Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395 Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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I know I wasn’t the only person feeling nervous going into this book. I loved the first one, Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship seemed perfect, and ACOMAF seemed like it was introducing the dreaded love triangle. Where could this book go that wouldn’t bother me or ruin my love for the first one? I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. I’m genuinely embarrassed that I ever doubted Sarah J. Maas.

The first thing I really need to address is the fact that this is absolutely not a love triangle in any way, shape or form. So if you are worried about that, don’t be. And that’s all I’m going to say. For those of you that haven’t read this book, I’m not going to risk spoiling anything for you, but just know that there’s nothing to worry about as far as a love triangle goes.

But more importantly, THAT ROMANCE. I know I can’t be a jerk right now and spoil anything but I can’t just not address the fact that this romance absolutely blew my mind. This was exactly how a romance should be. It was give and take and honestly one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve had the pleasure of reading in my life. Just seeing the support and love and faith that is freely given to Feyre, it made me want to cry. Okay, maybe I cried. Five to seven times. I’m having a hard time explaining the feels this relationship gave me because it was that perfect and wonderful and Feyre is such a lucky woman. I adored seeing someone believing in her and encouraging her, and never holding her back, encouraging her to thrive and flourish. Someone that understood her struggles and depression and did everything in their power to not let it destroy her. Guys, I’m ranting and like legitimately tearing up right thinking about it.

Moving on before I curl up into a ball and cry, there are a lot of people I’ve seen who are having a hard time with certain changes characters go through. There has been lots of talk of characters being OOC and I couldn’t disagree more. Without spoiling anything, I’m simply going to say that Feyre and Tamlin are having some struggles after everything they dealt with in the last book. Tamlin is a little overprotective and Feyre is a little damaged and people are calling both of them OOC. I think that Sarah J. Maas is a master at showing character growth and the changes that people go through. Changing and struggling with things is not OOC. Tamlin was placed in a horrible position, getting his power taken away and the love of his life basically getting destroyed while he watched and couldn’t do anything. I think the fact that he becomes over protective, a little rage filled and distant is completely understandable. And Feyre isn’t doing much to fix things because she’s messed up and struggling too. I can’t help but compare them to couples who lose a child or something tragic along those lines, and they become distant, both struggling with what they did and didn’t do and handling that while trying to focus on their significant other. Sometimes it tears couples apart. Sometimes it doesn’t. But things like that change people. I think that readers who expected Tamlin and Feyre to be the same after what they went through should have realized that’s not realistic or Sarah J. Maas’ style.

But on a more positive note, we get some of my new favorite characters in this book and they added so much to the story for me and raised the stakes when it came to the conflict. We obviously get to see Rhys more, who I’m adding to the top of my fictional boyfriends list. But since Feyre spends time in the Night Court, we get to meet his friends and I was dying. So many sexy men with wings. I never even realized that wings were actually something I found attractive before this book. But when big muscular men with tattoos were flying around kicking ass, I could help but drool. And the ladies all kicked ass too. I had a hard time deciding who I had a bigger crush on.

I guess I should probably talk about the plot too. This book was the perfect blend of action and mystery surrounding the potential looming war, while still focusing on Feyre’s struggles and growth and relationships with others. The world building was so expansive in comparison to the first book and I devoured every bit of information I could get on the other courts. We get to see new places, characters and creatures. The pacing was perfect, even when it slowed down, there was so much still going on that it never actually felt slow. And so many cool powers were in this book, I couldn’t believe some of the awesome things that Rhys and his friends could do. Jealous to the max. And the ending nearly killed me. Not even kidding. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

After reading this book and discovering it was so much better than I had hoped, it makes me sad to see all these people who aren’t even giving it a chance because they are afraid or sure they won’t like it. It’s sad to think they are missing out on something so amazing and beautiful. If you are on the fence, I hope I’ve convinced you to read it because you won’t regret it. And then you can join me in this pit of sadness and depression waiting for the next book, while fighting the overwhelming urge to re-read ACOMAF constantly until then.

RATING: 

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362 Title: Passenger (Passenger #1)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: January 5th, 2016

Summary: passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

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Sigh… I’m sorry to be that person but seriously, this book was such a huge disappointment. If you’re like me and expected an epic adventure of time travel and treasure hunting and a well developed romance, don’t even bother with this one. Really, just don’t. To put it pretty bluntly, a single episode of Doctor Who has more time travel, more heart, more character development and a better story line.

