Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)

GoodReads Summary:

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Liz’s Review:

I’ve always really loved Sarah J. Maas’ books. She’s a good writer, provides good backstory, gives characters depth and meaning. HOWEVER, A Court of Frost and Starlight fell short for me. It doesn’t surprise me that these characters are having a difficult time adjusting to life post-war. Its a very real thing, PTSD. And I felt like this “mini-novel”- because it isn’t a novella and it isn’t a novel either- didn’t take us anywhere, didn’t help the characters.

We, again, saw most of the events through Rhys and Feyre’s perspective, and we still learned nothing new. The others were there, but it didn’t build upon their story. Their chapters also didn’t bring us any closer to understanding their PTSD. I felt like this was fluff, but a fluff I didn’t need. A fluff that could have been inserted in the true 4th novel with flashbacks, or some other story driving force. Sadly, this just felt like a waste of my time.

On Goodreads, I gave it three stars, and that was generous.

Rating: 2 stars

Veronica’s Review:

This is what I wanted and what I did not want. Let me explain. My heart hurt to see them so… broken.

The book was told through four POV’s, Rhys & Feyre (not surprising) and Cass & Nesta (Interesting). I assume Sarah did it this way to start getting us familiarized with Cass and Nesta being the main POV’s from here on out. Now onto the good stuff.

I really thought the book would be more happy, but who am I kidding? I should have known how broken and sad the characters were going to be. I was surprised with Nesta’s actions. I always thought her rebellion would be manifested a different way, but alas I was wrong.

Overall, I expected more from this book, yet I was pleased with how she managed to wrap up Rhys & Feyre’s story in order for us to move onto Cass and Nesta’s. I wish we could have seen more of Az or the other characters of the inner circle and seen their struggle after the war, but I do understand that the focus was Rhys and Feyre. All the past books in the series had weight to them while this one was just a transition book which is why I am not being so hard on it.

My fangirl heart gave this book a 5 on Goodreads, but really…

Rating: 4 stars

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Contemporary Conversations, Reviews, ya contemporary

ComtempConvos: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything

GoodReads Summary:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Liz’s Review:

This was my first book by Sarah Dessen and I really enjoyed it. It is a classic of what I always assumed high school novels should be- uncomfortable interactions, personal growth, loss of innocence (not sexually), betrayal, tragic vanity, illusion vs. reality. These play out in the different relationships Sydney has- with her parents, brother, friends, love interest.

Dessen does an exceptional job at asking, and answering, questions that as teens we all have at some point. What meaning does my life have? Am I significant? Can I handle the events taking place? Do I have my best interest at heart? Are these people truly my friends? What do I want for my future? And even the simple questions- do I like this boy? Am I comfortable?

We are taken through the story by Sydney, who asks these questions, and has to evaluate what would be best for her, given the situation with her brother, and the lack of anything significant from her parents- emotionally and physically. Through out the book, she grows as a person- from a girl who just went along with her parents and didn’t ask anything of, because her parents have made her brother the center of their universe to a person who finally does what is best for herself, standing up to her parents, taking control back from her mother. Sydney is a complex character. Her friends are perfectly written as well, but are not without their own flaws and tragic backstory.

Side note about the mom- I really hated her. Once Peyton went to jail, it was all she thought about. Basically forgetting she had another child who needed her. And because she refused to acknowledge that what her son had done was wrong, Sydney was forced to take on that guilt. And when she finally did notice her daughter, she was a helicopter parent, afraid Sydney would make the same mistakes as Peyton.

This is a wonderful coming of age story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Reviews, ya contemporary, YA Mystery

ARC Review: Sing Sweet Nightingale by Erica Cameron

Sing Sweet Nightingale (The Dream War Saga, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

My Review:

I had such a hard time with this book. I feel like that has been the trend recently with the ARCs I’ve read. I though the idea behind the story was interesting, but it turns out, it wasn’t written well.

The book opens with Hudson taking a walk with his little brother. It then jumps to a fight scene, and his little brother dies. This sets the whole book in motion. He is part of this dream world where a beautiful women has made him promise to never fight again… but he breaks that promise. Then he finds out she is a demon controlling him. He breaks from her and gets some weird “powers”. (Is this trying to be a twist on X-Men, on how they received their powers?) Then he has a dream about a girl, Mariella, who he has to save.

It is super confusing. I didn’t understand how Hudson broke from Calease, or where these powers came from. And why did his dream choose Mariella? Why is she so significant?

Mariella is a stubborn character who was frustrating the whole time. She is naive, but not in an innocent kind of way. She doesn’t speak, so you hear her thoughts… and they are so freaking repetitive I couldn’t stand it.

I think the idea- demons presenting themselves as angels in dreams to trap your soul and suck the life out of you- could be a good book… if it was written well, had better climaxes linking the characters to each other, and less repetitive moments. I think the author should have outlined more and fleshed out the characters more. In the end, I didn’t care if anyone lived or died. I just wanted to book to end.

Rating: 2 out 5

I would like to thank NetGalley and Spencer Hill Press for the opportunity to read this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free in no way influences my review.

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