Fantasy, Favorites, Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.


🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

“Through love, all is possible.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
Where to begin? I had been waiting for this book since it was announced two years ago. I knew very little about it besides the fact that there would be shifters, Fae, and angels. I truly felt like Sarah had a direct line to my heart when I heard this because those are literally my top three favorite supernatural creatures in existence! And I didn’t need to hear any more after that!

To start, I will say that the first 200 pages or so of this book was overwhelming. There was a TON of information and, even though there is a map in the front of the book, it did not help me at all. I swear I need a thirty-page glossary to understand all of the places, creatures, people, government terms, and historical meanings of this book. For me, this book didn’t really pick up until after the first 400 pages. As mentioned above, the first half seemed extremely info-dumpy and there was a bunch of plot set up stuff happening. While Bryce and Hunt were going through with their investigation and making progress, I still felt like the overall plot wasn’t getting anywhere. I was really concerned that I wasn’t going to like this book because of this.

Luckily, the second half the book was phenomenally better. The plot was moving at a much faster pace, the character connections and relationships that Sarah is known for started to shine, and the plot twists started to unfold left and right. Tears were streaming down my face and I didn’t even turn over to grab a tissue to wipe them because I didn’t want to put the book down! I fell absolutely in love with this story and I saw everything that makes Sarah my favorite author come out. It was an emotional roller coaster but I am so happy that I picked this book up.

Bryce- Bryce is my girl!!! Her character is so relatable at the beginning of the story and watching her develop over the course of this one book was simply magical. Her dedication and never ending loyalty to her friends and family constantly brought tears to my eyes and I am so excited to see where her character will go from here.

Hunt- I’m not gonna lie, it took me a bit to warm up to Hunt. He just wasn’t grabbing me quite as much as some of the other characters in this book. I have heard people say he is a mixture of Rhys and Rowan from Sarah’s other series and I would completely agree with that. He has Rowan’s demeanor with Rhysand’s back story which made him an interesting character to follow. By the end of this book, I was completely in love with his character and I adored the arc that he went through. It was so beautiful!

Dannika & Her Pack- How is it that these characters were only physically involved in the story for five chapters, yet I love them so much and it hurt so bad when they died? I think this is a true testament to Sarah’s power as an author because Dannika and her pack just felt like any other character to me. I love them just as much as I love Bryce or Hunt and I cried at many different points in the book when they were mentioned.

Ruhn- God, I love Ruhn. He was everything I wanted his character to be and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface for him. He did play a major role in this book, but I feel like his character is only going to blossom more over the course of the next installments. I am DYING to see where his story is going and to see this power struggle with his father come to a head.

Syrinx- This little chimera has my whole heart and is undoubtably my favorite character in this book. You have no idea how close I came to hyperventilating when Syrinx fell in that cage. I had tears rolling down my face and I swore that if he died, I wouldn’t read another SJM book.

Lehabah- This sweet little fire sprite had my whole heart it isn’t even funny. I just sobbed when she sacrificed herself and a part of me still can’t believe that she is gone. She became one of my favorite characters in such a short time and her loss will definitely be felt in the future installments.

Fury & Juniper- Juniper was sweet, and I liked her, but I am definitely more intrigued by Fury. She reminds me a lot of Amren and I need to know more about her! While I really liked these two, I felt like they didn’t play as big of a role as they could have. I think their character development and their storyline is going come into play in the future books more than they did in this one.

Hypaxia- I guessed the Hypaxia plot twist almost immediately. As soon as she met Ruhn and didn’t say her name, I knew. I loved what she did for Hunt and I know she will be one of Bryce’s biggest allies in the future installments. Is it wrong that I already ship her and Ruhn lol?

Micah- I did not see the Micah twist coming AT ALL. To be honest, I thought that he was more slated to be a love interest than a villain. I couldn’t have been more wrong lol. Well I’m happy he’s dead now.

