Shadow and Bone (Grisha Verse, #1)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5

I’m really happy that I finally got to read this book after so many people have been telling me to read it! I enjoyed it immensely, and cannot wait to continue the series (right after I’m done typing up this review!)

I liked Alina and Mal, especially together because they just build each other up and it almost seems to me like together they are a whole person, but separated they are not. I think the Darkling is a fantastic villain and I love him so much, even though hes not really a good hearted character.

Leigh’s writing style really appeals to me, its something that you don’t really notice while you are reading and nothing sticks out like a sore thumb, which for me is my favorite kind of writing. I don’t like if you have to sit and really think about the words on the page and what they mean, I just want to be able to read the story and really get into it. For me, good writing shouldn’t be noticeable when you are actually reading, if that makes any sense!

The chosen one trope is literally one of my favorite tropes ever, so obviously I really enjoyed that part of the book! The one thing that I didn’t really like was when Alina first met Genya and she wanted to make her pretty. I don’t really get why the main character always has to be pretty? I understand that in this world, having Grisha power gives you a longer lifespan and makes you healthier, which is why they are all pretty. But why can there not be average looking Grishas? Its not a huge issue, but definitely one that stood out to me, especially because they keep mentioning how beautiful the Grisha are.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I think it’ll be really interesting to see what happens in the next two books. Everyone says that they will rip your heart out, so hopefully it doesn’t destroy me too much!

The Valiant (The Valiant, #1)The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5

I really enjoyed this book! Originally I thought that this book was going to have more of a fantasy element, but it is definitely more of a historical fiction than a fantasy novel. I loved Fallon and how she was so strong and fought for herself. She was always learning and wasn’t the perfect female main character you get in some books, she was definitely flawed and made mistakes, but she learned from them and that’s part of why I like her so much.

I don’t mind the romance in the book, although I do think it go really intense too quickly, especially considering how much Fallon hates the Romans and the love interest is a Roman soldier.

The plot was something that I’ve never read before and was really different and refreshing! Fallon is the daughter of a Celtic king who’s sister was killed in battle with the Romans. Fallon really wants to be a member of her father’s war band, but doesn’t get the chance after she is captured and ultimately is sent to become a gladiator for Julius Caesar.

I love the friendship that Fallon develops with Elka even though they were off to a rough start when they met, they always have each other’s backs.

The ending of this book set up the second book wonderfully, and I cannot wait until it comes out!

HuntedHunted by Meagan Spooner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This was a fantastic retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I absolutely loved that it combined this classic tale with Russian folk tales, it made it all the more exciting to read. I loved that Yeva was a hunter and went against the social norms of the time. A strong heroine always makes for a great read. I loved the beast and how we got little snippets from his perspective. I loved that the author made everything meld together seamlessly, and really made the love between Yeva and the Beast more plausible. At first, Yeva doesn’t know that the beast is her captor and that definitely adds a nice touch to the story. I also loved that Yeva never lost sight of her goal of killing the Beast, and even talked about falling in love with someone that is abusive and what that means to them. I was pleased that that issue was addressed in the book.

Overall, this is a great book for fans of retellings and fantasy in general! I definitely recommend it!

Flight of a StarlingFlight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just finished this book and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I liked it, but I can’t quite put my finger on what I liked, and at the same time I didn’t like it, but again, I’m not sure why. It was definitely a sad story, but when I was reading it I didn’t really feel that sadness myself. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and it took me forever to get through. I’m not sure if it is the writing style that made it so hard to get through or what exactly it was, maybe it’s the circus aspect, because I also had this issue with The Night Circus. For now, I’m going to set this as a 2.5 star rating, because I still don’t quite know what to make of this book.

Today is just the day of blog posts! I really want to get more into the blogging aspect of the book community, so here we go with a list of my most anticipated reads of 2018!

Since there is a lot of them, I’m going to break it into the month that they are going to be released in. I will come back and update this list as more are added, because I’m sure this list will be growing as the year goes on!

 

JANUARY

  • The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black (Jan 2)
  • Everless by Sara Holland (Jan 2)
  • Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman (Jan 9)
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Jan 16)
  • Markswoman (Asiana #1) by Rati Mehrotra (Jan 23)
  • The Defiant (The Valiant #2) by Lesley Livingston (Jan 23)
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (Jan 30)
  • Reign the Earth (The Elementae #1) by A.C. Gaughen (Jan 30)

 

FEBRUARY

  • American Panda by Gloria Chao (Feb 6)
  • By a Charm and a Curse by Jamie Questell (Feb 6)
  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross ( Feb 6)
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (Feb 6)
  • Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes (Feb 6)
  • Witch’s Reign (Desert Cursed #1) by Shannon Meyer (Feb 6)
  • Sightwitch (The Witchlands #0.5) by Susan Dennard (Feb 13)
  • The Traitor Prince (Ravenspire #3) by C.J. Redwine (Feb 13)
  • The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg (Feb 20)
  • Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass #1) by Gwendolyn Clare (Feb 20)
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (Feb 27)
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (Feb 27)

 

MARCH

  • Tiger’s Dream (The Tiger Saga #5) by Colleen Houck (Mar ?)
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Mar 6)
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Mar 6)
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (Mar 6)
  • I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon (Mar 27)
  • The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (Mar 27)

 

APRIL

  • Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence (April 3)
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (April 3)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (April 10)
  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (April 24)

 

MAY

  • A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J Maas (May 1)
  • Royals by Rachel Hawkins (May 1)
  • Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett (May 15)
  • Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (May 15)
  • War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard (May 15)
  • Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber (May 29)

 

JUNE

  • Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (June ?)
  • Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez (June 5)
  • Rage (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack (June 12)
  • My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton (June 26)

 

JULY

  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July 10)
  • Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (July 24)

 

AUGUST

  • Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary Pearson (Aug 7)
  • These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch (Aug 7)

 

There are also a few that don’t have a release date yet, but it does say sometime in 2018. Those are:

  • The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck
  • Vengeful (Villans #2) by V.E. Schwab

 

For Synopses of all of the books listed, you can check out my Goodreads list!

