This was an intense dark read that delves into what desperation and the will to survive can turn a person into. The main character is a fractured person who has to rebuild her identity to not only save herself but her kingdom before it is destroyed by the monstrous king who slit her mother’s throat and took her crown.
This isn’t a story about swords and epic battles. It is about the war we wage internally with ourselves and how intelligence and manipulation can be a woman’s greatest set of skills. These characters engaged with me because they show how neither life nor people are black and white. We all have the capacity for cruelty as well as kindness and the line that keeps us from becoming that which we hate can be a very fragile thing. I loved this book.
Beauty is power. Beauty is a necessity. Beauty is everything.
In a society where beauty is not just what you look like but who you are, the Belles are the greatest treasures of a cursed kingdom. They are “goddess blessed” with gifts that let them shape your very flesh, like clay, into any shape or color. But has their power made them honored servants of the kingdom or puppeteered prisoners in gilded cages with fine dresses nibbling on dainty macaroons?
Fantastically crafted, The Belles brings to life a richly imagined world that harkens back to the American South and decadence of Louis the XVI. The author vividly paints detail into every nook and cranny, while throwing you into the middle of a court filled with lies, cruelty, and a sick darkness slithering underneath a thin veneer of rosy lips and flawless skin. Sometimes the most beautiful monsters are the ones to fear the most, for they smile at you while tearing you apart. A truly unique read compared to many in its genre and a must read of 2018.
The Cruel Prince is a tale that leaves you wickedly smiling
with an insatiable craving for the second book to be in your
hands. If you have never read Holly Black, now is the perfect
time to start. She writes devastatingly beautiful yet cruel Fae
that inexplicably enthrall you, pulling you deeper and deeper
into their world, when truly the only thing you should feel
towards them is fear. Be careful though, for as our protagonist
finds out, a human will never belong in their glittering courts
and is viewed as little more than
entertainment. Oh, what a twisted thing
we become in the attempt to surpass our
"Witty Banter? Check!
Daring Adventure? Check!
Alien planet with the key to humanity’s survival? Check!
Unearthed by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman is a great read that I recommend anyone pick up just for the pure fun of it. Imagine all the awesome elements of Indiana Jones and Laura Croft mashed together and placed on an alien planet – and voila! Meagan and Amie are a deadly duo that will have you smiling from ear to ear, while also rapidly flipping the pages to find out what happens to the unlikely partners of this tale who will just have to somehow figure out how to trust each other to make it off Gaia alive."
"I quite simply loved this book. There is a graceful timelessness to it that captures a beautiful world filled with well-imagined characters. There is forbidden romance, revenge, war, and scheming, but all done with such a delicate hand that envelopes you in the story as you fall in love with it. Rebecca Ross is a passion of wit who has woven a remarkable debut that is well worth your time. This is a book I would pick up and reread for its beautiful language; it left me wanting to highlight countless sentences and its characters easily find a home in your heart."
Within the pretty pages of this book is a gritty western containing not only all the gunslinging action your heart could desire, but also a phenomenal story filled with a great cast of characters. Once you meet Serendpity Jones you will only want more of her story. Lyndsay integrates a variety of complex issues into her books with a deft hand that brings the book to life, giving flesh and bone to characters that could’ve easily fallen into stereotypes in a world that at times is painstakingly real and parallel to our own. Annie Oakley doesn’t hold a candle to Serendipity Jones, the best shot in the west.
Covered in burn scars, feared by her people, and known as the bringer of death, the Iskari, Asha’s one purpose in life is to hunt dragons in the hopes of redeeming her corrupted existence. But the hundreds of dragon heads she delivers to her father’s throne room can’t save the kingdom from the unrest brewing in the streets or the cruelties of the past surfacing to demand retribution. From the world-building to the mix of harsh and gentle characters that come together to weave this tale of growth and change, I was a fan. Ciccarelli’s fast-paced writing whisks you into the world and before you know it you are nearing the end, reading slower and slower to postpone it. The Last Namsara shows the power of stories and makes you feel a full range of emotions including hope, the hope that dark futures can be changed and that we can learn and grow into the people we want to be, not the people we are told to be.
