“Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

Good [insert your time of day here]! It’s been a few days since the last one, and because of time constraints due to some medical stuff on the horizon, I haven’t had time to finish my current -current read, so I’ve decided to do another retrospective book review. This one’s gonna be on Scarlet (you’ll never guess what I’m gearing up for…).

As I’ve mentioned before, a retrospective book review is when I review a past read of mine, after skimming through it again. Today, I’m gonna talk about Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. (I recently did a review on Cinder, which you can check out here.)

She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.


scarlet - marissa meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #2)

Length: 454 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Book Description:

The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

“I lied to you about a lot of things….but I meant every apology.”

Out of all I’ve read in The Lunar Chronicles so far, Scarlet has to be my absolute favorite in the series. To me, it was like Cinder but better, which is a bit of a feat in itself, cuz I loved Cinder.

But yeah, there’s so much that I adore about this book. And because of that – and to save my sanity – I’m gonna divide up this review with some lovely headings.

The Characters

A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”

The characters are definitely my favorite thing about this book. Scarlet is, at least to me personally, a much better protagonist (or co-protagonist) than Cinder is. She’s a couple years older than Cinder and she’s also got a little more life experience, and you can tell.

Carswell Thorne is also a very entertaining member of the supporting cast. He was introduced near the end of the first book, but you really get a feel for him and his personality in this novel. He’s the kind of character that I like to call a “stupid genius” – a character that appears stupid most of the time and frequently acts like an idiot, but also has some smarts hidden inside. (This character type is also sometimes naturally talented at a certain skill, as is the case here.)

Wolf is one of my favorite new characters introduced in Scarlet. He’s very mysterious initially (though I think most readers will get what’s up – Scarlet certainly did), but he opens up as the story progresses. His and Scarlet’s relationship is one of the defining pillars of the novel, and it’s also one of my favorite things about it.

The Story

This is another thing about Scarlet that I preferred over its predecessor. But it’s not that the plot of this book is better than Cinder’s.

Nope. I just like Little Red Riding Hood more than Cinderella is all.

But yeah, the futuristic, science-fantasy, retelling is an amazing spin on a classic fairytale.

The Setting

I’m going to sound like a broken record soon, but this is yet another thing I preferred over the first book. Because of Cinder’s state as a fugitive (spoiler), the book has finally moved out of future sci-fi China and expanded the setting.

Also, Scarlet lives in France, and spends a lot of time in a more rural area compared to the city slicking Cinder of the first novel. And I really liked that. It made the world feel both large and lived in, and it also further accentuated the differences between Scarlet and Cinder.

The Romance

“We met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance…all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.”

Now, if you’ve read some of my other posts, you’d know that I’m pretty anti-insta-love. And that’s because most insta-love stories are written like shit.

But this one isn’t. This is (a very rare case of) insta-love being done properly.

Wolf and Scarlet have an awesome dynamic. Despite Wolf being both physically bigger and stronger than her, their relationship never feels unbalanced in any way. And despite how he initially appears, Wolf really isn’t a bad boy. He’s kind and protective, and he just wants to love and support his girl.

And Scarlet cares for him in a very similar way. They just work together so well: they’re kind of a perfect team.

(The Very Few) Things That I Didn’t Like

There’s really only like one or two things that I didn’t care for, honestly. First: the POVs are numerous. Not as many as I’ve seen in other books (looking at you ASOIAF), but still climbing. And yeah, I get that it’s necessary for the story progression, but I would’ve liked more focus on Scarlet. The book really makes it feel like she’s less of a protagonist, and more of a girl who’s just gonna join and support Cinder eventually.

The other thing I didn’t care for: the insta-love. I know, I know, I just said that I actually enjoyed it for once here and just sang Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship praises. But, I dunno… I guess I just have a natural aversion to the trope, even if it’s done fantastically. I just prefer a good slow-burn is all.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, I really don’t have much more to say except go read this book/series right now! It’s truly an amazing set of books (so far), and I’ve pretty much only heard good things about the ones I haven’t read yet, too.

Also, Scarlet’s tenth anniversary is coming up later next week, so if you’ve already read it, why not reread it to celebrate? And if you haven’t, well I say that a tenth anniversary is as good a reason as any to read it!

As always, thank you for reading, and have an excellent day/night! Join me next time for more bookish things!

~ Mar ~

Cinderella, But She’s a Cyborg | “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer [Retrospective Book Review]

Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.


Title & Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #1)

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 3, 2012

Description:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl….

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.

I love this book so much. I first read it like… around five-ish years ago, I guess? Cinder was originally a 4.5 star rating, but then I read its sequel, Scarlet, which I liked even more, so I bumped it down half a star after I read that one. But it was 4.5 / 5 for a time.

(Glancing over it again, I still think it’s a 4 star book today, by the way. But it did change at one point, so that’s why the star ratings are different.)

Anyway, the book’s main character is Linh Cinder, a futuristic version of Cinderella, but with an actual personality and also happens to be a cyborg. I liked how smart and good with mechanical stuff, which was nice to see in a female character, and I really like how it tied her being a cyborg.

Prince Kai is TLC’s version of Prince Charming (he doesn’t have a name in the original version, to my knowledge). And he also has a personality. This is also a much less insta-lovey version of the original fairytale, which was also nice. I really liked how active he was in the plot, and how he had his own POV chapters.

