A Court of Feels: A Discussion of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

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Join us for a monumental podcast! Not only is it our return from extended hiatus, but it is Shelfie’s 1 year anniversary, Cynthia’s birthday, and thwe have joined the Nerd 901 family! There is just so much going on. Which makes the topic of discussion even more appropriate. Tune in to hear us gush about the most anticipated YA release of the year: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.

WARNING: This is not a spoiler free review. If you haven’t read the book or hate spoilers you should check back with us once you have read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

If you haven’t listened to our very first episode, which covered both A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, we suggest listening to that first. It can be found here.

Thank you so much for tuning in! We are really very sorry for the long hiatus. Life just gets in the way sometimes, you know? That said, we do hope that you will welcome us back with open arms.

We apologize for the excessive squeeing that can be found in this podcast. It is extremely difficult to discuss the wonder that is ACOWAR without it. We hope you enjoyed it none the less and we look forward to hearing your opinions on the book. Share away!

Don’t forget to tune in next time to hear what we thought of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

Shelfie is proud to be a part of the Nerd901 Family! Be sure to check out Nerd901.com for more nerdy content.

Shelfie’s 500 Follower Giveaway!

We have been hinting at things long enough guys! It is finally time to announce our 500 follower giveaway! Though, I suppose it is really a 550 follower giveaway that this point, since 50 people have joined us since we began brainstorming this idea!

So, here is what we are offering you guys!

*drumroll*

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It’s the Shelfie A Court of Wings and Ruin Care Package! Have you been avoiding the hype and need to get caught up before the final installment of Sarah J Maas’s epic fairy tale? Is it time for a re-read? Do you need them in hardback? Do you just want some cool swag? Well this is the giveaway for you.

We are giving one lucky winner the following:

  • A hardback copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas.
  • A hardback copy of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas.
  • A one of a kind embroidered bookish tote.
  • A Spring Court Bath Bomb from All of the Book Things
  • A Night Court Bath Bomb from All of the Book Things
  • 2 ACOTAR Themed Bookmarks from All of the Book Things
  • An ACOMAF Themed Mini Print from All of the Book Things

How does that sound guys? There are tons of ways to enter below!

Thanks so much for following us! We are really excited to be a part of the wonderful book blogging community and we really cannot thank you guys enough.

Now for the rules part of this discussion:

  • The following giveaway is only open to US residents. We apologize to our fans abroad, but we will try to open the next one up internationally.
  • You must be 18 or older to enter. If you are under 18 you must have a parent’s permission to provide your address and enter.

Fantastic! Here are the various ways you can enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You guys have until March 16th to enter and then we will announce the winner!

Oh! And if you just can’t wait to see if you win the awesome bath bombs from All of the Book Things, you can find Delaney and her marvelous shop here on etsy. Check out the store and buy some of her amazing products! They smell amazing. I can vouch for that first hand!

 

Unpopular Opinions: A Discussion of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Join us for a discussion of book boyfriends, glowing reviews, and our extremely unpopular opinion of Caraval by Stephanie Garber!

WARNING: This is not a spoiler free review. If you haven’t read the book or hate spoilers you should check back with us once you have read Caraval.

Thank you so much for tuning in! We really hope that you enjoyed our most recent episode! Like we said in the episode, not everyone likes everything. We are very aware that our opinion of Caraval is a bit of a black sheep. That said, we would love to hear what you thought! Did we miss something? Let us know! Tell us why you loved it or why you hated it! We would love to have a discussion.

If you are interested in participating in the discussion that is already happeneing in the Shelfie Book Club you can click here. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

If you are interested in voting on our March book please check out the book club or The Shelfie Showdown! These choice will be announced in our next episode!

Don’t forget to tune in next time to hear what we thought of Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones!

Check out the other books featured in this episode:

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My Book Boyfriends and Girlfriends

In another Valentine’s themed post, I am here to tell you all about my favorite book significant others. Now, I know the term is usually Book Boyfriends, but I am not going to exclude the ladies here, since they make my heart skip a beat from time to time as well. So, without further ado, I am proud to introduce you to my literary harem.

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“To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

I also mentioned Rhysand and Feyre in my post about my favorite YA Ships. One of them was bound to be featured here. And, if I am being honest, it was hard to choose which one. But, I told myself that I could only feature two Sarah J Maas characters. That way the list wouldn’t be comprised of all of the ACOTAR and ToG characters. I had to choose. Rhysand won out in the end. I think because I identify more with Feyre and see myself in her. I admire her, but I don’t really have a crush on her. I’d love to be her best friend, though. Plus, Rhysand is just a dream boat. The way he supports her when Tamlin can’t (or won’t, depending on how you look at it) was just the first step toward loving him. Add in the teasing flirting, steamy sex scenes, and genuine love for his friends, and well… I wouldn’t kick him out of bed. That doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that he is drop dead gorgeous.

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“War is sanctioned murder, no matter what side you’re on.”

Rowan Whitethorn is the obvious choice here, and I will not lie and say that he doesn’t make the butterflies in my tummy do back flips, but I wasn’t sold on him until Queen of Shadows. Manon Blackbeak, on the other hand, had my heart from the moment she showed up in Heir of Fire. She is fierce, dangerous, brutal… and all together intoxicating. There is something about her strength combined with her struggle to accept that compassion is not a weakness that makes me love her oh so very much. That, and she has absolutely no issue telling you exactly what she thinks. Is she a bit terrifying? Absolutely, but I feel like that the danger is worth it in this case. Plus, the scenes with her and Dorian in Empire of Storms are hot! I don’t believe they are soulmates or anything. Far from it, but the power struggle dynamic is really well done. I love it, and I love Manon.

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“The prince’s strength was often touted as being physical. But Vhalla was beginning to learn that the man known for breaking hearts seemed to have a rather large one of his own.”

It is no secret that Aldrik Ci’Dan Solaris makes me uncomfortable. He’s supposed to be the dream boat of this series, but after what he did to Vhalla in Air Awakens, I couldn’t get on board. I read five books that focused on their love and never felt one little thing for him. Baldair, on the other hand, is wonderful. The baby brother to brooding Aldrik, is in every way his opposite. He is light where Aldrik is dark. We meet him as the womanizing Heartbreaker Prince known for bedding (and forgetting) many a woman. Sure he’s been spoiled by being the spare heir. There is nothing he can’t do. But, the further you get into the books the more you see him grow into a compassionate, loyal, and funny man who wants nothing more than to protect the people around him. I was absolutely devastated by the events of Water’s Wrath and am so excited that Elise Kova decided to write a prequel series starring Baldair and his Golden Guard. If you don’t believe me when I say he’s book boyfriend material, I suggest picking up The Prince’s Rogue and reading about how he and Raylynn met. It will melt your heart far more than Aldrik’s fire ever did.

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“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

There are plenty of swoon worthy characters in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha-Verse. None of them hold a candle to Kaz Brekker. He’s not a hero. He’s a thief, a rogue, a criminal. And yet, that doesn’t make him a villain. He’s not dream boat gorgeous and he comes with his fair share of baggage. That said, all I want to do is hold his (if he’ll let me) and tell him that the world dealt him a bad hand, but he made the most of it. He’s brilliant, brutal, and strength incarnate. If I had gone through half of what he had in his short life, I’d be a blubbering mess on the floor. The fact that he has managed to find a way to keep going is inspirational. And the way he loves Inej is just sweet. It’s not steamy like some of the romances mentioned above. It’s not destined or written in the stars. It’s hard, but he tries and when he finally holds her hand… I kinda lost it there, guys. I get the struggle. I’m a sucker for characters that have realistic reactions to trauma and I am also smitten by genius. Kaz is both. Kaz is love.

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“I enjoyed the meetings, too. It was like having friends.”

Adorable, quirky, and totally weird, Luna Lovegood was my first Harry Potter crush. I didn’t go for Harry or Ron. They were just too… Harry and Ron. Hermione had potential, but was just too bossy for my taste. While all are solid character none of them are as awkwardly perfect as Luna. From our first encounters with her I wanted nothing more than to give her a hug. I was glad that she didn’t turn out to be only comic relief and was, instead, a bit of a nerdy hero. Those of us who knew what it was like to really be an outcast rallied around her. It was awesome. I wish she had gotten more of a romance in the books. That said, I understand why she didn’t. That’s ok. More cuddles for me!

Who is in your literary harem? Or are you monogamous with your one true literary love? Let us know in the comments! 

 

 

 

- The Butcher (1)

Our Favorite YA Ships!

With Valentines Day fast approaching, I thought I’d take some time to celebrate my favorite relationships in Yong Adult Fiction. Now, not all of the ships we cheer for are based in reality and some have already sunk, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate them, right? So, sit back and relax as I tell you who I want to have a happily ever after and why.

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I feel a bit like I am cheating here, since I know very few people who don’t adore this relationship. Who can ignore those steamy chapters? But, for me it’s less about the sexy times and more about how supportive Feyre and Rhysand are of each other. They are both suffering in the wake of Amarantha and instead of struggling alone they look to each other for encouragement. Plus, how can you ignore the way he says “Feyre Darling.” Someone should really talk to me that way.

“Did you enjoy the sight of me kneeling before you?”

Yes. So much yes!

I should also point out that I was neither a Tamlin or Rhysand fan going into A Court of Mist and Fury. I was firmly on Team Lucien. That ship has sailed, however. And I reserve judgement on Lucien + Elain until after I have read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

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I am sorry to all of you Celaena + Dorian / Celaena + Chaol shippers, but Aelin + Rowan reigns supreme. Celaena’s character progression requires her to outgrow both of her previous lovers. That is not to say that I don’t love them as individual characters, because I do. But when Rowan showed up, I just knew. The fact that he is a sexy Fae Prince doesn’t hurt matters, but what I loved most about him was his desire to push Aelin. She has always needed someone to challenge her to become the woman she could be and he did a remarkable job of that. He also needed her to help him stop living in the past and punishing himself for something that was not his fault. As a pair they just work extremely well together. More so than Aelin and any of her other partners. Dorian was too young and untested, but was able to remind her what it feels like to be happy. Chaol was stability she needed. Safety, but when it came time to push her to become Aelin, he fell short. Props to Sarah J Maas for showing us a realistic representation of how relationships develop!   Now give me more Rowaelin!

He shifted his arm so he could brush her hair back. His fingers lingered along her jaw. “You make me want to live, too, Aelin Galathynius,” he said. “Not exist—but live.”

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Unlike the relationships mentioned above, Kaz + Inej are not outwardly affectionate. It is clear early on in Six of crows that they have feelings for each other, and those feelings develop into Crooked Kingdom. So, if you are looking for sexy times, pick up A Court of Thorns and Roses and have a blast. If you are looking for a well developed, slow building romance paired with amazing character development, Kaz + Inej are for you. Similar to Feyre and Rhysand, Kaz and Inej have both suffered through horrible traumas in this lives and have mended themselves as best they can. Throughout the books they both come to realize how they feel for the other and struggles to find the right way to address it or if they will address it at all. This is a slow burn relationship where the smallest touch will give you butterflies in your tummy. Well, at least it did for me. If you are looking for something a bit more forward, Nina and Matthias (from the same series) may be more your speed. But I just adored this pair!

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

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Pete and Gemma are my only ship that comes from a Contemporary novel. Everything else is Fantasy or Historical Fiction (which is most of what I read) and therefor the relationships, while extremely romantic, are not very realistic. Replica, on the other hand, takes places in present day. Sure, it deals with clones, but it also addresses the ups and downs of being a teenager. And that is what I love about this relationship. Pete and Gemma are just normal teenage kids. It feels real, and it is just downright adorable from the start. Gemma calls Pete “Perv” because the mean kids spread rumors about him. It’s awkward, adorable, and just downright perfect. The same can’t be said for the romance mirrored in Lyra’s half of the book. 72 doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed out character and and was my least favorite part of the novel. But, I won’t get into that. Instead I will think about Pete and him riding to the rescue in his mom’s purple minivan.

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And I Darken has an odd love triangle of sorts. Lada, the main character, is infatuated with her childhood friend (and Sultan) Mehmed. The hitch in this is that her younger brother Radu is in love Mehmed. The book focuses more on Lada’s relationship with the young Sultan than Radu’s. Which makes sense as Lada is the main character. That said, I am Team Radu. Lada likes the idea of Mehmed but cannot allow herself to truly love him because of what it would cost her. Radu, on the other hand, would be executed if anyone found out about his feelings and he is still all in. Mehmed, is of course, in love with Lada and not Radu. So, this ship is likely all in my head and probably won’t every come true on paper. Which is sad because I think social schemer Radu is a way better match for Mehmed than hot headed and out of control Lada. All we can do now is wait and see. The book ended with Lada leaving Mehmed with Radu. So, maybe I will get what I want. But, more than likely my ship will sink to bottom of the ocean with all of the Chaol + Celeana ships.

“We cannot always have what we want, no matter how much we want it.”

Which ships are your favorites? Who are you cheering for? Did your favorite character end up with the wrong person? We want to hear all about your ships in the comments!

- The Butcher (1)

The Golden Boys: A Review of The Crown’s Dog by Elise Kova

Title: The Crown’s Dog (Golden Guard #1)
Author: Elise Kova
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2016
Kindle: 292 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase

A coastal summer is turned upside down by a violent murder, and a quest for lost pirate treasure turns into a hunt for the killer.

Jax Wendyll is the crown’s dog. As punishment for the unspeakable crimes that tourment him to this day, his life has been conscripted to the Empire Solaris. However, in an Empire afflicted by peace, his duties are relegated to unquestioningly aiding the antics of the youngest prince, Baldair.

Erion Le’Dan, a nobleman’s son, expects a quiet summer visit to the Imperial Palace, his only agenda to visit with his unlikely friends. But Jax’s discovery the legendary pirate Adela Lagmir’s old workroom inspires a hunt for her long lost treasure.

The pursuit of Adela’s truth takes the three men to the Imperial summer manor, built along the old pirate mainstays. When Adela’s trident is branded into a murdered servant, Prince Baldair’s summer amusement of treasure-hunting becomes a hunt to find the killer. But, as mysteries compound, the ghosts of Jax’s past may not be the only things haunting them.

“Next you’re going to tell me that you want to go find this long lost treasure.”

Baldair grinned like a fool.

I am late to the party with The Crown’s Dog. In fact, I didn’t even know it had been released until after I ordered my copy of Alchemists of Loom last month and Amazon suggested I also purchase The Crown’s Dog. So, of course, I did just that. How could I turn down an opportunity to return to the world of Air Awakens with Baldair at my side? My biggest complaint about Crystal Crowned was the distinct lack of the Heartbreaker Prince.

If you are unfamiliar with Air Awakens, it is a fast-paced fantasy series set in a world similar to that of Avatar the Last Airbender. Kova makes sure that each book is packed full of action, romance, and suspense. But as this review is not about that series, I will refrain from discussing it in too much detail. That said, throughout the series you meet Prince Baldair Solaris, the spare heir, and his personal retinue, known as The Golden Guard. The Crown’s Dog is the first in a prequel series that tells the story of how The Guard was formed.

With a title like The Crown’s Dog, I was assuming the book would tell Jax Wendyll’s origin story. That story would have interested me a great deal. However, that was not the story Kova told. Instead we got a tale of pirate’s curses, murder, and deception. It was not at all what I had planned for, but it was exactly what I wanted.

The story is told from two perspectives, that of Jax Wendyll, a fallen Lord of the West who has been conscripted into service of the crown, and Erion Le’Dan, the nobelman’s son who saved his life. Both men serve Prince Baldair Solaris as personal guards and companions. The swap in perspective is, as always, extremely well done and while Baldair does not have PoV chapters, his character development does not fall behind his partners in crime. In fact, watching the group develop together is one of the delights of this novel. This is bromance at its finest.

I was also quite surprised at the amount of world building in this novel. I assumed that since it took place in the same world as Air Awakens that we would be left with the information that we had previously gathered. Thankfully, Kova took this as an opportunity to show us corners of her world that we had yet to visit and even gifted us with lovely maps in the front of the novel. Believe me when I say that you will love Oparium just as much if not more than Solarin.

Reading The Crown’s Dog was like reuniting with an old friend. It took me back to a world I love and made me fall in love with some of my favorite characters all over again. My only complaint is that I was expecting the book to be a bit more Jax-centric than it was. That said, He still got some marvelous development alongside his golden compatriots. Now, if Elise Kova were to decide to write his origin story after all, well… I would certainly read that too.

While this is the beginning of a prequel series and the events of this novel take place before the events of Air Awakens, I would recommend reading this after the original series. There are no spoilers and you can certainly read this series first, but I feel like you will have a better grasp of the world and how the characters relate to it and each other if you read them in order of publication.

I highly recommend this book for fans of the Air Awakens series, as well as to readers who enjoy fast paced romance-light fantasy with an emphasis on friendship. Also, if you love pirates, I suggest giving this one a go.

- The Butcher (1)

Of Myths and Monsters: A Review of Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh


Title:
 Fear the Drowning Deep
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date:  October 11th, 2016
Hardback: 304 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

“Nothing from the ocean is meant to survive on land forever.”

While not the horror novel it was billed to be, Fear the Drowning Deep nevertheless hit so many high notes with me that I wasn’t bothered by the lack of fear factor. The synopsis suggests strong notes of witchery and mysterious, murderous sea creatures, and quite honestly, the book doesn’t really deliver on those suggestions. What we get in Fear the Drowning Deep is a subtly eerie take on myths of the sea, one that is more evocative of historical fantasy than horror, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I want to make it clear upfront that the “witch’s apprentice Bridley” line from the blurbs is very much misleading. The witch, Morag, is more akin to a village herbalist, and Bridley isn’t her apprentice- she’s her housekeeper. If you’re looking for a book with a high magic/horror level, this likely isn’t the book for you. I wasn’t bothered by the lack of witchiness, personally. We do see several uses of low-magic in herbs, charms, and superstition-driven action, and for me those nods were enough. What I enjoyed most was how Marsh creates a palpable presence of dread within Drowning’s pages. The overall feel of the fishing village and its struggles is very real, and the fear that rises within the townsfolk as more and more of their number disappear believable. Bridley, as the only person who seems to notice the fantastical happenings surrounding their town, reads as a mostly sympathetic character who experiences more than a little growth from start to finish.

The book does have some problems, the most notable of which is the severe case of insta-love between Bridley and the amnesic foreigner Finn, who washed up on their stretch of beach. Insta-love is one of my bigger pet peeves, and while we are given a magical reason for it a bit late in the story, it was still a plot point that could easily have been left out of the final draft. It felt a bit as if the author thought there should be a romance, and so she included one, even though it wasn’t the best thing for the narrative. Finn is not a bad character, mind; he has a compelling personality, brings a rather unique perspective to the story, and his inclusion is necessary to the plot advancement. I just don’t feel that he fit as a love interest.

Fear the Drowning Deep is one of those books I enjoyed really for no other reason than it hit upon several areas that are happy buttons for me. Marsh deals with the superstitions surrounding the village “witch” in a well-researched manner, even providing accurate properties for the herbs and trinkets that Bridley gathers for Morag. The primary myths addressed in Drowning, that of the Glashtin, the shapeshifting waterhorse, and of the Fossegrim, the ghostly fiddler on the waves whose music calls a new bride to be drowned every night, are very well portrayed. The descriptions of the fossegrim in particular were very well done, and some of the more frightening in the book. The entire time I was reading this story, I had SJ Tucker’s “Glashtyn Shanty” running through my head- the mood of which, by the way, fits Drowning perfectly. Books that bring their own soundtracks unbidden to mind, are, usually, a success for me.

I would highly recommend Fear the Drowning Deep if you’re a fan of Gaelic myths and subtle horror, or are looking for a light read with an engaging setting. Despite its flaws, and the rather scattered marketing, I found it a fun and enjoyable read. This one will be going on my reread shelf, for sure.

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