Weekly Wrap-Up: 4/10 – 4/16

This week was, fortunately, less busy than the one before it. Thank goodness. The holidays always seem to be busy for me, regardless of what I decide to do. Maybe I’ll change up my routine around those times?

Anyway, I was able to get more stuff done, and post more than one book review this past week. Yay! And I also participated in Shelf Control for the first time in what feels like forever. So progress on several fronts!

But enough about that. Let’s go over last week.

Wednesday 4/12: Shelf Control #13

Last Wednesday, I finally posted another Shelf Control. Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books languishing on our bookshelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control #13

Thursday 4/13: The Cloud Roads Review

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Thursday was when I was finally able to get my review out for The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells. It was an interesting, slow-burn fantasy novel, and is the first in The Books of the Raksura series. I gave it ★★★✯☆.

My review of The Cloud Roads

Friday 4/14: First Line Friday #10

On Friday I participated in First Line Fridays yet again. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature formerly hosted by Wandering Words.

First Line Friday #10

Sunday 4/16: Blood & Honey Review

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Yesterday, I had finally finished re-skimming Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin, and was ready to post my updated review for it on the blog. I gave it ★✫☆☆☆.

My review of Blood & Honey

Books That I Read Last Week

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Goals for 4/17 – 4/23

I just want to keep up with everything like I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to post on the blog, and get done with the rest of my life outside of the blog.

I do want to do another Majestic Monday before the day is out. It’s something I haven’t been able to really get to for about a month, and I’m somewhat disappointed in myself for not keeping up with it, even though it was out of my control.

I also want to read more than one book this week, and just read more in general. Last week I fell into a little slump, and I want to get myself out of that ASAP.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“Blood & Honey” by Shelby Mahurin | Book Review

It’s been about a month or so, so I’ve decided that it was more than time for another retrospective book review.

Retrospective Book Reviews (previously Reading Retrospectives), for those who don’t know, are basically book reviews, but they’re on books that I read before I started this blog. So, in order for them to get their day in the sun, I go back through them and see if my opinion when I originally read them holds up.

This week, I’m re-reviewing a book I read a couple of years ago. it’s Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin.

Blood & Homey by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

SERIES: Serpent & Dove (Book #2)

LENGTH: 544 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 1 September 2020


After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

My Review

The world didn’t end in a scream.

It ended in a gasp.

A single, startled exhalation.

And then— Nothing.

Nothing but silence.

This book continues to disappoint me. I didn’t like it when I first read it, soon after it came out in 2020, and I like it even less now. Or is it that I’m willing to be a little less nice in my reviews now? I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I hated this book.

Serpent & Dove was what I knew it would be: it was decent, yet it was (in my opinion at least) romantasy trash, very much like ACOTAR. But it was trash that I treasured – you might call it my guilty pleasure. I could tell it was kind of bad, but I had fun with it anyway.

Blood & Honey, on the other hand, is actual trash. It has a facsimile of a plot, and the characters really don’t do anything throughout the book. It’s a complete and utter slog to get through.

With an exasperated sigh, he turned his head to kiss my fingers. “You’re impossible.”

“I’m impractical, improbable, but never impossible.

Lou was even more annoying here than she was in the first book. Everything that she did irritated me, and I had considerable trouble sympathizing with her character on anything. And I still don’t buy her and Reid’s romance. At. All.

Reid was somewhat more tolerable, especially compared to Lou. I really liked that he was working through his feelings on the arch bishop/his father figure’s death (though he shouldn’t have had to in the first place because it doesn’t make any sense that he chose to save a girl he knew barely a month over his dad!!). I felt like he had the most of what could be considered a character arc out of everybody here.

Oh, and I’m sure you all were wondering, but Big Titty Liddy is back. And she was apparently a real person in S&D canon. Fan-freaking-tastic. Ugh.

It’s a real pity,” Beau finally muttered, shaking his head and looking at each of us in turn. His eyes shone with disappointment. “I know you’re all too preoccupied with your pining to notice, but I just caught my reflection in that last puddle—and damn, I look good.

Beau was honestly the best character here (besides Ansel, who was a cinnamon roll that Mahurin absolutely did not protect), which is something that I was happily surprised by. But that’s just because he’s a sassy a-hole, who secretly has a secret heart of gold, which happens to be one of my favorite character tropes. He was an entertaining beacon in the sludge that was this novel.

The climax was very… anticlimactic. Which is the opposite of what you want for a piece of your book specifically designated the climax. It was so effing boring – the most boring part of Blood & Honey, if I’m being honest. Which I am. The ending sucked too, even though it attempted a Hail Mary cliffhanger. (Which I wasn’t interested in in the slightest.)

So yeah, I have absolutely no desire or any kind of motivation to finish off this trilogy with Gods & Monsters. That’s just how far off the mountain this series tumbled for me.

When a person brings you more hurt than happiness, you’re allowed to let them go.

In conclusion, I hated Blood & Honey. It was a poorly written, slow and inconsistent mess, that was absolutely not fun to read. This book has some of the worst Middle Book Syndrome that I’ve ever read. I haven’t read the third book – and I never plan to – but I’m almost positive that this novel wasn’t necessarily. I think that this trilogy could have managed as a duology just fine.

Sorry, but I can’t really bring myself to recommend this one to anyone. I just despised it that much. This series is Walmart ACOTAR to the max, particularly in B&H.

If you’ve gotten here, congratulations and thank you for reading my lengthy tirade. I really hope you have a wonderful day/night.

See ya ~Mar

My review of Serpent & Dove

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.”


“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!