A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

*This review will contain some spoilers if you haven’t caught up with this series.*

“It’s a rare person to face who they are and not run from it – not be broken by it.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsFeyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Feelings: I seriously, seriously love Maas’ writing style. She always uses just the right amount of detail and I’m not even mad that this book was 699 pages long. NOT EVEN MAD. I always look forward to her stories and read them fairly quickly, all things considered (with a tiny exception with this one).

I feel like this world is finally rounding out. We have information on ever sector of this land, historical background to explain tensions and relationships, and the major conflicts make sense. While it IS all coming together, there are a still a couple of story arcs that don’t feel necessary right now, but I could see how she may develop them moving forward.

Issues: From the beginning, this story felt different from the other two. The first quarter of the book felt really, really rushed and it wasn’t making me want to read. I wasn’t as drawn in as I was with the previous two books; it took me a lot longer to really get going. However, once I hit the 200 page mark, I flew through the rest of it!

I have been SO conflicted about Tamlin from the very first book. It wasn’t just that my feelings were changing as the story developed, but I felt like Tamlin as a character hadn’t been nailed down yet; the writing felt like he was supposed to be good, then bad, then good…and I have reading whiplash. By the end of this book, I think we’re starting to get to know the real Tamlin and I’m hopeful about where his story arc is headed.

The way the huge battle at the end of the story gets wrapped up kind of felt like it came out of nowhere. Sure, the allies that showed up were great and well explained, but that ONE character that we haven’t heard from or seen in a while…then he was gone…and I just didn’t jive with that choice.

On that note, I really feel like if the whole “human queens” plot line wasn’t a thing…this series could have ended here and I would have been mostly satisfied. I worry that the next book will feel like this story is dragging on and on…which is how I feel about Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

Characters: FINALLY a reason for Mor and Azriel’s awkward love (dis)connection. Poor guy has loved her for 500 years and I was feeling frustrated about her lack of resolution. I felt like she was just stringing him along…for 5 centuries! But near the end of this book, Mor finally confesses what’s going on with her. And honestly, I think the way Maas wrote Mor’s feelings and conflict here was well done; I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in Mor and relate to what she’s going through. I’m hopeful that she tells Azriel the truth in the next book, so we can see her live her best life.

I was really happy to see that Lucien was stepping back from Elain and letting her adjust to her new life, rather than pushing himself and their mating bond onto her. She had a handful of major life changes to figure out and I feel like by the end of this book, she’s starting to act like her true, new self. So I think the next book will be interesting between both her and Lucien AND her and Azriel.

I feel like Feyre and her two sisters really grow together in this story. Yes, they have some issues to navigate through but this book just felt like we really saw them as sisters and I love that. They’re finally seeing, accepting, and loving each other as they are.

How can I NOT menton Feyre and Rhysand? (Also, is ANYONE pronouncing his name correctly? I should probably google it, but I’m afraid I’ve been saying it wrong all along…like Voldemort.) ANYWAY…I love them. A lot. I love that they’re imperfect. And I love that even though they’re mates, they’ve still got a lot to learn about each other; that helps me believe that they could spend centuries together. I love the way they see each other and support each other. I’m just a fan, I have to say. I loved Rhys from the beginning, so I’m all about this duo. Feyre bothered me in the first book and into the second, but I think she’s really developed at this point. I loved the scene with the Ouroboros mirror; seeing her true self and loving the good and the ugly.

Final thoughts: After I got through the bumpy start, it was smooth sailing. If you’ve been reading this series and you’ve felt hesitant about book 3, my advice is to continue reading. As always with Maas’ books, I worry about the following story, but I’m still onboard! Great characters, beautiful writing…there’s a reason Maas is one of my auto-buy authors.

Goodreads rating: 4.54/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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Love is a Many Trousered Thing by Louise Rennison

“It’s always tough to hurt someone and tell them the truth. I know that. You’re a really lovely girl. Lovely . . . mad . . . but
lovely. I’ll always like you. Don’t worry.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsThe original Sex God has re-landed, Masimo the Italian Stallion wants to be her boyfriend, and Dave the Laugh is still a regular snoggee. How will Georgia cope juggling all three boys of her dreams? Have her days on the rack of love really gone for good? Or will this just lead to confusionosity and merde?

