Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

bone1Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne February 7, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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4 Stars, Completed January 28, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

It could possibly well be that the reason why this was such a delightful read for me was because I’ve never seen the greatly popular film that this book is based off of. (Actually, I hadn’t even heard of Labyrinth until I was approved of my request for this ARC. Labyrinth fans, don’t kill me.) In addition to that, I rarely read the synopses of books thoroughly. Therefore, I basically went into this blind and with zero expectations, and I believe this ended up working in my favor. I would suggest readers that haven’t seen the movie to try the same approach I did.

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground.

Liesl has grown up hearing tales of the beautiful Goblin King, the Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground. But as she’s grown older, her belief has faded since she has more practical concerns to worry about (such as looking after her siblings and taking care of the family inn). But when Käthe, her beloved sister, is taken by the goblins Liesl must travel in the mysterious realm of the Goblin King. There she meets the legendary king, and they make an exchange where she will become the maiden that is sacrificed to appease the old laws. But as time passes and the two grow closer, the contract is becoming more difficult to uphold as Liesl’s life source is obviously diminishing but the Goblin King is also falling for her. Both must learn and decide what they are willing to sacrifice.

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

rosebloodRoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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2.5 Stars, Completed January 14, 2017

– read bold text to avoid SPOILERS –

I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.

RoseBlood is a modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale, The Phantom of the Opera. In this YA retelling, Rune Germain is a girl with a peculiar operatic talent. In the most unexpected moments, Rune will burst into song if she hears music that speaks to her. And, unfortunately, this all consuming musical flair has also lead to some tragic events. Rune’s mother decides to enroll Rune at RoseBlood, an elite French arts conservatory that is the very opera house rumored to have ties to the original classic, in hopes that Rune will tame this musical blessing/curse. There she secretly befriends the masked Thorn, a mysterious violinist who lurks in the school’s shadows and helps guide her musical transformation but with a dark, ulterior motive. The two will uncover that they have an otherworldly, soul-deep connection, and Thorn is forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the only father he’s known, the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Ever_The_Hunted_FinalEver the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1 (1/2)
Published by Harcourt Childrens Books December 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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2.5 Stars, Completed January 5, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Know how to protect yourself, Papa said. You have to be strong. Strong as the trees.

Britta Flannery has grown up tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter of Malam. But those days are over now that her father has been murdered. Britta alone and an outcast to society (because of her identity) decides to seek refuge in the Ever woods. There she’s caught by a royal guard for illegally poaching. Surprisingly, instead of putting her up to the noose, he offers her a chance to live. All she must do is complete a task using something she excels at: track her father’s killer. But, of course, it’s not that simple. The prime suspect is none other than her late father’s former apprentice and her childhood best friend, Cohen McKay. To makes matters even more complicated, Britta was also in love with Cohen-that is before he disappeared conveniently months before her father’s death. On this dangerous quest, Britta will meet many hardships-not only physical but  matters of the heart as well.

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

9780399171611_WrathAndDawn_JK.inddThe Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2 (2/2)
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on April 26, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read With: Lois at My Midnight Musings

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3.5 Stars, Completed July 7, 2016

– read the bold text to avoid minor SPOILERS –

It took me long enough (four months, omg), but I’m finally ready to sit down and put my thoughts into text about this captivating sequel.

The Rose and the Dagger begins where nearly book one ends. Shahrzad is reunited with her family and taking refuge in the desert. While his queen is away, Khalid, in disguise, is wandering around the broken kingdom of Rey trying to aid his people as much as he can and working on diplomatic negotiations that can stave off any bloodshed. With the help of others, Shazi decides she must learn to hone the magical abilities within herself to rid Khalid and Rey of the dark curse and end the impending war once and for all.

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Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter + Giveaway

midnighthour_final-cvr_revisedMidnight Hour by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark Book #4 (4/4)
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on October 25, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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3 Stars, Completed October 21, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

As sad as it was to know that in a few weeks she wouldn’t call Shadow Falls her home, she knew change was inevitable. And while this address wouldn’t be listed on forms, it would always be listed in her heart. She took with her the life lessons she learned. Here, she’d found self-confidence. She’d learned how to dream, how to never turn away from a leap of faith.

She learned the value of friendships. Of laughter during hard times. Of love.

And so the conclusion to the Shadow Falls series is here! The release of Midnight Hour actually came as a huge surprise to me seeing that I thought this series ended last year with book three, Unspoken, but I’m not complaining since this gives me another excuse to revisit this world one last time.

In this fourth and final installment, like the rest of the students at Shadow Falls Miranda Kane is preparing for her senior year graduation (meaning she has to study and take the SAT once again for college entry because of her dyslexia). But, of course, at Shadow Falls where all things paranormal exist nothing stays normal and calm for long. Miranda unintentionally becomes involved in a crazy situation, and when she awakes in the hospital after the near-death experience she finds a growing tattoo on her body. Many are already disappointed in her for not meeting the standards and surrendering the title of High Priestess (basically the most powerful witch) to her sister, so adding this mystery is not going to please her mom. But then her sister’s kidnapped, and all hell breaks loose in town as local robberies and murders surface. With Midnight Hour, the unstoppable team at Shadow Falls (Miranda, Della, and Kylie) are back to kick butt and set everything right.

