Book Review: The Darkest Star (Origin, #1)

The darkest starTitle: The Darkest Star (Origin, #1)

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: October 30, 2018

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head…


I listened to this book via Audible, and I hate myself for waiting so long to get to it. I thoroughly enjoyed The Darkest Star and being back in the world of the Luxen. It was fun running into old characters, and I’m not gonna lie – now I want to reread the whole Lux Series because it’s been years.

I thought the pacing was really good, the writing was really good and honestly, I don’t have anything bad to say about it. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before on this blog, but Jen’s books are like coming home. She was one of the first YA authors I started reading (after Twilight) and I will always read anything she writes. I will be honest, for a while, I felt like the quality of her books lacked the usual ‘oomf’ I loved about her books – yes, that’s the best description I have. Don’t judge, because you know exactly what I’m talking about. It kind of felt like there was this quantity vs. quality battle raging. On one hand, so many new enjoyable books, but on the on the other, they seemed to really lack some of my favorite qualities that make up her books.

I’ve since learned that Jen had over contracted herself, meaning she had many books to write and very little time to write them. She’s since cut back, and I think it shows in her stories. But again, I will legitimately read anything she publishes so this isn’t a complaint or necessarily a critique, but an acknowledgement. The Darkest Star definitely feels like she had more time to write it, because it reminded me why I love her books so much. Maybe it was because I haven’t been in the world of the Luxen in years – I’m sure that played a part – but if I had to be introduced to Jen’s work by a book, I would not be upset if it had been this one. I loved this book, the characters, and oh my god, the sexual tension / tension in general between Evie and Luc.

I’m here for it.

I really like Evie as a character. She was compassionate and strong and very likeable. Like most people, she has her flaws, but she tries to be a good person. She’s very loyal and friendly and isn’t above putting people in their place. Also like most teenagers, she curious, and that occasionally gets her into trouble. I think she embodied your average human, your average high schooler, but maybe a bit on the more mature side.

As for the love interest – can I just say – let hot aliens come to earth and move to my town? (which happens to be Evie’s) If they’re like Luc – or Daemon for that matter – I volunteer to be the girl next door when they move in. Hell, right now the house across from me in vacant.

Luc was enjoyable. I liked Luc. He was like a mini Daemon, but can you blame him? Look at his authority/‘parental’ figures.

Also, that closet scene.

Sign me tf up.

Evie if you don’t want him, I volunteer.

And speaking of aliens coming to my town (I mentioned this briefly a moment ago) they actually did in this book!

My old high school was featured, as well as the park near it. I knew exactly where Jen was referencing so it made it very easy to picture everything. I will say, Centennial High School isn’t two stories, but one sprawling concrete building that was always overstuffed with too many students for the four years I was there. A second floor would have been hella nice to alleviate some of the congestion, but the stairs would have sucked.

But back to Evie – I kind of saw her twist coming and I love how Luc handled the whole situation. Had it gone another way – I’d probably be raging.

Back to Luc really quick – sorry if this review is kind of scatter brained – Jen really had me wishing Luc was real. Like I wanted to jump into the story and be Evie.

He really cared about her and wanted to protect her and be there for her. He was also a cocky smart ass, but again, look at his ‘parental’ figures. I found it to be a part of his charm, since underneath it all – all the walls, masks, smart ass comments – he’s genuinely a good guy – er, alien – who *redacted for spoilers*

I’m really super excited for book two The Burning Shadow and cannot wait to read it. I felt like the Darkest Star wrapped up nicely, and it’s not the ending that has left me with the desire to need to know what happens next but more like, Jen’s dragged me back into the world of hot aliens and I need more.

I think I see a re-reading of the initial series in my future.


Check out The Darkest Star if you haven’t already, in preparation for The Burning Shadow out October 8, 2019! And if you haven’t already, catch up and see how the Luxen were introduced with the first book Obsidian, and fall in love with Daemon and Katy!

Who’s your favorite JLA guy? Mine’s probably a tie between Aiden and Jax. Let me know yours in the comments!

 

 

 

ApollyCon 2019

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 12.55.36 AMDo you remember when you were younger, and you had sleepovers with your friends? Do you remember how much fun you had on those nights? Do you remember how you stuffed your face full of traditional sleepover snacks and stayed up late talking? Do you remember the feeling of the next night – post sleepover? That feeling of desperately wishing to go back in time, to repeat the last night because it was so wonderful being surrounded by your friends and having such a good time?

