(ARC Review) Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

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Ius, Dawn. Anne & Henry. , 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1481439411.
Formats available: hardcover, ebook. Hardcover $9.89. Kindle $10.00.

Releases September 1, 2015

Synopsis:
Fairy Tale retellings are all the rage today, but what happens when the love story being re-told isn’t a fairy tale, but rather a tragedy? In Anne & Henry we get to see how the initially enchanting, but ultimately tragic love story between Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor would play out in modern day, between high school students. Henry is wealthy, popular, and powerful. He’s dating the equally wealthy, popular, and powerful Catherine, who is a socially and mother-approved match for Henry in every way. Then mysterious, hard-eyed, dramatic and passionate Anne Boleyn sweeps into his life. Henry and Anne are instantly smitten with each other, and Henry is compelled by her passion and her different-ness. But Henry is the only one who thinks Anne makes a better match for him than Catherine, and eventually even Henry isn’t so sure the love he and Anne have is enough for him.

My Thoughts:
This book was a quick, enjoyable, and quite different contemporary YA romance. Those who are unfamiliar with the original and true story of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor may miss out on much of the enjoyment the reader gains in reading this modern YA re-telling, but fans of contemporary high-school complication romances might still enjoy it. Readers familiar with history know not to expect a happy ending but the suspense of seeing just HOW exactly Henry will make Anne lose her head in this modern rendition keeps readers happily tuned in for the grand finale. Subjects of drug use, sexual content, and underage drinking are addressed, as well as reckless behavior, bullying, and familial and peer pressure. This is a somewhat shallow read that doesn’t dig quite as deeply into the characters or world as some might like, but does prove to be ultimately a quick and enjoyable read.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
You can find recommendations from others who liked Anne & Henry on goodreads.com


About the Author:
Learn more about Dawn Ius and her books on her website.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

Top Ten Tuesday – Syllabus for Magic in YA 101

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Brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is to talk about what 10 books/series would be on your syllabus if you taught X class.

My class is Magic in YA 101

Ok, so I took this as a chance to talk about some of my old favorites, from when I was a YA and some new favorites.

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The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Duh! Ok obviously if I’m doing my top ten “magic in YA” books than Harry Potter clearly tops the list. It would be sheer heresy to leave it off the list. No need to go into detail about this one because if you haven’t heard of it, you probably are living under a rock and therefore do not have a computer to read this post with, anyway.

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Sweep series by Cate Tiernan

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This is probably my all time favorite YA series ever, and maybe my favorite series ever, period. Yea I think it is. This series follows Morgan, a 17 year old girl in new york state, and her friends, as they meet Cal Blaire, a self described male witch. Cal starts a coven, where students who want to join can meet each week and take part in wiccan circles, or ceremonies. While regular people can and do become wiccans, you are only a witch if you are born into it. Only blood witches have real power, and you can only be a blood witch if your parents are. That’s why no one expected Morgan to have such powers. Her family is strictly Catholic, and they are not witches. So where did Morgan’s powers come from, and what can she do with them? As her powers manifest, secrets, danger (and love) start to emerge, making Morgan wonder just who can be trusted, and exactly who she is.

This is a little bit older, completed series. There are 15 books total, each one is quite small though so they’ve been re-published in sets of three (see pictures above). I love, love love love LOVE this series. I still re-read it. It has great characters, great mystery, and a wonderful love story. There’s also a lot of betrayal and twists throughout, and it can get quite dark. I would recommend that all you guys who like the new magic infested YA books give it a try. And if you do, please come back and talk to me about it. I seriously love this series so much.

Here they are in order, the links take you to Amazon.