Feelings:  I decided to once again go for the audiobook version. This book had a different narrator, so it isn’t narrated by the author. It was still narrated really well and I think this reader really captured Georgia’s personality and spirit.

Georgia always makes me laugh, but for some reason this book in particular made me laugh out loud multiple times. Literally – out loud, on my own, just laughing. For example, there’s a scene where Gee is complaining about a documentary they have to watch at school about bees. When it’s over, she’s talking about how awesome it was and how they wanted to watch two queen bees in a bitch fight a second time. So great and so classic Georgia.

Issues: The only thing I really have to say about this book is that it kind of dragged sometimes. The tempo of the story slowed down quite a bit at times, but then it would pick back up and I’d be interested again.

Characters: One thing I thought was really funny was how Georgia kept referring to her love interests as desserts. She just kept going back to that cake shop of love and switching things up – so funny to listen to. Ever since I started reading this series, I’ve mentioned I want Georgia to grow up some more. I’d say we see that in this book more so than the others, and I’m HERE for it. We’ve only got 2 books left, so I’m allowing myself to hope for some maturiosity.

I feel nothing towards Masimo. I don’t find him to be a particularly interesting character and I’m ready for Georgia to move on from him. I get that he’s foreign and has that accent…but being from Pizza-a-gogo land isn’t doing it for me. Surprisingly, I was okay with Robbie being back! That surprised me, but it’s probably mostly because I was bored by the Italian Stallion. Still rooting for Dave the Laugh, I have to say!

I enjoyed the scene where Jas puts her new found acting skills to use, role playing as herself talking to Tom. It seemed like Georgia was noticing that Jas isn’t completely useless, as she’s stated many times, but then NOPE. Back to complaining about her “best friend”.

Final thoughts: I think this is a good series and I enjoy it. It’s not deep, compelling literature for the ages, but it’s entertaining and fun. It’s also nice as a buffer between serious novels or non-fiction. Georgia lightens things up and I like that about her!

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

August 2017 Wrap Up

This is what I was able to read in August…I read 0 books, listened to 2 audiobooks, and read 0 graphic novels, for a grand total of: 2!

Love is a Many Trousered Thing (audiobook) by Louise Rennison

  • Laugh out loud funny. Italian Stalion. Still rooting for Dave the Laugh..
  • Rating: 4 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (audiobook) by J.K. Rowling

  • Fantastic narration. Maybe not my favorite of the series.
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

 

I went back to work this month, which means I had zero energy when I got home at the end of the day. I’m starting to want to read more again and making time to do so now, though; I’m hoping I’m able to read more than TWO books in September!

What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below! 

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

July 2017 Wrap Up

This is what I was able to read in July…I read 5 books, listened to 2 audiobooks, and read 1 graphic novel, for a grand total of: 8!

Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants by Louise Rennison

  • Georgia is still mean. Bridge between stories. More Dave the Laugh.
  • Around the World in 80 Books Challenge: Paris, France
  • My rating: 3 stars

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

  • Long awaited book 2. Painfully beautiful ending. Heart-wrenching characters.
  • My rating: 5 stars

Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (audiobook) written and narrated by Louise Rennison

  • Great narrations by the author. Story is taking a positive turn for me. New boy stalking.
  • My rating: 4.25 stars

Keep the Home Fires Burning, Part One: Spitfire Down! by S. Block

  • Picks up where the show left off. Favorite characters returned. Cliffhanger relief.
  • Around the World in 80 Books Challenge: Cheshire, England
  • My rating: 4 stars

Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers (audiobook) written and narrated by Louise Rennison

  • More great narrations from the author. Poor Jas. Seriously, more Robbie?
  • Around the World in 80 Books Challenge: Memphis, Tennessee
  • My rating: 4 stars

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

  • Re-read. Favorite from middle school. Still magical.
  • Around the World in 80 Books Challenge: Euclid, Ohio
  • My rating: 4.5 stars

Started By His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison

  • Favorite so far. Finally some action. 3 love options.
  • My rating: 4.25 stars

