Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

Goodbye, Scarlet & Robin: Lion Heart (2015) by A.C. Gaughen

Goodbye, Scarlet & Robin: Lion Heart (2015) by A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on May 19th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance, Medieval, Young Adult
Pages: 352

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.Only the greatest loves can survive great danger. . . Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine needs Scarlet's help to free him. For a lifelong thief, this newfound allegiance to the crown-her family-is a strange feeling.Scarlet knows that helping Eleanor will put her and those she loves back in Prince John's sights. Desperate not to risk anyone's life but her own, Scarlet formulates a plan to help save the king on her own. But fate-and her heart-won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long. Even if Scarlet and Rob can together stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England, will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

**Thank you, Bloomsbury, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

It’s the end of an era. With the publication of Lion Heart, the Scarlet trilogy by A.C. Gaughen is over. It has been an epic and wonderful ride, but alas, it’s over. However, there’s always one solution: Re-read! I’m excited to own the first two books, and you can bet I’ll get a finished copy of the final installment.

I was privileged to see A.C. Gaughen when she participated in a YA Author panel at a local library. She signed my copy of Lady Thief and it was absolutely brilliant to hear her talk about the Scarlet trilogy! It was even more amazing to get a chance to chat with her. She is one cool person, and I love that just as she illuminates strong female characters in her writing, she actually works in a job that is focused on empowering women and girls. So brilliant!

And now, for my thoughts about Lion Heart.

What I Loved

The Characters: Of course, I loved meeting all my old friends from the previous two books—Much, Bess, Scarlet, Rob, Winchester, Eleanor…and then there are the baddies such as Prince John and Lord De Clare. They certainly add tension and a fair measure of angst at different points in the narrative, so hold on!

The Politics: I felt this book captured more of a political tone with the whole situation behind the tax that Prince John was supposedly trying to raise to bring back Richard. As Scarlet takes on her new title (given to her by her father, Richard the Lionheart) she must navigate the world of the nobles and learn how to outsmart Prince John and his evil plot to take over the kingdom. I enjoyed watching Scarlet continue to evolve into her new role, and her passion for justice for her people is just as pronounced in this third book.

Scarlet + Rob: What’s not to love about the relationship and romance between Robin Hood and Scarlet? (Aka Marian) These two are one of my favorite YA couples and for that reason these books will probably be re-read regularly.

Quotes that Made Me Think About Spirituality:

“It were a place that weren’t supposed to be filled with love, but that’s how it had always been. Our love filled the broken bits and made us whole again. There weren’t no perfect time to love him, not ever, and it had always been with the threat of death and hurt hovering round us. And we’d love each other anyway. Sure, and true.”

“It seems a precious thing, for someone to know the very worst part of you and love you anyway.”

“My heart holds my love, my hope, and my faith. My heart is unyielding, my heart is stalwart, and my heart is true.”

“But now I choose light and fire and love. Now I choose freedom.”

The Difficult Moments:

Waiting for Scarlet & Rob to be reunited: The beginning of the story opens with Scarlet imprisoned by Prince John. She’s been separated from her crew for several months, and though she (spoiler) escapes in the beginning of the book, it’s still quite a few chapters before Robin discovers she’s alive! You can imagine that I was turning the pages anxiously, waiting for the two to be reunited.

More bloodshed: As you know from the end of Lady Thief, bad people kill good people in this series. I hate to say it, but there’s more of that in Lion Heart. This was treacherous time for certain groups of people, and I do applaud A.C. Gaughen for depicting the historical period as accurately as she could. You can imagine the conditions she depicts on the pages of the trilogy are pretty close to life in the 12th century.

Danger for Scarlet & Rob: Yes, there are more moments in which Scarlet’s life is threatened or she gets hurt, and more danger for Robin as well. One of the scenes towards the end of the book is especially nail biting inducing. So be prepared! In spite of this, you’ll know from Scarlet and Lady Thief that Scarlet’s passion for justice and her knife throwing skills are certain to save the day.

Who Should Read This Book:

It’s a no-brainer if you read Scarlet and Lady Thief that you should read Lion Heart. It releases today! Yay! If you haven’t read the first two books, and you love a good young adult novel with a focus on a particular period in history (and illuminating a legend!), then by all means, run, don’t walk to the bookstore and pick up Scarlet. Read immediately!

The Final Illumination:

I’m definitely feeling the feels now that I’ve finished Lion Heart. I think I dragged my reading of the third book out a bit because I knew once I finished, that was it. I’m still glad I read this series, and know that I’ll return to it again. I absolutely love the Robin Hood legend, and of course, Maid Marian! Reading these books has renewed my interest in this period in English history so I’ve now added several books to my TBR about this period.

Are you planning to read Lion Heart? Have you read the first two in the trilogy?

What Katie Read

ARC Mini Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ARC Mini Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Fantasy, Love & Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 432

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Well, here it is, folks! My thoughts on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! Many thanks to What Sarah Read for loaning me her ARC of this fantastic and unique new title from Sarah J. Maas!

This is going to be a mini review [I’ve been swamped lately and have less time to write longer reviews] but I think you’ll enjoy it all the same.

Everyone has been raving about this book—it’s the first in a series, and I also really enjoyed it. I thought this was a strong and appealing start to Maas’s new series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

I’m really looking forward to what Book 2 has in store. The only downside is that we have to wait awhile for that sequel.

In the meantime, though, we can re-read the Throne of Glass series and await the 4th installment, Queen of Shadows, out this fall!

But first, more about A Court of Thorns and Roses…(ACOTAR)

What I Loved:

The World of the Fae: There are two worlds in this book—the one nineteen year old Feyre lives in at the beginning of the story—and the magical land to which she moves after killing a wolf in the woods who is actually not a wolf. The killing of this wolf starts a chain of events that change Feyre’s life in profound ways. Tamlin, an immortal faery, introduces Feyre to this magical world completely unlike her own. Though Feyre struggles at first being alone in a strange place with beings she doesn’t care for, as time goes on, she becomes curious and begins to develop relationships with the “fae.”

I thought this magical land of faery was utterly stunning and fascinating. The author has expertly drawn a complex and interesting world that draws the fantasy readership. This is definitely an aspect of the book that I was thinking about long after I turned the last page.

“ ‘There is a better world, Nesta. There is a better world out there, waiting for you to find it. And if I ever get the chance, if things are ever better, safer…I will find you again.’ It was all I could offer her.” (272 in Print ARC)

The Unique Twists & Turns: I never know what to expect with Sarah J. Maas’s books, and this one was no exception in terms of its plot. She infuses her narrative with creative twists so that the reader is swept up in a unique journey that take the characters unexpected places. For example, I didn’t expect Feyre to make the location changes she does—I’m not going to give away anything—but this aspect of the book kept me intrigued and turning the pages. Feyre’s encounter with the Fae world brings a whole slew of complications and conflict (and romance!) to her life, and I think the secondary characters are just as interesting as the primary ones.

A Court of Thorns and Roses‘ Fairy Tale Influences: I’m usually interested in young adult novels influenced by fairy tales and that’s because I love fairy tales. There is definitely the Beauty and the Beast thread going on in ACOTAR, but this isn’t the only fairy tale. Sarah J. Maas actually researched in Scotland for this book, so there are other fairy tales that influenced her work (obviously Scottish!). I’m a big fan of this kind of research for a fantasy, so absolutely love this dimension of the story.

The Final Illumination:

I did not expect that ending! I thought the way Maas tied everything together in the story’s resolution was impressive and satisfying. Seriously, there were a few moments when it was a bit tense and I wondered—how are things going to work out?!?! That tension was a good thing, because it strengthened an already strong narrative, and you really rooted for the central characters. There are definitely some extremely evil characters in the series, and I do wonder what’s in store for Feyre and Tamlin in future books.

You can see I’ve categorized A Court of Thorns and Roses in Adult as well as New Adult–you’ll know what I mean when you read those scenes between Feyre and Tamlin. Note the term “fiery passion” in the Goodreads synopsis. Yes, you will know what I mean.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to Book 2—I’m just sorry we have to wait so long for it!

What will you be doing to survive the wait until ACOTAR 2?!?

What did you like about the book? Was there anything you didn’t like?

What Katie Read

Waiting on Wednesday for Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Waiting on Wednesday for Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day GeorgeSilver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 358

A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

New WoW1890s New York City. A mysterious Romanian family. Adventure. A Prophecy. Bloomsbury is bringing us a new Paranormal YA this July by Jessica Day George!

I only recently discovered that this YA title (look at that intriguing cover!) was being published by Bloomsbury in July. The author actually went to Romania to undertake research for her book, so that makes it even more appealing. I love when I read about authors traveling to the country in which their books are set for research. I think it adds a richer dimension to the story, and that shows.

I adore books set in the Victorian era, fantasy, and Eastern Europe, so it’s no surprise that I’m excited about this book. On GoodReads, Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks has stated that this would be an excellent title for MG readers moving towards YA. Since I love MG and YA equally, and come into contact with both kinds of readers, I’m looking forward to discovering a new book that I can recommend to those readers who are on the border between these two camps.

I don’t think I need to say much about how enchanting that cover is! There’s a place on my shelf for Silver in the Blood and I look forward to putting it there soon.

What are you waiting on Wednesday for this week?

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, in which we share those upcoming releases we are most excited about!

What Katie Read
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