I have to address the biggest issue I had with this book which was it’s romance that just completely overshadowed all other elements of the story. While I didn’t hate both characters, I grew to despise them for their constant musing over each other and sighing wistfully as they stared into the distance, wondering how they ended up with someone so perfect. This is a story where the heroes have only a few days to find this treasure and WAY too much time was spent on them cuddling in the dark or stopping to talk about their feelings. Not to mention it was one of the biggest cases of insta-love that I’ve had the misfortune of reading in a long time. It was unrealistic, overly mushy, rushed and to be honest, so frustrating at times.

Since a majority of the time was spent on the romance between  Etta and Nicholas, that means that the adventure was at the bottom of the priority list and you could tell. It wasn’t even much of an adventure, it was more just the two of them walking through one passage, ending up in a new time for a chapter so they could make out in some secluded place, then they would move on to the next passage. Nothing really felt difficult, it was one of those books where it felt like all of the answers were handed to them. And all of the places they went to felt so one dimensional, like you were given a description of how it looked but never quite got the actual feel of the place.

And the fluff in this book, holy-…. Okay, I seriously think that this book could have been half as long as it was. A ridiculous amount of it was Etta or Nicholas constantly pondering or sitting in the dark thinking deep thoughts and overly describing everything. It got to the point where I would just skim read whole chunks of pages because nothing important was happening, just more endless feeling sorry for themselves and internal conflict over every little thing.

The one thing that saved this book was that Nicholas and Etta weren’t the worst. Etta was okay at best, she had so much potential as a genuinely strong heroine but that was ruined with the stupid romance and constant drooling over her companion. Nicholas obviously had the same issue but I liked him a little more as a conflicted character and because we got to see how horribly people treated him because he’s African American. The lack of diverse characters in YA is something we all know about and it was really refreshing to read about someone who struggles with inequality through all of these different time periods they travel to. It was sad and upsetting to read about but also added a layer of depth to his character, to see how much he struggled with letting his race and the limitations of it throughout time periods define and control him.

I know I’m probably in the minority here but for the life of me, I can’t understand why so many people are going crazy over this book. It was a big confusing mess at the beginning, so slow and unnecessarily long, and the romance wasn’t well written and took away from all the things that could have actually made this book good. It ended up being nothing like I had hoped, with generic bad guys, forced insta-love and one dimensional settings. Take my advice and skip this one.

RATING:

February New Releases!

This month was one of my most anticipated in a long time, simply because so many amazing books that I’ve been waiting to get my hands on are finally being released. We have much anticipated sequels, prequels, conclusions and a few new releases making their way onto my bookshelf.

February 2nd: Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles 0.5,0.6,1.5,3.1,3.6) by Marissa Meyer: Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6)The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

 

February 2nd: Starflight (Starflight #1) by Melissa Landers: Starflight (Starflight, #1)Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

February 2nd: Assassin’s Heart (Assassin’s Heart #1) by Sarah Ahiers: Assassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart, #1)In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

February 2nd: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell: UnhookedFor as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

February 9th: Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown: Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy, #3)Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son totally changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Born a lowly Red in the mines of Mars, Darrow lost his beloved wife to the treacherous Gold overlords. Vowing to fight for the future that his wife believed in, Darrow joins a secret revolutionary group and is remade into a Gold so that he can infiltrate the ruling class and bring them down from the inside. Now, after years of hiding amongst the Golds, Darrow is finally ready to declare open revolution and throw off the chains of oppression. Nothing in Darrow’s world has been easily won, and this final fight will be the most harrowing of all.

February 9th: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman: BlackheartsBlackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

February 9th: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard: Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

February 9th: Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows #1) by Sophie Jordan: Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows, #1)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 Shadowsis Sophie Jordan at her best.

February 16th: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)by C.J. Redwine: 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.

February 16th: Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi: Riders (Riders, #1)For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen–Conquest, Famine, and Death–are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now–bound, bloodied, and drugged–Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for–not to mention all of humankind–he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

February 16th: The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig: The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

 The Forbidden WishFebruary 23rd: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

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It’s hard to say which book I’m most excited for but Stars Above and Morning Star are definitely at the top of the list. No matter what though, we’re getting some really amazing books this month. Which books are you most excited for?

 

 

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?!

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?