Sandriel- I swear I’m never felt so much satisfaction as the moment that Hunt killed her. God, I couldn’t stand her. She gave me severe Amarantha vibes and I am SOOO happy that she is out of the picture now.

Jesiba- I’m not sure how I feel about Jesiba yet. Her treatment of Bryce throughout this book rubbed me the wrong way, but I am also really intrigued by her character. I want to learn more about her and her back story so bad!

Aidas- Is it wrong that he is a Prince of Hel, but I like him already? Like I don’t know if he is evil yet, but he is certainly morally grey. I loved that brief interaction between him, Bryce, and Hunt and I’m dying for more. That epilogue between him and Jesiba has me so hyped to find out what will happen next, it’s not even funny.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book. There are so many characters and plot points that I could just go on and on forever about them so unfortunately I only hit on the major ones for this review. I am sure that all of the others will come up in my future reviews when they all become more critical to the story. And have no doubt, I will definitely be reading the next book! Is it 2021 yet???


Other Books in the Series:

Book Two ~ To Be Released

Book Three ~ To Be Released

Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

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Synopsis:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


3.5 🍁s

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
After three years of wanting to read it and two years of people telling me I should, I finally picked up The Cruel Prince. The most important thing I can say in this review is that the book was very different than what I thought it would be. I was under the impression that it was this beautifully written, hate-to-love/forbidden romance, with fairies, political intrigue, and an all out adventure. The best way I can describe it to you is that I thought this was going to be a better, more fairy oriented, The Iron King. Yeah… That was not this book. To give you my thoughts accurately, I’ll just tackle those one by one:

The Writing Style- It got better as the book went on, but when I first started the book, the writing came off info-dumpy, a lot of telling instead of showing, and just wasn’t flowing well. As I said, it did get better, but I can see how some people DNF’d this book in the beginning because of it.

The Romance- Before I get into the specifics of the romance in this book, I’m just gonna let you know that I am a hopeless romantic, I hate to read a book without a romance, and the whole reason I picked this book up was because I heard that the couple in this book was one of the best ever written. With all that in mind, I don’t know what some people were reading, but the Cardan/Jude romance, was practically nonexistent!!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. If I wouldn’t have been told by other people beforehand, I would have NEVER paired the two together. They HATE each other and I’m not entirely sure they wouldn’t kill each other if they could. This book is told in Jude’s perspective and she never expressed anything other than hate for Cardan. She acknowledges he is beautiful (like every other fairy), but she never even remotely expresses being attracted to him. If there truly is a romance budding between these two, it is about the slowest burn possible. I’ve never read anything like it. Like, I saw nothing between them.

There is one small kiss towards the end of the book, but the whole reason it happened was because Jude wanted to throw Cardan off balance. It had nothing to do with being attracted to him or wanting to do it. And after that, she kept thinking about him in that way. It was like a switch had been thrown. It came entirely out of left field and made me not connect with it at all. Whenever Jude had any feeling like that towards Cardan after the kiss, my reaction was like, “Oh, please. This is ridiculous.” It felt like the author was trying put something together that was just not there. I mean come on, even excluding all of that, Jude is literally with another guy for a big portion of this book! I just can’t.

Fairies/Political Intrigue- If nothing else, this book had plenty of fairies and their politics. And that was ultimately this book’s saving grace for me. I found myself becoming hooked on all the drama and politics. I might have disliked everything else about the book, but this aspect of it kept me reading and made me give it the rating that I did. The story was unpredictable with many twists and turns, I ate the drama up like candy, and I am dying to know what will happen next.

Jude- This might come off as really bad and if Jude is one of your favorite female characters, I’m sorry… But I really didn’t like her. She made so many stupid and reckless decisions that I just couldn’t bring myself to care anymore towards the end, because I knew I was going to disagree with her on her ultimate decision. She was unrelatable and 90% of her decisions made absolutely no sense to me. In any other story where she is not the main character, she would have been dead ten times over by now. She really is one of the rare instances where I would call a character TSTL. I’d say that I hope she gets better in the next book, but I highly doubt it.

