Wednesday, October 14, 2020

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas Review

 Title: House of Earth and Blood: Crescent City 


Author: Sarah J. Maas 


Age Group: Adult 


Genre: Fantasy/Romance 


Series: Crescent City, book one 


Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 


A dear friend of mine bought this book for me as a gift—thank you so much, Amelia! 


I’ve been in a remarkable slump lately; I’ve returned all of my library books and started on my own library. I received this book as a gift from one of my Discord friends, and I decided to read it when I couldn’t break my book slump. Overall, I very much enjoyed it, but I wish there had been more payoff, romantically. This is Sarah J. Maas’s first adult offering, and for the most part, I really liked it! I wasn’t sure about it at first, but this enchanting mystery won me over! This series is set in an alternate fantasy world, where gods and angels rule witches, faeries, demons and vampires.  


Bryce Quinlan is the daughter of a mortal and a fey, a half-breed. She’s an unapologetic party girl who loves her friends, but everything changes when her best friend, Danika, and the rest of her pack dies of mysterious circumstances. Desperate to find out the truth behind the death of her best friend, she finds herself entrenched in a mystery that goes far deeper than she ever could have imagined. Add to that the sexy angel, Hunt Athalar, who has his own reasons for trying to solve the murder. Forced into an unlikely alliance, Bryce and Hunt must discover the truth, and risk finding each other in the process... 


I’ll be honest: Sarah J. Maas and I have had a complicated relationship. I loved her debut novel, Throne of Glass, but I didn’t finish the series, and her young adult romance trilogy, A Court of Thorns and Roses, is my favorite. I wasn’t sure about this book at first; it was really slow going. But it really picked up around a hundred pages or so, and I was absolutely hooked! I loved the mystery that was presented throughout the novel; it was really interesting to read a fantasy with such a deadly catalyst at its center. I adored Bryce and Hunt and the buildup to their relationship, but I wish that aspect had been explored more. I’m so, so salty that I have to wait until 2021 for the next book! This was the one thing that bugged me about the book. There was too much romantic and sexual tension that wasn’t relieved near enough to my taste. Nonetheless, this series debut was still really strong, and I enjoyed it, despite not being quite satisfied. The bottom line: Sexy, romantic, and surprising, I loved House of Earth and Blood and I can’t wait for the sequel! Next on deck: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab! 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Henna Wars by Abida Jaigirdar Review

 Title: The Henna Wars 

Author: Abida Jaigirdar 


Age Group: Teen/Young Adult 


Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance 


Series: Standalone 


Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 


I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it. 


I’ve been in such a bad reading slump lately guys; I’m so sorry that it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed. But thankfully, The Henna Wars broke it! My library is still not open and has no plans on opening up soon; thankfully they’ve got curbside service, so there’s that at least. The Henna Wars was a beautiful and emotional coming of age story; I love gay fiction, but this is the first time that I’ve ever read about a Muslim lesbian’s experience! Was this book hard to get through at times? Absolutely. But I loved every minute of it, even when it was painful. This might be one of my favorite books of 2020; it was bittersweet, tender and at times, difficult to get through, but I loved every moment of it. 


Nishat is a young Bengali girl living in Ireland, and she is a lesbian, despite her family being super conservative and traditional. She comes out to her parents, only to find that they are embarrassed of her. After a Bengali wedding where she runs into an old classmate, Flavia, Nishat wonders if love is in the cards for her. When her business teacher announces that she will be holding a competition with a thousand euros as the prize, Nishat turns to something she has always loved to do: henna. When Flavia announces that her business will also be revolving around henna, a rivalry forms between the two girls. Things get even more complicated when someone in her class outs her. Will Nishat win the competition? Even more important, will she accept herself? 


I really, really enjoyed this book; it was so different. I loved how this book took a person of color and put her experience in the spotlight. Diverse books for the win! I was immediately transfixed by Nishat’s distinct voice; I loved watching her grow throughout the novel. I also enjoyed the way that the book took Bengali culture—a culture I knew little to nothing about, before now—was put in the spotlight. The pacing was breakneck and I loved how Nishat interacted with her peers, but especially her family, Flavia, and her childhood nemesis, Chyna. I loved how this book was so true to life, even though it was painful. At times it was very painful to read, especially the homophobia, but I very much loved this book! It was a coming of age story unlike any I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it! The bottom line: Romantic, hilarious, bittersweet and real, I loved The Henna Wars! Next on deck: Court of Miracles by Kester Grant!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid

 Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely 

Author: Brigid Kemmerer 

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult 

Genre: Fantasy 

Series: Curse Breakers, book one 

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it. 


