A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

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1.) A Court of Thorns and Roses ★★★★
2.) A Court of Mist and Fury ★★★★★

“A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.”

I had really high hopes for this, like really high, and I did enjoy it, but I can’t help being reminded that this was nothing close to the perfection that ACOMAF was. My reading experience was honestly reminiscent to Harry Potter, because I was fangirling every other page, while squealing and giggling and rolling around on my bed like I was twelve again! And when I saw that the prologue was in Rhysand’s point of view, I did the longest yeah boy ever. Big shout out to Paloma for putting up with my thirsty self, because she’s the best and her Snapchats gave me life throughout our read through! ❤

Yet, when I turned that last page a wave of disappointment and apprehension hit me, and it hit me hard. There was some really bad feeling plot fixes that were really forced, unbelievable, and convenient. Then, which I will never fault an author for trying to put diversity and representation in her cast, but Sarah J. Maas made it feel really inauthentic and exploitative, I’m not going to lie. I also feel like she added so many side characters and side plots to further advance the spin-offs that are going to start coming in 2018. Also, anyone else feeling some Swan Lake retelling vibes?

The one thing that I didn’t enjoy, but I’m sure many of my friends and followers will enjoy, is that there was a lot less sex in this book. Like, that first sex scene hit, and I was like “okay” and that was really the only major sex scene throughout this 700 page book. Like, they spoke about sex, and gave little tidbits of small sex scenes here and there, and for sure alluded to having sex a lot, but it was nothing close to the erotic things that ACOMAF and EoS had inside them. Nowhere freakin’ close.

This is the first conclusion we’ve ever had from Sarah J. Maas and I am overall very happy with this very loose retelling of Snow White. I don’t want you guys to think I hated this or anything, because I obviously didn’t and a four star rating is still good! I just expected this to end up on my “best books of 2017” list, like both ACOTAR (2015) and ACOMAF (2016) did, and I’m not so sure that it will.

Also, a lot of people were hurt and offended by some acephobia in the ACOWAR preview chapters, surrounding Hybern’s niece and nephew that were very much involved with each other (yeah, think Jamie and Cersei). I completely see both sides of this argument and, again, your opinions and feelings are completely valid, but I feel like it’s very important to note that there is a discussion going on around this, especially to all my ace friends and followers, because I never want to see any of you harmed or hurt, especially not by problematic material in books.

The rest of my review is going to contain MAJOR SPOILERS for both ACOTAR, ACOMAF, and this book, ACOWAR! Please, do not proceed to read any further unless you have read this book and its predecessors or you wish to be spoiled!

“I repeated their names silently, over and over into the darkness. Rhysand. Mor. Cassian. Amren. Azriel. Elain. Nesta.”

Okay, let’s just talk about the characters and how they made me feel for a minute:

Feyre (The Night Court) – Feyre is such a well developed character. Seeing everything she’s gone through, and how much she’s grown, it is just incredible. I loved how she dismantled the Spring Court. I loved when she fell to her knees when she saw Rhysand. I loved how she picked her sisters over everything. I loved Feyre in this, and I most loved that by the end of this trilogy she loved herself.

Rhysand (The Night Court) -My heart, my soul, my body, my everything. If I could have one book boyfriend, I would pick Rhysand every fucking time. No contest, no questioning, nothing, I’d pick Rhysand instantly. Boys, read this book and study this man! I think most girls can agree he is the closest thing to perfection in this world. His banter, his sense of humor, his selflessness, his devotion, his unconditional love, his patience, his determination, everything. When we would be reminded how he taught Feyre to read, I can’t even describe that feeling. Sarah J. Maas was so smart to write that, because all of us as book and reading lovers can relate to how empty a world would feel without reading, and Rhysand gave that to her! Ah, I can’t. I have no words, other than Rhysand is perfection.

Cassian (The Night Court) – The light of my life and everything that is good in this world. Cassian made this book so enjoyable for me. He had so many good quotes, too! I couldn’t believe how hard he won me over, but I was swooning for him throughout this entire book!

Azriel (The Night Court) – Azriel, as much as I do like him, is going to cause Lucien so much pain and suffering. I mean, I feel really bad for him because of Mor, and I desperately want him to find someone, but the future is looking pretty bleak for him, I’m not going to lie. Maybe the girl that he and Feyre saved will end up being his mate. I mean, that would seem random for Sarah J. Maas if she didn’t end up playing a bigger role, and we know how much she likes pairing people off.

