March TBR

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This month I actually stuck to my TBR and I am so proud! Out of the three books I planned to read for February, I read 2.5 of them. Here were my February choices below:

  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

I pre-ordered this book and read it quickly after an email telling me it was sent to my Kindle. I’m a huge Kasie West fan and to say I was excited for a new book by her was an understatement. Unfortunately for me, this book was only an average Kasie West book for me. While it was fun and easy to read, I was slightly disappointed with this read and gave it three stars.

  • 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine

This is another book that I pre-ordered and was extremely excited to read. Unfortunately again, this book did not live up to my hype for its author. I mentioned in my TBR last month that the synopsis of this book did not grab me like The Hating Game, which proved to be true.

  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

This is my “0.5” of my completed TBR. I am about halfway through this book and at a standstill. I love Brigid Kemmerer’s contemporary books but just can’t seem to get into this fantasy book. I’m hoping by putting it aside for a little bit that I can come back and enjoy it.

 

Now, onto my picks for March! Here are my three choices for my March TBR:

  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

I would really like to finish A Curse So Dark and Lonely this month. I know if I put this book aside for too long, then I will forget the plot. Then, I may not be motivated to ever finish it. Hopefully, the story picks up and it can end up being a solid March read!

  • Bookish Boyfriends: The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt

The Boy Next Story: A Bookish Boyfriends Novel

I received this book as an eARC via NetGalley and I’m currently about halfway through it. Since I’m close to finishing this book, I know that it should be easy to quickly finish it as the beginning of the month.

  • You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

You'd Be Mine

I also received this book as an eARC via NetGalley. The release date is at the beginning of April, so I wanted to make sure I read and review this book before its release.

 

What do you plan to read in March?

 

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Cold Day in the Sun Review

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This book may be called Cold Day in the Sun, but it will warm up your heart.

Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren follows Holland “Dutch” Delviss, a female Cold Day in the Sunhockey player whose team may be chosen for a widely televised hockey event. However, her team’s chance rests on her ability play up her status as the only female on the team. While some people in town show their disdain for Holland’s involvement in the team, she finds support from one of the team’s captain, Wes.

I’m a huge hockey fan, so I was instantly excited when I saw this book on NetGalley. I quickly requested it and was thrilled to read it once approved. From this book, I expected a cute romance as well as some conversations surrounding the discrimination women face when they enter a male-dominated sport. While I enjoyed this quick and fun read, there were some aspects that needed some improvement to make this book a stand-out for me.

I think my favorite aspect of this book was the relationship between Holland and Wes. While I do think their banter was sometimes over the top and their relationship changed to quickly from “hate” to “love”, I generally liked them both as characters and saw the chemistry between them. Their relationship also added to the conversation this book brought up about the discrimination women face in male-dominated sports due to some of the barriers they faced in their relationship, which I appreciated.

I also enjoyed the main character, Holland. She is willing to call out anyone who makes a sexist comment towards her or other people. While she sometimes doubts herself and her abilities, this makes her extremely relatable to other young female readers who face the same discrimination as Holland.

That being said, there were a few other aspects of the novel that fell flat for me, namely the big game constantly emphasized throughout the novel. The actual game comprises very little of the book and the ending left me very unsatisfied. The hockey games often took a large back seat to the romance, journalism, or music aspects of the novel. While I appreciated seeing some of Holland’s other interests, I think it caused some of the other aspects of the story that I was really excited about not be well developed. The game had a lot of build-up, but not a lot of reward.

I also have mixed feelings towards how the feminist aspects played out in this novel. I appreciated how even though Holland played on the boy’s team instead of the girl’s team, she didn’t put down the talent and drive of the girl’s teams. However, I wished more aspects of this part of the story were fleshed out. There were people who made comments on the ice or members of the town that I wished were wrapped up in a more satisfying way. I appreciated that whenever a sexist comment was made, it was immediately shut down. Still, I wanted some big moment at the end to wrap up all the commentary provided in this novel, but I felt like I never got that.

Overall, Cold Day in the Sun is a great sports romance read that is perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oak series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hockey or young adult books that heavily focus on the romance. I give this book three out of four stars.

 

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February Reading-Wrap Up

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This month, my reading was pretty average. Out of the five books I read, I rated four of the books as three-star reads. However, I did have one five-star read. Overall, I did enjoy all the books that I read this month, even though several weren’t exactly memorable. Here’s what I read and my thoughts on them:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

This book actually started out fairly slow for me. I hear a lot of hype going into this book and midway through I had a feeling this would only be an average read for me. However, the ending completely changed my mind. The ending of this book was extremely emotional, raw, and real. The end definitely redeemed the book for me and it ended up being a five-star read for me.

