Waiting on Wednesday: The Raven King

17378527 Title: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: March 29th, 2016

Summary: The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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After waiting forever, only to have this book pushed back again and again, it’s finally almost here. In a few months, I’ll have it in my hands. I think that frightens me more than the thought of waiting even longer.

The thing is, I know this book is going to break my heart; I’ve already accepted that. The question is, after it’s done stomping on it and crushing it into a bloody pulp, will there be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel? I’m just going to say it, I’m pretty certain that Gansey is going to die. It lines up with things that have happened in the previous books and it lines up with Blue kissing her true love then him dying. But what really matters is if he’s going to come back somehow. And the fact that I really don’t know makes me almost not want to read this book because I’m not sure if I can handle it if he doesn’t. If he or Ronan dies, this book is going straight into the fire.

But of course I am going to read it. Maggie Stiefvater is an artist with words and these books are too beautiful and intriguing to not read. The relationships she creates between these four boys, and now Blue, just makes you want to go out and find friends like them. These books make you want to go on a quest, to find some sort of adventure and share it with your friends. It makes you believe in magic.

Then there’s also the small matter of THAT COVER! HOW DO THEY KEEP GETTING MORE AND MORE BEAUTIFUL? HOW?!

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Disappointing Reads of 2015

Now that I’ve finally posted my favorite books of 2015, that means it’s time to talk about the unfortunate books last year that disappointed me the most. I’m not saying that any of these are horrible books or the worst books that I read last year, just that they didn’t live up to the hype or weren’t as great as I had hoped.

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A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray: I had such high expectations for this book. A gorgeous cover? Traveling through parallel universes? Potential tale of revenge? How could it possibly go wrong? Well the author could decide to make it all about gushy romance and not even take advantage of the fact that this book should have been about a revenge chase through parallel worlds, which gives you so much potential for awesomeness. And on top of it, none of the characters were likable and Marguerite was one of those heroines who just gets every answer handed to her. Which is annoying at best. Read my full review here.

 16101128 The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy: This was by no means, a horrible book. It wasn’t even an awful book. But for me, it really didn’t live up to the hype. I was excepting tons of cool alien invasion and survival aspects, but instead I got a forced romance that almost made me put the book down. It felt almost like the author had this really awesome gritty story idea about aliens and soldiers and survival and then he remembered he was selling it as YA so he shoved the romance in there. And as a result, it would have been ten times better without it. Read my full review here.

 22465605 Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins: The first book in this series, Rebel Belle, was one of the most fun guilty pleasure reads I’d had in a long time. So going in to the second book, I was expecting another book full of sassy southern beauty queens, flirty fun between Harper and David, and tons of ass kicking by our favorite Paladin. But to my shock and disappointment, this book didn’t really have much of any of that. Instead it was kind of slow and boring and definitely depressing. It felt like a completely separate book from the first one, in the worst way possible.

 10507293 The Selection by Kiera Cass: I finally gave into peer pressure and bought this book after hearing nothing but amazing about it and the rest of the series. I was doubtful but so many of my friends constantly raved about America Singer and  Prince Maddox and the swoony feels, so how could I not give it a chance? But let me tell you, after reading this book, it was hard to think of another heroine who I despised more than America. This girl just drove me crazy. It was one of those instances where so many boys are head over heels in love with her and I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why they would even waste their time with someone like her. The plot was interesting and fun but reading this book felt almost like a chore because America bothered me so much.

12578077 Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout: In this last year, I’ve come to really love Jennifer L. Armentrout as a sort of late night, guilty pleasure read sort of author. Obsidian was at the top of my TBR list so on the first night of a read-a-thon, I sat down with the first two books, intending to devour them both. But as I read the first one, I was horrified to see what a jerk Daemon was. He wasn’t sexy teasing or joking flirty or all of those things that usually make us fall make in love with douche bag characters. No, Daemon was genuinely cruel and mean to Katy and it made me grind my teeth and want to punch something. It’s so sad to me that this series was ruined because the love interest didn’t know where to draw the line. Read my review here.

16182308 A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepard: This is the final book in The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy, and I couldn’t have been more excited for it. The first two books were creepy and gritty and unsettling at times, but so much fun to read. The conclusion promised to be dark and intense, a tale of horror taking place on the Scottish moors. But it ultimately fell really flat for me. The romance was strangely resolved, it wasn’t nearly as spooky or suspenseful as the previous books, and certain characters didn’t end up being as interesting as I’d hoped. While it had a clear message that the author was trying to convey, it was very disappointing as far as conclusions go. Read my review here.

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While looking back at a year of reading, there are always some unexpected surprises and books you weren’t expecting to capture your heart that ultimately do. But with that there are also some books that don’t live up to your expectations or the hype. Sad as it may be, they simply serve to make the amazing ones shine a little brighter.

Which books did you find yourself disappointed by in 2015?

Review: Truthwitch

21414439Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

Author: Susan Dennard

Publisher: Tor Teen

Publication Date: January 5th, 2016

Summary: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of 2016 and I’m happy to announce that in most ways, it did not disappoint. I wanted an awesome fantasy world, some threadsister bonding, awesome witcheries, and a story that kept my interest; all of which I got.

One of the biggest things for me was how much I loved Safi and Iseult and their relationship. I really wanted a good helping of girl power from this book and we got it. They are each other’s priorities and you can really see the love that connects the two of them throughout the whole course of the story. It never feels forced or awkward, it genuinely feels like these girls have a history and a friendship that can never be torn apart. We do get POVs from both girls and I honestly don’t know which one’s my favorite. I usually like characters like Safi more, all snarky and irrational, but I found Iseult more interesting and her Threadwitch powers were more complex. Since I can’t pick a favorite, I’m really glad they come as a pair.

As far as the boys go, we have Merik, the grumbly prince with some pretty awesome wind powers, and Aeduan, a nasty Bloodwitch who is determined to track the girls down. I really liked Merik, I found him to be a fun addition to the dream team. However, I absolutely love Aeduan. Okay for reals, is anyone else totally shipping him with Iseult? Because I was picking up some sparks between them and not just the rage-induced-need-to-kill-each-other kind. I found him to be the most mysterious and intriguing character, definitely the one that I wanted to learn more about and probably the one I’m most excited to read more about in the next book.

My one complaint would definitely have to be that the beginning felt slow for me. I kept reading updates of people reading this book at the same time as me, talking about how crazy and fast everything starts only a few pages in, but for me, it didn’t feel like anything really starts for a while. Perhaps I was just in an impatient mood but it felt like it took a good third of the book before things started getting really exciting. And the first third of the book was rather confusing. I’m pretty good at keeping names and places straight when it comes to fantasy lands since it’s something I read about a lot but I was really struggling with this one. Once we get away from all of the politics though, it was much easier to keep track of the cast and places.

Overall, I found this book to be a super fun fantasy adventure tale that focuses on a friendship between two girls with superpowers (basically) who are trying to outrun destiny. I do wish that Safi had utilized her Truthwitch gifts a little more but there were plenty of other witcheries to keep my interest. I loved all of the characters and their interactions, from romance to friendship to murderous intent. I’m certainly intrigued by the Puppeteer and the Empress of Marstok, two new bad ass ladies who will hopefully get tons of page time in the next book. While it may not have been the most memorable or unique YA fantasy read, it kept my interest and built a great foundation for the rest of the series.

RATING: 

16 Most Anticipated Books of 2016

There are so many amazing books coming out this next year, so making this list was nearly impossible. I finally managed to get the list down to sixteen but it was no easy task. Just as a warning, these are in no particular order so their placement on the list has nothing to do with my level of excitement for it.

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic, #2) The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1) Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4) The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6)

1. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews: This is one of my favorite series, like ever. And after eight books, I find myself more in love with it than ever. Kate will continue to be one of my favorite badass heroines, Curran my favorite grumpy kitty, and their romance one of the best written in book history.

2. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater: I can’t believe how far this book has been pushed back and no wait has ever felt so painful. As the final book in this series, there are still so many questions that need answering, so many worries that need to be laid to rest. All I have to say is that if Gansey or Ronan die, I will riot.

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer: As a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, I feel that the YA genre is severely lacking in that category.  So when I heard that Marissa Meyer, the same Marissa Meyer who absolutely slayed with The Lunar Chronicles, was writing a story about the Queen of Hearts, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. The Queen of Hearts, guys *grabby hands*

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: To be honest, I’m a little ashamed of my reasoning behind this one. As we all know, I’m a huge Sarah J. Maas fangirl and she is best friends with Susan Dennard. Which means we can probably all assume she helped out with this book. That right there is a good enough reason for me to read it. Not to mention that although I wasn’t a huge fan of Susan Dennard’s other series, this one seem much more like something I’d like. Tons of girl power and sisterly love, super powers and potentially tons of ass kicking. Yep, definitely sounds like something I’d like.

5. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas: I loved the first book in this series and I know that this one is going to be just as great, if not better. We get more of Feyre, who I genuinely found to be a huge breath of fresh air as far as heroines go. But more importantly, we get more of Tamlin and Rhysand. I might finally pick which team I’m on. More likely though, this book will just make me fall in love with both of them even more, thus adding to my internal conflict over which one should have my babies.

6. This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab: For some reason, despite only reading a few books by this author, I have complete and utter faith in her to rock my socks off with this book. The premise is just too cool and she is too great of a writer not to. I love the idea of monsters inside and out and this dark city that’s overrun with them and OOOHHH, it just gives me shivers to think about.

7. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: I really have an addiction to fairy tale retelling and it shows no signs of letting up. This one is another Snow White retelling that promises to have tons of magic, romance, betrayal, a delightfully evil queen, and  hopefully dragons. I saw the word dragon in the summary and now if we don’t get any, this book is getting a big fat zero stars. I’m joking. Probably. She should definitely add in some dragons just in case.

8. Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard: The first book, Red Queen, really left me feeling betrayed and upset. Not to spoil anything but certain people’s true colors were revealed and let’s just say that it was mostly black. Black like death and betrayal and inner evil and unbelievable villainy. After what happened, I need to know how the next book is going to go. I just hope there’s a nice helping of vengeance in it.

9. The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows: It’s been a while since I read The Orphan Queen, but I do remember that I found it super fun and certain aspects of it really intriguing. Sure, the out-of-place names annoyed me to no end, but I’m willing to put that aside for a decent story. This series is only a duo-logy so the character’s fates are going to be determined in this one, something I’m definitely not prepared for.

10. Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop: Am I the only one that is going to quite possibly go on a murderous rampage if two certain characters *cough* Simon and Meg *cough* don’t hook up in this book? Because I’ve been waiting since like, they first met way back in book one and I know that sneaky evil Anne Bishop is toying with our emotions right now by playing this waiting game with us. Well I’ve had enough. The time for smooching is now! Oh and uh, I guess I’m excited for the plot and stuff too.

11. Untitled (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas: I’m sure you’re all so surprised to see this one on here *snorts sarcastically* I need this book in my life, like yesterday. Although the last one didn’t really end on a cliffhanger, instead ending on, dare I say it, a happy note, there is still evil looming in the distance. There are so many paths the next book could take and I hate that I can’t even begin to guess what’s going to happen.

12. A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic was so well… magical. It made me laugh and cry and swoon and hold my breath in fear and surprise and I adored every minute of it. The idea of parallel Londons was a genius one and thanks to V.E. Schwab being an amazing writer, it wasn’t the only genius thing about it. Now, the sequel promises even more magic, even more adventure and even more of Kell and Delilah which means perfection.

13. The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renne Ahdieh: I like the first book more than I expected, despite it’s lack of revenge. And now with the cliffhanger at the end and the second book hopefully bringing more magic, something else the first one was lacking in, I find myself itching to have it in my hands. The gorgeous covers of course have nothing to do with it.

14. A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir: The first book surprised me with how dark and brutal it could be, with a familiar sort of story, but with unexpected twists thrown in. I love the world and I love the characters, so I know that as long as no one I love dies (please don’t let anyone die) and our heroes don’t find themselves suddenly transported to a different world, this book should be golden.

15. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo: Six of Crows was one of my absolute favorite books that I read last year, much to my surprise. I need more of everything in this book. More of Kaz and his horrible depressing and sad history and dark personality, more of Inej and her moral compass, more of Nina and Mattias and their steamy romance. Uhm, and was I the only one totally shipping Jesper and Wylan? So I’ll take more of their flirting too. I need more heists and clever unpredictable plans and snarky comments and sneering insults. Okay I’m about to seriously cry because I want this book now.

16. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer: When The Lunar Chronicles ended, it felt like my heart went with it. This series brought me out of my reading slump and pushing me into doing what I do now; running a book blog and booktube channel. So when I found out that were were getting a full book of stories about our favorite characters and one wedding at the end, I nearly died.

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Making a list of only sixteen books was so hard because we all know there are so many great books coming out this year. And I plan on reading every single one of them. What books are you guys most excited to get your hands on this year?

Top Books of 2015

Now that another year has come to an end, it time to look back at all of the books I’ve read and pick my favorites. This is usually something I both eagerly anticipate and dread but to my complete surprise, I found it much easier this year. While I felt like this was a good reading year, full of good books, there ultimately weren’t as many great ones as I had expected. So this year, instead of doing my top fifteen of 2015, I’ll just be doing my top ten in absolutely no particular order.

22055262 A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: This was the first book by V.E. Schwab that I’d ever read and she did not disappoint. This book was everything I had hope for, a magical story with evil, betrayal, a many sided coat, parallel Londons and an aspiring pirate. There’s really no way that you could go wrong with that.  Review here.

18006496 Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: I adore this series and while there was a lot of controversy surrounding this latest book and certain decisions made, I personally found it to be another strong addition. Sure, certain decisions made me want to cry and throw the book into the fire, but that’s a part of reading a series like this; it makes you feel the feels. What concerned me more was how to handle falling in love with Rowan Whitethorn, despite the fact that we have the same name. Awkward. Review here.

16148398 Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: I’ve been trying to branch out and read more graphic novels and I couldn’t have made a better choice than Saga. It is absolute perfection. Everything I could have hoped for. The art, the characters, the story, all of it continuously exceeds my expectations and blows my minds. If you like sci-fi and aren’t bothered by more adult themes, do yourself a favor and pick this up.

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: I actually picked this series up for the first time this year and was fortunate enough to get my hands on all three books that were out at the time and I binge read this series like I was dying. I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up the first book but it wasn’t the crazy ride that this series gave me. Each book just got better and better and the transformations that characters go through (Magnus, you conflicted beast) are some of the best and most complex that I’ve read in a very long time. But more than that, these were just so refreshing to read because it’s impossible to predict what happens next.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: 22544764I actually got this book for Christmas and read it right at the end of this year. It made me unbearably happy to end the year on such a high note. This is one of those instances where I want to kick myself for putting a book off for so long because it genuinely saddens me that I went so long without having it in my life. It’s the grumpy mysterious withdrawn magician boys, they never fail to make me all gooey. Like a big mushy marshmallow of yearning and salty tears. Sigh.

16096824 A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Am I showing a bit of favoritism by putting Sarah J. Maas on here twice? Maybe. Okay, definitely. But both of her books that came out this year were too amazing to leave off my list so I don’t even feel guilty. It was so refreshing to get a book by her that wasn’t part of her YA series and while it didn’t love it as much, it came pretty damn close. My greatest shame though is that I haven’t picked if I’m Team Rhysand or Tamlin yet… Can I make a Team Rhylin? Review here.

18798983 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: This book promised me a tale of revenge that simply sounded too deliciously dark to turn down. Although it didn’t have as much revenge as I would have liked, I was surprised at how much I did enjoy it. It offered a bit more diversity that I usually get in my book choices, something that I’m horribly ashamed of. But it also presented us with a story we were familiar with but in a new way, with a hint of magic, conflicted characters and the power of love. I know, I know, that last part makes it sound like a big ball of cheese but it’s true. Review here.

 21457243 Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop: This is probably my favorite urban fantasy series right now and each book just delivers so much mystery and emotion and dark, gritty, evilness; I love it *evil laugh* Okay but really, the dark tones of this book are so fitting for the world and it feels so right. If humans did discover that vampires and werewolves and all the things that go bump in the night did exist, we would probably live in fear. And with each book, it becomes more and more evident that humans should fear them. But on a lighter note, CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME SMOOCHING?! This couple that I ship so goddamn hard just keep dancing around each other and I’m about to flip if they don’t get together soon. Why does the author feel the need to torture us?

23437156 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Since I hadn’t loved Leigh Bardugo’s other YA trilogy, I pre-ordered this book in a moment of brave hope. Although I knew that a pretty cover meant nothing about the quality of material inside, I comforted myself by knowing that at least if it stank, it would look quite nice on my shelf. So imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of the best books I’d read all year. Let’s just say that there might have been some happy tears. And then real tear because this book you guys, this book. It hit me in the feels so hard that I got the wind knocked out of me.

13206900 Winter by Marissa Meyer: I actually went to the Lunar Ball launch party for this book but ended up putting this book off for a little while because I was so nervous and sad to read the conclusion of such a great series. Once I finally found the courage to read it though, I of course loved it. Winter and Jacin were both great additions to the story even though my OTP will forever remain Cress and Thorne (my poor babies). And I found that, despite a few small disappointments, which are always inevitable with final books in a series, I was immensely satisfied with how this book ended.

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I can’t believe 2015 is already over and how small of a dent it feels like I put in to my TBR pile. But I read some superb books during the year and I’m looking forward to so many new releases this one. What were some of your favorite books your read in 2015?