Emmaline Watkins has always dreamed of leaving the small town of Shy where she grew up and pursuing her dream of being a dress designer in the city. When the head of the most famous design firm opens up her designer competition to small town applicants Emmy dares to believe that dream may come true. Picked as the only “country” applicant, Emmy leaves for the city but soon comes to realize that pursuing her dream may be more political than realistic.
As I first started reading A Dress for the Wicked I was easily caught up in the search and early competition between all of the girls picked. The story was engaging and ruthless, reminding me of a mix of The Hunger Games and The Selection, but with a fashion twist. I liked the mix of personalities and getting to know our heroine Emmy. As the story moved forward and the more political aspects of the novel were revealed I felt the story become more technical than emotional and the glitz of creating fashion felt more dreary. My feelings did parallel Emmy’s and what was happening to her character at the time, but the reasons why I liked it so much previously just disappeared. The Hunger Games was a very political novel yet it held my interest through competitions. A Dress for the Wicked didn’t figure out how to keep it’s tension taut. Instead it ebbed, which disappointed me because of how strong the story started.
There was a light romance included in this story, but I felt it drew attention away from the more interesting aspects of the novel. I did like Tristan, an aspiring journalist looking for a big story, but felt the romance detracted from the main storyline and the exciting fashion that gave life to the first half of the novel.
I hate when a novel doesn’t live up to it’s great start. There was so much potential with A Dress for the Wicked, but the last third of the novel felt forced and lacked the conviction in the beginning of the novel. At least it did for me. ❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“while I loved the fashion aspects (the book really shines when Emmy designs something or creates), I was less than enthused by the main character, the shoehorned love interest, the underdeveloped secondary characters and the haphazard worldbuilding (seriously, the worldbuilding deserved to be fleshed out so much more).” The Suspected Bibliophile
“A Dress for the Wicked has an interesting premise, but the execution is subpar. I loved the competition aspects, but everything else including the main character and the overall plot are not memorable or all that original. I’m not sure if I would recommend this one as I wasn’t wowed by much.” The Candid Cover
Trinity Marrow is the only human living in a community of Wardens, guardian Gargoyle shifters whose main purpose is to protect humans against a Demon invasion. Trinity’s ability to see ghosts has her stumbling upon a conspiracy that could be tied to her mothers death a year earlier and may be led from inside her own community. But seeing ghosts is not the only secret she’s hiding! Her secret gets revealed when Wardens from the DC community come to visit and she’s forced to use her powers to save her own life.
Storm and Fury was so easy to fall into. Somehow the situations and characters felt familiar and about 1/3 of the way through I had an aha! moment and realized this is a spinoff to a The Dark Elements series I’d read several years ago in which Zayne was featured prominently. In this novel, Zayne’s past experiences with Demons comes in handy as they travel to DC where he and Trinity meet up with some familiar past characters (a few of whom are demons) to investigate the disappearance of her friend.
I liked Trinity’s character a lot. She was an interesting mix of innocence, strength, and stubbornness. As the plot moves forward and her secrets are revealed she becomes even more interesting. Her failing eyesight, a very human frailty, is an interesting contrast to a girl who refuses to admit weakness. In fact, it takes a little while for me to figure out she’s actually almost blind. Read the Afterword about her ailment, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and how that disease has a personal tie to the author.
Zayne was a mystery even though he’d been part of a previous series. I couldn’t figure out his motives right away and I liked him as the love interest, but at the same time I felt he was a little more mature than Trinity. As his life was revealed and I realized all that he’d been through I realized what a great fit he actually was for her, as they had similar tragedies in their background. After I figured out what series and where I read his story before I liked him even more, but if you hadn’t read The Dark Elements Series, I think you can jump right in and not miss a beat in this story. It stands on it’s own.
Jennifer Armentrout does such a great job of writing in this YA fantasy genre. I love her world building and she has a deft hand with giving characters interesting backgrounds and emotional ups and downs. All things that keep me reading and move the plot forward. It’s rare that I get bored and I certainly didn’t with this novel. I relished reading it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I absolutely love the way the author writes relationships because they are always the slow burn romances that begins with flirtatious banter and escalates to sexual tension that literally everyone can feel. I loved watching Trinity and Zayne come together and the steaminess of their relationship. I thought that they definitely complimented one another.” The Reading Chemist
“Overall, this book was everything I wanted. If you want action, romance, kick-ass gargoyles, and a girl with an eye condition representing how strong she is this is the book for you.” Classy x Book Reviews
It’s summer! With the change in season summer vacations are being planned all around the world. Along with those vacations we book lovers are planning how to bring all of the books we want to read. Pack an extra bag chickadee’s, these are my most anticipated books being released in June ’19. I know you’ll want to add a couple of these to your own reading plans.
MY MOST ANTICIPATED JUNE 2019 RELEASES
5) Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Release date: 6/11/19
A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.
Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.
When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?
Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was twelve. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.
Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family that she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.
When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is also divided into two people. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.
Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.
For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her—Emma or Saylor—will win out?
A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.
2) Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) by Jennifer Armentrout
Release Date: 6/11/19
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Enter a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.
When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…
From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
It looks like my most anticipated releases are heavy on the Young Adult genre. Unfortunately 6/4 is this week! Yikes! I better get reading!
What is your most anticipated June release? I’d love to add to my TBR!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: When your introduction to the fair folk is the gruesome death of your parents by a fearsome fae General named Madoc, your life is going to be turned upside down. Jude, Taryn and their half sister Vivienne were abducted by the above General and raised by him in the High Court of Fairie. Jude and Taryn were full human and each handled their humanity in this magical world differently. Taryn by lying low, dreaming of some day belonging, and Jude by fighting for the right to rise in their ranks as a warrior. All while her nemesis, Prince Cardan, is constantly trying to demean her and beat her down. This is a fantasy filled with intrigue, romance, and betrayal.
Written from Jude’s perspective, the fae court seems filled with beauty and danger. However, Jude’s view is slightly tainted because of her humanity. In this fantasy novel there doesn’t seem to be much good in these fae folk their faces filled with snears, boredom, and yes beauty. Until the tides change and her nemesis Cardan becomes her partner against a palace coup. It’s only after this partnership formed (or so I thought!) that both of their characters showed depth. Jude, finally caring what happens beyond her own needs, and Cardan develops a small hint of humanity in his cold fae heart. Even though late in the book, that depth gave this novel a lift out of the darkness of both of their despair and gave me hope that their characters could be redeemed and I would come to care for one of them, even if only slightly.
The Cruel Prince is certainly aptly named as Cardan is the villain to Jude’s rather grim heroine. The title could just as aptly been named the Cruel Human as both characters showed more dark than light in their characterizations. Even when Jude is given a love interest, there seemed to be something lacking in the telling of that love. The outcome of that romance ending in a pivotal scene that should’ve delivered more impact but because of Jude’s romantic ambivalence towards Locke that scene fell short. The same ambivalence could be said of her relationship with her sister Taryn. I just never felt like Jude cared for anything or anyone beyond how life and those people impacted herself. If she had cared more about her actions impacting her sister’s happiness, then maybe the failure of that relationship would also have delivered a knockout punch. For me, it really didn’t.
SO, I started the book with high hopes, knowing that so many loved this story and fantasy is my favorite genre, after all. The outcome for me? Ho-hum. I wish I had connected with Jude more. There was something lacking in her character that kept me from going all in. What the novel did do right was portray my vision of Fairie really well, where beauty and cruelty hold hands. The vivid scene where Cardan rips a wing off one of the minor fae is cruel in his disinterest. I wasn’t quite THAT disinterested as I read the novel all the way through, but I was a little ambivalent.
