WWW Wednesday 5/27/20

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words! This past week has definitely been a pretty slow one reading-wise, and I’ll explain why in this post. But despite that, I’m still so excited to update you all on what I’ve been reading lately!

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The Grace Year by  Kim Liggett (71% Through)

Amazon.com: The Grace Year: A Novel (9781250145444): Liggett, Kim ...

This book started out SO GOOD. The atmosphere is dark, gritty, and haunting, and it’s easy to see the similarities it has with popular dystopias like The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale. However, about halfway through the book, the male love interest is introduced, and a flimsy, insta-lovey romance is “developed”. Ugh. This is the type of book that totally doesn’t need a romance sub-plot to make it interesting, and I honestly think that its romantic element is just making it worse.

I’m really conflicted with this one, to say the least. It started off as a five star read, but now I might have to knock it down to three or four stars, depending on whether the romance continues as it is throughout the rest of the book. I’m still enjoying it, but I just hate when an action-driven story becomes a romance-driven one. Is it bad that I’m hoping the love interest gets killed off so we can get back to all the excitement and thrills?

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (75% Through)

The Unhoneymooners

Finally getting on the Christina Lauren fanwagon! I’ve REALLY enjoyed reading this book. I’ve been listening to it as an audiobook, and it’s such a fun, easy read, perfect for when you just want to relax and de-stress.

I’m nearly done with this book, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to give it either 4 or 5 stars. I don’t usually give rom-coms 5 stars since they basically require no effort to read (they’re so light and fluffy!), but I might have to make an exception for this one… I’m loving it that much!

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer Series #1) by Laini ...

This book was certainly not bad, but it left me feeling so disappointed! I went into it expecting something totally different than what I got. I have such mixed feelings about this book, and I really don’t want to get into all of that messiness, but it boils down to this: Strange the Dreamer is beautifully written, but it’s a boring story. I know others will disagree, but the book’s plot moved so slowly, and as a result, picking it up felt like a chore. When nearing the end of the book, I read some reviews saying that the plot picked up at like 80%, but even then it just didn’t interest me. Strange the Dreamer is definitely one of my most disappointing reads of 2020!

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The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Amazon.com: The Betrothed (9780062291639): Cass, Kiera: Books

So… I’m really scared to read this one. With all of the one star reviews rolling in, I’m already disappointed, and I haven’t even opened the book yet! I loved The Selection, but according to some of my friends who have read The Betrothed, the two books are nothing alike! I’m so bummed because when I first heard about this book, I was so sure that I would love it. And maybe I still will, but right now, I’m doubtful.

Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Far from Normal by Becky Wallace

The other day, I literally did a little happy-dance when I received an ARC of Far From Normal in the mail! As a smaller blogger/bookstagrammer, I don’t receive physical arcs very often, so seeing this one on my doorstep was a wonderful surprise! Lockdown has had me binge reading tons of light, swoonworthy romances, and that’s exactly what Far From Normal is! I can’t wait to read it within the next few weeks and share my thoughts with you all. I have high hopes for this book!

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WHAT ARE YOUR WWWS? I’D LOVE TO KNOW!

Feel free to chat with me in the comments! Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? If so, what did you think of them?

Stay healthy and safe, my friends!

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ARC Review: The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning (Spoiler Alert: IT WAS AMAZING)

Huge thanks to Tor Teen for sending me a free review copy!

Disclaimer: All quotes mentioned in this review have not been finalized and may change prior to publication.

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When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warriornot a sacrifice.

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

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*** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS VERY MILD SPOILERS ***

(Honestly I don’t even consider them spoilers, I just don’t want anyone to get triggered at me if something comes across as too spoilery)

Actual footage of me after finishing this book:

OMG GIF - Elf WillFerrell Excited - Discover & Share GIFs

I had incredibly high expectations going into this book, but did that stop it from completely knocking me off my feet anyway? Nope, not at all! The Princess Will Save You was everything I dreamed it would be and MORE!

This revamp of The Princess Bride pokes fun at the damsel in distress trope and turns it on its head in a really fun way:

“Luca swallowed the blood in his mouth and looked right into the girl’s eyes… ‘My princess won’t bow to your demands. But what she will do is come for me, which means she’s coming for you, whether I’m alive or not.’

‘The princess will save you. Yes, yes, that’s right. That’s how all the storybooks go.'”

I’m a huge Princess Bride fan, but I’ve always thought that the film lacked the much-needed element of female empowerment. After all, the movie isn’t exactly pushing the boundaries of what female characters can achieve.

But The Princess Will Save You takes the story to a whole new level.

The book unravels the tropes and stereotypes of fairy tales in an unapologetically feminist way. In Ardenia, a kingdom where sexism and gender inequality are normalized (much like our world today, unfortunately), there are so many strong female characters! Let’s start with our protagonist, Amarande… I loved her so much! She was headstrong, but never obnoxiously so, and refused to be told what to do. Her bravery, selflessness, and strength (inner and outer) were so admirable. Beyond being strong-willed, stubborn, and relentlessly brave, she had this sureness about herself that I absolutely loved. Being the female heir in a kingdom based upon sexism, she was constantly being talked down to by her male counterparts and was always seen as “less capable” just because of her femininity. But Ama didn’t let any of this deter her. With grace and confidence, she showed her people that just because she was a girl did not mean she couldn’t be a strong and capable ruler. I especially loved the scenes in the book where Ama left Ardenia’s male counselors completely flabbergasted with her blunt and clever comebacks to their blatantly sexist remarks. 😂

Other than Ama, there are many other female characters in this book that I could gush about endlessly. Koldo and Ula were two of my favorites. They were both strong, determined, and resilient in different ways.

And while this is certainly a feminist novel, the male characters in it are just as loveable as the female ones! Luca was such a sweetheart! I just want to drag him out of the book and give him a huge hug (…and possibly a smooch 😉). I love how he cared so much for Ama, and how he’d basically do anything for her. GET ME A MAN LIKE THAT. What I love most about his character is that he’s not your typical brooding, toxic male love interest we see so often in YA. He was a lot like two of my favorite book boyfriends, Peeta Mellark and Maxon Schreave (so if you like those boys, you’ll love Luca ❤).  He was kind, caring, and gentle… characters like Luca are the reason why my dating expectations are so high. It’s rare to come across a boy with all of the traits Luca possesses, but hey, a girl can dream, right? 😍

The romance between Ama and Luca was something I was apprehensive about going into the book. I’m not usually a fan of stories that start with the two love interests already together. I prefer to see the development and build-up of the relationship before the two characters eventually become lovers. But the thing is, despite the fact that Ama and Luca were pretty much in love from the get-go, their relationship still had many obstacles and hurdles that had to be overcome. The two were separated from one another for a majority of the book, but that didn’t stop them from making endless sacrifices to save one another. Their love was so strong, and I ship them so freaking hard! Though I must confess, I’m *a little* jealous of Ama.

We’ve talked a lot about the good guys in this book, so let’s talk about the bad guys… the villains! I thought Renard was a great antagonist because he pissed me off to no end. He was sexist, controlling, self-absorbed, and annoyingly cunning. I did not like that dude at all! Let’s just say that I’m happy Sarah Henning gave him the ending he deserved… *cackles menacingly*

Ula, Uritzi, and Denixi were such a cute little squad of anti-heroes! I loved how they started out as villains and eventually wormed their way into my heart with their witty banter and hilarious bickering. I really hope we get to see more of these characters in this book’s sequel, as they were beyond fun to read about!

