Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

A Court of Frost and Starlight

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Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Performer: Amanda Leigh Cobb

Length: 6 hr, 24 min

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 3.1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Recorded Books

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I don’t know how this author churns out as many books as she does.  With both her Throne of Glass series and this one, she has supplemented her series with interspersed novellas.  This novella is much shorter and less action packed than the three full-length books that come before it, and it is focused on the introspection of our main characters as they deal with the aftermath of the great battle with Hybern.  It reveals more insight into our main characters and offers POVs that were not present in previous books.  I did enjoy the book and the reader, but I found this book to be much soppier than the rest of the series.  A lot of focus is put on the mating bond between Rhysand and Feyre, and the rest of the book is more of a snapshot in time as our characters prepare to enjoy a holiday together.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

A Court of Wings and Ruin

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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

Format: eAudiobook

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.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

A Court of Mist and Fury

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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

Format: eAudiobook

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.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

A Court of Thorns and Roses

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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

Format: eAudiobook

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.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

The Everlasting Rose

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Title: The Everlasting Rose

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Performer: Rosie Jones

Length: 10 hr, 19 min, 4 sec

Series: The Belles

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019 by Blackstone Publishing

Format: eAudiobook

Review: After being completely enthralled by The Belles, I was very excited to check out this audiobook.  I eagerly waited weeks for my turn in the holds queue and when I finally got it, well I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as The Belles.  I still enjoyed it immensely – the author really has a poetic way with words and I could listen to the reader to all day.  Rosie Jones could narrate the dictionary and I probably wouldn’t be able to stop gushing about her talent.

Unlike the first book, the plot of this book is incredibly drawn out.  The first 80% of the book was essentially just Camille evading capture, and it didn’t get really juicy until the end.  Although Sophia is still the villain of this story, she was only present from afar for most of the book.  Part of what really made the first book special was her direct role in the plot development.

The conclusion of this book was very satisfying.  I was actually a bit surprised when I saw on Goodreads that there is a third book scheduled to be released sometime next year.  Perhaps it will focus on another character?  It really felt like Camille’s story was wrapped up nicely, and there were not a lot of loose ends, if any, left to be addressed.  All I know is that I will definitely be checking it out, because I enjoyed this world well enough to be immersed in it a little longer.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Historical · Romance · Young Adult

Blood and Sand

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Title: Blood and Sand

Author: C.V. Wyk

Performer: Brittany Pressley

Length: 8 hr, 58 min, 58 sec

Series: Blood and Sand, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by MacMillan Young Listeners

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I really enjoyed the first half of this book because I thought the author did a great job introducing the time period, setting, and characters.  The second half of the book is where she started to lose me.  I would say that this book is more strongly categorized as historical fiction rather than fantasy.  I typically enjoy both genres immensely, but I hesitate to even call this fantasy.  It’s more like unrealistic historical fiction.  The only thing that could qualify this series as fantasy was how preposterous the fight scenes were in the second half of the book.  One scene in particular, the most pivotal in terms of driving the direction of the story, was a monumental disappointment because quite frankly it made no sense.  The fallout of this particular scene was equally disappointing.  A lot gets thrown at you at the end, and the puzzle pieces just fit together too perfectly to be realistic.

All criticisms aside, I think that Wyk is a talented writer and I enjoyed enough things about this book to continue with the series when the next book is published.

Finally, I thought the reader for this eAudiobook had a nice voice, but in my opinion wasn’t well suited for this particular book.  I’ve heard her narrate other books and liked those performances far more than I did this one.  Perhaps this is because I did not care for the character voices and accents she chose for some of the main characters, particularly Attia.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Throne of Glass

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Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 404

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Paperback

Review: Well I finally read it, and it did not disappoint.  I don’t know how this book stayed off my radar for so long.  It really had all the elements of everything I love in YA fantasy.  Admittedly, the storyline was predictable, but for the first book in a series, it had a surprising amount of action and I remained engaged the whole way through.  The main character of the story, Celaena, serves as both a heroine and an anti-heroine.  She manages to be both a total badass and a relatable young woman.  This is a difficult mix to achieve in YA fiction and I have rarely seen it done so well.

As I noted above, this book was relatively predictable, so I knocked a star off of my rating; however, after perusing reviews for the second book in the series, it seems that Maas’ character building and plot development improves dramatically in the next installment.  I am really looking forward to continuing with this series!

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold