A Court of Thorns and Roses

Five Books That Actually Live Up To The Hype (Guest Post)

*This is a guest post written by Darian Duckworth and she runs her own book blog, The Novel Millennial, and a BookTube channel of the same name . If you would like to do a guest post for To Borrow or Buy, please email me at toborroworbuy@gmail.com*

If you’re anything like me, you tend to get turned off by really popular or hyped up books and series. But I’m here to tell you that there are actually some popular books that actually live up to the pedestal they’re put on. Proof: I didn’t read Harry Potter until a friend forced me to read Prisoner of Azkaban in the third grade. (PS: it’s still my favorite book in the series). Recently, I caved and picked up some seriously popular books that I was extremely turned off from because of their popularity. Here are five books that I think actually live up to their hype:

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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ACOTAR is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairytale. If you’re looking for a strong female protagonist, don’t let the fantasy genre of this series deter you. Even if you don’t typically like fantasy, ACOTAR has something for literally every reader. There’s adventure, fantasy, romance, and lots of action, especially towards the end.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Okay, if you don’t like fantasy then you probably don’t like sci-fi with cyborgs and all that jazz either. Well, here’s the series that’s going to change that. Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella but the similarities between the two stories are few and far between. There’s cyborgs, a different race that lives on the Moon called Lunars, and a plague threatening Earth. It’s pretty intense.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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You’re probably sitting there like “Who hasn’t read THG?” but I know y’all are out there. If you haven’t read this series, do it now! I can’t say that enough. The political atmosphere alone is enough to make this book live up to the hype. Pro Tip: The rest of the series is pretty good too, and Catching Fire is the best one.

4. It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman

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I’m not one for self help books and I’m definitely not one for self help books about breakups but I am a fan of all things The Bachelor. Andi Dorfman made waves on both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and people were legitimately shocked when she and her fiancé called it quits nine months after the finale. It’s Not Okay is Dorfman’s raw and emotional journey at coping with the aftermath of that very public breakup and it is every bit worthy of you clicking “Buy Now” on Amazon.

5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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I hate poetry, mostly because it takes too much effort to interpret, usually. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is the exception to that first statement. The poems are raw and real and powerful and I damn near read the entire thing in the bookstore. I simply could not put it down!

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12 Book Boyfriends To Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and for those of us who don’t have plans, the best way to spend the holiday is with a good book. And why not a book with the man of your dreams? Here’s who I plan on spending my V-Day with. Who’s your favorite book boyfriend? Let me know in the comments below!

1. Owen Gentry (Confess)

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I just finished this book and I’m still not over it. Owen is amazing. He’s cute, funny, and so incredibly sweet. This book was incredible and so is Owen.

2. Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices)

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I love Will. Not only does he love books but he quotes them with ease. He’s a man after my own heart.

3. Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss)

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St. Clair is a Brit who grew up in America who can speak French. Talk about multicultural. Besides that he’s also hot, sweet, and an all around good guy.

4. Josh Wasserstein (Isla and the Happily Ever After)

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Oh Josh. He’s got some issues that he needs to work through but despite his struggles he still mentions to be so incredibly loving towards Isla and it’s wonderful.

5. Prince Kai (The Lunar Chronicles)

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Almost every guy in The Lunar Chronicles is one of my book boyfriends but Kai has a special place in my heart. The way he falls so hard for Cinder is so endearing and cute.

6. Levi (Fangirl)

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Levi is such a cute, tall dork. I love how he just gets Cath and her fangirl ways. Any guy that willingly listens to a girl read her fanfiction is a great guy in my book.

7. Prince Maxon Schreave (The Selection)

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Maxon and America are my OTP. The way Maxon falls head over heels for America and loves everything about her is too cute for words. He treats her like she’s already his queen.

8. Tobias “Four” Eaton (Divergent)

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Four is the definition of having a hard shell but being such a softy on the inside. He’s so protective of Tris and just loves her so much. It’s unbelievable.

9. Daemon Black (The Lux Series)

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Daemon has such a bad boy persona and although I hate to admit it I’m a sucker for a bad boy with a nice center. And Daemon is just that and more.

10. Raffe (Angelfall)

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Raffe is literally an angel. With wings! Well, kind of. But Raffe isn’t a sweet angel with a halo. He’s got an edge but protagonist Penryn is able to wear him down.

11. Liam Stewart (The Darkest Minds)

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If Liam’s good looks don’t immediately suck you in his Southern charm and drawl definitely will. He’s so genuine and kind, and he’ll instantly tug at your heart strings.

12. Adrian Ivashkov (Bloodlines)

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Adrian is the rich, bad boy you know you shouldn’t want but you just can’t resist his charm. Honestly, though, Adrian has a big heart and he treats his ladies right.

 

Man Crush Monday: Prince Kai

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Source: Valerie Macon / Getty Images

If you’ve been following my blog for at least the past month than you know I speed read through The Lunar Chronicles and instantly fell in love.

I could go on and on about so many characters but for today I’ll focus on Prince Kai.

Not only is he a POC, which I love, but he’s kind and a great leader. He cares about his people and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect them, even if that means sacrificing his own happiness.

Plus, I just love how open and honest he is with Cinder. He’s totally genuine with her and it’s cute to see him outside of the palace and acting like a real teen. He gets nervous around her and for a moment you forget he’s even a prince.

Prince Kai is really just the best. He’s cute and funny and just an overall great dude. Check him out in The Lunar Chronicles if you haven’t already.

Swoonworthy Moment:

“‘Cinder?’
‘Mm?’
[Kai] lifted his gaze. ‘Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?’
She blinked. ‘Of course not.’
‘Just checking.’
Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her.”

Dreamcast: Harry Shum, Jr.

Book Review: Cress

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

*Note: If you haven’t read Cinder and Scarlet DO NOT read this review unless you want to be spoiled. You’ve been warned!*

This series just keeps getting better and better. I loved the addition of Cress, Jacin, and Winter to the story. They’re all very different characters and I definitely had mixed feelings for Jacin but I absolutely loved Cress and Winter.

Cress is awkward and shy and a little dorky, which can be expected of someone who’s been kept in a satellite for most of her life. She’s madly in love with Thorne even though she doesn’t really know him and found that very relatable. It was so cute and fun to read, especially because Thorne is so naturally cocky and didn’t fully understand Cress’ love proclamations for him were coming from a very real place.

This book had a lot of plot going on and the introduction of new characters could’ve made this a mess but Marissa Meyer did a good job of keeping everything together. It was great to see Cinder coming into her role as leader more. I also liked how everyone seemed like a team in this book, even when they were separated.

I also really enjoyed the couples in this novel. Scarlet and Wolf broke my heart in the best way possible; Cress and Thorne had such an interesting dynamic that I absolutely loved it; and, of course, my faves, Cinder and Kai did not disappoint.

Overall, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it’s so close to the end of the series and I never want these books to end. Sadly, all good things must come to an end at some point.

Make sure to keep an eye out for my review of Winter on Thursday. All the feels!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

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Book Review: Scarlet

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison―even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive if she does―in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

*Warning: Spoilers if you haven’t read Cinder, the first novel in the Lunar Chronicles.*

I love how this whole series is retelling of fairy tales. Scarlet is Red Riding Hood, which is emphasized by the fact that Scarlet has red hair and always wears a red hoodie. Plus, the male lead in this novel is named Wolf…for reasons.

To be honest, at first I was annoyed by this book because all I wanted to know was what was happening with Cinder and if she escaped from prison but instead this novel starts off with Scarlet. I quickly grew to like Scarlet, though, and realized my only prejudice was that she wasn’t Cinder. Once I was over that I realized that Scarlet is a BAMF and I liked that the story switched between following her and following Cinder, while also throwing some flashes of Prince Kai and other characters.

This novel follows Scarlet, who lies in a small town in France, as she tries to find her grandmother who went missing a few weeks ago. The cops believe Scarlet’s grandma probably just left on her own accord but Scarlet knows that’s not true. While looking for clues, Scarlet meets Wolf who may be the key to finding her grandmother, but Wolf has his own secrets that may ’cause Scarlet more harm than good.

Meanwhile, Cinder, of course, escapes, otherwise this series would’ve been much shorter. This isn’t a big spoiler but if you absolutely don’t want to know anything stop reading here.

Cinder teams up with another inmate, Captain Thorne, who’s hot and cocky and I love him. Working together they make their escape and Cinder decides they need to head to Europe to discover more about what happened to her.

I really liked how Marissa Meyer set up this novel and how she eventually brings Cinder and Scarlet together. There were definitely moments where I either wanted to jump back to Scarlet’s storyline or jump back to Cinder’s. It’s such a relief when they finally converge together and I’m not looking forward to the emotional roller coaster that Cress will surely put me on.

Who am I kidding? I’m totally excited.

Honestly though, Meyer did a good jump of switching between point of views. This novel is still in close third person, which I think was the best way to go with this novel. I also liked that we got to see another country in this futuristic world. In most dystopian novels we only ever get to see America so it’s interesting in this novel that we’ve seen two different countries and neither one of them are America. I dig it.

If you haven’t read these books yet I definitely recommend it. They’re a must read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”

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Book Review: Cinder

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Synopsis from Amazon.com:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Every day I get this awesome book deals from BookBub (if you’re not signed up yet, do so immediately) and there was a deal to get Scarlet, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, for only $1.99. Even though I hadn’t read Cinder yet, I’d heard great things so I jumped on the deal and bought.

Not too long after I went to Target and there was Cinder for 20 percent. Of course I had to buy and now I’m hooked. I just finished Scarlet so get ready for that review but for now let’s focus on the first book in this series.

Honestly, I don’t know how this series has flown under my radar for so long. I absolutely love Cinder. She’s such a great character. As a cyborg she’s a second-class citizen and is treated poorly by her mother and step-sister, Pearl. Cinder’s only friends are the android, Iko,  and her other step-sister, Peony.

I really liked how the Cinderella fairytale was used in this story. The fact that Cinder had a mechanical hand and foot are so cool to me. I also really liked the mystery surrounding her since she doesn’t have any memories before the age of 11 (she’s 16 now). Although I will admit it was pretty predictable I still loved it.

And of course I loved the male lead, Prince Kai. He’s cute, funny, and a generally good person that doesn’t deserve the weight load of stress he’s constantly under. There so many times throughout this novel I just wanted to give Kai a hug.

Overall, I also really liked how this story was written. Told in the third person, the narration mostly follows Cinder but we also get to peer in on what’s happening with Kai as well, which I really liked.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet, do so ASAP. It’s worth every penny.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”

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