Multibook volumes

Sweep Volume 1 * Sweep Volume 2 * Sweep Volume 3 * Sweep Volume 4 * Sweep Volume 5

Single Books (available in e-book)

Book of Shadows (1) * The Coven (2) * Blood Witch (3) * Dark Magick (4) * Awakening (5) * Spellbound (6) * The Calling (7) * Changeling (8) * Strife (9) * Seeker (10) * Origins (11) * Eclipse (12) * Reckoning (13) * Full Circle (15) * Night’s Child (15)

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Everworld by K.A. Applegate

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This is another one that I read as a wee young adult! The author of the Animorphs series takes older readers into Everworld, a world where historical and mythological elements go hand in hand. After his mysterious girlfriend, Sienna, is dragged into an alternate world by a gigantic wolf, David and three other high school students are swept into this world as well. Everworld is inhabited by characters from Earth’s mythology, and the main bad guy is Loki, Norse god of destruction. Strangely, whenever they fall asleep in Everworld, the teens (other than Sienna, who they have not found) find themselves back on Earth, living their normal lives. They realize that they are existing in both world simultaneously. The teens embark on a quest to find Sienna, who they believe will have the answers about how they ended up in Everworld and how they can get back out, permanently.

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Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird
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The Circle of Three series is another one that I read when I was a YA. It follows the story of three girls who stumble across a book of spells in the school library. One girl casts a Love Spell and finds the results to be disastrous, but no one believes her spell worked. She finds the name of the two other girls in the back of the library book, and tries to convince them to help her. The series then follows these three girls from different social cliques as they come together over a shared interest in witchcraft.

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The Raven Boys Cycle

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Ok, now on to some newer titles! I just discovered The Raven Boys this summer, and I loved it. I think I liked it even more because, based on the book flap description, I didn’t expect to like it. The description says that Blue has known her whole life that she is cursed so that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Blue lives with her family of clairvoyants, though she has little skill for this herself. The story starts off when Blue, who usually avoids boys (and Raven Boys in particular), meets Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys and joins them in their quest to find a historical king, whom, when found, is alleged to give the finder one wish. The description makes this story sound like a love story about Blue not being able to kiss the boy she loves, but actually the love story is not really a major aspect of these books, and is in fact very slow building. I like that we are getting to know the characters so well, and there is no insta-love. The quest and world building are great, and the characters are quite unique and lovable, even the ones who are not so lovable. I’m loving the slow build and unfolding of this story!

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The Paper Gods series by Amanda Sun

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This is another series I recently came across. I’ve only read the first book so far, Ink, but I really liked it. This series follows Katie, and American girl who has to move to Japan to live with her aunt after a family tragedy occurs. Katie meets Tomoshiro, and whenever they are near each other strange things keep occurring. Katie is determined to find out Tomoshiro’s secrets, and as she does they grow closer. Eventually she finds that Tomoshiro has rather unique magical powers, and many enemies hunting him, and Katie is dragged into the fight. The strongest part of this series is by far the beautiful descriptions of Japan and Japanese life and culture. The author lived there and paints a vivid and alluring world so that the reader feels they are walking the streets of Japan, along with Katie.

Check out my review for Ink.

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

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This is another one that I loved, even though I’ve only read the first one in the series so far. This series follows Karou, an art student living in Prague. Karou is very strange (her hair grows out of her head blue!) and has one foot in our world, with the other in a world filled with monsters. Karous doesn’t actually know who she is, just that she was raised by those many would call monsters, but whom she loves. Karou doesn’t know the truth about her past, but she’s about to find out. Now I keep this description pretty vague because Daughter of Smoke and Bone unfolds in such a way that the reader is kept as clueless as Karou about who and what she is. Part of the beauty of the story is that you don’t know where it’s going, so I don’t like to give any spoilers.

Check out my review for Daughter of Smoke and Bone

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Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

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This one is a Graphic Novel, and I just think it’s fantastic! Kamala Kahn is a Muslim-American teenager, and the daughter of immigrants. She struggles between wanting to be a “normal” american girl, and wanting to please her parents and her traditions. One day she is met by the original Ms. Marvel, who bestows her powers on Kamala, making her a superhero. Now she has to try to be a “normal” American teenager, a good Muslim girl, and a covert super hero! Kamala is going to have to realize that there is No Normal.

