Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer (#1)
Read: July 1st-6th
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In short: Under the pretty language there’s some insta-love, some confusing mythology, and setting that should’ve been fleshed out more. I had hope, but it was not to be.

Mild spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Goodreads: Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

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Summer Days and Summer Nights, ed. Stephanie Perkins

I’m back! Very late, I know, but maybe reviewing twelve stories at once will make up for it?

 Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Standalone
Read: May 21st-24th
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Genre: romance
Rating: ½

In short: Some of these stories were absolutely wonderful, some less so, much like in Perkins’s previous anthology.

Goodreads: Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

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The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals (#1)
Read: January 31st
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Genre: YA mystery
Rating: ½

In short: as tight and fascinating as Barnes’s plot itself is, the clichéd characters brought this book down for me.

Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

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The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner


 Author:
 Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen’s Thief (#1)
Read: January 19th
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 1996
Genre: fantasy
Rating: ½

In short: I’m a bit biased, since I’ve read nearly the whole series now, but The Thief introduces the reader to a fascinating world of politics, squabbling kingdoms, and mythology that any YA high fantasy fan needs to live in!

Goodreads: The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

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The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine


Author:
 Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen (#1)
Read: January 16th-18th
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ¾

In short: a little slow here and there, but otherwise a well-written, captivating story!

Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

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The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent


Author:
 Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise (#1)
Read: October 7th-8th
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Genre: dystopian, urban fantasy
Rating:

In short: this was a really interesting concept and world, but poor execution. The plot drags along, and the build-up leaves you hanging.

Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


Author:
 Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1)
Read: May 8th-9th
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Genre: fantasy, retelling, NA
Rating: ★

In short: I so wanted to love this, but I ended up feeling really…neutral towards it. I wanted to love the characters, the romance, the setting, the story…I wanted to get to the end and wish I had the next one. But I ended up not really caring.

Goodreads: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

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Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham


Author:
 Jennifer Latham
Series: Standalone
Read: July 25th-28th, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Genre: urban fantasy, YA, mystery
Rating: ★

In short: the characters were intriguing, the setting was interesting, but the plot was far too messy for me to enjoy.

Goodreads: A voice-driven mystery perfect for fans of Veronica Mars.

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


Author:
 Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn (#1)
Read: May 12th-14th
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Genre: high fantasy, retelling
Rating: ★

In short: even months later, I’m so on the fence about this book. Was it good? In parts. But it was not so much a retelling that told the story differently than one that just…told us the same story over again.

GoodreadsOne Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Author:
 Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy (#1)
Read: February 10th
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Genre: sci-fi, dystopian
Rating: ★★★☆

 In short: equal parts boring and interesting, and a first half I loathed. The ending managed to pull it around… but I’d still recommend Red Rising over it.

Goodreads: The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

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