Review: Serpent & Dove

So while I read Serpent & Dove pre-release, it is now out in the world! So pick it up because this book is so good, especially if you’re a fan of Throne of Glass! There’s witches, witch hunters, magic, and good old fashioned enemies to lovers – now lets find out why I love this book so much!

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

First and foremost, AELIN AND ROWAN VIBES. The relationship between Louise (Lou) and Reid is one that makes you want to hit someone because you just want them to finally kiss. Louise is a snarky, bad mouth witch who doesn’t care what others think of her, she’s there to protect herself and her best friend Coco. Reid is a disciplined Chasseur, aka a witch hunter, who follows orders, doesn’t take bullshit, and hates witches. Ironic. The two together is just a mash of snark, sass, and hatred – it’s great. Every time they interact, it just makes my heart warm because “the mean one is soft for the other mean one” – awwww. While it is definitely not a good relationship at first, it evolves into something so sweet and heartwarming, I just love them.

Second off, the plot is wonderful. It’s action filled, fueled by wants and needs, and written beautifully. I’m a definite fan of this story. Shelby brings you along on a journey that has you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride. I was up until 2AM finishing this off because I had to know what happens next – I couldn’t put it down. And the uniqueness of the witches was also wonderful; there are different types and groups, it’s not a general witchiness. Love it!

Third, Ansel is my sweet little baby and I love him. As a Chasseur in training, he is put on babysitting duty for Lou and his innocence is just so endearing. He’s a friend I would love to have and his willingness to defend those he loves is a trait I love the most about him. He is just such a fun character to watch grow and progress, especially in comparison to the other Chasseurs.

This book is such a fun, exciting read – it pulls you in from the first chapter and getting to read both Lou and Reid’s POV makes it that much better. I can’t imagine what book 2 has in store for us. Especially after that ending!

As you can tell, I adore this book and it’s a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png / 5 read for me! If you want sass, action, romance, witches, and personal growth – what are you waiting for? Go pick it up now!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas or Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Grace Year

I managed to snag an ARC of The Grace Year by Kim Liggett at ALA and there are no regrets here. First off, let me just say, the description is awful because this book is that and so much more. I really found myself invested in the story and message behind it and I think the way this book is described, it just falls a bit short. This review is going to be very in depth because Liggett talks about a lot of important issues that I think should be touched on and talked about. So if you’re looking for short and sweet, this is not a review you will enjoy reading. But if you’re looking for my opinion on topics such as female relationships, female sexual agency, and other important topics – tune in!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. 

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. 

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. 

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

First and foremost, we have an outcast main character. Some people don’t like this trope, but Tierney is different. She doesn’t understand why women are seen as inferior to men, why she has to purge herself for a year, why the girls she’s with can’t bring themselves to help each other instead of hurt. I like that Liggett talks about this issue, because it is one, of why women tear each other down even if it ends up hurting everyone. It’s important for young girls to read this story and feel the frustration of wanting peace between characters and instead they get none of that.

Another thing this book touches on that I adore is sexual freedom for women. Why some may not think this topic is important for YA, I absolutely believe it is. Even if a girl, at whatever age, is not having sex, she should still understand that there is nothing wrong with and that she is meant for more than just pleasuring men. This topic can be very awkward to explain to young adults, but to show a healthy sexual relationship is very important. Liggett mentions that the women are simply vessel’s for sons in Tierney’s town, but shows each time how that is not right and shouldn’t be the standard – A+.

Along with a woman’s sexual agency, Liggett also reveals another important idea – women are not objects. It should be obvious to people alike, but women are not simply present to serve men. In Tierney’s society, that is exactly what they are though. Women are subservient to their husbands and are actually possessions. They are bargained over for marriage with no say from the girls themselves. They cannot do or say anything not approved by men and it’s infuriating. Liggett shows the outcasts of this society as free though, showcasing how women should be allowed to have freedom and be treated as equals. With each issue she raises, she presents a healthier alternative which is really important. It should be the standard and Liggett makes that clear to her characters and to the reader.

She makes it obvious that its not right to treat women as objects – which should be obvious but for some girls, this kind of story is reality. Making sure we educate people all over the world how important fair treatment and healthy relationships are. I appreciate the fact that she covers these topics and showcases how insane it is that Tierney’s world isn’t fair and probably will never be.