Morrigan/Mor (The Night Court) – Or maybe that girl will end up with Mor! You know that exploitative feeling I was talking about at the start of my review? Yeah, it’s right here. Mor is now a lesbian, which would have made such a powerful impact on me if it didn’t feel fake and forced. Again, I’m not going to fault anyone for trying to have more representation in their books, especially not someone like Sarah J. Maas who needs more representation in their books, but this didn’t feel authentic to me whatsoever. Also, there was that scene where everyone was pretty much like “Yeah! I’m bisexual, too!” and that felt really condescending and borderline offensive to me. I’m very curious to see what everyone else thinks about Mor’s development. Also, Rhys’ interactions with Mor in this book were not okay. He treated Mor badly in this book. Not only did he end up making her feel unsafe at the meeting with her father, ultimately making her feel unsafe in her own home, but he also made her sit through all that abuse when the High Lords met up. Both scenes were honestly hard to stomach, and completely abusive and not okay.

Amren (The Night Court) – I felt a little baited by Amren at the end. Not the question if she was bad or not, I never really thought that, but when she came out of the cauldron with Rhys, I thought she was a human! So I was like “oh my gosh, how is this going to work now that she’s weaker than she was, and she’s going to age and everything?” And then Rhys is like “Well, she’s still a high fae and I’m sure she will develop a new power!” And I’m like…. Okay, I was dumb.

Varian (The Summer Court) – Varian and Amren’s romance was everything! When she came out of the tent wearing his shirt, I lost it. I loved that they found happiness with each other, and I love than Varian begged her but ultimately supported her decision to save everyone. Relationship goals, you all.

Nesta – I love when an author makes me feel very vast and different things for a character, and I will give Sarah J. Maas all the props in the world for Nesta. I really thought she was being so unfair and hard towards Feyre, especially after everything Feyre has done for her family, but it ended up working out for me. I loved that Nesta was connected to the cauldron, because she refused to not take something from it. I loved how she didn’t just swoon and fall all over hot ass Cassian instantly, because I’m not sure I would have that same strength. I loved how she forgave and accepted the love her sister wanted to give her all along. I loved the scene with her, Feyre, and Elain all curled up together, because I love books about siblings being close and having that unconditional love with each other. I’m so happy they found it, and I can’t wait to read more about it in future spin-offs. When Nesta laid down on top of Cassian, I had to put my book down and walk around my house for like fifteen minutes, because I couldn’t deal. It was perfect and if I could have any spin-off I would pick Cassian and Nesta.

Elain – Like, when that human boy told her he’d never love her, just because she’s fae now, my heart broke. I don’t know why that felt so real to me, but that hit me way harder than it should have. I guess it is just the young girl in me, remembering how you think your first love will be your only love, and then getting slapped with the realization that that isn’t ever close to being true, but yeah, I felt that scene. I loved that Elain is a seer, and I can’t wait to see how that develops further with the spin-offs. Also, give me that good Lucien angst, please.

Lucien – First and foremost, I loved who really was Lucien’s dad. Like, that was a plot twist that I loved and wasn’t expecting at all! Now, more Dawn Court please! It also gives me all the hope in the world that Lucien will get a spin-off. Also, I’m really curious to learn more about Lucien’s past and about Jesminda.

Tamlin (The Spring Court) – I am not excusing his or anyone else’s abuse, ever, but my favorite part of this book was when Tamlin told Feyre to be happy. Take that information and do what you wish with it, but I wouldn’t hate a Tamlin spin-off where he learns how to control the anger and rage inside of him. I never truly ever hated Tamlin, I just fell in love with Rhys the first moment he appeared in ACOTAR.

Alis (The Spring Court) – Beautiful little cinnamon roll! I was so happy that her and those two little boys were in this final installment! I loved her perception, her input, and her constant encouragement. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Alis.

Ianthe (The Spring Court) – Evil bitch from Hell, legitimately the devil incarnate. I loved her death, like, fucking loved it! And I loved the greater discussion on how women can rape and sexually assault men, too. When someone doesn’t want you to touch them, don’t touch them. It’s not a hard concept, and it is something that not just men are guilty of, and I really liked the showcasing of that.

Tarquin (The Summer Court) – I like Tarquin a lot, and I think Sarah J. Maas will further progress his character as the spin-off stories go on. Also, I loved how he mass killed Hybern’s army by drowning them on land.

King of Hybern – He was super rapey in this book. Like, he kept threatening rape constantly and I’m like, “where did this come from?” Also, for being such a powerful and smart leader who has been waiting for his vengeance all these years, he was pretty dumb. Like, he just let a girl walk up and stab him in the back of the neck. Really? Super anticlimactic and chaotic evil villain.

Jurian – I loved his plot-twist and how he was playing secret agent with Hybern. Jurian was, for me, an all around good character, and super enjoyable to read about. And, holy moly, does he have some background stories to tell. I have a strong feeling he and Queen Vassa are going to receive the spin-off, and even though it isn’t my personal first choice, I will totally still read it.

