The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I was tagged by Vivian @ Inked In Pages and Monique @ That Wild Soul. Be sure to check out their posts! I added a few books to my TBR thanks to their answers heh.

This tag was created by Chami @ ReadLikeWildFire and Ely @ Ely Jayne on YouTube. It’s where we look back at (and freak out over) the books we’ve read during the past six months.


 

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2016

six of crowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows is probably my favorite book so far this year. My review probably didn’t do enough justice as to how much I loved this book, but I loved the setting, the writing, and most of all the characters. I’m rooting for a happy ending for everyone, although I have a feeling it won’t be that way…

Honestly I’m just happy that the hype was real and well-deserved. This, along with Uprooted by Naomi Novik, is a book I’d enthusiastically recommend to anyone.

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Review | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

a court of thorns and rosesA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
Published May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury, 432 pp.
Summary:

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 over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

 


If I had to pick one word for this book it would be sexy. Or great. Most likely it would be sexy.

I actually started reading this in its ebook form, but I lost interest in that quickly last year. But I picked up the physical versions a month ago since everyone loved ACOMAF so much and I though, mannnnn I’ll have to read ACOTAR to get to this one. So I did. Now I know that the format the book comes in does actually matter, lol. To me, at least.

True to the usual Sarah J. Maas style, the last hundred pages of this is where all the action comes in; most of the book is spent with Tamlin and his court with a few interesting interludes (hello, Suriel! Hello, Rhysand!).

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First Lines Fridays: 1 July 2016

It’s that time of the week again – Friday! And hello July! Hopefully you’ll take it easier on me than June did….

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 

I believe most of you have already read this!

The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.

I’d been monitoring the parameters of the thicket for an hour, and my vantage point in the crook of a tree branch had turned useless.

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Review | The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

the neverland warsThe Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
Published May 9, 2016 by Clean Teen Publishing, 302 pp.
Copy provided by Clean Teen Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary:

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.


 

Ahh that cover. If only I could love the book as much as I love that cover.

The Neverland Wars feels a bit incomplete – a lot of loose ends are left, and I still have so many questions, the foremost being: how in the world do “adults” transmute magic and funnel it into the “real world”? The last time I heard and read the word “transmute” was when I was a huge fan of Fullmetal Alchemist and suddenly it pops up here without a concrete explanation.

Also, I’m trying out a new-ish review format, so if you don’t feel like reading through this review, there’s a handy summary at the bottom! 😀 Skip to TL;DR, haha.

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The Alphabet Book Tag

Hello you guys! I was tagged to do the Alphabet Book Tag by Morgan at Happily Ever Bookish – if you haven’t checked her blog out, please do so! 🙂

Rules:
Pick a book that is on your shelf or one that you have read in the past and fill out each letter of the Alphabet. The idea is to use books that you have either read or that are on your TBR list.

For this book tag, I’m utilizing both my TBR and read shelves in Goodreads (let’s be friends! Hehe) so you guys have an idea of what I like reading 😀 Ones italicized are on my TBR, and the ones with the star beside them are my favorites.

and i darken

A
And I Darken by Kiersten White

beautiful player

B
Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

crimson bound

C
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodgestar

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June TBR

It’s halfway through the year, I can’t believe it! At least we’re closer to the release of some of the books I’ve been looking forward to this year. For the meantime, this month’s TBR features books that have been in my TBR pile a few months too long, a series y’all convinced me I should give a fair chance to, and a book that apparently is quite good but under the radar!
the bird and the sword
  • The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

I found out about The Bird and the Sword through Mariana Zapata’s readers’ group. I can’t remember the thread, but it got mentioned repeatedly, and I got intrigued! Also, it looks like another book that has a focus on language as a form of power (literally, and figuratively) – hopefully I’ll like this one much, much more than the other one I read earlier this year.

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May Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! May has ended and here where I am, the rainy season has set in. It’s still kind of hot, but at least I have rainy days to look forward to.

As usual, I set my TBR at a comfortable 7 books (including my requisite classic and uncharted genre ones, the latter of which I have yet to post, hah) – for the first time since January I somehow managed to complete the TBR!

avZf09U

 

Reviews

DSC_0383

For May I managed to review 9 books, which is a pretty healthy mix of the start to a new series….

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – finally, a book where I can get behind the hype! Multiple POVs work so well with this one, and you get to know the characters and their motivations through it, not just view other relationships through another lens. Much wow, highly recommend.
  • The Falconer by Elizabeth May – if there is one word to describe this book, it would be mash-up. So many genres in one book, but at least it’s interesting! The fae lore could be explored a bit more, but I think that’ll be tackled in the next book.
  • The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross – part-historical fiction, part-fantasy, this is one of my pleasant surprises for the month. This is based on Western Asian history, definitely not a setting you see often! Or at least, I don’t see often.

standalones…

  • The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine – a Snow White retelling; this was just okay, but I find the universe it’s set in interesting, so I’d probably read the next one. This is the first of a series of standalone books set in the same universe.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – an anticipated 2016 read! But it didn’t quite meet my expectations, just somehow touched them? Beautiful writing and awesome world-building, but plot was a bit lacking for me. This is another standalone in a series of books set in the same universe, and because the world-building is A+ I’m looking forward to the next one.
  • Dreamology by Lucy Keating – another sort-of foray into contemporary YA, but still with a mix of fantasy. Not my favorite, because the actions of some of the characters don’t sit well with me, but if you’re looking for a light, fluffy, dreams-come-true kind of read, and can look past what the characters did so they can be together, this one will do it, I think!

and a sequel!

  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – well, Rowan certainly doesn’t make a good first impression, but at least he got his act together when Aelin really needed it. Finally almost caught up with this series, just the Queen of Shadows to go!

I also read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, whose Merricat is one of my favorite narrators ever, and a DRC, A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth.

Digital Review Copies

 

I trawled through NetGalley for books I could add to my TBR (and maybe request too), and I ended up getting approved for The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse (A+ cover), and Unseen Messages by Pepper Winters. The former is a Peter Pan retelling, and the latter is a survival-type of contemporary romance. Excited to start reading these!

Upcoming

I have a book tag to fulfill (the Alphabet Book Tag), and I’ve yet to post my Uncharted Genre for May, so I’ll get right to that! I was actually a bit thrown off my mojo during May, because for one, our internet and landline conked out at the end of April and only got fixed around the 3rd week of May. At least it’s fixed now!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

the star-touched queenThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
Published April 26, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin, 342 pp.
Summary:

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

How goes it?

The Star-Touched Queen is like cotton candy – fluffy, sweet, but when you bite into it there’s not much to it. Not to say that I don’t like books like this, because goodness knows I do, but if you’re expecting something epic, then maybe you’ll be a tad let down.
This is also a standalone, but will have other books in the same universe, so I’m looking forward to those! The world-building here is awesome, so even if this book isn’t my favorite, I’m looking forward to reading other books set in this universe!

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The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

shadow queenThe Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine (Ravenspire #1)
Published February 16, 2016 by Balzer + Bray, 387 pp.
Summary:

A dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White, from C. J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series. Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cinder.

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic of his own—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman—and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

How goes it?

The charm of retellings has yet to fade on me, and I’m always on the lookout for more (hit me with recs!), so here’s another addition to my shelves! This book is in the middle ground for me – not bad, but I feel like there is untapped potential in it.

The Shadow Queen is a Snow White retelling, following Lorelai in her quest to overthrow Irina and reclaim her place as Ravenspire’s true queen. In the neighbouring kingdom of Eldr, Kol finds himself the reluctant king when his family is killed on the battlefront. With magic-wielding ogres threatening Eldr, he needs to fight fire with fire – and the closest source is Ravenspire’s queen. In exchange for Eldr’s protection, Kol is tasked with getting back the princess’ heart. Complications arise, loyalties are tested, and Lorelai’s mardushka mettle is tested when she and Irina face each other in a battle that can only end when one of them dies.

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April TBR

A third of the year has gone by, what?! How?! I hope that by the end of this month, I’ll have read all 5 of these! TBR for this month features sequels and standalones 😀

the rose and the dagger

  • The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Ah yes, The Wrath and the Dawn, the great divider. It’s either you love it, or you hate it. I belong to the former, so I’m very much looking forward to the sequel almost a year later. I’m rooting for you, Shazi and Khalid. Give me a happy ending!

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