Dark, Fantasy, Favorites, Reviews

REVIEW: Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis:

From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hands sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.


It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Nevernight Chronicle, Jay Kristoff, comes the first book of an astonishing illustrated dark fantasy saga.


🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Where do I even begin? I truly have so much to say and so many emotions that it’s hard to pick where to start this review…

Well, I suppose I should start with the fact that I have been a Jay Kristoff fan for a while. I read Illuminae first and later read Nevernight by him. Both of which, I really enjoyed. They were very different but spoke to me in their own ways. I heard about this book years ago when Jay first started promoting it. I was so stoked for it to come out in 2020, but it was pushed back to 2021 for understandable reasons. Anyways, I knew the general premise of Gabe telling the story and that it was about a world with evil vampires. I was a little leery because male main characters can be a real miss for me and vampires aren’t a genre I gravitate towards. But after seeing what Jay did with Illuminae and Nevernight, I was willing to give this book a go.

After watching Jay promote this book and the hype train get bigger and bigger, I let myself fall deep into the train. I somehow own 21 editions of this book. No, that is not an exaggeration. A small part of me worried that I was wasting my money if I disliked this, but a louder part of me had confidence that Jay would make me fall in love with this world. So I dove full on in and on release day, I was up at the book store buying yet another copy of this book as soon as they opened.

After quite literally consuming this book these past few days, I can say that every single penny that I spent was worth it. This book is without a doubt in my top three favorite books of all time. And I absolutely love that because it has become so hard to find books now that can become top favorites like that. It hasn’t happened for me in years at this point. I don’t think there is an accurate way for me to put my feelings towards this book down on paper. There are so many wordless emotions I have and deep feelings that I could never portray by speaking them. All I can say is that this book spoke to me. It gripped my heart and made me never want to leave. The characters felt so raw and real to me and the world felt the same. The broken parts of this world hurt so bad and the small glimpses of hope that these characters had warmed my heart.

“If he wanted a war, I would be it. If he wanted a fear, let it be me.”


Gabriel- Despite struggling with some male characters in the past, I am happy to say that I bonded with Gabe pretty much instantly. From the beginning prologue-like chapters, I felt a pull to him. I wanted to see what made this broken, jaded, smart ass man the way he is. And after reading this story and the small amount he told us (in the grand scheme of this being 1 of 3 books), I can say that I love him with my heart and soul. A part of me connected in an indescribable way to the part of him that has lost something. As someone who has gone through loss, I can say that the way Gabe deals with it and how it was portrayed felt so realistic to me, that I found myself tearing up at the smallest glimpses of Gabe’s pain. I felt a bond with him that only people who have lost those closest to them can feel and there are no words that I can give you to describe what that means to me. To have a character speak to those dark and broken parts of myself is something that I don’t know if I’ve ever truly had. And I can’t think Jay Kristoff enough for that, truly.

“May I present Dior Lachance, Prince of Thieves, Lord of Liars, and incorrigible little bastard.”


Dior- I might be starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s hard to describe how I feel about Dior. When I think about her, I just get this light and giddy feeling. She was one of my favorite parts of this book and the whole plot twist surrounding her gender completely blew my mind. Like I just sat there for 10 minutes after that chapter staring in to space, thinking about how mind blowing it was. I 100% did not see it coming at all, not even a little bit. The rest of the book, I was almost always smiling when she was around. Her banter with Gabriel was fantastic and seeing their relationship grow both broke and mended my heart. I am scared to death for Dior’s safety in the future books and I am not ready for the inevitable separation of her and Gabe.

“Because I miss them, like a piece of me is missing. And I love them, like love is all I was. And there is nothing I’d not do, no depth to which I’d not sink, no price I wouldn’t pay to have them back and here with me. Because they were my all and my everything.”


Astrid- I loved Astrid. I adored all the parts with her in it and I couldn’t get enough scenes with her. She knew what she wanted and went after it with her whole self. I definitely got strong Mia Corvere vibes and I’m honestly down for that! The only complaint I would have is that I wish we got just a little more of her and more development of her and Gabe’s relationship.

