Jade City by Fonda Lee


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Author: Fonda Lee
Series: The Green Bone Saga (#1)
Read: May 12th-15th
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Genre: urban fantasy
Rating: ★★★

In short: A heart-stopping thriller about family, greed, and crime empires, with a little magic thrown in. 

GoodreadsFAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Continue reading “Jade City by Fonda Lee”

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The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang


35068705 Author:
 R. F. Kuang
Series: The Poppy Wars (#1)
Read: May 11th-12th
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: May 1
Genre: fantasy
Rating: ★★☆

In short: An amazing, engrossing world that comes with a protagonist’s journey that’s impossible to put down. 

A NOTE: There’s been a lot of discussion about this book, and I want to make it super clear that the author classifies this as adult. It’s definitely not for younger readers. Here’s a thread discussing trigger warnings that’s worth a glance if you plan on reading The Poppy War. Part of what makes this book’s violence so brutal is that it draws very closely from real life events, so it can get pretty harrowing and I would recommend using caution.

Goodreads: When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

7908762Author: Sharon Shinn
Series: Elemental Blessings (#1)
Read: January 14th
Publisher: Ace Books
Release Date: May 10th, 2010
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

In short: an inventive, absorbing fantasy world with a great cast of characters. Seriously, read this.

Goodreads: Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river. 

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right. But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood and the secrets of the royal family she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.

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Meet Cute, ed. Jennifer L. Armentrout

33503607Editor: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Standalone
Read: Jan 2nd-4th
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: romance
Rating: ½

In short: The premise is such that some of these stories felt too short, but some were super adorable. I guess that’s to be expected!

Goodreads: Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke


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Author: Lianne Oelke
Series: Standalone
Read: Jan 10th-11th
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Genre: contemporary
Rating:

In short: So unexpectedly good—hilarious and entertaining and a wonderful ride.

Goodreads: The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

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Mini Reviews #7: Spec Fic, Oh My!

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Oh yes, there’s five mini reviews headed your way today. I word-vomit about The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden; An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson; The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine; Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner; and The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst.

Some spoilers for prequels of The Cursed Queen and The Reluctant Queen ahead!

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A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole


34848498Author: Olivia A. Cole

Series: Faloiv (#1)
Read: Jan 9th-10th
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Genre: sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★☆

 In short: an absorbing, beautiful introduction to a space saga that’s way better than Avatar. It got a little slow-paced at times, but it’s impossible not to be drawn to Octavia’s story.

Goodreads: Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

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Everless by Sara Holland

32320661Author: Sara Holland
Series: Untitled (#1)
Read: January 4th
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★☆☆

In short: Oh, where did it all go wrong? An interesting premise, but meh everything else. Unpopular opinion alert.

Goodreads: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air (#1)
Read: January 2nd
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

In short: She delivers! Some actually evil faeries, a plot full of scheming, and an exciting introduction to a new series.

GoodreadsOf course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson


 Author:
 Seth Dickinson
Series: Baru Cormorant (#1)
Read: May 18th-19th
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Genre: political fantasy
Rating: ★★★

In short: What to say about a book so good I’ve read it twice in the span of three months? Amazingly plotted, exquisitely written—if you’re looking for a gripping fantasy novel, this is it.

GoodreadsThe Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

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