Check out my review for Ms. Marvel

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The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce

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The immortals is one of Tamora Pierce’s early high fantasy series, which I just adore! As you guys know, I am a huge Tamora Pierce fan, so you probably are not surprised to see she’s made another one of my lists. The Immortals follows Veralidaine Sarrasri (known as Daine), an orphan who can speak to animals. Daine applies for a job which takes her from her birth country to the kingdom of Tortall. She finds herself friends and a new family, and learns that she has magical abilities relating to animals including: speaking to animals, taking their shape, and bending them to her will. Among the friends she makes are: handsome mage Numair, young dragon Skysong, and the legendary Lioness, Alanna of Trebond (main character from The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce).

As you all know if you’ve read any of my other Top Ten Tuesday, i highly recommend Tamora Pierce’s books 🙂

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Ok well this post is going on a bit long so I’m gonna cut it short without reaching the full 10, I hope you guys enjoyed and maybe found a couple of additions to your TBR piles! I’d love to hear what you think of my top ten, and what was your top ten topic this week?

(Review-YA) Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink by Amanda Sun

Sun, Amanda. Ink. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin Teen, 2013. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0373210718. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $7.72. Kindle #3.99

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #8 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

After her mother’s death, Katie finds herself living with her Aunt in Japan. Katie doesn’t know the language or customs surrounding her, and she’s always making mistakes. One of those mistakes leads her into the path of Tomoshiro who is gorgeous, snarky, and obviously hiding a secret. He’s always disappearing, and whenever he’s near Katie, strange… things, keep happening. The more Tomoshiro tries to push Katie away, the more determined she is to find out what he’s hiding. And when she finds out…. everything changes. Ink is book 1 of the Paper Gods series.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Identity, adapting to life in a new culture, romance, supernatural, death of a parent, gangs.


My Thoughts: Ink is similar to Twilight in the way Katie and Tomoshiro meet, react to each other, and how their relationship progresses.The setting and mood are quite different however, with Ink taking place in beautiful Japan. I loved how the author paints such a vivid picture of Japan and the people and culture that you feel you are there experiencing it yourself. It’d be impossible not to fall in love with Japan (and Tomoshiro) when reading. Ink includes a unique type of supernatural that I haven’t seen before, and I appreciated the change from the more common vampire/werewolf types. I think anyone 13(isn) and up can easily enjoy this series.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is Rain (Paper Gods 2)


Extras:


About the Author: Amanda Sun is an archaeologist by trade, but her intense fear of spiders keeps her from actually going on digs. She spends her time learning about different cultures of the world, and writing her YA series The Paper Gods, which she describes as “edgy paranormals set in Japan that involve kendo, knife fights, and hot boys with spiky hair. Also tasty Japanese food.”


What are other teen saying about their reading & social media habits?

“I mainly read YA fantasy-often dystopian- but I also like to read historical fiction, classics and mysteries. Goodreads is typically where I get book recommendations, but I will sometimes get books out from the library if they’re too expensive or I’m not sure if I’ll like the book. Physical books are definitely my favourite, but sometimes I will listen to audiobooks on my phone!”  – Rebecca, 17


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Harlequin Books. “Ink debut novel from Amanda Sun (Book Trailer).” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 14 June 2014. Web. 15 July 2015.
“Amanda Sun.” Amanda Sun. Web 15 July 2015.

(Arc Review-YA) A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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Braswell, Liz. A Whole New World. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1484707296.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $9.59.

Releases September 1, 2015


Synopsis:

A Disney’s Aladdin Twisted Tale.

