January 2017 Wrap-Up

24hryabookblog Monthly Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

uncaged-wallflower-by-jennae-cecelia-review1.Uncaged Wallflower by Jennae Cecelia

Uncaged Wallflower Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: October 6, 2016

Pages: 70

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring collection of poetry! Filled with such positivity, Uncaged Wallflower had me hopeful and inspired! It was a spectacular read to start off the new year! Highly recommend!

a-list-of-cages-by-robin-roe2.A List Of Cages by Robin Roe

A List Of Cages Full Review

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Roe’s debut is not one to miss! Adam and Julian (Adam’s foster-brother) find themselves meeting again after some time apart! A List Of Cages tells the story of the power of friendship and kindness, even when facing the most difficult situations. This novel is heart-breaking *discusses abuse & neglect* but you will feel so attached to these characters, even the minor ones through Roe’s spectacularly written dual POV.

frostblood-by-elly-blake3.Frostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Frostblood Full ARC Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic start to a new fantasy series! Blake delivers great character dynamics which is clearly seen between Ruby and Arcus! History and politics play a huge role in the world. The division/hierarchy between the Firebloods and Frostbloods was wonderfully done and its clear its not all black and white which was one of my favorite aspects! The plot while slow at times, definitely keeps you hooked as you learn more about Ruby and the world she’s in! 

crystal-storm-by-morgan-rhodes-review4.Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #5)

Crystal Storm Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Pages: 379

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Not the strongest novel in the series in my opinion, however it is very character driven and expands even more on the world/magic Rhodes has built thus far! The slow pacing/plotting and introduction to certain characters/motives really made the tone of this novel feel rather off than previous novels! However, the ending definitely will leave you eager for Book 6!

Take The Key And Lock Her Up5.Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #3)

Take The Key And Lock Her Up Full Review

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Carter delivers such originality to her stories, there are twists and turns you don’t see coming. There are new characters introduced just in this final novel that Carter manages to create so memorably! Grace’s repetitive narrative, lack of side-characters prevalent in previous novels and overly cryptic characters made this novel rather confusing at times due to lack of info which made this a little disappointing! However, Carter ties up the story delivering a satisfying conclusion to Grace’s adventures on Embassy Row!

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silvera6.History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me Full Review

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Pages: 294

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Told in Griffin’s POV’s  (History & Today) we come to understand how his best-friend  +first boyfriend Theo, died. Through out this novel are themes of love friendship, love/loss + acceptance. Through the writing the characters truly come to life. This is a gem of a story you don’t want to miss!

Additional Posts From This Month:

2017 Book Blog Goals {Bookish Goals}

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

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

Top 5 Wednesday {#2} Underrated Books

What Books Did You Read In January?  🙂

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!

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!

December 2016 Wrap-Up

24hryabookblog Monthly Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

the-queen-of-blood-review1.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (Queens Of Renthia #1)

The Queen Of Blood Full Review

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 353

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this book so much, the characters, world, EVERYTHING!! Its a magical story with themes of family and friendship I won’t ever forget! Daleina works very hard to prove herself as potential queen + along the way comes to meet Ven, a disgraced Champion. When things don’t seem right in the world of Araty w/ its magic/spirits, they team up to figure out what’s going on!

goldie-vance-vol-12. Goldie Vance Vol. 1  by Hope Larson + Brittney Williams (Illustrator) (#1-#4)

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A retro, 60’s-style comic featuring Goldie Vance, detective! There is so much diversity from characters to family dynamics, etc.! The plot unfolds quickly and I can tell there’s more mystery and adventure to come in Volume 2!

descender-volume-2-machine-moon3.Descender Volume 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen (Artist)

Descender Volume 2 Full Review

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Pages: 116

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Slower paced than the previous volume, but delivers much needed expansion on characters/development! But its filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

the-weight-of-zero4. The Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati

The Weight Of Zero Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 387

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Fortunati delivers an unforgettable YA Contemporary which introduces the reader to Catherine, who has bipolar disorder and depression and over the course of the novel, as she fears “Zero” is returning she finds hope in the new friendships/relationships she creates along the way. Fortunati’s writing style brings a rawness to Catherine’s story and overall is a wonderfully written YA Contemporary!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-15.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 1 by Izumi Tsubaki

Full Review To Come

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: November 17, 2015

Pages: 114

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this manga so much! It pokes fun at classic High School/Romance tropes! The plot jumps around rather quickly, so I was watching the anime while reading along and I love the characters! My favorite character is Mikoshiba ❤ ❤ He was so funny!! + He appears to be the typical heart throb that all the girls are after, but over the course of the story you figure out just how shy/anxious he is around them & really struggles to talk to them!  I can’t wait to learn more about him in later volumes!! I adored the characters & the plot was a little slow at times but it was definitely a blast to read and had me laughing! Can’t wait to read the other volumes!

ever-the-hunted-book-review6.Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash Of Kingdoms #1)

Ever The Hunted Full ARC Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: An enjoyable first book to a new fantasy series!  Summerill’s plotting and character development keeps the story moving and really brings an element of mystery to the characters! However my biggest issues were the lack of world-building and heavy focus on romance (mainly through Britta’s 1st person POV)! However the ending definitely has me interested to see how it wraps up in book 2!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #9

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books

What Books Did You Read In December? 🙂

 

 

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill ARC Review

ever-the-hunted-book-reviewEver The Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash Of Kingdoms #1)

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 400

Summary: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fun murder-mystery/fantasy mashup! Summerill delivers wonderfully written characters, with the plot setting up for an epic conclusion in the sequel!

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book there were strong elements of this story that made it really good, yet there were some elements (that I didn’t like as much) that have me unsure of how to rate this still! (Though will most likely stay at 3.5!)

Summerill did a fantastic job with plotting and pacing. The plot went in directions I wasn’t expecting which kept me invested and with each chapter I found myself hooked on the murder-mystery of Britta’s father and wanted to figure out what happened!

While the pacing was slow, due to Summerill’s plotting and character development it never felt like it was dragging which is a plus!

Along with plotting and pacing another great element to this novel was the characters. Even the side characters I really enjoyed! Summerill wrote them with enough depth/mystery to have me wanting to know more about them, while also giving them enough depth to get the full picture even if they sporadically appear through out the story.

The writing itself was well done. Reading from Britta’s POV (1st person) really made me attached to the characters and world, even though there were some moments I wasn’t really a fan of Britta as much. And in general, I could picture the world/characters rather well.

However there were 2 issues that prevent this from being a full 5-stars!
1.World-Building
We are thrust into this world quickly and along with Britta we come to understand it, however because she is just learning about certain aspects (like the magic) it makes it very difficult to have a rich view of the kingdoms/politics. Much of it is told from other characters Britta encounters which makes the world itself feel rather underdeveloped and difficult to grasp.

Additionally there were moments where the side characters made things a little too convenient for the plot/world and while it did help it to keep the pace moving, I will admit that it didn’t do much in terms of developing to create a richer/fuller atmosphere.

Also I felt there were times when the descriptions of locations + setting were very surface level and didn’t go into much depth which could have really helped with the world building!

2.Romance
I do enjoy reading romance in books, however I felt it was given too much of a central role. With the novel in Britta’s POV, I felt taken out of the story because instead of developing the rules/magic of this fantasy world, I felt there were way too many passages about her feelings for Cohen.

While near the end I liked the relationship more, I definitely felt if it was focused on less, it could have helped expand the world and make the story run a little smoother.

Regardless of the minor issues, I will definitely be reading the sequel/finale to see how it wraps up!

Overall this was a solid YA Fantasy! If you’re looking for a fun murder-mystery/fantasy mash-up with twists and turns along the way I definitely recommend Ever The Hunted!

*Received ARC from a giveaway*

The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst Review

the-queen-of-blood-reviewThe Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (The Queens Of Renthia #1)

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 353

Summary: An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Queen Of Blood is an enchanting fantasy tale that will transport you to a world entwined with nature, wicked spirits, and a daring adventure that will keep you hooked!

