Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I’ve Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

I have to tell you guys that I freaked out a little bit when I saw this week’s theme: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far. I thought to myself “I don’t think I’ve even read that many this year!” Turns out I have but they weren’t all great so I tweaked my theme here a little bit so instead of my favorite 2016 releases this will just be 2016 releases I’ve read this year period.

I’ll also link my reviews for these books if I have them up!

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

3/5 Stars: Indifferent

I didn’t really get the hype with this book and while it was interesting I thought there wasn’t enough world building and it left me with too many questions at the end.

Full Review


The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen, #1)

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

4.5/5 Stars: Loved It

This one’s a very underrated and under appreciated book if you ask me, it’s everything I love in a YA fantasy and it’s executed perfectly. The magic system is fascinating and the world building is great, not to mention our main character really gets put to the test.


Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

3/5 Stars: Indifferent

Not exactly the great mystery I was expecting but I really do love Tucholke’s writing style, it’s just so gorgeous. I wanted the characters to be a little more deceptive then they ended up being and mostly I was just confused a lot, I still don’t think I know what went down.

Full Review


A Fierce & Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

2/5 Stars: Meh

I like that this had a diverse setting and some diverse characters but overall the plot was really messy and a bit confusing at times while the pacing was all over the place.

Full Review


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

4/5 Stars: Loved It

This is a dark, dark YA mystery thriller, this might be as dark as you can get while still being a YA book and not an adult book. I loved the twists and the turns and the suspense, really I just loved everything about it.

Full Review


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

5/5 Stars: Perfection

Such an amazing Aladdin retelling, complete with an ACTUAL heart-warming romance and beautiful, descriptive writing. Absolute perfection.

Full Review


Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

2/5 Stars: Meh

I love Peter Pan and that’s no secret so of course I want to get my hands on every retelling. Unfortunately this one SOUNDS amazing but the execution is poorly done and I didn’t like the way the characters developed. Think a love triangle between a roguish, young Hook and a brave, handsome Pan is a great idea? Not in this book.

Full Review


The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2)

I won’t include the description here for this one since it is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil anyone who has yet to read the first book!

4/5 Stars: Loved It

This was a pretty great ending to this duology but I really don’t think it was as great as the first one, I thought the beginning was a bit too slow but other than that it’s the world and characters I love!


With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

3.5/4 Stars: Really Enjoyed It

This is one fun, fast paced thriller and it’s great at keeping you guessing. Not anything really new but it’s definitely an enjoyable read!

Full Review


A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

A Drop of Night

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

3.5/5 Stars: Really Enjoyed It

This book is YA horror and it does get a bit weird but overall it’s fun, interesting, and you never know what will happen next. In this case weird is good.

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Have you read any of the books listed here?

Did you enjoy them or dislike them?

What 2016 releases have you read so far this year?

Which ones did you like or dislike the most?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link your Top Ten Tuesday posts as well!

The Sassy

ARC Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

 

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description

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

review

****Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

Gorgeous cover, gorgeous writing, but a not so gorgeous plot. This book has a lot going for it but at the same time I found it to be a bit tedious, I can see how some people may like or dislike it. Overall it’s just sort of a “meh” book, not necessarily awful but not anything I’d go around recommending either.

This is going to be a pretty short review.

PLOT

The plot was the weakest point in this book it was vague and uninteresting. It started out well enough but as it progressed and the magic and mystery of the poisonous girl got taken away the plot became a bore. I mean the story is about a cursed girl, it should be a little creepy and a little more mysterious than it actually ended up being. I honestly could care less about anything that happened in the story itself. Explanations were never really given on anything and by the end of the book I still really don’t know what went on or why.

The pacing is another thing that got a little annoying, it was all over the place. Which didn’t help the story at all, it only added to the confusion I was already experiencing.

I, however, did really enjoy the setting. Puerto Rico isn’t exactly a common place explored in YA books and the descriptions and writing definitely do it justice (at least I think so, since I haven’t actually been there). Either way the setting was lovely.

Really though the reason this book earned a two star rating versus a one star rating is the writing. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, it’s what kept me reading through the book even when the plot failed to hold my interest. I would honestly read another of Mabry’s books just for the writing and in the hopes that the plot would be a little more intriguing.

characters

Lucas was a pretty selfish character, sorry guys but that’s just the cold, hard truth. He’s privileged and he acts like it, I can’t relate to that honestly. He lacks any real backstory as well so he never gets enough development for me to even have him be remotely relatable.

Isabel is a little different but not by much, she too, lacked any real development as well. I would have really liked a little more insight into her character since she could have proved to be a lot more interesting given the chance.

All of the secondary characters were basically used as tools to help us “get to know” Lucas and that didn’t really do anything to help me connect with him or any other characters.

in conclusion

This is overall a bit of a disappointment, with the writing and the setting it could have been a lot better but the plot and characters really put a damper on that. As I said I think I’ll check out Mabry’s future books since I did really enjoy her writing style.

RECOMMEND

This one is sort of up in the air for me as far as recommending goes. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying it but it might be something worth checking out from the library even if it’s just for the writing.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy