Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[Dual Review] Lady Thief & Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

16181630Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Scaret #2
Version: Paperback
 Release Date: February 11, 2014 

Goodreads synopsis:
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

16181625Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Scaret #3
Version: eBook
Release Date:  May 19, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:
Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?
I decided to write a dual review for these two books because I put off reviewing Lady Thief in order to read Lion Heart and now that I'm done, all I want to do is ramble on about how wonderful this series is and how I'm simultaneously sad and happy that Scarlet & Robin Hood's story has come to an end.

This was honestly a brilliant series and I can't believe I waited so long after reading Scarlet last year to read the rest of the trilogy. Lady Thief picks up right after Scarlet, and Lion Heart picks up a couple months after Lady Thief.

I think the best thing about these two books are the characters. There is a large ensemble of "side" characters that help Scar and Rob along the way and I absolutely adore them all; Winchester, Margaret, Bess, Much, Eleanor, David, Allan, John (Little, not the Prince) and by the end of Lion Heart, pretty much all the Earls. A.K.A THE BEST CAST OF CHARACTERS. Some of them may not be major characters, but A.C. Gaughen does such a wonderful job with them that we know personal bits of information about even the most minor of characters and it really helps in connecting the reader to the characters. Heck, at the end of Lady Thief, I even felt bad for Gisbourne. Honestly, Prince John and de Clare are the only characters that can't be redeemed.

However, the connection that develops between the reader and all the characters is also kind of brutal because Gaughen is not afraid of spilling blood.  The ending of Lady Thief was absolutely heart wrenching because of this and I still don't think I'm over it yet. Although there were a lot of realllly sad stuff, I'm also kind of glad that Gaughen went ahead and did this because the best books are the ones that make readers weep, right? 

The plot was also very engaging and there was never a dull moment. It was all adventure and action and every scene/moment was meaningful. There's no fluff in this trilogy, folks. Although I do think there was a lot of kissing going on between Scar and Rob in both books, I also ship them so hard so it's alright. I'm also glad there wasn't a love triangle since Scar and Rob are so dedicated to each other and a love triangle just wouldn't make sense. Also, no spoilers, but there are other couples in both books and I SHIP THEM ALL.

The ending of Lady Thief is a cliffhanger, so you definitely want to have Lion Heart on hand right after. The ending of Lion Heart was great and really gives a feeling of content to the readers. I'm glad Gaughen ends the trilogy the way she does.

Scarlet and Robin Hood's story may have come to an end, but their story is one that will stay with me for much longer. :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Alice's 2015 End of Year Survey

Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner hosts this wonderful end of year survey every year, and I am very happy to participate this year! :-)
Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2014!


Number Of Books You Read: 21
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy


1. Best Book You Read In 2015? 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Best series: Abandon by Meg Cabot (not counting book series that started in 2015)
Best sequel: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Best series ender: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Renee Ahdieh (debut), Colleen Houck (non-debut)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan - probably the only mystery/contemporary I read this year..

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, December 28, 2015

[Review] Soundless by Richelle Mead

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: N/A
Version: ARC
Release Date:  November 10, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.
I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this book; there was nothing that really "WOWed" me, but it was still enjoyable a nice, quick read. This is also my first Richelle Mead book and I have to admit that I'm not really a big fan of her writing style and it kind of left me a bit disappointed. 

One thing I really like about Soundless is that it's a standalone, and that's exactly what it should be. Any effort to make this into a duology or trilogy would probably not go well. Fei's story has been told, and in the end, readers feel content, but there is no urge to dive deeper into Fei's world or stay with the characters any longer.

I felt very little towards any of the characters. In fact, I was kind of indifferent towards all of them for the entire book. There are some books where the characters stay with you long after their story has concluded, but unfortunately, this is not one of them. They were all quite plain and boring, and I think that's one I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

That being said, however, I really did enjoy the plot and the setting that Mead has created in the world of Beiguo. The idea of a village where people cannot use their voices is certainly unique in YA literature and I like how Mead explored that. I found myself speed reading the end just to find out what happens, so the plot is definitely captivating.

If you've read any of Richelle Mead's other books and enjoy her writing style, you'll probably like this more than I did. If you want a quick fantasy standalone novel, try this one.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

[Review] This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: December 22nd 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Twelve Books of Christmas - Week 3

Week 3.5 Progress

I've been so busy with finals, I didn't have time to read much (or blog much) until now. But break has started, and now I'm back on track! Here's my progress. My reading was mostly contemporaries, but next week should be mostly fantasy.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2016

Friday, December 25th – Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2016

Alice's Picks

1. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh - The Wrath and the Dawn is without doubt my #1 book of 2015 so it's no surprise that I am eagerly awaiting the second book.


2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Well, there's obviously going to be a lot of Rhys in this book, an that is 100% okay.

3. Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan - The synopsis reminds me of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, which is one of my favorite books ever, so I'm really looking forward to reading it! Not to mention the cover is pretty darn cool.

4. Ruined by Amy Tintera - I love tales about a hate turned love relationship, and this book seems to be all about that.

5. The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - I'm really looking forward to the setting, and I'm really excited for the huge role that magic will play in this!

Raisa's Picks
1. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry - I read this a few weeks ago, and I keep on saying the same things, about loving this book so much. But I can't wait until it comes out, and I can actually get it, and read it again! 

2. Earth's End by Elise Kova - After such a shocking ending from Fire Falling (and my friend just finished it too, and she's still in shock), I must find out what happens. To -insert name here-, and does Vhalla get stronger and out of her slump and kick more butt? Elise's books are addicting, and only two more months until it releases!

3. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig - Time travel is always an A+ genre for me. Must read every book on time travel/alternate dimensions, and the different time periods are something I'm looking forward to. 

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - Everyone is talking about how good this book is. Witches and friendship and magic sound exciting! 

5. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima - Even if The Seven Realms series ended for me, and so did Han and Raisa's adventures, I can't wait for the spinoff on the adventures of their kid! 

What are your top 2016 expected releases? 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

[Review] A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Version: eBook
Release Date:  May 5, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
My love for YA literature first began with The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, which was also set in a faery world. After that, I read many of the popular YA faery books at the time and for a while faeries were the only thing I read about. Some were great, some were okay, but none met the expectations that The Iron King set - until now. A Court of Thorns and Roses is truly a magnificent piece of work that captures and holds your attention throughout the entire story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, when I found out this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I thought I had it all figured out, but nope - I was definitely taken in surprise. Sarah Maas does a great job keeping the reader constantly at the edge of their seat. I also really enjoyed the setting and "format" of Prythian aka Faerie World, and I could almost imagine how some of the scenes that took place look like thanks to the great detail that Maas puts into her setting development. A unique thing about Maas's faerie world are the faerie courts and rulers - usually, there's only the standard Winter and Summer courts, but there are seven in this series an I loved the bits of insight we get to each one.

The book has a great cast of characters; Tamlin, Rhys, Feyre, Lucien -  they all have so many layers to them and it was fun going through each of their "layers" as the story progressed and we learned more and more about them. They're very multi-dimensional and Sarah does a fantastic job developing each and every one, including the villain; even Amarantha has more to her as we discover the story of her sister and her "love" for Tamlin.

I definitely see a love triangle coming into play, and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. On one hand, if Feyre ends up with anyone other than Tamlin, that'll be a little odd since the entire first book focuses on Feyre and Tam's relationship and the obstacles they had to go through. On the other hand, I am 100% ready to get more of Rhys in the second book.

Overall, if you like fantasy, retellings, or just need a good book to read, get this one!

Best Book Boyfriends of 2015

Thursday, December 24th– Best Book Boyfriends of 2015 

Alice's Picks
1. Khalid from The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - Khalid may seem like a jerk at first, but once we get to know him, all I really want to do is give him a big bear hug.

2. Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas- Okay, Tamlin and Lucien are both great and totally adorable but Rhys takes the trophy. Bonus points for helping Feyre with all the trials.

3. Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

4. Amon/Asten/Ahmose from Reawakened by Colleen Houck - Yeah, I just put three of them as one because I can't pick. They're brothers, so that's okay, right?

