BOOK REVIEW: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: Standalone
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: New Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

I don’t think I have ever sat on the edge of my seat so much through a novel.

When most people think of a Colleen Hoover novel, this is likely the first one to cross their minds. It has been popular since its 2016 release, and continues to receive acclaim. Most recently, this book has blown up on TikTok after promotion by various influencers, resulting in booksellers placing it on display. For the most part, I find myself uninterested in overhyped novels; they tend to be overhyped to the point where the summary stops interesting me. But, after reading Colleen Hoover’s Ugly Love, I knew that this would be an exception.

Before I discuss the characters and storyline, I do want to make note of the deep subjects in this novel. Colleen Hoover commonly integrates themes of rape, sexual assault, suicide, etc. into her novels, which can be difficult for many individuals. Please be wary of this prior to reading the novel (or even my review) as this novel travels pretty deep into these themes.

Now, where do I even start with this novel? If I didn’t have other priorities, I could’ve easily sat down for a few hour and binge-read this entire novel. But, you know, life’s got other plans for me sometimes. Colleen Hoover developed a beautiful storyline for this novel with a very unique writing style (which I will get to later). But most importantly, you can feel how important this novel is to Hoover herself. Many of the topics discussed in this novel were issues that unfortunately occurred in Hoover’s personal life. Having this experience first hand assisted in Hoover’s emotional expressions throughout the novel. She knew how to incorporate the right amount of sadness and fear, while also including several lighter notes to keep the novel going forward. That’s truly the key topic of the book: to move forward. To get past everything that has already happened and to keep moving forward. One step at a time.

One of the things that Hoover is an expert on is an eye-catching opening chapter. Ugly Love started with Tate meeting a drunk Miles in front of her brother’s doorway, whereas IEWU starts with Lily and Ryle meeting on an apartment rooftop. Hoover writes first encounters in the most twisted manner, but leaves us wanting to know what will happen with the characters. Sometimes things work, but other times they don’t. You just have to keep reading to find out. (No wonder Hoover’s novels are so addicting haha!)

** WARNING: Some spoilers ahead (Sorry! Can’t help myself) **

As mentioned above, we had two main characters in this novel: Lily Bloom, an aspiring florist and Ryle Kincaid, a neurosurgical resident. From their first meeting, there was something electric about their connection. You knew that they would meet again, but the real question became WHEN? Then we got to meet Allysa, who probably wins the award of “best character in the novel.” With such a down to earth and bubbly attitude, she held this book together everytime it felt as if everything was falling apart. Allysa’s connection to Ryle brought Lily and Ryle from their first encounter to their second, third, fourth, and so on. During the first half of this novel, all felt fine in the development of their relationship. Then shit hit the fan.

One of the most important characters in this novel is Atlas, who we originally meet in Lily’s letters to Ellen. Yes, Ellen DeGeneres. This small touch drastically changed this novel and helped explain so much of Lily’s past experiences with assault and her relationship with Atlas. I knew that we would eventually meet present-day Atlas, but I was nonetheless shocked when he appeared in the novel. Successful, that’s what he was. Not the homeless boy we initially read about in the letters to Ellen. Once Atlas returned and Ryle began to behave violently towards Lily, this novel completely changed to a darker tone. One where I feared every chapter-ending Colleen Hoover wrote.

For so long during this novel, I held on to Ryle and Lily’s relationship. I loved it so much in the beginning and was hopeful that they could somehow find a resolution to their problems. But then there was always Atlas. The first true love, and the designated “good guy.” Colleen Hoover truly did put Lily in a difficult situation, and I was not expecting the ending whatsoever. During the little bit of time before Lily gave birth, I really had hope that something would work out between Ryle and Lily, but Lily’s decision to divorce threw my emotions over the edge. I couldn’t figure out if I was happy or angry at Hoover for this ending, but her explanation makes so much sense. How could someone continue to be in a violent relationship with a baby involved? As the neural circuit’s form in a baby’s brain, they are vulnerable to every image they see, every sound they hear, and every person they form a connection with. The ending was definitely tough, but it was necessary.

And I am not at all disappointed in Lily’s decision to start afresh with Atlas. Their history was healthy, and it was evident that the two characters continued to have feelings for one another. When all went wrong during Lily’s childhood, she had Atlas to hold onto. And just as it had started, it will end with the two of them.

