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Book Review | The Fine Print by Lauren Asher

May 29th, 2023

| Published: July 2021 |
| Genre: Romance |
| Length: 436 Pages |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ .Five |

Rowan
I’m in the business of creating fairy tales.
Theme parks. Production companies. Five-star hotels.
Everything could be all mine if I renovated Dreamland.
My initial idea of hiring Zahra was good in theory, but then I kissed her.
Things spiraled out of control once I texted her using an alias.
By the time I realized where I went wrong, it was too late.
People like me don’t get happy endings.
Not when we’re destined to ruin them.

Zahra
After submitting a drunk proposal criticizing Dreamland’s most expensive ride, I should have been fired.
Instead, Rowan Kane offered me a dream job.
The catch? I had to work for the most difficult boss I’d ever met.
Rowan was rude and completely off-limits, but my heart didn’t care.
At least not until I discovered his secret.
It was time to teach the billionaire that money couldn’t fix everything.
Especially not us.

To start, this book is insanely popular. On Instagram, it feels like everybody is ready it and I wanted to give it a try myself for that reason and also because I heard this was grumpy meets sunshine which I am a sucker for.

It set out with a lot of promise. Rowan’s granddad dies and he inherits the responsibility to improve the family theme park worth billions of dollars. Zahra works at said theme park in the salon(?) but dreams of becoming a Creator and work on creating and developing new rides and attractions.

Dreamland is basically DisneyLand and it’s where this book fell short for me. The premise started strong but it wasn’t focused. I think it was trying to be too many things and failed to be any of them. Including with the romance…

This would have been cute as a slow burn. ‘I hate you but lets have sex anyway’ kind of book. And I think it’s meant to be that. But Rowan trying so hard to get her, practically declaring his love for her exactly 50% into the book undermines that. And then, to top it all off, after he’s tried so hard to get her, he says it can only be a casual thing. I don’t know what they think casual means but these two are anything but that.

Which is a shame because (at the beginning) I love the grumpy x sunshine moments. It was text book and I had a lot of fun reading it. I was so ready to fall in love with this book but it fell flat after that.

The writing became repetitive and tiresome after a while with the author falling back on the same old defaults too often. I found the ending, which should have been emotional (and maybe was for some people) a little cringy. I never felt the characters were sincere and I didn’t like (slight spoiler here) how for them to be together, one of them had to sacrifice a job I never got the impression they wanted to sacrifice.

I’ll give the other books in the series a go because this wasn’t painful to read and they really are just that popular that I have to know what everyone is talking about. But I did have higher hopes for it.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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Things That Instantly Make Me Want To Read A Book | Top Ten Tuesday

May 23rd, 2023

Hi Readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I think my blog is in need of a shake up. I’ve been neglecting it, and kind of falling out of love with it. I’m hoping taking part in a this will make me feel more a part of the community again.

I love this weeks topic. Ten things that make you want to read a book. I think this is a great way to get to know everyone’s reading tastes, and the perfect topic for my first post back.

Note: Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Broke and the Bookish and hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1.The Author

Everyone has their go to authors I think and these authors never let me down and I always look forward to their upcoming release:

Taylor Jenkins Reid (still need to read her pre-Evelyn Hugo books though)
Emily Henry
Riley Sager
Elena Ferrante
Sarah J Maas
Elif Shafak

2. It’s A Fairytale or Folklore Retelling

Especially if it’s Beauty and the Beast or a fairytale from another culture I’m not as aware of. Some of my favourites:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Beauty and the Beast)
The Wrath and the Dawn (A Thousand and One Nights)
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (The Wild Swans)
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (Various)

3. It’s a retelling of anything really

I’m a sucker for a retelling. Not just of fairytale’s but also myths and classics and anything else an author might think of. There are many more on my TBR but here are a few I’ve loved:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
Longbourn by Jo Baker
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

4. It’s enemies to lovers or hate to love

I can’t help it, I love the tension. I love high stakes and character development and the feeling of waiting with baited breath for these two to just kiss already!

…Anyway. Here’s a few of my favourites:

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

5. Fake Dating

I love when they slowly realise it’s the person their fake dating they fancy and not the person they’re trying to make jealous or fancy but can’t have, etc.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
They Hate Each Other by Amanda Woody (This one actually combines hate to love and fake dating and it is *chefs kiss*)

6. It’s got a dragon in it

I say this, I’ve literally only read The Hobbit. But Priory of the Orange Tree is on my wishlist and I’m reading A Game of Thrones this Summer (hopefully!)

