Weekly Update: I won my first wrestling match, wrote a sonnet, and arted.

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Hi guys! We have officially made it into February!

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, it has been quite the week (and a half) for me! Before I get into that, I’ll give you a quick update on my reading progress.

What I’ve Read/ What I’m reading:

Okay, so some sad news… I haven’t actually finished any books since my last update. Between school work and yearbook work (and Netflix/Hulu), I haven’t had that much time to sit down with a book.

However, here is what I’m in the middle of:

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: This book is taking me forever to get through. I think it’s mostly because of how traumatic the ending was for me the first time around, so I’ve kind of been putting it off. That being said, I do what to try to finish it this week and move on to Tower of Dawn.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray: I’ve heard a lot of amazing things about this book so I decided to start it. I’m about 10% in right now and it’s pretty interesting so far, so I’m excited to see what happens next!

Run by Kody Keplinger: I haven’t read any of this since the last time I checked in, so I think I might just take it off my “currently reading” list and try to pick it back up later.

I did also post my review for By Your Side by Kasie West (I ended up giving it 2 stars). You can read that here.

Wrestling:

I mentioned briefly last week that I joined my school’s wrestling team this year. It’s been amazing so far (although sadly the season is going to be coming to an end soon), and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.

Last weekend on Sunday I had the chance to go to a women’s wrestling tournament at another boarding school. In the morning there was a clinic with Leigh Jaynes, who is a bronze medalist at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships(!!!). She taught us some of her favorite take-down techniques before the tournament started.

There were about 50 girls that showed up for the tournament (which was an amazing turnout)(, and we were split up into weight classes. There were two other girls in my weight class. One of them was about 5 pounds lighter than me, and was also a first year wrestler, so we were a pretty good match up. The other girl had a good 20-30 pounds on me and had been wrestling for 6 years, so as you can imagine, that match up was not ideal (for me).

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I almost escaped from her, but she was hanging on my leg and I couldn’t get it free.

I wrestled with the more experienced girl first. I was so nervous! I ended up trying to take her down too fast and didn’t do the move quite right (but remember, this was only my second match ever…). After that I didn’t really stand much of a chance. She crushed the air out of me and I literally couldn’t breathe.

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Incase you can’t tell, in this picture my head is stuffed under my body in an attempt to roll me over.

For a second there I was like “This is it. This is how I die.” She pinned me in just under 1 minute and 30 seconds. But I’m pretty proud of the fight I put up, and my coach was really proud of me too.

My second match went a lot better (for me). I actually worked with that girl during the clinic with Leigh Jaynes, so

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I took this match a lot slower and focused on getting in a good position before trying to take her down.

we were really excited for the chance to wrestle each other. I took this match a lot slower and really focused on my form before I

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I got her in a headlock which led to a pin!

tried to take her down. That strategy (along with both of us being relatively inexperienced) served me well, and I was able to take her down and get the pin! That was my third ever match, and my first win!

It was such an amazing feeling walking off the mat! I couldn’t stop smiling!

After all of the wrestling was done, we had an awards ceremony, where the girls in each of the weight classes were awarded medals. Because I won one of my matches and there were only three of us in my weight class, I walked out with the silver medal!

The day was rounded off with some yummy pizza with Coach, his daughter, and my teammate, and lots of singing along to the radio on the ride back to school.

I wrote a Sonnet!

Disclaimer: I am definitely not a professional poet!

In AP English, my class had a poem project. We got to make our own quills (feather pens?) by carving the tip of a feather with a knife. It took me a few tries to get the tip quite right, and even then it kept bleeding a little bit on the page.

Then, we had to write a sonnet.

A sonnet is 14 lines long, and follows a specific rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG (There are actually a few different rhyme schemes you can use, but this is the one that my class did) . Each of the lines also has to be 10 syllables long.

To make this project even harder, we had to come up with our own topic. It took me a while, but I decided to go with “College”. Then came the struggle of actually writing the thing. Here is what I came up with:

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College

Everybody wants to go to college
The only way to get ahead in life
Study hard and do your best and pledge
To not end up as a stay-at-home wife.
Sending in applications is a chore
An honest test of character and time
Don’t resent as a show off or a bore
Don’t be too loud or quiet as a mime.
Just be yourself, not like that, be better
Your greatest accomplishments are mundane
You’ve done nothing to deserve a letter
I guess your life has just been far too plain.
Just as you begin to give up hope
News arrives that makes you not want to mope.

Ta-da!

I arted!

I’m not a particularly artsy person.

Don’t get me wrong, I like doing art occasionally… I’m just not really great at it (which I have accepted and am perfectly okay with).

But one day my friend asked me to come keep her company in the art room and paint, so I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

I went for something abstract (because then if I messed it up I could say it was intentional). Here is my art!

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Pretty snazzy, right? *flips hair artistically*

Talk to me!

What have you been reading lately? Have you done anything exciting or interesting? Is there anything you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review- By Your Side by Kasie West

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By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Goodreads
Amazon

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Initial Thoughts

After loving P.S. I Like You and hating The Fill-In Boyfriend, I wasn’t sure how to feel going into this book. Would it be adorable and cute or frustrating and cringey?

It turned out to be a bit of both.

What I Liked

Dax. Dax was honestly a pretty compelling character, and turned out to be my favorite character in the story. He was independent and closed off, yet he had this soft gooey center that made me want to love him. At first I was a little confused by his motivations, but as the story went on and I began to understand him better, he really grew on me. Also, he ACTUALLY READ in the library (unlike the other characters, which kind of made the whole plot questionable… but I’ll talk more about that later).

The relationship between Dax and Autumn was pretty cute. It definitely followed the hurt-closed-off-guy-opens-up-to-spoilt-rich-girl-who-secretly-has-problems trope, but it was done pretty well. I really liked how organic the relationship seemed (even if the part where them getting stuck in the library was… um… unlikely?)

I also liked the pacing of the book. It wasn’t too slow, but it wasn’t super fast either. And the plot was not too complex, but had a lot of complexity to it.

What I Didn’t Like

Jeff. He was the boy that Autumn was pining over, and honestly he didn’t do much except annoy me. Even though he was made out to be a fun, likeable, and go-lucky kind of guy, I couldn’t bring myself to care about him in the slightest. He felt too much like a cut-out, and it definitely didn’t help that his “best friend” was literally an exact copy of him (except of course the best friend didn’t like Autumn at all).

I honestly didn’t really like any of the characters except Dax. All of Autumn’s friends were boring, and I couldn’t even differentiate between them. And, at some point, there was a little bit of drama when one of the friends told Autumn that another one liked Jeff… and then it was never mentioned again. Like what was the point of that?!?

I also really didn’t like the parents in this book. They were all frustrating and pointless. Even Dax’s mom, who was built up so much, was a complete letdown. Then there were some loose ends left with her. DID THEY MAKE UP? DID DAX TELL HER OFF? The world may never know.

Also can we take a minute and talk about the library? What the hell?!? First of all, the whole Autumn being left behind thing was stupid and improbable. I just can’t see that happening in real life. Secondly, the very first thing I would think of in that situation would be pulling the fire alarm. It was SO FRUSTRATING waiting for Autumn to come up with that on her own. It kind of ruined the whole first part of the book for me.

And then, Dax was honestly kind of annoying about the fire alarm. Like just let the girl get out and hide if you don’t want to be seen. It’s not like they are going to search the library once they realize that she pulled the alarm because she was stuck in there.
And then the whole plot when she finally got out of the library. I mean, I guess I could see how that would happen, but it was all just a little much to believe.

And then Jeff’s mom. Oh MY GOSH she was the worst. I actually kind of wanted to strangle her. I get that she was just clinging onto any hope (given her situation that I won’t tell you more about becuase #nospoilers), but it was so unrealistic and annoying.

Let’s also take a minute to talk about Autumn’s anxiety disorder. She kept it a secret from her friends because she didn’t want them to look at her differently. UMMMMM. Honey. If you are scared to tell your “best” friend(s) something like that then are you sure that they are really your friends? I get that talking about stuff like that can be scary sometimes, but that’s something that people talk about with their friends. You should see how much I talk to my friends about stuff like that. It’s called building a support system.

And I guess it wasn’t even that I had the hardest time believing that she would keep it from her friends (although it was pretty stupid).What really annoyed me about Autumn’s Anxiety™ was how much she whined about it. Literally half the book was her complaining about her anxiety and then refusing to do anything about it.

“Oh my gosh my anxiety is so bad and it holds me back from life but I don’t want help I just want to suffer in silence please and make my friends think I’m a terrible flake instead of facing my problems. But you know I’m gonna whine about it 24/7 and wonder why this is happening to ME. I’m also going to ignore my parents and brother trying to help me because they JUST DON’T understand my mind.”

– My impression of Autumn for 90% of the book

Overall

As you can probably tell by the amount of good vs. bad things I had to say about By Your Side, this wasn’t my favorite book. It wasn’t the worst thing that I’ve ever read, but I don’t think I’m going to be picking up anything by Kasie West for quite a while.

I am going to give By Your Side two out of five hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

Talk to me! Have you ever read By Your Side? What did you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with what I had to say? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Book Review-Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

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Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
Published by Sky Pony Press on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Goodreads
Amazon

His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Tone Deaf was a good story. It had all the right elements to it: a gorgeous, troubled love interest (who just happens to be a rock star), a MC who is just the right amount of tough and in danger, and a chance meeting that brings them together.

Plot

The plot of the story was compelling, and I couldn’t put this book down. The story takes place over a relatively short period of time, but it was more than enough to get to know the characters, and it flowed very smoothly; nothing seemed forced or too unrealistic (if you don’t count Ali winning the exclusive backstage tour that kicked everything off).

Characters

Unsurprisingly, Jace and Ali were the most dimensional characters in the story. Both of them had heart-wrenching stories, and honestly it was those stories that drove the book forward. I really liked both of their characters.

Arrow, Killer, and Jon were the three other boys in Jace’s band, Tone Deaf. They were all supposed to be older than Jace (who was 19), but they seemed very juvenile and more like cookie-cutter fill-in characters. That being said, they were entertaining and I liked them… I just wish they acted more like the age they were supposed to be. Jon was the most realistic of the three, and he had the least time in the book.

Ali’s dad, who is the main protagonist in the book, was easy to hate. He really is just a terrible person. However, he also was a very one-dimensional character. Although Ali talks about his other moods, they are never shown in the book. But that’s to be expected when he is only in a few scenes of the book.

Ali’s best friend/neighbor along with Jace’s manager and pretty much all of the other characters aren’t that complex. Not that I minded, as this story really was about Ali and Jace.

Things I Liked

I liked the relationship between Ali and Jace. It is fragile and sensitive and beautiful.
I liked the tone and pace of the story. It was easy to follow, not too slow, and not too fast.
I liked the friendship between the members of Tone Deaf, and Ali’s friendship with her best friend.
I liked how realistic all of the emotions felt, and how they were dealt with.
I liked Cuddles!! (You’re just going to have to read the book to find out who that is!)

Things I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like how young and immature the characters could be at times.

Yeah that’s really all I didn’t like.

Overall

Overall I really liked this book. It was a quick read with a whole lot of emotion that left me feeling good at the end and wanting more.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporary romance, or anyone looking for a good book to help break them in to the genre.
I am going to give Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers 4 out of 5 hearts.

♥♥♥♥

Hiatus Mini Reviews

Before the New Year™ officially begins, I thought I’d do some mini reviews of the books I’ve read while on hiatus (not that I’m off my semi-hiatus, but I’m gonna try to post regularly again, and see how it goes). 

I read 4 new books (not including my assigned books for school, but I’m not going to review those) which I’m going to be reviewing. I re-read books 1-4 of the Throne of Glass series (reviews: 1,2,3,4), and will post my reviews for Empire of Storms and The Assassin’s Blade when I re-read them (then Tower of Dawn when I finally read that!). I also re-read Beyond the Rising Tide, which was as amazing as the first time (find my review here). I read My Lady Jane, and you can read my review for that here, along with why it did not live up to the hype.

So, without any further ado, here we go!


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180 Seconds by Jessica Park

My Rating: ♥♥♥

180 Seconds was a really good book. It follows Allison, a girl who is more than a little closed off from the world, and Esben, who is super outgoing and a social-media celeb. The meet when Allison is roped into a social experiment that Esben is doing, where they basically just keep eye-contact for 180 seconds.
The emotions in this book were raw and relatable, and I even got a little misty eyed at parts. Although the plot and outcome of the book were predictable, I really didn’t mind at all. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book, and it gave me exactly what I expected.
Although the main characters (Allison and Esben) were very nuanced, the rest of the characters did feel a bit two-dimensional, which made the whole book a teensy bit less enjoyable, but for the most part I didn’t mind.
Overall I’d say this book is worth the read, especially if you like this kind of story.


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Room by Emma Donoghue

My Rating: ♥♥♥

I watched the movie Room before I read the book (I know, I know, I should have read the book first), but honestly reading the book and watching the movie were two completely different experiences. For one, I sobbed throughout the entire movie (both my first time watching it and then when I watched it again after finishing the book), and I only got a little misty eyed once during the book.
The book definitely went into more detail (and had some plot points that the movie skipped) and gave an even more in-depth view into Jack’s mind and how he dealt with the events that took place. That being said, it gave the book more of a juvenile voice which could be a little annoying and confusing at times.
Do I think the book was worth the read? Yes.
That being said, in this case I do think it’s okay to skip the book and just see the movie.


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City of Thieves by David Benioff

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

City of Thieves was a whirlwind from beginning to end. It follows Lev and Kolya, two war prisoners and strangers to each other, who are given the task of finding eggs during the Nazis siege of Leningrad in exchange for their lives. As they embark on this seemingly impossible journey, they have some crazy adventures and build a friendship.
This book was really interesting, and I found myself unable to put it down. It was pretty crude (which fit in with the setting, but was a little over-the-top at points), but also had some heartfelt moments.
This was the first real war story I read (I’ve read one since), and I was actually surprised by how much I liked it. I would recommend this to anyone who likes war stories, or anyone who wants to try reading one.


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In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

In 27 Days was a complete cover buy for me. I hadn’t seen the book or author anywhere before, and I knew nothing about the story. That being said, I have read Wattpad books before, and I have never been let down by one that has made it through the publishing process.
In 27 Days did not disappoint.
The concept behind this story is a girl is given a chance to go back in time by 27 days to save a boy who has committed suicide. She doesn’t know him that well, but decides to take the deal anyway and try to save his life.
The story itself is pretty predictable (even the ending, which really tried to be surprising), but it was really cute and such a feel good story. The characters were likable and the story was compelling. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a fast, fun book to read!


Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review- Queen of Shadows

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* This review may contain spoilers for Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire

 

Queen of Shadows by  Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on September 1st, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 648
Goodreads
Amazon

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

I’m having a hard time writing this review because of how much I loved the book.

You know when something is super amazing and it’s just too hard to find the right words to describe it? Well that’s this book. And pretty much every book in this series. But I’ll try….

Okay, so I’m gonna start from the beginning. Aelin is on her way back to Rifthold, leaving Rowan (who I LOVEEEEEEEEE) behind. AND SHE MISSES HIM AND IT’S SO CUTEEEEEEE. Also everyone is kind of in trouble because the King is evil and Perrington and the witches etc. etc. etc.

This book is pretty different from the first three for a few reasons:

1) Celaena is now called Aelin (something I thought would really annoy me but actually it’s kind of perfect because it’s like a whole different version of her and kind of perfect okay I’m going to stop now but I think you get the point).

2) There are more serious romantic relationships. Yeah, I know, I know, Chaol and Celaena in Crown of Midnight… but this kind of takes it to a new level. And there is a lot of NSFW scenes, which (despite me not liking romance-y books) were kind of perfect and adorable.

3) There is a lot more of a “resistance”/”rebellious force”. As in there is an actual group of people going against the King and hunting the Valg and stuff.
There are other things that make it feel a little different too, but those are the main things.

Like I was kind of saying in the first paragraph of this review, I love this book. There is no one thing that makes it great, but rather just the perfect balance of character driven and plot driven events, and how somehow there is so much going on yet it is easy to understand and it is just A GREAT STORY. It’s so entertaining and it just draws you in and doesn’t let go.

If you haven’t read this series already, please believe the hype. I stayed away from these books for so long because I was like “no way that can be that good” AND THEN THEY WERE THAT GOOD. Like yeah, they aren’t for everyone, but still. It doesn’t hurt to give them a try!

I am going to give Queen of Shadows five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Heir of Fire

Don’t miss the Epic Throne of Glass themed Giveaway ending TODAY!!

This review contains spoilers for Throne of Glass (book 1) and Crown of Midnight (book 2).


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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on September 2nd, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 565
Goodreads
Amazon

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Before I read this book, I was told by a few people that it “wasn’t quite as good as the first two”. I disagree. I thought, if anything, this book was even better.

Celaena is broken. Nehemia is dead, her relationship with Chaol was shattered, and now she was sent North to the very Aunt that her parents tried to keep her away from. Even worse: she is forced to train and use her magic if she wants to have an audience with her Aunt.

Then there is Rowan. I happen to love him, even if he is a jerk throughout the first half of the book. Rowan has gone through just as much heartbreak as Celaena, and their relationship evolves beautifully (once you get past the beginning, but even that is necessary for what comes next).

Chaol and Dorian are back in Rifthold, and have challenges of their own. Also, Manon Blackbeak is introduced: the Heir of the Blackbeak witches. She is cut-throat and ruthless but also awesome. I didn’t really know how to feel about her at first, but I’ve grown to love her as much as the other characters in the book.

This book is certainly action packed and emotionally loaded, and if you’ve read and liked the first two books-Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight-I definitely recommend you continue the series!!

I am going to give Heir of Fire five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Crown of Midnight

Don’t miss the Epic Throne of Glass themed Giveaway going on now!

Also this contains spoilers for the first book, Throne of Glass (see my review for that here)


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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on August 27th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Pages: 418
Goodreads
Amazon 

Celaena Sardothien is the king’s Champion-yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena’s world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.

One of the worst things in the world is Second Book Syndrome (aka when the second book kinda sucks compared to the first). BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH CROWN OF MIDNIGHT.

There is so much going on in this book. Celaena is now the King’s Campion, and is sent out to assassinate people that the King wants to get rid of. Chaol is fighting his feelings about Celaena’s new role: he is both repulsed by her actions and feeling things for her he didn’t think were possible. Dorian, who also doesn’t love the idea of Celaena’s new role, is getting over her and trying to find a way back into her life as a friend.

This book is packed with action, and balanced out with the connections between the characters. The friendship between Nehemia and Celaena is beautiful and heartbreaking, and Celaena’s relationships with Chaol and Dorian are also beautiful and hearbreaking.

Actually, beautiful and heartbreaking sums up the whole book pretty well.
AND THEN THE ENDING. WOOOOOAAAAHHHH. Not gonna give spoilers, but even though I already knew the “major reveal” at the end, it still was a huge moment and all I can really think to say about it is “WOOOOAAAAHHHHH”.

If you read Throne of Glass and liked/loved it, I highly recommend continuing the series!!

I am going to give Crown of Midnight five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