Book Review: Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Summary: When Elizabeth’s younger sister Kathe gets kidnapped by the Goblin King to become his Queen in the Underworld, Elizabeth sacrifices herself in exchange. But life as Queen of the Underworld and wife to the Goblin King is not as Elizabeth thought it would be. She soon finds herself falling in love with the Goblin King and creating beautiful music but it all comes at a price that is bigger than just her life.

Thoughts: This is the book I’ve wanted to read for so long but I didn’t even know it. Even though the stakes aren’t so high, the writing is transportive from the very first page. Elizabeth is such a flawed and relatable. She starts off being very level-headed and selfless as the big sister taking care of everyone, and I loved how I got to see the other side of her after she struck the deal with the Goblin King. Who also made it into one of my top ten favorite male characters list, coming a close fourth after Will Herondale. A very high honor in my book. But my favorite character in Wintersong is hands down: Constanze, the rude-mouthed, salt-spraying and superstitious grandmother who I really really missed once the story progressed into the Underworld and left Constanze behind. You would assume that the setting would get depressing once it shifted to the Underworld, but the opposite is true. It’s so rare that I find a book where a character is passionate, actually passionate, about something like Elizabeth is about music and composing music. Reading about it really brought all the underlying emotions to life and I’m pretty sure my ears have been opened. Wintersong is ultimately a story about the selfish and selfless things people do for love, and it’s such a dark and raw book full of amazing mythological beings and music that you can feel.

Stars: 4/5

Book Review: Poison Princess by Kersley Cole

Summary: Despite the nightmares and hallucinations, sixteen-year-old Evie lives a pretty charmed life until the apocalypse decimates the world. She soon finds herself fighting alongside her “bad boy” classmate to survive, while journeying across the country to find her grandmother – who may or may not be alive – since she had once prophesied the apocalypse and Evie’s role in saving the world.

Thoughts: I really wanted to DNF after the first couple of chapters. The story wasn’t the kind of story I usually enjoyed reading, and Evie wasn’t my kind of heroine and I was very thrown off by the many cliches, mainly that of the “good girl crushes on bad boy” romance thing that was about to go down. Until the apocalypse hit, and I was so glad I didn’t DNF! I really ended up enjoying the story way more than I expected. So much so that Evie started to grow on me by the end and I was really sorry when the story ended the way it ended. Poor Evie, but excellent character development. As for Jackson, the bad boy love interest – what I loved most about him was that he was Cajun French. Not something I find a lot in YA. What I didn’t enjoy was the way that the Cajun French students were stereotyped in the book as poor, uneducated and rude. I understand they’re coming from the other side of the bayou, but really??? I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Gambit from the X-Men animated series at some points. Which I loved when it worked, not so much when Jackson fell short of the mark. He read like Gambit but without the charm and with extra spoonfuls of useless violence and anger. Despite all these things, the story has solid world-building and excellent pacing. If you make it past the first 30% of the book, and bear in mind that Evie will at some point stop sounding like an annoying spoiled brat, you will get to enjoy this book because the ending is worth it and the premise is actually very interesting despite the fact that some scenes made me laugh and roll my eyes.

Stars: 3/5

My Most Anticipated Books of 2017

One of my new year resolutions is that 2017 is going to be the year where I read harder and hopefully surpass my Goodreads challenge. Things are looking very hopeful right now with all the awesome books that are going to be published this year! And so here are 19 of my most anticipated reads for 2017…

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1- City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

This is at the very TOP of my list because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. Need I say more?

Publication Date: 24/1/2017

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2- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I am so excited for this one! Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Publication Date: 28/2/2017

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3- Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
I’m really looking forward to this because it reads like its based on the Persephone and Hades myth, except let’s assume Persephone traveled underground to save her sister and Hades is The Goblin King who strikes a deal with her – her sister’s life for her hand in marriage. I cannot wait for this one!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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4- Wicked Like Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Yet another story that revolves around sisters, and with such a beautiful cover to boost! And there’s magic too.

Publication Date: 15/8/2017

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5- Roseblood by A.G. Howard
A modern day retelling of Phantom of the Opera – full of unrequited love, madness and lots of weirdness (or so I’m told!)

Publication Date: 10/1/2017

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6- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
That title alone makes me want to grab this book ASAP!

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Publication Date: 20/6/2017

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7- Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
I liked Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, but didn’t LOVE it because *coughs* the ending was so abrupt and unfinished and didn’t wrap up the minor plot lines as well as I’d hoped. I still haven’t picked up The Rose and the Dagger because of that, but there’s no denying how beautiful Aideh’s writing and prose is. Which is why I’m very excited for this upcoming book about the daughter of a samurai who disguises herself as a boy to hunt down the people trying to kill her.
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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8- Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
I have read so many good reviews about this book and I cannot wait to read it! I’m imagining something along the lines of a kickass Jon Snow theme/arc but with a girl!

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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9- Once And For All by Sarah Dessen
There’s nothing I love more than a character who is pessimistic and wary of all things romantic.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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10- The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
I need this book in my life right now! In school that cultivates teenage spies, two boys who are the opposite of each other (one good and the other bad) are competing for a girl, but instead they start to FALL FOR EACH OTHER!!!! Where has this book been???
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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11- We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

This is a story about loneliness and grief and LaCour’s prose is so beautiful, I have a strong feeling I’m going to love this.
Publication Date: 14/2/2017

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12- Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
This book is going to be great! I just know it. A fugitive empress who wants to avenge her family and take back what is rightfully hers? Sounds familiar, no? Reads like something that happened to the Stark children but in space! I. Can’t. Wait!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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13- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
I’m so excited about this book because *drumroll please* it’s a book about an asexual character!! I have been waiting for this for so long.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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14- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Two reasons to look forward to this book: 1- #ownvoices 2- diversity!

Publication Date: 14/3/2016

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15- The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore.

Publication Date: 18/7/2017

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16- American Street by Ibi Zoboi

A YA contemporary about a girl who arrives to America from Haiti and the price she pays for her dreams.

Publication Date: 14/2/2016

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17- Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison allegedly killed a baby while he was in her care. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter…. In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

Publication Date: 14/1/2016

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18 – A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
A YA contemporary about a selective mute and how she falls for a boy who can’t hear.

Publication Date: 12/1/2017

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19- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Publication Date: 30/5/2017

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And that’s all for now. Feel free to share what you’re looking forward to reading this year, because I’m sure there are so many books out there that I’ve missed!