I think I’ve talked enough about characters so let’s discuss THE PLOT. For the most part, The Princess Will Save You is a journey book, meaning it mainly consists of the characters travelling from place to place and meeting occasional obstacles along the way. I HATE JOURNEY BOOKS. I’ve always found them to be so boring and slow-paced. But The Princess Will Save You was the very opposite! It was fast-paced, intense, and captivating. I was completely hooked from start to finish, and I think this is mainly because Sarah Henning does a fantastic job of making us readers feel how high the stakes are for Ama and Luca. Everything is on the line. Their love, their lives, their kingdom. We’re able to understand just how much pressure these characters are under, making the story all the more thrilling.

Also… THAT CLIFFHANGER. Give me the next book already! I’m begging, PLEASE!!! *cue sad, puppy dog eyes* 🥺

All in all, I simply adored The Princess Will Save You (if you somehow couldn’t already tell). With wonderful characters, an adorable romance, and a fast-moving plot, it’s everything I could ever want in a book!

I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel… In the meantime, I’ll just be fangirling about how Luca is an adorable teddybear and how Ama is a fierce, badass princess who is going to make an amazing queen! I can’t wait to see where these characters’ story goes!

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How do Preschools Earn Those 5 Stars? - Children's Campus

(I’d give it six stars if I could)

 

Mermaid and Siren Book Recommendations

Hey everyone!

As the month nears its end, I thought a great way to finish off #MerMay would be by recommending some of my favorite mermaid and siren books! Mermaids are very near and dear to my heart (hence the blog name), as I’ve been obsessed with them since I was a little girl! As a kid, I even had a phase where I pretended I was secretly a mermaid, and that if I touched sea water, I would sprout a tail and fins. Yeah, I definitely drove my mother crazy with that silliness 😂

But anyway, I’m really excited to share all of these amazing books with you! Let’s dive into these fin-tastic tails (three puns in one sentence… that must be some kind of record)!

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1. All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology Book 1) by [Adalyn Grace]

Synopsis:

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

Why You Should Read It:

If you like mermaids, but you’re not really obsessed with them, this is the book for you. It has a hint of mermaid magic, but the overall storyline focuses on something entirely different. One of the four main characters is a mermaid, but we also have a princess, a pirate, and a stowaway! How fun does that sound? All the Stars and Teeth was one of the books I read for #MerMay this year, and it was an easy five-star read! I’m dying to get my hands on the sequel that comes out next February!

2. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by [Alexandra Christo]

Synopsis:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most–a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen and or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby–it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good–But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Why You Should Read It:

This book is dark, bloody, and full of siren lure! To Kill a Kingdom is easily one of my favorite books EVER, and I can’t gush enough about it. Fun fact: it’s actually the inspiration behind my blog name, Mermaid Reads (though in TKAK, mermaids and sirens are actually two incredibly different species 😂). If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly encourage you to pick it up! Even if mermaids and sirens aren’t really your forte, I think there’s a good chance you’ll still love it!

3. The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren by [Kiera Cass]

Synopsis:

Kahlen is a Siren—bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to their watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger… but will Kahlen risk everything to follow her heart?

Why You Should Read It:

I picked this book up because it’s by Kiera Cass, the author of the Selection series, and I ended up enjoying it a lot! I read it years ago, so my recollection of it is a bit foggy, but I remember thinking it was a lovely siren romance! Definitely give this one a read if you’re looking for a sweet, lighthearted mermaid love story.

4. The Wild Mermaid by Mel Braxton

The Wild Mermaid by Mel Braxton

Synopsis:

Cora was thrilled. Today she would reach Atlantis, and after a long migration she was eager to finish the journey.

But when the Queen appoints Cora as the next soloist, she must take an unusual medication, physic. As the drug reshapes her mind, Cora discovers Atlantis to be far more sinister than her daydreams.

To escape, Cora must navigate the Queen’s palace. Along the way, she is befriended and betrayed. She learns that myths can be lies and tragedies often leave scars.

It’s an adventure that’ll ultimately transform her into The Wild Mermaid.

