I didn’t think I would write a new article about my latest reads so quickly, but it seems I’m on a roll as I’ve already passed the 20 books read mark this year! During February and March, I started to explore a new literary genre: romance. So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone (fantasy) to honor the month of love! Also, in February, I received my first ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) via the NetGalley platform. Netgalley is a platform where publishers offer to read their books for free in digital format so that you can give your opinion, rate it etc. So it’s a great way to get to know them. So it’s a great way to discover new books through a catalog that differs depending on the language you choose. I’ll come back to that later in this article!
I clearly have a favourite type of reading…
This month I had a very clear plan: to re-read ACOTAR before the new book comes out on February 16th, to read a few books for an article I’m preparing for you (so they’re not in this recap) and finally to sign up on NetGalley. I discovered on Goodreads the existence of this platform that allows you to read books before their release in exchange for a review and I really wanted to try it! I think the system is really great, it’s free, you can choose which books you’re interested in and then it allows you to discover new authors or new stories. I signed up on both the English and French platforms (as I read in both languages now), filled in my profile as best as I could, and requested access to various books that interested me. For some of them I received a negative answer, for others I am still waiting but I have already received some positive answers! A start as a book blogger? Who knows!
A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns & Roses #5)
Sarah J. Maas
Well, first of all, I have to say that I prepared this release by rereading all 4 books. It’s hard to give a summary of the book since it’s a sequel, but this book is entirely focused on Nesta, Feyre’s sister, and Cassian, the bad boy general of the Night Court. If you don’t know the ACOTAR series, it’s one of the most famous New Adult fantasy book series !
My note (4.5/5) : ACOSF was one of the books I was most looking forward to in 2021 and I was not disappointed! Obviously, it’s quite difficult to give my opinion without leaving spoilers as this is the 5th book in the famous ACOTAR series so I’ll do my best to remain as vague as possible. I was a little apprehensive about reading this because I absolutely hated Nesta in the previous books: cold, unpleasant and just plain hateful. To tell you the truth, I just wanted to know more about Cassian. And in the end I think ACOSF is my favourite read of the series! I really got to know Nesta, to understand her reactions and to love her with her faults and qualities. Obviously, with Cassian, they form an explosive and hot duo. This is without a doubt the hottest book I have ever read and I enjoyed every page. Even though there are obviously some negative points in terms of plot or secondary characters, it’s a real favorite that I can’t wait to read again in the future! Apparently there is a slightly shorter novella (like ACOFAS) coming out at the end of the year.
The Shadows Between Us
This stand-alone tells the story of Alessandra, a young girl tired of being neglected and poor. But she has a foolproof plan: to court the Shadow King, known for his power to command the shadows, in order to marry him and then kill him to take over. She finds herself in a political tangle where she must do her utmost to keep the king alive, at least long enough for her to become queen.
My note (1.5/5) : Okay, big dilemma with this book. I was drawn in primarily because of the praise I read on Goodreads. It sounded like a nice stand-alone, sold as a Slytherin romance set against the backdrop of a castle court. I wanted to like this book and… I didn’t. I was bored, I had to force myself to read, it was bland and most of all, I absolutely hated the heroine who wants to be an antagonist, selfish, egocentric, has an over-dimensional ego, and whose only goal is to marry the Shadow King, in order to kill him and take over. I imagined Kallias as the all-powerful monarch he is supposed to be, and well, not at all. Obviously, their relationship becomes more real than I expected and I didn’t connect with it at all or feel anything. I’m not even going to talk about the plot which is absolutely non-existent and uninteresting to me. The only good thing was the fact that Alessandra is sexually open (which is rare in regular fantasy novels) and that she makes her own dresses, hence my rating.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress, Prince Rhen, heir to Emberfall, is doomed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year. The key to his deliverance? He must find a girl who is willing to fall in love with him before he turns into a bloodthirsty beast. Harper has a complicated life until she crosses paths with Grey, commander of the Emberfall army, and finds herself drawn into a magical world. Breaking the curse, saving the kingdom, sounds easy?
My note (3,75/5) : This series is one of the few books I own in physical form. I prefer to discover the books in Kindle version and if I really like them, I buy them afterwards so I can read them again and keep them in my library. In this case, I took advantage of a 2+1 free promotion to buy them before I even read them (and they are so beautiful). I was pleasantly surprised by the universe which is inspired by the Beauty and the Beast story, I found some of the characters engaging and the story generally nice but I wouldn’t say it’s a series that will stay with me forever. I had little interest in the Rhen/Harper couple but on the other hand… I love Grey so I liked having the second book focused entirely on her story and I found the last volume to be relatively interesting even if it didn’t answer all the questions the author brought up… Which makes me think that there will be a sequel? In short, a nice read but not transcendent.
The Brown Sisters (trilogy)
This series focuses on the lives of three sisters living in London: the eldest, Chloe, an introverted geek who suffers from fibromyalgia; Danika, who is dedicating her life to her PhD; and the youngest, Eve, who is still searching for herself. Each book focuses on a different sister: Chloe and Red, the rather sexy caretaker in her building, Dani and Zaf who find themselves forming a fake couple in spite of themselves and finally Eve and Jacob, the manager of a distressed B&B.
My note (5/5) : After finishing ACOSF, I needed a break and to read something other than fantasy. So I looked at the books I had bookmarked and opted for a romance! And I’m glad I did as I was able to discover a really great series, with human characters and with the perfect amount of tension between the two main characters. Each book is a real treat. The Brown sisters are really engaging, their stories made me laugh, moved me, intrigued me, and I absolutely loved all 3 books with a slight preference for the last book (definitely because of Jacob). Really a read I recommend if you enjoy love stories with a few steamy moments here and there. Big plus for diversity too! I loved these books so much that I’m even considering buying them in physical form so I can read them again!
The Wolf Den
In The Lupanar of Pompeii, we follow the story of Amara, a Greek by birth and a doctor’s daughter, whose life is turned upside down and who ends up being sold into prostitution. But it is not only her story. Dido, Beronice, Victoria and Cressa are women who also share the cells of the Wolf Den, the city’s brothel owned by Felix, a heartless pimp. As the pages turn, we discover their stories, their hopes, their daily lives and their struggle for a better future. We get a glimpse of the life a slave in ancient Rome could expect, whether she was a prostitute or not.
My note (5/5) : I initially chose this book for its cover and because, as a history buff, I was curious. I wasn’t expecting anything special and I’m simply amazed. Sometimes it’s hard to admit to liking a story that deals with such difficult subject matter, but in the case of The Wolf Den, the story was portrayed so masterfully that I was able to read on regardless. There are no obscene sexual depictions or erotic atmosphere here. The characters are complex, well portrayed, and painfully human. Pompeii is so well described that you can feel that the author has done extensive research. It’s not like a history lesson at all, but thoughtful enough to allow you to immerse yourself in another era. If you like historical fiction novels, I recommend you give it a go, but be aware that this is a tough read, with some heartbreaking moments that can be hard to bear. Honestly, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year so far.
*ARC offered by the publisher via NetGalley / Goodreads
Do you know these books? I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it has inspired you to add some of these books to your reading pile!
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