Miryam – Miryam was Jurian’s half-fae ex lover who is talked about pretty frequently in this series. Everyone presumed her dead, but it is revealed that she faked her death so she could live peacefully with Drakon on a hidden island very similar to Velaris! She’s also going to take the cauldron back to hide it with her and Drakon’s people.

Drakon – I love Drakon’s back story on how he was given Miryam as a slave for an arranged marriage gift, and how he let her go to just ultimately fall in love and give up everything for her. Yeah, big fan. Also, him and Miryam totally came and helped save the day in the end, so kudos to both of them.

The Bone Carver – The Bone Carver ended up being one of my favorites from this story. He also opened the door for old gods in this story, and I can’t wait to see how that develops! His death hit me pretty hard, just because I believe he was fully aware of what would happen, yet he sacrificed his life anyway because Feyre was worthy. Please, these tears.

The Weaver – In ACOMAF, I loved the story arc with the Weaver and her house, so I was really excited when it became apparent that she was going to be in this story, too! I cannot believe she is the sister of the Bone Carver, and her actions and emotions during the final battle hit me pretty hard. Again, such a wonderful character that was an absolute treat to read about, especially with Ianthe’s ending.

Bryaxis – Um, I need Bryaxis, Feyre, Nesta, and Elain tea parties right now! I know so little about this mysterious creature, but my heart wept for its seclusion under the library for all those years. I can’t wait to see interactions with Bryaxis and the others!

The Suriel – LITTLE ANGEL THAT WAS TOO GOOD AND PURE FOR THIS WORLD. I thought we would see the Suriel in this final installment, but his death hit me like Dobby from Harry Potter. I was not prepared and neither were my never ending tears. Seriously, the Suriel was the star of this book.

“I understood why the Suriel had come to help me, again and again. Not just for kindness … but because it was a dreamer. And it was the heart of a dreamer that had ceased beating inside that monstrous chest.”

I guess I’ll move on to some of the plot developments that bothered me. Like, I loved when Lucien went off to on his side quest to find the lost queen and her court, but then Feyre’s dad came and saved the day in the end, with an entire army at his disposal. Like, that felt bad. Didn’t this dude leave his daughters poor and starving? All because he knew a fae war was coming? I don’t buy or believe that what so ever and I completely think Sarah J. Maas killed him off because that would have been such a weird and awkward reunion! I honestly hated that the dad showed up. Hated it. I wish Lucien would have gotten all the glory. Like, it’s cool he brought an army and named his ships after them, but, dude, you weren’t there when your three daughters truly needed you.

Okay, let’s talk about the sexual representation that I started to discuss in Mor’s character break down above. Let me say this extra loud for people in the back: Just because you have or want to have a threesome with someone of the same sex, even though you are only planning to have sex with the opposite sex, it does not make you bisexual. Okay? Okay. That’s such a gross stereotype for bisexuals, regardless. And that scene at the High Lord’s conference/meeting made me cringe so freaking hard, it was actually unreal. Also, I’m not telling anyone how to be a bisexual or a lesbian, but my personal opinion is that Mor is more bi. Like, again, I don’t want to tell people how to feel about their own sexuality – whatever you feel is completely valid – but she has enjoyed sleeping with men for all these years. Also, her telling Feyre she was a lesbian came straight out of left field. Again, it just felt so forced and so condescending to me. I applaud Sarah J. Maas for trying, I really do, but this representation wasn’t well done. Hopefully, in future books, Mor’s sexuality is done better and feels more authentic.

Moving on, how did we not get confirmation that Feyre was pregnant? Like, you all were seeing those constant hints too, right? I would have bet everything I owned that that was how this book was going to end, with her telling Rhys, but it never came and I was so shocked!

Also, when Chapter 76 ended with the line “Rhys was dead” I thought it was real and that’s how this book was going to end, with him sacrificing himself for his people. I was ready to throw my book across the room. I thought he was going to die, and that Feyre was going to be pregnant with his baby and that was going to be his legacy. I am so happy it didn’t happen like that, but I was crying so hard through Chapter 77 that I could barely see. I’m seriously too damn emotionally invested in the fictional character that is Rhysand.

“Every piece of my still-healing heart belonged to him.”

Despite all of the things that bothered me, Sarah J. Maas writes romance really well, like really well. All the people that hate on her can say what they want, but she knows how to write that good angst that makes you completely enthralled and addicted, where you can’t pull away from her stories. I’m not even close to a Sarah J. Maas fangirl, but I’m speaking the truth; she knows how to write romance, and I think that’s why I was disappointed with this book, after being so in love and obsessed with ACOMAF last year. Feyre and Rhys had their romantic build up in ACOMAF, so we didn’t get any of that in ACOWAR! This book was the conclusion, which dealt with war, suffering, repercussion of certain actions, and sacrifices. It didn’t feel as good as seeing a budding, angst-filled, romance developing between Feyre and the most perfect man ever written, Rhysand.