Overall, important topics talked about in an amazing way, plus an interesting plot mixed up with it makes this book a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png / 5 stars for me. If you’re looking for a crazy, heart wrenching read put this on your TBR. You will not regret it.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

My Experience at ALA

This past weekend (June 22 – June 24) I attended my first ALA convention in Washington DC. Being a first timer, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for it, but I was definitely excited!

Arriving an hour before the floor opened on Saturday, my friends Alexa, Morissa, and I stood in a calm line of about 100 people while we patiently waited for them to let us in. When 9:00am rolled around it was a calm wave of people checking badges as we descended the escalators down to the exhibit floor.

Within 1 hour I had filled my backpack and a large tote bag with books. It became so heavy, I had to transfer them to tote bags and check them in. We were so exhausted from all the books we were carrying, and the walking around, that we left early.

By the end of Day 1, I had a full backpack and two full tote bags. It was honestly painful walking the two blocks to the hotel next door to retrieve my car. Poor Alexa was also drowning in tote bags and a full backpack as we made our way to the car.

Here is what my day 1 haul looked like when I got home:

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For Day 2, I learned from my mistake and brought a freaking suitcase to haul everything back. I still had my backpack and tote bags, but fortunately I didn’t need to dump everything until about 11am that day. The plan for Sunday was to avoid the massive amount of books that we received on Saturday and stick to the most important ones:

  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken
  • The Burning Shadow
  • The Starless Sea
  • Tiger Queen

We not only got everything that we were looking for (SUCCESS!) but everything else that we were “trying” to avoid. And by trying, I mean accepting every ARC or book that was handed to us with minimal resistance. It was hard to say no! It was also hard to avoid asking or taking one that was being given away. Getting ARCs is never this easy and it was too hard to pass up on hundreds of them being given away.

While I didn’t get every book I wanted to (and there were SO many that I wanted to get), I got about 98% of them and for me, that is a crazy success.

After Sunday, with the amount we had accumulated, Alexa and I agreed that we were absolutely going to skip Monday. Which meant we missed out on probably 100 more books, but we had accrued almost 100 each and it was too much. Which is something I never thought I would say.

Here is my weekend ALA haul:

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The most surprising thing for me was 1) THESE WERE ALL FREE (wtf) and 2) It was so calm and easy. In my experience with book conventions, it’s always a massive struggle to get books, especially ARCs. Everyone is fighting over them and it’s pretty ruthless. At ALA it was as easy as saying please.

One shocking experience I had was at the Harper Collins booth, where they displayed titles of books that they brought with them to give away during the weekend. All you had to do was walk up, name the titles of books you wanted, and say thank you. That was how easy it was to walk away with six titles from them. Same with Penguin. And Macmillan.

As the convention wore on, some publishers became a bit more reserved in giving out books since a lot of people in attendance were readers and bloggers – which I understood. The point of the convention was the give out titles to librarians and book sellers so they can order the books. While bloggers are important, we weren’t necessarily the priority.

Overall, the experience was very relaxed for all the ARC drops and giveaways, with the exception of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. That was probably the most chaotic part of the entire convention as hundreds of people were trying to get that book. Thankfully, being the first person in line as directed by one of the Penguin reps, I snagged a ticket. Originally, the signing line would be first come, first serve, but since people were lining up 3 hours early, (sorry) they had to change the plan. Everyone in line when tickets were handed out were guaranteed a book.

Skipping Monday was a hard decision, but leaving the convention with almost 100 books meant that I wasn’t going to have space to store them, much less read them, if I went for another day. It also saved us some gas and parking money!

Compared to BookCon, ALA was a calm, easy convention. It wasn’t hard to secure the titles you wanted, so long as you got there first. Nor was it an aggressive, blood thirsty mess. No one was hurt in retrieving books. The only disappointing thing was missing out on a title you wanted. But hey, you can’t get everything you want.

If ALA wasn’t in Chicago next year, I absolutely would go again in 2020. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can afford a vacation like that or the shipping costs for all those books. While it’s promoted as the Librarian conference, everyone is welcome to join ALA, as stated on their website. If you’re looking for a relaxed convention with books, friends, and cool displays, check it out! I will definitely try to go again soon.