The Assassin’s Blade Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything.” 

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Pages: 448

Rating – 4.5/5

GoodReads

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great day! Today I will be completing a relatively spoiler free review of The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

In regards to The Throne of Glass series, I was so determined to start it this year since so many people have already read this and with the overwhelming hype, I just couldn’t keep myself away from it. Now that the series has come to an end, I found it a perfect opportunity to binge read these novels without having to wait through the heartbreaking pain of waiting for the next book. (For those of you who have been reading the series as they were released, how did you manage with the ending of Heir of Fire????)

The Assassin’s Blade is a bind up of the novellas to the Throne of Glass series but it reads pretty much like a regular novel since it follows the story of 16-year-old Celaena in a chronological order. Having seen a couple of reviews on BookTube, some reviewers have stated that it would be best to read the novellas before starting Queen of Shadows. And since this was the next book I had to read, I took a trip down to Barnes and Noble and made sure to grab myself a copy of the novellas! AND I AM SO GLAD I DID!

Summary: 

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Characters:

Celaena Sardothien – I loved the many sides we got to see with Celaena in this book. in fact, that was my favorite part of this entire novel. I think there are certain details about her character we seem to miss when we first meet her in the series but it was great to have this novel shine a bit more light in that aspect. I loved that she stood my her morals – she knew her limits despite her profession – she had empathy, she valued friendship and she was so much more relatable!

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Sam Cortland – I feel as though my face has become the heart eye emoji just writing about his character! I loved literally all the scenes with Sam and Celaena. I felt that they complemented each other so well! There were scenes which made me laugh and there were scenes which made me tear up and get wrapped up in all the FEELS! But he brought in a beautiful element to the storyline and valued his role in the series a lot more with this backstory!

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Arobynn Hamel – So it should come as no surprise that I don’t really like Arobynn. I used to think that I despised him enough in the original series BUT I despise him even more with this one. Yes, I hate him with passion LOL

Final Thoughts: 

Where do I even start? First of all, I appreciated Celaena and Sam so much more in this book since we dive deeper into their minds and receive so much more backstory of what they had endured and I found it to be an amazing collection of stories to accompany the original series. There were moments where I found myself relating to Celaena which I found a bit hard to do with the original novels (other than the fact that she loves to read). The small moments where we see her gush over a pair of shoes, music, clothes, perfume and of course food HAHA We always see her to be a fierce and fiery assassin but these small moments really made her seem more human.

Sam. Oh Sam . . . if you have read the first book of the series, then you are aware of this character since he is mentioned but having read his backstory and his growth within these novellas made me appreciate him more as a character. He is clearly an essential part of Celaena’s growth as a character and I loved seeing the growth of their relationship. It really does warm your heart . . . I got wayyy too attached to him!

In regards to the writing, it was done really well. It was addictive and had the right amount of details needed to bring you into the fantasy world without being too overwhelming. I loved her use of Celaena’s iconic sharp and sarcastic commentary, her banters with other characters and the description of action sequences. It pretty much resembled the writing of the original series and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Besides the three main characters I listed here, I have a feeling that the secondary characters are going to show up in some form in the future novels. I felt that Sarah did leave some loose ends with a few characters and I hope I get to see some of them. (Ahem – I don’t really want to see Arobynn though)

In regards to the overall plot and THAT ENDING, I am not going to lie – it broke my heart. The tears just started flowing. I couldn’t help it. With the extent of challenges that Celaena faces, you only wish the best for her but it did not quite end that way as we see in the start of Throne of Glass. Despite this, I am honestly glad that I decided to pick up these novellas and I will for sure be jumping into the Queen of Shadows ASAP!

Have any of you read The Throne of Glass series and The Assassin’s Blade? What are your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

Hello everyone! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! For this week’s prompt, we are going to explore the books on our TBR which we avoid reading. It could be for multiple reasons – they are intimidating, we fear it may not live up to the hype, it is not within our interest etc. As for me, I feel like it is a combination of the first two reasons.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list!

1-3) Serpent and Dove, Kingdom of Souls, There Will Come A Darkness

These three books might be the most anticipated releases of this year. Nearly all the early reviews have been positive and I think that is what is keeping me from reading it. I’m a little worried whether they will live up to the hype because there were cases where some books did not live up to the hype in the past and it was quite disappointing. Hmm . . . maybe I should just go into it with no expectations/ blank slate? LOL I feel that may be one way I can avoid running into this issue 🙂

4-6) Priory of the Orange Tree, The Name of the Wind, Kingdom of Ash

Have you seen how massive these books are? They are so intimidating! But I have heard nothing but great things about these books so I really want to try them out. I feel as though Kingdom of Ash I will have no choice to read because I am on the fourth book right now and it is so addicting!

7-10) Wicked King/Queen of Nothing, Children of Vice and Virtue, Escaping from Houdini 

Gahhhh sequels! I have such a love/hate relationship with them. I think one of the most intimidating aspects is answering the golden question – Will it be good or even better than the predecessor?  And this is probably why sometimes I avoid reading them unless I know for sure that it will be good based on other reviews or if it is a beloved series in the book community. Or I may end up reading it if there was a huge cliffhanger and I had to know what happens! 🙂

How about you? What books do you avoid reading?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Sorcery of Thorns Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Margaret Rogerson

Published: June 4th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 456

Rating: 3.8 /5

GoodReads

This was pretty good for a fantasy standalone book. I think we tend to receive so many YA fantasy series and I never really found a book that fit within this genre and was able to deliver a story within 500 pages. Most of the time this is due to the intense amount of detail and world building incorporated into fantasy novels so if the world is not believable, then it falls flat. However, Margaret Rogerson was able to deliver with this novel with her stellar writing abilities and creative mind! While I did have some issues with the overall plot, I thought it was an awesome delivery of a standalone fantasy novel.

Summary (from GoodReads): 

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Characters:

Elisabeth – Brave, Loyal, Optimistic – I absolutely loved reading this story through Elizabeth’s perspective! She is so different from the typical YA “Katniss-like” fiction leads and I found that to be so refreshing. Hearing stories from different voices and different characters are the ones which I find to be truly entertaining and enlightening. Elisabeth also has a fierce determination in her which I loved to read about. She does have her flaws, but thats what makes her character so genuine and relatable.

“What is the point of life if you don’t believe in anything?”

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Nathaniel – Sassy, Smart, Witty – Can I just say how much I enjoyed reading Nathaniel’s quotes in this book? They were so hilarious and utterly charming at times that I found it super entertaining. One of the best elements of this book is the characters. With both Nathaniel and Elizabeth, I found that they perfectly complemented each other and it was amazing to see their growth.

” . . I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.” 

percy

 

Final Thoughts

One of the best aspects of this novel was Margaret’s ability to provide a rich yet mysterious atmosphere that captivated your attention and pulled you into the story. She really does have a talent for creating beautiful imagery which transports you to another world. I think this is the main reason why this book was able to do so well as a stand alone. Typically, YA fantasy novels are usually told as series since it is quite dependent on world building and expanding on magical/ political systems which usually takes multiple novels to do. If a world is NOT well developed, then it makes it harder for a reader to fully immerse themselves into the world which can be disappointing. I found it to be the exact opposite for A Sorcery of Thorns. This was well developed – the setting, the world, the magic system and characters.

I think one of the main areas where I found some issues in the book would be the overall plot. While I found the concept to be truly unique and captivating, I found that the story could have been better. I loved the usage of the magical grimoires and this did peak my interest from the beginning. However, I didn’t find myself fully immersed and captivated by the storyline as the novel continued.

Despite this drawback, I still thought this novel was still a great read since it does incorporate a creative concept that book lovers will truly enjoy to learn about. Have any of you read A Sorcery of Thorns? What did you think of it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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The Cruel Prince Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Holly Black

Publication: January 2nd 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 370

Rating: 5/5

GoodReads

It’s official! I finally did it! I read the Cruel Prince MWAHAHAHA

Ahem . . . but I also have a confession. I ended up annotating this book – GASP!!! I couldn’t help it!!! One moment I was on BookTube browsing through some reviews and I happened to come across an annotation video and down the rabbit hole I went!! But truth be told, I kind of enjoyed my experience . . . cause I had a lot to say about this book!!! LOL

Summary (from GoodReads):

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Characters:

Jude – Intelligent; Defiant; Determined: In a highly dangerous and political world where her kind are treated with the least amount of respect or acknowledgement, I was amazed at the level of endurance and strength she had to maintain her composure and also fight back when necessary. I loved seeing her internal battles as well where she tries to navigate through the world and determine whether she has the qualities of a human or Fae.

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Prince Cardan – Wicked; Cruel and Arrogant; I am not sure what to think of Prince Cardan since his treatment of other beings (faerie or mortal) are completely vile and absurd. Although there were moments where I noticed he does have his limits and you do have some sort of empathy towards him, I still do not consider him to be a completely good character – he seems to operate in the gray line . . .

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Final Thoughts

So the Cruel Prince is the first in the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black who is basically referred to as the Queen of Faerie stories and I can see why! This book was absolutely captivating from the start! Within the first 50 pages, the characters and plot already evoked so much emotion from me that I pretty much sensed that this was going to be a five star read. I just could not put it down. Holly Black’s writing is so addictive that I found myself reading one page after another which soon turned into late night reading routine! I have no regrets!

This book was definitely more political than other YA fantasy novels I have read and I found that aspect to be quite refreshing. Throughout the course of the novel, Holly Black was able to place so many bread crumbs hinting at the upcoming climatic moment and she was able to do this so cleverly.  AND OMG the amount of twists and turns within this novel had my mind spinning – in a good way of course! There were times when I literally gasped!

On a side note, I found that annotating this book to be really helpful since I was able to read more carefully and fully immerse myself into this fantasy world. I think annotating also helped me retain more info and capture all the details since there was a lot of topics, issues, plot points which were discussed that underlining, tabbing and using index cards and post-it notes really helped me to read more carefully and I found it to be a great experience. I am not sure whether I will continue to annotate all my books but perhaps the ones which I know I am for sure going to enjoy.

But overall, I really enjoyed reading this first novel of this series and I will for sure continue on with the other books!

Have any of you read the Cruel Prince? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Tropes

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Hello everyone! Hope you are having a great start to your week! I’m here to take part with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt where we are talking about our favorite tropes! Let’s face it. Whenever we pick up books, we tend to find a lot of tropes interlaced throughout the pages but we have to admit, there are some which we can’t help but love.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

So without further ado, here are my favorite tropes:

Hate to Love (A Curse so Dark and Lonely, Stolen Songbird)

If you have previously read my blog, then you would know that I am not a fan of insta-love. The overall essence of it seems to be quite unnatural to me and it sometimes interferes with the flow of the story that it becomes unpleasant to read. I am a fan of the “hate to love” or the “enemies to lovers” trope where there are obstacles/ misunderstandings inhibiting the main characters from growing close but once they tend to move past these challenges, their relationship proceeds in a more natural and realistic way where it is interesting to see their growth.

Boarding School (Harry Potter, Truly Devious)

The overall atmosphere created with a boarding school (especially magical ones like Harry Potter) completely intrigues me. In one aspect, the attendees seem to have more freedom or independence to go on quests or expeditions and the overall themes woven into these stories are quite different.

Undercover/ Disguise (Spin the Dawn, An Ember in the Ashes)

One of the the aspects that I enjoy in stories involves characters who go undercover into dangerous locations or disguise themselves to take part in challenging missions since this would create escalated tensions and the high stakes that keep you on the edge of your seat. When I first read An Ember in the Ashes, I grew fearful for one of the main characters who had to enter into a dangerous Academy. With this trope combined with the fast moving plot, I ended up staying up until 4AM to complete it! HAHA

Forbidden Love (Prisoner of Night and Fog)

Another potential weakness of mine. The Forbidden Love trope. I am not sure why I seem to enjoy these so much since they are quite heartbreaking and tend to place me into a bucket of emotions. I guess it could be the realistic aspect of it? Love does not come easily and I think this trope showcases that (maybe in heightened levels). It also poses so many challenges that the characters have to overcome and also tests their level of passion, respect and loyalty for one another and I found that this aspect creates such a great read!

Gang of Misfits (Six of Crows, Aurora Rising)

Don’t we always love that ragtag crew of misfits joining forces to save the world? There is just something enticing about that entire concept. I think part of it is that we love to watch an underdog face multiple tribulations and grow to beat the odds in the end. It’s completely unexpected and exciting and adding this to a storyline gives something to cheer for.

Team Up! (The Lunar Chronicles, Orange, Harry Potter)

One of the best things a novel can offer are quality friendships. I absolutely love watching friendships grow between characters and sometimes even between the most unlikely pair! It offers a different relationship interwoven into the storyline and it quite refreshing to read about.

Playful Banter (Stalking Jack the Ripper)

I swear. This is another one of my weaknesses! I absolutely adore those playful banters! Sometimes it may not between characters who are romantically attracted to another but also between really close friends. This tends to add a lighter atmosphere to a storyline and can help to alleviate the tension from time to time. And I can’t help but adore these types of couples!

The Chosen One (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Throne of Glass)

Ok, just to reiterate this for clarity purposes LOL – The Chosen One trope done right HAHA I think there are so many novels which incorporate this theme into their stories but there are certain aspects of this trope which needs to be carried out appropriately in order for it thrive. But once it is done right, this trope adds such a dynamic layer to the novel and brings so much thrill and excitement to readers like me. When you read about a moment when regular people find out that they are extraordinary, it makes you as a reader want to cheer for them since many people wish to see that as a reflection upon themselves.

A Book Lover (Sorcery of Thorns, Throne of Glass)

I absolutely fangirl over these characters! I mean as a book lover how could you not get excited over characters who share a similar interest to you? As soon as I learned that Sorcery of Thorns followed a story about a girl who worked in a magical library, I was automatically hooked and I knew I just had to read it!

AntiHero! (A Darker Shade of Magic, Vicious, Six of Crows)

It’s quite rare that we ever find ourselves following the villains of the story or characters who may not be completely good and tend to operate on a gray line. Such stories tend to create a world of possibility since we cannot typically predict what these characters may do. I think this is what makes it so interesting to read from their storylines and try to comprehend how and why they choose to do what they do.

So these were my top favorite tropes! Which ones do you tend to love? Do we share any similarities? Let me know your thoughts below and we can chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

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It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!!! And for this week’s prompt, its all about characters! So I decided to talk about my favorite female and male leads! This was a very hard list to create since I had to narrow it down to only 10. In addition, I wanted to create an even distribution so I decided to list my top 5 female leads and my top 5 male leads. Otherwise, we would have a pretty long list HAHA

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s move on towards the list!

Female Protagonist 

Laia An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I think Laia is a perfect example of a dynamic character. When reading the first book of the series, I was amazed at how her character grew from a scared, young girl to a strong and determined fighter. In addition, she grew to be more expressive of her feelings and I loved that aspect of her since it showcased a balance of strength and emotion.

KatnissThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss will forever be iconic in YA novels. I loved that even despite going through physical, emotional and mental challenges, she still remains strong. In addition,  I  loved reading about the immense care and love she had for her sister since that was something I could relate to since I have a younger sister as well. Although I do love Katniss, I also feel that a lot of the main characters in YA emulate her personality. Sometimes it feels so repetitive and becomes extreme that they seem strong but also void of emotion. In these cases, I can’t help but wish for something different and fresh.