“I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have … The wait was worth it.”

It also explains why I was so hyped for every scene with Cassian and Nesta, and Lucien and Elain, because those are budding romances that are just starting! And I think me being able to see and understand that helps me a lot with realizing that I did enjoy this book, it just wasn’t everything that I, personally, wanted. It was still a good conclusion, and I’m so thankful and happy that I was able to read it! Again, a four star rating is good, even though I was expecting this to be a five star rating.

I really enjoyed this, and I completely love this trilogy as a whole! I cannot wait to see what else Sarah J. Maas has in store for Pyrithion and beyond! What did you guys think? Do you think it lived up to ACOMAF? Who do you think the first spin-off will be about? My guess is Jurian and Queen Vassa, but I’m praying for Cassian and Nesta. There are truly so many questions and so many discussions to be had! I can’t wait!

I also loved how ACOWAR really brought many book, blogging, and Goodreads communities together, just because of everyone’s love and excitement for this series and for reading in general. That is something pure and special, and something that hasn’t came around for me since Harry Potter. For that, I will always cherish this series and look forward to more being released in this world.

“A gift. All of it.”


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May 2017 TBR

Even though I read fifteen things in April, I am really apprehensive about my reading in May! Many amazing books are being released in May, but I am going to be in California for a week, and I’m not sure how much reading I’m going to be able to get done. I am going to try my hardest, and these are the six books I am most looking forward to reading in May!

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas: Okay, do I really need to talk about this? Everyone knows the glory that is ACOTAR, and I hope this conclusion is nothing short of amazing! Also, I need steamy Rhysand scenes in my life, like, yesterday.

Spellslinger (Spellslinger #1) by Sebastien de Castell: As many of you know, I am obsessed with Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series and I was so freakin’ excited to see that he is starting a YA series set in the same world as The Greatcoats!

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley: I am not going to lie, I don’t think this ARC is coming in the mail, and it breaks my heart that I didn’t receive it, because I completely fell in love with the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne earlier this year! This standalone stars a side character from that series, Pyrre Lakatur, and she was one of my favorites! I’m going to give this a couple more days to arrive in the mail, in case the publishers were slow, but if not, I’m just going to dive in after ACOWAR, because I can no longer wait!

Sons of Ares (Sons of Ares, #1) by Pierce Brown: In April, I read so much of the Red Rising series, and I have really enjoyed it for the most part. I was super excited to see that something new was coming out in this world in May, and even though it is just a novella, I can’t wait to read it! Especially since I’m going to have to wait until January of 2018 for Iron Gold!

Secret History (Mistborn, #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson: This is the last book of the BooktubeSFF Awards that I have to read! I have really enjoyed everything that I’ve read of Brandon Sanderson, so I have no doubts that this short story will be a wonderful read, too!

Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell: I know this was already released in EU, and it breaks my heart that I don’t have my hands on it yet, but I’m hoping this ARC comes before I leave for California, because this is my most highly anticipated book of 2017! I cannot wait to see how The Greatcoats wraps up; I just hope my heart is ready.

I hope all my friends and followers had an amazing reading month in April, and continue to do so into May! I hope I get to all six of these books, because I honestly expect most of them to be nothing short of fantastic! Also, I know I’m totally going to jinx this by saying this, but I even have high hopes that three of these will make it on my “Best Books Published in 2017” list! We shall see! ❤

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The Reborn King (The Dragon’s Blade, #1) by Michael R. Miller

ARC provided to me by author Michael R. Miller in exchange for an honest review.


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💗🦄📕

“Darnuir, memory is the heaviest of all things”

This story surrounds Darnuir, who we first meet as an arrogant Dragon Prince, who does not want to evacuate his homeland. In this world, demons are being summoned constantly by a very evil and ancient power who has bestowed some of his power onto others, who are also helping him summon demons in hopes to completely take over this world.

The demonic forces swarm Darnuir’s city sooner than expected, and he is mortally wounded from a task that he wasn’t even supposed to be in charge of. He may very well be the last of his bloodline, because of the demonic ambush, so a wizard teleports them away so that he can be reborn into a new dragon, where he will lose all of his memories, yet keep his same and very important bloodline running through his veins.

Not only is the cover of this book gorgeous, but the story is so very beautiful as well! And don’t get me wrong, I’ve read my fair share of resurrection novels, but I’m hard pressed to think of a book I’ve read about rebirthing someone. This story is captivating, the world is so unique, the writing is addicting, and the characters are so very unforgettable.

