Sorcery of Thorns | Book Review

Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Publish Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 465
Format: Kindle eBook

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery: magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught – about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Sorcery of Thorns is a standalone YA fantasy novel, which is not something that you often come by. It’s a story that began (and technically ended) in a library, with books that could talk, move, make noise, snore, etc. That part was super fascinating to imagine! Like, can you picture hundreds of grimoires just mumbling to themselves or trying to spit ink at you? It sounds fun, not gonna lie.

The main female protagonist, Elisabeth, grew up in one of the Great Libraries in the kingdom, as she was abandoned there as a baby. She grew up amongst the stacks and loved them very much. She was also very much trained in what it was that the librarians should expect of the novels: that they’re dangerous – especially those of higher class levels – and that they could kill people if they changed into Maleficts.

Also that sorcerer’s are evil and will kill you for the hell of it.

As she is thrust into a much different, much larger city than the one she grew up in due to tragic circumstances at the library she grew up in, she discovers that not everything that was taught is as it seems, and she slowly learns and grows from that over time.

However, I will say, I really didn’t like her character through 80% of the story. I found her to be just… too afraid of everything. She felt incredibly weak and not quite three-dimensional for a large portion of the story. It kind of felt like her growth was stunted for a while. As the story and the stakes grew, I saw more of her potential, but as a main character, there was a lot that I just wasn’t personally drawn to. Like, I felt like, especially in the beginning, that her biggest defining “trait” was her height, because it was pointed out so often. It was just very frustrating at times.

As for the secondary main character, Nathanial, who is a sorcerer, I really liked him! Quite the contrast to Elisabeth, I really liked his character. Yes, he has a dark past (that some parts weren’t explored too much or in too much detail, which is a shame), so sometimes he comes off as standoffish, but his humor genuinely made me laugh. I loved his sarcasm so much!

I also enjoyed seeing the magic and how it worked in this world from a couple of sorcerers. Nathanial’s magic was dark, much like his family’s past, and it was very powerful. I think the caveat of having a higher-demon being your patron in order for you to have magic was a great way to incorporate magic into the world – and one I don’t see often in stories!

I do wish, however, that there was more of him in the novel, and more interactions between him, Elisabeth, and Silas, who is Nathanial’s demon. When the two of them – and even the three of them, or just Silas and Elisabeth – were together, it felt like there was a lot more life added to the page, and I was just so curious about the two male protagonists and what they were going through.

Silas, the demon, is very forthright in his feelings towards humans, emotions, and other such things, and he really sticks to it through to the end. I can’t explain much more than that without spoiling it, but I really enjoyed how a high-born demon, in a bound pact with a human, is such a stickler for decorum as a butler. It’s a great juxtaposition, and one of the best highlights throughout the book.

I found myself often predicting a lot of what was going to happen next as I was reading, and then found myself becoming frustrated when it wasn’t obvious to Elisabeth for a bit after. I don’t know why it bugged me so much that she didn’t get it, but also I’m not the biggest fan of being able to predict things that are going to happen (I’m talking multiple times; once or twice is okay). And then when it did happen and Elisabeth would react the way she did just… didn’t help.

I found the plot to be interesting, though, especially with the lore behind the demons, the grimoires, the magic, and ancestors involved in the story. It was very intricate and I found it to be pretty enjoyable as a result.

The romance was both subtle and rushed all at once. I mean, I thought it was sweet and I enjoyed the scenes, but also, wow, they almost moved really fast and it caught me off guard. I do think, though, that they compliment each other well.

The epilogue, also, I enjoyed (and predicted, but I was glad I did), and found myself wanting more afterward.

Despite all that, I liked the book. I definitely think that if you’re interested in reading it, if you like books about books, magic, betrayal, and romance, that you’ll enjoy the story. Overall, it wasn’t bad, but it’s not something I’ll gravitate back towards anytime soon.

★★★☆☆

Stay At Home Book Tag

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and staying safe! Today I wanted to do a tag that’s pretty cozy as it’s all about books to read while just staying at home.

This tag was originally created by Madison of Princess of Paperback, so go check out her video for her answers!

Laying in bed: a book you could/have read in one day

Not counting manga, because I can read multiple volumes in one day, I’m going to say that I have read the Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman in about a day each (or at least in 24 hours each). These books sucked me in and put me right into the world. I think that the mix media feel of the books played a huge part in my enjoyment of them, but I was genuinely captivated by the story and characters and was rooting for them and such. Such a great science fiction YA trilogy if you’re interested in reading it.

Check out my full thoughts: Illuminae | Gemina | Obsidio

Snacking: guilty pleasure book

These steamy new adult romances by Elle Kennedy are SUCH a guilty pleasure read! I love to read about romance and look for it in the stories I read all the time, so throw in some hot dudes and ladies, some drama, steamy scenes, and romance, and it’s like the perfect combo. There is talk of hockey in these, but it’s not all encompassing, but it does play a big part in them given the guys are college hockey players, so.

Really any romance that Elle Kennedy writes is a guilty pleasure read for me. I enjoy her writing style a lot and how she writes her characters.

Check out my reviews: The Deal | The Mistake | The Score | The Goal

Netflix: series you want to start

For this, I was staring at my shelves and I have a few series I’d love to start sooner rather than later, but I think the one that intrigues me is the Graceling Realm trilogy by Kristen Cashore. It’s an older companion trilogy that my husband actual owned, and so I figured I’d read it eventually, you know? I had tried to start reading it a year or so ago, but I just never did, so… that needs to change eventually lol

Oh, another “older” series I’d love to read that’s been on my shelves for forever is Splintered by A.G. Howard. I started reading them a long while ago (they’re an Alice in Wonderland retelling, if you couldn’t tell), but I never finished the first book. One day I will!

Deep clean: been on your TBR for ages

*stares at my shelves* ….Yes.

No, but I think one of the ones that have been there the longest is the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. I’ve read both Cinder and Scarlet years ago, and made it part way through Cress, but I’ve never actually finished. It’s not like I lost interest, I think I just got distracted and never picked it back up. I’m thinking I might restart the series, or just restart Cress, but we’ll see!

Animal Crossing: book you bought because of the hype

Alright, flashback to about…what, five or six years ago? When To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han came out, there was a huge buzz in the book community about them, so of course I got them. I remember liking them, and I haven’t read the third book, but I don’t think I’d reread them again.

Check out my reviews: To All the Boys I Loved Before | P.S. I Still Love You

Productivity: book you learnt from or had an impact on you

I don’t read a lot of books outside of fiction, so I’m going to say one that had a big impact on me was A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. When I read this, I was fully enamored by it. The story hit me hard due to similar circumstances and emotions I was going through at the time, and the writing itself was just lovely. It’s seriously a great book, fairly short, but packed with emotion.

Check out my review: A Monster Calls

FaceTime: a book you were gifted

Over the holidays, my parents gifted me two books: one was The Art of Neon Genesis Evangelion: 2007-2017, and the other was The Ultimate Guide to Creating Comics by William C. Potter and Juan Calle. They both know how much into drawing I am, as well as anime and manga, and so they got me these books! They’re pretty neat and inspiring.

Self care: what is one thing you’ve done recently to look after yourself

Image is the initial loading screen of the game.

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy VII remake since it came out at midnight on Friday April 10 and have only logged a little over 30 hours at the point in which I’m writing this, so…. And I’m sad that this is only part one and not the full game, but if it had been then it would have been much larger than 100GB, that’s for sure. I am, however, really enjoying it as it’s my first time ever playing the game since I never played the original.

The graphics are beautiful, the story is really great, I love the characters, and I can see why this is one of the most hyped and beloved of the franchise.

BONUS: name a book coming out soon that you’re excited for

I’ve got to be honest, I have no clue what’s coming out anymore. I haven’t been active in the community for so long that I no longer really know what’s coming out and such. And, well, I’m trying to be careful with money and buying things as much as I can, so yeah.

OH. One book I’m excited about that’s coming out later this year is book four, Rhythm of War, in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve only read the first book, The Way of Kings, but it was phenomenal and I can’t wait to continue with the series. It’s set to hopefully come out in November 2020.

I tag everyone who wants to participate! Do you have a book you’re excited to come out soon or this year? What have you been doing to take care of yourself? What’s your guilty pleasure read? Tell me all the things in the comments below!

Winter 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

Oh man, I haven’t done one of these in….forever. How do they even work again? lol

Well, even though I haven’t been reading a ton of books in the last two years or so, I’ve been keeping up with webcomics and other things, and so I wanted to talk about the various comics, manga, and books I’ve read this past winter!

So, here’s all the things I read between December-ish/January-March 2020!

Webtoons

A sexy supernatural story about being out on your own, finding your dream apartment and discovering that your new place is haunted by a handsome spectral stranger from another dimension. Sure, HE can’t see you and YOU can’t touch him, but who said every relationship starts out perfectly?

Let’s start off with this lovely gem: Freaking Romance by Snailords. Oh. Man. If you want hilarious content with beautiful artwork and a great story, check this series out! It’s supremely my sense of humor so I was DYING laughing at a lot of the things said, especially by the main female character, Zylith. Hil. Ar. I. Ous. But not only that, it’s a story involving time travel, different kinds of love, toxicity, life, college, and a whole bunch of stuff. Trust me, it’s worth the read. As of right now, it’s completed through season two, with season three on the way for later this year. Plenty of episodes to binge!

★★★★★

Edith is not your typical heroine. She struggles with her confidence, her morals, and life in general by not only holding herself to high standards, but her men as well. Enter two less-than-perfect men: one who may be the Prince Charming she’s been waiting for to deliver a fairy tale ending, the other a brash reality check who does NOT believe in happily-ever-after. What will Edith do? Will she sacrifice her standards? Or keep searching for that mythical white knight who may or may not exist in the first place? Funny, messy and sexy, Edith’s journey is relatable to anyone who’s ever left their heart on the battlefield of the dating world.

Edith by Swansgarden has a unique drawing style, which drew me into the story in the first place. Though I still need to continue it (as of writing this post I’m on episode 29), but what I’ve read so far has an interesting dynamic that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Not only does it explore a toxic and kind of manipulative relationship, but also depression, anxiety, bullying, and other strong topics. If you want an enticing read with sides you don’t know to choose from, check this webtoon out!

★★★☆☆

The Great Prophet Godo has a place for everyone in his perfect society… so long as you aren’t a failure. Itshou is living a diligent and sheltered life when she suddenly finds herself denounced and marked for exile. While her beliefs are shaken to their very core, a chance encounter with a childhood sweetheart derails Itshou’s banishment and puts her on the path to political uprising. Now facing down the same forces she once trusted to protect her, Itshou must untangle the web of lies at the heart of her city and unmask the Shadow Prophet.

As of writing this post, I’ve only read the first two chapters of The Shadow Prophet, BUT the art style and story? VERY gripping so far. It’s like a science fiction dystopia (which, by definition, dystopian stories are usually….science fiction… anyway) with hope sprinkled in it. Even though I’m only two chapters in, something happens at the end of chapter two that I saw coming, BUT I’M STILL MAD ABOUT IT. That’s how you know you have good characters and a good story building, haha! As of writing this post, there’s only 12 episodes out, but check it out!

No rating, as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

What happens when your entire life is ruled by a prophecy – your future foretold by people you’ve never met, who died long before you were born. Such is the story of two young sea creatures. One believed to be a guiding light for his people, a Beacon who will lead them to a bright, prosperous future. The other is a teenage prince for who’s destiny is to KILL the Beacon so that HIS own people might thrive. When both reject the course set for them, it leads to a raucous adventure as big and unpredictable as the ocean itself – and a romance that nobody could have predicted.

LET ME JUST GUSH ABOUT CASTLE SWIMMER, YOU GUYS. This is a boys love series, and it’s just. So. CUTE. But it’s not the story I was expecting either, because though there were plenty of funny moments (some of the queens are literal memes), there was also an undercurrent of a more serious tone that involved the prophecy of the shark clan and just how the prophecy was supposed to go. It was actually really great, and had a few good messages in it to take away from it, so I highly recommend this. The second season just started recently, so go check it out!

★★★★★

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Lore Olympus is an ongoing series that I’ve been keeping up with since it left Canvas and got onto the big scene on Webtoon. I’ve done a review about it before, but let me just say that I still highly enjoy this series, and if you enjoy mythology and different takes on it, then definitely check this comic out! It’s got romance, humor, hardships, and more. The art and story are really good.

And just remember, the author does, in fact, state that she knows it’s not the exact retelling, but her retelling. So some of the characters might act differently than their actual god counterpart (such as Apollo). Tis just another story!

★★★★★

Getting crushed by your crush. Coming out to your parents. Learning that your sister is your biggest dating rival. High school sure does have its share of twists, turns and moments of high drama. To get through it all with your smile and sanity intact, you’re going to need some friends. Really good friends. Friends like Johnny, Mariel, Gaby and Martina who, one way or another, will find a way to get through their teenage years together.

I’ve talked about The Four of Them before, and it’s still one of my favorite long term series I’ve been keeping up with. It’s a great coming-of-age story about four (technically five) teens who are all going through various life things that many teens experience (love, sexual identity, school, etc). There’s supportive side characters and parents, and just a great story so far. Go check it out!

★★★★★

With a dead sister and 25 years to go on her soulmate timer, Anya decides to cryogenically sleep away her problems. Too bad she wakes up to an apocalypse full of them. Now stuck in a burnt out landscape full of killers, Anya must decide which she wants to keep: her heart or her head.

In the Bleak Midwinter is a newer series, and I’m so glad I found it because WOW is it good! Not only does each chapter have music that perfectly fits the scenario that the main character is going through (and just the overall tone of the chapter), but the artwork is also lovely, and the story’s plot seriously just drew me in. It’s science fiction, and like the synopsis saying, she wakes up 25 years later to…well, let’s just say: a difficult situation. Though there are only four chapters out as of the writing of this post, I highly recommend checking it out!

No rating as there’s not enough chapters for me to gauge, but it’s definitely a great read so far!

Ever since her parent’s funeral, Florette seems to only find solace in her flower shop and garden. Her love for nature is tested when she meets a tiny plant prince from a miniature plant world. With the “invaders” threatening his plant kingdom, Florette finds her calling to help save the world and its people. Could it be her botanist skills, or is there a bigger connection between Florette and the Kingdom of Soleil?

I’m not sure if I talked about Soleil before, but it’s SUCH a cute series stylistic-wise, but it also has a good plot that involves the world of plants, and how that world is dying due to the “invaders.” There’s magic in it, and I’m interested to see more of this because even though, at the point I’ve read to (chapter 18), I want to see more and how it not only affects the Kingdom of Soleil, but also how it’s going to affect the outside world. It’s a good series so far, so check it out if you’re interested! (And seriously, the cutest art style uwu)

★★★★☆

Dogged by pain and misfortune from the very beginning, Shin-Ae decides she wants nothing to do with people nor anything to do with romance. Although content with her unsocial, boring, loveless existence, her lifestyle is challenged after she ruins an unsuspecting strangers’ clothes.

I’ve definitely talked about I Love Yoo before, but I’m here to let you know that I’m still reading this series very faithfully. There’s plenty of drama in it (as it is…a drama…) and there’s even soft little moments of romance that have happened since I last talked about this series, as well as a whole slew of other things that have been happening. Oh man. But I’m still glad that the series is going because it was supposed to end at episode 100 originally, but clearly not so much as we’re up to 119 as of writing this post. If you want some drama, pretty boys, a love square(?), and some great funny moments, check out this webtoon!

★★★★★

After hearing the devastating news about her condition, Ayane Konno, 29 y/o who is at the height of her writing career, knew that she was fighting a losing battle for her life. Instead of being struck by sadness, she accepted her fate and decided to live out the remainder of her life doing the things that she loves and the experiences that she wishes to make memories of. She then met someone who would accompany her on her journey and paint the short story of her life with pastel-colored pages.

Pastel-Colored Pages is one I haven’t gotten too far into yet, but I wanted to mention it because the art style very much reads and looks like a manga would! I do think it goes in the comic style format of reading left to right, and not right to left, but the story so far is very good. A writer gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and a young man who’s beaten up on the street ends up staying with her. I can’t give too much of my thoughts because I’ve only read the first two chapters so far, but check it out!

No rating as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

In school, Tooru is known as “The Prince”. He’s smart, popular, and can have anyone he wants. So why is it that he can’t think of anyone but Yamamoto, the plainest, dullest guy in the entire school?

I’ve definitely talked about Plain Boy & Prince before, but it’s a boys love story with a lot of cheesy jokes and classic tropes that just make me chuckle a lot. I’m really enjoying it, though, as it brings me a lot of happiness. If you’re looking for some light-heartedness in these trying times, check it out!

★★★★☆

The King is back. With the defeat of his father, Wolfgang Goldenleonard has achieved all that he’s sought — the love of Shin Soohyuk, the power of the throne, and vengeance over the kingdom’s tyrannical ruler. But, Soohyuk, a “possession” of the former king, views their rocky relationship as one of war trophy and victor, despite Wolfgang showering him with affection. As uncertainty grows in the royal courts, forces beyond their control are preparing a second coup d’etat. Will these two be able to keep a grasp on the throne and on each other?

YA’LL. Do you KNOW how EXCITED I was when I discovered that my favorite comic series from a couple years ago is CONTINUING!? Pumped. Stoked. Hyped. King’s Maker: Triple Crown is the sequel to the first season of this comic in which we continue to follow Wolfgang and Shin, and now that Wolfgang is king, all of the troubles that come along with that.

This second season so far (which is on a different website than it used to be, by the way), has had a lot of dangers for the main protagonists, as well as some laughs with the side characters. I’m excited to continue and see what happens because there’s a lot of different sides to keep track of and try to figure out, and I love iiiiiit.

If you want to check out the first season of King’s Maker, here’s the link!

★★★★★

I THINK… those are all of the webcomics I want to talk about that I’ve been keeping up with. Whew. That was more than I thought, haha!

Manga

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana wonders if her hilarious rivalry with Takane just might lead to love!

Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu is a story that involves an age-gap romance, so if you’re uncomfortable with that at all, then probably skip this one, but it’s a comedy romance that has a sassy main female protagonist, and a rough-cut rich male protagonist, and let me tell you, their dynamic? Perfectly hilarious. I read the first three volumes at the behest of my best friend, and I really enjoyed them. They’re very funny and I find myself wanting to continue the series eventually!

★★★★☆

“I’ve met you and my world changed in a heartbeat.” The pure love story of a hearing-impaired woman and a man who travels the world.

Yubisaki and Renren by Suu Morishita is a sweet comic with lovely artwork of a hearing-impaired woman who’s going to college, and of a stranger she meets one day on the train – who also goes to the same college. There’s a lot of sweet moments between them so far, as I’ve only read the first volume, but it’s very enjoyable. I can’t wait for more because I want to see where it goes. I’m not sure if I trust the male protagonist yet, and it looks like there will be a childhood romance aspect, as well as a side romance, but I’m interested to see what happens. AND the story include Japanese Sign Language, which is cool to see in manga form! I’m even learning a few signs for things like “eat” and “cute.” It’s very neat!

★★★★☆

That’s it for the manga! Not a lot, but that’s okay. More shall be read this year, I’m sure.

Books

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one I started many months ago, put it down, and picked back up and knew what was happening after not having read it for so long. It was such a great story with romance, fantasy elements, heartache and heartbreak, death, revenge and vengeance, hope, sorrow, and more. I love Laini Taylor’s writing so much, and I’m so glad I read this. I’m going to have to pick up the sequel sometime this year because that ending!

★★★★★

I’ve done a full review of this book, but once again, Elle Kennedy did a fantastic job with this steamy new adult book. It’s the third standalone in the Briar U arc, and we follow two new characters, Hunter and Demi, as they go through college, play hockey, deal with some relationship and rebound things, as well as a darker matter all together. An overall good story that I enjoyed.

★★★★☆

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Rick Riordan’s sequel in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series continued to exceed my expectations with the series, for sure! This is really the only middle grade series I’ve picked up (as of writing this post), and it’s my first read through of the series in general, so I’m absolutely loving it! It’s fun, action-packed, and I love seeing the characters grow older and the different struggles they have to face – not just by outside sources, but also within themselves. A great sequel and I can’t wait to continue!

★★★★☆


That’s it! That should be everything I’ve been reading and keeping up with these last few months. It’s crazy to think I’ve been reading as much as I have, and also how I’m picking up newer reads, too. I’ve missed this, truly. Webcomics are great (especially when you’re dealing with a lot of emotional and mental things and just need visual stimulation to help ease it), but I miss reading a book and allowing my imagination to take over.

I enjoy doing these quarterly wrap-ups, too, so expect more of these in the future!

Have you read any of these webcomics? Do any of the ones I listed interest you? What about the books, have you read any of them? What are your thoughts? What was your favorite story you read this winter? Let me know in the comments!

The Play | Book Review

Title: The Play
Series: Briar U #3
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Elle Kennedy, Inc.
Publish Date: October 7. 2019
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Sports
Pages: 422
Format: Kindle eBook

What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

This is the third standalone novel within this series, and I really enjoyed it! I love readying about these characters from the same school and stuff, because you get to see their perspective and kind of grow and root for them when you see them in previous books. It’s great!

Anyway, this story follows two characters: Hunter and Demi. Demi is a character we’ve never met before, but I thought that she was a great addition to the ever-growing Briar Univers(ity) because she is a half-black, half-Latina young woman who wants to become a psychologist, even though her parents (particularly her father) want her to become a medical doctor like he is. But she has her own goals and fascinations, and she’s incredibly smart.

Hunter we first met in the first in the Briar University books and, well, he had quite a roller coaster of a time in that book, so it was nice to see him much more level-headed in this one. I felt that he was well-developed and matured for the time that this took place at, and that he was definitely much easier to take in that the first book. He just wanted to be the best team captain he could be – even going as far as to take a vow of celibacy from sex – and he does a great job at it… for a time (because you know these books have lots of steamy sex scenes in them, haha!).

Another interesting dynamic within this book was that Demi started off in an already existing long term relationship. She was the first character through all the books in the Briar Universe that was in a pre-existing relationship. As far as the relationship goes, it felt realistic in how it was portrayed. There was a sense of unease as the book went along, and I saw what was going to happen for a little while, but it still floored me! Demi handled the situation much better than I was expecting, so that was good.

The plot followed the two as they were both in the same psychology class, and through heartbreak and longing – and lots of shenanigans – and it felt like a very organic progression into the relationship that formed between them. It didn’t feel rushed, and though the situation was a bit stressful at first given what happened with Demi, they managed to face a lot of situations where they encouraged each other.

And of course there were steamy sex scenes. The two characters were extremely attracted to each other – which is great! – and they definitely showed it. If you like your naughty reads, I definitely recommend these books.

I do, however, feel like the ending was a bit… off? Like, I can totally see how it’s plausible, because it’s definitely happened in real life and such, but it just felt so sudden that I was blindsided by it. I didn’t really know how to feel, but I am glad of the end message that Elle put into the book about seeking help if you need it – and please, if you do need help, please seek it out. You’re not alone.

Overall, an enjoyable read in this series. I’m not sure if it’s the last book in the Briar U arc, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

★★★★☆

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★