Why You Should Read It:

The Wild Mermaid is a quick little “tail” that had me hooked from start to finish. The idea behind the story is so refreshing, original, and unlike anything I’v ever read before. This book is set in the mythical underwater city of Atlantis, which we discover may be far for sinister than the legends lead us to believe… The story was fast-paced, thrilling, and filled with endless twists and turns that kept me reading long into the night. I had such a blast reading this one, and I highly recommend picking it up!

5. The Daughter of the Pirate King Duology by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King by [Tricia Levenseller]

Synopsis:

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Why You Should Read It:

Tricia Levenseller has slowly become one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of her books that have been published so far, and each one makes me fall in love with her writing even more! The Daughter of the Pirate King duology is a fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure that has sirens AND pirates! This series was so much fun to read, and the books are pretty short, so you can read them quite quickly! My only complaint is that the story is incredibly predictable… the title of the second book, The Daughter of the Siren Queen, basically gives away the big “plot twist” in Book 1. But if you’re okay with it being predictable, I highly recommend this wonderful duology!

6. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch by [Sarah Henning]

Synopsis:

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

Why You Should Read It:

This was a really interesting interpretation of the Sea Witch’s story. I really loved how the author layered this retelling with hundreds of years of Danish history. It was an interesting touch! Though the story is somewhat slow-paced at times, the writing is beautiful and mesmerizing, which completely makes up for it. This is a very unique take on the classic story of The Little Mermaid that you should definitely go read!

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And… there you have it!

A list of all of my favorite mermaid and siren “tails” to wrap up #MerMay (and yes… I’m well aware that I’ve probably used that pun a billion times in this post. 😂 Can you blame me though?)! I definitely encourage picking up some of these wonderfully swashbuckling reads!

What are your favorite mermaid/siren reads? I’m always looking for recommendations!

Thanks for reading, and happy MerMay!

Until next time,

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ARC Review: Star Wars Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston

eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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When fourteen-year-old Padmé Naberrie wins the election for Queen of Naboo, she adopts the name Amidala and leaves her family to the rule from the royal palace. To keep her safe and secure, she’ll need a group of skilled handmaidens who can be her assistants, confidantes, defenders, and decoys. Each girl is selected for her particular talents, but it will be up to Padmé to unite them as a group. When Naboo is invaded by forces of the Trade Federation, Queen Amidala and her handmaidens will face the greatest test–of themselves, and of each other.

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I LOVE Star Wars, so I thought I would love this book, but alas, I did not. There was nothing remotely “bad” about it, but after finishing it, I feel like it was a very unnecessary read.

You see, Queen’s Peril tells the story of Padmé’s life as Queen of Naboo, BEFORE any of the events in The Phantom Menace take place… it’s a prequel of a prequel! But the problem is this: it doesn’t really add anything to Padmé’s story. I don’t know if it was the vague storytelling, the lack of action, or the bland characters we were introduced to, but something about this book just made it feel so (for lack of better words) empty.

Let’s talk about that first thing I mentioned, because that’s as good a place to start as any: vague storytelling. I was surprised by how indifferent I was about E.K. Johnston’s writing, because I’ve only heard great things about it! Maybe her other books are much stronger than this one, and having only read Queen’s Peril, I can’t immediately rule her out as an author I’m not interested in reading from again. However, there was something about her storytelling that made me feel like it was missing something. I just wanted more. I felt as though everything was written incredibly vaguely. Important events in the book weren’t well explained, and I find that pretty ironic considering it’s supposed to be a further fleshed out version of Padmé’s story.