Three Races:
Dragons – Homeland = Aurisha: The dragons of this age, have morphed themselves to look like humans, and only the strongest can morph back to their original forms, but we do not get to see that in this book at all. Dragons are much stronger, faster, and overall just perform much better than humans.
Fairies – Homeland = Val’Tarra: Be still, my heart. Fairies love the trees and think of them as their children. In this book, they are blued skinned, with wings, and are naturally very magical. Reading the parts of this book that took place in their homeland were my absolute favorites chapters.
Humans – Homeland = Brevia: The humans are legitimately just like us. They do have a many groups of people scattered amongst this world that call themselves Hunters. Hunters are trained to fight for most of their lives; whether it is wild game to feed their families or demons to save their cities.

These three races are forced to band together to try to eliminate the demons and the people spawning them, and to also try and save their world.

There is a lot of important discussion about race and prejudices in this book. There is a lot of animosity between the humans and the dragons in this book, and later the fairies and another race. It is done well, and the resolution and forgiveness became such an important part of this story. I also loved how this book showcased how it can feel to be on both opposing sides.

“Love is made up of many pieces.”

Three Race Leaders:
Draconess – The Dragon King and Darnuir’s father.
Kasselle -Queen of the Fairies and my absolute favorite.
Arkus – The Human King, who has a missing son and is now overprotective of his infant daughter.

These leaders are important, but the rest of the characters in this book are so amazing, too:
Darnuir – The Dragon Prince, and our main protagonist that I talked about above!
Cosmo – A hunter that wants to just live a happy life, but ends up being forced to take on important responsibility after important responsibility.
Cassandra – A human girl who has been in captivity all her life, until she is finally able to escape to give warning for the upcoming and terrible events that are about to happen.
Balack – Darnuir’s best friend, who he has grown up with and now has a lot of unsettled tension with.
Blaine – Wielder of a powerful blade, who teaches Darnuir a lot about who he really was and who he needs to become.
Ochnic – Frost Troll who is basically a little cinnamon roll angel.

Magic users in this world have to tap into their magic using cascade energy, which is very easy to become addicted to. If you use too much, you can go insane, therefore wizards are very few in this world, because most have gone mad.

Wizards also have staffs, which doesn’t seem too uncommon for a fantasy book, but Michael R. Miller did something super unique and pretty cool. The wizards in this world are all gifted staffs that come from a tree. Those trees are constantly linked to their staffs, and the wizard can teleport to that tree at any given time. On the negative side though, if something happens to the tree that the staff was made from, the staff also suffers the same fate.

And what would a book be without…
Some Villains:
Rectar – The big bad of this story! Honestly, he’s still pretty much an enigma.
Castallan – The other wizard, and also a turn-cloak traitor who is obsessed with cascade energy.
Zarl – General of the demons, who also wears a pretty awesome set of blood armor.
Dukoona – Lord of the Spectres. He was taught by Rectar how to command demons, and for sure feels like his second in command, but he totally has his own thoughts and feelings. Okay, hear me out, but Dukoona is right up there with my favorite characters from this book, and I have so much hope for a redemption story for him.

This whole series is surrounding these three magical, powerful, and mysterious blades that are needed to win this war against the demons. Again, such a unique concept for a story, and I was completely enthralled and yearned to learn more about the history of each of these weapons.

Three Blades:
The Dragon’s Blade – The embodiment of a dragon: fire, flying, and super powerful strength. The wielder must be from the original bloodline, which also makes the leader the king of dragons.
The Guardian’s Blade – Stores very important memories and has a very magical light. The wielder will not every grow ill, and will not ever age. The blade must be passed down from the owner.
The Champion’s Blade – Mysterious and missing sword that can help them win the war against demons. The sword will find only a wielder that is worthy of it and its power. AKA: The Sword of Gryffindor.

In this book, we get to see Darnuir struggling with learning how to use the Dragon’s Blade, and we get to see glimpses of and into the Guardian’s Blade, but I cannot wait to find out any and everything about the Champion’s Blade.

I know I listed a lot of information, while also being very vague, but I feel like this story is honestly best to go into pretty blind. It is also rather difficult to talk about Darnuir’s life pre-rebirth and post-rebirth, just because I could accidentally say so many spoilers! But what I will say is that this was an amazing and almost perfect read that I would completely recommend to any fantasy lover.

This was such an addicting and fast read that I never wanted to put down. I still am absolutely blown away by this debut author’s book! It also may be, to date, the best independently published book I’ve ever read. I cannot wait to continue on with Veiled Intentions very soon, and I have tremendously high hopes for this series and for Michael R. Miller’s future!