Cardan- Going in to this book, I had such I high expectations and hopes for Cardan. I had heard that he was bad and morally grey and snarky and arrogant and just basically everything I look for in male characters. But he just came off dull for 80% of the book! For a long time, I was just really disappointed with him and the only thing about him that I found even remotely interesting was that he has a tail! (No, I’m not even joking.) He was just background noise until Jude had him as her prisoner. I actually have hopes for him in the next book and I want him to become the male I was expecting him to be. I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out.

Jude’s Sisters- I hate Taryn and how she acts. She comes across as a spoiled brat and her eagerness to throw her relationship with Jude under the bus infuriates and disgusts me to no end. Vivienne was a lot more relatable and I liked her character a lot more. She was actually my favorite out of the three sisters. She seemed like the only one that had her head on straight.

It might not seem like it, but despite everything listed above, I did enjoy this book. I highly enjoyed the plot and the world and I will be continuing with the next book. I am very eager to start it and see where this story goes next.


Other Books in the Series:

The Wicked King ~ TBR

Queen of Nothing ~ Not Released Yet

Fantasy, Reviews, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs

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Synopsis:

In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.


🍁🍁

“My old pastor liked to say that church is a hospital for the sick, not a mausoleum for the saints.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
This book was a giant let down. I don’t know if it’s because I had been hyping the book up in my head for the past two years, if I have just fallen out of love with this series, or if it was just not a good book, but for some reason or another, this book just fell flat.

While the plot moved fast, I constantly found myself bored and not attached to what was happening in any way. I think the main reason for this is because I am a very character driven person and this book was honestly 80% plot and 20% characters. There were very few moments where I was genuinely connected with what was happening. The only scenes that really made me smile or feel happy was the Adam and Mercy scenes which, to be honest, I have to say that I kind of prefer Adam’s character to Mercy’s?!

What I Liked- I liked the Elizaveta plot twist and her turning into a black witch was done really well. I also enjoyed the mini Paul redemption arc. That little scene really warmed my heart.

What I Didn’t Like- 1. Besides the stuff mentioned above, there wasn’t nearly enough Stefan in this book. I love him to pieces and Mercy’s problems with him right now is just overkill. 2. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve read so many of these books, but the villains aren’t even scary any more. I didn’t think for one moment that Mercy and her friends would lose while I was reading this. Plus, all of the villains are really one-dimensional. They are wholly bad and uninteresting. Can’t we get a morally grey/multi-dimensional villain for once? 3. The fae meeting was such a let down. It was hyped up the whole book and I was SO interested in seeing the humans interact with the Gray Lords but it was literally mentioned briefly in a paragraph at the end! What is that?!?!

Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. I don’t know if I will be continuing the series or not at this point. I guess it will just depend on what the next book is about.


Other Books in the Series:

 

Dark, Fantasy, Favorites, Reviews, Romance

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.


🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

1st Read Rating: 5 Stars
2nd Read Rating: 5 Stars
3rd Read Rating: 5 Stars

May 9, 2019 Review (5 Stars)-
MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:

*This whole review is basically going to be me gushing over how much I love the characters and the series so… You’ve been warned*

This book is my favorite book of all time… I’m just gonna let that sink in for a moment…

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

No matter how many times I read it, I still love it more than words can describe each time. My love for these characters and this series grows more and more as time passes and I can’t put into words what this series means to me. It deserves literally all of the stars and more and me rating it five stars doesn’t do it justice.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

Rhysand- Rhys is my favorite male character ever. I fall for him every time I read this book and I absolutely sob my eyes out every time I read chapters 54 and 55. Hearing him talk about everything he has been through and was prepared to give up for Feyre’s happiness guts me. He always put her first and always gave her a choice, no matter what he wanted… I can’t put into words how perfect he is and I don’t believe that it is possible to love a character more.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Feyre- I’m not gonna lie, it has taken me a while to warm up to Feyre. I wasn’t her biggest fan before this book. She came off whiny and I just didn’t like her way of thinking. I honestly feel like her character is what turns a lot of people off to this series during the first book. But I have found, that if you push through the first book, her character goes through one of the biggest arcs I have ever seen. Feyre turns into this strong and independent woman that I really admire. Late ACOTAR Feyre and late ACOMAF Feyre are SO different, you barely recognize her. And I have come to really appreciate that part of this story. I personally feel like Sarah is best when she is writing about a character that starts of broken.. and that is what Feyre is at the start of this book. She is in one of darkest places imaginable and watching her slowly come back to life throughout this book brings me to tears. Every. Time.

“And I realized—I realized how badly I’d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.”

Tamlin- After reading this book for the third time, I have stopped being angry at Tamlin… I am well past anger now. I HATE him and his character. The whole ending to this book pisses me off to a whole other level. I don’t care what Tamlin does in ANY future books, I will never forgive him for what happened to Elain and Nesta… But more so for Rhys… whose mother and sister were slaughtered because of TAMLIN. That can never be undone in my opinion and I’ll never forget it. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and that’s never gonna change for me.

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, Lucien, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

Lucien- A lot of people didn’t blame Lucien like I feel they should have. He was a bystander to everything that happened and he just watched. He watched Feyre waste away and, in my mind, he doesn’t deserve Elain and he never will. (Yes, I have read the future books and I know a lot of people forgive him, but I’ll get more into why I do not in my ACOWAR review).

“The Court of Dreams. The people who knew that there was a price, and one worth paying, for that dream. The bastard- born warriors, the Illyrian half breed, the monster trapped in a beautiful body, the dreamer born into a court of nightmares… And the huntress with an artist’s soul.”

The Court of Dreams-
I love every member of The Court of Dreams SOOOOOO much. They are all so beautiful and perfect and their stories break my heart. I cry every time I read about it and I am so happy that this group of broken misfits have found each other. There is no better squad family out there.

“I think Nesta feels everything— sees too much; sees and feels it all. And she burns with it. Keeping that wall up helps from being overwhelmed, from caring too greatly.”

Nesta- A lot of people struggle with Nesta’s character, but I don’t. After that point in ACOTAR where she tells Feyre that the glamour didn’t work on her and she searched for her sister, I knew that Nesta was a good person. She uses that anger and steel on the outside, but I can tell, she’s just as broken as The Court of Dreams members, she just hides it better. AND I really hope that Nesta’s book does justice to her character and we get to see more of the beautiful person that I know is there deep down.

“There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

Elain- I connect with Elain the most out of the Archeron sisters, because I am most like her. Soft-hearted and a romantic at heart… and I will always love Elain because of it. Lucien is not worthy of her, and I am a firm #Elriel shipper (but I’ll get more into that in my ACOWAR review).

“And so Tamlin unwittingly led the High Lady of the Night Court into the heart of his territory.”

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book (like every other time I have read it)! I honestly couldn’t love this story more and I will ALWAYS cherish it. Whether is remains my favorite book or not (though I hardly doubt that any book could replace it… unless written by Sarah of course).

April 4, 2017 Review (5 Stars)-
I absolutely adored this book! I could not put it down even to sleep. If you are skeptical to read it, let me assure you that, if you read nothing else, read this book. I LOVE Sarah J. Maas’ writing! The world- building is absolutely phenomenal. If you liked the first book you will definitely love this book. I read it and can not wait for the next and final book. I have read this book twice now which is saying something because I never reread books. Sarah J. Maas is the only author that I will ever reread because her books are just that good. I implore you to read this book!


Other Books in the Series:

4 🍁s ~ A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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

4 🍁s ~ A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas