Reading

A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy (New Adult)

About the book: It’s a companion novel to the A Court of Thorns and Roses series that follows Feyre, Rhys, and their friends as they rebuild after the war. With the Winter Solstice near, this story picks up where A Court of Wings and Ruin left off and sets the stage for the next novel.

First impressions: I liked the previous novels in the series, so I was interested in reading more. I wasn’t expecting this book to be so short at a little over 200 pages long, but at least it makes for a quick read.

Characters: This novel focuses more on the characters than on a plot, so readers get to learn more about Feyre, Rhys, Mor, Amren, Cassian, Azriel, Elain, Nesta, etc. I enjoyed the conversations and interactions between everyone, even the secondary characters.

Quote:

“I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed.”

Writing: The chapters alternate perspectives with Feyre’s and Rhys’s point of view written in the first person while the others are told in third person. There are also some sexual scenes, so I’d classify it as new adult rather than young adult.

Final thoughts: The novella is short and sweet, giving readers more insights into the characters. If you’re a fan of Maas and this series, you might enjoy A Court of Frost and Starlight.


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Reading

Catwoman: Soulstealer – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

Catwoman: Soulstealer - Sarah J. Maas

Title: Catwoman: Soulstealer

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s part of the DC Icons series that can be read in any order. The YA novels focus on different superheroes during their teenage years. The story follows Selina Kyle who teams up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn as Catwoman to wreak havoc on the city. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove himself as Batwing, but Catwoman keeps outsmarting him.

First impressions: I don’t know much about DC Comics or superheroes in general, but I like how easy the book was to follow even without any background knowledge of Catwoman or Batwing. Even from the beginning, I found myself intrigued by the story.

Characters: The novel mainly revolves around Selina who is a strong protagonist. As much as I found myself rooting for her, I also did the same for Luke, maybe even more so. I appreciated how the romance didn’t overwhelm the storyline. That being said, I loved their interactions.

Quote:

“But a glass house was definitely not the place for someone to live when they were throwing quite so many stones.”

Writing: It’s a little over 350 pages long, so the plot unfolds at a solid pace. The chapters are short, and the cliffhangers made me want to keep reading.

Final thoughts: I had no idea what to expect for the ending, but I’m glad all the loose ends are wrapped up. I would recommend Catwoman: Soulstealer even if you aren’t into superhero stories.


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Reading

A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the third book in the series that follows Feyre as she returns to the Spring Court to gather information. With war on the horizon, she has to decide which High Lords and allies she can trust.

First impressions: I’ve read the first two novels a while ago, and I was looking forward to finding out what happens next. It took me a while to get into the story because I didn’t remember everything, so I had to refamiliarize myself with the world. For this reason, I recommend picking up A Court of Thorns and Roses along with A Court of Mist and Fury first.

Characters: I liked learning more about everyone’s backstory and seeing the characters develop. The novel is mainly told in Feyre’s point of view, but readers also get to know a lot about her friends. There’s also LGBTQ+ representation as well, which I didn’t expect.

Quote:

“There are many types of strength beyond the ability to wield a blade and end lives.”

Writing: The book is 700 pages, so it’s the longest in the series so far. There are some mature, explicit scenes. I’m not the biggest romance fan, so I preferred the action and fighting more.

Final thoughts: I liked the ending better than the beginning and middle, as the pacing picks up. A Court of Wings and Ruin isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy fantastical stories with romantic relationships, check it out.


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Reading

Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

Tower of Dawn - Sarah J. Maas

Title: Tower of Dawn

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the sixth book in the Throne of Glass series. The story mainly revolves around Chaol Westfall who suffered an injury that leaves him unable to walk. He travels to Antica in hopes of having a healer help him recover. However, Yrene Towers doesn’t want to work with him at first for her own personal reasons. With war on the horizon, Chaol and Nesryn try to convince the rulers in the southern continent to forge an alliance together.

