Saturday, 24 July 2021

Book Mail: Any Where the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell


In honour of the release of Any Where the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell, the third and final book in the Simon Snow series, Macmillan sent a very lovely parcel! You can watch my unboxing below.

This book called me ugly ##AnyWayTheWindBlows ##AWTWB ##booktok ##foryou ##simonsnow ##samreading ##unboxing

It feels emotional to say goodbye to such endearing characters that have stolen my heart since book 1. Watching as Simon and Baz work through their relationship and personal struggles to be the best version of themselves for each other breaks my heart even more. I've included some of my favourite SnowBaz quotes in the video below.

I love these two cinnamon rolls ##booktok ##foryou ##samreading ##awtwb ##anywaythewindblows ##snowbaz

If you haven't read this series, I would recommend it to anyone out there that wants a little bit of magic in their life. It features a bunch of cinnamon roll characters (aka sweet and endearing and very adorable). It will make you smile and laugh throughout the whole story. In the first book, the characters are at a Hogwarts-style school for mages, the second features a pretty badass road trip across the US, and the last book ties the story together as the characters figure out their "adult" lives. The writing is so fun, the dialogue consistently witty, and features endless mysteries for the gang to solve. The love story also gives that 'enemies to lovers' feel that is irresistible.

Links to grab a copy of this stunning book are below!

Goodreads 

Amazon UK  

Amazon 

The Book Depository 

Waterstones

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Review: These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan

 These Hollow Vows (These Hollow Vows #1) by Lexi Ryan

Release Date: July 20, 2021

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she'll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie's only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.

These Hollow Vows is a YA fantasy that has been recommended for fans of The Cruel Prince and A Court of Thorns and Roses. If you haven't read either of these books then I would recommend this as an "easy to dive into" YA fantasy with a love triangle consisting of two irresistible love interests, as well as an inevitable betrayal. The fae world is divided into the Seelie and Unseelie courts who have been long at war. We follow Brie as she infiltrates the Seelie court in order to find three relics for the Unseelie King who has her sister. While she is there she must play the part of a human who is there to win the hand of the Prince of the Seelie court, (The Selection by Kiera Cass kind of style) Sebastian, who she just might be falling for. However, she also begins to fall for Finn, the leader of the rebels attempting to overthrow the Unseelie King and could possibly be the answer to getting her sister back.

The writing style is very easy to follow in this book. If you are someone that doesn't get on well with heavy worldbuilding in fantasy books and prefers to get stuck straight into the plot, then this book is perfect for you. At certain points, I did find myself wanting for the author to expand on the world further to make this world feel more fleshed out. We spend a lot of time in the Seelie court but at the same time, I feel like I came away still not knowing that much about it or the rules, customs, etc.

The love triangle in this book was written in a way that was enjoyable and kept the reader guessing about who may be the one to win the main character's heart. It is an especially hard decision when you fall for both of the love interests in the book and can't decide who you're are rooting for! Up until the very end, you are kept guessing who Brie might pick. The betrayal trope also plays a big part in the romance so any fans of big twists such as those in Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard I think you will enjoy what this book has in store!

Brie was not my favourite main protagonist. I found myself frustrated with her inner thoughts and her choices. I also could not believe how much she got away with sneaking around the castle and its grounds. Even when she was with the rebels for a few days under the guise of visiting a seaside town, Sebastian did not even ask her about this "trip" once when she got back. I thought this was a little too easy of a way out for Brie to not have to deal with the possibility of being exposed. Every moment thereafter I was then not worried that she would get caught because everyone was so gullible and never questioned her. I would have like less predictability from this aspect of the plot.

If you enjoy romance as the main driver in your fantasy stories then I think this would be a good pick for you! It doesn't have the heavy worldbuilding that can feel very dense, it jumps straight into the plot, and there is only a sprinkle of political intrigue. Overall, These Hollow Vows is an addictive read that you will not be able to put down. The romance will keep you guessing at every turn and you are waiting on the edge of your seat for all secrets to unravel. I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes this story in the sequel!

Rating

4 Falling Books

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a review copy

Monday, 12 July 2021

Review: The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

Release Date: June 3, 2021

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy's soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans - he's passing.

So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the 'F' on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone - including the guy he's falling for.

The Passing Playbook is a young adult sports romance with a trans protagonist. It brings up important conversations around trans rights and how even though things are changing in our society we still have a long way to go. It also highlights the importance of allyship in supporting this change.

The romance between Spencer and Justice was super sweet and I loved how it unfolded throughout the book. It was especially interesting to see how they both navigated Justice's very religious family with their discriminatory and harmful views of the queer community. This makes you root for them even more!

I read this book while watching the Euros 2020 and I loved the football element in this story. Even if football isn't your thing, the writing style and plot is so easy to follow that you find yourself getting into the sports scenes more than you think! The dialogue flowed nicely and was endlessly entertaining. One of my favourite parts about this book was how it challenges laws that discriminate against trans people and how simple things such as gender neutral toilets being available should not be a luxury, it should be a necessity. 