That’s what today has felt like.

After spending three and a half days surrounded by books, bookish people and authors, real life seems a little dull, and coming back to it, a bit bittersweet.

It’s a bookcon hangover…get it?

Sorry, that was bad, I’m tired and not funny.

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I somehow managed to convince my friend to go again this year, after last year’s event, so we headed down to DC Thursday evening so we could go to the casual Author/Reader Meet & Greet. It was fun to hang out for a bit, we caught up with Brigid Kemmerer, and debated whether or not we wanted to wait in the long line to talk to Jen Armentrout and Drew but opted not to.

(I forgot to add Kristen Simmon’s books to the above photo – she’s super lovely and so sweet! I thought something was missing from the picture and if this post didn’t have to be scheduled to upload in 6.5 hours – I’d go retake it. (It’s currently 1:21 AM)).

Though, to be fair, we were starving, had just driven an hour and a half in the pouring rain, and tired after a busy day. Tomorrow would be a busy day, and figured it was a good idea to get unpacked and just relax before the long day that would be Friday.

We each had authors we wanted to see:img_3707.jpg

Me – Elise Kova, Brigid Kemmerer, Kristen Simmons, Katharine McGee, Krista & Becca Ritchie, Wendy Higgins, Katie McGarry, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Sarah J. Maas, A.C. Gaughen, Rachel Harris, and Suzanne Young.

My friend – Elise Kova, Wendy Higgins, Katie McGarry, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Sarah J. Maas, A.C. Gaughen, Rachel Harris and Miranda Kenneally.

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Compared to others, are stacks of books were relatively small – though I’m not complaining, because I didn’t break my back or bruise my shoulders like last year.

FRIDAY we managed to make it to one of the six panels that were running in the morning – oops. First we stopped by the BN store set up to purchase a few books, and then we went for coffee…which was a mess. Figuring it would be easier (and faster) we ordered it online for pickup and headed around the corner to go get it.img_3702

After about twenty minutes, with still no coffee (the store was PACKED so we figured it they were running behind) we found out that we ordered from the Starbucks two blocks further down the street…this was the first quest for coffee, I’ll get to the second later.img_3706.jpg

Then we grabbed wristbands for some of the ticketed authors we wanted to see, and then we got in line to wait for the doors to open for the Titan signing!

The layout was different this year compared to 2018 – the authors were split into two rooms, two different floors, and with the ticketed wristbands (and the way it was handled) made everything flow so smoothly. With the room split, it kept the temps down and relatively cool in the rooms. The worst thing is when too many people, get too hot and then they get cranky. (That was some of my experience last year.

img_3710My friend was able to get all her books signed on Friday during the Titan signing, while I chose to only to get half signed. I didn’t want to break my back and there was still the Saturday signing. I was able to catch up with Brigid and her super sweet assistant Anna (who has a book coming out in June – The Beholder) I wish I had known Anna was going to be there, because I would have brought my arc of her book for her to sign!

Then it was off to do the rounds, and let me tell you, every single author I spoke with was the sweetest! I got my books signed, caught up with a few other authors (while I was waiting for my number to be called to get into Jen’s line) and just kind of wandered around the room.

img_3711Her line is usually super long, but we got through it relatively quickly and we chatted. I only really see Jen maybe once or twice a year, but I’ve been a fan for a long time now, and I think we first met back in 2012…maybe 2010? She’s absolutely wonderful. It was also great catching up with Drew, and he asked if he could sign my book, and what he wrote made me laugh.

img_3705After saying that we’d catch up later, we headed downstairs to the other room full of authors, where I met Krista & Becca Ritchie and gushed about The Raging Ones and how I couldn’t wait for book 2. Then I talked to Rachel Harris and somehow managed to arrive at her table at the right moment, because I was able to buy her last early published copy of her newest book Eyes on Me (Out March 26th) and I cannot wait to read it!img_3704

But I should backtrack for a second – I got to meet SJM! It’s not my first time meeting her, but you know when you meet idols and your brain just kind of stops working and sometimes the words that come out of your mouth are just ‘wtf’ and you regret them.

*points finger at face*

img_3708I could have told her literally anything, about how I love her books, that she’s a reason I write, that her baby is adorable, BUT INSTEAD I tell her about the quest for coffee…crickets chirping.

She was super sweet, and I felt like a totally nut.

What I can’t get over is that, it’s not the first time I’ve met her and I’ve never been that star struck around her.

