Book Review

Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult, no language, some violence, kiss scenes
Length: 338 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

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YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME.

The Great Library focus is on the powerful friendships that can change the world. It’s great, it’s different than my normal reads and I’m always riveted by the end. The camaraderie between Jess, Thomas, Khalila, Dario, Glain, Morgan, Wolfe, Santi and even Brendan (I think I got them all?) is so fun to watch. Inter-relationships pull each other in ways where you’re not quite sure what side of the line they’ll end up on.

Jess is a well-rounded protagonist. He’s strong and dynamic and follows his own moral compass of guidelines. It leads him to be occasionally an unreliable narrator, leaving you missing just enough pieces to start to form the chess game he’s already started in his mind.

Wolfe and Santi’s relationship is precious. They’ve literally been through hell and back and are such fierce protectors of each other. I love the small, soft moments they get where we get to see their walls down.

On the other hand, I’m still struggling with Morgan and Jess’s relationship. I feel like they meet, kiss, and then don’t speak again til they decide to kiss again. I’m not sure what kind of relationship that is. It did get better in the second-half of the book when Jess started letting her in on plans. They were actually speaking and developing a secondary dialogue other than heated kisses in hallways.

EVERYONE NEEDS A FRIEND LIKE THOMAS. That man is struggling so much over-coming his torture within the Library and is still thinking of others first, every time. It’s great and his “goody-good” persona (he does have his dark moments, don’t worry) gives a good balance to Jess.

Y’all, I got Brendan a lot more in this book too!! I think he’s a great antagonist. The Ying to Jess’s Yang. Them coming together in the end gave a magnificent plot-twist cliff-hanger ending that will play out in ways that I’m not even sure of. I love not being sure of things!

I was also struggling with the continual…leave this location, become prisoners, escape, go to next location, repeat. I’m slowly getting real weary of it, but I believe the way this book finishes sets up for a different kind of prison. Jess, at least, is finally on the offensive. I can only imagine the dramatics that will ensue with the next installment, can’t wait!

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult dystopian/fantasy
– No language
– Some violence (blood, guns, physical)
– Kiss scenes are slightly passionate with one scene where more could be implied

Monthly Wrap-Up

October 2018 Reading Wrap-Up!

Not a bad book in sight.

So much has been happening this month and I had a wonderful time reading! All of these books were stellar and I would definitely recommend them.

Click any of the links (below the photos) for my full review!

 

Continue reading “October 2018 Reading Wrap-Up!”

Book Review

Review: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas

KoA

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult/New adult, fantasy, love scenes, kisses, make-outs, torture, violence
Length: 980 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: October 23rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

I’m so thankful for this story, for what it made me feel, and the way the words sang to my soul.

I don’t even want to write this review because it means it’s over. Throne of Glass came to an epic, exhilarating, heart-breaking conclusion. This section of the review will be spoiler-free and mostly an overall review. I will denote (and have hidden) the spoiler section (more broken down) because there is A LOT to discuss and I don’t want to forget all of my thoughts.

I’ve read the book twice now and have so many feelings that if things get messy, I apologize now, but not really. Sometimes a series fills you in all of those cracks and lets you really live in their world, even if just for a little while.

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I’m not even sure where to start. I laughed, I cried, I yelled and stayed up all night reading this. There’s so much content and I feel like I’ve been on the ride with these characters for years.

Everyone gets the ending they deserve (pro and antagonists) and each moment was perfect. The pacing is great and I never felt like a chapter was dragging. It flowed through POV change after POV change, leaving you hanging, but you were so concerned about the next group that it didn’t matter.

The battle scenes are absolutely epic. SJM is so crafty as she spends time bringing each group together to shore up the lines against Morath. The surprising members that show up will leave you cheering.

There’s love, angst, sorrow, joy, despair, and peace. Emotions tumbled from the pages wrapping you in a story that you were scared to have end.

I truly love every aspect about this book, and this series as a whole.

“You do not yield.”

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult/New adult fantasy
– Light language throughout
– A handful of love scenes (More dialed back than previous books)
– Descriptions of intense torture and violence

All spoilers from here on out! And beware, there’s a lot.

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This is broken down into pairings (then other stuff), and is mostly a ramble of my favorite scenes, why I love them overall, etc.

Aelin & Rowan

“They’d walked this dark path together back to the light. He would not let the road end here.”