Amanda Foody pulls you into the smoky world of Gomorrah, where undying fires fueled by the souls of the dead light the traveling festival. In this den of assassins, thieves, and entertainers, we find an illusionist with the power to turn her imaginings into flesh and bone. She has constructed herself a family of these illusions and when the impossible happens and one of them is murdered, her world begins to splinter apart as she frantically searches for the villain who is systematically killing off her family. Truths are never simple though and she is tumbled into a world of political intrigue few know of, where the boy she shouldn’t trust seems her only ally. Foody does the remarkable task of weaving an unpredictable tale that readers can try to figure out but won’t until she decides to let you in on the secret. Daughter of the Burning City contains unique characters not frequently seen in its genre thrown into a world of magic, murder, and self-discovery.
Being a teenager and falling in love for the first time is always a rush of ups and downs filled with its own array of complications. When your dream guy happens to be a harbinger of death who turns into a crow that travels around with his murder feeding off of death energy, the level of complications escalates quite quickly, especially when a Beekeeper feeding off of chaos is thrown into the mix with his own dark agenda that could destroy any chance of happiness. Black Bird of the Gallows is a darkly fun read with an interesting mythology that hooked me right away. Its snarky protagonist who learns to embrace and love not only herself but those around her while on the run from natural and unnatural dangers is an engaging read with a beautiful ending that whispers answers as well as new questions into your mind as you read the last page. I am excited for more books in this world and getting to know more about these characters’ stories and mythology.
It seldom happens that you read the right book at exactly the right time in your life, but when you do it is a magical moment you don’t forget. Hunted is not only well written but an individual amongst retellings that took that final step into becoming a story that stands on its own without any knowledge of the original inspiration needed to fall in love with it. The story and dynamics between the Beauty and the Beast are refreshing and captivating. They both have growth throughout the tale and their story is one that called to my soul as it began to unravel into an ending that speaks perfectly to how many of us have felt at one point or another in our lives. Hunted holds the darker, richer notes found in older fairy tales that weave you into their world and pull at your heartstrings in an aching manor. I was not expecting to fall in love, but whole heartedly did, with these characters as well as the author’s eloquent writing. It’s a beautiful story with a strong female protagonist and the roles of the Hunted and hunter are constantly shifting in an exquisite dance.
"Lada is not beautiful nor charming. Her brother Radu was blessed with those traits and is loved for them. Lada is cold, calculating, deadly, and possessed by a wild fierceness that scares everyone away. Abandoned in the Ottomon Empire to be raised by strangers in a foreign court they will have to rediscover who they are and fight tooth and nail for what's most important to them.
This is a book that makes you read it, not just flip through the pages, with a heroine who is refreshingly atypical and claws her way into your heart. You live in each moment, caught up in the turmoil of each character who struggles with the same question we all struggle with, what is the price you are wiling to pay for your dreams?The characters is this book are devastatingly real and will connect with everyone on some note. I was a part of each character while I read this and when it ended my heart broke that there were no more pages to turn."
"The Thief is one of the first books I ever fell in love with. It follows, unsurprisingly, a thief who has been captured by the crown and just as it seems he may never make it out of the cell he has been left to rot in, an opportunity is granted. If he can steal that which has been lost and hidden for countless years and return it to the queen, he can be a free man once more. He’ll have to risk his life to win it back but what is life without a little risk and gamble? More importantly can a desperate man say no to his only option? Even 20 years later these characters still have a place in my heart where they are surrounded by love and appreciation."
"This book was a much needed breath of fresh air. It is filled with magic, mystery, humor, and romance all in just the right amount to create the perfect spell for a fun read. It had me laughing throughout the whole adventure while also becoming emotionally invested in its touching characters. I highly recommend you pick up this story and begin the journey of a matchmaker, who can see everyone’s match but her own, as she and the cute boy who just happens to be the mayor’s son look for a missing person amidst the magical underworld hiding just under humanity’s nose. I ended the book with a big smile on my face wondering when the next one would be out."
"The Waking Land is a story of old magic. The kind born from the earth that has slowly seeped into the veins of humanity only to be ostracized and feared by the kingdoms that could never harness the power for themselves. This story begins in one such kingdom with a political hostage who has been raised to hate magic, as well as her mother and father who abandoned her to the king when he came knocking on their door one night to quell a rumored rebellion.
Our young protagonist though is gifted. She hides it well, cloaked in her love of botany, but she is what she has been raised to hate. When forced to flee the kingdom or hang for murder, not only is she on the run from the law but also from the truth of what she is. This is an epic fantasy that focuses on humanity by showing how in accepting the magical parts of who you are, even if you have been raised to hate them, you can change the world. With writing that keeps you caught up in the moment and a band of characters that delight and infuriate you, The Waking Land is a good start to this series."
- . Constance
"Raised in corsets and stays, with robots to do everything from cleaning to dressing her, Danica lives in a computer monitored bubble that emulates a court Marie Antoinette herself would have been proud of. Her mother has turned her into a project of social perfection with the singular goal of marrying the king and with her dreams of being a programmer ruined she finds herself swept away in laughter, parties, and politics where behind every smile is a hidden agenda and no kind word is said without calculated measure.
Glitter was an unexpected find for me that I picked up for a fun read but found to be full of very real characters and an engaging plot that pulled me in and didn't let go. You see the main character grow and question herself, learning hard lessons along the way and paying the price for her mistakes. This is a great read with a perfect balance of ball gowns, deadly secrets, the black market, and a dash of romance."
"I picked up Roar because I’d been craving a good romance. The story I read though was the most amazing surprise. I fell in love with a princess who, while running away from an arranged marriage, begins her journey of taking back her kingdom through understanding an illegal magic that can only be found in black markets.
The magic in this book is a beautifully-crafted thing revolving around sentient storms that destroy anyone they touch. They are a wild magic shrouded in mystery whose origins are unknown, but as our princess begins to understand them, she finds secrets long lost that just might be the key to saving herself and her home. Roar is a dangerously well-done world filled with a great cast of characters whose dynamic relationships draw you in and leave you wanting more. The first thing I thought when I finished this book was, “When is the next one coming out!?” "
"Caraval is Magic.
Caraval is a maze of Truth and Lies.
Caraval is just a game... don’t let it drive you mad.
Enter a world of escapism where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred by the rich scents of bottled memories and beautiful dresses that can be bought with secrets and truths. Lose yourself in illusions and give in to your darkest curiosities and notions, if only for a handful of days, but never forget why you entered the game and what is to be gained from winning.
Caraval is a truly unique story from start to finish filled with delightful twists and turns that keep you up into the early hours of morning turning the pages to discover a delight on every page. The mystery and beauty of this world hold you captive, only to leave you wanting more after the last line is read. If it wasn’t obvious... I highly recommend you pick this up."
"Heartstone retells the Pride and Prejudice story that we all love, but in a fantasy setting with knights, talking dragons, and evil creatures trying to destroy our heroine's home town! The author does remain true to the original story in many ways, but she has created a thoroughly unique and captivating world filled with fresh characters that pull you into the book for a truly enjoyable read. The female lead is a healer opposed to violence, and her Mr. Darcy is a knight who is rather good at killing things. Let the personality clashes begin!
While this is a fun retelling, it delves into darker, grittier themes like loss and mourning. The dialogue and action also keep the book at a nice pace that pull you in and keep the pages turning. There are even some pretty epic battle scenes at the end. If you are looking for a fun read, then look no further. Who doesn't love a good spunky heroine showing the world what's what?! And don't forget about the talking dragons!"
"Liv is a spunky modern day Nancy Drew who operates via facts and logic. She loves nothing more than solvig a good mystery. But how can you explain dreams where you meet four incredibly attractive guys and spy on them as an owl only to then go to your new school the next day and meet them face to face? They keep saying things to her too as if they remember the same dream and what's this about her being the key to saving them from a demon?!
