Top 5 Wednesday {#2} Underrated Books

top-5-wednesday-booktube-bannerTop 5 Wednesday is a weekly book/booktube meme hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes

originally from Lainey over @ Gingerreadslainey

To learn more about T5W here is the goodreads group: http://bit.ly/1kmldQ6

This weeks T5W I will be listing the Top 5 Books:

Favorite Underrated Books

Listed below are books I absolutely loved that I feel need to be talked about/read more & overall just need more bookish love! 💕

Do you know of any books you feel are underrated? Let’s discuss in the comments below! 🙂

Truest1.Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

I read this book last year and I can honestly say this book has truly stayed with me since then and tops my all-time favorite books list! There’s so much depth and heart to this novel with topics of family, love, loss + it really takes time to discuss topics such as religion and mental illness in a very honest way. The characters, which are wonderfully written/developed will capture your heart + the writing is so beautiful and really creates atmosphere and depth to West’s (the main character) World. I know I was skeptical based on how the summary was written, but if you’ve had this book on your TBR or have been wanting to read it, DO IT!! You won’t be disappointed!

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is a marvelous & magical tale more people NEED to read! McLemore delivers a magical-realism story with lush and wondrous writing, phenomenal characters and storytelling! There are so many important messages of culture, identity and family. But overall its the story of Miel and Sam and the strength of their beautiful friendship. The magical-realism elements blend beautifully with the captivating writing and while reading you can feel the magic with each page. This is a very character-driven story and one that is truly unforgettable! Highly recommend!

The Forbidden Wish3.The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

This is a book that I feel more people need to read, especially if you’re a fan of retellings! If you’ve enjoyed reading The Wrath And The Dawn, this book would be perfect for you! Khoury delivers a retelling of Aladdin w/ Zahara a jinni, who wants to be free from her lamp and a deal with the King of the Jinn may be her only way to freedom. Through her writing and wonderfully developed characters it delivers a spark that really makes this retelling her own. There is so much girl power + the romance is written beautifully!

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-24hryabookblog4.Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West

In this standalone YA Fantasy, West weaves together classic fairy tales. In this novel, Bristol discovers she’s an elicromancer and must use her magic to unite the three kingdoms before an evil force takes over!

The writing pulls you in from the start and West’s fantasy world of Nissera comes to life on the page! If you are looking for a unique YA Fantasy that will keep you turning the page, I highly recommend Kingdom Of Ash And Briars!

the-queen-of-blood-review5.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Its books like this that remind me why I love to read YA Fantasy!💕 Durst creates a fantasy world heavily based around spirits and nature and through her writing it comes to life on the page! The characters and world are so memorable and unlike any YA Fantasy I’ve read before.

The story centers around Daleina and her journey (along with other women just like her) to becoming a queen in the magical world of Aratay. And then there’s Ven, a disgraced Champion who finds himself teaming up with Dalenia when they both realize the spirits of their world are becoming restless.

If your looking for an immersive YA Fantasy that has atmospheric writing and an engaging plot and characters, then definitely add The Queen Of Blood to your TBR!

Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter Review

Take The Key And Lock Her UpTake The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #3)

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 336

Summary: The princess is dead. Long live the princess.

Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.

Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Carter delivers a satisfying conclusion to her Embassy Row Series filled with intrigue and twists you don’t see coming!

With every novel, Carter always delivers a plot with such originality and I love that! There isn’t so much politics/intrigue and mystery to where it seems like too much and Carter knows how to balance them very well.

This novel concludes Grace’s adventures on Embassy Row as she learns more about her fate as a future princess, the mysterious Society and her mother’s secret ties to the Society + what she had uncovered all those years ago.

Carter continues to build upon the fictional country of Adria, introducing prince Thomas and the king, while also revealing more about the Society and how it plays a major role in Adria’s long and complicated history.

People want to get rid of Grace and her family, but she knows she’s not going down without a fight. Essentially this whole novel is Grace finding out more about what her mother discovered and how she can put an end to it.

As for overall plot, Princess Ann (now who I can gather was the overall antagonist) develops a plan for Grace to assume her role as princess and marry her son Thomas so Amelia’s lineage can continue. And Grace knows there is more to this than what she is led to believe.

