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?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) 23299513

Author: C.J. Redwine

Publisher: Blazer+Bray

Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

Summary: Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

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Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed already, I absolutely love a good fairy-tale retelling and this book definitely seems to be playing around with a few Snow White aspects. Except Snow White is now a bad ass magic wielder/lost princess/savior of the people instead of a cutesy animal loving maid. Is anyone actually going to have a problem with these changes? Yeah, I didn’t think so. On top of that though, we also have potential for some steamy forbidden romance and buckets of angsty goodness. I love reading books about royals trying to save their kingdom because you know at some point it’s going to come down to them getting all conflicted and emotional about picking love or their people. I’m sure Kol is in for a great time. Also, I’m assuming this book is going to bounce between Kol and Lorelai’s POVs which I’m already super excited for and hopefully it means we get tons of character growth from both of them. The main thing I’m really hoping for is that the evil queen actually has some back story instead of just being evil for the sake of being evil, and maybe we can actually get a well developed villain for once. Fingers crossed. Overall though, this book looks super promising and exciting and that cover is just giving me a serious case of the grabby hands. I want it now *grabby hands*

Review: Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)22294935

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Publication Date: September 29th, 2015

Summary: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Guys, this is seriously one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. Yes, I can say that with absolute certainty, it was really that good. Everything about it just drew me in and kept me hooked until the very end, and even after finishing it, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had just read.

The main thing that really made this book for me was the amazing cast of characters. We have Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan, who is kind of a not-so-main character because we don’t get any chapters in his perspective. I have to start with Kaz because he was my absolute favorite and amazing beyond words. He has a dark and mysterious past, doesn’t hesitate when he needs to get his hands dirty, is ridiculously smart and constantly ten steps ahead of everyone else, not to mention he has a bad ass cane with a crow’s head on it. I have a huge weakness for tormented, ruthless young men who are too smart for their own good and Kaz fits right into that category and swept me off of my feet. Then we have Inej, aka The Wraith, a girl who was kidnapped and forced into a pleasure house, only to be bought by Kaz and became his eyes and ears on the streets. She was a conflicted character but I love how real she felt and how strong she was, even after everything she had been through. Nina was spunky and so much fun, I love how she used everything she had as a weapon, from her looks, to her sharp tough, to her Grisha powers. Matthias was rough and tough and gruff and grumbly and I absolutely adored him, even though he could never figure out if he wanted to help everyone or kill them. Then we have Jesper and Wylan who I’m just going to group together because all of the scenes with the two of them made me laugh and ship them at the same time. Though it’s a huge cast of  characters, they are all so unique and intriguing, it was hard to say which one I wanted to read about the most.

The thing is, even if the characters weren’t the best ever, which they were, the plot still would have kept me hooked. I loved being in this grimy part of the Grisha universe and I found this story to be a lot more engaging and interesting that Leigh Bardugo’s first trilogy. In Six of Crows, we have a sort of super drug going around that makes Grisha more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Kaz is hired to get a group together and break into one of the most impenetrable places in the world to break out the scientist who knows how to make said super drug of death and destruction. I found the plot to be intense beyond words at time, surprisingly dark and violent and made me feel some things I didn’t even know I could. I’m pretty sure that at one point I was half crying, have screaming, half cheering, then probably having a heart attack at the same time. This book was physically and mentally exhausting.

One complaint I’ve heard a few times is that all of the different characters and flashbacks make the story feel slow, or that it drags on. I personally disagree as much as possible. I found that all of the different perspectives and backstory contributed massively to character development and constantly kept me interested to see who was next and what we would get to learn about them. I was as excited and invested in the flashbacks of each character as I was in the current happenings, because both were equally gripping. It was definitely a slow burn at some points but then the exciting parts were so intense and suspenseful and it would just tease you by jumping to a different perspective in the middle of something, and it was evil and infuriating but genius. And I absolutely adore, beyond words, books like this that have so many twists and a character that is constantly planning ahead and is ridiculously smart so just when you think things are going bad, he reveals the trick up his sleeve and your head just explodes because HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?!

This book was so smart and complex and suspenseful, I think I set it down once the whole time just to go grab a drink of water because my throat was raw from screaming. And that ending was the most evil thing I’ve encountered in a book in a long time, I don’t know if I can handle it. Guys, you should do yourself a favor and read this book. Then do me a favor by coming back here and talking with me about it so I can vent and gush and try not to die waiting for the next book.

