ARC REVIEW: WICKED SAINTS BY EMILY A. DUNCAN

36118682A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

Pub. Date: April 2nd.

★☆☆☆☆


*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think it’s time I learned my lesson that not every single hyped up ya fantasy is gonna be worth the hype. Lately I’ve tried to be extremely picky with the ya fantasy books that I read. Why? because they all sound the same. They all have the same cliché characters, the same tropes used, they all follow the same structure (the chosen one has to go on a journey/quest usually with a group of people amongst whom there’s always one that’s the enemy, they travel in search of something, someone wants the protagonist’s powers because she is ALWAYS the only special person that possesses said powers), and so on and so forth. It’s getting tiresome to read the same stories with zero creativity put into them. this was no exception, even though the author did take inspiration from a culture that is not much prevalent in the genre and which I’d love to see more of. unfortunately, the slavic inspiration was not nearly enough to make me like a book that lacked in every single department of its development.

In Wicked Saints we follow the points of view of two characters: nadya and serefin, both characters on opposing sides of an endless religious war. Serefin is the high prince of a country that has rejected the ‘gods’ and has in turn adopted a more progressive form of magic, if you dare, which is basically blood magic. The whole country is deemed as heretic because of the fact that they use their own blood to cast magic spells instead of letting the ‘divine gods’ do the work using the person as a vessel, which is the magic that is present where nadya comes from. Nadya is the last known cleric who happens to be able to speak to every single god of the pantheon, something that has never been seen before, because of course, it wouldn’t be ya fantasy if the protagonist wasn’t a special snowflake, am I right? Well, as interesting as this setting could have been, the story just fell apart as soon as it started. the magic system has no logic whatsoever as to how it works or what are its limitations, it’s just something that exists and you have to go with the flow of thinking you understand what is going on or how these characters do the things they do with it. If you can suspend your disbelief for the entirety of the book, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this, unfortunately, this wasn’t my case. Taken the aspect of the magic system being extremely vague and convenient aside, I need to talk about how EVERYTHING that happened in this book was just one huge convenience. The characters never once encountered an obstacle that wasn’t easily faced. They need to forge papers to enter the mouth of the enemy kingdom? well good luck one of the members of this crew is a perfect forger and will be able to find the materials necessary to forge said documents without any problems even though they have been on the run and living in the middle of a freaking forest! The country is riddled with enemy military? never fear, in this book you will not ONCE encounter one single soldier and you will be able to enter the border without a single glance at you. We have to kill the king to stop this war? easy peasy, there’s a royal tradition that is allowing RANDOM people to enter the palace AND LIVE IN THE ROYAL PALACE (???) to try and gain the heir’s hand in marriage, we should totally sign up the ENEMY girl into it without any problems! done, done and done. You see where I’m going? everything was so simple, everything just always fell into place, and I was tired of reading something that I knew was going to work out because apparently these characters never faced a single hindrance in their journey.

I love myself an enemies to lovers story. I’m a sucker for those stories…when they are written well. wicked saints was not the case. This book has been flaunted everywhere as the next best thing when it comes to that trope, but I have to digress with every single one who said such a thing. The author was so adamant in reminding the reader of this supposed ‘enmity’ between the characters when there was clearly nothing there. When you have to repeat over and over something just so that people will believe in it, I don’t think you’re doing a great job at CREATING said enmity. It would have been better if she had spent the book developing the characters and SHOWING us why we are to believe these characters are enemies than her drilling into our heads that they were enemies just because. The result of that was that everything felt forced; saying you are enemies does not make you enemies. You have to give me something concrete for me to believe in your supposed enmity. Malachiasz, the character we are to believe is our female protagonist sworn enemy, is a deserter, therefore, he is on the same side of the war as hers throughout the majority of the book; he wants an end to the war so why should I believe you when you tell me they are sworn enemies? it doesn’t make sense…….

When it comes to the side characters in Wicked Saints, they were extremely vague to the point where I could not even begin to differentiate between them; I could not tell you which one was which, they were all the same with lacking personalities because the author did not even made the attempt at proper characterization or give her characters a little bit of depth. And I can also say the same thing for the main three characters: they are the poster boy and girl of every other YA-fantasy character. The girl who is the ‘chosen one’ who is going to stop an endless war because ‘sHe Is So SpEcIaL’, she’s the special snowflake who has unique powers never seen before, and everybody wants her powers for themselves. The bad boy, the enemy who is the brooding and scowling guy who falls for her, as it always happens. They were every other character you always find in a YA book, there was nothing to make them stand out from the overly repetitive characters of the genre, which made me dissapointed but not surprised. After all, the genre has been severely lacking innovation for years now. The only silver lining in this boredom of a book -and the reason of this one star rating, because if I could, I’d have given it 0 stars- was the point of view of the high prince, Serefin, but unfortunately his role in the overall arc of the story wasn’t even that important. He was relegated to the background of a romance that lacked chemistry, depth and organical development….and for what? I guess saying your book focuses on an enemies to lovers ship nowadays sells a lot more.

If I hadn’t gotten an arc, I probably would have dnf’d this book at 20% in, but I needed to read the whole thing to be able to rant about how low the bar is when it comes to publishing. I’ve read wattpad stories that had more DEPTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ACTUAL STORY than this book! this is nothing against the author, it’s just a personal opinion on what I felt was an overall lacking book: lacking in plot, lacking in characterization and lacking in world building -because let’s be real, naming gods and things in slavic does not equal world building-. I wish this would have been what was sold to me when I requested an arc, but it ended up being a dissapointment.

ARC REVIEW | DARK OF THE WEST (GLASS ALLIANCE #1) BY JOANNA HATHAWAY

32949202Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe. 