  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (★ ★ ★)

The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient is a quick, fun read. However, it lacked the emotional depth for me to invest in the characters and their relationship. While this was an enjoyable read, it definitely wasn’t the most memorable for me.

  • 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (★ ★ ★)

99 Percent Mine

I was so excited for 99 Percent Mine since I loved The Hating Game. I was slightly disappointed with this book because I did not love it as nearly as much as The Hating Game. Like with The Kiss Quotient, I never connected with the characters and as a result, their relationship fell flat for me. While a fun and quick read, it did not live up to my expectations.

  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West (★ ★ ★)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

Kasie West is an auto-buy contemporary author for me and I was excited to read about Lacey, who appeared in my favorite book by this author, Love, Life, and the List. However, I’m not a big fan of books involving celebrity and movie sets. Sadly, this book was no exception. Sometimes, Kasie West’s books can be a little all over the place in terms of plot. Unfortunately, this book followed that format. While cute, the relationship also isn’t my favorite out of her books.

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers (★ ★ ★)

Sadie

I’m not a big mystery/thriller type of person, but I heard nothing but positive reviews about this book. I think the hype of this book took away from some of my enjoyment. I understand the message this book wanted to convey, but I found the ending unsatisfying. Plus, sometimes the podcast aspect which was really relevant and unique, bored me because it was like playing catch up on already known information.

 

What was the best book that you read in February?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Places in Books that I Would Love to Visit

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is places in books that you would love to visit. Here are my choices:

  • Colby Beach from multiple Sarah Dessen novels

Along for the Ride

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite young adult authors and Colby Beach is a staple location in many of her books. I would love to shop at Clementine’s, pick up some snacks, or eat the legendary onion rings and pie.

  • Meade Creamery from Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Stay Sweet

Meade Creamery not only has amazing ice cream, but boasts a long history of a female-run business. I would love to show my support for Meade’s Creamy by purchasing some delicious ice cream!

  • Velaris from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Who wouldn’t want to visit the City of Starlight? I would love to visit this city to see some of my favorite characters.

  • The Rampion from Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Thorne is one of my favorite characters from The Lunar Chronicles, so I would love to chance to travel on his ship.

  • Court of Faerie from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

I would not want to necessarily visit the Court of Faerie. However, I would love to be a fly on the wall to learn all the secrets about the people inside.

  • France from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

After reading this book, I wanted nothing more than to go to a boarding school in France. Perkins included a lot of descriptions about places and food that I couldn’t help but wish to travel there!

  • Ireland from Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Luck

Jenna Evans Welch does an amazing job describing scenery and this book was no exception. I felt like I was in Ireland while reading this book. However, I’ve never actually been to Ireland, so this book makes me want to travel there and experience it for myself.

  • Greece from Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

I loved how much this book focused on the setting, culture, and family. Like with Love & Luck, I felt like I was actually there! Now, I need to actually travel there and experience it for myself.

  • Italy from Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato

Like with Love & Luck, Jenna Evans Welch did an amazing job describing the location and culture of Italy in this book. Her books always make me want to travel somewhere new!

  • Genovia from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)

I absolutely loved The Princess Diaries when I was younger. I always wanted to visit Genovia!

 

What are some places in books that you would love to visit?

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Book Tag

Thanks for nominating me Books, Life, and Other Oddities!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules.

The Questions:

  • What is your current read?

Right now, I am reading Sadie by Courtney Summers. I’m not typically interested in mysteries/thrillers, but I have heard nothing but good reviews about this book, so I decided to pick it up! I’m not very far in, but I think the podcast concept is interesting and very relevant.

  • How many books have you read this year so far?

I have read seven books so far: Snow in Love by various YA authors, Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills, The Wicked King by Holly Black, Eleanor Oliphant in Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne, and Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West.

  • What’s your favorite read of 2018?

It’s so hard to pick just one! The top five books in my annual Brittany Awards were Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West, The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, Save the Date by Morgan Matson, Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian, and How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo.

  • What’s your most anticipated read of 2019?

My most anticipated read of 2019 if The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. Her books were a staple during my middle school/high school years and she’s the author of my favorite young adult novel, Just Listen. This book sounds like classic Sarah Dessen compared to her more recent releases, so I’m very excited to pick this one up!