Now demons and magical dreams are just not real. At least that's what our logical protagonist keeps saying. Is there even a logical explanation though? And why do Liv's dreams keep getting stranger and stranger with a magical green door in each one? This book is full of dangerous secrets, dark magic, and just a dash of romance. Written with a good sense of humor this book has an endearing protagonist but also a darkness that creeps into the story page by page, adding depth and a unique plot. My fingers are itching to pick up the next book in this series and highly recommend this fun read."
“In a kingdom ruled by a mad king atop a throne of ice and snow, being born with the magic of fire is a death sentence. Ruby was born with this gift though and while she tries to smother the roaring fire in her heart it becomes harder and harder to hide the truth in her small mountain village. When soldiers come knocking on her door they rip apart her life and nothing can ever be the same. Swept up in rebel plans, Ruby has nothing left to cling onto but revenge and agrees to become their instrument of death for the king who took everything from her. With the help of a stranger who warms her heart one moment and dunks her in ice the next, plus an old master frostblood as her teacher, her impossible task just might be possible. Filled with magic, well-done fight scenes, and intrigue this book had a little bit of everything I enjoy in a good book.”
"Wintersong is a retelling of the Goblin King in early 19th century Europe that focuses on Liesl, a female composer whose music can melt even the Lord of Mischief's heart. But a female composer is a nonexistent thing in her time and Liesl is slowly forced away from her talent and passion as the duties of running the family inn fall on her shoulders. She begins to ignore the woods and the dangerous games she played with a mysterious boy that -- if remembered -- might just free her, if they don't kill her first.
S.Jae-Jones has created a lush, seductive world that explores the journey of embracing oneself and the sacrifices it can require. Set in a hauntingly dark world, this book shows how nothing is gained for free and how to win one thing, another must be lost.The choice is always ours but so are the consequences. The magic, passion, and danger of this book held me captive until the very end. A truly beautiful read and a phenomenal debut."
"Roshani Chokshi writes in poetry, building a world that envelops you in its beauty. She paints breathtaking details and breathes life into a band of characters that guide you down a mystic world of love, betrayal, life, death, happiness, and despair, but above all, hope. It’s a hope that we can overcome our mistakes and misunderstandings to one day find happiness. Our hardships and trials do not define us but open doors to paths that can simply make us stronger and while we cannot rewrite the past, we can grab the threads of our fate and weave the future we want.
I highly recommend you join Maya, the princess born under cursed stars and shunned by all, on her journey of self-discovery as she becomes the queen of a powerful kingdom and rewrites her stars. I wanted to highlight all the dialogue between Maya and Kamala as quotes and it was one of the most unique and special relationship between characters I’ve read in a really long time. This book is a must read."
"Love Me Never by Sara Wolf"Life is full of ups and downs and navigating your teenage years can be difficult. It is full of your highest highs but lowest lows and high school is the ultimate battlefield. This book is the classic tale of the strong willed new girl in town who is an outcast plus the bad boy everyone wants but can’t have and how their hate for each other just might become something more. It is done perfectly and with beautifully real characters who show how growth can be painful and messy but possible. The cold exterior we sometimes create is simply the best armor we can find to get through all the hurt buried deep inside and wrapped in scars.
The fun dialogue hooked me right away and the pacing of the chapters kept me reading until I was done. I’ve never read a book that so perfectly placed me inside the head of a smart, sarcastic, but troubled teenager and I loved every minute of it."
“Karigan G’ladheon is on her way home from a fight at school when the thundering of hooves fills the forest. A messenger of the king, a Green Rider, comes to a halt in front of her only to slide off his horse with a bloody arrow sticking out of his back. With his last dying breath, he urges Karigan to complete his mission. Reluctantly she agrees, finding herself compelled to help him.
