Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2018

I can’t believe tomorrow is July and we’re already half way through the year! I read a few really great books this month and I’m looking forward to all the books I’m planning to read in the upcoming weeks. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I went to BookCon for the first time and had such a good time!


36329818LEGENDARY: I usually don’t like when the second book in a series is narrated by a different character and I never end up enjoying them as much as their predecessors. I was so surprised to find myself really liking Tella’s POV and her story! I had forgotten how magical the world of Caraval was and how fantastic Stephanie Garber’s storytelling is. I loved this book just as much as I had loved Caraval and they compliment each other so well!  ★★★★★


36546635GRACE AND FURY: 
The premise of Grace and Fury is really intriguing and I was excited to finally read it. However, as much as I wanted to love this, I just didn’t end up connecting with the story. I was looking forward to following both sisters’ stories as they are thrust into roles neither are prepared for. Unfortunately, I only found myself enjoying Serina’s POV, and couldn’t really care about or connect with Nomi. Both Serina and Nomi start out naive, but Serina was the only one whose character had any growth as the story progressed. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

31019831BEAST: A TALE OF LOVE AND REVENGE: I’m saddened that I didn’t enjoy this more, especially since I had been waiting over a year for this book’s release. This is a more dark and twisted take on the classic Beauty and the Beast story, which I appreciated. I thought the writing perfectly matched the book’s theme. Unfortunately, the pacing was slow and nothing really seems to be happing plot-wise for a good chunk of the story. The scene with Lucie that happens very early in the book was completely unexpected and I think a warning should be issued for unsuspecting readers. The way Jean-Loup/Beast’s storyline evolved was convincing to me, but I could see how it wouldn’t be to others and how some readers would take issue with Lucie’s eventual relationship with Beast.  ★★½

32702487THE BIRD AND THE BLADE: I wrote this review from the grave, because this book slain me. I knew going into this that it was going to hurt spectacularly but I underestimated Megan Bannen’s ability to completely annihilate my emotions. This was a fascinating, compelling, stunning story that captured my heart and attention from the very beginning. The story was both unique and intriguing in that it blended historical elements of the Mongol Empire with the Italian opera, Turandot, and it did so seamlessly. The story ends in a way that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. An unforgettable, breathtaking, impressive book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.  [review]  ★★★★★

30238163ACE OF SHADES:  I don’t know why I put off reading this, when it was so much fun. A lot of people have compared this to Six of Crows and then are disappointed that it wasn’t as good, but I think that’s an unfair comparison. This is a completely different book and premise, and such a fantastic read on it’s own. ★★★★

 

36127456LISTEN TO YOUR HEART: This was such a cute, fun read! The romance was adorable and I loved all the misunderstandings and how the relationship eventually unfolded. I also really enjoyed the podcast subplot, since those are my new favorite things to listen to on my ride to/from work. If you want a light, easy summer book than I would definitely recommend this!  ★★★½

 

36896898SPINNING SILVER: Naomi Novik is extremely talented when it comes to fairytale retellings, and this was no exception. She does such a tremendous job weaving an enchanting story that draws inspiration from European folklore and pulls you in from the first page. In addition to the main plot, there are a few subplots as well which intertwine together to tell one overall story, and it’s told through the points of view of three very different girls: Miryem, Irina, and Wanda. Not to mention that this book has not one, but TWO slow-burn hate-to-love romances and they are real goodARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★½

35795953WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS: I knew from the first page that I was going to be seriously entertained while reading this – it was the perfect summer read! I think my favorite part of reading this was how much it reminded of The Mediator series. I love the premise of a high schooler that, in addition to worrying about exams and crushes, also has to find time to expel the ghosts / demons lurking around. I do wish the book had been a bit longer; the ending definitely felt rushed and I think it could have benefited from a few more chapters. This was extremely fun and light-hearted and I really hope to see more books featuring plots similar to this in the future! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

36010223SMOKE IN THE SUN: I really enjoyed this, but not as much as I did Flame in the Mist. I think my biggest issue was that there wasn’t much going on until the very end of the book, and was much slower-paced than the first book. One of my favorite things about this book was Prince Raiden. We all know I’m a sucker for a good anti-hero, and even though he was only a side character, I was totally all for his character arc. I don’t usually read them, but if Renée Ahdieh wants to write a novella about him I’m one hundred percent here for it and willing to be written as his love interest. Although I didn’t like it as much as its predecessor, it was a fantastic sequel and I thought it tied the series together wonderfully. ★★★★

35424762NYXIA UNLEASHED: I was worried that it would suffer from the dreaded Second Book Syndrome, but thankfully this was just as action-packed and fast-paced as the first book. Scott Reintgen did a great job with the introduction and descriptions of the alien planet and the different kinds of creatures Emmett and the others encountered. I also really loved how the characters and their relationships changed and grew. The characters in  transition from a competitive environment to landing on a completely different world. It was wonderful to see them adapt to the circumstances: rivalries evolved into friendships and friendships grew stronger as they all understood the need to stick together in order to survive and achieve their common goal. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★★

32051720WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE:  I don’t know why I put off reading this for so long, I really enjoyed it! I loved the magical realism aspects of the book and the unique fact that it was set in southeastern Europe. Parts of the book were slower than others, but for the most part I had no trouble with the flowery-prose or descriptions. I also loved that a but of a fantasy element was added by the end of the book, and I’m really looking forward to the sequel’s release!  ★★★★

35144326BRING ME THEIR HEARTS: I almost DNF’d this early in the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it as it actually improved as the story went on. At the beginning, it felt like the author was trying too hard with the humor/sarcastic comments the heroine was making, to the point of it being extremely annoying. But either the sass was dialed back later in the book or I just got better at ignoring it because I was intrigued by the plot and how the story would play out at the end. There was also a lot of use of colloquial words and phrases that kept throwing me off as I was reading; they felt completely out of place with the fantasy tone of the book. I wasn’t planning to continue the series, but the book ends on a major cliff hanger so I might pick up the sequel when it releases, though it definitely won’t be at the top of my TBR.  ★★½

35410511BABY TEETH: This book gave me chills while reading, and that’s exactly the feeling I’m looking for when I decide to pick up a thriller. This was a complete page-turner, with a plot unlike any other I’ve read before. I found myself easily sympathizing with Suzette’s frustration not only in regards to Hanna’s behavior, but also with Alex’s reluctance to believe her. The story is told through both Suzette’s and Hanna’s points of views, and it was executed perfectly.  The alternating POVs between Suzette and Hanna had me flying through the pages, and I had trouble putting it down. Highly recommend to those who like a disturbing read that’s sure to stick with you through the years! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

37822534SEAFIRE: This year, we are blessed with so many female seafaring books, and this might have been one of my favorites. I liked the inclusion of more modern technology and weaponry; it made this fantasy novel stand out more from the other high-seas fantasies I’ve read. There was also almost no romance at all, and what little there is was completely unexpected but I found myself pleasantly surprised by it! There was so much focus on the plot, the action, and the girls’ sisterhood. This book also ends with a huge cliffhanger, and I’m excited for the second book! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★½

OTHER

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Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2018

My birthday month is officially over! Overall, May was a pretty decent month of reading. There were a couple of books that I really enjoyed, and a fair number that were only okay. I leave for BookCon tomorrow morning and I. Am. So. Excited. This is my first year going, so I’m a little nervous. I made my schedule and game plans for the weekend, and I’ve also tried to prepare myself for the fact that a lot of things probably won’t go as planned lol. If any season BookCon-goers have any tips or advice, I would love to hear it in the comments!


