Tortall: A Spy’s Guide

I KNOW it’s been forever BUT in my defense I had four weddings this summer (one of them being my own) AND now I’m pregnant, lol.  So I think it’s safe to say that I have been rightly preoccupied.  Anyway, I had totally forgotten that this jem was set to come out until it showed up on my doorstep.  What a lovely surprise that was!  Pierce is my favorite author of all time and I am so excited to be stepping back into this work over the next few years.

Sooooooooooo gooooooooooood. I can’t even express to you all how excited I was when this showed up on my door step yesterday. Tamora Pierce and all of her books set it Tortall are THE reason why I got into YA. I devoured each and every book and I still treasure them today. I mean, I think you can accept that a set of characters have had an impact on you when you are going through something scary or hard and the first think that pops into your mind are “Alanna became a lady knight without anyone knowing she was a girl” or “Kel became a lady knight WITH people knowing she was a girl…if they can do that you can do anything, Arielle.” I know that when I give birth in April I will be thinking about them and their strength, who cares if they’re fictional.

I’m not even kidding. Or if it’s something little I think about how Alanna passed out when getting her ears pierced and calm down. I swear I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having read about these strong and amazing heroines AND with getting all these extra little tidbits..I died. You don’t even know how many times my sister and I tried making our OWN timeline and then here this is with an OFFICIAL ONE??!?!?! I think I might have legit screamed. The ONLY thing I was praying that would be in there was mention of Kel and Dom getting together lololol. I’ll just have to keep on reading fanfic I suppose…hopefully this coming out means that there is an influx in new stories, FINGERS CROSSED.

Numair series….YOU’RE NEXT.

All or Nothing at All

*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

Ugh I am sad that my journey with these characters is at its end. Having never read this author before, I stumbled across a review for this book through someone I follow. I read and LOVED the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy by Nora Roberts and since this sounded similar, I was excited to give it a shot and was not disappointed.

I have a strong love for romance series that center around a family or a close group of friends where each book in centered around a specific couple but you still get small snippets of the others as well. I loved the dynamic of this one especially because there were three brothers (all smokin’ hot of course) that started off the series being forced back together after their father dies and had put a stipulation in his will that unless they work and live together for a year, their family building company will be sold off.

This book in particular focuses on Tristan, the middle brother who has always seemed the coldest and the most mysterious. It was hinted to in the first two books that he and Sydney, a character who grew up with the brothers and still works with them, had a bit of a passionate flame going on. It was obvious to me that Becca, her daughter, belonged to Tristan from the very beginning and I was so nervous to see how that truth was going to be exposed. Literally I stayed up late until Sydney told him because I was so anxious about it lol.

What I really liked about this book was the passion that Probst had built between Tristan and Sydney. Seriously I was SO excited when I was approved for this ARC because I was just dying to see how this couple would finally get their HEA. Some parts were hard to read–how mad Tristan got (understandably) and then the aftermath of that (his coldness..his plan for his new family….) but I thought that it all really came together at the end and I was in tears at the last page of the epilogue.   I loved all the parts with Becca and seeing her bond with Tristan was really a thing of beauty.

All in all a solid romance series that I will probably be rereading in the future! I loved all three though if I had to choose I’d say that Dalton and Raven’s book was my favorite. Quotes will be added after the book officially comes out!

Thanks again to Jennifer Probst and Gallery Books for the chance to read this eArc♥!

Dating You / Hating You

Huge thank you to Gallery Books, NetGalley, and Christina Lauren for giving me the opportunity to read this eARC! The following will be an open and honest review.

You guys….I have seriously come to the conclusion that I will love every single thing that these two lovely ladies put out. I first read and loved the Wild Seasons books and then quickly moved onto the Beautiful Bastard series which I also devoured. They will never cease to make you laugh, cry, and blush profusely.

I definitely enjoyed this one in particular as it had some angst in the form both MCs, Carter and Evie (dubbed Evil), fighting for the same position at their merged company. It was an interesting take on the hating to loving trope because they had met BEFORE the chaos started and really hit it off. So that spark was there the entire time, even while the fighting commenced. Their prank war was HILARIOUS. I have not laughed out loud so many times at a book in quite awhile which was a relief after the emotional roller coaster that was ACOWAR.