HELL, I could have told her that KOA put me in a three-month book slump! I could have asked her about Crescent City or literally anything else.

*face palm*

Anywho, fast-forward a few hours to the Sparkler Event which is basically speed dating with hundreds of others and a selection of NA and Romance writers. And the questions you ask can be innocent or dirty.img_3712

Then I parted ways with my friend for a blogger event hosted by Berkley Romance. I chatted with other bloggers/booktubers/bookstagramers and we were given a few upcoming releases. It was a fun event and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I won’t lie, I struggled through it a bit. I was exhausted and my feet ached, and I really just wanted a shower and to crawl into bed.

(I did exactly that and my friend and I fell asleep to HGTV we were so exhausted lol)

img_3709SATURDAY morning came too soon and too early, and after a good breakfast we headed down to stand in line to get into the signing. I only had a handful of books, so it went pretty quickly, and then we just spent some more time wandering around. I bought so many BookBeau’s over the weekend, but they had such pretty designs! We swung by Brigid’s table again and chatted.img_3715

But to be completely honest, we spent most of the afternoon in our room, reading and just chilling. We totally could have gone and been tourists (despite living kind of locally) but we were both tired and just having company when reading or just chilling is nice. We’ve been friends for so long, that half the time we don’t even talk, we just sit in silence and read. I finally got her to start Air Awakens (a task I’ve been trying to accomplish for YEARS) so I’m super happy, and she’s enjoying it! I should have totally been writing, but I watched Doctor Who instead and ate pizza.

Then it was time for the decades dance, which was fun. I’m not much of a dancer, but we met up with some people that we had met earlier in the weekend and chatted with them until 11:30 when we all got too tired to stay up. We also grabbed some pictures with Drew and Jen – they are pure gems. And then they asked us what we thought of the event (obviously we loved it) and I was kind of surprised that Drew seemed to actually recognize us. (That’s not a diss at him, we’ve only met him three times, and he just spent a whole weekend meeting and engaging with hundreds of people.)

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Since we had to leave the next day, we spent some time packing up, and despite the fact it was midnight, I drank way too much wine (because I wasn’t about to spend $$$ at the dance on alcohol) and ate dinner. Then once again we fell asleep to HGTV and our loud ass neighbors screaming at each other.

SUNDAY was the brunch, and due to a last-minute health issue, Colleen Hoover had to back out – I hope she’s doing okay and feeling better – but Christina Lauren (aka Lauren Billings and Christina Hobbs) The two of them and Jen spoke a bit about writing and their works, and breakfast was so good, and I ate entirely way too much.

Overall, I had a fantastic time, and I cannot wait to go back next year! Jen puts on an amazing convention, and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly all weekend, thank you. Also, thank you to the authors who came out. You all are so amazing! It’s one of my favorite events to go to, and I cannot wait to see what next year has in store!


img_3714One last thing, I got so much swag and so many books, keep an eye out for a potential giveaway – I honestly don’t have room for all of it. The picture to the right are just *some* of the books I got while at Apollycon – the ones I intend to keep.

Another ‘one last thing’ – I didn’t take many photos while at the event. Mainly because I’ve been trying (when I go to big events, or places) to live in the moment, rather than spending it behind my phone. I went to ApollyCon, not only to meet favorite authors but to engage and connect with other readers. Sometimes I feel pressured to document it all in photos, to share my experience via InstaStories, or live Tweets, and while sometimes that is fun, when you’re focused on getting in signing lines and talking to authors, my first instinct isn’t to whip out my phone and snap pictures.

Is it something I may need to get better at, if I’m going to continue blogging? Possibly.

If you stayed to the end of this post, thank you! It kind of got away from me. Maybe next year I’ll see you at ApollyCon!

 

Book Review: The Traitor Prince (Ravenspire #3)

The traitor princeTitle: The Traitor Prince (Ravenspire #3)

Author: C.J. Redwine

Pub. Date: February 13, 2018

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at an elite boarding school, far away from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious imposter takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.

After barely escaping the imposter’s assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king — and reveal Javan’s identity — is to fight in Maqbara’s yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the terrifying creatures in the arena, but also a band of prisoners allied against him, and even the warden herself.

The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive — but she has dangerous secrets.

Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight the deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoner’s intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they’ll be trapped in Maqbara for good—and the secret Sajda’s been hiding will bury them both.