BOOK REVIEWS

35959740CIRCE: I’ve been a huge nerd for Greek mythology for almost half my life, and I was so excited when I saw Madeline Miller was writing this! Circe is a book completely character driven book about her: we follow her journey as she discovers who she is and what she is capable of. We see all of her ups and downs, her struggles and inner turmoil, her heartache, her anger, her resolve, her love.  [review]  ★★★★★

32295486BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE: This book features both Celtic and Norse mythology, plus the addition of vikings, and yet it never fully grasped my attention and sadly I wasn’t very invested in the story or the characters. I’m always looking for more books set in Ancient Ireland, so I was a bit disappointed that this fell flat for me.  ★★★

 

34942737DEFY THE WORLDS: I forgot how much I love the world Claudia Gray created and the characters until I started reading this. Sci-Fi books set in space are one of my absolute favorite genres, and this series has everything I want. Also, I was under the impression this was just a duology, so it was a very welcome surprise when I learned it would be a trilogy!  ★★★★½


36134048WHISPER OF THE TIDE:
 This was such a fun sequel and the perfect ending to the series! It’s such a shame that these books don’t have more popularity; they’re expertly written, have tremendous world-building, fantastic characters, and are full of entertainment! There are so many things about this book to love: pirates, treasure hunts, female friendships, adventures. If you enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean and books like Daughter of the Pirate King, then I would definitely suggest reading these books. They’re totally underrated and need more love from the bookish community. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

34323570FURYBORN: From the prologue, I was completely hooked by the story. It not only connects the stories of the two protagonists, Rielle and Eliana, but also gives a glimpse to how one of those stories will end up unfolding by the time the series is over. I also loved the fact that we’re told from the very beginning who the Blood Queen is. It made reading her chapters all the more fascinating; we follow her growth and become invested in her story, all the while knowing how it will end. The alternating chapters between Rielle’s and Eliana’s POVs moved the plot quickly as each one is full of non-stop action. I can’t wait to continue with the rest of the series! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

33275690FOOLISH HEARTS: This was an okay story, but I wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was will Emma Mill’s other books. I think my issue was I didn’t particular like or connect with any of the characters, and therefore I wasn’t invested in the story. I will say, though, that I did really enjoy the Midsummer’s Night Dream subplot; it reminded me of my freshman year of high school when I was in the drama club! ★★★

35068705THE POPPY WAR: This is a blessed year of absolutely stunning debuts. This book is a spectacular grimdark fantasy featuring a fierce heroine, addictive writing, and plenty of action. There are so many amazing elements about it that make it a totally engrossing read. My favorite thing about it was the amazing protagonist, Rin. She was such a well-developed heroine and her growth as a character was amazing to follow. Be forewarned: this is a grimdark, so it does contains graphic violence, graphic rape, mutilation, torture, mass murder, drug abuse, and many other things of that nature.  [review]  ★★★★½

29958272ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS: There was nothing really wrong about this book, I just didn’t enjoy it. The characters didn’t stand out, the plot was not compelling, and the writing never drew me in. Again, it wasn’t a bad book, but it was not the book for me. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ★★

 

31179006SWEET BLACK WAVES: When I say I want more books featuring Celtic mythology and set in Ancient Ireland, this is what I’m talking about. This was absolutely everything I could have hoped for and more. To start, the world-building stunning, and the way the fantasy was woven with history elements was fantastic. The writing was absolutely breathtaking; it was lush, descriptive, and dreamy. And that ending: my heart broke so hard for poor Branwen and my stomach is still a knot of angst thinking about it. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

27188596WAR STORM: Although the size of this was quite daunting, I ended up reading it relatively quickly. I think because I was so intrigued by how the series would finally end. There were four more POVs in addition to Mare’s, and I actually really enjoyed them all, except for Iris’s. There was a lot of tension and angst between Cal and Mare throughout the book and it was killing me! The ending was a bit of an open-ending, which I both liked and disliked. There’s a certain aspect to one major event that I guess could be open to interpretation (if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about!) Overall, I thought this was a great finish to a series that I’ve really enjoyed reading.  ★★★★

28524058BEFORE SHE IGNITES: I think this has been my biggest disappointment of the year. I was really looking forward to reading this when it came out last fall, but it got pushed back on my TBR. I finally decided to pick it up and it didn’t capture my attention like I thought it would. For a book about illegal dragon trafficking, there wasn’t a whole lot of dragons in it. I get that it’s probably setting up for the sequel, but I was bored throughout most of the book. ★★½

20734002THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS: Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are always surreal and magical. No one writes magical realism quite like her. I was instantly drawn into this story of feuding families. Elements of the story were drawn from Romeo and Juliet, which is not my favorite Shakespeare play, but it was so well done. This was just such a dazzling book. ★★★½

