Book Review: Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

frost like night

Frost Like Night

4.5 stars

Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.
Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.
Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.
Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.
As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

Frost Like Night is the conclusion to the amazing Snow Like Ashes series. I have loved every single book in this series and the conclusion did not disappoint. Since it was the conclusion, I don’t want to say too much so I don’t end up spoiling anything in the series.

There was everything I wanted in this book. There was action, character growth, surprises, edge of your seat moments. The book was told in dual POVs again, Meira and Mather, and I really enjoyed being in both their POVs. We got to see both of their perspectives on things and when they were separated, there was no wondering what was going on with the other group. We also got to see Ceridwen’s POV and she was an interesting addition. She was a warrior and not someone I would want to fight against.

The book picked up where the second left off and it was fast-paced the whole way through. I started it late at night and I couldn’t stop. I kept reading until I was finished. There was never a good stopping point where I wouldn’t be wondering what happened in the next chapter. 500 pages and it flew by!

A great conclusion to a great series.

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Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

shadow bright and burning

A Shadow Bright and Burning

Release date: September 20th 2016

4 stars

Henrietta can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.
Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

This was one of my highly anticipated Fall books so I was really excited to receive an ARC of it. My expectations were high with the cover being so pretty, fantasy books this year being so good, and the concept peaking my interest right away. It made me all that much happier to find that my expectations were being met and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Henrietta was a character where I really enjoyed being in her POV. She was funny, protective of the girls she was responsible for, and had a fierce determination to prove everyone who doubted her wrong. Her loyalty to her best friend, a boy the world looked at as wrong, was amazing and made me love her even more. I liked that nothing came easily, she worked at her powers, she trained hard, and she earned the respect of the group.

The boys she trained with and befriends were all so different and were able to each add something to the story. Some were more involved than others but each of them was distinct and I never got confused between them. I really enjoyed the friendships that were developing between her and the boys, the ones we saw between the boys, and Henrietta’s fatherly relationship with their teacher. I’m always big on interesting character dynamics and this book delivered.

I thought the plot was equal parts fun, action-packed, and tension-filled. There was more attention paid to the characters and their relationships and developments than there was to world-building but I’m hopeful that the next book will have more explanations about the Ancients and how the world came to be as it was. We did get some world-building through Henrietta’s lessons and it was enough to form a picture but I’m always up for more information.

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

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Book Review: All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

all-we-have-left

All We Have Left

4.5 stars

Now:
Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. The only way to make amends is to face the past, starting Jesse on a journey that will reveal the truth about how her brother died.
Then:
In 2001, sixteen-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim… it’s being a teenager that she finds difficult. After being grounded for a stupid mistake, Alia is determined to show her parents that that they must respect her choices. She’ll start by confronting her father at his office in downtown Manhattan, putting Alia in danger she never could have imagined. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them. Interweaving stories past and present, full of heartbreak and hope, two girls come of age in an instant, learning that both hate and love have the power to reverberate into the future and beyond.

I absolutely fell in love with the writing in this book. It made the transitions between the two POVs in two timelines seamless, the whole story flowing so well. Both main characters were interesting and I loved the way their stories were intertwined. I also loved what the author chose to be upfront about and what she chose to reveal later on. I had theories going in, before I even started reading, and they were confirmed almost right away so I wasn’t left feeling like I had guessed some big twist too easily.

Jesse was the main character from the present time. Her older brother died in the attack on September 11th but the reason why he was in the towers was still a mystery. His death haunted their family, no one wanted to talk about him, and with Jesse being just a baby when it happened, she knew almost nothing about her brother. The family was falling apart and she blamed his death and the attacks. Her journey was not only about self-discovery but about acceptance and learning.

Alia was the focus of the past timeline. Whereas Jesse’s took place over the course of weeks, Alia’s took place within the same day, September 11th 2001. She was an artist and desperately wanted to go to a special program that she’d gotten into but her parents grounded her. She went to the towers where her father worked to plead her case one last time. Her POV showed just how much a person can grow and find the strength they never knew they had when they need to in order to survive.

I liked the contrast between the two girls’ parts. If Jesse’s showed how hate and fear can spread through a group, Alia’s showed how compassion and humanity can cause a group to band together. I thought the author did a great job addressing the discrimination, people’s fear, and the Islamic faith. There were many, many quotable moments in this book and so many observations that were on point.

Most definitely an important read.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

continent

The Continent

Release date: January 3rd 2017

Goodreads: For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.

Why I’m excited: That cover!!!! I am always up for fantasy mixed with survival and this one already has me curious if the Continent is as uncivilized as it claims or if there’s more going on.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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It has been an interesting week. Also, it felt like a long week. It feels like a lot happened since the last time I posted this and it’s only been 7 days.

Currently reading: the-season

Finished reading: all-we-have-leftspare-and-found-partsfrost like nightshadow bright and burning

Reviewed: replicaps i like you

What I’m hoping to get to next week: how-to-keep-rollingbright-smoke to read

all-we-have-leftfrost like nightshadow bright and burning to review

What this means for my 2016 challenges:

  • 164 books read in total
  • 82 contemporary books read
  • 64 paranormal/fantasy books read
  • 43 2016 debut authors read
  • 93 reviews posted

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten audio freebie. I’m doing Top Ten books I’d watch as a musical.

10. more happy than not More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera. I loved this book in print form and I would definitely see it as a musical with a eclectic collection of songs. The fast-paced song when they’re playing, a funny one about the book series the main character loves, the big ballad of realization.

9. all the bright places All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven. I know this one is being turned into a movie but I would totally turn into a puddle of tears at Violet and Finch singing about their pain.

