From Blood and Ash Review

Mmmmm was this a good book. Fantasy, mythical creatures, spicy romance, intensity… yes please. Jennifer L. Armentrout delivered on this novel. 

At the beginning of this book, I’ll admit I was a little confused on the differences between the Ascended, Atlantians, Craven, Descenters… and the Maiden herself. I *almost* googled it all because I felt like my confusion between all of them was holding me back from getting into the novel, but don’t worry… I didn’t. Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m an impatient person and that the build up and confusion is probably worth it (and in this case, it most certainly was). 

Looking back, I honestly think the confusion was necessary to the plot because Poppy herself didn’t understand the differences between them all. She was kept in the dark about her own powers and the role she played with the Ascended her whole life up until this moment. So it only makes sense that when she learned new information we as readers learned it as well. All of the puzzle pieces kind of started clicking together and long story short, I’m glad I held off my impatience. So much information was written into the end of the story that really made it hard for me to put the book down. 

This story was an interesting take on vampires/werewolves/magic, and I really enjoyed it (ok tbh any book involving vampires/werewolves/magic is like crack for me so of course I enjoyed it). We all knew something was off about the Ascended… and it doesn’t surprise me that what they were doing to people was ultimately wrong. I liked how they made it into a religion in order to hide historical facts and to convince the mass population that what they were doing was “right” (hmmmm organized religion much? Reminder: I grew up Catholic so I understand how a lot of history can be twisted in the interests of the Church). The Atlantians were made out to be the bad guys to cover up for the Ascended, and I honestly don’t fault any of the Descenters for trying to revolt from that creepy way of life. 

What we still don’t understand is the Maiden’s role in all of this. At the end of the book, we learn that one of Poppy’s parents had to be Atlantian, which kind-of-sort-of explains why Poppy has powers. I’m thinking that the first Maiden was also part Atlantian; therefore, she was used during the Ascension ritual for some reason and that is when she died… it has to have something to do with her powers (otherwise they’d just continue using the Atlantians they already have captive, like what happened to Hawke). Maybe she takes away the pain of the people of the Ascension and makes them all feel good while they turn into Ascended? Just a guess… Though I’m confident we’ll learn more about her importance in the next novel. 

Let’s talk characters. Poppy is a baddie and I loved her character development throughout this book. She grew up oppressed because she was thought to be “the Maiden”, but she herself didn’t understand what exactly made her this way. Her rebellious streaks made me happy, and as the story goes on we can see her start to realize that she did not want to be the Maiden and live for other people. Poppy was not afraid of fighting or getting in trouble, and she was constantly pushing her boundaries because she wanted to live her life how she wanted to, and not just live for the Ascended’s future. I mean, doesn’t every girl want this for herself? I stan this development. Plus, she has dealt with so much loss throughout her life… from her parents’ brutal murder, to her brother’s Ascension, and finally Vikter’s awful death… each loss played an important role in her character development as well.

Moving on to Hawke… or should I say his Highness? He was everything, and his respect and admiration for Poppy made me a fan immediately. I definitely was suspicious of him from the start, especially as the author dropped significant clues about his extra abilities along the way. I think around halfway through the book I started wondering if he was indeed the Dark One… but I wasn’t sure where his relationship with Poppy was going. It was obvious he was very into her, but why???? I don’t believe he was using her… he might have started out that way but he himself admitted that he connected with her from the start and couldn’t go through with his initial plan of turning her over to the Queen. While he has definitely done some pretty bad things in the past, and will probably continue to be bad in the next book, I really don’t care because we all love our tall, handsome, dark-haired bad boys. 

Booktok recommendations strike again with an excellent story in From Blood and Ash. I cannot WAIT to start the next book, so stay tuned for that review coming soon! 

Six of Crows Review

There’s almost no words (almost). This book was fan-freaking-tastic. Big edgy vibes hit us right from the start, and the characters were SO compelling. The story is set in such a gripping world… this is my first dip into Leigh Bardugo’s writing and I was very impressed. Though I have heard talk of her other work not being as delightful as this duology…? Hmmmmm. If you have other experience with Leigh’s books, let me know in the comments. Either way, I’ll look into it and let y’all know my thoughts… I’m sure I’ll have a lot. Because who would I be without my literary opinions. 

Now, where were we… damn were these characters extremely well-written. What I loved the most was watching each of their unique backgrounds unfold as the novel went on. Each character was deep and complex, which really makes for a great story. Every member of the Six had certain dark struggles to their past that they held within them, and that really made them who they were in the present.

Kaz. Not only did I get extreme Thomas Shelby (from Peaky Blinders) vibes, but he was very clever and kept me on my toes. Of course I loved every single member of the Six just as much, but Kaz was just so dark, moody, and intelligent, which can be a deadly combination for a character. He knew the part he had to play to become feared and successful in The Barrel, and he played it well. His deep down affection for Inej was very interesting, though at times I wish he would show it more for her sake… though I get it, to show affection for her would be to expose a weakness and he’s smarter than that. I think Inej deserved more than Kaz could give her. She probably had the best moral compass out of the Six, but she wasn’t my favorite. I’d put Wylan in the same boat as well… essential to the story, but both of them were not what kept my interest in the book. Nina, Matthias, and Jesper were probably my absolute favorite characters… the enemies to lovers link between Matthias and Nina captured my attention from the start (duh). Nina knew she made mistakes in the past but she owned up to them and never used them as excuses. Matthias had to face the realization that he was mislead into thinking the Grisha were awful creatures, and it was wrong of the druskelle to hunt them down to kill them. When he confronts Jarl Brum towards the end after he locked Nina in the chamber, I freaked out. I don’t think I took a single breath until he finally let Nina out. It was at that moment when we realized his intentions and his realization that there was more to life than hating Grisha. And Jesper… I just enjoyed his personality and dark humor. He definitely was running and hiding from the fact that he gambled away all of his tuition money (and racked up more debt in the process), but he was entertaining to say the least. I think I can relate to the “running away from my problems” part of his character… learning to face your own problems can be very difficult, so I feel his pain. 

I think I liked the plot of this book more than I liked the characters themselves… which definitely says something. The whole book was centered upon the big heist of Bo Yul-Bayar, and I like how the story progressed from setting the stage by introducing our Six, to actually breaking into the Ice Court. The plot started off slow, with essential details, and then the speed definitely picked up when as the story when on. There was so much planning done that I felt we as readers were a part of, yet each chapter brought a new surprise. This kept me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath as they stumbled their way through this dangerous mission. And it left us on such a cliff hanger! With Inej taken away, Wylan stuck as Kuwei, and Nina coming off the high from the jurda parem… I’m glad I bought this book as a set with Crooked Kingdom, because I am READY for the second book. I like how there wasn’t a central villain to the story either; rather, it seemed like it was such a grey world and no one really stood out as a “good” character… this wasn’t a fairy tale world where good things naturally happen to our main characters. I think that each of the Six have realized this the hard way, and their struggles with this corrupt world ultimately band them together (along with the obvious mission of course). I enjoyed reading the last chapter from Pekka Rollins’ point of view, too. I find it so ironic to see how insignificant he found Kaz and the gang to be. Making Pekka suffer is Kaz’s prime motivation for every single thing he has done… Pekka definitely doesn’t know what is coming to him and I’m curious to see how Kaz settles the score in the second book. 

I read that this book will be made into a Netflix show and I can definitely see that. Did you guys get this vibe as well? Not only is the narrative perfect for a TV show, but I felt that the story lines progressed as a TV show would as well (p.s. I think if people want to make screen adaptations of books, they should just go for TV shows instead of movies period… there’s so much more room for details that way). I just remember reading it, thinking “wow this would make for a great show to watch”, and then I looked it up and sure enough, we’ll be getting one hopefully in late 2020. Though, I’ve read that it will be combined 50/50 with the Shadow and Bone trilogy… so I better get caught up with that series before the show hits Netflix. 

Hello, Friends

Here I am, hiking in Arches National Park

I might as well introduce myself a little bit further with this post, so here goes nothing. My name is Cori Bostrom, I’m 24 years old, and I live in Brush, Colorado with my husband, Brett. I have been obsessed with books from a very young age, and my mom was actually a librarian while I was growing up. She used to bring home tons of books for me to read and “review” for her, and I would spend hours on end in the library picking out some good reads on my own. To further paint the picture, I was the kid who would sit underneath their locker and read during lunch. To add EVEN MORE detail to the picture, I usually spent my birthday and Christmas money on books. Fun fact, my uncle would give me an Amazon gift card every year for Christmas, and I would immediately go to my TBR pile and pick out as many books as the gift card would get me… and every year he asked me, “you know you could spend that gift card on other things, like clothes or electronics or anything else, right?” Yes, I was aware. Did that stop me? No.