“You play a game you cannot win.”


Liathe- Did I know she was going to be important in some way? Yes, because she kept appearing and Jay put a lot of emphasis on her character. Did I have any idea she was going to be who she was until like the page before we found out? No. Once again, this was a plot twist I did not see coming at all. And to be honest she is one of the characters I am the most excited for in the future books. I have a feeling the relationship and the dynamics between her and Gabe in the future books will be rocky and heartbreaking. I’m also dying to know what she wants with Dior and what her true motivations are.

“It matters not what you hold faith in. But you must hold faith in something.”


Aaron & Chloe- These are the two that I probably had the biggest emotional changes about over the course of the book. Aaron, I hated and could not stand at the beginning, but I adored him by the end. Chloe, I really liked and was rooting for in the beginning, to only hate by the end.

“Hearts only bruise. They never break.”


Justice and Jezebel- Yes, these two characters deserve their own section because they were the MVPs of this book. My heart was ripped out of my chest when they both died and I am truly not okay with it.

“I didn’t give this sword a name, girl. She came with one.”


Ashdrinker- A talking sword that has been broken and has a mysterious past you say?? There is literally nothing else you could say to have me more intrigued.

”Thou shalt suffer for this, Silversaint. And it shall be legendary.”


The Forever King & the Vampires- It has been a while since the villains of a story truly scared me, but the ones in this book for sure did. They were evil incarnate, and Jay did the vampire thing so well! I truly see how this entity that puts no value in time is scary and feels like such a big obstacle to overcome.

I could sit here and try to go over all my feelings about the rest of the characters but there are truly so many that it would take hours. The rest of the characters I had probably the appropriate feelings you’re supposed to have. Some I changed how I felt over the course of the book and others I felt lukewarm about.

“We believe in life after death because oblivion is too dark an abyss to stare into. We tell ourselves our creator cares, because the thought of a maker who doesn’t is too terrifying to consider.”


There is one more thing I wanted to talk about before we get to the end of this review. And that would religion and the role it plays in this story. I am personally religious, so seeing what Jay did with it in this book was interesting. Seeing Gabe go through this roller coaster of believing in it, losing his faith, and then finally putting it back into Dior broke my heart and sealed it back together again. Whenever religion and God were brought up in this book, I could tell that Jay Kristoff had thought about these things before and it made Gabe’s journey feel easier to connect to. I’ve never seen something like that and there were times where it brought me to tears.

To end this review, all there is left to say is that this book left its mark. Almost instantly after finishing it, I felt one of the worst book hangovers of my life come over and it hurt to know there was nothing left to read. I went to bed thinking about this book, I dreamed about it multiple times during the night, and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up. If that doesn’t speak to how much I love this book, I don’t know what does. I went through one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I’ve gone on in a long time while reading this. There were literally points where there were tears streaming down my face for thirty minutes straight and parts where I was so angry at what was happening to these characters that I was shaking. But all of that just speaks to how beautifully written this book was… And I wouldn’t trade it for the world! There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe how much this story means to me or how much I need the next book!

Fantasy, Illumicrate Unboxings

UNBOXING: May Illumicrate “Change Your Stars” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back with another Illumicrate unboxing today! This is a box I’ve been excited about for a while and I am so happy to share it with you all today!


The Book:

I LOVED the design choices Illumicrate chose for this month’s book! The stenciled edges, while a simple design, compliment the book and cover well. I also love what they did with the foil embossing. It’s almost prettier than the cover, truth be told.


The Items:

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I have heard some grumblings about the items this month. And, while I can say not all of the items are ones I would personally use, I can see the value in this box. The sketchbook is beautiful, the tea tin is stunning, and the gown pin is (as always with Blissfully Bookish) gorgeous! The key is supposed to be the new collectable for IC going forward and, as someone who has been begging for a key collection, I am pretty excited. The key does look a little cheap in photos, but is better in person.


Artist/Supplier Credits:

Spinning Silver Book Sleeve – @pauhami

Girls of Paper and Fire Dress Pin – @blissfullybookishtees

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Sketchbook – @rena.illustration

Daevabad Tea Tin – @lioninthetrees

Skyward Illumikey – dalandan.ielle

Monthly Enamel Pin Inspired by the Book – @stacey.mcevoy.caunt


Overall, this was a pretty good box. Not my absolute favorite box, but I still enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to next month’s box, which sounds like it could easily become a favorite for me!

Dreamy & Co. Unboxings, Fantasy, Favorites

UNBOXING: May Dreamy & Co. “To Whatever End” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back with an unboxing from one of my favorite companies, Dreamy & Co. Unlike most book boxes, Dreamy doesn’t include a book, but instead has a item only box centered around one fandom. In the case of this month, the box was centered around Throne of Glass, which naturally was a much have box for me.


The Items:

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Pin

Artist/Supplier Credits:

Double-Sided Sturdy Print (Aelin & Rowan Print) – @emeliesnath_art

Double-Sided Square (Manon/Thirteen) Print – @nessiarts

Enamel Pin – @azura.arts

Pin Banner – @eviebookish

Double Sided Woodmark, Double-Sided Sturdy Bookmark, & Wooden Art – @dreamyandco

2 oz Candle – @flickthewick


Overall, I enjoyed this box! The pin banner is the most beautiful one I have ever seen and the pin is gorgeous! I’m not gonna lie, the Rowan face on the print is kind of weird, but I enjoyed this box besides that. Dreamy & Co. blew me away, as usual!

~ Autumn 💕

Bookish Box Unboxings, Fantasy

UNBOXING: May Bookish Box “Story Wanderlust” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back with another Bookish Box unboxing today and I am interested to share this box with you guys!


The Book:

I was really excited for the book this month because it was one of my most anticipated releases and I loved the ARC. And, while I love the inside artwork and the end papers, the reverse dust jacket design is not for me. None of the characters really look like how I picture them and the main female character looks 12 😬


The Items:

Traveler Tea by Riddle’s Tea Shoppe
Fictional Wanderlust Necklace
The Shadows Between Us Art Print by @morlev_art
Monthly Collectable Pin: Crave Pin by @blissfullybookishtees
Monthly Collectables: Double-Sided Twilight Bookmark & Candle

As far as the items go this month, I was a bit on the disappointed side as well. While the mug is lovely, I also found it a bit plain and FBAA is not my fandom so I don’t really get much excitement out of it. The other items were also a bit tame as well. The only one I really like is the pin because I love the designer 😔


Next Month’s Box (June):

As far as next month’s box goes, I am pretty excited. Bookish Box has already revealed what the book will look like and it is STUNNING!! The fandoms also sounds pretty interesting! I can never say no to ACOTAR and I’m looking forward to the Addie item!


Overall, this box wasn’t my favorite. I see the value, but the fandoms mixed with the choice of artwork on the reverse dust jacket of the book just wasn’t for me. It’s been a while since Bookish was such a miss for me so I know this probably just wasn’t my month. I am looking forward to June’s box though!

~ Autumn 💕

Bookish Box Unboxings, Fantasy, TBR

UNBOXING: April Bookish Box “Ascend the Throne” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back with another Bookish Box unboxing! This month’s box was quite late due to the book’s release date, but it ended up being a great box so I was happy to wait!


The Book:

I LOVED THE BOOK PICK THIS MONTH!!! I literally cannot say that enough! I was so sad when no other boxes decided to include this book, so I’m so happy that Bookish Box did! Add on all their beautiful customizations, and I could not love this edition more if I tried!


The Items:

Art Print of May Theme Art by @morlev_art
Throne of Glass Pillow Case by @letterpiece
Monthly Collectable Pin: Lord of the Rings Pin by @pinsbyarisamon
Monthly Collectables: Double-Sided AEITA Bookmark & Candle

This items were pretty great this month! Even though it’s not my fandom, the book sleeve is absolutely stunning and the pin is one of my favorites that they have done!

I said it last month, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning again: I don’t really like the fact that one of the items included is the future theme art for the next month? It feels like a waste of an item and it’s not a choice that I would make, personally.