Padmé herself read off as quite bland, which was such a bummer! I get that it’s hard to compare E.K. Johnston’s interpretation of her character to the talented Natalie Portman’s performance in the movies, but I just couldn’t help it. And it’s not like the author didn’t have the opportunity to really explore Padmé’s character and show a new aspect of her personality in her book. In this book, I was expecting to see a side of Padmé that wasn’t shown very much in the Star Wars films– the side of her that is young and inexperienced, yet eager to do anything for the good of her people. But I saw no such thing. It pains me to say this, but E.K. Johnston’s Padmé was so boring and watered down. I wanted to connect with her like I did in the movies, but I just couldn’t. I never understood her thought process and motives… Why was Padmé’s desire to be Queen of Naboo so strong in the first place? What aspects of her childhood sparked her passion to serve her planet as queen? These are questions I really wanted to see answered in this book, but, alas, they never were. We only get to see Padmé AS queen, not before she was crowned. Frankly, this was quite disappointing, as I would have enjoyed finding out more about Padmé’s motivations to become the Queen of Naboo before she was even elected.

Not only was Padmé incredibly boring to read, but all of the other supporting characters in the story were just as bland. This might just be the most disappointing thing of all, because the supporting characters were the reason I wanted to read this book in the first place! This book was supposed to give a voice to Padmé’s decoys/handmaids that appear briefly in The Phantom Menace. We didn’t get to see much of them in the movie, so I was looking forward to reading from their perspectives in Queen’s Peril. And while we DID get to see the events of the story through the handmaids’ eyes, their character development was simply non-existent. All of the handmaids’ personalities just blurred together, and if E.K. Johnston had switched one girl’s name with another’s, I highly doubt I would have noticed.

I think part of the problem is that Johnston focused all of the limited character development on Sabé, Padmé’s first handmaid and the decoy who gets assassinated in The Phantom Menace. To a certain degree, I understand why Johnston made Sabé her primary focus. She is, after all, the main decoy shown in the Star Wars films. But, with that being said, wasn’t the whole point of this book to tell the stories of the other handmaids as well? With no unique qualities to distinguish the girls from one another, the author’s attempt to do this fell short.

It didn’t help that the pacing of the story was agonizingly slow. This is a short book… It’s under 300 pages. Yet it was a battle to finish it! Fast pacing is one of the things I value most in a novel, so it’s no surprise that this book’s slow moving plot wasn’t for me.

Overall, Queen’s Peril was a huge let down. I knew going into this book that there was no way I would enjoy it as much as the Star Wars movies, but I didn’t expect it to be as disappointing as it was.

This book lacked everything I had hoped it would have, and as a huge Star Wars lover, it really pains me to say that!

I hope other Padmé fans enjoy this book more than I did!

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yogabbagabba

 

WWW Wednesday 5/20/20

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words! I haven’t done a WWW Wednesday post in a while, so I’m so excited to update you all on what I’ve been reading lately!

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Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (63% through)

Amazon.com: Stolen Songbird: Malediction Trilogy Book One ...

Guys… I’ve been SLEEPING on this book for the last five years! It’s amazing so far, and incredibly underrated! I’m hoping to finish it tonight, and after that, I’m planning on ordering physical copies of the whole trilogy!

This book has everything I look for in a YA fantasy: a lush and intricate setting, a complex magic system, a main character I can root for, and a dashing love interest! I love it when an author tackles classic myths and folklore in an interesting way, and that’s exactly what Danielle L. Jensen does with her interpretation of trolls! Yes, you read that correctly! Trolls! In Stolen Songbird, trolls are not the stout, ugly creatures we’ve all seen countless times before in literature. They’re actually powerful and beautiful creatures who have a very complex relationship with the human race. I love the approach Jensen took with trolls, and I can already tell that I’m going to love the rest of this book (and hopefully the rest of the trilogy)!

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (26% through)

The Unhoneymooners

Finally getting on the Christina Lauren fanwagon! I’m actually REALLY loving this book so far. I’ve been listening to it as an audiobook, and it’s such a fun, easy read, perfect for when you just want to relax and de-stress.

I’m pretty new to the romance/rom-com genre, so I’m still just testing the waters, but I definitely want to try to read more books like this one after I’m done with it! I’ve heard great things about Roomies and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, two other popular Christina Lauren books, so maybe I’ll try those out next!

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

I came into The Song of Achilles with high expectations, and Madeline Miller did not disappoint.

This book was absolutely beautiful, and it touched me in a way that I can’t even put into words. The ending was so heartbreaking, and I already know that it’s going to stick with me for a very long time. I’m having troubling deciding whether I enjoyed this book more than Madeline Miller’s other novel, Circe, as they are both such lush, transportive reads. I hope Miller publishes more Greek mythology books in the future, for she is an excellent storyteller!

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens

No. Just no.

I did not like this book at all, which is such a shame, because I really thought it was going to be a new favorite! I’m not going to say much about it, because I explained everything in my review, but it boils down to this: After about page 50 or so, this book is a total sh*t show. The main character completely loses her wits after she meets the handsome, brooding male love interest, and the plot is like… non existent? The pacing is awful, and the romance is horribly developed.

Probably one of my most disappointing reads of 2020! 😦

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games': All about the new 'Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'

I WISH EVERYONE WOULD STOP HATING ON THIS BOOK BEFORE HAVING EVEN READ IT. Was I thrilled when it was announced that we would be getting a President Snow prequel, rather than a Finnick, Haymitch, or Joanna one? Not necessarily. But I trust Suzanne Collins as a writer, and I think that she’s going to give us something good. As good as the OG trilogy? Probably not. But I still think this book has the potential to be something great, which is why I’m shocked by all of the unnecessary hate it’s been getting. I know people are worried that this is going to be a Snow redemption novel, but I doubt that Suzanne Collins would write something like that… After all, redeeming Snow’s character would be a big fat middle finger to Katniss and all of the characters in the original trilogy.

I have high hopes for this one, and I’m so excited for my preordered copy to arrive within the next few days!

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Amazon.com: The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy ...

I always get nervous when picking up a hyped up book, because I’m scared it will let me down. Recently, with the upcoming release of The Empire of Gold, I’ve been hearing praise for The City of Brass and the Daevabad trilogy non-stop, so I’m giving in and reading it!

I’m scared it’s going to be one of those massive adult fantasy novels that has amazing world-building and imagery, but superrrrr slowwwww pacinggggg. I love me a well developed setting, but I’ll take action and intensity over intricate world-building any day.

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What are your WWWs? I’d love to know!

Feel free to chat with me in the comments! Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? If so, what did you think of them?

Stay healthy and safe, my friends!

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Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (Most Disappointing Read of the Year)

An Enchantment of Ravens by [Margaret Rogerson]3b6fc50f04874b6a17f39386fdc73b33 (1)

Isobel is an artistic prodigy with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious, Rook spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously wrong in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending on each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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Wow. An Enchantment of Ravens disappointed me on so many levels. I went into it expecting it to be a five star read, and it ended up being a two star one. I guess I can only blame myself for having such high expectations, but I can’t help but feel extremely ripped off.

Why?

The book started off so promising. The idea behind the story was brilliant. Our protagonist, Isobel, is an esteemed portrait artist in the land of Whimsy. Isobel paints portraits of the fair folk (the fae, basically) in exchange for enchantments in the form of protection for her family. Isobel makes a fatal mistake when she paints mortal sorrow in the eyes of Rook, the autumn prince. Furious, the fae prince whisks Isobel away to stand trial for her crime.

As I said before, this sounds like a set-up for an exciting, action-packed adventure. But that’s where the book fails to deliver.

The first 50 or so pages of the book start off strong. We meet Isobel, a seemingly strong-willed and intelligent protagonist who is unconditionally loyal to her family. For the brief part of the book where she was actually likable, I thought Isobel was a great female heroine. But when she meets Rook, her eventual love interest, things start going downhill very quickly.