I bought myself this book for my birthday this year, because some friends of mine on Discord wanted to do a read along. I just finished this book last week and I still can’t get it out of my head. I love retellings of fairy tales, but it’s rare that I come across one so unique. This creative, tender spin on a traditional Beauty and the Beast tale was wonderful, but my favorite part of it was how the main character, Harper, has cerebral palsy, just like me! Lyrical, fast-paced, surprising and heartfelt, I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely, and I can’t wait for the sequel! I’m so happy that I bought this book, because it might be one of my very favorites that I’ve read recently. Magical, dark, and romantic, I loved it so much! 


Prince Rhen, of the kingdom of Emberfall, leads a life of darkness, destruction and death after being cursed by a beautiful, wicked enchantress named Lilith. He is doomed to relive his eighteenth year until a girl from another world falls in love with him. Enter Harper, a defiant young woman who is used to fighting. After all, her mother is dying, her father is gone, and she has cerebral palsy. But when she finds herself abducted and swept away to the magical, dangerous world of Emberfall, she has no idea what to believe. At first, she wonders if she’s crazy. But when she realizes she’s actually living in a fairy tale, Harper begins to wonder if she can’t be a hero to Rhen and his people, if it means getting back home... 


I loved this book so much! First of all, I’m a huge sucker for retellings, but this one was so unique! Beauty and the Beast is one of my very favorite stories, and I loved this twist on it. It was also refreshing to see someone just like me—stubborn and fierce but kind and gentle—in the spotlight! It meant so much to be that Harper had CP, and that it was written so authentically. More than once, I had to put the book down because I was just so overcome with emotion. I loved the prose, the gritty settings of D.C. (or Disi, as it was called) and Emberfall. My favorite part was watching Harper growing to love herself, and fall in love with Rhen. I loved this dark, lush fantasy with a sweet, tender romance at its center. I only wish that the ending had been more concrete, but this book is one of my favorites. I’m so happy that I actually bought it, because it was worth it! I loved all of the characters, but my favorites were Harper and Gray. And that ending; I cannot wait to read the sequel! The bottom line: Romantic, dark, and surprising, I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely! Next on deck: The Deep by Alma Katsu! 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen Review

 Title: Dangerous Alliance: An Austentatious Romance 

Author: Jennieke Cohen 

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult 

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance 

Series: Standalone 

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it. 


After I finished The Story of More, I needed something considerably lighter. I asked my friends what I should read, and all of them voted unanimously for Dangerous Alliance, so I decided to go for it. It’s no secret that I love Jane Austen and all of the things associated with her, so I was excited. I expected this book to be a light and fluffy romance, but it was so much more than that. It was a story of true love, but it also dealt with some serious topics, like spousal abuse, divorce, marriage, and personal autonomy. This was a take of Jane Austen given a thoroughly modern twist. I loved this homage to one of the greatest authors of all time. This book was the perfect antidote to the reading slump I was in after The Story of More! Romantic, hilarious, and refreshing, I loved Dangerous Alliance! 


Victoria ‘Vicky’ Aston is well aware that she lives a charmed life on her family’s estate of Oakbridge. She is a young woman who doesn’t wish to be married, preferring instead the company of her parents and older sister, Althea. But her life changes all over again when her childhood friend, Tom Halworth, returns from the war with France. Vicky has been rapidly approaching marrying age, and when a family tragedy strikes, Vicky soon finds herself in dire need of a husband. But a sinister plot begins to form, and the Aston family has to wonder if Vicky will even live long enough to be betrothed to the most eligible bachelor! 


I loved this book so much. After The Story of More, I desperately needed something that was lighter and less serious. Dangerous Alliance was funny, feminist, and utterly refreshing! I loved the way that it paid such homage to Jane Austen, but was still feminist and strong at its heart! I love reading books that take place in the Regency era, but this might be one of my favorites. The pacing was breakneck and within ten pages, I was crying from laughter. I loved the way that this book wasn’t your typical Regency romance; the whole time, I was laughing, crying, or screaming with frustration. I loved the element of mystery that Cohen used also; this was not a typical book by any means. And Vicky! She might be one of my favorite heroines of all time, to be honest. I loved her fierceness, the way that she didn’t compromise herself for society or for a man’s affections. I also loved her family, but most of all, Althea; I really felt for her and I loved the way that she fit into the plotline. I also adored Tom, Mr. Carmichael, Lord Dain and the rest of the cast of characters that fleshed out the rest of the book. And that ending! I didn’t see it coming, at all! What I had suspected was wrong and I was pleasantly surprised! I loved this book; it might be one of my favorites of the entire year. The bottom line: Hilarious, surprising, and refreshing, I loved Dangerous Alliance! Next on deck: A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer!