Crown of Midnight Author: Sarah J. Maas Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
*** SPOILERS FOR THRONE OF GLASS (because this is the sequel)***
Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series. In Throne of Glass Celaena becomes the King’s Champion. This book is about the experience that she has being the Champion. The struggles of having to kill for someone she hates, and all of the judgement she gets for it. The mysteries in this book were fascinating, and the addition of magic (that was seen at the end of Throne of Glass) into this story added another element to it that I loved. This books brings us closer to side characters and learning more about them was exciting to me. I loved all the side characters and hope that we continue to learn more! The main thing that I disliked with this story were all of the secrets between characters. Especially because I truly believe it goes against the character’s personalities and relationships. I don’t believe it is something that they would have done, it seems like the secrets were there to move the plot along. Some devastating things happen that could have been avoided if there weren’t so many secrets.
Legend Author: Marie Lu Genre: YA, Dystopian Rating: ★★★★
Legend takes place in what used to be western United States, but is now the Republic. It is a story of a girl named June – who is trying to become a top military leader – and a boy named Day – who is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic. June’s brother is murdered and Day is the main suspect. This is a story full of mystery, hardship, relationships, and trust. One of the things that I love about this story is that it has so many themes, there isn’t just one main element to the story, there is a lot going on. What we are lead to believe at the beginning of the story quickly shifts and changes as the story progresses. I love this complex aspect of the book. It also has two wonderful main characters who both believe that they are doing good, even though some might see them as “bad guys”. I appreciate when books have complex characters that are morally gray. It leads to great morality discussions which I believe are important to grow. Though I did love the two main characters, I did not enjoy parts of their relationship that developed because it seemed too fast and unrealistic given the circumstances. It seemed forced to me.
Strange the Dreamer Author: Laini Taylor Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
Strange the Dreamer is about a boy named Lazlo Strange whose dream is to go to the lost city of Weep. He is a junior librarian who spends most – if not all – of his time in the library, so it seems like he will never fulfill that dream. However, one day a band of warriors from Weep show up requesting that people come with him to their city. This begins a huge journey for Lazlo, who wants more than anything to solve the mystery of Weep. I love Laini Taylor’s writing; Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite series ever, and I was not disappointed with this story. The writing was just as beautiful, and the world building was complex and thorough. I loved the characters, as well as the relationships that evolve between them. The magic in this book was surprising and interesting, not what I was expecting at all. The only thing that I did not care for was that it was pretty slow in the beginning. I still liked what I was reading, it was just a little slow for my taste.
Throne of Glass Author: Sarah J. Maas Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
Throne of Glass is about an assassin who enters into a competition to become the King’s Champion. It is a story full of training, trails, secrets, and even some romance. The writing was incredible and kept me at the edge of my seat. I liked Sarah J. Maas’s descriptions and how well she paced the book. It didn’t seem to lull, and I enjoyed how well I was able to picture the story. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t deduct a star for that because I loved the rest of it so much.
Pros: had great pacing, a strong female main character who had other interests than just being an assassin (reading, fashion, etc). Cons: did not appreciate how she treated the two male leads, ending was bizarre. Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/03/throne-of-glass/
Shadow and Bone Author: Leigh Bardugo Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★
Shadow and Bone is the story of Alina, a “normal” girl who ends up finding out that she has powers of Light – a rare ability that could save the entire country. She is taken away to be trained with the Grisha – the magical elite – under the watchful eye of the Darkling. I did really enjoy this story. The magic system with the different types of Grisha was interesting, I loved hearing about all the different types of magic. There was great world building too, I liked learning about the Shadowfold and all the mysteries surrounding it. I didn’t care for the ending and the “plot twist”, nor did I enjoy the weird love scenario that was going on.
Pros: interesting classes of magic users, great world building, many enjoyable characters – some of her instructors were hilarious Cons: her “insta-love” with a character that is supposed to literally be the Boogie Man and terrify her, the twist was relatively predictable and I didn’t believe a certain character would take the actions that they did, I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a negative to magic – there was no trade off besides becoming more beautiful and living longer… Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/14/shadow-and-bone/
Loveboat, Taipei is a story of Ever Wong who is sent to a summer program in Taipei against her will. Her parents sent her there thinking it was a prestigious program where she would study for college the whole time, however, it turns out that it is full of partying and very little supervision. This story is all about Ever trying to find herself and become more confident in who she is and who she wants to be. I will be honest and say that the first half or two thirds annoyed me to no end. The characters were unlikeable and I hated the romance. However, as the story went on and I learned more about character backstories, and as the characters themselves grew into stronger people, I started to love it. The character growth itself was so powerful that it completely turned around my views of this story and made me love it!
Warriors Fire and Ice Author: Erin Hunter Genre: Middle Grade Rating: ★★★★★
Warriors Fire and Ice is the second book in the Warriors series. It is about Fireheart – a warrior of ThunderClan – and his struggles becoming a warrior and keeping his clan safe. There are threats from other clans, and even within his own clan, that he has to worry about. I liked Fireheart’s loyalty and his tenaciousness when trying to help other cats. I like how much he cares about other cats and how he is so determined to prove that he is meant to be a part of ThunderClan. This book had more adventure than the first book, and I loved seeing more of the other Clans and the outside world. I did not really care for Greystripe in this book… I did not believe that his character would act so carelessly, no matter what the reason, because he has such respect and love for his clan and for Fireheart.
Pros: Fireheart’s character growth, expansion upon the world, the strong bond between Greystripe and Fireheart even when they are going through a tough time. Cons: Greystripe’s character regression for most of the book was pretty unbelievable, Bluestar’s distrust of Fireheart. Full Review:https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/21/warriors-fire-and-ice/
House of Teeth Author: Dan Jolley Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy Rating: ★★★
House of Teeth is about a boy named Henry who is sent to the Louisiana bayou one summer to stay with his uncle and cousin. While he is there he learns that he is part of a long line of rootcrafters – people who can see memories of people whose teeth they touch. Throughout the story he learns there is so much more to rootcrafting than he could ever imagine. I did have fun listening to this story. The history of rootcrafting along with the abilities that it gives people was pretty unique and interesting to read about. However, the characters themselves and their actions weren’t as believable as I would have liked.
Pros: The story building and history behind rootcrafting, the abilities that are discovered throughout the book. Cons: Certain characters choices were out of character which made a lot of the story unbelievable. Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/27/house-of-teeth/
Interview with the Robot Author: Lee Bacon Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-fi Rating: ★★★★
Interview with the Robot is a middle grade sci-fi book about a robot named Eve, who discovers some crazy things about the place that she grew up in, and therefore runs away. She is caught shoplifting and is inverviewed by a woman from the Child Protective Services. This is where the story starts – her being interviewed. While being interviewed, we learn about her life and what caused her to run away. I really liked the interview format, it is something that I don’t see often in books and it made it interesting to listen to. The full cast of characters added some enjoyment to the story and they all did a great job narrating. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the character growth that happened, as well as the way in which the author slowly unraveled secrets. I was so surprised by most of the plot twists and information that was uncovered, I definitelly did not see most of it coming. Even though I loved the mystery of this novel, the ending was not the best. The story was short so I understand that the author did not have much time to wrap things up, however, I did not like how the ending was so abrupt and we didn’t get any closure. I would have loved to see where Eve’s relationship with some of the characters went.
I know this is extremely late because the readathon is almost over, but I still wanted to post it just to spread the word and show what I read. If you are just hearing about this, you can still participate in the N.E.W.T.s in August.
The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon is a yearly readathon taking place in April that is based off of the O.W.L. exam in Harry Potter. There is a second part of this readathon called the N.E.W.T.s that takes place in August. For the O.W.L.’s Readathon you can pick a Wizarding Career. These range from Aurors to Broom Maker and each of them have different exams that you have to take.
There are 12 reading prompts for each class subject exam, and each Wizarding Career requires you to do a certain number of prompts to pass. I will show an example of this down below when I explain what path I am taking.
Along with a Wizarding Career, you can also choose a Magical Feature. For example, Dragon Tamer Training. These don’t require as many prompts as a Wizarding Career so they are nice if you don’t think you can read enough to get a Career or if you want to read even more than a Career has.
My Wizarding Career and Training
This is my first year participating in this challenge, and I am extremely excited to hopefully complete it! I chose the Career Path Astronomer with Animagus Training as my Magical Feature.
To complete the Astronomer path, I have to pass three O.W.L.s:
History of Magic
To complete the Animagus Training, I have to pass three more O.W.L.s:
Thankfully, Arithmancy is a common test that I have to pass, so overall I just need to read 5 books.
Arithmancy: read something outside your favorite genre
The Hidden Power of F*cking Up by The Try Guys
I usually don’t read non-fiction, and when I say that I “usually don’t”, I mean almost never. However, I watch The Try Guy’s videos and love them. I even went to their concert last year! I find them humorous, and yet inspiring. I am excited to hear about what they learned from their failures and their different “Trys”.
Astronomy: read the majority of this book when it is dark outside
Warriors: A Dangerous Path by Erin Hunter
This is really going to show how far behind I am on reviews still, but the book I want to read for this prompt is the fifth book in the Warrior’s series. My goal for the year is to read one or more Warriors books a month, and I have been sticking to that pretty well!
History of Magic: book featuring witches/wizards
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Another one of my resolutions for 2020 is to read the entire Throne of Glass series. This is the next one that I have to read, and I especially look forward to this one because there are supposed to be a bunch of new characters and the this is supposed to be a book that changes the story significantly.
Potions: book under 150 pages
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
I am counting this one as being under 150 pages because I am not including the exerpt of Glass Sword since I have already read that. This is a wonderful series that I love and so I look forward to reading these short stories, especially the first one that is supposed to discuss what happened to Queen Coriane.
Transfiguration: a book/series that includes shapeshifting
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
I read the first book a couple months ago for a book club that I am a part of, and since Night of the Dragon just came out, I definitelly want to read this so I can get to the last one. The first book was so enjoyable, and I have heard nothing but good things about this one, so I am extremely excited for this!
Are you joining this readathon and if so, what Career/Magical Feature are you going for and what books are you reading?
I have heard so much about this series, and I really want to read it before the TV show that takes place in this world comes out!
4-11. Throne of Glass series
Along with Shadow and Bone, this is an incredibly popular series, and I have actually never read anything by Sarah J. Maas. Everyone raves about her writing, and with Crescent City coming out in March, I want to see if I like her writing so that I know if I should buy Crescent City.
12. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
I have read and watched the Hunger Game movies and I loved both. It has been a while since I have read this series, and though I do not expect to have time to re-read them like I want to, I at least want to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes!
13. Strange the Dreamer
Laini Taylor wrote one of my favorite series in the world – Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This has been on my TBR for so long since I already know I love her writing, I just haven’t read it yet for some reason. I would love to finally get to it this year!
14. Shadow of the Fox
I LOVE Japan and the culture, it has been something I have been interested in since I was in middle school. I really want to read Shadow of the Fox and it’s sequel this year before the third book comes out.
I listened to Renegades last year and immediately wanted to read Archenemies. However, I entered into the pre-order event where if I pre-ordered Supernova then I would get my name in the back (or front?) of the paperback of Archenemies. Unfortunately the paperback release date was pushed back, and I don’t want to purchase the audiobook and the paperback, so I haven’t been able to read it. Hopefully the paperback will come out this year so I can finally see what happens!
I pretty much explained why I haven’t read this book above. If the paperback of Archenemies comes out this year then I will definitely read Supernova because I am loving the series!
17. The Queen of Nothing
I love the Cruel Prince and the Wicked King. This was published in November, and I own it, so I have no clue why I haven’t read it. It just seems like I have been so busy and needed to read certain books for book clubs, so I haven’t been able to pick this one up. I am hoping to read it this year though!
18. We Free the Stars
To be honest, We Hunt the Flame wasn’t the best book in my opinion. I believe I only gave it three stars. However, I think a lot of the flaws were due to this being her debut novel (I believe), and so I have high hopes for the second book.
19. The Last Wish
I started playing The Witcher 3 last year and am having a blast with it. THEN the show came out and it was so wonderful! So much so that I want to watch it again. So now I want to get into the book because I have heard it is somehow even better.
20. Crazy Rich Asians
I LOVED this movie. Like “saw it multiple times in and out of theaters” loved it. I recently bought the book and want to get to it soon!
Let me just say that picking only five books was so difficult, as I read many five star books this year! However, after much thinking I narrowed it down (plus a few honorable mentions) and am happy with my list. If you would like to read my full spoiler free reviews, I have linked them below in the title of the books. These are not in a certain order, I just randomly picked.
Red Queen is about a girl named Mare who is a “Red”. In this world there are people with silver blood, who are royalty, and people with red blood, who are commoners. People with silver blood have abilities and that is one of the reasons that they are the elite. Mare, however, has abilities even though her blood is red. In this book she has to try to hide this fact from the Silvers while being stuck in the midst of them. I love the action, the world, and the romance in this book. I have read the second and third books too and really enjoyed them as well!
This Savage Song is about a split city full of monsters, and two people trying to survive. August Flynn is the son of the leader of one half of the city and a monster that can steal someone’s soul just by playing his violin. He hates this about himself, and so desperately wants to be human. Kate Harker is heir to the other half of the city, and wants to be as merciless as her father. This book is about the two sides of the city trying to keep an eye on each other and one-up each other. This story was deeper and more mature than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. It goes into psychological matters that I found interesting. I have read both books in this duology and it has become one of my favorite series of all time. Definitely recommend it!
This series is adorable! I read all three books in 2019 and even though I did love the second two books, the first is definitely my favorite. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a girl name Lara Jean. She is a romantic, but is extremely shy, so instead of confessing her love to her crushes, she writes love letters to them that she hides in her closet. However, one day all the letters are sent out, causing some of the recipients (including her best friend/sister’s boyfriend) to confront her. This book includes wonderful relationship dynamics (familial, friends, and lovers), a great cast of characters, and realistic scenarios. Every character seemed so REAL and I love that about this book. It is one of my favorite romance series, and the first two movies are quite great as well.
SLAY is about a 17-year old girl named Kiera. She is one of the only black students at her high school. However, when she gets home, she is secretly the creator of an online game called SLAY where she is joined by thousands of Black gamers. No one knows. Not her family, her friends, or even her boyfriend. So when a teenager is killed over a dispute involving SLAY, her life is turned upside down. Everyone in the world immediately wants to know who she is and are split between celebrating her and wanting her to pay for the teen’s death. This book discusses Kiera’s struggle with who she is as a person. This struggle is discussed and analyzed throughout the book with many different characters. This story has a lot of suspense and mystery, as well as humor throughout it. It opened my eyes to struggles that I have never experienced, and I think that everyone should read, as it is a wonderful fun book with an incredibly unique game (as a gamer, I had a ton of fun reading about it. However, you don’t have to be a gamer to understand the game), it is an eye opener, and powerfully empowering story celebrating all different types of Blackness.
The Arc of a Scythe series is such an incredibly interesting series. In 2019 I read both Thunderhead and The Toll, and honestly preferred Thunderhead. I will discuss the plot of Scythe, just to not give spoilers of what happens. Scythe is a story of a world so advanced that death has been beaten. No one really dies of natural causes any more (there are some exceptions but I am not going to go into those). People are even “ageless” since they can’t die of old age and can rewind time and become any age they want to be. However, since they are still having children, the population has to be controlled somehow. That is where scythes come in. Scythes are people whose jobs are to keep the population in check by killing (“gleaning”) a certain number of people a year. This story follows Citra and Rowan who are unwilling apprentices to a scythe. They must learn the ways of the scythes and become one, or die. I love how this story was so thought provoking, the ideas of mortality and morality were discussed thoroughly throughout this book (and all of the others). The characters were amazing, the world was intriguing, and the plot of all three books continuously went places that I was not expecting. I would recommend the entire series to anyone who wants a fun but dark read.
This series is my childhood, so I know very well that I am biased when I recommend this book. However, I do truly think that it is a fun, easy, short read that many people would enjoy. Into the Wild is a book about a cat named Rusty. Rusty is a house cat who wonders into the woods one day and encounters “clan cats”. He decides to join them and the story is about him learning the ways of being part of Thunderclan. I love the clan system in this book. There are four clans total that make up the forest, and they each have their own territory that they protect. The interactions between the clans, and sub-plots throughout the story are fun and surprising. I just love this book and all the books in the series that I have read. It is a middle-grade novel but I definitely believe that people that are older than that age group would still love it.
I LOVE this sequel, possibly even more than the first one! However, again I don’t want to give spoilers, so I will be talking about the Cruel Prince right here. The Cruel Prince is about three human (or half human) sisters trying to survive in the world of the Fae. Jude and her two sisters were stolen from the human world when they were young and were then raised in the High Court of Faerie. Jude wants to belong in the court and become one of the greatest knights that the fae have seen. This story involves betrayal, sinister plots, fighting, cunning, and more. I love the magic and world of the Court and how Jude tries to be one of them. I have yet to read The Queen of Nothing, but I did enjoy the first two books very much.
Again, but Better is about a college girl named Shane who feels like she hasn’t been very successful in college. She just goes through the motions and doesn’t take many risks. However, when she sees a study abroad opportunity to London, she decides to be tenacious and go. This story is a beautiful one about courage, confidence, and self-improvement. It is about finding yourself, and getting over hurtles that are in your way. This book resonated with me because I somehow feel like certain decisions that I have made were not the best ones, and I wish that I had the courage to do certain things that I am too nervous to do. I think that many people can connect with this on some level, and so it is an extremely lovable book. This book is incredibly inspiring, and there is a twist in there that I don’t think a lot of people will expect.
Renegades is about a group of people (called Renegades) that have superpowers and are trying to establish peace in a dystopian society. Nova is a “villain” who wants to overthrow the Renegades because of a tragic event that happened in her past. Adrian is a Renegade boy that wants to do good and help people, while making the villains pay for hurting his loved ones. When they meet they both start to question themselves and their allegiances. I love the abilities in this book, there are so many of them and it is wonderful to see how each character uses them. The power struggle between the Renegades and the Villains is complex and enjoyable to read about. If you are a lover of superheroes, villains, complex moral qualms, plot twists, and a dash of romance, then this is the book for you!
2019 was a great reading year for me! For the past few years I have only been able to read a couple books a year because I was too busy with college to read. However, now that I am out, I am trying to read a lot more and catch up with everything that I have missed.
My goal for 2019 was to read 24 books, and I ended up reading 37! Here are the list of them with their ratings. If you would like to read more about my thoughts, I have linked each review to the titles below.
Thunderhead Author: Neal Shusterman Genre: YA, Dystopian Rating: ★★★★★
Eragon Author: Christopher Paolini Genre: YA, Fantasy Rating: ★★★★★