Tag: Fantasy (page 1 of 84)

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.”

This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in my life. Yes, it’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling (the most used and, in my opinion, most successful Fairy Tale retelling) but it was far different than anything I could have hoped for or anticipated.

This is the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.
Wait. No. The most reckless thing I’ve ever done was attack a guy on the street with a tire iron. So I guess this is fine.

In many ways I did long for the more traditional approach, such as hanging out in the castle together, etc., but, from what I can tell, the author was trying to accomplish something far greater for our two heroes and I think it would have came off as boring, comparatively. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them to have more time together, because I felt that, sometimes, we lacked that. But, as a whole, this book made my feels go crazy and I was on the edge of my seat the entire story.

This feels like the cruelest season of all, to present me with a girl with the fierceness to stand at my side—yet with a home and family she needs to return to so badly.

Every moment was just so beyond addicting, such as it always is with Kemmerer’s writing, but there was something just so cool about her writing a fantasy-a fairy-tale retelling from the woman who creates the most deliciously tortured male leads, like, ever. Declan is a BBF I will NEVER forget, and now Rhen is way up there for me, as well. He was just so alone. My poor lonely soul *tear*

I give her a nod and turn for the door.
“Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says. Her words are not a surprise.
I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

And the dynamics between Rhen, Grey, and Harper? Oh my gosh, words cannot even describe how strongly I fell for this trio. My heart, my soul, and my entire being longed for this story to never end because there could never be enough of their story. For real, though-my biggest complaint with this story??? I. NEEDED. MORE.

More Rhen and Harper. More Rhen and Grey. More Grey and Harper. More. More. MOAR. I cannot stress that fact enough-I’m starting another book tonight, but my heart remains with these characters, this curse, and the love that might or might not have blossomed between Rhen and Harper. And this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil anything…so I can’t say why I wanted more. It just….I need it.

Rhen has made it to his feet. “You cannot harm her,” he says. “You swore.”
“I swore not to kill them,” Lilith says. “I swore not to interfere with your attempts at courtship.” She steps closer to me. “That,” she says, “is all I swore.”

And can we talk about that torturous storyline? I’m not exaggerating. I absolutely ADORED when Lilith (I hate her but loved what she brought to the table) came around to bother Rhen. Many of you will call me a sicko, but I was a sucker for the struggles Rhen faced and how Lilith tested his limits and went over his boundaries. There’s something about a character in the worst moments of their life that make a story more candid-and I lived for these moments…for better or worse. And why couldn’t I have gotten that oneeee thingggg I realllyyyyyyyy wanted at the end?! GRR. I kind of did…but it was toned down and boo.

I stay close to Rhen and keep my voice low. “Do people always do everything you want?
“Not always.” He turns to look at me, his expression inscrutable. “Clearly.”

I’ll leave most of the story alone so as not to spoil it, but I want to draw the comparisons between the Fairytale and this book, because I actually found them wonderful. Rhen was the beast, obviously. Grey, I believe, was Lumiere. Lilith had to be a mix of the witch/the mirror. Harper’s brother and mother were Belle’s life (the mother was the father in this case, but she had a true sickness, she wasn’t mad as they said the father was). There was dancing!

Adorable. Harper was clearly Belle (I know, Captain Obvious), and the curse was the same-to find true love to break the curse….but with a HUGE, nasty twist for poor Rhen: Instead of being a beast full-time, at the end of every failed season, he turns into a beast (a different one every time) that ravages those around him and all his people, only to come to after the fact with blood staining his clothes and hands…and everything resets for the next season. Rinse. Repeat. For eternity. Yikes. But no library. That sucked haha.

This story was about Harper making him see what he can do to save his people. It was about finding who you were meant to be, no matter the cost, and it was about a Prince who never could find true love…until a girl called him on his games and demanded more. Sincerity. Love. Kindness.

This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.

I loved this book. So much. Is that not clear? There were a few moments that got to me, though, and the one that sticks out the most is this trigger: View Spoiler » And that was the only specific moment it showed-what purpose did this serve? To make me madder? Well, it succeeded. Other than that, I loved what Rhen had to go through, but that bothered me.

