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Friday, July 15

Recently Read | May/June 2016

Friday, July 15
What did I read during the months of May and June?

Top Read

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

If you've never read any of Sarah J. Maas' books, you're missing out I'd recommend starting with this series. Don't get me wrong, the Throne of Glass series is excellent, but the first couple of books are a bit slow and Maas' excellent writing hasn't quite hit its stride. (However, if you find that you enjoy this series, do go back and pick up Throne of Glass, too.)

When I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I didn't think there was much need for a sequel. Then I read this book, and I was absolutely floored at the way the series did a 180. A character I pretty much despised in the first book became a total favorite in the second, and so many secrets were revealed/events turned on their heads. Plus, for those of you who like some serious "11 on a scale of 1-10" swoon, A Court of Mist and Fury will satisfy for sure.

One of the reasons I love this series so much is Maas' ability to create fantastical worlds that and engaging characters who feel totally real—even with the fantasy elements. Her characters aren't perfect, but they're strong and loving and snarky and people who would make excellent friends or even better enemies. She also writes a lot of relationships that begin or involve enemistry (i.e. "enemies" who have serious chemistry), which I love.

Honorable mentions

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown ...

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended ...

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

I don't know much about the true history of Lady Jane Grey, other than she was made Queen—regardless of the fact that she had no interest in the role—for nine days, and was then beheaded for her trouble.

Thankfully, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows decided to give Jane a much more light-hearted story in My Lady Jane, a book that—spoiler alert—doesn't end with an execution. The story within is both educational and entertaining; Jane is a fabulous and sassy heroine; and the authors' writing styles work delightfully well together.

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on—and they might not pick the same side.

From the moment I read the synopsis of The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, which features references to Doctor Who and Firefly, I knew (or at least hoped) that I was going to love this book. Then I realized it was a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and I was beyond sold.

I'm happy to announce that the book lived up to my internal hype. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is a delightful read, with characters who I want to be friends with and a heavy helping of delicious enemistry. The book overflows with nerdy references, too, which might be a bit much for readers who aren't as entrenched in nerdy pop culture as I am, but which made me super happy. More nerds who aren't stereotypes in YA books, please!

 Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth ... a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

I read/re-read the entire (four books and a collection of novellas) Throne of Glass series in May to celebrate Throne of Glass being the Forever Young Adult Book Club pick for May (and because we hadn't reviewed them on the site yet) and definitely enjoyed the re-read. I also decided that Heir of Fire, the third book in the series, is the best/my personal favorite.

I love getting sucked in to Celaena's life, and even though I find myself rolling my eyes at the number of suitors she's had in a very short period of time, I can't deny that Sarah J. Maas has a way with the swoon. Plus, like I said above, she's so skilled at worldbuilding and crafting characters who feel like they could be real even while they're battling paranormal creatures and dealing with magic.

Other reads


The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman | Girl on a Wire (Girl on a Wire #1) by Gwenda Bond | Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas | The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes |


Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan | Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh | Steeplejack (Alternate Detective #1) by A.J. Hartley | Dumplin' (Dumplin' #1) by Julie Murphy |  It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble | And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1) by Kiersten White


Night Speed by Chris Howard | Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar | The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Waas

I'd love to hear if you've read any of these titles, and what you thought about them. Also, have you read anything lately that you'd recommend?

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