Conversation Hearts Book Tag


In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would complete the Conversation book tag created by That Bookie on Youtube. In the video, she pulls out conversation hearts and chooses a book that relates. Since I don’t have any conversation hearts nearby, I decided to look up some phrases and create some of my own! Here are my answers:


One book that I Purchased recently based on the cover was Ice Breaker by Hannah Grace. I thought the cartoon cover was cute and I heard a lot of positive buzz surrounding the book. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ice Breaker. For me, the plot wasn’t very well developed and it was a little too long for a contemporary book. While I do still think the cover it cute, I’m not a huge fan of romances that are just a series of cute moments strung together.


One love at first sight book that I enjoyed this past year was Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. Typically, I don’t enjoy the miscommunication trope, but this book was a fun and easy read. Even though we don’t really get to see the love at first sight on page in this book, I still overall enjoyed the romance.


One group of friends which I enjoyed recently was the cast of characters from Throne of Glass. Many of these characters didn’t like each other when they initially met, but they grew to respect and fight for each other. The cast of characters and friendships in this book are one of the reasons which I loved this series so much.


I would love to have a conversation with Holly Black, the author of many popular faerie books. Recently, I have seen a few different interviews of Holly Black pop up on my TikTok and I really enjoyed how she described creating the world of Elfhame, particularly how she imagines the appearances of the faerie characters. I am also a huge fan of her writing style and I love how she describes different things in her books. I think she would love to her more about her writing and world-building process.


When I think of a musical character, I have to think of Colton Wheeler from A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. Colton is a country singer, which typically isn’t my favorite genre. However, I really enjoyed him as a character in A Very Merry Bromance and he seems really proud of the direction which his music makes at the end of the novel.


While they aren’t my favorite couple ever from a book, I did believe by the end of the novel that they were soul mates. Since Love & Other Words has a dual timeline, readers really get to see how Macy and Elliot’s relationship develops and changes by the end of the year. At the end of a romance novel, you want to believe that the love interests will be together forever and I definitely believed that for Macy and Elliot.

Have a great Valentine’s Day! 


Most Read Authors in 2022

As 2022 comes to close, I like to reflect on some of my reading stats. One of my favorite reading stats to look at is my most read authors of the year. It is always interesting to see which authors I picked up again and again. This year, my list wasn’t too surprising. I read some series, both contemporary and fantasy, so I expected to see the authors of those series on the list. Here are my most read authors of 2022 from least to most book read:

5. Julia Quinn (2 books)

After the first couple of months of the year, I got into a reading slump. I needed a quick and easy read to get me back into reading. The second season of Bridgerton came out around this time, so I decided to read one of the books in the series. As a result, I reread the third book in the Bridgerton series, An Offer from a Gentleman. I did get into a reading slump a little later in the year and I decided to read this again. An Offer From a Gentleman isn’t my favorite romance book and I think the Benedict in the show is a better character than the one in the books, but it did help me get out of two reading slumps this year.

Books Read: An Offer from a Gentleman (read 2x)

4. Sara Desai (3 books)

I saw Sara Desai’s book on my virtual library and I was instantly drawn to the beautiful covers. These books were easy-to-read and enjoyable contemporary books. I really liked Sara Desai’s writing style and I can definitely see myself picking up more books by her in the future.

Books Read: The Singles Table, The Dating Plan, The Marriage Game

3. Ali Hazelwood (1 book, 3 novellas)

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Love Hypothesis last year, but I decided to pick up Ali Hazelwood’s novellas to see if I would like her other works. After reading three novellas and one novel by Hazelwood this year, she does have a very formulaic writing style with similar plots and characters. That being said, I did enjoy the novellas and her novel released this year, Love on the Brain, more than the first book I read by her because I thought they were a little more quickly paced.

Books Read: Under One Roof, Stuck With You, Below Zero, Love on the Brain

2. Elle Kennedy (5 books)

The Off-Campus and Briar U series are ones that I see recommended a lot for sports romances. Unfortunately for me, this series was hit-or-miss with a lot more misses. Especially as the series went on, the plots were not very strong and they became very repetitive. I tried to read the next book in the second series after The Chase, but no matter how many times I checked it out of the library, I just couldn’t get through it.

Books Read: The Deal, The Goal, The Score, The Mistake, The Chase

1. Sarah J. Maas (11 books)

It definitely didn’t surprise me to see Sarah J. Maas at the top of my list. I read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series this year except for the first one as well as both books in the Crescent City series. Additionally, I did start rereading the ACOTAR series this year. As a result, I read many of her books during the 2023 year. At first, I wasn’t really interested in reading Throne of Glass or Crescent City. I read the first book of Throne of Glass and I wasn’t that motivated to continue in the series and Crescent City didn’t really seem up my alley. However, I am really glad that I gave both series a chance because I did end up liking both of them.

Books Read: House of Earth and Blood, House of Sky and Breath, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Assassin’s Blade, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, Kingdom of Ash

Who were some of your most read authors in 2022?

Crescent City Series Review

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas follows Bryce Quinlan, a party girl who investigates the murder of her best friend. However, Bryce quickly learns that murder is more dark and twisted than she could have imagined. Currently, there are two books released in the series, A House of Earth and Blood and A House of Sky and Breath. A third book in the series is currently planned, but there is currently no release date.

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas marked a new “era” by the author for me. Crescent City is the first series by the author to initially be labeled as adult (A Court of Thorns and Roses was originally placed in the YA category). Additionally, it is her first fantasy that leans more towards urban fantasy, as the world also contains a more modern city-like setting with technology. While The Court of Thorns and Roses series was considerably more sexually explicit and contained more graphic violence than Throne of Glass, despite still being labeled as YA. However, the first book in the series wasn’t as graphic as the later novels. Compared to the other series by Maas, Crescent City literally starts right off with these elements. That being said, I think the Crescent City series is a natural next read for people who enjoyed the A Court of Thorns and Roses series or readers new to Maas who are looking for an adult fantasy romance book.

Both A House of Earth and Blood as well as A House of Sky and Breath contain many elements that are typically found in novels by Maas, although the setting is different than her previous works. The pacing, the characters, and some of the fantasy elements/tropes/plots used within this series were similar to those in other works by the author. As a result, if you like Maas as an author, then you will probably enjoy this series as well. However, if you are not a fan as Maas as an author, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this series either.

Like her other previous works, Maas contains a lot of world building at the beginning of the novel, which can be overwhelming. While this world building is always necessary, as it usually comes back around at the end of the story, it can be tedious for readers who want the plot to pick up quickly. The books in the Crescent City are also much longer than the first books in the other series by Maas. For comparison, these books are similar in page length to A Kingdom of Ash, the final book in the Throne of Glass series. As a result, there are a lot of people, places, and structures to keep track of as you are reading. Similarly, at the end of the books, it is exciting to see all of the plots come together. At the same time, there is so much action packed into the last 200 pages that it can be hard to keep straight.

One element of this book that made me wary was the setting since it was so different than other books by Maas. However, I really do enjoy the setting of the Crescent City and I think it really suits the characters who occupy the world in which it takes place. I think it also helped differentiate Crescent City from Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses which have settings that are more similar to each other.

Similar to the other works by Maas, there is an interesting and likable cast of characters. That being said, there are some characters that don’t stick out to me in the Crescent City and so I am not as attached to them as other side characters in other novels by Maas. For example, at the end of the second book in the ACOTAR series, I was fully invested in all members of the Inner Circle and Feyre’s sisters. At the end of the second book in the Crescent City series, there are some side characters, like some of Ruhn’s roommates or some of Bryce’s “inner circle” where there history is not as revealed, as I feel like I don’t know them as well. That being said, I do really like Bryce as a main character and I feel like she is different enough than Feyre or Aelin to stand out as her own main character.

Like Throne of Glass, the cast of characters is used to show many different points of views. However, I feel like this was done a little more effectively in Throne of Glass and it wasn’t even perfect in Throne of Glass. As I mentioned previously, I feel like I’m not fully invested in all of the characters in this series yet, so I kept wishing for the story to go back to Bryce’s point of view. In Throne of Glass I felt motivated to keep reading because every chapter ended in a cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait to get back to that person’s point of view. However, that wasn’t the case when I was reading this series, especially in A House of Sky and Breath.

Another aspect of this book that I’m not completely sold on is the romance. I like Bryce and Hunt, the main love interest, well enough. I didn’t dislike them as a couple by any means and I think they suit each other well. That being said, Hunt isn’t my favorite love interest that Maas has written. I think many of his character traits are picked from other love interests that have appeared throughout novels by Maas, so he doesn’t stand out as much to me. I actually found myself a little more invested in another male character in the book, Ruhn, and his potential love interests. As a result, the romance in this book isn’t necessarily a drawback for me, but I have liked other couples more in books that I have read by Maas.

Overall, I enjoyed both books in the Crescent City series, even though I wouldn’t consider them my favorite books by the author. That being said, I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series to see how it continues. I give the first two books in this series an average of 4 stars.

Midnights (Taylor Swift) Book Tag

Maroon – King of Battle and Blood

As we get closer to the most important midnight of the year, I thought it would be a great time to complete the Midnights (Taylor Swift) Book Tag! The original creator of this tag is Star is All Booked Up.

  • Lavender Haze – A book you will always love and defend

One book that I will always love is The Hunger Games. I have seen many TikToks recently showing clips of the series and it reminds me of how much I loved that series when I first read it. I recently saw some pictures of the movie for A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and I can’t wait to see another story set in the Hunger Games world.

  • Maroon – A spicy book

Scarlett St. Clair is known to be an author who heaving leans into the romance aspect of fantasy romance. I hadn’t read a book by her before this year, but I wasn’t surprised at the level of romance when I read King of Battle and Blood.

  • Anti Hero – An undesirable narrator

Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter was one of my least favorite books of the year, mostly due to the narrator, Olivia. The main character was one of my pet peeves with some adult romances: “main characters who are extremely immature, selfish, and awful but their actions as passed off as quirky or laughable. As a result, I did not find Olivia to be a likable or even tolerable narrator.

  • Snow on the Beach – An unexpected surprise
You’re Own Your Own Kid – Birds of California

For me, Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood (see my review here) was an unexpected surprise. I wasn’t a huge fan of her first novel, The Love Hypothesis, and I was iffy on the novellas that she realized earlier this year. However, Love on the Brain was an easy and fun book to read and it makes me want to read what Ali Hazelwood releases next.

  • You’re On Your Own Kid- A narrator who really needs a hug

Birds of California follows Fiona, a former child star with a rocky past in the tabloids, who the network wants to convince to join a revival of her past successful television show. Fiona’s past has made her closed off to other people and to despise something that she once loved. For that, I think she just needs someone else in her corner.

  • Midnight Rain – Star-crossed lovers

I am going to go with the second book in the Crescent City series for this one. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but one of the prophecies given in this novel is that the love interest of one character will result in terrible consequences for the other.

  • Question – Grumpy x sunshine
Snow on the Beach – Love on the Brain

My most recent grumpy.sunshine read was A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. It evens refers to the trope in the book! Usually in books, the male character is the grump character. However, this wasn’t the case for A Very Merry Bromance, so it was nice to see the roles reversed. This book has everything I wanted a from a grumpy x sunshine book: fun banter between the two main characters and main characters who challenge each other.

  • Vigilante Sh** – Favorite character out for revenge

I finished the Throne of Glass series this year, so Aelin definitely has to be my favorite character out for revenge. Aelin never forgets when someone hurts her or a friend and she always fights for the people who she loves. I saw someone say on TikTok that Midnights is basically an album written for Aelin, so many of these songs could describe her!

  • Bejeweled -Strong character development

In the first book of the Bellinger sisters series, Fox is a flirt who doesn’t take much seriously. In the second book in the series titled Hook, Line, and Sinker, Fox still maintains his charm, but strives to be taken more seriously in his profession and as a romantic partner. This helped him because a strong romantic lead in Hook, Line and Sinker, and it was nice to see a character in a contemporary novel grow from one book to the next.

  • Labyrinth – Second chance romance
Midnight Rain – House of Sky and Breath.

This isn’t necessarily a “second chance romance,” but the two main characters do get a second chance to interact after bad first impressions. Book Lovers by Emily Henry was one of my favorite books of the year, largely due to the two main characters. Nora and Charlie were the perfect fit for each other and I loved reading their banter back and forth.

  • Karma – Favorite full circle moment or parallel

Crescent City is full of full circle moments and parallels. There are so many clues dropped throughout the book that come together for an epic ending to the first book. I can’t wait to reread this book to see all of the clues that I missed the first time around.

  • Sweet Nothing – Favorite cozy/fluffy read

This isn’t my favorite cozy/fluffy read, but I’m currently reading Icebreaker by Hannah Grace. I was initially interested in this book because it was recommended as a fun, cute read. I’m hoping that I enjoy it!

  • Mastermind – Perfect world building and storytelling

For perfect world building, I have to go with Sarah J. Maas. When she revealed all of the worlds in her book were slightly connected, I went down the rabbit hole of theories which could connect them together. Even on their own, each series has so many layers, characters, and plots that create worlds which feel so real!

What book do you think pairs well with a Taylor Swift song?

Most Anticipated Books of 2023

This past year, I noticed that I was waiting for releases to appear in my online library rather than picking up new releases. While I do enjoy saving some money and utilizing my public library, I have found that I sometimes put off books that I really want to read and force myself to read books that I’m not in the mood for, leading to some DNFs. As a result, I want to try and buy a few new releases for my Kindle to enjoy during the 2023 year. Here are some of my picks:

  • Secretly Yours (February 27, 2023) and Unfortunately Yours (June 6, 2023) by Tessa Bailey

Secretly Yours and Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey appear to be a new set of related stories from Tessa Bailey which occur at a vineyard. This reminds me to her recent successful duo, It Happened One Summer and Hook, Line, and Sinker which followed to different sisters in the same crab fishing town. Secretly Yours appears to be a second-chance romance where the main female character drunkenly writes a love letter to her childhood crush as she revamps the garden’s at his family vineyard. Meanwhile, Unfortunately Yours follows the sister of the male interest from the first book as she marries a man who owns a vineyard to gain access to her trust fund.

