March 2020| Reading Wrap Up

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a YA mystery about a highschooler named Pip. In her town a high school senior, Andie, was murdered and the whole town believes it was Andie’s boyfriend Sal – who ended up committing suicide – who killed her. Pip, however, does not believe that Sal killed Andie and is determined to find who really did. One of the biggest things that surprised me about this book was how wrong I was the entire time. I was so sure that I knew who did it and I was hating the book because I thought it was so easy, and it turns out I was wrong! I love those type of surprises and that was one of the main reasons I loved it. I also really liked the characters in this story. Pip was so determined, and I really respected that. I won’t talk about any other characters because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked a lot of them too. The central thing that I disliked was that I felt like the Pip wasn’t as thorough in her investigation as I would have liked. There were so many events and people that I thought she should have checked out but she didn’t. However, since I guessed wrong, maybe it is a good thing no one investigated what I thought they should have.

Pros: well laid out mystery, fun characters.
Cons: investigation didn’t feel thorough.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/18/a-good-girls-guide-to-murder/

Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Artemis is a story about Jazz, a smuggler and porter, who lives in the only city on the Moon – Artemis. She is hired to commit a seemingly impossible crime, but accepts because of how huge the reward is. This story is full of conspiracies, political intrigue, drama, and supposedly impossible tasks. I loved that this story went in depth into the science of things, while at the same time keeping it easy to understand. The story also continuously gets more and more complex, which kept me wanting to read more. I liked Jazz, but I found her relationship with an ex-friend to be confusing and annoying. This best friend had betrayed her and yet acted like he didn’t do anything wrong and like it was outrageous that she didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. This seemed unrealistic and unnecessary.

Pros: The story went more in-depth scientifically than I am used to seeing, Jazz was an interesting main character, the story was complex, and the political aspect was fascinating.
Cons: Unrealistic relationship with ex-friend in my opinion. It seemed not only unrealistic but also unnecessary.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/22/artemis/

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who has to participate in The Hunger Games – a fight to the death between one girl and one boy from each of the 12 districts that make up their nation Panem. I think the government in this world is fascinating. The Capitol is so strange, and how all the people act and treat the districts is horrible, but I still like reading about it because I want to know what made them that way. Katniss is inspiring, she goes to so many lengths to keep her family alive and safe even though she is only sixteen. I liked that the Games wasn’t just kids killing each other, there was a lot that went on beforehand in terms of training, interviews, and such. This shows how truly horrid the Capitol is because the Games are a show to them, a form of entertainment. This aspect just goes deep into the differences between the Capitol and the Districts. The thing that I did not like about this book was the love story. Katniss was just so cruel to Peeta at points, and this seemed unrealistic for her character. I understand that she would do whatever she could to save her family and herself, but at the same time I don’t believe she would keep so many secrets from Peeta. I believe she would have talked to him more about the plans and so this aspect just exhibited a side of her that was difficult to believe because it seemed to go against her core personality.

Pros: Descriptive writing, interesting government and affect the war had on the Capitol and the Districts, the Games seemed well thought out in terms of the events surrounding it.
Cons: Love story seemed to have unrealistic drama surrounding it because of a lack of communication that seemed to go against Katniss’ character.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/26/the-hunger-games/

Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Shadow of the Fox is a book about the quest to find all three parts of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, for whoever gets all three parts can summon the Kami dragon and have a wish granted. Yumeko is a half human, half kitsune (nine tailed fox) who was raised by monks. Suddenly her home is burned down and she is forced to flee with one part of the scroll. The other main character is Tatsumi, a samurai of the Shadow Clan, who is tasked with finding all parts of the scroll. I found the world in this book to be fascinating because it is so like our own except with mythical creatures. I loved the main character Yumeko. Even though she was really naive because of how she grew up, I still loved seeing how easily she made friends and convinced people to help her because of how nice she was. I found all of the other characters who Yumeko came to meet and travel with interesting as well. Their backgrounds were usually kept a mystery at first and it made me more intrigued by them and wanting to know more. The storyline seems like a simple one – Yumeko needs to protect this scroll and take it to another temple – and yet there were so many different antagonists and “side quests”, that it made for a full story. I did not really have anything that I disliked. One thing that confused me though is why Tatsumi couldn’t see that Yumeko was part nine tailed fox even though some other people could.

Pros: I loved all the characters, the story was full of adventures, and the magical creatures were fun to learn about.
Cons: I’m just confused at why Tatsuki couldn’t see Yumeko’s ears and tail.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/29/shadow-of-the-fox/

Forest of Secrets
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

Forest of Secrets is the third book in the original Warriors series, so this will have spoilers for the first two books.

This book is about Fireheart trying to figure out and prove what happened to Redtail – a Thunderclan deputy who was killed. This book had significantly more happening than the first two books which was nice. There were a lot of secrets that came out, not only about Redtail but about other warriors as well. I liked delving into the backstory of some of the other cats, it shed some light as to why they acted the way they did. I also liked that the relationship between Greystripe and Fireheart mended pretty well. The ending was upsetting but at the same time, I understand why a certain cat made the choices they did. I also liked the themes of this book, the story really went into clan loyalties versus blood loyalties and I appreciated that. The main thing that I disliked was that Bluestar had such a closed mind. She wasn’t willing to accept anything Fireheart was telling her and this seemed to go against her personality.

