Sunday, January 31, 2016

spotlight on: updated favorite series


Welcome to the first Spotlight post of the new year! This is a monthly thing we do here at Stardust and Words, and this month I am going to tell you all about my favorite series. You can find the rest of the Spotlight features here! So, when I first started this blog, I did a post of my top 25 favorite books and series, and on it were 15 series that I absolutely loved. It was a long time ago, in 2013, and so I thought that, today, I would do an updated post about my favorite series! These would be the ones that I have read since 2013, and the ones that were on that other post will not be on it. Let's get started! (These are in no particular order!)


The Firebird series is this kickass mixture of dimension-hopping action and introspective thoughts about the soul and love and the self, and I absolutely love it. I wasn't expecting to get as into it as I did, but once I read the first one, I was truly hooked, and the second novel did not disappoint. If you like sci-fi-esque thrillers with lots of math and science, or if you like star-crossed romance and that sort of melodrama, these books take both of those and smash them together in the best possible way. In addition, they have some of the coolest settings that I've ever seen. Claudia Gray just gets so creative with the alternate dimensions that she chooses to showcase, and every time a character leaps from one place to another, I am on the edge of my seat to see where they end up. The characters are complex and endearing, the conflict is crazy stressful and the prose is gorgeous, so what more could you possibly want?

If you've been reading my blog with any frequency over the past year or so, then you will know that Throne of Glass is my tip-top favorite series in the entire world, besides Harry Potter. Which is saying something, because there are so many other amazing series in the world! But something about these books just captures my heart, and every time I even think about them, my heart starts racing and I feel like I'm about to step out into a journey. (NOT even joking, y'all, it's weird) If you've been living under a rock, then let me just tell you: these books are about the most amazing gal in the world: Celaena Sardothien. She is an assassin, fighter, ninja-esque, all around badass who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone. The series details her personal journey and growth from a person that she made herself into to survive to someone that is a million times *more.* It has some of the best characters in the world, like, I'm more attached to the pets in this novel than some people that I know in real life. I never see the plot twists coming, the fight scenes are EPIC to the tenth power, the friendships in these books rock my world, and the world building is absolutely incredible. The plot gets more and more twisty and complicated as the books go on, but never to the point where I get confused. I want everyone to at least try these novels, because I think they can actually change your life. 

This is a really awesome fantasy trilogy from Mary E Pearson. The third novel hasn't come out yet, but based on the intensity level of the first two, the third one is going to have off the charts action and escalation. The first book is about a princess who is running away from an arranged marriage she never asked for and expectations that she can't handle. Along the way she meets two boys, neither of whom are who they seem, and even the reader doesn't know who is who until much later in the novel, which ends up being a really amazing device to create tension. I loved that aspect of the first novel, and then the second one was just a million times more intense than the relative light-heartedness of the first book. This is definitely a high-fantasy world, and it is very well built. I absolutely cannot wait for the third book in this series, it promises to be something amazing! 

 This is a middle grade series with some of my favorite covers ever. It is also by Chris Colfer, whom you might know at Kurt Hummel from Glee. These, as you might be able to tell from the covers and the name, have to do with Fairy Tales. The first book sets up the story: twins Alex and Connor Bailey come into possession of a magical book that takes them to a differently land, one where all of the Fairy Tales in our world are true. I love these books because they are tons of fun, very fast-paced and easy to read, and because I love how they portray some of the most beloved characters from Fairy Tales and nursery rhymes. One of the best things about these books is that they are not for a specific age group, in my opinion. They are technically middle grade, and I babysit for some pretty cool middle and elementary school aged girls that adore them, but I also find a lot of joy in their stories, and I'm 20. They're very widely readable, and I truly think there is something in them for everyone! There are four books out right now, and a fifth and final one is supposed to come out sometime this year, so fingers crossed for an amazing conclusion.