Pub. date: February 5th.

★★★★★


ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dark of The West tells the story of Aurelia and Athan, two star-crossed lovers in a World War II inspired fantasy world filled with political intrigue and territories on the brink of war; but you’d be fooled if you think this is anything like your typical ya fantasy novel.

I was amazed by how well thought out everything in this book was. When I started reading this, I wasn’t expecting to get into such an intricate and detailed discussion of the geopolitics of this world. While at times, especially in the beginning, I found myself lost in the different names of territories and people fighting against one another, or allying with each other, after I got the hang of it, I could not stop being amazed at how brilliantly done and executed everything was from beginning to end. My mind was blown so many times by the detailed thinking of the characters that by the time I reached the end my jaw had dropped several times. I absolutely loved the level of scheming present in this book, and what that holds for the future of this series, especially after what is revealed in the very prologue of the novel, because let me tell you, the plotting will only increase in the subsequent books. I guess that mild confusion at the beginning of the novel could be easily solved by simply adding a map, which I’m positive will happen in the final copies.

I feel like I need to get this out of the way first because it’s essential to settle down some important things as regards this book. Dark of the West is being marketed as somewhat of a new The Winners Trilogy, and while I agree that there are similarities between the two, I don’t think that would be an appropiate description for this book. Both books read like a fantasy novel without explicitly featuring any fantastical elements and both are set in a fictional kingdoms. But Dark of the West does something that’s opposite to what The Winner’s Trilogy did, and that is to present an intricate and complex world with several warring parties as the main focus of the story with a side of romance. The romance is not what pushes the story forward but it does play a major role in the development of the events throughout the book because it’s the love that develops between the two main characters what will influence the decisions made in a world that lives on the brink of war.

I loved how realisitc the depictions of war and war politics were written and discussed here. The author did not shy away from anything that we know has happened in our own world’s history when it comes to war, and I think she introduced those elements into her story pretty accurately, as can be seen by the discussion of war crimes and what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to war, the consequences of said crimes when they are committed by your own side in a war and what to do with that information once you have it. The discussion of interventionism versus occupation was also heavily present throughout the book and one cannot help but make connections to what a lot of countries in our own world have gone through and continue to go through in regards to that topic. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I appreciated how the author incorporated a lot of these controversial topics into a fictional world and developed them in a respectful manner.

Now I want to dedicate a few lines to the characters in this book, because I think Aurelia and Athan are some of the most realistic and well-developed characters I’ve read in a while in YA books. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for characters who come from different walks of life, and Dark of The West takes that trope to another level. Aurelia is the daughter of the Queen of a kingdom that’s being plagued with civil unrest, and Athan is the son of a general who has build up everything he’s gained in his life from scratch. Each character has a completely different point of view on life and everything in it. We have Aurelia whose entire life has been spent inside a castle with every commodity at her disposal, someone who has never had to fight for anything in her entire. And then we have Athan, whose life was been filled with war and loss since he was a little kid, who has had to become a pilot in his father’s army to be able to defend their homeland. And it’s incredible how all those differences can change once they start to get to know each other and to step in each other’s shoes. The discussions they have as regards royalty (the divine rights of kings is even mentioned and explored in this book), governments, and war were so incredibly important and well-written, and the development both characters go through because of the connection they develop for each other was my favorite part of this book. Aurelia as a main female protagonist shows incredible growth throughout the book, and if you’ve read the prologue, one can only imagine the growth and development she will go through in the entire series. Athan can only be described as a sweet cinnamon roll which has to unfortunately go through the horrors of being part of a war simply because he happens to be the son of the General. Throughout the book he is caught between a rock and a hard place, since his dreams happen to be completely different from what his father expects him to be, and to see Athan’s struggle between wanting to impress and fulfill his father’s expectations and following his own dreams was heartbreaking. The side characters are even just as intriguing as the main characters and I feel like we barely scratched the surface when it comes to them. Hopefully we’ll get more in the subsequent books.

While I see some people being upset or even angered at the fact that we get a very spoilery prologue as regards the future of the main characters, to me personally, I think that’s what hooked me and made me incredibly expectant for the next book in the series. Since the ending of the book doesn’t catch up to the timeline where the prologue takes place, I feel like I can’t wait to learn how the characters got to the place we are shown they are in that prologue, which of course is going to be an angsty filled journey for our two star-crossed lovers.

ARC REVIEW | THE GILDED WOLVES BY ROSHANI CHOKSHI

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Set in a darkly glamorous Paris, the book follows a charismatic but cursed heir of a massive fortune as he plots to steal one of three ancient and powerful artifacts of fate. He and his crew will navigate the elite gatherings of secret occult societies, traveling through Paris’ catacombs where they must confront their worst secrets as well as a destiny they never imagined.

Pub. date: January 15th

★★★☆☆


* ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Set in an alternative version of our own world, The Gilded Wolves portrays a lush and vivid image of Paris in the XIX century where magic exists and where a group of friends plot to find a valuable artefact that will allow one of them to reclaim his rightful place as the heir of one of the major Houses that currently rule Paris. I think that the author had an amazing idea and concept for this book, but unfortunately, it’s the end product that did not work in its entirety for me. 

There were a lot of things that made me unable to fully enjoy the story, and the main one was the lack of development as regards the world-building. The fact that this book is set in XIX century Paris, and the whole discourse of colonization and colonizer’s stealing cultural items from places these empires conquered was so interesting, but the fact that the author didn’t stop to actually immerse the reader into this world little by little so as to not make the audience feel lost from page 1 is what didn’t work for me. I wish she would have had a more detailed or at least an easier breakdown of the world building because, when as a reader I’m lost from the very first chapter and I have no idea what I’m reading, it means there’s something you’re not doing right. In a lot of cases, because of that same issue readers just straight up stop reading the book altogether, which of course is not ideal.

Another thing that really made me kinda wary of this book was what everyone’s been saying already, the similarities this book has (way too many) with a very popular book, which is six of crows. The fact that it’s being advertised like that does not help at all in trying to stop these comparisons from being made, but it’s understandable that it’s done as an advertising technique that we see very much used all the time with books. Regardless of that, I went into this without that idea in my mind. I didn’t want another story to stain a new one I was about to be immersed in, but you can’t not spot all those similarities, even without even trying. Your mind unconsciously goes there when you have the same group dynamic as the six of crows had, when the title is also similar, when the characters are also similar, when the humor you intend to create between the characters is also similar. There’s just so many things that make you compare the two books without you even intending on doing so. And I guess whether that bothers you or not is a personal choice. For me, it really bothered me the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking of six of crows when I was reading this book and thinking how much better soc was, if I’m being completely honest. Personally, it felt like this was the walmart version of SOC.

I also found myself getting bored towards the end and wanting for things to finally be resolved, but then those last few chapters happened, and I have to admit that Chokshi caught me there. She made me think ‘you know what? I’m gonna read the next book because there is no way you are gonna leave me on that cliffhanger and not want me to pick up the sequel immediately’. I also loooooove the angst that we’re definitely gonna get in book 2 from two characters based on what transpired in those last chapters, which personally, I wish we would have focused more on that instead of the book being full of action-packed scenes. 

Overall, I feel torn about this book because there were so many things that I liked about it and so many other that I didn’t like at all. I think that for a first book in a new series, things could have been better explained or at least done so in a slower pace so as not to lose the reader in utter confusion, but I have hope that the sequel could be a great improvement from book one.

BOOK GUSH: SKY IN THE DEEP BY ADRIENNE YOUNG

36597702Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

★★★★★


When I picked this book up, I wasn’t expecting it to reach my expectations the way it did. I had read the synopsis and seen the cover since the moment this book was announced and fell in love with the idea of it. Being a lover of the Vikings show, and anything Vikings-related, I understood that a YA story based on norse clans could leave me extremely disappointed. That wasn’t the case.

Sky in the deep managed to surprise me in so many different ways, from the stunning and detailed writing style of the author in her debut novel to a simple yet captivating storyline of enemy clans. Like I said, no matter how many times I feel like I’ve read this same story -enemy sides fighting against each other since the dawn of time when something happens that drives them to work together-, I couldn’t get enough of it in Sky in the Deep. And I think that the reason for that has to do with the characters that Adrienne created. She made me care for them, be immersed in their lives and their struggles to completely fall for this story that I seem to have read countless times in YA literature.

Image result for vikings porunn gif

how I imagined Eelyn to look like

All the characters that we are introduced to in this book were nuanced, none of them were one-dimensional. Eelyn, our main character, is a fierce and badass warrior who has been fighting at war for her clan since a very young age. Fiske appears to be the other side of the coin to our female protagonist, and it was so satisfying seeing two characters like that come together, working together, because of life circumstances. Their character development was never rushed and it flowed with a natural pace that reminded me of why I once enjoyed YA literature so much, and that sometimes it can get it right, sometimes, changes in a character make sense and are not forced upon them just for the sake of a romance or for random reasons.

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I’m honestly shocked that this was just Adrienne’s debut novel because it feels like she’s been writing books her whole life. Sky in the Deep gave me everything I hoped I would get from a norse tale and it left me craving for more. I really hope she decides to write more about this world because I feel like she barely scratched the surface of its myths and characters. If you happen to love this part of history or if you just happen to enjoy watching the Vikings tv show, then do yourselves a favor and pick Sky in the Deep up, you’ll not be disappointed.

Book Rant: Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack The Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco

30375937Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

★★☆☆☆


It’s been a hot minute since I last uploaded, but I had a mighty need to express how I felt after reading one of my most anticipated sequels of the entire year. And it was a Disappointment™.

When I started this series, I fell in love with these characters so much that I was highly anticipating this book mainly because of them. From the get-go, the murder mystery in this one wasn’t really appealing to me ever since we heard that Houdini was gonna be in it (which is ironic because he was barely in this book and his character happened to be completely irrelevant and bland, but that’s talk for another time). I honestly couldn’t have cared less then about the murders unlike with the previous two books, but everything was fine because I still had Audrey Rose and Thomas being that dynamic duo of crime investigators, right? Right…….

I was surprised to find out how Kerri completely sidelined what was so unique about these books, which is of course the relationship between the two main characters. And I’m not even talking about the ‘romantic’ aspect of the relationship (though that also played a huge role in my disappointment), but of their professional relationship. The dynamic these two characters had, the constant banter between them, and simply them working together and solving crime was what made them unique and so refreshing in my opinion. And that was taken from us in this book for the sake of introducing the third side of a completely unnecessary love triangle. And I guess I would have been more accepting towards this new character if he hadn’t happened to be extremely fucking annoying. I couldn’t stand the guy, or the things he said, or the way he kept invading Audrey Rose’s personal space. I just couldn’t deal with him, and the fact that him and Audrey Rose took the spotlight and the majority of this book’s scenes pissed me off. It pissed me off because as a consequence of that, Thomas Cresswell was sidelined and barely in the book.

