Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Book Review: "House of Flame and Shadow" by Sarah J. Maas

Title: House of Flame and Shadow
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: "Crescent City" #3
Page Length: 838 pages
Publication Date: January 30, 2024
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

*Non-spoiler for House of Flame and Shadow but it will contain major spoilers for previous books in the Crescent City series*

Okay y'all, we're about a month away from me having finished this book and I think I've settled my thoughts enough for a coherent review. I have a lot of complicated feelings about this book and how the series has progressed from the first book. I'll start by saying that objectively this is a 3-star book. But I do have a lot of love for the characters and world so I rated it 4-stars. 

I'll start with my issues, of which there are plenty. First, Ithan and Tharion shared one single brain cell this entire book and it annoyed me to the point where I actively rolled my eyes seeing them on page. Ithan mostly got better but Tharion so far still annoys me. Bryce's characterization in this book also felt completely foreign to me. She didn't feel like the Bryce I'd known in the past two books. And, to be honest, there were times she annoyed me as well. 

The plot was confusing and convoluted at times. The big climax of the series fell flat, the ending was rushed and anti-climactic, the stakes never felt high, and overall I was just confused. I think it read like poorly planned fanfiction.

Honestly, my favorite scenes were the ACOTAR crossover scenes, which shouldn't be the case. I should enjoy those scenes, but Crescent City should be able to stand on its own without needing the support of her most famous series. I think it would have been far more intriguing to see a world that stood on its own where the conflicts didn't tie into ACOTAR. 

And, in probably one of my single biggest issues, the POV switches were absolutely insane. I don't mind multiple-POV books or switching POV's every chapter. But multiple POV switches in a single chapter felt like too much. We were getting POV switches after a single page sometimes. I can only imagine it was to build little cliffhangers or emulate the quick flashing between different scenes in movies or shows that builds tension. It did not work here. Instead, it just annoyed me. I don't mind every chapter or even two POVs in a chapter but there was absolutely no need to switch POVs so many times per chapter as often as they did. 

To me, this book (as well as House of Sky and Breath) didn't feel like Sarah J. Maas books. I think I read somewhere that she switched editors and that might be part of it but, for me, the things that make Maas books addicting weren't present here. The romance wasn't romancing, the plot was convoluted not layered in a fascinating way, the pacing was weird, shock twist moments didn't feel that surprising...it just wasn't executed well. 

Now, I didn't hate the book, even if I was left feeling disappointed. I enjoyed seeing the characters again and there were some that truly carried the book despite the flaws elsewhere. When I was actively reading it, I didn't want to stop, especially in the beginning. But overall I was left feeling disappointed, even though I was already apprehensive going into this book after House of Sky and Breath. That being said, the first book remains a top-tier book and I do love the characters a lot. Sadly, this book didn't do them or their stories justice. 

I'm sure this review is convoluted in its own way at this point. Overall, disappointed but didn't hate it. Four stars for nostalgia and the ACOTAR gang but three stars for literally everything else. 



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

February 2024 Wrap-Up + Haul


Well February was another interesting month reading-wise. I was struggling a lot mentally and so books became a real escape for me. I also had a lot of free time on my hands. I ended up reading 26 books in February and finishing a handful of series. This was also my month to fully dive into the omegaverse properly and it was so much fun. I'm so excited to read more of them. But, without further ado, here's everything I read and hauled...


1. 
Title: House of Flame and Shadow
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars

2. 
Title: Lola & the Millionaires: Part One
Author: Kathryn Moon
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review TK 

3. 
Title: Lola & the Millionaires: Part Two
Author: Kathryn Moon
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review TK 

4. 
Title: Pack Darling: Part One
Author: Lola Rock
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

5. 
Title: Pack Darling: Part Two
Author: Lola Rock
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

6. 
Title: Sweetheart: Part One
Author: Marie Mackay
Rating: 3 // 5 stars
Review TK

7. 
Title: Sweetheart: Part Two
Author: Marie Mackay
Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars
Review TK

8.
Title: Three Swedish Mountain Men
Author: Lily Gold
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Review TK

9. 
Title: Nanny for the Neighbors
Author: Lily Gold
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review TK

10. 
Title: Pack Origin
Authors: Kate King & Jessa Wilder 
Review TK

11. 
Title: Baby & the Late Night Howlers
Author: Kathryn Moon
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

12. 
Title: Butcher & Blackbird
Author: Brynne Weaver
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review TK

13. 
Title: Black Sheep
Authors: Alexa Harlowe & Brynne Weaver
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

14. 
Title: Fear the Reapers 
Author: Jessa Halliwell
Rating: 3 // 5 stars

15.
Title: Queen of the Reapers 
Author: Jessa Halliwell
Rating: 3 // 5 stars

16.
Title: Wrath of the Reapers
Author: Jessa Halliwell
Rating: 3 // 5 stars

17. 
Title: Strictly Not Yours
Author: Carrie Elks
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

18. 
Title: This Mortal Coil
Author: Emily Suvada
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

19. 
Title: This Cruel Design
Author: Emily Suvada
Rating: 4.25 // 5 stars

20. 
Title: These Precious Scars
Author: Emily Suvada

21. 
Title: This Vicious Cure
Author: Emily Suvada
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

22. 
Title: Bad Alpha
Author: Kathryn Moon
Rating: 4 // 5 stars
Review TK

23.  
Title: Mile High
Author: Liz Tomforde
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

24. 
Title: Bride
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Rating: 5 // 5 stars
Review TK

25. 
Title: A Tempest of Shadows
Author: Jane Washington
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Series Review TK

26. 
Title: A City of Whispers
Author: Jane Washington
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars
Series Review TK


I only picked up three books in the month of February. I'm on a book buying restriction that's not a full ban but is a heavy restriction. Let's go ahead and just dive into the three that I did pick up...

The first is the Barnes & Noble edition of A Vicious Game by Melissa Blair. This is one of my most anticipated books of the year and I love the cover of the B&N edition. This is the third book in the Halfling Saga, the first of which was one of my all-time favorite reads of 2021. I'm thrilled to have the third book in my hands and I can't wait to binge the books all in one go. 

The second book I picked up is Angel Unseen by J. Bree. I love all of J. Bree's books and this is the only one I haven't read yet. It's also getting a cover change in the next few months so I wanted to grab this since I still prefer this one. This is in the same Mounts Bay world as the Hannaford Prep series which is one of my all-time favorites. I'm excited to read this soon but I'm also saving it for when I need a new J. Bree book. 

The last book I picked up was the Target edition of Bride by Ali Hazelwood. I've been really excited for this one and February has been my month for reading omegaverse books so it naturally tracked that I picked it up. I've also already read it in one sitting and loved it so much. It was addicting and fun and an easy read, which was exactly what I was needing.  



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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