I’ll be adding some of my favorite quotes once the book comes out but just know that I HIGHLY recommend–whether or not you’ve read anything by them or not, this one is a keeper.

The Girl with the Red Balloon

If you gave a girl a magic balloon, she’ll become something else.

OKAY. Can I just say that if this isn’t the best book I’ve read all year (I don’t think I can take that position away from ACOL) then it’s the one that’s left the biggest impact on me. And it still takes the cake as second best book. I requested this after having read ONE great review but still wasn’t fully prepared for what I was getting myself into. This book is a prime example of historical fiction and time travel done right—EVERYTHING about this book is done right. And as a person who love time travel that should really mean something.

Ellie is a modern day student who is in Germany on a study abroad trip. Her grandfather, who was actually a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, used to tell her these stories about magic red balloons and how one actually saved his life while he was being transferred from a Polish ghetto to an internment camp. Oh a whim, she goes to grab it and ends up in East Germany in 1988.

The city hummed with a frenetic sort of energy, the kind that came when people say the light at the end of the tunnel and realized it wasn’t the oncoming train. It was hope. The world was changing. We were along for the ride.

Now, I was born in 1991 and I’m going to tell you straight up that it was unbelievable for me to read about this place, one continent over, that had people living in that much fear only three years before I was born. I know that people in different places around the world are STILL living in that kind of fear but…this book in particular made me feel so sheltered. In all of my twenty five, almost twenty six years I have NEVER known that kind of fear. And it just kills to know that I have it so easy when so many others don’t. I think that this book is a good reminder of that. What’s out there even still today.

But I digress. Let’s get to the other parts of this book that had me laughing, SOBBING, and everything in between. Well let’s see. First of all, ALL of the characters were amazing. Ellie, the main character is probably one of my favorite female protagonists of ALL TIME. Other than the small breakdown she has after being transported back in time (and I mean who WOULDN’T freak out about leaving YOUR time and friends and family) she is calm, cool, collected, sassy. UGH I fucking love her. Kai and Mitzy are just as amazing. Oh—and by the way, this book is DIVERSE. Ellie is Jewish, Kai is Romani, and Mitzy is gay. And that’s just who they are and we get to see how being those people in that time period affects their lives in a place that is so unforgiving.

For those of you who love romance, the stuff we get in here is SO BELIEVABLE AND WILL GIVE YOU BUTTERFLIES AND SO MUCH MOREEEEEE. I just want to cry thinking about it. I don’t want to say any more honestly, you’ll just have to read it and find out yourself. Not sure what direction book two will go in or who will be in it but I am already dying to get my hands on it (which is super depressing seeing as this one doesn’t even come out until September).

If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll believe in magic and memory. If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll never want to let go.

Overall, this book just goes to show that one person, magic or no, has the ability to change the course of history with even just one decision—exactly the kind of book that we want to be reading in this day and age.

A HUGEEEEE thank you to Albert Whitman Company, NetGalley, and Katherine Locke for allowing me to read this eArc. It will stick with me FOREVER and I know I will be recommending the shit out of this book for years to come.


This was an amazing start to a series that I am already really excited about!! Full, honest review to come.  Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for giving me a chance to read this eARC! ♥

Okay, on to the goods.  When I saw that Cora Carmack had written a YA Fantasy novel I was PUMPED.  I’ve read–more like devoured–her <i>Rusk University</i> novels already and was dying for more.  The fact that the “more” was a genre that I am especially obsessed with had me rushing to request an ARC from NetGalley and turing into a fangirly mess once I actually got it.

Honestly, this book was really damn good.  The only thing that bothered me was that there were a lot of abrupt changes in POV but that could just be the editing of my ARC and it could be taken care of once the book is actually in print.  Other than that, this was such a fresh <u>new</u>premise!!!! This book is set in a fantasy world where storms of any kind are magical and violent and there are only a select few people called Stormlings that are born with the power to reign them in and protect their kingdoms.  Aurora, the main character and heir to the Pavan throne, was born without powers and has had to keep it a secret her entire life.  Of course, her mother, the queen, decides that it’ll be a great idea to marry her off to another Stormling prince so that her throne remains secure and her people stay protected.  Of course things don’t always go as planned…When Rora feels betrayed by her groom-to-be she sets out with a band of storm hunters to take control of her future and learn how to tame the horrible storms herself.

