Publisher: Bloomsbury

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
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge
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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


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Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Posted July 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererReviewer: Rowena
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 376
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Brigid Kemmerer so I wanted to try her out and I’m glad that I did. It was a lot more angsty than I was prepared for or even in the mood for but I pushed through and am glad that I did because this book was good. Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style is compelling and I couldn’t stop reading it.

So this book follows Rob and Maegan. Both characters aren’t wildly popular at school because they’ve fallen from grace. Maegan fell from grace over a cheating incident from last year that had consequences for everyone while Rob’s fall from grace was more repercussions from the shitty things that his father did. People swear up and down that Rob knew all along so they’re holding him just as responsible as his father.

When Rob and Maegan are paired up to work on a project together, they’re not too happy with the situation but the project needs to get done so they work together. While they’re working together, they get to know each other and I thought Brigid Kemmerer handled bringing them together rather well. Sure they had a complication relationship and things weren’t always easy but Kemmerer tells their story really well. She does teenage angst really well. There was a lot of things tackled in this book and I thought Kemmerer handled all aspects of the story well. Even though there was a bit of a lag in the beginning, the pacing really picks up and the story, along with the characters really shine the more you read, if that makes any sense. I loved the message that carried throughout the story. One decision isn’t going to determine your entire future. Your future is made up of a bunch of decisions that you make so if you get off track, you have the power to get back on track.

This book was a lot deeper than I was anticipating and it was a lot more angsty than I was in the mood for but that didn’t stop me from reading every word. There were parts of the book that were a little slow, mostly in the beginning but I was glad that I stuck with the book because, in the end, I was a happy camper. I will definitely be reading more books from Brigid Kemmerer in the future.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

Final Grade

Grade: 3.75 out of 5


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Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First Book

Posted July 19, 2017 by Holly in Promotions | 3 Comments

The RITA Award is the highest award of distinction in the romance publishing industry and recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony held during the RWA National Conference at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Thursday, July 27. Today we’re spotlighting the nominees for Best First Book.

Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookAlterations by Stephanie Scott
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark, Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 237
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If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia grow closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and a choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.

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About Stephanie Scott


Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she’s a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about TV and all things books on Twitter and Instagram at @StephScottYA.


Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookBefore Goodbye by Mimi Cross
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication Date: January 1st 2016
Pages: 399
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Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.

Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.

As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.

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About Mimi Cross


Born in Toronto, Canada, Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter who grew up in New Jersey. She received a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and an MA from New York University. She is a performer, a music educator, and worked briefly in the music industry. Mimi is also a certified Kripalu yoga instructor and the creator of Body of Writing, a practice that adds an additional dimension to the body, mind, spirit discipline of yoga: story.

A two time Asbury Music Award winner, Mimi has shared the bill with artists such as Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Lauryn Hill, Jill Sobule, and Jon Bon Jovi. She enjoys performing for the benefit of others, and has played shows with many New Jersey musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, to raise funds for the Light of Day Foundation. She offers classes at Project Write Now, A nonprofit dedicated to helping people improve their writing and communication skills.

Mimi lives with her young son, across the street from the beach.

Blog Tour: RITA Finalists Spotlight- Best First BookClose to You by Kara Isaac
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

Order the Book:


About Kara Isaac


Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two children.

For a full list of RITA finalists, readers can go to:

To see a spotlight of each book being nominated, click here:

Follow RWA on the following social media platforms for winner announcements:

What is the RITA Award?

The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.

The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.

For more about the RITA Award, click here:

The RITA Ceremony will be streamed live for people to watch from home! Readers can watch from 7 to 9 p.m. ET on July 27 by going to

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Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Posted July 23, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery LordReviewer: Rowena
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication Date: April 15th 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah's 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord's gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I’ve been hearing great things about Emery Lord’s writing so I’ve been wanting to try her books out for a while now. I got to dig right into this book after I caught up on all of my review books for the month so I was pretty stoked.

This book follows Reagan as she spends the summer with her country superstar best friend Lilah Montgomery on the road for her summer tour. The summer was meant to be a best friends summer because Reagan was making some changes in her life and spending time with Dee, going from city to city was supposed to help her move on from the past she so desperately wants to leave behind. When Matt Finch joins the tour and starts hanging out with them, Reagan didn’t plan on liking him. She didn’t want to like him because he’s supposed to be playing the role of Dee’s boyfriend for the media (even though they’re not together) and she’s not the kind of person that will bring trouble to her best friend. But like Selena Gomez said, the heart wants what it wa-a-a-a-ants. And Reagan and Matt want each other.

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard to like Reagan. Holy cow did she get on my nerves for a whole chunk of this book. I get that she’s been burned and treated badly but it was disappointing to see someone who was slut-shamed by others, slut-shame and judge the hell out of girls who approached Matt. Umm, you hated when those girls judged and shamed you at school so why would you do the same to random, means nothing to Matt girls? Reagan was very immature and her personality got on my nerves. I did like that she was super loyal to Dee (aka Lilah Montomery to the masses) but that loyalty didn’t really help with everything else that bothered me about her. Her snap judgments and her stubbornness got on my nerves and that stubbornness was still present at the end of the book, which was frustrating.

Matt was a good love interest. He was cute and swoony and everything that a pop star should be but I didn’t understand his attraction to Reagan. She was so mean and cold to him, not to mention how hot and cold she ran. One minute she was all swoony and all over him and the next, she’s pretending he doesn’t exist and ugh. When they finally do get together, I liked that all of the games Reagan played seemed to fall away.

The story progressed at a nice and steady pace and even though I was frustrated with Reagan, I wasn’t ever bored with the story. I liked getting a behind the scenes look at life on the road for a big summer tour. I liked seeing everything that went into being Lilah Montgomery and to be honest, I really liked and probably would have preferred reading about Dee and Jimmy. Their story was interesting, the big superstar and the guy she left behind…still in love but can’t be together…what happens? When they get back to Nashville and Dee goes to see Jimmy? That hug? Happy sigh. It was good stuff.

Anyway, the book as a whole had a lot that kept me interested but Reagan got on my nerves so I stayed frustrated throughout the entire reading. The whole bit with Matt’s best friend and Reagan, I wasn’t a fan of that. It felt forced and so obvious. I would have liked for something else to be the road block in their friendship and not something so contrived as that. But overall, I’m not mad that I read this book. I will probably read more from this author, I’ve already bought her other book so I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Walker. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Pixelated by L.S. Murphy

Posted July 22, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Pixelated by L.S. MurphyReviewer: Rowena
Pixelated by L.S. Murphy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication Date: June 30th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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Senior Year. Middle of nowhere. What's the new girl to do?

For Piper Marks, the answer is simple. She's determined to have her photography rock the cover of National Geographic someday, and moving to Clarkton, Iowa for her last year of high school is not going to stop her. Even if her usual subjects have changed from bright lights and skyscrapers to fields, cows...and more fields.

But when photographer at the local paper quits in a huff, she steps into his spot. Her new job keeps Piper busy capturing tackles, and zooming in on first downs and end zone dances, not to mention putting her directly in the path of varsity football star Les Williams IV. Her new friends warn her off, but she can't resist the pull she feels toward this mysterious country boy. But this small town is keeping a secret, and it's one that could destroy any chance they have to be together.

It's up to Piper to decide what to do with the distorted truth. Can she risk exposing her heart? It might be worth it, 'cause Les is about to change her world from black and white to fully saturated color.

Praise for Pixelated:

"In Pixelated, L.S. Murphy weaves a complex web of secrets and lies with a 'will they or won't they' romance that kept me turning pages and holding my breath!" ~ Julie Reece, author of The Artisans and Crux

"Beautifully written, with a full spectrum of emotion and complex characters, Pixelated will tug at all your heartstrings. I easily lost myself in the world L.S. Murphy created and couldn't stop reading because I needed to see how the story ended." ~ Kelly Oram, author of Cinder & Ella

"L.S. Murphy brings something for every reader with Pixelated: romance, secrets, mystery, and a main character torn between two choices. Murphy's writing is sharp and steeped in emotions, deftly hooking her readers from the first sentence to the last." ~ Sarah Bromley, author of A Murder Of Magpies

Pixelated is about a young girl named Piper who moved from St. Louis to small town Clarkton, Iowa for her senior year. Her Mom and Step Dad bought two newspapers in Clarkton and they’re making a go of it in the country. Piper couldn’t stay back with her father since he took a college Professor job in Kansas so off to Clarkton she went with her Mom. She’s bummed about this new change in her life because she thought she would be graduating with her friends that she’s had since elementary but now it looks like she’ll be graduating with kids who have been friends or knew each other since they were in elementary school. Trying to get through it, Piper leans heavily on her photography. When she meets Les Williams, a cute cowboy boots wearing boy from her school, she develops a crush on him and tries to get over it because he’s already got a girlfriend. She makes friends and at first, things are going great until Les starts showing interest in her and she becomes the talk of the high school gossips.

Both Les and Piper were interesting characters. Piper couldn’t help liking Les and I immediately knew that there was more to Les’ than met the eye so I didn’t trust him at first. I knew that there was a story where his girlfriend was concerned and that story low key got on my nerves. The longer he went without fessing up to everyone, the more annoyed I was with him. Because he was playing with Piper’s emotions and I got that he was in a bad place but not hurting the girlfriend hurt Piper and I wasn’t okay with that. I think it took him too long to make things right but when he finally does, I was glad. I thought Piper wasn’t the most perfect of heroines (who is?) but I understood what motivated her and even though she got on my nerves every time she snapped at those around her when she was mad (hello, you don’t talk to your Step Dad like that, little girl), I still ended up liking her.

There were parts of this book that I felt dragged a bit too long but for the most part, it’s an enjoyable contemporary YA romance with characters that I liked. I was interested in getting to know Les and Piper more and I really liked how serious she was about her photography.

This book felt real, in the sense that the kids from school reacted the way that high schoolers react to gossip, to being betrayed and everything else in their lives. They drove me crazy and they made me laugh but overall, I didn’t exactly love them. This book is a solid read but the slow bits were enough to take me out of the story from time to time and I wasn’t a fan of that. I would definitely read more by this author because her writing style is good and I’d like to see what else she’s got up her sleeve.

I’d recommend this book to fans of contemporary YA romances, the kind of romances that are light and fluffy that aren’t bogged down in teenage angst.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Bloomsbury Spark. 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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