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“the writing was very well done. The main character’s voice is engaging and full of personality. I adored the descriptions, the humour and its quotability…. The only real downside for me was that I wasn’t head over heels for the romance (even if I liked both parties). I mean, it made sense and was logical- I didn’t quite feel the fireworks. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent read.” The Orang-utan Librarian
The story of Anastasia Romanov has been re-written several times, including as a Disney musical. Romanov by Nadine Brandes puts a different twist to the possible survival of our favorite Russian princess. Given the task of carrying a magical relic through their captivity by the Bolshevik’s, we see a different side of Anastasia (Nastya) Romanov. Through her eyes, we see the fear, despair, and love that Nastya feels for her family and the hope that this matrushka doll she carries has a spell that can help her overcome all odds.
If Anastasia was anything like the Nastya on these pages, it was no wonder the world loved her. This Nastya was sassy, sweet, mischievous, and clever. A story that could’ve very easily been gray and dull was filled with an ebullience and light because of her character. Not to say that there wasn’t a lot of heartache in this tale because, of course, there was. However, her character embodied hope and determination and as the reader, I couldn’t help but buy into this alternate ending to the traumatic end to the Russian dynasty.
If I had anything critical to say about this novel it would be that I wished there’d been a little bit more magic and fantasy elements to the story. At the same time I was glad that the author kept the details historically accurate. Yeah, I know those two things kind of contradict one another, but I felt it was almost in the fantasy genre, but fell just short. I wasn’t too disappointed because I did get a happy-ish ending for Anastasia which she most likely didn’t get in real life.
I received a free ARC of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I was disappointed by this book because it has so many things that I did enjoy, the writing style, the magic system, the characterisation, the pacing – all of these things were great. But I couldn’t get past the things that Brandes opted to bring to the forefront (the romance).” Chain Interaction
“I loved this tale of the Romanovs. The magical elements provided a source of hope in really dark times ant the story revolves around the importance of family. I was a little hesitant to picked this up because I knew how the Romanovs met their demise, but Nadine Brandes’ story telling made this sad story a hopeful one instead.” Devouring Books
Anna Fagan’s mother was possessed and killed by a demon when she was a child. Her father never recovered from the loss and buried himself in his work, the exorcism of ghosts from haunted relics. Anna’s home life is definitely not the norm, but when she see’s people from school going off the deep end she starts to wonder if there’s not something going wrong in her hometown. When her own thoughts start to become murderous, she shies away from her best friends Freddy and Dor and tries to salvage the scraps of her sanity. What she doesn’t realize is that her friends lives are also getting blacker and by the time she realizes it, she’s almost too late to save them.
Anna’s home life was a wreck. Her father was not just a ghost hunter, but he was also a hoarder. His things a labyrinth that blocked light and created an even more creepy atmosphere for the setting of this story. Known as the “Goblin girl” at school because of her dad’s job, Anna struggles to overcome that stigma and her feelings of shame. It’s only because of her best friends support that she had any light in her day. It’s when she becomes fixated on a boy at school and her fixation starts to turn unhealthy that I got an inkling that I might become uncomfortable with the direction this novel was headed.
I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but I kept looking for those moments of light in this story where I’d finally get to start rooting for Anna. There was just so much going on, and all of it was pretty dark and depressing. Anna does realize the town has been taken over by an evil demon and she does overcome all odds to save the day, but that only happens near the end of the book. On my wait for that to happen we see her father advance further into depression and hoardom (is that a word?), her friends become suicidal, and the bully at school turn into being bullied (by Anna!). Not to disrespect this author because I could see the work she put into it, but it really just wasn’t for me.
I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. and I went into this with my eyes wide open, hoping for the best. If there had been a few more kernels of light or humor I think my feelings would have been different. I will say that I do believe every book has it’s reader and I just wasn’t a good fit for The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter. If you like creepy fantasy-type novels The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter may be the right fit for you, so please give it a try.
