Book Reviews: The Wives, The Crown of Gilded Bones and Shine

Hey guys! Today we have another book review post! We’ve got three very different books in today’s post. What can I say, I have very varied taste. And if you prefer audio-visual book reviews, my book video will be going Sunday so stay tuned for that (I’ll add the video to this post once it’s up). Let’s get into it.

"The Wives" by Tarryn Fisher

The first book is “The Wives” by Tarryn Fisher. This one was lent by my neighbour and my mom read it before me. My mom’s quick review I got before reading the book was ‘the ending was crazy’. Not very descriptive. This book follows a woman whose husband is a polygamist, but she doesn’t know his other wives. Now I just want to note the synopsis on the back of the book and Goodreads is different. Goodreads says the main character’s name whereas the back of the book doesn’t. So it took me half the book to realize the main character’s name is Thursday and not just a nickname. But anyway, Thursday is curious about the other wives and befriends one. Then Thursday learns that her husband is abusing one of the other wives and becomes concerned. This is an adult thriller.

Unlike a lot of the reviews on Goodreads, I found the first half of the book pretty boring. It was mundane and just about her domestic woes at the beginning. It wasn’t until about halfway through that it got interesting. The more interesting it got thought the more confusing it got. There were a lot of twists and turns right up until the end of the book. I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading it because it’s pretty messed up what happens. But the book itself is written well, with the book flowing and I read it pretty quickly.

I will say that mental illness is a big driver of the plot and I’m unsure how I feel about it. I think mental illness can add to a thriller. For example in the book ‘The Women in the Window’, the main character was unreliable due to her mental illness. But it was not the main cause for the tragedy. In this book, it caused all the tragedy and was put in a negative light, with words like ‘crazy’ and ‘psycho’ being thrown around all over the place. It just didn’t sit well with me.

Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. It was a thrilling book. But I just didn’t vibe with the reason for all the mess and found the beginning to be boring.

"The Crown of Gilded Bones", the third book in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

The next book is “The Crown of Gilded Bones”, the third book in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series. I won’t go into too much detail about the plot as to not spoil the other books in the series. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the book so I was hesitant going into the book. This is a new adult fantasy.

I can say I understand why the book got mixed reviews. First, there is a lot of info-dumping at the beginning of the book. I read the other two books in November so it was a lot to try and remember the old information and process the new information. It took me almost 200 pages to get into the book. And second there just wasn’t as much spice compared to the other book. Like don’t get me wrong, there are spicy scenes, but they weren’t as memorable or special compared to the first two books.

I think the second half of the book was much better. The world was developed at a much more even pace and some really big plot twists happen in the end as well. While the book might not be my favourite in the series, I can see how it’s going to be important in the overarching series. Lots of both plot and character development happens in this book so be prepared for that.

Overall I gave this book 4/5 stars (for reference I rated the other books in the series 4.5/5 stars). If you are into fantasy and want something spicy I highly recommend this series. But be prepared for a long read, because each book is over 600 pages long.

"Shine" by Lauren Myracle

And the final book I read in May is “Shine” by Lauren Myracle. This book follows Cat as she tries to discover who committed a hate crime against her gay friend Patrick. This book is a YA mystery.

The mystery is the best part of this novel. It took me a while (but not as long as Cat) to figure out who committed the crime. I kept on going back and forth on who did it. And I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading the book. If you’re looking for a good mystery this is it.

But the book overall is quite sad. This book is set in rural North Carolina. There is a lot of hate, homophobia, poverty, drug use, abuse, violence – the list goes on. It’s not necessarily enjoyable to read about all these awful things but it’s important in some ways because this is life and reality for many people. Made me think and reflect on my privilege.

Overall I gave this 4/5 stars. Pretty dark subject matter but the mystery is really good. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery. And don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a YA book because it’s still a serious novel.

And those are my book reviews! Let me know in the comments what you thought if you read any of these books. And always let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 013: Blood and Ash Series

Hey guys! Today I will be reviewing the first two books in the Blood and Ash series. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a series that isn’t complete, but I got convinced by my favourite booktoker (@literarylibra) to read it so here we are. I decided to post my review of the series so far because I know it’s pretty popular right now. So once I’ll probably write a review for each book and then once the series is over (whenever that will be) I’ll do a full wrap-up. Okay, let’s get into it.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout is a pretty prolific author, but this is her first fantasy series. The book follows Poppy, who was chosen to be the Maiden and usher in a new era for her kingdom. While waiting for her Ascension, where she receives immortality, she must hide away from other people. Everything changes when she receives a new guard, Hawke, who makes her question everything. At the same time, unrest is rising in the kingdom and Poppy’s life is about to be changed forever.

I loved the plot and the characters in the novel but had issues with the writing. I found the first 50 pages to be confusing with all the world-building going out. Since the novel is from Poppy’s perspective, there was quite a bit at monologuing in the beginning, which I found annoying. Like there would be paragraphs of thoughts during a conversation. I found around the middle of the book it was also starting to get repetitive. Poppy would have a conversation with someone and then repeat the conversation in her head after. By the end of the novel, the writing finally improved and the plot engaged me again.

I found the world while confusing at the beginning to be very interested. I like the world of the Ascended and it’s quite different from any other vampire book I’ve ever read. There are quite a few plot twists, some I predicted and others I didn’t predict. And the ending was amazing and made me excited to read the next book.

I like Poppy as a character. She’s quite naive, but it’s somewhat understandable given her situation. I also love Hawke. I found the banter between the two was overall good, but sometimes it would happen at times which I thought didn’t make sense.

This book is pretty spicy – aka there are some great sex scenes in the book. Within the first 50 pages, there was a great spicy scene. I thought they were well written and also nicely spaced out.

Now, this doesn’t have to do with the author, but whoever did the typesetting of this book did a horrible job. There were sentence breaks and punctuation that was all over the place. I found it to be very distracting. I’m not sure if that’s because I bought these books off of Amazon or it’s that the publisher but something to just note because it bugged me.

Overall I gave this book a 4/5. The writing issues took away some of my enjoyment of the novel, but the plot and characters were strong enough to keep me going.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Now I’m not going to give a plot summary because it’s going to spoil the first book. But I liked this book more than the first one.

I found that there was less writing issues and more character issues. I liked Poppy in the first book but found her annoying in the first half of this book. She was not letting people explain their point of view and that’s just something that bugs me. I hate when characters don’t let people explain! Poppy also has a habit of saying she hates people when she clearly doesn’t and I find that to be quite childish. By the second half of the novel she grows out of this and I like the book more once she does.

I love the other characters that JLA introduces and develops like Alastair, Vonetta and Kieran. I love the friendship between Kieran and Poppy, I enjoy reading the banter between the two of them.

Poppy feels a lot of guilt throughout the novel. There is a discussion of ignorance and being willfully ignorant and therefore being apart of the problem. While Poppy’s situation is fictional, the concept of ignorance and willful ignorance can be applied to what’s happening in the world today with racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. I love fantasy books that touch on important subjects.

Also, the spiciness just increased in this novel. If you aren’t into reading erotic fiction then maybe pass on this series because it’s got some great sex scenes.

I gave this novel a 4.5/5. The writing had improved but I still had some issues with the character development. But I am still very excited for the rest of the series and would recommend it to any fantasy lovers.

So those are my thoughts on the Blood and Ash series. Let me know if you’ve read the series in the comments below. And if you have any book recommendations or books you would like to see my review please leave them in the comments as well.

xoxo

Lea