Out of the two, I am most excited for the first book. From the description, it gives me “the girl falls first, but the boy falls harder” and the grumpy x sunshine trope which I really enjoy in books. The second book isn’t exactly like It Happened One Summer, but it gives me a similar feeling. That wasn’t my favorite book in the Bellinger Sister duology, but I still hope that I will enjoy it as a fun, easy book to kick off the summer.

  • Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez (April 11, 2023)

I read Part of Your World, my second book by Abby Jimenez, in 2023 and it enjoyed it as much as the first book that I read by her. As a result, I definitely plan on reading her 2023 release, Yours Truly. Her next book is about a doctor who ends up exchanging another doctor who she initially did not like. Yours Truly follows a side character from Part of Your World.

I really like how much depth Abby Jimenez gives her character, so I’m hoping to the same depth in Yours Truly. Also, I’m excited that I may see the characters that I loved from Part of Your World again in this book.

  • Happy Place by Emily Henry (April 25, 2023)

I wasn’t a huge fan of Beach Red, but I really loved The People We Meet on Vacation and Book Lovers. As a result, Emily Henry is an auto-buy author for me. That being said, I am excited, but also slightly nervous about Happy Place as it appears to contain tropes that I typically do not enjoy. Happy Place is about a couple that broke up awhile go, but they never told their friend group. now, on their annual summer trip with friends, they have to pretend like they are a couple.

Usually, I like the fake dating trope, but I don’t know how much I will like it when it is a couple that has already broken up. I feel like there will probably be flashbacks in this book because the main characters have so much history and I prefer to see a relationship develop throughout a book rather than seeing pivotal moments be told in flashbacks. This book also takes place across a week, so I’m afraid that the story could be a little rushed. However, I am a huge fan of Emily Henry’s writing style and I really love the depth that she gives to her characters, so she will definitely have a lot to pull from when the main characters are a couple with a lot of history.

  • Love, Theoretically (June 13, 2023) and Check & Mate (November 2023) by Ali Hazelwood

Love on the Brain was the perfect fun and easy read for me. As a result, I am excited to check of Ali Hazelwood’s next books. Love, Theoretically is about rival physicists, one of which is a professional fake dater. So far, there hasn’t been a synopsis released for Check & Mate.

Many of Hazelwood’s books are very similar, so I’m going into this book with an expectation of the miscommunication trope paired with a rival scientist who has always been secretly in love with the main female character. That being said, I’m hoping Love, Theoretically can be a fun book that I read by the pool over my summer vacation.

  • Any announcement for Sarah J. Maas (TBR)

After the last Crescent City book ended on a major cliff hanger with unlimited possibilities in the next book, I’ve been eagerly waiting for an announcement on anything in the worlds of Sarah J. Maas. However, there hasn’t been any buzz since the announcement of the updated Throne of Glass covers. I believe the third Crescent City is slated for the next release, so I’m crossing my fingers that we will hear an update soon, even if it isn’t a 2023 release!

Final Thoughts:

In my most anticipated books, I notice several trends. All of my anticipated reads are from previously read authors. Many of the books contain female protagonists employed in medical or science related fields. The majority of the books fall into the contemporary romance category. While all of the books are from authors that I enjoy, some contain tropes/scenarios that I do not typically enjoy. Regardless, I cannot wait until I start my 2023 reading journey!

What are your most anticipated books of 2023?

Recent Book Buys December 2022

I haven’t made a lot of book purchases until recently. Usually, I borrow books virtually from the library. However, there have been a few books that I couldn’t wait to read and other books where I wanted a physical copy because I enjoyed them so much. Here are my recent book buys.

  • A Court of Silver Flames Barnes and Noble Exclusive Paperback Edition

I have all of the original covers for the first part of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I have been wanted to round out the series by buying a physical copy of A Court of Silver Flames, since I only have a copy on my Kindle. However, I am not a huge fan of the silver or orange covers. When I saw Barnes and Noble was having an exclusive edition which is black with a gray mask, I knew that I had to purchase it, as I liked it more than the original covers.

  • A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

I have read all of the Bromance Book Clubs books through my library, so I was hoping to read the latest installment through my library as well. I wasn’t too impressed with the last two books in the series, so I was hesitant to purchase a copy.When a copy didn’t appear in my library, I decided to purchase the book for my Kindle because since it is a holiday read, I couldn’t see myself picking it up after Christmas. I was so happy that I ended up purchasing this book because it is my favorite in the series!

  • Throne of Glass Hardcover Box Set

When I saw the 10 year anniversary of Throne of Glass coming up, I knew that it meant new covers would be on the way. My suspicions were nearly confirmed when I went on to Amazon and saw the Throne of Glass sets discounted. I feel attached to the original covers because these were the covers when I read the series for the first time, so I wanted to make sure I bought the physical copies. I learned the hard way from A Court of Thorns and Roses that if you don’t purchase the original covers when they are on shelves, then resellers will jack up the price later on. A few days after my purchase, Sarah J. Maas announced the new covers for the series, so I am glad I picked up my copies when I did!

  • Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

I was in a bit of a reading slump and I saw Icebreaker recommended several times of TikTok. Like with A Very Merry Bromance, I suggested this book to the library, but it hasn’t appeared on there yet. As a result, I decided to buy it for my Kindle. I haven’t finished this book yet, but I think it will be a great one to read in December.

  • Crescent City Fairyloot Exclusive Editions

Sarah J. Maas should just take all of my money at this point. When I saw the Fairyloot exclusive editions for Crescent City, I knew I had to have them! These editions will have redesigned dust jackets, sprayed edges, and character art. I don’t believe they will ship out until next year though, so I still have a little longer to wait until I have them in my hands!

What are some of your recent book buys?

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series Review (Spoiler Free!): Updated 2022

Back in 2018, I wrote my first spoiler-free review of the entire Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (you can read my initial review here). However, since posting that review, Sarah J. Maas released the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight, and another book in the series, A Court of Silver Flames, with two more novels planned. After rereading some of the books in the series, and reading the newest additions, I thought it was time to update my initial review. If you would like to see individual reviews on books in this series, I will include them at the bottom of this post.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, often referred to as ACOTAR, was a popular series on the Booktube community and is now a popular series within the BookTok community. ACOTAR seems to be a polarizing series: people either absolutely love it or hate it. Personally, ACOTAR is one of my favorite series and one that I find myself rereading time and time again. While it is a series that I enjoy, taking a step back, I can see stand-out aspects of the series compared to aspects which needs to be improved. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the series as a whole:

The Synopsis

A Court of Thorns and Roses follows Feyre Archeron, a poor hunter, who kills a faerie disguised as a wolf in the woods. To pay for her actions, Feyre is taken back to the fae lands where she must live with her cursed captor. The original A Court of Thorns and roses (ACOTAR) series is comprised of three books, told primarily from the perspective of Feyre with a couple chapters in the final book told from another perspective. The novella in the series, A Court of Frost and Starlight, follows several characters from the original series around Winter Solstice. A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, after she overcomes trauma which occurs in the previous novels and trains to find three valuable objects.

The Characters

One aspect of where Sarah J. Maas always excels is the characters. Maas consistently creates interesting, likeable, and complex characters which stick with readers long after reading. A common trope present in novels by Maas is the found family trope and the ACOTAR series is no exception. By the end of the novels, readers truly feel like they are part of the family which she has created.

Since the series is so lengthy, readers get to learn a lot about many characters within the novel, not just the narrators. Some of the characters in these books are hundreds of years old and Maas gives enough of their backstories to make their personalities and complex relationships understandable. That being said, there are a lot of characters and backstories involved throughout the series, which can be overwhelming and difficult to remember. There are some characters and relationship which I’ve looked up videos on in order to understand better.

That being said, there is definitely some debate surrounding characters, particularly in the novella and the final book published so far, A Court of Silver Flames. Nesta, the main character, is a very polarizing character: people seem to either love her or hate her, so if you are in the latter camp, you may not love reading an entire book about her. Personally, A Court of Silver Flames was one of my favorite books in the series due to Nesta’s character development, so this wasn’t a hinderance to me. Additionally, some well-loved characters seem to make choices that are very inconsistent with their behavior in previous books, which really infuriates some readers.

The World Building

Similar to feeling like you a part of the family after reading ACOTAR, you also feel fully immersed in the world in which the story takes place. If you think of other popular series where people divided themselves into “factions” or “houses,” ACOTAR has a similar feel. Instead of factions or houses, the faerie world is divided into courts which are defined by different times of day (such as the Night Court) or seasons of the year (such as the Spring Court). This makes it a little bit easier for readers to keep track of how different courts operate, the powers often associated with a specific court, and the people associated with that court. Like with characters, there are many intricate details of courts and their histories sprinkled throughout the series, so it helps to have a way to categorize the information.

That being said, Maas is also known for a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the series and ACOTAR is no exception. While it is easier to keep track of information on the places in the world as the series goes on, it is definitely a lot to work through in the first book of the series. In my original review, I mentioned how I actually DNF’ed the first book in the series at around 40% of the book before I picked it up again because I felt like there wasn’t much action which occurred in the story. The world-building in novels by Maas can be difficult to push through at first, but the payoff for me is worth it to continue.

The Writing

When it comes to writing, people love or hate Sarah J. Maas. If you are on BookTok, you have probably seen the jokes about a character picking lint off of his clothes or characters detailing their bathroom issues. There are always comments about territorial male fae, and in this book, many discussions about their wing spans. I would love to see the word count for how many ties mate is used throughout ACOTAR. Sarah J. Maas has some phrases which appear frequently throughout her books, some of which are cringe-y. When I see discussions around her writing, people tend to either love or hate her writing. Personally, the repeated phrases in this series aren’t make it or break it for loving the series. However, if if this is something that annoys you, then you might not personally enjoy the writing style used within this series.

The Plot

My interest in the plots of the ACOTAR books varies depending on the books, but is more consistent than other series by the author. While I love the Throne of Glass series, it looks and feels like a completely different series by the end of the book. There are so many plots, so many POVs, and so much information to take in, it can definitely be overwhelming. ACOTAR is the first series by Maas that I read completely, and I would definitely recommend reading it first out of all of her series because it is the easiest to follow plot-wise.

While Throne of Glass has romance, it definitely focuses more on the fantasy elements plot-wise. ACOTAR definitely has a stronger focus on romance than Throne of Glass, with more explicit romantic scenes since the target audience is no longer YA (although ACOTAR was initially categorized as YA). Additionally, because of this change in target audience, there is more graphic violence and language on page than in the Throne of Glass series.

Starting with book one, the plot of ACOTAR is a good set-up for the rest of the series. ACOTAR was initially pitched as a Beauty and the Beast retelling and some of those plot elements are evident within the first book. This book does have a lot of world building in the first half, so action-wise the plot didn’t really pick up until after that point.

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) is definitely one of the best plotted books in the series. Sarah J. Maas is like the Taylor Swift of fantasy. She takes small details from past works and builds on them in later works. Readers definitely see a lot of this in the romance plot within this book. Additionally, this book perfectly balances all of the plots: the action, the romance, and the character development. As a result, you want to keep reading to see how the plot will continue to unfold. This book also contains one of the most well-done endings I have seen in a sequel.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) was one of my least favorite books plot-wise in the series. Whereas ACOMAF balanced many of the different plots, this heavily focused on the magic and war elements. Additionally, ACOWAR recycles some previously used plot points. These makes scenes including those elements to be less dramatic from when they were used the first time around.

A Court of Frost and Starlight was definitely my least favorite overall in the series. Plot-wise it does what it was intended to: it brings some more light-hearted stories after a very dark and heavy final novel. Also, it sets up the beginning of the next book in the series. However, there are some things in this book which are just ridiculous and are very cringeworthy.

Finally, A Court of Silver Flames is one of my favorites in the series. At the same time, it is definitely more character-driven that plot-driven. So if you do prefer more plot-driven books, then you may not enjoy this one. Another complaint readers often make for this book that the villain isn’t the most remarkable or involved compared to other books. In my original review of Silver Flames (read it here), I explained how I believe the villain is supposed to be more symbolic in nature, but I can see how people would be expecting a greater villain after reading the original series.

The Pacing

Overall, the pacing of the series is a little inconsistent and can very based on the book. The two books which I moved through the quickest were A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Silver Flames. I felt like these books balanced action, romance, and character development so I wanted to keep reading. A Court of War and Ruin, the third book in the series was the worst paced in my opinion out of the full length novels in the series.

Let’s start off with book one: A Court of Thorns and Roses had a slow start to me, due to the large amount of world building which occurs in the first half of the novel. However, the eventful second half of the novel and the rest of the series is worth the work. The second book in the series, ACOMAF is one of the best paced novels in the series. ACOMAF has a perfect balance of action, romance, and character development which makes it hard to put the book down. The third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, was my least favorite of the full-length novels. ACOWAR felt like it moved a lot slower, possibly because it leaned more heavily on the magic and war plot lines than the characters and romance for me.

Moving onto the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight. One part of this novella which differs from the previous three books is that readers get more perspectives from different characters. That being said, this overall is the weakest installment of this series, and it just seems to drag on compared to ACOMAF and Silver Flames, which are much longer but more interesting. However, this book does provide what it needs: the set-up for the next full-length novels in the series and more lighthearted stories following the previous novel, which was very dark.

Final Thoughts

Like I mentioned previously, ACOTAR is series that I love and I find myself picking up again and again. This is a series that whenever a new book is announced, I automatically pre-order the next installment, which isn’t something that I usually do. I recommend the ACOTAR series is you are a fan of fantasy romance books with an interesting cast of characters.

What are some of your must-read series?

Individual Book Reviews:

Throne of Glass Series Review

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a seven book (eight, counting the prequels) series which follows Celaena Sardothein, a deadly assassin recruited to be the king’s champion. However, as Celaena competes in the king’s competition, she learns that darker forces may threaten the land.