RATING: 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From Everywhere

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

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Title: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

Author: Heidi Heilig

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: February 16th, 2016

Summary: Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

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Everything about this book is drawing me in and I’m absolutely giddy with excitement to get my hands on it. To start with, there is no way that I could resist the idea of a ship that can sail anywhere, any time, even places that don’t actually exist; I’m already going crazy from all the possibilities. Think of all the places you could go, the people you could meet, the adventures you’d have! I really hope we get a bit of traveling throughout the book, instead of mostly just focusing on Honolulu because this idea is too great to not explore. And I just have this feeling in my gut that I’m going to really like Nix. A girl growing up surrounded by that much adventure has to be pretty cool, right? Then of course there’s Kash, the Persian thief that I just know I’m going to end up falling for. I’m more than content with being predictable as long as I can make googly eyes at every rakish scoundrel of a man I read about. My main question about this story right away is whether or not Nix’s father would actually essentially kill her to get her mother back… But I guess we will find out. The more I think about this book, the more I want it and chances are, I’m going to pre-order it the second I’m done with this post. No shame.

Review: A Vanishing Glow

Title: A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum Vol. I & II)  26631848

Author: Alexis Radcliffe

Publication Date: September 15th, 2015

Summary: It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?

Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

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I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Vanishing Glow was not a book that I had on my TBR list or had even heard of before, but when the author approached me to ask if I would read and review, and I read the synopis, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. This book was an intriguing story of murder, secrets, steampunk and betrayal. At the beginning we are introduced to Jason, a noble travelling to meet his childhood friend and prince, and Nilya, a young girl with a knack for engineering who is trying to run from her past. Though they initally start out with no connection, their stories soon intertwine, providing a story with dual perspectives and cause and effect through two completely different people’s eyes.

To start with, I really have to gush over the huge cast of interesting and mysterious characters in this book. On Jason’s end, we have multiple shady politicians, idealistic Nole, a weary war veteran, assassins, reporters, a disapproving father and a mysterious man in a cloak who calls himself “Hood”. Then when we move over to Nilya we get introduced to her friend Verse, multiple other members of The Crimson Fist, an injured travelling companion, healing monks and a rejected husband-to-be. Although there is a huge cast, each character is well written and unique enough that you manage to keep them all straight, as they all have some role to play in the story, be it good or bad.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the world building, which was in my opinion, rather superbly done. The world itself was very dense, with loads of different noblity, armies and land, and while it’s hard to keep track of at first, you’ll get to the point where everything clicks. I loved how the steampunk elements were incorporated into the world and how believable I found them. And one of the main points of conflict in this story is the political struggle between all sorts of people, so we are getting multiple views on the world and how they think it should be changed, which I think contributed so much to the world building. A smaller part of the world that I enjoyed was how open they are about their sexuality, even if in the end, the rules enforced about “joining” or having mulitple partners are still unfair. I loved reading about Nilya, who likes women, and that it isn’t unacceptable that she has been with them. One of the bigggest benefits of having Jason and Nilya’s POVs is that we get to see how different actions or decisions effect nobles versus commoners, which I really enjoyed. The contrast between Jason, who is trying to fight for the good of all the people, and Nilya who is trying to save herself and find some sort of redemption along the way, I found to be a really great portrayal of the many battles people fight and how different things are worth fighting for to different people.

The plot, though slow at some times, keeps you engaged in so many different ways. We get a great blend of mental and political battles mixed in with violence and actual fights. There are several occassions throughout the book where the tension is so thick that I had to stop myself from biting my nails or covering my eyes. And although I found certain parts to be more predicitble, it balanced out well because some parts came out of no where and made me pause to collect my thoughts because it was the last thing I had been expecting. I enjoyed that lots of things constantly went wrong or got messed up, only for the characters to form a Plan B and keep moving forward.

There were only a few things I didn’t love about this book, hence the four start rating. First of all, Jason wasn’t my favorite character of all time, although I did find him very realistic. I struggled to understand some of his decisions and views on certain things and occassionaly found myself wanting to give him a good thump on the head. Also, a few parts with him were rather slow, and while I liked that it contributed to character growth or world building, I found it hard to get through.

Overall, this book was a huge and pleasant surprise and I’m very happy that the author approached me for a review. It was a great break from all of the YA I’ve been reading lately and I enjoyed the mature themes and complexity that A Vanishing Glow had in abundance. If you’re a fan of steampunk and plots full of death, deception, love and redemption, I would definitely recommend checking out this impressive debut novel.

RATING: 

Waiting on Wednesday: Reign of Shadows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

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Title: Reign of Shadows

Author: Sophie Jordan

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: February 9th, 2016

Summary: Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

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I’ve never read any of Sophie Jordan’s other books but I’ve consistently heard good things about them. This book in specific drew me in more than any of her other ones, mostly because I’m intrigued by the idea of a fantasy land takes shrouded in constant darkness. It sounds so spooky and mysterious, I love it. I also absolutely love the Rapunzel-esque premise with Luna being the lost princess stuck up in a tower. I hope that Luna is similar to Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, that sort of adorable sheltered girl with a heart of gold and a desire to see the world. I want her to have loads of spunk and bravery, but still cute and quirky. I have a feeling that Fowler is going to be a spy of some sort for the evil queen, and while I hope that it’s not actually that predictable, if it is, I still want it to be well done. I think this is going to be a really fun YA fantasy book with memorable characters and a swoon-worthy romance. Oh and did I mention that gorgeous cover? I might be suffering from a tiny case of cover lust too.

Review: Queen of Shadows (SPOILERS)

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) 18006496

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: September 1st, 2015

Summary: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, if not my most anticipated. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series and one that I’ve amazingly never really had any sort of issue with, which is really saying something since I can be a huge nitpicker. When I got this book in the mail, I knew that it would be another successful read, an amazing continuation of this equally amazing series.

Queen of Shadows starts off with Aelin back in her city, scheming and planning against her old master, Arobynn, King of Assassins, to get back the Amulet of Orynth and the Wyrdkey inside of it. She finds out that the king has her cousin, Aedion, held prisoner and is planning on executing him on Dorian’s birthday. Oh, speaking of Dorian, he’s just withering away as the Valg prince takes over his mind and slowly destroys him. Oh and Chaol is leading part of the rebellion and decided to be a sulking, grumpy ball of misery. Things aren’t looking very good, to say the least.

One of the biggest things I heard about this book was that people decided to not continue the series and bad talk Sarah J. Maas for her decisions surrounding Chaol. I’m a huge Chaol and Aelin shipper so I was really disappointed to find that their reunion wasn’t all I had hoped and dreamed about. In fact, they basically went for each other’s throats, blaming each other for everything that had happened and destroying whatever relationship they had. After a while, it became apparent that they would never be rekindling their romantic relationship, and while I found that immensely disappointing, I also understood. I think that what a lot of people are missing is that Aelin and Chaol aren’t the people they were during ToG and CoM. They have gone through so many struggles and have had to change who they are to survive. Chaol was the man that Celaena needed when she was an assassin, but now she is Aelin, a queen and ruler, and she left that other girl behind. By the end of the book, Aelin and Chaol seem to be mending their friendship, but I think we can all agree that romance is out of the question, which I actually found myself supporting, simply because it wouldn’t make sense for the people they are now. I think everyone should give the book a chance and realize that even though things might not go the way we want them too, realistically, in series like this, changes are going to happen, and as long as they make sense and honor the characters, I’m fully support that.

While I’m on the subject of romance, I should probably address the fact that Rowan and Aelin are now romantically involved. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this yet. A huge part of me feels like a traitor because I’ve always been completely on Team Chaol, but when I was reading this book, I found myself really supporting Rowan and Aelin together. Rowan is who and what Aelin needs and I adore their relationship. But the thing is, in HoF, I loved that they had such an intense connection without is being sexual or romantic, so I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that it’s become that now. It was refreshing to see such a beautiful relationship that went beyond friendship between a man and woman, while remaining platonic. I’m not surprised that they starting smooching it up, and I loved every second of it, but part of me will always miss what they had before. But my inner fangirl is crying over their devotion to each other and how stinkin’ adorable they are all the time.

As for the actual story in this book, it was full of so many twists and turns and intense parts that I could not put it down. I absolutely love reading books where the schemes feels so smart and there are a million layers to every plan, so kudos to Sarah J. Maas for managing to be so unpredictable and clever. I loved the revenge aspect with Arobynn and seeing their strange relationship in action, as well as the differences between Aelin and Celaena. There were so many different story lines going on, but each one was so vital and interesting, there was never a point that I was bored or uninterested. And that ending, HOLY MOTHER, I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening because my mind was so blown. I mean, I NEVER saw that coming.

Aelin was, as usual, absolutely amazing. The amount of growth she goes through in every book, as well as the obstacles she overcomes, continue to shape her into more of queen. The one thing that upset me about this book was how quickly she seemed to accept Dorian’s condition and how easy she made killing him seem. But Aelin will always be my number one bae. We also get more new characters in this book and my favorites had to be Lysandra and Nesryn. Those girls knew how to kick ass and take names, I mean, DAMN. And Manon, don’t even get me started on how much I love that witch, having her and Aelin fight each other was like a dream come true. Just watching Aelin’s court grow as she helped people and earned their loyalties literally had me tearing up at some points. I loved seeing how Rowan and Aedion never once judged her for any of her current and past actions, and their love and commitment to her was unwavering.

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for the next book in this series. Now that Aelin and her court are back in Terrasen and Dorian is king, and the war looming overhead, things are about to change for sure. I’m really excited for Chaol and Nesryn to go to the Southern Continent, and to see what Manon and her thirteen are going to do. Not to mention Elide working her way to Aelin with the Wyrdkey; I’m definitely going to cry when they are finally reunited. Okay, and am I the only one hardcore shipping Dorian and Manon together? Can we just all take a minute to enjoy the thought of Manon ruling beside Dorian? That poor boy wouldn’t know what to do. In all seriousness though, this was a solid fourth book in the series, exceeding my expectations and hurting my heart and soul so good.

RATING: 

Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Title: Winterspell (Winterspell #1)18475593

Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Summary: The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

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This was one of those cases where cover lust got the best of me and now I’m regretting it. I’d read many reviews of this book and heard all about it’s flaws and I still went and bought it just because the cover was pretty and there was a map inside; I should have known better.

One of my main issues with this book is that lots of things in it are just… strange, and not really in a good way. Now I knew going into this book that lots of people had laughed over the fact that Clara, the main character, is apparently in love with a statue. I assumed that it was over-exaggerated and she was probably just fascinated by the statue and admired it. But I was so wrong; it was even worse and even more uncomfortable that I had imagined.

The hard lines of the statue’s thighs, belly, chest, scraped against her skin, snagging at the cotton of her chemise and she found herself moving slowly so as to prolong the contact. Molding herself to the metal, she sighed. Her palms slick with sweat, she slid them up the statue’s chest to cup the chiseled, handsome jaw, and pressed herself closer.” 

This goes on for a while, Clara reminiscing about all the times she would rub against it and at night, in her bed, how she would feel need for it. It was honestly just uncomfortable to read about because she wasn’t just fascinated by this statue, she was straight up consumed by lusty feelings for it. And on top of that, she is living in 1899 and struggles with the fact that these feelings are apparently wicked and wrong. Which I get is a part of that time period, but it was another thing that was just weirdly addressed throughout the book. Clara was constantly ashamed but curious of her body, which is understandable, but also would think that she deserved being pursued and forced into things she didn’t want by this one creepy man, because she would wear a revealing dress or he would catch a glimpse of her skin. It was honestly just distressing to read and it was constantly shoved in your face throughout the book.

” And besides, wasn’t it her fault, that he gazed at her so? She could have gone home; she could have stayed dressed. Instead here she stood, obscene, indecent, and as she stared at the floor, flushing miserably, she knew whatever Dr. Victor might do was what she deserved.”

As if that didn’t make the book hard enough to read, there is also the fact that it was just plain boring most of the time. This book was about 450 pages long but it felt like a million and took me forever to trudge though, and now that I’m finished, it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. And a lot of the things that did happen felt really unnecessary, like they could have (and should have) just been cut out and it wouldn’t have mattered. It was hard reading this book and realizing that although there was a lot of filler, the actual plot moved forward at a slug’s pace.

When it came down to the characters, I had just as many issues as everything else. Clara was not likable, she wasn’t strong and she definitely wasn’t anyone I would want to be friends with. At one point, she was going to let a girl on the street get probably raped and killed, telling the other person with her to just sit down and cover his ears and pretend it wasn’t happening because she was too scared to help. But it wasn’t just being too scared or too weak to help, it was the fact that she was okay to just let it happen, which is utterly despicable to me. Besides Clara, we have Nicholas, the long lost prince/statue boy and he was just as unlikable. He lies to Clara constantly, uses her, betrays her, then comes crawling back with apologies and sweet words, thinking it will change everything. I probably disliked him more than Clara, which is really saying something at this point.

Overall, this book really just didn’t do it for me. I will admit that the writing wasn’t awful and certain aspects of the book could have been interesting, but it was hard to even focus on that when I was constantly annoyed or repulsed by everything else going on it the book. I have no problem with sexual situations being in a YA book since that’s part of being a young adult, but this book just crammed it down your throat in so many uncomfortable ways that it was almost unbearable. The characters were all unlikable and their interactions were flat, the plot was boring and uneventful, and I’m honestly amazed I made to the end. When I was finished though, I was very disappointed that I wasted my time on this book.

RATING: 

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?

June Wrap Up!

It was another slow month for me, reading only 15 books again, and about half of those were volumes of Deathnote which makes me feel like a little bit of a cheater. I had a few exciting standout books and a few big letdowns this month so it was definitely just a mostly okay sort of reading month.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg   The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg   Death Note, Vol. 3 by Tsugumi Ohba   Death Note, Vol. 4 by Tsugumi Ohba   Death Note, Vol. 5 by Tsugumi Ohba

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: I was a little nervous by how short this book was but it was so fun and whimsical with darker undertones, I had such a good time with it. Even though it was short, you get a feel for the characters and the world and find yourself wanting more just because it’s so interesting. 

The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: The sequel to The Paper Magician, and maybe even more fun than the first book. The sequel gives you everything you were hoping to get after the first one, more depth in the characters you love, more world-building, and an equally exciting plot.  

Deathnote Vol. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 by Tsugumi Ohba: I’m just going to have one summary for all of the volumes I read this month because the verdict is basically the same for all of them; each one just gets better and better. This manga is constantly blowing my mind with all of the twist and turns and I just absolutely love how smart it is and how nothing is really black and white. 

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop   Death Note, Vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba   Death Note, Vol. 7 by Tsugumi Ohba   The Cage by Megan Shepherd   Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop: I waited so long for this book and it was just as amazing as I had hoped. This is probably my favorite urban fantasy series, each book more intriguing and suspenseful than the last, adding so many layers and depth to the world and characters and I absolutely love it. If you haven’t read this series yet, you should definitely check it out. 

The Cage by Megan Shepherd: I really loved this author’s other series, The Madman’s Daughter, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book and see what new story she was delivering. This book actually didn’t really work for me, the strange insta-love/love triangle romance mess that took up most of the book and ruined the potentially interesting story of survival, making it difficult to trudge through. 

Shutter by Courtney Alameda: I was so surprised by how awesome this book was since I haven’t heard any hype about it. This book was so cool and creepy and badass and extremely refreshing in comparison to a lot of YA books I’ve been reading recently. All of the science and spooky stuff was intriguing, the supernatural creatures and creepy settings give you the chills, and the characters really grow on you. I would definitely recommend this as a nice break from the typical YA books I’ve been reading lately. 

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan   Death Note, Vol. 8 by Tsugumi Ohba    Death Note, Vol. 9 by Tsugumi Ohba   The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson   The One by Kiera Cass

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan: This book actually ended up being a huge disappointment to me, which I wasn’t expecting. I kept hearing about how this was a dark, gritty story about revenge, and I was beyond exciting. But don’t be fooled, ultimately this book is just a weird story about a super cheesy romance that makes all other aspects of this book, including the revenge, take second place. 

Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson: I re-read this book in preparation for the sequel coming out in July. Reading it while you know which boy was which was definitely a different experience than when you first read it, but I still had a few minor problems with the story. I’m definitely excited to see where the next book takes us though. 

The One by Kiera Cass: I finally got around to reading this book and it went almost exactly as I had expected. Honestly, this whole series really annoyed me; America annoyed me, the plot annoyed me, the romance and love triangle annoyed me, and the happy ending annoyed me. Annoyance was definitely a main emotion I felt while reading this book.