Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Lola Nolan is ready to have the perfect year. She has an amazing new boyfriend (that her fathers don’t approve of), she’s made some new friends at work (Anna and Etienne), and she’s going to go to her school dance wearing a Marie Antoinette dress she made herself, but when the Bell family finally moves back next door, Lola is going to have to reevaluate what she thinks is important and with a little help from her amazing friends maybe she can find her way back to the boy next door.

 

I can see why this is everyone’s favorite out of the Anna and the French Kiss series. Cricket Bell is just too adorable for words and Lola feels like an authentic teenage girl (honestly I wish I had thought of going to a school dance in a Marie Antoinette dress). In a lot of these YA romance books the best friend falls to the wayside once the main character gets a boyfriend and I liked that that got addressed. Lindsey has enough presence in the book to justify her existence and as Lola works through her issues, Lindsey falls in and out of the picture. In the end there is a wonderful moment where Lola realizes that she’s been neglecting her friend and while they never fight about it or have too big of a heart to heart about it, I do like that it was acknowledged and fixed. I also liked that from the beginning there is something off about Lola’s relationship with her boyfriend, Max. It isn’t just because he’s older than her and she’s underage either. I like that it is obvious that he doesn’t care about making a good impression to her family, he makes fun of her friends, and there are times where he doesn’t seem all that interested in her interests. In contrast, Cricket is the exact opposite and the fact that he does care just makes the fact that Max doesn’t care pop out that much more as the story progresses. While I do think it’s weird that Perkins has this scenario of cheating/almost cheating in both this book and Anna and the French Kiss, I thought it was handled better in this book and that might be because Max was a presence in the book and Etienne’s ex-girlfriend wasn’t in the previous book. It was acknowledged that Lola’s behavior was wrong because she was clearly interested in Cricket, but was still dating Max and I liked that multiple people told her so and in different ways so it wasn’t like “cheating is bad” was beat over the readers heads. I also liked that Etienne and Anna were seamlessly brought into the story and they didn’t feel out of place or a cutesy way to tie the books together. They served a real purpose and I liked that their friendship with Anna was a little different from her relationships with everyone else. While there were a couple of characters that I wish got explored more (mainly Lola’s birth mother, Nora, and how their relationship changed over the course of the book), I did think this book was very sweet and very cute and just an overall feel-good book.

Watcha Reading Wednesday (#67)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you all have been having an amazing week.

This week I’m reading Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

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Sorry the picture is so dark! It’s really hard finding good spots to take pictures here. I’m excited to start reading this book because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I hope it lives up to the hype!

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

Wondrous by Travis M. Riddle

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***I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review***

RATING: 3.5/5

SYNOPSIS: When nine-year-old Miles went to bed he was safe and sound in his Austin home, but when he wakes up he finds himself in a world that is nothing like Texas at all. In this realm Miles has magic powers and finds himself in the midst of a civil war as well as under threat from an attack by a monster. Both rulers believe that Miles is the one who can defeat the beast, but can Miles control his powers so he can get back home?

 

The first thing that struck me when I started reading this book was the fact that Miles clearly had anxiety and I was excited to see how it played out and how awesome it was to have someone be heroic even though they had anxiety. Unfortunately, Miles anxiety and phobia of germs disappeared over the course of his adventure and while it did have some relevance to his character growth, I wish both of those things weren’t something that he could get over because those types of things aren’t something that a lot of people can get over no matter how hard they try. I also thought that the use of flashback interwoven with Miles’s present circumstances was awesome. I liked that the flashbacks were triggered by what was happening with Miles in that moment and I like that it didn’t just jolt back to reality, but flowed into the present. The flashbacks never felt unnecessary and I liked that Miles needed to learn from his past in order to survive his present. One thing that I didn’t like was that Miles witnesses some truly horrifying things for a nine-year-old and how that affects him isn’t really explored. The antagonists weren’t particularly evil either, especially when compared to the intense violence and death that occurs. Since the antagonists didn’t live up to the violence, the violence didn’t feel like it belonged in the book. The characters that were kind to Miles felt almost overly kind, but they were treating him like the nine-year-old he is instead of the chosen-one-hero he’s expected to be by other characters. There was just a lot of moments that felt like it should’ve been in a book for older readers (or at least happen to an older hero). I wanted these tragedies to hit Miles the way it would a teen hero because these kinds of situations happen to the teen heroes and we (usually) see some fallout from it. I also didn’t like how familiar the world was. There was a lot that had parallels to Miles’s world (which made me think he was dreaming) and I wish it was more clear whether Miles was in a dream or an alternate universe. You could easily draw parallels between some of the characters in the fantasy world to people in Miles’s life which made me think this was a Wizard of Oz type situation and that he was dreaming the whole thing to help him cope with his problems. The only other thing that I wished happened in this book is that we got some closure from the ending. We never find out how Miles ended up in this fantasy world, we never find out how long he was gone from his real world, we never find out what his parents thought happened to him, and we never find out how the lessons he learned in the fantasy world affect how he lives in his own world. There was a lot of potential in this book. I loved the writing style and I liked that Miles was dealing with problems that a lot of children face. While there were a lot of problems, this was a good first book and I hope to read more from Riddle in the future!

 

Many thanks to Travis M. Riddle for allowing me to read his book! Get your copy here.

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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***I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review***

RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Vasya’s mother died giving birth to her and hoped that Vasya would have magic just as powerful as her grandmother. Vasya can see the spirits that care for her village and live in the forest surrounding her home, but the spirits grow weak when her stepmother and the village’s new priest turn the village away from their old ways and toward the fear of God. Vasya keeps faith with the spirits, but as darker forces grow more powerful is one girl’s belief enough to save her people?

 

This book has everything that a fairy tale should and yet all the typical fairy tale hallmarks are twisted in a different way. There’s an “evil” stepmother, but is she really evil or just scared of what she can’t understand? There’s a “wild” girl, but is she really wild or just living an existence that we don’t understand? I also love that Vasya is never described as being a beauty, but it is her personality and her carriage that make her beautiful to many. The prose was beautiful and had that cadence that fairy tales have. I don’t really know how to describe it but if you read fairy tales or even Russian novels (at least for me) there’s just a particular phrasing and pace that a fall into which I like that Arden was able to replicate. I loved Vasya’s relationships with all her siblings, but I wish they got explored just a little more. When Olya and Sasha go away, I wanted more about them, but I understand that this is Vasya’s story and her siblings aren’t as important as they seemed in the beginning (especially Sasha). I also like that Vasya’s father kept her at somewhat of a distance because she was her mother’s last child and while she didn’t look like her mother, looking at her reminded him of her so there was some tension there. The mythical creatures in this book were fun for me as well because I don’t really know a lot about Russian folklore so all the creatures were new to me! This book is a classic fairy tale that is also distinctly Russian in both the setting and the telling. I liked that Arden didn’t go with the Russian tradition of everyone having three different names that everyone calls the other characters because that gets so confusing and instead kept it to one nickname, one full name, and one pet name that is universally used by all the characters. I also liked that the fairy tale doesn’t end the way you expect it to and that it doesn’t have the perfect “happily ever after” ending. There’s some vagueness to the way Vasya’s story ends where you can decide for yourself what happens to her next. Overall I really enjoyed this book and while it was a little slow in the beginning, after the set up it really picked up and had me turning the pages in anticipation for what would happen next!

Thanks Random House for allowing me to read this book! Get your copy here.

Watcha Reading Wednesday (#66)

Happy Wednesday! I hope the new year is treating you well!

This Wednesday I’m reading Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.

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It’s just as adorable as Anna and the French Kiss and I can see why everyone likes this book the best. Also I can see why Cricket is everyone’s favorite boy! The chapters are just flying by! I’ve already read half the book without realizing it. I can’t wait to see how Cricket and Lola will finally get together.

