The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Think Game of Thrones without sex and less violence with fairies.

It had a slow start. For a while it seemed just like tons of other YA novels about the fae where the lowly human and faerie prince beat the odds and eventually fall in love. That’s where I thought this was going. I was wrong. Halfway through I couldn’t stop reading. The level of treachery impressed me. I had a few things figured out but not all of it.

I’m giving this 4 stars because of the phenomenal plot. It would have been 5 if I had liked the characters. It is told from Jude’s POV. I did not like her and couldn’t relate to her at all. She reminded me of Arya on GoT, but even she is more selfless than Jude. Being angry and bitter caused her to be hellbent on getting vengeance on the people who had wronged her. To stop people from looking down on her, she needed power and lots of it. Jude wasn’t evil but has the potential to be because she wanted power for all the wrong reasons. It could easily corrupt her. Power was a way for her to make her life better, not the lives of others. Her concern for the downtrodden was vastly eclipsed by her concern for herself. Anger and selfishness are two of my most hated traits in people, and Jude exuded them. Her lot in life was not fair, but it is no excuse for the person she became. Despite her claims that she was an excellent spy, clearly she was not. There were many things she did not figure out and could have if she looked beyond the obvious.

Surprisingly Cardan was the only character I really liked. Despite his tendency to be an asshole, he was incredibly charming when he wanted to be. Some of his appeal may be because he wasn’t drawn to power although he was in a position of power. Ironically Jude was like him, the prince she hated. Both were mad at those in their families who had wronged them and took it out on people their own age to feel better about themselves.

There may be a romance later on in the series, but it wasn’t the focus of this. It’ll definitely be a slow burning enemies to lovers romance. It was great that Jude didn’t turn into a complete idiot just because a good looking guy showed interest in her. I was very happy with the ending. Jude’s plan was not sitting well with me, to think that she would subject a young child to that kind of life with no choice of their own in the matter. I am looking forward to the next one to see where it goes from here.

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

34189556Rating: 3 stars

A thriller this was not. It took a while to get into the story. For a while it was nothing more than a banal story about a scorned woman left for a younger woman. Then it turned into a story about a deceptive husband.

This fell flat. Most of the time what was going on didn’t hint at anything deeply disturbing going on. There were a few twists, but they certainly weren’t mind blowing. Richard was the main impediment to this story being appealing. It was apparent from the start that he was controlling, demanding, selfish and superficial. It was hard to understand why more than one woman was ever in love with this man. Sure he was rich but that’s not everything. I felt like this was supposed to be a story about a charming man who was not what he appeared. For that to work, he had to be charming in the first place. Vanessa’s role in the story wasn’t interesting as it alluded to.

The ending wasn’t what I hoped it would be. It was good, but I was expecting more. There were dark elements, but the story itself wasn’t dark. Nothing that anybody did was shocking or maybe I was too unattached to the characters to feel disturbed by what happened to them. The prologue definitely had an unexpected twist although it wouldn’t have changed anything if it hadn’t been included.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Best Books of 2017

Happy almost New Year everyone! It’s a fitting way to end the year with a list of my favorite books that were released this year. Most of the books I read this were less than noteworthy. There were a few that stood out as ones I’ll think of often.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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My favorite book of the year! It was not perfect, but I absolutely loved the way it showed that it is dangerous to make assumptions and to judge others. Read my review here.

Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

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The best book in the series yet, and the first one featuring Antimony as a MC. I was surprised to like this as much as I did. The glimpses of Antimony from the other books didn’t make me look forward to being in her head. It all worked out for the best though. Read my review here.

The Soul Eater series by Pippa DaCosta

The last three books in the series were released this year, and what a wild ride it was! It’s a blend of fantasy and urban fantasy. It’s not often that Egyptian mythology is featured in this type of story. It was great and completely original. All three received 5 stars from me. Read my reviews here and here.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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I’m not usually a fan of books with carnival themes, but this worked for me. I devoured this in three and a half hours. It was that damn good! Read my review here.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

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The best book no one is reading. This had a few surprises, and it was YA that wasn’t obnoxious. I’m hoping for a sequel. Read my review here.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

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As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a Seanan McGuire fangirl. This is my favorite series ever! If you haven’t read it, please check it out. If you don’t like the first few books, keep reading. I promise it gets much better. Read my review here.

Double or Nothing by Craig Schaefer

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It’s dark UF with a slower pace. Nonetheless it is compelling read. I love this series! It always manages to surprise me with the way Daniel Faust gets himself out of impossible situations. Read my review here.

The Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews

Ignore the cheesy covers. This series is amazing! It’s UF, not romance. I waited a long time for these to be released, and they did not disappoint. Read my reviews here and here. I went to a book signing of theirs this summer. ICYMI here is the post I wrote about it.

The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

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I loved this series! It’s PNR with gothic mysteries. Definitely worth the read. Read my review here.

What were your favorite books from this year?

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

32667458Rating: 3 stars

Series: Iskari #1

Asha was the Iskari, the dragon slayer. That’s what irked me from the start. Dragons are awesome! I couldn’t get behind the MC killing them especially when they weren’t a threat. She went out of her way to hunt them down. They weren’t actively going after people.

Asha was very hard to like. Blinded by her own hatred, her view of the world was skewed. Her greatest pride was her ability to kill dragons. There were reasons for her desire to kill them, but it was clear she never looked deeply into the situation to see if there were more to the story. She genuinely believed that she was better than the people her people had enslaved. These are not qualities I want in a MC. Obviously things happened that began to change her views, but she was obstinate.

All of the side characters were one dimensional. Jarek was a power hungry evil bastard. Safire was cool, but there wasn’t a chance to learn much about her. Dax had a lot going on, but most of it happened off page. The details of what he was doing were nonexistent. Torwin was by far the most prominent side character. I liked him.

It was the romance between him and Asha that I couldn’t get behind. It wasn’t insta-love because Asha resisted for a long time. For half of the novel she referred to him as the slave. If that doesn’t say true love, then IDK what does. I would have been happy if he told her to fuck off. It was one of those relationships where they developed feelings for each other for no apparent reason. The second half of the book focused on their romance more which is why I didn’t like that part as much.

The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

Rating: 3 stars

A year after Ro’s death, the people who loved her were still deeply affected. Her younger sister Mae desperately wanted to know what happened when she died. Unexpectedly Ro’s boyfriend, Cage, showed up at their house wanting to know what happened to Ro which didn’t add up since he was there when she died. Mae was the only one who believed Cage didn’t kill Ro. The two of them tried to figure out what happened when Ro died.

Ro had secrets. Mae knew they had something to do with an old family book. It was filled with vague spells and cryptic writings. Some of the things Mae uncovered from the book and around the house were spooky. All the while she was meeting with Cage while he regained his memories of what happened a year before.

It was interesting at first. The things going on were eerie and mysterious. After a while it was boring because nothing of significance was happening. Although Ro was dead, her presence was strong because many of Mae and Cage’s thoughts were about her. She was a major obstacle in becoming deeply invested in the story. I didn’t like her. Two boys were in love with her and fought for her attention, and I couldn’t understand why. Ro was obnoxious. She used various methods to manipulate people, some of them cruel. She thought she was hot shit and flaunted it. The rest of the characters were one dimensional. I was never invested in their fates.

The ending was lackluster after all of the build up about magic. The key to completing the spell seemed quite obvious to me, so I didn’t get why it was shocking to the characters. There were a lot of little things that weren’t explained in the end. What was up with Fern seeming to be in the know? Why was Lance different after being away for a year? Why did Cage have severe headaches all of the time? The main thing that should have been explained and was not was what happened to Cage during the year he was missing. Leaving those things open ended would have been okay if this weren’t a standalone.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

34050917Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2

Vasya was independent as ever. She refused to do the only two socially acceptable things which were get married or go to a convent. With the help of Morozko she went out to see the world. The only way to do it was to pretend to be a boy. After inadvertently getting the attention of the Grand Prince, she put the lives of her siblings in danger.

I admired Vasya for being bold and brave. She was willing to risk it all to live life on her own terms. However risking it all meant possible death. She had no desire to die, but didn’t do much to prevent it either. Her recklessness aggravated me. It was hard to believe someone could be so cavalier about their own life. It was that behavior that made her seem immature. Even with everything she had been through she managed to be incredibly naive about the dangers of the world.

In those days the world did not favor women, so pretending to be a boy seemed wise in the moment. Some things about it did not seem entirely plausible. It was always emphasized that Vasya was not pretty, but would she have passed for a boy? Masculine was never used to describe her. It was unusual that two of her siblings lived in the palace yet no one thought it odd that they had a brother whom they’d never heard of show up. It irritated me that Vasya was blind to the consequences of her actions. Her rouse put her siblings and nieces in danger.

Morozko was my favorite character. He stole every scene he was in. I really like him and Vasya together although when I think about it I don’t understand why he feels the way he does about Vasya. She always doubted his motives. Creatures like him don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts. OTOH how many times does he have to come to her rescue before she sees the truth? Almost everyone in her life let her down at one point or another, so that may be why she was hesitant to trust him.

It didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but a lot was left open ended in regards to Vasya’s fate and her relationship with Morozko. I looking forward to the next book especially since this was even better than The Bear and the Nightingale.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.