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April 2017 Wrap Up

 

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15) by J.R. Ward – ★★★★
Again, I’m not sure how, after all these books, BDB can still feel new and fresh. This series is about a brotherhood of vampires, who are all fighting a greater war for their survival. I love this world, these characters, and J.R. Ward proves time and time again that she is the Queen of PNR.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab – ★★★★
I read this for the BooktubeSFF Awards, and enjoyed it immensely more than I did A Darker Shade of Magic. This story surrounds four characters while a magical tournament is being hosted in their Red London, because in this world there are four parallel Londons. I’m still not entirely sure if I like V.E. Schwab’s writing style, but I absolutely love her character development!

The Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray & J.S. Herbison – ★★★
This was a short story about an abandoned and mysterious space ship in space! It was spooky, it was mysterious, and it felt like I was exploring the Titanic, alone, at the bottom of the ocean.

Seven Princes of the Thousand Year Labyrinth, Vol. 1 by Aikawa Yu & Atori Haruno – ★★★★★
The basic premise of this is that the Emperor of the seven lands has passed away, and the seven Lords of those seven lands find themselves trapped in a medieval castle. Inside the castle that was thought just a fantasy, the Lords are met with constant rising water, traps, puzzles, and riddles, that they must figure out or they will lose their lives. Together they must decide who will be the new Emperor.

The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley – ★★★
This was a super unique read, because the main protagonist of this story is a Stone Golem! I had never read anything like that before, and I absolutely loved it. The Golem is forced to fight a war for a brand new master, but the Golem also realizing that he is much more than a weapon for humans to use.

Seven Princes of the Thousand Year Labyrinth, Vol. 2 by Aikawa Yu & Atori Haruno – ★★★★★
This is the second volume of this amazing manga, that is very quickly becoming one of my all time favorites! The Lords are met with more problems, and more secrets are becoming uncovered! I cannot wait to see what volume three will bring later this year!

Crown of Lies (Truth and Lies Duet #1) by Pepper Winters – ★★★★
It had been a hot second since I’ve picked up any New Adult Romances, so this was a super unexpected treat! This story is about a girl, who hasn’t been able to ever have a childhood because of her responsibilities taking over her family’s business. One night she sneaks away, to see what else life has to offer, and she meets a boy who not only saves her life, but changes her life forever.

Throne of Truth (Truth and Lies Duet #2) by Pepper Winters – ★★
This was the lackluster conclusion to Crown of Lies, and even though I was really excited for it, it fell so very short and was actually has a pretty problematic ending. Hands down the worst thing I read this month.

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown – ★★★
I feel like I’m the last person on Earth that hasn’t read this trilogy, and it was my longest neglected ARC, so I figured I would rectify that! This book was so reminiscent to The Hunger Games that it was actually impossible to unsee. And as much as I still enjoyed the story, the use of rape as a plot device felt so very terrible.

The Innkeeper Chronicles – ★★★★★
This is a special edition bind-up of one of my favorite series of all time. This story is also very unique, and our main protagonist is an Innkeeper with a whole crazy set of powers! She receives guests from all around the universe, and has to play host to a vast array of different creatures! This is truly an amazing series, and this author writing duo writes the best Urban Fantasy to date.

Dearest Clementine (Dearest #1) by Lex Martin – ★★★
This was another super cute Contemporary read that was perfect for the start of spring! It surrounds a college student that is working (and having writer’s block) on a new novel, while also struggling with being vulnerable and letting someone in. Also, this book has a sub-plot of a student’s disappearance, which makes for a pretty enjoyable, though rather predictable, mystery story.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – ★★★★★
This is probably the most important, influential, and powerful book of my generation. I feel like it should be required reading, because the message of what is going on in today’s world shouldn’t be ignored.

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown – ★★★★
I’m so happy some of my amazing friends convinced me to read book two in this series, because The Hunger Games elements really did go away, and in place came a really addicting story about an uprising in space! I fell in love with some of these characters, and I cannot wait to finish Morning Star!

Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★
I also read this for the BooktubeSFF Awards! I have not read anything from The Stormlight Archive yet, but this novella sure made me want to! This was such a perfect little story about a young girl with magical powers and her plant elemental companion! Under 150 pages, Brandon Sanderson proves why he is one of the most read and sought after fantasy authors of our generation, and this novella was no exception!

The Reborn King (The Dragon’s Blade, #1) by Michael R. Miller – ★★★★
Not only is the cover of this book gorgeous, but the story is so very beautiful as well! This is a story of three factions, humans, dragons, and fae, banding together to try to defeat the never ending demons that are being summoned by a very ancient and evil entity. I just finished this book last night, and absolutely loved and adored it! I can’t wait to review it!

Overall, I’m super happy with my reading this month! It was for sure the best reading month I’ve had so far in 2017, with both quantity and quality. This is my first time ever doing a monthly wrap up, but I really enjoyed touching back and recapping everything I read for the month! I hope to do more of these throughout the year, and I hope you all enjoyed seeing everything I read in April. Happy reading, everyone!

