Author: Adrienne Young
Series: Fable
Series #: 2
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc of this book!

Overview

When I read Fable last year I really enjoyed it. The book was very good, and the parts of it I liked, I really liked. Even the parts that I wasn’t as wild about, I enjoyed. I was really excited therefore when I got the chance to read Namesake before it was published. Getting back into this world was amazing, because it was left on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I wondered what was going to happen in the next book and how many of the loose ends would be wrapped up. I feel overall that this book was an extremely satisfying conclusion to the first book.

Plot


In this book Fable is a “captive” of Zola. And from there things 100% absolutely do not get better for Fable. They only get worse. And while in another book this might feel contrived, in this one I liked it. Fable getting from point a to point b to point c is done very successfully in this book. The plot of this book focuses on Fable and her ambitions and family. One thing that continued through from the first book to this, is the underlying message of family, and what family means. I will say there was one part of the plot that felt contrived. I didn’t love that part, but overall, I felt it didn’t detract too much from the book.

Tone

Much of the book had the tone of family is not just blood, but is the people that you meet along the way. There were other parts too, that stood out. It didn’t feel like Young was beating you over the head with it either. Family was a huge plot point in this book, and I’m afraid to go in depth about it because so much of it is better read and not spoiled. Suffice to say, I think the plot of this book was exemplary.

Characters


Partially, I think, because the plot revolves around the characters. Fable’s character arc is much of what pushes the plot forward. Fable generally, is the main character in this book. There are other characters that appear from the previous book, but they don’t nearly play the part they had. Auster and Paj make an appearance, but they have very limited page time. Even Willa isn’t in it as much. The only other character that really I think almost matches Fable is West.

We have quite a few new characters in this one, Clove and Holland who take up page time. I loved Clove. I loved Fable and Clove’s interactions throughout the book. And Holland was an interesting antagonist.


Saint of course was back in this, but much like the first he didn’t play a huge roll. He was in it, but wasn’t like West or Fable. Speaking of West and Fable I want to talk a bit about the relationship. While it felt a little insta-love like in the first book (I don’t mind that) in this one they are a bit more settled. I appreciate that Young at some points had them talk some issues out. West and Fable’s relationship is an interesting point in the book, and Young was successful in depicting it.

Action and Adventure

This book, much like the first, maybe even more so, was absolutely action packed. We jump from one event to the next with very little downtime. You’re always wondering what is coming next because Young does such an excellent job with the pacing in this book. Some parts of it could be boring, but they are most definitely not. I was engrossed from beginning to end, and I really enjoyed every moment that I was reading the book. To that point, Young is a great writer, and I was sucked in by her writing style and the cadence of it. I felt that it was stupendous. I was drawn into this world she crafted and I didn’t want to leave it.

Last Thoughts


This is (if you’re worried) a great wrap up. I felt it was a satisfying ending and I was overall happy with it. I’d take a novella now – something more than the epilogue. I would love to see some of the other character’s stories as well.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and it was fantastic. What a great ending to the duology! 

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Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours for hosting this tour for Sweet & Bitter Magic! Click here for the full tour schedule!

Author: Adrienne Tooley
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first..


Review

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher for an e-arc of this book!

Brief Thoughts

This is one of those books I was really excited for. Witches, great summary, queer and a beautiful cover. There was a lot of excitement for me when I started this book because as a bi woman I love a good f/f novel. And I was very excited for this one. As I said, there were a lot of things going for it that I thought I would like. Witches are some of my favorite paranormal books to read, and I love a good queer fantasy book. Some aspects of this book that didn’t wow me, but honestly, overall, the book was a good one.

Writing

First off, Tooley is a good writer. The writing style in this book was lovely and I think it suited them theme/idea of the book all the way through. It all felt very melded together. It worked well and kept me reading through the entire book. This was a dual POV book of Tamsin and Wren, alternating chapters between them as we learn both their stories. The POVs were different enough that it wasn’t hard to tell the differences between the two characters. They were both individualistic enough that they stood out distinctly. This was a huge benefit for the book.

