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

Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

Title: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the sixth novel in the Throne of Glass series.

First impressions: I finally got around to picking up Empire of Storms. I don’t know why I took so long, but I’m glad I did.

I was excited to read it even though I forgot some details. That said, I enjoyed slowly recalling what happened as the story unfolded.

Characters: I love all the characters from Aelin to Rowan to Aedion to Lysandra. Manon becomes more likeable as well. The storyline with Elide and Lorcan grew on me. I also enjoyed Dorian’s role. Everyone has such a complicated history, which makes for dynamic characters. As always, the banter between the friends is so fun to read.

Quote:

“Don’t waste your energy worrying about what could have been.”

Writing: This book more than the others takes romance to the next level. As a result, it may not be as appropriate for much younger audiences. I’m not the biggest fan of romantic storylines in general, but at least there aren’t any tropes I hate like love triangles.

It’s much longer than the previous books, but the plot still feels fast-paced.

Many scenes contain fighting, blood, violence, etc. I didn’t mind it too much. If you are a bit more sensitive to those themes, fair warning in advance.

I’m all for various cliffhangers at the end of some chapters as well as the twists and turns within them. There’s never really a dull moment even when Maas is world-building.

Final thoughts: The ending blew me away. I want to read the next book now because I have to know what happens.

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Empire of Storms, especially to fans of magic in fantasy stories. Also, I suggest reading the other books first, so you have a better understanding of everyone’s past.


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Reading

The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

The Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Maas

Title: The Assassin’s Blade

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

About the book: It’s a book of five novellas, serving as a prequel to the Throne of Glass series.

First impressions: I read the first novel and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The hype almost made me pass on these books. But after finishing Queen of Shadows, I very much looked forward to learning more backstory about certain characters. The Assassin’s Blade begins with an interesting tale about Calaena and a pirate lord. Safe to say, I had high hopes for the rest of the book.

Summary: The stories follow Celaena, an assassin in a guild. She encounters a whole host of various people along her journey. Of course, Celaena being Celaena, she starts to defy Arobynn, her master during his missions for her.

Characters: There’s a lot of different characters introduced in a short period of time. Celaena Sardothien is the female protagonist. In general, I think Maas creates likeable, complex characters readers want to root for. She also does a fine job making you dislike evil ones. I’m all for well-developed characters who actually develop.

Quote:

“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything.”

Conflict: Each novella features a new conflict that tends to get resolved by the end. But as Celaena acts against Arobynn’s wishes, he begins to punish her.

Writing: When I first read her books, I wasn’t expecting the writing to be amazing. Which is partly why I found myself surprised at how well-written her stories are.

There’s a balance of world-building with story-telling. With the five novellas, I felt the plot advancing at a fast pace.

I had an idea of how the book would end because I knew some events after reading the first four books in the series. That didn’t stop me from appreciating all the novellas on the whole.

A part of me wishes I had read The Assassin’s Blade before the other novels. And now after finishing it, I’m tempted to reread the series from start to finish. I haven’t read Empire of Storms yet, but it’s on my mental to be read list. Maybe my head isn’t the best place to store things…

Final thoughts: I’m biased. I’m a fan of Maas. Her books will always have a special place in my heart. I read The Assassin’s Blade during a great time in my life, unlike Queen of Shadows. Enjoying good writing has a way of making my bad days better.

The ending left me feeling sad. I would’ve been more upset if I didn’t already know what would ultimately happen. Even knowing beforehand made the last handful of chapters tough to get through. I don’t know how to describe my feelings. I definitely had a subdued book hangover.

Give The Assassin’s Blade a go if it sounds like something up your alley. The five novellas read very much like a novel. I would not have been mad at all if the stories were turned into full-fledged books.

Let me know what you think down below.


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Reading

Plan Your Perfect Author Panel

Not long ago, I watched an author panel about genre blending. It got me thinking how awesome it’d be if I could gather all my favourite authors in the same room and listen to them talk about writing.

Here’s how I imagine my perfect panel:

Who would be there?

Pierce Brown, Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult. They’re my favourite storytellers as of right now.

Why these authors in particular?

In general, I love all of their work.

I enjoyed Brown’s Red Rising series, even though it shattered my already broken heart. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Iron Gold. In fact, IG is the first book I ever preordered. Also, Brown was in the genre blending panel, and his comments were spot on. The video is on YouTube for anyone interested.

King is king. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This won’t be the last time, my friends. For some reason, I have this irrational fear I won’t like one of his novels. He still continues to surpass any and all expectations of mine. Carrie has a special place in my heart. The film adaption was not as good as the book but it wasn’t bad either.