There is great representation in this book featuring non-binary, autistic, bisexual, and gay characters.  Spencer's family are also very supportive of his transition and identity, which was so heart-warming to read about. I read Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve recently which featured the opposite side to this, which is having a family who don't want to accept who you are. So it was really great to read about a different kind of experience. The author definitely takes a positive outlook on being your true authentic self and I think that worked perfectly for what the book was trying to achieve. 

The Passing Playbook was overall an unexpected delight that gave me warm and fuzzy feelings and left me full of hope for these characters and the changes they are striving to make in the world; no matter how small. This is an unmissable YA contemporary this summer with a first love romance, important topics, and delightful characters.

Rating

4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Penguin and Bookstagrammers.com for providing a review copy

Friday, 9 July 2021

Review: Carry On (Simon Snow #1) by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On (Simon Snow #1) by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

This was fun! Major Harry Potter fanfic vibes but the story and characters grew on me by 150 pages in. Especially once I got used to the parallels with HP. This book switches between character POVs, which worked really well for the romance aspect of the story between Simon and Baz. Their enemies-to-lovers romance was so enjoyable and the banter between them never failed to make me smile. I can see why SnowBaz has such a big following because they are adorable and must be protected at all costs.

I also loved the friendship between Simon and Penelope. Their constant support and love for each and the way they are absolutely on the same wavelength made chapters with these 2 a lot of fun.

Simon gives off major HP vibes in terms of his character because he is an orphan, found by the headmaster of the magic school, and takes him under his wing, he doesn't have anywhere to spend holidays, etc. Over the course of the book these parallels became less jarring especially when you start to warm to Simon's character. I liked how bits and pieces started to come together toward the end for the big reveal. However, I wasn't surprised by the plot twist all that much but I still enjoyed how the events at the end unfolded.

The plot of this book was slow at the start, or I couldn't really see where it was going. But in short, there is a murder mystery in which our main characters set out to solve as well as keeping an eye out for the bad guy of the story the Insidious Humdrum who is a widespread threat to the magic world. 

I can't wait to see where the story goes in the sequel Wayword Son and I look forward to seeing the cast of characters again! 

Rating

3.5 Falling Books

Friday, 18 June 2021

Review: Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) by Elizabeth Lim

 Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Release Date: July 8, 2021

Goodreads Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book DepositoryWaterstones

(UK Edition | US Edition)

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama's betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.

Six Crimson Cranes is a magical story from start to finish. The execution was perfect from the moment we meet Shiori to the very last page. Lim has built a world that feels like a true fairytale and the East Asian mythology that's weaved into this story is nothing short of breathtaking. 

Princess Shiori of Kiata has magic in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. One day she makes the mistake of snooping on her stepmother Raikama, who has many secrets of her own, including the fact that she has magic of her own. Raikama curses and banishes Shiori as well as turning her brothers into cranes. Shiori embarks on a quest to undo the curse, get back to her kingdom, and get to the bottom of Raikama's motives. The hurdles that Shiori faces along the way makes this story absolutely unputdownable. 

Some YA fantasy books suffer from lag in the middle of the story with not much happening until the very end, however, you do not have to dread that here! It was packed with action and twists all the way through. You can expect dragons and an epic quest! It also has some of my favourite tropes including an arranged marriage. There is also a ridiculously sweet romance that had no business stealing my heart so unexpectedly! The love interest is incorporated into the story in such a flawless way that it felt organic and I loved watching the romance blossom. I wish all romance storylines could be executed this well.

One of my favourite characters from the book was Shiori's enchanted paper bird Kiki, who is her cheerleader throughout. This paper bird was so funny and a scene-stealer at times. The family dynamics between Shiori and her brothers was also everything that I could want! I loved getting to know each brother and following how the siblings become closer over the course of the story.

Another aspect of the book I loved was how amazingly it describes food. This is a recurring theme throughout the book and it made me so hungry. It really added to the immersive feel of the book and I was lost in the taste of Asian food through the pages. 

Six Crimson Cranes is now one of my favorite YA fantasies of all time. If you want a YA fantasy story that is a fairytale retelling but feels so unique and unlike anything you've ever read before then you NEED this book. I also have no doubt that the sequel will be another wild adventure because of where this book leaves off. I will also not shut up about this book until all my bookish friends have read it!

Rating

5 Falling Books

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a digital Netgalley ARC

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Review: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

 Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Release Date: June 10, 2021

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Between Perfect and Real is a poignant story following a young trans boy as he navigates his identity, friendships, family, and future. 

The book has great representation in terms of BIPOC characters and explores the theme of "chosen families" through the trans support group in which Dean attends. I loved that this gave Dean an outlet where he could truly let go and be himself. The contrast in Dean's character between when he is in this environment compared to when he is at his rehearsals is clear. This highlighted the importance of having people around you and a support system that allows you to be the truest version of yourself. Dean's emotional state completely changes when he's around people that understand and accept him. I loved his friendship with Ronnie and how supportive they are of each other. However, Dean's relationship with his parents was more difficult to read about especially as his mum continues to be in denial about Dean's identity and being trans. The scenes with Dean's parents felt so raw and I wanted to give him a hug.

Reading about Dean's personal experience coming out as trans and the emotional journey that he goes on throughout the book felt so eye-opening. As a cisgender person, this story was perfect for helping me understand the trans experience. The story felt real and realistic and dealt with different aspects of being trans. For example, Dean grapples with which pronouns to use, whether he wants to go on to hormone therapy, and deciding how and when he wants to come out to the people in his life. Ultimately, the story highlights that there is no clear-cut way to deciding how your "coming-out" journey may look, but it's important to make decisions that feel right and fit you. This book may be especially valuable for younger readers to explore LGBTQ+ voices.

Between Perfect and Real is a fresh queer read. At times raw and very real, but remaining an enjoyable read throughout. Please check trigger warnings for this book before reading including themes of transphobia, transphobic violence, bullying, harassment, misgendering, and body dysmorphia amongst others.

Rating

3 Falling Books

Thank you to Abrams & Chronicle for providing a copy for review!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Review: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
Release Date:
August 13, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

The Bridge Kingdom is a BookTok favourite and one that I went into with high expectations. After finishing this book I can officially say I really enjoyed this! It is a solid fantasy with a great plot and the writing style makes this story an easy one to slip into. The world and the politics in this story are really interesting, the (very) slow-burn romance had me at hello, and the last 20% of the book is such a rollercoaster of emotions you'll be forced to pick up the sequel straight away.

This book started off so awesome. Our main character Lara is described as a badass and ruthless assassin and from there I'm hooked. The opening scene? Immense. My interest levels peaked to 5000. However, slowly as the chapters unfold where Lara has been described as this cutthroat, trained since birth, deadly assassin, nothing that she actually does reflects this entirely. This was frustrating to read because it felt that the character was being described in one way but didn't really live up to that through her actions. Over the course of the book, I suppose she proves herself in little ways and I hope this is shown more in the sequel because I was coming to really enjoy her character by the end. 

This book is a solid 4 for me as I felt hooked all the way through and I loved the world and learning more about Ithicana. The romance was really enjoyable. It is a slow burner! This is an important heads up as I went into this book thinking it was going to be spicy from 20% in and it was not.  The book is told from both POVs with a heavier emphasis on Lara. I would have liked more moments between them told from Aren's POV just so we could see the finer moments of them falling for each other. Aren and Lara have great chemistry and I'm hoping for more intimate moments between them in The Traitor Queen (book 2).

Their relationship has been described as an enemies to lovers, which I suppose on the surface it is. However, it's not really knife-to-throat or "I will kill you" ETL, it's more like "Oh hey there, guess we're getting married as part of this treaty and our two nations don't really get along, but here we are. Wanna be friends?" I did however enjoy the dynamic of having our main character as a spy in the enemy's territory and her slowly finding out why they may not be the enemy she once thought they were. But enemies? To lovers? More like suspicious woman becomes the king's wife and is actually a spy and deep down he knows she's only there to get information from him about his kingdom but he wants to give her the benefit of the doubt and they both end up falling for each other anyway. Not sure what trope this is... but essentially if you like the idea of the betrayal trope then go for this. It will hurt you!

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy with a betrayal trope. Perhaps for fans of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson who want a little more spice. I've seen this book compared to From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout, but personally, I don't think this spice is on the same level if that is what you're looking for this might not be the one for you. I do think it will heat up over the course of the series and I can't wait to read book 2!

Rating

4 Falling Books

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Book Release Day and Review: Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass

Happy Book Birthday to this wonderful YA contemporary!

Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository


Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that's when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

Where the Rhythm Takes You is such a joyous read that will keep you up all night and really give you that sweet contemporary YA experience. It is set in the beautiful backdrop of Tobago and I found myself longing to walk along the beaches, try the food, and wanting to experience everything it has to offer. This book deals with the loss of a loved one, learning to let go, and letting yourself fall into your passions. It has really left me with a fuzzy feeling, wanting to seize the day and nurture those passions that bring me joy. 

Ever since her mother died, our main character Reyna has been making sure to look after her family's hotel in Tobago and making sure it meets the standards that her mum put in place. She even put her dream of going to study art with her best friend aside. Reyna is shocked when she finds that her ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is now a major music celebrity, is coming to stay at the hotel and she has to be his tour guide. Throughout the book, we learn more and more about their history and where it went wrong. The slow burn of Reyna and Aiden's romance just killed me... and I loved it. Sometimes I felt Aiden could have shown a little more emotion and having a dual POV would have been really great at certain points within this book, however, I enjoyed Reyna's side nonetheless and the story of their second chance love tied up nicely by the end.

The way Reyna's mother's death is told to us felt so raw and so real it brought me to tears a few times. And her difficult relationship with her father and her best friend also felt realistic. There are also some funny laugh-out-loud scenes that came from Aiden's celebrity friends, who all felt so down to earth that they were a joy to read about. I loved the 'fame' aspect of the book didn't overtake the storyline. I do not think anything in the story really shocked or surprised me, there were no major twists in a sense. I would have liked something like this in the overarching plot, but it also worked fine without it. There may be some things that were seemingly predictable, but there's no denying that this book is such a fun read it did not matter.

I would highly recommend Where the Rhythm Takes You if you're looking for a YA contemporary that has all the classic ingredients but feels fresh at the same time. There is also a brilliant soca playlist at the back of the book, which is a genre I had never listened to before! This book is so easy to slip into. I read it over the course of a few days and each time I picked it up I felt I was returning home to friends. I cannot wait to read more from Sarah Dass because this debut novel hit the spot. 

Rating

4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing an eARC on Edelweiss

Friday, 7 May 2021

Review: Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date:
March 2, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

*Possible spoilers for Chain of Gold*

Cassandra Clare strikes again and breaks my heart. Surprise surprise. Chain of Iron follows our main cast from where Chain of Gold leaves off. Cordelia is marrying James to cover up James' actions and save Cordelia's reputation in society. Cordelia has real feelings for James, but she knows he is in love with Grace. The Shadowhunter wedding in this book was EVERYTHING. Gold attire with the Herondale family in attendance? Why did I not get an invite?! The plot of this book thickens when there is a series of Shadowhunter murders on the streets of London and the gang of Merry Thieves attempt to find the killer. Lucy has been spending a lot of time on her own and with Grace attempting to resurrect Jesse. Sounds bad? It certainly is. Overall, I loved all the storylines and how they unfolded in this book. If you're looking for action, romance, a murder mystery, and ANGST you will love this.

My favourite part of this series is the characters. Each one has such a special place in my heart and I love them all more than I can describe. Chain of Gold introduces them all and I felt that some were not developed as much as I would have liked. However, COI fills in this gap and I was not disappointed. We learn a lot more about Matthew. Oh, Matthew. I hope he gets his happy ending at some point he does deserve one. If you loved Matthew's humour and wanted to give him a hug in COG, oh boy it does not get any easier here. 

What can I say about Cordelia and James' relationship? ANGST. PAIN. I want both of these characters to be happy and I hope they can find it in Chain of Thorns despite every lucky star being against them. We know that James is not actually in love with Grace, but instead is being influenced by the GODDAMN silver bracelet given to him with instruction from Tatiana. I do hate that lady. There are certain scenes that have my whole heart when James has glimpses of his love for Cordelia through the bracelet haze. 

The most painful part of this book was the last few pages. It put me in physical, emotional, and mental pain! If you remember CC's classic cliffhangers, this contains another one. However, completely worth it! You need to read this and experience it.

I am such a simp for the Shadowhunter series. I think this may also be my favourite so far. It has all the characters we loved in The Infernal Devices and as a bonus, they are the parents of the main characters? This is a fanfiction come true. I would 100% recommend you keep reading if you have read TID. I am so excited for Chain of Thorns. I am sure there will be more heartbreak, more angst, more pain, more pain, and erm, more pain?

Rating

5 Falling Books

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
Release Date:
May 4, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository


(US cover and UK cover)

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing…

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is a young adult contemporary with so much heart that I had to read this in one sitting. It deals with issues such as racism, bullying, dementia, and difficult family dynamics. It packed more of a punch than I was expected and I loved it.

Our main character Quinn is someone that loves to make lists for everything in her life, which she keeps in her notebook. The book acts as her diary and contains some of her most secret and personal lists. When she loses it and starts to be blackmailed by an anonymous account to do everything on her list of "Things that I would never admit out loud", Quinn doesn't even know where to start. 

Goffney handled the task of educating us about race in a way that was realistic and gave me things to think about along the way. I stepped away from this book feeling so empowered and in awe of how Quinn handles all the hurdles and struggles in her life. Not only handling cyberbullying but also navigating other aspects such as someone close in her life having dementia, her parents who are struggling internally with their marriage, and making big college decisions.  

In the midst of the fantasy hype at the moment, this contemporary story was such a breath of fresh air. There is a really sweet romance storyline, which I loved from beginning to end. Quinn and Carter made me laugh and smile so much. If you want an impactful story with fun and fully realised characters, I would recommend Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry endlessly! I am looking forward to more books by Joya Goffney.

Rating

4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an Edelweiss ARC!

Monday, 26 April 2021

Review: Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: May 4, 2021
A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army, unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed. 

Realm Breaker is the start of a high fantasy series led by a cast of delightful characters that form an unlikely team to save the realm. 

From page 1 there is a lot of detail and we are thrust into the world. Immediately we meet a lot of characters and we are in the middle of the action which becomes the plot of the entire book. I won't lie, I was confused. There is a lot of mention of "Spindles" without there being any full definition of what this is. It then becomes the root of many other words used in dialogue "Spindlerotten", "Spindleblessed", "Spindleborn", and I found myself having to guess and not dwell on it too much. I got the hang of it around 100 pages in but I would have liked a bit more explanation as there were other aspects of the worldbuilding that were described in such great detail I expected that to carry through. Even now I'm trying to remember what a Spindle is and I could not tell you confidently. Aveyard does however do a brilliant job at thrusting us into the world of Allward and taking us on an adventure through the different backdrops of the realm. If you're someone that enjoys high fantasy world-building you will enjoy what this story has to offer. We get to explore the palace, pirate ships, desert lands, and so many more unique places in this world. Definitely cross-check the map!

From the plot and the characters, I was hoping this would be a similar set-up to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. And to a certain extent, it was in terms of its multiple POVs. However, it did not match the level of epicness I was expecting. Maybe this will be built upon in the sequel? Our main characters are on a quest and to fulfill it they have to get out of some pretty sticky situations. They each bring something unique to the table and all-in-all had great voices in this story. We have a daughter of a ruthless pirate whose blood is crucial to saving the realm, a very lovable squire, a tough on the outside but soft on the inside immortal, a quickwitted assassin, and a young queen at the heart of the story who's actions I could never predict! There are other characters who are introduced later that were almost glossed over that I did not actually care about their whereabouts in the scenes. Even though the book swapped through a lot of POVs, I did not mind at all. Usually, with multiple POVs I find myself favoring certain characters over others, but I really enjoyed all of them in this book. The story was heavily plot-driven and there were points where I really wanted it to focus more on the characters. The result of this is characters with unclear motivations and stakes in the overall arching plot. I really hope this is something that is worked on more in the sequel as the author has set up a good foundation for her characters but they need to be fleshed out a bit more.

My main issue with this book is that I felt there was no real climax in the plotline. Realm Breaker acts as a set-up for the plot and just as things start to get interesting it is already the end of the book and we're left to wait for the sequel. About halfway through there was a major twist that had me gasping, but other than that I felt I was waiting for things to happen. Ayevard does put in a classic betrayal twist that she is so well known for from her Red Queen series.

For anyone who's wondering whether there are any underlying romance storylines in this book, yes however they are very subtle. Our characters are just getting to know each other here and are busy trying to save the realm so the romance storylines are very much muted. It could however mean we get a really awesome slow burn romance that picks up in the next book. 

I would recommend Realm Breaker to anyone that enjoys high-fantasy and a story told from multiple POVs. All of the characters are interesting with their own unique backstories which I hope is going to be explored in future books. Overall, Realm Breaker is a good start to the series and I will be reading the sequel to find out what happens next.

Rating
3.5 Falling Books

Thank you Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC.

Friday, 16 April 2021

My Current Reads and Book Giveaway

Happy Friday guys!

It really feels like April is flying by and there's no stopping it. I've been trying to juggle all the books I'm reading at the moment as I've come to find out that I am a mood reader. Meaning that I just read anything I'm in the mood for. This is how I have ended up reading more than 1 book at a time. Here are some I'm in the middle of at the moment.

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare
I really loved Chain of Gold so I am so excited to have this in my hands. I'm about 100 pages in and I can't wait to see where this story is going. If you are thinking about reading this series definitely pick up The Infernal Devices beforehand because this series is set after that. I have fallen so hard for all of these characters that I know my heart will be broken while waiting for the last book Chain of Thorns.

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas
SPEAKING OF BROKEN HEARTS! I have been reading Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn so slowly because I was scared to get to this book. So scared. Because this story now feels so close to my heart that I don't know if I ever want it to end. 

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
Thank you Harper Teen for the ARC on Edelweiss! I am adoring this book. It is a YA contemporary about a girl who loves making lists about things in her life. However, when she loses her journal that contains all of her most private thoughts put into lists, she's willing to do about anything to get it back. Even cave into the wishes of the anonymous person blackmailing her. This book comes out on May 4, 2021.

Flock (The Ravenhood #1) By Kate Stewart
This is a new adult series that I have seen some buzz about on TikTok so I thought I would give it ago! I'm around 40% into the book and liking it so far. I don't know what to think just yet but I will put up a review soon after I finish it.

Have you read any of these books? Please let me know your thoughts!

Also, I am running a book giveaway over on my TikTok for hitting 1k followers! It closes tomorrow 17/04/21. For a chance to win a book from your wishlist!

You can enter HERE!

