2017: Most Popular Posts

How on earth is January almost over? I intended to write up a ‘2018 goals’ post but time has escaped me – maybe I still can. As always, a big goal for me is to keep up the momentum on The Fourth Month. I’ve been posting more regularly on The Fourth Month Instagram account so it’s now time to produce more content for the blog.

The Fourth Month journey began back in Summer 2016 when I broke my leg and was relegated to the sofa for about 5 weeks. Since then I’ve focused on books, interiors, wellbeing and general lifestyle posts. Like I did last year, I thought I’d share the top posts of the year to say farewell to 2017 and hullo to 2018.

5. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J MAAS

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This review of A Court of Thorns and Roses was my first blog post in 2017 and you guys seemed to enjoy reading my thoughts. It was a book that left me feeling torn. I loved some of the characters and the magical world they inhabit but a lot of this story is problematic. Its troublesome Beauty and the Beast tropes (Stockholm Syndrome and sexual violence) made me feel uneasy but Maas created such a rich and exciting world full of powerful and mysterious characters with this series. I’ve yet to read ACOMAF and, at this point, I doubt I will. Check out my review and let me know what you think.

4. A PUBLISHING POSTGRAD UPDATE

The fourth most popular post in 2017 was my publishing postgrad update. It’s one of the few, if not only, personal posts I’ve written for The Fourth Month. This makes me wonder if you would like to see more personal blogs (let me know in the comments or send me a message). Since writing this in April last year, things have changed even more. I left my job at the Publishing Bureau to pursue work as a Library Assistant. Working with books and children is really my dream job! And, of course, I graduated with a Distinction in MSc Publishing in October last year, which was a massive achievement.

3. 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO UNIVERSITY

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Guest blogger, Zina, makes two appearances in the Top 5 of 2017. This is a witty and in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of University life. It’s a great read for anyone considering going to University but it also resonates with anyone who is at or has been to Uni. This uplifting list hopefully put a few minds at ease last year and I’m sure it’ll stay relevant every year as new students move on to higher education.

2. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: BOOKS BY FIERCE FEMALES

I am so happy that this list of fiercely feminist books made it to the top of my most-viewed posts in 2017. This post was requested by a friend but it has clearly been enjoyed by many readers. The list featured some of my favourite authors from Charlotte Brontë to Jessie Burton. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you would like see more bookish lists on The Fourth Month.

1. VANITY FEMME GLOW DUST REVIEW

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Stealing the limelight yet again, Zina’s review of Vanity Femme Glow Dust has made the top spot for 2017 (it was also the most viewed blog in 2016). This sparkly review of a cult-classic highlighter gets hits almost every day so I’ve asked my gorgeous make-up artist sister to start writing some make-up reviews in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and subscribe the The Fourth Month to make sure you don’t miss a thing.


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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Hello! Welcome to my first blog post of 2017. Let me start by saying I will be slowly implementing some changes to The Fourth Month by focussing on the kind of content you really want to read. Right now, I split my blog into three parts: books, food and lifestyle. Lifestyle mostly focuses on shopping independent and cruelty-free. By having such diverse topics and not having a “niche”, I fear that I’m isolating some of you so I’m hoping to change that. I also felt because my topic range was wide, I’ve been finding it difficult to sit down and write blog posts. If you have any comments or ideas, I would love to hear them. Like I said, this will be a slow change (I can barely find the time or energy to write a post) so don’t worry.

Now that’s out of the way, this is my review for the incredibly popular A Court of Thorns and Roses by the formidable author, Sarah J Maas. I apologise for any spoilers – be warned!

Sarah J Maas has become an entity in herself. The blonde bombshell has captured the hearts of Young Adult readers all over the world and, as always, I was slightly reluctant to give into the hype that was everywhere by actually reading one of her books. I finally bought ACOTAR in summer but didn’t actually get round to reading it until November. I was lucky enough to do a placement at Scottish Book Trust where I edited Author’s Confessions videos including about twenty minutes of footage from Sarah J Maas herself (check out the video here) so I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. When I did, I quickly learned that Maas’ writing is as addictive as people say it is but more than slightly problematic. Nevertheless, I engulfed it as quickly as I could whilst juggling university deadlines.

Firstly, I want to get the problems out of the way. I can’t really talk about this book without acknowledging the issues. The issue of domestic and sexual abuse in ACOTAR simply cannot and should not be ignored just because Rhysland is pretty delicious. Yes, Maas tries to explain away Rhysland’s horrific behaviour towards Feyre but the arm-breaking, drugging and lap-dancing just crosses a line and quickly becomes a little too 50 shades for my taste.

Also, in a world with faeries and sexy men with bat wings, is it unreasonable to expect a little range in colour, gender or sexuality? I don’t think so. There’s also the issue of cliches and tropes. Female protagonist? Check! Love triangle? Check! Dystopian fantasy? Check! I also really didn’t like how quickly Feyre falls in love with Tamlin without justification. They go from 0 to 100 very quickly.

Having said all of this, I did enjoy reading ACOTAR. Sarah J Maas has a talent for world-building and storytelling. I don’t typically read fantasy but I absolutely adored diving into the world of Prythian. I fell in love with the magical realms and its creatures. The descriptions of its creatures are intoxicating; you can really visualise the world that Feyre inhabits. As someone who has written fantasy in the past, I’m envious of Maas’ ability to build such rich worlds.

I’m also a big fan of fairytale retellings. This is by no means Angela Carter but I do think Maas puts a unique spin on the story of Beauty and the Beast. It takes on a life of its own and Feyre is anything but a humble and quiet ‘beauty.’ I guess it is important to remember that this is a retelling of a traditional fairytale because it helps understand the themes of kidnapping and abduction…

I mentioned Rhysland’s flaws but I do think he is one of the biggest draws to this series. I had heard about him, and seen some interesting illustrations, long before I even picked up the book so I was nervously awaiting my first encounter with him. I didn’t fall in love with Tamlin, he is a typical Beast character: arrogant and suffocating. Rhysland is arrogant too but I knew as soon as he arrived on the scene that he would provide both the comic relief and the sex appeal. His one-liners often made me laugh out loud and his antagonism but his clear attraction to Feyre from the beginning keeps you hanging on to watch their relationship unfold.

Compared to most YA protagonists, I liked Feyre. She is headstrong and very loyal to her family (although she doesn’t really seem to struggle with abandoning them to live a life of luxury with Tamlin). She also can’t read. Her illiteracy gives her a vulnerability and a tangibility that many YA protagonists don’t possess. I liked that she was intelligent and tenacious without having read Tolstoy or Dickens; it was refreshing. In terms of female characters, Feyre’s sister Nesta is probably my favourite from ACOTAR. She’s hot-headed and tempestuous but unexpectedly fights for her sister in the end.

Overall, yes, ACOTAR seems to divide the Young Adult community because of its troublesome Beauty and the Beast tropes (Stockholm Syndrome and a lot of sexual violence) Ultimately, Maas has created a rich and exciting world full of powerful and mysterious characters who will have you wincing sometimes and in awe at others. I’ve been reading ACOMAF on and off since I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses but I just can’t get my teeth into it. Am I missing something?


Have you read any Sarah J Maas books? Where do you weigh in with this one? Let me on Twitter and Instagram.