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Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

(I read this in Brandon Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection!)
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Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O’Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180!

First and foremost, I haven’t read The Way of Kings or Words of Radiance, and I know this had some spoilers for me and I’m a horrible person, but I really needed to read this for the BooktubeSFF Awards. Plus, after reading I don’t really think it had that many spoilers. Like, I know there is obviously a resolution that happened after book two, and I know a new Desolation is about to cause a bunch of havoc in Oathbringer, but I still think I can enjoy all the books and still know very minimal.

(Art by Marie at jurassicpencil!)

This story surrounds a side character named Lift, who is freakin’ awesome! I was a little apprehensive, knowing that the main character was going to be a twelve-year-old, but she completely won me over and quickly. I also loved her spren, Wyndle, who is a plant elemental, which everyone knows I’m a sucker for any magical companion! They were such a cute pair, and I loved the visual of them traveling together, on the hunt for different kinds of pancakes.

The adorable pair travel to a new city, where Lift is very adamant about using her Edgedancer powers so she can catch the attention of a man named Darkness, who she believes is hunting someone else who has powers. During her stay in the new city, she meets a strange woman that runs an orphanage for sick children who are no longer wanted.

Darkness was a wonderfully complex villain, especially for only a 130 page story. I never thought he was purely bad, just significantly misguided, and I really can’t wait to actually read this series so I can read more about him and his questionable direction.

The only negative thing I will say is that I understand that Lift is young, but I’m not sure how problematic/unproblematic the mental health topic is in this book. I’m not the best judge of this, but a few of the things said in this book seemed like they could at least make someone else feel uncomfortable, so I think it’s important for me to note it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and it made me really hyped to start The Way of Kings! This was a really beautiful story that warmed my heart and made me giggle on many occasions. Lift and Wyndle were so easy to love, and I want to know anything and everything about them!

Golden Son (Red Rising, #2) by Pierce Brown

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#1.) Red Rising ★★★

Okay, let me shout this from on top of my roof real quick before I start reviewing this: this series is very much not a YA series, but is an ADULT series that has a lot of violence, gore, and cruelty throughout it. It is honestly almost the equivalent of calling ASOIAF a YA series, because it so happens to have some young adults in it.

For those of you unfamiliar with Red Rising, even though I feel like I was the only one left at this point, in this world that takes place in our universe, starring a young man from Mars, everyone is subdivided into color categories based on their skill sets, income, hair color, and what last name they possess (information provided by the Red Rising Wiki page):

HighColors:
Golds – Rulers of society
Silvers – Financiers and businessmen
Whites – The clergy
Coppers – Administrators, lawyers and bureaucrats
MidColors:
Blues – Astronavigators of ships
Yellows – Doctors and scientists
Greens – Programmers and developers
Violets – The creative class such as artists
Oranges – Mechanics
Grays – Law-enforcement, security, military and other armed personnel
LowColors:
Browns – Servants
Obsidians – “Monstrous race only bred for war”
Pinks – Pleasure slaves
Reds – The unskilled and menial laborers

Darrow, that young man that was born and raised in the mines of Mars as a Red, has some pretty traumatic things happen to him in Red Rising that has lead to him being the main tool in a rebellion for equality among the colors. Obviously, the Golds and some higher-ups are not willing to just roll over and let this happen, so many of the important families are trying to stop this rebellion before it even truly begins.

“For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.”

I enjoyed this immensely more than Red Rising! Gone are the The Hunger Games vibes, and this story really came into its own with a very unique and addicting plot with a crazy enjoyable cast of characters.

I’m going to make this review just a spoiler-free gush about some of the characters, because they really are the shining light of this elaborate tale, and I feel like this book was very much just setting up for Morning Star, while continuing just to break my heart and make me cry over and over. Also, all reviewers know that middle books are always the hardest to review, so here we are!

And yes, I see why you all love Sevro now. He was, for me, the start of this book. Learning about his family and past, all the twists and turns, seeing his heart break, knowing his heart is going to break, it was the highlight of this whole book for me. Also, for my WoW friends, Sevro totally always reminds me of Durotan, and not just because of the wolf pelts (though it does help, let’s be real)!

Also, with the heart breaking, cliffhanger, ASOIAF -feeling, ending about killed me. Honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever read and then been left alone with, because it was the last page. I’m not sure how you all waited a year for Morning Star, but you are all the true MVPS here. Yeah, not even Brad Pitt in Se7en prepared me.

My heart also belonged to Lorn throughout this book. Seeing his grandchildren of all the different colors just sang to my very soul. He was also so willing to give up everything to protect Darrow. Seriously such an amazing character and such a wonder father figure that Darrow so badly needed.

