Erica’s Q1 2021 Book Review

Erica's Q1 2021 Book Review

We’re at the beginning of a new quarter, which means it’s time for another book review! Reading has been one of the main things getting me through the pandemic. I love sharing about the books I’ve read, so I hope this post is useful if you’re looking for something new to add to your shelf. I’m trying to incorporate a rating system to make these book reviews more useful. Any book with a rating of 7 or above is something I would recommend. A bunch of the books on this list are books that I read for Season 3 of the podcast I cohost, Lit Sh*t. I’m going to note all those books in the list below with an asterisk after the title. The theme of the season is “books being made into movies or TV shows” so if you want to get ahead on cinematic releases, consider this a guide!

  • Rating 10/10: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. I basically love everything Sarah J. Maas writes. Her character development is spectacular, her settings are beautiful, and her plots have twists and turns I don’t see coming. This book is her latest release, a continuation of her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Side note-she just announced the series is getting a TV show on Hulu!!!!! I cannot contain myself, but I digress. This book follows one of my favorite characters in the series, Cassian, and my least favorite character, Nesta. It is a credit to Maas’ writing skills that by the end of the book, I loved Nesta. She also proved with this book that she is NOT a YA author any more. There are some serious romance scenes.
  • Rating 10/10: Wicked* by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I was expecting this book to be a cheesy romance, but I ended up binge-reading it. Shoutout to Greg for not complaining when I basically didn’t talk to him for three days so I could finish it. It’s about a girl who is part of an organization fighting fae, which in this book are almost like vampires. But with some magical powers. She teams up with this guy to try to stop a fae invasion. It’s a romance novel, so of course they end up being attracted to each other. Outside of the romance, the storyline itself was gripping, and I’m excited to read the rest of the trilogy. It’s also set in New Orleans, which is a cool location for a fantasy novel.
  • Rating 10/10: The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This one has been on my to-read list for a while. When I started it, I thought it was going to be another sad book about the struggle of Black characters in the south. Over the course of the story, so much love and joy unfolds for each of the characters, though, and by the end it was an uplifting celebration of accepting oneself and the people around them. I understand why it won a Pulitzer Prize. It was well deserved.
  • Rating 9/10: The Selection* by Kiera Cass. This is another one that has been on my to-read list for a long time. A bunch of people, including my sister-in-law, recommended it. I’ve heard it described as a cross between American Royals, The Bachelor, and The Hunger Games, and all those are accurate. It’s a YA novel about a competition where each district of a dystopian-style country send a young woman to compete for the prince’s hand in marriage, Bachelor-style. The society is built around a caste system that perpetuates wealth inequality. This book is the beginning of the series, so we get to see the main character’s relationship with the prince beginning. It’s a sweet and fun read.
  • Rating: 9/10: The One by Kiera Cass. This is the third book in The Selection series (see the second book further down on this list). The whole dystopian drama comes to a head in this book. This is the one where you really fall in love with the characters. The drama is wrapped up a little neatly, but it’s still satisfying to read.
  • Rating 8/10: The Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan. I read the first book in this series, The Kingmaker, last year and loved it. It’s a romance novel. The male lead is an entrepreneur and climate change activist, and the female lead is a Native American political strategist who fights for marginalized people. Kennedy Ryan does a really good job of researching her characters’ cultures and incorporating them into her books. A lot of the drama in this book is slightly predictable and wraps up fairly easily, but it was a really fun read and I highly recommend the series.
  • Rating 8/10: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. This is a prequel to Maas’ Throne of Glass series. It’s a collection of novellas that give a backstory for the main character, Celaena Sardothien. I love Celaena as a character because she starts out as a badass, but she’s also very feminine. I like seeing a character who is unapologetically “girly,” but still strong and capable.
  • Rating 8/10: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This is the beginning of the Throne of Glass Series. The main character is an assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She is brought into a competition to fight other thieves, criminals, and assassins for the opportunity to become the King’s champion. We learn there is a bunch of sinister stuff going down beneath the surface of an already shady reign. It’s an exciting introduction to the series. Maas starting writing this series when she was around sixteen. She’s a writer who has grown tremendously over time. Her more recent series (see A Court of Thorns and Roses above) are stronger, but this one is still great.
  • Rating 8/10: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. This is the first book of the Bridgerton series. The show follows the book really closely so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it here. It’s a fun read though.
  • Rating 8/10: The Viscount Who Loved Me* by Julia Quinn. This is the second book of the Bridgerton series and follows Anthony Bridgerton. I liked this one better than the first book. The female lead, Kate, is more likeable than Daphne Bridgerton. I did like Simon from The Duke and I better than Anthony. I don’t recommend reading these two back-to-back because the plots are really similar.
  • Rating 8/10: The Nightingale* by Kristin Hannah. This is a historical fiction set in France during World War II. It follows two sisters, who will be played by Dakota and Elle Fanning in the movie adaptation. It was really interesting to read something set in France during WWII, because I feel the French perspective in the war isn’t covered as much as Germany or England. This book is also about women’s roles in the resistance to German occupation, which is satisfying to read. I knocked it down a point because there are some flash-forward bits in the book that I think brought it down a notch. I would have liked it more if we only had the parts of the book set during the war.
  • Rating 7/10: The Elite by Kiera Cass. This is the second book in The Selection series. I liked it less than the first and third because the main character is kind of whiny for most of it. She doesn’t treat the love interests (spoiler alert: there’s a love triangle) very well, and is fairly self-centered for most of the story.
  • Rating 6/10: King Henry VI Part 3 by William Shakespeare. I got through most of Shakespeare’s histories last year, so I wanted to close out the King Henry VI trilogy. None of the characters in the trilogy are very likeable. If you want to read one of this histories, I recommend King Henry V.
  • Rating 3/10: Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James. I had high hopes for this book. It was billed as sort of a Game of Thrones set in Africa. I was really disappointed. I found the world building extremely lacking. I was confused about what was real and what was rumored. I didn’t understand which characters had mythical powers, or what the scope of those powers were. The whole plot centers around finding a boy who is never named and is kind of worthless as a character. There is a lot of gratuitous violence. I don’t recommend reading this one.

I hope this book review has given you some new ideas to add to your bookshelf! What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations for me? We’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or on social media. You can also sign up for our email newsletter to get updates about new content, and check out our past book reviews here!

*Lit Sh*t Season 3: Books being made into movies or TV shows

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