Pros: The themes of the book were nice, more backstory for events and characters, mended relationships, there were several sub-plots, and the ending was believable.
Cons: Bluestar was more close-minded than I believe her character is usually.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/06/01/forest-of-secrets/

The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel to the Throne of Glass series, and contains five novellas, each one following a different adventure that Celaena – the most feared assassin in her country Ardarlan – goes on. I read this book after reading Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight (because I decided to read it in the publishing order), and so this book gave a lot of insight into why Celaena acts the way she does in the Throne of Glass books. I loved seeing more into her background, and these books really opened my eyes to her personality and even to why she uses some of the expressions that she does. There are wonderful characters in this book. I did not expect to get attached to any since these were short stories, but I ended up loving a large portion of the characters. This book eliticted so much emotion from me. I was amazed by the different adventures that it had, heartbroken at times, and joyous at others. I honestly can’t think anything that I did not like.

Pros: full of incredible adventures, great cast of characters, eye opening to what made Celaena the way she is in Throne of Glass, great world building, and the writing style really pulled the emotions out of me.
Cons: Not a single thing I can think of. I love this book!
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/06/02/the-assassins-blade/

Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

Siege and Storm is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy, so this will have spoilers for the first book.

Siege and Storm is about Alina trying to stay in hiding with Mal so that the Darkling can not find her. However, since their battle at the end of Shadow and Bone, the Darkling has gained a mysterious new power that makes escaping him harder than ever. I really like that this book takes place in a bunch of different areas that weren’t shown in the first book, so there is a lot of world building. I have always found the magic system and world interesting, and so I liked that there was more of that in this book. I also liked that there were new characters introduced in this story who I actually enjoyed. We meet a few bands of people who are fascinating and who I want to learn more about. Though I liked the new characters, I started to like Alina less and less. I understand the struggle that she was going through, however I believe she started doing things that went completely against who she is as a person and I don’t believe that she would have been capable of doing any of it. Also, I still don’t like the relationship that this book is trying to force between Alina and the Darkling. It just doesn’t make any sense that she would feel an attraction to him at all in a romantic way. They may be connected emotionally because they are similar, but that doesn’t mean that she has any reason to find him attractive romantically. It is just something that I don’t believe is realistic.

Pros: world building, magic system, fun new characters.
Cons: there were just a bunch of things I struggled to believe would have really happened.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/06/05/siege-and-storm/

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Catching Fire is the second book of The Hunger Games series, so this will have spoilers for the first book.

It is difficult to explain this book without spoiling it, but it is basically about Katniss and Peeta going through the ramifications of them both winning the Hunger Games. There wasn’t supposed to be two winners so they have to prove that they are helplessly in love, or else they could be harmed. This book shows a lot of what happens after someone wins the Hunger Games, and I liked seeing a different aspect, rather than just seeing the Games again. The arena in this book was fascinating and I liked it more than the first one because of how dynamic it was. There are also many new characters in this book and I liked meeting them and learning about the different people that were in the Games. Similar to the first book, I did not like the romance in this book. There were so many secrets, and like in the first book, the secrets just hurt people. I also thought that the beginning of the book was slow. I liked that it showed some background to the Games, but it did seem to drag on.

Pros: new characters, shows a new side of the Games, and the arena was interesting.
Cons: beginning was slow and romance was annoying.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/06/08/catching-fire/

February 2020| Reading Wrap Up

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.

Pros: gained more information on side-characters, mysterious, magic system was interesting, wrenched my heart.
Cons: so many secrets that were unnecessary and unbelievable.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/05/crown-of-midnight/

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.

Pros: complex story arc, morally gray characters, good pacing, full of surprises.
Cons: main character’s relationship seemed unnecessary and unrealistic.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/08/legend/

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.

Pros: plot twists, beautiful writing, interesting magic system, intriguing mystery.
Cons: pacing was slow in the beginning.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/13/strange-the-dreamer/

January 2020| Reading Wrap Up

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
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

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!

Pros: Extreme character growth for most of the characters, the culture and how well it was shown.
Cons: The characters were so unlikable at the beginning that I seriously thought about not finishing it.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/16/loveboat-taipei/

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.

Pros: character development, surprising plot twists, slow reveal of shocking information, cute relationship between main characters.
Cons: abrupt ending with no closure, character relationship regression.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/24/interview-with-the-robot/

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR

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.

Introduction

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:

  1. Arithmancy
  2. Astronomy
  3. History of Magic

To complete the Animagus Training, I have to pass three more O.W.L.s:

  1. Arithmancy
  2. Potions
  3. Transfiguration

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?

20 Books I Want to Read in 2020

1-3. Shadow and Bone series

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.

15. Archenemies

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!

16. Supernova

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!

Top 5 Books of 2019

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 by Victoria Aveyard

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 by Victoria Schwab

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!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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 by Brittney Morris

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.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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.

Honorable Mentions

Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

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.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

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 by Christine Riccio

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 by Marissa Meyer

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 Reading Wrap Up

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: ★★★★★

The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fantasy
Rating:★★★★

Again, but Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating:★★★★★

Slay
Author: Brittney Morris
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Renegades
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★

The Everlasting Rose
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Wicked Fox
Author: Kat Cho
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating:★★★★

The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

P.S. I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kaufman
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Silent Kingdom
Author: Rachel L. Schade
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight
Author: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Permanent Record
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★

Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Into the Wild
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Genre: YA, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

Different
Author: Scarlett Haven
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Skyward
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Secondborn
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

The Toll
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Reverie
Author: Ryan La Sala
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★