Audrey Rose didn’t make any fucking sense in the way she behaved towards this new character, and I don’t wanna hear excuses about how she was only doing it for ‘the sake of the bargain’. Bullshit. She said so herself, she was confused about her feelings towards him. You expect me to believe that she’s gonna second-guess her feelings for Thomas over a guy she just met 5 DAYS AGO?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Unbelievable. I could understand her having doubts over marrying Thomas because that’s a huge deal, but to second-guess her FEELINGS? Not realistic. This book just turned into another YA cliché where authors have to ALWAYS create drama or drive a wedge between a couple once they become canon, and it’s always through a love triangle. It’s always the same damn thing. It’s like they can’t come up with something new or at least something mildly interesting to seperate them. I was half-way through this book and I honestly wanted it to be over.

The only good and redeeming thing in this travesty of a book was Thomas Cresswell, as little as he was in it. Not even the murder mystery was intriguing in this one, it was all over the place, with 0 clues given to the readers for us to at least be mildly engaged into guessing who could be the murderer. This was such a disappointment of a book, and one that I was highly, highly anticipating because I do love these characters, but the way that they were written in this one was just not right, and I’m really pissed about it.

Book Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) / A Captivating and Lush First Instalment

26032825Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


“I am going to keep on defying you. I am going to shame you with my defiance. You remind me that I am a mere mortal and you are a prince of Faerie. Well, let me remind you that means you have much to lose and I have nothing. You may win in the end, you may ensorcell me and hurt me and humiliate me, but I will make sure you lose everything I can take from you on the way down. I promise you this- I throw his own words back at him- this is the least of what I can do.”

Well, I just finished this and I have a lot of feelings I need to make sense of. First of all, I wanna say that this was my first Holly Black book I’ve ever read, and I really hope it won’t be my last. This book came out a few days ago, and the hype surrounding it has been insane, and I have to say that it is worth EVERY BIT OF THAT HYPE.

In The Cruel Prince we follow the story of Jude and her sisters whose parents were murdered by Madoc, a Fae who happens to be the father of one of the sisters since long ago he was married to a mortal woman. Because of their parents’ deaths, Jude and her sisters are taken by Madoc to live with him in Faerie, the world where Faeries live. Through the perspective of Jude, we see how hard it is for her to feel like she belongs in this new and foreign world to them. She now has to navigate the intricate world of the Courts and deal with all sort of Faes who see her as an inferior being for being mortal.

I love how much it was focused on the political machinations and intrigue of the storyline, instead of just on an angsty romance, which is what a majority of YA fantasy books I’ve read tend to do. There was a perfect balance between court politics, development of relationships and drama. There were so many twists and turns as well, and I have to say most of them were unexpected, and that’s also related to the way the characters are portrayed. In The Cruel Prince no character is one-dimensional, every single one of them is complex, and their intentions are mostly never exposed until the very last, which adds to the unpredictability of the story. The Fae are not good nor bad beings, yes, they behave in an awful manner, they do horrible things most of the times, but they are morally gray beings, just like all the characters in this book, including Jude. I think that was one of Black’s strongest suit, how well she was able to explore each character’s intentions and behaviors without giving everything away at once, and without excusing said behaviors at all.

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Most of the times when I read YA fantasy, the female characters tend to annoy me with their blandness, so it was refreshing to see the character depth of the female protagonist in this one and how well-developed she was throughout the story. Even though she has to go through a lot of shit in the book, she never surrenders to anger or unwarranted violence, instead she always strives to use her head to try to see the long-run, instead of the instant and immediate gratification of revenge and getting what she wants. She develops this cool-headedness that of course doesn’t happen overnight; she has been training and learning ever since she was brought to Faerie. It was also interesting to see how she always worked towards finding her own place in the world. We learn from the start that she was brought as a kid into this unknown world of Fae, and we learn how much of a stranger she feels there, she’s neither/nor: she’s neither a human nor a fae, she doesn’t feel like she has a place in the world, and she strives to have it, she works her ass off to get to where she wants to be, to make someone out of her whom she can be proud of and content with. I think that’s mostly the appeal to her character, she never once whines or whinges about her horrible life or destiny, because she’s too busy making one for herself.

My other favorite character was one who started off as a little shit but ended up grabbing my unwavering attention by the end of the novel. And that is Prince Cardan. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for the tragic backstories of bratty and arrogant characters, and that’s the perfect definition for Cardan. Yes, he’s a dick and a bully, especially towards Jude, but he grows on you, with his sassy remarks and his story, and with his character development. The dynamic between him and Jude was one of my most enjoyable things in this book, even though 99% of the times, they were both trying to kill each other. I honestly can’t wait for book 2 to see where his story arc takes off to, and how his interactions with jude will be like.

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I also thought this book was going to be more heavily focused on the romance than it actually was, and I found myself being okay with it. Even though I wish a certain pairing would have been further developed, I think that the pacing and the way this particular relationship evolved was done perfectly well and in a realistic manner. I have to admit that one of my favorite tropes ever is the hate to love relationship trope, so I honestly can’t wait to see how these two characters’ dynamic gets further developed in the second book mainly because of the way this book ended.

I think the only issue that I had with this book was how I felt like the writing didn’t fit the dark and twisted tone of the story. Most of the times I found the writing to be somewhat juvenile and light-hearted, which felt kind of inadequate for the type of story that I was reading, but like I’ve said, this was my first experience reading a book by Black so her writing style was all new to me. While I do think there were similarities to ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas (which is the only book in that series I’ve read) I found myself enjoying this one way more.

Honestly, I went into this book knowing all the hype it’s been getting from the people who had already read ARCs of this, and knowing they loved it, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I was hooked from the first page, and even though the writing wasn’t a favorite of mine, that didn’t prevent me from fully enjoying this story. It left me eager to know what’s going to happen to Jude and Cardan in the next book and I can’t wait for it.