8. salt to the sea Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys. Historical musicals have resonated with me and I could see myself falling head over heels with this one.

7. open road summer Open Road Summer – Emery Lord. Is it cheating when this book is already so music-influenced?

6. wrath and dawn The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh. The dresses on the two covers make me want to see them on stage. I can imagine my favourite song from this being the one where she would sing about realizing that she’s falling for the person she’s supposed to kill.

5. rites of passage Rites of Passage – Joy N Hensley. I think I would have trouble choosing a favourite song in a musical adaptation of this one. It would be either one of the intricate group numbers where the cadets are being put through their paces or Sam’s big moment of determination song.

4. fangirl big Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell. It would be totally fun to see Simon and Baz always popping up on the corner of the stage as if in Cath’s imagination.

3. swan The Silent Swan – Lex Keating. Another one that would likely have a toss-up for favourite song. It would be between the cute couple-y song sung while our mains are having a cooking lesson or the fun song sung by everyone playing baseball.

2. the selection The Selection – Kiera Cass. The book series didn’t blow me away but it was fun to read, much like I think a musical of the series would be. And the gowns and dance sequences!

1. orphan queen The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows. I think this one would have a clear favourite song. The one where Wil first meets the Black Knife alone. Or maybe Wil singing about remembering the night her Kingdom was taken.

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Book Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

replica

Replica

Release date: October 4th 2016

3.5 stars

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

What drew me in, at first, with this book was the concept. Two separate stories that would come together to form one larger story. I was really intrigued to how that would play out. The two POVs were not alternating, instead they were one after the other. I had a digital edition of the ARC but I’m very curious to see how to final physical copy is presented.

I liked that it didn’t matter which story the reader chose to read first. I read Lyra’s first simply because it was first in the e-ARC and therefore was easier. Both girls had interesting stories and I was happy that I found myself enjoying both equally. When I was reading Gemma’s I didn’t find myself wishing I was still reading Lyra or thinking that Gemma made Lyra’s uninteresting. Both parts worked well together and were both needed. Each part gave clues to the overall story.

Lyra, or 24, was born at Haven. It was all she ever knew. She only had interactions with the doctors, nurses, and her fellow replicas. She loved to read and would read anything she get her hands on, which wasn’t much, and she yearned for affection. The doctors and nurses that would show the replicas affection never lasted long. When she escaped, everything was so new to her and that would have been hard enough to deal with but there was also the huge mystery of what exactly Haven was doing to her.

Gemma was very sheltered by her parents as she was sick a lot as a child. She had one friend, Alice, in school and when her parents decided at the last minute she couldn’t do spring break with Alice, Gemma rebelled. I understood her frustration and her need for answers to the secrets that her parents were obviously keeping from her. I liked seeing her test herself and find she was stronger than she knew.

The supporting characters were interesting. Pete and Jake and Alice on Gemma’s side, 72 on Lyra’s, Gemma’s parents who seemed to have some connection to Haven. I was excited to read to see how everything tied together. There was less time to develop them since some of them were only or mostly only in one girl’s part but they still felt like character who were important.

This book was over 500 pages but it didn’t feel that way at all. I flew through it. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right or I needed to find more clues to form better theories. I know there’s a second book planned and I’m excited for it.

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

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Book Review: PS I Like You by Kasie West

ps i like you

PS I Like You

4 stars

Signed, sealed, delivered…
While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!
Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

I have absolutely adored every Kasie West novel I have read and this one was no exception. It was absolutely the perfect book for a really nice, end of summer day. I enjoyed all the characters, the chaos of Lily’s family, her passion to music, and even though I was able to guess the mystery lyric writer early on, it was so enjoyable that I didn’t care that I’d figured it out. I just wanted to keep reading and keep smiling.

Lily was such an easy character to relate to. She was awkward, had no clue how to talk to boys, had no privacy at home due to her big family, and she had this great sense of humour that had me grinning many times, thinking her remarks would be something that would have easily come out of my mouth in that situation. She could also be quick to make assumptions about how she perceived other people’s actions and quick to anger.

Her family was a huge favourite of mine through the whole book. They reminded me so much of my own family, completely crazy and busy but totally supportive of each other. They added something to every scene they appeared in and I loved it.

I did enjoy the mystery of the lyric writer and Lily’s pen pal even though it was predictable. It didn’t feel predictable to Lily, like she should have obviously known who it was all along. If it had been me, in real like, I never would have guessed so it made sense for her not to figure it out in the book. I don’t want to say too much about who he was because I don’t want to give it away.

It was a quick read and I loved every second of it.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

the-wish-granter

The Wish Granter

Release date: February 14th 2017

Goodreads: The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.
So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.
But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

Why I’m excited: First, I really enjoyed The Shadow Queen which is a companion to this one. Same world, different character. Second, it’s based on Rumpelstiltskin and it looks like it’s going to be dark, filled with sibling dynamics, and a badass main character. How could I not be excited?

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Still re-watching Andromeda but also taking some time to watch The Fosters. I had watched the first half a season then got distracted. Netflix is a dangerous thing.

Currently reading: shadow bright and burning

Finished reading: replicagamescapeps i like youlast-true-love

Reviewed: Leave melike a river glorious

What I’m hoping to get to next week: frost like nightspare-and-found-parts to read

replicaps i like you to review

What this means for my 2016 challenges:

  • 160 books read in total
  • 81 contemporary books read
  • 61 paranormal/fantasy books read
  • 42 2016 debut authors read
  • 91 reviews posted

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