Fantasy, New Adult/Adult

The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood And Ash Series): Armentrout, Jennifer L.:  9781952457258: Amazon.com: Books

Pages: 645

Series: Blood and Ash #3

Publisher: Blue Box Press

Release Date: April 20, 2021

Genre(s): Fantasy

Format: Paperback

*NOTE: If you have not read the first two books in the Blood and Ash series (FB&A and AKOFAF) please stop reading this review NOW! Spoilers for this book follow, but feel free to check out my non-spoiler reviews of FB&A and AKOFAF :)*

Goodreads Synopsis

She’s been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen…

What Did I Think?

Before I jump into my (likely unpopular!) opinions of The Crown of Gilded Bones, let’s recap where things left off in A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. Poppy and Casteel had A LOT to work through since he basically kidnapped her to use as ransom against the Queen of Solis in From Blood and Ash. Understandably, there’s a ton of conversations in which Casteel, Kieran, and everyone else has to convince Poppy that the Atlantians aren’t the enemy and that they really are (mostly) peaceful people, but it takes awhile for Poppy to come around. There is also lots of chatter about the impending marriage of Casteel and Poppy, which clearly she was not down for since Casteel whisked her away from Masadonia. However, as the novel progresses and more evidence of the horrors of Solis are exposed, Poppy’s hatred of Casteel starts to dwindle and she realizes that even though his approach to wooing her wasn’t ideal, she really does love him. Eventually the two marry (right before a straight up battle goes down in Spessa’s End… YIKES!), and she and Casteel travel the rest of the way to Atlantia to meet up with Casteel’s parents. Long story short, everything goes to heck in a handbasket, as Poppy is attacked and it is revealed that she is the true queen of Atlantia by bloodright. Then BOOM! We had to wait for the next book on that wild cliffhanger.

As I mentioned in my reviews for the other two books in this series, I thoroughly enjoy the way Armentrout has crafted this universe. I won’t lie to you all: There are still times that it is so complex that my head spins a little and I forget things, but I think she and her editors knew this would happen, as there are often clarifications added into those points to jog the reader’s memory. However, in terms of plot, I felt like the storyline drug on for too long at some points and that not enough details were included in others. The plot still flowed nicely from point to point, but the inconsistent pacing was jarring sometimes as I was reading and messed with my ability to fully absorb what was happening at times.

Since From Blood and Ash, Poppy has come a long way in terms of character development. This was particularly evident in the leap from From Blood and Ash to A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, with less development occuring in The Crown of Gilded Bones. This totally makes sense in a way because Poppy has so much coping to do in the first two books that probably things that were happening around her didn’t shock her a ton in the third book except for some more traumatic experiences that went down (no spoilers, I swear!). I will say that I was pleased to see that she does become more comfortable in her own skin and isn’t afraid to speak up as much in TCOGB, and I was always so excited to see her put her foot down and basically command any room she was in. Through everything, I was so pleased to see that Poppy is still super kickbutt at fighting and being all stabby, and I hope this trait continues to be a part of who she is in the books to come because it is my absolute favorite thing about her. I can’t really talk about the ending because *spoilers*, but I will say that that was my absolute favorite Poppy moment to date and I hope the fire we see in her then will stick with her in the next book!

Oh, Casteel. Okay, so like I said, this review is going to have some unpopular opinions in it, and this could be one of the big ones for those of you who are fictionally married to this guy. I’ll start with the positives here: He’s super smokin’, has some really dope combat skills (just like Poppy those his methods of murder are somewhat unconventional), he does everything he can to protect those he loves, and when he takes a notion to joke around, he’s super witty and funny. However, I really had an issue with Casteel in The Crown of Gilded Bones. It has been established that Casteel loves the people of Atlantia, but that didn’t really shown through since he was more concerned about Poppy 99% of the time. Yes, he should care about her, but sometimes I felt like it was at the expense of others which just doesn’t line up with how devoted he was said to be to his people. Additionally, he was selfless to the point of no return. I love a good character that is willing to do anything for those they love, but some of his actions just seemed unnecessarily heroic to me. I know some of you want to punch me and that’s fine (unless you actually try to… then please refrain!), but something about Casteel just wasn’t it for me in this book. I have faith that the next book may change my mind about him, but alas it is too soon to tell!

A huge plus for me was getting to reacquaint myself with all of the amazing supporting characters in this series. Kieran has my freaking soul, and dare I say this… I like him so much more than I do Poppy and Casteel at this point. I’m not even sure why that is but I can’t help but smile every time his name popped up or he cracked some joke at the most inappropriate of times. Delano, Naill, Vonetta, and Emil just keep getting better and better, and it was so good to see more dialogue pop up with these guys in it in TCOGB. I’m super excited to see more of these guys in the next installment, and I hope they have even more opportunities to showcase their personalities then becuase I literally live for them!