This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book. The first two in the Ravenspire series were favorites so I had high hopes for this one. Then I heard some not as stellar reviews and I was a little put down. After two great books that I loved, I procrastinated reading this one, in fear that it wouldn’t be good.

Thank goodness for being wrong. Although I felt like the book a tad bit too long, and I could not stand Rahim, overall, I really loved it. The character arcs were believable and once again I was sucked into this fantastical world that C.J. Redwine has created. I could go on forever reading books set in this world, in the various kingdoms. I thought the writing was great and it painted a very clear image in my head – I could see Maqbara easily in my mind, and the arena – it felt like The Hunger Games. There was a moment at the end of the book where I said, “Oh fuck no”, but that lasted for only a couple of minutes. A few spots made me laugh, and others made me feel a varying range of emotions.

As for the pacing – the book felt too long, and a lot of the focus was on Javan’s time in Maqbara, as it should, but at the same time, other parts were kind of glossed over.

As for the characters, I’ve already stated that I couldn’t stand Rahim, so I’ll start there.

He was annoying. My entire Twitter thread for the book is basically me just complaining about how tedious and tiring he was. He was so angry, and it weighed on me. His anger and hatred made me tired. He was so tiring to listen to.

We get it, you’re angry, but honestly, it’s not the world that screwed you over, just one person in particular.

By about three quarters of the way through, it started feeling like he was now angry for angers sake. Like he had been so angry for so long, that it was his default. All in all, Rahim, he’s a little punk ass bitch, who either needs all the hugs in the world, or needs to be punch. Hard. Repeatedly.

Javan! I kept picturing him as Ben Barnes. But also, for someone who has spent the last ten years studying (I know he studied everything) but he was pretty bad ass. I definitely enjoyed reading about him. I loved his arc, and how he came to realize that his outlook wasn’t the one he needed to succeed in his mission. He was a very real and believable character, and I definitely didn’t get tired of him when he talked. There was one scene in particular that made me “oh my god” and that was his first entrance into the area. That played out like a cinematic masterpiece in my mind and it was amazing. I could just see the crowd’s reaction to that entrance, because it was “oh my god”. Again, it was so easy for me to picture everything in this book.

I loved his relationship with Sadja, and how once they became friends, that it grew naturally, that they became each other’s light in the dark.

Sadja – the girl who loved the stars. I felt for her and wished she didn’t have to be the badass she was because of her circumstances. She had no choice but to become cold, hard, unyielding in order to survive. But through friendship Javan is able to chip away that the walls she surrounds herself with. Sadja is a fighter, a survivor, inquisitive and smart, always up for a challenge. She has to be this way, if people were to find out who she really was – it wouldn’t be good.

Her relationship with Javan is one of the best parts of the novel. In a place where humanity is exchanged for animalistic brutality, the two of them keep each other sane and sharp. They challenge each other at every step, always trying to help one another. The way their relationship grew and changed felt natural and real and made me root for them. By the end of the novel my heart ached. I loved how each of them thought that they wanted this one thing, and before they met one another, maybe that was the case, but after they met and grew close, their visions for what they wanted altered.

I could talk about every character in this book that I loved, or that annoyed me, but I’ll just quickly mention Tarek, the old man, Sadja’s chosen family and Javan’s friend. I loved him, and what happens to him is not fair. He was sweet in a place that had taken everything from him. He could have been bitter and angry, and instead he worked hard and helped protect people.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. More than I thought I would, so I’m happy. It’s not my favorite book in the series, The Wish Granter still holds that title as of now, but The Blood Spell – out February 12, 2019, and I cannot wait to read it!

 

Chosen Champion Cover Reveal!

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN!

Time for another cover reveal for a new Elise Kova book!

It’s so excited being back in the world of Air Awakens. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s one of my all time favorite fantasy series, and the fact that there are new books makes me so excited!

Synopsis: 

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted – her family, her home, her throne – and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up. 

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming. 

she will learn the hard way that some evils never die…They only bide their time…

So, without further ado –

Chosen Champion Final Cover 72

It’s gorgeous! It’s out May 1st, 2019 – plenty of time to read Vortex Visions if you haven’t already!

I’m so excited to read it!

I have some other information for you as well –

You can PRE-ORDER Chosen Champion here – make note that it’s only currently available as an eBook through Amazon

But don’t fret! If you have a nook or kobo you can purchase through Amazon, then email Elise proof of purchase at Elise.Kova.Author@gmail.com and she will send you a personalized “read anywhere” link just for you!

