Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Liz Schmitz from Cats

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Liz Schmitz

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Currently playing Demeter in the National Tour of Cats!

www.lizschmitz.com

Instagram: @lizschmitz

What are you currently reading?IMG_2310

Oathbringer: Book Three of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter will always be my favorite. It reminds me of childhood, my family. It’s grounding.

Who is your favorite author?

Jane Austin. I always feels like she talking to me, or really gossiping with me.

What book inspires you and why?

Book inspire me when there is a strong friend or family group. It reminds me what’s really important.

Which literary character would you like to play?

I’d love to play Emma, from Emma by Jane Austin.  Or Stephanie Brown, aka Robin of Batman and Robin. There haven’t been many female Robins, I love the twist!

IMG_2309If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played, who would it be and why?

I loved Anna from Spring Awakening. She had good ideas and a good heart. She had an open, loving view of the world and future.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

I’d like to see the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale into a tv show!

What is the next book on your reading list?

In the fantasy world I’ll read Mistborn, more Brandon Sanderson! But I could use some historical romance from The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin first!

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

If I wrote, it would be short stories. Or perhaps philosophical, and potentially theoretical, musings.

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What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

Matilda. It was so many things. It was my first big credit, I swung 7 tracks, and it helped me pick myself up out of a dark place. And most importantly, the story is important. The message is relevant and good. “Even if you’re little you can do a lot…Nobody else is gonna put it right for me. Nobody but me is gonna change my story.”

 


See Liz (and yours truly) around the US in Cats! Click here for tickets and tour stops!

I feature a new performer every month, so check back in April for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know. Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Shout out to my stage partner in crime, Liz, for sharing with us ❤

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Book Reviews

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan Review

34433755Summary: Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

My Thoughts: I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long because the description sounded amazing.  Unfortunately I was fairly underwhelmed.  The prologue was gripping and hooked me right away, but the rest of the story unfolded too slowly for me.  I was more than half way through the book and it still felt like we were in exposition land.  While we did get some beautiful world building and writing style, not enough happened with the characters or the plot.  It definitely picked up towards the end, in fact the climax is spectacular, but the build up just wasn’t paced well enough for my taste.  It also didn’t help that I had trouble visualizing, and getting on board with the demons/castes in this world.  The concept is so unique and cool, especially with Ngan’s Malaysian influence, which is very clear in the narrative and schemes, but I struggled to fully grasp it all.  My favorite thing about this book was the depth and complexity of the relationships.  I loved Wren and the gradual way we got to know who she was through Lei’s eyes.  She is fierce and I can’t wait to find out more about her and her people.  All of the supporting characters were fleshed out really well and added so much depth to the story.  My least favorite character was Lei.  While she was the main character, I felt like she didn’t grow or change enough by the end to sustain the whole plot.  She didn’t do much and stayed pretty stagnant the whole time.  The evolution of her relationship and discovering who she was was nice, but I needed her to be more than that. While I didn’t love this book, I am fascinated by the world, and gasp-worthy ending made me itch to find out what is going to happen next.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: My Spring TBR

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I love making TBR lists.  There is something so exciting about thinking of the books I’m going to read next.  Do I always stick to them? No, but they do give me a good sense of accomplishment and keep my blogging schedule on track.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is our Spring TBR, which for me is March-May, and I cannot wait to get through all of these beauties!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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I Spy the Boy Next Door by Samantha Armstrong

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

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Lovestruck by Kate Watson

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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor 

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Collide by Nina Walker

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What books are on your TBRs?  Give me some more recommendations cuz my list is forever growing! 🙂
Book Reviews

Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #2)

26032887Summary: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


My Thoughts: I’m not gonna lie, I was underwhelmed by The Cruel Prince.  It had so much hype and I think my expectations were too high so it let me down a little.  But I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed The Wicked King.  First of all, the world building is spectacular in this series.  It’s so creative, full, and vibrant.  The rules of the Faeries are perfectly explained and add so much to the story and our understanding of the world.  There is so much political intrigue and it is handled in such an exciting way that kept me super invested.  I think my main problem with The Cruel Prince was that I didn’t really connect with Jude, but I liked and rooted for her so much more in this one.  I loved the way her relationship with Cardan developed and watching her scheme to maintain her control.  She is smart and badass, and it was fun to see people underestimate her and have her prove them wrong.  Cardan is such an interesting and complex character.  He was my favorite in book 1, and after this book I am obsessed with him.  I really hate Jude’s twin sister Taryn.  I have since the first book, but even more so now.  She is such a snake and I don’t trust her at all.  Actually, my favorite thing about this book was that I could trust NO ONE.  I loved having no idea where the story was going to go, and just when I thought I knew, I was blindsided with a twist (or 5).

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The ending was fantastic and I hate that I have to wait forever to find out what is going to happen next.  I finally understand the hype about this series, and have a slight book hangover.  You got me Holly Black.  You got me.

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Book Hangover

Tags

Last 10 Books Tag

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Hello fellow bookworms!  I have really been struggling to make time to blog lately.  I thought it would be easier since Cats is in Los Angeles for so long, but I have been super busy with events, interviews, the show, and exploring the city with my cast mates.  It has been a while since I’ve done a book tag, and I figured this could be a nice way to jump start my blogging again.  I found this one at Pace, Amore, Libre, and thought it looked like a fun one to do!


What was the last book you DNF’d?

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I really don’t DNF often, so I guess the last book I DNF’d was in Spring 2018 and it was an ARC called The Torcian Chronicles by P.J. Reed.  I just couldn’t power through it no matter how hard I tried.  My eyes would glaze over.

Last book you reread?

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Last book you bought?

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Last book you said you read but didn’t?

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Ummmm… I don’t ever do this… Probably The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in 10th grade?

Last book you wrote in the margins of?

I would never.

Last book you got signed?

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Last book you lost?

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Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks.  I never got to finish it.

Last book you had to replace?

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  My original copy was falling apart.

Last book you had an argument over?

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hmmmm… Probably the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas.  My friends and I all have different favorites.

Last book you couldn’t get a hold of?

I don’t really have an answer for this one…. I’ve had to wait for a few to come in from the library.. but only because I didn’t want to buy them…

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

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Hello everyone!  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is Standalone Books That Need a Sequel.  This topic was harder for me than I expected because I read A LOT of series, but there were a few books that stood out to me that I wish there was more of.


Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn

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I read this book in middle school and I remember being obsessed with it.  I would love to see where it goes.


Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

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The relationship in this book was so strong and sweet, and felt so open ended to me.  I really want to know how they survive on their own and see how their relationship blossoms.


Save the Date by Morgan Matson

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I fell in love with the family in this book and I would love to read more about them.  They are so sweet and funny and I would gladly read a whole series about them.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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This is kinda cheating since it IS getting a sequel soon, but it really does deserve one.  I can’t WAIT for this.


My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

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This book ends on SUCH a cliff hanger and I wanted to scream when I finished it knowing there was no other books.


Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman

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The woman in this book was SO strong and amazing and I want to read more about her.  Her story did feel like it wrapped up, but there’s gotta be more in there somewhere.


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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I know Kristin Hannah doesn’t like to write sequels, but I really want to know more about what happens to Lenni.  This book was such a book hangover and I want to live in its world again.  At least we have the movie to look forward to!


A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett

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As we know, I’m a huge Ken Follett fan and this is one of his standalones that I died for.  Please right another one Ken!


Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

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One of my favorite books of last year, I need more.  I don’t know how it would be done, but I wish there was more.  This book was too addicting.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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I know I am not the only one who feels this way.  The world is too beautiful and haunting to let go of.

Book Reviews

The Dating Game by Kiley Roache ARC Review

40212098Summary: The Social Network gets a romantic twist in this fresh and engaging new read from the author of Frat Girl, Kiley Roache. Experience the whirlwind ups and downs of college life in this authentic and entertaining new novel!

When a notoriously difficult class for future entrepreneurs leads to three freshmen developing the next “it” app for dating on college campuses, all hell breaks loose…

Type A control freak Sara lives by her color-coordinated Post-it notes.  Rich boy Braden wants out from under his billionaire father’s thumb.  Scholarship student Roberto can’t afford for his grades to drop.

When the three are forced to work together in one of the university’s most difficult classes, tension rises to the breaking point…until, shockingly, the silly dating app they create proves to be the most viable project in class. Late nights of app development, interest from investors and unexpected romance are woven into a true-to-life college drama that explores what it means to really connect online and IRL.

Release Date: March 26th, 2019


My Thoughts:  The Dating Game was a fun and quick read.  Told from the three different perspectives of our main characters, Sara, Roberto, and Braden, we get a glimpse into the world of tech start-ups mixed in with some college love drama.  I really enjoyed each of their voices and loved that we had three very different people, with different view points, telling the same story.  They were all well developed characters individually, but I did think there was some chemistry missing for them together.  The plot led us to a love triangle, which I am a sucker for, but I did not feel enough between the three of them.  I could have used a little more juice.  The plot wasn’t super action packed, and it was a bit predictable, but there were some really great and beautiful parts of the narrative.  There is a scene where Robbie and Sara are discussing heartbreak and it really struck me.  The language of the whole book was relatable and I liked reading about college aged characters in such a unique situation.  Overall, it wasn’t a life changing book, but it was a cute read with an interesting premiss.

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Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #9

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?


Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky

248583Which is more unlikely? Meeting a single, straight, reasonably attractive, willing-to-commit man? Or discovering a secret cache of magic books?

For good girl Jane Madison, neither has a shot in hell of coming true—until the day she finds a hidden room….

Now she’s done a bit of experimenting and found a spell that makes her irresistible to men—even those who have previously ignored her. And another that turns a cat into her witch’s familiar (a snarky, critical, self-absorbed man—pretty much a typical male). Though her impulsive acts of magic have brought a warder (sexy, grouchy, elusive and determined to stop her from using magic) down on her, Jane’s not willing to let go of this fantastic new life.

Though she wonders about having things that aren’t “real,” she’s having too much fun to stop. After all, no one ever said being a witch was easy….

My Thoughts: I can’t get enough of witches, in all versions and forms, and this book sounds like such a fun and easy read for whenever I’m in the mood for some witchcraft.  VERDICT: KEEP


Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

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“There’s no place like Bloomies!”

Katie Chandler’s life is pure magic–literally. As an executive assistant at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., she’s seen more than her share of fantastical occurrences. A mere Manhattan mortal, Katie is no wizard, but she’s a wiz at exposing “hokum” pocus, cloaked lies, and deceptive enchantments. And she’s fallen under the all-too-human spell of attraction to Owen, a hunky wizard and coworker. Owen, however, is preoccupied. Someone has broken into his office and disrupted top-secret files, and it reeks of an inside job. CEO Merlin (yes, the Merlin) taps Katie and her special ability to uncover the magical mole.

Keeping her feelings in check while sleuthing alongside Owen, Katie is shocked to discover that her immunity to magic is waning, putting her in grave danger. Soon she’s surrendering to the charms and enchantments of everyone and everything around her, including a killer pair of red stilettos. Katie must now conjure up her natural instincts to get to the bottom of the break-in, regain her power, and win the wizard of her dreams.

My Thoughts: This sounds like it could be cute.  It’s actually is the second in a series, which I didn’t realize when I added it.  It doesn’t really call to me though so for now… VERDICT: TOSS


A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans

528560Laura Foster is a hopeless romantic. Her friends know it, her parents know it—even Laura acknowledges she lives either with her head in the clouds or buried in a romance novel. It’s proved harmless enough, even if it hasn’t delivered her a real-life dashing hero yet. But when her latest relationship ends in a disaster that costs her friendships, her job, and nearly her sanity, Laura swears off men and hopeless romantic fantasies for good.

With her life in tatters around her, Laura agrees to go on vacation with her parents. After a few days of visiting craft shops and touring the stately homes of England, Laura is ready to tear her hair out. And then, while visiting grand Chartley Hall, she crosses paths with Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. She finds she shares more than a sense of humor with him—in fact, she starts to think she could fall for him. But is Nick all he seems? Or has Laura got it wrong again? Will she open her heart only to have it broken again?

My Thoughts: This one is hard for me.  I’ve recently gotten back into contemporary romances, and I feel like I might like this one, but I have so many other things that call me more… VERDICT: TOSS


Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah

When Mikaela Campbell, beloved wife and mother, falls into a coma, it is up to her 276342husband, Liam, to hold the family together and care for their grieving, frightened children. Doctors tell him not to expect a recovery, but he believes that love can accomplish what medical science cannot. Daily he sits at her bedside, telling her stories of the precious life they have built together, hoping against hope that she will wake up. But then he discovers evidence of his wife’s secret past: a hidden first marriage to movie star Julian True.

Desperate to bring Mikaela back at any cost, Liam knows he must turn to Julian for help. But will that choice cost Liam his wife, his family, and everything he holds dear? One of Kristin Hannah’s most moving novels, Angel Falls is a poignant and unforgettable portrait of marriage and commitment, of an ordinary man who dares to risk everything in the name of love.

My Thoughts: This is a no brainer.  I love everything Kristin Hannah has ever written, and I’m honestly just surprised that I haven’t read this one yet… VERDICT: KEEP


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

6482837For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

 

My Thoughts:  I’ve seen this one everywhere for so long, and I know I need to read it.  VERDICT: KEEP


What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2019 Wrap-Up

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Hello everyone! It’s already March and that is crazy!! My tour has been chugging along, and we’re finally in Los Angeles for the next month.  It has been harder to blog on tour than I had expected, and I ended up taking a bit of an unexpected hiatus and missed a few more posts than I would have liked.  However, I have still been reading a good amount and trying to keep up as much as possible.

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Books Read:

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick ★★★★

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton★★★

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman★★★★

P.S. I Still Love you by Jenny Han★★★★★

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han★★★★★

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

I can’t decide which one of these books I liked better, but they’re both incredible.


Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 10 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 4 of 50 (I suck… but I WILL read Wuthering Heights this month)


Broadway Book Chat: Keri Rene Fuller

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February Reviews:

• Furyborn by Claire LegrandARC-The Woman in the Lake by Nicola CornickARC-The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton 


February Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: New Releases I’m On The Fence About • Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #8 • Top 10 Tuesday: My Favorite Book Couples from 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems With Less Than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings •


Book Reviews

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton ARC Review

39080472Summary: In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.

 

*Release Date: March 5th, 2019*


My Thoughts: I was such a huge fan of The Belles, and when I got approved for an ARC on Netgalley for the sequel, I was SO happy.  I was excited to get back into the world that I loved so much from book one, and find out what was next for the characters after that cliff hanger ending.  The book jumps right back in to where we left off, and it took me a minute to remember everything and readjust to the creative and specific verbiage they use.  Unfortunately, the plot of this book is a bit slower than The Belles, and even though things were happening, everything just felt less vibrant.  The action does pick up in the second half, but the characters stay pretty linear without much growth.  The chemistry between Camille and Remy was nice, but I wanted their relationship to be stronger.  It didn’t progress enough for me.  The best relationships were between Camille and her sisters, and I loved seeing the different ways they all dealt with the battle against Sophia and their way of life.  Speaking of, I wanted more of Sophia.  They talked about her a lot, but I wanted more interactions and moments with her because her craziness made the first book so engaging.  I liked where the story went, but it just felt like something was missing.  I appreciated the open ending- it was satisfying enough if there is not another book, but it definitely leaves room for the story to continue.  Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by this sequel, but there was enough for it to be enjoyable and I look forward to seeing if there is more to the story.

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