And here I go, beign the bearer of bad news. Unfortunately, there were some additional aspects of this book that just didn’t jive for me. The first is that the partnership aspect of the romance is starting to fizzle for me a bit. For some reason, it just felt like Poppy wasn’t as invested in being a support system for Casteel when he is firmly invested in providing emotional support to her. This one-sidedness really got on my nerves, and I really hope this gets turned around in the next book because I really want to love this couple. Speaking of romance… Each book in this series has been someone scandalous in one way or another, but I felt like TCOGB took this to an extreme that, for me, disrupted the plot in not great ways. I totally understand that one of the big things about Poppy’s character is the fact that she has been forced to not have physical connections to other people, but it just seemed like certain types of moments were overused in this book.

As a whole, I really enjoyed The Crown of Gilded Bones. The worldbuilding was exceptional, the supporting characters were so much fun to get reacquainted with, and, per Jennifer’s style, the plot twists just kept on coming. While I can’t say this book didn’t have some (what I would consider) flaws, the overall reading experience was enjoyable, and I am eager to get my hands on the next installment, The War of Two Queens, in March of 2022. Thank goodness I have A Shadown in the Ember, a spin-off novel, releasing in just a few months to tide me over until next year!

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

*NOTE: This book is definitely only for mature readers (the romance is STEAMY and there is also quite a bit of graphic violence/murder). I would not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18.*

If you enjoyed the first two books in the Blood and Ash series, you will definitely want to continue the series with The Crown of Gilded Bones!

Bonus Content, Let's Talk Books!

Let’s Talk Books: My Reading Comfort Zone

Hello, bookish friends! I hope you have all had a wonderful week thus far and have a restful weekend ahead of you. I always love to read posts by other bloggers that ramble about their favorite genres and the kinds of books they are most content with reading, so I thought I would share some of the same little tidbits with you all in a low-key, discussion-type post. Let’s get to it, shall we?

When I first started reading for fun back in 8th or 9th grade, I found that I would only read books that were ridiculously hyped up. Back then, this mostly consisted of (somewhat) cookie-cutter dystopian novels and a few fantasy series. However, I quickly learned that there were so many other great genres of fiction that I hadn’t yet discovered, and when I did, there was no turning back to my Hunger Games/Divergent days.

One genre of writing that I’ve been reading for years and don’t think I will ever tire of are young adult contemporary romance novels. There’s just something so calming about picking up one of these lighthearted, fluffy beauties that fills my heart with so much joy. When I was later into my high school years, I also started reading contemporaries that were a little bit darker and more mature. I quickly grew out of the “tough stuff” contemporaries that were uber dark, but have continued to read those that cover very current and complex topics.

Since starting college, I’ve realized that my reading comfort zone has certainly become much more vast than it once was. In addition to my love of contemporary romances, my go-to genres are fantasy (young adult, new adult, and adult), historical fiction, and even a few true new adult romances thrown in there. I’ve also found that I enjoy reading memoirs, occasionally. I have yet to branch out into the sci-fi and thriller/horror/suspense genres yet (and likely won’t just because I have never been a fan!), but almost anything else is fair game. I also think I’m starting to become a reader that is more inclined to branch out from my reading comfort zone these days, which is so exciting because you never know what hidden gems you may find by taking a chance on something out of your standard box!

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile now, you know that my love of young adult and new adult novels knows no bounds, and it is extremely unlikely this is going to change too drastically for a good long while. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about how my reading tastes have changed (and all that have remained the same!).

What genre(s) of books fall within your reading comfort zone?

Until next week, bookish loves! May your weekend be filled with all the reading your hearts desire 😊

Bonus Content, Let's Talk Books!

Let’s Talk Books: OTPs – Can You Have More Than One???

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! I’ve been reading so many books lately that have some of the most shippable characters I have ever seen, and it got me thinking: Is it permissible for us readers to have more than one OTP? After doing a quick Dictionary.com search to define the parameters of an OTP, I was left feeling a little dead inside. One True Pairing (OTP), according to their definition is “a term that signifies a person’s favorite fictional romantic relationship.” Yes, you read that correctly – SINGULAR, both in definition and the meaning of the acronym itself. As in you can only have ONE.