If you haven’t already, you can purchase book 1 – Vortex Visions here – in preparation for Chosen Champion. It’s not necessary, but if you haven’t, you should also check out the initial series, Air Awakens! See how it all started!

BUT WAIT! There’s more!

You can enter a GIVEAWAY to win a signed hardcover of Vortex Visions! Make sure you go enter!

*Genres: YA, Epic Fantasy, Sword&Sorcery, Fantasy Romance, Coming of Age 

Series That I Most Likely Won’t Finish in 2019

Despite what the title of this post says, I’m going to include Trilogies and Duologies. I classify ‘series’ as more than 3 books, but looking at my shelf, I don’t have many series that I haven’t finished. I think that’s because I’ve been practicing self-control and not buying second and third and fourth books if I haven’t even read the first one yet.

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There are three series on this list, that I really have zero intentions of actually finishing, but two of them I cannot bring myself to clear from my shelves. The third might eventually go, since I have the first book on my Kindle. Everything else on this short list I’m classifying “Most Likely Won’t Finish” because I don’t have any foreseeable plans to do so, but I’m not fully counting them out.


Castor SeriesThe first series is Beautiful Creatures –the Castor Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I have all four main books in hardcover, and they’re all first editions (or so I’m told by Kami Garcia – I never actually looked into it) but they have the colorful end pages and are signed by one half of the authors. I really enjoyed Beautiful Creatures when I read it years ago, and I couldn’t tell you why I never finished the other books. Even though I don’t really ever plan on finishing the series, they are gorgeous books and I don’t want to get rid of them.

 


The next trilogy is Taken – the Taken Trilogy by Erin Bowman. This is another one, that I don’t remember why I never finished it. I read the first one and liked it, it wasn’t a favorite (maybe that’s why) but I did enjoy it and at the time, dystopian books were My Thing. In this case, I’m pretty sure I bought the rest of the series as a way to entice myself to finish it, but that never happened. I don’t know if I’d get rid of the series or not, but as of right now, I don’t plan on finishing it any time soon.


Alex BrackenThis next one hurts to say, but Passenger and Messenger by Alexandra Bracken is on this list. The first book was good, but it wasn’t “omg good I need the next one” in my opinion. I remember being really excited for it, and then listening to the audiobook and just feeling kind of “meh” about it. I bought the second book when it came out to support Alex, since she’s kind of an auto-buy for me.


This next series has been sitting on my shelf for quite a long time, and the only reason I haven’t gotten rid of it, is because my best friend LOVES the books. Pushing the Limits – the Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry, was a good book, and for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why I never read book 2, or any of the others. I can hedge a guess and say it’s because they’re contemporary novels, and a lot of the time I just don’t engage with them well. I don’t hate contemporary books, they’re just my least favorite. But since having read Only a Breath Apart and loving it, maybe I’ll try them out again.Pushing the Limits


This is the series that might actually disappear from my shelf – Unwind – the Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman. I remember really liking the first book, because it was so different from the other dystopian books I was reading at the time. I also didn’t realize it was a series until much later. I bought the other novels second hand, so I thankfully didn’t spend much – actually come to think of it – I bought the whole series second hand, but I really don’t think I’ll ever finish it. If I’m remembering correctly, the first book ended nicely (for me) and I didn’t think it needed other books.

Unwind


Next (I’m going to get screamed at for this one, I think) are both Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan. I own all the books in both series, but I haven’t even finished the first series yet. I know, it’s shameful. I’ve tried multiple times to finish them, but I never get further than one more book. This might be the only series on this list, and I do actually intend to finish….one day.

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TSOTINFFinally, as the last series on this list – the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, which yes, I own all the books. For starters, the books are gorgeous. I also made it more than half way through the series before I aged out? Lost interest? Didn’t have the next book? I don’t really remember why I never finished, but I didn’t. I remember really liking the books and the story, so your guess is as good as mine.

 


That’s it for this post – I’m sure I have plenty of other ‘series’ I won’t/don’t intended to finish, but that would make for a very long post. I really need to take a good long, hard look at my shelves and just get rid of some of the books. I’ve done this in the past, when I’ve desperately needed shelf space, but as for right now, I don’t, so I think I’m less reluctant.

Anyways, what are some ‘series’ you most likely won’t ever finished? Are any of these on your lists?

