Book Review||A Court Of Wings And Ruin **Contains Spoilers!!**

Before I even get started, this review IS SPOILERY AS HECK SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK YET, LOOK AWAY!!!  

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Now, onto the review.

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Title: A Court Of Wings And Ruin

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 2017

Version: Audiobook

Genre: NA, Fantasy

Rating: 3.5ish/5 Stars

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

**Spoilers Below**


Ah, ACOWAR, where to start?  Well, for starters, I have been putting off reading this book since it came out in May because it’s pretty long and I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about the series as a whole.  But, here we are 22ish hours of audiobook later!

As far as the rating, I gave ACOTAR (#1) a 3 star rating (which is probably way too generous, but it was entertaining dang it), ACOMAF (#2) a 4 star rating, and this one a 3.5 star rating, so #2 in the series is still my favorite.

Neat, now let’s get into the actual book.  First, I thought the plot, especially for the finale to the Feyre/Rhys storyline was seriously lacking.  It was lacking in action and it felt like it took actually forever to get to the main points and instead had a ton of fillers in it that didn’t add to the plot.

Even the ending battle scenes were super tame and not the epic action-packed, heart-wrenching moments I was seriously hoping for.  I may be twisted for saying this, but I also kind of squint at authors who refuse to kill any of their characters off when it makes sense for characters to die, like in super epic, world-shattering battles like at the end of the book.  And I know, Rhys and Amren technically “die”, but the are obviously brought back to life because of reasons and the cauldron and magic and love.

And I know I know, Feyre’s dad dies, but he is present in all of two minutes of the entire series, so not a tear was shed during that part.  Am I heartless?  It’s possible.  But I still wanted to feel some sadness over the repercussions of such a monumental battle at the end and I just didn’t.

I also actually rolled my eyes at some parts between Feyre and Rhys.  It was all good and fine in the second book when they had sexual tension up to their eyeballs, but hearing them tell each other how beautiful they are and reading sex scenes that have gotten even more uncomfortable in this book so many times was just not my favorite.

Enough of the complaining because I did give this book 3.5 stars which means I definitely enjoyed it, I swear!  There is just something about Maas’ writing that I can’t help but enjoy and her world building and creativity is pretty amazing.  Also, I want about 10 books of Nesta just being her badass self and being so over everyone and everything around her.  I am ready, SJM, I am so ready.

 

 

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Readathon by Zoe Halloween Edition TBR

I am so excited because this Saturday, I’m participating in my second ever Read-A-Thon!  This one is the readathonbyzoe (from readbyzoe) and her video announcement can be found on booktube here!  I really enjoy watching readbyzoe’s videos and she announces when she does her 24 hour read-a-thons so anyone can participate, so you totally should too!

The reading will take place this Saturday October 14th from 12am until 11:59 pm your time depending on your time zone and I will be joining Zoe in reading spooky books.

I have 2 1/2ish books in particular I am planning on reading for the readathonbyzoe and who knows if I’ll even get to finish one of these, but no matter!  Here is my (possibly ambitious) tbr:

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving: I definitely won’t be able to finish all of Irving’s stories, but I do want to read this spooky tale this Saturday!

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson:  I think this is going to be the next book on my TBR because it’s short and sounds really, really creepy.

Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola: This book will be if somehow I miraculously finish the other two stories I plan on reading and need something dark and gothic.

That’s it!  My short and sweet TBR for the 24 hour readathonbyzoe this Saturday!  I hope some of you join in on all the reading this weekend!

*Evil cackle*

 

Not Even Mid-October Book Haul, AKA I have No Self-Control

Okay, so I have no self-control when it comes to buying books.  My TBR pile grows and I just keep adding to it, but there are so many amazing books out there and there are so many places where I live that sell super discounted books that I am justifying all of this.

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Here are the 15 books I have in this haul:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: A classic that will be perfect for around Christmas. And I’ve never actually read this book, so it’s time to do that.

The Stranger by Albert Camus: All I know about this book is that a man gets caught up in a murder in Algeria and that for such a small book, this novel has very mixed reviews, so I’m excited to see how I feel about it after I read it!

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: I love Kahlil Gibran’s poetry, so I’m glad to have a collection of his poems.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh: I’ve read I See You by Mackintosh, but have heard that this book, about a woman whose son is killed in a car accident.  I’ve heard there are a ton of twists and this book is an excellent thriller.

The House Of Forgetting by Bejamin Alire Sáenz: I absolutely love Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, so I was super happy to find this book at my library book sale.  Also, I had no idea that Sáenz wrote a psychological thriller about a girl who has been kidnapped, so I’m interested to see how this book turns out.

Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: It’s kind of hard to explain what this book is about, but it sounds like a great mix of fantasy and satire and I’ve heart nothing but excellent things about it.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: I’ve heard this series compared to A Series Of Unfortunate Events, which I love, so this book about a secret society for gifted children, complete with top secret missions.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: This is a book where the synopsis and reviews don’t quite match up on Goodreads.  It’s about a girl, Roza, who disappears, and a boy who tries to find out what happened to her.  I think.  And maybe some magical realism?  I guess I’ll have to read and find out.

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow And Other Stories by Washington Irving: Another classic story I have yet to read and is absolutely perfect for this time of year.  Also, I wish my cover looked like the one pictured because it is awesome!

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson: The short but creepy book about a possibly murderous family who live in isolation from the surrounding village.  I have yet to read a Shirley Jackson, so I’m excited to get to this one.

Thérèse Raquin by Émilie Zola: A gothic story with an adulterous marriage and motivation for murder.  Sounds like my cup of tea.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin: I recently read this one and it’s about a women, who as a teenager, was found almost dead in a field of black-eyed susans.  Years later, she questions everything she thinks she knows about the crime as the man accused sits on death row.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: The blurb is pretty vague, but I think this book is about vampires?  I’ve heard great things and it’s Stephen King, so it’s bound to be scary.

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson: I read Tiger Lily by Anderson not too long ago and loved her writing style, so I’m excited to get to this book about a town where girls keep going missing.

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine: This book sounds so good and I can’t wait to read it.  It’s about a woman who moves to her ancestors’ estate in Scotland and finds human remains.

Those are the books I’ve bought since my last book haul.  The title was originally Mid-October Book Haul because that sounds better than “Only Eight Days Into October Book Haul”, but I am kidding myself.  It’s not mid-month yet and I am already a book hauling fiend.

Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think?  Thanks for reading!

Book Review || The Room By The Lake

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Title: The Room By The Lake

Author: Emma Dibdin

Publication Date: August 2017

Version: Physical Book

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…


I don’t know if I’ve had really high expectations with thrillers recently, but I have to say, the last couple of thriller/mystery/suspense novels I’ve read I thought I would love a lot more.  That’s not to say they’ve been necessarily bad, but just that I thought I’d be giving out a ton of 4/5 star reviews this month, which leads me to The Room By The Lake.

This was definitely not a bad book.  3.5 stars means I liked it pretty well, but did have some issues with it.  The plot intrigued me from the get go and I think the book was cleverly written and paced.  It starts out as a bit slower with the plot as we meet and learn about our main character, Caitlin, and her new boyfriend, Jake.  However, as the book progresses, the suspense builds as well as a sense of foreboding and dread that are present throughout the entire story.

The atmosphere is perfectly creepy and the reader just knows something bad is going to happen and that Jake’s “family” may not be as perfect as they seem.  While there aren’t a lot of typical “twists” in the story, the writing kept me on my toes the whole time and even during the slower parts, the underlying tension made the story move along.

There are parts of this story that maybe aren’t the most believable and there are parts where I questioned the characters’ choices in certain situations, but I do think that Dibdin did a good job of creating situations that are realistic as I saw how Caitlin got wrapped up in life at the commune.

I don’t think this book will be for all thriller/suspense lovers, but if the plot sounds interesting to you and you don’t mind slower paced thrillers, then definitely check this book out.

 

Book Review || Shallow Graves

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Title: These Shallow Graves

Author: Kali Wallace

Publication Date: January 2016

Version: Physical Book

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

 

Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.

Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.

Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.


I picked this book up after reading the synopsis and being super intrigued, knowing nothing about else about it.  And it started off so, so strong.  It really did.  We have the main character, Breezy, who wakes up after being dead for a year now knowing what the heck is going on.  We find out as the story progresses that she is kind of a badass and is one of the main reasons why I gave this book a 2.5.

Sadly, after the beginning, the book went downhill for me.  All of the other characters we meet felt incredibly flat and the story went in a completely different direction than I first thought.  The whole middle part of the story completely dragged and ideas and questions are introduced that are never explained, which gives a sense of incomplete world building.

The whole book feels like there needs to be a sequel or like it’s setting up for further world building, which is a shame that it doesn’t feel like it could stand on its own.  If there is a sequel in the works, I probably wouldn’t pick it up and per Goodreads, as of last year, the author wrote that it is meant to be a standalone.

I did really like Breezy as a character and I liked the diverse characters and the themes that run through the book, which can be very heavy, but are handled really well.  However, the overall story just didn’t do it for me.

 

Book Review || Black-Eyed Susans

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Title: Black-Eyed Susans

Author: Julia Heaberlin

Publication Date: August 2015

Version: Physical Book

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.
 
Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.
 
What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.


I usually put the synopsis of a book into my review so readers know what it’s about before I give my thoughts and therefore, can decide whether it is something they would be interested in.  However, take this synopsis at face value because I don’t think it does the best job in explaining what this book is about.

This book is marketed as suspense, and I agree that it is, but it is definitely a character study and a slow-burning suspense.  The pacing is on the slower side for suspense novels, so that is definitely something to consider when picking up this book.

That being said, I thought that the author did a great job of pulling the reader in with an exciting turn of events when the pace started to slow down.  I also enjoyed most of the main characters, which is especially important for a character driven story.  I did think some of the secondary characters felt flat and didn’t really add a lot to the story.

There are a few big twists at the end that I personally liked and though they weren’t the most realistic options for the ending, I enjoyed the shock factor and thought they were well planned out.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book.  I didn’t love it and thought the writing style was a little too meandering for my taste, but if you like slow-burning, character driven novels and don’t mind long paragraphs of internal dialogue, this may just be the perfect Halloween read for you!

Fall Time, Cozy Time Book Tag

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Ah, Fall.  One of my absolute favorite times of year.  In honor of this gorgeous season, here is a lovely tag about fallish books.  Thank you so much to Alex @ Whimsy Pages for tagging me and definitely give her lovely blog a visit!

Let’s jump right into it!


CRUNCHING LEAVES: THE WORLD IS FULL OF COLOR – CHOOSE A BOOK THAT HAS REDS/ORANGES/YELLOWS ON THE COVER

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The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Sounds creepy and perfect for fall!  Unfortunately, this book doesn’t come out until next year, but it’s on my TBR and it definitely puts me in the mood for all things spooky this fall.


COZY SWEATER: IT’S FINALLY COLD ENOUGH TO WEAR WARM COZY CLOTHING – WHAT BOOK GIVES YOU THE WARM FUZZIES?

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My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

The relationship between Elsa and her Granny is so perfect and reminds me of my cherished memories of my own Grandma.  This book absolutely gives me all of the warm and fuzzies.


FALL STORM: THE WIND IS HOWLING AND THE RAIN IS POUNDING – CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OR GENRE THAT YOU LIKE TO READ ON A STORMY DAY.

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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

And really, suspense/thriller/mystery are my favorite to read on a dark and stormy day.  If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend going into it not knowing anything because that makes all of the twists and turns that more exciting!


COOL CRISP AIR: WHAT’S THE COOLEST CHARACTER YOU’D WANT TO TRADE PLACES WITH?

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Alex answered the exact same thing, but obviously, my number one girl, Hermione Granger.


HOT APPLE CIDER: WHAT UNDER HYPED BOOK DO YOU WANT TO SEE BECOME THE NEXT BIGGEST, HOTTEST THING?

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The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

My full review of this incredible book can be found here and I need this book to be more hyped because it is AWESOME.


COAT, SCARVES, AND MITTENS: THE WEATHER HAS TURNED COLD AND IT’S TIME TO COVER UP – WHAT’S THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK COVER YOU OWN THAT YOU LIKE TO KEEP HIDDEN IN PUBLIC?

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When A Scot Ties The Knot by Tessa Dare

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

All of Tessa Dare’s covers are this amazing.  Which is why I read them all on my Kindle.


PUMPKIN SPICE: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FALL TIME COMFORTS FOOD/FOODS?

Soup, bread, apple pie, and coffeecoffeecoffee!


I officially challenge anyone who would like to complete this cozy, fallish book tag to do it.  Consider yourself tagged!

Thanks for reading!