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: 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.
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
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.
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
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!
Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Performer: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 6 hr, 42 min, 13 sec
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2014 by Tantor
Review: This is a classic tale of opposites attract. Caymen is poor, and Xander is rich, so what could they possibly have in common??? Is it possible that Caymen is unfairly judging Xander because of his nice clothes and fancy cars?? Read the book and find out! Sarcasm aside though (sarcasm is a theme in the novel by the way), this was a wholesome romance that follows a tried and true formula. I really enjoy books like this when my life gets stressful because it does not take a lot of brainpower to follow the storyline and the outcome is predictable. Sometimes you just want a feel good romance, and for me this did the trick.
I personally thought that the reader of this book sounded a bit too old for the character, but she did a good job and had a pleasant and consistent tone.
Author: Anna Todd
Page Count: 582
Series: After, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: October 21, 2014 by Gallery Books
Review: This book is incredibly difficult to rate. As many reviewers before me have noted, there are so many things that are problematic with this book. The dialogue is whiny and repetitive, the relationship between Hardin and Tessa is borderline abusive, and the twist at the end was not at all original…and yet it kept me up reading late into the night. I can’t really explain it. It cast some sort of weird spell over me. Maybe because the plot is a smutty amalgamation of two of my favorite 90’s flicks, or maybe because the “hot bad boy falling for the good girl” formula is catnip for the avid romance reader. Whatever it is, it kept me turning pages, all 582 of them. I generally read 2-3 books at a time, but all the other books I am currently reading were set aside to finish this one. I have already told myself that I need to finish the ARCs I am currently reading before I even think about reading the next book in this series, but like Tessa and Hardin, I may not be able to resist.