7. Books With Authors As Main Characters

I’ve just finished writing a first draft, so any book where the character is talking about the painful task that is writing I just find very relatable and fun to read about.

Beach Read by Emily Henry
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

8. It’s set in Italy

Again, I’ve only really read Elena Ferrante’s books, which are all obviously set in Italy because she’s Italian and writes Italian literature. I really need to read more but, yeah, if you tell me a book is set in Italy it’s automatically on my TBR for the Summer.

9. It’s got over a 4.0 rating on goodreads

I know, this is bad. But I do care about what other people think and if it has a high rating on goodreads I’m automatically more interested in it. It’s doesn’t always mean I’ll enjoy it, I know that. It also doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy a book with an average 3 star rating. Highly praised books are just more likely to capture my interest.

10. Taylor Swift recommended it

Okay, she doesn’t do this often. If I ever met Taylor, I’d try and be brave enough to ask her for a book recommendation. I’ve actually got a list of books she apparently recommended to fans and during interviews that I would like to make my way through for a post one day.

Tell me, are we in any way similar? Do you agree/disagree with any of these?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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Rereading Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas | Spoiler Book Chat

May 20th, 2023

Hi Readers!

I was all set for skipping this book entirely on this rereading journey. I remember reading it when it came out because I needed something to tide me over until Kingdom of Ash was finally released, although I wasn’t too happy about it. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t think it was necessary.

But something made me decide to make a quick dash to the library (since this is also the only book I don’t own), and give it a try. Very thankful that I did.

I wouldn’t say I dislike Chaol. He seems like a nice guy. But when the nice guy is surrounded by centuries old fae and a Prince with magical powers and an appertite for reading, he kind of gets overshadowed by them a little bit.

Tower of Dawn is Chaol chance to grow and shine in his own spotlight. I loved seeing his character development. I got a tear in my eye when, at the half way point, he starts training again. Not letting the fact that he’s still in his wheel chair stop him.

That was one thing I was feeling a bit wary of going into this, and I think I remember feeling like this when I first read it around when it first came out. How is Maas going to a handle a disability being ‘fixed’ by magic? Honestly, from the beginning, I felt she was very aware of this and the ending rounded it off perfectly. He wasn’t fully healed physically, but he ends this book much stronger and happier than he has ever been.

Which is partly thanks to a certain healer. Yrene Towers, who we first meet in the novella The Assassin and the Healer, is the perfect edition to this already stellar cast. Slowly remeeting all of the ally’s Aelin made as Celaena, unwittingly creating a path that will help her win the war against Erawan, was so masterfully put together.

I reread my notes from the first time I read this book and apparently I completely skipped any Nesryn chapters the first time around. Sorry Nesryn. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t my favourite part of this book.

This book does seem to be one of the least popular in the series. A few weeks ago I was in the opticians waiting room reading Crown of Midnight and the optician revealed she’s also read these books. We roared with laughter when we realised we both owned all of the books except the Chaol one!

Overall though, this was an absolute must read and I will be on the look out for a copy of this in a charity shop so I can finally own it.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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Book Review | They Hate Each Other by Amanda Woody

May 12th, 2023

| Published: May 9th, Hachette |
| Genre: Contemporary Romance |
| Age: Young Adult |
| Themes: LGBTQ+, Abuse, Alcoholism |
| Length: 352 Pages |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .Five |

There are plenty of words Jonah Collins could use to describe Dylan Ramírez. “Arrogant,” “spoiled,” and “golden boy” to name a few. Likewise, Dylan thinks he has Jonah accurately labeled as an attention-seeking asshat who never shuts his filthy mouth.

Their friends are convinced Jonah’s and Dylan’s disdain for one another is just thinly veiled lust—a rumor that surges like wildfire when the two wake up in one bed after homecoming.

Mutually horrified, Dylan and Jonah agree to use the faux pas to their advantage by fake dating. If they can stay convincing long enough to end their “relationship” in a massive staged fight, they can prove their incompatibility to their friends once and for all.

But the more time they spend together, the more their plan begins to fall apart—and the closer they come to seeing each other clearly for the first time.

I knew I wanted to read this book the minute I read the synopsis. It sounded like so much of what I love wrapped up in one book and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m very grateful to the publisher for sending me a copy because I ended up absolutely loving it.

They Hate Each Other does exactly what it says on the tin. This is a hate to love romance between two people who hate each other but are, in fact, part of the same friendship group. Their mutual friends all agree the hate is just ‘sexual tension’ and they should just get it on before they both burst.

Obviously, they do not agree. But to get their friends to back off, they decide to let them think they’re ‘giving it a go’ before finally breaking it off for good.

And of course, sexual tension does, in fact, ensue.

BUT. This book is so much more than just a romance. In fact, that might have become my second favourite thing about this book, although I did love it. It was hate to love done so well and the hate was actually believable.

The characters personal lives played a huge part of this book and I especially loved Jonah’s story and his relationship with his sisters. I was absolutely routing for him and seeing how his story played out was what made this book such a page turner for me.

This is a debut novel and I found at times the pacing was off, especially towards the end for me. Things wrapped up really nicely but then it kind of dragged on and made me feel like the author just didn’t really know how to end it.

Saying that, that was only enough to knock .5 a star off of my rating. The rest was as I said, absolutely gripping and so fun to read. Highly, highly recommend if you are in the market for a YA contemporary.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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Rereading Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas | Spoiler Book Chat

Hi Readers!

I went into Empire of Storms remembering zilch. Absolutely nothing. So I was very surprised to find this is absolutely my favourite book in the series so far (and possible overall).

Everything about this book is just so damn good. There wasn’t one point of view I found boring. One character I wanted to skip so I could get back to another. Even Manon’s story captured my attention in this book and actually made me regret not liking her from the beginning! This series goes from just following Aelin’s POV, to the POV of countless characters and somehow Maas pulls it off flawlessly in this book.

In Empire of Storms the world is expanded and we follow the characters travelling the content to both new places and familiar ones. Once again we only get a quick glimpse of Adarlan before the characters move on and we finally see more of Erilia.

We also visit some places familiar to us if you’ve read the novellas (this book made me realise how vital it is to have read the novellas). Aelin’s arrival at Skull Bay is nothing short of epic. Her lounging in the pirates chair? She knows how to make an entrance, that’s for sure.

I loved the addition of Lorcan and Elide’s chapters in this book. Their dynamic of absolutely loathing each other, pretending to be married, there’s only one bed… They gave us so much! It’s a will they, won’t they situation. But rather than will they kiss? It’s will they kill each other?

Whilst reading this book something made me wonder if Sarah J Maas is a Zelda fan. Aelin being told she has to find a lock for the Wyrdkeys sounded like something Link would have to find. Honestly, these books would make a great video game.

This book builds up to an incredibly dramatic ending and looking back, I don’t how we waited two years for the final book! No wonder we were so pissed off when she announced the Chaol book in between.

This has turned into one of my favourite books of all time, which never happens with a penultimate book. I also feel like her writing improves so much with this book. Just, everything about it is perfect.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X




book blog

Blog Tour Stop: If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude

May 5th, 2023

| Published: May 9th, Penguin |
| Genre: Sci Fi/Romance |
| Age: Young Adult |
| Length: 416 Pages |

Avery Byrne has secrets. She’s queer; she’s in love with her best friend, Cass; and she’s suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.

Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.

If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come has introduced me to a new genre of books I knew existed, but never thought would be for me.

As the title suggests, this is an ‘Apocalypse Pending’ book. An asteroid is heading towards earth and people are either preparing to die, or preparing for the potential of having to survive after the end of the world.

Weirdly, I don’t think I’ve ever read an apocalypse book before, and I think I’ve been missing out. I loved the drama and the tension that it brought. The author explored it in such interesting ways with all of their characters.

As with most books that do this, I wasn’t a fan of the perspective jumping back and forth. For me, I just didn’t need the flashbacks and wanted to get back to, you know, the impending doom. It also made it a bit hard to follow for me.

Thank you so much to Write Reads for organising this tour and sending me a copy of this hard-hitting, emotional read.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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April Reading Wrap Up | Magical Readathon

May 2nd, 2023

Hi Readers!

April’s reading plans kind of went out of the window as it began. I started the month reading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas, and then couldn’t read anything but the Throne of Glass series. And then I kind of had a mourning period which I think I am finally out of, it just meant I really didn’t read as much as I was hoping to.