What would happen if one key element to your favorite Disney story went wrong, irreparably changing the tale? A Whole New World starts out basically just as Disney’s Aladdin film does, up until the point where Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp. In the film, Abu takes the lamp back off Jafar. But in this story, Jafar gets the lamp, and uses it to take over Agrabah, while Aladdin gets stuck in the cave of wonders. So what would happen if Jafar actually got the lamp and became Sultan? Jasmine and Aladdin, along with his gang of Street Rats, must band together to build a resistance to Jafar’s insane tyranny.

My Thoughts:

This story had great promise. A re-telling of Aladdin where Jafar initially wins, and Jasmine becomes a Freedom Fighter to take back her Crown? Such a great idea. This re-telling, however, never seems to go quite far enough and lacks some commitment. It’s marketed as a dark re-telling, and there certainly are darker aspects (some characters die who you might not expect to, and in interesting ways), but other than that, and Jafar’s creepy insanity, the story just lacks depth. This story is ultimately plot driven, with the focus on the action of the moment, rather than the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Additionally, we mostly only get the story from Aladdin’s point of view. Because of this the characters feel somewhat under-developed, and we don’t get a true sense of who they are. The story careens along, giving plenty of attention to what the characters are doing, but we don’t often get to see what they are really thinking or feeling. One big disappointment for me was the almost complete lack of romance in between Aladdin and Jasmine. The beginning of the story shows great promise, when they first meet we see them nervous and silly with each other, very believable for two teenagers who find themselves attracted to the other, but after that almost no attention is given to the budding romance. Since the romance in the film version is so beautiful and important to the story, I was a bit surprised by this. It felt like the author was told to keep the story appropriate for younger readers, while also trying to capitalize on the huge market for dystopian and fairy-tale re-tellings in YA fiction right now. So we get some fighting and death, but not a lot of emotions or romance. Die-hard Disney fans, and lovers of re-tellings, however, may enjoy this sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, Aladdin re-telling. It showed great promise, but missed something on the follow through, for me.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
This is the first entry into Disney’s projected Twisted Tales series, so there should be more to come.

For recommendations from others who like this book, check goodreads.com


Extras:
For other reviews of this title check:

The Fictional Reader
Women Write about Comics


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(Review-YA) Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Cole, Kresley. Poison Princess. , 2012. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1481426664. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $4.99. Kindle $4.99

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #7 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

So the apocalypse has happened. Evie really should have seen it coming. Actually she did see it coming, she just didn’t know the hallucinations were premonitions. She just thought she was crazy. Now society has fallen into chaos and lawlessness, and she, a used-to-be wealthy southern belle needs to learn how to survive. There’s also zombie-things. She’ll need to team up with bad-boy “from the wrong side of town” Jack, and a couple of other people she meets along the way. She’s on a quest now, because her hallucinations haven’t stopped, and worse things than even the apocalypse are coming.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: survival, apocalypse, loss, sanity, supernatural, romance, friendship.


My Thoughts: Kresley Cole is one of my all time favorite authors, I read her adult series Immortals After Dark so I was excited to try her YA series as well. One of the greatest strengths this one has its unique plot and characters. The main character is a southern belle, and her counterpart is a Cajun bad-boy. Personally I haven’t ever read a book that includes aspects of the Cajun culture, so I loved that part. The plot itself is really different from anything else I’ve read, and I enjoyed that we get to see the characters before, during, and after the apocalypse happens. This one has plenty of suspense and action, and I’d recommend it for slightly more mature YA readers because of the steaminess of the romance and the darker themes of mass destruction. The rest of the series (there are currently two more out, with more to come) includes a growing array of supporting characters, many of whom are great fun. Each character is based on one of the Major Arcana from Tarot cards, so we get people like The Hermit, The Empresss, Death, The Lovers, etc. Additionally I should note that there is quite a bit of “horror” in these books, with some truly terrifying and disturbing moments, such as a serial killer, cannibalism, and torture. I love them though, and am eagerly awaiting the next book!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the The Arcana Chronicles is Endless Knight


Extras:

  • Locate Poison Princess at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Kresley includes plenty of fun stuff & extras about The Arcana Chronicles on her site.
  • Learn more about the Arcana Chronicles world on it’s Wiki
  • As of July 2015, the rights to this series have been optioned to make a movie. Check with Kresley for more info as it comes available.
  • Interview with Kresley talking about her inspiration for Poison Princess

About the Author: Kresley Cole is a NY Times Bestselling author of both an adult, and young adult series. Her YA series is called The Arcana Chronicles.


