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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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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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


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Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger (#1)
Read: January 22th-26th
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Genre: time travel, historical fiction
Rating:

In short: Passenger is one of the few time travel books I like, with a great cast of characters to boot!

Goodreadspassage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

 Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands (#1)
Read: January 8th-16th
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Genre: fantasy
Rating:

In short: Truthwitch is definitely a very fun, fast-paced read; whether it lived up to its hype is debatable, but it was enjoyable enough for me to want to read the next one!

GoodreadsOn a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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Rook by Sharon Cameron


Author:
 Sharon Cameron
Series: Standalone
Read: December 27th-30th
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Genre: dystopian, post-apocalyptic, steampunk
Rating:

In short: such a fascinating premise, and a well-told story! Also, bonus points for not being your average dystopian.

Goodreads: History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

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Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Series: Starbound (#3)
Read: December 4th-8th
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: December 1st, 2015
Genre: sci-fi, dystopian
Rating: ★★★★½

 In short: a well-written, engaging conclusion that wraps up the Starbound series wonderfully well!

Spoiler warning for the first two books.

Goodreads: A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

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The Martian by Andy Weir


Author:
 Andy Weir
Series: Standalone
Read: October 10th
Publisher: Crown
Release Date: 2011
Genre: science fiction
Rating:

In short: hilariously written and a very fun read, but its lightness prevents it from exploring some darker themes that would’ve made The Martian a five-star read.

Goodreads: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

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The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


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Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer (#1)
Read: August 20th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Genre: mystery, YA
Rating: ★½

In short: such a great book! Fast-paced, riddled with political mystery, and filled with great characters. Reminded me of my beloved Prep School Confidential!

Goodreads: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton


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Authors: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Series: Standalone
Read: August 16th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Genre: contemporary, mystery
Rating: ★

In short: morally grey characters and great thinking on racism and homophobia, against the backdrop of a cutthroat ballet academy? Sign me up! Even the eh ending didn’t take away from my enjoyment.

Goodreads: Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

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Up Till Dawn Reading: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

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Author: Kara Taylor
Series: Prep School Confidential (#1)
Read: February 1st
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Genre: contemporary, mystery
Rating: ★★½

 In short: so much better than it looks! Anne Dowling is the prep school Nancy Drew, for sure.

Goodreads: In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

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