This is a really adorable duet from Jenny Han, complete with dreamy boys, amazing and supportive girls, baking, cute outfits, feminism and friendship. So basically everything that I could ever want in a novel, these books have. Lara Jean, our protagonist, is girly and soft in a lot of ways, but I love the way that Jenny Han does not let that define her as silly or wimpy or lesser-than. She is strong and incredible in her own way. These books, as a whole, are adorable, and I just start thinking in pastel colors and sugar when I think about them. Peter K is a really fun love interest, especially because he isn't portrayed as being this perfect, swoony guy that Lara Jean is pining for. He is flawed and real in a lot of ways, and I think that is what makes him more likable. Another thing I really love about these books is that it portrays the relationships between sisters really realistically, and I love reading about that, because it is something that you don't see a lot in YA novels. If you are looking for a cute contemporary that is also smart and thoughful, I recommend these. 


The Defy trilogy is one that I do not think gets enough love. I have rarely ever seen reviews on these books, or people talking about them at all, and I really think that is a shame because I *love* them. These books about about Alexa Hollen, who went undercover into the king's army when she was young, in order to escape prostitution. She's a great protag, and the setting of these books is really cool as well. It's definitely a high fantasy world, but it isn't medieval Europe-esque like many fantasy settings: it is a dense jungle of a kingdom, and I like how different that is. These books are fun and action-packed, and the other good thing about them is that they aren't very long, which is another anomaly in the high-fantasy genre. You could definitely fly through this trilogy in less than a week! I just love the characters and the setting, and I want more people to appreciate these :) 

I'm sure most all of you know about If I Stay by now, if not through reading this heartbreaking duet, then by the movie that came out in 2014, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. These books are seriously some of the saddest ones I've ever read, particularly the first one. (Though that's not to say that the second one doesn't conjure some serious waterworks as well) In essence, these books are about a girl named Mia who loses her family in a terrible car crash. The first novel is about the crash itself, with Mia dealing with the fallout from it, and the second book is from Mia's boyfriend Adam's perspective, as he copes with the events of the crash and what comes after. I seriously have never cried so much as I did at these books: they are heartwrenching because it is something that could so easily happen to anyone. I would definitely recommend this to you, so long as you are equipped with the knowledge that you will be really emotionally upset by them. (but it's in a weird good way that makes you want to keep reading forever.)

 I would say that you have to stick through the first two novels in this series for you to feel like you're really invested in what is happening, but once you do that, the last four books will positively fly by. This series is very similar in nature to another series that I absolutely love: The Covenant Seires by Jennifer L Armentrout, so if you like that series but haven't read this yet, I would say you would enjoy these novels as well. I really love the way that Richelle Mead does vampires, because it isn't in the cheesy Twilight way, but they also don't take themselves *too* seriously. These books are action-packed and full of romance, but there is also a continuous story arc that carries us through the six novels (perhaps with the exception of the second one, which is my least favorite). I have yet to read the spinoff series, entitled Bloodlines, but I have been meaning to get to them for so long!

This trilogy is relatively new to me, as I only picked it up last summer. However, it has quickly become a new favorite! The high-fantasy setting has elements of Roman culture, which I really enjoy, and I love our heroine to pieces, of course. In the first novel, Kestrel is a smooth talking daughter of a politician who falls in love with a slave on the eve of a slave rebellion. Which is a really interesting plotline to begin with, but I do love the way that Marie Rutkoski has carried it out. These books aren't so much about epic battles and intense fighting scenes: for this series, the battles are battles of words and wits, as our characters navigate the minefields of public life and politics. The one thing that frustrates me to no end in these books, though, is the lack of communication between our two main characters, which causes SO many problems not only between the two of them, but for the overall plot as a whole. The second book was just incredible, especially the ending, and I really can't wait to see how it wraps up in the third installment, which is out later this year.

This is a trio of companion novels, all set in the same world. A world of intergalactic travel and corporations, a world of star-crossed lovers and mysterious and sinister forces. Each of these books is about a different set of characters, as you may be able to guess from their covers. However, there are problems that go from one book to the next. It usually takes me a while to really get into sci-fi novels, especially when they're set in space. I don't know why: it's an unexplained phenomenon. And the same has proved true for this series, because when I first set out to read the first novel, it took me two weeks to finish it. That isn't to say that I didn't really enjoy it, because I did, and all of these books are extremely well-written, but I'm just saying that, if you're like me, these might take you some time to get through. I do highly recommend them, though, if for no other reason than that their covers look incredibly beautiful all together.

thats about it for the updated series, guys! Please, if you have suggestions for series that aren't on either of my lists, please comment them below! I am always looking for new worlds to get lost in :) 


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

waiting on wednesday: stars above

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine!

This week's pick: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

release date: February 2nd

The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...


I can't wait to dive back into the Lunar Chronicles! I actually haven't read any of these novellas, even though a couple of them are already released, so I will be stoked when I can just sit down and reimmerse myself in this world.

What are you looking forward to this week?


Monday, January 25, 2016

top ten tuesday: freebie!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, and this week's theme is "January 26: Freebie Week! Pick a topic near and dear to your heart! Something you wished was on our official list!"

I'm doing: "Ten Books on my TBR that have been on my TBR that I want to finally read this year!" These are all books that I have on my shelves that I just haven't gotten around to yet!

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love.

2. Confess by Colleen Hoover

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

"I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

4. Howl's Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

5. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lvies of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

7. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

I wasn't free of my past, not yet.

Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

8. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

9. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."

Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

10. Winterspell by Claire Legrand

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince…but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted—by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets—and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed—if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

hope y'all are having a good week! 


♔ disney princess book tag ♔

Y'all I saw this tag today and my first thought is "HOW have I not done this one yet??" My love for Disney and for books are two things that know no bounds. I first saw this over at Alexa Loves Books, but it was created by Of Stacks and Cups! I can't wait for this one.

You're supposed to start off with three facts about Disney Princesses, so here goes:

1. Belle is and always was my favorite princess, but I also love Tiana a lot.
2. I have all the Disney animated movies on VHS to this day, and Robin Hood was the one I watched most as a kid. (I had a crush on Robin okay)
3. Disney songs basically get me through my days... I know all of them. Even the most obscure. I know it. By heart. Don't test me.

Onto the tag! (these edits came from!)

1. Snow White | Favorite Classic

My favorite classic has been Little Women since I first read the "junior" version when I was eight years old. I have always seen a lot of myself in Jo, both good and bad, and I love the story, the sisterhood, and the language of this book. Will always be one of my all time favorites, and it is an amazing audiobook too! 

2. Cinderella | A Book That Kept You Up Past Your Bedtime


I distinctly remember picking this up when it first came out, then looking up at the clock and it was somehow 2am. This one definitely gripped me from the start, and didn't let go until I had finished! Still one of my favorite reading experiences, ever, the way it just made me forget about everything else going on. 

3. Aurora | Favorite Classic Romance 


One of my absolute favorite romances is between Fanny and Edmund in Mansfield Park. I know that this is definitely not one of the most popular Austen novels, but I have always loved this book, and I love the ease of the relationship between these two. (Even though they're cousins, which I can look past, lol) 

4. Ariel | A Book About Making Sacrifices For Your Dreams 


In this book, Dee sacrifices what she feels like could be true love in pursuit of her dream of being a singer. This doesn't mean she isn't true to herself, just that the boy she loves doesn't necessarily fit into her life and her dreams. She's focusing on herself above all else, and the things that she wants, which will eventually make her happy, instead of changing for someone else. 

5. Belle | A Book With a Strong, Independent Female Character


This series in general has so many smart female characters, all of whom are independent and amazing on their own. First of all, of course, our protag Celaena is the most badass of all. But then there's Nehemia, Ansel, Manon, Lysandra and and Elide. The Throne of Glass world is just chock full of amazing female characters, which is a big reason why I love this series so much. 

6. Jasmine | A Book Where the Character Challenged Social Conventions 


Vengeance Road was one of my favorite books of 2015, and that had a lot to do with Kate, our main character. She definitely challenged the social conventions of the Wild West, with basically everything she did, from dressing like a boy to going on a treasure hunt to learning to shoot a gun to allowing herself to be alone with two boys. She was totally awesome because of it.

7. Pocahontas | A Book Whose Ending Was A Roller Coaster of Emotions

I'm going to agree with OP on this one... I have never ever read a book where I cried more than this one. For one, this is one of my favorite series EVER. I was so invested in every single character, and there was absolutely no way that they could all end up happy at the same time. Therefore: tears. Happy, sad, all mixed together into a really gross mixture that left me feeling drained. 

