Tag Archives: fantasy ya

Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Well, hockey playoffs didn’t last too long in this house. More time to read:)

Currently reading: dreamfall

Finished reading: Four weeks Five PeopleGirl out of waterEliza and her monstersAntisocial

Reviewed: WarbringerDefy the Stars

What I’m hoping to get to next week: avengedThe Gauntlet to read

Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters to review

Books read it 2017: 69

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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Book Review: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Release date: August 29th 2017

4 stars

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.

When Leigh Bardugo and Wonder Woman collide, I expect great things. This was the first book release of the four planned DC Icons series featuring Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batman, and Superman and it set the bar pretty high. I was never into comics growing up so my superhero love is a more recent thing and I feel like I’m forever playing catch up to these amazing characters’ stories. Maybe not knowing all the details about Wonder Woman’s story helped me just be able to read and enjoy this book since I wasn’t looking for holes or differences.

Diana was definitely a badass but she was a badass who had yet to prove herself to her sisters and to her mother. She was still young compared to most of them and longed to be accepted. She was really easy to relate to in a lot of ways. She just wanted to do what was right and keep her family safe. She was smart and determined and brave. And while she was trying to save everyone, she was going through her own self-discovery journey.

The plot ticked off most of what I would expect from a book based on a superhero. The origin story, the moral dilemma, the mission, the sacrifice, and of course the good versus evil. I could recognize Leigh Bardugo’s signature storytelling through the whole book and it just drew me in. There were a few predictable moments but still many twists that were surprising and makes me wonder if we’ll see another Wonder Woman book coming out soon.

I thought the book did a great job showcasing a young Diana on the cusp of her legacy, making her relatable but also other-worldly. The supporting cast were all wonderful additions and the five teens that ended up on the mission together were a lot of fun to watch banter back and forth. If there is a sequel, I will definitely be reading it.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review: The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beatty

traitors-kiss

The Traitor’s Kiss

Release date: May 9th 2017

3 stars

An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

This was one book that I was really excited for when I’d first heard about it so when I found myself having a hard time connecting with the characters and getting into the book as a whole, it was disappointing. It felt very slow, which I’m usually fine with as long as there’s great character dynamics and world building. But both of those elements really felt like they were lacking so there was nothing to make up for the slow pacing.

Sage was not a character who really drew me in to her story. She was a very judgmental girl, especially toward other girls, and I wasn’t a fan of the way she thought she was better than them because she was a tomboy with no interest in boys and they liked things like make-up. I’m not a fan of the heroine continuously putting down other girls just so she stands out as different. It felt like one of those “all the boys like her because she’s so different, which makes all the girls hate her” trope that I really, really dislike.

If I had connected more with Sage, I think there’d be a chance I would have liked the book more, or at least been more forgiving of the slow pace and lack of interesting character dynamics. It ended up being pretty predictable, which could also be because I have read so many fantasy books in the last year or so that it feels like not much surprises me anymore. There were glimpses of potential for some great supporting characters.

I will likely pick up the sequel when it comes out to see where the author takes the story, to see if my theories are right, and because I hate leaving a series unfinished.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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March Wrap-Up/April TBR

Another month done, another month closer to Summer.

March Wrap-Up:

royal-bastards Royal Bastards – Andrew Shvarts. 4/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this world and the misfit feel to the group of characters.

hundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti. 3/5 stars. It took me a while to get into this one. Once I did, I thought it got better but it still didn’t pull me right in.

hidden-memory-of-objects The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the twist with the main character being able to see memories attached to objects.

the-crowns-fate The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye. 4.5/5 stars. Review. A great follow-up to one of my favourite books from last year.

upside-of-unrequited The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli. 4/5 stars. Review. Another great follow-up to a favourite from last year.

geekerella Geekerella – Ashley Poston. 4/5 stars. Review. So cute and I enjoyed picking out the parallels between this story and Cinderella.

Blacklist Blacklist – Alyson Noel. 3.5/5 stars. I missed the competition aspect from the first book but this one definitely upped the mystery factor.

Lotterys Plus One The Lotterys Plus One – Emma Donoghue. 3/5 stars. It was a really cute story but it did feel like a MG-written story.

Miss Ellicott's School Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded – Sage Blackwood. 3.5/5 stars. Another cute story and I really enjoyed the magical world.

starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. 4/5 stars. Review. I did miss that the misfit crew from the first book was less present in this one but it was still great going back to this world.

flame-in-the-mist Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing and this one already has me excited for the next one.

image After the End – Amy Plum. 3/5 stars. I really enjoyed the Revenants series so I had high hopes but it took me a while to get into this one.

image The Last Thing You Said – Sara Biren. 3.5/5 stars. The way the two main characters kept hurting each other out of grief was very realistic.

image Maud – Melanie L Fishbane. 4/5 stars. Review. It was a little strange at first, reading a fictionalized version of LM Montgomery’s life when I grew up in PEI but it was good.

image Wild Beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore. 4/5 stars. There’s something very magical about Anne-Marie McLemore’s writing and the characters she creates.

Metaltown Metal town – Kristen Simmons. 3/5 stars. This was another one that was hard to get into. The pacing was a bit uneven.

The Midnight Dance The Midnight Dance – Nikki Katz. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed the dark and twisted spin the plot took but there was a lot of things that could have been explained better.

April TBR:

Ramona Bluetraitors-kissWindfallone-of-us-is-lying

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Sometimes I feel like all I do is read. And I’m perfectly content with that. Actually, I’m ecstatic.