I got a little amped up after pondering this for a lot longer than I probably should have, so I’ve decided to write an entire post explaining exactly why I completely DISAGREE with the singular OTP thought process. This post could get a little controversial (but in a respectful/kind way!), so feel free to hit me up in the comments with your thoughts on whether or not One True Pairing should only be limited to one per reader or naw. Cool? Dope! Let’s get it, let’s go!

OTPs kind of remind me of when you ask someone what their favorite color is – some people have more than one and therefore, have a tough time only answering this question with the name of a single color. Similarly, if someone were to ask me what my favorite couple from the young adult fantasy genre would be, I’d probably list out at least five couples from five different book series. I mean, HELLO! Virtually an impossible decision to make when there are so many fabulous pairings to choose from.

Speaking of genres: I find that because there are so many books out there in all kinds of genres, it would be super hard to limit OTP to just one couple out of all the books in the world. This is because the fictional romances you see popping up in different genres can be very different from one another. For example, a romantic connection may blossom between old friends in a contemporary novel, but in a fantasy novel, there may be some enemies-to-lovers action going on. If a reader were to love both equally as much, then it is absolutely preposterous to ask them to choose only one oh-so-deserving couple as their OTP.  

As you can clearly see from this very ramble-y yet therapeutic post, I am all for us readers being able to have an unlimited number of OTPs stashed away in our brains to enjoy for all of eternity. Writers want us to fall for their fictional romantic pairings (even when some make us hate them at first!), and therefore, asking us to only choose one out of a sea of irresistible choices would just be cruel!

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Enough about my thoughts on OTPs – what do you guys think? Do you have one couple that you believe will remain your only ultimate ship, or are you like me and have LOTS of fictional couples that you couldn’t possibly choose between? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Until next week, bookish peeps! I hope the rest of your week is filled with beautiful visions of all your favorite fictional couples 😊   

Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: 9781524718961 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Pages: 304

Publisher: Penguin (Delacorte Press)

Release Date: June 3, 2021

Genre(s): Contemporary Romnace

Format: Hardcover

Goodreads Synopsis

“In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fates–what will happen when she finally sees her own?

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?”

What Did I Think?

Don’t be fooled by the vibrant cover that gives off all kinds of happy vibes. Instructions for Dancing will tear your heart into tiny little pieces, glue it back together, and repeat this cycle a million times over before its end!

I picked up Instructions for Dancing because I was super intrigued by the whole “romantic psychic” part of the story, as well as the fact that I’m kind of obsessed with ballroom dancing (even though I’ve only taken one lesson in my entire life!). Usually it takes me a few chapters to become hooked on a story, but within the first two pages, I was completely entranced by Yoon’s writing. The whole book was written in a pretty casual voice, but then there would be moments when I would be totally caught off guard when a beautifully poetic line would pop up that made me stop and think a little harder about what the story was trying to convey. Between the super interesting overall concept, stunning writing, and this book was an absolutely gem from the get-go!

I always love when the protagonist is a fellow book lover, so reading Instructions for Dancing from Evie’s perspective made this tale that much sweeter, even though she could also be considered an anti-book lover when we first meet her. Evie’s been through the wringer over the past year, and I think anyone who has ever been through what she has would totally understand why she is so against falling in love. Though her character continued to evolve as she figured out how much she wanted to risk herself, I appreciated the fact that her dry sense of humor and love that she has for her friends and family never left her, even when she didn’t realize it. Overall, I thought Evie’s character was very well developed and I found that I could relate to her more than I originally thought I’d be able to, which was a total plus!

I was absolutely obsessed with X, his whole family, and Fifi the dance instructor. They brought so much life and light to a story that has so much heartbreak thrown into it. They always kept is realer that real, and I think that was exactly what Evie needed in her life. Seeing some of these characters’ lives play out in Evie’s visions were some of my favorite moments of the entire book, even when we got glimpses well into the future that my heart was often not prepared for. You seriously can’t help falling in love with the whole dance crew, so don’t even try to resist it – it will be to no avail!

Instructions for Dancing was the book I never knew I needed to read. I thought it was going to be a standard, fluffy contemporary, but it was so much more than that. Yoon’s writing was absolutely captivating, and through it I think all readers will learn so much about what is most important in life.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

I’d highly recommend Instructions for Dancing for anyone looking for an unconventional contemporary read with both heartbreaking and heartwarming moments that you may not even see coming. If you’ve read any of Nicola Yoon’s previous books and thought those hit you in the feels, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

I’d also recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen, Mary H.K. Choi, and John Green.

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Birthday Party Book Tag

Hiya, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! My birthday was on the 24th, and I really wanted to put a special post out to celebrate my 22 whole years of life. I saw this super fun Birthday Party Book Tag that was created by Kit at Metaphors and Moonlight and knew I just had to try it out myself. Here are the rules:

  • I will choose five different books to use to answer the questions
  • For each question, I will flip to a random page in the designated book
  • I’ll share at the end how I feel about how my birthday party turned out!

 

Step One: My Five Books

  1. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee
  2. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Fable by Adrienne Young
  4. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
  5. The Lovely War by Julie Berry

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Step Two: Q&A Time!

Open Book 1 – The first character name on the page is the one who plans the surprise party.

AHHH MONTY MONTAGUE! I seriously can’t think of a more perfect person to plan the party, though I do think he would create some very…. unique party favors and games, knowing him!

Open Book 2 – The first character name on the page is the one who ruins the surprise early (either by accidentally mentioning it or by telling you on purpose because they can’t keep a secret).

The winner is…. Gwyn Berdara! I think her fiery yet humorous personality is definitely one that would make it so she couldn’t contain her excitement about a little get together, especially if she was around Nesta and Emilia. But I think she would totally just drop clues about a party being had rather than be super obvious about it!

Open Book 3 – Wherever the current scene takes place will be the location of the party (as specific as possible, e.g. a person’s house, a grocery store, the middle of a forest, etc.).

The party would take place at a tavern in Ceros! Okay…. so like this location is a tad bit grungy since like people come from all over the place to drink their sorrows away after being at sea for a hella long time, but honestly, the more the merrier for a party, right? Hopefully it’ll be good company, as soon as Zola leaves, anyway… BLAHH!

Open Book 4 – The first character name on the page is the one who bakes the cake.

Awhhh, yayy! Fatima from Take a Hint is one of my favorite side characters, and she is so creative that I have no doubt she would bake an awesome cake for my birthday!

Open Book 5 – The first character name on the page is the one who sticks their finger in the icing when no one is looking.

James Alderidge is the culprit! I feel like he would only do this if Hazel was around and wanted to make her laugh though because he is pretty serious most of the time, but you never know!

Open Book 1 – The first character name on the page is the one who buys trick candles (those kinds that never go out).

I definitely don’t think Johanna, the most prim, proper, and ladylike of all the characters in A Lady’s Guide would be the one to buy trick candles! But, I think any other character in this book would do it. She’s just a wee bit of a buzz kill on all things fun, if you ask me!

Open Book 2 – The first noun on the page that is a tangible object is the first gift you open.

Okay well this is different. Evidently, some kind soul bought me a ramp for my birthday this year – hurrah! That would certainly be helpful when it comes to easily taking laundry upstairs, I suppose. Thanks for thinking of me, whoever you are!

Open Book 3 – The first character name on the page is the one who puts on the dorky party hat.

This one made me CACKLE: West! I love the guy, but he’s a bit of a stick in the mud and I highly doubt he’d be quick to trade his sailor garb in for party hat. I’d pay good money to see it, though!

Open Book 4 – The first noun or adjective (whatever works) on the page is what the party theme will be.

We’re going to go with a moon theme for the party! I think that would actually be pretty cool – dark room, those little stars on the ceiling, maybe a galaxy-esque cake? I like it!

Open Book 5 – The first noun on the page that is a tangible object is what the pinata will be filled with.

A cup of hot chocolate – eeepppp! That could get messy but I also love that stuff so I guess my pinata will be more like a hot chocolate fountain!

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Step Three: How Did the Party Turn Out?

I honestly think this would be the most entertaining yet bizarre party ever! When I picked these books out, I thought I would choose a mix of both contemporary and fantasy novels and see how the characters from these books would get along, and I actually am totally diggin’ the vibes I’m getting from this guest list. Sign me up, y’all!

That’s a wrap on the Birthday Party Book Tag! Thank you all so much for checking this tag out and for celebrating my brithday with me by doing so. If I could actually make this party happen, would you attend? Lemme know in the comments, and tell me what characters you’d like to add to the guest list 🙂

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Fantasy, Young Adult

Fable by Adrienne Young

Amazon.com: Fable: A Novel (Fable, 1) (9781250254368): Young, Adrienne:  Books

Pages: 357

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Genre(s): Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Goodreads Synopsis

“For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

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What Did I Think?

Just want to start by saying I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK! I know that I am only giving it four stars (will explain later!), but Fable was seriously like no other book I have ever read. Somebody ship me off to the Narrows, would ya?