This book was absolutely incredible!! ❤️❤️ + Definitely got Final Fantasy vibes from this book! Which I loved!! 💖✨😍

From the chilling opening lines:

Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.

I was captivated by the unique and magical world that Durst created!

The writing style featured multiple POV’s, which expanded the world and showed how rich and lush it was!

The world of Aratay itself is highly guided by nature and the elements. The spirits of this world live among humans but can be quite vile towards them if they are left uncontrolled. That becomes quite apparent in this novel when spirits begin destroying villages and killing not only citizens, but potential Heirs!

And women are the only ones who can control them and protect the citizens. By becoming queen!

If they choose, women must take part in an exam to see if they are able to enter into an academy where they will spend many years training and if ready, will receive a Champion and train even further to become an Heir. From there they will go against other Heirs for the one and only spot of being Queen.

Enter Daleina. She isn’t the top of her class in terms of her ability to control the spirits. But she gets by with her intellect and her determination and I loved that about her so much! I could definitely see myself in Dalenia! There are certain things I’m not necessarily good at, but I always do my best to keep going no matter what and found that trait in Dalenia not only relatable, but inspiring.

Daleina is training to become a Queen Of Renthia, but knows very early on she isn’t cut out for it. However she keeps at it for many years training at the academy and learns more about who she wants to be and find the strength/confidence in herself.

Along the way she befriends young women just like her who are training to be queen. As the day approaches, she finds herself chosen by a disgraced Champion, Ven, who has a special bond with the queen and sees Dalenia as his only hope to bring control to the restless spirits!

There is so much girl power and female friendships which I absolutely loved! Dalenia befriends other women like her and they support each other along the way, regardless of the obvious competition between them for the spot of Queen. As time passes in the novel, they remain friends and continue to remain at each others sides when times get tough.

I did take away .5 because there is a romance (which doesn’t interfere with overall plot) and I felt was a rather rushed and did take me out of the story at times.

The characters were fantastically written and developed! Even with minor characters who were given few lines or mentioned in the background, they still felt real and vital to the story.

I seriously cannot pick between Ven and Dalenia! Both were wonderfully written characters and I could definitely understand their struggles and obstacles that they faced in this novel!

But there is so much more to this than just wayward spirits and queens. There is blood, betrayal and deep messages about connection with those you love/care about and finding yourself!

The world, characters, and plot in The Queen Of Blood come together to create a magical and unforgettable tale! ✨

I’ll definitely be reading book 2!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Review

The Midnight Star Cover RevealThe Midnight Star by Marie Lu (TYE #3)

Publisher: G.P.  Putnam’s Son’s Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 316

Summary:There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A stunning conclusion to a dark and epic fantasy trilogy!

As with any Marie Lu book, you can see that she really understands her characters and they truly shine on the page.

What I adore about her books is the way she approaches character/character-development!

With The Young Elites Trilogy as a whole, Adelina was truly the heart and driving-force of this story and it was great being able to join her on the ups & downs of her journey!

Adelina has taken her role as queen, but is still struggles with her inner darkness and the betrayal she feels from Violetta.

It was fascinating seeing Adelina’s development and how her position influenced and changed her along the way.

As for plot (without going into specifics) I was truly surprised at the turn of each page. Marie is a master at keeping her plot fast-paced and truly original ❤️💕

With the plot/characters as the main focus, there was still room for world-building in terms of the magic, gods, and travel which expanded on the world Marie crafted.

While in the last book, I personally found it hard to still get a full grasp of this world (in terms of visuals), there were so many fantastic elements of this final novel overall that it was a blast to read!

In terms of the ending (which I won’t spoil) I was really surprised, but I felt Marie wrapped it up perfectly!

Overall Marie delivers a fast-paced finale with a fantastic plot, incredible character development, and wonderfully concludes an unforgettable anti-hero tale!