New Releases | January

I am so excited to share with you guys my most anticipated releases for this month. There are literally a ton of new books that I’m interested in that are coming out in January, and hopefully I’ll get to read the majority of them. These are the ones I’m planning on reading:

26032825YA Fantasy / Fae | January 2nd

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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YA Fantasy | January 2nd

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

29749090 YA Fantasy / Superheroes | January 2nd

Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal’s getaway – disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase.
Sentenced to community service in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the city’s most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.
She’s a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce’s name is next on their list.

33503607 YA Contemporary / Anthologies / LGBTQ | January 2nd

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

 

37413230 Fantasy / Captive Prince Short Stories #4| January 6th

Pet follows the rise of Ancel at the poisonous court of Vere. Set during the events of Captive Prince.

 

 

 

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YA Fantasy | January 9th

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world. 
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

 

31207017 YA Contemporary | January 16th

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.
There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
 

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YA Historical Fantasy | January 16th

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.
Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.
Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

37554812 Graphic Novels / LGBTQ / Fence Issue #3 | January 17th

As Nicholas works to become a better fencer, Seiji takes an unexpected interest in his journey.

 

 

 

 

35008759 YA Fantasy | January 23rd

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family.
When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends.
Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra–and for Asiana.
But what she doesn’t realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin . . . thin as the blade of a knife.

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YA Fantasy / LGBTQ | January 23rd

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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YA Contemporary | January 23rd

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.
In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s
family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.
But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

34275232 YA Fantasy / Fairy tales | January 30th

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

25566671 YA Fantasy | January 30th

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.
But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

35133826 YA Contemporary Romance | January 30th

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

34499209 YA Contemporary Romance | January 30th

For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.
Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.
Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

34051963 Mystery Thriller | January 30th

Megan Mazeros and Lauren Mabrey are complete opposites on paper. Megan is a girl from a modest Midwest background, and Lauren is the daughter of a senator from an esteemed New England family. But in 1999, Megan and Lauren become college roommates and, as two young women struggling to find their place on campus, they forge a strong, albeit unlikely, friendship. The two quickly become inseparable, sharing clothes, advice and their most intimate secrets.
The summer before their senior year, Megan joins Lauren and her family on their private island off the coast of Maine. The weeks go by, filled with fun and relaxation, until late one night at the end of the vacation, something unspeakable happens, searing through the framework of the girls’ friendship and tearing them apart. Many years later, in the midst of a political scandal, Megan finally comes forward about what happened that fateful night, revealing a horrible truth about Lauren’s family and threatening to expose their long-buried secrets.


Yep, as you can see, this month there are a shitton of new books coming out that I’m interested in and there is no way I’m gonna be able to read all these, but I’ll try. I’m currently reading The Cruel Prince, and so far it’s good, not what I was expecting but it’s interesting. What are you most highly anticipating for this month? Do you have any of these on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!

2017 Reading Year in Review & 2018 Reading Goals

Hey everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you had an amazing start of the new year last night. This time, I wanted to make a quick wrap up of what my reading year was in 2017 and the reading challenges that I completed. I’m also going to talk about what my reading goals are going to be for this new year.

So in 2017 I participated in the Goodreads challenge, as per usual, and this was the first time in my life that I’ve managed to read over 100 books. I was really excited to have been able to read 102 books, but I have to say that it was stressful as fuck. There were plenty of times when I was constantly thinking which books were going to be better for me to be able to reach my goal instead of just picking the ones I actually wanted to read. For that reason is why I’ve decided to change the way I approach the GR reading challenge, but more on that later when I talk about my 2018 goals.

I was pretty successful in terms of the reading challenges that I participated in throughout 2017, which were the Diversity Bingo and Around the Year in 52 Books. While I wasn’t able to cross out every single square of the Diversity Bingo I was able to read more diversely and open myself up to different types of genres and authors thanks to this bingo. These were the slots that I accomplished:

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• SFF disabled MC: Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu (4/5 stars)
Practicing Jewish MC: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (1/5 stars)
Indian MC: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars)
Displaced MC: A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe (2/5 stars)
Neuro-diverse MC: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (3/5 stars)
Bisexual MC: The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat (5/5 stars)
MC with invisible disability: Trust by Kylie Scott (4/5 stars)
MC of color in SFF: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (3/5 stars)
OV Latinx MC: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (3/5 stars)
Free choice: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (4/5 stars)
Non-Western (real world) setting: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (2/5 stars)
OV: Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward (3/5 stars)
Arab MC: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4/5 stars)
Book by an author of color: Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed (5/5 stars)
Biracial MC: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3/5 stars)
Black MC: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (3/5 stars)
LGBTQ MC of color: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (5/5 stars)
Contemporary world arranged marriage: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars)
Indigenous MC: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones (2/5 stars)
POC on the cover: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (4/5 stars)
Immigrant/refugee MC: The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (3/5 stars)
Hijabi MC: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (5/5 stars)

The other challenge in which I participated and which I accomplished was Around the Year in 52 books and these were challenges:

Book from GR Choice Awards: The Summer that Melted Everything
Book with 2 POV at least: They Both Die at the End
Book meant to read in 2016: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Title without letter “E”: Salt.
Historical Fiction: The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas
Book being released as movie in 2017: The Glass Castle
Book w/ an animal on cover or title: The Earthsea Quartet
Book written by a POC: Everything I Never Told You
Book in the middle of TBR list: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Dual-timeline novel: Everything Is Illuminated
Category from another challenge: The Refugees
Book based on a myth: The City of Brass
Book rec. by a fav. author: Locke & Key
Book with a strong female character: Roar
Book written/set in Scandinavia: Burial Rites
Mystery: Post Mórtem
Book with illustrations: Almost Midnight
A really long book (600 p.+): Lady Midnight
NYT Best-Seller: The Long Way Down
Book owned for long & not yet read: Bully
Continuation book of one already read: The Reluctant Queen
Book by an author not read before: We are Okay
Book from BBC “The big read” list: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Book written by 2 authors at least: Never Never
Book w/ famous historical figure: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Adventure book: Nightblade’s Vengeance
Book by a fave author: The Alloy of Law
Non-fiction: The Glass Castle
Book published out of 4 main publishers: Always & Forever Lara Jean
Book from GR Top 100 YA books: Thirteen Reasons Why
Book from subgenre of my fave genre: One of Us is Lying
Book w/ long title (5+): A Map for Wrecked Girls
Magical realism novel: Exit West
Book set in south hemisphere: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth
Book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Queen of Blood
Hugo award winner or nominee: Binti
Book chosen at random: Dark Matter
Novel inspired by work of classical literature: A Million Junes
Epistolary fiction: The Tiger’s Daughter
Book published in 2017: Noteworthy
Book w/ unreliable narrator: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Best book of 21st century: Call Me By Your Name
Book w/ chilling atmosphere (scary): The Roanoke Girls
Rec from “What should I read next”: Losing It
Book w/ one-word title: Defy
Time travel novel: Paper Girls
Past suggestion that didn’t win: Title with a number – Punk 57
Banned book: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
Book from someone else’s shelf: A Game of Thrones
Penguin modern classic: 1984
A collection: The Last Wish
Book set in a fictional location: Down Among the Sticks and Stones

Now for 2018, like I’ve said, I’m going to take the Goodreads Challenge a little bit with more ease, and I’ve set up my goal for 60 books. Eventually, once I start reading and realize I can increase the number I will do so. But for now, I wanted the number to be reachable and not put so much pressure on whether I’ll be able to accomplish it or not.

Also, this year I won’t be participating in the Around the Year in 52 books, but I will be trying to do the Popsugar 2018 reading challenge. If you are interested in this challenge, you can check out the article that explains it here.

Another thing I wanna work on this year is on the Rory Gilmore’s reading list, which is made up of over 300 books that Rory appeared to be reading in the episodes of Gilmore Girls. It’s obviously impossible to accomplish it in one year, but I wanna make my way through it progressively, and it’s also going to help me with another goal of mine for 2018, which is to read more female classic authors.

And those are all my reading goals for this year! What did you decide to set up as your reading goals this year? Let me know down in the comments so we can chat 😀

My 10 Favorite Books of 2017

THE LAST POST OF THE YEAR HAD TO BE MY MOST FAVORITE READS OF 2017! I’ve been meaning to write this one for so long, but I wanted to wait until the very last day to see if there was any other book I was able to sneak into my reading that could possibly make it into my top 10 books of the year, but the wait is over! This time, my favorites are going to be numbered from number 10 all the way down to my number 1 read of the year, a.k.a the book I loved the MOST out of all my favorites. Again, those that have reviews are linked to their covers, and you can access them by clicking on them. Let’s get started!

10. Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco (4/5 stars each)

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Coming in number 10, I have to pick this new YA mystery series because I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of it and it ended up becoming one of the most enjoyable series I read this year. In these, we follow Audrey Rose, a young woman who enjoys spending her time working at the mortuary with her uncle who happens to tutor her in the arts of medicine and dissecting the dead. This series is set in the Victorian era in London, which is why our main protagonist is such a favorite character of mine. Her progressive ideals and basically just being the feminist that she is are a few reasons why I love this series. Together with Thomas Cresswell, her sidekick and partner in mischief and crime-solving, Audrey’s stories are addicting, full of mystery and gore. I’m so happy this series is getting TWO MORE BOOKS! I literally can’t wait for them.

9. Vicious by V.E. Schwab (4/5 stars)

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After hearing amazing things being said about this book, I decided to pick it up and I’m really glad I did. I had read one of this authors other books (A Darker Shade of Magic) and while I enjoyed that one as well, this one took its place. Set in our world, this book basically deals with what would happen if someone found out that people could actually acquire superpowers by having a near-death experience. This book was filled with morally gray characters, that committed horrible acts, but that at the same time had you rooting for them. What really blew me away was the ending, which I didn’t see coming, and was a wisely wrap up to the story.

8. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (5/5 stars)

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This one was actually a surprise for me because I had no idea what this book was about. And that’s how you should go into this book if you plan on reading it. It was a very creepy and disturbing story at times, and it also dealt with a very heavy and triggering topic, so I don’t think this can be a book anyone might want to pick up. I enjoyed reading it, I was hooked from page 1 and I loved how fucked up it was. The writing is spectacular, and the characters are so messed up that reading this almost felt like when you see there’s a train wreck and you can’t help but stare at it, you know you shouldn’t, but you still do. There were times when I had to put the book down for a while because I felt physically sick about what was going on, but once I finished it, I couldn’t help but stare and think how much of a fucking genius Amy Engel is.

7. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)

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I recently finished reading this one and I had to add it to my list of best books of 2017. I loved being back into this world that Bardugo created, and I really loved how dark and creepy the majority of these short stories/fairytales were. I also had to squeal when one of the characters of her previous novels happened to make a cameo in one of the stories. Overall, it was nice being back into the Grishaverse, having all these stories expand said universe and add more magic to what is already one of the most unique and beautiful literary fictional worlds.

6. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (4/5 stars)

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This was a short yet powerful read for me. Maybe it’s the topic that makes it so, and the fact that it was extremely relevant to 2017, but it really impacted me when I read it. Exit West deals with a couple who attempts to flee their war-torn home country and migrate to some place where they can actually escape the turmoil they had been living in their country. We follow their journey to several places, and the hurdles they come across while trying to seek refuge and settle down. It has an element of magical realism which I also appreciated a lot, and there were so many lessons that I took from this book that I couldn’t leave it out of my top 10.

5. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (5/5 stars)

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It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve read this book because I read it a the very beginning of the year, so my thoughts aren’t that quite fresh on this one. But I remember crying my eyes out over this one, and feeling so much for these characters that I had to add it to my list. This book basically follows a family who happens to house a little boy who suddenly appears in this town claiming to be the devil. It’s a story about prejudices and preconceptions people often have, about how human beings tend to judge people without knowing anything about them, and the consequences that acting in that way have. It’s emotional, gut-wrenching and it left me very sad and angry because of how many actions like the ones happening in this book are a commonality in real life.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (5/5 stars)

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I think everyone has heard about this book by now. Again, another book I read at the very beginning of the year and loved it. In this one we follow Ari and Dante, two boys who befriend each other during a hot summer and whose lives will forever be changed after that. No, I’m not exaggerating. The development of their friendship and their relationship was one of the cutest and most heart-felt I’ve read in YA in a long time. There was no insta-love, there were no cringe-worthy dialogues or scenes, just a lovely storyline about friendship and self-acceptance with complex characters. It’s become one of my favorite contemporary books I’ve read up to this date.

3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (4/5 stars)

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I’m so glad I gave Celeste Ng another chance because I really didn’t think that much of her debut novel, but this one? AMAZING! There were so many important themes developed throughout Little Fires Everywhere which is the main reason it made it into my top best 3. The characters were another thing that I absolutely loved from this book, I felt connected to them, and I was able to appreciate their complexities and their flaws. I loved how everything seemed to come full circle by the end of the book, and how everything was related to everything. Ng has a way with presenting these picture-perfect families, and then dissecting every single one of its members to expose the good and the bad. The story also poses so many interesting and controversial conversations of what motherhood is, and doesn’t shy away from exploring different points of view. It really made me question some of the perspectives I may have had about certain topics dealt with in this book.

2. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (5/5 stars)

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Hands down, my favorite fantasy book I read this year, and this one was also a debut novel! I can’t get over how fucking GOOD this book was, so you bet this one made it number 2 on my list (previously number 1, if only a certain book that took over my life hadn’t been read in December). The level of detail and world-building that characterizes this book still amazes me. It’s filled with political intrigue, with very interesting and hard-hitting conversations about war and genocide, the consequences of war on the cultures involved and so much more, I just UGH! I can’t form words to describe my love for this book. It has everything you can think of: multi-layered and morally gray characters, magical creatures, mythology, a little bit of romance, incredible world-building and A CLIFFHANGER. I still can’t believe this was a debut novel, honestly, it’s the most intricate and unique YA fantasy book I’ve read in a while.

1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (5/5 stars, but honestly, all the stars in the universe!)

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Was anyone surprised about this one? Really? I think I’ve been talking nonstop about this book for the past couple of weeks since I finished it. It’s taken over my life and my twitter and I can’t make it stop, nor do I want to make it stop. I made a very poorly written review of this book because I needed to express my many feelings on it, but I don’t think there are words to make this book justice. I can tell you that it’s a coming of age story, a story about a teenager discovering himself, accepting himself, falling in love passionately and shamelessly during one Italian summer, and that will not suffice to describe the beauty of this book. And I think that putting it next to other books that deal with the same topics is unacceptable, because there are no other books that do what Call Me By Your Name does. There are so many topics this book develops so wisely and subtly, and the writing of Aciman in this book is some of the most beautiful and evoking writing I’ve read in my short life. The characters Elio and Oliver are still stuck in my head and they will be for the rest of my days. Once in a while, there comes a book that will mark you for life, and for me, Call Me By Your Name was that book. Reading it was a completely different experience that I hope many, many more people have the pleasure of living.


THAT’S IT EVERYONE! These were the most favorite books I read this year. There were some that did not make the list because I wanted to keep it under 10 books. Have you read any of these?! Which ones were your favorite reads of 2017? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you had an amazing reading year and an even better year to come!

10 Most Disappointing Books of 2017

Hello everyone! The end of the year is around the corner and the time has come for us to reflect on the books we read during 2017. I have to admit that watching people’s videos or reading blog posts of their most disappointing reads of the year is one of my favorite things to watch and read. Some people might not like it when they see their favorite books being trashed, but honestly, to me it’s one of the most entertaining things to watch. I love seeing other people’s points of view and opinions that might digress from mine, so it’s only reasonable that I also enjoy doing it myself. Today’s post is going to be about those books that I had high hopes for, either because they were overhyped or because I was really expecting a lot from reading their synopsis, but didn’t end up meeting those expectations. This is in no way an attack to the authors of these books nor to those people who might have loved them, this is just my list of books based on personal opinions on why they were a letdown. These aren’t in any particular order, and some of the images will be linked to their respective reviews if you hover over them. So let’s just get into them, shall we?

