Week Twenty (May 14 through May 20)

74. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leerbook74

  • Standalone (has companion novel…)
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary
  • Female main character–Delilah
  • Male main character–Oliver
  • Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.
    And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

This book was actually horrible. Like, I was cringing as I was reading it. There was no consistency at all–if fantasy characters don’t know what a radio is, they probably don’t have the word for orthodontics either. Also nothing made sense. Ugh. 

Verdict: YIIIIIIIIKESS

 

75. Bone Gap by Laura Rubybook75

  • Standalone
  • Young Adult
  • Magical Realism
  • Female main character–Roza
  • Male main character–Finn
  • Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

    As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are

This is better than book one. Oh dear lord I am still reeling from this book. 

Verdict: Magic.

 

76. The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

  • Elemental Trilogy; Book Two
  • Young Adult
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Female main character–Iolanthe
  • Male main character–Titus
  • After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

This was good. It took me a while to get into it, likely because I forgot what happened in book one, but it was good.

Verdict: Better than book one.

Book of the WeekBone Gap by Laura Ruby

 

❤ Rae

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Week Nineteen (7 May through 13 May)

72. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carterbook72

  • Gallagher Girls; Book One
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary
  • Female main character–Cammie
  • Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love

This is actually not good. Like, All Fall Down was WAAAAAAAAAAAAY better! UGH

Verdict: Eh. 

 

73. The Young Elites by Marie Lubook73

  • Young Elites; Book 1
  • Young Adult
  • High Fantasy
  • Female main character–Adelina
  • Male main characters–Teren & Enzo
  • I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

    Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. 

    Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. 

    Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

    It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

So much better than Legend! It was so much easier to get into and it read so much quicker. Plus, the POVs were all interesting to me. I think I also just love when names have Italian origins. 

Verdict: Marie Lu should have done Fantasy from the beginning

 

Book of the WeekThe Young Elites by Marie Lu

 

❤ Rae

Week Eighteen 2015 (April 30 through May 6)

69. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelsonbook69

  • Stand Alone
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary
  • Female main character–Jude
  • Male main character–Noah
  • Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

    This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

This was beautiful, and it made me feel very many emotions. I think I liked it more than The Sky is Everywhere but I also like them for very different reasons. 

Verdict: Deserves every bit of the hype and the Printz 

 

70. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silverabook70

  • Standalone
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary? Science-Fiction? ????
  • Male main character–Aaron
  • .The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

    Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

    Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx. 

Honestly, I was getting a tiny bit bored until I got to the twist. Then I got to the twist. And OH BOY MY FEELINGS AND I JUST AKFJKLFNALCMWJRNQLKN

Verdict: Go read it. 

 

71. Ice Kissed by Amanda Hockingbook71

  • Kanin Chronicles; Book Two
  • Young Adult
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Female main character–Bryn
  • In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

    Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…and the glittering palace of the Skojare.

    The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal enemy that’s been threatening the Kanin, and Bryn is there to help. Being half Skojare herself, it’s also a chance for her to learn more about her lost heritage. Her boss, Ridley Dresden, is overseeing her mission, but as their undeniable attraction heats up, their relationship is about to reach a whole new level—one neither of them is prepared for.

    As they delve deeper into the Skojare world, they begin to unravel a long-hidden secret. The dark truth about her own beloved Kanin kingdom is about to come to light, and it will change her place in it forever…and threaten everyone she loves.

So [SPOLIER] there was a sex scene in this. And I was not expecting it to happen. At all. I still liked it a lot (and Hocking seems to be getting a bit better at writing) but wowza. Had to move those up to the older YA section. 

Verdict: Good story, meh writing

Book of the WeekTIE I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson & More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

 

❤ Rae

Week Seventeen (April 23 through April 29)

67. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Greybook1_girlatmidnight

  • The Girl at Midnight, Book One
  • Young Adult
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Female main character–Echo
  • Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

    Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

    But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

I really liked this. I understand the people who say that it is very similar to Daughter of Smoke and Bone BUT after reading DoS&B TWICE and still not understanding it, I think this is a good thing. I just couldn’t get in to DoS&B, but I got in to this one!!!

Verdict: Loved it

 

68. Shadow of the War Machine by Kristin BaileyBook68

  • Secret Order; Book Three
  • Young Adult
  • Steampunk
  • Female main character–Meg
  • Meg has come a long way from her days as a lowly housemaid, driven to learn the truth behind her parents’ murder. She’s since discovered that they were part of the Secret Order of Modern Amusementists — an underground society of inventors. Determined to reclaim her heritage, she joined the Amusementists as an apprentice, but that hasn’t brought her closer to the person responsible for the loss of her family: the man in the clockwork mask.Now he is coming for her. But Meg is tired of being hunted and she intends to become the hunter. With help from Will, the boy who holds her heart, Meg embarks on an adventure that takes them far from the cold London winter and into the heart of France.

