Reading Empire of Storms: A Timelapse

Midsummer Meets Maas

It’s no secret that the Midsummer Team are big fans of Maas’ Throne of Glass series and her A Court of Thorns and Roses books (although we both weren’t 100% on board until A Court of Mist and Fury). ¬†So what was it like when we finally were able to meet the woman behind these outrageously popular books?

Well, Lyv (who hates me and moved all the way to Texas) was able to meet Maas the day after the release of Empire of Storms at Book People in Austin, TX!


Lyv and Sarah J. Maas

What did Lyv learn?

Lyv was there when Maas made the announcement of Hulu officially moving the television adaptation of the Throne of Glass books into production! Side note: it will be called Queen of Shadows, but they will be starting with book 1.

The best part of meeting Maas is that she takes time to talk to everyone, because she is a sweet snowflake with an ergonomic pen, and Lyv was able to talk to her about the 100 (this is relevant because one of the writers from the 100 is going to be working on the pilot script of Queen of Shadows) and their shared disappointment in Bellamy Blake and also their shared love of Ricky Whittle and shirtless hunks.

Lyv was also able to sign Sarah’s first edition Throne of Glass book that she normally has with her for fans to sign (Alas, we didn’t get the chance to do this at the Festival of Books and Authors in Winston a few days later).

Now, the difference between Lyv’s experience and Mine is that Lyv was able to purchase a signing ticket prior to the event, whereas I had to get up at the ass crack of dawn to drive the hour to Winston-Salem, NC to stand in line to wait for a ticket for the signing. ¬†This was fine, as it’s getting me back in the habit before Lyv and I take on the Texas Teen Book Festival in October and then head back to Book Expo America in May, but I definitely should have taken my back pack instead of my shoulder bag (ALWAYS TAKE A BACKPACK!). ¬†maas-ticket

So I picked up Midsummer supporter, Marissa, and headed up to Winston. There were only about 50 people in line ahead of us when we arrived around 7:30 (they were going to hand out tickets around 8:30) so we stood in line and caught up and chatted to some lovely people around us.

The festival was pretty awesome, but in all honesty, we were mostly there to meet Sarah J. Maas, so we went and sat through two other authors’ talks just so we would have a guaranteed spot for the Renee Ahdieh (who is equally amazing, you can check out my interview with her and the reviews of her two novels here on Midsummer) led discussion with Maas.


Marissa, Shauna, & Jess

We met up with Shauna of B00kstorebabe, who is a good friend of mine, and we listened to John Hart, a North Carolina native and a NYT Best selling author, speak…in which he kept talking to us about how he was a NYT Best Selling author.

Then the enigmatic and hilarious Terry McMillan took the stage. ¬†She read us a chapter from her newest novel, I Almost Forgot About You, and it was so funny and sarcastic. I don’t normally get the chance to read a lot of adult fiction, but I might take time out of my young adult reading schedule just for that book.

So, finally, at 12:45 two queens of Young Adult Literature took the stage.  At this point myself, Shauna, and Marissa had found seats in the very front row (excellent) and had so much fun listening to these two women talk about anything and everything.


Renee and Sarah

Sarah and Renee told us all about their experience in a fancy restaurant during Comic Con, where they were sitting directly behind Norman Reedus (Darryl from The Walking Dead) and then Renee told us about her time on set as a zombie extra.  Surprisingly, the zombie make up is pretty heat resistant in the Atlanta, Georgia heat.

Not only did they get to spy on Reedus, but the entire Vampire Diaries cast came into the restaurant.  Sarah was on door watch duty and they both freaked out a bit when Ian Somerhalder entered the restaurant.

They jumped around topics, just like true friends do, and discussed their individual experiences traveling in Egypt. ¬†Sarah encouraged everyone in the audience to travel as much as possible, even if it’s just to a town over, to get as many experiences in different places as you can.

Once we got on the topic of Smut, however, it was a pretty awesome conversation.  Sarah says that sometimes she has to get up and walk around when the book is getting too emotional for her, and when she is writing smut, in order to feel less awkward, she drinks a glass of wine while doing it.

maas-talkApparently, Sarah’s grandmother is all about some smut, because she told the audience that when she finished ACOTAR 3, she warned her gran that there would be lots of smut, and her gran replied, “Sounds like my kind of book.”

