Monthly Book Review


Eden Evans (She/her), Staff Writer

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was the first book I read this month. Shatter Me is about a girl who has been locked in a cell because of her fatal touch. When the “Re-Establishment” decides to use her as a weapon, she finds herself falling in love with one of the guards. 

As usual, the best part of the book is the end. The cliffhanger makes the reader eager to continue the series, and I personally can’t wait to learn more about the characters and their perspectives in the books to come. Especially seeing the interactions between Adam and Juliette from Adam’s perspective will likely add depth to our interpretation of their dynamic. 

This book isn’t as heavy on romance as the books I’m more prone to reading, but I think that straying from the topic of love interests and focusing on world-building and storytelling is refreshing. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in looking into fantasy-style books. This genre is one that can be a little intimidating to start, but this book has a strong human connection while adding some not-so-human powers into the mix.

Verdict: 4/5

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

As someone who isn’t typically fond of fantasy books, I was shocked by Sarah J. Maas’ writing in A Court of Thorns and Roses. The book follows the story of huntress Feyre and how her life turns upside down after a beast seeks retribution for a wolf that she killed. She is dragged to a kingdom that she only knows about through songs and stories, but is blown away when the land is not what she was told.

The story is so beautifully descriptive that it feels like you’re really there with Ferye and her found family. This book is also the first in a series of many, so it’s very heavy-handed on story building. This can be hard to get over because at times it lacks action and focuses on keeping you in the faerie world. This mostly wasn’t a problem for me, but there were moments of frustration when it felt like things should just get to the point.

The dynamic between Feyre and Tamlin is to die for and is definitely a major part of the book. In a typical romance, I find most relationships to be built on a witty sense of humor and a gooey kind of love. This is not like that at all. The feelings are intense and undeniably faithful which makes the story that much better, all while being a slow burn. The determination between both characters to stop anything that tries to break them apart is really what progresses their relationship.

This book is so close to being a perfect 5-star read to me, but the moments of stillness in the story docked it down just a little bit. Regardless, I could not get enough of the characters and the world Sarah J. Maas has built. The politics of this world satisfy the motives of the characters so well that sometimes I find the character’s actions lacking purpose. This doesn’t happen in this book, and it’s truly a great fantasy read.

Verdict: 4/5

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

After finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses, I almost immediately dove into the second book in the series, A Court of Mist and Fury. Maas did not disappoint and blew this book out of the ballpark. The way that Ferye’s character learns, grows, and discovers herself is truly inspiring. The romance is heavier in this one, and I found myself significantly more interested this time around in Ferye’s relationship and I was really rooting for the couple. I think the previous one lacked that, but this book might give some reason why. 

Much like the “Shatter Me” series, the following books cover the perspectives of other characters which is compelling. After finishing this book, I immediately ordered the next one. This book and series in general is a must-read for all bookworms alike and is undoubtedly some of the best fantasy I’ve read.

Verdict: 5/5  

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry 

Now to take a turn for the worse. This book was so bad I couldn’t finish it. As a fan of Emily Henry’s writing, I was shocked and disappointed to discover how poorly this was written. The dynamic between the two main characters, Poppy and Alex, is unrealistic. Poppy ends up acting just childish and cutesy around Alex, like sticking her tongue out. This normally isn’t a problem, but when it is so much that it becomes a character trait, it quickly becomes annoying. Additionally, there is little to no romance in a “romance novel” and feels too slow to handle. 

Another thing the book does is switch between present and past in every other chapter. I have found this to be cute and sometimes necessary in other books, but with this one, the frequency with which it bounces back and forth makes it hard to keep up. A present-day chapter will end on a cliffhanger and then instead of that making me want to read more, I’m instantly upset because the next chapter is from the past. Although I didn’t like the book, that doesn’t make it terrible, it just means it’s not for me. The slow and cheesy romance mixed with a constant change of time period didn’t make me finish the book, but this genre is sometimes just what people want. 

Verdict: 1/5

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han 

I think the best way to describe this book is good. It wasn’t great but it was a cute quick read and I didn’t regret it. The main character, Belly, goes to her mother’s best friend’s beach house every summer. While there, she spends time with the sons of her mom’s friends, Conrad and Jeremiah. The story is told over a series of years as Belly and the boys grow up together. As they get closer, feelings are developed and it makes for a wholehearted romance.

Not only did I grow to love the main characters, but the boy’s mother, Susanna, was quickly someone the story depended on. Susanna’s struggles all wrap up at the end in a tear-jerking way. It’s definitely a great yet simple read that I couldn’t ask for more. One thing I will note is that Belly’s character is also the type to stick her tongue out (it still isn’t cute). I wish authors would stop writing the characters like this, as it’s unrealistic and adds nothing to the story. What teenage girl is sticking her tongue out in an act of defiance? I feel so strongly about this yet it just kept happening and made the book feel less valid in its writing. 

Nonetheless, this book was great. They also made it into a TV series on Amazon Prime, and after reading, I’m excited to see the contrast between the show and the book. 

Verdict: 3/5