  • Do you read with music or read silently?

I cannot read with music! It’s too difficult for me to follow along and concentrate on the book I’m reading.

  • Long books or short books?

I like books in the middle! A lot of times, I’ve found that long books have a lot of unnecessary parts. Meanwhile, books that are short often leave me feeling unsatisfied. However, there are always exceptions!

  • What’s your favorite spot to read?

I like to read on the couch or in my bed!

  • What’s your favorite type of cake?

Everyone makes fun of me for this, but I really, really love carrot cake! However, I mostly get cookie cakes for my birthday (does that really count as cake?) because I have a twin sister. Since we share a birthday, we share a cake and cookie cake is something we can both agree on.

  • Do you pronounce scones as ‘skuns’ or ‘scowns’?

It rhymes with tone the way that I say it!

  • Favourite mythical creature?

My favorite mythical creature is a unicorn! This is widely known by friends and family who always put my presents in unicorn bags, get me unicorn presents, or make group chats that make me the unicorn emoji in the title.

  • What would be your dream job?

Currently, I am working in my dream job! I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school. Now, I am an elementary special education teacher.

My Questions:

  • What is your favorite genre to read?
  • What is your favorite television show or Netflix show?
  • What was your most recent five star read?
  • What was the most recent movie you watched?
  • What genre do you hope to read more from in 2019?
  • What kind of music do you like?
  • How many books do you want to read in 2019?
  • Where is one place you would like to visit?
  • What is your favorite type of blog post to write?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • What was your favorite subject in school?

I tag…

 

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Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

book review

Second book slump? The Wicked King’s never heard of her. 💁

The Wicked King by Holly Black picks up after the events of The Cruel PriThe Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)nce, the first book in The Folk of the Air series. Jude and Cardan navigate the politics of the faerie world, but Jude worries that someone may betray her. Jude investigates to discover the person before it is too late.

I read The Cruel Prince after it was released last year (see my review here). After finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses, I was eager to read more fantasy books set in a faerie world. While I was impressed with Holly Black’s writing style, I was disappointed that the book did not feature as much politics as I expected. Additionally, the characters, which is a major hook for me into a story, did not manage to stand out amongst other YA fantasy books. However, the cliff hanger ending convinced me to carry on with the series.

I am glad that I continued on with this series because, in my opinion, The Wicked King was much more enjoyable and interesting than The Cruel Prince. While I do stand by some of my claims (which I will get into later) from the first book, I found the areas that were lacking in the first book for me were much improved in the second installment. Overall, this was one of my favorite books of the year thus far and I am eagerly anticipating the third book in this series. Now, onto the review!

As for the main characters, Jude and Cardan, I found them much more complex and fun to read about than in the first book. With Jude, I found there was a lot more telling than showing with her intellect regarding politics in the first book. However, this was the complete opposite in The Wicked King. As for Cardan, I found that we saw a lot of his awful actions in the first book, but did not see as much of his true manipulation abilities. Since Jude is closer to Cardan in this book, readers see that Cardan’s cruelty extends far more than his actions, which leads to an incredible cliff hanger at the end of the story.

Regarding the “relationship” between Jude and Cardan, it’s a little complicated. For me, Jude and Cardan are by no means “couple goals” due to the way they manipulate each other which one of my biggest gripes with The Cruel Prince because I felt like that wasn’t clear. However, I think this book makes it more clear that Jude and Cardan are very manipulative people who are not going to change by simply being in a relationship as their personalities are much more developed in this book than The Cruel Prince. While Jude and Cardan are not an OTP for me, how they act in this “relationship” is true to character. That being said, if you do not like seeing unhealthy relationships in this book, it may be one to skip.

Looking at the pacing and writing style, I could not put this book down. Holly Black has a writing style that is clear and concise with her word choice. So many times, I found myself using the dictionary feature of my Kindle because I loved the word choices she used. Her pacing was also spot-on. There were so many twist and turns, sub-plots, and surprises that kept me turning the pages. You see so much for of the faerie world and customs in this story, but it is woven so well together that nothing feels like an info dump. Plus, THAT CLIFFHANGER! How can I wait one more year to find out what happens next?

Overall, I really enjoyed my reading experience with The Wicked King. The characterization, world-building, and pacing were all that I was looking for when I picked this book up. I give The Wicked King five out of five stars.