Also, Sarah said that if she could be any of the characters from the Throne of Glass books, she would want to be Lysandra, because shape-shifting is pretty awesome. (I couldn’t agree more.)

After the panel discussion, it was a mad rush to get in line for her signing. ¬†At this point it was 1:30 in the afternoon in September in North Carolina. ¬†IT WAS SO HOT. ¬†So when we waited in the sun for an hour, and we finally made it up to meet Sarah “Sweet Snowflake” Maas, we were all a little bit sweaty. ¬†Sarah agreed about how hot it was and told us she was glad she was sitting down because her shirt was drenched in sweat. ¬†She’s so relatable and friendly to all fans.

Shauna gave her the book of nice things that she was collecting from Tumblr and from fans in line (Marissa and I were able to write short notes to Sarah) and then it was my turn.


Sarah and Jess

It is absolutely amazing to see a woman who is just a year older than me being so successful and still so humble and friendly to everyone. ¬†She was so sweet, she pointed out my Midsummer shirt, and said she loved it and asked where it was from. ¬†So I told her about Midsummer and gave her one of our bookmarks. ¬†If you ever visit our page, Sarah, we love you! Then we talked a little bit about my time lapse video that I did and she thought it was an awesome idea. ¬†Overall, she was just so nice and kind. ¬†The line was still outrageously long for her once we were finished, and I’m fairly sure Sarah spent 3 or 4 hours signing books and talking to every individual fan. ¬†So wonderful.

It was a pretty long and exhausting day, but 100% worth the experience and getting to meet one of my favorite authors.  I know Lyv was exhausted after her day of work then the Maas signing, too, but we were both so amped to finally meet her and chat with her even for a few moments.

Did you get to see Sarah J. Maas on her book tour for Empire of Storms?

Share your experiences in the comments!

#TeamTerrasen and #TeamNightCourt




Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:


Release Date: September 6, 2016

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

I am in love with all of my Maas inspired candles by The Melting Library.

The Re-Read Frenzy

So, now that Summer has rolled around and changes are hitting the Midsummer team (Jess is starting a new job and Olyvia is moving to Texas) we have both been caught up in re-reading some of our favorites. Re-reading can be something that can make you feel comfortable and as if you are hanging out with an old friend.  There is also something to be said about how re-reading can encourage children to continue to discover new novels and stories similar to those they already love.  In fact, I really think that re-reading was a huge influence on how much I adore reading today.

Although, to be fair, the first book I liked to re-read was The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss and I didn’t so much read it as I had it memorized and would randomly flip the pages to make it look like I was reading! (I was a precocious kid)

Another benefit of re-reading favorites is that you will always find something new. ¬†I’m yet to re-read a novel and be unsurprised by a small detail I’ve never noticed or even had a specific sentence or scene jump out at me in a whole new way. ¬†It’s so fun.

From two book nerds to you: here are some of our favorite re-reads and why we enjoy taking time out of our busy reading schedule to sit back down and remember why we loved them in the first place.

Olyvia:¬†It helps when I’m in a reading slump, but also when I can’t choose what to read next, if I go back to my favorites I’ll usually pick something new but similar.

Olyvia’s Go-To Re-Reads

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
Anything Libba Bray.

Jessica’s Go-To Re-Reads:¬†

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

What are some of your favorite re-reads?  What book do you always turn to in time of reading slump or indecision?

If anything, you can take this from our post: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is definitely a series you should pick up, read, and re-read.




As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Audiobook Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

So, we have been pretty slack about getting some reviews out there lately and I’ll tell you why: Sarah J. Maas.

MAASshakesfist-(1)I’m not kidding! I have been stuck in a cycle of re-reading A Court of Mist and Fury (Seriously, I’ve read it physically four times since it came out and have now finished the Audiobook) and Lyvie has started a re-read of the Throne of Glass novels.

It’s a huge compliment to Maas, obviously, since she has managed to capture our attention over and over.