A sound chokes out of my throat. I want to weep for an entirely new reason. The burning pain has reached my head, and my eyes begin to cloud with stars.
“You are responsible,” she says, her terrible voice fading away. “You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”

I sometimes thought that Grey and Harper’s relationship got more time developing than her and Rhen’s…and I’m not sure that was ever not true. But his relationship with Rhen was also a big part of the story, and it just showed how truly wonderful Grey was in every way

-he was such a comedic relief that I lapped up in every moment. I wondered if this was going to be a love triangle…and it wasn’t? As time passed nothing arose that worried me in that way, but, in the end, I was thinking-so…was I right?? Did he like her?? That was a bit odd, as well, I will say. And I fear people will say she had more chemistry with Grey, but I am ride or die for Rhen and Harper and it didn’t effect me one bit-I just know how fickle we readers are and I fear this is a reaction I will see from many of my friends or other reviewers. I’ll deny them wholeheartedly, of course, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone other than me.

I step closer, until her skirts brush my legs, and I rest a hand on her waist. “I am inviting you to dance, not dragging you behind a horse.” I sigh dramatically. “Must you look so tortured?”

Okay. This review was not what I wanted it to be at all-this is in part because I wrote my review at work and people kept interrupting me and it made me severely scatter-brained…and partly because I am a bit confused on my feelings toward the end. I. WANTED. MORE. Lol. Clearly.

And this is totally Rhen-Sorry not sorry.

**********

Okay. Okay. So….I pos-i-tute-ly LOVED THIS….but that end??? Like-I don’t-What?

Tell me there’s more? Because my thirst cannot be quenched when it comes to my baby Prince Rhen and my baby Grey!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE!

RTC.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba BrayThe Diviners (The Diviners #1)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

There is no greater power on this earth than story.

The fact that it has taken me six years to read this is a complete travesty. I have read, re-read, and loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy so I KNEW that I would love these too whenever I got my lazy ass around to reading them. I swear I picked this up a few different times over the years and I don’t even know what happened..maybe the size daunted me at those points in my life (which seems inconceivable since I actively look for huge ass YA books)??? Either way, surprise, surprise. Here we finally are, with me having finished the first, almost halfway through the second, and loving every page. THANK YOU CHELSEA FOR TALKING THESE UP SO I FINALLY TOOK THE PLUNGE!

But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all?
“Oh Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough? 

I honestly don’t even know where to begin so I suppose I’ll start by impressing upon you how good of a writer that Libba Bray is. Phenomenal. That one word is all you really need to know. She thinks, or for the sake of this series ~dreams~, up these incredibly rich and three-dimensional characters that you can’t imagine ever not knowing. You NEED to know they are going to be okay, you fall in love when they fall in love, you bleed when they bleed (well, your heart does as least)…..you get it. Dahhling Evie, sensible Mabel, serious Jericho, *SAM*, snarky Theta, sweet Henry, dreamer Memphis ALL OF THEM, love them. Great writing makes you forget that book characters aren’t actually real and that you aren’t in your house, lying in bed, in 2018. In one of my darling GR friend’s reviews (Em-Check it out here) they said something along the lines of feeling nostalgia for the 20’s after reading this book, which is crazy because obviously she (and I) have never lived during that time. And I LOVED that thought. When you find an author that immerses you so deeply into an entirely new or foreign place or even a time period, that you begin to feel a sense of nostalgia for it….you know you’ve found a winner. I can only hope and pray that the fourth book doesn’t take too long out.

Mabel shrugged. “Suit yourself. Here have a nightgown.”
Evie held up the chaste, high-necked gown, examining it with a scowl. 
“If I should die in the night, please remove this.” 

The next thing I need to mention is how fking scary this book is. I went into it prepared, because of what I had heard from Chels, BUT STILL. I am one of the biggest scaredy cats I know—I mean HORRIFYED of the dark—there were many times where I had to stop reading at night time, which sucks because with a baby that’s really the only time you can read. Like thank God she had read it before me because talking through some of those scenes as I was reading about them was the only way I made it through, honestly. Still, whenever I think of those last couple of scenes with Naughty John I feel this bone-crippling fear start to creep up my body. Just thinking about it now makes me want to look over my shoulder to make sure no one is there, aaahhhahahah. *cue nervous laughter* So yeah, just know, this book is not for the faint of heart. EVEN MORE SO BECAUSE IT’S WRITTEN SO WELL. So, be warned.

