My Beauty & the Beast Collection + Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be hosting such an enormous giveaway thanks to Disney Books! One lucky person is going to win TWENTY BOOKS!! It’s a library worthy of Belle herself :-D  This giveaway comes in conjunction with a video that I’ve been dying to share since the moment I decided to film it.  It’s my full Beauty and the Beast collection!  I decided to share it in anticipation of the live action film which comes out this week!  The book that sparked this giveaway, Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly which is one of several new Beauty and the Beast books (you’ll see some more of them in the video)!  Disney was kind enough to send me my own copy of Lost in a Book and Belle’s Library.  You can read a synopsis of Lost in a Book and Belle’s Library below my video!

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. But what exactly is on her reading list? In this unique literary journal, enjoy inspiring quotes from some of Belle’s favorite books, as well as her insightful notes and colorful drawings. Includes a forward by noted Disney screenwriter Linda Woolverton.

GIVEAWAY

CREATE YOUR OWN LIBRARY!

One (1) winner receives a spectacular collection of 20 Disney page-turners! To start your own library worthy of Belle! The full list includes:

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Press.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OFFICIAL LINKS

Visit the Official Site

Follow @DisneyHyperion on Twitter

Follow @DisneyBooks on Instagram

Follow @JenWritesBooks on Twitter and Instagram

Hashtag #LostInABook

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Personal Thoughts:  At the beginning of 2017 I set a goal for myself to read more adult literature (particularly more adult science fiction and fantasy) and while I didn’t meet that goal in January, I could not be more pleased with my February pick! I felt like I was suddenly living a world where Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was mentioned EVERYWHERE.  I’d been aware of the book since it’s release last July but seemingly out of nowhere, it was being mentioned on multiple podcasts that I listen to, by several BookTubers I watch and it’s pretty cover was just calling to me from my bookshelf.  I became obsessed with making it my next read and I’m so very glad that I did!

Plot Summary:  Everyone should go into Dark Matter knowing as little as possible about the story because this is truly a tale that is way more fun to see unfold on the pages.  The little I will tell you is that it follows a professor named Jason who teaches physics at a college in Chicago.  He’s happily married to his wife Daniela and he loves their son teenage Charlie very much.  One night before his family is sitting down for dinner, Daniela encourages Jason to go to a bar in Logan Square to congratulate his former college roommate on his success in the scientific field.  On his way home from the bar, Jason is attacked by a person in a Geisha mask who asks him if he’s happy with his life.  The next thing he knows, he wakes up in a world that is completely foreign to him and that’s really where the story begins.

Critique:  I loved this book so much! I was completely addicted to the story from the very first chapter.  It’s rare for me to become as engaged in a story as I was in Dark Matter when I’m so few pages in but Dark Matter just completely gripped me.  Blake Crouch did a fantastic job of creating dimensional characters who the reader feels fully invested in from the very beginning.  Despite Dark Matter being a sci-fi book focusing on quantum mechanics, the books language is extremely accessible and the reader does not need any prior scientific knowledge to follow the story.  One thing I will say is that it was quite easy for me to figure out a certain aspect of the story.  I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that I read a lot or because I’m familiar with a lot of stories in the genre but I am pleased to say that while my initial suspicions were confirmed, there ended up being a lot more to the story than I was expecting.

Do I Recommend?:  Yes!! I’m currently pushing this book on my husband at the moment who is slowly reading it on the train next to me while I continue to devour books at a much quicker speed.  I had been so hesitant going in because the author also wrote Wayward Pines which I loved until the middle episode when everything changed but thankfully, this book was for me the whole way through. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he comes out with next!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin #3)

Personal Thoughts:  I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to finally finish the His Fair Assassin’s trilogy.  I really enjoyed Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph which I read last year but I hadn’t reached for Mortal Heart until very recently.  Maybe I was worried about not having anymore to read once the story concluded but someone pointed out to me that we’re getting two more books set in the same world over the next couple of years so I suppose that’s why I felt ready to dive in!  I was certain that none of the girl’s stories would top Ismae’s for me (Grave Mercy) but I actually think that Annith has taken her place as my new favorite.

Plot Summary:  Following the events of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, the tweenage Dutchess of Brittany is in quite the predicament.  The French are threatening to take over Brittany and they’ve been sending their armies in for war.  With the help of Ismae and Sybella, the Dutchess has been able to avoid several assassination attempts and attempts at usurping her but the situation is really coming to a head in this final installment which follows Annith, the last of the sisters never to be sent out on a mission by the convent so she takes matters into her own hands.