Anyway, back to my Audiobook review.

I’ll admit to you that the only other time I’ve tried to listen to an audiobook, it failed miserably. ¬†I think a lot of it is that my mind tends to wander when I listen to music, so when I tried listening to an audiobook when I was on the elliptical or the treadmill at the gym, I was too distracted by the stimuli around me and would miss entire sections of the narrative.

ACOMAF audiobookFor listening to A Court of Mist and Fury, I chose a different way of listening. ¬†What I would do was put on my workout clothes and my headphones and I’d just walk around my local area, or walk around on my lunch break listening to the novel. ¬†I don’t know if me already being so familiar with the novel played a role in how focused I was on listening and savoring every detail, but I finally understand why people enjoy them so much.

I have no idea if the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, has done other audiobooks but I really enjoyed the subtlety she used to indicate the different characters speaking, and she did a great job of showing the emotions through her voice.

The audiobook is almost an entire day long – seriously, it’s 23 hours and 16 minutes long, but the time just flew by. ¬†It encouraged me to get out of my house and out of my office (on my break) and spend some time wandering around listening to what is one of the best sequels I’ve ever read.

If you don’t already have an audible account, you can get this audiobook for free, and it is yours to keep. ¬†Unfortunately, if you do already have an account, you’d have to pay around $41.99 on Audible to get access to the book. ¬†It’s a steep price, but it could be worth it if you really wanted it.

However, there is the option of purchasing it from iTunes and it’s a bit cheaper, running you only $27.95.

I’m really glad I chose to re-try the whole audiobook thing, and I’ve already queued up my next “read,” A Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. ¬†I hope that I like listening to a novel I’ve not physically read yet as much as I enjoyed one I was extremely familiar with.

So my bard rating is for the audiobook experience, as I’ve already rated the novel 5 bards.




Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court‚ÄĒbut at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms‚ÄĒand she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future‚ÄĒand the future of a world cleaved in two.

Holy nail biting absolutely jaw-dropping awesomeness.

As I put in one of my tumblr posts about ACOMAF, this whole novel can basically be summed up in this gif:


The entire novel is pretty much Feyre finally coming into her own as a high fae and discovering her own worth is within herself and that she is not just the woman who saved the entire fae race for the sake of first love.

Speaking of said first love, the best part of me reading this and remembering that the first novel was supposed to be a kind of Beauty & the Beast type of story, was realizing that Tamlin is actually the Gaston of the story and Rhysand is the Beast. Reasoning? Gaston consistently referred to Belle as serving as his loving, doting, “little” wife, who would be responsible for his household while he is out hunting and galavanting. ¬†Belle, and Feyre, want more than this “provincial” life. ¬†The only saving grace for Tamlin in opposed to Gaston is that he seems to genuinely love Feyre, whereas Gaston just wanted Belle because she was the prettiest lady in the land.

As for Rhysand being the misunderstood man who served his time as a beast underneath the mountain and thought he would never see light (literally and figuratively) or love again, gives Feyre/Belle her own space in his home to heal herself and find home. ¬†He even has a merry band of amazing friends a la Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, etc that Feyre befriends and grows to love. ¬†Speaking of his friends, Mor is my favorite of the new characters. Her quote, “There are good days and hard days for me – Even now. Don‚Äôt let the hard days win,” is one of my favorites from the novel. MOR YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL LAND MERMAID AND NO MAN SHALL TAME YOU OR CLAIM YOU, AS YOU HAVE CLAIMED YOURSELF.

There’s such an interesting juxtaposition between the Spring Court and the Night Court. ¬†The Spring Court relegates Feyre, and consequently most women, to her miniscule role within their court, just a figurehead of the triumph Under the Mountain, rather than someone with actual opinions and powers. ¬†However, the Night Court heralds two women as the second and third in command, providing them with the ability to govern themselves and have opinions in the matters of the court. ¬†Not only does this environment allow Feyre to blossom and grow into her new abilities and life as an immortal, it literally restores her from the waif she was becoming while in Tamlin’s household.

Seriously though, Rhysand, Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren are squad goals.

