Goodreads Synopsis: Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness. While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists. But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
I’ve always been a big fan of reading both fantasy and historical fiction and A Golden Fury is such a great combination of those two genres! The setting of 18th century Europe was atmospheric and the perfect realistic backdrop to weave a fantastical through. This story provides an original take on alchemy and the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone. The main character, Thea, is on a journey to create the Philosopher’s Stone in order to try to save her mother and the boy she loves, Will. Every alchemist who has attempted to previously create the Stone has gone mad, including Thea’s own mother.
This was definitely one of the darker young adult fantasy novels that I’ve read in a while. It took a deep look at how far people are willing to go for power. There were many manipulative characters and twists and turns in the plot that kept things interesting. The character arcs were compelling as their true colors came to light over the course of the book. I found myself to be more interested in that internal struggle of the characters than the external conflict. Some pieces of the plot were a bit repetitive but this made for a fast-paced plot overall.
The world-building was done so well! It was very immersive and I felt myself transported to that time while reading. The magic system was also intriguing to read about, but I did find myself a bit lost at some points. I liked the original idea of the magic but I would have appreciated a little more background on the more intricate workings. The magic was subtly woven into the story, but because it was such a big driver of the plot I wish there had been more focus on it. I did really appreciate the focus on the side characters, such as Dominik, which definitely added an extra layer to the book.
If you’re looking for a sinister and magical fall read, check out A Golden FuryHERE!
Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads Synopsis: Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
“I never quite thought of friendship like that – as something that makes you more than you are.”
I think this goes without saying, but I loved this book so much! I will forever and always continue to read all of the Shadowhunters books that Cassandra Clare puts out and I will tolerate zero slander towards these books and this world so, just keep the coming Cassie. Knowing that this series follows the children of the characters featured in The Infernal Devices series, I was soooo excited to read it. Will Herondale will forever and always be my number one book boyfriend (although his son is now giving him a run for his money…that sounded weird but let’s ignore it, thanks) and I couldn’t wait to be back in the world of the London Shadowhunters.
This book features so many amazing characters, and I think that was both a strength and a weakness of the novel. I’ve read every previous book plus all of the short stories set in this world so I was familiar with a lot of the newer characters coming into this series. However, I was still a bit lost for the first few chapters. I honestly had to write down a list of the families so I knew whose parents were whose and which siblings were related. Don’t get me started on the cousins, I think all of the kids in this book were cousins in one way or another honestly. I loved getting to read about such a big cast of characters, but it also felt like I wasn’t able to get to know all of the characters in the way I would have wished for because the focus of the book had to be split up into so many different directions. That being said, I loved what I did get to know about the characters and I’m absolutely obsessed with the Merry Thieves. James, Matthew, Christopher and Thomas make up one of my favorite friend groups that I’ve ever read about. It was so fun getting to see them plotting together with the help of Lucie and Cordelia. This book also gave me a newfound appreciation for characters that I had judged based on previous short stories, like Alistair, who had such a great redemption arc. I loved how his character was portrayed in this book and I’m really interested to see how he continues to develop throughout the series.
The romance was, as always, so extremely well done. Cassie comes up with the most creative obstacles for her couples in every series and this book was so full of tension. I have so many ships from this story I could fill up a whole marina. The ending just about destroyed me and I’m fully okay with that. I need the next book ASAP so I can keep rooting for Shadowhunter kids who continue to get shit done while the adults who think they’re in charge make bad decision after bad decision until the true heroes save the day. This book was full of action, mysterious demons, twists, turns and secret agendas and I loved every second of it!!
Comment below if you’ve read this book or any of Cassie’s other series!
Summary: This story follows Paige Collins, a high school teen who loves to bake and aspires to travel, as she tries to decide how she should spend her holidays. She’s conflicted between celebrating Christmas in New York City with her mom and a family friend she hasn’t seen since she was little, and meeting her best friend (and long-time crush), Fitz, at his family’s romantic cabin in the mountains a few hours from her small hometown in Arizona. Paige falls and hits her head and her world splits into two alternate realities where she’s able to live out each fate of both going to NYC and Fitz’s cabin.
“Next time you find yourself in a what-if spiral, stop yourself and ask a positive what-if.”
One Way or Another was a fantastic, fun and meaningful book that will warm your heart while making you wish for your first sight of snow. I absolutely love winter and this book gave me all of those warm and fuzzy holiday feels.
I was initially really interested in this book based on the description of the Paige and I felt that I would really be able to connect with her. Her struggles with decision-making, always pondering the what-ifs of life and letting fear get in the way of doing things she wants to do are all things I could identify with. Beyond Paige’s anxiety, I was also able to relate other things like her wanderlust and her love for The Great British Baking Show -a show that is absolutely binge-worthy. I saw a lot of myself in Paige and it was really comforting to have her character reflect so much of myself.
As someone who experiences anxiety, I felt that the anxiety representation was done very well. Paige’s character arc and acceptance of her condition was really nice to see and the book provided examples of coping mechanisms as well as demonstrating what a healthy support system looks like for someone with anxiety. I especially like how this connected to the romance and Paige’s fear that no one can love her the way she is. This is something I think so many people can connect to and One Way or Another showed that the right person is out there to accept us for who we are and help us whenever we need it. Paige has become one of my favorite and most relatable characters I’ve ever read about.