Next Month’s Box (May):

As far as next month’s box goes, I am so incredibly excited, it’s unreal!!! The book will be Realm Breaker which is one of my most anticipated releases for this year and the customizations sound amazing! The fandoms sound mildly intriguing, but none are my top fandoms so we’ll see. I do find it very peculiar that they are including FBAA two months in a row? I guess we’ll see!


Overall, I enjoyed this month’s box. The book makes it all worth it to me, but the pin and book sleeve made it doubly worth it! I can’t wait for next (this? lol) month’s box!

~Autumn💕

Dark, Fantasy, Favorites, Illumicrate Unboxings, Romance, TBR

UNBOXING: April Illumicrate “Dearly Departed” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back with another Illumicrate unboxing today! This box was a bit late but it’s here now and I could not be more excited!


The Book:

The book this month is absolutely STUNNING!!! First off, I could not be more in love with the book pick itself. A dark, polyamorous romance you say??? HELL TO THE YES!!! Add on the stenciled edges, exclusive endpapers, and one of the prettiest art prints I have ever seen and this has GOT to be one of my most favorite books I’ve ever gotten! I can’t wait to dive into this read!


The Items:

The Beautiful Mason Jar Glass by @thatslovelydearshop
Dread Nation Sickle Key Ring by @palaceofresin
Gideon the Ninth Magnets by @_saintdri
Monthly Enamel Pin by @stacey.mcevoy.caunt
Nevernight Book Organizer by @rosdottir

As far as the items go this month, I think Illumicrate did well for the most part. A majority of their budget had to have gone to the book pot, so with that in mind, the other items were better quality than I would have thought.

While gorgeous, the book pot isn’t my favorite they’ve ever done. I love the Egyptian mythology theme, but their Forgotten Fables and Folklore book pot is still my favorite.

My favorite item BY FAR is the Nevernight book organizer! I am not ashamed to say that I’ve already put it to good use, housing some of my books! My least favorite item has to be the key ring. It’s not awful, but it’s not my fandom and you run out of enthusiasm for them after a while!


Next Month’s Box (May):

I’m excited for next month’s (this month’s lol?) box. I love me some stenciled edges so I’m looking forward to those. I am also looking forward to the Addie LaRue and City of Brass items!


Overall, I did enjoy this month’s box. The Nevernight item made the box pretty much worth it items wise, but what really sold me was the book! It’s probably my favorite pick from Illumicrate so far this year, not gonna lie!

~Autumn💕

FairyLoot Unboxings, Fantasy, Favorites, TBR

UNBOXING: March FairyLoot “Frozen Fables” Box

Hello Lovelies! I’m back for the SECOND day in a row with an unboxing 🤩 This has certainly been a good week for unboxings! I know not to keep you waiting from this awesome box so let’s just get into it!!


The Book:

I can’t express to you guys how IN LOVE I am with FairyLoot’s edition of this book! I already knew it was going to be beautiful but it blew all of my expectations out of the water! It’s definitely one of my favorite exclusives that I have ever gotten from a book box!


The Items:

Wicked Saints Headband by @catarinabookdesigns
Even the Darkest Stars Socks by @jezhawk
Winterwood Phone Ring by @ironandinkdesigns

Monthly Theme Art Print & Bookmark
Monthly Tarot Cards: Winternight

FairyLoot, on top of having a stunning book this month, absolutely knocked it out of the park with these items! I love them all and some are so stunning that pictures can’t do them justice. The mug is by far my favorite I have ever gotten! The art is just so beautiful and it is definitely my favorite item in the box! I do really like the socks and notebook though! I can’t wait to use them! My least favorite item is probably the phone ring, but it is still a useful item!

I should note, I am missing an item (like all US residents) as it was delayed in customs. The spoiler card says it is a Foiled Art Print of Spinning Silver by @warickaart. I love that artist so I’m sure it will be stunning! The print is supposed to be included with my April box so you’ll get to see it when I unbox April!