@samfallingbooks

Thank you guys I’m having a lot of fun 💕 ##booktok ##foryou ##fyp ##giveaway ##bookgiveaway ##amazonwishlist ##bookworm ##yareader

♬ deja vu - Olivia Rodrigo

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Review: The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni
Release Date:
April 13, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

The Prison Healer has surprised me in the best way and is one of my favourite reads of 2021. I was hooked from the very first page and Noni's writing is so enthralling it made this story a joy to read. A fantasy with trials, elemental magic, a mysterious disease sweeping the prison, and really awesome characters. It also had so many plot twists that I never saw coming.

Set mainly in the walls of the prison Zalindov, Kiva is the prison healer treating the sick throughout her ten years stuck there. During this time, her family sneaks her notes telling her to hold on and that they will help her. Outside the prison, there is unrest involving rebels against the crown, so when the next prisoner brought in is the rebel queen alongside a note to keep her alive Kiva must do everything she can to protect her. This includes putting herself forward for the trial by Ordeal instead of the rebel queen. If she survives she walks free, if she fails she dies and so does the rebel queen. While this is happening there is also a mysterious disease hitting the inmates and Kiva must figure out what it is before it gets to those close to her. 

This story is predominantly focused on the prison but I hope that in the sequel we get to learn even more about the world and magic system. The elemental magic is touched on briefly and plays an interesting role in the story but there is definitely more that can be expanded with it. I enjoyed that this installment allows the set up of key characters, explores unrest within the prison, and builds on core relationships. The character relationships were one of the aspects I loved most. There is a light romance plot that runs through the story which I really enjoyed. I hope that this is also explored further in the sequel. The relationship between Kiva and Tipp was also so heartwarming. Tipp is a young child that Kiva took under her wing and their relationship is so pure.

The author's writing style is so easy to fall into that I was engrossed from the first chapter. Noni weaves her fantasy world flawlessly. I am itching to explore it further. If you are in a reading slump and find high fantasy too much to get your head around, pick this up! It is such an enjoyable read and the different storylines within the prison are pulled together so well and you won't even see the (many) plot twists coming. I haven't been shocked like this with a book for a long time. I would pitch this to anyone who enjoyed Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas but imagine if the story focuses on Celaena while she was in the Salt Mines in Endovier, and instead of being an assassin, she's a kindhearted and fierce healer.

There are themes touched upon in this book that I thought were handled well and with care. This includes themes of self-harm, drug abuse, and domestic abuse.

The Prison Healer is an unmissable fantasy. If you enjoy elemental magic systems, healing magic, slow-burn romance, and elements of found family you will love this book. It surprised me in the best way and I am so excited to read the sequel The Gilded Cage (release date: October 12th 2021).

Rating
4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Kate at Hodder & Stoughton for providing a Netgalley ARC.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Tandem Reading: Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn

Hello there!

I am currently tandem reading Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas. A tandem read involves reading both books at the same time. I am using the Telle Reads guide to follow which chapters to read while switching between them. Normally I am someone that likes to stick to the publication order and any flipping around the order makes me feel uncomfortable. For example, the Shadowhunter books. The correct way in my mind will always be The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, and then The Last Hours. It's a no to the idea of the chronological read for me. 

However, I may call this a special case. The events of EOS and TOD are happening at the same time with our main characters in two different places. EOS focuses on Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Elide, etc. While TOD focuses mainly on Chaol and Nesryn in the Southern isles. I was not sure how I felt about reading a whole book just about Chaol as he was not my absolute favourite character in previous books. I also struggled a lot reading Heir of Fire then Assassin's Blade then going back to Queen of Shadows because I didn't want an "in-between" book I just wanted to keep powering through with the story. (I did end up loving TAB so much - it was just the initial struggle of getting into a prequel story, while all my heart wanted was more Rowan). THEREFORE, my solution to avoiding the feeling of annoyance to read TOD while all I will probably want to do after EOS is read KOA, is the tandem read.

My update so far (I am about 100 pages into each). I AM LOVING IT. I do feel that the story is flowing really nicely despite all of the POVs. If you enjoyed Heir of Fire, which has a lot of switching POVs between a LOT of characters in different places. Then you may really enjoy doing the tandem read. My initial worries of not enjoying TOD have gone out the window, especially after meeting the lovely character Yrene. As I read if I feel that I am more on a roll with EOS then I think I will swap switching between the books and just finish EOS before continuing TOD and stopping the tandem read. I will keep you all updated!

Have you thought about doing a tandem read? What were your thoughts on the books?

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

 King of Scars (King of Scars #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Face your demons... or feed them.

The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country's bloody civil war--and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka's coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren't meant to stay buried--and some wounds aren't meant to heal.