Buy It Ends With Us at the following retailers:
Indigo | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

BOOK REVIEW: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Crescent City (Book #1)
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 803
Rating: ★★★★★

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

When I first found out about this book, I knew I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. Although I have yet to finish Maas’ ACOTAR and Throne of Glass series, I have loved every storyline Maas has developed thus far. Maas creates these incredible fantasy worlds, develops unique, sensible characters, and knows how to make one cry a river! Even though the size of this book may intimidate one, there are so many amazing reasons to read this book!

As the queen of fae fantasy novels, you can expect nothing but amazing in Maas’ first Crescent City novel. Like Celaena and Feyre, the series starts out following a female heroine, Bryce Quinlan, who is just trying to survive her day to day life. When her joyful group of friends are murdered, she is sent on a mission with none other than Hunt Athlar, the Umbra Mortis, to find the killer. Both Hunt and Bryce have their secrets, but nothing can stop the attraction the begin to feel for one another. As they learn more about each other’s past and dig deeper on their mission, nothing can stop the two characters from developing emotions for one another. Truly nothing.

The character building in this novel was exceptional! We see Bryce grow from this naive, young adult into a strong, badass heroine. As a half-fae, she struggles a lot with feeling on the same level as her fae family an friends. Seeing how much anger displayed towards Ruhn (her brother) disappointed me at first, but it all makes sense throughout the novel. Everything she has been through, and the way her brother failed to support her in the past, he kind of deserved it. Even though Bryce didn’t like Ruhn that much, I still really enjoyed his character! Regardless of Bryce’s thoughts on him, he evidently still cared about her and would not back down until he received an apology. Even though Ruhn’s POV’s were never my favorite, I appreciate that Sarah J. Maas included them! They provide an important side to the story and help to explain a lot of Bryce’s family issues.

We also meet Hunt in this novel! I knew about Hunt going into the novel, and was anticipating his arrival during the first 50 pages. Being the Umbra Mortis (Shadow of Death), I truly was not expecting Hunt’s character at all. He is caring, compassionate, and loving towards everyone that means something to him (Yes, even Isaiah). Though watch out, those who show harm towards Bryce won’t be standing on 2 feet for two long (*cough* Amelie). I enjoyed how Maas allowed Bryce and Hunt relationship to slowly develop throughout the novel, even hitting a few obstacles along the way.

Now I can’t forget all of the side characters that made this novel! Fury, Danika, Declan, Juniper, Ithan, Syrinx, Lehabah, Naomi. I could list so many characters, they all played such important roles in the novel! However, my favorites had to be Syrinx and Lehabah, the fire sprite and the chimera. I’ll be upfront and say that I didn’t actually like either character at their first introduction, but I began anticipating their appearances throughout the novel. Lehabah’s spiteful comments and Syrinx’s stubbornness never failed to make me crack a smile. And let’s be real, both characters contribute such large roles to one of the biggest scenes of the novel! iykyk 😉

And I can’t not mention the amazing world Maas developed in this novel. Lunathion, more commonly known as the Crescent City was so different compared to the other worlds she has written about. Erilea and Prythian were vast lands, but Crescent City was simply just a city. But a well-structured, divided city set way into the future. Like other Sarah J. Maas books, we get a beautiful map of the Crescent City at the start of the novel, which truly does help with the relative proximity of places. I loved how the Crescent City was divided into different subdivision, with groups of like fae, shifters, etc. living within the divisions.

I also wanted to mention the twisted way Maas includes hints throughout the entire novel! You truly don’t understand them until the end, but they are absolutely everywhere. You just need to hit page 600 to get some answer. And grab some tissues while your at it!

This book made me shed every emotion possible (And completely messed up my sleep schedule). I laughed, I cried (** more like sobbed **) and completely fell in love with Maas’ brilliant work. There truly was no dull moment in all 800 pages of this novel, and I cannot wait for the second book to release in February! I pre-ordered House of Sky and Breath right after finishing House of Earth and Blood, and cannot wait to devour it during my spring break!

If you’ve read Sarah J. Maas’ other novels, or are a fan of fae, House of Earth and Blood is a must-read! Bryce’s heroic story is twisted, and heartbreaking, and will have you craving the second book ASAP< but it is so worth it. Recommend this one to all, but be warned about the excessive cursing haha!

Buy House of Earth and Blood at the following retailers:
Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon