Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

EOSI FINALLY FINISHED A BOOK, GUYS! It’s only taken me more than a month… 😅 I was really hoping this book would end my reading slump, and guess what? It did! I’m already reading the next book, Tower of Dawn. (I’m only five pages in… but that still counts, right? 😜) If you’re looking for action, adventure, romance, sassy pirates, witty banter, and a whole lotta feels, look no further! (But if you haven’t read the other Throne of Glass books, do that first, because they’re great. And also because you’ll be very, very confused if you don’t.)

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! 🙂

What I Liked: I really can’t remember when I finished reading Queen of Shadows, but it must have been February or March. 🤔 So it was definitely nice to return to Erilea and revisit some of my favorite fictional characters. This book was jam-packed, not only with epic battles and confrontations, but also with important moments that moved the plot forward and showed us how our protagonists — and their relationships with one another — are changing as the war against Erawan begins to intensify. While the ending was heart-wrenching — and an especially painful cliffhanger, since the next (and final) book won’t be published until next fall 😭 — it sets up the imminent final clash, and it increases the pressure to collect the remaining Wyrdkey and do whatever is necessary to defeat Erawan and seal the gate once and for all. Overall, I liked that the plot moved along at a steady pace, that nearly every character faced some sort of challenge or obstacle that inspired change or growth (I’m a sucker for good character development! 😁), and that there were little unexpected surprises throughout, keeping me on my toes as I read. I found this book easier to get into than Queen of Shadows, perhaps because the characters are so close to the final battle and the stakes are so high. Overall, I think it’s a strong installment in an already strong series.

What I Disliked: This isn’t something I disliked, but I do want to say that I’d recommend reading The Assassin’s Blade before this book, since there are quite a few references to stories in that collection. That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of the sex scenes in this book. 😕 Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good sex scene, and Maas has written some fantastic ones. (*cough* A Court of Mist and Fury *cough* 😉) But something just felt… off about the ones in Empire of Storms. I’m not going to be specific, because SPOILERS, but I think this book was giving me a totally different vibe, and I didn’t feel like those scenes moved the plot forward in any meaningful way. That might be the only thing I actually disliked, other than wanting more background information on some things. But I’m holding off on that since I have yet to finish Tower of Dawn. Something else I’ve heard is that the exclusive stories (one included in the Barnes & Noble edition of this book, and another in the Target edition… and there might be one more?) are very good, and many people I’ve talked to have said that they would have liked to see those appear in the actual book. I haven’t read them, so I’ll have to update this when I do. But I would recommend reading them, if possible. On the other hand, I know it can be difficult when different stores have different versions of the same book, and one bonus story is in one book but not in the other, etc. 😐 I have a lot of feelings about this, mostly because not every reader can afford to get their hands on every exclusive edition of a book, and international readers may not have the opportunity to read these exclusive stories… 😟 BUT if you do have the opportunity to read them after finishing Empire of Storms, definitely do.

I feel like this review was all over the place, but a) it’s a loooong book, b) SO MUCH HAPPENS OMG, and c) I didn’t want to be too spoiler-y. 😂 TL;DR: If you’ve read the other books in the Throne of Glass series and enjoyed them, I think you’ll enjoy this one, too. Sure, it’ll rip your heart out, throw it on the floor, and repeatedly stomp on it. But it’ll also fill your heart with joy and hope and fuzzy feelings. So, to quote Ron Weasley circa Prisoner of Azkaban, “You’re going to suffer… but you’re going to be happy about it.” 🤣💔

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

**UPDATE: Okay, so I’ve read the two bonus stories. Here are my thoughts. (And I’ll be divulging some details about each one, so there are spoilers ahead, though they won’t be huge, plot-related ones.)

Exclusive Story — Target Edition of EoS: This story is actually a deleted scene from Heir of Fire, so Aelin still goes by Celaena, and she’s still training with Rowan at Mistward. It was fun to see their relationship beginning to change (so many ~feelings!~), and we got to see a tiny glimpse or two of Emrys and Luca! 😊 I can sort of see why this was cut from the book, as it reads more like a short story and doesn’t seem integral to the plot. But it has a lot of great moments, including Celaena/Aelin baking Rowan a chocolate hazelnut cake! I FLAILED AT THE CUTENESS. 😍 (But then there was a twist ending re: the cake that made me cackle. 😆) Overall, I thought this was a sweet story.

Exclusive Story — Barnes & Noble Edition of EoS: I think this story takes place before the events of Empire of Storms, when Aelin, Rowan, and the others are forced to venture into a Terrasen village to restock their supplies. We learn more about Rowan’s family, which is helpful considering certain other parts of the book. (No spoilers! 😁) Much like the other story, there’s plenty of cuteness between Aelin and Rowan. But probably the most touching part is Aelin’s interaction with the girl she meets in the village — Phedre. As the note at the beginning of the passage says, it’s an encounter that will stay with Aelin long after it’s over. And it gives the reader a glimpse of how the people of Terrasen are feeling now that magic has returned and war is yet again on the horizon. I think this would have fit nicely into the book (at only a few pages long, it wouldn’t have added a great deal to the length), mostly because of the foreshadowing it contains. It also has an adorable ending. 🐿❤️

About the Author: Sarah J. Maas
More Books by This Author:
Throne of Glass
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire
Queen of Shadows
Tower of Dawn
The Assassin’s Blade
A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Mist and Fury
A Court of Wings and Ruin

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

AEORHaving spent months gazing longingly at photos of ARCs and reading other bookstagrammers’ glowing praise, I was thrilled to finally get my hands on Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, An Enchantment of Ravens. Often described as the “perfect fall read,” it truly is, with lush, magical scenery and an adventure reminiscent of a fairy tale. I probably could have read it in a day or two, but it was such a pleasure that I tried to make it last as long as possible, delaying the inevitable end. ❤ I found myself wishing for more books with these characters, but according to Rogerson, this book was written as a standalone. (If she changes her mind, though, I’ll take any glimpse of Whimsy and the fairylands that I can get! 😃)

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! 🙂

What I Liked: I love the world Rogerson has created, from the peculiar town of Whimsy to the alluring and dangerous fairylands. Fans of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series may find the fairy courts in this book — spring, summer, fall, and winter — reminiscent of those described in her trilogy. But I found the depiction of the fair ones to be more dangerous and haunting. While they are, in some ways, similar to fey found in other YA books, Rogerson shows that their legendary beauty is built on a lie, and their love of mischief and trickery runs deep. I found Isobel to be a likeable, realistic protagonist, with conflicted emotions and a soul-deep sense of duty to her family. And where do I begin with Rook? In some ways, he fits the archetype of the rude, stubborn love interest who eventually grows to love his equally-stubborn companion. But it was such a delight to see his interactions with Isobel change and deepen. He’s definitely book boyfriend material. 😉

What I Disliked: There were parts of the book that felt a little predictable. It’s not difficult to imagine how it ends before it even happens. But again, much like a fairy tale, that predictability comes with the story: a handsome fairy prince whisks a lovely human girl away, and during their journey, they fall in love. I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it went about telling that story. While the concept is something we’ve seen before, the writing is sharp and engaging. I also had a few lingering questions at the end of the book, but despite wanting answers, I can appreciate it when an author leaves some details to the reader’s imagination.

Overall, I think this was a strong debut, and it really is a wonderful book to curl up with this fall. Make some tea, grab a cozy blanket, and lose yourself in the forests with Isobel and Rook. You won’t regret it! 😊🍂

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Margaret Rogerson

September Wrap-Up

I ended up reading five books this month, which, for me, is AWESOME. 😀 Not gonna lie, I’m super proud of myself. Even though I sort of abandoned my TBR, it was nice to just read whatever sounded good at the time. Sometimes not having a plan can be the best plan! (And trust me, as an obsessive planner, it’s killing me a little to admit that. 😂) Here are my ratings for this month’s reads:

Did I read everything on my September TBR?
Nope! I got through two of the books I’d planned on reading. I didn’t end up reading Of Fire and Stars or An Enchantment of Ravens.

Did I read anything not on my September TBR?
Yep! I Hate Everyone But You, Warcross, and There’s Someone Inside Your House.

What was my favorite read of the month?
The Hazel Wood, hands down. This is still my favorite read of 2017, and I’m not sure if anything will be able to knock it out of that #1 spot. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH, OKAY? ❤

What was my least favorite read of the month?
I really wanted to like There’s Someone Inside Your House more than I did. But unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me. 😦

What was your favorite/least favorite read of September? Let me know! 🙂

Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

TSIYHI don’t know why, but even though I can’t make it through a horror movie without covering my eyes, I’m weirdly intrigued by scary stories. For a long time, I listened to a podcast called Lore, which will soon be a TV show on Amazon. (I didn’t stop listening for any particular reason, other than the fact that I’m just terrible at keeping up with podcasts. 😅) I’ve read several books about the paranormal, and when Lorraine Warren — a paranormal investigator made more famous by the popular Conjuring films — visited my college campus to talk to students about cases that she and her late husband, Ed, worked on, I jumped at the chance to go. Maybe it’s a visual thing. Whatever it is, though, it’s what inspired me to pre-order Stephanie Perkins’ There’s Someone Inside Your House. Known for Anna and the French Kiss and its two sequels — Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After — Perkins has only written YA contemporary romance up to this point, so I was eager to see what her first YA horror novel would be like.

This book wasn’t on my September TBR, but if you want to read a short synopsis, click here. 🙂

Also, there are very minor spoilers in this review. If you have not yet read this book and want to remain totally in the dark (mwahaha… 😉), stop reading now!

What I Liked: When it comes to horror, I’m freaked out by everything, whether it’s gore or thrills. 😱 Lucky for me, this book had both! But I think the most terrifying thing was the mind-fuckery, for lack of a better term. Right from the get-go, we learn that the killer likes to go into people’s houses and move things around. Mostly small, innocuous items, but — as we see later — also larger objects. The idea of someone entering a home and familiarizing themselves with another person’s belongings has a certain wrongness to it, and the moments throughout the book where characters begin to question their own actions and sanity as a result of the misplaced items… 😨 It’s times like these when I’m glad I live in a small apartment! While I appreciated the psychological scares, I did have some trouble with the believability and logistics of some of them. (I’ll discuss this more later.) I liked Makani as a protagonist, and — possibly even more so — I liked Alex and Darby. I think Perkins did a great job of establishing their individual personalities and quirks. I also really appreciated the representation among the characters, and it wasn’t heavy-handed. This book was a quick read, too; I finished it in a little more than twenty-four hours. If you’re looking for a fast, creepy Halloween read, this book is worth checking out. 🎃👻

What I Disliked: There are a few things I struggled with as I read the book and even after I had finished it.

  • I’m not sure I was a huge fan of the killer’s identity being revealed so early in the book. True, it happened after the halfway point, so it wasn’t too early. But even so, I think I went into this expecting to have to wait until the end, or that, if they were unmasked sooner, there would be some sort of game-changing twist. There really wasn’t, though. 🙁 I also didn’t find the killer’s motivation to be very satisfying.
  • Some parts of the book were more believable than others. When the killer moved objects around, sometimes his victim had just left the room, only to return a minute later. How did they manage it so quickly, without being seen or heard? Even though they’re later described as “quiet” and even slight in build, they’re not a ninja. As much as I liked the idea of the killer messing with his victims’ minds before finally striking, I just had a difficult time figuring out how they accomplished what they did without being caught. 🤔 (Also, we find out how they got into the grocery store (with a stolen key) and one victim’s house (through a basement window), but how did they get into the other victims’ houses? Was it always through a window? Did they have other stolen — or even duplicate — keys? How did they seem to know each house inside and out? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.)
  • I didn’t think the romance plot was necessary, but I can see it from both sides. For Makani and Ollie, it’s a distraction from what’s going on around them, and depending on your point of view, that can be good or bad. Personally, while I can understand wanting comfort and support during a frightening period of time, I know I wouldn’t be feeling sexy vibes while random classmates are getting stabbed and dismembered… But I appreciate that they both communicated their desires, had consensual sex, and seemed to genuinely care for one another. There’s a reason so many people like Anna and the French Kiss — Perkins knows how to write a good romance. I just didn’t think this book needed it.
  • Finally, I thought the ending was way too abrupt. We didn’t get any closure whatsoever, and although not everything in life — or literature — has a clear, satisfying conclusion, I expected to see an epilogue that caught up with everyone in the aftermath that surely followed. I knew it wouldn’t be a happy ending — or at least not a completely happy ending — but it still would have been an ending. I honestly found this to be the most disappointing thing about the book. ☹️

Overall, I think this was a fun, fast-paced read. But if you’re a big horror fan and you’re looking for maximum blood and terror — or at least a killer that strikes a little more fear in the hearts of readers — it may be best to look elsewhere… Although there were parts of this book I liked — and clearly I was invested enough to not DNF it — I think it could have been much better executed. (No pun intended!)

Rating: ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Stephanie Perkins
More Books by This Author:
Anna and the French Kiss
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Isla and the Happily Ever After

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

WCAfter reading a book that wasn’t on this month’s TBR, I figured WHY NOT KEEP GOING? 😂 I just finished Warcross by Marie Lu, and it was a terrific sci-fi adventure with compelling, flawed characters and heart-stopping twists and turns. Even someone like me, who’s not an avid gamer, could appreciate the incredible detail that went into creating the game at the heart of the book and describing its rules and complexities. And HOLY CRAP THAT ENDING. 😱 (But don’t worry. This is a spoiler-free review!)

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! 🙂

What I Liked: I think what really hooked me when I read about this book was that Emika was described as a teenage hacker who also worked as a bounty hunter. I mean, you had me at hacker, but a bounty hunter, too?! So badass. Not to mention her rainbow-dyed hair. 😁🌈 I found her to be a relatable character with a great deal of emotional depth. She’s brilliant at what she does, but I did like that by the end of the book, she found herself stuck in a hard place. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing protagonists succeed and find happiness. But I also love the realism of seeing them struggle and grow through tough situations. I really liked Emika’s teammates and how her relationship with them changed as the story progressed. I’m hoping to see more of Asher — and learn more about him — in the next book. It was great to see disability representation in this book, and that’s something I would be happy to see more often. And finally, the game of Warcross itself was described in a way that didn’t leave me feeling confused or unsure of how and why things were happening. I feel like I was given just enough information — not too little and not too much.

What I Disliked: I had already read some reviews critiquing the predictability of the plot, and yes, there were definitely moments when my suspicions turned out to be true. But I will say, I think the twists in this book — even if you already know they’re coming — are well-crafted. I didn’t like Hideo much, from the beginning all the way to the end. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I disliked him, but I felt sort of “meh” about him. 🙁 I found his backstory to be interesting, but I never felt as emotionally attached to or invested in him as I did with Emika. And this is a really small thing, but I wanted to see more of the Dark World. I’m hoping we get to explore more of it in the next book, because I’m fascinated by what we’ve seen so far. The Pirate’s Den, the Emerald Emporium, the circus imagery and secret codes and passageways… Honestly, I could read an entire book about it.

