What to read again:

Ever since Harry Potter I’ve enjoyed re-reading the previous books in a series before the next one comes out. You get to soak up all the nuances and speculate about what’s going to happen next—it just makes the whole experience richer and more fun! What am I going to start re-reading?

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The final book comes out in April, so I can read one book per month to hold me over until we get the conclusion to this epic paranormal adventure!

Raven King

What if you don’t have time? There’s an amazing site out there called Recaptains: readers who recap and sum up everything in previous books so you are fully prepped for the next one. A life-saver time-saver for sure!

Here is the recap of The Raven Boys, and The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue from their site. Beware, there are spoilers on purpose!

Tides

test3by Betsy Cornwell
YA Fantasy/Paranormal Fantasy
4 of 5 stars
Debut novel – June 4, 2013

First of all, this cover is incredible. The hardcover’s jacket is pearlescent and gorgeous. The story starts off moody and promising a lot of serious content within the world of a vivid New England island. Selkies are an interesting facet of mythology not often covered within YA so I was really excited to snag this on a whim from my library (yes, due to the beautiful cover). Noah is trying to land the most important internship of his life. Lo is fighting her second eating disorder. Their grandmother is full of secrets that start coming out now that they finally get to spend time with her on the island. And of course, there are the selkies.

This was a really nice change of pace for me – kind of like when you see a TV show or movie that isn’t normally your thing. Although it doesn’t get into as much depth as I’d like for certain issues, I flat out enjoyed this story. I love the characters, and that’s what made it for me. All of their relationships are nuanced and solid. The other elements (plot, pacing, writing) are very decent for a debut novel but there are few moments that could be smoothed over. It’s a bit trope-tastic but not in an annoying way–the best I can say it is that for weeks after I read this I kept thinking about the characters and the stormy coastline, and any book that stays with me like that earns my recommendation!

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Tides is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – When I think of mixing fantasy elements or legends with reality, I think of Stiefvater first. This quartet is set in small-town Virginia as Blue Sargent becomes involved with a group of prep-school boys searching for a legendary dead Welsh king. See my review here.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Again, for incredible atmosphere and the casual mix of magic with the mundane, this is an excellent choice. Instead of peaceful selkies, you’ll encounter deadly water horses. See my review here.
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – If you’d like a bit more magic, visit the small tourist town of Fairfold and follow Hazel’s adventures with the ever-dangerous faeries and their plots. See my review here.
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Although her first trilogy set in NYC might be a closer match technically, I can’t stand the writing. So I offer up this recommendation for Shadowhunters killing demons in Victorian London. All the interpersonal drama you could desire interspersed with magic and action.
  • Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – Mermaids from all the oceans must unite to fight a terrible evil. Sera was worried about living up to her mother’s (the queen’s) hopes, but when a terrible attack happens, Sera must shoulder the responsibility for her kingdom whether she feels ready or not. Fantastic female friendships! See my review here.

What’s new this month

Happy new year! 2016 is starting off with a bang – here are the books I’m looking forward to this month:

Truthwitch1/5 – Truthwitch – by Susan Dennard

This has been getting more than its fair share of hype and marketing for about a year now, so I’m super excited to finally read it! Originally pitched on twitter as Avatar: the Last Airbender meets pirates, I’ve been craving it for months. This is much more up my alley than Dennard’s previous trilogy (Something Strange and Deadly), so I’m excited to see what her style is like and how she meshes with Sarah J. Maas (her soul-twin/BFF). This story was inspired by their real-life friendship. How fun is that?!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


 

Passenger1/5 – Passenger – by Alexandra Bracken

Another instance where her original trilogy didn’t grab me (The Darkest Minds) but I’m excited to read this book. Time-travel, adventure, destiny, a sort of treasure hunt…yes please! I know time-travel is one of those things that people tend to love or hate depending on execution, so I really hope I like her style. She’s coming to Denver in a couple of weeks so I get to meet her as well! (And attempt to not be awkward).