Critique:  Annith is by far one of the most interesting girls at the convent of Saint Mortain.  As a handmaiden of death, she spent her entire life training to be sent out on a mission but time and time again she’s seen many of the girls, some much younger and less prepared than she be sent out while she’s stuck at the convent.  The mysteries surrounding her birth and her relationship with the abbess and her predecessor is a complex web that is fascinating to watch unfold.  I love that Annith takes matters into her own hands and despite always being the agreeable person she is, she really challenges authority, searches for truth and handles the revelations she discovers with a large amount of grace.  She never loses sight of herself or her main objectives despite all of the questions that her past leaves her with.  I also really loved the relationship between her and Balthazaar.  Annith’s unwavering faith in Mortain is also something to be admired and I just loved where her storyline went because it diverged far away from what I had been expecting.  I also think Mortal Heart is my favorite of the series because we get to see Annith, Ismae and Sybella reunited and there are so many heartwarming moments between these sisters.  Everything plays out nicely and the story is completely tied up upon the completion of the novel but there are enough questions that the further installments will definitely be high upon my TBR list!

Do I Recommend?:  Oh yes! But you must start with Grave Mercy and work your way to Mortal Heart first! If you like historical fiction with an element of fantasy and appreciate 15th century jokes, this is the book for you!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Personal Thoughts: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake was hands down one of my most anticipated reads of 2016.  I had listened to Kendare talking about her inspiration for the book in a podcast I listened to at the end of 2015 (which attracted my interest because I loved Anna Dressed in Blood so much) and I was immediately like YES I NEED THIS.  She said that she came up with the premise for Three Dark Crowns when she heard about the way that bees choose their Queen- they give birth to potential Queen’s who fight to the death until the last one left standing takes over the hive as a ruler.  She thought about how that would be an interesting story, especially if applied to humans.  Yep, you probably want to read this book now too.

Plot Summary: Triplet sisters who were separated at the age of six must battle it out and be the last girl alive to take over the island of Fennbirn as Queen.  There’s Katharine- the poisoner, Mirabella- the elemental and Arsinoe- the naturalist.  The battle occurs once the girl turn sixteen and that’s pretty much all you need to know!

Critique: Three Dark Crowns is a much more politically driven novel than I had previously been expecting.  I ended up loving the story despite having heard some negative reviews early on which is why it took me so long to start reading it.  I did not want to be disappointed and thankfully, I wasn’t!  Blake spent a good portion of the novel setting up the world and the three sub-worlds for the reader.  I found the differences between the different areas of the island fascinating and I was immediately invested in Katharine, the poisoner’s, story.  I also enjoyed Mirabella who is the strongest of the triplets as well as the only girl to have had memories of her sisters and reservations about what they must do to take over the Queendom.  The only queen I wasn’t completely on board with was Arsinoe until the ending when everything got a whole lot more interesting.  I had heard complaints that there are too many characters to keep track of but I would have to respectfully disagree. I liked that each girl has her own very fleshed out world and it’s going to make the conclusion, One Dark Throne, that much harder to read because I’m partial to more than one of them!  The only element that seemed to be lacking for me was the romance which I was totally okay with because this female dominated society was more than enough to hold my interest.

Do I Recommend?: I do! The reviews are very polarizing on this one so you should read it for yourself to see where you fall.  If you struggle with slower burn fantasy, I might not suggest reading it but I’m betting there will be a ton of payoff in One Dark Throne.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Personal Thoughts: When I heard there was going to be a YA retelling of You’ve Got Mail my interest was immediately piqued.  What a fun concept! And it’s a much more current work to be adapted than those we typically see.  I rarely request books from publishers for review unless I feel 100% confident that I’ll love them and I plan on reading them the moment they come in the mail.  Otherwise, reviewing tends to feel more like work than enjoyment and that’s just not what I’m here for.  Alex, Approximately met both of my requesting guidelines so I took a chance and I was lucky enough to get an early ARC copy and I’m thankful that I completely loved it!  I also just want to mention the beautiful cover. I love the laid back California vibe and the gorgeous hanging lights that grace the background!

Plot Summary: Bailey Rydell has been talking to a mysterious fellow film lover named Alex on an app for quite some time now.  He just so happens to live in the same town as her father in California and he’s been begging Bailey to come visit but after a traumatic experience earlier in her life, Bailey is extremely guarded and skeptical of getting too close to anyone over the internet.  She ends up moving in her father in California but neglects to tell Alex this important bit of information because she’s worried he might be a creep so she decides to scope out the town and try to find him on her own terms.  Bailey gets a summer job at a local museum where she meets who she believes to be, one of the most obnoxious jerks ever, son-of-a-famous-surfer- Porter Roth.  Little does Bailey know that the hypothetical man of her dreams Alex, is none other than the person she cannot stand, Porter.

Critique:  Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett is everything I hope for out of a YA romance!  The book covered a wide range of topics, not focusing solely on the romance aspect.  There were familial relationships, friendships and Bailey’s own relationship with herself that were all tackled and everything was handled so well.  Alex, Approximately is definitely on the longer side of YA contemporary, clocking it at nearly 400 pages but it’s completely worth the time it takes to conclude Bailey’s story in a satisfying manner.  I loved Bailey sense of style- she always modeled her hair after Lana Turner and tended to dress like a retro film star on most days.  She struggles with trust issues after a prior experience has left her reasonably guarded and reading about her journey to letting her walls come down a bit is completely gripping.  I really loved Bailey’s dad and his addiction to Settlers of Catan (a board game that I too share an addiction for).  He’s a really good example of a single parent doing the best job they can raising a teenage girl.  Then there’s Porter who is one of the most swoonworthy book boyfriends.  Porter is half white and half Polynesian and his sun-kissed curls, golden skin, and surfer’s body are often mentioned.  He’s such a sweetheart and his in-person interactions with Bailey are so precious! Alex, Approximately is a hate to love romance at its finest.  I will say that I didn’t totally get why Bailey was so hung up on Alex because their online interactions read much more like a friendship than a romance to me but I was living for their in real life scenes.  Even the way that Alex handles things once Bailey and Porter meet will make your heart swell.  I love that we get a big glimpse into Porter’s life and his situation and he’s not only there to serve as a love interest.  Each protagonist has a very specific set of challenges they’re facing and watching Bailey and Porter learn to trust each other and work through them together is just swoon after swoon after swoon!

Do I Recommend?: YES! I really loved this contemporary romance, even more than I was expecting to.  I already preordered my finished copy!

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Kristin

Reading Challenge Wrap Up: February 2017

Welcome to my reading challenges recap for 2017!  This is a monthly post where I’ll be updating my progress throughout the year by challenge so you (and I) can see a breakdown of what I’ve read and which goals those books apply to.  I’m always open to suggestions in the comments as well! If you’re interested in learning more about any of the challenges below, you can view my sign-up post!

Goal: 75

Read so far: 22

Books Read: Windwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #2), How to Love by Katie Cotugno, Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks #2), Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #1), Broken Prince by Erin Watt (The Royals #2), Archie Volume 2 by Mark Waid & Veronica Fish, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Komomo Confiserie vol 4

Favorite read of the month:

DARK MATTER BY BLAKE CROUCH

Goal: 40

Read so far: 3

Favorite Read of the month: Since I consider The Raven Boys to be paranormal, Windwitch wins by default even though I didn’t love it

Goal: 21+

Read so far: 3

Favorite read of the month: How to Love by Katie Cotugno AND Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett are so closely tied

Goal: 1-30

Read so far: 4

Favorite read of the month: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Goal: 20

Read so far: 4

Favorite read of the monthAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Goal: 30

Read so far: 14

Favorite Read of the month: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Also I am killing the RockMyTBR challenge, thankyouverymuch

Goal: 51-75 points

Points so far: 12 points

Favorite read of the month: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

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Kristin

March Small Goals

I’ve seen a bunch of people post small monthly goals and I really like the idea of re-centering and re-evaluating everything more frequently.  It’s awesome to make yearly goals but it’s also easy to lose focus or forget about them entirely over the 365 day period we’re aiming to accomplish them in.  Having small monthly goals to help get to those bigger picture yearly ones is something I’m eager to try out!

Oops, I totally forgot to do a February small goals post until most of the way through the month so we’re just skipping it and resuming with March!

JANUARY CHECK-IN

1) Reorganize Bookshelves / Buy a new bookshelf (or two…) – I rearranged my shelves a little while ago and while there are some shelves I love, there are others that just aren’t working for me.  Plus, it’s been very confusing to find certain books since I moved them around because I don’t think my new system is organized enough.  And if you’re someone who watches my book hauls… you know very well that I could always expand my Potter shelves! 

DONEEEEEEEEE. I unhauled so many books and I organized my favorites and I’m loving my new shelves<3

2) Clean out kitchen & hall closet – I’m going to carry this goal over since our weekend in January seem pretty free which is the most exciting! We’ve been talking about possible getting a shelving until for our hall closet so I can organize what we have in there better too. 

ALSO DONE YASSSSSS. Now we never have to see this one on my goals list again!

3) Read The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – I’ve been dying to get to this book, I’m in full-blown fantasy mode which tends to strike me as soon as the holidays are over.  So far, I’ve read the first chapter but I had to put it aside momentarily so I could read The Amateurs by Sara Shepard for book club on Sunday.  That’s going to be quite the ridiculous discussion.  Cassie and I have already started a list of all the awful elements so far!

Nope, I enjoyed the beginning of this book but after getting some bad news about my grandfather I just hadn’t been in the right headspace for fantasy.  I needed something light and fun so this one got pushed to the side.  Then I read Kay’s review and since we have almost the exact same taste in books I decided it’s not worth the time investment for me to read something that’ll ultimately only end up being okay.

4) Cook better meals at home – I’m adding a fourth goal this month! Once I finish writing this post, I’m going to head over to pinterest and look for some simple healthy recipes.  Because of our long commute, I really don’t have the time to be spending an hour or more cooking on weeknights which is why Trader Joe’s frozen foods have been such a godsend in the past.  But I really want to start making some more homemade meals, even if I only devote 1-2 nights per week to cooking for a longer period of time.  Some things I want to try out are more Asian meals (ramen, pho, etc.) and those delicious looking smoothie bowls (although that will be more of a weekend breakfast food)! I have to remind myself that watching YouTube while cooking is pretty much the same as watching it in my bed or desk and I’ll be happier with the end result. 

So I have made some delicious smoothies and I also started making spaghetti squash but I feel like there’s still room for improvement here.

MARCH GOALS

1) Read all the books – Well, obviously not ALL the books because I do have the gift of unlimited time but I feel like I’ve had a rocky start to my reading year and I want to turn that around in March.  Both of the books I’ve started so far this month (The Star-Touched Queen and Mortal Heart) are completely gripping me and I just feel myself emerging victorious from this slump that has plagued me since December.

2) Clean out my closet… AGAIN  – I already did this one time after Marie Kondo-ing but I feel ready to do a second go around.  I still have more than I need and I really want to pare down my wardrobe even further.  Also along with this goal, I want to finish reading The Curated Closet!

3) Be more active / enjoy these random spring days that keep coming our way  – I can’t decided whether to be happy or horrified with our recent weather but I do know that I want to take advantage of it completely! After our little mini-vacay I’ve been craving some outdoor adventure and I refuse to let the extra sunlight pass me by!

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1

Tea & Book Chat: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Personal Thoughts:  So, Katie Cotugno is officially an auto-buy author for me.  The funny thing is, I fell in love with her writing style before ever reading either of her currently published books. I used to so look forward to Katie’s Friday blog posts about 5 good things and I’m sad she hasn’t been keeping up with them (although she is posting much more on twitter which is a plus!).  I read her sophomore novel, 99 Days in the latter half of 2016 and it was everything I wanted it to be and more.  I had been putting off reading How to Love because I’m not usually interested in pregnancy stories but boy am I glad that I trusted my gut and in my love of Katie’s ability to make me love anything.

Plot Summary:  How to Love is the story of Reena and Sawyer since he skipped town and she had his baby.  Reena adjusts to her new life with baby Hannah and the fact that she’ll never go to college and she’ll be stuck in her small Florida hometown forever while Sawyer travels around doing whatever he pleases.  Everything has become routine for Reena until one day, Sawyer resurfaces and declares that he’s there to stay.  Now she has to sort through her feelings both past and present to determine her future.

Critique:  All I can say upon finishing is that my emotions are shredded to pieces.  Katie Cotugno crafted one of the messiest, most complicated contemporary love stories I’ve ever read and I have such strong feelings about these characters! Reena is a very relatable teen.  She’s intelligent, she always does “the right thing” and she has a bright future ahead of her.  I really love the way in which the story was told.  Each chapter shifted from present day to the past during the time of she and Sawyer’s initial story. I loved the juxtaposition of the narratives and the way each scene was relevant to one another.  I found Reena’s anger to be justified and as the story unfolded, I slowly found myself falling more and more in love with Sawyer from the way he treats Reena in the present to how good he is with their child.  Both parties have made major mistakes in their time together and this is by no means a cute and fluffy story.  It’s complicated with a capital C.  I also loved the presence of family and the way religion affected Reena’s dynamic with her father.  Overall, I just love love loved this book.  As I neared the end I even tried to slow down my reading because I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet.

Do I Recommend?: Yes! Katie Cotugno is without a doubt one of my favorite authors at this point and I’m over the moon that her published works are about the double in the coming year because I cannot get enough of her words!

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Kristin

Travel Diaries: Life Near the Beach (+ Away from the Internet) is Better

Warning: This post is going to be SO photo heavy and before I get into everything, here is the physical embodiment of what my dream of a future house will look like:

Last weekend, Andrew and I took a vacation day, turning our regularly scheduled two day weekend into a three day long mini-getaway.  We went to visit Andrew’s parents on the Jersey Shore and I have to say how completely charmed I am by the appeal of a small town with a sense of community.  It was so nice to walk around in a spacious and scenic area without constantly being stuck behind smokers or people walking too slowly.  When we were crossing streets, cars actually stopped to let us cross even if we didn’t have the right of way!  I was completely and utterly shocked by this since it feels like you’re often running across the street for your life in NYC.  Complete strangers would wave to each other, one of the only open breakfast spots in the town (SO DELICIOUS btw) only had a 20 minute wait for a table for walk-in customers, and porch life (which is basically what I aspire to) is a huge way of life for these folks.  Because we visited off season, there were a bunch of places that were closed or had shorter hours for the season but we’re definitely planning a trip back once it gets warmer so we can experience everything!

Saturday was my favorite day of our weekend.  Andrew’s parents took us to the aforementioned breakfast spot where I had a delicious broccoli and Vermont white cheddar omelet and fluffy homemade biscuits with a cinnamon butter spread that I wouldn’t object to putting on all the bread I consume henceforth. We then journeyed to the quaintest little town, a few minutes down the road and I immediately began to get major heart eyes for all of the beautiful Victorian style houses.  The vibrant color combinations, the sheer volume of spires (a brilliant stroke of architectural genius that’s pretty much a non-negotiable feature I want on my future home) and the homey feel of everything almost had me asking for the name and phone number of the local real estate agent.  We then walked to Asbury Park (there are like 5 towns that are all within walking distance of one another!) and enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather along the boardwalk!  We checked out the Asbury Park Convention Center which was holding a Roller Derby event and a Valentine’s Day Market.  I found a photographer that I really like and I may look her up online to purchase some of her prints.  There was also an entire store for Havianas which I never saw before! But I guess #BeachLife.  We also saw the Beachfront Hotel where we’re attending a wedding later in the year, the Asbury Park Bierhalle which I’m DYING to try and more adorable local eateries and businesses!  We walked so much that our legs were actually sore the next day (in that amazing I-got-so-much-exercise kind of way)!

*This is when I forgot to take any more photos from the weekend* Then on Sunday, the rainy and cold weather forced us to stay inside for most of the day but we did venture out to the most magical grocery store in the land.  They literally had full slices of pie and danishes, cups of coffee or apple cider and large pieces of cheese as samples! I can honestly say that I’ve never gone food shopping and been given a full slices of homemade cherry and blueberry crumb pie for free before.  They also had delicious locally sourced foods, gorgeous looking produce (#vegetarian), homemade salads and extracts I’ve never considered baking with before. And we ended our trip on Monday at a trendy new restaurant that had delicious food! Andrew’s mom and I split a vegan burger and four cheese grilled cheese and fries and we also had a giant buttery pretzel for the table!

Overall, last weekend was definitely one of our best in months.  Thinking back about what exactly we enjoyed so much has made me think a lot about the current state of our lives.  We spend 4+ hours per day commuting and 8+ hours per day working which really only leaves us with 1-2 hours of free time on any given weeknight (unless we’re willing to cut down the 6-7 hours we designate for sleeping or forget about preparing dinner and showering) and zero ounces of energy on weekends after we finish running our errands, cleaning our apartment and filming/editing videos for YouTube.  Some of the elements that contributed to how wonderful we felt afterward that really stuck out to me are 1) Andrew and I unintentionally unplugged completely (Twitter, YouTube, instagram-minus one photo I posted, and definitely Facebook) were so far from our minds that it barely occurred to us to check them.  Which also meant that there were times when my phone wouldn’t even be in the same room as me for hours on end and I didn’t even notice!  2) We spent a good portion of our relaxing time working on the most difficult 2,000 piece puzzle I’ve ever attempted.  Not going to lie, I became a little bit addicted- to the point where I was dreaming about finding certain pieces.  We didn’t get to finish it before we left but we did make a huge amount of progress and it felt so good to exercise our minds in a way that we don’t usually get to.  3) Speaking of exercise, I mentioned walking around to until our legs were sore and not only that- the air quality away from the pollution of the city is just so much better! It felt so refreshing and I didn’t even notice we were getting a workout until the next morning. And finally, 4) spending an entire day browsing around in small local businesses made me realize that I cannot even remember the last time I walked into an independent shop.  Like most people these days, I order 99.9% of everything I own from the internet because of convenience, competitive pricing and general lack of time.  Now we just need to become millionaires so we can afford a home there!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Windwitch by Susan Dennard (Witchlands #2)

Personal Thoughts: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard was one of my favorite books of 2015 (I was lucky enough to read it early thanks to sprinting to the Tor booth on the first day of BEA) so obviously, I was feeling super hyped about reading Windwitch which is the second book in the Witchlands series.  It was one of my most anticipated releases for 2017 (I feel like I might say this a lot but I swear it’s true! I just get really excited about new books, OKAY) and I love the autumnal cover and the prospect of getting Prince Merik’s perspective.  The stars seemed to be aligned until I started reading and everything I loved about Truthwitch was just… missing.  Talk about a major disappointment.  I’m still interested in finding out where the story is going so I will most definitely be picking up Bloodwitch but this was just not the second installment I was looking for.

Plot Summary:  The events in Windwitch are a continuation of the story we got in Truthwitch.  I’ll be totally honest, it’s really difficult to come up with a coherent plot summary for this book because the story completely changed from the first book.  We’ve got Prince Merik who is on a crusade against his sister Princess Vivia.  He’s determined to prove that she has bad intentions and he’s traveling around under a false identity as everyone believes he died when his ship exploded.  Then we’ve got Safi, traveling around with Empress Vaness after also surviving a shipwreck.  Lastly, we’ve got Iseult and Aeduan (the Threadwitch and the Bloodwitch) on a mission to find Safi but getting into antics of their own.

Critique: Where to start? As an overall critique, I have to say that Windwitch was missing just about everything that I loved about Truthwitch.  One of the reasons I was so drawn to the series and why I became so invested to begin with is because of the friendship between Safi and Iseult.  In Truthwitch, we get to see all of these amazing best friend moments between two powerful ladies and then they’re separated for the entirety of book two.  Next, the story is completely sidelined in Windwitch.  There was so much set up for this epic tale in Truthwitch and not a single story line was continued or explored enough in book two.  This is my main issue.  Book two, it really felt like Book one, take two.  There was so much groundwork laid in Truthwitch that I was expecting a lot more action this time around.  While it wasn’t completely unenjoyable to learn about these new situations, the pacing was much slower than in it’s predecessor and I found myself getting bored.  There are also A LOT of narratives to follow.  Windwitch increases to five separate POVs so if there was a particular story line you aren’t as interested in, it feels like it takes forever to get back to the one where your heart is (cough *Iseult and Aeduan* cough).  There were some important strides made during the course of the story and there was a ton of character growth with the exception of Safi.  I also really wish the relationship between Threadbrothers and Threadsisters would’ve been explored further but I’m expecting that’ll be coming in future installments.  So overall, I liked Windwitch (despite all of the complaining I just did), but I just was expecting so much more out of it.  There’s now a TON of buildup between books one and two and I’m just hoping the payoff in the final two books will live up to my expectations.

Do I Recommend?: If you enjoyed Truthwitch as much I did, I would definitely recommend continuing on with the series but I would warn you that the entire feel of the story changes and to not go into it with high expectations.  Hopefully this will have been a necessary addition to what will be an epic fantasy story.

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Kristin

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