While I try to provide a basic summary of a series, it is hard to encompass the entire plot of the Throne of Glass series in a few sentences. The first book only scratches the surface of all of the plots and characters who appear over the lengthy series. Although the Throne of Glass series is long, it is an incredibly worthwhile series to fantasy fans and fans of Sarah J. Maas.

In recent years, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crescent City have been popularized over BookTok. However, Throne of Glass is the first series by this author. Many new readers to Sarah J. Maas may be put off by Throne of Glass, as it is still classified as a “young adult” series. Additionally, while Throne of Glass does contain romance, there is definitely a larger focus on the fantasy elements.

That being said, I think any fan of Maas, or those who haven’t picked up a book by this author, would enjoy this series as it contains many of the trademarks of her writing. Like with the other series by Maas, Throne of Glass includes an interesting, and likable group of characters with an exciting plot which constantly builds upon itself. Additionally, it has been confirmed that all of the series by Maas and interconnected, so reading Throne of Glass may be important when reading future works by this author.

Now onto the review:

Initially, I had some reservations about continuing the Throne of Glass series. I read the first book, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t necessarily motivated to continue the series. When I first read Throne of Glass (back in 2018!), I struggled with the world building of the series and understanding different elements of the fantasy story. In all of the series by this author, there is significant worldbuilding done within the first chunk, which can be overwhelming. However, as I continued reading, I found it easier to understand the world. Throughout the Throne of Glass series as a whole, there are many different places, people, points of view and fantastical elements introduced. Additionally, there is a prequel to Throne of Glass which is extremely essential to understanding the last few novels in the series. Throne of Glass is definitely a commitment, but I’m glad I ultimately continued the series, reading the rest of the books this year.

One aspect of the book that I think readers will really enjoy are the characters and their arcs. Celaena’s arc can be summarized in one word: epic. I’ve heard many people compare Celaena’s character to the Midnights album by Taylor Swift and I completely agree. She is the anti-hero that readers will find themselves rooting for throughout the entire series. Some of the side characters also have interesting stories and arcs. Manon and Dorian are two of my favorite side characters who show a lot of growth and interesting change throughout the series.

That being said, some readers may be put off by the multiple points of view present in the book. While the first book is told through Celaena’s point of view, the later books are told from many points of views. One on hand, it pushed me to keep reading. Often, a character’s chapter will end on a cliffhanger, so I would want to keep reading to see how their plot played out. Then, in the next chapter with a different character, I would feel the same way about that character. This also helps keep some of Celeana’s plans a secret from the reader, which can make some of her actions interesting and surprising. At the same time, as the series goes on, there is less and less from Celeana’s point of view, which may frustrate from some readers who would rather focus on the main character. Additionally, there is one book in the series, A Tower of Dawn, which lacks any Celeana, but contains important information which shows up in the final book in the series.

Another aspect of this book that some readers may like and other readers may not like are some of the tropes present which were more popular around the book’s release. The beginning of this series does begin with a love triangle, which was a trademark of YA fantasy at the time. That being said, I think the love triangle in this book was slightly more interesting than other fantasy books to me since we do get to see the two initial love interests fleshed out throughout the series. That being said, people who have read books by Sarah J. Maas probably won’t be surprised that the main character has multiple love interests throughout the series.

The final aspect of this book which may polarize some new readers or old fans of this author is the focus of this series. Throne of Glass is the most YA series by Maas. While the later books do have more romantic scenes, it is not nearly explicit as her other series. Also, romance does exist in the Throne of Glass universe, but it isn’t the primary focus of the series. That being said, there is so much going on plot-wise in this series concerning the fantasy aspects that readers won’t be bored by the plot. However, if you are looking for romance elements similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses, you will not find that level within the Throne of Glass series.

The Throne of Glass series was a series that I thought long about after reading. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up a little too late to read the next chapter. While there are some books that move a little slower than others, I did enjoy every book in this series. I give this series give out of five stars.

A Court of Silver Flames Review

A Court of Silver Flames is the fourth full-length book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas. This book takes place after A Court of Frost and Starlight, the novella in the series which bridges the original series to the upcoming later books. A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, who has grown distant and cold after the events of the war. To stop Nesta from self-destructing, Feyre orders Nesta to live in the House of the Wind with Cassian where she will train and work in the building’s library. Meanwhile, one of the queens from the mainland wants revenge on the Cauldron. Nesta, who stole something for herself from the Cauldron, may be the only one to stop her.

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)

A Court of Silver Flames was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and when I started reading it, I knew it would quickly become one of my favorite reads of the year. Many readers were upset that the next installment of the series follows Nesta, as she isn’t typically considered one of the favorites among the main characters for her harsh personality. However, I think many readers, even those who don’t consider themselves fans of her character, will be rooting on Nesta throughout the book. One of the strengths of this author is writing complex characters who experience a lot of character development throughout a book or series and this is certainly true in A Court of Silver Flames. In fact, A Court of Silver Flames may be my new favorite book in the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

The greatest strength of this book would have to be Nesta’s character development. I think many readers will relate to Nesta and how she views her situation and herself. Nesta harbors a lot of guilt regarding the events that took place in the war. In turn, she often reacts harshly and closes herself off from others, as she doesn’t want or doesn’t feel that she deserves their kindness. Throughout the book, Nesta begins to make friends, develops a meaningful relationship, and regains the control that she lost in a healthy way. In previous books, readers only see Nesta how the other members of the inner circle view her, which is not favorably. I enjoyed seeing Nesta’s commentary on the members of the inner circle and seeing the depth of her character that the inner circles often misses.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the pacing. Typically in books by Sarah J. Maas, there is a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the book and it takes a good hundred pages (or more) for the action to kick off. While this book does a little summary of the events in the novella at the beginning, there aren’t large info dumps at the beginning of this book as readers of this series are now very familiar with this world. As a result, readers can jump right in to the action of this novel. Within this book, there are four sections and I found each section equally interesting and engaging. A Court of Silver Flames is almost 800 pages long, but I couldn’t put it down and at no part of the book did I find that I was just pushing myself to finish.

A Court of Silver Flames also brings a lot of promising side characters and plot for future books in the series. Within this book, we are introduced to a couple new interesting and complex side characters who I feel will have a major impact on the remaining books of this series. Additionally, some old characters, such as Eris, have new information brought to light that could possibly change the directory of their individual storylines in the future. While A court of Silver Flames has a definite end for the main characters of the story, there are many promising new developments and loose ends that leave readers with a lot of questions. I think many readers may be concerned that new books just may drag out the series rather than add to it, but after seeing some new plot lines in this book, I do not think that will be the case.

One aspect of the book that some readers may not enjoy is the physical villain of the story. Briallyn, the queen who is trying to enact her revenge on the Cauldron, actually does not appear much in the story, which may irritate some readers. For me, this didn’t bother me much because I didn’t see Briallyn as much of a villain as I saw her as a foil for Nesta. Both went into the Cauldron and were changed dramatically. Both are extremely angry by their circumstances, but one chooses to use the change for good and the other tries to use the change for bad. For me, the “villain” of the story was more Nesta versus herself as she grappled with all of her recent trauma, her newfound abilities, and her self-worth. To me, that was the more powerful struggle present in the book, and since I enjoyed that aspect of the story more than the whole aspect with Briallyn, I was satisfied with the conflict in the story.

Overall, A Court of Silver Flames was a highly enjoyable read for me. For my personal tastes, it contained the right amount of character development, romance, and action to keep me engaged throughout the entire book. From the first page, I knew this book would be a five star read for me. It is going to be difficult for another book to top this one in 2021. I give A Court of Silver Flames four out of five stars.

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3) Review

book review

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)

While the bat’s away, the cat will play. 

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas is the third book in the D.C. Icons series. In this installment, Selina Kyle transforms into wealthy socialite Holly Vanderhees and her alter ego Catwoman to take over Gotham City while Batman is away. However, Selina’s plans grow complicated when Batwing interferes.

I have never been a huge superhero person. However, I purchased the first two books in this series because I liked the authors. While those books still sit on my TBR, I’ve been wanting to read the Catwoman installment for awhile now. When it appeared as a Kindle deal, I immediately purchased it. Then, I proceeded to sit on my couch reading it until I finished. Lesson learned: Get more into superheroes.

The main reason I enjoyed this book was the characters, especially the main character, Selina. This is a stand-alone book, but her character and her motivations were completely fleshed out. I know Catwoman is considered a morally gray character and this came across within this story. I also appreciated Luke, or Batwing, because his character was equally fleshed out and his backstory added to his character. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn were also fun additions to the cast.

At this point, I’ve read several books by Sarah J. Maas. Sometimes, the pacing is a little off-putting to me. This book was one that I found myself turning the pages until I found out what happened next. This book has a nice balance of flashbacks, character growth, and action scenes that rounded out the novel well. The ending especially gripped me and I was satisfied with the conclusion of this story.

There are some aspects of this novel that some readers may not enjoy. The ending is a little bit far-fetched and some readers may prefer a more dramatic and realistic ending than the small “cop-out” aspect of the novel’s end. Additionally, I’ve seen in other reviews that Catwoman in this story isn’t as hardcore as she typically is portrayed. I cannot speak to that representation but can say that I enjoyed her as a character in this book.

Overall, Catwoman: Soulstealer was a fun book for me. I would recommend this book to readers who are fans of superheroes or those wanting to check out something that they don’t typically read. I give this book five out of five stars.