Pacing

The pacing of the book is what is going to be a bit of a problem for some people, and to an extent was a bit of a problem for me. I really like slow paced books. There is something about them, about the meandering journey that can be really pleasurable to experience for a reader. And this book was that. It was a slow journey, very drawn out especially the first 50% of the book. And for me, the beginning was slow but interesting. It was a lot of investment. There’s a part where they’re traveling that was slow for me in the wrong way.

Plot

The plot of the book is interesting, and I think there is something to be said for the idea of dark vs light that this book has, as well as curses. There are interesting parts to it. We are told one thing at the very beginning of the book, and at about 50% a “plot twist” happens. Honestly, the plot twist wasn’t very surprising to me. I’d figured it out a while back. But while it wasn’t surprising it didn’t make it a bad book. Just different. Would I have liked the plot twist to be a little different? Maybe? But it tied in really well with the thematic element of family. Which is part of Tamsin’s story.

Characters

Tamsin’s story is a little darker than Wren’s in some aspects. And you have the two opposites attract, enemies to lovers thing going on with them. Their romance is very, very, very slow burn. Like there isn’t a trace of insta-love in this book. So if you don’t like insta-love you don’t have to worry about that in this one. This is one of the things the book does really well, it has great relationships in it. I think the relationships were some of the best parts of the book.

Because at times it feels like the characters sometimes felt a little flat. Not overwhelmingly slow, but every so often and I can’t tell if that was intentional or not  because of Wren and Tamsin’s pasts.

Final Thoughts

This book wasn’t that heavy on info-dumping but I actually might have liked a little more in the book itself. Just because magic was often really talked about, but we don’t really see all that much of it. We get hints of what this world is like, but I felt it wasn’t terribly well established. But as a standalone it doesn’t necessarily need to be.

Overall, this was a slow paced, sweet queer love book. It was enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it.

Author’s CW/TW:

– frequent discussions and depictions of grief regarding loss of a loved one, including: death of a sibling, death of a parent, and death of a friend
– depictions of anxiety, depression, and mental illness
– emesis (mention of vomiting on page)
– brief mention of needles (tattooing)
– amnesia

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Book Links

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

About the Author

Adrienne Tooley was born and raised in the desert suburbs of Southern California. She grew up in the theater, earning her B.A. in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. She and her wife currently live in New York City where she works in hospitality tech. In addition to writing novels she is also a singer/songwriter and has released several EPs which are available on Spotify & other streaming sites. Her debut novel, SWEET & BITTER MAGIC, will publish from S&S/McElderry in Spring 2021. Her second novel, SOFI AND THE BONE SONG, will release from S&S/McElderry in 2022.

Author Links

Website: http://www.adriennetooley.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adriennetooley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adriennetooley/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15526762.Adrienne_Tooley

Giveaway (US ONLY)

One winner will receive a finished copy of Sweet & Bitter Magic. The giveaway ends on March 15th. Embedded Link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series #: 4
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.


Review

Brief Thoughts

Yes, me. I am certainly having trouble deciding what to rate this book. Because overall my emotional journey on this was AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. That was me pretty much the whole way through the entire book. I don’t know if I had a coherent thought at all other than… I don’t know a few things that bugged me in the book. But they weren’t the main focus of the book…so I suppose that’s why I rated it so high. I got very emotionally invested in this book from the very beginning, and because I was, I think that’s why this has ended up with this rating.

Writing

Okay so, I want to start off with the writing. I am pleased because I feel like SJM has improved as a writer with this book. And the steamy scenes were a little more bearable in this one. Ahahaha. Hah. Anyways, what I also really liked was that this book was written in third person. I felt that worked so much better for this series overall. Especially as we flit between both Nesta’s viewpoint and Cassian’s. I will say despite being 700 some odd pages long, unlike House of Earth and Blood I felt there wasn’t too much annoying information. But perhaps that is because this was a known world.

Pacing

Pacing in this book I thought was excellent. I pretty much breezed through it because I was 100% addicted. No other comments at this time.

Plot

Now let’s talk about the plot…what plot? Okay, yes, there was a plot, but I really thought it would play a larger part in this book! And it didn’t. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing, but I was just surprised. The plot lends itself to Nesta’s own mental and physical journey which I enjoyed. And I think that was the main part of the book: the romance. I really think the plot was a side story. And to be honest, the original trilogy, I felt that it was more of an even balance, where this one was more character/romance driven. Just felt totally different, and yet, still highly enjoyable. But considering some of the hints that were dropped in this book, I have to wonder what is coming next. Clearly something is gearing up, but I don’t know what that will be.

Characters

Character wise I never hated Nesta. I liked her fine but this book made me love her. And Cassian even more. I loved the two of them and how they interacted together. And I felt Nesta’s story was a really powerful one, especially as a mental health journey. I loved her new friends. They made this book so much better. I will say I have always loved SJM’s friendships and this one was no exception. It felt so grounded and beautiful and I can honestly say I want more of those three together.

Also love Nesta and her powers. That whole part of the book was really excellent, I am curious about some of the decisions made re: Nesta’s powers.

Cassian and Azriel were everything in this book. They were beyond hilarious and every time they were in the same scene I was practically gasping with laughter. It helped to lighten up the darker parts of this story.

Cassian and Rhys were…interesting. I’m just disappointed we didn’t get as much of the three interacting together as I would have wanted.

I’m going to quickly go over the Inner Circle, there are general thoughts but not really spoilers.

I will admit the Inner Circle and their prejudices and attitudes in this made me mad. They gave Feyre all these outs in the same series, but not Nesta? They needed to lose the attitudes in this book. I think SJM did it (especially the Feysand issues) because there was a need for angst. My other thought was that was how Nesta was viewing them: how she believed they thought of her. So it was a little hard to tell what the truth was. All I know is I didn’t like the attitudes. To me it felt so off from the original series. I don’t know why. This part is why I am struggling to give it a total five stars.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really loved this book. Nesta may be my favorite Archeron sister now! Or at least tied with Feyre. All I know is I’m excited to see what comes next.

CW/TW:

depression, suicidal thoughts, sexual abuse and assault, blood, violence, murder, birth complications, death

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Intro

cannot believe that it is February as I type this! I have no idea what happened to January! (Actually, I do. I was busy posting about it on instagram. In fact, the tl;dr is that I had a whole host of medical issues & grad school started.) January was a really busy month because I was doing readings for two intensive grad school courses as well as dealing with all those medical issues, so I read twenty three books this past month. Which is rather low for me. So, how was my month overall?  

What I Read This Month

Pretty good to be quite honest! I had four five star reads, The Queens Rising and The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross, Fire by Kristin Cashore and Namesake by Adrienne Young. 

I had a whole bunch of four star reads as well! My reread of A Court of Wings and Ruin was a four star. Other four star reads were: Sweet & Bitter Magic, The Once and Future Witches, A Sky Beyond the Storm, An Ember in the Ashes, The Lives of Saints, Master of One, and The Burning Shadow.  

As far as three star reads I had a few of those as well! Bitterblue, A Reaper at the Gates, Divine Blood, The Chalk Man, The Hiding Place, The Swallows, The Book of Two Ways, A Deal with the Elf King, The Assassin’s Blade, and To Love and to Loathe were all my three star reads.  

I only had one two star read: Truth, Lies and Second Dates.  

And I had no one star reads! Which is really fun. Sometimes I get one or two a month, but I think I picked books I knew I would like this month, and I think I did pretty well with that. 

My Thoughts

The most surprising thing this month for me was that Fire, was a five-star read. I liked Graceling and Bitterblue, but I adored Fire. And Namesake is now my highest rated Adrienne Young book!  I started several series, and some I plan to continue (Master of One, Origins) and others I don’t plan on continuing (Divine Blood). I also finished a few series’ and they had an epic conclusion. There were a few standalones I enjoyed by CJ Tudor and surprisingly I did not cry at Jodi Piccoult’s book. 

The most disappointing thing was that Deal with an Elf King I didn’t like as much. I really wanted to love the book, but I just thought it was okay. Kova has other works that are far superior to this one. I guess I was also disappointed in To Love and to Loathe because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other book.  

I realized that I read a few novellas this month. Both for very popular series. I didn’t like The Assassin’s Blade as much as I wanted to. But it was nice to get backstory. The Lives of Saints was ridiculously gorgeous. The illustrations were beautiful and I enjoyed learning about the saints that make up that world. 

Looking to February…I don’t have a lot of books on my TBR. Mostly because my budget is shot due to medical issues. I don’t own a lot of TBR books at this point. (Only one; Wicked.) But I have a few books I own that I’m rereading that I didn’t like for some reason or another that are getting second chances before being sold or given away.  

Wicked, The Family Upstairs, Red Rising, Crier’s War, and There Will Come a Darkness are books I aim to read this month.

How was your January? What are you thinking of reading this month?  

Recently it has come to my attention that there are still pervasive stereotypes and myths about libraries and what you can and can’t do in them. I work in a library, and I have come to dispel some myths about libraries. Now, this is relevant to the library system I work in, and may not be the case for all systems. If you are ever unsure about something your local library worker is more than likely happy to answer your questions or clear up any confusion. We don’t mind questions and we enjoy talking to you!

It’s A Quiet Place

One of the things that I often hear, even from my own patrons, is that the library is a quiet place. Libraries are not necessarily quiet anymore, and that is because the impact of the library is changing; but also what it is used for is changing. What was once supposed to be a quiet space has morphed into something different. If you’re looking for a quiet space to study in a library that is mostly open and/or one room, the best thing to do is to ask the staff some questions. The first is if they have any study rooms! We’ve got two at my branch, and they’re always in use. They help muffle the everyday sounds of the library. The second one would be what is the quietest time of day? Generally, that means when the kids are in school and storytimes are not going on. If you come in during a storytime hour it is going to be chaotic, an it is going to be load, so be aware of that!

It’s Only For Adults and Research

The nice thing about one of the changes is that libraries are for everyone. As I mentioned, we have storytimes for little ones! We offer programs for all ages (even if some ages feel libraries are boring) and we welcome everyone. Libraries aren’t just for research anymore. Libraries have become meeting spaces. People gather and have fun, and this ties into a quiet place to work. We’ve got meeting rooms that people use, and it isn’t always quiet! In most places libraries don’t charge you to use the room, but as non-profits no exchange of money can happen on the premises.

Don’t Be Afraid to Recommend Books

People are sometimes scared to recommend books because they think they’re the only ones who want it. I promise you aren’t! If there is one person looking for a book, there are likely more. If you’re too embarrassed by what you want to suggest many libraries have anonymous suggestion boxes or we’re listening boxes. Feel free to pop your suggestion into there instead! Libraries are supposed to be non-judgmental! We like to know what is popular, and what people want to read!

We Are Happy To Help

We’re always happy to help! We might not have the answer right away, but we’ll do some digging and see what we can help you find! Sometimes it may take a few days to find the answer, but we’ll do our best. While this may be a short paragraph, it is an important one. Never be afraid to ask!

Technologies

We don’t just offer books for checkout – many libraries will offer cool items to checkout as well. We currently offer chromebooks and wifi units for use. Some libraries even have telescopes, power tools and other useful items for home renovation! Of course, this is all dependent on your library. There are many cool things libraries are doing now, and you should see if your local library offers any of them!

In Conclusion

Libraries can be terrifying places, especially if you have anxiety or haven’t used it in a while. But, they’re also amazing places to be!