The overall concept of Fable had me hooked almost instantly. The world in which the story takes place was immediately established as cutthroat yet whimsical (yes, apparently it is possible to be both!). I quickly fell in love with the vivid detail Young used to describe each individual location the characters traveled to, as well as the way in which we were able to see how the various characters viewed the places they traveled to through her strong use of dialogue. It took me a couple of chapters to get hooked on the story, but that didn’t bother me too much since there was a lot about its setting that needed to be expained early on. The plotline moved at a brisk pace while still making sure that each of the plot points meshed together in a logical way. I seriously have nothing I can complain about when it comes to the concept and plotline of this book – it is AMAZEBALLS!

I have such mad respect for the protagonist, Fable. She was left to her own devices on a brutal island as a young girl, and really took the challeneges she faced in stride rather than cowering to the HUGE amounts of fear she must have felt while being on Jeval. I was so intrigued by Fable’s work as a dredger and totally found myself GEEKING each time she went diving because I love things that sparkle almost as much as the gem merchants in this series! I appreciated Fable’s tenacity, willingness to take risks to benefit the greater good of those around her, and that even though she has had a hard life so far, she managed to continue to be compassionate towards others who (questionably) don’t deserve it. Fable’s character developed slowly in this book, and I look foward to seeing how much farther she comes in Namesake.

Even though I doubt I would make it long at sea for the stints of time the Marigold’s crew manages to, I kind of wish I got to be an honorary member of their crew! West, Paj, Auster, Hamish, and Willa were such a tight-knit group that they were more like family than just a ship crew. I really enjoyed reading about each of these characters’ individual lives and how those experiences led each of them to the Marigold. Young provided so much background on each of these characters that is was almost like they were all protagonists in the story. I loved watching each of their personalities shine through just as much as Fable’s did, and I can’t wait to see more of the whole crew in the next book!

There is only one big thing that is preventing me from giving this book a full five stars: The main romance. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good slow burn as much as the next person, but the way this one is established comes across as a little unnatural. I’m hoping that this aspect of the storyline grows on me in the second book because I really want to love it, but can’t quite yet.

Fable was seriously so much more than I expected in all the right ways. The worldbuilding was absolutely breathtaking, the plot progression was smooth as butter, and I finished the book wishing I got to be a part of the Marigold’s crew myself, even though they did manage to get themselves in quite a bit of trouble! Fable was my very first Adrienne Young book and it totally solidified the fact that she will now be an auto-buy author of mine from here out. Now onto reading Namesake!

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Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

If you’re all about nautical-themed fantasy novels, such as Daughter of the Pirate King or Passenger, I highly recommend you give Fable a read.

I would also strongly encourage anyone looking for a book with an enemies-to-lovers trope and who wants to be swept away on a whirlwind of an adventure filled to the brim with plot twists to definitely check this book out!

Bonus Content, Book Tags

Reader Problems Book Tag

Hiya, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! As fellow bookish nerds, I think there are many things we can all relate to, especially when it comes to the reading-related struggles we all face at one point or another. When I spotted a tag dedicated to talking about how we handle our bookish predicaments, I couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon myself! Enough small talk from me – let’s jump right into this thing!  

1) You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I would totally consider myself a mood reader, which helps me narrow my field substantially when trying to decide what the read next. From here, it’s pretty normal for me to read the synopsis on the back of a few books, and then pick my next read from that small pool. I have also noticed that if I read something long/dark/violent/required a whole lotta brain power (like a fantasy novel!), I run straight to a contemporary or romance novel so that I can give my brain a break to reset itself before diving into another hardcore read.

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2) You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

The answer to this question definitely varies from book to book. Typically, if I am not loving a book that is in a series that I have really enjoyed so far and/or is written by one of my auto-buy authors, I’ll keep reading it until the end. Any other book I read until the halfway mark, and if I’m still not invested whatsoever, I’ll quit. It is very rare that I will give up on a book, though! I can count on one hand how many times I’ve resorted to this.

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3) The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

This really wasn’t something that affected me until I started college and working three on-campus jobs, and in 2020, this was a SERIOUS struggle for me. Here’s the thing, though: I simply cannot force myself to sit down and cram in a bunch of reading. If I’m not enjoying it, then there’s literally no point in taking the time to read, so there’s no rushing to the finish line at the end for me. I’m one of those people that values quality over quantity. If I don’t make my reading goal (which has only happened maybe once or twice!), I’m sad about it, but when I reflect on all the great books I do get to read each year, I don’t beat myself up about not hitting my goal.

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4) The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

In short? Myself and my bank account (if I can buy covers that do match) literally cannot.