Evie sputtered for a second, then took off after Sam, chasing him around the long table, knocking over stacks of books as she did. 
“I’m going to kill him. Who wants to watch?” 

Overall I love this book and I could go on and on for even longer but honestly, I think it’s better if you go into it knowing as little as possible. Just know that I loved all of the characters (except for the ones that I hated, lol), I loved the plot, I loved the writing. Win win win (except for being scared but if I managed to live through it, you will too).

“Life don’t come to you, Memphis. You gotta take it. We have to take it. Because ain’t nobody handing it to us. You understand?”

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba BrayBefore the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

 


A thin stream of tears trickled down his cheek. He tapped his head gently against the back of his chair: “The land is old, the land is vast, he has no future, he has no past, his coat is sewn with many woes, he’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows.… He’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows, King of Crows, King of Cr—”

Tell me. Tell me what’s next. Tell me what to do. Tell me what to do with my life. I spent a month reading this series, and it’s almost as if I’ve lost a family member now that I’m all caught up. And, more than that, I have no desire whatsoever to read. It’s as if food has lost its taste. As if the wind and the trees and the birds singing are nothing. Life has lost all meaning.

This was what Henry ran from. This was what the jokes masked. It wasn’t callousness. It was pain and loss so great he could only let it in a little at a time, filtered through the safety of melody and rhythm.

Okay. Whatever. I’m eating a home-baked cookie right now that defies all logic of deliciousness that I just found the recipe for BUT YOU GET MY POINT. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.

I had a whole list planned for the month of October-no real set reading order, I just knew that I at least wanted to get Hidden Bodies and The Diviners read-I’d heard nothing but amazing things about the The Diviners, only that it was scary-ish and beyond addiciting, so I knew I had to save it for now, when I had an excuse to scare the living crap out of me. So I decided to start it first-seemed logical? Then I could read the second one in the middle of the month and the third at the end, for Halloween.

“Why would somebody put that here?” Memphis said. “It doesn’t look like the others. The others are hopeful. This…” He shuddered. “This is a nightmare.”
“Hey! Come see what I found,” Jericho called.
Sam turned to Memphis. “See, when somebody says that to me in a dirty, creepy hole of a cellar, my first inclination is to run.”

Well *bleep* sakes, I couldn’t wrap my head around any other book after I had put down the first and I just knew what I had to do-Binge read for the first time in YEARS. And see? SEE WHY I DON’T DO THIS?? Well, and, to be fair, no series has made me WANT to binge in this manner in forever. Like…WHY.

Jericho glared. “It’s more complicated than black and white, good and evil. Don’t forget: Jake Marlowe saved my life once upon a time.”
“And for that you owe him your blind loyalty?”
“Okay. You two crazy kids,” Sam said, laughing nervously. “Tell me the truth: What have you both got against fun? Was it a childhood trauma? There is no prohibition against fun. Yet.”

And here I am writing an incoherent review that really isn’t necessary but really is necessary because this is my last outlet for fangirling about my lovable and amazing FAMILY. Yeah. I’ve upgraded them. They are truly my life my love and my sole reason for living, atm. But then there are darker things that surround this series, such as the wait for the final book, the sadness at the end, and, once again, how scary it was and the many, many deaths.

A guard waited at the front gate. He frowned. “Only Miss Knight is expected.”
“Oh, but I’m her sister and her chaperone,” Evie bluffed, putting a hand to her chest as if the idea of Theta going into the Hollywood viper pit unaccompanied was unthinkable. “And this lovely lady is her secretary, Miss Ling Chan, and this is her personal seamstress, Miss Mabel Rose.”
“I’ve made all of Miss Knight’s costumes for the Follies,” Mabel said, falling right in. “I love to sew.”
The guard eyed Ling suspiciously. “And I love to… secretary.”

