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]  ★★★★

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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Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2018

Since I don’t write reviews for every book I read, I decided it would be a good idea to bring back my Monthly Wrap-Up posts! At least this way, I can share a few thoughts for all the books I read in a book. My biggest struggle this past month has been in deciding which books to read next, the new releases on my TBR or the backlisted books? But as much as I try to keep a game plan, the heart wants to read what the heart wants to read!

Book Reviews

26032825THE CRUEL PRINCE: I had waited so long for this book to come out and I was not disappointed. This was my first book by Holly Black and now I can see why everyone loves her work. The Cruel Prince was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I loved the world Black created, the Fae courts, the twists, the reveals, the characters; it’s all amazing. ★½

 

32320661EVERLESS: Everless was another book that I had really been looking forward to reading in the new year, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. My biggest issue was that it felt like this was a story that I’ve already read before. The concept of time and blood irons is unique and intriguing, but as for the rest of the book, it followed the same plotline and tropes similar to whole bunch of other YA fantasies and became too predictable. 


23299513THE SHADOW QUEEN:
I’ll be honest: I only picked this up because I wanted to read the other two books in the series. I didn’t have a whole lot of high expectations going in, especially considering all the negative reviews I had read, so it more of a “I just have to get through this” kind of read. Eventually I’ll read The Wish Granter and The Traitor Prince, which seem to have way better reviews, but I’m not in a great hurry. 

 

30694168SHADOWSONG: It seems like a lot of people have been disappointed by Shadowsong, but as for myself, I really enjoyed it! I absolutely love the lush, lyrical writing and descriptions and find it matches the tone of the story perfectly. Shadowsong differs from Wintersong in that the story focuses almost entirely on Liesl and her growth as character, including her changed relationships with Josef and Käthe. Overall, I was ecstatic to be thrust back into the world S. Jae-Jones created and was very pleased with the sequel! ARC received through NetGalley. ★[review]

10572A CLASH OF KINGS: A Clash of Kings was just as page-turning and entertaining as A Game of Thrones, and I actually found myself liking some of the characters’ POVs that I didn’t enjoy reading previously. Arya’s chapters and storyline became more interesting to me and I didn’t mind Catelyn’s chapters as much either, even though my opinion of her as a character more or less remained apathetic. I also really enjoyed reading Theon’s chapters, surprisingly. I despise him as a character, but I couldn’t deny that his chapters were engaging, informative, and full of action. A Storm of Swords is a mammoth of a book, but I’m determined to start it soon! 

33413958YOUR ONE & ONLY: If you’re looking for a unique YA Dystopian story with excellent execution, skillful writing, and great characters, look no further than Your One & Only. What seems like would be a typical YA Sci-Fi novel, rife with tropes and romance-heavy, Your One & Only actually focuses on plot and character growth, with the romance riding shotgun, much to my pleasant surprise. I highly recommend this book and I think other readers will become as enraptured by the story and characters as I was. ARC received through NetGalley.  [review]

33555224THUNDERHEAD: I’m glad I reread Scythe beforehand or I would have been very lost and confused. I was so thankful to be back in the world created by Neal Shusterman. I loved following Citra’s and Rowan’s stories as they continued (more Rowan next time please, thanks), but there was a new character added whose chapters I didn’t really care for. Thunderhead ended with a huge cliffhanger (rude) and I cannot wait for the third book in the series! 


26958226EVEN THE DARKEST STARS:
The best thing about this book was the world-building and setting. It was completely magical and unique. Unfortunately, the rest of the book was pretty mediocre and followed the same recipe as many other YA fantasies, unnecessary love triangle included. That being said, I wasn’t ever bored while reading and I am stilled interested in reading the sequel, especially after the final twist at the end of the story. 


32711705-1THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS:
These books are so addicting. I stick to my original assessment that they probably will only appeal to a certain type of reader, but I love them. The drama and web of secrets continues in the sequel. Only this time with new lies, new twists, new secrets, and new characters. Avery, Atlas, Rylin, and Cord are still my favorite characters, but I was glad to see Leda finally redeem herself in this book. I absolutely despise Calliope, however, and I hope the third book involves her downfall. Also, there was definitely not enough Cord in this book (or Cord + Rylin interactions). Dear Katherine McGee: please fix this issue in The Towering Sky

25446297UNEARTHED: Oh man, this was such a fun read. I have a weakness for Sci-Fi books set in space and this was just my bread and butter. Jules and Amelia were amazing characters to follow and they really made the story so much more enjoyable. The setting, writing, and plot were all really well done. I figured out the big twist/reveal at the end when I was less than a quarter of the way in to the book, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment at all and I’m excited for the next book in the series! 


34050917THE GIRL IN THE TOWER: 
I wasn’t as enamored by The Bear and the Nightingale as everyone else seemed to be, so I was initially apprehensive on how well I would like this. To put it simply: this book is stunning and it has become on of my favorites books. The atmospheric setting, lush writing, and vivid imagery all come together to create a magical, enchanting story full of history and elements of Slavic fairytales. 
 [review]

Other

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