Overall, this was a fun read that I couldn’t put down! (Seriously, I chose to keep reading even while my husband watched Pacific Rim, and that movie is the BEST.) I would definitely recommend this book to gamers and non-gamers alike. 😀

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Marie Lu
More Books by This Author:
Legend
Prodigy
Champion
The Young Elites

The Rose Society
The Midnight Star

Review: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

IHEBYSo, yet again, I decided to read something that wasn’t on this month’s TBR… 🤦🏻‍♀️😂 It took me a while to finish Wicked Like a Wildfire, and after I did, the idea of jumping right into another fantasy book just didn’t seem appealing. Instead, I picked up Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You. It sounded like a fun, quirky coming-of-age book, and the structure — a story told entirely through emails and texts — really appealed to me.

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! 🙂

What I Liked: I loved Ava and Gen. I wanted to hang out with them and be BFFs 4 LYFE (as Ava might say). ❤ I think Dunn and Raskin did an incredible job of creating two believable — and relatable — characters who are hilarious, but also struggling to figure out who they are now that they’re in college. We never get a clear physical description of either one, but I think this allows the reader to imagine Ava and Gen for themselves, or to even think about their own friends and consider who might be more like Ava and more like Gen. There were parts of this book that made me stop and think, Wow. I swear this is word-for-word a conversation I’ve had with [INSERT FRIEND’S NAME HERE]. I think that’s a big part of what makes this book so enjoyable — it all feels real. It captures the joyful, frustrating, and mortifying things about being eighteen and suddenly realizing that you don’t actually know half as much as you thought you did. And I think the use of emails and texts helped the authors to more easily explore subjects that many people often find difficult to discuss, including mental illness, sexuality, and discovering your own identity.

What I Disliked: (Spoiler: Nothing. But I have some thoughts and ~feelings~, so read on! 😁) I think the only times I felt frustrated with this book were when I was feeling frustrated with Ava or Gen. But that’s how you should feel as a reader. I was genuinely invested in their individual stories, as well as their friendship, so of course I found myself saying, “Ava. AVA. Just break up with Jake. Just do it. He’s the worsssssst,” or, “C’mon, Gen! Stop shutting down. She’s just saying this because she cares about you!” That’s honestly the only anywhere-close-to-negative thing I have to say about this book. Get ready to have lots of feels, especially if you’re someone who also felt confused and pushed out of your comfort zone when you were a college freshman. I’ve seen a few reviews that criticized the book’s lack of substance, but I think there’s plenty here for a reader to enjoy. And it was very refreshing to have a queer protagonist who’s just beginning to really explore what that means for her, along with a protagonist who struggles with a mental illness and isn’t somehow magically cured by the end of the book. So, basically: No dislikes! This was a delight. ❤

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
About the Authors: Gaby and Allison

Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin have a YouTube channel and show called Just Between Us. As their website describes, it’s “an LA-based odd couple comedy channel from co-dependent besties Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn. Tune in on Mondays for a show on a couch. You will learn nothing. Tune in on Thursdays for an original sketch. You will also learn nothing.” Check it out! 😃

My next read — since I’ve totally gone off the TBR rails, lololol — will be Marie Lu’s Warcross. This is another recent release, and I’ve seen tons of hype for this book. And have I mentioned that the hardback is stunning? (The U.S. edition is a beautiful turquoise hue, but the U.K. edition IS A RAINBOW. 😍🌈)

Review: Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

WLAWIt’s been a while since I’ve written a review, but I’m back! Some of you may know that I’ve been taking a small break from bookstagram, but I’m still reading. Just a little more slowly than usual… 😅

Wicked Like a Wildfire was a cover buy, but I’m always intrigued by magical mysteries and strange new worlds. Before I get into what I liked and disliked, I will say that I think Lana Popović has created a fantastic, memorable world, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the sequel! (From what I’ve read, it looks like this series is going to be a duology.)

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis in my September TBR post! 🙂

What I Liked: I found the story to be fascinating, and I think Popović did an incredible job of describing both the real and surreal worlds depicted in this book. The magic, while familiar in some regards, felt like something I haven’t really seen before — the ability to manipulate beauty, in many forms and with varying degrees of strength and effect. My favorite relationship in the book was the one between Iris and Malina. Their closeness — and even their moments of distance — seemed so real, and I found myself hoping that they would both pull through in the end. The synopsis promised surprises and twists, and let me tell you — this book delivered. Saying anything more would likely lead to something a little too spoiler-y, so I’ll leave it at that. But if you like books that keep you on your toes until the very end, I think this would be a fun read.

What I Disliked: I’m usually a big fan of detailed, vivid language. But it seemed like this book had too much of it. There were passages that were undeniably beautiful — descriptions that utilized grand and intricate imagery woven with simile — that I found myself having to reread several times in order to fully discern the meaning. As the book continued, I became more and more tempted to skim, which is a feeling I hate. 🙁 As far as relationships go, I really wanted to love Iris and Luka. But something just felt… I don’t know. Forced? And I definitely wasn’t a fan of Fjolar. Iris’s attraction to him felt forced in a different way, and from the moment he first appeared, I sort of knew something was going to be off about him. (And if you’ve read the book, you’ll know that their second encounter on the beach is… troubling. As we learn later, it’s part of who he is, but still. This scene pretty much sealed the I’m-never-going-to-like-this-guy deal for me. 😑)

This book left off on a HUGE cliffhanger, and although there were some things I struggled with, I’m excited to see how Iris and Malina’s stories come to a close!

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Lana Popović

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

HazelWood

Have you ever read a book and realized it’s the kind of book you’ve been wanting to read your whole life? It sounds a little crazy, I know. And it’s hard to explain. But this is exactly how I felt while reading Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood. With sinister twists, stunningly beautiful prose, and worlds both mystifying and merciless, it’s a story that stays with you long after it’s over.

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis in my September TBR post!

What I Liked: I noticed that parts of this book read like poetry. It has some of the strongest, most vivid imagery I’ve ever read, which has the chilling effect of both sating your appetite and leaving you starving for more. We see more of some characters than others, and even though not everyone’s story is told, it’s clear that each of them has their own. Alice was by far the most complex character. Watching her struggle with her anger, her lifelong questions, and her mother’s sudden disappearance gives the reader an opportunity to see the girl she is and watch as she becomes something else entirely. While some of the plot points are expected — we know from the beginning that Alice will find her way to the Hazel Wood — the journey is intensely rewarding and full of wicked surprises. If you’re not a fan of sugar-sweet fairy tales full of happily-ever-afters, look no further — because the fairy tales in this book will devour you whole. Black-eyed princesses, doors carved from blood, wide-eyed brides who move like clockwork… And just when you think you know what to expect, you find yourself spun around and running in a completely new direction.

What I Disliked: There was very little I disliked about this book. There were times when I felt pulled out of the story, particularly during some of Alice and Ellery’s conversations. I liked the dialogue, and their relationship was interesting. But I think there were times where I couldn’t quite understand Alice’s anger or frustration. (Looking back, I’m not sure I was meant to.) There were also a few small things I would have liked more clarification on towards the end. (I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll leave it at that.) But overall, I think this was an incredibly strong debut, and it may be the best book I’ve read so far this year!

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Melissa Albert

While reading this book, I was reminded of a few poetry collections, so I’ll list those here, in case you’d like to check them out:

**Thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me an uncorrected proof to read and review. I can’t wait to read the finished copy! 🙂 If you’re interested in reading this book, you can pre-order it now, and it will be released on January 30th, 2018.

August Wrap-Up

It has been a crazy month, but I did manage to read four books! 🙂 I would definitely call my month of contemporaries a success. At first it felt a little weird to be reading something other than fantasy/sci-fi. But I really enjoyed each of the books I read! Here are my ratings:

Did I read everything on my August TBR?
Nope! 😅 If you read my review of Eliza and Her Monsters, you’ll know that I fell into a reading slump and had to set aside Anna and the French Kiss (just for now!), and my e-book loan for When Dimple Met Rishi expired before I could get to it.

