A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

A court of frost and starlight by Sarah j maas
A court of frost and starlight by Sarah j maas

Recently, I decided to buddy read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series with one of my friends – we were both reading this series for the first time, trying to read the original books before A Court of Silver Flames came out (and we made it!). Though I have strong opinions about the rest of this series – A Court of Frost and Starlight stands out for how truly terrible it is.

This book reads like shitty fanfiction. The overall quality of writing is much lower than the rest of the ACOTAR trilogy – this book feels like it was (poorly) ghost written. Aside from the spectacularly bad writing, the plot was just… non-existent. Nothing happens. It’s basically a bad Christmas special – 272 pages of nothing. 

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

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Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

make up break up by lily menon

Thank you to St Martin’s Griffin for providing a review copy of Make Up Break Up

make up break up by lily menon

As a software engineer, I love finding books that focus on women in STEM – books about career driven women in male dominated fields who are looking for love. What can I say? I love some engineering chops in a leading lady. When I got the opportunity to read Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon, a book about rival app inventors falling in love (enemies to lovers!!), I was thrilled with the concept. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as thrilled with the book itself.

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

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Mini Review: Mr Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain

mr malcolm's list by suzanne allain book cover
mr malcolm's list by suzanne allain book cover

I’m going to keep this review short for one simple reason: Mr Malcolm’s List was one of the worst books I’ve read this year. I went in with low expectations: the reviews were… not great. But I decided to give it a shot because it was a short standalone book, which is not very common in the historical romance genre.

The Honorable Jeremy Malcolm is searching for a wife, but not just any wife. He’s determined to elude the fortune hunters and find a near-perfect woman, one who will meet the qualifications on his well-crafted list. But after years of searching, he’s beginning to despair of finding this paragon. And then Selina Dalton arrives in town…

Selina, a vicar’s daughter of limited means and a stranger to high society, is thrilled when her friend Julia invites her to London.  Until she learns it’s part of a plot to exact revenge on Mr. Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia’s scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who seems very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia’s description.

But when Mr. Malcolm begins judging Selina against his unattainable standards, Selina decides that she has qualifications of her own. And if he is to meet them he must reveal the real man behind…Mr. Malcolm’s List. 

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A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

a beautifully foolish endeavor by hank green book cover

a beautifully foolish endeavor by hank green book coverAfter I read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green last year, I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t a standalone book. Even though the first book was not a favorite of mine, I decided to give A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor a shot anyways, mostly to see if the sci-fi world set up in the first book would deliver an interesting ending.

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.

As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

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Why You Should Not Read Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris Book Cover

Before you read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it is very, very important to note that this is historical fiction. Though Heather Morris often alludes that this is an accurate account of life in Auschwitz, it has been proven to be highly inaccurate. If you want to learn more about what Auschwitz was actually like, check out the Auschwitz Museum’s website. If you want some recommended and accurate books, check out this list from the Memorial center and also Night by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

The Auschwitz Memorial called this book “dangerous and disrespectful to history”. They have fact checked the story (you can see an article about that here) and found innumerable errors. Morris was lazy in her research (for example using modern train maps to describe Lale’s journey, which were not accurate in during WW2) – a trait that is highly dangerous when she’s touting this book as biographical and documentarian in nature. She went as far as to invent a bombing plot in which women stored gunpowder under their nails and used it to blow up a crematorium that simply never happened. Adding these kinds of ‘narrative flair” or “artistic license” are irresponsible and paint a wildly incorrect portrait of life in a concentration camp. To me, this is not the kind of story you add Michael Bay-esque explosions to. Respect history.

While Heather Morris did interview Lale (whose nickname wasn’t actually Lale, it was Lali), she is not a historian and it shows. One very basic offense was the fact that she didn’t even get Gita’s number correct. Another detail was Lale getting a hold of penicillin – it was not widely available at this time. She also made up a scene where soldiers poisoned people in a bus – which never actually happened. Most abhorrently, she alleges (and frames an entire sequel around) Cilka being a sex slave to a high ranking SS officer – the Auschwitz Memorial has emphatically refuted this. It’s pretty vile to allege things like this with no proof.

Honestly, skip reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s factually wrong, and the author is unrepentant in her failings to tell an accurate story. To me, this book (and the sequel) are thinly veiled attempts at profiting off of the shock value of one of the most heinous pieces of world history. If Heather Morris cared as much as she claimed to, she would have properly researched the book before releasing it. 1/5

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