Review of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

ACOMAFA Court of Mist and Fury
By: Sarah J Maas
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover

My Rating:
star

My review will have spoilers for the first book as well as this one! You’ve been warned!

Summary:
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.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Thoughts:
I found ACOMAF to be such an entertaining read. Though it’s a hefty book (so many pages and wow it’s heavy!) it reads much faster than you’d imagine. Maas’ writing is always addicting and this is the type of book you’ll have trouble putting down. There’s romance, twists, action scenes and overall it is such a fun book.

I opted to not reread ACOTAR prior to jumping into this sequel and I sort of wish I had. I’d forgotten some things and I honestly think I would have been able to rate this a little higher had I done a reread. I based my opinions on characters and their actions in this book on my memories of what happened. After discussing a few things that I was a little meh on I was assured by friends that there were hints in ACOTAR and that if I had reread I’d have recalled them. So, the few complaints I had were put to rest. What was that complaint you wonder? View Spoiler »

Ok, with that bit out of the way let’s talk about what I loved- the writing was addicting as I said and of course I really loved Rhys. We got to see so much more about his character and learn about the past from his side. It was eye-opening and really heart breaking. Any reservations I had about him in the last book (I didn’t have many to be truthful) were completely gone. I couldn’t help but swoon and adore him in every way.

the novel started out with a husk of what Feyre used to be like. Her life at the Spring Court had stripped her of her strength and sense of self. The first bit of this novel was really hard to read because for me, she was suffering from abuse. I hated watching her dwindle away. As things progress though I felt that she ended up growing from this hardship and becoming a stronger character. I loved her devotion, bravery and general yearning for life.

I’d not classify these books as young adult since they do contain some sexual scenes. For me, an older reader, these add to the fun of the book though I’ll admit I was rolling my eyes a few times at word choice. They seemed really cheesy but enjoyable.

All through the last book I wanted to see the Night Court and I was so happy that a large portion of this book was set there. It wasn’t exactly as I thought it would be (it was better). I loved the history we learned and all the characters that lived there. These secondary characters were wonderfully developed and complex. I had so much fun meeting Rhy’s court and watching Feyre interact with them all.

Final Thoughts:
Gah, this book is SO hard to review! I’ve been struggling since I read it last month and just can’t ever seem to get my thoughts across very well. I guess the easiest thing to say- if you are a fan of Maas you’ll enjoy this! I think upon reflection that I might like this sequel more than the first book?

 ACOMAFMug ACOMAFBooks

These books are so beautiful! You can find that lovely mug over at Helena Reads’ Society6 Shop.

Review of Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

SummerofSloaneSummer of Sloane
By: Erin L. Schneider
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

My Thoughts:
Look at that cover–so summery, bright and beautiful. If you read my blog often you’ll know I’m not usually all that eager to read contemporary fiction but I was really drawn to this book because of that cover and because it was set in Hawaii. Overall, I found this novel to be immensely readable and was wonderfully inspirational to me to want to get out and enjoy the sun and water.

There were elements I didn’t love and that mostly revolved around the miscommunication towards the end of the novel. I’m sure it was completely plausible, and possibly likely, that these characters would act the way that they did but it didn’t make for the best reading experience for me. There was so much misunderstanding and lack of sharing that it was rather frustrating to me. The characters assumed so much about one another- which sadly is very true to real life (but this felt a tad exaggerated especially towards the end). I think the major reason I don’t read contemporary is that I don’t like the main issue in the book being so heavily based in reality! I prefer to escape outside of what is plausible so this is a me issue rather than a real issue with the book.

Sloane was very relatable and likeable. I felt for her very deeply and cringed, gasped and generally felt what she felt as I read. I was hurt at what happened to her and the betrayal she faced. I couldn’t imagine how awful it must feel to be hurt by two people you trust the  most. I was so sad for her and angry. I commend the author for giving me the ability to feel so deeply even at the start of the novel.

The secondary characters were developed but oh did I want to throttle the majority of them rather often. Sloane’s best friend, boyfriend and new love interest, Finn, all were guilty of making me want to pull out my own hair. I was so frustrated with each of them. I did love some of the less looked at secondary characters and felt that the novel was populated with real feeling characters.

Sloane’s parents were lightly present in the novel (I’d preferred them being around a tad more) and they have their own rather shocking (at least to Sloane) reveal. This novel really encompassed such a hectic and trying time for this character it was a bit hard to read at times. I felt so bad for her. I did love the scenery and having been to Hawaii myself it was very easy for me to be there again.

I was a bit disappointed that we only ventured into the most wealthy sections of the islands though. Sloane’s mother and the majority of the people she knows are incredibly wealthy to an extreme. This allowed for some really amazing settings though- apartments with full window’s on the beach, fancy hotels and pent houses. I must admit I didn’t see that side of Hawaii (or life in general) so can’t say how realistic that aspect was.

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Sloane’s character and the summer sun and ocean atmosphere of Summer of Sloane though the heavy reliance on miscommunication between the characters frustrated me. The author was very capable of making me feel what her characters felt and her descriptions of Hawaii made me wish I were there. Overall I’d say this is a great summer read (especially if you can be on the beach somewhere).

SummerofSloaneBookPic

Review of Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

SufferLoveSuffer Love
By: Ashley Herring Blake
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

My Thoughts:
In the past I’ve not been a huge fan of the contemporary genre but lately I’ve been delving deeper into these books and finding that I do enjoy them. They are a perfect break from the fantasy and science fiction I typically read.

Suffer Love was a fast paced book that quickly grabbed my interest. It flips between Hadley’s and Sam’s point of view. Both of them have suffered recently with family troubles. I was impressed that Blake approached the family dynamics and the impact parents have on their children.

Both Hadley and Sam had poignant point of views and I felt that Blake did a great job of giving them distinct voices. Both lead characters were well developed and likeable though I did find myself preferring Sam a tiny bit.

I enjoyed his sections more I think because I preferred the people he surrounded himself with. The relationship between Sam and his sister, Livy,  was very special and well done. Hadley’s point of view was a little less interesting to me and I found her best friend grating at times (because of her constant disapproval of Hadley’s actions regarding guys). I could understand the rift in their friendship but it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable to read as other parts of the story.

Really though, the secondary cast was very well executed and developed enough that I was fond of many of them and not so fond of others. It’s always good when I have real feelings towards characters other than the main leads. I was able to understand the motivations that drove these people and even Sam and Hadley’s parents were looked into enough that I could understand though not agree with some of their actions.

Though the two leads fell for each other quickly it felt very realistic. I think these two brought out the good in each other and I really enjoyed their scenes together. This was the type of romance that you keep flipping pages just waiting for them to be together. I feel that the factors that pull them apart were well done too and really original. I completely understood any lack of communications between these two and the tension was great.

This book did delve into some deep topics-divorce, affairs, etc. These topics I feel need to be addressed and they were handled with care and realistically. Overall I think this book was very successful.

Final Thoughts:
I felt that Suffer Love was an original contemporary novel since it addressed topics I’ve not read about typically in young adult. I was pleased to see that family had a lot to do with this story and that what parents do affects their children immensely. The romance, tension, pacing and friendships were all very well executed.

DNF Review: Dream On by Kerstin Gier

DreamOnDream On
By: Kerstin Gier
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

DNFed at page 70

Summary:
Things seem to be going well for Liv Silver: she’s adjusting to her new home (and her new family) in London; she has a burgeoning romance with Henry Harper, one of the cutest boys in school; and the girl who’s been turning her dreams into nightmares, Anabel, is now locked up. But serenity doesn’t last for long.

It seems that Liv’s troubles are far from over–in fact, suddenly they’re piling up. School gossip blogger Secrecy knows all of Liv’s most intimate secrets, Henry might be hiding something from her, and at night Liv senses a dark presence following her through the corridors of the dream world. Does someone have a score to settle with Liv?

My Thoughts:
I read the first book, Dream a Little Dream, and enjoyed it. I felt that there were some things that might have been lost in translation but overall I found it to be a very interesting and entertaining read. I hoped that this sequel would build on the elements I enjoyed (the dream world) but sadly it fell flat for me.

I think my biggest issue was that the pacing was very slow. By page 70 not much at all had occurred. I didn’t have any connection to the characters so following them along and listening to Liv talk about a fancy tea party, kissing Henry in the dream world etc wasn’t enough for me. I kept hoping with each turn of the page something would grip me. There were scenes that took place in Liv’s dream and I could see that if I’d continued I’d probably have enjoyed these sections (there seemed to be some sort of mysterious thing following her in her dream) but right now I couldn’t push through it.

Have you read Dream On? Should I pick it up again and give it a second chance?

DNF Review for Ruined By Amy Tintera

RuinedRuined
By: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

DNFed at half way point.

Summary:
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Reboot by Tintera and I was so excited to see her venture into the fantasy realm with Ruined. I didn’t know what to expect but happily dove right into reading this book. I noticed pretty quickly that this might not be for me but I really wanted to love it so I continued to the half-way point. I finally just decided that I’d stop there and maybe come back to it at a later point according to how other reviews are.

I felt that for the most part the writing felt simplistic which stood between my connection with the characters and storyline. I felt virtually nothing for any of the characters. I wanted to be at the edge of my seat. I wanted to feel the chemistry between characters but alas, I did not. I didn’t feel a whole lot of anything.

The world was interesting though I didn’t feel I got a lot about it but I’m positive it’ll be further explained as this book continued as well as the series. I think my biggest problem with this book was that it didn’t feel much different from many books I’ve read before. The plot wasn’t all that original- girl hides identity to avenge the murder of her family. Girl is set to marry Prince and he’s not nearly as bad as she expected and she even might have feelings for him. There’s nothing wrong with these plot points and honestly they can be twisted and reshaped to create a unique storyline. I really wished the writing or characters could have grabbed me and kept me invested.

Have you read Ruined yet? If so, did you enjoy it and should I go back and finish it?