These are some dark books, and I think people should know that. It’s YA, but I think it pushes that envelope. I mean, it’s not TOO much, but it just is very dense and it covers a lot of topics. I never expected that-I never expected to care about so many things…yet here I am, loving every little thing about it-aside from the darkness of animals. I just do not like the mauling of innocent things. And perhaps I’m too tender-hearted, but I refuse to think any differently. If this was gotten rid of, and less child death (I don’t have any specifics for you, just know that it does happen and it is NOT shied away from), I really would have zero complaints besides wanting to sleep with all the lights on.

“You see him?” Sam asked as they peeked around a noisy boiler.
“Huh-uh. And I don’t like basements. Nothing good happens in basements. That’s where one-toothed murderers always live,” Evie whispered. “In basements.”
“Well, my mother used to put pickled herring in our basement,” Sam said, inching forward.
“See what I mean? If it’s not ghosts and one-toothed murderers, it’s pickled herring.”

And it’s no secret that I am in a legion of rabid fans who would DIE to see Sam and Evie together…but do we get to see that in this book? Or does she end up with Jericho? Or neither? And what the heck happens at the end that effected everyone so? These are the questions that should plague those who haven’t gotten around to this beauty yet (or so I think AHHAAHA).

He opened the door and held out the rose. “Welcome.”
“Aww, Freddy, you shouldn’t have,” Sam said, taking the rose and threading it through the buttonhole of his coat. “This is so sudden! I don’t know what to say. Oh, okay. You’ve won me over, you big brute. The answer is yes.”
With that, Sam jumped into Jericho’s arms.

I honestly was expecting something a bit…bigger. But, as always, I am a peril loving fiend and, though this was dark as dark gets, it wasn’t big enough to make me go crazy-though I did love it wholeheartedly all the same. I’m sorry, I’m just waiting for some hero saving the damsel in distress to happen, and I haven’t gotten that yet-and I don’t think I’m likely to…and it kind of bothers me. I don’t know why, but I just really expected that to happen, at least once. And the two opportunities where I expected it to happen, it didn’t. Poo.

But nothing was braver than letting somebody really know you, warts and all. Nothing was braver than trying to love and be loved.

No, Libba is more about the subtle chaos and mayhem and destruction of our souls-and this seems to really resonate with people. I don’t know, something about it being more realistic *mumbles to self* Hmph. That’s not to say I didn’t love the ending, though, because I did. Either way, this book is by far the darkest, and I suppose I never expected it to be so bleak.

And I really really really wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something about my baby Sam-What?! I’ve been so so good, haven’t I? I love all my characters, I really do, but Sam and Evie just shine. They are my absolute favorites and they never cease to make me smile. And I think their character growth over the last three books has been wonderful-if not even separately, together.

They have the most wonderful relationship and it radiates warmth and glows like the sun, even as Evie rolls her eyes and acts as if she can’t be bothered by it all. She has her eyes set on Jericho this whole book…and it literally kills Sam. My heart. I LOVE IT SO HARD.

“Well, maybe you can give him a noodge?”
“A what?”
“A noodge. A little prodding,” Sam explained. “I’m getting antsy here.”
“Fine. I’ll send him an urgent letter.” At the door, she wrinkled her nose. “Noodge? Is that a real word?”
“It’s Yiddish. Like… Ikh hob dikh lib.”
Evie narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “What does that mean?”
Sam smiled. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you.”

Their friendship, despite the banter (or maybe because of it), is so strong and they clearly have a strong connection-something that has grown from the last book that they never wanted, needed, or anticipated. It just…it rings wonderfully authentic and precious and you can’t help but love them, even if they don’t end up together, and even more if they do. He will always support her no matter her horrible decisions, and he’ll always implore her to be herself, because who else should she be but the girl he thinks is just the best? And it’s for this reason I am ride or die, and I it really makes my love for this series infinite with it’s exponential growth-and don’t even get me started on how wonderful Evie is and how she has become someone to love and admire, even when she’s being silly (which I’ve always loved).

“But I got my own kind of smarts, from the streets, and when I go after something, well, just try’n shake me off. I’m an odd fella, but I know I’m an odd fella. What I can’t figure out is why you gotta make yourself crackers trying to be somebody you can’t ever be instead of just letting yourself be the one and only Evie O’Neill.”

