BookTubeAthon 2017 Wrap up

I have participated in BookTubeAthon since the first year but I have never completed all of the challenges. This year was the year that I accomplished everything! When I was planning my books to read, my goal was to complete all of the challenges except for the one to read 7 books. I ended up with 3 books on my TBR for the week.

Here’s how my week ended up going:

Monday- I decided to start with the challenge to read a book in one day because I figured I would be the most motivated on day one. I ended up reading An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.

Tuesday- On day two I finished Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie and many other authors. I had started this before the readathon but I finished it to complete the challenge to read a hyped book. After that, I read 100 pages of Lucky in Love by Kasie West for the challenge to read a book completely outside.

Wednesday- I finished Lucky in Love and read 50 pages of Flame in The Mist by Renee Ahdieh. Flame in The Mist completed the challenge to read a book about a character that is very different from yourself. All of the characters in Flame in The Mist are Japanese. I also read this book because the Biannualbibliathon was going on during the same week as the BookTubeAthon and Flame in The Mist was their group book to read. I wanted to at least participate in the Biannualbibliathon a little bit so I was happy that I got around to this book.

Thursday- I finished Flame in The Mist and read 100 pages of Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen which was for the challenge to read a cover buy.

Friday- I finished Beastkeeper and I started and finished The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin. The Ice Dragon completed the challenge to read a book with a person on the cover.

Saturday- I had family over for the day and didn’t read anything.

Sunday- I started and finished The Peculiar Night of The Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano. This completed the challenge to read 7 books.

RATINGS

An Enchantment of Ravens: 5/5 stars

Because You Love to Hate Me: 3/5 stars

Lucky in Love: 4/5 stars

Flame in The Mist: 5/5 stars

Beastkeeper: 2/5 stars

The Ice Dragon: 4/5 stars

The Peculiar Night of The Blue Heart: 3/5 stars

The Half-Drowned King

By: Linnea Hartsuyker

*Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I would recommend this book for ages fifteen and up.

Summary

Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson’s father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family’s land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather’s betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.

But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It’s not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather’s cruelty comes at the hand of her brother’s arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom. (Goodreads)

My review

I first heard of The Half-Drowned King on twitter and I was immediately interested. The premise sounded completely unique and their aren’t too many books that take place during the ninth century. Linnea manages to introduce the reader to a setting that is unfamiliar to most with ease. It was very clear that she put a lot of research into this novel and she knew what she was describing. I loved how she was able to relay the sense of pressure that Ragnvald, and all the characters, were put under. She also showed the constant underlying danger that they were all in.

Linnea was also able to fit two different narrators with two very different storylines into this book and make it cohesive. Unfortunately I enjoyed one of the storylines quite a bit more than the other. I felt like Ragnvald’s story started to drag  and became repetitive. I really enjoyed the first 150 pages or so but then it started to lose steam near the middle. I was also surprised by the lack of action there was in The Half-Drowned King. Considering this book was about vikings, I was expecting quite of bit of action. This made the book feel even more slow moving and meticulous.

I’m always a fan of sibling relationships in books since they are pretty scarce when compared to romantic relationships. At first, I loved the bond that Ragnvald and Svanhild had but, in the end, I wasn’t as impressed. In the last couple of pages it seemed like they were two completely different characters than before and I wish that they had more time together throughout the novel.

I’m still not sure how I feel about The Half-Drowned King. I think if the length of it were cut down by about 100 pages it would be a much stronger opening to a new trilogy. My favorite parts were definitely the setting and underlying intrigue that Linnea described beautifully and realistically.

READQUEEN

Stars: 3/5

Pages: 448

Buy Book Here: Amazon

Stalking Jack The Ripper

By: Kerri Maniscalco

*I read an ARC of this book for review

I would recommend this book for ages fourteen and up.

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world. (Goodreads)

My Review

I really struggled with this book and ended up picking it up and putting it down three times before I finished it. Stalking Jack The Ripper has been receiving countless rave reviews which is why I continued to pick it back up. In the end, it just wasn’t for me. In my mind, I split this book into four separate parts. I enjoyed the second and fourth parts of it.