King of Scars is a fantastic addition to the Grishaverse. It feels a lot more connected to the events in Shadow and Bone than Six of Crows was. One of the main reasons for this is that the narrators of this book are Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina. Nikolai and Zoya are battling to keep Ravka afloat after the events in Ruin and Rising. Even though time has passed the wounds in the lands are still present and King Nikolai is still fighting the beast inside of him that threatens to engulf his mind each night. These characters are still struggling with the trauma that the Darkling's reign left behind.

Nikolai and Zoya venture to find answers about how to rid Nikolai of the monster inhabiting him. While Nina is on a mission in Fjerda to find Grisha and bring them to Ravka. I really enjoyed that Nina was in Fjerda on her mission, especially as she works through the grief of losing Matthias. She was one of my favourites to read about as I was so invested in her goal to help those suffering. We also learn more about her altered Heartrender powers as a result of the jurda parem in Crooked Kingdom. There are little mentions of the crows in Nina'a chapters as she recounts her time with them, sadly however they don't ever appear. I hope they make an appearance in Rule of Wolves (KOS #2) that would be AMAZING. Oh how I miss all of them.

What let this book down was how it underutilised Nikolai's chapters. I felt that a heavier emphasis was put on Zoya and exploring her story, whereas I really thought Nikolai would take the center stage a bit more. I do really enjoy Zoya's character and her development in this book was great to read about. I just wanted a bit more Nikolai. I feel like he was there but we didn't get enough of him! I hope that this is something that changes in the next installment.

One aspect of this book that I love is how it develops on the background of Grisha magic. There is a pivotal character in this who blows everything we know about Grisha out the window and allows us to think of them in a completely different way. It was only touched on, but I suspect this will play an even larger role in the sequel which is very exciting.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read and loved the Grishaverse books in the past and want to expand on this world with new stories. Ideally, it would be good to have read Shadow and Bone as well as Six of Crows before reading this book as this book follows chronologically and the main characters are also from those two separate series. However, if you are like me and haven't read the Shadow and Bone series since it came out (many years ago) and you read Six of Crows recently, you should be okay without a re-read. There were times when I was a bit lost when they mentioned previous events in S&B that I could not for the life of me remember, but I could still engage with this story. Perhaps if you have time re-read Shadow and Bone beforehand just so your mind is fresh with all those details. 

I am very excited for Rule of Wolves. I am hoping that Bardugo was holding back with us in King of Scars to give us an explosive sequel. From the ending of this book, I think this next installment will be one crazy ride and I cannot wait to see what happens. 

Rating

4 Falling Books

Previous reviews:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Chain of Gold is a spin-off series I have been waiting for for years. Ever since Clockwork Princess left my heart shattered and soul in tatters, I knew that a series essentially following the children of my favourite characters would hit the spot. 

Set in the 1900s, this book gave me Bridgerton vibes. If you watched the show and loved the balls, courting, etiquette, cute walks in the park, then you will love this. It was the perfect backdrop for these characters and the plot. This book does follow the usual Cassie Clare/Shadowhunter recipe: there are demons, a larger sinister overarching plot, and amazing character relationships that you can't help but feel so invested in. 

The characters we follow include James and Lucie Herondale, Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia Carstairs, Thomas Lightwood, Christopher Lightwood, Thomas Lightwood, to name a few. So as you can see we are following the children of the characters we met in The Infernal Devices. Seeing our favourite characters as parents was so special and made me love the book before I even started. However, despite enjoying the large cast of main characters who took turns in the spotlight of this book, it did mean that we did not get the full depth of character development for all of them. This left me with the feeling that I knew I liked them, but there was still a lot I didn't know about them. There was a disconnect in some way. I hope this is an issue that solves itself in the sequel Chain of Iron. This book was chunky so it is a shame that we couldn't get to know them more in just the first book.

Speaking of CC's recipe, starting this book was so easy. It was so smooth slipping into this world, understanding the dynamics between characters, and just falling back into the Shadowhunter world. I initially thought maybe it would take me a few chapters to be hooked, but by the end of the first chapter, I knew I was going to love it. If you enjoyed the previous books, I do not see why you would fall back easily in love with this story as it is like a continuation of TID. The writing style is easy to follow and even if you may not have read the complete full series there is enough background in this book for you to read this straight away. However, I would recommend you at least read TID before as it helps you understand a lot of the backstories.

I also felt that the plot in this book is not the strongest. Things don't get going until the end, but I did not necessarily mind this as it left a lot of the story open to slowly introducing characters. If you're looking for a whirlwind of action, this may not be the book for you. But if you like the Shadowhunter world and just so happen to have enjoyed Bridgerton just as much as I have, then I think you will appreciate this series!

Overall, I would recommend this book for those who love the Shadowhunter world and especially The Infernal Devices. I can't wait to see where this series goes as the ending to this book had one of my favorite tropes. Hehe. 
Rating
4.5 Falling Books

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

My Current Reads

Happy Tuesday!

I have been trying to tackle my huge TBR in this lovely month of March. This includes finally getting to some of my books that have been waiting on my shelf a long time and the sequels are now coming out. Woops.
This was my first read of the month and I loved it. After the hangover that ACOSF by Sarah J Maas left me with, this book was perfect. Lovely cast of characters and such warm family vibes! I cannot wait for Chain of Iron to arrive at my doorstep. I will be posting a full review soon.
I am 75% through this beauty and I am really enjoying it. It's refreshing to have POVs of Zoya and Nikolai. I found it slightly difficult to get into at the beginning but once the story and plotline picked up I was hooked! I will be finishing this hopefully in the next 24 hours and then the count down to Rule of Wolves begins.


What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J Maas
Release Date:
February 16, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.


The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.

*No spoilers for ACOSF, possible spoilers for the previous ACOTAR books*

ACOSF stole my heart. After finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin a few years ago, I knew that whatever Maas wrote in her next books in the series would also be the death of me. I was definitely correct on that. I initially was not too excited about this book being about Nesta as she was not one of my favourite characters previously. She's cold and can be extremely cruel and her character was never really developed past that. But oh how that changes in this book. Nesta really said "oh so you want character development? Let me shove that in your face!"

This installment follows the Nesta and the inner circle months after the war in ACOWAR. Prythian is healing from the horrors that hit their home and the human queens are beginning to scheme again. While Feyre and Rhysand are busy looking after the Night court and building their own home, Elain is tending to the gardens around Velaris, Nesta on the other hand is fighting a string of inner demons that have haunted her since she was thrust into the cauldron. She lives on the not-so-nice side of Velaris and aims to distract and destroy herself by any means possible. As a form of intervention, Feyre gives her two options: stay at the House of Wind and train with Cassian each morning while working in the bottomless library beneath. Or pack up and be dumped in the human lands. Thankfully she picks the more exciting option.

The story is told from Nesta and Cassian's perspectives which I really, really enjoyed. Previous books were told from Feyre's first-person POV and it did get tiresome at some points. I cannot put into words how much this book touched me. The themes that were explored include mental health as a broad topic, depression, trauma, and fighting with your inner demons. The themes were incorporated and unraveled with characters who will truly touch your heart. These new characters Emerie and Gwyn are women who have survived horrors and have the courage to tell their stories and fight each day to remember who they are past the trauma that they have experienced. These two characters are so important in Nesta's journey and are now some of my favorite characters. 

The library of priestesses played a large role in this book and was important to Nesta's growth as well. I enjoyed learning more about the priestesses here and what they do as this was touched on in previous books but this installment focuses on it as one of the main set scenes. Half-way through ACOSF you will start asking yourself whether you are in love with the House of Wind. Literally. Am I in love with the House? This may have something to do with how the magic of the house enjoys smut and regularly gives Nesta its recommendations.

Nesta's journey itself was what pushed me through this book so fast (okay, fine, and all the steamy scenes). It was so inspiring. I found myself relating to the inner war that she has with herself. A lot of what Nesta is dealing with is something that a lot of people might be able to connect with. She is angry, she is struggling, and she is drowning in her own mind. For her in this story to find her way out of that and find a way to accept who she is with the help of those close to her. That. Was. Everything.

We all knew that this book would be filled with steam. I mean, it's Nesta and Cassian as our main characters how could it possibly not be? But the level of spicy-ness... I was NOT ready for that. This installment is aimed at all of the older readers of ACOTAR that loved the series a few years back and therefore are more mature now. And I like how Maas matured this story to reflect that. You really thought chapter 55 was hot? Okay, speak to me after reading this, please.

I think that because I was so focused on the romance and Nesta's personal journey of "finding her self" (essentially), I did not mind that the overarching plot of the story was slightly weaker. I remember hitting the last hundred pages of this 750-page book and thinking, how in the hell is everything getting wrapped up in such a short space of time. The answer to this is that the ending to this plot was slightly less impactful, and Maas ties everything up quickly within the inner circle at the end to give us a happy ending. It was a solid end to the book but it did leave me wanting a bit more. However, knowing that there will be more books definitely makes me feel a lot better.

A few complaints: there is no Lucien, no Lucien at all. Well, he made like two appearances but if you're looking for your Lucien fix you will not find it here. There is no Mor either, she spends the books dealing with some political conflict across the seas, so don't expect to see her much either. This I found very sad as I love her character and I felt I forget it a little in this book. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend ACOSF to any lovers of new-adult/adult high fantasy. The world is crafted beautifully and the characters are so developed at this point in the ACOTAR series that they all just feel like family. Here's how I'll try to sum up the best bits of this book: steamy romance, Nessian, the amazing handling of important themes, impactful strong female characters, the beauty of friendship, the importance of reaching out your hand to someone struggling, Cassian being amazing, Cassian being everything I could ever want, Cassian and Azriel.

Rating

5 Falling Books