  • Rowan is my love. All I wanted for Rowan WAS A HAPPY ENDING. Praise goodness he got one. There was no way SJM wasn’t going to dole that out after he had to deal with Maeve being Valg, and AND faking that Lyria was his mate.
  • That male deserves the moon for handling Aelin in all capacities. It was heart breaking listening to him want to touch her (after she’s been rescued) but respecting her space til she was ready. He continually let Aelin express herself and let her be seen and heard as she worked through her problems.
  • His never ending assurance that there was no way Aelin was giving up her life for the lock. Passion and anger for his Fireheart made me swoon, again and again and again.
  • Aelin is the sassiest and most sarcastic character I know, and boy do I love it.
  • I love that we got another side of her this time. One that was utterly shattered and broken. Her personality is so much more than the original swaggering assassin.
  • I’m so happy she finally let people (okay, at least Rowan) in on her plans!! I think this was a big step forward for her and especially in the last battle scene she needed him and they were able to use their carranam bond to destroy Maeve at long last.
  • The scene of her shouting Take it off, take if off, take it off, repeatedly…BROKE ME. That was the first time tears started coming. The pure rawness of that moment, not knowing what’s real or not, but just wanting to be free of that stupid iron.
  • I love that their first love scene is Rowan giving his claiming marks back to Aelin (and vice versa). I feel SJM wrote it this way so that they both could acknowledge the mating bond to each other in a primal way.

Elide & Lorcan

“…Lord Lorcan Lochan?”

“…I’ll use it with pride every damned day for the rest of my life.”

  • Rowan is my fav…BUT OHEMGEE, I LOVE LORCAN SO MUCH. I love how awful and wonderful he is. He was absolutely breaking my heart every time he talked to Elide. Repeatedly trying to convince her just how much he’s sorry, and that he cares about her.
  • And Lorcan saying he’ll give up his immortality to stay her with. *TEARS* I am a sucker for everyone having a happy ending. Not sorry.
  • Elide is probably the smartest character of this gang. I tagged so many moments when she was the first to comment or come up with the idea on what they should do next. Form finding Cairn, to helping with Yrene she was amazing all around.
  • She could definitely use so self-preservation though. Girlfriend riding on Farasha to save Lorcan, trying to find Cairn, coming up with the plan to snag Erawan. She cares so much for her tribe that she’ll do anything, regardless of herself, to help them. Elide is the epitome of selfless love.
  • I couldn’t be happier that Annieth and Hellas found each other.

Dorian & Manon

“A child not of war, but of peace.”

“Who do you wish to be? …”A king worthy of his kingdom.”

  • Dorian is so slithery and secretive, in the best way. 
  • His poor soul needing healing that took him time to work though. Still struggling with Sorscha, he remained in a state of perpetual sacrificial need. He was truly willing to give himself for the lock instead of Aelin, just to prove his worth.
  • **I thought that he might actually not come back, but further explanation later**
  • Dorian taking on Maeve in his own special way had me flippin’ out. The way he takes her down, destroys Morath and finds the Wyrdkey. Y’all, Dorian is a King.
  • MANON Y’ALL. She might have had one of the biggest characters arcs of anyone. When she bore her soul to Dorian and he still got up the next day to leave, I couldn’t. I mean, come on.
  • AND THE THIRTEEN. THE THIRTEEN. THE THIRTEEN. How could you not SOB when Asterin punched Manon, told her to live and flew off, to buy them time.
  • I love her growth and acknowledgement of being afraid and owning it, but not letting it control  her. Wanting to be a good Queen, and actually bring peace to her lands.
  • The fact that she told Abraxos, I love you. More tears. I could NOT have handled anything happening to him. And seeing him struggle with losing Narene (his mate). AH WHY SJM, WHY.
  • Their ending is the most open-ended, both royals having to go take care of tasks in their homelands. But we all know they’re feeling the love.

Aedion & Lysandra

“I meant every promise I made to you on that beach in Skull’s Bay.”

  • MY POOR BROKEN AEDION, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BE A JERK TO LYSANDRA? I know I know, he meant everything he said at Skull’s Bay, but it was still hard to watch in those initial conflicts!!
  • I love his passion and continual efforts to hold the line, like Rowan asked him to do.
  • He loves Terrasen so deeply, and he never surrendered.
  • Watching him talk to Evangeline and comforting her is all the feels.
  • Lysandra is a freakin’ Queen in her own right. She and Aelin have the best relationship. Lys loves Aelin so much she was willing to die to buy them time. I mean, guys. *still crying*
  • Can I just have ONE wedding scene!?

Yrene & Chaol

“I didn’t waste any of it.”