It’s not just a sci-fi retelling of the classic story though. There’s definitely been a few other kinds of alterations here. Like Cinder’s stepsisters Pearl and Peony. Pearl is a pretty standard interpretation – she’s kind of a bitch. But Peony isn’t, and she and Cinder are actually quite close. I adored how sweet their relationship was. Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, is also closer to her original character, but she also has her reasons, even though she’s still a bitch.

My favorite alternation – and character, incidentally – was Iko, Cinder’s android BFF. She’s the definition of “being extra” before being extra was a thing. She’s sassy and funny. And let’s not forget horny. Very horny.

Cinder twisted up her lips. “Do you think it could have a virus?”

“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”

This quote here encapsulates the humor vibe for this book pretty well. (And this series, now that I’m thinking about it.) But there are series parts to the plot as well.

Dr. Erland is another character that I rather like. I liked his dynamic with Cinder, and how she kept sassing him. Erland is also a gray character, at least for most of the book, and you didn’t really know whose side he was on until the very end.

My favorite part of Cinder, though, definitely had to be all of the little bits of foreshadowing littered throughout the book for its sequels. An important character from later in the series has a cameo here, and another character here was introduced, whose name is a clue to their future role. And all kinds of other stuff.

Before I move on to my criticisms, I also wanna mention how good the writing is. Not only is the dialogue absolutely fantastic, but the prose and descriptions are also really great. I love the way that Marissa Meyer writes.

Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.

I didn’t really have any gripes with this novel, except for a thing or two. The first is that I wasn’t super into Cinder (the character). I didn’t hate her or anything – not even close! – she just seemed kind of like a generic sort of protagonist. I preferred Scarlet (the character), introduced in book two, as a protagonist.

The other thing is a bit spoilery, so if you don’t want to be spoiled skip this paragraph. *SPOILERS* I didn’t like how Peony was fridged. Though it wasn’t as soon as some fridgings I’ve read, I wish she had more time on the pages. *SPOILERS END*

So yeah, I definitely recommend Cinder to anyone and everyone, especially those who love the original fairytale. I love how the whole series flows together, and how it appears like the entire thing was mostly plotted out before all of the books were out. But yeah, read this book.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night!

Reading Retrospective: Red Winter

Let’s see… It’s been, I don’t know, about exactly a month right down to the day since I last did one of these. So I’d say that it’s been more than overdue for me to post another one.

Since it’s been such a looonng time since the last one – or if you’re new – Reading Retrospectives are posts where I go over a book I read in the past, of which there are many (ei: before I started posting stuff on this blog), and determine whether it still deserves the star rating that I originally gave it. So I basically just give it a proper review.

This time, I’m reinspecting a book I read around three years ago. It’s Red Winter by Annette Marie.

Red Winter by Annette Marie

Series: Red Winter Trilogy (Book #1)

Length: 348 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Book Description

Emi has spent her entire life hiding from the creatures that hunt her. The savage earth spirits are determined to kill her before she can become the living host of a goddess, so she stays hidden–until the day she saves the life of one of her hunters.

Shiro isn’t the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. He’s mysterious, cunning, unpredictable … and now hers to command. He’s sworn to pay his debt to her, but he doesn’t know who she is. If he finds out, he’ll kill her.

But she can’t send him away–not yet. Her future isn’t what she thought. The lies surrounding her fate have begun to unravel, and she needs answers before time runs out–answers that lie in the spirit realm. Shiro can take her there… if she dares to trust him.

And only then will she find out how deep the gods’ treachery runs.

My Review

Then: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.

So, like… This book still holds up for me. I still really like it. I’ve seen it compared to shoujo manga and anime, and, speaking as someone who has watched some of the latter, I absolutely agree. So I’m just gonna say straight up, that if you enjoy shoujo, you’ll like this book.

My favorite part about the book is how much the author cared about her book. It’s very clear just by reading this, that Marie put in a considerable amount of research and effort into making this as authentic, and true to the cultural source, as possible. And it really shows. It really does feel like I’m watching a shoujo anime (anime geared towards teenage girls), only no I’m not, I’m just reading a really well written novel. With a few really pretty illustrations.

But yeah, the setting is solid. It really feels like I’m reading a book set in Japan. I also adore the Japanese folklore here. I feel like I really don’t see enough books about it, outside of anime and such.

Not that that was the only thing that I really liked about Red Winter. The characters were pretty alright too.

“Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.”

I really liked Emi. She’s “not like other girls” in the best way – by which I mean she doesn’t have the stereotypical, overly sassy, good at most everything characterization problem that most YA female protagonists do. And I loved that about her. Emi has a traumatic backstory, like many leading characters, and most of her development over this novel is her learning to deal with, and begin to move past, said trauma. And she doesn’t put up a badass, sassy front to hide this part of herself from the world. She’s timid and vulnerable, and because of this, you can really start to see her evolve and shine that much more brightly. She’s definitely one of my more liked female protagonists in recent years.

Shiro was also decently interesting, despite being the more stereotypical of the two. Marie might have given Emi a variation on the “chosen one” cliche, but Shiro was the one to really inherit a lot of the more common tropes. Not that that’s a bad thing – I really like Shiro! I just wanted to acknowledge that he’s tied to a few literary (and anime) stereotypes. But yeah, Shiro is a kitsune (a Japanese fox spirit), so it’s really no surprise how likeable he is. Most people just love foxes.

She stopped, a half-dozen paces still separating them. The frantic thudding of her heart filled her ears as she met his vacant crimson stare. “Don’t forget me, Shiro,” she said hoarsely. “You’re not allowed to forget me.”

He blinked slowly and something shifted in his gaze. His lips curved in his familiar crooked smile. “You’ll forget me someday, little miko.” His voice was even hoarser than hers, rough and coated in a hint of an animal growl.

“I’ll never forget you,” she told him. “I’ll remember you to my last day.”

“Do you promise?”

Her heart gave an odd little flutter. “Yes, I promise.

The romance is also done just right between the two of them. It’s slow-burn, the (for the most part) best way to write a romance, which is your biggest giveaway that it’s well-written. (Hey, when the other option is insta-love, I will always choose a slow-burn any day!)

And, to top it off, Red Winter isn’t just a standalone novel. It’s the first part of a trilogy! So there’s even more to enjoy if you just couldn’t get enough of this one. (And yeah, haven’t read the rest of it yet, on account of life happening. In a good way, but it still happened.)

So yes, in short, I really like this book. The only downside is that, due to some pretty extensive world building at the start, it takes a bit for the plot to get going. Despite that, I still highly recommend it. If you like any of the novel’s genres, or folklore, or Japanese shoujo media, definitely give this book a shot!

My Anticipated New Books in 2023 | First Quarter ❄️💖☘️

I’ve decided to start posting about books that I’m interested in looking into and/or reading again. It’s just such a hassle to try to find at least three books a month that I might be interested in and that I might read, so I decided to broaden the scope.

To do so, I’ve chosen to start doing quarterly posts about it instead. So the first quarterly post about my anticipated books – which just so happens to be the first month of the year as well! – is gonna be focusing on new books that are releasing in January, February, and March only.

This time, there’s actually a bit more than sci-fi and fantasy on my list (who knew I actually had the ability to branch out like that? lol), but it’s pretty much all YA (okay, nevermind). I should also note, before I get into things, that this list includes books that just look interesting to me, ones that caught my eye a little and am interested in looking into further before I read them – if I read them. And others on the list I just really want to read right now. I have a feeling you’ll be able to tell which ones are which.

So, here comes the list!

(Also, apologies if the emojis that I used to rate my excitement levels for the books don’t match suuuper well. There’s only so many emojis available. I tried.)

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, YA

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.

Kellen does not fully understand his talent, but helps those transformed maliciously—including Nettle. Recovered from entrapment in bird form, she is now his constant companion and closest ally.

But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything—and everyone—around him…

Excitement Level: 🧵🧵🧵🧵🧵 • 5 / 5 spools of (unravelling) thread

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, YA

Edward Dinnissen, Crown Prince of Canada, loves getting the royal treatment at his exclusive Manhattan private school and living in a fancy mansion on Park Avenue. But despite living a royal life of luxury, Edward is unsure how to tell his parents, his expectant country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay.

Billy Boone couldn’t be happier: he loves small-town life and his family’s Montana ranch, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. But this out-and-proud cowboy is finally admitting to himself that he feels destined for more…

When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City and discover that they are long-lost twins, their lives are forever changed. The twin princes—“twinces”— be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together? Or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal disaster?

Excitement Level: 👑👑👑👑 • 4 / 5 (princely) crowns

Release Date: February 7, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, YA

A boy wakes to find himself locked in a white room. He has no memories, no idea who he is and no idea how he got here.

A computer-generated voice named Alice responds to his questions – through her, he is able to access the internet. He gradually pieces together his story – an abduction, a critical injury, snippets of his past … But how can the boy tell what’s real and what’s not? Who is he really?

Excitement Level: 💾💾💾💾💾 • 5 / 5 floppy discs

Release Date: March 7, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, YA

Flint Larson has 41 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes to live. He’s known that since he was eight years old and half-lifed, a small twinge that tells a person when they’ve lived exactly half their life. And since then, Flint’s done everything he can to make dying seem like a good thing. Cutting off all his friends, refusing to eat his favorite foods or listen to the best bands, reading only the most depressing Russian literature. He plans to spend his final days quietly back in his hometown with just his parents, waiting to die.

However, as September and Flint grow closer, Flint can’t bring himself to tell September he’s going to die. Because he might just be falling in love with her. But as his time runs out, his secret only grows heavier. And the truth could very well be the key to unlocking the pent-up sadness September never dealt with. And discovering more about half-life.

He did not expect to meet September Harrington, an utter explosion of brilliance and fun. September has dedicated her life to curing the half-life, landing a coveted internship at the world-renowned Half-Life Institute in town, after her sister’s death last year. A loss she’s never dealt with, instead choosing to live up each moment in the center of everything or deep in lab.

Will their connection prove extraordinary enough to last beyond those two months, or is their time together destined to end in heartbreak?

All’s fair in love and death… or is it?

Excitement Level: ⏱️⏱️⏱️ • 3 / 5 stopwatches

Release Date: March 7, 2023
Genres: Historical Supernatural, Mystery, LGBTQIA+, YA

London, 1885. Gabriel Utterson, a 17-year-old law clerk, has returned to London for the first time since his life— and that of his dearest friend, Henry Jekyll—was derailed by a scandal that led to his and Henry’s expuslion from the London Medical School. Whispers about the true nature of Gabriel and Henry’s relationship have followed the boys for two years, and now Gabriel has a chance to start again.

But Gabriel doesn’t want to move on, not without Henry. His friend has become distant and cold since the disastrous events of the prior spring, and now his letters have stopped altogether. Desperate to discover what’s become of him, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house.

In doing so, Gabriel meets Hyde, a a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma. He claims to be friends with Henry, and Gabriel can’t help but begin to grow jealous at their apparent closeness, especially as Henry continues to act like Gabriel means nothing to him.

But the secret behind Henry’s apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to coalesce. Monsters of all kinds prowl within the London fog—and not all of them are out for blood…

Excitement Level: 🎭🎭🎭🎭 • 4 / 5 masks (pairs of faces)

Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genre: Science Fiction

Edward Ashton’s Antimatter Blues is the thrilling follow up to Mickey7 in which an expendable heads out to explore new terrain for human habitation.

Summer has come to Niflheim. The lichens are growing, the six-winged bat-things are chirping, and much to his own surprise, Mickey Barnes is still alive—that last part thanks almost entirely to the fact that Commander Marshall believes that the colony’s creeper neighbors are holding an antimatter bomb, and that Mickey is the only one who’s keeping them from using it. Mickey’s just another colonist now. Instead of cleaning out the reactor core, he spends his time these days cleaning out the rabbit hutches. It’s not a bad life.

It’s not going to last.

It may be sunny now, but winter is coming. The antimatter that fuels the colony is running low, and Marshall wants his bomb back. If Mickey agrees to retrieve it, he’ll be giving up the only thing that’s kept his head off of the chopping block. If he refuses, he might doom the entire colony. Meanwhile, the creepers have their own worries, and they’re not going to surrender the bomb without getting something in return. Once again, Mickey finds the fate of two species resting in his hands. If something goes wrong this time, though, he won’t be coming back.

Excitement Level: 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀 • 5 / 5 rocket ships

Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, YA

Clara’s magic has always been wild. But it’s never been dangerous. Then a simple touch causes poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest.

The only way to heal him is to cast an extremely difficult spell that requires perfect control. And the only person willing to help is her former best friend, Xavier, who’s grown from a sweet, shy child into a mysterious and distant young man.

Xavier names a terrible price in return, knowing Clara will give anything to save her father. As she struggles to reconcile the new Xavier with the boy she once loved, she discovers their bargain is only one of the heavy secrets he’s hiding. And as she hunts for the truth, she instead finds the root of a terrible darkness that’s taken hold in the queendom—a darkness only Clara’s magic is powerful enough to stop.

Excitement Level: 🌼🌼🌼 • 3 / 5 flowers

Release Date: March 28, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, YA

The villagers of Greymist Fair know that the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and that they should never set foot off the road. But when a young tailor discovers a body, her search for the culprit reveals even more strange and dark happenings around her town.

Two roads lead into a dark forest. They meet at Greymist Fair, the village hidden in the trees, a place kept alive by the families that never leave. The people of Greymist Fair know the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and to set foot off the road is to invite trouble.

When Heike, the village’s young tailor, discovers a body on the road, she goes looking for who is responsible. But her quest only leads to more strange happenings around Greymist Fair.

Inspired by the original, bloody, lesser-known fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, acclaimed author Francesca Zappia crafts an enthralling murder-mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Told from multiple points of view, with each narrative building on the crime discovered by Heike, Greymist Fair examines the themes of childhood fears, growing into adult responsibilities, and finding a place to call home amid the trials of life and death.

Excitement Level: 🌙🌙🌙🌙 • 4 / 5 moons over a dark night

Release Date: March 28, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, YA

Meet Winter Young—rookie backup dancer turned global pop phenomenon. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. Now he’s bringing his swoon worthy assets to a whole new arena…

Infamous criminal tycoon Eli Morrison has just one weakness—his daughter, Penelope. And Penelope has just one wish for her nineteenth birthday—a private concert with Winter Young. When covert ops organization The Panacea Group approaches Winter with this once-in-a-lifetime chance to infiltrate Morrison’s inner circle, Winter must use his fame, cunning, and charisma to pull it off—only he won’t be on his own.

Posing as Winter’s bodyguard is the fiery Sydney Cossette, Panacea’s youngest spy. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter’s charms, but as the mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit there’s more to this A-lister than slick dance moves and a handsome face. Panacea’s unlikeliest partners just might become its biggest heroes—and maybe even more—if they can survive each other first.

Excitement Level: 👞👞👞👞 • 4 / 5 pairs of shoes

Reviewing Another Little Mermaid Retelling | Out of the Blue: Book Review

Dogs barking, children yelling, car horns carrying down the sand from the… what’s that word again? Oh, street.

About This Book

Title & Author: Out of the Blue by Jason June

Length: 377 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQIA

Release Date: May 31, 2022

Book Description

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the month-long sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder—or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with. Humans are disgusting. They’ve polluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together, and Crest’s perspective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…

This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the word home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves. 

My Review

Star Rating: ★★★✯☆ • 3.5 / 5 stars

It was the perfect rom-com moment, when the two leads finally realize they’re meant to be together.

This was a super fun retelling of The Little Mermaid. I loved this on so many levels. The bits of world building. The dialogue and inner monologues. So much of this book was fantastic.

I also really loved all of the modern additions June included. I mean, it was urban fantasy, so obviously. I just liked how it was done is all.

The highlight of the book for me was definitely the characters. Crest’s sarcasm and grumpiness was a lot of fun to read, and I liked how gentle and kind Sean was (when he wasn’t trying to make his crappy ex jealous). I also liked how body positive Sean was about himself – it was really nice to see, especially compared to Lily from When Life Gives You Vampires. I also adored Kavya – she’s the kind of friend that everyone deserves, though she’s definitely not perfect either.

I also really liked how the predictable plot points and issues that are normally left to a book’s climax and ending were resolved long before. Such as the realization and acceptance of romantic feelings. And the stuff that came after didn’t feel tacked on or boring or anything. There were still some plot threads to tie up, after all, and I’m glad that the author didn’t leave us hanging.

“I swear as each day goes by you become more and more of a bro.”

I also really liked the ending, even if I ended up predicting it exactly. It was sweet, and there was definitely some happily ever afterness going on, even if it wasn’t what readers might initially expect. // The reason that this book is a 3.5 out of 5 and not a 4 out of 5, is because I would’ve liked to see more of the mer life and mer culture. I really liked the world building around them that we did get, I just wish we got to see more of it, instead of just humans and land for the majority of the book. Also, I would have liked less mention of mer sex. Like, I like to think I’m a rather sex-positive individual, but mentioning wanting to have mer sex every other page is just waaay too much for a book like this – this wasn’t erotica after all.

Anyway, this book was pretty great. Probably a much better summer read than in the winter, but hey, I still had fun reading it. The rep in this book is good too, and it’s done pretty well. Definitely recommend it if you’re into the genres.

Retrospective Review: Among the Beasts and Briars

Briars, brambles, bones, and blossom, I smell a girl who can’t be forgotten.

It’s been weeks since I last ruminated on a book from my past. So, I thought that it was beyond high time for me to another reading retrospective. This time, I’m retroactively reviewing Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

Length: 352 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale, Romance

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Book Description

Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.

Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.

But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

My Review

Then: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

I always thought that gardeners’ daughters couldn’t thrive where our roots didn’t grow. But maybe we were like dandelion tuffs.

I love, love, loved this book when I first read it twice years ago, and I still love, love, love it now. It was a wonderful fall fairytale, and I regret completely that I never made a fall vibes book recommendation list like I did for Halloween and winter, so that I could recommend it. (Maybe something for next year? Hmm…)

The vibes and prose in this book are – as I said before – absolutely perfect for autumn. Personally, I recommend the days leading up to Thanksgiving, if you have the time. It just feels the most like fall during that time to me, and since this book embodies the season so well… you get it.

Anyway, like I said, the prose and writing in this book was fantastic. I love the way that Poston describes things. It presents such a wonderful visual.

The leaves on the trees we approached were a molten gold, like an artist had taken a sunset and poured it over the forest, and the crisp smell of the coming winter floated on the autumn breeze. It was early afternoon, and the birds sang bright and loud in the treetops.

See? An absolutely beautiful description. And just one of many, I might add.

The story and characters were also great. I loved Cerys. I loved how she wasn’t a so-called “strong female protagonist” and that, even though she had a strange power via a curse, she never felt “special.” She just felt like a nice girl trying her best to fulfill her mission. Fox was a fantastic personality for Cerys to interact with, and I loved his POV sections just as much as Cerys’, if not more. He just had the right amount of sass to be both hilarious and compelling.

The plot was also fantastic. It wasn’t super complex, but I loved the fairytale inspired aspect of it, as well as how it never slowed down or dragged at any point. I also loved how the forest was essentially a character in its own right – the lush descriptions really made it feel like one too.

She said that the people who die never really leave. That we carry them with every breath we take, until the wind itself is gone.

Anyway, yeah, this book was still just as good as the first time, and I completely recommend it. Definitely check it out if you haven’t read it – it’s a wonderful fairytale-like story. Pair it with some fall scents, a warm blanket, and some hot chocolate, and everything will be more than perfect when you read it. Thanks, as always, for reading, and join me next time for more bookish things.

Book Review: “The Will and the Wilds” by Charlie N. Holmberg

A chill wind makes its way through the wildwood, whispering of misfortunes to come.

About The Will and the Wilds

Length: 265 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: January 21, 2020

Book Description

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

My Review

Star Rating: ★★★✯☆ • 3.5 / 5 stars

Mankind cannot linger in the monster realm, just as mystings cannot abide here long. Our worlds are too different, and they reject those who don’t belong.

Sooo… I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. But it gets 3.5 stars because I’ve given books I’ve liked less 3 stars. It’s not a bad book by any means, though, and I’ll definitely be getting around to more books by Ms. Holmberg. Her prose and writing in general is pretty amazing, and is one of my favorite parts about the book.

What is a soul if not an extension of the heart? Grandmother once said to me. To lose one’s soul is to lose what makes one human. It’s no better than death.

I found that the MC, Enna, to be not annoying, so I’ll definitely give the book that. Especially since so many female protagonists are like that nowadays. Maekallus, one of the two love interests and another main character, also pleasantly surprised me by not being toxic – once actual emotions started happening on his end, that is – and he was actually pretty insecure and kind. Especially since he’s essentially an emotionless demon. He’s actually called a mysting, but mystings are basically totally demons, so he’s a demon.

