really did especially because I loved All the Bright Places so much. But even when this book got cute – and it did frequently – I just could not get excited for these two characters. For one thing I didn’t like Libby all that much, and it wasn’t because she was fat. It was because she was stuck on the past. And I get it, you have a traumatic experience like that you’re going to live in a state of fear that it might happen again, but sometimes you just got let it go and move on. Which, I guess, in some ways she was trying to do, but sometimes I felt like she got in her own way. Jack was the same way. All his problems lie on the fact that he doesn’t tell anyone about his condition. Don’t you think things would be easier if you did?

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Not as good as All the Bright Places. I felt that each character held themselves back from being ‘all that they could be.’ And I also didn’t like that ending. To me the whole “I love you” thing was a bit rushed.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

30038906Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Date Started: May 16
Date Finished: May 17
Format: ebook from the digital library

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

I won’t lie. I was still a little bit disappointed from Emery Lord’s last novel When We Collided, it was lacking something for a contemporary novel. And when I started The Names They Gave Us I was a little bit skeptical because I’m not a very religious person. Don’t get me wrong I do believe, but I’m not the type that goes to church every Sunday. And sometimes I get a little wary of books that talk about religion. That being said, once I got past the first few chapters of this novel and Lucy started at Daybreak – the alternative camp across the lake from her usual Bible summer camp – things got rather interesting and interesting fast. I loved how slowly Lucy got out of her comfort zone and made friends with the others in this book. I loved how Lord casually dropped that these were not all white characters, but multi-racial and gender fluid too. I also loved that for a contemporary novel the drama did not involve the main character’s love interest, but her family dynamic.

However, there was one thing that I didn’t like and it did have to deal with Lucy’s family drama in this novel. Her mom gets diagnosed again with Stage 3 breast cancer about the same time that summer is approaching. In fact, the whole reason Lucy goes to Daybreak instead of her usual summer camp is because her mom asks her to. And the reason I didn’t like Lucy’s mom having cancer, is the fact that it hit a little too close to home. I’ve been there with my mom – it didn’t help that both my mom and Lucy’s mom’s first name is Marianne – and luckily it wasn’t Stage 3, but still. This book made me want to go home and hug my mom really tight.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The only two reasons it’s not getting five is because of what I mentioned above and because the book ended with no clear resolution. Lucy’s mom takes a turn for the worse, Lucy follows her dad out to the car where she catches him swearing, and she realizes that her brief disbelief in God when the summer started was okay. Um…what about the rest of the summer? What about her mom?

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

22864818Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Date Started: May 9
Date Finished: May 15
Format: ebook from Bookshout

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

I got an ebook version of this book for free for participating in an EpicReads Insider questionnaire. What initially drew me in about this book was the fact that it was for fans of authors like Sarah Dessen. But as I trudged along with the first ten days I realized that they got it wrong. This is nothing like a Sarah Dessen novel. At least in those novels you can root for the MC. In 99 Days I found myself dreading the next mistake she was bound to make – because let’s face it Molly was going to make mistakes. The chapters or “days” were insanely short. In fact, the only reason it took me so long to read this book was because I was reading another book at the same time. Sometimes you’d be lucky to get one page of text for the ‘day.’

Then there was Molly herself. As I said above I didn’t root for this MC. I wanted to. I thought her story was kind of contemporary novel-esque when 99 Days started. Lived in a small town was best friends with a girl named Julia who had two brothers – Gabe and Patrick. Due to the amount of time Molly spent at Julia’s place, she got adopted into the family. Started dating Patrick. Things got tricky when she wanted to go away to school and take advantage of an opportunity that was sent her way. They broke up, and Gabe was there to help mend her heart because he’s had feelings for her for ages. Molly tells her mom about what she’s done and the mom writes a romance novel about it. Obviously, shit hits the fan and luckily, Molly got to get away for a little bit before coming back for one last summer.

That’s a character I could root for. Especially as she tried to mend fences with those she left behind. But then…but THEN! She starts dating Gabe, which really isn’t the issue. It’s not even the fact that she tries to become friends with Patrick again, especially because he’s dating her new friend Tess. No, it’s what happens during their run. She makes the same bloody mistake that she did before. And you know what? I could have forgiven one mistake, but the fact that it kept happening, the fact that she almost had sex with Patrick in her bedroom when she was dating Gabe and he was back together with Tess… I just stopped caring at the point. In fact when Patrick outs what they did, I didn’t care. I cheered.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. I originally gave this a 3, but now that I’m writing this review I’m lowering it down to 2. There was no good conclusion. Molly repeated her mistakes that she spent a good chunk of the summer trying to atone for. And even the fact that it might have all been a competition between the brothers didn’t save this book at all. It just made it that much worse.

Bookshelf worthy? There are probably 99 better contemporary YA novels than this one.

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

beautiful-290x450Title: Beautiful
Author: Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful Bastard
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Beautiful Bastard
1.5. Beautiful Bitch
2. Beautiful Stranger
2.5. Beautiful Bombshell
3. Beautiful Player
3.5. Beautiful Beginning
3.6. Beautiful Beloved
4. Beautiful Secret
4.5. Beautiful Boss
Date Started: May 10
Date Finished: May 15
Format: Paperback from local library

After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends. Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier. With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

So, if there are any typos in this review, please forgive them. I’m having difficulty seeing because of that emotional ending. *ahem* Anyway, Beautiful was pretty much everything I thought it was going to be and in some ways it wasn’t. We got a new story. This time dealing with Hanna’s brother Jensen and Ruby’s best friend Pippa. They’re meet cute is very cute and awkward. Note to self never get drunk on a plane and spill my guts to my passenger. But the fact that they’re going to be spending two weeks together on a wine tour, just adds to the cuteness – and hilarity – factor. Even the slow build up of sexual tension between the two characters was magnificently orchestrated.

And unlike its predecessors, Beautiful didn’t kill me with an over use of sex scenes. There was their first time together and then a cute/heartbreaking scene right before Pippa leaves and that’s it. Everything else that happens between them is alluded to and not shown. Thank heaven. I even liked the bit of drama that happened between them. It wasn’t over the top, it was perfect for their circumstances. I just wish that Jensen hadn’t been such a complete ass and take so long to get back to Pippa! And then the epilogues to all our characters was just. *screams into pillow*

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A very well written conclusion that also spotlighted a new couple to add to the friend circle. If I don’t see a George/Will Perkins spin off, I’m going to be completely disappointed. I didn’t even know that George was dating anyone!

Bookshelf worthy? Another book to add to my Kindle wishlist.

Posted in Beautiful Bastard series, Book Reviews, Christina Lauren, Erotica, Romance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stranger than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

51pcluvvv9l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Stranger than Fanfiction
Author: Chris Colfer
Date Started: May 9
Date Finished: May 10
Format: Hardcover from local library

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime–but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he’s been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship. Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Chris Colfer, Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment