My Favorite Books of 2015 So Far

We are only a little over halfway through 2015 and we’ve already been fortunate enough to get a whole bunch of amazing new releases, and here are a few of the best ones that I’ve read so far.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)   The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)   A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)   The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)   Shutter

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: I absolutely adored this book beyond words. Sarah J. Maas is a master at creating a beautiful story full of interesting and well developed characters, suspense and mystery, and romance that makes your toes curl. This book made me laugh and cry and swoon and bite my nails in suspense, I’m counting down the days until we get the sequel.

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows: Having never read any of Jodi Meadows’ other books, I didn’t know what to expect, but I ultimately ended up being impressed with this book. I found the fantasy world super intriguing and loved the idea of this “orphan queen” trying to reclaim her throne and save her people.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: This book blew my mind in the best way possible and I raced through the whole thing in one sitting. An intense and fascinating story of magic, mischief, evil, parallel worlds, aspiring pirates, multi-sided coats, and a black stone that’s far too clever for anyone’s good. Not to mention Kell, who won my heart almost immediately.

The Story Spinner by Becky Wallace: I completely judged this book by it’s less than attractive cover and assumed it wouldn’t be any good, but damn, was I wrong. Similar to Falling Kingdoms, this book has multiple lands and perspectives, events that don’t seem connected until they are. It was ten times more intense and intriguing than I had expected.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda: Normally, spooky YA books don’t really do it for me, having to tone down the creep factor for a younger audience kind of kills it for me. But this book was subtly chilling and refreshing in all of the right ways. No love triangle, no insta-love, a cast of fun characters, and a world full of creepy crawly monsters, I’m eagerly awaiting news of a sequel.

Crimson Bound   Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)   The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)   An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)   Vision in Silver (The Others, #3)

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: A fairy tale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with darker twists and a tormented heroine. Although the gorgeous cover initially drew me in, the story was so interesting and the characters so realistic that I found myself struggling to put it down.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Another case of cover lust that ended well, this world and the struggle between classes is only made more awesome by the superpower elements. Mare was a heroine that I found myself really enjoying and that, mixed in with the unpredictability of just about everything in this book, made this one especially stand out.

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Having never read anything related to A Thousand and One Nights, I found this book to be super refreshing and unpredictable. I absolutely adored the romance between Shazi and Khalid, and their constant internal struggles over loving each other and what it meant. It was dark and depressing at times, but also beautifully sweet and hopeful.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: One of my favorite books so far this year, by far. I loved the Roman inspired fantasy land, every single character we get introduced to, even the evil ones, and I honestly cried when I finished it, knowing that I would have to wait a whole year for the next one. Sabaa Tahir is one of the most exciting new authors of this year and I can’t wait to see what else she delivers.

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop: This is the third book in my favorite urban fantasy series right now and I love each book more than the last. The thing about this series that really does it for me is that the world is so dark and realistic and like nothing I’ve ever really read before, in the best way possible.

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read so far this year?

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May Wrap Up!

I took it easy this month and only read 15 books but it was definitely a fun month. I read so many books that made their way onto the list of my favorites so far this year so I would definitely call May a reading win.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This was one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year, if not my favorite. Sarah J. Maas has yet to disappoint me and this book was so amazing and made me feel all of the feels. 

Soulless by Gail Carriger: Steampunk, werewolves, vampires, parasols, and a snarky heroine… What more could I possibly ask for? Alexia’s constant wit and the steamy romance made me giggle through the whole book, making this one a super fun read. 

Changeless by Gail Carriger: The second book in the Parasol Protectorate series and it made me laugh just as much as the first one. Full of fun new characters and more mischief, I was really happy to see that the second book was still exciting and creative, building on this interesting and imaginative world. 

Blameless by Gail Carriger: This book was almost as good as the previous two, my only problem with it was that some characters were making stupid and bad choices which ended up making me rather annoyed. If it wasn’t for the lack of time spent together between certain people, this book would have have had a solid four hearts. 

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: Although this book didn’t really seem to have much to do with Little Red Riding Hood, it was still a really unique and interesting book. I loved the complex story and all of the characters, who were flawed and very realistic, and I found it to be very refreshing compared to a lot of books I’ve read so far this year. 

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Yet another refreshing and unique retelling that surprised me with how much I enjoyed. I loved the main characters in this book, from Shazi, with her stubborn natural and sharp tongue, to tortured Khalid. This was a beautifully written tale of sacrifice and revenge, of what it means to be a monster and what it takes to love one. 

Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter: I’m clumping these three together because I gave them all the same rating and basically felt the same about all of them. I should have loved these books, they sounded right up my alley and were about heists, something I love reading and watching movies about. But ultimately, I didn’t connect with the characters and these books just didn’t really do it for me. 

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck: I’ve heard so many ups and downs about this book that I put off reading it forever and was almost positive that I wouldn’t like it. To my surprise though, I thought this book was pretty fun and I really liked the Indian mythology. If only it wasn’t for the horrible, dramatic love issues in the last chunk of the book, I would have given this book a better rating. 

Deathnote Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba   Death Note, Vol. 2 by Tsugumi Ohba   The Selection by Kiera Cass   The Elite by Kiera Cass   Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

Deathnote Vol. 1 and 2 by Tsugumi Ohba: I’ve never watched the anime so I went into this not knowing a single thing about it and I was surprised and excited to find that I absolutely love this story. It’s dark and suspenseful, making you think and keeping you on your toes. I can’t wait to read the rest of this them watch the anime, I know that I won’t be disappointed. 

The Selection by Kiera Cass: Here’s another book that I’ve been putting off for a long time, and another one that I was sure I wouldn’t like but actually ended up enjoying more than I expected. This book was the kind where I’m not even one hundred percent sure why I liked it, but when I was reading it, I couldn’t put it down. 

The Elite by Kiera Cass: While I actually found myself enjoying the first book, this one was almost painful for me to read. The main problem for me was America. That girl was so weak, allowing herself to be tugged back and forth, jumping from boy to boy so quickly that it was making me sick. Her attitude and decisions single-handedly ruined this book for me. 

Saga Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan: I can’t even put into words just how ridiculously in love I am with this series. Every single time I read the next one, I want to cry and scream and punch someone in the face, all at the same time. If you haven’t read this series yet, you are clearly doing something wrong with your life. 

Review: Crimson Bound

Title: Crimson Bound 21570318

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: May 5th 2015

Summary: When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

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This fairy tale retelling craze shows no signs of stopping and I couldn’t be happier. So when I saw that this book was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, I almost started screaming out of excitement, mostly because it’s a fairy tale that I don’t often see getting any attention.

One of the main things that first drew me in, besides the gorgeous cover and Little Red Riding Hood influences, was the undoubtedly strong heroine. Rachelle was a very realistic character to me, in the way that she treated the whole situation she was in, knowing that she deserved the way she was treated but still hating everyone for it all the same. I found that despite her allowing herself to get mentally messed with and manipulated, she knew how to pick her battles and what things were worth fighting for. However, whenever you have a character who is very angst-ridden, it’s hard to keep it from feeling forced and overly dramatic, which was something I think was a bit of a problem. But I just enjoyed how refreshing to was to have a heroine that viewed herself and others in a very honest, if sometimes harsh sort of way. Besides that, I obviously loved that she was a tough lady and knew how to hold her own, serving up some cold hard butt kicking when needed.

As far as the story went, I found it interesting and engaging. In Crimson Bound, Rachelle is a bloodbound, gifted with certain abilities, and searching for a sword from ancient stories that can destroy the Devourer. She is forced to be a bodyguard to the King’s son Armand while continuing her quest to find a sword, with the deadline for the day the Devourer will return and bring about Endless Night looming over her head. One of my favorite parts of this book was actually the ancient story of the first time the Devourer was defeated by siblings, Zisa and Tyr. I loved the style in which the story was told and the dark undertones. I found it to be really haunting and expertly woven into the actual story. My main problem though was that this book really had a lot going on. The world was so interesting and so many elements and characters were woven in, making it really feel crammed and overwhelming at times. I almost wished the author had cut out some of the less interesting thing and focused on giving more information and time with the more intriguing aspects.

The romance wasn’t an overwhelming part of the story, which I really appreciated, and I found that I did really like this “love triangle”. I’m love triangle in quotation marks because it’s not really a traditional sort of love triangle. Rachelle’s relationships are two very different things with two very different men, but they are both meaningful to her and kind of represent different parts of herself. I found that very refreshing, especially the honest way that she looks at both of them and their relationships.

Crimson Bound was a really refreshing and interesting story, full of unique characters and a creative world and mythology. I was very disappointed to not really notice much that tied in with the story of Little Red Riding Hood, something I was excited to see influencing and directing this book. Despite that, I did really enjoy this story and found the writing really engaging and I was definitely pulled into this world. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to fairy tale retelling lovers specifically, I would recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy and strong heroines.

RATING: 

May New Releases

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This book is definitely my most anticipated book this month, as well as one of my most anticipated of the year. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series right now, so I have complete faith that Sarah J. Maas is going to have an amazing start to a new series. The fact that this book has faeries and aspects of Beauty and the Beast only makes it sound ten times better. I honestly can’t wait to read this book, I know I’m going to absolutely love it.

The Cage by Megan Shepherd: I’m really intrigued by the idea of this book. A mixture of teenagers being held captive in an alien zoo? Uhm, can you repeat that? But seriously, I’m not even sure where this book it going but I’m itchin’ to find out. I really enjoyed Megan Shepherd’s other series, The Madman’s Daughter, so I’m hoping she delivers another unique and gritty story. I am a little nervous however, because this book sounds like it’s going to be a little romance heavy.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: That cover. That summary. *sigh* I think I might be in love. One of my favorite things to read is a well written fairy tale retelling and this one has caught my attention because it sounds so interesting. I love the idea of this book having elements of Little Red Riding Hood because that’s one fairy tale that usually doesn’t get much action, so I can’t wait to see how it’s incorporated into this story. And to top it all off, the main character Rachelle, sounds like a bit of a monster slaying bad ass which gets me so pumped for some girl power.

Velvet by Temple West: Okay, so I’ll admit that it was originally the cover that drew me into this book. Then once I read the summary, I groaned internally and put it out of my mind. Another cliche YA vampire book? No thanks, I will definitely pass. But then, to my shock, it started getting five star reviews. As I looked into this strange phenomenon, I found that people are really enjoying this book. Apparently it has an abundance of witty banter (something I can never resist), fun characters, a steamy romance, and surprisingly good lore. Who would have guessed?

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The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Everything about this book sounds so amazing. I love the idea of a twist on A Thousand and One Nights where the murderous husband isn’t all that he seems. Our heroine is going to have to be very clever and keep her wits about her in order to survive night after night, then use every chance she gets to figure out the mystery of how all the girls are dying. I just hope that the romance doesn’t overshadow the opportunity for a great story.

The Artisans by Julie Reece: While this cover definitely seems a little bland, the story sounds interesting enough to make up for it. The Artisans is another Beauty and the Beast retelling, but set in modern day with a paranormal twist. I’m really excited to read a retelling that focuses more on the horror aspect when most of the time, it’s the romance that gets all of the attention. My only concern is whether this book is going to stand out among all of the fairy tale retellings that have been coming out recently.

The Novice by Taran Matharu: I can sum up the reason I’m excited for this book in one word; battlemages. Oh, and demons. But mostly battlemages. Seriously, I absolutely love magic but one of my favorite things is duels and battles between magic wielders. While there is nothing wrong with a traditional battle with swords, the unpredictability of a battle involving magic makes it so much more exciting. But on top of a world with battlemages, we also get a main character with the ability to summon demons. This book has so much potential, I might die of anticipation.

Charmed by Michelle Krys: This is the sequel to Hexed, a book that I read last year and the thing is, I absolutely hated it. So why am I putting the second book on this list? Well that’s a great question guys, and to be honest, I’m not really sure. I saw that this book was coming out and suddenly had the urge to re-read Hexed. You know how sometimes you want to watch a really horrible movie, like a Syfy channel original movie, and you know it’s going to suck beyond words, but you get a weird sense of comfort out of watching it? That what this book feels like to me. Sometimes I want to curl up with a book that’s so bad, it’s funny, and just giggle my way through the pages of horrible dialogue and teenage drama.

There are definitely a few winners coming out in May and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. What new releases are you guys looking forward to reading next month?