What are other teens saying about their reading & social media habits?

“I am a huge lover and reader of the Fantasy genre. Most of the books I read are of that genre. However I do like to read my fair share of sci-fi and contemporaries that focus around things such as diversity and mental illness.
I use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Goodreads. My favourite for bookish related things is definitely Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter. Twitter is amazing for chatting directly with other bloggers and connecting with authors about their books” – Josie, 12th grade


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Simon & Schuster. “Kresley Cole Reveals Inspiration for Poison Princess.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 25 July 2012. Web. 26 July 2015.

Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter

Showalter, Gena. The Queen of Zombie Hearts. , 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 9780373211319. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.18. Kindle $7.99.

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Synopsis: (no spoilers)

Ali knew who she was when she woke up, but seems to have changed a lot since then…

Ali has been through a lot since her family died and since she learned about (and how to fight) zombies. She’s made friends, fallen in love, been betrayed, tortured, and been nearly killed (a lot). She’s made and lost friends to the zombies, and the evil corporation controlling them. Now it’s time she and her friends “girl up” (way better than “manning up”), and make everyone pay.

Just in time for the biggest battle of their lives, Ali discovers her powers are strengthening more and more. And she’s developed a few new ones too. They might be just what she needs to turn the tide in this war, but they don’t come without danger and sacrifice. Ali will need to dig deep for the strength to win this final fight, and will learn more about betrayal and sacrifice than she thought possible to keep the rest of her loved ones alive.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Survival, death, grief, romance, love, family, zombies, betrayal, and sacrifice.


My Thoughts: (No spoilers) It’s time to “put on your big girl panties” (as Kat would say), and read The Queen of Zombie Hearts, the final installment of Ali’s story in The White Rabbit Chronicles. A Mad Zombie Party comes out in September 2015 and will chronicle the adventures of other characters in the world of The White Rabbit Chronicles. This is simultaneously the most heart-wrenching, and most humorous installment so far. Showalter doesn’t pull any punches with this one, and the characters suffer incredible trials and loss, however she manages to add enough light-hearted moments, steamy romance, and Kat’s patented blend of ego and humor to lighten the mood when necessary. This entire series is peppered liberally with equal parts romance, horror, action, mystery, lovable characters, and laugh-out-loud humor, making it one of my favorites. This book brought enough conflict, tension, fun, and surprises to make it a thrilling, suspenseful, and ultimately satisfying conclusion to this arc in the series. Somewhat mature themes (death, blood/gore, & sexual content) will be found, however nothing too graphic. A recommended read for those who like a laugh with their horror, and characters they’ll fall in love with again, and again.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The first two books in the White Rabbit Chronicles are Alice in Zombieland and Through the Zombie Glass

  • A Mad Zombie Party new book in this series featuring a different main character comes out in September 2015.
    • **PLEASE BEWARE!** – the description of Mad Zombie Party includes a MAJOR SPOILER to the series, so if you haven’t read all three that are currently out now, you may want to wait to read the description for this one!