Audrey WadsworthStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

Audrey was superior in many ways. I love that she did not fall into the typical YA warrior archetype. She was powerful in her own way through her knowledge and pursuit of studying forensic science. She also has a spark to her character and her banter with the male lead in this series is absolutely hilarious! 🙂

CressThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cress was simply adorable. I loved how she was a cute fangirl with her head full of fairy tale/ drama moments but at the same time she was a wiz when it came to computer tech. Her hacker skills were extraordinary as was her character growth. I loved reading from her perspective since I could relate to certain situations which she went through.

Delilah BardA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Well. Is there anything we can say about her? She is just amazing! The amount of tenacity, intelligence, strength is stunning to see in her character. While I did not appreciate her reasons for being a thief in the beginning of the novel, I do believe that she does act rationally and at the end, she matures to a fantastic character. It was honestly hard to say goodbye when the series ended 😦

Male Protagonist 

Thomas Creswell –  Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

OH. MY. GAWD. Thank the lord I started reading Stalking Jack the Ripper series this year or else I would have never discovered this man LOL Thomas is a character who captured me from the start. He bears a close resemblance to Captain Thorne (that’s probably why I adore him so much) but I really loved reading about his approach to solving issues in the book. He also has a great level of intelligence in criminal investigations and always supports the female lead in this series which loved seeing.

EliasAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

One of the main reasons why I love Elias is because he was able to discover where his faults lie and was willing to fix them. Moreover, he was open about it and was not afraid to discuss it and why is was important for him to correct it (more so in the first book). I also loved that as a soldier, he was brave yet had empathy unlike his other fellow companions within the training academy. GOALS!

Captain ThorneThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Captain Thorne is probably one of the best characters in the Lunar Chronicles series. Every time I would read one of scenes, I could not help but smile at his hilarious comments! I also think he had really great character arc in this series as well and it was great to see his growth. (Ahem . . Why is this almost turning into a Book Boyfriend tag . . .Focus ASH! FOCUS!)

KellA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Kell is a sweetheart. Yes, he is an Antari and wields powerful magic but he will always hold a special place in my heart. Throughout the series we see Kell grow from a lonely young man to one who discovers his true family had always been beside him. It was heartwarming to see the brotherhood between him and the future heir of Red London as well as the dynamics with the female lead Lila. I truly believe he is a character who showcases a perfect example of strength, vulnerability and compassion.

Kaz BrekkerSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Six of Crows duology is one of my favorite series of all time. One of the main points of interests in this novel are the characters and Kaz Brekker as the mastermind leader of the Dregs was phenomenal. I loved that you never really knew what he was thinking or planning to do and that made it even more interesting to read about him and where the story might go. Despite being criminals, I appreciated that the author provided glimpses to their pasts since it does help ground them and even help us as readers to relate to them. These are perfect cases where when you take away the labels and stereotypes, we see that at the end we are all human and we all feel the same way.

And this is my list! Who are your favorite characters? Did we have any similarities?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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WWW Wednesday – July 3rd 2019

Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous week! I’m here to share with you all my current reading status through a WWW Wednesday which is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Currently Reading:

acursesodark

I finally managed to pick this one up and I am so excited! From all the positive reviews on GoodReads and bookblogs/booktube, I knew I just had to start this ASAP. Plus, it incorporates my favorite genres – Fairy Tale Re-tellings/ Fantasy. I also heard that there is a representation of the main character with Cerebral Palsy so I am really interested to see how the author incorporates this into the novel. Have any of you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? What did you think of it?

Recently Finished:

queen of ruin

A stunning conclusion to an awesome duology of sisterhood, feminism and strength. If you are looking for something to get you out of a reading slump, I highly suggest that you try this series. It is really fast paced with an amazing character development that is sure to capture your attention! I recently finished a review post for this book and you can check it out HERE

Read Next: 

Well, is quite obvious at this point that I cannot have just one book for this answer HAHA I need some choices 🙂 For now, these are the books I am really looking forward to read next. I have a feeling it might be either The Cruel Prince (ahem . . let’s face it, I am way behind LOL) or Sorcery of Thorns (the summary is just too intriguing).

How about you guys? Have you read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? And what are your next reads?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 🙂

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