 

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Books I Read in 2018

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Whew! After reading a ton of books during Christmas time, I finished reading almost 70 books this year. I set my goal at 50 books, which I wasn’t sure I would complete due to my hectic schedule. However, I completed my goal I believe sometime in the fall and managed to squeeze in some more books as well. Here’s to some more great reading in the new year!

Below I’ve listed all the books that I read in 2018, in the order in which I read them. Any book with a review currently posted will have a link on the book’s title. Titles marked with a * appeared on one of my favorite lists (The Brittany Awards) in 2018 or, if it is a re-read, appeared in a favorites list of a previous year. Any title marked with a ^ means it was featured as one of my least favorite books of the year.

Favorite Book Reviews 2018

blogmas

This year, I read a little over 60 books… so I wrote a ton of book reviews! Here are five of my favorite book reviews that I wrote in 2018:

The Hating Game

The Hating Game is an important review for me because it features a different kind of book than I usually read. While I’ve reviewed other new adult/adult books on my blog before (a couple books by Sophie Kinsella), this one really kick started me reading a lot of other new adult books. Looking at this review, I think it’s a good start. I think by reading and reviewing more new adult books, I will be able to provide even more helpful reviews as I become more familiar with the style of these books.

Save the Date

Save the Date was an interesting book for me. I heard not-so-positive reviews before reading it, but I ended up absolutely loving it. This book isn’t the type of Morgan Matson book that I expected after Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything, which are the two of her four books published right before this which definitely fall in the cutesy contemporary vein. For me, it can be difficult to articulate my feelings towards books that I really loved compared to books that I didn’t like reading. However, I like this review because I think I showed some personal growth when reviewing books that I really enjoy. I tried really hard to pinpoint exactly why I enjoyed this book and I hope that I can be just as specific in what I enjoyed in book reviews that I do in the future.

A Date with Darcy (Bookish Boyfriends, #1)

This was a book that I received as an ARC and was receiving a lot of attention for its plot that resonated with people who love to read. For me, this book was a bit of a miss. However, I still was able to see potential in this book, especially if it continues as a companion-novel style series. I think I really enjoyed reviewing this book because I put aside that this book was written for someone much younger than me. Although there were some aspects that I didn’t enjoy, I liked explaining how I think people younger than me probably would really enjoy this book. Even if I don’t necessarily really enjoy a book, I do like when I am able to recommend it to someone else you may really love it.

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree was a highly anticipated read for me. While I liked the overall message this book tried to highlight, there were many areas that I didn’t like. In this book, the story revolves around a student with a learning disability in the general education classroom. As a special education teacher, I love reading books that feature characters with disabilities and accurately portray special education. However, this book did not accurately portray special education. I liked that I was able to utilize my background in special education to point out areas were this book needed improvement to accurately portray the special education process.

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Lola and the Boy Next Door was a re-read for me. When I was in high school, I absolutely loved this book. Reading it years later opened up my eyes to things in this book that I didn’t pick up on when I was younger. Some of these aspects that didn’t bother me before, got under my skin and gave me a new perspective on this book. While I still enjoy this book, reading it again when I’m older allowed me to look at more critically. I am proud of this review because I was able to explain all of the reasons why I still like it, but other areas that I find a little problematic.

What were some of your favorite reviews that you wrote? Link them below so I can check them out!

Library Book Haul December 2018

blogmas

I love using my library to read books that I’m on the fence about reading or if I’m not sure that I will like enough to add to my collection. Through my library, I’ve discovered so many books out of my comfort zone that I really enjoy. Here are some of my latest reads from the library:

  • Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

Olivia Twist

Olivia Twist pleasantly surprised me. Even though I’m a fan of retellings, I’m not a huge classics person. As a result, this book is definitely different than the majority of books that I read. However, I ended up really enjoying this book. Olivia Twist is a “twist” on Oliver Twist where a girl pulled from the slums by a wealthy relative encounters a former friend and well-known con man from her past. While it took me awhile to get into the writing style of this book, which does have a more “classic” feel, I did really like the characters and the romance.

  • In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman

In Case You Missed It

I hadn’t heard about this book before, but I picked it up on a whim after reading the description. This book follows Sammy, a high school student, whose diary is released on the internet after someone hacks into her father’s company to expose her family’s secrets. I liked how the author has a background in internet safety, but sometimes, it came across like after school special to me. The main character wasn’t particularly likeable and the story dragged a bit at times for me. That being said, this book is extremely relevant to our current culture and could be beneficial for young people to read.

  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles (The Belles #1)

Unfortunately, I DNF’ed this library book. I started reading The Belles despite not generally liking fantasy books or dystopian books that are tied primarily to beauty (for example, The Uglies series). I actually renewed this book because I wanted to push past the beginning and hopefully make it to a more interesting ending. I got about halfway through this book before I put it down. For me, I wasn’t particularly interested in the world and thought the book moved too slow for my liking.

  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

This is the second book on this list that I DNF’ed. However, unlike The Belles, I can see myself picking this book up in the future. I think I picked this book up at a bad time. I went on vacation just as I started reading and then turned it back into the library shortly after I returned. The story line still interests me and I liked the dynamic between the two main characters. Even though this isn’t the highest book on my TBR list, I could see myself checking it out from the library again.

  • Shatter Me and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I checked Shatter Me and Unravel Me out from the library because I saw so many people talking about the latest book in this series, Restore Me. I missed out on the hype of this book upon its initial release and drawn away from it after reading some negative reviews. However, I was motivated to look into it after seeing how well-loved this series is by many members of the bookish community. I flew threw both the first and second book, but I’m not sure I will pick up any more. This contains many tropes popular around the time of its release that I’m not a big fan of anymore. For me, the first two books didn’t really progress the plot too much and I didn’t quite have a good grasp on the world. Still, I’m glad that I was able to check these books out of the library to have a chance to finally read them.

 

What books have you recently checked out of the library?

The Brittany Awards: Young Adult Fantasy

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Last Saturday, I kicked off my annual book awards, The Brittany Awards, by listing some of my favorite New Adult/Adult books of the year. This week, I will be highlighting my five favorite young adult fantasy novels of the year as well as two honorable mentions.

When I first started my book blog back in 2016, I primarily read contemporary books. However, with the help of the book community, I have branched out in the last few years and have found some fantasy books that I really love. Here are my two honorable mentions for YA fantasy (any reviews will be linked to the book’s title):

Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle, #3)

I’ve been wanting to finish this series for a long time and I finally got around to it in 2018. I loved the first book in this series, but was disappointed by the second book. I heard terrible reviews for this book, so I went in expecting to be let down by this book too. However, I found myself really enjoying this book, at least during the first 3/4. At the end, this book did use one of my least favorite plot twists. That being said, I still had a fun time reading this book.

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

This book is more adventure than fantasy, but it does include some fantastical elements, so I will include it on this list. If you’re expecting a gritty pirate story, then you will probably be disappointed by this book. If you want a fun books that just so happens to include pirates, you’ll enjoy this more. For me, I thought this book was so enjoyable. I’m typically not of fan of books with overdramatic romances and pretty typical characters, but for some reason, I could stop turning the pages of this book. It was the perfect easy read and I look forward to picking up the second book.

Here are my top five favorite YA fantasy books (in no particular order):

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)

I immediately put this book on my TBR after reading the very Six of Crows description. After actually reading this book, it’s not really similar to that book, but I still absolutely loved it. I requested this book from my local library, read it in one sitting, and then quickly purchased a copy for my Kindle because I know I will be picking up the next book in this series. I loved the setting of this book and really enjoyed the two main characters. Are some elements typical YA fantasy? Absolutely. However, it also offers some unique elements that will keep your interest.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

I’ve wanted to read The Ravens Boys for awhile because I heard it was good. However, I haven’t been a fan of other books that I’ve read or tried to read by Maggie Stiefvater which made me hesitant to pick this one up. Out of all the books I’ve read or tried to read by this author, this is clearly the best of the bunch. The plot is tight, the characters are interesting, and the writing kept me reading until the book ended. That being said, there are aspects of this book that just aren’t my cup of tea, such as the really dark magic which I’ve heard gets even darker, which is why I won’t be picking up the next book in this series.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

The Cruel Prince wasn’t plot-wise the most original YA fantasy book that I’ve ever read. However, the writing was pretty solid and the political aspect of the story was interesting enough that I couldn’t put this book down. I have the same feelings towards this book that I did War Cross by Marie Lu. Although the story itself wasn’t the most original, the writing of this book really propelled it to one of my favorites during the year that I read it. This book definitely got my interest for more books in the series.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)

I only gave this book an average rating, but overall it was a really enjoyable read for me. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. While I have some problems with the pacing, characterization, and some elements of this book, I loved reading about characters that I loved in the first three books of this series and I’m excited to see where this series goes in the future.

What are your favorite YA fantasy books that you read 2018?