Extras:

  • Locate Alice in Zombieland at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Find some White Rabbit Chronicles wallpapers and other extras on the White Rabbit Chronicles website.
  • If you liked The White Rabbit Chronicles, you might find something else you like here, on Goodreads.com

About the Author: Gena Showalter is the author of the YA fantasy White Rabbit Chronicles, as well as an adult fantasy series.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(Review-YA) The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Rutkoski, Marie. The Winner’s Curse: A Novel. , 2014. Print.ISBN-13: 9780374384678. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $5.12. Kindle $7.09

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #6 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Kestral has a gift for military strategic brilliance that has her father trying to recruit her to his army, but Kestral is more interested in playing music. She enjoys her comfortable life as daughter to the second most powerful man in a tyrannical empire. Then one day she sees a slave boy being sold, and impulsively buys him. Kestral is drawn to Arin, and they form an odd kind of friendship, while the empire teeters on the brink of rebellion. Then Kestral finds out Arin has his own deep secrets, her world falls apart, and she finds her role reversed. Kestral will need to put all her strategic brilliance to the test to ensure her own survival.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: slavery, rebellion, privilege, war, friendship, love, family ties, and identity.


My Thoughts: I absolutely adored The Winner’s Curse. I loved that the main character’s military brilliance came from intelligence and strategy, rather than physical fighting prowess. Many of our heroines these days are kick-butt fighters (and I love that), but it was refreshing to see one whose best skills are her intellect. She’s also very loyal, which is one of the things that drives the plot so well. It’s easy to empathize with her as she struggles to cope with torn loyalties and has to choose between doing what is expected of her, and what she thinks is right. This is one of the stories where we, like Kestral, see that there is no black and white, no outright good guys and bad guys. The story has a couple of great, unexpected turns, and I was frequently surprised by decisions Kestral makes. I could not wait to see what happened next so I read the sequel immediately and cannot wait for book 3!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the The Winner’s Trilogy is The Winner’s Crime

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Extras:


About the Author: Marie Rutkoski is the author of several children’s and young adult books, including The Winner’s Trilogy


What are other teens saying about their reading & social media habits?

“I read YA fantasy, as well as contemporary romance, with a little bit or paranormal or sci-fi thrown in every once and a while. As a blogger, my only “social media” is my actual blog (though I’m considering expanding that soon), and even in “real life” I only have a Facebook–social media isn’t really my thing….I get most of my recommendations from other bloggers, or from just standing in a book store and seeing which books grab me. I never use the library. (I like owning my books! They’re my babies!)” – Jocelyn, 10th grade


Citation & Credits
Book cover images: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Fierce Reads. “The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 18 Dec 2013. Web. 26 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Maas, Sarah J. Throne of Glass. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012. Print. ISBN-13: 9781599906959 . Formats available: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $6.70. Kindle $6.15

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #5 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Celeana is an accomplished assassin by the time she’s 17. That’s also when she is arrested and sentenced by the King to life as a slave in the salt mines for her crimes. A year in those mines is enough to carve Celeana out of rage and hatred for the whole royal family. But then the Prince and his Captain of the guard approach her with a proposition. If she competes as the Prince’s nominee for the title of Kings Champion, and serves that position for 4 years, she will be pardoned and freed. Freedom is in Celeana’s grasp, and all she needs to do is sell her soul to the family that has shattered her world twice already.


Booktalk:


Themes include: freedom, death, killing, friendship, love, redemption, slavery, tyrannical monarchies, and magic.


My Thoughts: Loved it. Loved it Loved it Loved it. Go read it. Enough said!

Ok now that I got that out of my system…. As you might have guessed, I loved Throne of Glass, it is by far one of the best High Fantasy books I’ve read. The world is unique and really interesting, the characters are very well developed, and the main character is quite different. Celeana is not your typical heroine. She’s more concerned with survival than with honor, revenge, friendship, or love. At first. She really was a successful assassin, so we get to see her deal with the violence she’s endured and imparted on others and how that affects her. She’s also very funny, and completely vain. She likes frilly, pretty things just as much as she loves a well crafted weapon. I immediately read the following two books in the series and am eagerly awaiting the fourth one, which comes out in September 2015.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the The Throne of Glass Series is Crown of Midnight

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Extras:


About the Author: Sarah J. Maas is the bestselling author of The Throne of Glass Series.