With a few tweaks and loose interpretations of the rules however, I was able to complete my Magical Readathon goals. Sort of…

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Prompt: A book with two E’s in the title

As I said, I started the month reading Queen of Shadows. I don’t want to talk too much about these books as I am doing a Spoilery book chat series for all of the books. All I will say is f*** Arobynn.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Prompt: Point to a book and read it

This book. This damn book. For me, the best in the series. So, so incredible. I feel like the people who wrote Avengers Infinity War read this book to take pointers on how to balance this many stories and character arcs, and bring them all together seamlessly. So, so good.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Prompt: Recommended read

I was initially going to skip reading this book but then I asked twitter and instagram and the majority said to read it. I’m very glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it. I did read it when it first came out but I don’t think I really gave it much of a chance. If you give it a chance, it’s really quite good. I promise.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .Five

Prompt: Flowers on the cover

This. This is how you write a finale. Honestly, for all it’s flaws, I loved my reread of this series and I’m already having to stop myself from picking them back up again because I miss the characters so much. I might have to read The Crescent City books next!

It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Prompt: A book that matches my outfit.

I would like to thank this book for getting me out of my reading hangover. It’s not very often, I think, that a book makes me feel this invested emotionally in a story. But I felt so angry for this main character and so frustrated at so many of the people in her life. She deserved better.

If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude

Prompt A book between 389-415 Pages

Weirdly, I don’t think I’ve ever read an ‘apocalypse pending’ book before, and I’m now obsessed with the concept. I did struggle with the way this was written though. There’s a lot of time jumping with flashbacks that I just didn’t care about.

The Princes In The Tower by Alison Weir ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .Five

Prompt: A Non-Fiction book

This historical story has intrigued me for so long and when I finally found this book in a charity shop I had to read it straight away. I loved how Weir gives such a full picture of the event.
It starts with the reign of the princes father Edward the IV and, after his death, Richard III’s usurpation of the throne and imprisonment of the two princes, who would never leave the Tower of London alive.
It’s a sad story, and Weir very cleverly explores just how much of an impact it had on the royal line.

Virginia Woolf’s Early Stories

Prompt: A book with Wolf in the title of book or authors name

Okay, this one I’m stretching a little as technically it’s the book is the Complete Shorter Fiction and I only read the Early Stories section. But I ran out of time and I don’t care. Hehe.
These are all stories she wrote before her first novel, The Voyage Out. It’s interesting to see a hint of the voice she will grow into. I loved The Mysterious Case of Mrs V the most. It’s two-three pages long, but it packs a punch and is all about loneliness and the disconnection of London society.

I still managed to read quite a lot in April, but my obsession with Throne of Glass had a huge impact on my NaNoWriMo goals. If you don’t know, Camp National Novel Writing Month was happening in April and I did plan on a goal of 36,000 words. I only wrote 20,000, failing miserably. But I am now 45,000 words into my first draft, and the end is in sight. Maybe I’ll be able to get it done in May? Who knows!

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

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April Bookish News | Goodbye Book Depository

May 1st, 2023

Hi Readers!

So many amazing looking trailers have come out this month, and two shortlists for some big book prizes.

Trailer
XO, Kitty Netflix
Based On The Character Created by Jenny Han
Starring: Anna Cathcart
Thoughts: This looks really cute, and was a huge surprise since I didn’t even know it was happening. But I will definitely be watching.

Trailer
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Cinemas
Based on the book by Susanne Collins
Starring: Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth
Thoughts: Okay, I read the book when it first came out and hated it. I am not tempted to give it a second chance, or I might just watch this movie. I’m not sure yet. I just remember hating the story.

Teaser Trailer
All The Light We Cannot See Netflix
Based on the novel by Anthony Doerr
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hofmann and Hugh Laurie
Thoughts: I love this trailer. There’s no dialogue whatsoever which is so rarely done and has definitely captured my interest. That and the fact Mark Ruffalo is in it…

Teaser Trailer
The Witcher (Season Three) Netflix
Based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski
Starring: Henry Cavill (for the last time *sad face*)
Thoughts: I haven’t watched The Witcher yet but I definitely want to now after just recently becoming a Henry Cavill fan. Won’t be watching when Liam Hemsworth takes over though…

Teaser Trailer
Lessons In Chemistry Apple TV+
Based on the novel by Bonnie Garmus
Starring: Brie Larson
Thoughts: Another surprise. This has only just been released, how is it adapted already? Still, it’s nice to see and I might watch it once I have read the book.

We got news that the second season of Heartstopper will be out in August!

International Book Prize Shortlist

Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel
Standing Heavy by Frank Wynne
Time Shelter by Angela Rodel
The Gospel According to the New World by Richard Philcox
Whale by Chi-Young Kim
Boulder by Eva Baltasar

Women’s Prize For Fiction Shortlist

Very excited to see The Marriage Portrait made the final six. I’m not really interested in the others but I do have The Bandit Queens on reserve at the library.

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Pod by Laline Paull
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris

Winner of the Stella Prize

The Jaguar by Sarah Holland Batt

Book Depository officially closed it’s doors.

This is such sad news and honestly feels like the end of an era. So many of my books when I first discovered booktube and book blogs came from Book Depository and I still have so many of their bookmarks. Even the really ugly periodic table ones.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X


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May TBR

April 28th, 2023

Hi Readers!

After devouring the Throne of Glass series in March and April I’ve kind of struggled to become interested in anything else. So I will be spending May hopefully getting back into the swing of reading…

Honestly, me being a ‘seasonal’ reader, it’s a bit difficult for me to plan right now. It’s may and this time of the year I’d love to be able to read more outside, getting a bit of sun.

But unfortunately it still feels a bit like winter here. The warm weather has not made an appearance yet. But I’m still going to put a couple of ‘warm weather’ books on my tbr in the hopes it will finally stop feeling cold and miserable.

New Releases

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Riley Sager’s new book The Only One Left, which is out in June. This will probably be one of the first books I read as it’s quite dark and gothic looking, so it definitely matches the weather right now.

I also still have Yellowface by R.F. Kuang to read from my netgalley library. I do want to try and read that before it’s release date.

On My Shelf

I have a few classical books I want to read. After finishing my reread of The Odyssey I think the next step is to read Ovid’s Metamorphosis. I also have Virgil’s Aeneid, but I’m not sure I’ll have time to read both.

Weather dependent, I might also start my reread of The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. I just can’t picture reading this book whilst it’s grey and cold though.

I may also read something by Virginia Woolf, or I also have many Charles Dickens books on my TBR. So I might pick up Little Dorrit perhaps?

Finally, I have a couple of non-fiction books on my tbr. Since it’s the coronation, I’m really interested in the history of British monarchs right now. So I have The Plantagenets by Dan Jones, which I did want to read in April but just ran out of time. And also The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. If I have time to read both, I will.

Library Books

I’ve had Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola out of the library for a while now. I’ve been renewing it because I just really want to read it outside, in the sun. I have it through to June so we’ll see what happens

I also have the second Dreamland Billionaires book In Transit, so I have borrowed the first one, The Fine Print, on the elibrary and I have already started it. Yes, I am loving it.

What are you hoping to read in May?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X


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Rereading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas | Spoiler Book Chat

April 24th, 2023

Hi Readers!

The fact that I finished Heir of Fire and then went on to pick up Empire of Storms, sure that that was the next book in the series just shows how much of these books I actually remember…

In Queen of Shadows the action returns to Adarlan where Aelin returns, alone, and in secret. There she confronts Arobynn, makes new ally’s and rescues old friends.

I read Queen of Shadows for the first and only time around when it first came out, so it’s been a while. To be honest, I thought I remembered it better than I did. In fact, the only scene I did remember was Aelin sneaking into the party as one of the dancers to save Aedion.

Somehow I’d completely forgotten about the Valg collar that’s put on Dorian, so that was a huge shock when that happened at the end of Heir of Fire. It was awful to see the others debating whether or not he can be saved!

I also started to remember why Chaol’s character goes downhill in this book. I just found him quite irritating and boring. He almost felt like a secondary character in this book, since there’s more exciting ones now.

Manon’s chapters got slightly more interested in this book thanks to the introduction of Elide. I’ve always found her an intriguing character, because she has no special abilities herself, no magic or fighting skills. But she has the inner strength of any of them and makes herself useful where she can.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but, as a criticism, I do think this could have been edited more. Some of the writing just felt repetitive, for example, I lost count of the amount of times Aelin ‘knew she was being followed’…

The final showdown with Arobynn was the best part of the book. How that all came together was a masterpiece I’d completely forgotten about and didn’t see coming. He finally got what he deserved. He just died too quickly in my opinion. It was very satisfying that Lysandra was the one that got to do it though.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X