 

 

Book Review: Sherwood

sherwoodTitle: Sherwood

Author: Meagan Spooner

Pub. Date: March 19, 2019

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- 4.5


Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.


This will be a spoiler free review – I received an ARC of this book via a trade on Twitter.

I absolutely loved this book! I’m kind of annoyed at myself for waiting this long to read it. I know why I waited, Robin dies in the beginning of this book (it’s stated in the synopsis so no spoilers) and it put me off. How can you have a Robin Hood retelling without Robin of Locksley?

Though, with that being said, I thought the book was brilliant and enjoyed every moment of it. At almost 500 pages, I thought that maybe it would take me a while to get through it, but the pacing of the book, as well as the writing style made it very easy to read, and I flew through it in a handful of hours over a few days. If I’d been able to, I would have sat down and not gotten back up until it was done, but life gets in the way of binge reading sometimes.

The pacing and writing style combined made for a very effective story, and made it very easy to visualize what was going on, where it was going on, etc. I’m assuming this book is set in the 13th/14th/(maybe)15th century England, I maybe it’s all the BBC shows I watch (Robin Hood, Merlin, etc) but I found it so easy to picture the world, the town, the forest. The story just came to life in my mind, so vividly.

I really want Netflix or someone to pick this book up and create a movie or a show out of it. I would watch the crap out of it.

I think this book has snuck its way onto my list of favorites. I read Meagan’s other fantasy – Hunted and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I do think that this is my favorite of the two. I don’t know if I can put my finger on exactly why I loved it so much – without spoiling – but I was left a warm, giddy mess upon finishing, which wasn’t the reaction I expected or anticipated to have.

Now, you might be saying “that’s all well and good, but what about the characters?”

Well, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like! Even the ‘antagonist’ (I use quotations because if you’ve read the book, you’ll know why) was likable by the end. Unless you’re talking about the Sheriff then, he can rot in a cell.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just go through the major players really quick.

Robin of Locksley:

He does and doesn’t play a huge part in this book. Not actually being physically present was a bummer. It was one of the reasons I was hesitant to start it. There are flashback scenes of him and Marian as they grow up together, those were sweet, but for most of the book, he is Marian’s voice of reason, in her head, responding to her fears and her concerns.

Now, I know it’s not really him, and that it’s how she thinks he’d respond, but other than the flashbacks, that’s the extent of his involvement.

Marian:

She’s pretty badass. In a world where women are supposed to be dainty and ladylike, she’s the opposite. She’d rather be outdoors riding a horse, or shooting a bow, or practicing with swords. A friendship blooms between her and Robin at a young age, the two of them complimenting each other very well. She wants to learn and grow and use her skills and knowledge to be as good, if not better than then men around her, and Robin let’s her be herself, rather than what society dictates she ought to be.

She’s fiercely loyal and brave. She’s a bit unsteady in the face of danger – not really willing to do whatever it takes. She’s also got a pretty moral compass and humanity through everything. Even it if means a bad outcome, especially for her, she’d sooner risk her own life over those of her friends – if it means they stay safe.

I adored her character – strong and independent but also not afraid to ask for help if she needed it.

Robin Hood:

He wasn’t Robin of Locksley or Marian – he was what she wished she could be, what she admired in Robin, and what the people needed.

Guy Gisborne:

I never disliked his character, but in the beginning, he was a little annoying and nuisance – constantly pestering Marian. There were moments I just wanted to shove him out the door so Marian could be in peace.

He was a man on a mission, a passion, a drive.

I loved how through all his interactions with Marian, more of who he fundamentally was became apparent, and it got to the point where I was actually rooting for him to somehow win Marian’s affections…because, you know, Robin’s dead.

The Merry (Wo)Men:

They were a great cast of characters, and I loved them. They all had their own reasons to stand with Robin Hood, and it was just loyalty to Robin of Locksley or just to be Robin Hood’s men. They were unique personalities and I kind of wish there had been a little more of them. (This is where I think a show, or a movie would add to the story.)

Ultimately, what I think I loved most about this book was the idea that maybe the person you hold closest to your heart – the one you love – might not actually be who you believe them to be. You can do so much in the honor, the name of someone, but are you actually doing it because they would, or are you romanticizing them to fit your narrative?

Love can make you blind.

I don’t doubt that Marian loved Robin, that she cared for him deeply. But even Robin understood that he loved her more that she loved him. In the end, the person who ended up being her better match, was a man she never expected. Neither Robin or Marian were bad people, but people make choices, and choices can lead to different outcomes – death or the creation of Robin Hood.

The journey Marian goes through in this book, is one of self-discovery – figuring out who she is, when her best friend dies. She has to figure out her next steps, and find a way to help her people, all while dealing with loss, and unwanted advances, and trying to navigate a world where she doesn’t fit the standard mold of what a woman should be.

I loved this book so much, and if you like stories about Robin Hood and his her Merry Cohorts, then you’ll definitely want to pick this book up when it comes out next week!

 

Book Review: Never-Contented Things

never contented thingsTitle: Never-Contented Things

Author: Sarah Porter

Pub. Date: March 19, 2019

Rating – DNF’d at 31%


Seductive. Cruel. Bored
Be wary of… 

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries―until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price―and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.


I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This isn’t going to be a long review, and it’s going to be spoiler free. I wanted to like this book. Truly I did, but I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the right book for me. I struggled with the idea of not finishing this book and writing a review for it. I’ve never DNF’d a book that I’ve been approved for. But I want to be honest.

Based off the synopsis I was excited, dark faerie with maybe some intrigue and an escape plot – that’s what I took away from reading it. This book is vastly different from what I was led to believe and that’s partially on me. I should’ve read some reviews before requesting this title. Regardless, this book was marketed as something other than it is, and that’s misleading. I can honestly say, I felt mislead and that’s not fair to the reader.

I will also say that I saw a few tweets from the author who was acting a little condescending towards her readers who didn’t pick up her message in the book, and were confused as to why there were no fairies in the novel…

My remark to that is, have you read the synopsis for you book on Goodreads?

Anyways,

Based on what I’ve read, I don’t think Never-Contented Things is a bad book. The writing is quite good, flowery and the use of color is heavy. The pacing is a little fast, and the format of how the story is told – to me – feels like reading through a haze.

It’s kind of hard to explain. I get that the author was trying to put us (the reader) in the mind of the main character Ksenia – she doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, so we (the reader) don’t either. Though, for me, it just made me frustrated that I had no idea what was going on with these characters.

My frustration is also due to the fact that I thought this book was going to be akin to The Cruel Prince with the court drama and intrigue and maybe some hate-to-love romance or infatuation, with a daring fantastical escape back to the human realm. I’m frustrated to say, it’s not.

As for the characters, I felt zero connection with any of them. I was also a little disturbed by John and Ksenia’s relationship that (I want to say “could be” deemed incestuous – depending on how you personally might define it, as they aren’t actually related) but it was awkward and controlling nonetheless. I would define it as borderline incestuous, but to be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time defining that word in my head, because it’s not something I would even entertain.

Ksenia is arguably the main character, she’s had a rough life, it hasn’t been easy, but she’s found companionship in her younger foster brother, John. Ksenia is quiet and can come across cold and unfeeling, but really, she’s terrified. So much of her life is out of her control, and John doesn’t help matters.

John is a dominant personality, with his own baggage, and (whether or not) he means well, he is constantly making choices for Ksenia. He pressures her into a lot of situations that she’s not comfortable with, but because they are so co-dependent on each other, she lets a lot of the instances slide. It actually bothers me how John talks, very dismissive and peppy. He’s in your face and in your business.

Then there’s Lexie. As I DNF’d this book, I only got to a small section of her story, so maybe her part is much more significant later on, but she’s a friend to both Ksenia and John. From what I read, she’s the “normal” (meaning she doesn’t have the same kind of histories as her friends – i.e. foster kids) one. I don’t feel comfortable talking about her more than that, as I didn’t read the book in full.

If you’re looking for a book about changing one’s mindset from dark to hopeful, coming to terms with one’s relationship and whether or not it’s healthy, then maybe you should check this one out. But don’t read this book expecting fairies. They’re there, but they only act as a catalyst to make bad situations worse.

I wish I had been more interested in this book and had been able to finish it. Maybe one day I will, but as for right now, I don’t want to spend time reading a book that isn’t holding my interest. It read as a heavy contemporary novel with some fairies thrown in, and I like my contemporary novels to be a little more on the light and fluffy side, as I use them as escapes. This just wasn’t the book for me, but I know some people will read it and enjoy it (well, that might not be the right phrase, but they’ll like it more than I do).

 My advice to you, is that you read some other reviews – there are quite a few on Goodreads, from people who finished the whole book – who have more to say about the book and its contents.