Let me give you some advice: If you don’t like the insta-love trope, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, pick up this book. You’ll only waste your time. Because as soon as Isobel meets Rook, she falls head over heels in love with him (even though he’s an arrogant scumbag) and loses any sense of levelheadedness she previously had. Congratulations, Margaret Rogerson, on managing to completely butcher a character within less than 20 pages. Here’s your trophy: 🏆

SIKE.

I wish I could say that there were redeeming characters that made up for a protagonist who completely lost her wits the moment she got all starry-eyed over a guy, but, alas, there were not. As I mentioned before, Rook was a cocky douche who had no discernable personality traits other than his broodiness and arrogance. There were a few other supporting characters in the story, but none were developed enough for me to have a solid opinion about them.

Even if the characters were likable, I’m nearly positive that I still wouldn’t have enjoyed this book. The story as a whole just failed to interest me after page 50ish, when everything went south.

You see, after Rook basically kidnaps Isobel, the story goes in a weird direction. Actually, it doesn’t really go in any direction at all because NOTHING HAPPENS. The thing is, An Enchantment of Ravens is a “journey book”, and I doubt I would’ve picked it up had I known that from the get-go. The “plot” mainly consists of Isobel and Rook traveling from place to place and meeting occasional obstacles on the way, which usually involve Rook saving the day and Isobel cowering in the corner like your stereotypical YA damsel in distress. What the hell, book?

Not only that, but the pacing is SO SLOW. Sometimes I would pick up the book and fail to get through FIVE PAGES without wanting to put it down. And it’s less than 300 pages! Normally I read books of that length in one sitting! UGHHHHHHH.

Before I wrap this review up, I need to address something that has been bothering me a lot lately: the constant comparison between this book and ACOTAR! It’s honestly offensive. The two books are nothing alike! ACOTAR is by no means my favorite book ever, but grouping it with this monstrosity is something I cannot tolerate. Yes, ACOTAR may be cheesy at times and YES, it is full of tropes, but at least those tropes are written into the story in a somewhat original way. In An Enchantment of Ravens, the tropes are used so carelessly that it’s actually laughable. The insta-love between Rook and Isobel is so cringeworthy. They literally declare their undying love for each other halfway through the book, after no romantic development at all! If that doesn’t make you cringe, I don’t know what will. 

The only reason why I didn’t give this book one star is the world-building. Obviously, it didn’t compensate for the story’s many faults, but I’ll give Margaret Rogerson this: her world-building is excellent. I thought her interpretation of the fae was pretty incredible. I liked that they weren’t just “perfect” beings… They had flaws under their glamours, and their inability to feel emotion and really live made them envious of humans. I thought this was a quite interesting approach for Rogerson to take, as it is typically the humans who are jealous of the fae, not the other way around.

But don’t get me wrong! Just because the world-building in this book was great, DOES NOT mean it was good by any means. The 2D characters, poorly developed romance, and slow-moving plot all make for a pretty terrible story.

So, in conclusion, this book was a complete waste of my time and money (yes, I actually bought a physical copy of this book because I was so confident that I would love it. Now it sits on my shelf menacingly, a constant reminder of how stupid I was to have not read its reviews before purchasing it).

There’s really not much else to say about An Enchantment of Ravens, other than that it was huge letdown (oh wait… I’ve already said that like a thousand times). It really says something about a book when the best part about it is the cover… (Honestly I’ve roasted the sh*t out of this book so many times in this review, I’m going to hell).

Overall, it’s obvious that An Enchantment of Ravens was NOT for me. I really wanted to love it, but it ended up being a crushing disappointment. What I find most unfortunate is that it had such great potential that just failed to materialize. I wish I could say I’d recommend this book, but sadly, I can’t.

