This is my book haul composed of Christmas gifts, my Book Outlet Boxing Day sale haul, some super cheap Kindle deals, and ARCs!
Mary: Unleashed by Hillary Monahan
I really enjoyed the first book and this one is super short so I’m really excited to have it. I love YA horror books especially when they are this creepy!
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
I wasn’t too sure about this one but I love YA Fantasy and I did love “My Lady Jane” which Jodi Meadows co-wrote, so I want to give it a shot. Plus Book Outlet is super cheap!
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux
Another YA Horror book I got cheap from Book Outlet!
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
This one is a Sleeping Beauty retelling but it hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but I’m hoping I’ll still enjoy it.
The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier
A historical fiction set in Scotland, I absolutely adore Scotland settings so I’m excited to read this one.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
I’m not exactly sure what this book is actually about but it seems like it might be interesting…
I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
I get a very good “geek girl” vibe from this book and it’s got some of the fictional web comics throughout it as well. It seems fun!
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
A book about rape culture and also a mystery/thriller, it sounds fantastic.
Warcross by Marie Lu
Super hyped book with a gorgeous cover, I used a giftcard from Christmas to buy a signed copy. I love video games so I’m excited to read this one and see what all the hype is about.
A Map For Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor
The cover is super vibrantly colored and it seems like an okay story, I got it for 60% off since my local bookstore is going out of business.
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
My boyfriend got this for me for Christmas so I am SUPER pumped to continue this series because it’s freaking amazing!
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
I received this ARC for review and I loooooved “The Bone Witch” so definitely looking forward to reading the sequel!
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Another ARC I received for review and it sounds fantastic with assassins and Sun Queens and Blood Queens. Hopefully it’s as amazing as it sounds.
Roar by Cora Carmack
A YA Fantasy with characters who can control storms, it sounds so badass and so I got a copy from Book Outlet.
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
I was sent this copy from Kim Savage herself, she’s amazing and I’m super grateful and very excited to read it!
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Maxwell’s other book “Unhooked” but everyone seemed to really love this one and I adore the cover so I wanted to give it a shot.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The other book my boyfriend got my for Christmas, I was super excited since it’s the 10th anniversary edition and it is absolutely gorgeous!
**** And now for the eBook portion of the haul! These were all super cheap Kindle deals and ARCs! ****
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
A “geeky” retelling of Cinderella, I think it sounds like it’s worth reading because I love retellings and books with geek culture!
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
I usually don’t go for YA contemporaries or romances but this one sounds adorable and everyone seems to love it, it’s also about a girl who writes web comics so it comes with a side of geeky which I always love.
The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher
A Bluebeard retelling and it’s also super short, I figured it’d be worth a read since I love retellings.
The Butterfly Garden by Don Hutchison
I’ve actually seen quite a few good reviews for this one and once again it’s pretty short so I wanted to give it a read.
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Vikings! A YA Fantasy that’s Viking inspired, I am here for it and so excited to read it!
Fatal Throne by Various Authors
This is an anthology of stories all featuring the wives of Henry VIII, each other contributes a story for each wife. It sounded interesting so I requested it hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
This is a READ NOW on Netgalley guys! So if you want it go get it! I am so excited to have a copy of this book, although I did hear it might just be a sampler but that wasn’t stated on Netgalley and it seems to be the full book I downloaded onto my Kindle. So.
Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
This is about gladiators and also I think Spartacus, so I am pumped to read this. Hopefully it’s as badass as I think it will be!
Are you looking forward to any of these books as well?
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
Did you haul any good books last or this month?
Let me know in the comments!
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.
****Big thank you to Skyscape and Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review****
Wow, let me just say I am pleasantly surprised with how much I ended up enjoying this book! It has every element I love in a YA fantasy and I honestly cannot wait for the rest of the series now!
Of course it’s easy to think with the description of this book that it would be something similar to “The Wrath & The Dawn” or even “The Star-Touched Queen” and while there are some similarities it’s still very unique. I would still say that if you were a fan of either you will probably enjoy “The Hundredth Queen” as well!
I really enjoyed the world building a lot, I liked how every aspect of the lore we were introduced to was incorporated into the plot. I also never felt overwhelmed or confused when information on the world was provided, no info-dumps here! The mythology was probably my favorite part about this story since it ended up playing a major part and was just so fascinating to learn about.
I found the magic system to be pretty unique and actually reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender since each element is represented, that’s probably why I loved it so much……
While the pacing wasn’t necessarily slow in the beginning it was a little bit harder for me to get into since there was a bit of insta-love that really put me off. However, once I got a little bit further in I was completely engrossed in this story! There were many twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and I felt like there was definitely plenty of action and fast pacing to keep me turning pages.
The rank tournaments themselves were actually pretty brutal too, there definitely wasn’t any sugar-coating this aspect of the story which I liked since I feel YA authors always try to get out of or gloss over any sort of violence in their novels. Not that I’m some blood-thirsty, horrible person! It’s just I get tired of books promising fights to the death and then not delivering.
