Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2016!

Fall is my absolute favorite season. Nothing’s better than curling up with a snuggly sweater, a steaming hot cup of tea and a great book while the world outside consists of gray skies and crunching leaves. Fall is also usually when a big chunk of my most anticipated books of the year come out. The fall season and new books go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: 28260587I’m not even sure I need to explain this one, and yes, I know it’s already out but I couldn’t leave it off the list. Sexy fae warriors (yes, that is plural, as in more than one), Aelin kicking massive ass with her flame powers, tons more smoochy scenes, Manon slicing people’s guts out, bad guys being bad, and guaranteed heartbreak. What’s not to love?

18584855Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Another book by Marrisa Meyer? How could I possibly resist? Not to mention the fact that it’s a freaking origin story for the Queen of Hearts. I’ve been hearing so many raving reviews for this book already, so I know Marissa Meyer is working her magic yet again. Plus, I really need to know how an innocent baker becomes the evil, head-chopping Queen. I can’t even being to imagine how that comes about.

28448239Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge: After reading Crimson Bound, I can help but be excited for another retelling, this time featuring Romeo and Juliet. I have a love/hate relationship with Romeo and Juliet but I have complete faith in Rosamund Hodge to make it interesting and creepy enough to hold my attention and hopefully capture my heart.

23207027Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: I adore everything about this book. That cover makes my heart pitter-patter and the idea behind it, of dark magic and trickery, betrayal by those closest to you, and a rivalry between sisters that can only end in death… My stomach is fluttering just thinking about it. This book has so much potential to be one of my favorites of the year.

22299763Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Guys… this book. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings I get in my stomach when I think about it. Six of Crows was one of my absolute favorites last year and the wait has nearly killed me. But in a few short weeks, this book will finally be in my hands. There is not a single shred of doubt that I’m going to laugh and cry and probably scream at the heavens for ever cursing me with such a book.

22567184Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier: This author is one of the few that genuinely makes me cry from a place deep down in my heart. One of the most underrated actors that I love, she’s broken my heart many times with her incredible stories of love, faith, redemption, healing, and a little magic. This series is no exception. Blackthorn and Grim are back and no doubt, once again, getting in way over their heads with someone’s problems. Which I’m actually okay with because with every near death experience, the more their relationship grows and the more feels I get. Win win.

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: I’m not even sure how to describe Illuminae to someone who hasn’t read it, but if you haven’t, I’m pretty sure you should just go read it and find out for yourself. One of the most surprising and unique books I’ve read in a long time, and now the sequel is almost out. Be still my heart. But seriously, this book is going to wreck me if it’s even half as good as the first one.

What new fall releases are you guys most excited for?

Spoiler 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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This is going to a be a spoiler review of ACOMAF so if you haven’t read the book yet, read at your own risk. I did post a non-spoiler review which you can check out here.

Obviously, the big thing that I need to address is the fact that Feyre and Rhys are relationship goals for life. I can’t express how much I adored this relationship. Rhys is exactly what Feyre needs because he knows how broken she is but he also knows how she is strong enough to overcome it. He helps and supports her so much, but also realizes that she has to find the strength in herself to keep living and fight. He gives her everything she needs and is there for her time and time again. I love when he says, “Feyre is whatever she chooses to be.” He never holds her back or discourages her. All he wants is for her to be happy and achieve her fullest potential. That is a relationship that is worth fighting for. The relationship between them is deeper on a different level than Feyre and Tamlin. And I nearly died when he confessed that he had visions of her and knew who she was and did all of these things to protect her. He was perfect but still flawed and broken in his own way so his love and their relationship never felt fake.

A lot of people were mad about how Tamlin treats Feyre, calling him OOC and that Sarah J. Maas made him OOC just to give Feyre and Rhys a reason to get together. I couldn’t disagree more. Even in ACOTAR, Tamlin is controlling, overprotective and possessive. But now, he comes home with Feyre after being abused, getting his power taken away, and being forced to watch the love of his life risk hers. While he could literally do nothing. I personaly don’t find it a little unreasonable that he is struggling with being overprotective and having a lot of rage built up inside him. I find it ridiculous when people expect characters to remain the same throughout a series, even when they have to deal with some messed up shit, then act like the author is doing something horrible by being realistic and showing change. I think it would disrespectful to the readers and the characters to just act like nothing affected them and change doesn’t happen. I thought that the deterioration of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship was sad but not OOC and not unexpected.

I also adored Velaris and the everything about it and when Rhys and his friends talk about being the Court of Dreamers, I was legitimately tearing up. Feyre just seems so perfect and comfortable there, like it’s her home and where she was always meant to be. I love everything it represents and says about Rhys and how hard everyone was willing to fight for it. Listening to Rhys’ story of everything he did and had to go through was so heartbreaking but wonderful at the same time. My emotions are so jumbled. I hated seeing how he was treated by everyone and how much being a slave killed him, but I have so much respect for everything he did to save Velaris and to help Feyre. I think the fact that he did everything he did in the first book, like behind the scenes, and to realize how much he loved her, then that he was going to let her live her life with Tamlin, just speaks volumes about him. I just want him to scoop Feyre up and fly her home to Velaris where they can spend forever together, watching the stars and dreaming. If Velaris is not still standing by the end of this series, I’m going to have some issues.

And is anyone else freaking out over how awesome Feyre’s powers are? She is a mega badass to the max. Her and Rhys are the ultimate power couple. And my heart melted when he declared her his equal, like formally to the court. Rhys is such a dream boat. But seriously, I can’t wait for Feyre to fully discover the extend of her powers and mess some bad guys up in some huge battle. Just imagine her and Rhys flying side by side, winnowing in and out of places to slaughter bad guys. Ughhhhh, I can’t wait. I’m also super excited to see where Lucian and Elain go because uh, apparently they are mates… Didn’t see that one coming. I wonder if Cassian and Nesta are mates too because they definitely had something going on there. The chemistry between the two of them was sizzling. I think Nesta needs to seriously pull that stick out of her butt and go for Cassian because they would be an awesome couple and he seems like the sort of guy that she needs desperately.

Speaking of the ending, I’m having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight. I’m so happy that Rhys trusts Feyre to spy on Tamlin and the Spring Court and I nearly sobbed in relief when he said they still had their bond. I can’t wait for Feyre to screw up all of Tamlin’s evil plans and go flying back into Rhys’ arms. I’m really upset that at least the beginning of the next book is going to focus on her and Tamlin which means less lovey time with Rhys. But Rhys is probably going to be busy trying to save Cassian from dying (that poor baby, I’ll die if his wings are gone forever) and keeping Velaris from being destroyed. I’m actually really nervous to see how Elain and Nesta handle being fae now but I feel like Rhys will take good care of them and his court is a good place to be since they don’t have many formalities and can handle Nesta raging out. I don’t even know what I think about the bad guys except that I want the queens to die horrible deaths and suffer for all of eternity.

I realize this was a huge jumbled mess and I didn’t talk about the plot nearly as much as I’d wanted to but I’m too emotional overwhelmed right now to care. Mostly, I’m dying inside because I want the next book so bad. Help. I don’t know how to handle this right now.

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: 

16 Most Anticipated Books of 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Books of 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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: 

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?