Tag: Bloomsbury USA

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Posted July 10, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasReviewer: Holly
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Pages: 419
Length: 16 hours and 7 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for years. Recently I requested a good Paranormal/Fantasy series on Twitter, and this was one of the top recs, so I dug it out. I had the Kindle version with the audio add-on, so I read and listened. The narrator was good. I really enjoyed the writing and the world-building, but I found the story moved slow at times and I had a hard time focusing on it. The second half picked up, however, and I was fully invested in Feyre and her journey.

For hundreds of years the Faeries and Humans have been bound by a treaty that keeps the Faeries from killing humans and/or keeping them as slaves. Feyre and her family live near the wall that separates the two lands, in abject poverty. While she’s out hunting, she kills a wolf that turns out to be faerie and forfeits her life in return. Rather than killing her, Tamlin, the faerie who comes for her, tells her she must come and live with him over the wall in Prythian. Once she arrives in the Spring Court, she’s surprised to learn she won’t be a prisoner, but rather a permanent guest. Her whole life she’s grown up hating the faeries for how they treat humans. As she spends time with Tamlin and the other faeries at the Spring Court, she comes to realize there’s more to the story than she ever knew..and not all faeries are bad.

At the beginning of the novel, Feyre was a hard character to like. Her vain, shallow mother has died, and her father has lost their fortune and retreated into himself, leaving Feyre to care for him and her two self-absorbed sisters. She’s had to teach herself to hunt, how to barter for what they need and how to survive in a world so unlike the one she was meant to inhabit. This has made her hard and a little jaded, not to mention focused solely on herself and her own needs (or those of her family). It’s not that I blamed her, as I understand what poverty can do to a person, but it didn’t make her very likable in the beginning. As she settles into life in Prythian and relaxes her guard, I came to enjoy her more. The novel spans several months, which gives us an opportunity to watch her grow and blossom away from the oppressing burdens of her human life. This is the Feyre she was meant to be, but with a core of steel she may have never grown otherwise.

I never really warmed up to Tamlin. He was different than I expected from the way he burst into Feyre’s home and forced her home with him; a bit old fashioned, but very sweet. He encouraged her to find herself and rediscover her love for painting, explore the area and make herself at home. Tamlin had his own agenda. Though he was kind to Feyre, it was obvious he was waiting on something from her. There were also several instances where he came off as very weak, not a warrior, for all his “I kill the bad things” vibes. I didn’t dislike him, necessarily, but I didn’t really like him, either.

Around the 70% mark, Feyre is forced to go Under the Mountain (another Court in Prythian, ruled by an evil faerie) to save Tamlin. This is where the novel really picked up. I loved watching Feyre use her wits and strength to survive and overcome. Still, it was hard to read, because while Feyre survived, parts of her were broken in the process. The latter part of the book was focused pretty much solely on Feyre. She was doing what she was doing for Tamlin, but he wasn’t really involved.

Having said that, I loved how Feyre changed and grew over the course of the book, and I was invested in her romance with Tamlin and her life in Prythian. The world-building and court politics and intrigues were very well done. I loved learning about the different Courts, being introduced to all the Faeries and coming to understand the truth behind Tamlin’s actions. Though this wasn’t a perfect read, I was invested in Feyre and her journey enough to continue reading, even through the slow parts. While it doesn’t necessarily end in a cliffhanger, I did immediately pick up the second book because I needed to see where Feyre’s story headed next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

A Court of Thorns and Roses

three-half-stars


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Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Posted March 4, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Where the Stars Still Shine
Rowena’s review of Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller.

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

Callie was kidnapped as a young child by her mother and has lived the last 12 years, on the run. Her life wasn’t easy but it was the only life that Callie knew. She learned a lot of life lessons long before she should have learned them and when they’re caught, her mother heads to jail and she heads to live with…her father. She hasn’t seen her father in years and he’s a complete stranger to her now.

He’s got a new life now. A new family and one of the first things that he tries to get Callie to understand is that his new family is her new family too. Just because they haven’t seen each other in twelve years does not mean that he forgot about her or grieved her loss the entire time that she was gone. It’s one of the main themes in the book, trying to get Callie to realize that she doesn’t need to run anymore. She can plant the roots that she’s been craving for a while and she’s safe. Finally safe.

Her new life comes with a great huge Greek family and right from the jump, Callie is overwhelmed.

She’s overwhelmed with a whole bunch of things but when Alex Kostas comes into her life, she’s attracted and very, very interested. Too bad, her new best friend and cousin, Kat has warned her off of him. But you can’t run from life and Alex doesn’t go anywhere…and neither does Callie.

This book follows Callie as she tries to make sense of her new life with her father without holding on to the guilt that comes with being happy without her Mom. She feels like she’s betraying her mother for liking her new life. For liking the stability, the love from her father and family and for having a home to rest her heat at every single night. She can be free from her old worries and scares and though it’s everything she’s always wanted, she struggles with everything.

For a bit, I was frustrated with how much Callie didn’t trust her father. He’s shown her nothing but kindness and love and she stays completely loyal to her mother. Her mother who kidnapped her away from her family and didn’t protect her from things she should have protected her from. It was understandable, all of the trust issues but after a while, it grew frustrating. I wanted to smack some sense into her but alls well that ends well.

Her relationship with Alex was a bit hard to take at first too. She was 17 and he was 22. That’s a bit of an age gap but as the story continued, they made more sense together than they did apart. There were feelings there and a blossoming love that Callie needed. Alex kept her grounded and gave her peace and I wanted that for her. Alex was a cutie patootie too so it wasn’t hard for him to win me over.

Seeing Callie come into her own and make some tough decisions made for an interesting read, even if it came with its fair share of frustrations. It all ended the way that it was supposed to and when I closed the book, I was happy with the story as a whole so really, I can’t complain.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Bloomsbury USA. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Posted March 12, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Rowena’s review of Also Known As by Robin Benway.

Main Character: Maggie Silver
Love Interest: Jesse Oliver
Series: ??
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She’ll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school’s security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

This was such a fun book.  A book that I was glad that I requested and glad that I read because I thought it was so cute.  Maggie is a 16 year old spy who moves from city to city cracking safes for the Collective.  The Collective is a spy agency that sends its agents out to fight the good fight.  To keep people safe and to make sure that the bad guys are put away.  Maggie’s next assignment takes her to New York City where Armand Oliver is getting ready to print a story about the Collective.  This story will name names and put Maggie and everyone she holds dear in danger so her assignment is to get close to Armand’s son, gain access to their home and crack his safe and take any evidence that she could find.  She also has to find out who the mole is from inside the Collective because Armand is definitely getting his information from somewhere…

So Maggie is enrolled in the same school that Jesse goes to and she gets to work.  She makes a friend named Roux, who is a girl the school outcast and let me tell you, Roux was the best thing that ever happened to Maggie.  To say that I adored Roux is putting it lightly because I absolutely, completely adored her.  Every drunken, heartfelt and crazy adventure that these two had made this book just that much more entertaining.

The main character Maggie had a really engaging voice.  She made it easy to follow along with the story and I really liked how smart she was and how confident she was in her talents with the Collective.  Even when she’s a fish out of water with the whole going to school for the first time with people her own age and having to blend in, she was great.

I really liked the way that Robin Benway wrote this story. It was light, it was funny and it was easy to read.  The story was great, the characters were charming and I definitely recommend this book.  This book would have gotten an A but there were a few things that bugged me about the way that Maggie talked to her parents, the way that she seemed to scream all the time and there were times in the beginning when the story read slow but as soon as it picked up, I forgave everything else.  It was an overall, great read.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Bloomsbury. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Posted September 20, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Butter by Erin Jade LangeReviewer: Rowena
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 4th 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 294
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.