I received a free ARC of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“The thing I loved most about this narrative was the supernatural lore. It was interesting and compelling, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before…. It was a rollercoaster ride of thrills, chills, and despair, and I loved every second!” UnabridgedBren
Book Bloggers are an opinionated lot. When we find a trend in fiction that we love we talk about it to death until one day that love turns into dissatisfaction, the tide turns, and we start talking about how much we hate that trope. I guess that’s human nature but well, I hate it. Just because the newness has worn off doesn’t mean we should get rid of it. There are still many things to love!
THE LOVE TRIANGLE-
I’m not sure why this trope has become unpopular? There is nothing better than the exploration of a character seen through two people’s eyes. One of my favorite examples of this is….
This series is a favorite for so many people, yet it started out as a love triangle. Through Tamlin’s eyes we saw Feyre’s weaknesses and her fight to overcome them. Through Rhys’ eyes we saw her strength. Yes, Tamlin didn’t treat her very well, but without that plot point would we like Rhys as much as we do? Would we like them together? In fact, wouldn’t it be interesting if Tamlin overcame his ways and fought to recapture Feyre’s love? I’d almost like to see a return of the love triangle. It might bring a spark back into this now overwrought love story.
THE FAIRYTALE RE-TELLING
I’ll be the first to say that I am overwhelmed by the number of fairy-tale re-telling novels that were re-leased over the last couple of years. Some were not so good, but when one is written well, the fairy-tale re-telling is so much fun! I read quite a few last year but these two stood out because they were different.
The Wrath & The Dawn is a re-telling of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights. The prince marries and kills his princess every night until he marries Scheherazade and she keeps him up all night telling a story with a cliff hanger that keeps him coming back. The Wrath and the Dawn’s Shazi marries the prince for revenge, but falls in love. It’s full of intrigue, romance, and Renee Ahdieh’s beautiful prose.
Hunted is a re-telling of probably the most re-told story, Beauty and the Beast. What makes Meagan Spooner’s rendition different is that she mixes Russian folklore into the main story of Beauty and the Beast. It is beautifully told and Yeva is a strong heroine. Interestingly enough, both Yeva and Shazi from the Wrath and the Dawn, survive by telling stories, so maybe there is a touch of Scheherazade in Yeva as well!
Not to speak ill of fairy-tale re-tellings, but I have read plenty that did NOT hit the mark. But as with all novels, they are subjective and I’ve read plenty of reviews for those books I didn’t really care for where those readers were overjoyed with the outcome. That’s the beauty of reading, isn’t it?
THE HISTORICAL RE-TELLING
My discovery of this trend is pretty new and so far I am loving it. Admittedly, I know enough about history to think, ‘hmmm, this sounds familiar’ and then look it up. Wikipedia has become my best friend! I have just read two YA novels back to back that followed this trope that were done really well. My reviews are scheduled to post soon, but here’s a brief note on both.
The Dead Queen’s Club is the story of King Henry the VIII and his six wives, in a high school contemporary setting. Henry is a charismatic young man, popular, and has a steady stream of girlfriends. Two of whom are dead. Cleves, our protagonist, is his best friend and also one of his exes, who is determined to figure out who was responsible for his girlfriends deaths. Her voice is snarky and there are plenty of past and present cultural and historical references. It was a roller coaster ride and I really enjoyed my emotion sickness.
Set in Elizabethan England our heroine is a Catholic whose father was killed for his faith. Wanting revenge, she joins a treasonous plot to kill the queen. Little does she know, that play (written by Shakespeare -‘Twelfth Night’) was a plot to capture the assasin’s. I loved the historical references, the treasonous plot, and of course, Shakespeare.
HEROINE WITH POWERS THAT SAVE THE WORLD
Admittedly, this trope is usually found in YA fantasy novels, although I’d love to see a contemporary heroine have super powers and save the world. That could be a great twist! Admittedly, I have a soft spot for fantasy novels, and LOVE to root for the underdog. So, while many of you hate to love our heroine’s that save the world, if done well I find myself believing and rooting for them almost EVERY time. I’m a softy, I know! Here are a couple that struck the right chord.