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5) Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Often times, I talk to my same bookish friends from college and/or those on my book-y social media accounts about all my feels, even if they loved the book I’m (lightly) smack-talking. Since everyone has their own opinions, expectations, and feelings about every book they read, I usually take everyone’s thoughts with a grain of salt and don’t go out of my way to talk to people who I think have the same opinions as me on the books I read. So far, this method has worked out pretty well!

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6) You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

In order to stop the tears from flowing, I typically just have to stop reading before I get too emotionally invested. It pains me to do sometimes especially when the book is so good, but to save myself the embarrassment of people realizing I don’t have a completely black, emotionless heart (GASP!), I have to just lay the book aside and redirect my brain to another task.

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7) A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

My answer to this question is very dependent on the book. I don’t normally re-read books because I find that the details start coming back to me within the first two to five chapters or so, but if I REALLY loved the book the first time (basically any JLA or Sarah J. Maas book, for example), I’d totally re-read the first in the series so that when I get to the second book, I have all the deets I need in order to enjoy it to the max. Most of the time, though, I would say that I rely on reading a couple of spoiler-y reviews and/or synopses to help jog my memory of the first book before moving onto the next book in a series.   

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8) You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

When I was in high school, I was literally the worst about saying no to book-borrowing requests because I felt like a jerk. Like SUPER bad. My old approach would be to just pretend like I forgot they asked/ignore the request, and if they insisted, I’d only let them have it for a two to three days before I told them I needed it back because I was so worried it was going to get damaged outside my tender-loving care. Then I went to college and realized that as an adult, I could politely turn someone down and they (probably) wouldn’t hate me forever, so now I just straight-up say no when asked. Sorry y’all, but my books are my babies!!!

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9) Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I’m a firm believer that if you’re in a reading slump, your brain is trying to send you a message to take a break. While you may want to ignore that little voice in your head, I’ve found doing so just makes the slump worse. My main hack for moving past a reading slump is to take the few days after you feel one coming on away from your TBR pile to refocus your energy elsewhere. Then, when you come back to choose your next read, you may be more inclined to settle in a move past the slump. Granted, this may take a few tries to work, but in my experience, if you’re patient enough, you’ll be able to get back to your normal, booknerdigan self in no time flat! If you’re interested in more tips on fending off reading slumps, check out my list of tips here!

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10) There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

I usually buy all of them, since my list of “dying to reads” each year is pretty small!

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11) After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

While I wish I could get to most books within a week or so of buying them, adulting often gets in the way. Though it’s a long time, some books sit on my shelf for months before I get to read them. My goal each year is to read all the books I purchase that year by its end, though, so hopefully long before they even have the chance to collect dust!

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That is it for the Reader Problems Book Tag! Agree and/or disagree with some of my answers? Comment below and let’s talk about all of our bookish dilemmas together!

Until next week! May your bookish problems be limited until we meet again 😊

Fantasy, New Adult/Adult

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 705

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Genre(s): Fantasy

Format: Hardcover

***NOTE: If you have not read the first two books in the ACOTAR series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, please stop reading this review! You will be spoiled and this series is so good that you totally don’t want that!***

Goodreads Synopsis

“FEYRE WILL BRING VENGEANCE.

She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

BUT WHILE WAR RAGES, IT IS HER HEART THAT WILL FACE THE GREATEST BATTLE.

THE THRILLING THIRD BOOK IN #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING FANTASY SERIES FROM SARAH J. MAAS.”

What Did I Think?

My oh my. A Court of Wings and Ruin sure does take its readers on one wild ride. I HATE rollercoasters, but this is one that I never wanted to get off of!

Before we jump into my review of this book, let’s do a quick recap of what went down in A Court of Mist and Fury. The book kicks off with Feyre and Tamlin returning back to the Spring Court following their time under the mountain. Understandably, Feyre has undergone a lot of trauma and is having issues coping with it, while Tamlin basically ignores the fact that the person he supposedly loves is wasting away right before his eyes. Tamlin and Feyre’s wedding day finally arrives, and just as Feyre is about to sprint down the aisle AWAY from her hubby-to-be, Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, saves the day by whisking Feyre away to the Night Court to hold up her end of the deal they brokered while Under the Mountain. Though skeptical at first, Feyre starts to enjoy the company of Rhys and his Inner Circle, and quickly learns that Tamlin hasn’t been very forthcoming with her about many *very important* things. The closer Feyre grows to her companions in the Night Court, the more she loathes returning to Tamlin and the Spring Court, especially after the High Lord of Spring traps her in his manor. Luckily, Mor arrives to rescue her and Feyre opts to reside in Velaris on a more permanent basis. Hybern has begun his hunt for the Cauldron, and the members of the Night Court are determined to not let him succeed in his mission. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned after good ol’ pain in the butt Tamlin sells Feyre, Rhys, and crew out, and Elain and Nesta are Made into High Fae with the Cauldron. And oh, yeah. Did I mention that Rhys and Feyre are MATES? Well, the mating bond sure does come in handy when Feyre pretends to want to return home to the Spring Court with Tamlin out of her “love” for him, when really she’s going to spy on him for Rhys and the Inner Circle as the newly appointed High Lady of the Night Court. I could talk about that ending FOREVER because it was so good, but instead, I think I’ll just move right on in to my review of A Court of Wings and Ruin!

I really enjoyed watching Feyre’s character evolve in the first two books in this series, and that trend definitely continues in A Court of Wings and Ruin. In ACOTAR and ACOMAF, Feyre spends a lot of time overcoming the traumas she has experienced in life, but this shifts a little bit in ACOWAR. I was captivated during the moments when Feyre would just be totally content with simply living, and seeing her actually enjoy her life at times was honestly so awesome because those moments had been very rare up until this point. I also loved that Feyre was just as fierce and strong-willed as she was in the first two books, and that she used that fire within her self to serve the people of Velaris (and beyond!) over and over again. It would have been so much simpler for her to just turn a blind eye to their needs, and I honestly found her generosity to be one of my favorite characteristics about her. Overall, I still love Feyre (even though I will admit that I did get a little annoyed with her at times as I was reading this book!) and I’m excited to see where else she’ll go in the next book.

Though I’m convinced he was already stealing my heart in the other two books, Rhysand has officially been deemed the love of my life by the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I loved that even though this book was really serious at times, Rhys maintained his swagger, playful attitude, and kick butt magical/Illyrian vibes I loved so much in the first two books. However, there was also a major shift in his character that I really appreciated – the fact that was willing to finally let himself feel true joy without being bogged down with haunting memories of his past. The mix of exposing his vulnerabilities and soaking in the happiness those around him bring him was beautifully balanced. As usual, I need more of the High Lord of the Night Court in my life. Thank the Cauldron there are more books in the series!

One of the most exciting parts of A Court of Wings and Ruin for me was all of the supporting characters getting more page time. Mor, Cassian, Az, and Amren literally give me LIFE, you guys! I found myself always slowing down my reading pace when everyone was together because I didn’t want to see them all go their separate ways again. Dare I say it, but I think this is one of those rare times when I like the supporting characters equally as much (if not more!) than the main protagonists! Nesta, Elain, and Lucian are also starting to grow on me after giving this book a read. I wasn’t sold on them to begin with, but as more of their personalities come through on the page, the more I am rooting for them to find their happy endings. Each and every one of these characters and their stories were so well developed, and I am so excited to see more of them as the series continues!

While it wasn’t my favorite book in the ACOTAR series so far, that honestly isn’t saying much because I was completely entranced from beginning to end by A Court of Wings and Ruin. The smoldering romance, endless action, witty humor, ALL the drama… ughh! It was all there and flowed so nicely together in a well laid out plotline. If I had to pick a highlight, it would have to be seeing how far each of the characters have come and seeing the supporting characters’ stories be filled in more substantially. Just like the other books in the series, A Court of Wings and Ruin will draw you in from the very first page, and you won’t ever want it to come to an end.

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Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

*** This book contains some mature elements (romance and violence) that may not be suitable for younger readers. I would only recommend this to readers ages 17+***

If you’ve read the first two books in the ACOTAR series and fallen in love with (almost) everything about them like I have, I highly recommend continuing the series with A Court of Wings and Ruin!

Bonus Content, Let's Talk Books!

Let’s Talk Books: Book-to-Film (and TV!) Adaptations

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! As you can tell from the title of this post, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on books that are turned into movies and/or TV shows. I have found that many readers have very strong feelings about these, and while I’d like to say I’m not one of those people, I do have some pretty fierce opinions myself. Let’s jump right into those, shall we?

First and foremost, I am definitely that person who has to read the book before seeing the adaptation, not the other way around. While this does make me more biased when watching the film (especially if I fell in love with the book first), I’m a firm believer in appreciating the original work at its source before exploring the various branch-offs of said work. I have plenty of friends who prefer to read the book only after they’ve seen the adaptation, and that’s cool, too, but since I HATE spoilers, this approach has just never worked for me!