And, lastly, I wanted to say that this one will be hard for some-there are a lot of deaths, and some I just didn’t expect-one for sure. I never would have guessed…because it’s such a BIG deal!! And man…it shook me. I am shooketh. Though….eh, I won’t say it. But I’m certainly thinking it lol. Sad as it may be! And another…like wtf? That was soooo not expected, but maybe because it was so out of left field-I don’t know! It was like oh lots of death la la la these people are off to the side, I’m sure they’re fine and then BAM!!! HE/SHE GONE! Like WHAT?! Libba, you devious Minx. And then…a couple were so grisly like….omg poor poor souls :/ Oh, and one death?! HAHAHA BRING IT ON. TAKE THAT, YOU-YOU-YOU WHATEVER YOU ARE!

AND DO NOT GET ME GOING ON THAT MENTAL ASYLUM OKAY?! I thought it was going to be the whole book, but turns out Libba wanted things to come to a head, to get darker…and oh boy, they so did. I did not expect that plot to change…but I’m glad it did, because that hospital killed me. IT WAS WAY TOO SCARY I COULDN’T EVEN READ IT! So, for those of you scared of the asylum…get past a certain point and you’re good! (I mean…kind of) lol

One minute, they were a group; the next, they were a mob. And that was what scared him about the dead things inside the fog: They were the blood-fever of those wild nights on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. They were the dark corners of the refuge where the priests didn’t bother looking.

**

We wish you love. And dreams. And hope.
We wish we could keep you from making the same mistakes.
We wish we could extinguish your hate.
We wish we could walk among you just to be close to the living.
Sometimes, we do.

So yeah. This crazy review happened. I know it’s a little off the wall odd, but what review by me isn’t? When I love something, I love it with every fiber of my being…and this series deserves all the praise. I just hope I can last until that final book comes out…because Ms. Bray literally holds my heart in the palm in her hand.

We are the dead.
We are the keepers of the stories.
We hold the history of blood and promises.
We are speaking.
Are you listening?
Will you hear?

**********************

My heart. My poor damaged heart. My literal obsession and month long life is now over and my heart. There’s no release date for the fourth and my fucking heart. Now what?

RTC.

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

BOOK REVIEW: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. MaasKingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7)
by Sarah J. Maas
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …

Honestly this might be one of the hardest reviews that I have ever tried to write and that’s only because I want to be able to perfectly communicate what this series has meant to me..how it has impacted my very soul…and I just don’t think my words can ever fully do it justice. But that’s all right, I know that most of you will understand.

“I obey no man,” she snarled. 

While Tamora Pierce was the one who got me started on YA, Sarah J Maas is the REASON I read YA. My first few reviews of her books usually started out something like, “She isn’t the best writer that I’ve ever read, but her books have made me feel things that no other book/ author have.” Fast forward several years and I now think…you know, just because someone’s writing isn’t lyrical or on par with the classics, it doesn’t mean they aren’t the best writer you’ve ever read. For me, I treasure ANY book that makes me feel even a fraction of what these, what all of her books, have made me feel. I swear to God I spent this entire book crying, laughing, heart racing, scared out of my wits, clutching my heart or throat because I was damn invested in what I might find on the next page. If some evil person were to tell me that I was only able to read one author’s books for the rest of my life, it would be hers.

Who do you wish to be? 
“Someone worthy of my friends,” he said into the quiet night. “A king worthy of his kingdom.” For a heartbeat, snow-white hair and golden eyes flashed into his mind. “Happy,” he whispered, and wrapped a hand around Damaris’s hilt.

