Hold on to your pantaloons – PHOENIX DESCENDING is going to take you on a wild ride!


Book 1 in the Curse of the Phoenix series

Published: November 28, 2017

Publisher:  Snowy Wings Publishing

AISN #:  B075LLJG2M

SUMMARY (from Goodreads)

Who must she become in order to survive?

Since the outbreak of the Phoenix fever in Drothidia, Tori Kagari has already lost one family member to the fatal disease. Now, with the fever threatening to wipe out her entire family, she must go against everything she believes in order to save them—even if that means making a deal with the enemy.

When Tori agrees to join forces with the unscrupulous Khadulians, she must take on a false identity in order to infiltrate the queendom of Avarell and fulfill her part of the bargain, all while under the watchful eye of the unforgiving Queen’s Guard. But time is running out, and every lie, theft, and abduction she is forced to carry out may not be enough to free her family or herself from death.

First, let me say I wanted to read this book ever since I saw the cover. I was hooked. It was almost as if I didn’t care what was in between those covers. It’s gorgeous and I could stare at it for hours.

But as it turned out, I loved the pages in between. From the beginning, the story is full of action and unforgettable, complicated characters. Takumi the fox…omgosh…I want more of him!! And Tori is an amazing main character with a strong sense of right and wrong, justice and moral fortitude. There were so many subtle twists, and the storyline is compelling. It was difficult to put it down.

The book is a quick read and I think it would appeal more to YA fantasy readers more than NA readers, even though the characters are a bit older. There is an LGBT element to the story. I thought it was handled well but I was unnerved by the violence that presented itself because of it.

This book has zombies and princess and queens, right up my ally with YA fantasy. Some I despised (Queen Maescia) and others I adored (Princess Wrena). She’s so incredibly kind.  I loved the innocence of Tori and Bram’s relationship as well as the author’s dive into YA Game of Thrones political intrigue.

There were a few issues I had with the plot line such as how did the Undead become the Undead and why do they only exist on one place, but it didn’t bother me enough to not like the book.

It does end on a cliffhanger and I screamed out at the end. I wanted more, more, more and now I have to wait for how long???  Come on, Ms. Dreyer. So not fair. I can’t wait for the second book in the series. That comes out when…tomorrow???

I think fans of the Throne of Glass series will love this book.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: LOOKING FOR DEI


A few weeks ago, the author, David A. Willson, approached me and asked if he provided a free copy, would I review his book, LOOKING FOR DEI, in exchange for an honest review.  The premise of the book sounded great, so I accepted his request. What follows is my review for LOOKING FOR DEI.

 

 

From Goodreads:

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.

A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

 

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked the story itself. I liked the message it tried to get across. I liked the religious aspects and the use of ruins and magic and the connections with the divine. My biggest issue is with the writing.

It’s not bad, but it was very hard to follow at times and I couldn’t get into the characters because of it.

The story opens with a beautiful scene of a 2-year old child playing in the field of an orphanage. The picture was very clear in my mind of her running and chasing butterflies, but something happens to the little girl (who we later learn is Nara) that is life-altering…and I didn’t get the sense of urgency, the terror, or the reason for what happened.

The story jumps into the future by 15 years to our leading lady, Nara, who seems at times to be like she’s 14, not seventeen. We don’t learn until sometime later why the events happened to her when she was 2-years old, and the explanation seemed to fall a bit flat because the plot itself was a bit convoluted. Nara’s reaction to the truth was almost nonexistent. I know if I found out what she found out, I would be livid. I would be demanding. I got a moment of surprise, but she seemed so accepting. It didn’t feel ‘right’.

This leads me to a second issue I had with the writing style. The book is written in several POVs, which I don’t mind, but there were times within chapters when I was supposed to be in Nara’s or Mykel’s POV, but then I head-hopped into someone else’s POV. It was jarring. As a reader, I tried to overlook it, but as an author, it drove me batty. The editor in me was very strong while reading this book. There were also cliches and info dumps where we learn so much stuff about the characters all at once. A few of these are okay, but sometimes it felt as I was being told everything instead of discovering it for myself. Also, sometimes I was left hanging after the introduction of characters, especially Gwyn. She arrives in Chapter 7, and I loved the mysteriousness about her. She comes across as this kick-butt warrior (think a female Aragorn/Strider) kind of girl…and then she disappears in Chapter 11 only to reappear briefly toward the ending of Chapter 14, and still, nothing happens. She’s an ‘observer’ type of character. I was hoping to get some action, some plot building going, some interaction between her and Nara and Mykel and Bybo, but there was nothing. Instead, the author moves on to another chapter and introduces us to another character, Nikolas. I felt so bad for him. My heart tugged at the way his father treated him, but in the course of a couple of pages, he grew up and he became the Minister. It was almost as if I didn’t have time to process it all. Of course, they all have a way of tying things up in the end, but initially, it was difficult at times to get through.

Toward the end of the book, the plot thickened and grew. The stakes became high and the reading grew a bit more intense. Overall, it had a satisfying ending, and Nara comes into her own and shows she is the heroine of this tale.

I will say the author has a way of making the story seem realistic. During the entire read, I knew where I was. I could see the realm, the castles, the lakes, the forests. I could feel the pain of the characters. I could smell the air. I could feel breezes on my face. I could feel the ground beneath my feet and experience the horrors no person should ever go through. That is a wonderful accomplishment in itself.  The story was also a fairly quick read. I could have done so in one sitting if I’d had one day to do so, but I finished in two. There were plenty of twists and turns, and I think many teens would find this to be an enjoyable read.

I give it 3 stars. As I said, I liked the story but felt the writing could be tightened up a bit to make for a more intense, cohesive read.

THE SCARLET THREAD – A dismal review of what could have been excellent


Today I’m reviewing a YA book by D.S. Murphy, THE SCARLET THREAD. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be pretty.

  Click here to read the full synopsis and book info on Goodreads.

I have to tell you, I’m so disappointed in how this book ended that I actually feel angry. Not the sort of angry you get from hating the outcome, but hating the way it actually ends…as in the story was cut off in the middle and the author is forcing the reader pay for the second half to see how it ends.

Not cool.

The sad thing is, I follow D.S. Murphy online. I subscribe to his newsletter. I think he has some valuable tips for writers, but if writing a book like this is one of them, I am greatly disappointed in his teachings.  Mr. Murphy, you don’t end a book in the middle of the story and then make your readers pay to see how it ends. I know there are those who say you will make the 2nd book available for free to your newsletter subscribers, but a reader shouldn’t have to subscribe to a newsletter to see how a book ends. I already paid for the book. I shouldn’t have to pay twice to get the ending. This is the equivalent of buying THE WIZARD OF OZ only to have the book end when Dorothy meets the cowardly lion. Then to find a note at the end from the author to buy book 2 to see how it ends is a slap in the face to the reader.  I hope your other books aren’t written like this. I find it false advertising as well as a way to scam readers. If you don’t have a complete book finished, don’t publish it. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was a sequel, but you should “finish” book 1. Have some closure. Have something that ties up the book and entices the reader to want more, not just put on the brakes and end the book halfway through. (By the way, the 2nd book is out and I have yet to see a newsletter from you offering up book 2 for free to your subscribers).

Upon looking at the reviews on  Goodreads, there are many who are ok with this kind of writing. I am not. When I sit down to read a book, I want the book to end, even if it leaves with the promise of book 2 or 3. You don’t stop it in the middle and then make your reader pay for the rest. There are others who state on Goodreads that the author has several books like this for sale. Shame on Mr. Murphy.

It’s sad. I really liked this book. I was planning on giving it 4 stars. The writing was really good. I was engaged. Murphy clearly has a talent with words. I loved the premise of the book, the ideas of good and evil, good and bad, and how we perceive them. I loved the take on the Greek Gods and how they functioned in our world. I also loved the way Murphy delved into how we are often wrong about 1st impressions of others. I loved learning about Kai and her mythical abilities, but…

It ended, with no closure, with not knowing how Kai could use her powers. Without understanding any of it. Under normal circumstances, I would dive for the next book. As it is, I will not venture into finishing the book because of the way the author fooled me. As a reader, I feel used and abused. Cheated.  I feel the time I took to read the story was taken for granted and twisted to the author’s whim, and he’s scamming me into buying the 2nd half of a book that should have easily been one. He should have finished the book and not split it into parts.

I am not one to give bad reviews, but in this case, I feel the warning is warranted. “Part one of Book One” may not bother some, but to me, it was a HUGE letdown, especially from someone who ‘educates’ other authors on how to write. Like I said, the book would have received 4-stars from me for the writing, but the way the author teased and abused my trust as a reader. I could only give it 2 stars.

Mooseletoe – a cute romance for the holidays


As most of you know, I usually write about and review young adult and middle-grade fiction. Very rarely will you ever see me review outside that genre, but today, I bring you my review of a Christmas romance by Tiffinie Helmer, titled MOOSELETOE.

This was a cute story of a woman, Holly Noelle Snow, who loves Christmas so much she sets up a small, quaint gift shop, aptly named Mooseltoe, in the tourist town of North Pole, Alaska. She’s really looking for love but doesn’t expect to find it in a crabapple eating, drunk, matchmaking moose named Bullwinkle (he is really quite adorable, even when he’s up to no good).

The story opens with Holly fearing for her life when she hears what she believes to be an intruder trying to enter her shop. Enter Officer Reese “Scrouge” Sutton, the long-haired, blue-eyed protector come to save the day. A brief romantic interlude occurs where Holly and Reese get tangled up in lights, thanks to Bullwinkle, thus setting up the rest of the story.

While I found this to be a typical romance, and could pretty much predict what was coming, it was still a cute, uplifting tale with humorous happenings and a happy ever after ending. The romance was a bit cheesy. I wanted to smack Sutton a couple of times. I also wanted to shake Holly.  I mean, there were a lot of “aww, come on! Ya gotta be kidding me” moments. Still, I enjoyed the story as well as all the characters like Lynx, Gemma, and Trixie.

If you like adorable little Christmas romances that are quick reads, then this is for you. It really is about as sappy and sweet as you can get. Pleasant read.

THE SECRET OF POOKS WOOD – An enchanting story for those who still believe in the magic of Christmas


Paperback, 146 pages

Published May 12th 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published April 3rd 2014)
ISBN 1499525591 (ISBN13: 9781499525595)

Synopsis:

When twins Lily and Ollie are stranded at Great Hawkesden Manor over Christmas with their mother Stella, they have no idea what will happen when they find an old glass snow globe.

Inside it not only is there a miniature model of the manor house, but there is magic.

A time-shift adventure for readers of 9-12

 

 

I’m a sucker for wonderful stories that transcend the age groups. Many children stories are just that. They’re meant for children. But THE SECRET OF POOKS WOOD is a story for all ages and it is wonderfully told.

It’s about this woman, Stella, who has two twin children of her own, Lily and Ollie, and they travel to her old home of Great Hawkesden Manor to visit Uncle Alfred who now lives in the manor. Due to a snowstorm at Christmas, they become stranded at the manor, but that doesn’t deter the children from being children. What unfolds afterward borders on the wonderment and old-time charm one would find in a Charles Dickens story, only with a modern feel.

I fell in love with all the characters and the story and I was drawn in immediately. Laycock has a wonderful writing style that is whimsical yet exciting. Her words have the ability to transport you to the Great Hawkesden Manor and when the children find the snowglobe, you know things are about to turn even more exciting.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi and or fantasy, there is everything you could want in this story: magic, time travel, portals. Even if you aren’t a huge reader of either of the genres, you will fall in love with the warmth and overall feel-good feeling this story offers. It’s a story to be treasured by children any time of the year, though it does hold a special, wonderful, heart-warming charm during the holidays. I would love to see the author write more books centered around Great Hawkesden Manor, Lily and Ollie.  I cannot express how wonderfully heartfelt, enchanting, and engrossing this story is, and if you’re a fan of happy endings, this one has a refreshing and inspiriting one. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves stories of love, tribulations and the importance of family.

Five stars from me.

You can connect with the author at any of the following social media sites:

 

website  |  Facebook Twitter

Nicole Conway Wows Readers with MAD MAGIC


I recently had the pleasure to read MAD MAGIC by Nicole Conway, and it has to be one of the best YA fantasies I’ve read this year. How much did I love it? Does this say anything?

Paperback, 300 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Month9Books
ISBN 1945107863 (ISBN13: 9781945107863)
Edition Language: English

 

What’s it about?

Josie Barton is a high school student living in terror. Invisible creatures torment her everywhere she goes, constantly getting her into trouble at school, and even haunting her apartment. But just when Josie thinks things couldn’t get any worse… she meets the guy from across the hall.

Zeph Clemmont is a changeling with enemies in all the worst places, fighting to undo a curse that threatens to end his life. Survival means he will have to swallow his pride and trust Josie with all his darkest secrets.

With the help of a gun-slinging shaman and the enigmatic Prince of Nightmares, Zeph and Josie are only a heartbeat away from defeating one of the most diabolical faerie villains their world has ever known.

This book has it all: romance, danger, magic, changelings, evil villains, sexy faeries (and not the flittering-about kind, I might add). These fae are not to be trifled with and they will have you salivating.

Zeph is your rough, tattooed biker looking dude. Eldrick is your dark-haired, swoon-worthy, sophisticated hottie with a mysterious side that will leave you breathless.

The story unfolds with high school student, Josie Barton, getting in trouble once again for something she has no control over. It’s been this way for a long time, with invisible creatures reeking havoc on everything around her. Just when her world goes really south and she feels there is no hope left, in steps Zeph, the scraggly neighbor with that ‘you’re-so-hot in a bad way-I could-eat-you-up’ swagger.  But there’s something weird about Zeph and in a short amount of time, Josie discovers just what his secret is, as well as the secret behind the invisible creature living in her apartment. But the secrets and intrigue don’t stop there. Nope, they just keep coming and coming, and the life Josie thought she knew shatters all around her. She discovers things about herself and her father she never dreamed possible, and with the help of Zeph and Eldrick, she figures how who she is and becomes everything she is meant to be.

There is a climactic battle in the end that left me riveted on the edge of my seat, but the novel also ends with a fantastic HEA, at least for now.

It’s really hard to write a review of this book without giving spoilers away. Let me just say this novel was full of unexpected twists and turns, the characters are layered and I enjoyed peeling each layer back to expose their true selves. This was a fun book that can be read in one sitting.  It’s got everything in it for YA fantasy readers, and fans of Sarah J. Maas’ Court of Thrones series will find this equally enjoyable. I hope to see more books in this series.

Here’s a small excerpt of what you can expect from MAD MAGIC

“A weeping stone.” Eldrick was reading over my shoulder.His closeness made me jump in surprise. “A what?”

“It goes back to our pilgrimage into your world,” he explained.

“A very, very long time ago, even before the first songs. Our kind came into this world through an ancient gateway, fleeing from an unspeakable terror that was ravaging our own realm. Our home had become a place of darkness and fear—a place without moonlight.”

My skin prickled. “What … kind of terror?”

Memories flickered in the depths of his silver eyes. “There is no word for them in the human language. We called them skiia—the devourers. They cannot be bargained or reasoned with. Their only motive is to drain every drop of magic they possibly can, and as they do, they spread like a plague.”

I swallowed and sank back in my seat.

“We came here as refugees after our own world was overrun,”

Eldrick murmured. “Humankind looked upon us with awe and adoration. We made our home here, eager to share this beautiful world with you, but not before sealing away the ancient gateway so that the evil destroying our own homeland would never find its way here.”

“The Fibbing Gate,” I whispered.

Eldrick’s body shuddered at the name. “I was very young when it happened. My memories of it have all but faded to nothing. In that same way, such stories of the gateway have become myths. My father told them to me as a child.” He ran one of his fingers over the drawing on the page. “Weeping stones were said to guard it. They stones are made of iron, which as you know has incredible power against faerie magic, so that no one would ever be able to open it again.”

“Why would my dad be interested in it?”

His expression steeled as he studied the page. “I don’t know,” he finally admitted. “But there’s someone else who might.”

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27212885-mad-magic  

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

  • One (1) winner will receive two rose gold necklaces – one with a crown pendant (for Eldrick) and the other with a feather (for Zeph) (INT)

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e656/?

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. Other works include MAD MAGIC (Sept 2017), FAULBENDER (tbd), SCALES (tbd), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN STARS (May 2017).

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

SAVAGE by Nicole Conway – a must have for any Fantasy library


Publisher:  Month9Books

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

AISN #:  B071ZFXQ4R

Synopsis

Savage begins the Dragonrider Legacy series, a thrilling companion to the international bestselling Dragonrider Chronicles.

Never send a hero to do a monster’s job.

Forty years have passed since Jaevid Broadfeather brought peace to Maldobar and Luntharda. But that fragile truce will be tested as darkness gathers on the horizon. The vicious armies of the Tibran Empire have crossed the far seas and are threatening to destroy Maldobar completely. Not even the dragonriders can match the Tibran war machines. And after an attempt to awaken Jaevid from his divine sleep fails, the fate of Maldobar is looking grim.

Reigh has never known what it means to be a normal human. Raised amongst the gray elves in the wild jungle of Luntharda, he’s tried everything to fit in. But the dark power within him is bursting at the seams—refusing to be silenced. And while his adoptive father, Kiran, insists this power must be kept secret, Reigh knows he’s running out of time.

As Maldobar burns, the world is desperate for a new hero. Destiny has called, and one boy will rise to answer.

My Review

Where do I start with how much I loved this book?

I didn’t think Nicole Conway’s writing could get any better. I was in love with the Dragonrider Chronicles and didn’t believe there was any way she could top those tales.  Boy, was I wrong.

From page 1, SAVAGE captured my interest and held it to the very end. The world-building, the characters…a-maaaazing!!! And I loved the adventure! Conway managed to weave a convincing tale of elves and dragons, humans and magic.

My heart went out to Reigh and all that he has to overcome. I will admit, in the beginning I thought he was a spoiled brat, but then I learned about him and the terribly frightening demon inside of him and I got why he behaved the way he did. I wanted to jump in the book and help him, hug him. But all I could do was watch everything unfold before me. I honestly couldn’t put this book down.

I want book 2. NOW!!

If you love YA fantasy, action, adventure, elves and especially dragons, you’re going to fall in love with this book. Get it today. Don’t pass Go. Don’t collect $200. This is a winner that you must have for your library. And get a copy for someone you love. They’ll thank you a million times over.

Time to go read it again.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Here are some links you might be interested in:

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35300138-savage

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Link to Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-savage-by-nicole-conway-presented-by-month9books/  

 Giveaway Details:


My name is Ashley “Nicole” Conway. I’m originally from North Alabama and attended Auburn University where I earned a BA in English with a concentration in Classics & Mythology. I’m happily married and have one son, Ethan.

Writing has been a passion of mine since childhood, and to be able to do it as a full-time career is something I take as a great blessing and honor. My heart is in children’s literature, specifically middle-grade and young adult fantasy. Best known is my MG/YA fantasy series titled THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, which is published by Month9Books. I’m currently working on a follow-on series, THE DRAGONRIDER LEGACY

Other books by Nicole Conway:

THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES

  

For the romantic side of you:

  

 

SUBMERGE by Toby Easton – a review


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I have to say, I’m more googly-eyed over this book than I was book 1.

Tobie Easton is a gifted storyteller. As with book one, EMERGE, I was drawn into the mermaid world from page one.  I was afraid I might forget some important details about the first book, but my fears were for nothing. I fell right into the story as if I’d finished the first one yesterday.

I can say I wasn’t disappointed.

SUBMERGE picks up where EMERGE left off. The spells have been broken and immortality has been restored to the Mer. Now the trials are about to begin and everyone is hoping that order will be restored. Lia wants so much right now, especially for those responsible for the wrongs to be punished, but will they be? And how can she do what needs to be done when what she wants more than anything is to be with Clay.

There is so much unrest, and this story is filled with so many twists and turns. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride and in many ways, I think SUBMERGE is better than EMERGE. Yes. A sequel that is better than the first book. I love Lia’s growth in the novel and that last line of the book?… Holy cow, when can I get my hands on book 3?

This book gets 5 stars from me. I couldn’t love it more. This is one of the best mermaid series out there.  I suggest starting off with book 1 before reading book 2. You’re going to love the world-building, and the characters will stay with you for a long time.

Well done, Ms. Easton!!

I received a copy of SUBMERGE from Chapter by Chapter in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

MERMAID ABOARD by Louise Cypress – A cheesy but adorable novella


NOTE: The author provided me with a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this read for the most part. It was a quick and easy read, which I like on busy days when I don’t have time for a long, involved novel but want to feed the reading hunger.

I found the story to be cute enough, but the whole insta-love thing was not for me. While Ian and Estella were cute together, they fell in love too fast. Sure, they could be smitten with each other, but I didn’t fall for the love thing. Then again, if I were an 11 or 12-year old reading this story, I’d totally love the puppy love thing, so I guess it’s all relative to the age group reading it.

I felt the language was a bit young for the characters.  They sounded more 14ish than 17ish. And while I appreciated the science talk and how our oceans are in danger due to human littering, and global warming, I felt much of the storyline was info dump. I would have appreciated it more if there were pictures laying around Ian’s room of garbage hauls on a science vessel deck or something that could spark the conversations. I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have

I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have used a bit more flushing out and extended. Life doesn’t fall into place so quick and easy. I would have liked to have seen a bit more turmoil. I loved the scene with Estella, Ian, his brother, and their parents in the dining room. THAT was realistic. That was teen angst that I felt was well done. I also loved the innocence of the story, that the author didn’t have to resort to foul language or sex to tell the story. I found this endearing and I miss it so much in middle-grade and YA contemporary reads lately.

As an adult, I thought the story to be on the cheesy side, but, on the same note, I also felt it would be a perfect short story for a middle-grade girl looking for an adorable story about mermaids. Overall, I’d give this story 3 fins. I look forward to more writings by this author.

 

Feyre, Rhysand, Lucien, oh my! – my thoughts on A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN


****Spoiler Alert! ****

There may be some spoilers in this review. Please read at your own discretion

I have really mixed feelings on this book, especially since I’ve been waiting on pins and needles since I finished A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. Now THAT book I loved (minus the gratuitous sex scenes).

Don’t get me wrong. I liked this book, but I felt the pacing was off and it was too long. There were some exciting scenes that got me turning the pages, but seeing as it took me about 4 days to read this…

It should have never taken me that long to read this book. ACOMAF was completed in a day and I was left with my mouth open and my heart aching and “No. no no!!” spewing from my lips. I HAD to have the next book. It just couldn’t end that way.

And now that I’ve read ACOWAR…yeah, I could have waited.

I think the book could have used a bit more editing. I felt that some scenes went on far too long and others fizzled before they ever started. I got really annoyed with Rhysand and Feyre. I mean, no one has that perfect of a relationship. There were moments when there should have been angry emotions, where they really should have been totally pissed off with each other, and then it just went poof as if showing true emotion as a couple is a no-no. And let’s not get me into talking about the side characters: Elain, Nesta, Mor. I think Maas underused them. I really wanted to learn more about what happened to Nesta and Elain in the Cauldron, but it was glossed over, with minor mentions here and there. It was so ‘telling’, not ‘showing’, which really irked me. Here was this huge opportunity to share the horrors of what happened to Feyre’s sisters, and it was barely mentioned. And then we learn that Elain and Lucien are connected as mates. (actually, we learn that at the end of ACOMAF, but it’s accented more here.) But Maas never does anything with that. It felt so ho-hum. And then Lucien takes off and he’s gone 1/2 of the way through the book and when we do see him towards the end, it’s brief, glossed over and there is no closure or anything with Elain and him. Does she take off Greyson’s ring? Does she fall for Lucien? Is Lucien really going back to the Spring Court with Tamlin? After everything, he’s just going to leave Elain? He’s mated to her. Up until this part, the ‘mated’ stuff in this series is serious. You can’t just turn it off, and yet, with these two? There is no heat. There’s no trying. This “mated” thing between them is unresolved and bland and monotone. There’s not heat. There’s no try on Lucien’s part. It really irked me. I’d rather have seen Lucien try and Elain shove off his advances. Maybe even use that underdeveloped magic she gained while in the Cauldron to push him away – or bring him closer.

And what’s with Nesta and Cassian? We all know she’s hot for him, but again, it seemed like Maas was too focused on Feyre and Rhysand that she forgot to go all ninja on Nesta and Cassian. Again, an underdeveloped relationship that should have been a case of fireworks going off, but instead, it ended in a dud.

We never do really find out what the creature was under the library. Well, we kind of do, but it’s not scary, at least not what we were lead to believe.

And how does Feyre just become ‘friends’ with all these bad guys. It’s like she just walks in a room and they all will do anything for her. The Attor, the creature in the library, the Bonecarver, they’re just so willing to help her. There is no intensity, no danger. Nothing she has to really work for. I really wanted to see and feel Hybern’s goons coming into the library.  I wanted to see Feyre battle them on her own, but noooo, she was rescued once more, proving she’s not the badass she wants people to think she is.

Even though I was disappointed in this ‘final’ book in the series, it was still a decent read. I also found out at the end that there will be another book coming. I’m not waiting on the edge of my seat.  I hope this new book goes into Lucien’s relationship with Elain, Tamlin and his mother.  I want there to be explorations and resolutions with Nesta, Elain, Cassian and the whole Court of Dreams. I want Tamlin to heal and find peace. I want there to be some sort of ‘forgiveness’ between him and Lucien. I want Lucien and Elain to find their paths to one another. And I want Mor to reveal more of her secret. Yeah, that was another unexplored part that left me hanging.

I give it 4 stars – barely – mainly for the intense scenes that had me turning pages like my fingers were on fire.

This book was bought and given to me as a gift by a friend.  Thank you, TR!!  You’re the best!!