By: Melanie | May 7, 2015 | (55) Comments

Welcome to another round of mini reviews. As you might already know, I plan to do these more often as they’re more popular and well, they’re easier for me too. (But of course, there’ll still be plenty full length reviews! Just more mini ones more often, heh.) I have dubbed this edition “The One With a Lot of Sarahs” simply because 3 out of the 6 books I’m reviewing today are by authors with the name ‘Sarah’. I KNOW. What a weird, but totally awesome coincidence. Tip of the day: you should name your newborn Sarah – almost can 100% guarantee she’ll grow up to be a kickass author.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia, Pan Macmillan Australia, Simon & Schuster Australia and Scholastic Australia for sending me these copies for review!



A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
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If you are looking for a good NA fantasy with lots of sexy romance, this might just be up your alley. However, for me it turned out that this one is not much different to how I feel about Throne of Glass or Heir of Fire.

Out of all the characters, Feyre bothered me the most. I just – nope – couldn’t click with her at all. She’s a huntress and a painter on the side, always doing things to keep her family in order and functioning (especially with her father being crippled). I love that Maas made Feyre a well-rounded character. Unfortunately, Feyre and I couldn’t get along. In particular, I didn’t understand her mind process. She’s desperate to escape one minute, the next she’s all about Tamlin and how hot he is. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WOMAN. (Also, Stockholm Syndrome alert!) Speaking of Tamlin, yes he’s smoking hot and swoony (as pretty much EVERYONE has already mentioned) but for me personally, I wasn’t really sold on him. I liked him, but I didn’t feel any emotional connection because he just seemed like a real creep with a mask half the time.

BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT RHYS AND LUCIEN. Rhysland is the most complex and fascinating character in this book. He’s a bit of a villain at the start but soon we get to learn more about him and I just started loving him more as the story progressed – particularly more than Tamlin or Feyre. As for Lucien, he is just the best. And his sarcasm? I love it.

Another issue I had with this book was how pretty much the first 60-70% of this book was just romantic build-up and world building (the latter was especially excellent). The book wasn’t moving anywhere, in my opinion. But, in the last 30%, things did pick up significantly, because BOOM suddenly there’s a villain and it’s just crazy action-packed. However, if you’re into that whole smokey romance dominated fantasy… there’s no doubt that you’ll love this, because A Court of Thorns and Roses will most certainly make you SWOON.

(Okay whoops, this turned out to be longer than I expected…)

Before the Fire by Sarah Butler

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Awwwww look at that one star and how lonely it looks…


I don’t ask for much in order for me to like a book. Mostly, I just want a likeable main character. Stick (aka Kieran) was not an enjoyable character. AT ALL. Aside from the bout of swearing that remains plentiful and consistent throughout the novel, his foul and unappreciative attitude towards the people around him seriously made me want to screech. I mean, how disrespectful and foul can you get? Sure, you just lost your best friend, but if you’re going to act like a total dickhead the entire time throughout the book, expect no sympathy from me.

Furthermore, I really hate how the love interest was utilised in this book. It basically suggested that a love interest can replace your best friend and help you get through the grief. I mean, seriously? What on earth is this book trying to promote here? Also,  I did a little bit of research – this book was set in England 2011 when the riots took place (the fires, and all that not so great history). I found that to be really interesting, but it was such a shame for the setting to be underused.

In all, this one had no saving grace to redeem itself. The setting would have been perfect but the book’s efforts were lost in the characters and romance that did nothing for me apart from make me very angry.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
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The Sin Eater’s Daughter came with a lot of promise but in the end, turned out to be a waste of my time.

Twylla, the book’s heroine literally does nothing in this book. She sits there in that sad little corner of her’s and she sulks and complains about her life. I mean, YOU WERE MEANT TO BE THIS BADASS CHICK WITH HELLA SCARY POWERS. What the hell happened to that? I am disappoint. Furthermore, the instant-love in this one is horrid, guys. I cannot with it. They see each other and the next minute, they’re in luuuurve. *eye roll*

There’s barely any plot to this story at all, too. I mean, the main idea is that this girl who can kill people with her touch is to marry the Prince but then there’s this hella nice guard that Twylla basically falls in love with at first sight. What happens after that? Hmm let’s see… oh wait that’s right. NUTHING.


Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson
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With all the bad luck I was having with Sarah Alderson’s books, I started to think that I wouldn’t like any of her works. But look at this, a Sarah Alderson book that I rather enjoyed! Conspiracy Girl is a quick thriller – I’ve been a reading slump as of the late and this really got me back on my feet with how easy it was to fly through, whilst being entirely interesting at the same time. I really loved Nic as a character. She’s a strong young woman who only trusts herself and I loved her strong sense of independence.