First of all, we are introduced to an interesting and easily likable/hateable group of characters.  It seems at first like there could be a possible love triangle but fear not!! That isn’t a thing in this first book.  Rora, or Roar as she eventually becomes known as, was an extremely likeable female lead for me.  She falls a little too easily for her male counterparts but given her sheltered life, I guess I can see how she quickly made a connection with two of the first two people who *really* paid her attention.  Other than that though, she’s a fighter.  She’s stubborn and pig-headed and I’m really excited to see how her future pans out.  Locke, the love interest, is VERY swoon worthy.  Oh my lawd.  You guys will see.  I’m a big fan…

Overall the story is a memorable one.  The ending isn’t a huge cliffhanger but does set up for book two perfectly which I will 100% be pining for.  I highly recommend!!

Alex, Approximately

Alright fam, first of all you just all need to know that I sped through this whole book so fast. This could be a perfect summer read, or honestly for any time you need a cute little pick-me-up. Before I started, I read that this was a spin on the movie You’ve Got Mail and half intrigued, half wary. I’ve read books *similar* to this before where a girl and a boy somehow have met online and end up meeting in real life and something always goes awry. For some reason, this one was a little different. Not sure if it was great writing and characters or what but it just worked for me and I loved it so damn much.

Bailey or “Mink” is a classic movie buff and has met a boy online that love movies as much as she does. Their tastes might not always align but it’s the thrill of having someone who shares her interests that has her crushing on this boy, “Alex.” Interestingly enough he lives in the same west coast town as her father….the same town that she is moving to. She doesn’t tell him, wanting to try and find him by herself first so that no hopes and dreams are dashed. Instead she meeting the annoying but smokin’ hot Porter…Teenage summer life ensues.

There were so many little things that made this book enjoyable for me. The first being as small as the fact that it was a story set in the summer, on a beach since I’m stuck in cold Michigan. The second being that the writing was really damn good. I have never read anything else by Jenn Bennett so I had had no idea what to expect. There were so many lines that had me laughing out loud or feeling butterflies in my stomach. UNFORTUNATELY the device that I was reading this on wouldn’t let me highlight things and I was too damn lazy to write page numbers down for later so I’ll have to add quotes to this later…The dialog just didn’t seem out of character for actual teens (which I feel like happens a lot when adults write YA contemporaries) which I loved and the way they interacted with one another was great. They both realized that they both had problems with the different things that happened in their respective pasts but they help each other overcome those things in a healthy and normal way. AND THEY TALK. They talk to each other so even when the truth comes out about who Alex and Mink really are, there isn’t a huge explosive fight over it. All in all this is a quality contemporary that I know I will read again!

Also, HUGE thanks to Simon Pulse and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC! ♥

A Conjuring of Light

He’d never wanted to be king, though in the stories the magician always was. He didn’t want to rule the world. He only wanted to save it.

You guys won’t be able to tell since actually *posting* this will take mere seconds but I already can tell that this review is going to take me all day to sort out. Because this book deserves it. Schwab DESERVES [everything].

For some reason (well a lot of silly, busy reasons) it took me almost a week to truly get into this. It wasn’t because it wasn’t good—it was just because I had a lot going on. FINALLY, last night after I got about halfway through I just thought to myself, “Arielle, when’s the last time you stayed up all night to finish a good book?” And I couldn’t remember. And that was sad. So I stayed up and was breathless by the end. I said it in my other two reviews and I’ll say it again…this is my exact brand of fantasy. Through and through. There was NOTHING that I didn’t like about this book. There was balanced magic with consequences, there was enough romance for me to SHIP SO DAMN HARD, there were pirates….sigh….. so good :’)

“Fucking magic,” she muttered as he knelt beside her.