I guess I should probably start this review with the characters, huh? Can I just say how PROUD I am of all of these characters?! Oh my GOSH when I think about how each and every one of them started from the first page we met them to their last page…I can’t even express the amount of growth that every. single. one. of them went through. I sobbed my way through that last scene when Aelin, Dorian, and Chaol were saying their goodbyes and she told them she loved them. They began as a haunted, swaggering assassin, a fickle, devil-may-care prince, and a everything-has-to-be-the-book captain of the guard to….well you’ll just have to read until the end to find out, now won’t you? 🙂

Even all of the secondary characters will forever hold a very special place inside my heart. I am SO glad that Tower of Dawn became a full length novel so we were able to meet and fall in love with Yrene, Sartaq, Borte, and crew. I MEAN YRENE TOWERS/WESTFALL PEOPLE??!?!?!? I feel like I don’t need to say more about that incredible woman. Her and Chaol are marriage goals x1000000.

Speaking of couples, I ship them all. Every single one of the lovesick fools. View Spoiler ». It’s funny…my heart was initially SHATTERED when my Chaolaena ship sank. Not looking back, all I can do is laugh. Rowan is so ~it~ for Aelin. He is her equal in every. single. way. I feel like I don’t even really need to get into why they’re perfect for each other because it just all makes sense.

Be the bridge, be the light. When iron melts, when flowers spring from fields of blood—let the land be witness, and return home

What else? 

Battles: Hmm..well..can we talk about how intense the battle scenes were in this book. Like they were on a J. R. R. Tolkien level with the Battle of Helms Deep/ the last battle in Return of the King. I get shivers just thinking about them. Also….also. View Spoiler »

Gods: screw ‘em. View Spoiler »

Loose ends: allllllllll tied up, mostly. The only thing that I thought was going to be more important was finding out who the owl was that Maeve keeps as her personal healer. I was CONVINCED that it was going to be someone important but…whatever. Other than that every single thread was tied up neatly. I am fully satisfied.

Final thoughts: Fireheart, I couldn’t be more proud of the character you became. You will be a beacon of hope and courage for me for the rest of my life. I hope that someday I can share your story with my own daughter and that she will grow up brave and strong and knowing that her heart will always lead her home.

Sarah, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this story. I will treasure it forever.

My name is Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, and I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. 

BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba BrayLair of Dreams (The Diviners)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

 

“I’ve spent the last two hours worried that you were bleeding to death in a ditch,” Evie continued. “Now that I know you’re okay, I just want you to be bleeding to death in a ditch.”
“Aww, Lamb Chop, you missed me.”

Annnnnd the hype is officially real. It’s not often I love a book as much as I did the first, but, here, I was a goner. At the beginning I was like eh, okay, LET’S GET TO SAM AND EVIE AND JERICHO AND WHAT’S UP WITH THAT DRAMA AGHHH BRING IT ON. But then, as the story progressed, I just…I died a little. All of a sudden I didn’t want to rush through everything (well…maybe the scary-more on that later) and I cared so deeply about dear Henry and even Ling, that you couldn’t pay me to put it down.

Yes, she liked this very much. She just had to get Sam on board.
The operator broke the silence. “I’ve got that call for you, Miss O’Neill.”
Sam’s voice crackled over the line, filled with smirk. “Well, if it isn’t the future Mrs. Lloyd.
“Daaarling,” she trilled. “I’ve missed you.”
There was a brief pause on the other end, then: “Uh-oh.”

And about that love-I loved it just as much as the first…but in a different way. It’s like, you can’t compare horror to romance, can you?


(joke lost on those who haven’t seen this episode/obsessed about Friends)

Hmm. Joey thinks so. But, my point is, aside from the fact that they are BOTH terrifying (albeit in different ways), it’s so much more than the mystery, to me. It’s the characters. It’s each new challenge they face. It’s everything that’s built up to that moment and why they feel the way they do and what they do together and how they become closer and start to become best friends and crime fighters, in their own way, yet they are all so different and come from all kinds of walks of life. Their motivations? All different. But, in the end, the goal comes down to one thing, and one thing only: Saving the world and keeping everyone they love safe.

Ordinary people were capable of extraordinary bravery. That was the only magic Sam knew or trusted.

***

…things you loved deeply could be lost in a second, and then there was no filling the hole left inside you. So she lived in the moment, as if her life were one long party that never had to stop as long as she kept the good times going.