I also liked the way females were represented in the story as well as female relationships. There is a bit of girl-on-girl hate at the beginning of the story but I promise you it isn’t what it seems as it changes as the story progresses. I appreciated how the author would point out the wrongness of the way women were treated and how they sometimes treated each other in this world as well and how our heroine, Kalinda, also frowned upon any negative treatment of women and would intervene. The women in this story are honestly total badasses and I loved it! Although I will say I wish the few positive relationships between females would have been shown a lot more.
I was also really impressed with the writing and it was hard to believe this was a debut novel, everything flowed so well! Simple and easy to read overall, which sometimes is just perfect.
The characters in this book were actually very enjoyable, all of them! Once again, I was pretty surprised by how well I thought a lot of them developed and the levels of complexity a few of them had. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters but I love to be proved wrong in this case!
Kalinda was the perfect protagonist, in my opinion. She was brave and loyal but also had her moments where her courage would fail her, she wasn’t perfect. I also really liked how she wasn’t some “super skilled special snowflake” (that’s a bit of a tongue twister, huh?), she had skill but she definitely wasn’t as skilled as lot of the other characters. I think maybe the best word to describe how I felt about Kalinda’s character was “heart-warming” because everything she did, said, or felt just gave me tingles because she was just so realistic and down to earth!
The secondary characters were all well done too, I felt like I knew so many of them even though they were only around for a few sentences! I loved how many were also not just by-standers and we got to see so many of them grow and develop throughout the story.
As I mentioned earlier I really liked all of the female relationships in this book but especially the friendship between Kalinda and Jaya. Honestly, I wished there was more shown between those two because I feel YA could really use more positive female friendships like this one!
The only real problem I had with the romance was that there was some heavy insta-love at the beginning but overall I did like it and felt that Kalinda and Deven made a great couple. Was it anything super special or impressive? No, not really but like I said I did enjoy it so that’s all that really matters.
Plus it doesn’t hurt that Deven is a pretty swoon-worthy love interest. He treated Kalinda right and I’m all for a good guy love interest!
What I Loved:
- The world building and mythology
- Kalinda was a great female protagonist
- The writing flowed well and was easy to follow
- The plot was fast-paced, action-packed, with plenty of twists
- Kalinda and Jaya’s friendship
What I Didn’t Love:
- There was some girl-on-girl hate (which is never okay although in this story it was overcome)
- Insta-love relationship (even though I did come to like them together)
- I wish Kalinda and Jaya’s friendship would have been shown a lot more and maybe some more of the female relationships as well
I definitely recommend checking this book out especially if you’re looking for something a little similar to “The Wrath & The Dawn”!
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
**** Big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****
I was super pumped when I found out Rin Chupeco was writing not only another book but a dark fantasy book! So of course I went into this book expecting to love it since I loved “The Girl From the Well” and luckily for me I was not disappointed.
While I was very much invested in the plot of this story I will admit that the pacing was pretty uneven it was borderline slow. It felt like this book was more so setting up for the next book than having any real action on its own. This is a book you have to be a little patient with.
I also really liked how the story was told from two different POVs one being a Bard whom an older Tea tells her life story in the present and the other being told from the past by a younger Tea. I have to say the present day Tea is very dark and mysterious and I found her to be the most interesting I want to know what happened to her to make her this way! So this does jump back and forth throughout the story between the present and the past which I thought worked really well in this book, it made the story more suspenseful and interesting, it kept me reading!
The story may not be the most fast paced or action packed but it’s still super interesting with all of the world building. I absolutely loved reading about the asha and their magic as well as the horrible monsters the daeva which were actually pretty terrifying. Reading about how Tea is such a rare breed of “witch” and watching as she comes to terms with her Dark abilities and learning how to use them was just a ton of fun.
The world building was also spot on and very creative, it provided just enough to keep me happy and withheld enough that I am interested to learn more in the next books. I loved the concepts of the magical Asha, the demonic monsters Daeva, the mythology of the world, and the different aspects of all the Kingdoms. Also the magic system was interesting as well. There was definitely no lack of world building here and at the same time there was no info dumping either.
The writing was something I had a sort of love-hate relationship with, on one hand I liked it and thought it was very beautiful but on the other hand I found it to be almost TOO descriptive at times. It did help me visualize things a little better but the in depth details got a little tedious after while, I can only read about clothes in that much description before it gets old.
THAT ENDING THOUGH! It wasn’t necessarily a cliffhanger but at the same time it left me crying because I don’t want to wait a YEAR for the next book!
Overall the characters were pretty great in this book, I did feel some lacked a little development though especially the secondary characters because I would have liked some more background on them. I still got very attached to a lot of them mostly the other asha characters such as Althy and Polaire!