Currently reading: The Midnight Dance

Finished reading: Metaltownimageimageimage

Reviewed: flame-in-the-miststarfall

What I’m hoping to get to next week: traitors-kissRamona Blue to read

imageimage to review

Books read it 2017: 51

Debut authors read in 2017: 15

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Book Review: The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

flame-in-the-mist

The Flame in the Mist

Release date: May 16th 2017

4 stars

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 The Rose and the Dagger so I was really excited for a new series by Renee Ahdieh. It had the same feel as her previous books while being a whole new story with new, wonderful characters, and an entirely new setting. I fell in love with the world, with Mariko, and with the rebels.

Mariko was one of my favourite characters that I’ve read in a while. Renee Ahdieh has a way of creating amazing female characters who are powerful and feminine and who can hold their own against the male characters. Mariko was tough and very capable of taking care of herself. She was the type of character, flawed, determined to succeed, brave, who makes me want to never leave the world created within the book.

The supporting cast were all great and well-developed. From Mariko’s brother Kenshin, to the Emperor, to the members of the rebel Black Clan, especially Ranmura and Okami. They were all great additions and played off each other well. It lead to amazing character dynamics, which is always one of my favourite things in a book.

The setting and plot were absolutely addicting. It was easy to spot the Mulan retelling but it definitely stood on its own as well. As expected from The Wrath and the Dawn duology, the setting was described in wonderful, vivid detail and the romance was swoon-worthy. It was impossible to put this book down until it was finished, and when it was finished I didn’t want it to be over.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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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:

reneagdes

Renegades

Release date: November 7th 2017

Goodreads: Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Why I’m excited: It’s by Marissa Meyer first of all and the description definitely makes it sound like something I will love.

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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 is Top Ten books I read in one sitting.

10. boys i've loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han. This was a really cute book and easy to devour in one sitting.

9. frost like night Frost Like Night – Sara Raasch. I read the first two books in this series really fast as well but it was the conclusion that had me up all night.

8. the-hate-u-give The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas. The super relevant story line had me unable to put this one down until I was finished.

7. the crown's game The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye. The sequel was also addicting but it was the first one that had me completely sucked in.

6. Caraval Caraval – Stephanie Garber. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

5. starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. I loved the first one but this companion focused on characters I fell in love with when they were supporting and they got a chance here to have their own story.

4. goodbye-days Goodbye Days – Jeff Zetner. Sad stories, or devastating stories, can be very, very hard to put down.

3. goodbye The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand. See above. This one remains one of the books that I still think about since reading it.

2. a-list-of-cages A List of Cages – Robin Roe. I loved the focus on friendship over romance in this one.

  1. secret-of-a-heart-note The Secret of a Heart Note – Stacey Lee. I really liked the whole history of Mim’s family and this was so cute.

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Book Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

the-crowns-fate

The Crown’s Fate

Release date: May 16th 2017

4.5 stars

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

The Crown’s Game was one of my favourite reads last year and its sequel easily made my most anticipated of this year list. The Crown’s Fate picked up soon where The Crown’s Game left off and threw me right back into the world I’d fallen in love with. This book took all the elements I loved about the first book and added to them. It started off darker than the first and got darker as it went along. The character relationships got more complicated, the battle for the throne felt like it could turn deadly at any moment, and it completely sucked me in.

Vika may have won the game and become the Imperial Enchanter but it was nothing like she expected. Pasha was struggling under the pressure of suddenly becoming tsar and how to protect his kingdom. Nikolai was trying to find his way back to the real world from the shadow world and ended up with a darkness inside him. The new circumstances in each of their lives meant the dynamics between them all had changed and it was really interesting to see how it all played out. The dynamics between these three characters was a huge favourite aspect of the first book so I loved seeing it still so present in the sequel.

As mentioned, this book got a lot darker than the first. There were even more displays of magic, plenty of times I worried about my favourite characters being in danger, a lot more political talk and moves, and plot twists. The pacing was really good, not too fast and revealing new information or twists without getting overwhelming. Between the “needing to know” feeling each chapter gave me and loving the characters so much, I couldn’t put this book down. I wasn’t sure if Evelyn Skye would be able to make me love the sequel more than I did The Crown’s Game, but she did, and I did.

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

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Book Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

royal-bastards

Royal Bastards

Release date: May 30th 2017

4 stars

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.
At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.
Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.
Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.
The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

Royal Bastards was an entertaining read that had kept me intrigued the entire time. There were plenty of interesting characters, plot twists, and adventure to push the pace so the book didn’t feel slow. It started off pretty light and got darker as the book went on, and if the series keeps getting darker as it goes on that should make for a very dark last book.

The book was told all from the POV of Tilla, who was ultimately a girl who just wanted her father’s love and attention. She cared deeply for her friends, especially her half-brother Jax, and wanted to keep them safe. She went through a lot of character growth and realizations in the course of this book and I liked that, while it was a lot of growth, it wasn’t too much where it might feel like she has nowhere to grow in the next two books.

My favourite thing about the book was the Breakfast Club vibe given off by the five teens who ended up on the run. The fact that they were all so different and knew each other for different amounts of time meant loyalties were tilted. It was hard to trust someone after only knowing them for a day but they had to in order to survive. I also really liked that it played away from the usual fantasy tropes of the main character being a “chosen one” who will save the world. There was magic and a war brewing but the main focus of this first book was the teens staying alive, figuring out their parents’ end game, and introducing the reader to the world.

There were a few things that did throw me a bit. There seemed to be a lot of modern terms used in the dialogue with the medieval setting. It wasn’t enough to take me out of the story but just enough it make me pause every now and then. Also, there were a couple bigger twists that I saw coming. Again, not enough to take me out of the story but it was enough so that I wasn’t shocked when it happened.

Overall, it was a solid first book that does have me excited to see where the author takes the series.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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