The side characters in the book were also super enjoyable. Paige and Fitz’s friendship was so sweet. They were honestly so cute and Fitz was really supportive and understanding. They know each other better than anyone and truly believe in the big dreams they each have. Even if they may not have seen it at first, Paige and Fitz were always trying to do what was best for the other and prioritized each other over everyone else.
Paige spent most of her time in New York with Harrison, the son of her mom’s old friend. He was a bit rough around the edges at first but the reader soon finds out that he was really misunderstood just at the beginning and the moments of him and Paige getting to know each other were pretty adorable. He and Paige help each other to understand parts of themselves that they may have never realized if they had never met and gone through their shared experiences.
The format was perfect for the plot. One Way or Another is told from entirely from Paige’s perspective, but in alternating chapters between each fate as it follows her storylines in both New York and Arizona. This format made for such a quick and enjoyable read. A lot of the chapters ended in mini cliffhangers which made it really hard to put this book down. I also really appreciated the parallels between the two fates. They loosely follow the same pattern and trajectory, which led to one of my biggest takeaways from this book.
From Paige’s story, I learned that the big decisions of life don’t have to be all that scary. It’s possible that making two different decisions can have the same results that were originally hoped for. In two parallel universes, Paige made the decision to spend the holidays across the country and also celebrate just a few hours from home. Thousands of miles apart, there was still the chance to see snow for the first time, learn important life lessons, and get the guy in both scenarios.
I loved this book as much as Fitz loves romcoms and Harrison loves quoting philosophers. Speaking of romcoms, this would make a really great movie (I’m looking at you, Netflix).
Thank you so much to the author, Kara McDowell, and the publisher, Scholastic Press, for providing me with a copy of this book!
Goodreads Synopsis: Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people ― but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
“Let’s make this a fight worthy of a song.”
This was easily my favorite book of the series! What a truly epic conclusion. I love how everything wrapped up and this was just a fantastic read overall. This book was super fast-paced and definitely had some crazy and wild action. The battle scenes were so vivid and played out almost like a movie. With the previous books in the series I’ve felt like some parts were too romance-heavy and other parts were too action-heavy, but this one had a perfect balance! I feel like every character had their own moment to shine in this novel and that was on of my favorite aspects. Aelin is such a strong lead, but this whole series was really built on its entire cast of characters. From Dorian’s plan to trick Maeve to Yrene’s stand against Erawan, each of these characters brought so much depth to both the plot and emotional pull of the book.
Speaking of emotional, I definitely got a bit teary-eyed at Dorian and Chaol’s reunion. They have one of my favorite bromances of all time. And the ending is also sure to tug at your heartstrings, there’s a certain goodbye that that gave me big time happy sad feels. I really loved how all of the strong female characters were recognized for their bravery and contributions throughout this book, not just Aelin. There are some super badass women in this book and they all deserve the credit they were given. I honestly can’t believe I’m done with this series now. This was such a fulfilling conclusion! I’m going to miss these characters and this world so much.
If you’ve read the Throne of Glass series, what was your favorite book from it?
Goodreads Synopsis: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”
I loved this book and I’m so happy it lived up to the hype!! Before reading this novel, I already knew that I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid and her writing style. It’s quite frank but also emotional and relatable at the same time. She puts together such a well-written novel and characters that have you constantly questioning how you feel about them. Evelyn Hugo was definitely one of those characters. She’s a woman who knows what she wants, is protective of those she loves and is willing to do anything to achieve what she sets out to do. After reading Evelyn Hugo’s story, I’m still not sure how to feel about her as a person; similar to how the reader’s second narrator, Monique Grant, feels at the end. She’s made ruthless and cutthroat decisions, but it seems that Evelyn is always trying to do what she thinks is right for her family and it’s difficult to fault her for that. Evelyn Hugo is an extremely complex character and I can’t fully express how captivating she was to read about. I really enjoyed how big of a role family played in the book. There was a lot of discussion surrounding both one’s biological family and the family that we find throughout the journey of our lives. It was really thought-provoking and I enjoyed the full circle aspect that was provided through the dual-perspective structure of the novel.
While the book provided a lot of emotional content, I also had fun reading about the more surface-level things like Evelyn’s Oscar award hopes and the frenemy relationships between actresses. I always love reading about celebrities and reading about fame during this time period (from the 50’s on) in particular was really interesting. The multi-media aspect with the inclusion of newspaper and online articles added a nice touch to the novel and helped to show just how good Evelyn Hugo was at what she did both on and off the screen. Although this book is about the life, trials and tribulations of a fictional superstar celebrity, I think everyone can relate to this book and its lessons. The reader discovers that Evelyn’s greatest desire to be seen and understood for who she truly is, which is something I think we all want. There is also a large emphasis on love and the fact that love can take so many different forms for different people and different relationships. Everyone’s great love will look a bit different than anyone else’s and that’s something really special. This was a fantastic and mesmerizing book that is sure to leave an impact well after you’re finished reading.
If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts down below!