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

Anticipated Releases of 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is amazing for everyone!

While I didn’t read every book that I was excited for last year, I did get to read most of them and I’m excited to share my new list! I feel like I haven’t been as on top of 2017 releases as I was with 2016 releases, but I think I have a pretty decent sized list. So without further ado, here are the books I’m most excited for in 2017:

1. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (January 3)

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Summary from Goodreads (Spoilers for Passenger):

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

I really enjoyed Passenger and I’m even more excited to find out what happens next! I love how much research Bracken put into the first book and I’m excited to see what times and places she’s going to take us to next. I’m also looking forward to the further development of Etta and Nicholas’s relationship and see what revelations will be revealed!

2. Wires and Nerve, Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer, illustrated by Douglas Holgate (January 31)

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Summary from Goodreads:

In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

I’m so excited to return to the world of the Lunar Chronicles and I’m especially excited that Iko is the lead. It’ll be interesting to see what has become of everyone since “Something Old, Something New” or directly after Winter (I’m not quite sure where this will fit in the timeline just yet). I’m also glad that the graphic novel is a whole new story rather than a representation of one of the novels like a lot of books have.

3. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (February 7)

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Summary from Goodreads (spoilers for Glass Sword):

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

With the way Glass Sword ended, I can’t wait for King’s Cage! Since Mare will be back at the palace I’m hoping for more courtly intrigue which I loved in Red Queen and missed in Glass Sword. It’ll be interesting to see how everything changes and what consequences everyone’s actions will have!

4. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (February 21)

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Summary from Goodreads:

The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab

London’s fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

I discovered this series last year and I’m so excited to see how it ends! The previous book ended on a cliffhanger and I’m dying to know what happens next. I’m sad that the series will be over after this book, but I hope that the ending is just as amazing as the beginning!

5. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (March 28)

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 Summary from Goodreads:

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

I fell in love with Chokshi’s writing last year with The Star-Touched Queen and I am so excited for this companion novel! While I’m sad that Maya and Amar’s story is done, I did love Gauri’s character in The Star-Touched Queen and I can’t wait to see her develop further!

6. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (May 2)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

This is another series that I discovered last year and I’m so glad I read it in time for the surprise third book! I love Lara Jean as a character (especially since she’s one of the few YA teenagers that reminds me of myself when I was in high school) and I especially love the people in her life. I’m excited to watch her grow further and I can’t wait to see what happens!

7. The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan (May 2)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .

Battle ostriches on the cover means this book is going to be amazing! I love Riordan’s books and I love that he doesn’t just create the same heroes for every series. He strives to make each book different, but at the same time so familiar. I’m excited to see how Greek and Roman mythology is further intertwined and I can’t wait to see new and old faces!

8. Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (May 16)

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Summary from Goodreads:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

I loved The Wrath and the Dawn and I’m so pumped for this book! It gives me some Mulan vibes (with the whole disguising herself and going to fight), but it also sounds like something I’ve never seen before. It’ll be fun to read a fantasy book that based in Japanese lore since there aren’t that many that I’ve seen!

9. Wonder Woman: Warbringer (August 29)

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Summary from Goodreads:

The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

We only ever see Wonder Woman as Wonder Woman so it’ll be fun to see a younger Diana taking on the world. The concept sounds so fun and interesting and I love Bardugo’s writing style so I know I’m going to love this!

10. The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan (October 3)

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Summary from Goodreads:

In the third book in Rick Riordan’s epic Norse mythology series, Magnus and his friends take a boat trip to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Life preservers are mandatory for this wet, wild, and wondrous adventure.

I am so sad this series is ending because it is one of my favorites, but I am excited to see how Ragnarok is prevented one last time! I can’t wait to see how the ending of The Hammer of Thor ties into this book. I’m excited for more pop culture references and learning more about Norse mythology!

What are some books you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments! I’d love the recommendations!

 

 

End of the Year Spotlight 2016

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This year I had an easier time picking out my top 10 favorite books of the year. While I’ve read many amazing books, this year the most amazing stood out head and shoulders above the others. So without further ado here are my personal favorites (in no particular order) that I read this year!

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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This book was a ride from start to finish! It had been such a long time since I’d read a fantasy book with so much action and swept me away so thoroughly. While this book did come out last year (and I still have the sequel on my nightstand) I’m so glad I didn’t wait to long to discover it!

2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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This book was one that enough people talked about on social media so that I had to see for myself. The prose is absolutely beautiful and there are so many amazing passages where Sáenz just nails certain emotions and is able to give words to those often indescribable feelings. It is definitely a book for people who love words.

3. Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

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From the very first line I was hooked! I devoured A Darker Shade of Magic and it’s sequel, A Gathering of Shadows (which is not pictured because I gave it to my mom to read). I was blown away by the world building and fell in love with the interesting and unique characters. The concept delights me and the cliffhanger at the end of A Gathering of Shadows has me clamoring for the third and final book!

4. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

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Of all the Star Wars books I’ve read this year, Lost Stars was far and away the best one! It perfectly blended all the elements you expect from a story set in this universe while also being able to stand on its own. The characters were fresh, the way it blended with the original trilogy was great, and I love that while you knew what was going to happen, you didn’t know how it was going to happen. It had that perfect blend of action and romance and the fight scenes were amazing! I could just see the battles happening right in front of me! I’m excited to read her other Star Wars book and hope I’m not disappointed.

5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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I am a big fan of retellings and this retelling of the 1,001 Nights is one of my favorites! I love that it isn’t just a straight retelling and Ahdieh weaves what we know with elements of her own invention. She takes a story that so many know from all the various retellings of the specific stories and of the actual completed tale and gives us fleshed out characters with varying motives and ever changing hearts. While I still need to read the sequel, I’m sure it’ll sweep me along just as surely as this one did!

6. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

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Of Riordan’s newest mythology books, this one is my favorite! I love how Riordan takes the opportunities within the myths to be more inclusive because there are myths to explain everything, including gender and sexuality. I also will continue to love that Magnus is not a warrior like Riordan’s other heroes, but a healer and he’s such a big softie (though he tries to hide it). The characters as always are funny and shine through the words. I wish that this was the five book series and not a trilogy, but I have a feeling that Riordan isn’t done with Magnus just yet!

7. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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I’ve slowly been working through Stiefvater’s work after discovering The Raven Cycle last summer and I can see why this book is most people’s favorite. The world building is exquisite and obviously crafted with love. I also am a big fan of horses and this book is chock full of horses! It is also heavily Irish in both the storytelling and the setting which was fun to read!

8. Jackaby series by William Ritter

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When I saw this series described as “fantasy Sherlock Holmes” I knew I had to read it and was not disappointed! The book is lively and while it is intended for younger audiences, it is fun for all ages! The characters are funny and there are so many wonderful quotes throughout. The third book came out this year and I’m excited to read that as soon as I’m able.

9. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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Unfortunately I don’t own a copy of this beautiful book…yet, but believe me when I say that the contents are just as beautiful as the cover. There aren’t enough words to describe how beautiful this book is or how much I love the characters of Maya and Amar. It was fun being exposed to a different kind of fantasy and new mythical creatures and I can’t wait to read more from this wonderful author!

10. When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

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I fell in love with this author last year with her debut novel and her follow-up is even better! I’ve never read a ton of magical realism, but I am a big fan of the way she writes it. I also love that everyone wasn’t entirely as they seemed and in the end everyone got what they desired, even the antagonists. The love story is sweet and beautiful and the family relationships shown throughout are wonderful. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

What are some of your favorite reads of the year? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

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RATING: 3/5

SYNOPSIS: After discovering that Jamie did not die at Culloden as planned, Claire searches through history to find where he ended up so she can rejoin him and tell him about their daughter.

PREVIOUS:  Outlander Dragonfly in Amber

 

I was so disappointed in this book. Dragonfly in Amber had the perfect mix of historical accuracy, political intrigue, and fictionalization that made it impossible to put down and then with Voyager I had to take a five month break from reading before I could bring myself to finish it. The problem with this book is that it took way to long to bring Jamie and Claire back together. While it was cool seeing what happened to Jamie in the years after Culloden and before Claire’s return, they were just boring without Claire there. Likewise it was cool to see Claire’s life as a woman doctor in the 1950s-1960s and her friendship with Joe Abernathy, a black man, but her life too was just so boring without Jamie. The book didn’t get back to the crazy hijinks so prevalent in the first two books until the last quarter of the book and I’m sure everyone knows just how thick these books are and know that that is much too late for things to get exciting. I wish that we got less detail on the in between events and jumped to the reunion sooner. I did like how Claire’s sudden return affected everyone and she wasn’t just welcomed back immediately with open arms. She had to reestablish relationships with everyone which was nice to see. I also appreciated that we didn’t see everything about Jamie’s life and had a few surprises when Claire returned. This book made me feel like Outlander should’ve been a duology instead because the first two books were so strong and Voyager was so weak. I’m willing to give the rest of the series a shot though because something tells me that their daughter, Brianna, is important and I’m excited to see how they deal with the American Revolution (also I hope we see more Lord John Grey because honestly Claire needs to bond with him over Jamie instead of them being jealous of each other). Overall the ending was solid, but it took forever for the book to get to an exciting point. I hope the rest of the series turns out to be better.

Watcha Reading Wednesday (#65)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your all having a good week. Sorry about not posting one of these last week!

This week I’m reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

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I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book and so far I’m intrigued. The writing style is just like that of a Russian novel, so it does take a while to get into. I’m interested to see what happens and how the story will unfold. Right now I’m just on the set up.

What are you guys reading? Let me know in the comments!

 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Mirabella, Katherine, and Arsinoe are triplet queens with special abilities. During their sixteenth year they will use their abilities to kill the others because only one can be the true queen. Mirabella is a skilled elementalist, but her sisters show no skill in their fields of poison and naturalism. With the whole country backing Mirabella, Katherine, Arsinoe, and their allies must work hard to keep themselves alive, but does Mirabella even want to be queen?

 

This book was a lot slower than I was expecting and I guessed the plot twist, but I still found myself enjoying it! I loved each sister’s distinct personality and I loved their allies even more. The writing style was interesting to me because it felt like the action was unfolding in front of me and I was actually in the story rather than being told a story that had already happened. The world is also interesting and I want to know more about it. magic exists on the island and nonmagical people exist on a different land, but the two never meet but once every so often. I want to know more about the nonmagical land because it feels so much like our world and I want to know more about this land of queens because it feels so ancient and mythical like stories have been told about it here for centuries. As I kept reading I found myself wanting more and more! I also liked that every character had consequences for their actions and the anger/hurt between characters didn’t drag out for too long while also not being resolved too easily. One complaint I did have was that Arisnoe’s chapters were hardly ever about Arsinoe and instead were about her best friend and protector, Jules. While I did love their relationship and Jules is a very interesting character that I’m interested in seeing develop further in the next book, I wanted more from Arsinoe especially since her sisters very rarely shared page time with other characters. My second complaint is that the relationship between Mirabella and Joseph felt random and forced. I’m interested to see how it all plays out in the end and I understand that it is a result of Arisnoe’s actions, but it isn’t very clear and the writing doesn’t make it clear what the attraction is whether it is just attraction or something more. I feel like I need more information to accept it. Katherine is really the only character I didn’t have any problems logicwise or storywise with in her chapters and the way her arc ends in this book leaves me very excited for the next one. It does end on a cliffhanger (with a plot twist that I saw coming), but the twist has me excited for what is to come. I think Blake has set herself up very nicely for an explosive sequel and if the sequel goes well I think it’ll make this long setup worth it!