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(Irrelevant, BUT: I still kind of want to read Margaret Rogerson’s most recent book, A Sorcery of Thorns. I know, I know, I’m probably just setting myself up for disappointment, but it gets way better reviews than An Enchantment of Ravens, so maybe I should give Margaret Rogerson another chance??? After all, I did enjoy her writing style and her world-building. If you’ve read A Sorcery of Thorns, PLEASE let me know what you thought of it in the comments)

Book Series I Won’t Be Continuing

I got this brilliant post idea from Kyla over at Kyla’s Library! Please go check out her post and her lovely blog!

Like Kyla said in her post, this post is probably going to be very controversial! Most of the series on this list are quite popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if one of your favorite books is mentioned 😂 What can I say, I’m Crazy Minority Girl! This is kind of an unpopular opinions post, so prepare to get triggered. Just please promise not to bash me in the comments because I’m a sensitive snowflake 🥺👉👈 (jk I’m really not if you want to fight me go for it)

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The Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman

Kids Reference - Arc of the Scythe Trilogy

I didn’t hate Scythe, but it wasn’t good enough for me to want to continue the series, you know? I have SUCH A MASSIVE TBR, and I’m not about to waste my time reading “meh” books when there are so many others I should be prioritizing. There’s a chance that I *might* give book two a chance, because the ending of Scythe left me somewhat intrigued… but probably not. Though the concept behind the story was interesting, the book as a whole moved so slowly, and I have a feeling that the next two books in the trilogy will be more or less the same.

The Something Dark and Holy Trilogy by Emily A. Duncan

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I feel like I’m the only person in the universe who disliked Wicked Saints. It was just SO SLOW (which I’m now realizing is a common pattern found in the books on this list). The characters were so bland, and the pacing was terrible. I was so close to DNFing this book, but I didn’t want to give up on it, in hopes that perhaps the book would pick up within the last 20% (spoiler alert: it didn’t). I wish I could understand why so many people loved this book. Someone please explain in the comments because I’m genuinely curious!

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Get Excited For 'The Raven Cycle' TV Series Adaptation | The Nerd ...

Why does everyone love this series so much? The characters in The Raven Boys were some of the driest ones I’ve ever encountered in a young adult novel, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve only read the first book, so I can’t speak for the whole series, but there was just nothing appealing about it. IT WAS SO BORING. I want to give some of Stiefvater’s other books a chance, but I’m scared to because I hated The Raven Boys so much!

The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard

Witchlands Series Sweepstakes! | Tor.com

Truthwitch is the one book on this list that I actually did DNF (at about 60-70%). As a reader, I take pride in the fact that I hardly ever DNF books (what can I say, I’m very stubborn). It really says something about Turthwitch if I disliked it SO MUCH that I had to abandon it. It was just (you guessed it) so boring! The pacing was so slow and I remember just reading the book and desperately wanting it to be over. It was that bad! Since I couldn’t ever get through book one, it’s safe to say that I will never be picking up the remaining books in the series.

The Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir

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I think this series is going to be a quartet… right? Anyways, despite the fact that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this series, it’s probably the best one on this list. I definitely see the appeal. But with that being said, it really wasn’t for me. I liked An Ember in the Ashes quite a lot (I think I gave it 3 or 4 stars), but A Torch Against the Night just bored me to death. I didn’t love the characters, except for Elias’s mom, who, although extremely frightening, was one of the most interesting YA antagonists I’ve ever come across. Honestly, the series had its pros and cons, but I don’t think it’s worth my time to finish it. I don’t regret reading the first book, but I don’t plan on reading the last two books in the series.

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That concludes this post!

YES, YES, I have no taste, blah blah blah (People who were about to come @ me in the comments– I said it so you don’t have to!)

After typing up this post, I’m realizing that there are SO MANY popular series that I have abandoned… So perhaps you’ll be seeing a Part 2 of this post in the near future? Maybe??? We shall see.

What are some series that you won’t be continuing? I’d love to know! I promise I won’t judge you if it’s a series I like… Let me rephrase that: I’ll *try* not to judge you if it’s a series I like.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this post!

Have a happy weekend!

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