I started this blog to have a place where I could express my literary perspective on the books I read and casually chat with others about them… does anyone else out there feel the need to talk about their books IMMEDIATELY after they’ve finished them? Or is that just me? Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to deep-dive into the narratives and talk to my parents about my favorite characters and my favorite writing techniques. I’m hoping you feel the same. 

I primarily read fantasy, fiction, sci-fi, YA, but I am ALWAYS open to new stories and I’m hoping some of you guys have some great suggestions for me. I’m definitely NOT an expert on reading or literature, and this blog is simply for my own entertainment and to bond with some fellow book nerds. If you like what you see, give me a follow on my social media pages, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Pen pals, anyone? 

Besides reading, I enjoy hiking, gardening, working out, and engaging in lengthy Star Wars discussions with my husband (who also happens to love all things nerdy). 

Midnight Sun Review

Wow. Just wow.

Everything about this book takes me back to where I was when I first starting reading Twilight. I was obsessed then and I can confidently say I never grew out of it (side-note: anyone else stuck back in their middle school days during this quarantine? Music, books, movies… almost like growing up was a fever dream and we’re all back to square one). While I didn’t think I needed this book (tbh I forgot it was even on the table), when Stephenie Meyer announced the release date for Midnight Sun, I immediately preordered it. Then I counted down the days. Then I freaked out when I saw the SIZE of the book compared to Twilight. 

Edward was the ultimate book boyfriend while I was growing up in middle school, and I very much wanted to be in Bella’s place. I never thought it was a contest between Edward and Jacob… I thoroughly enjoyed both characters, but Edward always came first in my heart. I was a little bummed that we even got to experience Jacob’s perspective during Breaking Dawn, constantly wondering why we were never privy to Edward’s thoughts. Well, Edward has A LOT of thoughts… and I am HERE for it. I can see why it took 12 years to finish this book, and I’m grateful for the amount of detail that Stephanie has put into his character. 

Like the true book nerd I am, I decided to read Midnight Sun and Twilight side by side to see the comparisons. Honestly, I recommend reading it this way, though initially it is a little shocking. Since Edward is an incredibly deep character, this gives you insight into every single move that Bella happens to pick up on, and it also provides incredible background knowledge into other minor characters. Not only do we get to understand each of the Cullens on a more personal level, but we also get even more details on Bella’s classmates and family members due to Edward’s mind-reading talent. 

The most obvious difference between Twilight and Midnight Sun is the size of the books… and one of the more funny explanations for this difference that I came across is that Bella simply has no thoughts. My sense of humor can appreciate that joke (ESPECIALLY if you think the books are better than the movies), but this is where I can also praise Stephanie Meyer’s writing a little bit. We have to remember that Edward is a creature from a completely different time period, and this is evident within his internal thoughts. She put a lot of effort into keeping him true to his era, and I have to give her kudos for this degree of detail. He also has had over 100 years to be wrapped up not only within his own thoughts 24/7, but to also be wrapped up in the thoughts of everyone else around him. So to me, this makes perfect sense to explain the difference between his internal monologue and Bella’s, and even Jacob’s. Both Bella and Jacob are products of this modern day, so I’d naturally expect them to think as they do. It once again makes me appreciate how differently Stephenie Meyer wrote this book from Twilight. 

I loved the extra insight into each of the minor characters. We already knew some of Bella’s classmates were annoying (i.e. Jessica and Mike) but we never got to see just how annoying they were because Bella was never too concerned about the opinion of her peers. I also enjoyed reading scenes we never got the chance to see before, like when the Cullens confront Edward about whether Bella should be dealt with after he saves her from the van. 

The only part of the book that irked me was the fact that Edward blamed himself for everything that happened to Bella and how he decided he was going to eventually leave her for her “well-being”… but we already knew this so I can’t be too mad. It was just annoying how he didn’t listen to Alice or any one of his other family members who seemed to know from the start that Bella was going to eventually join them as a vampire. Like come on guy… stop being a martyr and stop thinking of yourself as a monster and just embrace the future… as we all know, Bella excels at being a vampire, almost as if that was her destiny to be a better vampire than she ever was as a human. 

All in all, Midnight Sun was a delight. While the details and intensity of Edward’s perspective was quite the change at first, I came to enjoy it much more than Bella’s point of view. I wish she would write all of the books from Edward’s viewpoint just because there was so much more detail and insight to every major plot point. We can only dream, right? 

Serpent and Dove Review

You guys, I loved this book. Damn, was it good. It had everything I love in a novel… enemies to lovers, creative magical elements, vivid descriptions and details, lovable main characters… the list goes on and on. I seriously CANNOT wait for the second book to come out. As of right now, the countdown is on and I’m sure I’ll have words to say about it as well. 

Let’s start off on my favorite subject: enemies to lovers romance. Ummmm yes please. The tension between Lou and Reid is tight from the start, and it only gets better as the story goes on. I just love how Reid is the ultimate chivalrous knight who follows all the rules (has never even had a reason to question them in the first place), and he’s so naive that it is quite endearing. Lou on the other hand, is wild, breaks all of the rules, and uses her charm and her wit to keep herself alive. They’re complete opposites, not to mention actual enemies… but you can tell they’re learning so much from each other as the story progresses. Lou realizes that Chasseurs aren’t all the nameless, evil villains she assumed they’d be, and Reid… Reid learns A LOT (wink wink) about women, witches, and magic. He ultimately finds out that everything he was taught to believe to be “right” was inherently wrong. The author really did something by switching back and forth from Lou’s point of view and Reid’s throughout the book. This gave us a first row seat to their changing feelings and personal battles throughout the novel. Plus, I love it when stories are told through the man’s point of view as well as the main heroine’s; I just think that it gives the readers more depth and perspective to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the rooftop scene, it was raw and passionate and you could actually feel each main character go over the edge of love into a place where neither can go back from. Mmmmm, it was (and I can’t say this enough) perfect. 

The universe in which Serpent and Dove takes place is very alluring and inventive. I really enjoyed the magical witchcraft within this book, although it was a little confusing at times (certainly not complaining though; in fact, because the magic was so intricate, I felt it made the story that much more gripping). When I read how Lou uses her magic and sees the pathways in which she can perform witchcraft, it took me a second to realize that she could actually visualize the symbols of the spell she performed. The idea that there was always a price to pay for the magic Lou uses was a very compelling take on spells and witchcraft. I almost wish Shelby Mahurin would elaborate a little further on the differences between blood witches, like Coco, and the other type of witches, like Lou, but I have a feeling she’ll get to it in the second book. Not only does this story end with our motley crew heading to find Coco’s family for refuge, but the title itself (Blood and Honey) hints at it as well. 

I found it intriguing that one of the main enemies in this story was the church and its acolytes. A lot of problems exist within organized religion (I grew up Catholic), and I liked that this novel touched on some of those problems without being too forward about it. I found it absolutely mind-blowing to learn that the Archbishop was Lou’s father, and he was just trying to keep Lou safe from her mother the whole time. It doesn’t erase all of his witch hate-crimes over the years, but I liked that he wasn’t as holy as he claimed and he ultimately fell in love with a witch (great plot twist there). Maybe he saw some of himself in Reid and that’s why he ultimately groomed him to become his second in command. Speaking of Reid… I thought it was also mind-blowing to find out his mother was Madame Labelle, who was also a witch, who fell in love with the king, and Reid actually has powers of his own. I think my jaw actually dropped when I read the scene where Lou and Reid run into her on the street and she sees the matching ring on Lou’s finger… and then you and Lou (through Lou’s perspective) put two and two together and bam! It was unexpected to find out that he has powers as well, and it definitely changes the witchcraft ball game going forward. Maybe witches won’t be persecuted now that they know men can also have powers?! 

If you can’t already tell, I freaking loved everything about this book… I’m hoping you all feel the same. Soon we will have the second book, Blood and Honey, in our hands and then we can pour some more wine and chat about that one as well. 

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