Shadow and Bone

10194157Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
 : 2012
Version Read
 : paperback
Read More about it here.

4starSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a very long time. Probably one of the longest books sitting there, since I started this blog site. Not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick it up, but I made a promise to myself to start reading the books I’ve been putting off. Starting with what is the oldest and working toward the newest.

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. The world building was fantastic and I felt drawn into it almost instantly. Like a lot of people I really crushed on the Darkling until near the end. I can’t say that I ever shipped him and Alaina, but I can see why some people may have.

The plot was very slow going and at times I wasn’t sure where it was going to end up. I had a feeling that not all was what it seemed and there were a couple characters that really freaked me out. If they freak me out, that just means they are well rounded and perfect.

I’m really interested in seeing where this series goes. I know it’s one of the most popular out there, and so far it’s lived up to the hype. I hope the second book doesn’t have the sophomore slump. That would be a shame.

The Winner’s Kiss

20443235The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Published : 2016
Version Read
 : Hardback
Read More about it here.

4starSome kisses come at a price.

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win.

I was so happy that I picked this up as my first book of 2017. It’s been sitting on my shelf waiting for January to hit and I flew through it in two days. Such a wonderful ending to an amazing trilogy.

There were so many parts of this book that made me cry, scream and laugh. It’s been a while since a book made me want to throw it across the room, for all the right reasons. When Kestrel asked Arin if she still owned him, and he said yes, I had a moment when I closed the book and asked my heart to be still. That moment touched me more than anything else in the book. I don’t want to give away the situation they were in, but ah, well played well played.

I felt the story wrapped up nicely and didn’t leave many (if any) loose ends for me. I would love to read more about the Prince and Eastern Princess and where they went, but for now I’ll make up stories in my head. I would highly recommend this to everyone. It was probably my second favorite read (the whole series) of last year.

Three Dark Crowns

28374007Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Published : 2016
Version Read
 : Hardback
Read More about it here.

4starWhen kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I wasn’t sure I was going to pick this book up. I kept hearing how dark it was, but that it was really good and some reviewer’s favorite book of the year. I wasn’t sure that I would want to get to know characters just to watch them kill each other. I had enough of that in the Hunger Games. I’m really glad that I picked it up though. Not sure it’s one of my top reads this year, but it was a good book.

I didn’t think it was all that dark. There was some blood magic in there, but nothing too dark and dangerous. I have read and watched way darker things than what is in this book. The only other complaint I have is nothing new to anyone. The love relationships. I think I’m just going to resign myself to expecting the insta connections in YA books. There is no getting away from it, it seems.

I really loved the idea of getting all three pov’s from the queens. Each one felt like a different character and I was able to keep them apart just by the style of language and wording. My favorite queen would be hands down Katherine. Her journey seems the most painful and interesting than the others. Her life looks and feels like it’s a struggle, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her sisters in the next book.

I enjoyed the writing style of the book and the author easily pulled me into the story and kept me there. During the parts where I might have been getting a little bored, something would happen and I’d be dragged right back in. It was an easy and quick read for me as well. There were parts of the book I could guess long before the events but I have to be honest about the ending. I didn’t see that twist with Arsinoe coming. It was a nice shock and I look forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.

All in all I really did enjoy this book. The second (and last?) book is on my most anticipated books of 2017. I will gladly read anything else this author has in store.

Queen of Shadows

18006496Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
Published : 2015
Version Read
 : Paperback
Read More about it here.

3starEveryone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

You know I used to really feel bad about giving 3 star reviews, but lately I’ve decided that there aren’t that many “great” books catching my attention. Maybe I should follow my gut a little more huh? Okay onto the review.

I really enjoyed this book (after I skipped most of the beginning). I know, I know, you can’t believe that I skipped around 18 chapters. I really wanted to get to when Rowan entered the story and I told myself I’ll go back and read up to that point, but I just kept going. I also skimmed through Manon’s chapters (I’m not connecting with her as much as the rest of the characters).

I thought the story really progressed well I liked the growing romance between the characters. I have several new “ships” that I will go down with. I’m very interested in reading the next one, but I might need to take a little break from this world.

The Raven Boys

13449693The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Published : 2012
Version Read
 : Paperback
Read More about it here.

3starEvery year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them — not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

I was confused through the majority of this book. I’m not sure why it took me so long to catch on what was really happening, not sure that I fully understand the plot behind the book. Maybe it will be better explained in the following books.

Although I didn’t know what was happening, I still really enjoyed this book. The only reason it gets 3 stars instead of 4 is because of the confusing plot for me. I’m sure other people didn’t have this problem.

I liked Blue and 3/4 of the Raven Boys. I couldn’t stand Ronan and I’m not sure I’ll ever get on board with him. There was just something so off putting about his character. I also though that caring for the baby raven was rather strange, but I think it’s explained more in the next book so I might change my mind on that front.

I’m not 100% sold on either Blue and Adam or Blue and Gansey as a couple. I thought the relationship there was a little forced and it happened too soon, but it was nice to see Adam have another person. Unfortunately I know a little about his home experiences so he was the most relatable character for me.

I enjoyed the book but I’m not sure what else to really say because I don’t really know what happened. Stay tuned for the next books in the series in the future.