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When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

when-the-moon-was-ours-new-1When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Published by Thomas Dunne on October 4, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Magical Realism, LGBTQ+
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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3.5 Stars, Completed September 25, 2016

– SPOILER free  –

When the Moon Was Ours is a magical realism tale that intricately weaves multicultural elements and LGBTQ+ themes by narrating a romance between two childhood friends. Miel, the mysterious girl found in the town’s water tower, has always been considered an outcast because the hem of her skirts are often a little damp and she has roses growing out of her wrist. Sam, also thought peculiar by the community for his deep olive tone skin and silent demeanor, is the boy that paints moons and hangs them in trees so that the town’s children can sleep with sweet dreams. Since the moment they met they’ve been totally inseparable; it’s only natural that when they grow up the platonic love they had as kids develops into something more. However, they aren’t able to earn their happily ever after immediately because the Bonner sisters, four beautiful girls rumored to be witches, have decided they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, and they’re prepared to reveal all of Miel’s secrets to the townspeople until she gives them up.

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Wolf Children

9780316401654Wolf Children (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) (おおかみこどもの雨と雪)
Original Story by
Mamoru Hosoda
Art by Yu
Published by Young Press, Yen Press from 2012 to 2013
Genres: [Seinen] Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life
Volumes: 3
Chapters:
16
Status of manga:
Completed*
My rating for the anime: 7/10

*Review based on entire manga series

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4 Stars, Completed August 7, 2016

– SPOILER free –

Wolf Children essentially begins as a love story between a young university student named Hana and an enigmatic man who attends her college but isn’t exactly a student there. As they begin to fall deeply in love, he reveals that he’s not human and transforms into a wolf. Unwavering, Hana still accepts the “wolf man” into her life. They happily get married and have two healthy children: Yuki born on a snowy day and Ame during heavy rain. All is well until Hana’s husband is tragically taken away from the family (this is not a spoiler-I checked and it was in the book’s cover flap as well as Goodreads’ synopsis), and subsequently she becomes a single mother. Unable to keep her wild and expressive children away from the prying eyes of the people in a densely populated city, she soon makes the decision to move to the countryside. And there she and her family will have to face other plights but also many joys as well.

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

wrathThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1 (1/2)
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 404
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read With: Lois at My Midnight Musings

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4 Stars, Completed July 7, 2016

– this review is very long; you can read the bold text to get the main idea and to avoid major SPOILERS –

“…the thing that I have learned above all is that no individual can reach the height of their potential without the love of others. We are not meant to be alone, Shahrzad. The more a person pushes others away, the clearer it becomes he is in need of love the most.”

The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling inspired by the classic, One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories. In the original tale, a king learns of his wife’s infidelity and executes her. Out of bitterness and distrust, he then begins a cycle where he takes a virgin bride each night and kills her the next morning before she can commit any acts of crime against him. Then one girl, Scheherazade, the daughter of the king’s vizier, breaks this horrifying routine by defying the odds. She becomes the king’s next bride, and each night she cleverly tells him a story but also just begins another. This cunning tactic ensures Scheherazade’s safety because the king becomes too intrigued to kill her the next dawn, and thus she survives for 1001 nights (and hence the birth of the compilation of stories). The Wrath and the Dawn follows this storyline loosely with its own twists along with a touch of magic. And, of course, this time the Shahrzad in the retelling finds herself falling in love with the tormented monster king.

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The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

9780374384739_FC_n6GzO0HThe Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #3 (3/3)
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 29, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 484
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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5 Stars, Completed April 3, 2016

– to avoid major SPOILERS read bold text only –

As he spoke, it occurred to her that maybe he, too, felt like two people, that maybe everybody does, and that it’s not a question of whether one’s damaged, but of how easily or not that damage is seen.

In the third and final installment to The Winner’s trilogy, war has begun and Arin is among his enemies hoping to forge an alliance against the empire to save his people, the Herrani. He still believes he’s fallen out of love with Kestrel and despises her for her evident cruelty and inhumanity. Meanwhile, Kestrel is in the freezing north as a prisoner paying for the grave mistake of betraying her people, the Valorians, by helping the Herrani before Arin left for the east. She only wishes that Arin knew what she had sacrificed for him. With the abundance of misunderstandings, increasingly intensifying war, and distance to separate them, there’s much more of a strain on Arin and Kestrel’s relationship than ever before.

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The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

TheWinnersCrimeThe Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2 (2/3)
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 3, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Borrowed

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4 Stars, Completed March 10, 2016

– SPOILER free –

Right now a part of me feels inclined to rebel and give this book 1 star because of all the heartache it caused me. But nah, I’ll remain sensible and fair.

You can’t see both sides of one coin at once, can you, child? The god of money always keeps a secret.
The god of money was also the god of spies.

Naturally The Winner’s Crime takes place after the events of the first installment. Kestrel is busy preparing all the events and celebrations that follow her engagement to the Valorian prince. While adjusting to palace life she’s beginning to realize that all the intricate lies she’s woven and promised have led her to her own cage in the Capital. Meanwhile, Arin is seas away seeking allies in the East to help his people gain their freedom. Unknown to Arin, Kestrel’s also aiding his cause by being the anonymous informant helping Herrani efforts. When they do meet, more lies and misunderstandings ensues between the two-and some that may create irreparable wounds in their relationship. On top of all this, despite all the wishful thinking, they recognize that they soon will have to pay a price for the dangerous crimes they have committed.

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