  • YRENE IS PREGNANT? Love it. Also, she is the most fierce pregnant woman on the land. Running around healing people, never getting any rest, GIRL DESERVES APPLAUSE.
  • Also, cause you know, she destroyed Erawan with the power of healing. If that isn’t the entire theme of this series I’m not sure what is. (Okay actually, girls saving the world. They all rocked it.)
  • Chaol is cool. I finally liked him after reading Tower of Dawn. He isn’t a huge presence in this book, but it’s nice to hear from him!
  • I love his acceptance of his disability because he still feels healed through love and appreciation.
  • He handled his terrible Father, rode good ol’ Farasha and helped win the war.

Other shiny (and shattering) tidbits:

  • Fenrys & Aelin’s secret blinking language. The bond that they have is everlasting. I’m so grateful he lived, because I was about to throw my book (and only 200+ pages in) if he died.
  • THE THIRTEEN. I’m still not over that. Clearly.
  • I actually called Gavriel dying, I knew he was the only “expendable” character (even though I loved his calm, continual presence). What was REAL shattering was Aelin still giving him the blood oath after he passed. *tissues*
  • Having Dorian’s Father be, Nameless was my price, was a story line I didn’t even know I needed. It was so so so satisfying having him in the story to help seal the lock. AND WHEN DORIAN FOUND OUT THAT WAS HIS FATHER’S NAME? Obviously, still processing that one.
  • All the evil got their dues. *assume I’m continually applauding this section*
    • Cairn being tortured by Rowan. I have never applauded more sinister things than that.
    • Chaol’s father (I don’t think we ever got his name either, huh?) was LEFT by his wife for never sending Chaol her letters.
    • Vernon being LOCKED IN A ROOM until he died. Y’all, YAAAAS.
    • Erawan being healed to death by Yrene.
    • Maeve being stabbed by Fenrys (YUUUP) and then burning alive thanks to the ring.
    • The Gods having to deal with Aelin opening another nefarious portal in their old world.
      • “She would live. She would live, and they could all go to hell.”
  • EVANGELINE CHANGING DARROW’S HEART. Girls rule the world. Her love for a land she didn’t even know that much about yet, and the way she took care of all of the messenger children in the castle that worked with her, ah she was amazing. Always being brave and strong in her own ways.
  • Nox making a random, enjoyable appearance. Though I wish he got to meet the real Aelin at some point!!
  • Also, I’m all for a Nesryn/Sartaq Southern Continent spin off, anyone else?
  • The happy, beautiful scenes in the end when everyone said good-bye to each other, and we had the coronation for the Queen. Oh my goodness. I love it all.

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There are so many quotes, and other pieces that I absolutely loved while reading this. What were some of your favorite portions? Least favorite? Talk to me in the comments! Surely, it’s quite obvious I could talk about this book for days and would love to hear from y’all!

“I am here, I am with you.”

Book Talk

Bookish things: I went to SJM’s World Tour!

Y’all. I finished KoA in about a day all things said and done. And now I’ve almost finished reading it a second time to tab and note all of my favorite/critical parts. My review will be up soon!!

NO KINGDOM OF ASH SPOILERS BELOW, PROMISE!

Now on to better things…my hubs (who I just adore, he’s my mate and totally judges me when I call him that) took me to the SJM event in Houston. It was such a great time! I got some great swag (pictures below), got to hear from Sarah about ToG, ACOTAR, and new books coming out in the next few years! She was incredibly funny, and there was even a live proposal they helped orchestrate.  I took a lot of notes. So here they are!

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Signed book, pin, and a print from Charlie Bowater (also received a tote bag!)

General Stuff about the Throne of Glass Series

  • She’s been writing this book since she was 16, but it was pretty different from our version now. For instance, Rowan & Aelin weren’t together, but she was writing fanfic smut about them going behind their current partners back enough that she decided to make sure they did end up together. (This re-write started in 2008).
  • KoA’s final page count was around 1008 pages, but the specific glue that was ordered to bind the books couldn’t hold anything above 1000. Bloomsbury worked around the clock to play with margins, headers, etc. to cut it down to the 984 pages it is now.
  • SJM thought it was absolutely hysterical that we liked Tamlin after reading ACOTAR. And she’d have to fake it every time she met someone at a signing, etc. Thinking to herself, just wait!
  • There were originally a handful of endings for ToG, but in 2013 on a vacation in Costa Rica in the Monte Verde Cloud Forest she burst into tears when they came over the summit and knew exactly what the last line would be.
  • Aelin as a character never did what SJM wanted her to do. Only Rowan was a solid character she could count on.
  • SJM absolutely loves Lysandra and mentions that all the women in ToG are uniquely strong.mvimg_20181027_192735
  • She never cried more than when writing a critical scene for Manon in Koa.
  • Guys, she married her first boyfriend. They met when they were 18, and she feels like she can write love stories because she truly has that in her life.
  • Anytime they’re are eating scenes in the books you can safely assume she’s either eating or thinking about eating.