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 


 

Bookishly1/16 – Bookishly Ever After – by Isabel Bandeira

This is a debut novel that seems super cute. Phoebe just wants a life as exciting and romantic as the books she reads. When she starts falling for Dev in real life, she decides to imitate her favorite characters in order to win his heart. But what if it doesn’t work? Normally this isn’t my thing but how can I resist, it just sounds too stinkin’ cute!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 


 

dark days1/26 – The Dark Days Club – by Alison Goodman

London, demon hunters, mystery, yes please! Goodman’s world-building is incredible, so I can’t wait to dive into my favorite city through her words. I’m hoping this puts an adventurous spin on a modern version of a “period novel” to break up long descriptions. This is the first in a trilogy!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

Days of Blood and Starlight

Days of Blood and Starlightby Laini Taylor
YA Fantasy
4 of 5 stars

It took me far too long to get around to this sequel (about 8 months) but part of it was the fear that it wouldn’t measure up to my love of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint! However, anyone hoping for some more Karou/Akiva time would be bummed—our two fantastic protagonists rarely meet in this book. Normally that would bother me, but in this case I was so engrossed in both of their plot lines I didn’t care—each time the point of view shifted I was just as interested, which is rare for me, especially since this book broadened to more viewpoint characters than the first one.

Although this is a very dark sequel, I still found myself enjoying it. Karou and Akiva are put in impossible situations with horrible villains (brutal, horrible villains) yet they don’t give up or despair. Their exhaustion, depression, and fear is palpable, but I love these characters because they feel it all without dragging the reader into twenty pages of introspection. They feel it all as they keep making decisions and taking action. They are still the fiery characters I fell in love with! My one complaint about the first book was that the side characters felt a bit cardboard to me, but that’s gone with this installment and aside from the pacing being a pinch slow, I loved this book!

I’ll attempt to make the final book more of a priority, but I admit the atmosphere (and the twist!) of this one is still soaking in.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Days of Blood and Starlight is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – A war with rising stakes, continually changing strategy, and a pair of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle (both by the war and their feelings for each other)? This is a pretty fair comparable trilogy if you remove magic. See my review here.
  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – Another sequel leaving the dark forces as the only ones better off by the end, this is a worthy middle book in a YA fantasy trilogy. Except the villains might be more palatable in their villainy.
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare – Tangled webs of romance, spies, and darkness rule this book, possibly my favorite in the trilogy. Tessa continues hunting down clues to her past and true identity while learning more about Will and Jem and their feelings for her.
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer – A bit overlong, but similar in tone and point of view to Laini Taylor’s trilogy. Cress is our newest heroine, freed from her satellite prison by Cinder’s crew and ready to help overthrow Levana. Add a touch of romance and a lot of adventure, and you have a good sequel. See my review here.
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – A bit too similar to first book for my taste, but with additional compelling characters and shocking developments with the unrest of the districts towards the capital. Katniss continues trying to protect those she loves, but that becomes much more difficult. See my review here.

What’s new this month

The year’s wrapping up! This will be my last 2015 preview. December is quiet (for the genres I watch, anyway) and it’s full of holiday events, friends, and family. Although I’ll still be posting book reviews and a year-in-review summary for December, for now, these are the final recommendations I have for this year! Here are the books I’m looking forward to this November:

11/3 – Hotel Ruby – by Suzanne YoungHotel Ruby

Audrey and her brother arrive at the hotel after their mother’s death and quickly find plenty of distractions. But the biggest distraction becomes a mystery when they can’t get an invite to the evening balls. As Audrey learns more about the hotel’s dark past, she becomes more and more drawn to the handsome Elias and the hotel itself. This strikes me as an atmospheric novel with the potential to be deliciously suspenseful!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

Winter11/10 – Winter – by Marissa Meyer

The epic conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles quartet is finally here! This series of steampunk/sci-fi fairy tale retellings has been amazing, and I’m both excited and sad that it ends now. We’ve met Cinder, the cyborg mechanic; Scarlet, a farmer’s granddaughter and skilled pilot; Cress, held captive in a satellite so long her hair takes up most of the room, but she’s a good computer hacker; and now we’ll meet Winter, the scarred and beautiful stepdaughter of the evil Lunar Queen, Levana. I can’t wait to see what happens!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

11/10 – Soundless – by Richelle MeadSoundless

Fei has lived her whole life in an isolated, silent village, dependent on the outside world for supplies. But when the delicate balance of her world shifts and villagers begin going blind and facing starvation, Fei knows something must change. When sound shakes her village, she knows it’s time to act. I don’t know what to expect with this story, but it’s based on Chinese folklore and I can’t wait to find out more!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

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