Sure, Naughty John was one bad mother F*****. But this new ghost? Ummm Like. How. IN THE HELL. Am I. Supposed. To. SLEEP?! Like…gnashing teeth. Unhinged jaws. Glows in the tunnel. Flickering lights-ghastly and ghostly creatures there one minute, crouching low to the ground with their SHARP teeth chomping, and simply gone the next. A ghostly woman in a veil coming through the mist…and out of a tunnel? Again, I implore you, how the EFF am I supposed to sleep after that?

Argh this series, guys, this series will be the END of me.

“Nothing,” Jericho said, his brows sharpening. “Where are the Mystical Mediums?”
“The Third Eyes? I left ’em to play with the tarot cards.”
“You what?” Jericho said.
“Relax, Freddy. I told ’em the tarot cards can only be read by special people with special powers. Naturally, they think that’s them. Trust me: They’re as happy as clams.”
“That’s a ridiculous analogy. As if someone could gauge the happiness of a mollusk,” Will grumbled, pawing at his messy desk till he found his cigarettes.

What’s so baffling to me is, and it’s hard to explain, the layers and the depth written into these beautiful novels. They’re terrifying not only because of what’s coming, what’s watching, whatever, but the words haunt you almost as much as the picture they’re painting. It shows each and every murder, most times in great detail-or, in this case, each loss of life through DREAMS-and you just don’t realize how much that gets under your skin…not until the end.

Each moment seems insignificant. But, as each new death/murder happens, they become more and more intense until, at the very end, our tension level is so high we might burst without even realizing we had been so pent up-and at that point? It’s too late. Each moment builds up to make the ultimate moment-and it explodes and spreads the tingling fear from head to toe, into each finger and limb, until you’re numb and scared through every pore…and yet you can’t put the book down and stop reading so you can keep your sanity-and SLEEP.

But dreams can’t be contained for long. Their natural trajectory is forward. Out. Up. Away. Past all barriers and borders. Into the world.
This is true of nightmares, too.

Have I mentioned sleep a lot? Yes. Well. I’ve lost so much sleep reading this series-through both major feels and extreme fright-that I literally feel so bad today I don’t even have the will to do human things-I’m even skipping my workout. Like…this series has consumed my life. I’m not even joking. Even now, all I want to do is curl up with the book and read under a blanket on my soft and inviting couch. I’m so tired, and yet, I put reading above sleep. Talk about a sickness that could kill you. I might have a heart attack lol. Though, I’ve never said I’m not a wussy.

“Now is the only thing you can count on, Sam. It’s all we really get,” she said quietly, and felt that it was the truest thing she’d said in a long time.

Now, moving on from that, I finally got my Sam and Evie time. As I’ve said and will say many times over, I need more Sam and Evie, and I truly don’t think I could ever get my fill (fake relationships leading to true feelings for the WIN). And yet…..that ache? That hollowness that can only be filled when I get my every wish? It’s a vast craving that keeps me coming back for more like an addict-so the author must be doing something right because, even though I’m dying for more, I don’t want it.

“May I help you, sir?” he said, letting Sam know he’d worn out his sidewalk welcome.
“Pal,” Sam said, giving Evie one last, longing look, “I really wish you could.”

THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT: I’m so insane that I LOVE the tortuous slow burn that this author has created and I’m a fiend for it. When we get one or two chapters from their POV, I literally…well…my life is made in those moments. And when she takes them away to talk about other characters? I die a little inside. And the pining begins again. You see, it’s a vicious cycle-a vicious cycle that works. I may think about it 24/7 (crazy crazy), but it’s because I can’t just have what I want. And even if I got what I want, what’s the point of pining? So yes, I’m crazy…but I love it. I’m here for it. I’m ready for large declarations of love that will make my heart pound and my eyes water and I am a true psychotic follower.

“Done,” Sam said. He stared up at her with big peepers and a lupine grin. “We’ll have to make the chumps believe it. Moonlight strolls. Staring into each other’s eyes. Sharing the same straw in our egg cream. Dreadful pet names.”
“Not Lamb Chop,” Evie protested. “That’s hideous.”
“You got it, Pork Chop.”