I tried to figure out what exactly ended up being the reason I couldn’t get into Stalking Jack the Ripper and I think it came down to the characters. There were only about six recurring characters and I liked one of them. I really tried to connect to the two main characters but they really bothered me. We have Audrey Rose, who another reviewer, Wendy Darling, described as a 21st century girl transported back in time. While I loved how confident and capable she was in everything it seemed a little forced. It would have been enough just having a girl in that time period apprenticing with her uncle in forensic medicine. The other main character, Thomas, bothered me even more. There is a possibility that I just had really high expectations of his character because everyone has been talking about how wonderful he is. Unfortunately, to me he came off as arrogant and mean. I couldn’t understand how Audrey Rose fell in love with him. I mentioned earlier that there are very few main characters in this book which made guessing who the killer was a little too easy. The reveal of ‘Jack the Ripper’ also fell into a trope that I’ve been reading a lot of recently.

With all of that said, I really enjoyed Kerri Maniscalco’s writing style. She also was amazing at world building. Her descriptions of 19th century England and Audrey Rose working with her Uncle were the highlights of this book. In the end, I’m very conflicted about Stalking Jack The Ripper. While I had a lot of problems with it, I still enjoyed about half of the book. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with the series yet or not.

READQUEEN

Violence: 4.5/5 Stars                        Stars: 3/5

Language: 0.5/5 Stars                      Pages: 336

Romance: 2/5 Stars                          Buy Book here: Amazon

January Wrap up and February TBR

January wrap up

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: 3/5 stars

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: 5/5 stars

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han: 4/5 stars

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han: 4/5 stars

We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han: 4/5 stars

The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby: 4/5 stars

Mafiosa by Catherine Doyle: 5/5 stars

A List of Cages by Robin Roe: 5/5 stars

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco: 3/5

February TBR

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

It was not enough. All knowledge- any knowledge – called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.

Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot supress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger – for where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

When We Collided by Emery Lord

We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

  • All summaries came from Goodreads

Caraval

By Stephanie Garber

*I received an ARC of this book for review.

I would recommend this book for ages 14 and up.

Summary

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. (Goodreads)

My Review

I was completely shocked that I loved this book as much as I did. Reviewers have been raving about Caraval for months now which is why I was a little put off by it. Many times I’ve been super excited for a book but once it gets hyped up my expectations get higher and many times the book doesn’t reach what I was hoping it would. This was not a problem with Caraval, it deserves all of the hype it has been receiving.

Everyone has been comparing this book to the Night Circus by Erin Morganstern which I can see. Caraval definitely shares the same beautiful and lyrical atmosphere of The Night Circus but I don’t think that the plot or the characters resembled it at all. Stephanie Garber wrote something unique that is completely her own, and honestly, I much preferred it over The Night Circus. The setting was gorgeous and I loved how she described Caraval and explained the rules of the game as the story moved forward. There was no info dumping, she simply told you the information as it was needed.

As always, my favorite part of Caraval were the characters. Scarlett and Tella are sisters as well as best friends even though they have completely opposite personalities. Scarlett is the follow the rules type while Tella believes in living life to the fullest no matter how much trouble it may cause. I loved that Stephanie showed the pros and cons of both personalities and how both sisters accepted each other for who they were and were willing to defend each other no matter the situation. Even though there was definitely a romantic storyline I felt like it was more of a backdrop to the relationship between Scarlett and Tella. Of course, Julian was wonderful too and the relationship between him and Scarlett was written very well. Many times in books, once the two characters fall in love they are completely willing to give everything up for each other. It was refreshing to have two characters that loved each other but were still fighting for their own individual causes.

In short, this book was absolutely incredible and it’s going to be a huge success once it comes out. I can’t wait to read the second one and I’m very interested to see how Stephanie will continue the story.

READQUEEN

Violence: 3/5                           Stars: 5/5

Language: 0/5 (?)                  Pages: 401

Romance: 2/5                         Buy Book Here: Amazon 

Kids of Appetite

By: David Arnold

I would recommend this book for ages 14 and up.

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Summary

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love. (Goodreads)

My Review

I don’t have too much to say about this book because I didn’t love it or hate it. I was excited to read this book because I heard that it was about a gang of orphans. While that was some what true it wasn’t at all what I was expecting and unfortunately I didn’t end up liking it. The story itself felt a bit choppy and random. The writing was also very different which probably added to how the story fit together. I started out really enjoying it but I slowly lost interest. The characters were definitely unique which was enjoyable for a little while until they started to feel a little over the top.

The plot itself was a very new idea and I don’t feel like I will ever find another book that is similar to this one. I also really enjoyed the ending. I appreciated that it tied a lot of loose ends together and ended in a pretty realistic way.

READQUEEN

Romance: 2/5                 Stars: 2.5/5

Language: 3/5                Pages: 352

Violence: 2/5                   Buy Book Here: Amazon

December Wrap-up and January TBR

December Wrap-up

  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff: 5/5 Stars
  • How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes: 4/5 Stars
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman: 4.5/5 Stars
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: 5/5
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay by J.K. Rowling: 5/5 Stars
  • What Light by Jay Asher: 3/5 Stars
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson: 2/5 Stars
  • Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes: 5/5 Stars
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: 4.5/5 Stars
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber: 5/5 Stars

January TBR

Last month was my first time doing a TBR and I managed to read every book on my TBR on top of three others. Since it worked so well I’m going to try it again this month.

1. Crown of Midnight: Sarah J. Maas

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

2. Shiver: Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

3. Mafiosa: Catherine Doyle

A blood war rages on the streets of Chicago.

Protected by an infamous mafia family, Sophie is living a dangerous lie, pretending to lead a normal life. But the deceit can’t last for ever. Her heart belongs to a killer and Sophie’s the prime target of a rival clan. She’s determined to seek revenge on her mother’s murderers, but can she pay the price – can she be a mafiosa?

4. RoseBlood: A.G. Howard

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

5. Teach me to Forget: Erica Chapman

This is the story of Ellery, a girl who learns how to live while waiting for the date she chose to die.

Ellery’s bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place.

Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over–return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows–the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

Colter quickly uncovers what she’s hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she’s faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether she can learn to live with what she’s done or follow through with her plan to die.

6. Three Dark Crowns: Kendare Blake

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

7. City of Saints And Thieves: Natalie Anderson

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

*All summaries come from Goodreads

My December TBR

I never ever make a TBR (to be read) because I very rarely stick with them, but I’m going to give it a try.

Crystal Storm: Morgan Rhodes  

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MAGNUS and CLEO are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he’s no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption.

LUCIA, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe . . . but could mean her demise.

JONAS treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey.

AMARA has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she’ll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge.

And what kind of darkness will descend–and who will be safe–after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death? (Goodreads)

The Sun is Also a Star: Nicola Yoon

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Goodreads)

Fantastic Beasts Screenplay: J.K. Rowling

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When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best. (Goodreads)

Scythe: Neal Shusterman

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In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives. (Goodreads)

How I Live Now: Meg Rosoff

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“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way. (Goodreads)

How it feels to fly: Kathryn Holmes

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The movement is all that matters.

For as long as Samantha can remember, she’s wanted to be a professional ballerina. She’s lived for perfect pirouettes, sky-high extensions, and soaring leaps across the stage. Then her body betrayed her.

The change was gradual. Stealthy.

Failed diets. Disapproving looks. Whispers behind her back. The result: crippling anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dancing dreams entirely. On her dance teacher’s recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she’ll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can’t cope.

What I really need is a whole new body.

Sam forms an unlikely bond with Andrew, a former college football player who’s one of her camp counselors. As they grow closer, Andrew helps Sam see herself as he does—beautiful. But just as she starts to believe that there’s more between them than friendship, disappointing news from home sends her into a tailspin. With her future uncertain and her body against her, will Sam give in to the anxiety that imprisons her? (Goodreads)

What Light: Jay Asher

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love. (Goodreads)

Heartless

By Marissa Meyer

*I received this book early from Macmillan at BEA

I would recommend this book for ages 13 and up.

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Summary

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans (Goodreads.)

My Review

The original Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorite disney stories. Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite authors, and villain origin stories are pretty much my favorite thing. Therefore, I pretty much knew that this would be amazing. I read this book in probably five or six hours and for the first time in my life, I officially have a “favorite book.” After I finished Heartless, I went and watched the original disney movie and almost everything in the movie tied into some part of the book. It was insane how even the minuscule things that don’t even matter in the movie mattered in the book. This book completely crushed me, which I knew would happen going in considering the title of this book and knowing that it is a villain origin story.

My favorite part of this book are the characters. Most of the main characters in this book are part of The Alice in Wonderland movie, with one exception. One thing that I was very impressed with was how Marissa didn’t copy the disney version of the characters but yet she tied into them. The characters through out the book were their own separate person but then closer to the end she shows how they begin to become the characters that we know them as. These characters are some of my favorite characters of all time and the romantic pairing is also my new favorite. The main character, Cath was completely realistic which I loved but that would also make her completely frustrating at the same time. While Jest was my favorite character, almost every other character was a close second. This book felt a lot like the Raven Boys in the sense that every character is so fleshed out.

The world was of course fantastic. As I was watching the movie, it was super easy to pin point the places were everything happened. Marissa put scenes in the book that happen in the movie many years later but with different characters. The way the castle, the looking glass, and even a theater were described were very easy to imagine and not in the slightest bit confusing.

Basically, I didn’t think Marissa could get better than the Lunar chronicles but she completely upstaged her previous books. It doesn’t even feel like the same person wrote the two. Heartless is now my favorite book of all time and I could not find a single thing wrong with it.

READQUEEN

Romance: 1/5                      Stars: 5/5

Language: 1/5                     Pages: 416

Violence: 3/5                      Author: Marissa Meyer

My Favorite Books: Fantasy

12954620 Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: I started this series three years ago right before the second one came out. Falling Kingdoms introduced me to ‘high fantasy.’ It’s a good series to read for someone who wants to try to get into high fantasy.

Six-of-Crows Six of Crows: I read an ARC of Six of Crows a couple months before it came out. I hadn’t read Leigh’s other series but I knew that it had good ratings. Six of Crows ended up being my favorite book of last year. I have almost only seen positive reviews for it and I can’t wait for the sequel.

an-ember-in-the-ashes-by-sabaa-tahir An Ember in The Ashes: An Ember in The Ashes came out last year and it was extremely hyped. I actually got so annoyed with hearing about it that I didn’t read it. This year, I went to BEA and my friend gave me a copy of the sequel, A Torch Against The Night. When I came home from Chicago, I read An Ember in The Ashes and I really enjoyed it. It isn’t one of my all time favorite books but I think it deserved the hype that it got.

51qIsV1-G1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Percy Jackson: Percy Jackson will always be in my favorite series list. I read them for the first time in fifth grade and have read the entire PJO and HOO series four times. It’s a series that I think everyone should read and every age could enjoy.

81tPvW3NBvL The Infernal Devices: This is a spin off series from the mortal instruments, which I haven’t read and don’t plan on reading. I feel like what sets this Cassandra Clare series apart from her others is the romance. This book has been unanimously decided by the book community to be the best love triangle in young adult books. The love story seems to be what most people remember from this trilogy. It’s nice to have a fantasy series that is calmer and not all about the action.

thegirloffireandthorns_new-200x300 The Girl of Fire and Thorns: The general plot for this book series is a little strange, but Rae Carson pulls it off in a way that made me not realize how odd it was until after I finished reading it. I read this series three years ago so it is hard to remember everything but I know I loved the books and read them very quickly. I immediately gave them to two of my friends and they loved them too.

The_Two_Princesses_of_Bamarre The Two Princesses of Bamarre: This book is in my top three favorite books of all time; I’ve read it eleven times. It is a stand alone fantasy book which is something I rarely see. It has creatures that I’ve never heard of and a unique plot. The story never felt rushed even though there is only one book and it is pretty short.