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

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A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J. MAAS

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling

“I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Synopsis:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Goodreads | Amazon

review

I first have to start this by saying I cannot believe I waited so long to read something by Sarah J. Maas. The synopsis of this book intrigued me along with the fact that everyone praised Maas’s work, but I am always hesitant with retellings and especially books about fae. This book proved all my hesitation to be pointless.

While there were parallels to the original story of Beauty and the Beast, Maas wove together some fantastical twists and beautiful world building and elements that made this story brilliant. I loved what she was able to do with the incorporation of fae and the groundwork she laid for the world and the story were unique and wonderful! I thought her fusion of the old and new story were so seemingly done. There was the perfect amount of elements taken to still allow for her to make a story that could be completely her own. The way she took some of the most known parts of the original story and put such a twist on them was fantastic. Beauty loves to read and yet Feyre is illiterate. The play on the old story and the fact that without knowing it shares parallels with another story it can be completely its own and still be unique, beautiful and an engrossing story.

Shout out for strong kickass females! Feyre is a feisty, independent and wonderful female lead. She is determined to do anything she can for her family and because of this she must give up her life. I do have to say I was quite surprised with the romance in this book. I absolutely loved it don’t get me wrong, but it was borderline new adult. I just found that shocking since it is a young adult novel, but it did not bother me. I loved the males in this book and felt like they were nicely developed. And although at times there seems to be a hint at a future love triangle, it was not heavy. Tamlin is a complex and interesting character. I enjoyed that you learn about him a little at the time along with Feyre. He was strong and everything you want from a love interest. Not only were the characters and the world amazing, but the creatures that were created were so well developed and explained to a point were I began to sympathize with them. I am always a little weird about fae in books, but Maas did such an excellent job!

Overall I thought this was an amazing story. I absolutely love Maas’s writing and think she has such a fantastic and unique take on stories and world building. A Court of Thorns and Roses had just the right amount of fantastical and beautiful aspects as well as a slight dark atmosphere. Maas brought this world to life and used such beautiful imagery. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, badass females, beautiful worlds and Maas’s writing.

5s

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Don’t forget to check out Samantha’s review on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas!

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Splintered Trilogy by A.G Howard | Quotes

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Because I am too obsessed with this trilogy for my own good! I thought I would share some of the amazing writing and quotes!

“Tearing down the rest of the world won’t make you happy. Look inside yourself. Because finding who you were meant to be? What you were put into this world to do? That’s what fills the emptiness. It’s the only things that can.”
― A.G. Howard, Splintered

“No one knows what he or she is capable of until things are at their darkest.”
― A.G. Howard, Splintered

“You understand the logic behind the illogical, Alyssa. It’s in your nature to find tranquility amid the madness. And that’s what we’re doing here. We are giving our food a fighting chance.”
― A.G. Howard, Splintered

“All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of humanity, let madness be my 17449197guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged

“Little blossom trapped in between, wearing malice like a queen;
hide the truth, be cruel and tart,
still all the more, you rule my heart.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged

“A childish story take, and with a gentle hand, lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined in Memory’s mystic band…thus grew the world of Wonderland.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged

“One thing more: Wonderland and I are the same. You love one of us, you love the other. You are Wonderland, too. Which means we are the perfect fit, in more ways than you can even imagine. On our day together, I’ll take great pleasure in showing you all of them.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged

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“I don’t want those things from you. I love your faults and imperfections. Your kind heart. The scars that match mine, and the struggles to find ourselves. I want your humanness. Nothing else.”
― A.G. Howard, Ensnared

“Jebediah has given up on you, but I never will. I can offer you the security you desire. If you’ll but be mine, your heart will forever be sheltered in my care. Yes, we will quarrel incessantly and fight for dominance. And yes, there will be ravishes of passion, but there will also be gentle lulls. That is who we are together. You’ll never need fear that your love is not reciprocated. For although you’ve made me feel things I am not equipped for… I cannot stop feeling them.”
― A.G. Howard, Ensnared