Besides all the good junk that makes a fantasy a fantasy, this book was what it was because of its characters. The character development was so. Fucking. Good. Best of all being Holland. I was going to try to fit all of what I had to say about everyone in this section but f it, Holland deserves a whole paragraph. THIS GUY. So obviously he has been one of those characters, from the very beginning, that, while easy to hate you just also couldn’t help from feeling bad for the guy. The Danes were so horrrrrible. I was so glad that we finally got more of his back story, little snippets at a time. We weren’t just given this single explanation about why he’s a really a good guy and why we should start rooting for him…Instead, from personal experience, I went through the present story and found that he had cause to help the crew while also gradually learning more about how important While London is to him and how he was used and abused for so long and couldn’t help myself from seeing how important he was. (view spoiler)

Holland isn’t the only one to receive my praise though…everyone in this damn book deserves all the stars. Alucard was his same old sassy self, Kell is broody but does show a bigger range of emotions-he even cracks a few smiles! (lol), Rhy is SO, so strong. I really enjoyed learning more about the king and queen too. Like I was actually really intrigued by the queen and what her younger days would have been like…Anywayss, everyone is just brave and strong and heroic and my heart is so damn full because of them. && I SHIP RHY AND ALUCARD SO DAMN HARD 4 LYFE. ♥

“Next time I walk away,” she whispered into his skin, “come with me.” She let her gaze drift up to his throat, his jaw, his lips. “When this is all over, when Osaron is gone and we’ve saved the world again, and everyone else gets their happily ever after, come with me.”

Finally. Lila. Fucking. Bard. I honestly think she is my number one female book character of all time. You guys she is just so badass. And so unapologetic about who she is. I think my favorite thing about this series is that the characters just are who they are and that’s that. No one really tries to change Lila. No one even thinks about trying to put her in a dress or tell her that she can’t hang out with sole Antari of Red London because she’s not important enough. Kell might try to reprimand her for her thievery (and whatever else) but would he ever truly try to change her? Helll no. The one time in this book that he tried to order her to do something I laughed out loud because….lol, Kell, sweetie…do you remember who you’re talking to? I also am so obsessed with the romance between Kell and Lila. I mean I am a DIE HARD romantic but I also see the benefit of a REALISTIC romance. These two met, they clashed again and again but grew together in spite of everything. Their romance simmered and was the definition of slow burn but it was so worth it. It made their scenes together that much more memorable. (view spoiler) I am so glad their ending was what it was. 🙂

And that being said the ending in general was in my very top. I couldn’t be happier or more blown away.

Myths do not happen all at once. They do not spring forth whole into the world. They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth, until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own.

And so the series ends. The balance is restored and all was well.

“The king is coming,” called his brother.
“The king is coming,” sang his lover.
“The king is coming,” said his friend.

My Bookish Valentines

This is a list of 14 of my book boyfriends.  Those strapping young (or century old) men who have a special place in my heart because of the roles they played in come of my dearest of books. The first five are my favorite so I’ve decided to write a little bit on each one but that doesn’t mean that any of the others are any less special.  Happy Valentine’s day!  You don’t need a real-life boyfriend when you can lose yourself with any of these special boys.

  1. Rhysand – ACOMAF

“I fell in love with you, smartass, because you were one of us—because you weren’t afraid of me, and you decided to end your spectacular victory by throwing that piece of bone at Amarantha like a javelin. I felt Cassian’s spirit beside me in that moment, and could have sworn I heard him say, ‘If you don’t marry her, you stupid prick, I will.”

I feel like if you don’t love Rhys, you haven’t read ACOMAF and are committing a major crime.  I’ve read it twice and am on my third time of listening to it and I AM NOT ASHAMED.  Seriously every time I go through it again I pick something new out that I love and that’s pretty awesome.  Rhys is a tortured soul who won’t hesitate to kill an enemy but he’s also the kind of guy who will flirt you out of depression and would die defending you.  I won’t say much here because I already wrote an EXTREMELY long post about his love for Feyre on Tumblr one night when I was drunk on wine and I will never be able to write a better post about him.  You can find it here if you’re interested, lol:

  1. Will Herondale – The Infernal Devices

“I am catastrophically in love with you.”

Before I fell down the rabbit hole that is the world of Sarah J. Maas, I was obsessed with TID.  I think it also had to do with the fact that I felt like Tessa in that I was with one person and thought I still loved him, while also being in love with another person.  That may sound crappy but that other person is now my fiancée and I couldn’t be happier.  I just could relate to Tessa and yes, I may have a weakness for tortured souls with dark hair and blue eyes but that’s beside the point.  It also helps that their love language was books because I am a freaking librarian.  Sooo when Will could just like spout off bit of poetry, it’s no wonder that I fell in love.  Did I also mention that these books are set in Victorian England?  Well it is and that for me, just added to the romance. Sigh.  He’ll always have a place in my heart.

  1. Chaol Westfall – Throne of Glass

“There had never been any line between them, only his own stupid fear and pride. Because from the moment he’d pulled her out of that mine in Endovier and she had set those eyes upon him, still fierce despite a year in hell, he’d been walking toward this, walking to her. So Chaol brushed away her tears, lifter her chin, and kissed her.”

Screw everyone who laughs at me for this.  When this ship sunk I died a little bit.  Seriously, when I go back and re-read this series in the future it’s going to be so hard to read these parts and just know that all good things come to an end.  Now don’t get me wrong, Rowan is 100% the best choice for Aelin…but Chaol was 100% the right choice for Celaena.  He pushed her to get back into shape, to get up just one more time during the tournament.  He is just so…human. I honestly wanted to say perfect because I love him so much but that’s obviously not true.  He messes up big time throughout this series but he makes amends.  I just cannot express how excited I am that Sarah wrote a whole book for him.  He deserves it.

  1. Han – Seven Realms

“So here’s the truth – I love you. I love everything about you – the way you stick up for people even when it costs you. The way you keep trying to do the right thing even when you’re not exactly sure what the right thing is. I love how you put words together. You’re as skilled with words as any knife fighter with a blade. You can put an enemy down on his back, or you can raise people up so they find what’s best in themselves. You’ve changed my life. You’ve given me the words I need to become whatever I want.
I love how you talk to lytlings. You don’t talk down to them. You respect them, and anybody can tell you’re actually interested in what they have to say.
I love the way you ride a horse – how you stick there like an upland thistle, whooping like a Demonai. I love the way you throw back your head and stomp your feet when you dance. I love how you go after what you want – whether it’s kisses or a queendom.
I love your skin, like copper dusted over with gold. And your eyes – they’re the color of a forest lake shaded by evergreens. One of the secret places that only the Demonai know about.
I love the scent of you – when you’ve been out in the fresh air, and that perfume you put behind your ears sometimes.
Believe it or not, I even love your road smell – of sweat and horses and leather and wool.
I want to breathe you in for the rest of my life.”

Omg after George Cooper from the Lioness Quartet, Han is my favorite thief of all time.  There is just something so damn charismatic about him that has you falling in love with him after the first page he’s on.  He’s cocky, he’s stubborn and hard headed, but you just can’t ever get sick of him.  My favorite thing about him actually was the fact that even though there were many times that he was in way over his head, he sought help from his friends.  He could act like an entitled jackass but he wasn’t.  Sigh…so stinkin dreamy.

  1. Domitan of Masbolle – Protector of the Small

The stranger grinned cheerfully at her.  In his early twenties, he was broad-shouldered, big-handed, and very handsome.  He wore his dark hair cut just below his ears.  His mouth was long and made for smiling.  He wore the uniform of the Own:  loose dark trousers, chain mail shirt, blue tunic with silver trim, and a white burnoose.  The crimson band around his biceps showed a dark circle with a black dot at its center: a sergeant’s badge.

IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS SERIES DO SO NOW.  Dom and Kel are my number one dream couple.  While they never expressly got together in the series, I know DEEP DOWN in my bones that they got together.  I mean come on, at the end of the fourth book Kel’s last thought was about being excited that Dom was at the fort so they could “catch up” after the war.  I have never read more fanfiction about any other couple lolol.  Seriously though..I have been in love with Dom for a very long time.  Long before Twilight hit the shelves and YA Fantasy became a popular and tangible thing, I was reading Tamora Pierce.  I might even say that Dom was my first true book boyfriend.  He had dark hair, blue eyes, and was a major flirt that took Kel seriously from the very first time that they met.  Double sigh….If I ever meet Tamora Pierce I hope she can confirm this ship for me.