That being said, I didn’t realize how obsessively in love with this series I was until I finished book one, wanted a break, yet couldn’t concentrate on anything else. What a remarkable feeling. I haven’t felt this way for a series in FOREVER. I can’t even tell you the last time I binge-read a series in this fashion…so, here I am, exclaiming my love (a bit repetitively, but who’s keeping track?) for this scary and tremendously addicting series.

“Pos-i-tute-ly isn’t a real word,” she said.
“Why, it pos-i-tute-ly is! It’s in the dictionary, just before prob-a-lute-ly.”
“You’re doing that simply to annoy me.”
“Abso-tive-ly not.” Henry’s smile was pure innocence.

I love Henry. I love Theta. I love Jericho and Sam and Evie and Ling and Memphis and even his brother…I won’t go into it, but I HATE that dumb Uncle Bill. I want to stab him. I HATE HIM. I do NOT get his moments and I loathe manipulation in that manner.

I fear something dark is coming from his involvement and I do. Not. Like. IT. But, I digress. I love almost every character, so every chapter just seeps into my pores and I was made again as I blazed through this story.

“Theta, I’d feel a whole lot better if you stayed here,” Memphis said.
“Nothing doing. Henry’s my best friend, my only family. He’s all I got.”
“You’ve got me,” Memphis said softly.
“Poet, I didn’t mean it that way.…”
“Mabel shouldn’t go. Theta shouldn’t go. Why is no one being chival… chivaroos… how come none of you bums is looking out for me?” Evie pouted as she sprawled across her chair..
“I am,” Theta said. She yanked Evie to a sitting position, put a cup of coffee to her lips, and practically poured it down her throat.

And the banter? Again, it was off the charts hilarious. In fact, it was equal parts hilarious, sigh-inducing, eye-roll worthy, and HAWT. Depends who was bantering, haha, but every bit of it was worth your time. I am an avid fan of each person in this series and their banter makes me a permanent stalker in their lives. Yikes. I fit right in with the creepy crawlies! 😛 Oh, and, even I can’t believe it, but I had SIXTEEN ‘review highlights’ for this one!!! ‘twas agony choosing which to use *dramatic back of hand against forehead*.

Theta had been trying to figure out how to talk about this with Evie for weeks. She narrowed her eyes. “If you breathe a word of what I’m about to say, I swear I’ll hunt you for sport and wear your skin as a coat.” 
Evie opened one eye. “It would have a satin lining, though. Promise me it would.”

I feel like I could go on and on and on again….but the point is-if you didn’t catch it-this series is a winner. And I know I missed some things I was going to say by rambling on like I do, but it’s how I feel and I just think everyone should give this series a shot. I even tracked down the third book and found a SIGNED copy to order. #Obsession. So read it. Don’t read it. Either way, your loss. You’re either missing out….or you’re going down a path that I can’t pull you away from…and it’s terrifying (100th use of the word in my Diviner reviews HA).

**********

Oh Gahd, guys-it’s happened. I’ve been complaining for months that, while I’ve read plenty of excellent 4 or 5 star books this year, it’s been a while since a series has consumed my soul, made my heart pound, stolen my every waking thought-and now the time has come. And, wouldn’t ya know, it’s a fucking TERRIFYING series that, as mentioned above but in different, individual ways, makes my heart pound, steals my every waking thought, and consumed my soul…with evil.

That’s right. I am an obsessed love-sick puppy that craves this series (it’s crack) when I can’t be reading it. I think about it all day until I can pick it up again. I toss and turn long after I finish because I am completely obsessed and here for Evie and Sam and mayhem and peril, but also because I am terrified of ghosts and this series is f-ing with my head. I have lost more sleep since I started this series than when I just plain have a bad week of sleep.

These books? TERRIFYING. I don’t care what people say-they are scary. They are deep. They are romantic and addicting and so much fun. They. Are. EVIL.

I cannot wait for book three, but I don’t know if I can wait for book 4 when that day comes and I don’t have another book to jump to. I keep saying, oh I’m guna read another book inbetween, or two, and save these for near Halloween, yet I find my dumb ass running to the next book, curled up on the couch with every light on, absorbing my latest hit of adrenaline before attempting sleep again.

Dumb dumb dumb girl.

RTC. Yes, MORE review. I have LOTS to say.

View all my reviews

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