“Wonderland is violent and bizarre, but charming in its way. AnyElsewhere is a whole new level of cruelty.”
― A.G. Howard, Ensnared

Unhinged by A.G Howard | Book Review

17449197UNHINGED BY A.G. HOWARD

Genre: YA, Fantasy (retelling)

“Little blossom trapped in between, wearing malice like a queen;
hide the truth, be cruel and tart,
still all the more, you rule my heart.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged

Series: Splintered Trilogy
Splintered (#1 in Splintered Trilogy)
The Moth in the Mirror (#1.5 in Splintered Trilogy)
Ensnared (#3 Splintered Trilogy)

Synopsis: 
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

GoodreadsAmazon

review

*Warning this may contain spoilers for the first book in the trilogy*

I mean I do not even know if I can form a review worthy of the greatness of this book (and really the whole trilogy.) I did find that there were a couple parts of personal annoyance for me within the story, but I loved where Howard went with this story and the greatness that continued from the first installment, Splintered.

I was extremely happy with this sequel and thought Howard did a fantastic job of not succumbing to the second book syndrome. There were some points where there was a lull for me, but it was all working to create the drama and built up for the end. The ending was absolutely amazing and I was happy I didn’t have to wait long for the next book to come out. Howard continued to provide a whimsical world with fabulous imagery and details. I loved the writing and the consistency of style that followed the first book. Using the original story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for inspiration was still seen throughout this book and I really enjoyed that Howard used different parts from Splintered while still incorporating the fantastic ideas and creations from the other book. I could not get enough of this world and the craziness and nonsensical situations that take place. I never knew where the story was going to go and there were surprising shocks and twists!

The character development was a big part of this book in my opinion. You got to learn a lot more about Alyssa, her parents, the boys and of course the Wonderlandian creatures. I did have a problem with Alyssa in this book. I felt like she got whiny and dependent on the male characters. I know she was still figuring out her life and finding herself, but she was so set on making her own choices and doing what she wanted in Splintered that I felt like she got so engrossed with the boys. ( Like being so hard on Jeb about him doing his work and trying to make a life for himself etc.) She got so jealous and controlling and it was just hard for me to get through some of those moments because it was annoying. Of course Morpheus and Jeb were amazing ( I am leaning more towards Morpheus, but wasn’t completely sure which one I liked more) The love triangle got frustrating and I thought there were some times that it bordered on taking away from the story. Both of the boys have such different quirks, but both share a snarky attitude that I really enjoy.

Overall, I thought this was a superb second book! It left me completely shocked and needing to pick up Ensnared immediately. The events and situations fit into the crazy, mad and nonsensical world of Wonderland. A.G Howard does a wonderful job with the imagery and creation of Wonderland and the dark creatures that inhabit the world. This book for sure follows the dark and twisted take on the original story the was found in Splintered. I do not know what else I can say, but that I highly recommend this book and the trilogy as a whole to everyone. It has quickly become one of my favorite trilogies. So I might not be able to say it in this review, but that was a beautifully dark and whimsical story with twists and mad, nonsensical creatures!

RATING-4

The Fall by Bethany Griffin | Book Review

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THE FALL BY BETHANY GRIFFIN

Genre: YA, Retelling, Gothic Horror

Amazon: The Fall

Synopsis:
Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher. [Goodreads]

review

The Fall of the House of Usher is one of my stories by Edgar Allan Poe. When I saw this book and read the synopsis I just knew I had to get it! I preordered it and everything, let me just tell you the cover is amazing! Anyways on to the actual story!

I was not completely head over heels for The Fall by Bethany Griffin. There were things that enjoyed and thought were really well done and then there were some things that I found annoying and frustrating. The book was really atmospheric, that dark and creepy feeling was definitely reminiscent of Poe’s work and created a great overall feeling throughout the whole story!  If you have read the original piece of work that this story was based off you will know it is a little vague and jumps in leaving you questioning so many things. Griffin takes the story and really runs with it.The overall writing was well done, I feel like Griffin put together a well crafted backstory that was intriguing and had me really interested throughout the whole story of where she would take it. Where the book fell short for me was the execution of the storyline. The book jumps around with each chapter being at a different age in Madeline’s life. I do not have a problem with chapters going back and forth between the past and the present because I think that it allows for the story to slowly unfold. Especially in this case where you are learning about the house and the curse, the slowly unraveling creepiness takes ahold of you and won’t let go. But that is not what happens, the story jumps continuously all over the place and it becomes very confusing and hard to follow what was happening when.

Griffin does a fantastic job of making the house come to life and really seem like an ominous villain. For me the characters were done great! At times I felt like there was not much development and the characters at time were vague, but it added to the atmosphere and you do learn about them. I really felt for Madeline and everything she was going through. You start to question her reliability and the events that are taking place. All of the connections to the house are relations are an interesting twist and shocked me a little.

Overall I thought this was an interesting story that really had the gothic horror feel and was fascinating retelling that did not just copy the original, but took the bones of the story and developed a dark and gripping book that explored some interesting ideas of a backstory and lead up to the original story by Poe! The book wasn’t without its faults, but I think it is worth a read for any fans of Poe’s work!

 

RATING

 

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday | Book Review

19507564OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS BY JESSICA VERDAY

Genre: Ya, Horror, Retelling, Gothic

Source: Netgally (In return for an honest review)

“Two halves of the same whole.They cannot live together, yet
cannot die apart.”
-Jessica Verday, Of Monsters and Madness

Synopsis:
A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father’s home in 1820’s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father’s assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they’re letting on. [Goodreads]

review

* I would like to thank Netgalley and Egmont USA for the opportunity to read and review this book*

When I first heard about this book it kept being referred to as a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee. When I heard this I was excited to get my hands on it because I love Poe and Annabel Lee is my favorite! I should state that this is not so much a retelling of Annabel Lee, but of classic gothic horror. I personally would say its more inspired by classic gothic horror in a way and part just telling the stories over that we already know, but just mashing them all together. To say the least I was highly disappointed with this book.

Verday managed to create a story that held true to the atmospheric feeling that comes from classic gothic horror. It was dark and mysterious with the creepy feeling just in the background waiting to present itself at the right moment. The story was driven much by the suspense and mystery that was weaved through the pages and made for a fast paced read. Many other aspects of the story/book fell short and frustrated me. The biggest thing that bothered me was I felt like the story took to much from its inspiration and classic works that it seemed very unoriginal. At times the story felt like it was just a work that was cut and paste from those classic gothic horrors that include (most prominently) Annabel Lee and The Fall of The House of Usher Edgar Allen Poe and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louise Stevenson. I felt that even the use of the names from these works just took it too far. I thought she took too many liberties with the life of Edgar Allen Poe, but I did appreciate that she referenced his other work that came from the character himself.

There also was not enough story. I felt that in many parts the books was extremely rushed and this caused for there to not be enough character development that I was hoping to receive. We start to get snippets of information that help to form and round out the character like the fact that Annabel wants to go into medicine, which during that time it was not what women do. It starts to form the ideas that she is independent and strong willed, but that point does not form much past that due to the short and rushed storyline. Due to the fact the writing ended up seeming stiff. There were a few parts where the author created some beautiful sentences and really brought the story to life and gave it that gothic horror feel, but I don’t think she did that enough throughout the story. The huge twist in the story also was ruined by the prologue, which definitely affected the way I felt about the book because it then became predictable and lost some of its suspense.

Overall I was not extremely pleased with this book. There were a few things I believe were done really well and I think that the story was interesting and intrigued me at times. I just feel like the execution of the story was not done well. The atmosphere was great and I felt that dark and gloominess that is associated with gothic horror. There were some unique elements and there were parts of the combination of classic stories that I enjoyed, I just wished there were woven together better and with more originality. At times it was just too much and there was too much going on that it created confusion and a rushed feeling in the story. If you haven’t read or are familiar with these classic gothic horror references you might really enjoy this story and be able to really appreciate it, I just think I was expecting something more and couldn’t see past those qualities that frustrated me. So if you are looking for a quick and interesting read I would love to see what your thoughts or feelings about this book are.

RATING-6