The dead Rider’s horse guides her down a path only he knows, pulling her into a world of unknown magic and danger thought long dead. With a hooded figure and mercenaries hunting her through the woods, it will take everything she has to survive let alone deliver the message worth dying for. From start to finish I couldn’t help turning the pages of this story filled with engaging characters and a unique world that captures the heart. When I had finished, all I wanted was to start at the beginning again and delve back into Britain’s world. This is one of my absolute favorite books and a must read for fantasy lovers.”
"This book is a gem that I have read between 10 to 15 times. It's a treasure that I turn to on a bad day that will whisk me away and make everything better. Though it may look small, contained within its pages is a story of intrigue, romance, adventure and friendship. It gives you everything you want from it and so much more. All I can do is highly recommend you pick up this special read. The ending held me breathless and Mara's journey captivates you as you see her grow and fight for her freedom."
"Where to begin with this series. All the hype is true. I love it and could talk for hours about it but don’t want to give you any spoilers. This is an epic adventure that focuses on an amazingly imperfect and fractured character who just happens to be the most dangerous assassin in the kingdom. You grow with her, cry and laugh with her, and wickedly smile as she rips apart the world that has beaten her down. If it wasn’t obvious enough, I highly recommend picking up this book and learning about the imprisoned, cold hearted assassin who will serve a corrupt crown to regain her freedom. This is just the beginning of a story that will capture your heart and hold your breathless."
"Magic is not always a loud, in your face thing. It can be the subtle twist of words shrouded in mystery.
Mysteries like the Graces that pull you in and quickly become obsessions, sweeping you away in the promises we think they make us. The promise that we can escape ourselves and become someone new. Someone shiny and beautiful while the truth stays hidden, buried beneath smiles and laughter. The whole town is drawn toward the Graces and their air of mystery and magic. They are beautiful, eccentric, rich, and powerful. Their lives seem perfect as they effortlessly live with everyone else bending around them for just a moment of their attention. River, the boring new girl in town, will do anything to be one of them.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. It pulled me into this fascinating dark world the author has beautifully created. It discusses how dark our obsessions can be while at the same time being fueled by things we all have in common. The simple desire to feel loved and cherished."
"While the first pages may have you thinking this is a love story about a beautiful couple you would be gravely mistaken. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the best revenge stories of all time. Period.
Edmond Dantes has a successful career, a beautiful fiancé, and is genuinely a good man. What destroys him is quite simply the jealously of his friends who want to claim his happiness as their own. Imprisoned and left for dead, years pass as he becomes nothing but a distant memory tucked away and forgotten. A great reckoning is coming though for the men who destroyed this innocent life and nothing on earth can save them from his vengeance. A dead man has nothing to lose while they have everything.
I’ve loved this book from a young age and the characters fill you with every possible emotion. You crave the personal destruction or success of each richly developed character that is meticulously laid out in layers upon layers that are slowly and deliciously revealed with the turn of each page."
"The Library of Fates is a well-crafted story that surrounds you with its vivid descriptions while maintaining a quick pace that never makes you feel bogged down or bored. The story follows princess Amrita who lives in a flourishing country called Shalingar. She has been betrothed to a harsh and conquering ruler to save her kingdom and the rest of the story unfolds from there. Though this may sound like an action-packed tale, its main focus is on the character’s self-actualization as she struggles to try and save her kingdom at any cost.
I can happily say this book was a breath of fresh air for me and doesn’t compare plot wise to anything I have recently read. While a quick read and enjoyable, it had depth to it in areas I was not expecting. It left me in a very calm, zen like mood as I turned the last page with a smile on my face."
"The Forbidden Wish is an Aladdin retelling, but in this version it is the Jinni using Aladdin, not the other way around. She has waited five hundred years to escape the desert she was abandoned in and losing this opportunity isn’t an option. It becomes harder and harder for her to lie to him though as she falls in love with him, a forbidden thing since the Jinni and humans have been at war for centuries and if anyone in the palace discovers her true nature both she and Aladdin would lose their heads. Filled with romance, magic, and some pretty great battle scenes, The Forbidden Wish is a well-crafted tale that captures your heart as you root for these characters all the way to the finish line."