Wyrd and Wonder: Woodland Creatures

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Today’s Wyrd and Wonder prompt is woodland creatures. The idea is to share cover art featuring (were)wolves, stags/deer, unicorns, owls, the Fae or other woodland residents. Alternatively, you could share your favorite stories featuring woodland creatures; creatures you think of as being particularly fantastic (why?); or favorite woodland creature characters.

If you’re not sure what Wyrd and Wonder is, check out my introduction post for more information. Imyril, one of the hosts, also has a post with all of the prompts.

Without further ado, in no particular order here’s a short list of books whose covers contain woodland creatures. These are all books I’ve read and/or reviewed.

Continue reading “Wyrd and Wonder: Woodland Creatures”

Life’s A Beach Book Tag

Tabitha at Behind the Pages tagged me in this book tag well over a month ago. Only now am I getting around to it, sheepishly. The Life’s a Beach book tag was created by Lefty on on Left Hand Book Lover, but I saw it on Tabitha’s blog. Check out Tabitha’s answers here. Make sure to mention that Lefty is the creator, and tag who tagged you, if you choose to participate!

I tag Mint at Mint Loves Books, Emma at Bookmarked Dreamscapes, and whoever else finds this fun!

The Sand
A book that stuck with you long after you finished reading

I mean, if you saw any of my posts during the Christmas 2021 season, then you can probably predict my answer. A Court of Mist and Fury stuck with me for a long time after I read it. Ultimately, this book pushed me to start a book review blog so I’d have others to chat to about books. I really want to reread it, but that will probably have to wait until the mid-year.

The Sun
A book that burned you

I think this means one I had hopes for, but then in the end didn’t pan out for me? If so, then that would be Immortal Souls. The cover drew me in on NetGalley, but ultimately the pacing was way too fast and nearly all of the characters were flat. Plus I felt like I was inadvertently “tricked” into reading a Christian fantasy novel (not my personal cup of tea), which wasn’t indicated in the official synopsis.

The Waves
A book that calms you down after a long day

I know this author no longer has a great reputation, but I can’t erase the fact that Harry Potter brought me a lot of joy in my high school years. It still brings me joy, I can’t lie about that. When I’m in a lull sometimes I go back and read where I left off in my very, very slow reread of the series. I think right now I’m somewhere in the middle of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The Bathing Suit
A book with a pretty, summer-y cover

I haven’t read this yet, but I did a spotlight for a BBNYA 2021 blog tour, hosted by The Write Reads. Beneath Cruel Fathoms has waves on its book cover, which is quintessential beach/summer in my mind. This is probably my perception, but I feel like most books with summer-y covers are contemporary fiction, which I don’t read much of. So at this point in time I don’t have many options from which to choose.

The Birds
A book that is everywhere

I choose A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is probably due to the algorithm’s knowledge of my love of fantasy books. Or, rather, fantasy romance books. But I see it pop up everywhere, particularly on Instagram since those are the hashtags and/or accounts I interact with.

The Company
A book with wonderful characters

I had a hard time choosing between The Bone Shard Daughter or The Bone Ships, but ultimately chose the former. Mephi in The Bone Shard Daughter won me over and is my favorite character in the book. He’s not the main character, but he’s pretty darn cute.

The Ice-Cold Drinks
A book you absolutely gulped down

An Enchantment of Ravens is a book I gulped down. Though it has one of my least favorite tropes (instalove), I otherwise enjoyed it. It was a nice escape from the demands of post house move.

The Fun Memories
A book you can’t wait to return to

Definitely the whole A Court of Thorns and Roses series, but also Half Sick of Shadows. I borrowed this from the library and ended up loving it so much I bought myself a used copy. There’s so much beautiful imagery and writing in this book. I can’t wait to read and savor it again.

Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Reading format: Library hardback

Content warnings: kidnapping, fighting, death, injuries

Rating: 3.4/5

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Seventeen-year old Isobel lives in Whimsy with her aunt and younger twin sisters. It’s a village often frequented by the fair folk, who are driven by their desire for human Craft. They can’t so much as cook, sew, or write without turning to dust. Isobel’s Craft is painting and she’s reknown among the echelons of the fair folk for her talent. In exchange for enchantments that benefit and protect her family, she paints portraits of the fair folk to capture their immortal vanity.

After completing yet another portrait of her most loyal customer, she receives a visit from her first royal patron, Rook, the autumn prince. But he isn’t like the other fair folk and, as she begins to paint, Isobel realizes there’s something missing in her likeness of Rook. On the last day she recognizes the missing element is the human emotion of sorrow, and deftly paints it in his eyes. She isn’t aware of her error until a furious and humiliated Rook returns after unveiling the portrait at court. Captured to stand trial for this affront, they make their way through the summer lands, where they realize something is amiss. As their roles change begrudgingly to an alliance, and perhaps something more that could violate the Good Law.

An Enchantment of Ravens is a fast-paced, light, young adult fantasy read. The premise of this book drew me in with its slight Feyre Archeron of A Court of Thorns and Roses painter vibes. The length of this book was also appealing as I wasn’t in the mood to read a 500-page stunner. Right away I noticed how deft Rogerson is with words and really enjoyed the writing of this book. The writing is succinct, but descriptive, and sometimes lyrical, which keeps the story moving along.

I also always like a story with a strong female lead, and this book delivers. Isobel is the main person responsible for the safety of her family; she’s confident in her Craft and herself; and she’s level-headed and observant. She’s also not flawless. Several times I found myself appreciative that Rogerson wrote about mundane things: needing to use the bathroom, being super dirty and smelly after traipsing through the woods fighting off strange creatures. You know, the usual. A couple of times I even chuckled at Isobel’s matter-of-factness.

Another aspect I like about this book is that Rook doesn’t fall squarely in the stereotypical all-powerful and stoic main male character role. Sure, he’s the autumn prince so he does have a lot of power he can call upon; and he does have to save Isobel a couple of times because the fair folk world is dangerous to humans. But he requires saving too, physically and emotionally. At times he’s less cautious than Isobel and it was refreshing to see the main female lead chastize the oh-so-perfect fae male character for this (whom authors often portray as having a great hold on their emotions).

However, though I enjoyed reading An Enchantment of Ravens, I felt like the plot was a bit underdeveloped. The premise of this book is that Rook is furious Isobel painted weakness in his eyes; weakness means losing authority, which is dangerous for a prince of any court. As they journey through the woods to put Isobel on trial, they find there’s something wrong with the summer lands. But why the lands are rotting is never really explained in the book. Or did I read it too fast? [Semi-spoiler-y] Rogerson alludes to several courts being under the influence of the Alder King, but those plot lines are left rather loosely tied.

Also, most of the story takes place during Isobel’s and Rook’s journey through the woods of the fair folk lands. Because of this, I felt like, in a nutshell, there wasn’t a lot of worldbuilding. Perhaps some don’t like a lot of worldbuilding, but I prefer it. There’s just enough to learn about the revelry of the fair folk as we visit one of the courts; but that’s about it.

By now I’m sure you’ve come to realize that there’s also romance in this book. I don’t read traditional romance novels, but I’m a fan of romance in the fantasy genre. However, I felt like it all evolved rather quickly. The story transpires over maybe a week and I found the development of such devotion just a little unbelievable. But what do I know? I’ve never had an adventure with a fae male.

Overall, I’d recommend this book if you’re looking for a lighter fantasy read. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a complex read and enjoy it for what it is. I’m a little sad I gave it a lower rating because I liked the writing; the plot details just needed a little more oomf. Critiques acknowledged, I still had fun reading this.

Book Details
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date: September 26, 2017
Pages: 304
Type: Hardcover