Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Amanda Leigh Cobb
Length: 25 hr, 8 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 3
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2017 by Recorded Books
Review: This book was very much like the two that proceed it in that the plot starts out slow and then later picks up speed. I was never bored during this story, but it sort of annoys me when things work out too perfectly in the end. Sure there was a lot of bloodshed, but I never truly feared for any of the main characters, because they always seem to come through in the end. I was also a little annoyed that Feyre was all of a sudden some sort of master spy and manipulator; however, I was greatly entertained by the shifting allegiances, political maneuvering, and a couple surprising character reveals. This story certainly keeps you on your toes as friends become enemies and enemies become friends. I don’t see a release date yet for the fourth book, but the Throne of Glass series should keep me busy in the meantime.
I was a little surprised that they changed the reader partway through this series, but was even more shocked at how similar she sounded to the woman who narrated the first two audiobooks. At first I didn’t even realize that the performer was different because she did such an excellent job matching the character voices to how the original reader performed them. Amanda Leigh Cobb is very talented, and the switch did not negatively impact my listening experience in the slightest.
Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 23 hr, 16 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2016 by Recorded Books
Review: This book took the momentum from the first book and catapulted it to even greater heights. Feyre grows so much as a character. She suffers from severe PTSD and much of the book is focused on her journey of healing. She demonstrates how our wants and needs can change as we evolve and that people in our lives can either serve as hindrances or catalysts to this change.
Rhysand fans will be very happy with the events that transpire in this book. The ending was a bit frustrating, but Maas does an excellent job of setting the stage for the conflict that will driving the next books in the series.
Oftentimes the second book in a series is a bit of a bore as it lays the foundation for subsequent books, but I did not feel this way at all with this book. It was emotional, romantic, thrilling, and utterly unputdownable.
My only gripe about this book, and this series in general, is Maas’ near constant use of certain words…male, snarl, growl, etc. It didn’t bother me enough to lower my rating, but I did find myself rolling my eyes from time to time as the words resurfaced over and over again.
Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 16 hr, 7 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2015 by Recorded Books
Review: For diehard fans of Beauty and the Beast *cough**me**cough cough*, this was a delightfully unique retelling. It had a bit of a slow start, very much unlike her Throne of Glass series, and slowly picked up speed until it reached it’s heart-pounding conclusion. I honestly didn’t think I was going to give it more than 3 stars for the first half of the book, but the last 25% of the book was epic enough to make me reconsider my rating. It’s very easy to see the influence of the Beauty and the Beast tale in this book, however, based on the conclusion, the next book in the series will more than likely be moving in an entirely different direction.
My favorite character by far was Rhysand, and it makes me very excited that he will play a central role in the second book. Maas seems to have a thing for building interesting love triangle-y sort of situations, and it does not seem that this series will be an exception. Rhysand is clearly the polar opposite of golden boy Tamlin, which should make for an interesting rivalry.
Jennifer Ikeda is a great reader and I enjoy her narration. I look forward to listening to the next book!
As a side note, my library categorizes this book as Young Adult Fiction, but I think it is more like New Adult Fiction. It is one of those books that hovers in the gray area and is hard to categorize. The sexual content is pretty graphic, which is not typical for the Young Adult Fiction genre, especially in the realm of Fantasy.
Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Page Count: 392
Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2019 by HarperTeen
Review: I have not yet read The Poet X, but I’ve heard enough hype about it that I was excited to get my hands on Acevedo’s newest novel. I have a feeling this book will also be widely acclaimed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it too is nominated for a Printz Award.
This book conveys many positive messages about family, identity, hard work, and following your dreams. I thought the whole thing was very smartly packaged and it’s short chapters will make it very appealing to reluctant readers. In fact, I would say this book could be categorized as a hi/lo reader (high interest, low reading level) for teens.
Although I was well past my teens when I had my first child, I shared many of the same feelings of inadequacy and frustration that Emoni struggles with throughout the story. As a full-time librarian, I often feel that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with my son. It is incredibly difficult to balance work and family, and Emoni has the additional pressure of school and being a single parent. While many teenagers must make difficult decisions about college and the future, Emoni’s responsibility to her daughter makes the stakes so much higher. I really like the direction Emoni’s character chooses in the end, and I hope it encourages others to follow a similar path.
I loved the fact that each part of the book is prefaced by a recipe. This book really got me hyped to try new things in the kitchen, and really changed the way I think about cooking as a whole. Very inspiring!
Title: After We Collided
Author: Anna Todd
Performers: Shane East & Elizabeth Louise
Length: 19 hr, 16 min
Series: After, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: November 25, 2014 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Review: I almost never DNF books, especially not audiobooks, but three hours into this one and I had to stop to retain my sanity. Not even ten minutes in and I wanted to tear my hair out in frustration. As I stated in my review of After, I was strangely enthralled by the story, but the cooling off period between finishing that book and starting this one finally allowed me to see reason. Tessa and Hardin’s relationship becomes even more toxic in this next book and the back and forth drags on and on. It was just too much drama and not enough substance. I can officially say I am done with this series.