 

37754670FRESHMEN: Freshmen was an enjoyable read and I appreciated the honest take of life in college. It was both funny and realistic, sometimes even making me cringe in second hand embarrassment as I sympathized with Phoebe. It also brought forth memories of my own time as a freshman, both the good and the (sometimes horribly) bad. However, I do wish there had been a bit more to the plot. I also wish that Luke would have had a bit more character development, especially being one of the protagonists. And I was not too keen on the ending: it was very abrupt and came out of nowhere. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★

OTHER

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Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2018

First and foremost, I would like to say thank you to Pages and Pugs for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! This means so much to me and I really appreciate it! As I predicted, I ended up reading a majority of ARCs this month, since most of them were being released soon. But that also meant a lot of new releases I had been planning to read in April, I didn’t get to and my TBR is piling up. Ah, the life of a bibliophile. I’m excited tomorrow is May not only because of my birthday in a few weeks, but also because BookCon is one month away! This is my first time attending and I’m so excited!


BOOK REVIEWS

13253102A STORM OF SWORDS: This book was filled with character deaths. I’m so glad I watch the show or I would have been completely taken aback. Catelyn’s chapters were the hardest to read, only because I knew what was going to happen. There was also a ton of foreshadowing for future events and they really added to my theory of what is going to happen in the end. That epilogue gave me life. I’m so excited for A Feast for Crows. ★★★★★


34964847FROM THE EARTH TO THE SHADOWS:
 I was really hoping I would like From the Earth to the Shadows better since I was already prepared for the setting and world, but unfortunately, some of the issues from the first book were not improved upon and the story continued to fall flat for me. There was also no character growth; the characters continued to be flat and one-dimensional. A lot of the tension and obstacles Malin faced were resolved too conveniently to be believable, and the ending was very anti-climatic. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★½

33837404MOONRISE:  I typically stay away from books written in verse as they are not really my style. Fortunately, I decided to go ahead and read this anyway, and I’m so glad I did. The verse format didn’t negatively impact my reading experience at all, and it actually moved the plot along faster. I’m impressed by the author’s ability to evoke a myriad of emotions without even saying that much. This is a profound story with a lasting impact; it’s impossible not to feel moved by that heart-wrenching ending. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

34508382THE SMOKE THIEVES: I was almost at the half-way mark when I realized I was actively looking for something wrong as I was reading. The Smoke Thieves was better than I had been expecting and a great start to a new fantasy series. It’s told through the points of views of the five characters. Each POV felt like it had a unique voice, which made it easy to distinguish between each of them. The pacing of the story was perfect; not too fast, and not too slow. The writing was engaging and I quickly made my way through the pages. There was plenty of action, and the romances (even the one I wasn’t keen on) stayed firmly in the background. I look forward to reading the next book!  ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.  [review]  ★★★★

29456569LIFEL1K3: Oh, boy does this book take you for a wild ride. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, the blurb’s description of “Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner meets Mad Max” is absolutely accurate. This is an action-packed story featuring amazing characters, secrets and lies, betrayals, romance, and a whole bunch of plot twists. Jay Kristoff forewarns a doomed romance, and yet I couldn’t stop myself from becoming emotionally involved. I’m still upset about that ending and I think it’s pretty rude of him to pull that kind of stunt with no regard for my emotional wellbeing. I went through all five stages of grief with that last twist and the cliffhanger. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

27779275THIS ADVENTURE ENDS: This had been on my backlist TBR for a while so I’m proud of myself for finally getting around to reading it! I really enjoyed this; the characters, the plot, the setting. It was such a well-crafted story and I think this is what started me on my YA Contemporary binge I went on this month! This was my first Emma Mills book and I can see why her work is so highly praised!  ★★★★


23310751FIRST & THEN:
I had such a great time reading This Adventure Ends that picked this up almost immediately after. There’s just something about Emma Mills writing that makes it impossible to not want to read her books in one sitting, even if it means staying up well into the middle of the night. Her stories and characters are so compelling and intriguing!  ★★★½

 

34739766ONYX AND IVORY: This book contains many of the same traits and tropes as other books in the genre, however, the characters, setting, and writing were excellent and made it an enjoyable read. The characters were all dynamic and compelling. The book alternates between the POVs of Kate and Corwin, and I found both their characters to be well-developed. The romance was wonderfully written. The romance plot is light and the characters have a past, which makes their feelings reasonable instead of unbelievable.  ARC provided by the author through a giveaway.  [review]  ★★★★

36206591LOVE AND OTHER WORDS: This is a beautiful book about first loves, mistakes, heartaches, and second chances. The story is told through alternating chapters of the past and the present. We witness Macy meeting Elliot for the first time as children fourteen years ago, and then we see them meet again as adults after eleven years of silence. I flew through these pages, not just because of the engaging writing and compelling story, but also by the need to know what happened to have caused such a rift between Elliot and Macy. I absolutely adored this book.  [review]  ★★★★★

34640572STATE OF SORROW: I hadn’t heard of this until I got my March FairyLoot box and I’m so glad it was included! This was magical, marvelous book; the storytelling and worldbuilding were absolutely stunning. This is my first book by Melinda Salisbury, but it will not be my last. Sorrow was a wonderful protagonist and I love that she doesn’t fall into the typical ‘strong, female heroine’ trope of other Young Adult Fantasies. She’s certainly not flawless, but she is clever and possesses a quieter type of strength. I’m really looking forward to the sequel!  [review]  ★★★★½

35297469STARRY EYES: Everyone seemed so blown away by this and all the reviews I read were super positive, so I was really excited for it. Former best friends-turned-enemies trapped together in the woods? Sign me up for a good time! Unfortunately, the story was just meh for me. There was nothing that really stood out about it – other than the compelling writing – and while I enjoyed reading it, you won’t find me going around singing its praises. ★★★


36365200THE ODDLING PRINCE:
 I absolutely love book with medieval Irish (or in this case Scottish) settings and Celtic mythology so I was really looking forward to this. It was a light read with a fascinating plot, but sadly there was just something missing for me to truly enjoy it. The book’s strongest element is the fairytale-esque writing. The gorgeous descriptions and peaceful atmosphere draws the reader into the story. Also, the relationship between Aric and Albaric was so pure and heartwarming! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★

30312700ALEX, APPROXIMATELY: Oh my gosh, this book was so cute! I loved watching the relationship unfold between Bailey and Alex. Jenn Bennett’s writing is so fun and engaging that I didn’t want to put the book down. I was on my YA Contemporary kick this month for whatever reason, and this was exactly what I was looking for! ★★★★½

 

32505753ASH PRINCESS: I really enjoyed this! It was by no means, a light read. The story and writing are fantastic, and though there are some heavy themes and topics, they’re so important to the development of the characters and the plot. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t mind a love triangle as long as it’s done the right way. And Laura Sebastian definitely pulled it off. I actually enjoyed both romances – surprise! – but this is me, so we all know that I’ll be rooting for the enemies-to-lovers side. Another fabulous Young Adult fantasy debut!  ★★★★

OTHER

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Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2018

I hope everyone is having a nice weekend! This is the first Easter I’m not working in a few years so I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. I’ve kept on track with my reading goals for March and I’m excited heading into next month! April is going to be a month of reading mostly ARCs for me; I have a lot of ARCs that I’ve put off reading for a few months and their release dates are starting to creep up on me 🙈 


Book Reviews

36682619DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN: Daughter of the Pirate King was such a fun read last year, and this sequel was high on my anticipated releases. I’m loving this new trend in the Young Adult genre of books featuring all female (well, mostly) pirate crews. Alosa is a ruthless heroine not afraid to get her hands dirty, and I was glad to see her relationship with Riden develop. I definitely recommend this series if you’re looking for a fast-paced book full of action and nautical goodness.  ★★★★

34275232THE HAZEL WOOD: I guess the one word I would use to describe my experience reading this would be disappointed. The premise sounds really cool and intriguing, and I was totally digging on the vibe of the story which was eerie and dark, but the execution was done poorly. A big issue was the pacing. The plot and action didn’t start to pick up until the very end of the book and it almost felt like a whole different story at that point.My other problem with was the main character, Alice. She comes off as rude, selfish, pretentious and was an utterly unlikable character. I’m not sure if I will bother to read the sequel, but I would love to pick up Tales From the Hinterland when it’s released to read more of those fairytales!  ★★  [review]

34964921THIS HEART OF MINE: A very compelling, touching story focused on family, friendship, grief, love, and life. Some people felt confused by the strange mix of genres, YA Contemporary + Mystery, but I thought it was intriguing and was executed perfectly. I also really loved both the protagonists, Leah and Matt. The romance that develops between is so freaking adorable. I was unsure about the romance aspect going into this when I read the synopsis, but I was really happy about the way it was portrayed. It’s easy to see that this book means a lot to the author by the love and care infused into the writing. If you’re looking for a light, fun, uplifting read, I would recommend reading This Heart of Mine!  ★★★★  [review]

35575184ORPHAN MONSTER SPY: I love historical fiction and books set during WWII so this sounded exactly like the kind of book I would want to read. The plot was well done and intriguing, and I was interested in the characters – especially Sarah – but I feel like a lot of things were just glossed over in the story. Parts of Sarah’s history were briefly mentioned and then never brought up again, which left me with a lot of questions by the end of the book. The story starts out fast-paced, slows down for a good chunk of the book, and then picks back up again. Orphan Monster Spy is an engaging story, but I think the book moved almost a little too fast at times and left a lot of loose ends and questions after the ending for me to be fully captivated by it. ARC provided by the publisher through Penguin First to Read.  ★★★  [review]

35297394THE WICKED DEEP: So many conflicting feelings from just one book.  I was over halfway done with this, completely enamored by everything in the story, and then something happened that unfortunately evaporated most of my good feelings. The good: great writing, an atmospheric setting, really interesting plot. The (very) bad: the way the romance and the ending of the story were wrapped up.  ★★★  [review]


36347830SONG OF BLOOD & STONE:
 There were parts about the book that I liked, and there were parts about it that I didn’t like. The intriguing synopsis is what first piqued my interest, and as I began reading, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this is actually a New Adult novel in the Fantasy Romance genre, not a Young Adult Fantasy. The story was not entirely unique, however, and loosely followed the same formula as many other fantasy books. I also spent a majority of the time confused about the setting and the world-building. Had there been either a really unique and gripping plot, or stronger world-building, I would have enjoyed the story a bit more. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★  [review]

30129657HONOR AMONG THIEVES: Space adventure books are one of my favorites, and while I’m happy that they’re becoming a more prevalent genre, that also means a lot of them of starting to follow the same basic plot. Honor Among Thieves breaks the mold as a unique, engaging book unlike anything I’ve ever read. The entire concept of the book, from the Leviathan and Nadim to the Honors program, was completely fascinating. The authors have created a story that will capture your attention and refuse to let it go. It’s a fantastic story full of adventure, action, and thrills. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in the sequel. If anyone is looking for a great Sci-Fi story, I would definitely recommend!  ★★★★½  [review]

18782855PRINCESS OF THORNS: I’m mad at everyone who never told me this book existed. Standalone fantasy books are rare, but good standalone fantasy books are even rarer. This book contained some of my favorite tropes: mistaken identity, a girl pretending to be boy, a charming, arrogant prince, a long journey together, and a slow burn hate-to-love romance. The banter between Niklaas and Aurora was some of the best I’ve read in a long time. Both Niklaas and Aurora started out as slightly annoying characters, but they developed greatly over the course of the book and I loved how the story ended. I want more standalone Young Adult Fantasy books like this.  ★★★★

32667458THE LAST NAMSARA: Looking for an awesome fantasy with dragons? Look no further. Asha was a totally kickass heroine and I loved every second of reading this book. The world-building is fantastic and the writing is very impressive for a debut author. I was really excited about reading the sequel until I found out it was actually going to be a companion novel. I’m still looking forward to it, but I’m a bit upset I don’t get to read more of Asha and her story, which was left unfinished.  ★★★★

34728667CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE: If you’re nervous about picking this up because of all the hype like I was, don’t be. It’s well worth every ounce of hype and praise it has received. This book was a thrilling fantasy full of adventure, expert writing, and a cast of superb characters. It was very easy to be drawn into the story from the beginning due to a combination of Tomi Adeyemi’s excellent writing and the compelling characters she has created. There’s no doubt that the second book will be one of my most anticipated for next year.  ★★★★★  [review]

35900323OVER RAGING TIDES: This had the recipe to be a great book: a ship full of lady buccaneers, an entertaining plot, competent writing, interesting characters, and fun dialogue. Unfortunately, in a year full of many other Young Adult female pirate books, this just didn’t stand out that much. The main issue is that the book is severely undeveloped. The plot is too fast-paced, there is hardly any world-building, the characters don’t have any time for growth, and the ending is very abrupt. Overall, it was not an unlikable book, but it was definitely premature and lacking. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★½  [review]

35997816ROYALS: I had so much fun reading this. Royals is a light-hearted, funny, easy read that’s sure to entertain. I connected with Daisy from the start, and loved her sassy, headstrong personality. I also found myself a bit jealous of her situation: I mean, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a group of young, attractive, amusing members of the Scottish aristocracy? If you like light, fun, entertaining reads then Royals is a book for you! ARC provided by Penguin First to Read.  ★★★½  [review]

30118749GARDEN OF THORNS: This was a perfectly enjoyable book, and while it wasn’t the greatest of fantasy books, there was really nothing that I didn’t like about it. The writing was good, the characters were diverse and intriguing, and the world-building was different and unique, drawing inspiration from East Asia. I’m sure I’ll read the sequel when it releases because I’m very curious about these characters and how their story will end.  ★★★

35238072NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST: The premise sounded so good, but I was unimpressed by this book. I think part of the problem was that it’s somewhere between a Middle Grade and a Young Adult novel, and so it was a bit too juvenile for me. There was hardly anything to the plot, the characters had no depth, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy at times. ★★

OTHER

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Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2018

I’ve been really proud of myself this month for the amount of books I read and for staying on top of my TBR. I also managed to cross a few books off my list for the Beat the Backlist challenge. February was a pretty great month for reading for me and I’m hoping this trend continues into the next month!   


Book Reviews

33803113BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA: The writing was really beautiful and the story was intriguing, but there were a few things that left me less than impressed. The romance, for the most part, had me feeling meh. I also felt like the last part of the story was rushed and left quite a few questions and problems unanswered for a standalone.  ★★★

 

34448985BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS: Like with the first book, Empress of a Thousand Skies, I was impressed with the setting and world-building. Unfortunately, also as with the first book, I didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters again,so I couldn’t get into the story and I became unmotivated to read. The action and plot did pick up towards the very end, but for the most part I had to force myself to finish the book. ARC provided by the publisher through a giveaway.  ★★★

30975382BLOOD AND SAND: I’m pretty much trash for historical fiction set in Ancient Rome + Gladiators, but after reading the Mistress of Rome series it’s been difficult to find a book I enjoy in this setting (especially young adult) because I’m always comparing them. That being said, I loved this book. For a young adult novel in this genre, it’s really well-done and I’m so impressed by it. The story is very, very loosely based on the legend of Spartacus and I enjoyed it so much that I was flying through the chapters. I loved the characters, the writing, the romance, the story – everything! The ending was cruel and unnecessary, however, and if the author doesn’t fix what she did with that cliffhanger in the next book I will revolt.  ★★★★

35068744BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE: While this was an enjoyable enough book to read, there was really nothing about it that stood out for me. I did give it an extra half star because the background story surrounding Mick’s birth was tragic and heartbreaking.  ★★★½

 

 

34499221TO KILL A KINGDOM: I needed zero convincing to read this story once I saw that it was about lethal sirens, arrogant princes, and pirates. It’s like a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid, but way more awesome and vicious. I breezed right through this book because it was just so entertaining! Alexandra Christo’s writing, setting, terrific pacing, and great characters all blended together seamlessly to create a stunning story. I loved the interactions and witty banter between Lira and Elian, and the slow build of their hate-to-love romance. To Kill a Kingdom is a spectacular debut book by Alexandra Christo and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★★½  [review]

35238069THE TRAITOR’S GAME: First of all, that cover is gorgeous and even prettier in person. Unfortunately other than that, the story was pretty similar to many other books in the Young Adult Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre. It was full of the same cliches and tropes, down to the somewhat predictable ending and insta-love romance. While it wasn’t the most unique or intriguing, the book did manage to keep my attention and I never grew bored or impatient while reading, which is a huge plus. Overall, it was a pleasant reading experience. This was my first Jennifer A. Nielsen book and I look forward to continuing the rest of the series. ARC provided by the publisher through a giveaway.  ★★★  [review]

33158532BROKEN BEAUTIFUL HEARTS: Every since I read The Lovely Reckless, I’ve been itching to read another one of her books. I was just as impressed by this one was I was with her previous work. I think my favorite part of the book were the characters: Peyton was very relatable as a student-athlete, Owen was a fantastic male lead, and I adored the twins. Seriously, I want a book starring Christian and Cameron, please.  ★★★★


23367265
IMMORTAL REIGN: I’ve never been shy over the fact that the Falling Kingdom series is my guilty pleasure. They’re not the greatest fantasy books, but I have a lot of fun reading them, even if I am only mostly here for the Magnus and Cleo chapters. Immortal Reign was a satisfying ending to the series, and I’ll admit that I gave it an extra star for all the Magneo goodness I was blessed with, including the cover. I don’t think I’ll ever be over the fact that my trash ship from the first book not only eventually became canon, but got their HEA. #blessed  ★★★★

34726469SKY IN THE DEEP: I said it before and I’ll say it again: this book is amazing and everyone needs to add it to their TBR. This is exactly everything I want in a story. I read the entire thing in one sitting because it was that amazing and I couldn’t put it down; this is is the kind of book that reminds me of why I love reading. The dynamic relationships the author creates is one of the best features of the book; they were capable of evoking emotions in a meaningful and achingly real way. I’m not convinced that this is a debut book because everything was executed perfectly to created a breathtaking, emotional story full of grit and heart. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★★★  [review]

30653880THE SHIP BEYOND TIME:This was a great conclusion to the duology! I really love the time-travelling aspects and the mythologica/fantasy worlds that Heidi Heilig has brought to life in these books. I love pirate books and nautical settings so it was right up my alley. I greatly enjoyed reading The Girl from Everywhere and I think this was the perfect sequel.  ★★★

 

28421168RENEGADES: Marissa Meyer has once again created an amazing world full of amazing characters. The book focuses on the ongoing struggle between the Renegades (the “good” superheroes) and the Anarchists (the “bad” superheroes). I think the most impressive aspect of the book was the author’s ability to create two different sides with very different agendas, and yet I was able to find things about both sides that I agreed with. And I loved Nova! She’s one of the two alternating points of views and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.  ★★★★

35098412THE QUEEN’S RISING: I think the Young Adult Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre has become diluted with so many books that follow the same setting/plot/characterization structure that it’s hard to go into any new ones without a sense of apprehension. This book totally bypassed my expectations. The atmosphere Rebecca Ross creates is refreshing for the genre and made reading the story so much more enjoyable because it didn’t feel like something I’ve already read. This seems to be the year for wonderful, fresh debuts and this was no exception!  ★★★★  [review]

6931356THE DUFF: I only picked this up because the movie was on TV the other day and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it (and Robbie Amell). Deciding to read it before bed, however, was a gigantic mistake because I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing the whole thing in one reading. I figured there would be a few differences between the book and movie (as with all adaptations) but the book was like a completely different story and so much better. I’m honestly mad that I haven’t read this before.  ★★★★★  [review]

30523827INK, IRON, AND GLASS: The things I did like about this book were the setting, the idea of scriptology and worldbooks, and the plot. However, I had an issue with the writing which caused me not to enjoy the book as much as I would have hoped. The characters were all really interesting and I would like to know what happens next, especially since there was a minor cliffhanger, but I’m on the fence as to whether I’ll want read the sequel or not.  ★★½

OTHER

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