Continue reading “Bookish things: I went to SJM’s World Tour!”

Book Review

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Craw

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: Adult fiction/historical, language, explicit content, trigger warnings
Length: 384 pages
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

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ODE TO MARSH GIRL.

I follow Reese Witherspoon’s book club (Hello Sunshine) and occasionally I’ll read whatever she’s picked for the month if it sounds appealing, and I’m so happy I did!

Kya was such a strong, independent, and tough. Because WHO ABANDONS A 10 YEAR OLD? My heart was crumbling watching her youth be shattered by callous individuals. In her entire life, Jumpin’ remained her only steadfast friend. Family and “friends” flowed in and out like the marsh, as was convenient for them. She spends most of the book reverting back to this childlike state thinking her Ma is eventually coming home. The shame and anguish she feels forces a lot of anxiety and anger to bubble up. Even when she says she’s perfectly fine being alone.

This coming of age story really resounded when she met her first love, Tate. He’s such a sweetheart and their first official meeting with the feathers was precious. And while he made some mistakes with Kya (I may have said “what a jerk” a time or two), his sould always knew where home was.

Chase on the other hand could have been dropped from that fire tower and it still wouldn’t be enough. It was hard, hard to get through this section. Kya is naive in thoughts of love and intimacy and is taken advantage of in the worst ways.

The chapters with the Sheriff and Doctor as the POV were a bit silly. The dialogue wasn’t strong enough. They just flitted in and out til the official trial.

There’s a lot of poetry in here that strongly pertains to the story. The final poem especially had me. This mystery is finally solved. It was a twist for me and hopefully it’ll be for you!

Overall audience notes:
– Adult historical fiction, mystery and romance
– Language
– Detailed sexual scenes
– Trigger warning: abuse, sexual assault/attempted rape
– Some violence

Book Review

Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult fantasy/dystopian, no language, little kissing, some violence
Length: 354 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: New American Library
Release Date: July 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Let the world burn.

With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and, in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.

After embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

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BOOK TWO SYNDROME.

I wasn’t as mesmerized by this installment. It was good, don’t get me wrong. I’ll definitely be checking out the third one, but I feel a little…deflated.

The story is strong and I appreciate the focus on the plot. There’s a goal, I know where it’s going, and we’re not diving off left and right. While the rescue mission is underway I wanted more drama to unfold.

It’s the beginnings of a war and while everyone is running around for this one mission, we’re missing a lot of what else is happening. I felt some character back stories could’ve been further enhanced to really grip what fuels their decisions. Some characters would pop in, say their peace, then die. Like, wait what?

I still love Jess. He’s a great protagonist. I love that, in general, he owns being from a criminal family and uses that to his advantage. I hope his brother, Brendan plays a bigger role soon. In my mind he’s super complex and I think it would be fun if he had a bigger spotlight.

There’s touches of romance here and there between characters. Nothing intense, sweet tiny moments that were cute and added some flair. This gang is really bonding together and their devotion is starting to show more and more. I like the diversity of the group and can notice the differences in their personalities and choices based off of them.

It ended on an odd note with the addition of a new character crew, and a new landscape. I’m definitely interested in what will play out next!

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult fantasy & dystopia
– No language
– Kiss scenes are minor
– Gun violence

Friday Features

Friday Favorites!

Hall (1)

Howdy!

This is a weekly post dedicated to books…and other stuff!

The goal of this is to weekly post some of your favorite things, including:

  • Book
    • Any book that you consider a favorite whether that’s right now or a book you will forever love
  • Song
    • Whatever song is currently on repeat any time you hop in the car
  • TV Show
    • We all know you’re currently binge watching a show right now

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Book: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Dance of Thieves_FINAL 9.18

 

I know I just finished this…but I’m having a total book hangover. So it’s getting a shout-out today. I loved it so much. A solid fantasy romance that had me giddy. You can see my review here!

 

 

 

Song: Love You Like That 

Dagny

 

This is just a happy, fun song. You can’t be sad listening to it. It’s been shuffling through my Spotify daily.

 

 

 

TV Show: DWTS Junior

dwts junior

I am a huge DWTS fan, and they added a juniors competition this year. Oh my, it’s so precious y’all. Watching these tiny babes dance. It makes me happy every time I watch.

 

 

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Feel free to considered yourself tagged if you’d like to make one yourself! Please tag me back with the original credit. And make it your own! I would love to hear your answers, let me know in the comments!

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