Our heroine Britta is a Channeler and has developing magical powers. Through this two book series (well, there is a third but it’s unrelated to these main characters) we see Britta go from fearful of being discovered a Channeler, to solving the mystery of what happened to her father, finding her best friend and crush and absolving him of the crime, to saving the king. She doesn’t save the world, but through her actions she brings Channelers out in to the open, ending their persecution in her country. Oh! I should mention that these two books also use the Love triangle trope. It’s kind of minor, but does add some tension into Britta and Cohen’s relationship that was probably needed. That sub-plot would’ve been as dull as dishwater otherwise!
There are any number of other YA novels that use this trope, and actually combines the Love Triangle and Heroine with Super Powers tropes to success. The other one that jumps out at me is the following…
Yes, the Red Queen. Every book blogger who has read this series has an opinion. BUT, this first novel was very well done. A political thriller that pits those with common “red” blood against the elite, those with “silver” blood. Our heroine, red blooded Mare (God, I hate that name!), has the powers of a silver blood. She becomes the face of an uprising, the fixation of an evil King, and the lover of a fallen hero. This series has it’s ups and downs, but as a whole, Victoria Aveyard writes a spirited political thriller with a heroine that always sacrifices herself for the greater good. I haven’t yet read the last novel because King’s Cage kind of pissed me off, but it is overall a good series. Oh and I love Maven. You gotta love an evil Prince/King.
There are so many other YA trends and tropes that we book bloggers just love to love and love to hate. It depends on our mood, how many we’ve read in a row, and as always if the character and plot draw us in. In my opinion we shouldn’t be too quick to write off a book just because the trope has been overdone. There are still some GREAT books out there that we don’t want to miss, right?
What’s your favorite or most hated YA Trend or Trope? Or are you like me and secretly like them all? Let me know in the comments!
Emma is going back to Darkwood Academy for her junior year without her best friend Oliver who committed suicide over the summer. It’s hard to get excited about the current gossip about six clones or “Similars” being enrolled at Darkwood, but when one of them is the clone of Oliver it’s hard to ignore. As she gets to know Levi and the other Similars she realizes that even though they have the same DNA they have individual personalities and aren’t exact copies of the original. As pro and con Cloning groups spring up on campus and around the nation Emma is enmeshed in an investigation into how her friend Oliver’s death was tied to the man who developed and raised the six Similars.
The Similars had such a great premise! Can you imagine showing up for school and finding your face on a cloned classmate? It’s not like high school isn’t difficult enough, right? Then there are the political and moral ambiguities of whether cloning should be accepted or not? These are all details that helped create this finely crafted novel that played out as more of a political intrigue then a YA fantasy novel. What struck me the most is that the hate and bigotry in this novel is not necessarily determined by color or societal hierarchy, in this case bigotry comes in the form of originals and copies. A subject that is topical in today’s world as much as in a fantasy novel. Although not quite yet to human copies. At least I don’t think so?
Emma was a wonderful heroine. She never sat back and just watched, she was always asking just one more question. That one last question always seemed to be slightly over the line but would give her the answers she’d need to make a decision to move forward in her thinking or to fall back on her upbringing. I really admired her fortitude. She never gave up on her friends, and never stopped looking into the Why’s and Who’s.
The Similars, even with all of their mysterious backgrounds and “special powers” seemed more real and fleshed out than their human counterparts. This definitely made it easier to like them but truly the humans were portrayed as pretty awful. You’d be inhuman to like the hateful attributes that were portrayed as “human”.
It took me a little while to warm up to Levi’s character. Emma was so distraught over Oliver’s death that you really felt her anguish over seeing his face on another guy. When she gets to know Levi and realizes they are really nothing alike he still keeps his distance until, well, he doesn’t. It’s really hard to talk about these characters without giving away a lot of the plot. I’ll just say that there is a reason that he keeps himself aloof, but Emma’s investigation makes him get involved and he goes all in emotionally at that point too.
The Similars was a very fast paced novel. Rebecca Hanover filled the story with enough moral, political, and personal subplots that my mind didn’t stop to chew before swallowing this novel whole. When you get ready to read it have your snacks and a coke at your side because you will NOT want to put it down! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I don’t know why it happens that I always end up reviewing books I don’t like. Maybe I need to read different books? Or not read books that I am not extremely excited about in the first place? I don’t know. But either way, this book was very disappointing, awkward, and did not live up to my hopes for it. Alas.” A Word and a Whisper
“Overall, this is an intriguing book that held my attention from the first page, and I fully intend on continuing with the series. If you’re a fan of layers upon layers of secrets, sci-fi, thrillers, and mystery, add The Similars to your TBR.” Books and Such
A Court of Frost and Starlight is a novella where we get to catch up on all of our favorite characters setting the stage for the next novel.
Feyre and Rhysand continue their love story, but Feyre also learns how to deal with her grief from the last war in the balance in her new role as High Lady but also as one of the people who lost friends and loved ones. I liked seeing her personal growth. She and Rhys’ love story has stayed true but not evolved and I think she personally needed to grow for that to happen.
Nesta, who is becoming one of the more interesting characters shows a little bit more of her drama, not really advancing her character anymore but we are allowed to see a little interaction between she and Cassian which is interestingly dramatic. I can’t wait for more of their story!
We do catch up with most of our favorite characters as Feyre and Rhys host their first Winter Solstice party together. Think Christmas with the family but this family all like each other. All in all this was a solid set up to the next novel and I enjoyed look through the window into these lives, if only for the moment. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I relished this book, because I absolutely adore the world Maas made, and she made sure to show it off with this book. I felt like she took the time to really show us how Velaris looked to her, and I loved that. The winter scenes felt truly magical and so vibrant, I couldn’t stop reading about the beautiful swirling snowstorms.” The Books Are Everywhere
“Overall, the novella was a cute fluffy piece, but by no means a proper instalment in the series in my eyes. Most of the time it felt like something you’d read in a fanfiction, but yeah. I would say to read it if you’re a fan of the ACOTAR world and love seeing the characters interact, but I wouldn’t say it’s a necessary piece in the series and you can also skip it if fillers aren’t really your thing.” The Scarlet Bookkeeper
Once a King carries on the story of King Aodren and his fight to bring peace between his people and the Channelers who were persecuted under his fathers reign until most of them escaped to other kingdoms. This novel takes on the topic of drug dealing, although in a fantastical way. Someone is creating an oil called Sanguine that seems to give the non magical Channeler abilities, but in fact causes them to go mad with anger and cause death. Lirra, who we met in the previous novel, investigates the mystery of who is distributing this drug, reporting her findings back to Aodren. Whew!
While all of this is going on, there is a tournament between all of the kingdoms champions. It is a sort of Olympics but with jousting, sword fights and blood. Needless to say, this fake Sanguine (the real Sanguine is a miraculous healing drug and really rare) is being taken by the champions. Needless to say, bad things happen.
I really liked Aodren in the previous book and had looked forward to reading his story. I wasn’t disappointed! It’s easy to admire a character that wants to make a big change like racial discrimination and hatred. The tournament setting gave him the chance to be a “hero” in a physical way, which balanced well with the honorable aspects to his character. It made him come to life more than in the previous novel where he seemed to be not fully fleshed out.
I was a little confused by the Lirra in Once a King. In Ever the Brave she was more of a hard ass so I was surprised by how youthful she seemed. Yes, she was still heroic in investigating Sanguine but there was another side to her in this novel that was sweet and young. It made the budding romance between she and Aodren more believable. The young honorable King with the beautiful uncertain maiden.
I liked the story overall and enjoyed Erin Summerill’s writing again. She’s a very consistent writer and I know what I”m going to get when I read one of her books. An enjoyable fantasy written with a lot of heart. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.