First impressions: I read the previous novels a while ago, so I was looking forward to continuing the series. The beginning sets the stage for the rest of the story with its world-building and character description.

Characters: To be honest? I was more invested in Chaol and Yrene’s storyline than Nesryn’s. That being said, I think the author did a good job introducing each individual as well as interweaving different perspectives throughout the novel.

Quote:

“I let other people walk all over me just because I was too afraid of the consequences for refusing.”

Writing: The book is almost 700 pages long, but it’s well-written. I especially enjoyed the banter and dialogue between characters. There are also difficult issues explored and nature scenes included.

Final thoughts: I liked the ending. It moves at a fast pace and leaves readers wondering what will happen next.

If you are a fan of fantasy mixed with romance, check out the series. I would recommend reading the books in order and picking up Tower of Dawn before the last book.


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Reading

City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare | A Book Review

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Heavenly Fire

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the sixth and last novel in the Mortal Instruments series that follows Clary and her friends who fight against Clary’s brother, Sebastien Morgenstern, in the demon realm.

First impressions: I read the previous books a while ago and finally got around to picking this one up to see how everything gets resolved. I like the cover and title. I found the prologue interesting.

Characters: The characters grew on me with each book. By the end, I found myself quite fond of Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, Alec, Magnus, and others. They’re unique with their own strengths as well as weaknesses. I especially enjoyed seeing them interact with each other and the conversations between everyone.

Quote:

“Sometimes it’s hard when you want to be like someone but you don’t know how.”

Writing: It’s the longest book in the series at over 700 pages, but the plot doesn’t feel too slow or dragged out in my opinion. The author tells the story from multiple characters’ point of view in the third person. There are some romantic scenes here and there. Clare strikes a good balance between dialogue and description with world-building sprinkled in when necessary.

Final thoughts: I think the epilogue tied up a lot of loose ends. I recommend checking out the previous books before reading City of Heavenly Fire. Overall, it’s a solid fantasy series with magical elements and interesting relationships.


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Reading

Blog Tour: Author Interview with I.L. Cruz | A Noble’s Path

A Noble's Path by I.L. Cruz - Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to the blog tour for A Noble’s Path by I.L. Cruz!

About the Book

Title: A Noble’s Path (Enchanted Isles, Book Two)

Author: I.L. Cruz

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Bosky Flame Press

Publication Date: January 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Divided loyalties test Inez Garza.

The infamous incident at the Academy of Natural Studies has forced her to work for the King’s Men while continuing to serve the hidden market.

Supporting Birthright furthers the cause of Magical Return, but the cost may be the fall of the royal house and losing Zavier forever.

And the strongest pull of all is her growing and erratic magic, which demands everything and offers only destruction in return.

Inez must decide where her loyalties lie—saving Canto or saving herself.

The book is available at these ebook stores.

Author Q&A

When did you start writing?

Like all writers, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In preschool, the teachers had a special story time, when the kids could tell their own story and the teachers would write them down. Creativity was encouraged and it planted the seed. But if you mean when did I decide to make it a career, about 13 years ago. 

What’s the hardest part about being a writer?

Writing is easy. Rewriting is the hard part for me. I only write one first draft, but there are up to a dozen editing sessions between my own edits and then my editor and her edits. I think it’s hard to know when to say enough to editing. I then have to remind myself there are no perfect books.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

There are so many things! One of the top five is being able to name things and people. Because I write fantasy it can run from the mundane to the outlandish.

How do you approach writing a book?

They all come to me in different ways. Sometimes I’m a plotter and with some I’m more a “pantser”. Most start with a name day, when I make lists of names for the characters and places. With all my books, my first draft is written by hand. I can’t start a project on the computer because it makes me self-edit too early. I’m a big believer in writing your story completely before worrying about word choice or info dumps. After that first draft, I type it all out and make notes along the way. By the time I’m done typing it I have pages and pages of notes, which I tend to address by hand as well. It’s a few drafts before it’s all on the computer and then a couple more before I show it to my editor. 

What inspires you?

Walking tends to inspire me. When I just walk around and let myself pay attention to everything, my mind goes down weird paths and all these “what if” questions proliferate. What if questions are the basis for all my stories. My current series came about because I asked myself, “What if Mother Goose characters all lived in a separate land with mythological characters inhabiting a neighboring land and fairy tale characters in another?”

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I have a few techniques for writer’s block. The first is to just let it be for a bit. I’m not one of those writers who think you must write every day. Sometimes I take breaks and the breather lets me recharge my imagination. After a few days, I move on to stage two—work on another project. I have a file of over twenty stories waiting to be written and just working on something new can bring my original project back into focus. The characters reassert themselves. The last stage is writing prompts. I’ll work on writing prompts for twenty minutes at a time. It’s never gotten past that trick.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The King’s Traitor, book 3 in the Kingfountain series by Jeff Wheeler, which combines two of my favorite tropes, palace intrigue and magic. I also started listening to books on Audible and I’m currently listening to The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack voiced by Lisa Flanagan and Robin Miles.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The best advice I ever read was to write the story you’d like to read and then worry about the rest later. 

About the Author

I.L. Cruz decided to make writing her full-time career during the economic downturn in 2008. Since then she’s used her BA in International Relations to sow political intrigue in her fantasy worlds and her MA in history to strive for the perfect prologue. When she’s not engaged in this mad profession she indulges her wanderlust as often as possible, watches too much sci-fi and reads until her eyes cross. She lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter and a sun-seeking supermutt named Dipper.

Twitter: @ILCruzWrites 

Blog: fairytalefeminista.wordpress.com

Website: booksbyilcruz.com

Below is the full schedule for the blog tour. Big thank you to Rachel for hosting!

A Noble's Path by I.L. Cruz - Blog Tour Schedule

Reading

Fireborne – Rosaria Munda | A Book Review

Fireborne - Rosaria Munda

Title: Fireborne

Author: Rosaria Munda

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series following Lee and Anne, two teens rising in the ranks as dragonriders, despite different backgrounds. Fireborne explores ties to the family you were born into and the family you choose.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I adore both the title and the cover. I was also super intrigued by the novel’s themes.

Characters: The two protagonists grew on me so much. I especially enjoyed seeing Anne’s development into a more confident young woman. Even the secondary characters are unique and likeable.

Quote:

“It is difficult, knowing that your choices are ones whose consequences others suffer.”

Writing: The book alternates between Lee’s and Anne’s point of view with flashbacks to their childhood at the beginning of some chapters. Munda is descriptive, building the world in detail. Overall, I liked the platonic relationships as well as the romantic ones.

Final thoughts: The ending provides some closure while leaving questions to be answered in the second novel. I’m curious to know what happens next. My favourite fantasy novels balance fantastical elements with human issues; this book falls into that category.

I highly recommend Fireborne if you like stories about rivalries and romance.


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Reading

Crier’s War – Nina Varela | A Book Review

Crier's War - Nina Varela

Title: Crier’s War

Author: Nina Varela

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series with a female-female, enemies to lovers story. Ayla, a human girl, wants revenge by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Crier, an Automae. But after Alya becomes Crier’s handmaiden, both realize they aren’t that different from each other.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good fantasy read, so I was looking forward to this novel. The cover is beautiful.

Characters: I liked Ayla and Crier equally. They have their flaws, but I found them easy to root for. I enjoyed seeing their development alone as well as together. I will never not be a fan of diversity and representation, especially when it’s done well.

Quote:

“But if I give up, then what have I even been living for?”

Writing: The narrative alternates between the two main characters’ points of view. There’s a little romance near the end of the story. Varela is descriptive but not overly so.

Final thoughts: The ending doesn’t wrap up all the loose ends. Instead, it leaves many questions unanswered, setting the stage for the next book.

I highly recommend Crier’s War to fans of fantasy with LGBTQ+ representation.


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