An Enchantment of Ravens | Book Review

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle eBook

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

This standalone fantasy novel was one that instantly took me into its pages, with its faerie premise, forbidden romance, and dangers in unexpected places, this book was a fast, fun read.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this because I actually didn’t know what it was about. I had read the synopsis a long time ago and had forgotten it, and so going into it completely blind was a fun experience for me. I found that the faerie aspect – the fair folk aspect – was done very well in the sense that Rogerson really captured the essence of the fae and their ethereal beauty and lack of human emotion or compassion, while also showing that each had a flaw somewhere in their glamour. It really tied in with what I hope for in faerie stories: showcasing the fae in such a way that they are “other” or “apart” from humans. It felt believable and real for the world it was written for.

The romance was a “slow burn” in the sense that the time that elapsed in the story was over months of time. Though the plot and story of the book itself was fast, the romance didn’t feel rushed or didn’t feel like it was instant. There was mutual attraction from the beginning, or something of the like, and it felt organic in the way that it grew.

I felt as though the plot was very centered around the romance, but it was also centered around the ego and how passion can turn something beautiful and dangerous. I did, however, find myself slightly upset when the plot didn’t go the way I was hoping – which isn’t a bad thing! I had hoped to see one part of the world it was set it, but we got a different part of the world, which was interesting to see how some of the fair folk lived and acted. But I also felt that some threads of the plot were off or thrown by the change and didn’t necessarily make sense or were very convenient. But again, there’s nothing wrong with this because it worked for the story.

I found myself enjoying Isobel’s character, while also finding her a bit too… mature for her age? I’m not sure if that’s the right word I’m looking for, but I was kind of hoping she would be in her twenties and be a prodigy painter and falling in love, but reading about a seventeen year old prodigy falling in love was still sweet. I’ve seen some amazing works teens can produce, so it’s not out of the realm of reality by any means. She was smart, careful, caring, and felt real.

Rook, as well, felt real and I enjoyed seeing how Rogerson portrayed him as having some sort of human emotion in him locked away. He was definitely powerful as a fae prince, and I really liked the aspect of how faerie magic could work in this world by using blood, and how the amount could affect how strong the effect was. He was a kind of stoic and broody character at times, but there were moments of tenderness, ferocity, and bravery that were great to see.

There were other characters along with the main two that really captured what deals with faeries could be like, and how just being around them could make a person more cautious. Gadfly, a patron of Isobel’s who has strong magic and a desire for art; March and May, Isobel’s sisters who were actually goats before being turned into humans; Lark, an excitable young fair folk who had never met a human before, and others who brought the story more depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! There were a few things that I found myself questioning, but I also found myself just enjoying the story for what it was, the rich world that was created, the monsters, the fae, the characters. It was an overall fun read and I recommend it if you’re looking for a standalone fantasy romance.

★★★★☆

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

We’re still quite early on in December, but I wanted to talk about some of my reading goals and challenges that I’m setting for myself in 2020 because, let’s be real, my reading the past few years has been a bit lackluster. So I really want to challenge myself to read novels again (and keep up with webcomics, of course, which has been 90% of what I’ve been reading the last few years).

Anyway, I’m also going to be talking about my year end goal for this year. It’s not much, but it’s something I’m going to hope to achieve before December is over.

So, let’s talk about them!

December 2019 Year End Goals

I have a couple of books I started reading this year, got about halfway through, and then put down and never picked up again, so I want to fix that lol (Not that I lost interest, per se, I’ve just had a very up and down mental and emotional year.)

So the books I want to complete by the end of December are:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I’m 55% of the way through as of this post, and I was loving it so much! I think I lost motivation because I ruined part of it on myself by looking ahead and just… I need to stop that lol

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m 39.78% of the way through the book as of this post, and again, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that my reading mood shifted and I just couldn’t pick it up for a while.

Those are the two primary books I want to read by the end of this year. I know I can do it; I just have to set some time to do so.