Anyway, back to the relationship talk. Enna was actually the more toxic of the duo, with the way she flip-flopped between the two love interests, and how she gaslit her mentally incapacitated father (which I did not approve of. At all.), as well as one of the love interests. (Which I also didn’t like.)

It is painful for mystings to cross oon berry. Weaving a circle of thorny plants around your home will act as a proficient safeguard.

The plot and world also felt a little underdeveloped, and I really wanted to know more about the human world and The Deep. I would’ve loved to have a map or two. The climax was also kind of “meh,” but it was primarily a character and emotional driven story, so I’ll let it slide.

Something that I really, really liked though, were the little notes underneath the chapter headings about the mystings and their realm. I also liked how it quickly became obvious that they were Enna’s notes (as well as her grandmother’s). It made me want a bestiary of all the creatures and stuff, with drawings to boot.

I did enjoy this book overall, however, and I have a feeling that people who liked the author’s other stuff will like this. It also had Among the Beasts and Briars (by Ashley Poston) vibes, but not quite as good, so if you like that type of fantasy novel, you’ll probably like The Will and the Wilds.

Reading Retrospective: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

So, it’s been what, like eleven days or something, since I last reflected on a book from my past? That’s far too long. Let’s change that, shall we? It’s time for some retrospecting. (Yes, I know that’s not a real word.) (No, I don’t care.)

Reading Retrospectives are when I go back and reflect on books that I’ve read. Books that I have strong opinions on, but never reviewed because I read them before I even had a Goodreads (let alone a blog), and books from my childhood to my college days. Everything is fair game, honestly. If you’ve read the title, you know what this post’s gonna be about. If you haven’t, I’m reflecting on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Here we go!

About ACOTAR

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses [Book #1]

Length: 432 pages

Genre: High Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Book Description

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.

At least, he’s not a beast all the time.

As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

My Retrospective Review

When I Originally Read This: November 2015

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

ACOTAR. Oh, ACOTAR. The history that you and I have.

Gonna be perfectly honest here, before I caved in and started reading this, I had very strong aspirations to never do so. Like, I saw in my local Barnes & Noble in May or June of 2015, instantly could tell what type of “YA” book (the quotes are there, cuz hindsight) this was gonna be, and just… stayed away. Or attempted to, anyway.

In November of 2015, my strength failed me, and I caved into buying this book. And it was exactly like I knew it would be. YA with a “strong, female protagonist” who falls in a “passionate, fiery” love with some supernatural supermodel.

And I loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely irritated me that I even started reading this in the first place. But, at the time, my soul wanted a guilty-pleasure-romance, so a guilty-pleasure-romance was what I read. And I liked it mostly in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. Not because I thought it was amazing literature or anything. Because, trust me, I didn’t.

“I came to claim the one I love.”

The characters were not very likeable, for one thing. Feyre was an annoying protagonist, who continually made stupid decisions; some of which, were extremely contrived. She was also quite bland, like a blank canvas, if I may incorporate one of Feyre’s “hobbies” into a simile.

And if Feyre was a blank canvas, then the love interest, Tamlin, was the material that a blank canvas is made out of. This man – sorry, “male” – was less than a block of wood, or even a sheet of paper. He honestly barely qualifies as a character, as he was mostly just a plot device to push Feyre to do something. Because, despite this book being over 400 pages, it becomes clear after a while, that at least 150 of them could have been cut. (Maas likes to overwrite and over-describe.)

“Do you ever stop being so serious and dull?”

“Do you ever stop being such a prick?” I snapped back.

Dead—really, truly, I should have been dead for that.

But Lucien grinned at me. “Much better.”

I’d get into more of the characters, but there really weren’t any. That really qualify as characters, at least. Lucien was probably the best of the almost characters. Actually, scratch that, he was the best. Even better than Feyre honestly. Throughout the novel, he and Feyre had way more chemistry than her and Tamlin, so I was kinda rooting for them as a couple for awhile. But we can’t have nice things, so I quickly gave up.

Feyre’s family were pretty much nonentities here (except for one tiny part later in the novel), they just existed as a motivation for her. Also, they sucked. Like, they were completely horrible to her. And, let’s not get into the “most handsome man [Feyre] had ever seen.” No, that’s going in the retrospective on ACOMAF, thank you very much. I’ll get to him though, I promise.

I’d mention the villain of the story, but the book isn’t really about that, so… yeah, just gonna leave this already long rant about the characters in this book here.

This book wasn’t all bad with the characters (barring Lucien), however. There were a few good lines and character moments nestled within some of the pages, that I wish we’d seen more of. Like this:

I found him carefully studying me, his lips in a thin line. “Has anyone ever taken care of you?” he asked quietly.

“No.” I’d long since stopped feeling sorry for myself about it.

and this

“Because I wouldn’t want to die alone,” I said, and my voice wobbled as I looked at Tamlin again, forcing myself to meet his stare. “Because I’d want someone to hold my hand until the end, and awhile after that. That’s something everyone deserves, human or faerie.”

I actually really like the setting and the world building (that we get) a lot. I found it to be very interesting, even though it’s more than obvious that Maas just traced over a map of the U.K. and renamed it Prythian (and Hybern). The division of the “courts” was intriguing to me, and I wish that the series expanded on the way their hierarchies worked in a way that made sense more than it actually ended up being. (We’ll get to that, don’t worry. Just not in this review.) I also adored the magical atmosphere of the book, as well.

Despite… everything about ACOTAR, I will admit that I really enjoyed it. It was stupid fun – guilty-pleasure-romance, just as I said near the beginning. So I’ll take one thing that this book said, to heart:

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

Because if we don’t read what we enjoy, then what the hell are we doing with our limited free time on this planet? We should do things that bring us joy (within reason. I’m looking at you… people who do bad things.) and if they include reading not-that-great, but also, weirdly-addicting, fantasy romances, then we should just do that!

Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses, or any of Sarah J Maas’ other novels? What did you think of them? What are your guilty-pleasure books? (I know you have at least one…) Thanks for reading, and see you again soon for more bookish things.

Book Review: “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” by Alexandra Bracken

Some towns get caramel apples. Others get a special chocolate treat as their claim to fame. We get fried pumpkin leaves.

About This Book

Series: Prosper Redding [Book #1]

Length: 367 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Book Description

Prosper Redding is the only unexceptional member of his very successful family, that is, until he discovers a demon living inside him. Turns out, Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made, and then broke – a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. Now Alastor, the malefactor, has reawakened and is intent on destroying the Redding fortune, unless they can kill him in the body he inhabits, which, oh, wait, that’s Prosper, and why is his grandmother coming at him with a silver blade.

In danger from both the demon trying to take over his soul and the family that would rather protect their fortune than their own kin, Prosper narrowly escapes with the help of his long lost Uncle Barnabas and Barnabas’s daughter, Nell, a witch in training. According to Barnabas and Nell, they have only days to break the family curse and find a way to banish Alastor back to the demon realm. Until then, Prosper has to deal with Alastor’s vengeful mutterings inside his head (not to mention his nasty habit of snacking on spiders). And, every night, Alastor’s control over his body grows stronger...

As the deadline to the curse draws nearer, Prosper and Nell realize there’s more at stake than just the Redding family fortune… that there might be something else out there, something worse than Alastor, that could destroy the balance between the human and demon realms and change the world as they know it forever.

My Review

Star Rating: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

Uncle Barnabas glanced up at the ceiling, scratching his head. “We are, uh, entertaining a few options for solving your predicament at the moment.”

“You don’t have a clue, do you?” I asked flatly.

This book was a ton of fun. I really enjoyed it. Which is why I gave it the semi-rare, five star rating.

I honestly liked just about everything about it. The characters were great, the setting was somewhat richly described, the plot was awesome, and the protagonist’s narrative voice was the bomb. It would be most appropriate as a pre-Halloween, October read, but it honestly kinda works anytime. Though, I did still read it during the fall, so that may be part of the reason I was still in the mood.

I had no idea who Louis XIV was, but someone seriously needed to have a talk with him about his sick obsession with gold naked-baby-angel statues.

To start off this review proper, let’s talk about the characters first. I loved Prosper Redding, and just how much sarcasm he had inside of him. Because it’s not just a demon in the trying to get out (more on that in a bit), oh no. Prosper is one of those characters that is unable to keep the sass on the down-low, and he speaks his mind, regardless of the consequences. Kind of like a diet-Harry Dresden, or Percy Jackson (though he’s actually a little more sassy than the latter, in my opinion). And don’t worry, Prosper has character growth as well.

Alastor, Fiend Prince With a Really Long Title, was a lot of fun too. I thoroughly enjoyed his arrogance and unbearable-ness, and I loved his interactions with Prosper. These two have the best dialogue together in the entire book. I also liked how active both Al and Prosper were with their differing agendas, and how neither one was just a static, reactive character. Because Alastor also has some character development going on.

“Chill,” she said. “Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed.”

I rolled my eyes. “Sorry I don’t speak Fortune Cookie.”

I also really enjoyed Nell Bishop, and her dynamic with Prosper. The two played off one another really well, with Nell being a somewhat more serious “straight-man” type of character, but she always brought her own sass to the table when she needed to.

Uncle Barnabas was… interesting. I can’t really say too much without giving away a little of the plot, but he played his role well. And, last but not least, I also liked Prosper’s twin sister Prue, though she didn’t appear in the novel as many times as I would have liked. I also would have liked her and Prosper to have had more interactions as well, to show more of their bond, but it wasn’t too much of a gripe for me or anything.

And yeah, this is kind of slightly mean, but I loved how much Prosper dunked on his grandmother. Nevermind, she was a total a-hole, so she completely deserved it, actually. Just… the descriptions and general stuff he said about her was hilarious.

It wasn’t that Prue and I hated our grandmother. It was just that we thought she might be the Devil in a dress suit.

and

That was it. I whirled around with only one goal: to run back up that hill, through the creepy forest, and straight out of Redhood. If she was giving us sweets and talking in that strange, drippy voice, it could only be for one reason. She was going to poison me.

Prosper’s thoughts on the rest of his horrible family are also very amusing.

Charlotte, the oldest of us, the one responsible for throwing me off a second-floor balcony to see if I could fly, only smiled and wrapped an arm around my shoulder.

as well as

Oh crap, I thought, trying to take a step back. My family really is a cult. That guy with the website had been right.

The pacing in the story was perfect too. For me at least. Fast-paced is the best! I like it when the plot and stuff don’t really slow down. And it wasn’t too fast; the characters still had time to “breathe” and react properly to stuff, so that was also great.

I also really liked the atmosphere of the novel. The vivid, beautiful descriptions of October environments was perfect. I almost wanted to try some Silence Cakes (the fried leaves, covered in syrup and sugar) myself. Almost.

Loved the villains of the book, as well. The climax in particular was very exciting, and it made me want to start the sequel immediately. And I did. So, expect a review for The Last Life of Prince Alastor, in the next week.

Have you read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding? What did you think of it? Thanks for reading, and return next time for more bookish things!

Reading Retrospective: Serpent & Dove • Shelby Mahurin

It’s been a bit, but it’s time for a Reading Retrospective.

Reading Retrospectives are when I go back and reflect on books that I’ve read. Books that I gave strong opinions on, but never reviewed because I read them before I even had a Goodreads (let alone a blog). And books from my childhood to my college days. Everything is fair game, honestly.

Today I’m discussing Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

About Serpent & Dove

Series: Serpent & Dove [Book #1]

Length: 528 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Book Description

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy trilogy, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

My Retrospective Review

When I Originally Read This: November 2020

Then: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★✯☆ • 3.5 / 5 stars

When I first read this back in 2020, I gotta be honest, I enjoyed this. Quite a bit. It wasn’t a five star book by any means, but I thought it was still pretty good. In a guilty pleasure sort of way, at least.

But after going for a second round with Serpent & Dove more recently, it was honestly kind of hard to get through on a reread. I actually had a strong urge to drop it, which I felt kinda bad about, because I hate DNF-ing stuff.

What I Still Like About It

The characters. Well… some of the characters, at least. The leads, Lou and Reid, left something to be desired, as I didn’t find either of them to be very likeable (though I enjoyed Reid’s POVs more than Lou’s).

The characters I’m talking about were the supporting cast. Coco was a blast to follow when she was actually hanging around the protagonists, and thus actually in the plot. I also thought that her sacrificial blood magic was more interesting than Lou’s “pattern based” magic. Ansel was also a delight – he was an absolute cinnamon roll and deserves to be protected at all cost. Madame Labelle also seemed interesting, initially, however, she grew far less so the farther I got in the novel.

I did like the interactions and the banter between the characters, even the two protagonists, despite how subpar I thought they were as main characters. Lou and Reid had some good interactions, I’ll admit it. I liked how they challenged each other – they were much better together than they were alone.

I also really liked the setting; I’m good with most historical fantasies or historical fantasy based settings. Even though I couldn’t tell whether or not it was a fantasy world or magic historical France; it was a little unclear, although I’m pretty sure that it was a fantasy world.

I also loved that it was around not-Christmas. I love Christmastime, and I never see it in a book that’s not a holiday romance or Harry Potter, so that was kinda nice.

Though the dialogue and prose weren’t my favorite, there were a few lines that I kinda liked. (That, and I’m gonna quite some lines that I thought were stupid in the “Stuff I Hated” section, so I decided to be nice.)

Un malheur ne vient jamais seul. Misfortune never arrived alone. {French proverb}

I really liked this one, though the author didn’t come up with it herself, so…? 🤷‍♂️

I also liked this one.

Lou glared at him. “I like you, Ansel, but this had better be something good. Emilie and Alexandre just had a moment.”

and

“Why the feck is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife?”

What I Don’t Like About It

Well, first off, as I mentioned above, I don’t much care for Lou and Reid. Lou was far too sassy and erratic, and she made a lot of dumb decisions. And I just found her generally annoying. Reid was less insufferable, but he too, made stupid decisions. And he was almost comically naive at times. For instance, he’s a witch hunter, but he pretty much believes everything Lou says. Nearly unquestioningly. It’s actually that ridiculous.

Another thing that I really hated was the McGuffin: The One Ring. *cough* Sorry, “Angelica’s Ring.” Whatever. It pretty much functions the same way, minus having a consciousness. (They both can turn people invisible.)

The inciting incident that forced Lou and Reid into marriage felt excruciatingly convoluted, and filled me with hatred. Like, there really weren’t any other options? Seriously?!? It just felt so contrived when I read it, that it made me want to bang my head against the wall.

I also hate a lot of decisions that happen during the climax. I’m not gonna spoil anything, but they just didn’t make sense to me at all. Just saying.

And, before we go, it’s time for the lines that I hated. Just like I promised.

Coco and I shared a black look. If Babette wasn’t careful, she’d soon learn just how wretched and violent we could be.

Just. Ugh. They’re so annoying.

And such a tight little ass.

I really like this line, actually. It’s so direct. Just not in this book. It feels too out of place.

“Do not urge me to leave you and turn back from you.” He trailed his fingers down my arm in slow, torturous strikes.

Ew. Waaayy too sappy.

Final Thoughts

As much as I I’ve ragged on Serpent & Dove in some parts of this review, it’s really not bad at all. That’s its sequel, Blood & Honey. (I’m not joking – that one’s terrible. There’ll be a roast on that one coming up, you can be sure of that.) S & D just feels like guilty pleasure fantasy-romance. A little like the ACOTAR series, but somehow, not as good. (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either.)

This really has ACOTAR vibes though, so if you’re really into that series, this is probably for you. Not sure about B & H, though. (I’m honestly not sure who that one’s for, actually.) (Fine, I’ll stop.)

Anyway, have you read Serpent & Dove? Or the rest of the series? What did you think of it? Thanks for reading – as always!