In addition, I loved Finn and Nic’s relationship. You can see that their history with each other runs deep and raw and I love how Alderson tackled that. I definitely grew to like Finn as the story went through and YAY for a romance that takes the backseat and lets the plot run the show like it should!

This one definitely goes highly recommended to anyone who wants something easy to read but thrilling (and romantic) all the same.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
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Even though this one took me FOREVER to chew through, I got there in the end and it was so worth my efforts and time. And you know what the best thing about it? How quotable and gorgeous the writing was. Tommy Wallach, TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world. You’re part of this cosmic community of people who’ve thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be.

I’m calling this one a contemporary even though it’s equal parts science fiction simply because of how realistic and applicable this is to nowaday life and I can totally envision this happening to this world at any moment in time. This book really makes you stop to think and reflect, and that’s yet another reason why I adore it so much. Also, there will be tears. Well, maybe not real ones but certainly internal ones…. does that make sense? Basically, THIS ONE WILL GIVE YOU A LOT OF EMOTIONS THAT YOU MAY NOT NECESSARILY WANT BUT HAVE TO ENDURE ANYWAY.

Also, just a warning here, the ending is left incredibly open. I personally felt that it worked very nicely here, but hey, everyone is gonna feel differently about it. But yes, I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to give contemporary YA a go, but still wants some sci-fi elements in it.


I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Goodreads | Purchase

Clearly, this book has a required taste. I have a bunch of my Goodreads friends downright gushing over this book and on the other side of the spectrum, there are others who absolutely hated it. I ended up agreeing with the latter. This book and I were obviously not meant to be.

Now, I know I’m going to suck at this but I shall attempt to explain why I didn’t end up liking this book as best as possible. This book is what I call a “passive” book. For me, books are meant to leap out at you, catch you by surprise, and tell their story loud and clear right into your ear. I’ll Be There, on the other hand, was not that. It felt shy and quiet, like it was barely whispering into my ear. It just didn’t grab my attention, and I felt this huge distance between myself and the characters in this book – and there was no way to establish any connections.

Also, I was bored. I was patient at first, because I was told that this book was good, but soon I just started giving up and skimmed a lot. I’m not proud of it but maaaaan, Emily and Sam are as boring as my maths textbook. Honestly, I cannot recommend this, but if you are interested in this one, don’t let my mini review stop you. There are so many people out there who love this one just as much.

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my thoughts or do you have a different view?

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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55 Responses to Mini Reviews: The One With a Lot of Sarahs

  1. I love the mini reviews Mel!

    ACOTAR – Another person who didn’t love it! Yeah, the beginning was pretty slow, but I guess I didn’t mind it too much because I was enjoying Tamlin and Lucien too much 😉 Rhys was a really interesting character!

    Before the fire – Putting this on my permanently to shelve list, I mean I really don’t like the sound of that character at all.

    The Sin Eater’s Daughter- but I likkkked it! But yeah, it seems to be an either love it or hate it book.

    We all looked up – I have mixed feelings, I don’t know, the ending kind of seemed fitting for me, because we were told what would have happened if it went one way or the other, I guess.

    I’ll Be There – Another meh book? *sighs*

    Great minis Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury Review: A Twisty FantasyMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you, dear <33

      So glad to know that I'm not the only one who wasn't head over heels over ACOTAR. Hahaha yeah, Tamlin was pretty hot even though I didn't love him as much as everyone else xD Glad you liked Sin Eater's! I can see the appeal but me and the MC seriously couldn't get along. Yes, I loved the ending for We All Looked Up! It worked so nicely with the open-endedness.

  2. I really didn’t care for The Sin-Eater’s Daughter. Didn’t even finish it. Felt like reading a history book at first and then it threw insta-love in my face so. No no.

    I can’t wait to read ACOTAR though!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{Bookish Babble} Should I Be More Critical?My Profile

  3. Kelly says:

    Apart from ACOTAR, I felt exactly the same about all of these Mel, and currently reading I’ll Be There and it’s not looking great. The Sin Eaters Daughter was boring. My goodness. It took me a whole week to make it a quarter of the way through, and I kept falling asleep. That was the best week of sleep I’ve ever had. And before The Fire? Urgh, don’t even get me started. Stick is one of the worst characters I’ve ever read. Oh no, I take that back. I’ve just finished The Catalyst, and I’m pretty sure the whole cast of characters take the cake on that one. Hopefully your next few reads make up for how crappy these were Mel. But brilliantly honest reviews! <3
    Kelly recently posted…Smoking Hot… A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Glad we have the similar thoughts! Haha yeah I read your review of ACOTAR and it made me smile 😉 Yeah, I know… I CANNOT BELIEVE I EVEN BOTHERED WITH BEFORE THE FIRE. I just got too curious about the whole concept about the London riots but no… it wasn’t executed well at all. Thanks Kels <33

  4. Mini reviews are the best! I haven’t read any of these, but I’m looking forward to A Court Of Thorns and Roses. Good to hear that you liked We All Looked Up! It sounds like such a great premise, but the open ending has left me a little hesitant. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy it when I pick it up. Great reviews!
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    • Melanie says:

      Right? Everyone seems to love mini reviews most xD Don’t let the open ended scare you too much! I think this was one of the sole cases where it worked really really well. Thanks Olivia <33

  5. I love reading mini reviews. I hate writing them, though. Lol. Okay, so we pretty much feel the same way about Maas’ ToG series. I was hoping that ACoTR would give me a different experience, but I guess not so much, based on your review. Boo.

    I really want to read We All Looked Up. It sounds fantastic!
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[521]: Three-Day Summer by Sarvenaz TashMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Hahah that’s kinda true. Writing them can be quite a pain at times but I think I like them more than full length reviews atm because they’re just funner to write. Yes, do look into We All Looked Up! More people need to read it because it’s so under hyped.

  6. Sydney says:

    Aww, I gave ACoTaR 5 stars, but that’s probably because I absolutely loved it. ;D The beginning was a bit iffy for me, but by the 35% mark I was LOVING it.

    I really want to read We All Looked Up! I’ve heard it’s a really good story and the writing is really lyrical, so I’ll probably pick it up really soon. 😛

    Great mini reviews!
    Sydney recently posted…Have You Seen This..? Pt. 2 & UpdateMy Profile

  7. AWK! I feel like EXACTLY the same for ACOATR, I’ll Be There, The Sin Eater’s Daughter, and Before the Fire. Like literally: YES. Basically same star ratings and everything. 😉 I would’ve liked to burn Before the Fire out of my brain. Ergh. I’ve never hated a human quite as much as I loathed Stick’s existence. And I cried in The Sin Eater’s Daughter because it was sooooo boooooring. WAH. I wanted sin eating. Where was my sin eating? *stomps foot*
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Beautiful People #9 // May EditionMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      *fist pumps you* Is that something that can be done? Because if we can burn memories, I’d take my experience of reading Before the Fire out right away because IT WAS JUST SO SO BAD. Haha right? I thought it meant something completely different from what it actually meant in the book. Cait you clearly need to rewrite Sin Eater’s .

  8. Sunny Smith says:

    I really appreciate this style of reviewing. I like to see just enough to let me know if I should read it or not. Great idea!

    I’ve also been seeing a trend of reviews like yours with ACOTAR. I was excited to read it, because I really liked the Throne of Glass series, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I’ll get to it, maybe I won’t:)
    Sunny Smith recently posted…The Bookshelf Link-Up: Sunny’s Entry!My Profile

  9. Aw, what a shame you didn’t like The Sin-Eaters Daughter very much. I have heard several mixed reviews for it, though, so I can’t say I’m entirely surprised when I come across a negative review. I’m still quite curious about it though. 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Fairest || Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Evilest of Them All?My Profile

  10. Never read any of these but I’ve got some of them on my never ending TBR. I’m suddenly wary to read The Sin Eater’s Daughter because of the instalove and I hate those, ugh. But I’m so down to read ACOTAR! Thanks for sharing, Melanie! 😀
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  11. Like you, I didn’t think I’d ever find a Sarah Alderson novel I enjoyed but Conspiracy Girl definitely did it for me, too. Thanks for the heads up about ACOTR, though. There’s always SO much hype surrounding Maas’s books so hopefully if I go into it with lowered expectations I’ll come out loving it. 😉
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    • Melanie says:

      Conspiracy Girl was just so much fun and I do hope that Sarah Alderson continues to go in this direction because this one was such a success! Yeah, I feel like half the reason why I get so disappointed by Maas’ books is because of the CONSTANT hype around her books. It’s like it never stops.

  12. I am really excited to read We All Looked Up. It has been my “next-in-line” since I got it, and somehow keeps getting bumped for books I have to read, and I do not like it at all! But, your review has made me more excited, so that’s good!

    I did like ACOTAR, and I think that is because I DID really like Feyre- that makes a huge difference for sure. And The Sin Eater’s Daughter.. I know a lot of people agree with you. I do. I even understand it! But… I just loved that book. I was okay with the character driven-ness, and I actually really liked that Twylla was pretty useless, especially in the first half. I mean, it just made sense to me in context I guess. And then the twists blew me away.

    And Before the Fire is clearly never happening. It does not sound like a good situation. Lovely mini-reviews!!
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    • Melanie says:

      I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on We All Looked Up! It’s such a meaningful and gorgeously written novel that I recommend so highly. Yes, I remember reading your review for Sin Eater’s and I can totally see your viewpoint! The twist at the end was pretty darn good. IT MADE ME GO WOAH STOP EVERYTHING WHAAAAT?

      Thanks, Shannon :*

  13. Yani says:

    I cannot wait to read ACOTAR and The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I heard a lot of mixed of Salisbury’s book but I am still giving it a go. I love the idea of the book so much. And also, We All Looked Up. I guess that is a good book too base on you review.

    BTW, I am liking this Mini Reviews. This could be a big help on my blogging style since I have lots of pending books to review. Gaaaah. Why am I even so lazy. </3
    Yani recently posted…Review: Red Queen by Victoria AveyardMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I feel like Salisbury’s book is something that everyone just needs to try for themselves to see how they feel about it, as the reviews are so polarised like you mentioned!

      Thanks Yani!

  14. Lyn Kaye says:

    I feel so alone in my love for A Court of Thorns and Roses. But thank you for the review for We All Looked Up, because the book sounds perfect for me, but the reviews seemed so mixed and all over the place.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Exquisite CorpseMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      HAhaha don’t worry girl, I know a whole bandwagon of people who love the book wholeheartedly! Yeah, I think you’ll like We All Looked up so do give it a go soon, hun <33

  15. Johanna Richards says:

    I seriously love these kinds of posts! they’re so helpful so yeah, never stop doing these!

    ACOTAR: aw, it’s so sad that you didn’t enjoy this one that much! I just bought myself a copy so I’ll lower my expectations going into this.
    Before the Fire: yeah I’ve never heard of this one but hahahaha you’re so nice, Mel 😉
    Sin Eater’s Daughter: I remember reading a review for this one on Goodreads and they said similar things about the main character so I think I’ll pass.
    Conspiracy Girl: I’ve grown to like Sarah Alderson and I am glad to see that you liked a book by her!!
    We All Looked Up: OMG I WANT THIS ONE SO BAAAAAAD. Also, amazing quote there.
    I’ll Be There: Urgh, never mind about this one! I don’t think I’d like this one either.

    Great mini reviews Mel xx

  16. Ashleigh says:

    OMFG ACOTAR IS ALREADY OUT?! I cannot believe I forgot about this… especially considering how crazy anticipate-y-ish (that is so a word) I’ve been for it. Shame you didn’t like it though! 🙁

  17. Hannah Fray says:

    Loved your mini reviews 🙂 I want We All Looked Up so bad!

  18. Arianna M says:

    I approve of you Dean Winchester gif. He is bae <33 I read ACOTAR the other night and have just been looking at other people's reactions to it ever since. I have rather similar thoughts to you! I didn't like Tamlin like everyone else. He just seemed really creepy hahaaaa

    • Melanie says:

      Why thank you! I like the gif very much as well. Right? I mean, I guess I liked Tamlin in the end sort of, but not as much as every one else. The masks? Just no .

  19. Aww sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy ACOTAR, I really loved that book and the romance yay! Tamlin was a little odd at first, but I wrote it off as him trying to not be overly pushy with Feyre.

    I haven’t read any of the others you’ve reviewed…which is pretty bad considering I need to review them as well. Before The Fire sounds SO BAD, I’ve only seen negative reviews for it from everyone…hm, should I give it a go? 😛
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    • Melanie says:

      Honestly, I cannot recommend Before the Fire to you! It is a train wreck Joy, so if you do read it, don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😛


    No plot to Sin Eaters?? Eh now that’s making me hella weary. I still need to read that one actually…

    I thought the same about Conspiracy Girl! I liked that the romance wasn’t overwhelming as well!

    That last book that’s like white (omg have I seriously forgotten the name already???). I may skip that. Chiara told me it was boring as hell as well so meh, not for me.

    Fab reviews, Mel! x
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    • Melanie says:


      yeah not much of a real plot at all :((( I hope you like it more than me, girl!

      Thanks Jess <33

  21. Sorry you didn’t love ACoTaR. I did like Rhys a lot and hope there is not a love triangle brewing.
    Just read a different Sarah Alderson (unless they changed the title between US/Australia?) called Out of Control. It was a fun piece of brain candy and helped me avoid that little Netflix problem we were discussing…
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen at YA Romantics
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    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I never saw him as one so hopefully Maas doesn’t turn it into a love triangle! Yeah, Out of Control is a different book altogether, I believe! Haha, so glad that it kept your attention. xD

  22. Romi says:

    I’ve only read ACOTAR, though I had The Sin Eaters Daughter on my tbr before taking it off after reading some really negative reviews. It really sounded like it had a lot of potential, so it’s disappointing to know that it wasn’t going to live up to that, especially with that premise! It does make it sound incredibly fascinating and like the next big thing in fantasy, but it was not to be, for me.
    I quite liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, more than you, though I didn’t ever really connect with any of the characters- I couldn’t say I have a favourite and I’m too conflicted with Lucien and Rhy’s actions to really like them…. Though the sarcasm and banter between Lucien and Feyre was excellent.
    I’m keen to see where the next books take the series, though- I feel certain it’s going to get better and better with each installment. And I’ll definitely take the opportunity to delve into that world more, gorgeous and terrifying as it is!
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  23. Lovely reviews, hun! Sorry you didn’t enjoy ACOTAR so much. I’m such a Sarah fan, I’ll honestly love anything she writes. Even grocery lists… I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of We All Looked Up. It was quite introspective and reflective. Sorry Sin Eater wasn’t great, perhaps I’ll pass on that one. Lovely reviews <3
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  24. Valerie says:

    TOTALLY AGREE WITH SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER. That book literally filled me with rage because of the MC and her hypocrisy. Yet I think I rated it higher, like 2.5 stars. Hahah. I haven’t read any of the other books though, but I will soon! Maybe not your lower rated ones though HA
    Valerie recently posted…ARC Review: Crimson BoundMy Profile

  25. Michelle says:

    OMG YES to everything you said about Before the Fire. This book pissed me off so much and I rarely write snarky review, but I totally went to town on that one! Great set of mini-reviews, Mel 🙂
    Michelle recently posted…The Recommendation Station: Northern Lights by Philip PullmanMy Profile

  26. Benish says:

    I love the mini review idea Mel<3 You're the fourth person I've seen who didn't love ACOTAR, I still have high hopes for it but Mass' TOG was a fail for me. The Sin Eater's Daughter was an good read for me though, the romance was a miss for me, but I loved the plot and ending though. Great mini reviews <3
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  27. A Court of Thorns and Roses: Awh, no. It’s a shame you didn’t really connect with this one, Mel D: I ended up REALLY liking it, because I pretty much always end up loving slow moving fantasies with a huge romance element ;D And also THE MEN. Tamlin is my least favourite, but Rhys and Lucien? HOT DAYUM. Why is Feyre not in love with one of these two? Seriously. If I had been captured and locked in that mansion, it would have been Lucien I was making heart eyes over for sure.

    The Sin Eater’s Daughter: Uhm, yes to everything in this review. I couldn’t STAND it, especially after the blurb made it seem like it would just be so awesome. And everything fell flat. From the killing (of which there were NONE), to Twylla being a badass (she was NOT), to a love triangle that will “put Twilight in the graveyard” or something (the love triangle was heinous, and I hate all love triangles, so that’s saying a lot). I was just very disappointed with this book overall.

    I’ll Be There: I definitely get what you mean about this being a passive book. There was absolutely no sense of urgency whatsoever, even when there should have been. I was ready to give up at about 80 pages, but I continued forth and actually ended up liking it. I just really loved Sam and Riddle’s relationship, and how much they loved each other. It was precious.

    Great mini reviews, Mel ^.^ <3
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg SloanMy Profile

  28. It’s a shame you didn’t connect with Feyre. I ended up LOVING A court of thorns and roses, but that’s not a surprise seeing it’s one of my favorite fairytales written by one of my favorite authors. Rhys and Lucien are definitely the high lights of the book for me.

    The sin eater’s daughter, noooooo, not another one. All I’ve read about this book is: disappointment. I bought it anyway, because that promise is amazing.. *sigh*
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  29. Ksenia says:

    Wonderful mini-reviews, Melanie! I’m planning to read two books you’ve mentioned: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. I like books heavy on romance with fantasy backround, so I hope I’ll like ACOTAR more than you did.
    Ksenia recently posted…Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosMy Profile

  30. First, can I just say that I LOVE your mini reviews? They’re some of my favorites! Second, I’ve been kind of staying away from A Court Of Thornes and Roses because of everything in you mentioned! I’m worried that it’s all about the romance and I am not okay with it! Despite that though, all I’ve heard about Rhys and Lucien really really makes me want to read it. Basically, I am conflicted and one day I will break down and read it. =)

    We All Looked Up on the other hand sounds just like I was hoping it would be and has just moved up on my TBR. =)

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