Okay, so these are some books I know I’m going to finish this month:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I have been listening to this audiobook on and off for… too damn long lol I have about 7.5 hours left to go as of this post, so I’m FINISHING IT DAMMIT. (The audiobook is 45 hours in length, so… it’s been a journey lol but a good one!) I love this book and can’t wait to start the next audibook – which is even longer than the first! 😀 *cry* And the third is even longer than the second… *sob* (It’s really fine. The story is fantastic so far!)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – I started this book on a whim a few days ago because I really just wanted to read something that wasn’t a webcomic (or anything else on my shelf, clearly), and started reading this on my kindle and haven’t stopped. I’m about half way through and really enjoying it because I didn’t realize it was faeries, and I love faerie stories, so it’s been a great read for me so far.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A few customers at my seasonal job (a bookstore) were telling me about how they or a relative/friend read this, and after reading the synopsis, I had to pick it up. WELL, I started and didn’t want to put it down, so. Definitely going to finish this book this month. It’s already magical and I’m only 24 pages into it as of writing this post.

I doubt I’ll have time to finish anything else this month, so I’ll leave other things for next year.

Speaking of, let’s talk about my goals for next year!

Reading Goals & Challenges for 2020

As I said earlier, I miss reading novels- truly, I do. And though I’ve been reading some here and there, I miss the days where I was reading 50 books in a year (about a book a week), and though I’m not aiming to hit that number again, I do want to try to read maybe half of that?

That was actually my goal for 2019, and, well… yeah, even if I read the five books above, I’d still be five short of that 25 book goal. But that’s fine! I’ll be a little disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to let it hinder me. I still read a decent amount of books – more than last year, for sure – and I’m proud of that! So, I’m going to keep that goal:

2020 Reading Goal: 25 books for the year

Now, let’s talk challenges. I want to seriously challenge myself in 2020 for a multitude of reasons, and so now I’m going to talk about some of the challenges I’m setting for myself this upcoming year:

Challenge 1: Any book on my TBR for that month MUST already exist on my shelves. That’s right. I’m going to try my best to not buy more books than I read this year. I want to seriously cut down my TBR since I’ve had some books for five years or so and haven’t touched them. (This may also include donating more books to my local library.) Of course, there will be some exceptions. But 99% of what I pick I want to already come from my shelves.

Challenge 2: Read at least three classics throughout the year. And by that, I still mean classics that are on my shelves. I mainly want to focus on Jane Austen, but I’ve got a few others I’d like to read at some point. Even though I find classics very difficult to get through, this is listed as a challenge for a reason.

Challenge 3: Complete as many reading prompts from the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge as I can. I wanted to participate in it this year, but I quickly fell off of the wagon, so I’m aiming to do as much as I can (and want) in 2020! They have such a fun list, so why not?

There’s no real reward or punishment that comes from completing or not completing these challenges other than the satisfaction of doing so. Maybe I should reward myself with chocolate or something…

Anyway, I think that’s it for my reading goals for next year! I’m not trying to push myself too hard, but rather ease myself back into reading. It’s been a rough few years mentally and emotionally, and I’ve only been recently starting to feel a little more human and less robotic. So I hope that 2020 brings a lot more happiness in the reading department as a result.

Let’s chat!

Tell me what your reading goals are for the new year! Are you planning on participating in any challenges? What are you most looking forward to next year (non-book related, if you want)? Let me know in the comments!

Do I Have That Book? | Challenge

Oh hi, so, I haven’t done a challenge on my blog in a millennia, and since I haven’t decided if I want to rejoin the Booktube community (because I’m lazy and don’t know if I want to make videos), I decided I’m going to do the challenge and post my results here!

The challenge was originally created by Keeping Tabs on YouTube.

So it’s a 20 questions challenge to see just how well you know your books. Now, I’m not going to race against the clock, but I’m going to do my best to find the books on my shelves! So this post will be a bit image heavy.

Here we go!

1. Do you have a book with deckled edges?

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

2. Do you have a book with three or more people on the cover?

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

3. Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

The Splintered series by A.G. Howard

4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?

