Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Reneé Ahdieh

The Rose and the Dagger by Reneé Ahdieh23308084

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2

Published: April 26, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

*Spoilers for Book 1 – you can see that review HERE*

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

The conclusion to The Wrath and the Dawn duology was even more enchanting and epic than the first. Some of the issues that I found with the first book were still present (you can read my review for that HERE), but I found that I could not fault the sequel for the problems made in the first installment.

The sacrifices made in this book had me crying – and okay yes, I know that I am an easy crier but I seriously had ALL THE FEELS.

There are plot twists that I didn’t see coming that had me setting down the book in surprise. The introduction of some brand new characters has me thirsting for new stories for everyone in the book because so many remain unexplored! I really hope Ahdieh releases at least some novellas about them in the near future.

The relationship between Shazi and Khalid develops even further, along with their characters. More information about Khalid is given, and it makes me love him even more. The unfailing support that Shazi offers him made my heart swell!

Overall an amazing duology that I have no doubt I’ll be rereading again in the future.

Review: The Queen’s Rising

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross35098412

Series: The Queen’s Rising #1

Published: February 6, 2018

Rating: ★★★★ (4 Stars)

Goodreads

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Brienna was a lover of books and knowledge that I was able to relate to. Even though she wasn’t “naturally” gifted at any of the passions, she worked hard to learn everything she could in the time she was given. Her hard work and perseverance remained even when faced with insurmountable odds.

I love some slowburn romance, and this book delivers on that with the relationship between Brienna and her Master, Cartier. And when I say slowburn, I mean SLOW. In fact, there could have been just a little more romance because after that ending I’m left in AGONY.

This book reads a lot like a standalone. I even checked to see if it was a series halfway through because of the way everything was wrapping up! There really wasn’t anything that wasn’t tied up neatly at the end of The Queen’s Rising, which makes me wonder where the story will go in future installments. There were a few points where I found myself rolling my eyes at plot points (after reading Northanger Abbey, secret passageways will forever make me chuckle), but these parts didn’t really take away from my enjoyment.

This book would have been a lot more enjoyable for me if the major plot twists hadn’t been spoiled by the lineage charts in the beginning. The entire book, the main character wonders about who her father is (the “secret” is revealed like the BIG shock of the book) but the answer is available right in the front for anyone who looks! There are other reveals that can be easily figured out by looking at these charts as well, so I was kind of sad there weren’t any twists I didn’t know. That being said, I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series to see how Brienna is doing!

TTT: Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

Top ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader. This weeks prompt is Characters I liked That Were In Non-Favorite/Disliked Books!

There are so many AMAZING books coming out this year (and next!) that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Here are just a few on that list!

1. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (October 23, 2018)

Throne of Glass is one of my all-time favorite series, so you can probably guess my excitement about the series finale!

2. Vengeful by V. E. Schwab (September 29, 2018)

Vicious is my favorite Schwab book (you can read my review HERE) and when I heard there was going to be a sequel, I LOST MY MIND. I absolutely can’t wait for Vengeful to come out and will be anxiously awaiting September.

3. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (2019)

This book sounds so amazing, with dragons and knights and queens and m/f friendships (plus it’s written by the AMAZING Samantha Shannon). I can’t wait!

4. The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken (July 31, 2018)

The Darkest Minds is one of my favorite series, and I can’t wait to get a post-quel book in Zu’s point of view!

5. The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout (October 30, 2018)

I absolutely adored the Lux Series in high school–I kind of have forgotten a lot of it by now–but I still remember the character Luc. This new book is supposed to be (somewhat) about him and I’m excited for this story!

6. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (October 2, 2018)

Strange the Dreamer was amazingly enchanting with a twist I didn’t see coming. So excited to see what happens in the sequel.

7. Wildcard by Marie Lu (September 18, 2018)

Warcross was one of my favorite books of 2017, so of course it’s sequel/conclusion is on my most anticipated list for 2018.

8. Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (September 4, 2018)

I know, I know, I still haven’t read Godsgrave which is book two in this trilogy, but Nevernight took me for such a wild ride I know I’ll be thirsting for book 3 soon after I’m finished.

9. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton (June 26, 2018)

Jane Eyre is one of my top two favorite classics (the number one spot oscillates between it and Persuasion), and this year seems to be the year of retellings! This ghostly retelling of a classic sounds like something I’ll absolutely love.

10. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Choski (2019) Goodreads

There isn’t that much about this book out in the world yet, but the synopsis and the amazing author mean this story will be delicious.

What are some of your most anticipated reads?

 

Review: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce13836

Series: Immortals #1

Published: December 1, 1992

Rating★★★★ (5 Stars)

Goodreads

Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

I was so excited to return to the magical world of Tortall that Pierce has built. I’m reading all of the series out of order, but I felt it was finally time to learn Daine’s whole story because I wanted to learn more about Numair before starting his new series.