Next Month’s Box (April!!!):

Next month’s box, just like this one, is one I am HIGHLY anticipating! The book is one of my anticipated releases and it’s supposed to have STENCILED EDGES which I am honestly SO excited about! As far as the items go, the fandoms sound pretty good as well! I’m probably the most excited for the Lord of the Rings item and foiled bookmark set! They also said the box will contain an item they’ve never done before so I am very eager to see what it is 👀


Overall, this is probably one of my favorite boxes that I have ever gotten from FairyLoot! Despite missing an item, the box is still incredibly put together and I love the wintery vibes of all the items! This box definitely shows why FairyLoot is the favorite box of many people!

~Autumn 💕

Fantasy, Favorites, Illumicrate Unboxings, TBR

UNBOXING: March Illumicrate “Fighting Spirit” Box

Hello Lovelies! I used to do unboxings on this blog a while back and I missed it so much that I decided to bring it back! I receive so much bookish merch (seriously I have a problem lol) so I really wanted to share it with you all! SO today I have the March Illumicrate box to unbox for you all! Hope you enjoy as much as I did!


First up in this box, we have the stunning book! The edges are a beautiful shade of red which happens to be my favorite color so naturally, I loved what the IC team chose to do! The naked hardcover is also beautiful and the description sounds awesome!


The Items:

Court of Miracles Pin Hoop
Bone Witch Heartglass Necklace
Kingdom of the Wicked Woodmark
Winternight Tote Bag

I LOVED these items!!! This box was amazing and all of the items are pretty useful! The RosieThorns88 mug is one of my absolute favorites they’ve ever done (I am biased though because it’s Cassie Clare lol) and the pin hoop is fantastically designed! I already have so many plans for it (involving some beautiful Reylo pins 😍) but it is beautiful on its own! The tote bag is probably my least favorite (just because I have so many) but it is still pretty!


Next Month’s Box (April!!!):

Y’all have no idea how excited I am for next month’s Illumicrate box!! The book is one of my most anticipated releases with a POLYAMOROUS relationship 😍! And the fandoms…. omg the fandoms are going to be THE BEST!! I NEED some more Gideon the Ninth and Nevernight items in my life so this box is automatically a win because it has BOTH!!!


Overall, I highly enjoyed this box! It’s one of the best ones I’ve gotten and I KNOW Illumicrate’s boxes are going to improve as the year goes on! The items are all great and the book is beautiful which is what I go into a box wanting so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

~ Autumn 💕

Discussions, Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis:

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.


2.5 🍁s

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT

Okay… So I would like to preface this review by saying that I am not jumping on the Sarah J. Maas or ACOSF hate train. This review is coming from someone who has been a SJM fan for five years and has been dying for Nessian’s book for four of those. This review comes from a place of genuine disappointment. All of my opinions were formed from reading the book itself and I didn’t have any outside influences affecting that.

Now that that is out of the way… this book was disappointing. Very disappointing. The plot lacked Sarah’s usual twists and flair, the romance felt rushed and lacked development, but probably the most disappointing of all… The characters were utter shells of themselves. Some of their actions were completely out of character and some of the things that endeared them to me were missing from this book entirely. This book felt like a fan fiction of ACOTAR. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that none of this book felt like Sarah’s writing at all.

Maybe my feelings of this book are all tied to waiting so long for it. Maybe it’s because I went in expecting this to be as great as ACOMAF… The bottom line is that it didn’t cut it. And it’s not like Sarah hasn’t made a masterpiece in the past. The elements were all there for the making of a great book… A hate-to-love romance, characters with traumas and dark pasts, a complex world filled with different creatures and politics, an interesting villain… Yet somehow, this book turned all of those things into the worst forms of themselves.

Cassian and Nesta’s development, separately and together, was an utter disaster. And I’m sorry, after witnessing what Sarah did in ACOMAF, I know she can write a damn good romance with two characters healing from their past traumas. Nesta’s trauma, we barely scratched the surface on. Yeah she addressed her feelings on her dad… But what about those thousand Illyrians whose deaths she blames herself for? It was mentioned but she didn’t come to terms with it. What about her mother’s clearly abusive behavior? Never acknowledged. What about the fact that she was sexually assaulted? Brushed over and used when it was convenient. And Cassian’s traumas? Not in the picture at all. He spoke about them a couple times to make Nesta feel better, sure, but did he work on them or grow from them at all? Absolutely not.