What are other teens saying about their reading & social media habits?

“[I read] more fantasy than Sci-fi. I haven’t really found the book that’s pulled me into the genre. I also read contemporary, retellings, historical fiction, etc. I basically read anything as long as I’m interested but Sci-fi is probably the genre I read the least. I have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, and Goodreads. However, the only one I even sort of check on a daily basis is going to be Instagram or Goodreads. I don’t really have a favorite because I don’t really like social media that much.  I used to ask librarians for recommendations but I’ve since found that I prefer finding books I’m interested in myself.” – Kelly, 10th grade


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Bloomsbury Publishing. “Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – book trailer.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 26 July 2012. Web. 26 July 2015.

(ARC Review-YA) Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz

Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz (ARC Review – YA)

Horowitz, Lauren Bird. Shattered Blue. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1503949973. Formats available: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $3.99. 

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #5 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Will be released: September 15, 2015.

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Synopsis: (no spoilers)

Noa’s sister died, and it shattered her world. Her family is falling apart, and all she has left is her littlest sister, who is her whole world. Callum transfers to Noa’s school and she immediately senses there is something different about him. They begin to get closer but Noa is confused at Callum’s refusal to touch her in any way. She soon learns why. Callum is a Fae who has been exiled from his world, and tossed into hers. But Noa’s world doesn’t produce the “light” or energy the Fae need to survive. The only way for Callum to get this “light” is by stealing it from human beings. But stealing a human’s light is the same as stealing their future happiness. And it’s possible to take too much. Callum knows if he touches Noa, he might not be able to stop before he takes too much. As Noa and Callum struggle to find a way to be together, people from Callum’s past are showing up. Enemies hunt him, and a loved one who can’t be trusted shows up at the same time. Secrets, enemies, and love collide in the first installment in the planned Light Trilogy.

My Thoughts: (no spoilers)

The good: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It caught my interest from the beginning, but the second half REALLY grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The premise is good, the mythology surrounding the Fae and their world is new, unlike any other of the Fae books I’ve encountered. The author’s writing is quite beautiful, she is skilled at weaving the character’s emotion into the text. She was able to make my heart hurt for Noa’s loss, and she uses poetry quite well throughout the story to underscore the character’s thoughts and feelings. There is a lot of promise for some excellent world building to come. The first book takes place in our world, and Noa is a plain old human, so we don’t get introduced to the mythos of the Fae until well into the first book, however the cliff-hanger ending indicates that we will get a more up-close-and-personal look into the magical aspects of the world in the next installment. I quite liked the “energy” concept, rather than the traditional “magic” version we often get, and I like how the Fae are divvied up into different types. There also seems to be a lot of potential for Fae political intrigue in the coming books, and I am always a fan of some political intrigue!

The plot grips you from the beginning and the story is well paced. The best part of this book, for me, was how the idea of secrets and secrecy kept coming up, but very subtly, and that the last couple of chapters were full of shocking plot twists. I usually am not surprised by the direction a book takes, or if I am, the direction is one I don’t care for. But this book has some genuinely surprising twists, many of which made me enjoy the story more than if the twist had not happened. Also the story really starts to heat up in the second half, when the third main character is finally introduced. That character is by far the most interesting one of the three. Before that character came on the scene I was feeling so-so about the story, but afterwards the characters got more interesting, the plot heated up, and the surprises started being unveiled. By the time I finished the book I was happily committed to series. I will absolutely be picking up the second installment, whenever it is released.

The bad(ish) – There was not a lot bad with this story, it was a pretty successful introduction to the new series. There were a couple of things I did not care for, though. Noa and Callum do have the “insta-love” that many YA books feature recently. There was very little relationship development before they felt “in love” with each other. I did not feel that this was explored enough, and I couldn’t really understand why they loved each other. They did share the loss of a sibling, which they bonded over, so perhaps that had something to do with it. The book is told from alternating viewpoints of the three main characters, and I wished there was more from the third character. That character was by far the most interesting, but doesn’t appear until well into the story. Hopefully we will see more from that character in books to come, though! Additionally, the first half or so of the story does not include a lot of action, and meanders insubstantially, a bit. However, let me just say that the second half is completely different. The characters become far more interesting, the plot picks up in intensity, and secrets and twists start to emerge, making the second half of the book a far more enjoyable experience. Also, when I finished the book, and the final secrets were revealed (AND WOW! SHOCKING!), I did understand why some things had to happen the way they did. I don’t usually like when there is a shocking reveal at the end (usually its some plot twist I do not care for) but in this case, the twists spiced this story and the characters up and made me eager to read the next installment.

Fans of twilight may enjoy this, as well as fans of fantasy/fae/magic stories with a complicated romance and a potential love triangle. If you’ve ever seen the Marvel movie Thor, you’ll also notice an unusual similarity here, in the relationship between a “good” brother and “bad” brother, as well as the concept of different dimensions connected by portals.

This book was given to me as an ARC in return for an honest review, from Netgalley.com

Goodreads @ https://www.goodreads.com/kelseybogan


Themes include:
death, grief, secrets, love, family, truth & lies, sacrifice.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
This is a planned trilogy, but no information is yet available on the next book. Ill update this as info comes available!


Extras:
This series is so new, I don’t have much extras for you guys yet. But here are two other Bloggers who have reviewed it so far!


About the Author: 
Again, not much info on the author yet, but she is available on twitter @birdaileen


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com

(Review-YA) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson

Pearson, Mary. The Kiss of Deception. , 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 9780805099232. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $8.28. Kindle $7.80

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #4 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Princess Lia flees from her arranged marriage to an unknown, foreign prince to begin a simple life as a tavern maid, in the hopes of having a life that includes love. Two men soon show up in the town she’s fled to, and Lia finds herself befriending and caring for both of them. But neither is who he says he is, and both have sought Lia out for their own purposes. She isn’t what either of them expected. As war threatens, Lia has to choose between desire and duty, but when she finds out who her new friends really are, she’ll also feel the sting of betrayal, and the Kiss of Deception.


Booktalk:


Themes include: Identity, duty, love, friendship, truth and lies, family, politics, war.


My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure I’d like Kiss of Deception, I don’t generally enjoy the love triangle situations, though I know they are popular with many! I also think the “running away from my arranged marriage” trop is a WEE bit overdone. But I was wrong, because I did in fact enjoy this book! And it’s sequel. The world building was enjoyable and unique enough to keep you interested. Lia is fun to read, watching her switch from royal princess to tavern maid is funny. She’s got a sharp tongue and it’s also great to read from her two “suitors'” points of views to see what they think about Lia. We get to see the sides of three different young people, from three different nations whose tensions are so strong they could erupt into war at the slightest notice. I ended up loving KOD and immediately read its sequel Heart of Betrayal. I was happy to see the world building, and the development of the characters get even better as the story goes on!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the Remnant Chronicles is The Heart of Betrayal


Extras:

  • Locate The Kiss of Deception at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked this book, check out These Paper Hearts for some other recommendations!
  • Mary Pearson created a playlist to go with The Remnant Chronicles.
  • She also has lots of other extras and goodies on her website.

About the Author: Mary Pearson is an award-winning author of other series and novels, in addition to The Remnant Chronicles.


What are other teens saying about their reading & social media habits?

“I love reading SFF, both YA and adult categories, including sci-fi, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, fairytale retellings, etc. I also enjoy reading romances and some historical fiction. I used WordPress for my blog and I also have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Goodreads. My favorite is Twitter because the platform is the easiest to use in terms of connecting with authors and fellow readers/book bloggers.” – Chachic, high school student


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.