The more central characters were a little better such as Tea, her brother Fox, and her mentor Lady Mykalea. We got a lot more background on these characters and I assume we are only going to get more as the series goes on.
I’m happy to say that the romance did not play a HUGE factor in this story, it didn’t take center stage and didn’t take precedence over the plot. Apart from that it wasn’t really developed either, once again I’m assuming it will be explored more in the next book.
There is a bit of a love triangle although without spoilers I will say it isn’t what you think it is a first, they kind of throw a red herring our way and it WILL surprise you when you get to the end. I hate love triangles and this one didn’t bother me at all!
Overall I was very satisfied with this book even though it did bother me a little bit that so much is left to be determined in the next books. The world building is the strongest (and best) part! I am VERY excited to continue with this series and so far Rin Chupeco has yet to disappoint me!
What I Liked:
- The overall story was intriguing
- The world-building was great and creative
- The POVs between past and present was interesting
- The ending left me wanting MORE
- The characters were pretty well written
- The romance didn’t take over the plot
What I Didn’t Like:
- The writing got a little TOO descriptive at times
- I wanted just a bit more background on some of the characters
If you’re interested in reading a dark YA fantasy I highly recommend this one, it combines all the best parts of fantasy with a little bit of horror since the monsters and sometimes the magic get very creepy. Also if you liked Chupeco’s other duology I think you’ll love this one too!
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I was very, very excited to read it but then the negative reviews started trickling out among the positive ones and I began to question whether I should read “The Crown’s Game” or not. I definitely should not have wasted my time. This has got to be one of the most disappointing books this year because of how high my expectations were and how badly this book failed.
Let me start out by saying this book wasn’t completely awful hence the two star rating instead of one star but it is incredibly unoriginal. If you’ve ever read even one YA fantasy book then don’t even bother with this because it’s nothing new.
I would say the biggest let down of this entire book was the fact that this is supposed to be a magical battle to the DEATH and all we got were parlor tricks that were so unbelievably underwhelming. You’re supposed to be trying to kill each other not painting buildings with your magic for crying out loud! So freaking boring! The magic might as well not have even been included because it was essentially pointless. These two enchanters are supposed to be the most powerful people in Russia and they can’t even summon something spectacular to kill their opponent? What wasted potential.
There was no world-building, no mythology for this version of Fantasy Russia, and no explanations for ANYTHING. We basically are just set adrift in this world and are supposed to be content with no background and no fantasy elements in a FANTASY BOOK! You want to know what supposedly made this book fantasy? The magic. That’s it and even that was disappointing.
There’s next to no action at all and what action there was were the displays of magical “power” which as I’ve said were incredibly dull. The entirety of this plot is romance, which I’ll get to in a bit and so there’s hardly any story to speak of. The pacing was slow and I was generally uninterested throughout my entire reading and it’s really a miracle I didn’t DNF this book.
What I did like was the setting, even though I would have liked a lot more depth to it, I did like this Fantasy version of Russia. I also liked a few (very few) points in the story that I found to be interesting such as a couple of the twists even if they were pretty predictable. I didn’t think the story was completely awful since I did manage to finish this book but it was not what I was lead to believe it was about.
Then there’s the ending…..which I found to be anti-climatic and left me completely disinterested in reading the sequel. I already know where the next book is headed and honestly there’s no point in torturing myself with this series anymore.
Flat, uninteresting, and absolutely no depth to these characters. I could have cared less about any of them which is pretty bad considering I’m supposed to fear for their lives since they have to try and kill each other off. We didn’t really get any insight into Vika or Nikolai and they didn’t have any flaws, they were essentially perfect little special snowflakes. Which in my opinion made them very boring and unrelatable because let’s face it we all know perfect people don’t exist and I don’t want characters to be THAT unrealistic.
That’s really all the words I’ll waste on the characters.
Where do I even start with this? First of all the romance is the sole focus of the story, it definitely takes center stage over the “magical death battle”. Which annoys the living crap out of me when I was promised said magical death battle and all I got was a book littered with your typical YA romance tropes.
First of all we have gag-inducing insta-love and eye-roll worthy love triangles. Both of which are represented in the usual, annoying, run of the mill ways. Nothing original or unique about the romance at all! Overall I felt like it was way too over the top and used to provide more drama and suspense to the plot and it just did not work at all.
“The Crown’s Game” is one huge disappointment to me and while it had a few minor things to save it from a one star rating I still think it was a waste of my reading time.
What I Liked:
- The Fantasy Russian setting
- A few plot points that maintained my interest
What I Disliked:
- Slow pacing
- No action
- Misleading premise
- No world building
- Flat, boring characters
- An extremely trope-riddled romance
No I can’t say I would recommend this book to anyone and even if you’re a fan of YA fantasy (which I am as well) I would skip this one because it’s nothing new. For you YA romance fans I can’t honestly say for sure (I am not a romance fan) but I think this romance was far too dramatic and unoriginal.