I didn’t think I would like Throne of Glass by Maas as much as I did. The hype surrounding the books almost made me pass on it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Fortunately, I found and fell in love with House Rules. Then I proceeded to read all the Picoult novels I could get my hands on. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact stand out in my memory still to this day.

What will the panel be about?

To start, I’d want them to talk about their writing journey.

I even have questions prepared. When did you start writing? What made you become a writer? Why do you write? What’s a typical day in your life like? Where do you work? How do you write? What’s the easiest thing about your job? What is the hardest?

I’m a curious writer myself, so I like listening to other writers share their life stories.

Of course, if I could only ask one question, I’d have them answer this: what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

Where would the panel take place? 

I wish more book events and conferences were held in the wonderful country of Canada. As much as I love the United States and hope to visit the United Kingdom one day, I can’t book a plane ticket without losing an arm or a leg. Probably both.

So, for obvious reasons, I’d want the panel to be held at a location near me. That way I could actually attend and keep all my limbs. In my dreams, I want to go to a Canadian book conference. Preferably downtown Toronto in a large building with awesome views of the skyline. Bonus points if it’s close to a hotel for those flying in from other countries with their two arms and legs.

When would the panel take place?

A weekend in the summer would be ideal. Or during autumn when the temperature is cool but not chilly. Then again, the panel will be inside an air conditioned room. But I’m all for having fun events take place outdoors. Beggars can’t be choosers, but planners can be picky, right?

Who should moderate?

I’m not sure. Perhaps another writer. Maybe an agent or an editor. I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

I want to hear all about your dream author panel. Let me know in a comment down below or create your own blog post and get carried away like me. I won’t judge.

Thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post. They are a self-service ticketing platform that helps people find and plan events like book conferences or author panels.

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Reading

Completing The 30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

I love this book with all my heart. And I’m trying to make other people love it too.

2. A book you can’t forget:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

My grade five teacher recommended it to me. Bless her for doing so.

3. A book that motivated you:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

King makes me want to be a better writer.

4. A book that made you think about life:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s thought-provoking.

5. A book with a colour in its title:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I adore Brown and his brain.

6. A book with a number in its title:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I had to read it for school, but I liked the modernized zombie tale.

7. A book everyone needs to read:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Timeless classic. What more can I say?

8. A book that was recommended to you:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

A good friend of mine made me pick this one up.

9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Because of the hype surrounding Maas and her work, I thought I wasn’t going to like her novels. But I enjoyed ToG so very much.

10. A book that made you cry:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

It didn’t directly make me cry, but I was holding the book while I cried. Does that count?

11. A book that reminds you of your childhood:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was a naïve child.

12. A book you have reread or would reread:

Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike

I reread the fourth book prior to reading the fifth in order to jog my memory. The second read through was just as good, if not even better than the first.

13. A book that was turned into a movie:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read the book before I watched the movie. If you know me at all, you know I’m firmly in the camp that the book was obviously better.

14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show:

The Escape by David Baldacci

This needs to be made into a movie.

15. A book you couldn’t put down:

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

Action-packed fun.

16. A book that kept you up at night:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I remember finishing the novel late at night and being blown away by the ending.

17. A book you travelled with:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

I carried the novel in my bag with a water bottle I didn’t close properly. Safe to say water and paper don’t mix unless you’re painting with watercolours.

18. A book you wanted to toss across the room:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Because of how it ends.

19. A book you received as a gift:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

From my one and only older brother. Thanks.

20. A book you gave or would give as a gift:

The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

I would give it as a gift, especially to someone who likes writing.

21. A book you think is underrated:

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

I don’t see or hear many people talk about Norris and her books.

22. A book that lived up to its hype:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t think it would, but it did.

23. A book that broke your heart:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

It was my first Picoult novel. I’m happy to say it was not the last. I really felt for the characters in this one.

24. A book that restored your faith in humanity:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Young, awesome characters tend to restore my faith.

25. A book with a pretty cover:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

It’s my aesthetic.

26. A book that reminds you of summer:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The novel takes place in the summer.

27. A book that brings back good memories:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Technically it’s a play I performed with some of my best friends in high school.

28. A book that makes you happy:

Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoyed the entire series.

29. A book you will never get tired of talking about:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I could go on and on about this gem.

30. A book you wish you wrote:

Carrie by Stephen King

If I had to be honest, I wish I wrote every novel King wrote. Carrie is no exception.


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