What a disturbing premise for a book but as disturbing as it was, I was curious to see how this story would be told so I had to read it. So this book follows a young man in high school, who is obese (423 pounds) and nicknamed Butter by these douche-bags from his school. He’s a big guy and he’s been to fat camp but he eats his feelings and he goes through a lot of things in this book. I thought that the author did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life.

She really dug into Butter’s character and made him a three-dimensional character and I enjoyed reading his story. Well, I shouldn’t say that I enjoyed reading his story because there was a lot about this book that I didn’t like. It was very hard to read at times because of everything that Butter went through. The people that he dealt with at school, the new friends that he made after making the website, the suicide planning itself, all of that was really hard to read and my heart hurt for Butter because that was his life.

It was very hard to like the people that came into Butter’s life because of the website. You see, Butter launches a website with the plan to eat himself to death on New Year’s Eve and catch it all on a live stream. He’s hurting and he’s not happy with himself and his life and he goes through things that was very hard to get through.

There were times when I wanted to strangle Butter because of the lashing out he did with his parents and with his teachers and even the kids around school but more than anything, I worried about him while I was reading the book. He’s dealing with a lot of things and he feels alone and like nobody understands because the one person that he was closest to at fat camp is now on his way to getting skinny and Butter feels like he missed his opportunity with that one but what I really liked about this book was how the author told the story. It was told in a straight forward way with enough emotion thrown in to make the story stay with you.

This was an interesting story that made me sit up and think about the way that I treat others online and how important it is to talk to my daughter about the online treatment of others and really just to talk to her about bullying of any kind. This book brought things up in my own life that I need to fix and it hit all of my emotional buttons so I’m glad that I read this book.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Bloomsbury. This book was received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

four-stars


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Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.

Posted June 14, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments


Rowena’s review of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.

Main Character: Travis Stephenson
Love Interest: Harper
Series: None
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

Love!

I adore military guys and so I knew that I was going to like Travis but I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to like him. Travis is in the Marines and has just returned from a stint in Afghanistan where his best friend Charlie was killed. He comes home (on leave) to find that his brother has taken over his car and his girlfriend. His parents are not getting along (on the verge of divorce) and he’s struggling with nightmares from Charlie’s death. He doesn’t fit in with his old friends (though it looks like his brother does) anymore and he’s not very happy.

Then he comes across Harper, a girl from school who’s reputation he had a hand in ruining. Harper isn’t happy to see him and gives him a black eye to prove it but with a month to kill before he can go back to work, he finds himself drawn to Harper. He’s not the same guy that he was a year ago and the only person that gives him any kind of peace is Harper. As they begin to get closer and closer, Travis is able to find peace from himself, from his thoughts and just everything around him for just a little while. So of course, he wants to be around her even more.

It wasn’t hard to understand why Travis was so drawn to Harper. She was an all around good person with a huge heart who was patient with him. His nightmares, his memories and his grief were hard to be around but she didn’t go anywhere. He needed her and she stuck around because she was just as drawn to him as he was to her. I really enjoyed getting to know Harper. I wanted her to be my best friend because I could just tell that she would be a great one. She had a great personality, a forgiving nature and she was pretty awesome.

Travis was a total mess when we first meet him and he continued to be a complete mess throughout the book but when the book ended, I knew that he was going to be okay. He became so much more than just a character in a book to me and I really appreciated Doller’s efforts in writing his character. He was a real, three dimensional character that leaped right off the pages and I ate each thought, action and scene with him in up. I came to love his character over the course of this story and I was so bummed when the book ended.

In my head, I could see Travis as Zac Efron from The Lucky One. Tortured by memories from his past and quiet, mysterious. He was a solid guy with a good heart who did stupid things from time to time. He wasn’t perfect but I didn’t care, I loved the heck out of him anyway. I was glad when he finally let go of Paige for good and I loved seeing him forge a bond with his Mom. He was good to her and I loved that he wanted to protect her from her relationship with his father and I just really enjoyed seeing things come together for him.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it and completely recommend this book. If you pick this up, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

..and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Bloomsbury.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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