Now for the rest.  These aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t the only ones on my list though they are some of the characters that have impacted me in some way.  I highly recommend each and every one of these series!

  1. Kell – A Darker Shade of Magic

“Don’t you see?” said Calla. “He wasn’t coming to pay your debt. He was coming to see if you’d returned to pay it yourself.” Lila felt her face go hot. “I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stars divide you.”

  1. Gansey – Raven Boys

“I wish you could be kissed, Jane,’ he said. ‘Because I would beg just one off you. Under all this.’ He flailed an arm toward the stars.”

  1. Arin – The Winner’s Trilogy

“Arin pulled her onto his lap. He held her shaking form, tucked his face into the crook of her cold neck as she sobbed against him. He murmured that he loved her more than he could say. He promised that he would always choose her first.”

  1. Kaz – Six of Crows duology

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

  1. Garett – Talon

“I couldn’t,” he finally whispered. “You were the one who taught me to live, to take chances. For a while, I convinced myself that we were too different, and that it was better to let you go. But now, I’ve come to the realization that my life is probably going to be very short. And I want to spend it doing something that matters. With someone that matters. I don’t want to regret that I gave up without a fight.”

  1. Connor Cobalt & Ryke Meadows – The Calloway Sisters

Connor: “There are rare people who will fuel the fire inside of you, who will awaken a dormant passion, who will push you and better you. She alone is my rarity.”

Ryke: I nodded a couple times, and she practically radiated. As though she felt the air shift, brighter and lighter.
I felt it too.
And I fucking thought, thank God.
Thank God the sun will rise again.

  1. Liam – The Darkest Minds

“I think I’m losing it—I don’t know what’s happening, what happened, but I look at you, I look at you, and I love you so much. Not because of anything you’ve said, or done, or anything at all. I look at you, and I just love you, and it terrifies me. It terrifies me what I would do for you.”

  1. Perry – Under the Never Sky

“Your voice sounds like a midnight fire. All warm and worn in and golden. I could listen to you talk forever.”
“I could never do that”.
She laughed at him. He brought his lips to her ear.
“Your scent is like violets early in spring,” he whispered. Then he laughed at himself because though it was true, he sounded like the worst kind of fool.”


  1. Conrad – The Summer I Turned Pretty

“I still love you.  I never stopped.  I think you know it.  I think you’ve known it all along”

Best of 2016

This year may have left a bad taste in people’s mouths due to everything surrounding ISIS, our presidential election, and all of the other hate that has been spread around these past twelve months.  This post isn’t going to be about that.  This post is going to be about the books that made my year.  Some of them were simply great pleasure reads, but others are type that can change people.  Those are the books that we need.  Books that are inspiring and books that can we can relate to and know that we aren’t the only ones out there going through something bad or hard.  This post is to review both kinds–these are the best that this year had to offer for me.  They may not have all been new, but they were new to me and I am better for having read them.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

This is now, hands down, my favorite book of all time.  I had already been a big fan of Maas’s Throne of Glass series  but honestly, I hadn’t thought ACOTAR was all my thing the first time I had read it.  I was so entirely unprepared for the impact that this book would have on me.  Her writing is SO gripping.  Not everyone agrees and that’s fine.  Somehow it all just gets me and I’m still so passionate about the characters even seven months after reading it for the first time.  It’s about overcoming PTSD, leaving relationships that are destructive, choosing who your family is, love, and so much more. I’ve read it five times since it’s come out and probably will at least once more before ACOWAR comes out.  All I know is that no matter how this series ends, Feyre and the Night Court will forever hold a place in my heart.

I was a survivor, and I was strong.  I would not be weak, or helpless again.  I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas 

This was a book that came out of nowhere for me.  I had never read another book by Douglas, I just had seen that a lot of my friends on GR had been reading and liking it so I decided to check it out.  I wasn’t disappointed.  There are times after a long streak of YA that I just am tired of the genre.  I want an easy break.  Something with romance and things that are real and familiar.  It has become a personal challenge of mine to find quality NA for that reason (and boy can that be difficult).  This is one that I will be able to read again and again.  It covers complex issues that young people deal with everyday.  Bullying, relationships, sexual abuse to name a few.  While some of the characters can be frustrating at times, I think they’re portrayed in an accurate light.  It’s messy, it’s harsh, it’s enticing.  The writing was addicting and so was the chemistry between the two main characters.  It ends on a good note about how being popular isn’t what life is all about and there’s a HEA.  What more could a girl want?

Do you notice that, too? How all of us just want to get through life as quickly and as easily as possible? And even though we know that without risk there’s no reward, we’re still so scared to chance it?

The world isn’t always what’s right in front of you, you know? It’s below, it’s above, it’s out there somewhere. Every burn of every light inside every house I see when I look down from the rooftop has a story. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

This magical book doesn’t actually come out until March 2017 BUT I was lucky enough to be given an ARC by the publisher through NetGalley. It is a companion novel to the Star-Touched Queen but they don’t necessarily need to be read together.  They are very much their own stories and I personally loved A Crown of Wishes ten times more.  This is a book to be savored. There is adventure, there is Indian folklore, and there is romance (but the perfect amount at the perfect time).  It’s all so cleverly crafted and Chokshi is such a lyrical writer.  I highlighted quote upon quote in my Kindle, it was ridiculous.  I won’t give much away since it isn’t even officially out yet, just know that you’re going to want to check this one out.

Sometimes he thought his head was a snarl of myth and folktales, where magic coaxed ignored princes out of the shadows and gave them a crown and a legend to live in.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn, Illus. by Fiona Staples

This was my first true venture into the world of graphic novels AND BOY WAS I BLOWN AWAY.  Saga… just so fucking good.  The art is beautiful (I have such a huge crush on Marco you guys), and the story.  The story is what makes it.  It’s mainly about these two star-crossed lovers who have a child and are fleeing all over the galaxy to ensure her safety but there’s so much more.  So many other sub-plots that all connect eventually and EVERY VOLUME HAS A CLIFFHANGER.  Seriously. I can’t even fully describe how much I love this series.  I HIGHLY recommend to everyone.  Even if you haven’t ever read GNs before.

Calloway Sisters series by Krista and Becca Ritchie

This is by far the best NA series that I have ever read.  Technically the books in this series come after the sister’s Addicted to You series, but they don’t have to be read first.  It does help to fill in a lot of missing gaps but those books are harder to read as they deal with sex and alcohol addiction.  ANYWAY, going into this series, I didn’t think it was going to be for me.  I HATE excessive drama and this book is about a group of rich people whose lives revolve around drama.  Only…it somehow worked.  The characters are so likable or hate-able and you constantly are tearing through the pages to see what happens next.  The dynamic between the main characters is probably my favorite part.  None of their friendships are conventional but they turn into the kind of family that you strive to have.  Some of their hardships are hard to relate to because they come with being rich but that didn’t stop me from loving them.  This entire series consumed my life from May to about July and I am so happy for it.

I had never looked back in that way before, but for the very first time, I did.  I looked back and I only looked back at her.

Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

This series was particularly special to me this year because they were the first books that I read after actually becoming active on GR.  Through this series I found friends on GR and found a mutual love for a lot of other books with them.  I can’t even express how much fun it’s been!  Anyway, this series is great if you love fantasy.  Chima always knows how to hit you in the feels and she does a great job with world-building. The series did start off a little slower than I would have liked but as with any truly good fantasy, it can take a book or two to really get the reader acquainted with  everything.  Raisa is a strong female lead but also makes her fair share of mistakes which makes her easy to relate to.  Han Alister….all I really want to say about him is that he is a heartthrob thief so I love so dearly and everyone needs to meet him because if you haven’t yet you are seriously missing out.

“History,’ Mari muttered, as if she’d overheard his thoughts. ‘Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?’

‘So hopefully we get smarter and don’t make the same mistakes again.”

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

THIS BOOK.  Well really this and the second.  Both have been out for awhile but I, for some stupid reason, took my sweet time picking them up.  This was a fantasy series specifically tailored to my interests.  There is believable magic with limits, there is romance (but just the perfect amount), there are FOUR different Londons, and there is time travel.  The female lead is easily the most BA I’ve ever read and Kell is a broody, awkward cinnamon roll.  GAH JUST GO OUT THERE AND READ THEM.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

The Winner’s Crime & The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I had picked up the first book in the series shortly after it came out in 2014 and liked it–but obviously not enough to have been watching for #2 to be released.  Honestly, I’m pretty glad for that because after the ending in The Winner’s Crime I just about died having to wait three months for Winner’s Kiss to come out.  I was not disappointed.  This is hands down, the most lyrical writing that I have ever read.  Every sentence has you hanging on for dear life and has you feeling things.  It’s so wonderful.  It also helps too that the story itself is a good one about games, deceit, love, and standing up for what’s truly right.  Kestrel and Arin will be in my heart forever.

“She tried to imagine her former self. Enemy. Prisoner. Friend? Daughter. Spy. Prisoner again. “What am I now?”
Sarsine held both of Kestrel’s hands. “What ever you want to be.”

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

There was one point in time where I could easily say that Clare was my favorite YA author.  I lived and breathed for her TID series, particularly Will Herondale. Somewhere down the line though I became overwhelmed.  I think that the success of her current series got to her head because when she announced another THREE series I was put off.  Still, since I have enjoyed her previous books and the Shadowhunter world so much, I knew I had to read this one.  I was not disappointed.  I love Emma and Julian so much that it hurts.  I have always been a sucker to friend to lover romances so of course their story was going to be a favorite of mine.  Not only that but the entire Blackthorn family seems so special.  I will LOVE to continue on with this series but I pray to God she mostly leave Clary and Jace out of it.  They’ve more than had their turn.

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

That. Ending.  A lot of people didn’t like the ending but you know what, I did?  Without giving away what happened, I will say that a lot of people thought that the ending wasn’t as fulfilling as they would have liked.  We all thought *things* were going to happen when they really didn’t.  To me, what really stood out to me as being important at the end of all four books was the friendships.  In this series Blue, Gansey, Ronan, and Adam go through a lot of weird and horrible shit together.  There is death, there is abuse, there is love that stays just out of reach.  But through it all there is friendship.  I sat there for awhile after finishing the book and just thought about it and I decided that the ending was more than satisfactory to me.

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Last but not least, this crazy book.  Even if I didn’t completely love the Grisha series, it’s no secret that Bardugo’s writing is top notch.  After reading Six of Crows and loving it, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016.  That being said, I honestly had no idea how this book was going to compete with #1 and wrap up all of the loose ends in only one book.  Safe to say that Bardugo passed with flying colors.  I’ve read enough YA by now that I can usually pick up on the standard formulas.  I can usually predict what’s going to happen by the end of the book.  This series was not one of those times.  Every heist and plan was so carefully crafted that by the time each plan was enacted, my head was spinning and it was all I could do to keep up with Kaz.  I adored Inej’s growth in this book and was obsessed with every damn couple (who cares that they were all paired off–IT WORKED FOR ME).  Very much recommend.

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

So here they are.  The best of the best for me in 2016.  I’ve learned a lot having been more active in the bookish community and love it.  One of the most important things to remember is that even if every single person around you hates a book, it doesn’t mean that your love for it should diminish it.  At the beginning of the year after I started actually interacting with people on GR I felt like I was tiptoeing around with my ratings and reviews. “Is this too high?  Too low?”  Who the fuck cares?  If a book means something to you or something about it bothers you, let the community know!  That’s what we’re here for.  To fangirl with when we love a book or to commiserate with when we hate one.  That’s the beauty of it.  So to finish things off, 2016, you may have been a shitty year for some, but I certainly loved you.  I read a lot of great books, met a lot of great people, and gained a puppy and a fiance.  Cheers and welcome 2017.