Persuasion by Jane Austen

5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

6. Do you have a mass market paperback book?

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

The Mortal Instruments series & other works by Cassandra Clare (real name Judith Rumelt)

8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

9. Do you have a book with two maps in it?

An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith

11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (celebrity/athlete/politician/etc)

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Daniel Howell and Phil Lester (YouTubers before writing this book)

12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

A Silent Voice, vol 1, by Yoshitoki Oima (there’s a clock behind the LE in Silent)

13. Do you have a poetry book?

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

The Widening Gyre by Robert Parker (RP initials, also thanks to my husband for finding this one on his shelves to help with the challenge lol)

16. Do you have a book of short stories?

The Band Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson

17. Do you have a book that is between 500-510 pages long?

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is 505 pages long (and this was by far the hardest prompt to find a book for)

18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

19. Do you have a graphic novel?

Wires and Nerve series by Marissa Meyer

20. Do you have a book written by two or more authors?

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

And that’s everything! This was a fun challenge, and some of these prompts were actually a lot harder to find things that I thought they were going to be. I tried really hard not to use repeats, so I’m pretty proud of myself!

If you want to do this tag, please feel free to do so! It’s fun to explore your shelves and get acquainted with your books every once in a while, you know?

Let’s Chat!

Do you have any books by an author with the same initials as you? Or how about a book that starts and ends with the same letter?

The Risk | Book Review

Title: The Risk
Series: Briar U #2
Authors: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.
Publish Date: February 18, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Fiction – Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: Kindle eBook

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes… 

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take. 

I’ve gotta say, I definitely enjoyed this book much more than the first stand-alone in the Briar U arc. It was funny, heartfelt, steamy (as always), but also showed more sides to people than just those in the universities, and I think that really played a big role in my overall enjoyment of this book.

Brenna is, probably, my favorite person. She’s tough as nails, she wears red lipstick as her armor, she doesn’t give two shits if someone doesn’t like her, she’s sassy, intelligent. She’s a woman after my own heart. I also very much admire her self-control of her temper in certain parts of the book, because I don’t think I’d be a big enough person to be able to hold my tongue to the kinds of comments she received numerous times from some of the men in the novel.

Jake is… well, he’s a steamy man, I’ll give him that, and he’s alpha, which, if you don’t know what that means, it means he’s the kind of person who’s in charge, who takes the lead, doesn’t take “no” for an answer, is very loyal to his team. Well, Jake will take “no” for an answer, so he’s not the kind of stereotypical jerk alpha that I’ve read in stories before. But he definitely exudes a presence in the book. People just notice him, and not just because he’s handsome as heck.

We also got to see smatterings of Summer from the first book, The Chase, as well as Fitz, Hunter, Mike Hollis, and one new character whom I LOVE and am soooo glad she’s getting her own book: Rupi. I fell in love with her almost instantly. She’s very quirky and determined and very much won’t take “no” for an answer.

The plot centered a lot around the hockey tournaments that Jake’s team, Harvard, and Brenna’s dad’s team, Briar, are preparing for and to face each other to go onto nationals, but it also centers a lot around Brenna striving to get her dream internship. I appreciated seeing that side of the field and how, yes, even today there’s a lot of misogyny in the sports broadcasting field. It was believable the way some of the men talked about women, and like I said earlier: I applaud Brenna for holding her tongue, because I really don’t think I would have been able to.

There was also a smaller second element to the plot that played into it about Brenna’s past, and let me tell you: the story behind her past was a shock that I did not see coming and I literally did a double take reading it. Definitely a good plot twist.

The dynamic between Brenna and her father is also one I understand, even if my own dad isn’t quite like hers. I understand how hard it is to want to be close, but not understanding how to get close, or when that closeness faded away. And the ugly shame that comes with feeling you’re a huge disappointment to your parent. It was very much a real moment, and I almost cried as a result of it.

The sex scenes were quite steamy, as expected of these Briar University books, which I’m not complaining about. The scenarios were different almost each time, the romance aspect felt a little rushed, but also the chemistry between the two had already been established, so it was an overall great element to the story.

I only wish there had been a different ending. Not that the ending was bad, I was just hoping we would have seen slightly farther into the future, or that there had been just one more chapter.

But I definitely recommend the book if you’re reading the Briar U arc, and even if you’re not and want a steamy romance, then definitely pick this one up!

★★★★½☆

20 Facts About Me

Oh hi, you lovely people! It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this, so I thought, “why not do an updated ‘facts about me’ post?” So that’s what I’m going to do today!

I’m not going to talk about the ones that were in my Top Ten Tuesday post, or my 25 Bookish Facts About Me post, but instead talk about ten new bookish facts and ten non-bookish facts. Why not?

Here we go~!

Bookish

1. Since I started blogging, I’ve been to the following author signings: Jodi Meadows & Erica Bowman, Sarah J. Maas, Maggie Steifvater, and Leigh Bardugo. Each of the events were super fun and I highly recommend going to one if you’re able to!

2. I’ve been super into webcomics the last few years, hence my lack of book reviews and content. They’re easy to dive into and where I’m a visual person, the illustrations help me to escape into those worlds. You can check out my most recent recommendations here!

3. I’ve been listening to Brandon Sanderson’s audiobook for The Way of Kings for months now… it’s 45+ hours long… It’s fine… But my fact is that, because of this audiobook and The Kiss of Deception, I’ve definitely warmed up to audiobooks as a medium for myself much more and have since bought more books to read in this form!

4. So before we moved, my workplace was throwing away this hutch that was in an office, and I said I’d take it home and turn it into a bookshelf. Lo and behold, when I got home, my husband surprised me with another bookshelf that same day… so… I told my dad he can sell the hutch or keep it if he wants to because I didn’t have a use for it anymore lol

5. My reading tastes are changing, bit by bit. I’ve been noticing this for a while now, that I’m gravitating toward more adult reads than YA reads. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course! I believe I’m looking for more relatable content, but I’m not going to stop reading YA – or MG now that I’m into the Percy Jackson series! – anytime soon.

6. I’ve started a reading/bookish bullet journal! August will be my second month using it, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve tried – and failed – two or three times to use an actual bullet journal, but my life is not that exciting so as to really need one, you know? So I started this bookish bullet journal and I love it! I’m playing around with the format and what I want to include in it and such, but there’s still plenty of flexibility with it. I’ll do a post about it soon.

7. I’m trying to get back into reading novels. Like I said earlier, I’ve been into reading webcomics like nobody’s business the last few years, and that’s due to life circumstances and depression that caused me to stop reading novels. But I’m trying to reintroduce myself to them bit by bit. I think the readathons I’m participating in are helping a bit.

8. Speaking of readathons, I love how many are popping up, but I realized that I need to focus on one readathon at a time. I’m amazed at how I see people participating in three or more at the same time, and I’m just like, “Are ya a wizard or something!?” I get overwhelmed easily, so for August I’ll only be participating in one readathon – the Disney-a-thon!

9. I’ve unhauled and donated soooo many books over the last two years. I didn’t realize just how many books I bought purely for the hype or because I was super interested at the time, but then grew out of it as time went on. And yet I still have no room on my shelves…

10. I’ve been buying a lot more ebooks lately so I can 1) put my kindle to good use and get my money’s worth lol, and 2) they’re cheaper and more convenient.

Non-Bookish

1. My husband and I moved! We moved to North Carolina at the beginning of July, and my dudes, it’s hot af here. Like. Why is it so humid all the time? Whyyyyyyy I miss my cooler Massachusetts weather. *cry* We moved because he got a job with a company that’s widespread so he’ll be an electrician’s apprentice.

2. I got two more tattoos! They’re both on my left forearm and done on the same day. The one at the top is the four elements (from the top going clockwise): air, water, fire, earth, and the center is spirit, and the lines that connect everything together. And then my constellation of Leo!

3. My husband and I have been together for 11 years this year, and married for five of them this year, too. CRAZY.

4. I’ve been getting more into spirituality lately again, and so I’ve been picking up tarot and oracle cards and learning to read them. I’ve gotten a lot of conversations from them for myself and a lot of guidance, so that’s been nice.

5. I went to Anime Boston earlier this year and cosplayed as casual Uraraka Ochako! (She’s a character from the hit manga/anime My Hero Academia.) It was super fun and I wish I could go again next year, but I don’t see that happening. I went by myself, too, which wasn’t as fun because it’s great going to conventions with others for the experience and fun times with one another, but I still had a good time. We also got to see MIYAVI live again (we had seen him in early 2018) and he was SO GREAT! He played a bunch of new songs off of his album that hadn’t been released yet and it was just so good!

6. Speaking of concerts, my husband and I also went to the Love Yourself tour for BTS last year in September in CANADA! We met up with some friends up there and it was such a blast! The boys were great and we had a great time. We also got to go to the Jingle Ball concert and see artists like Camilla Cabello, Sean Mendes, and Monsta X! Both concerts were great.

7. I’ve written a bunch of fanfiction of one of my all time favorite couples (non-canon): Bakugou Katsuki and Uraraka Ochako from My Hero Academia. I fell hard into this fandom and this ship, and I just had to write (and draw) my own stories about them. If you want to check out my works, here’s my AO3 for you to peruse. I’m pretty proud of them as I’ve gone on, to be honest. I’ve even been part of a zine and wrote a story for it, and so I have some of my work out there in the world! It’s cool!

8. I have a RedBubble shop now. I’ve got a few different anime prints available of fan art I’ve done, so check it out! I hope to do more in the future. It was a big leap for me, and I’ve had a few sales, which is nice! But yeah, you can see some of my favorite ships and characters. I’ll definitely draw some more as time goes on! Not strictly related to anime, but other things, too.

9. I fell in love with the online show Critical Role. It’s a DnD show where “a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons” (to quote Matthew Mercer). I had never had much interest in DnD before. I had joined a campaign with some close friends, but we quickly stopped because it just wasn’t fun at the time (the campaign got revamped a year later but then, you know, life happened so we stopped again). And my husband had tried to show me this show before, but I was determined at the time to not like it. Don’t ask me why lol

And then, one day, I was sitting around last summer and was like, “Oh, they started a second campaign? They’re not too far into it… Okay, I’ll give this a chance.” And so I started watching campaign two, episode one, and I was hooked. I’ve caught up with the current campaign and have been watching the liveshows for months now (hello 10PM start time and 1:30AM end time lol), every week on Thursdays (unless cancelled or moved).

I fell in love with not only the characters that are being played, but also the voice actors themselves, and also with the game that is Dungeons & Dragons. It’s crazy! I haven’t had much opportunity to play, but I’ve got dice, I’ve got some characters, and I’m ready to go!

(I also got these beautiful posters – with one of them signed by the cast – and I love them so much! *cries forever*)

Sorry for the crappy lighting. The other light was reflecting off of the glass a lot more. But the one of the Might Nein on the right is signed by the cast!

You can check out Critical Role on either YouTube (click here to catch up with campaign one, which is what I’m doing, or click here to catch up with campaign two) or on Twitch (which is where they do their livestreams each week). Mind you, each episode is usually over 3 hours long, so keep that in mind when watching them!

10. I started to get into wearing wigs! Let me tell you, they’re so fun to wear! As of this post, I have a total of seven wigs. Here’s some pics to show them off because I love them. I just find them fun, and they don’t damage your hair like regular dye and bleach does, so if you want to wear one one day, and then have different color the next, you can!


Aaaaaannndddd… that’s it! I had a hard time trying to figure out what to say about myself, let me tell you lol But I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me!

Let’s Chat!

Tell me one bookish fact about yourself and one non-bookish fact that you’re comfortable sharing! I want to learn more about you guys, so tell me about yourselves! ^^