I’m just going to put this here: Chapters 54 & 55 are jaw-dropping. Love it. I refuse to spoil these for you, just read the book and get to this part!

The end was absolutely awe inspiring and the little knowledge at the end that the conflict between these two courts and the King of Hybern is nowhere near completed is making me so anxious for the next novel that I’m tempted to steal a timelord, hop in the Tardis and go get the next novel now.

If you haven’t read the first novel, A Court of Thorns and Roses, you can check out my review by clicking on the title. (Yes you will realize that I was on Tamlin’s side at first. Big mistake on my part. Or was it just clever writing and character construction?)¬†Or¬†if you found yourself underwhelmed by the first installment, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury, you will not be disappointed by the “wow women are powerful,” vibe and the smutty goodness.

I could keep gushing, but I’ll just end it with this:

5 Bards.





My Top 5 Female Characters, and Why I Chose Them

Favorite MaleFemale Characters

Midsummer is currently participating in the Swoony Boys March Photo Challenge on Instagram, and two of the days concerned favorite female and male characters, respectively.

Instead of just leaving it at a photo, because I am ridiculously excited to share my reasonings for the characters chosen, I decided to do an entire feature post on each.

I chose to do my favorite female characters first, because haven’t men come in first place long enough?

Yetta, Bella, and Jane from Uprising by Margaret Haddix

Fun fact about me: I am a whore for Historical Fiction, especially when it includes powerful women. ¬†In another lifetime I wanted to be a history teacher, but then literature took a hold of me and never let go. ¬†So I feed my history need (by the way, rhyming is fun!) by reading historical fiction. ¬†Uprising is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the implications that the tragedy had on worker’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement.

I couldn’t decide which of them I love more because they are all so different, but I knew I had to include them.¬†Yetta and Bella, are so well done as individual characters. ¬†Bella‚Äôs voice is a bit weak and timid at the beginning, definitely befitting her character, but then grows continuously throughout the story into a character that is shown to really embrace her new life in America, no matter the hardships she has to endure. ¬†Yetta is fierce, independent, and extremely stubborn. ¬†Her narrative voice is so strong that it almost overshadows the other two characters for the majority of the novel, but I think that this was intentional and demonstrative on how fervent these women worked to establish a union and acceptable working conditions. ¬†Both Bella and Yetta worked so hard for so little just so they could support themselves and their families, and it is inspiring to read about their determination. ¬†The third narrator, Jane, I wasn‚Äôt expecting to like, because let‚Äôs face it, she seemed like a rich girl just looking to circumvent her father and get a little bit of attention, but she became much, much more than that. ¬†She stood up for what she believed in and eventually lost the support of her family because she became involved in the Suffragette organization. ¬†Haddix does such an eloquent job at making these characters so realistic that I felt like I lost three friends when the story ended.

Celaena Sardothien/Aelin Galathynius from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena is a stubborn, somewhat obnoxious brat who is a bit full of herself and her abilities as an assassin.  I love her.  She is so fully realized as a well-rounded character with obvious flaws and negative personality traits, it sometimes seems that Maas created her out of someone I might meet on the street rather than a powerful fae royal from a novel.  Whoops, I should have prefaced that with a *spoiler alert* for those who might not have read the Throne of Glass series yet, but come on, if you go anywhere and read the synopsis for the novels, it will give this plot point away.

Here’s a quote from my first review of Throne of Glass, which shows my first impressions of Celaena: “First, Celaena herself has endured a lot of hardship in her life, but she does manage to find time to read and enjoy frivolous novels (even though she does read more serious literature), admire fashions, and play the coy game of ‚Äúback and forth‚ÄĚ with those around her. Hell, she is even somewhat vindictive to other girls that encroach on what Celaena would consider ‚Äúher turf.‚Ä̬† What high school aged girl DOESN‚ÄôT think of these things?¬† Not only does this make Celaena more relatable, but she seems more realistic. ”

Favorite Female CharactersShe might have some annoyingly realistic character traits, but she is fierce, intelligent, determined Рnot to be confused with her stubborn aspects, athletic, and is unapologetically sexual.  Once she fully embraced her former self, Aelin, she cemented herself into one of my top female characters of all time.  I can only hope that Empire of Storms continues her growth.

Young Catherine Linton from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I love Wuthering Heights as a whole, even though the majority of people either, A. don’t understand the idea of an unreliable narrator, B. are confused by the fact that the main character dies halfway through the narrative, and C. are too focused on the emotionally taxing relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff to notice/see the second purpose of the novel. ¬†For me, Wuthering Heights was always about these two families who were so intertwined by emotionally abusive relationships in one generation that was healed, albeit slowly, in the second generation. ¬†So notice I said Young Catherine, instead of Catherine. ¬†While Young Catherine is the daughter of the emotionally unstable Catherine from the first half of the novel, she embodies all of the things her mother was not: adaptable, understanding, accepting, and she shows a genuine desire to help her cousin and family. ¬†It’s possible that I love Young Catherine for everything she isn’t – her mother – but I love her none the less.

Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

If I’m quoting myself, I’d say “I felt an immediate connection to this stubborn strong-willed, clever, beautiful girl,” and it’s still true. ¬†While I await the sequel to release at the end of April (it was moved up!) I couldn’t leave Shazi off of this list. ¬†She is a product of her environment, a woman with little power, but she takes what agency she can and seeks revenge for the seemingly needless death of her best friend. I think that is why she is one of my favorite female characters. ¬†Shazi wasn’t happy falling in line and did her best to fight against the patriarchal and abusive society she lives in. ¬†Sure, she ends up falling in love with the guy who everyone is scared of and hates, but she sure does fight him and best him over and over again. ¬†Gumption, thy name is Shazi. A quote to exemplify:

‚ÄúSo you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúShazi?‚ÄĚ Jalal‚Äôs grin widened. ‚ÄúHonestly, I pity the wolves.‚ÄĚ

Blue Sargent from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater 

Blue is a recent addition to my favorite female characters, and she beat out characters like Remy from This Lullaby, Cleo from the Falling Kingdoms Series, Alyssa from the Splintered trilogy, and a number of others for the last spot. ¬†(That really makes it seem like I’m some kind of Academy Awards for fictional female characters, but I’m not) She is an unapologetic feminist in a group of friends made of boys, from a household of psychic women – of which she is not, in a small backwards Southern town and somehow she thrives. ¬†There are a ton of obstacles that she faces, but most importantly for me is that she holds her own as a narrator. ¬†She shares the narrative duties with three male point of views and could easily be overshadowed by Ronan’s ability to take things from dreams, Adam’s connection with Cabeswater, and Gansey’s search for a long lost king. ¬†But she doesn’t. ¬†She holds her own and at some points renews my interest in the narrative because while she is in the middle of the story, she is still an outsider in so many ways. ¬†I love her and I can’t wait for the last book in the series.


Do you agree with some of my choices?  Who would you choose?


Release Day Blitz: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas



I’m so excited to be a part of the Release Day Blitz for Sarah J. Maas’ Queen of Shadows, and feel honored that I get to share the news (a.k.a. SHOUT IT EVERYWHERE) and provide a great giveaway!


If you haven’t read the Throne of Glass series, be sure to check out all the details provided below. This blitz includes a giveaway for the first three books in the series (US ONLY).

About the Book: 

queen of shadows


Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pub. Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 656

Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Sarah J. Maas’s New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass

series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. ¬†But she’s at last returned to the empire‚ÄĒfor vengeance, to¬†rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her¬†friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people,¬†enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Read Chapters 1-5 of Queen of Shadows HERE!


sarahjmaasAbout Sarah:

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the¬†New York Times,¬†USA Today,¬†and¬†internationally¬†bestselling Throne of Glass series‚ÄďThrone of Glass,¬†Crown of Midnight,¬†and¬†Heir of Fire, and the series‚Äô prequel,¬†The¬†Assassin‚Äôs Blade‚Äďas well as the¬†New York Times¬†and¬†USA¬†Today¬†bestselling¬†A Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first¬†incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in¬†twenty-three languages.¬†Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will¬†release worldwide on September 1st, 2015.

A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram|Goodreads



Ends on September 11 at Midnight!
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