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The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (2/5 stars): I got this as an ARC from NetGalley after seeing it everywhere and hearing everyone talk nothing but great things about it. I was in for a surprise. This was marketed as an epic fantasy book inspired by Asian culture with badass female characters, demon slaying, magic and so much more, AND IT DIDN’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE THINGS! This was basically a romance, set in a fantastical world, a very under-developed and lacking one if I say so myself, that managed to bore me to death with chapters that seemed to never end. This is a 500 page long book and it ONLY HAD 6 CHAPTERS! The writing style was completely impossible to get into since it’s written in the form of a letter one of the main characters sent the other one retelling everything they both did when they were together, which MADE NO SENSE  WHATSOEVER! Why would you retell things you both lived? Why?! She was there with you, she knows everything, there’s no need for you to tell her things she already knows! UGH. I get worked up just remembering how awful this was. There was no world-building, the representation was totally inaccurate and the demon slaying happened in like one page. A totally forgettable book.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (2/5 stars): While there were aspects of the plotline which I found interesting I don’t think its execution was very well done. What was most interesting and unique (the Death-Cast company), was never dealt with nor developed and I think that hindered my reading experience a lot. Everyone kept saying how heartbreaking this was, and honestly, it didn’t do anything for me. I mean, from the title of the book you already know what’s going to happen, and I think the characters weren’t that developed for me to care about or get emotionally attached to them so as to feel sad about their end. It was nice to see the diversity in the characters, but like I’ve said, I was not moved by this story at all. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the story spans for only 24 hours, but this just wasn’t for me.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (1/5 stars): UGH. I read this at the beginning of the year so I don’t remember much in detail, but this book was SO PRETENTIOUS I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH I HATED IT! There were so many problematic things as regards the portrayal of women, the use of sexual abuse in a VERY casual way, slurs about the Romani people, and so many other disgusting things I wish I had never read this. Everyone seems to love this guy’s writing, and honestly, I can’t see the appeal of it. This felt pretentious and gimmicky all the time, and maybe it’s me and the fact that I’m too stupid to understand his nonsense, but this was definitely not worth the hype.

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Never Never parts II/III by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher (2 & 1/5 stars): I won’t spend much time writing about this, because honestly, there is NOTHING to talk about. The only one of these that is worth your time is the first part, but the second and third were completely forgettable. The plot-twist of why Silas and Charlie kept losing their memory was the stupidest twist I could have ever thought of, and that was the only thing that kept me reading these sequels.

Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush (2/5 stars): This book had so much potential but it didn’t deliver. The synopsis says it’s a combination of Sons of Anarchy with black magic, how can you go wrong with that fucking premise?! Well, it was bad. I think the author had a really good idea but she wasn’t able to fully develop it. The story, the setting, the magic system and even the characters felt very underdeveloped. It felt like she was only able to scratch the surface of what the story could have been. I thought it was a typical average YA book with a main character going back and forth between two guys and having to deal with her fears of using her magic, but once it became ABSOLUTELY obvious who the “villain” of the story was going to be, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. No development of the magic system, no interesting “mystery”, obvious villain, a love triangle… shall I say more?.

Vicious by L.J. Shen (1/5 stars): This one was just infuriating, mainly due to the male protagonist, Vicious. I’m used to NA male characters being the typical alpha cavemen, but there was not a single redeemable thing in Vicious. I literally can’t even think of one good thing that I liked about him. His whole backstory was tragic AF, but does that mean he gets to treat the female character as trash? nope. I understand that trauma made him shield himself from every person in his life, but seriously? it got to the point where him trashing her was just ridiculous, and the reason why he did that was even more ridiculous that I literally laughed out loud when he confessed it to her. There was nothing interesting in this book either; not the characters, not the storyline, nothing. And the female character was plain AF. There were so many things that could have been done with her character-wise, but of course she ended up doing everything Vicious told her to do.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars): I was expecting a lot more from this book. I found it to be extremely cute and borderline cheesy at some points, yet not much happened in terms of plot. Like, WHAT WAS IT?! I honestly didn’t feel like this book had an actual plot besides the two main characters falling in love and getting to know each other, which is fine, but I was waiting for so much more than just that. Yeah, there was the whole thing about Insomnia Con but not even that was fully explored. I wanted to learn more about Rishi’s comics, I wanted to see more of Dimple’s passion for coding, I wanted to see both of these characters interacting more with their families, and by the end of the book, I honestly couldn’t care less whether the characters found their way back to each other or not, because I wasn’t invested in them for me to actually care. This one belongs in this list because of all the hype surrounding it, yet it is refreshing to see books in YA moving away from the canon. It was refreshing to see different characters who shared another culture, to see the way they viewed the world, to see at least a part of their heritage, yet I only wished this book had focused way more on that.

The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (3/5 stars): This is a very well-known and classic fantasy series, so my hopes were pretty high. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was expecting. This was pretty slow and at points boring to get through for a fantasy book. The magic aspect of the “naming” of things seemed very similar to the system in The Name of the Wind, and I could see a lot of similarities between the main characters of these two books, Kvothe and Ged, as well, which I enjoyed, but I was a bit disappointed to find out this wasn’t as great as I heard it was.

Losing It by Cora Carmack (2/5 stars): Another NA series HIGHLY overhyped which I expected to like and didn’t. It was extremely cheesy, the protagonist was annoying and ridiculous, and the love interest sounded like a douche. It’s a quick read, so if you’re going through a reading slump it might help, but other than that, there is nothing I found remotely interesting for me to recommend this. I’ve read a lot of NA books, some good, some bad, but this, however, was just boring and annoying. I still can’t get out of my head how the guy constantly used the word ‘love’ when addressing the main character, ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Another disappointing hyped book.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2/5 stars): I think I’m in the minority when it comes to this one, because for me, this wasn’t good. A lot of the things that happened became way too predictable which frustrated me because I was kind of expecting for it to surprise me with a twist towards the end, and that didn’t happen. While the topic of this book is interesting and debatable, I think it could have been further developed in more depth. I also didn’t enjoy the writing style; I thought it was average with dialogues that made me laugh because of how poorly written they were most of the times. While everyone says this is the type of book that will blow your mind, in my opinion, it wasn’t worth the hype either.


There were more books that were pretty disappointing, but these ones were the ones I was most let down by. How about you?! Which were your most disappointing reads this year? Let me know down below in the comments!