Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

 4 Stars

I never expected to love Royal Bastards like I do.

This is one of those books that you can’t even talk about because everything you want to say is a spoiler. I will say there were way more twists than I expected and most of them were not pleasant. There is some romance, but it is definitely not the meat of this story. This is the 1st book in a planned trilogy, and I already know I will read every. single. one. I am in.

The beginning of this book reads more like MG and the vocabulary is oddly modern for the type of historical fantasy I was expecting. When I started I thought it would end up being a light fantasy like My Lady Jane. It definitely takes a darker turn though and sets itself firmly on the YA shelf. It is political, violent and magical with a definite world that is solidly set. I hope the physical book gets a world map, and I can’t wait to see the fan art for these characters (and creatures).

Buy ROYAL BASTARDS Here – (Hardcover)

Buy ROYAL BASTARDS Here – (Kindle)

I received an advance reader copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

 4.5 Stars

Girl out of Water is an unexpectedly good debut by Laura Silverman. The blurb sounded really interesting to me, but I don’t read YA Contemporary very often so once I received it I had “reviewers remorse” and didn’t pick it up for several months. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This book is really good.

Laura Silverman did an amazing job of capturing what it feels like to surf and skateboard. Or at least what I, as an extremely uncoordinated non-athlete, imagine that it feels like to participate in those sports. Her descriptions made me want to try my hand at both activities. The characters were perfect. They were diverse and seemed well fleshed out. Lincoln is her “disabled” black love interest (he seems anything but disabled)…. and he’s smart & hot! She has a Samoan best friend and counts a lesbian couple that has been together forever as part of her core group of friends.

I will mention for those that care, Anise has a “sailor’s mouth” and extensive curse word vocabulary. There is underage drinking and talk of sex though I believe kissing is the furthest anyone goes. It is a true depiction of teenage life and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!

The love triangle-ish situation made me uncomfortable because both guys are really great. They both have reasons why they are perfect for her and it’s sad when you realize that someone will inevitably get hurt. The ending is HFN, which I’m not usually a fan of, but fits this couple and their life plans.

Buy GIRL OUT OF WATER Here – (Kindle)

Buy GIRL OUT OF WATER Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4 Stars

This book was adorably geeky and fun. While reading it, I had complete A Cinderella Story vibes (you know you love that cheesy movie!) It was perfect YA fluff and I would have no qualms about giving it to any of the geeky girls in my life.

My favorite character BY FAR was Sage. She was so well developed and cool that I would have loved to see even more of her. I love when books have LGBT characters that they don’t make a big deal about. They just let them live their life without making their sexuality the main event.

I wasn’t a big fan of this cover when I first saw it, but the pics I’ve been seeing on Instagram of the hardcover make me want a copy for my bookshelf. It is GORGEOUS and photographs so well that I just want to buy it and take pictures. In short, if you want a light-hearted YA romantic comedy this is a solid bet.

Buy GEEKERELLA Here – (Kindle)

Buy GEEKERELLA Here – (Hardcover)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

4 Stars

I’m pretty sure the reason I wanted to read this book was because of the cover. I mean, LOOK AT IT!

I’ll be honest with you here. I haven’t read much of the mainstream YA Fantasy out there right now, so I can’t tell you if “it’s been done before”. What I can tell you is this book drew me in and kept me there. The slavery conditions Rose experiences are incomprehensible and create an instant “bad guy”. From the very beginning, there was always something happening, and I couldn’t put this book down.

I have two minor complaints. I usually enjoy “insta-love” (especially the fated kind) but this was a little fast, even for me. After I got over the initial “insta-love” shock I was completely on board with the romance. I also felt like Rose got too involved in the group too quickly. She went from being imprisoned, then training the next day, and being involved in her first mission the next. She jumped in with both feet, and they seemed to welcome her.

Amber Mitchell said she wrote this as a standalone with room for a sequel. She is completely right. I finished this book and was satisfied with where it ended, BUT I would 100% read a sequel. In fact, I’m hoping there is a sequel. Rose experienced so much growth in this book that I can’t wait to see how she handles what comes next.

Buy GARDEN OF THORNS Here – (Kindle)

Buy GARDEN OF THORNS Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Off the Ice by Julie Cross (Juniper Falls #1)

3.75 Stars

3.75 Stars? I know it’s a strange rating, but I couldn’t decide between a 3.5 and a 4.

Off the Ice is a mature YA romance. It deals with some extremely hard subjects and those subjects play a very large part. The romance was a little lacking, but the kissing was good.  I found the characters actions and reactions to be believable. The author could have gone the dramatic route with the ex-girlfriend, but she didn’t and I appreciated the realness of it. The secondary characters were surprisingly developed. I already see some characters that I hope get their own books in the Juniper Falls series (I’m looking at you Leo!)

I debated on reading this because I don’t generally read hockey romances. I live in Texas, and it’s hot here, there is no ice and football is king. Hockey is foreign to me. BUT I read my 1st Julie Cross book last year and absolutely fell for her writing. I’m glad I tried this one. I think it’s a solid start to a series and I hope to see more books in it soon.

Buy OFF THE ICE Here – (Kindle)

Buy OFF THE ICE Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Gilded Cage by Vic James (Dark Gifts #1)

4 Stars

Gilded Cage by Vic James is the first book in her Dark Gifts series. This book has such a great atmosphere full of political intrigue, magic, and rebellion. She said that the initial arc is intended to be a trilogy but she does see room to expand the story to more books if she feels it is needed. I love the way it looks like these books are going and I will happily read three books. I am a bit apprehensive about it going past more than that, because ultimately I want a happily ever after ending. I want the Slave Days to be abolished and everyone to live together peacefully. Can that happen… PLEASE?!

This world is dark. I read this at the same time I was reading Six of Crows, and I had a bit of trouble distinguishing the worlds at first. Not because they are similar in a detailed way, but it is more the feeling you get while reading. My favorite character is Silyen with his smart and powerful creepiness but I also loved the direction Luke’s character took. And then there is Renie. She is perfect but I have been scarred by dystopian writers that always seem to kill off my favorite characters. I worry she has a huge target on her back.

There were definite plot twists that I never saw coming, and I’m sure the next book will have many more. I’ll definitely be reading the next book as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Gilded Cage is in stores TODAY.

Buy GILDED CAGE Here – (Kindle)

Buy GILDED CAGE Here – (Hardcover)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows Duology #1)

4.5 Stars

This isn’t a book I ever really intended to read. I’ve seen it all over Bookstagram, and I’m pretty sure all my GoodReads friends have read it, but it just didn’t sound like it was for me. I saw it on sale on Audible and picked it up on a whim, but I still didn’t read it for 5 months. Then I started this book and suddenly there was not enough time in the day to listen to it. That first chapter with Inej sold me. I kept thinking I wouldn’t like any other character as much as Inej, but then with each additional POV I found more and more to love.

I knew the phrase “No Mourners, No Funerals” was somehow related to the book, but I didn’t realize how entwined the phrase is with the characters. I think “No Mourners, No Funerals” may have seeped its way into my vocabulary much in the way “Wingardium Leviosa” did (meaning I have absolutely no reason to say it, but probably will all the same.)

I’m nervous about starting the next book, because I’ve heard vague spoilers. I may give myself a few months of loving this book before moving on to Crooked Kingdom.

Buy SIX OF CROWS Here – (Kindle)

Buy SIX OF CROWS Here – (Hardcover)

Buy SIX OF CROWS Here – (Paperback)