**This ARC was provided through NetGalley for an honest review--Thanks NetGalley!**

What it's about:
          In this retelling of the Princess and the Pea, a game of truth or dare turns strange when one of Maggie's friends goes missing after spending the night at a classmate's strange mansion.  Even stranger? Nobody but Maggie even remembers Kate.  Maggie is determined to find out what's going on, and knows it *has* to have something to do with an enchanted glowing emerald, a mysterious hoodied boy called Garon, and the strange classmate who lives in the house.

What I thought:
          I truly commend the author on picking a less mainstream fairy tale to retell! I like the Princess and the Pea and have found it super underutilized in the modern genre of retellings.

We end up following two different stories within this book--one in the present that follows Maggie and her missing BFF, and the other that tries to convey the origin story of the emerald as well as Lindy, the weird loner classmate who lived not only in the olden-day country of Valstenia, but also now...in Maggie's time.

Honestly, I didn't love this book.  I was really looking forward to a neat retelling, but in my opinion it missed the mark and seemed to only extract the "object under the mattress" aspect of the original tale. 

Parts of the story really dragged on and there were many bits that I felt were unnecessary and ended up making the events convoluted and confusing rather than explanatory.  We were switched back and forth so much that I forgot what was happening in the main story while reading the origin story--if there was even enough time between origin scenes for anything of worth to actually happen.  In fact, at both 30% and 60% through, I updated my Goodreads status mentioning how much the book was dragging on. 

Me, while trying to get through this book.
While parts of the story line were creative, I think what held my enjoyment of it back so much was that this was supposed to be a retelling, but just ended up its own separate story.  The characters weren't very well developed and some of the revelations we get right at the ending seemed rushed and stuck in last minute because it was easy to make that the resolution.  

"Yer a Princess, Maggie?"

Overall, this book was decently written and I smell a sequel brewing, but I don't think I will be reading anything else related to this book.  If you're into YA chase scenes with a few fairy tale elements thrown in, you might be interested in picking up a copy!

Rating: 2.5 stars.
**NetGalley provided this ARC for review purposes--Thanks NetGalley!**

What it's about:
           This story follows Lady Aileana Kameron (Kam, to Kiaran), who's just come back out into society from the mourning period following her mother's brutal murder. She was in such shock from witnessing her mother's heart being ripped out that she didn't cry...and therefore a lot of people in society now treat her like she's the one who committed the murder.  It doesn't help that she fights and kills invisible monsters that roam the streets of Edinburgh at night with the help of a mysterious fae male with a dark past who calls himself Kiaran and has vowed to never kill another human again.


Aileana notices that there are bigger and badder fae showing up at the same time as the baobhan sith who killed her mom is coming back into the area.  She discovers, through some stoic comments (on Kiaran's part) and information revealed to her by the only warm and kind man in her life and one of my favorite characters--Derrick the closet-pixie, that she is a Falconer, which gives her increased skills in badassery and--oops--makes her the only person alive who can reset the lock placed on the fae prison 2000 years ago.  As if trying to fit into a dated and sexist society wasn't bad enough.



What I thought:
          A steampunk fairy story set in Scotland? A brooding, sassy, sexy fae warrior who's mostly cold inhuman fairy with just the tiniest bit of humanity creeping around the edges? A tale of the Seelie and Unseelie courts of the Fairy Realm who are about to escape and wreak havoc on the world after being imprisoned for the last two millennia?



So let's talk characters: 

Aileana is a total badass--society girl by day, tinkering inventor/fae hunter by night. She's got her own flying machine--THAT SHE BUILT--and is feeling confident enough to go hunting fae on her own.  She's--for good reason--traumatized by seeing her mother slaughtered, so behind all of that confidence there's a little fear and brokenness that shapes her character nicely.

Next, I'm just going to come out and say it--Kiaran could be ACOTAR's Rhysand's younger formerly-evil cousin.  He's just that perfect blend of snark and coldness with a dash of humanity (his long-lost love? A Falconer woman from before the fae were captured underground) and a smidge of a super dark past.  I don't know why I like characters like him so much, but he's a winner.

Every girl needs a Derrick the closet pixie in their lives. He's encouraging, helpful, brave, and sews a mean wardrobe.  He's also adorable when drunk on honey.  He and Kiaran obviously have something from their past that's keeping them from being friends, but for Aileana's sake, they are relatively civil with each other.

There's also Catherine, Aileana's best human friend, and her brother (who just happens to have some hidden talents of his own).

The cast of characters in this story is great. All of them are well-developed and we get a really strong sense of the relationships they have with Aileana and how they fit into the story as a whole.  There's no instant bonding or knowledge that comes out of nowhere--many of these characters are already established in Aileana's life before we start reading so the transition is well done.

The story and setting are also captivating.  I want to visit this world!  The descriptions of the places and things Aileana encounters on an everyday basis are vivid and imaginative.  What self-respecting tea-drinker would I be if I said I wasn't super intrigued by the instant tea-dispensing machines that seem to be handily located in every parlor in town?


Once the story gets moving, it's all intrigue and action.  We see Aileana's growth and understanding of what her role really is as well as how big her responsibilities are--she is literally the only one standing between life as she knows it and Fae Armageddon.  The inclusion of the Seelie/Unseelie court-style fae was one of my favorites.  It's a throwback that to me, and indicates that these fae mean business and that they're not to be trusted because they can and WILL just murder you.


All of these aspects combine into a fantastic and engaging book--I fell in love with the characters, setting, and story, and bought the Kindle version of the second book before I was even done with the first!

Rating: 4.5 stars
          





What it's about:
         It's Christmastime. Dash (a Christmas hater) stumbles across a red Moleskine notebook on the shelves of the Strand containing a set of rules and a dare, written by Lily (Christmas enthusiast). Cue the adorable romantic scavenger hunt that takes the reader stomping all over the Christmas landmarks of NYC, from Madame Tussaud's to a late-night/early morning klezmer club concert.

What I thought:
        So this was pretty adorable, in my opinion, though more than a little unrealistic. Like...I would LOVE to meet a cute quirky-but-slightly-surly bookish guy by connecting through a series of uniquely charming dares....but the chances of this happening in any way are zilch.  



But I digress.  Dash did a Christmas ditch and told both parents he was staying at the other parent's house, while Lily's home alone with her brother and his boyfriend Benny.  AKA these teenagers are legit running around NYC with none the wiser and having a scavenger hunt romance of epic proportions.  Lily uses her family connections (a cousin with keys to the Strand, her uncle the Macy's Santa Claus, and a Great Aunt who moonlights as a guard for a wax museum) to lead Dash through each dare, and his dares get her out of her manic pixie dream girl comfort zone and allow her to experience life and the beginnings of love. 


Overall, this was a super cute Christmas romance that I could TOTALLY see being made into a movie.  The ending felt a little lackluster, but I know there's a second book so I will probably end up reading that just to see what's going on in the lives of Dash and Lily.

Rating:  3.5 stars.

*I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.*
What it's about:
       
       In a small, quaint town lives a girl named Miel and a boy called Sam. Miel came out of a water tower one day and roses grow from her wrist, and Sam (known as Moon for the moons he paints and hangs all over town) became her instantaneous friend and next-door neighbor.  Cut to years later when the friends are teenagers, and are faced with a quartet of sisters who seem to have mystical powers over the population of the town. The Bonner sisters want Miel's roses, and are willing to give up every secret they know about the friends in order to get what they want.

What I thought:

       So firstly, I want to say that this book was absolutely beautiful. The language and metaphor were gorgeous. It was like a feast for the imagination--colorful and descriptive and magical. I could see the fields full of jewel-colored pumpkins and imagined myself sitting in Miel's kitchen chatting and wandering around town gazing at the fantastic moons Sam created.  
The story is so real yet steeped in magic and wonder all while exploring the many facets of the characters it is home to.
Sam is transgender, which plays a major part in plot (it's one of the secrets that the Bonner sisters hold against Miel), but it was portrayed in a positive and accepting way, which I thought was really lovely.  The plot also brings in some Latin folklore--I got seriously strong La Llorona vibes from the way Miel's mom was depicted, and it TOTALLY added to the richness of the story (like...if it was done right, I would watch a movie version of this in a HEARTBEAT.)

Actual footage of Miel's wrist. (Just kidding...sort of)

I loved Sam and Miel.  Though they both have somewhat mystical characteristics (Miel literally grows roses out of her wrist, and their color/smell/size depend on what she's thinking/feeling at the time, and Sam...the moons. Even the chapters are named after moon-related things and they're so pretty I could cry), they feel so true and authentic that you can't help but commiserate with them--the feels are real in this one, guys. The journey they go through in the story to understand themselves and each other (as well as the Bonner sisters and some of the other characters around them) just sort of spoke to me in a quiet but meaningful way.

In this book, you'll find romance and intrigue and magic, but mostly you'll find a beautiful and enchanting story about a pair of friends on a journey of discovery.  

Oh, and an excellent Autumn read, as well!

Rating: 4.25 stars.


**This review contains spoilers. To read what I think without being spoiled, head over to my Goodreads review here!**

What it's about:
          Cecile dreams of becoming a famous and adored singer, like her mother before her.  Her dreams are dashed, however, when she is kidnapped and sold to the ruling family of the underground troll kingdom of Trollus.  Here, she is expected to marry the prince in order to break the curse set upon the city centuries ago by a witch.  When things don't go as planned, her life changes forever and as she discovers more about the trolls she has been forced to live with, it turns out that first impressions aren't always the way they seem.


What I thought:
          I really liked this! It was imaginative and unique and I liked the relationships that developed throughout the story and how the ending set up for the next book.

          The relationship building in this story was super adorable. Tristan and Cecile go from hating each other to pretending to hate each other to just totally being in love (just how I like it, haha).  The development of their relationship is one of my favorite parts of the book.  At first, they're both disappointed and not super willing to take part in the Bonding (but I'm glad they did, because count me in on a romance with a psychic-style link. I love that shizz), but eventually they realize that they're on the same side and not only learn to work together but LIKE each other! And it's adorable.

Yes, this gif is supposed to be here. CONNECTIONS, GET IT? BECAUSE THEY'RE BONDED? 


I also really loved the relationships between the main characters and Marc and the twins--they made for some pretty amusing and heartwarming scenes in an otherwise pretty dreary plot.

           The worldbuilding was super cool! The whole reason why the trolls are stuck under the mountain is really interesting and unique and had a very cool sort of old fashioned fairy tale vibe.  I love a good witch's curse story and this one is done well.  I like that though we know the jist of what happened, we aren't quite privy to the whole story yet (though I'm sure it comes out in the next few books).  The only thing I didn't enjoy was that the trolls lived in a place called....Trollus. Like...really? That's the best you could come up with?



          The story itself moved a bit slowly for me at first, and some of Cecile's reactions to things seemed a little off to me (like...I would have been WAY more ticked off if Luc had kidnapped me and sold me to trolls. Like...who died and made him her owner? Gross.), but once the story got going it was really engrossing and I didn't want to put it down.  This book could have been a one-sitting read for me if I had read it on a day off. You know a book has you in its clutches when you can't stop thinking about it, even when you're not reading!



           The ending of the story twisted my heart and gave me a lot of feels. I worried about Tristan then Cecile then Tristan again, and I was just a little compact ball of emotions.  I didn't enjoy it, but I accepted that it sets up the second book beautifully.  I can't wait to see what happens next in this story, but I've heard that it gets really depressing, so I'm not sure I'll pick the next book up right away, if at all.

Rating: 4.25 stars




**This review contains major spoilers. To skip the spoilers, see my Goodreads review here!**

What it's about:

           The fifth instalment of the Throne of Glass series, this book continues the story of Aelin Galathynius and her court on their journey to take back the Kingdom of Terrasen and ultimately save the world from the evil Valg King Erawan.

What I thought:

          I loved this book. It was a rollercoaster of feelings and hopes and dreams and wishes and tears and sadness and love. I had ALL THE FEELS at ALL OF THE TIMES.





          We got to see so much in this book. We learned more about Erilea and the kingdoms we haven't seen before, including but not limited to a mysteriously familiar-seeming swamp land (*coughDeadMarshescough*). It's great, and and I adored the presumed homage to some of the classics.  I am so sad we didn't get to see more of Ellwye, and that Maeve pretty much ruined it for everyone, because she's evil incarnate.





          We got to meet new characters and learn more about our old favorites. I adored getting to know the cadre, Elide, and Lorcan better, as well as Manon and pretty much everyone. GUYS. THE SILENT ASSASSINS. (*quiet sobbing*) And Ansel, and FREAKING KASIDA THE ASTERION. (I'm so glad I just happened to finish Assassin's Blade RIGHT before I read this.) That ending scene with all of the forces coming together after Maeve carted our beloved Aelin of the Wildfire off--I just actually cannot think about it without tears coming to my eyes. Like...fantastic and so heartwarming and hope-inducing yet just *after* perfect timing. Abraxos and Lysandra are my new two fave characters. Lysandra is amazing and badass and so brave. Abraxos is the most majestic and loyal flower-scented wyvern ever and I love him forever.




          The action scenes were so stressful yet exhilarating. I think my favorite was the epic sea wyvern/sea dragon!Lyandra battle. It invoked so many emotions in me because all the stuff from all of the characters' perspectives were just so poignant and like real feelings. THESE GUYS LOVE EACH OTHER and it both warms and breaks my heart because I don't want any of them to be hurt but I know it will be inevitable because drama.  The battle with the Ilken at the Stone Swamps was so freaky but showed that the cadre amazingly is so willing to work with the Court and they can be a fantastic unit. God, Maeve ruins EVERYTHING! She's like the Dolores Umbridge of Erilea--we know Erawan is the big evil baddie, but then someone on the inside who we would expect to be good turns out to be a total selfish bitch. (Show us how you REALLY feel, Emma!)



YEAH. GO TO HELL, MAEVE!


          The romances were adorable. I know people don't like that fact that the majority of the characters are paired up neatly, but...it's fiction, and I enjoy good romances, and these are good romances. I was kind of iffy about the whole Elide/Lorcan thing happening, but seeing how she changed his character for the good and softened his Maeve-induced hardness (no pun intended, yikes) made me change my mind about that.  I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop, and somehow that made me feel not as mad when Lorcan decided to be a dumb-ass and accidentally-on-purpose call for Maeve.

         Lyandra and Aedion is so tragic yet realistic. I love that they obviously have strong feelings for each other, yet still respect boundaries and are the closest of friends. 
         Manon and Dorian is like...whoa. I like it, because I've been shipping them for a while, but to see it finally come to fruition, and the way it came to fruition was sexy as all hell and fitting for their relationship.
          Last but not least, WAY TO ABSOLUTELY DAMAGE YOUR READERS WITH THE AELIN/ROWAN STUFF, SARAH.  It was so great and romantic and freaking hot but also adorable and my heart just cracked when it was confirmed that they were mates and that they got SECRETLY MARRIED AND WHAT AELIN HAD PLANNED BECAUSE SHE'S A SNEAKY GENIUS.  OTP status gained, OTP BROKEN UP AGAINST THEIR OWN WILL.



DAMN YOU, MAEVE! (She needs to DIE a HORRIBLE FIERY DEATH)

           I read the Target exclusive edition and the little "deleted scene" from Heir of Fire was really interesting. We haven't really met any other Doranelle Fae other than the cadre and now Rowan's cousins, so it was a good perspective into what Fae royalty is like.  And believe you me, I'm about 99% positive the three characters from the excerpt are going to show up in the sixth book.  Essar especially, seeing how she seemed kind, against Maeve's tyranny, and is A FREAKING FIRE MAGIC WIELDER. Oh yeah. It's going DOWN.
          All in all, this book was fantastic. It dragged me in and had me both grinning with happiness and crying tears of hopelessness on public transportation (yeah, it was as awkward as it sounds). 




With that ending, I CANNOT WAIT to see what happens. I know they'll get Aelin away from Maeve, because Rowan and the cadre (ex cadre now, AND THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU, MAEVE) are sure to succeed in getting her back.  HOWEVER, I think the end game, at this point, could be up in the air.  It feels hopeless, and that Aelin is sure to die, but I think there are still options out there and I think that with all the twists and unexpected events/Aelin's sneaky plots that we've come to expect, I just have a feeling.  Right now I feel heartbroken, but I remain hopeful that things will turn out acceptable, if not the exact way I want them to.

Rating: ALL THE STARS. (Ok, ok. 5 really big stars)


What it's about:

         Nyx's world is ruled by a bargain-making trickster demon known as the Gentle Lord.  Before she was born, her father made a bargain and was fooled into giving up one of his daughters on her 17th birthday--to become the Gentle Lord's bride.  He chose Nyx and has been raising her to defeat the demon ruler and get revenge for the death of her mother.  However, once she gets inside her bridegroom's mysterious residence, things start to change, and Nyx has to figure out how to end the ruler's hold on the land while also reconciling her growing feelings towards him.

What I thought:

         First off, I'd like to say, Hi, my name is Emma, and I'm a sucker for mythology, fairytales, retellings, and lore. 

This book had all of that, which is why I think I liked it so much. I literally read it within 24 hours.

It's sort of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it brought in elements of Greek mythology like Pandora's Box, mentioned the Kindly Ones (another folklore name for fairy/fae/fair folk), and I'm pretty sure it referenced both the poem Tam Lin AND one of my favorite creepy fairy tales, Bluebeard.

The worldbuilding in this story is really cool. I liked that they incorporated that into the history and ended up explaining how and what and why the world was the way it ended up. I adored Ignifex's tower and all the exploring and discovering that Nyx did. I would *love* to go exploring in this house (sans demon-blob, of course).

I was a little more iffy about the characters. At first, Nyx was a little too obsessed with how coddled her twin sister was. Like..we get it, your dad's a jerk and you're mad about it. Move on. She does eventually move on and gets a little better. I really liked Shade and Ignifex, though. The whole dynamic there had me guessing about who was who and what ended up happening was really neat. The relationship building was cute and I liked trying to solve the mystery before we actually figured it out in-story.

The magic system also intrigued me, and I liked how it was described and explained. It reminded me of alchemical-based magic systems, and I thought it was really unique and gave the world an interesting vibe.


Overall, I did really enjoy this. I didn't love some of the characterization, and sometimes the plot was paced a little unevenly, but that was easy to ignore due to the engaging story and mystery!

Rating: 4.25 stars