Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Series: n/a
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

I absolutely adored An Enchantment of Ravens when I read it last year -- and then re-read it...and then listened to it again -- so I was beside myself with excitement when I was invited to review Margaret Rogerson's sophomore novel as part of the blog tour. Sorcery of Thorns is a magical tumble into a world full of witchcraft and necromancy and libraries with sentient books, and it was every bit as lovely as her debut.

Though this novel is a bit slower in pacing, there's no lack of action to keep the characters on their toes. It's just a little more understated, a little less obvious, and it felt right for the mystery at hand. The pacing also lends itself to a more atmospheric story; it was not difficult at all to imagine myself in the Great Libraries, to smell the musty old books and the scent of sorcery in the air, to fear losing a finger to those same books.

It was easy to connect with the characters, as well. Elisabeth is strong-willed, though a bit naive, but that's due to her sequestered upbringing. She dreams big and her moral compass will not allow her to sit idly by while the Great Libraries are destroyed. Enter Nathaniel, who sees something in Elisabeth, even if his tragic past makes him wish he didn't. He's the guy who projects confidence and self-deprecating humor while he dies a little inside each day. Literally. Which brings us to Silas: the demonic presence I never knew I needed. How can you not love a demon who turns himself into a white cat and allows himself to be called Sir Fluffington in order to assure your well-being?

Speaking of love, the romance is very slow burning but very worth the wait. The relationship is intense, though, and must overcome some serious obstacles along the way, including the characters themselves. But the banter from before remains, and in my book -- sadly, not a grimoire -- that's #relationshipgoals.

I wouldn't say the ending left something to be desired...but, well, it did. As in, a desire for more. The writing was gorgeous. The characters were enigmatic and engaging. And I could read every magical adventure they have, even if it was only teaching the grimoires to tap dance or some such nonsense. This was such an enchanting novel and I can't wait to read more from this author.


GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.

Find Margaret:

Website |  Twitter | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads

Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, May 27 – Alexa Loves Books
Tuesday, May 28 – The Novel Knight
Wednesday, May 29 – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Thursday, May 30 – Awkwordly Emma
Friday, May 31 – Mel to the Any
Monday, June 3 – The Fox’s Hideaway
Tuesday, June 4 – The Starry-Eyed Revue → you are here
Wednesday, June 5 – The Bookish Beagle
Thursday, June 6 – Super Space Chick
Friday, June 7 – Flying Paperbacks
Monday, June 10 – Bookshelves & Paperbacks
Tuesday, June 11 – Nightly Reading
Wednesday, June 12 – Novel Heartbeat
Thursday, June 13 – Hammock of Books
Friday, June 14 – The Everlasting Library

Friday, April 12, 2019

Some weeks are for reading. And some weeks are for watching...depending on the level of crap I've had to deal with that week. 😝 Work has been supremely rough since the beginning of the year, but especially in the last month or so with our office moving, so I've been relaxing with Netflix a lot more often these days. But I've watched some pretty good shows and I'm anticipating even more...

Recently Watched:

Sabrina, Part 2

Betrayal. Heartbreak. New loves. An incubus. THE Dorian Grey. This second part of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina had it all. And it did not pull punches. There's a million things I want to comment on, but seeing as how it's only been out a week, I'll just have to wait for my friends to catch up so we can discuss. Hurry up, witches...I have thoughts!

The Order

My younger sister conned me into watching this one day when she was at my house, and it was interesting enough that I watched another episode after she'd left. I didn't binge it all in one go, but I finished pretty quickly, which is really saying something because I usually prioritze reading over shows. Usually, I'm here for the romance, but with this series, that's the least of my concerns. I'm all about the magic and the werewolves and these secret societies they're all apart of. And after that crazy cliffhanger ending, I can't not watch the next season. It reminds me of The Vampire Diaries, except a lot more werewolves, a little more grown up, a bit less drama, and a little less pretty.

The Highwaymen

This was technically my hubby's pick one night, but I've always been fascinated by the crime/murder spree of one Bonnie and Clyde, especially since they were from my neck of the woods. I loved that this movie didn't glorify the duo the way so many before this have, although it did depict just how much they'd won over public opinion in their heyday. Instead, this film focuses on the soon-to-be out to pasture lawmen who successfully hunted them down and ended their reign of terror. I loved the pacing and I loved Costner and Harrelson as the old guys who just couldn't catch a break...until they did, using their old, tried and true methods of detective work.

Shows/Movies I Can't Wait For More Of:

Stranger Things, season 3

So, I didn't watch when the first season arrived to great acclaim. I didn't even start watching when the second season dropped. But one bored night, my family sat down and started watching and we couldn't get enough. We'd watch a couple episodes every chance we got, and now we've been chomping at the bit for season 3. So awesome that it releases on what basically amounts to a 4-day weekend so we can binge it. I can't wait to see what fresh hell awaits those kids!


This is my favorite series by Jenny Han. They're just so delightfully cute! I loved the first movie and I think my daughter has seen it three or four times already. To say that we're ready for more is an understatement. I think I'll try to get Katie to read the books before the sequel releases, though. That way she knows what she's getting herself into. πŸ˜‰

iZombie, season 5

There's no trailer for season 5, but it's set to start on May 2nd, so I'll take what I can get since this is the final season. Waaaahhhh. I love this show. I didn't expect to; my sister and friends tried to convince me I'd love it. It's directed by Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars, they said. It's funny, they said. And it is. It's perfect for while I wait for new episodes of VM on Hulu, hopefully this year.

Veronica Mars, revival

Okay, so I don't know how I've never seen that before, but it makes me even sadder that VM got cancelled when it did. And also even more ecstatic that it's gotten not one but two second chances. I can't wait to binge the first three seasons, re-watch the movie, and re-read the two novels. I hope this releases on Hulu sooner rather than later...and that it's not just a one-off!

ETA: Update, Marshmallows! It'll be released on July 26th!!!!!!!!

Younger, season 6

FINALLY. Some news on season 6...beyond that the show isn't moving to Paramount after all. Sabrina got me into this show and I'll be forever grateful. It's about a 40-something woman who pretends to be in her late 20s in order to get a job in the publishing world...once her world before she took time off to be a mom and wife...and all the trials and tribulations that come with that farse. I just love the whole dynamic...with publishing, with friends, and with romance. #TeamJosh

So, what have you been watching recently? Anything you can't wait to see or any recommendations based on what I'm watching...or soon to watch?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Dark YA and floofy romances. Another slew of re-reads and even more bingeing. That was February and March for me, in a nutshell. The two months are combined this go round because I've been working 60 hour weeks and am behind on pretty much everything. I usually update these posts as I go, but I had to do it all at the last minute this time, so please forgive me if my "reviews" and thoughts aren't very detailed. Or coherent. Which is one of the reasons I rely on re-reading during hard times: I don't have to focus so much and can just enjoy where the story takes me since I've already been there before. πŸ˜„

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

A Curse So Dark and Lonely* - So, this was absolutely one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings I've read. It's loosely based on the original story and combines elements from our world with those of the fantastical Emberfall -- think iPhones and Converse matched against magic and swords. Harper was the kind of heroine I could easily get behind: whip-smart, down on her luck and more than a little untrusting. Her misadventure to Emberfall is more than a little surreal and it's going to take more than a pretty face -- or two -- to change that. I have seen comments about a potential love triangle, but the author herself has asserted that that's not in the cards, and I thought I read somewhere that the would-be second suitor is getting his own story told in the next book. Even if that's not true, I'll still be picking it up because I loved these characters and this world and how Brigid turned this traditional story all lop-sided. I can't wait to read the sequel!  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Dark of the West* - You think you've read one YA fantasy about war-torn kingdoms battling for supremacy, and you've read them all, right? That's kind of what I thought, too, upon embarking on this dark story, especially with the comparisons to Code Name Verity and The Winner's Curse. I've never read the first but I definitely see the similarities to the latter. I'm guessing the Code Name Verity comparison comes from the descriptions of flying and dogfights, and well, just the use of aviation in general. Which I found refreshing yet incongruous because it made this book almost impossible for me to categorize in my head. There are numerous kingdoms spread far and wide with monarchies, so it's fantasy. But there are mentions of airplanes and motorcars and political broadcasts and guns, so...historical fiction? Bit of both, I guess, so historical fantasy? High fantasy? It doesn't really matter, though, as long as the story is interesting. And it was for the most part: forbidden romance, espionage and secret identities, and revolution. It was the death and murder and mayhem that lessened my enjoyment a tad, but that was mostly because of that evil prologue. It put a bit of a pall over the whole book. This series will not be an easy one to read but I think it's going to be entirely worth it. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

White Stag* - Hmm. This story was chugging along really well...until it wasn't. It reminded me a lot of Wintersong but much more brutal and with less purple prose. I also thought it was a stand-alone, until about five seconds ago. I don't think I can read any more of this story. I just found it altogether depressing and considering my mood lately, I don't find that helpful. 🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.


99 Percent Mine* - This story was adorable. Not The Hating Game level adorable, but I don't know that I'll ever find another book I love as much as that one. Anyway, the tendency toward avoidance and running away was off the charts with this one, and it made it a little harder to connect with the characters. Their chemistry and that unrequited love thing they've got going on did not. The constant back-and-forth between Darcy and Tom was as hot as it was frustrating, but I ultimately enjoyed it. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Here's Looking at You - This was my first experience with this author, but I checked it out because I liked the premise for her most recent book and thought I'd give her backlist a chance first. My main takeaway from this novel was that we all inevitably grow and change, some of us for the better. But no matter how much we change inside and out, sometimes those old insecurities never quite leave us. I found this story equal parts relatable and cringe-inducing, which, yep, was basically my experience with crushes and high school and even thinking about seeing those people again later in life. 🌟🌟🌟

Diamond Fire - Happy to be back in this world. I'm not usually a big fan of spin-offs, favoring the original characters over friends or siblings' stories. But this novella perfectly interwove Nevada and Catalina's stories and, as I said, I'm just happy to be back in this world. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Lera of Lunos - I was a little disappointed in this one. Maybe because it's the final book. Or maybe because I started noticing just how formulaic reverse harem stories are. I might still read the new "episodes" the author is planning each month, but I think my excitement for this subgenre has ebbed, for the most part. 🌟🌟🌟

Butterface - I still remember the first time I heard the term "butterface" and to this day, it still makes me cringe. It's such an unfeeling, callous thing to label somebody. Which is the point of this series, I think: to get back at all the (mostly) men who use these epithets by having these characters lay claim to them. I haven't read the other two books yet, but I think that at least in this one, the author takes it a bit far, with the heroine calling so much undue attention to her hideous face, which to be fair, doesn't seem to be all that hideous based on descriptions. I really wanted to like this book, but I ended up returning it because I knew I'd never read it again and Audible's good to me like that. 🌟🌟

Rhapsodic - This was one I really expected to like, having enjoyed the author's newest book based on the Four Horsemen. Sadly, the story just wasn't very cohesive or well-written. Between flashbacks and fantasy elements, the story just jumped around too much. I think I'll stick to the Four Horsemen series rather than continuing on with this one. 🌟🌟

I Owe You One - I just love Sophie Kinsella and couldn't wait to get my hands on this newest book from her. It wasn't my favorite -- that's reserved for I've Got Your Number, which I re-read prior to this one -- but it was still so darn cute and just exactly what I wanted at exactly the right time. So adorable was it that when I was in between reads and feeling down, I started listening again before I had to return it to the library. The unfortunate meet-cute, the IOUs, the passing back-and-forth of the coffee sleeve...even the misunderstanding that keeps the fated couple apart. It all added up to a story that left me grinning ear to ear. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Matchmaking for Beginners - This was a KU/Audible freebie. It was quirky with a hint of magic, and it had me laughing out loud numerous times. It was told from both Marnie and Blix's perspectives, one a plucky, down-on-her luck newlywed, the other an eccentric matchmaker living her best life. A chance meeting has Blix deciding Marnie is destined to be her protegΓ©. Hijinks ensue. Lives are changed. Love prevails. There was even an unexpected Beauty and the Beast angle, much to my delight. Well worth the read and I'll definitely be checking out the author's backlist. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Love, Chloe - When you're not sure what to listen to next, try something different from the ARP. I can't even remember how I discovered this book, but I do know I had it downloaded to my phone for a couple of months before I was desperate enough to listen to it. My sister had started the audio but said it was too racey for her to listen to at work, and I can say it definitely has its moments. πŸ˜‰ However, it was not the most well-written romance, and it was a bit unrealistic, with that perfectly imperfect feel of a made-for-tv movie. It was just a bit too predictable, and just a tad too dramatic, for my taste. 🌟🌟

The Bride Test* - Did you love The Kiss Quotient? Then don't even wonder at whether or not you should pick up this book: you absolutely should. This story features Khai, whom we met in TKQ and already know to be autistic. But then along comes quirky, strange My/Esme to shake up his whole world, and it's, well, it's just as adorable and sweet as TKQ. I will say that both of these books have me questioning whether I might be on the spectrum because I see so much of myself in the characters, but it could also be that I'm just very antisocial and I'm looking for a reason for that when I'm actually just not very good with people. At any rate, I obviously enjoyed the representation, but I loved the immersion into this culture, even more so than the brief glimpses we got in TKQ. But I think what really, truly made this story so special was how genuine and authentic it was; that author's note said it all and ensured I'll be reading Helen Hoang's books for years to come. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Unmarriageable - If you know nothing else about me, you should at least know that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books and that I will devour any and every retelling I can get my hands on. My bestie made me watch Bride and Prejudice on one her more recent visits, and I fell in love with that Bollywood version, so when I saw this Pakistani retelling, I knew I was in for a treat. I especially loved the parallels the narrator/author drew between the matchmaking prowess of Indian mothers to that of their English counterparts 200 years ago when the original story was published. This novel does stay very true to the original text but with a Pakistani flair, and I found it highly entertaining. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.

B I N G E   R E A D S   |   R E - R E A D S

The Dark Elements series - Erm, this was much less gargoyle-y than I was expecting. And I don't get why JLA's books are so popular. The characters are annoying and stereotypical and the writing is...not great. I don't like to disparage someone's life's work, but she's written a gazillion books...shouldn't she be better than this by now? Anyway, all this series has accompished is making me want to read a real series about gargoles, so I think I'll re-read The Dispossessed series by Page Morgan soon. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

The Hating Game x 2 - Yep, you're seeing that correctly. I did indeed read this book twice in the last two months. Hard times call for healing, happy-making stories. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Bet Me - Was scrolling through my Audible library and saw this one and just couldn't help myself. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I've Got Your Number - Another comfort read and my favorite of Sophie Kinsella's. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Neanderthal Seeks Human - All the cute, adorable romances were needed in February and March.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Kiss Quotient - I had to read this one again before I picked up The Bride Test. And wisely so, since that one is a companion novel to this one. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

The Shade series - Persuing my Audible library, I realized I hadn't listened to this series in forever, and I wondered if I'd still like it half as much as I did back then. It was okay. I've definitely read better since, but it was still unique and kind of fun. 🌟🌟🌟

Shadows (The Rephaim #1)Haze (The Rephaim, #2)Shimmer (The Rephaim, #3)Burn (The Rephaim, #4)

The Rephaim series - God, I love this series. It makes me wish I was a half-angel bastard so I could travel the world in the blink of an eye and kick some ass while doing it. Gaby and Rafa will forever be one of my favorite couples but that whole cast of characters is just phenomenal. I really wish they'd release this series on audio so I could listen to it again and again...and so I could hear the accents. I imagine them while I'm reading, but it's just not the same. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Fire and Thorns series - One of my favorite YA fantasy series of ever and definitely well worth a re-read/listen. HECTOR FOREVERRRRRRRR!!!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Charley Davidson series, books #1-13 - I binged this series because I had nothing better on my agenda and I've had the first book on audio since I first got into audiobooks. So, I gave the series a chance finally and even when I thought it had jumped the shark and I was done, it would reel me back in because I just really loved all of those characters. One thing I will say: I'm so glad I unwittingly waited until all 13 books were released before diving in because those cliffhangers woulda killed me. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

I re-listened to my fave Mariana Zapata novels because, well, because I could: Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin; Kulti; Lingus; The Wall of Winnipeg; From Lukov with Love; and Wait for It. Whether you need a hot athlete to make you forget your troubles or just proof that love finds a way, these books are solid, happy-inducing stories. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Shattered Realm series - All four books in the spin-off to the Seven Realms series are finally out and my library had them so I binged them and I have zero regrets. I didn't love this series quite as much as the one about these kids' parents -- and not just because I had to read as some of my favorite characters died -- but it was still a really great companion series. I did hate seeing Raisa so diminished, such a shadow of her former self, but that's life, right? And seeing the baddies get their comeuppance again? Priceless. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!

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