Daine was such a wonderful, strong, and independent female character, especially for her age young of 13! I love how much Daine developed and grew throughout the story. Being able to observe her learning to trust others as well as grow into her own power  was an amazing experience. Numair was a witty mentor to Daine, and I felt his influence helped her on her journey.

I’ve already read the Trickster’s series so I know a bit more about the pair then I should at this point, but that makes me even more excited to see how they both develop. The enthralling storyline and strong characters reminded me exactly why I was drawn to Pierce’s writing as a young adult, and I’m so happy to be able to enjoy these still in my 20’s!

Review: The Glass Spare

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano29622131

Published: October 24, 2016 by Balzer + Bray

Series: The Glass Spare #1

Rating★★1/2  (3.5 stars)

Goodreads          Amazon

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

The Glass Spare was an enchanting story that I found absolutely addicting. I received this book in an OwlCrate last year, and it is probably one of the favorite books I have received from the box over the years.

I loved the world-building, although some of the different countries that were traveled to weren’t fleshed out very much, I always had an idea of the what the scenery was like. The blend of fantasy with technology and alchemy with science made for an interesting dichotomy.

I thought Wil was a strong female character who made decisions befitting her age and seemed to learn from her mistakes. Loom (the male lead) was an interesting side character, although I hope to learn more about his backstory and personality which seemed a little shallow. This may also be because he didn’t show up until a third of the way through the book. One of the issues I had with this story was Wil’s age. I kind of wish she was older because it was a little disorienting that this 15 year old girl was lusting after a married man whose wife had a child. This being said, 15 year old me probably would have found this kind of love story super romantic.

Overall, I thought this book was very strong until the last 100 pages, which is when so many overly-convenient things start to happen to further the plot. The reasons behind a few of the character’s positions and  were very hazy and didn’t make sense if you thought about them even a little bit. This really detracted from the book for me (if you’ve read my last few YA reviews, you know overly-convenient plot points have been getting on my nerves), which I was ready to rate higher up to this point.

I will definitely be reading the conclusion to this duology when it comes out later this year to see where Wil and Loom end up!

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

ARC Review: The Raging Ones

The Raging Ones by K. B. Ritchie30301147

Published: August 14, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Series: The Raging Ones #1

Rating:★★★★★ (5 Stars)

Goodreads               Amazon

* I received a free copy of this ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

I have NEVER read a book quite like this before!

Krista and Becca Ritchie are my favorite Adult romance authors, so I couldn’t wait to pick up their interpretation of a YA Sci-Fi. True to form, The Raging Ones has amazing character development, switching between the points of view of the three main characters: Franny, Mykal and, Court. I truly felt connected to the characters, and I enjoyed learning about their backstories (even if it takes a little bit to get the full picture). It is always so refreshing in a book to have male/female friendships that aren’t romantic! The romance present is also one of the things that made me fall in love with this book, but I won’t say any more on that topic because of potential spoilers.

I loved the world, and felt fully immersed in it with the rich descriptions of the environment. Even though the environment was well described, I will say I was a little hazy on what the characters looked like but that’s not a huge issue. There is still so much of this universe to explore, which is something I’m really looking forward to in future installments.

Pacing wise, the first third of the book is really dedicated to building the relationship between the main characters—which is SO important. However, because of this most of the action takes place in the last two thirds. When the pace of the book picks up, YOU DON’T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. I can’t believe that I have to wait at least a year and a half before getting the sequel after that cliffhanger!

Overall a wholly original Young Adult science fiction novel that you should definitely put on your TBR!

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

33009320Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Published: November 8, 2016

Rating: 3.75/5

Goodreads

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 unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath 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.

I picked this book up for the read-a-thon challenge – OwlCrate-a-thon! (You can read more about this in my post HERE) I received this book way back in 2016 as part of an OwlCrate and figured it was finally time to pick it up. Admittedly, I have never read Alice in Wonderland before (due to being terrified of the Disney movie as a child) so was unsure what kind of experience Wonderland would give me. It was certainly whimsical, with allusions to rhymes from my childhood and other references I recognized from both the live action and animated adaptations.

I found Catherine a sympathetic character. All of the descriptions of baked goods she made caused some major food envy! Throughout the story, I understood where she and her emotions were coming from, and I totally get her infatuation with Jest (the love interest). He was super broody and the sort of bad boy that I always love to pair off with the good girls.

Knowing this was an origin story for the Queen of Hearts, there had to be some tragedy involved. Although it was great getting the “whole story” behind what made the Queen of Hearts who she is, nothing really revolutionary happened. I saw one of the plot twists coming a little before the halfway point in the book, and felt like the story just kept circling trying to build up relationship tension. It was a struggle getting through the middle portion, contributing to my belief that this book could’ve been shorter than the 450 pages it was. The story really picked up in the last 100 pages or so, which is ultimately what led me to round my review up rather than down. Overall, it was just okay for me, although fans of Alice in Wonderland may feel differently and I can see how this book holds appeal.

In a side note, I feel like the low ratings I’ve been giving to some books lately may be due to me outgrowing some of the younger-YA genre (what, no, never!).

I hope to finally read Alice in Wonderland as my pick for the Classic of the Month 2018 challenge in March, so I’ll check back in!

February Reading Wrap-Up

I decided to try a fun new way to summarize my monthly reading: an infographic!February Reading Wrap-Up

Review Links:

If you’d like to, check out my review for The Iliad, my pick for the A Classic a Month Challenge.

Reputation Book Tag

I haven’t done any Book Tags lately, and I saw this awesome Taylor Swift themed one on The Book Browsing Blog and had to fill it out!

Whenever I mention a book that I’ve reviewed below, you can click on the name to see my full post on it.

Are You Ready For It?: What is a book that you are super excited to read?

I’m SUPER excited to read the sequel to Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, Traitor to the Throne. I loved all the characters and the amazing world and mythology, and can’t wait to dive back in.

21427834End Game: What are some of your OTPs?

Elide and Lorcan from Throne of Glass are one of my all-time favorite One True Pairings. I love whenever the bad-broody-in-need-of-redemption males get with the a nice girl. Added bonus when they have some fae blood.

Maximoff and Farrow from the Like Us series by Becca and Krista Ritchie are my favorites in the romance genre. Definitely check that series out!

I Did Something Bad: Name a book with morally grey characters.

Six of Crows is always my go to when thinking of morally grey characters. I mean, the main characters nickname is Dirty Hands and he certainly has completed enough dastardly deeds to live up to it. Despite the highly illegal activities the gang gets up to, you can’t help rooting for them every step of the way.

Don’t Blame Me: What is a book that you recommend to everyone?

I recently read Red Rising by Pierce Brown and have been vehemently recommending it to anyone who likes Fantasy/Sci-Fi. If you’re a fan of either of these genres, you HAVE to check this series out!

Delicate: What is a book that you will never loan to anyone?

Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I have a first edition hardcover (out of print now) , SIGNED and although I love the book, I absolutely REFUSE to lend out my copy to anyone.

Look What You Made Me Do: What is the book that got you into reading?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first book that truly enraptured me, way back when I was in Kindergarten. If I hadn’t been exposed to this lovely series, I’m not sure that I would be the avid reader I am today!

So It Goes: What is a book that sucked you into a particular author or series?

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout made me absolutely addicted to all of the authors paranormal work. I’m still working my way through her contemporary books, but her Lux series and The Dark Elements series are amazing!

35406534Gorgeous: Name a book with a beautiful cover.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton has an absolutely gorgeous (AND SHINY) UK cover that I’m in love with. Still working my way through Traitor to the Throne, the second book in this series, but I can’t wait until I crack this one open.

Getaway Car: What is a book that you’ve read that has crime involved in some aspect?

Of course, Six of Crows again comes to mind. One book that I haven’t read yet, but am super excited to pick up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch which is supposed to be another wonderful heist book.

King Of My Heart: Who is your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Lorcan Salvaterre from the Throne of Glass series is one of my all-time favorite BAE’s!

26795341Dancing With Our Hands Tied: What is a book that made you want to dance around when you finished it?

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was such a sweet and touching book. Definitely made me want to twirl around, I was so happy for all of the characters.

Dress: Name a character that you want to swap wardrobes with.

Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass has such an amazing wardrobe, I would love to swap with her! From assassin gear, to beautiful dresses, she has style that I can’t even dream of.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: What is a problematic book you have read?

Fifty Shades of Grey is a book I’ve read that is contentious because of its portrayal of romance isn’t healthy.

Call I What You Want: What is a book that you wish you could change the title to?

I can’t really think of one of these offhand, I feel like every book has the title it does for a reason! What is an example that you can think of?

New Year’s Day: What book gave you a fresh outlook on life?

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas changed my life in high school. In the book, the main character deals with depression and trying to find herself. It found my at exactly the right time and remains my favorite book by Maas.

Thanks for reading, feel free to try this out yourself!

 

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

26795341Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Published: June 7, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

What started as beginning this book before bed and reading a few chapters quickly turned into devouring it in one sitting.

The adorable romance absolutely captivated me, and I loved the air of mystery to it as Simon tries to figure out who Blue is (and I’ll admit, it wasn’t all that obvious to me until a scene about halfway through). I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was so happy when they finally get together. I just wanted the book to keep going so I could see them grow and develop even more.

All of the drama throughout is typically high-schoolerish and was so refreshing because of how well done it was. I feel like a lot of YA often overdo the drama, but this added to the story without taking anything away. Going along with this, I could totally see myself in the situations described which contributed to the realism of the story.

Overall an absolutely wonderful story and quick read that I will be recommending to all of my YA-loving friends. Now, I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation this year!

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