“A boy throws stones. A fool steals kisses. A man gives his heart.”

Then Darrow’s mother…. Lord, my heart. The tea scene was probably my second favorite part of this entire book. I don’t have children yet, but I imagine most mothers would be very much like her, and it just broke me to tears, but happy tears.

My favorite scene was with the stained, freed, Obsidian, Ragnar Volarus. The monologues from him and with him were alone almost able for me to give Gold Son five stars. He is such a pure reflection of our very own humanity, and the terrible things we as humans do to other humans. I tear up just thinking about him, and how he is such a perfect little cinnamon roll after everything he’s been through.

“Godchild Andromedus, I am Ragnar Volarus, the Stained firstborn of my mother, Alia Snowsparrow of the Valkyrie Spires north of the Dragon’s Spine, south of the Fallen City, where the Winged Horror flies, brother of Sefi the Quiet, breaker of Tanos, which once stood by the water, and I make you an offering of stains.”

The other little cinnamon roll of this story is Pax’s dad, Kavax, and his jellybean eating little fox, Sophocles! Ahhhh! Seriously, cuteness overload. I was so happy to see and learn about Pax’s family in this book! It was such an unexpected pure joy-filled surprise! Please, keep them safe at any cost!

I still like Cassius, I know I’m sick, but I just feel like his actions are also so believable and understandable, especially if someone is setting up Darrow for him, which is so easy from what Darrow has already done and lied about to him. I do believe Cassius will come through at the end of this trilogy, but Lord, I’m still not over the ending of this freakin’ book!

“Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair.”

And the Jackal is just on a whole other level. What a villain; a bad, broken, evil, corrupt, selfish, manipulating, villain. I mean, if you think he was bad in Red Rising at the war games, you are in for a treat with Golden Son.

Also, because it needs to be said, Roque is stupid.

Pierce Brown really excels in writing characters. Even though this book is filled with war, intergalactic-hardships, slavery, friendships, betrayal, revenge, and more the heart of this story and this world are all these amazingly crafted characters. It was so easy for me to just pour my heart out and type away all these things about these people, because Pierce Brown has me so heavilyy invested with each and every one of them.

Needless to say, I cannot wait to begin Morning Star, and I’m sorry if this review isn’t completely coherent, but I promise if you read the ending of Golden Son and then try to write a review right afterwards, it will probably look something like this mess. I mean, who needs to be processed and composed while reviewing a book, when you can be ugly crying and fangirling?

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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It has taken me a long while to compose this review, because this book is the most powerful book I’ve ever read. It is important, educational, and happening in our world right now as you’re reading this review. If you can only read one book in 2017, please pick this one.

This book is inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, where sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses her best friend, who is an unarmed black boy, be killed by a police officer. Starr is scared to speak up, constantly battling what to do, because there is never any justice for these heartless killings.

This book is real, honest, and it’s going to make a lot of people uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable is necessary to change. And this book is going to change a lot of people’s lives. I hope everyone reads this and starts educating themselves on, and will stop ignoring, the problems going on in today’s world. Books are the most powerful and influential tool we have, and The Hate U Give is a literary masterpiece that will be a constant reference for years to come.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

Important things that I want to say:
• Reverse racism doesn’t exist.
• White people will never know what it feels like to be a marginalized black person who is still being oppressed in 2017. You might think you do, but you don’t.
• When you say #AllLivesMatter, even when coming from a place of good, it is hurtful and ignoring the greater problems that are prevalent.
• When you say #BlueLivesMatter it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach, especially after reading this book. Stop doing this. I don’t care if your dad is “one of the good cops out there”; it is disrespectful for this plague of an epidemic that is happening to our black men and women.
• I can do better and I can do more. We can do better and we can all do more.
• Here is a list of some unarmed black men that have been killed over the past few years by the police brutality that is ever growing in the United States: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown Jr., Michael Brown Jr., Dante Parker, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Tony Robinson, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Keith Lamont Scott, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and more that go unnamed and unanswered every day.

Remember these names. Honor these names. Open your eyes. See what is going on in our world and see how wrong it is. It is easy to ignore when it is not happening to you, but is this really the kind of world you want to live in? Open your heart; be empathetic to your fellow human. Let’s change this, and have The Hate U Give be the first stepping stone.

“You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a movement.”

Thank you, Angie Thomas; I truly hope your book changes this world.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that this review is coming to you from a young, white, immensely privileged woman. These are five amazing people of color giving amazing heartfelt reviews on YouTube that showcases why this book is the most important and influential book of our time. Here are a few of the people we should need to be listening to:
BooksAndBigHair
TheBookArcher
Lily Meade
iLivieforbooks
the (book) supplier

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