8. Mulan | A Book With A Kickass Female Character 


Obviously, I love books with kickass female characters, so there are tons to choose from, but the reason that I choose Shazi from The Wrath and the Dawn is because she is kickass in a different, more subtle way. She doesn't go around cutting down everyone who goes against her, like, say Celaena does, but she is kickass in her own way. She is a boss, she is self-possessed and strong, and she completely controls her own destiny, even when it seems like she has no choices. 

9. Tiana | A Book With a Hardworking, Self-Made Character


I just finished this book last night, and maybe that's why I'm hard pressed to think of a character who works harder than Skylar Evans. She lives in a shit town, but works two jobs and keeps her grades and her personal life as close to perfect as she can, all the while taking care of a mentally ill mother and earning herself a free ride to a college where she can study art. 

10. Rapunzel | A Book That Features An Artist 


Isla and the Happily Ever After features some of the best art couple aesthetic opportunities that I've ever seen! I love this story, and how it focuses on art as a way to express love or affection. It is also the third book of three companion novels that I absolutely will adore forever, so that is also something good going for it.

11. Merida | A Book That Features a Mother/Daughter Relationship

This book features a relationship between America, who we got to know in the first three books of the Selection Series, and her daughter Eadlyn, who is just introduced in this fourth book. I loved getting to see a character I know and love all grown up, which is something that does not normally happen. Though they can have a sort of tempestuous relationship, they are still close, which I love reading about. 

12. Anna and Elsa | A Book With A Great Relationships Between Siblings


Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty are the Song girls. Three sisters who lost their mother, but who grew closer because of it. This book is one of my favorite sister books that I've ever read: it is a cute contemporary, but it is just as much about family as it is romance, and I thought the relationships between the three girls were realistic and sweet at the same time. 

So that's it for the Disney Princess tag! If you decide to do this, link me, I would love to see what some of your answers are! 


look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': i'll meet you there

I'll Meet You There
by Heather Demetrios



synopsis: If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

full review under the cut!

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': passenger

Passenger (Passenger #1) – Alexandra Bracken



synopsis: passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

full review of this awesome novel under the cut!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

top ten tuesday: last ten books on my tbr

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, and this week's theme is "January 19: Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR!"

1. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that—if he can find it—would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe’s earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure.
Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest.
Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
The High Mountains of Portugal—part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable—offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss. Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, it takes the reader on a road trip through Portugal in the last century—and through the human soul.

2. Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

3. Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

June, Bette, and Gigi have given their all to dance at Manhattan’s most elite ballet school. Now they are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice.

June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. However, getting what she wants might cost her everything—including the only boy she’s ever loved. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. Even if she returns, though, will she ever regain the spotlight she craves? And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. But as revenge consumes her, Gigi may be the one who pays the price.

After years of grueling auditions, torn ribbons, and broken hearts, it all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

4. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand


• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real--and holds more mysteries than she'd ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

Reality and fantasy collide in this powerful, heartfelt novel about family, depression, and the power of imagination.

5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta

The galaxy is at war.

Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to unveil the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen--the Death Star. The Rebels' only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy....

Saturday, January 9, 2016

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': truthwitch

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
By: Susan Dennard

synopsis: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

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.

full review under the cut!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

look at her go: reviewin: reviewin: ten thousand skies above you

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2)
By: Claudia Gray



synopsis: SPOILERS! Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

full review under the cut! will contain spoilers for the first book in this trilogy!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 favorites

Welcome to my 2015 wrap up post! Here I will list my favorite books of 2015, and talk a little bit about why I love them so much. I hope that you've enjoyed reading posts (even if you've only read one!) on here over the past year! I've had a lot of fun keeping this blog updated, and I can't wait to see what happens in 2016 on here. Thank you so much if you've visited, left comments, followed on bloglovin or twitter or anything, really! I love reading all of your posts, and I'm just very happy and grateful to be a part of this supportive community! Hope you all have amazing 2016s.

This list is in order of the date that I finished the book, and includes not only 2015 releases, but also any book that was new to me in the last year. I had a truly amazing reading year, so it was hard to pare this list down, but I truly adored every single title on this list! I can't imagine 2016 topping 2015  in terms of books read, but I am going to try to make it just as good!

1. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (review)

Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful— irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Something about this book touched me in a way that a book rarely has. It was very different from what I normally read, but I adore Greek and Roman mythology and I had heard a lot about this one, so I dove in. And I am SO glad that I did. This book is quiet and graceful, but there is power behind its words. I love the beauty of Miller's prose, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for Greek Mythology retellings and LGBT+ novels. 

2. A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray (review)

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

This book was a 2014 release, but I just got around to it in early 2015. I also read the second installment of this trilogy a few days ago, but I think that the first book remains my favorite of the two. I think the reason for this is because of how much this book snuck up on me. I didn't expect to really enjoy it, it being a very science-centered topic, but it ended up being one of the most gorgeous books that I read all year. I think the idea is super original, and I can't wait for the final book to come out later this year! 

3. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard (review)

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

I'm sure that this on a lot of people's 2015 wrap-up posts, because this was certainly a popular book on social media and goodreads this year, from what I saw. And I definitely think that the hype about this book is justified. It is a crazy thrill ride of a novel, with x-men powers mixed with Game of Thrones brutality and messed up families. I think its an incredible work, especially because it is a debut, and I can't wait for the next novel in the series! 

4. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab (review)

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

I had never read anything by V.E. (or Victoria) Schwab before 2015, but I did read two of her books over the last year, and they both ended up on this list, so I think that she has officially become one of my favorite authors, especially because she has more than one book coming out this year as well! As for this book, it has to do with magic and dimension hopping and piracy and rakish princes, all of which are things that I look for in a favorite. And look at that cover, as well. Gorgeous.

5. Mosquitoland – David Arnold (review)

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

This is for sure the best contemporary that I read all year, and definitely in my top three favorite contemporary novels ever, along with I'll Give You the Sun and Fangirl. I was completely entranced by David Arnold's writing style: it was endearing from the first, and I basically couldn't stop reading once I'd started. I can't even really put a finger on why its so incredible, except to say that there is evident magic in the pages of this novel, and I would recommend it to literally anyone. 

6. Vicious – V.E. Schwab (review)

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

This is the second V.E. Schwab novel on this list, and I think this is my favorite of the two. Mostly because I love anything about superheroes, and this takes that whole concept and turns it on its head. Vicious is about the distinction, if there is one, between a villain and a hero, and the path that someone takes to get to one of those titles. I listened to this on audiobook, and that is something that I would HIGHLY recommend for you to do. This book already lends itself so well to the cinema, in my opinion, that listening to it made it that much easier to picture the events in a gritty, Watchmen-esque film. Huge fan of this novel.

7. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli (review)

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This is another book that surprised me, because I really wasn't expecting to like this one as much as I did. I knew that it would be a cute contemporary read, but the thing that snuck up on me was how authentic Simon's voice was. A lot of contemporaries are very idealized versions of reality to me: but I didn't feel that way with this book. The characters were realistic, and the way that Simon looked at the world was familiar to me. Honestly one of the best contemporaries I've read in a long time. 
8. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (review)

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

This is a super intense read, where you're thrown into an incredibly brutal world with no training wheels on– and it is quite a rush. I loved the intricacies of the worldbuilding in this novel, in the wider society to which these characters belong as well as the microcosm of the military academy where the majority of the plot takes place, all of it is very well brought about. The characters are deeply moving, because they are all in impossible situations, and any choice they make is the lesser of two evils, but also because, even in an incredibly different cultural setting, they are familiar, and that is what makes them so sympathetic.

9. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas (review)

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Sarah J Maas can do no wrong, in my eyes. I would read literally anything that she writes, but it helps that her two series are both incredible. ACOTAR is the newer series, blending Beauty and the Beast and Fae folklore together into something simmering and sexy. I love the world here: especially the spring court, and I also love the palpable sparks between the characters in this novel, whether of attraction, hatred, or something in between. I absolutely cannot wait to see where the next installment in this series takes us, because it would be hard to top this one! 

10. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh (review)

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

I guess this is the year of amazing worldbuilding, because I loved the setting of this novel as well. It will probably be unfamiliar to a lot of people– the influence of middle eastern culture– but I loved seeing it in a really creative way. Shazi and Despina are amazing and wonderful female characters, and the boys aren't so bad either (insert winking emoji here). I am so happy that this is a series, which I wasn't sure of when I first finished this novel, so panic ensued. The next installment is coming out later this year :)

11. The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord (review)

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Emery Lord is my absolute favorite new-to-me author of 2015. I did an entire spotlight post about how much of an impact her books have had on me, which you can find here, and I just generally have a lot of admiration for her and her books. I read both of her novels over the summer, and I can honestly say that they were the most fun! This book is the only one that I read this year where I actually went back and read the entire thing over again once I finished it the first time. That is how much I fell in love with these characters and their stories. I love the emphasis that Emery Lord places on platonic friendships: that is something that I feel like a lot of contemporaries, and really, YA in general, are missing. The Start of Me and You slightly edges out Open Road Summer, but they are both amazing, five star reads. Particularly I loved the quality of nerdiness in this one: it totally endeared me to the characters in a way that few things can.

12. Open Road Summer – Emery Lord (review)

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.
Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.
This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.
A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Emery Lord's first novel is this, Open Road Summer, and what a glorious debut it is. I thought that I wasn't going to like this one as much as I did The Start of Me and You, because I read that one first and becuase I'm not into country music at all... HOWEVER this book absolutely captured me, and I ended up not having to worry at all, because it is a fabulous book, no matter what your music preference is. Both the friendships and the relationships in this novel are incredible, and I would definitely recommend either one of Emery Lord's books to you at some point over this year.

13. Queen of Shadows – Sarah J Maas (review)

Everyone 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 will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. 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.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Hands down, my favorite book of 2015. Like, I don't even have to think about what could challenge it, because nothing even comes close. I know there were lots of mixed reviews about this book, which I think is bound to happen when you have a huge fanbase with HUGE expectations, but I was one of the people who just adored this addition to the series. I'll admit it wasn't perfect, but that didn't matter to me. I loved every single second that I spent reading this book, I love this series more than I love some people in my life, and absolutely nothing could keep me form continuing on with the fifth book. Thank you for creating these characters, Sarah J Maas: I will appreciate them forever. 
14. Vengeance Road– Erin Bowman (review)

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

I hadn't really ever read any westerns before 2015, but I did end up reading a couple in the fall, and I'm really glad that I did. I enjoyed all of the western novels that I read, but Vengeance Road is for sure my favorite. I loved how gritty and unflinching it was, and how it played with character development and plot twists throughout the story. I would definitely recommend it to you if you are looking for a western themed YA novel to read: it is accessible and fairly short, so you should fly through. 

15. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo (review)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first

I have been reading Leigh Bardugo since her debut novel came out, years ago. Six of Crows was one of my most highly anticipated novels of the year. This book definitely lived up to the hype for me. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and I got ridiculously attached to the characters and certain COUPLES in the book. (ahem. nina and matthias) Sad that this is only a duet, because this is a really interesting take on the Grishaverse.
16. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell (review)

Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

I think, like a lot of people, I was skeptical about this book when it was first announced. To me, Carry On and that world was something that existed only within Rainbow Rowell's book Fangirl, as a sort of parody on Harry Potter, and I wasn't sure that a standalone novel about this fictional world within a fictional world was something that could work. However, I love everything that Rainbow Rowell has ever written, so of course I wasn't going to not read it. And boy am I glad that I did. This was a crazy, super fun take on the "chosen one" narrative of Harry Potter, with all of the familiarity of a wizarding school, but with some really awesome twists. I loved the way that this was executed. 
17. First & Then – Emma Mills (review)

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Any book that is pitched as "Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights" is going to have my attention, and this book lived up to my expectations for something that is described as a hybrid of those two things. I loved the way that this was a book definitely centered around romance and the misadventures of two people who are attracted to each other, but it also centers on family life and figuring yourself out, which I really liked in addition to the fun romancey stuff too.

18. Winter – Marissa Meyer (review)

(spoilers!) Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

The Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series for years, and I could not wait for this final installment to be released. I took a good long while to finish this one: it's a complete monster of a novel, but every single page is worth it. These are some of the greatest characters, I love their stories and how they entwined with one another: this is definitely a great series to dive into during the winter months, so if you haven't read any of them yet, I would definitely recommend that you do! 

That is all for my 2015 favorites!!! PLEASE link me if you guys have done a similar post, I really want to see what everyone has loved in the last year!


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