I have a good feeling about 2018 as far as reading goes (not quite sure how everything outside of reading is going to go, but we’ll see). 2017 saw me start my bookstagram/book blogging adventure, so now its really go time to see how well I can do with this new hobby. I set myself a reading goal of 75 books, but that goal isn’t set in stone. I’ve never actually counted the books that I read in a year, so this is more of a guess as to how many I think I read and to see if that’s really true!

Also, in the last few months I’ve gotten so many new books, I had to buy another bookshelf! Now I’m up to 3.5 bookshelves, and they are mostly full already. I don’t want to say that I won’t buy books in 2018 (which would be impossible since there are so many interesting new books coming out this year) but I do want to kind of cut back on my book buying habits. I know that hardbacks are usually so much prettier than their paperback counterparts, but the paperbacks are soooooo much cheaper, so when I do buy books (other than new releases, because who can really wait that long until the paperback version comes out?) I plan on buying almost exclusively paperbacks.

 

Here’s to 2018 and a great reading year!

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Elite by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 2.5

Don’t get me wrong, this book is enjoyable and I’ll continue the series but I definitely had some issues with it.

For one, I HATED how America just strung along Maxon and Aspen, like just pick one already! It’s definitely not a love triangle that’s enjoyable to read, it just makes America come across as indecisive and immature. One minute she’s all about Maxon, then he does something she doesn’t agree with and runs off to Aspen, and vice versa.

The plot with the rebels still just really doesn’t make sense, although I’m still holding out that it’ll get better and be explained in the next few books.

Some of the other plot points just feel like there’s something missing, almost as if there’s another book that I should’ve read before this that explains more. For example, the “war” with New Asia was supposed to be scary and nerve wracking, but they come back and say they just walked around meeting people and then left, and the rebels are trying to get ahold of some sort of information and want to end the selection, which I’m assuming is because they know more of the history of the country than we as the readers know.

I just feel like some things aren’t being explained quickly enough to really get me invested into the book, although I did buy the box set so of course I’m going to finish them all anyway!

Definitely something more to just pass the time that to really get invested in.

The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 3.5

I really liked reading about these characters, and I love how America is able to put herself first instead of just falling head over heels in love with Maxon right away. I really felt bad for America when Aspen broke up with her, because I did feel that they had a connection. I’m also sorta rooting for her and Maxon, and I just have to know who she chooses! Although, considering how many books there are I feel like she chooses Maxon.
The world building was a little lacking, but maybe we get more in the next books? It definitely felt like they were leaving some things left unsaid on purpose so it could be discussed later, like why the rebels are attacking.
This plot seems to be pretty similar to Red Queen, a lower class girl starts to fall in love with a Prince, and even the names are similar. Maxon and Maven, America and Mare. And both books have rebels attacking the palace. I did enjoy Red Queen though and I really am enjoying this one as well. For that, I’m giving it 3.5 stars, because I did really enjoy the book, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about the similarities. Definitely more of a fluffy fantasy book, but still enjoyable!

My Lady Jane ~ Review

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would! The characters were all so lovable, and I loved how the women in the story didn’t just let the men do all the tough stuff and actually contributed to the plot. I definitely identified with Jane’s love of books (obviously) and how she would rather be reading than anything else. I flew through this book in about a day and a half because I just couldn’t put it down!

I thought that the plot was interesting, and I went into it thinking that it would be a sort of serious historical fiction novel, but it was definitely not that! The authors definitely put their own twist on the story of Lady Jane Grey, and it was so enjoyable and hilarious that I actually laughed while reading the book, and that almost NEVER happens!

The action and the romance in this book were written so brilliantly and I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series! This book definitely deserves the hype that it has been getting, and its been one of my favorite books of the year!

Rosemarked (Rosemarked #1)Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The main characters in this book were fantastic! I loved how they evolved and grew as the book went on, with Zivah doubting herself and coming to terms with her illness and what she needs to do in order to save her people. It was also really interesting that for most of the book, Dineas was basically two people. The secondary characters didn’t really have a lot of personality or background so it was hard to get a read on them. It was hard to tell if Arxa was actually a bad person or if he was just doing his duty, and the prince didn’t really have any backstory to give us more information on his actions.

I love fantasy books and this one was definitely completely different than anything else I’ve ever read. I loved the world and how we get information about the creatures that live in the different areas through Zivah’s healing skills, and I thought the inclusion of Dineas’ crows was really interesting and different.

I really liked how this book was easy to read and didn’t add in any unnecessary words or descriptions like some fantasy books can do, it just got straight to the point with plain language.

Basically they are trying to stop the Amparan Empire from taking over their people and lands, and for a lot of the book it seems that they aren’t really working towards that goal. It almost felt like they would be into their own lives and then suddenly remember what they went into the Empire for. That could be because Dineas doesn’t remember the mission for most of the book. For me it actually worked because it felt like the plot was more character driven than anything else.

I definitely was entertained and was interested in the book the entire time, even though I have a ton of other books calling my name I knew I had to finish this book to see where it left off, although with the ending I wasn’t really craving more so I don’t know if I will continue on with the next book.