Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness by Mark Salisbury

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Goodreads rating: 4.65 stars

My Rating: 5 stars

If you’re interested in getting an inside look into Crimson Peak directed by Guillermo del Toro, this is the book for you. A wealth of information printed on heavyweight, glossy pages with beautiful stills, sketches, background information, and maps from behind the scenes of Crimson Peak. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase such an expensive ($50) book about a film, unless I really loved the film. This was totally worth purchasing and reading. There were insights into the story and characters that you wouldn’t have known without giving this a read. There are also behind the scenes interviews with the cast about how they got into their roles and Guillermo del Toro about how this story came to be. Overall, this book is well-worth reading if you’re a fan of the film and/or novel.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoyed Crimson Peak, film buffs, fans of gothic stories/imagery.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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Goodreads Rating: 3.92 stars

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Not all monsters are terrible and not all humans are good, but to Hazel and her brother Ben, the faeries living in the forest on the edge of Fairfold have always been mysterious and dangerous – somewhere in between good and bad. The seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists and keeps the townspeople on their toes, but many people don’t know just how dangerous the fae can be. The one thing that attracts the most attention is the strange glass coffin in the middle of the woods, in which a beautiful boy with horns and pointed ears has been sleeping for as long as the townspeople can remember. Tourists and townspeople alike go to visit and take pictures, but when the boy wakes one day, leaving the glass coffin shattered and minimal clues as to where he went, Hazel and Ben must figure out what this means and just how much danger Fairfold is in before it’s too late.

Holly Black has always been and will continue to be one of my very favourite authors and this novel continues to prove itself worthy. I absolutely adore her talent for creating such a brilliant world in one single book without needing to elaborate or expand beyond just one single book (even if I could read endless amounts of books in her created universes). I always finish her books desperately wanting more – even if it’s a standalone – or running to the bookstore for the next one. While it was a little rushed at times, I loved how she created so many creatures based in myth in such an easily visualised way and made them her own. I felt like I was in the world while I was reading it and I am so not ashamed to admit that I finished this one in 2 sittings and since finishing it for the first time I have reread it two more times.

Recommended for: fans of the fae, people who enjoy faerie tales, LGBTQ readers

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Goodreads rating: 4.31 stars — My rating: 2 stars

I tried, guys. I really, really wanted to like this series. Don’t hate me for quitting on it after book two. I might attempt to read book 3 at a later point in time.

After learning that she and her sister were both adopted – and descended from the ancient Celtic sidhe-seers (people who could see the fae for what they really were) – Mac is on the quest to find the Sinsar Dubh, an ancient book that could mean the end of the world as we know it if it falls into the wrong hands. She still doesn’t know much about the irresistible Jericho Barrons, but she does know he’s dangerous, but without him, she’s in way over her head. Now that the human world and the fae world are coming dangerously close together, Mac is the only thing (besides Jericho Barrons) that stands in the way of the destruction of the human race.

I’m so disappointed that I didn’t like this series as much as everyone else seemed to have loved it. The characters still fall flatter than tissue paper and are (somehow) more cliché than they were in the first book. Tall-dark-handsomes, a “not ditzy” blonde (gone dark – literally) that are unconventionally attractive, but every guy seems to lust after her anyway (you know who I’m talking about), and cackling evil dudes leading an army of things that go bump in the night. Oh my stars, where do I begin? Admittedly, I did not read this book as thoroughly as I ordinarily read (if we’re going on word count, I probably read about 2/3 of it). I started off reading roughly the first quarter as per usual, but as it went on (and on and on), I couldn’t bring myself to read every single fluffed out description. I think that if all the fluffy descriptions were removed, this book would maybe have 50-100 pages of actual plot, and that’s being generous. I am still in love with the concept and world building and all that, but for the sake of all that exists, I cannot take any more 10 page interludes describing how much Mac misses being cute and blonde and beautiful or paragraph after paragraph describing how attractive some guy is (okay, maybe they weren’t ten pages long…). Not to mention, the plot doesn’t do much of anything in this book – I’d say it develops about as much as the characters do. As I said, I really wish I could’ve enjoyed this as much as much as everyone else seemed to, but I just can’t jump onto this bandwagon, no matter how much I want to. The worldbuilding and concept still catch me, but everything else just… the good is not worth the heaping amounts of ugh, eye rolling, and page after monotonous page that was happening, unfortunately.

This reminds me a lot of Janet Evanovich, now that I think about it… Janet Evanovich with faeries. So those of you who enjoy a lot of fluff with a little bit of fast-paced action, give this a go, you might enjoy it a lot more than I did. I’d also recommend this for anyone who likes urban fantasy and/or the fae – so long as you can put up with the characters and (lack of) development.