    But the City of Light is filled with dark shadows. There’s a plot afoot that could turn the tides of a terrible war, and cost the lives of millions — that is, if it doesn’t take the lives of everyone Meg holds dear, including her own

Read this series. Seriously. 

Verdict: GIRL POWAAAAAAAA

 

Book of the WeekShadow of the War Machine by Kristin Bailey

 

❤ Rae

Week Sixteen (April 16 through April 22)

63. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowmanbook1_vengeanceroad

  • Standalone
  • Young Adult
  • Western
  • Female main character–Kate
  • When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.      In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.   

I have never read a Western before this. But God help me I will read anything that has the words “Erin Bowman” on it. Definitely will be writing a recommendation on this one. 

Verdict: Plays with emotions a lot

 

64. Mortal Gods by Kendare Blakebook1_mortalgods

  • Goddess War; Book Two
  • Young Adult
  • Urban Fantasy; Retelling
  • Female main character–Cassandra
  • Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

    The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

    The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await

Better than the first. But I miss Aidan. It’s also classic Kendare Blake

Verdict: Need. Third. Now. 

 

65. Rise of the Arcane Fire by Kristin Baileybook1_riseofthearcane

  • Secret Order; Book Two
  • Young Adult
  • Steampunk
  • Female main character–Meg
  • After her parents died in a fire and her grandfather disappeared, Meg Whitlock thought her life had come to a standstill. But when she learned that the pocket watch her grandfather left her was really an intricate key, Meg, with the help of a stable hand named Will, uncovered the Amusementists: members of an elite secret society dedicated to discovery and shrouded in mystery.Now the Amusementists are convening in London, and Meg is determined to join their ranks. But being the first girl in the Order has its difficulties, and with Will away in Scotland Meg fears she can’t trust anyone but herself. Her worries are only supported by the sabotage happening at the academy, with each altered invention being more harmful than the last.

    With threats lurking around every corner, and while trying to prove her worth as the first female Amusementist, Meg must uncover the identity of the academy’s saboteur before the botched devices become deadly. And after she finds evidence of a sinister and forbidden invention, Meg must stop it – or risk the entire future of the Amusementists

I do believe these are some of the best YA steampunk novels out there. This one adds such girl power and it’s super awesome. 

Verdict: Heart eyes emoji

 

66. Frozen by Erin Bowmanbook1_frozen

  • Taken; Book Two
  • Young Adult
  • Dystopian
  • Male main character–Gray
  • The Heists were only the beginning.Gray Weathersby escaped from the primitive town of Claysoot expecting to find answers, but what he discovered shook him to the core: A ruthless dictator with absolute power. An army of young soldiers blinded by lies. And a growing rebellion determined to fight back.

    Now Gray has joined a team of rebels on a harsh, icy journey in search of allies who can help them set things right. But in a world built on lies, Gray must constantly question whether any ally—or enemy—is truly what they seem…

Once again, if it has the name Erin Bowman on it, I’m almost guaranteed to love it. Also, [SPOILER ALERT] I was fully team Emma throughout the books before the ending of this one. Now I am fully team Bree. Yikes. That was a rough shift for me. 

Verdict: Only shade of Gray I need. 

 

 

Book of the Week: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

 

❤ Rae

Week Fifteen (April 9 through April 15)

61. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearcebook1sistersred

  • Fairytale Retellings, Book One
  • Young Adult
  • Urban Fantasy/Retelling
  • Female main characters–Scarlett & Rosie
  • Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead. Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

I liked it. I will read the rest of the companion novels. But it didn’t knock my socks off. 

Verdict: Good, not great

 

62. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessenbook1saintanything

  • Standalone
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary
  • Female main character–Sydney
  • Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Read it. 

Verdict: One of Dessen’s best

 

Book of the Week: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

 

❤ Rae

Week Fourteen (April 2 through April 8)

59. The Alex Crow by Andrew Smithbook1alexcrow

  • Standalone
  • Young Adult
  • Contemporary/Sci-Fi?
  • Male main character–Ariel
  • Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel’s story of his summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a depressed bionic reincarnated crow

This book is difficult for me to talk about. Like, it was fine. Of the four Andrew Smith novels I have read, this ranks fourth. But it’s still super complex and it does a lot of different things and it works it’s just not my cup of tea. 

Verdict: All I need is the Winger sequel.

 

60. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raaschbook1icelikefire

  • Snow Like Ashes; Book 2
  • Young Adult
  • High Fantasy
  • Female main character–Meira
  • Male main character–Mather
  • It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

    Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

    Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

    As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

This is better than book one. Oh dear lord I am still reeling from this book. 

Verdict: Need Book Three…desperately

 

Book of the WeekIce Like Fire by Sara Raasch

 

❤ Rae