5. Jalal from The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 

Rhys, from Sarah Maas's pinterest

Raisa's Picks
1. Prince Aldrik from Air Awakens/Fire Falling by Elise Kova - I mentioned I'm a fan of arrogant prince trope, and he does remind me of Loki and Zuko, who I both love... Vhalla, may I borrow Aldrik for awhile?
2. Paul Markov from Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray  - He seems like an absolute sweetheart but at the same time with that adorable awkwardness. And he's a scientist and a genius? Marguerite, I'm jealous.
3. Jacin Clay from Winter by Marissa Meyer - He may be blunt, but his devotion and love of Winter is genuine. He is perhaps my favorite out of the four Lunar Chronicles boys.
4. Theo Beck from Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray - Marguerite, since you chose Paul over Theo, I'll take him off your hands hehe. Theo and Paul, it's so hard to decide who I like more. That sort of rhymed.
5. Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Okay, this shouldn't really count, because I a. haven't read PS I Still Love You yet, and b. To All the Boy I've Loved Before is 2014. But regardless, I will read PS I Still Love You, soon, and I just want to fangirl over how perfect Peter is. He's funny, romantic, sweet, patient - everything I want in a guy. Ugh. Why can't you be real, Peter K?

Jacin Clay from the Lunar Chronicles wikia! 
Aren't all these guys swoon-worthy? Who are your book boyfriends? 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best Book Villains of 2015

Wednesday, December 23rd – Best Book Villains of 2015

Alice's Picks
1. The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes
2. Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses
3. The Queen from The Sin Eater's Daughter 
4. Commander Ambrose from Shadow Study - That betrayal :-( 
5. Blackwell from The Witch Hunter
Raisa's Picks
1. Levana from The Lunar Chronicles - Winter
2. Wyatt Conley from A Thousand Skies Above You 
3. AIDAN from Illuminae
4. The Bayars from The Seven Realms series
5. The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes

I had a hard time deciding who were my favorite book villains, since I don't necessarily focus on the villains. The villains aren't always black and white in the books I read, and it was hard to decide who was an "evil" character. After all, AIDAN and the Bayars believed they had good intentions. Even extremely evil characters, like The Commandant, have moments of humanities. So do you think these villains are entirely evil? Who are your favorite villains? 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Best Book Covers of 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd – Best Book Covers of 2015

Alice's Picks
1. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder - I loved the revamped covers they released this year. 
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I love it when books show only part of the protagonist and leaves the rest up to the imagination.. hopefully the other books in this series  will feature the other main characters (Rhys, yes, you!)
3. Soundless by Richelle Mead - Love the diversity in this book and the background art is so calming and looks straight out of a painting.
4. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury - The cover is not only beautiful, but it represents the book perfectly!
5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - Simple but lovely.


Raisa's Picks
1. Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray - The Firebird series continues to have breathtaking covers, and I love how artsy this one came out to be! As I'm reading this book at the moment, the cover only makes me wonder what other dimensions Marguerite will be traveling to.
2. Fire Falling by Elise Kova - Meril (Elise's cover artist) does a wonderful job on all the covers of the series, it's really hard to pick which one is my favorite! But I must say this one stands out (not just because of Aldrik), but because of how powerful and fierce Aldrik and Vhalla both look.
3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - It's simple design is quite a force to be reckoned with! And rather ominous and foreboding, don't you think?
4. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly - Another one of those creepy but beautiful covers. The roses are a nice touch, too.
5. Winter by Marissa Meyer - My favorite of the Lunar Chronicles covers! Coincidentally also have on red nail polish like Winter. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Top 10 of 2015: Best Books I’ve Read in 2015

Monday, December 21st – Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 

Alice's Picks
The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Reawakened by Colleen Houck 

Raisa's Picks
Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han 
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

All these books I managed to devour quickly, ignoring some slow starts here and there. Once I got into them, I was immediately invested. Some tears were shed, or some emotions ran really high from all the suspense, and those are signs of good books. I can't wait to read the sequels to these, or at least, the sequels I haven't read yet. 

What were your top reads of 2015?