The Nessian relationship itself was so utterly disappointing, that I honestly think I preferred them hating each other and the insults they threw at each other in ACOMAF, ACOWAR, and ACOFAS. Where was the pining? The accidental touches? The stolen glances? The pushing and pulling each other away? The slowly coming to terms with the fact that they have feelings for each other? They were practically non-existent. These two went from hurling insults and not standing to be near each other to jumping each other’s bones in practically 6.9 seconds (yes pun intended there). Instead of talking to each other and developing, they had sex instead. I love me some smut, don’t get me wrong. But there is a level of being there to grow the characters, and then there is just plain unnecessary. It’s a balancing act and Sarah didn’t even seem to try to balance the scales.

Well, what about the world? What about Nesta’s powers and the Cauldron? Yeah we barely got to see any of it. The things we did felt thrown together with no evidence from the past books. Like, I’m sorry, but the Trove felt cheap and completely out of left field. Yeah, Sarah tried to explain it away… But it’s not like she hasn’t set plot points up many books ahead before? Uhhh does anyone recall the plot twist of Crown of Midnight linking to Empire of Storms’s major point at the end? I sure do. So Sarah could have planted seeds if she had wanted to.

Now Nesta’s powers? Those were incredibly interesting. I loved how she Made things and was something we had never seen before! Yet, somehow, those were taken away in the end too… And I honestly don’t get why. It’s not like Sarah wanted to take away her powers to make her normal like the other characters. No, Rhys and Feyre are practically Gods with their powers so there is no reason why Nesta has to be normal. Is three all powerful characters too much now? Well it’s not like they would have been put to use anyway when that villain was dealt with in such a convenient way with a sweet bow on top! Yeah because that had to be a major let down too. Bryallin was dealt with so quickly I had to stop and reread the scene to make sure I was understanding correctly. You’re telling me that with all the power of the Crown she somehow lasted two books less than the wimpy Fae King of Hybern? REEALLLY?

All of that aside… I thought I’d at minimum be able to comfort myself with my love of the other characters. And while I enjoyed Rhys and Feyre having a baby, let’s be frank… That felt convenient too. Fae pregnancies are supposed to be rare, yet Feyre AND Vivian are pregnant by this book? Yeah Sarah I think you need to re-examine your own rules for your worlds. That aside, Feyre felt like a patronizing hypocrite this entire book and Rhys… *Sighs* Rhys is (Was?) my favorite male character of all time. I loved him from the moment he stepped on the page on ACOTAR… Yet he came off like an utter asshole during this book. It breaks my heart. It truly does, to say that. At one point in my life, I worshipped the ground he walked on. Yet this book didn’t have my Rhys. The things I loved and aspired to see in my own choice of partner were gone in this book. He was unrecognizable. I honestly don’t have the words to convey how much that hurts to say. It makes me wish I hadn’t read this book, if I’m being honest. Just so that my memories wouldn’t be tainted.

Despite all of that, there were some things I enjoyed… Nesta’s relationships with Gwen and Emerie were a high point for me. Female friendships are something that I would consider Sarah really got at, which we got in this book. The House was also a great part. It reminded me of feelings I had for Abraxos. The House was a friend who wanted nothing but to help Nesta, which I loved. Helion, for the brief moments he was in this book, was a shining star. He consistently made me smile. Eris and his mysteries were intriguing and I have been dying to learn more about him since ACOWAR so I loved seeing him in this book. I also highly enjoyed the ballroom scene and the Winter Solstice. Those were some bright moments where I felt my old friend ACOMAF shine through. And finally, Nesta herself. Her trauma and growth weren’t there, but I saw the core of her shine through. When she ripped into Tamlin, I felt so much joy and vindication of three books in the making. I don’t care what people say, he deserved that and Nesta gave it to him better than anyone else.

In conclusion, I had a lot of problems with this book. I honestly can’t even begin to say how much that hurts. I never thought in a million years I would feel this way. I’m being as open and raw as I can be when I say that it will take time for me to get over this. I’d love to say I will be continuing the series, but I think I need to step away for a while. Luckily, Sarah has been writing slower so I will probably get that time. To all of you out there that are disappointed, I am so sorry and I hope this didn’t taint your love for the series. For those that enjoyed this book, I am so glad for you! I wish I could share your joy. Thank you to everyone who made it to the end and for reading my little corner of feelings. It’s appreciated more than you know ❤

ARCs, Blog Tour, Dark, Fantasy, Release Blitz/Blast, TBR

BLOG TOUR (+EXCERPT): A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Hello Lovelies! This wonderful book is out in the world today and I was given the amazing opportunity to be a part of the blog tour for its release! I have an excerpt from the book for you guys below to check out!


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Synopsis:

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.


EXCERPT:

My mother was screaming at the Comte. Again.

I slammed the front doors behind me and walked down the carriageway, under the dappled shade of the poplars that lined it. A hundred paces away, I still heard her, though at least I could no longer hear the Comte’s frantic endearments and low, rapid pleading. He should know by now that wasn’t the way. Perhaps I should tell him. Adrien was the first of my mother’s patrons I had ever liked, and I did not want to leave Normandy just as spring was breaking. Just as we were beginning to make progress.

Though perhaps we were not. Mother would not be screaming at the Comte if the work were going well. She would not take the time. Alchemy was a demanding science, even if some scoffed and called it charlatanry or magic. It required total concentration. If the work were going well, the Comte would scarcely exist to her, nor would I, now that she would not let me be of use. The com- position must have broken again. This was about when it had, last round. I could not be certain, since she had taken away my key to the laboratory. She could hardly have de- vised a worse insult than that if she had tried, and lately she did seem to be trying. The laboratory was mine as much as it was hers. If she did succeed in producing the White Elixir—which turned all metals into silver—then it was only because of my help. She had found Jābir’s text languishing in a Spanish monastery, but it had been I who translated it when her Arabic wasn’t nearly up to the job. I had labored for months over the calcinary furnace to make the philosophic mercury the text took as its starting point. I had the scars on my hands and arms to prove it. And now that success might be close, she wished to shut me out and deny my part, and claim it for herself alone.

But if she was acting ill and cross, it meant she had failed. A low, smug hum of satisfaction warmed me. I didn’t want the work to fail, but I didn’t want her to suc- ceed without me, either.

A distant smashing sound rang out from the chateau. My mother shattering something against the wall, no doubt.

I sighed and shifted my letter box to the crook of my other arm.

I knew what this meant. Another move. Another man. The Comte had lasted longer than the rest. Over two years, long enough that I had begun to hope I would not have to do it all again. I hated the uncertainty of those first weeks, before I knew what was expected of me, whether Mother’s new patron had a temper and what might set it off, whether he liked children to speak or be silent. Though I was no longer a child, and that might bring its own problems. A chill passed over me, despite the warm afternoon sunshine. God only knew what the next one would be like. My mother had already run through so many of them. And with the recent changes in France, there were fewer rich men than ever looking to give patronage to an expensive alchemist, even one as beautiful and famous as Marguerite Hope.

I veered off the carriageway, into the soft spring grass, dotted here and there with the first of the lavender anemones. I sat by the stream, under the plum tree.

There was no screaming here, no pleading, no signs that my life was about to change for the worse. I inhaled the soft, sweet scent of plum blossoms and opened my letter box. If this was to be my last spring in Normandy, I wanted to re- member it like this. Springtime in Normandy was soft and sweet, sun shining brightly and so many things blossoming that the very air was perfumed with promise. Everything was coming extravagantly to life, bursting out of the dead ground and bare trees with so much energy other impossible things seemed likely, too. I had always been hopeful in Normandy when it was spring. Especially last spring, when Will was still here. When we sat under this very tree, drank both bottles of champagne he had stolen from the cellars, and spun tales of everything we could achieve.


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