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Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce {4 Stars}

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce {4 Stars}

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (The Song of the Lioness, #1)
Published by Simon Pulse on January 1, 2005
Genres: Fantasy, MG, YA
Page Length: 274 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Goodreads
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From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight.

And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.

But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's first adventure begins - one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi ARC {3.5 Stars}

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi ARC {3.5 Stars}

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
Published by Razorbill on Oct. 31st, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

3.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Beasts Made of Night from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress)
Published by Philomel on Oct. 10th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Random Thoughts:
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The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan {5 Stars}

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan {5 Stars}

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 3, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG, YA
Page Length: 376 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go... an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody ARC {4 Stars}

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody ARC {4 Stars}

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 25th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

4 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Daughter of the Burning City from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

I so wanted to absolutely adore this book and for the most part I did. There were a couple of things that really annoyed me though.

Strengths:
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The Speaker by Traci Chee ARC {DNF}

The Speaker by Traci Chee ARC {DNF}

The Speaker by Traci Chee (Sea of Ink and Gold #2)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on Nov. 7th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Speaker from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

So I got to 248 before deciding this just wasn’t working for me. I LOVED book one, so this hurts. But this feels like major second book syndrome.

Thoughts:
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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on Feb. 20th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Belles from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Thoughts:
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Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ARC {DNF}

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on Sept. 5th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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rozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Girls Made of Snow and Glass from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

I’ve been being so picky with my reads lately that I have a number of DNF’s that I’d like to talk about. Remember that DNF is my default, so if I’m not absolutely loving a book, I won’t finish it. Therefore this doesn’t AT ALL mean this isn’t a good book that could probably have gotten 3 stars from me if I forced myself to keep going.

Strengths:
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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh ARC {4 Stars}

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh ARC {4 Stars}

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 16th, 2017
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 393 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

4 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Flame in the Mist from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Thoughts:
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Roar by Cora Carmack ARC {3 Stars}

Roar by Cora Carmack ARC {3 Stars}

Roar by Cora Carmack (Stormheart #1)
Published by Tor Teen on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 380 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

3 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Roar from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Thoughts:
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