On to the question you’re probably all thinking: What, in my opinion, constitutes a good book-to-film/TV adaptation? The avid reader in me says that the film should stay completely true to the book, and while I totally wish this were possible, it’s extremely difficult to include all 400+ pages of a book into a 2 hour movie or even a season or two of a TV show. Because of this, I would say that a solid adaptation should include some of the most important lines and plot points of a novel, and that the acting of the cast stay true to the personalities, attitudes, behaviors, etc. of the characters as written in the book to the best of their ability. Part of me doesn’t necessarily even care (well… okay. Sometimes I do in very limited cases!) if the characters look the way I pictured them in my mind while reading, as long as the way the characters are represented in the book are very similar to the way the actor portrays them on-screen.

There are very few things that I can think of that make me just straight-up not like an adaptation. The first is that the plot of the movie is changed drastically and is essentially completely different from the book. In my brain, I can’t even consider that kind of film an adaptation because the movie turns into a completely separate entity without much overlap with the book. While sometimes I can overlook this, I also don’t love it when there are characters in a book that never show up in a movie. Like with the plot, this is just a big inconsistency that makes the movie feel completely separate from the book itself.

Overall, I think my expectations for film/TV adaptations of novels are relatively reasonable, as many of those I have seen, I’ve really liked! Speaking of those I’ve seen… let’s end this thing with just a few of my own favorites and not-so-favorites!

My Favorites

My Not-So-Favorites

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Well, folks, I think that’s a wrap on my ramblings about book-to-film/TV adaptations! I know it can be hard to think objectively about these, especially when it’s one of your favorite books. However, I do think it’s pretty awesome that so many producers are willing to take on such a daunting task these days, so mega props to them for all their efforts!

May the rest of your week be filled with lots of fabulous reads, and thanks for tuning into this week’s bonus content post! 😊

Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

Amazon.com: Chasing Lucky (9781534425170): Bennett, Jenn: Books

Pages: 406

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Genre(s): Contemporary Romnace

Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis

“Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…”

What Did I Think?

For those of you who have been following my blog and/or bookstagram for awhile now, you all know all about how much of an auto-buy author Jenn Bennett has become for me. As soon as I saw that Chasing Lucky was releasing, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another one of her contemporary romances. Let me be the first to say that I REALLY wanted to love this book, but it unfortunately fell flat.

Let’s start with the overall concept and plotline. When I first read the synopsis, I was so excited to jump into a book that I thought was going to be friends-to-lovers and had a strong grounding in the workings of family dynamic. However, my expectations from the summary on the back did not align with the content of the actual book as I was reading, so that was where my confusion (and frustration!) kind of started. However, there were some elements that I really enjoyed, such as appearances from Bean the Magic Pup and the sense of adventure I felt while reading. I also found the pacing of the plot to be spot on throughout the book and appreciated the fact that for the most part, each plot point smoothly transitioned into the next. There were also some elements of the book that I have found to be very distracting in a bad way, specifically those regarding the past of the protagonist’s mother and how some of that comes rushing back to the forefront of the story every five minutes. Overall, I found to be the overall concept to be rather mehh, but the pacing of said plot to be right on the money.

The female lead, Josie, was really something else and not at all what I was expecting in some really great ways. I loved how she was immediately established as such a passionate photographer. I’ve never been a great one myself, so seeing the world throgh her creative lens was so much fun. I also think that her naivite that shone through her character as the novel progressed was very fitting for her age, even when at some points I wanted to shake her a bit. Seeing her character mature over the course of the novel was also great – love some good character development, particularly in younger protagonists! While not my favorite main character of all time, I did think Josie’s characterization made sense in the contect of the novel’s plot.

Lucky was a tough pass for me. I appreciated his dry sense of humor and love of animals, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how selfless he was. While this may seem like a great trait to have, I felt like he was just using it to get what he wanted and make other people feel bad about their actions. As I was reading, I enjoyed his banter and adventurous nature, but when I had some time to sit and think, there were just some things that rubbed me the wrong way and made me not love him as much as I thought I did in the moment. My goal whenever I am reading a book with a male love interest is to fall in love with the character myself, and I felt far from that about Lucky, unfortunately.

Overall, I though Chasing Lucky was a cute and sweet summertime contemporary read. The setting was so unique and quirky, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the moving parts that somehow all ended up working together. Even though I think this book was far from Bennett’s best, it was a quick and fluffy read that did manage to bring an occasional smile to my face.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Fans of Talia Hibbert, Sarah Dessen, and Samantha Young would likely fall in love with Jenn Bennett’s Chasing Lucky. And, if you’re already a die-hard Jenn Bennett fan (like me!), grab a copy of this bad boy!