Alexi’s mother is finally introduced! Overall she was a wonderfully written character and it was interesting to see how she was weaved into the plot and her history with Grace’s mother.

There’s introductions to the king and Prince Thomas of Adria who was definitely one of my favorite characters in this final novel (possibly even the whole series! Even though he was just in 1 book<3)

While he wasn’t in the book too much, Thomas was definitely one of the most memorable characters as was Alexi’s mother! Both were wonderfully written and developed.

While its obvious this series focuses on Grace, I felt the side-characters (Alexi, Rosie, Noah & Megan; even Grace’s brother Jamie who was quite an important character in See How They Run) weren’t given much page time for a majority of the novel and only showed up when it was convenient for the plot. That was a real bummer considering in book 1 All Fall Down, they were with Grace most of the time. They were wonderful additions to the story and it would have made this book much better if they were all together.

Regardless, it was definitely great to see Alexi and Grace together! There were more moments between them which was nice. Everytime they interacted it was clear that Grace really cared for him and vice-versa.

What I love about not only this series but Ally Carter’s books in general, is that regardless of what is going on in the story she always keeps her plot focused and doesn’t take the story in unnecessary directions. 

I did take off a star because while I adore the originality of Carter’s stories, I found myself annoyed with Grace’s voice/character. She was very repetitive about her craziness and in general repeated multiple lines over and over regarding it, among other things which really didn’t add much to the story itself a majority of the time.

Additionally, I felt certain characters (like Ann) were too cryptic and secretive about things, to the point where reading from Grace’s POV felt a little confusing at times, because no one would tell her anything!

Also as stated above, it would have been better if the side characters were included more in this final novel.

Aside from my cons about her, honestly I’ve never read about a character like Grace before, so it was great getting a unique 1st person POV and additionally what I do enjoy about her character is her independence and strength to fix problems on her own.

Overall Take The Key And Lock Her Up is a mysterious and engaging finale which ties together the mysteries that Grace has been trying to solve on Embassy Row!

Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes Review

crystal-storm-by-morgan-rhodes-reviewCrystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #5)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Pages: 379

Summary: The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Rhodes delivers a character-driven continuation to her Falling Kingdoms Series!

It saddens me that this wasn’t a 5-star read, but it definitely sets up for an epic conclusion for the 6th and final book in the series!

This novel picks up right away following the events of Frozen Tides and Magnus + Cleo find themselves following King Gaius to unlock the Kindred’s magic!

As with the previous novels, Rhodes executes the multiple POV’s wonderfully and with each chapter I’m never left confused as to who’s POV I’m reading from.

Many of the main characters like Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, Nic and Ashur have now teamed up to find a way to take down Amara who has taken control of Palesia due to some convincing of Kyan.

Lucia is on a mission of her own to understand what her magic is destined to do her and what is to become of her and her child. She makes her way to the Sanctuary and meets Timotheus who tells her of her fate and what is happening to the magic of their world b/c of the Kindred.

Now Lucia wants to set things right and find her family.

Character development was a huge part of this novel. However there is significantly more depth given to Gaius, Amara, Jonas & Lucia!

With King Gaius and Prince Magnus, their father-son relationship is really given more development. Secrets are revealed and you come to learn more about the King Of Blood and his past. Overall it becomes quite a big element of this novel in terms of character motivations and plot direction!

We come to have a behind-the-scenes look at Amara’s plan as she takes over Palesia and what she’s willing to do to gain even more magic and power.

In terms of world-building, there is definitely more expansion on the Kindred and development on who is now, as I can gather, the main villain Kyan! As the story progressed, I felt there was more depth given to the magic system and world of Mytica as a whole.

There was obviously a lot of things that happened, but there were issues I had which makes me really unsure of how to rate this! (Though the pros do outweigh the cons).

I took off a star because, I personally felt that the stakes weren’t as high as with Frozen Tides for instance and I feel that has mostly to do with the pacing which was slow for me in parts.

There were events that occurred or POV’s we followed which really dragged the story in some parts (especially in the beginning), for example Lucia’s! Personally I’ve always found it difficult to enjoy/connect with her character, but as I neared the end I found myself enjoying her development at seeing her redeem herself in wanting to set things right.

However as I reached the end, the pacing was much faster which I loved! Secrets are revealed and I found myself turning the pages wanting to know what was going to happen. The characters come together nearing the conclusion and I loved their interactions/dynamics!

Regardless of those minor issues…

Rhodes continues to deliver an engaging, character-driven fantasy  with secrets, schemes and Crystal Storm definitely hints at an epic conclusion I will absolutely be reading!

I’m definitely marking my calendar for book 6 to see how it wraps up!

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera Cover Reveal

K. Arsenault Rivera’s debut novel The Tiger’s Daughter had its cover reveal January 11, 2017!

Words cannot express just how psyched I am to read this book! I was truly captivated  from the summary and knew this would be an anticipated 2017 release!

If you haven’t heard of this book, here’s the summary:

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

The cover was originally revealed on EW with an excerpt which you can read Here!

Now for the cover….

the-tigers-daughter-cover-revealI’ve seen watercolor elements on covers before, but never for the full cover and this one is beyond stunning!

My goodness!! ✨💖💕❤️

Every element of this cover is wonderfully detailed and it truly looks like a work of art!

This sounds like a captivating fantasy and I cannot wait to read this!

It is set to be released October 2017!

Thoughts On This Cover?  

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Frostblood by Elly Blake ARC Review

frostblood-by-elly-blakeFrostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

*Received ARC through a trade*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Frostblood has all the elements I love about YA Fantasy! Blake delivers a fascinating world filled with magic, intrigue, and the perfect amount of romance! I could not put it down!

This novel was definitely high up on the list of most anticipated books of 2017! From early reviews and buzz surrounding Frostblood, I was worried the hype would get to me, but I’m glad I was able to push it aside and ended up absolutely loving this book!

Blake crafted a fascinating world where frost and fire are enemies and Ruby finds herself tangled up in the politics of this world!

In terms of world-building, legends and myths slowly get weaved into the story as does the history between Fire/Frostbloods.

While elements of the world are introduced rather quickly at times, overall its built in a way where your able to really picture this world and a solid foundation of the setting, politics and history!

Blake develops the divisions between Fire/Frostbloods, light/dark, good vs. evil, but also really shows the shades of gray that come with it and that really helped to set the tone for the entirety of the novel. And overall this was one of my favorite aspects of the world.

In terms of characters I loved their dynamics and considering this novel is in Ruby’s POV, through her voice the characters are all well developed/established, engaging, and I felt her dynamic and banter with the mysterious Arcus was done very well and through her POV his character really comes to life!

At the start of the novel, Ruby’s mother tells Ruby to never practice using her powers, however she soon finds herself caught by Frostbloods. Then when her mother is killed during the incident she is soon caught and is sent to a prision. However, she is soon rescued and finds herself at a monastarey. Once there Arcus helps her to strengthen her powers but he along with Brother Thistle soon convince her that she must destroy the Frostking. Along the way she comes to accept what has happened and while dark forces are always lurking she stays on the right path and continues to fight for what she believes in. She does find herself in trouble throughout, but along the way is willing to grow and learn (especially when it comes to the Frostbloods). I loved reading from her POV!

The plot itself is rather slow paced and there were times I wanted more from the plot itself (hence the 4.5), but truly with each page I got more and more invested in the story! There are hints of romance throughout the novel, but it never felt like it took a central role in the story which was a plus! Additionally there are some fun plot twists that definitely surprised me and had me even more invested as the story continued!
Overall this is a delightful debut with intrigue, adventure, and magic woven throughout that has me eager for the sequel!

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Winter}

Today I’m happy to share with you a list of Diverse 2017 YA Books coming out during the Winter months that I’m not only looking forward to, but ones that you should definitely add to your TBR!

Going into 2017, its important we continue to support our diverse authors/books!

YA Books recommended in these seasonal posts will be ones that feature:

~POC Authors/Characters + ~LGBTQ+ Characters +~#OWNVoices ,etc.

I will categorize books both in alphabetical order + by genre (Note: Dates are subject to change)

What Diverse 2017 books are you looking forward to? Any I missed? Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below 🙂

Contemporary 

allegedly-by-tiffany-d-jackson1.Allegedly by Tiffanie D. Jackson

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

american-street-by-ibi-zoboi2.American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary: On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez2.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez 

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary: From the backyards of suburban Florida to the parched desert of New Mexico, Because of the Sun explores the complexity of family, the saving grace of friendship, and the healing that can begin when the truth is brought to light.

Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.

But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.

Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

city-of-saints-thieves-by-natalie-c-anderson3.City Of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Summary: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silvera4. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

ARC Review To Come

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Publisher: Soho Teen

Summary: When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

the-hate-u-give-by-angie-thomas5.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Release Date: February 24, 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Summary: “You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.”

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Retelling

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin1.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

ARC Review To Come

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones2.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Science Fiction

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20171.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Razorbill

Summary: Empress 

Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

The Ship Beyond Time2.The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #2)

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Summary: The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy.

 

2017-diverse-ya-books-tbr-winter

A List Of Cages by Robin Roe Review

a-list-of-cages-by-robin-roeA List Of Cages by Robin Roe

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

*I requested a copy from the publisher and received a finished copy. This in no way influences my thoughts*

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A List Of Cages will capture and shatter your heart with each and every page!

*Note: This novel discusses abuse & neglect! Be aware if those are triggers for you*

Adam and Julian are quite different. Told through dual POV, the reader will come to understand how their lives aren’t what one would expect from looking in from the outside and the struggles they are facing.

These characters were written with such depth and felt so real. I sympathized with Julian + Adam at every step of the way and when truths are revealed about Julian’s difficult home life, my heart was aching. Both are complete opposites yet they find themselves reunited once again and while it is a difficult road for them both, rekindle their friendship and help each other along the way. They each have a distinct voice and its clearly seen throughout the narrative.

I adored Charlie and Emerald. Though they are side characters, Roe makes them unforgettable and through both POV’s they truly come to life and are given such depth that they feel just as real as Adam and Julian. As a reader you come to see their growth through their interactions with Julian and Adam, but also the small facets to their personality that feel so real.

Roe’s writing really brings out a deep and moving narrative/voice through each of her characters and especially through Julian from his loss, fears, and hopes.

Julian has dyslexia and Adam has ADHD, while I don’t have personal experiences with either of those, Roe not only discussed them and made them a clear part of these character’s, but also through their POV there were moments of internal thoughts or dialogue which showed how it influenced them with events in their day-to-day life and overall I felt I learned more about ADHD + Dyslexia through their narrative.

There are a variety of topics discussed in this novel and are very integral parts of the story from mental health, foster care, and overarching themes of friendship, family, as well as self-growth and change.

Julian and Adam meet once again after many years apart, considering they used to be foster brothers when Julian’s parents passed away from a tragic accident.

However Adam begins to notice that Julian may be keeping secrets. It was great to see Adam invite Julian in with his friends and in general want to reconnect with him. After spending a lot of time apart, it was very realistic to read Julian hesitant and weary about Adam’s friends, but at the same time it was heartbreaking!

Julian is a character who I felt my heart breaking for and while he always doubted it, he was truly the hero of his own story and through the worst moments he kept moving forward and that was so inspiring!

While there were so many memorable lines, one that will truly stay with me and really encompasses what this novel is about is “Hate ricochets,but kindness does too.”
This line speaks volumes. I could definitely remember moments where I was negative or unhappy about something and reading this line had me thinking “Was it worth it?” being upset or angry about something? No. That energy could be directed towards making a bad situation better or seeing things from a more positive light. That line truly stayed with me for the rest of the story.

The theme of kindness and hope are really evident in this novel, especially through Adam’s character. He is a generally happy and overall positive person and its his character that shows how easy it is to bring positivity or encouragement into any situation when times seem tough. He puts others before himself and knows that it makes him feel better.

The reason I’m struggling between 4 and 4.5, is that there is a small time jump (which usually takes away from the linearity of plots for me personally) additionally, the plot does jump around rather quickly due to the character’s voices and it made the story a little too fast paced at times which took away from the flow of the story (mostly near the middle/end).

Regardless this was a spectacular novel and one you should definitely keep your eye on when its out this month!
This is YA Contemporary with so much heart discussing friendship, abuse, family but has an overall inspiring message about hope and overcoming difficult situations, knowing others are always there for you and finding yourself through it all when all seems lost.