Did I read anything not on my August TBR?
Yep! Eliza and Her Monsters wasn’t on my TBR, but I’m still so glad I read it.

What was my favorite read of the month?
THIS IS SO TOUGH. But probably The Upside of Unrequited.

What was my least favorite read of the month?
I might have to go with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before… I enjoyed this book a lot! But — for me, at least — it felt like it was missing something. 🙁 I’m definitely planning on finishing the series, so maybe I’ll like it more after reading P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean!

What was your favorite/least favorite read of August? I’d love to hear about it! 😀

Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

EAHM

I had every intention of reading Anna and the French Kiss this month… but right after I started it, I fell into a pretty bad reading slump. 😦 What usually happens — and what happened this time around — is that my life gets extra busy and I neglect to make time to read. A week or so later, I try to jump back into the book I had been reading and find myself stuck. So, I set it aside and read something else instead, usually with the intention to go back and read it after some time has passed. And more often than not, this works like a charm!

TL;DR: I’ll be reading Anna and the French Kiss sometime soon, and I’ll (hopefully!) follow it up with Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After.

I wanted to move on to the next book on my August TBRWhen Dimple Met Rishi — but because I’m the worst, I completely forgot that my e-book loan was about to expire. 😑 (Like, in two hours. SERIOUSLY. THE WORST.) So, I put a brand new hold on it, and I’ll be sure to read it ASAP whenever I get it again. (And considering that I’m hold #36 on 9 copies… it might be a while. 😅)

But I managed to grab Eliza and Her Monsters from the library. This is a book I’ve wanted to read since I saw it in the OwlCrate May Comic Explosion box, and it’s been recommended to me more times than I can count. I was also intrigued by the unique structure — the inclusion of online conversations and comic panels alongside traditional prose. Although this wasn’t on my August TBR, I’m so glad I picked up this book, and I think it was a fantastic way to end my month of contemporaries. 😄

Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! Also, this review contains SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read this book and would prefer to remain un-spoiled, look away now!

What I Liked: I really liked Eliza and Wallace’s written conversations, as well as their interactions online. The way that the characters communicate — or fail to communicate, at times — in this book was fascinating to me, and as the reader gets to know both Eliza and Wallace, it makes perfect sense for the majority of their communication to occur non-verbally. And I felt that the depiction of anxiety in this book was spot-on. It didn’t feel forced, and I like that the book shows how beneficial therapy can be. One of my very favorite parts of this book was the world-building within world-building — Monstrous Sea — and how we’re given just enough details to understand what Eliza so passionately works on throughout the book, as well as what her fans are so dedicated to.

What I Disliked: For the most part, I liked the characters a lot, and I related to Eliza in a couple of ways. I did, on occasion, feel frustrated with some of them — which is totally okay! It means that I was actually invested in them and what was happening on the page. But one thing that irked me was Wallace’s pressure on Eliza to finish Monstrous Sea so that his book deal would work out. On the one hand, I get it. He’s excited that his transcription has been well-received, and a book deal might end up helping him to pay for school and begin a career as a published writer, proving to his step-father once and for all that being a writer can pay the bills. But on the other hand, I thought it was shitty of him to suggest that he would only stop being mad at Eliza (for withholding her true identity as LadyConstellation) if she did something that benefited him, regardless of the fact that forcing herself to do it would continue to trigger her panic attacks. His overall reaction — and particularly his demands of Eliza — felt somewhat out of character, and by the end of the book, although I’m glad that Eliza’s doing better, I found myself hoping that Wallace did a hell of a lot of apologizing for his behavior, or at least more than what we see in the book. 😟

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I read the last half of the book in one evening. I just couldn’t put it down! And that’s always a good feeling. 🙂

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

About the Author: Francesca Zappia
More Books by This Author:
Made You Up