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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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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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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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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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


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Author: Morgan Matson
Series: Standalone
Read: May 15th-16th
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Genre: contemporary
Rating:

In short: The Unexpected Everything is just what I expected—funny, heartbreaking, and so, so readable.

GoodreadsAndie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

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Up Till Dawn Reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik


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Author: Naomi Novik
Series: Standalone
Read: October 19th-20th
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★

In short: holy bagels, what a book. Gorgeous prose, a hilarious main character, and a beautiful Poland-inspired fantasy setting all make this a win.

Goodreads: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

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The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow


Author:
 Erin Bow
Series: Prisoners of Peace (#1)
Read: October 4th-7th
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Genre: dystopian, sci-fi
Rating: ★

In short: fantastic. Mindblowing. Exactly the opposite of every YA dystopian you’ve ever read, and in such a good way.

Goodreads: The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

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What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler


Author:
 Aaron Hartzler
Series: Standalone
Read: September 30th-October 1st, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: ★

In short: Pretty much left me speechless. Powerful, frightening, and raw. Trigger warning for graphic rape.

Goodreads: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

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Up Till Dawn Reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


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Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows (#1)
Read: September 29th-30th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★

In short: ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Morally ambiguous characters, a cracking heist, and a lovely setting, Six of Crows has got it all.

Goodreads: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed


Author:
 Aisha Saeed
Series: Standalone
Read: May 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: ★

In short: so, so, so important. Gut-wrenching and terrifying and an emotional rollercoaster, and definitely worth the read. Trigger warnings for rape and abuse.

Goodreads: This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

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