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

  • Clever. Laugh out loud. Iron Man.
  • My rating: 4 stars

What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison

“Rosie get off your desk, and please put your beard away.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsBlimey O’Reilly’s trousers! Three maybe-boyfriends is a lot for any girl to handle ”red-bottomed or not. What with Robbie the Sex God back from Kiwi-a-gogo land wanting to “get coffee” and whatsit, Masimo the Luuurve God saying things like “Ciao, Georgia, see you later” (the good see-you-later or the bad see-you-later??), and her mate Dave the Laugh snogging her in a pond, it’s enough to make any girl mad. Good thing she has the ace gang to keep her sane. Ish. But now that she has tearfully eschewed Robbie the Sex God with a firm hand, Georgia is left with two potential snoggees to choose from, and it’s high time she left the cakeshop of love for good. This time with a gorgey Italian cakey. Or a nip-libbling Dave the Tart. But certainly not both. Maybe.

Feelings: While all of Georgia’s stories are packed full of drama, this one felt like things were actually happening, rather than her just imagining them. So that helped bring the story to life and keep it moving. I think because of this, I may have enjoyed this installment the most of the series so far. And also, “fisticuffs at dawn” is probably my new favorite phrase. So thanks for that, Georgia and Dave.

Issues: Georgia is back to being a jerk to her parents. Her mom and dad are having marital problems and very obviously struggling and all Gee can do is hate them. Like literally. She hates them because they won’t let her go spend time in Italy with an older boy…by herself. Georgia continues to be completely unaware of others around her and is still incredibly selfish. This is book 9. I was really expecting more growth by now. I thought that when Angus got hurt, reality would slap her in the face and she’d mature some, but…no.

Characters: Crazy Georgia thinks she’s going to be able to hop over to Italy to visit with her older boyfriend without any adults with her. Typical Georgia. And when she is putting lip gloss on and changing her outfit so she can talk to him on the PHONE – dead.

Yes, Jas. This character has grown into herself and given us some very tangible growth over time, thanks be to the Almighty. Honestly, she’s the only one growing and changing. And Georgia keeps giving her a hard time for being herself and Jas is standing up to her more and more. And I am HERE for it.

Svan and Rosie’s Viking wedding plans are killing me. And the Viking dance has got to stop. These are the moments in my reading where I stop and go, “Why is this happening? Why am I reading this?” Like it’s not even funny anymore, it’s just annoying. There are plenty of really, truly funny moments in these books…but this whole Viking thing is not one of them.

Final thoughts: As much as I enjoyed this installment of the series, I’m glad I’m almost done reading these books. It just feels like a different variation of the same plot line every book. I’m kind of wishing that this was the end of the line, but we’ve got one more!

Goodreads rating: 4.16/5

Amazon.com rating: 3.8/5

My rating: 3/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsThirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother has disappeared. While tracing her steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to pass the time about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and who received secret messages after her disappearance. One of them read, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” Despite her father’s warning that she is “fishing in the air,” Salamanca hopes to bring her home. By drawing strength from her Native American ancestry, she is able to face the truth about her mother.

Feelings: I remember reading this book when I was in 8th grade. It was an assigned text and while I couldn’t really recall what it was about exactly – I remember loving it. Recently, I’ve been reconsidering what books I teach in my 8th grade class and thought I’d see about this one, so it was time for a re-read. I’m SO glad I picked this book up again!

Something that really jumped off the pages to me is the way Creech writes. There’s something really poetic and magical about the words and phrases she uses. I felt myself getting swept away in her language and that’s something I really love about reading.

There are a lot of things going on in this story – a lot of really well woven together elements. In the “present”, we’re traveling with Sal and her wild grandparents and she tells us a story of the past, introducing us to Phoebe Winterbottom and Mrs. Cadaver. As she relays this story, we learn more about her as a person than we could if we were just in the present. Within this tapestry, there’s mystery and sweet young love and heartbreak and layers and layers more.

Issues: At the very beginning, I got a little confused about whether or not Sal’s mom was alive. She told us her mom was “resting peacefully”, but then talked about how the trip with her grandparents was so they could “bring her home.” I don’t know if this was something the author used to make us question intentionally, but it’s probably the closest thing I have to an issue in this book.

Characters: Making this journey with Sal made her more relatable to me. I haven’t experienced everything that she has, but because she was telling her story to us herself, I felt what she was going through. There were moments where I could tell that Sal had hardened her emotions, which is understandable, but we got to see her let people in and let herself feel. This is so powerful, especially to young readers who may see themselves in her situation.

Phoebe is a PILL. Sometimes I wanted to tell her to shut up, but I never got so annoyed by her that I skimmed over her dialogue or hoped for her life to fall to pieces. I certainly wanted her to appreciate her mother more and I think she was well on her way there by the end.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this story was spending time with Sal’s grandparents. I’ve lost beloved grandparents and reading about her travels made me imagine laughing with my family, too, and that’s a precious thing to me. Their love for each other and for Sal was really sweet and a dynamic that I think YA literature is missing the mark on more and more.

Final thoughts: This is still one of my favorite books even after all these years. I’ve been reading so much modern YA lit lately that it was nice to pick up a book that was written more than 10 years ago and see how different stories were. (Because they may have had a lot of similarities, but there are for sure a lot of differences!) I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little bit different.

 

Goodreads rating: 3.95/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Startled by His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison

“Oh Goddygodgod, am I never to be free from my own bonkerosity?”

Synopsis from GoodreadsGeorgia is in quite a predicament. Dave the Laugh has declared his love for her (at least she thinks he was talking about her), leaving her in a state of confusiosity. And then when she finally decides to give Masimo an ultimatum — to be her one and only — he tells her he needs to think about it. To distract herself from her romantic woes, Georgia throws herself into Mac-Useless play rehearsals and planning a Viking wedding, and tries to avoid all thoughts of boy decoys, Italian-American dreamboats . . . and let’s not forget guitar-plucking Sex Gods!

Feelings: This particular book didn’t have an Audible.com option, so I went to the Kindle book. I have to say, this may be my favorite book in the series so far. It just finally felt like things were happening! Georgia has multiple love interests and real, tangible things are developing with each one, which probably means the next book is going to be really cram-jam full and I am HERE for it.

Issues: If you’ve been following me as I journey through these books, you’ll know that I’m really not a big fan of Robbie (aka The Sex God). Their relationship always seemed empty and bland to me. However, in this book he wrote her a letter and it showed very real interest in her. I don’t know how to feel about him coming back into her life, so it’s under “issues” because I’m worried he’ll throw a big wrench in her life…again.

One of the downfalls of listening to audiobooks (for me) is that I can miss details. I’m not an auditory learner so I can tend to zone out and then totally not know what’s actually going on. For example: Who the devil is Mabs? Where did she come from and how did I miss her? This may not be an actual “issue” of the author throwing in a new character without fanfare and just be me missing something because I listened to the last two books. So take this “issue” with a grain of salt.

Characters: One thing I’ve been watching for with Georgia is her ability to have an actual relationship with her parents. She has a lot of love for her little sister Libby, but talks crap about her parents and ignores them most of the time. In the last book or two, that started to shift just a smidge. In this book, though, we finally see something real. Part of it is probably because Georgia is getting older and maturing a tiny, minuscule bit, but it’s also partly because Georgia finally has something that she values her mom’s input on.

Jas and Georgia are back with their weird friendship. They ignore each other, love each other, then repeat. It’s classic teenage girl, really, but it gets old. Georgia hasn’t been as rude to Jas as she has in the past, though, so RESULT! Rosie is probably the weirdest friend character I’ve ever read. And her relationship with Svan is truly baffling. And poor Ellen. She’s like the sad little puppy of the ace gang. I’m curious as to how Georgia will fill Ellen in on her past with Dave the Laugh, considering Ellen is like obsessed with him. Then there’s Jools, who, like Mabs, seemed to come out of nowhere. All I know about Jools is that she’s with Rollo…but don’t ask me anything concrete about Rollo. So many friends, so little details.

Final thoughts: While things finally were developing in our storyline, it’s all still the same old Georgia: parents, boys, friends, and self-image. These books are silly and hilarious with this particular book at the top.

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.3/5

My rating: 4.25/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn