5 Love Triangles that Don’t Suck

Technically this was my Monday video, but I was really busy so I’m posting this late here. Please love me. Anyways, in honor of the release of Kresley Cole’s newest book, Arcana Rising, I wanted to talk about love triangles in YA that I actually didn’t hate. As you know, this is a very hard thing for me to admit, but it turns out that such love triangles DO exist in the world!

Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 3/6/16

HA! I out-read Michaela this week! …but it was mostly for my thesis, so that was sad. Anyways. There’s also a bunch of great content this week, including some great ARC reviews, hilarious videos and more! Do I need say anything else? Let’s go!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday: 

Betwixt the Books 30 Seconds to Disagree: “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” by Rae Carson

Welcome to another segment of 30 Seconds to Disagree! In this feature, I have 1 minute to recommend a book to Michaela–this week’s pick is The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson–and then she has 30 second to disagree with why she wouldn’t want to read it. I get 30 more seconds to address those fears, and then it’s done! As always, we release two of these when we do them, one on my blog and one on Michaela’s blog. The one she’s released is absolutely hilarious and probably my favorite, so make sure you watch that one too!

Worth It Wednesdays: “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Goodreads Description: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Why it’s worth it: I cuss out tropes a lot. I hate them. I’m tired of seeing them on repeat. I didn’t pick up this book originally because I thought it sounded fairly same-same and also I’ve become extremely wary of hyped books. I added it to my “maybe get someday” list and let it sit there. Then, when I taught high school writers over the summer, one of them–who loved Throne of Glass!–suggested that I read this one because it was a lot like that. I went out a few days later and bought it.

I DID VERY MUCH LIKE.

The world hooked me straight away, and for that I was very glad. It kept me reading when the book started to tumble into some of those books I so hate. (*coughlovetrianglecough*) But I kept reading, because Aveyard writes a really good story and from the inception the plot tackled some political realities that I hadn’t really seen.

THANK GOD I DID.

This book is just a trope subverter. That’s why I like it. I mean, sure, it covers all the basic bases like a well written story, thought out world building and characters I really like spending time with. All that is there, and all that on it’s own would make it a good book. What makes it a great book is that Aveyard knowingly sets up a plot that looks very similar to something I’ve seen a million times before and then in the final act BLOWS EVERYTHING UP WITH DYNAMITE. I haven’t been this blown away by a final act trope subversion since A Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

Avoid the hype and read it. It’s worth it.

Read it if you’re looking for: Strong female characters, trope subversion, swoon-worthy male characters who are also more than nice to look at, hype that’s worth it, action, adventure, fantasy, magical powers, kick assery, political realism, dystopia

Worth It Wednesdays: “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” by Rae Carson

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

the girl of fire and thornsTitle: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Rae Carson

Goodreads Description: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Why it’s worth it: This is the first book in the trilogy, and it’s amazing. Even better, the books KEEP GETTING BETTER. Elisa is a model for the “not-perfect” girl who speaks to body positivism and doing your best even when you’re convinced you’re going to fail. I connected so much with Elisa as a person, which is something I’m often barred from doing because I don’t have “ultimate courage” or and not everyone thinks I’m pretty and– well, you know the YA tropes I mean. The book is also extremely well written, and–again–they just get better. (I mean, hell, Rae was just longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her newest series.)

Besides the fabulous fantasy setting, the great and funny characters and the exciting plot–all of which are great!–the thing that Rae did that really made her great in my eyes was how she handled the love triangle. Yeah, I know you caught that in the description and groaned. But fear not! I actually included this series in an article I did about doing love triangles right and LET ME TELL YOU I DID NOT EXPECT WHAT HAPPENED. I’m not going to give it away, of course, but the end of this book just told me that Rae was an another unafraid to take risks and shake it up and in The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom I was NOT disappointed.

Just to give you an idea of this book, I’ve included in my Top Ten Books about Friendship, Best Sequels Ever, Favorite Authors in YA and Most Vivid Fantasy Settings!

Read it if you’re looking for: A strong female protagonist, action, adventure, romance, good love triangles, a worthwhile series, fantasy, strong worldbuilding

ARC Review: “The Bitter Kingdom” by Rae Carson

The Bitter KingdomThe Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson

Goodreads | Amazon

The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

Four and a half stars

Thanks to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for this eARC! This title will be released on August 27th, 2013.

WARNING: This review WILL have spoilers for The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers. Read my review of #1 HERE and my review of #2 HERE.

The one question you want answered is: is this a satisfying conclusion to an amazing series? Right off the bat, I’m pleased to tell you that yes, yes it does. On more levels than I may be capable of describing.

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Review: “The Crown of Embers” by Rae Carson

The Crown of EmbersThe Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

Goodreads | Amazon

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

4 stars

WARNING: This review WILL have spoilers for The Girl of Fire and Thorns! Read my review of the first book HERE.

Oh Rae Carson, Rae Carson, Rae Carson – how dare you pull at my heartstrings like that? Thank God I waited to start this book until I had an ARC of The Bitter Kingdom in hand as well. Also, hip hip hooray for authors who GET characters and write REAL characters and ohmygosh guys I can’t get over these CHARACTERS. Erm, anyways, let’s get reviewing, shall we?

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Top Ten Favorite Authors in YA Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay guys, this is going to be a fun one. There are SO many great authors in this genre it is going to SUCK to pick just one. But I’m going to try. So here we go!

1. Tamora Pierce

She’s my idol and an all around amazing person. (I met her! Did you not see?) I have also only ever disliked one book she’s written in like a gazillion. (And sadly that’s the only review of her stuff on the blog.) I have read and own everything she’s written anyways.

2. Cassandra Clare

Another idol of mine. Another person whom I have met (Did you miss that too?). I also own everything she has ever written. It is even more impressive that she managed to win me back over into the Mortal Instruments series after City of Fallen Angels and the whole three more books thing. City of Glass still had the perfect ending, but City of Lost Souls was actually really good! (See here.)

3. Rachel Hawkins

I cannot get over how much I love these books. It’s actually the only series I’ve read where my favorite book is the middle one. (Not that I didn’t like Spell Bound. Review here.) These books are SO quotable and fantastic and they make me laugh EVERY TIME. EVERY TIME. Most books get stale fast with me, but not these! Also, she’s a fantastic person to follow on Twitter.

4. Richelle Mead

While not solely a YA author, her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines series are all the ones I’ve read and OHMYGOD I LOVE. After VA I thought I’d never love another character of hers like I loved Dimitri, but Adrian is just so … ohmygod. I prefer Rose over Sydney only because Rose is snarkier, but Adrian totally picks up the slack. (I have reviews of Bloodlines and The Golden Lily.)

5. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another writer whose work just never gets old. Ellie is as snarky as I like them, and Will is just hello-honey. Romance that I can stand in YA is few and far between, and this would be one of those select few. Courtney is also an AWESOME person to follow on Twitter, and I actually got to update a few things I said on my review of Wings of the Wicked because we discussed it. I had a moment right there.

6. Jodi Meadows

She may only have one book out so far, but she’s cemented her spot on my list like whoa. (There is too much CAPS in my review of Incarnate, for one.) I freaking themed my prom dress around that cover (albeit accidentally to begin with). I may have mentioned that Twitter is an awesome place. Well, Jodi happens to be another awesome person in the twittersphere who I’ve had awesome conversations with. Asunder can’t come out soon enough.

7. Julie Kagawa

Several people may kill me when they realize I have only ever read her book The Immortal Rules. It was actually one of the first books I was approved to review from NetGalley! I have her first Iron Fey book in my possession, though, and I plan to read it as soon as humanly possible. Either way, though, I can’t handle the way she writes. It’s beautiful. Therefore, spot on this list without further proof necessary.

8. Sarah J. Maas

While we’re on the subject of gorgeous writing, let’s skip on over here, shall we? Again, Sarah has only released (in full novel form anyways) Throne of Glass, but it completely blew me out of the water on so many levels. I appreciate good writing, and Sarah HAS IT.

9. Rae Carson

My review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns still makes me laugh. I mean really. It was one of my earlier reviews and its second in hystericalness only to my review of Anna and the French Kiss.  But I just LOVED IT. I have the next book in my possession RIGHT NOW but I’m so behind on reviews I haven’t been able to read it yet. I’m dying inside just staring at the pretty cover.

10. Jay Kristoff

My review of Stormdancer was a long and complicated thing, but that still doesn’t change how I feel about the way he writes. For me, a favorite author can have issues as long as the writing is solid and HOLY BANANAS. Jay can write me into deep jealousy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Alright, now, total disclaimer here: books that I can read in a day are … everything. Seriously. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one day. I am a speed-reader like nobody’s business. I’m going to try to slow it down here as best I can and not add something like War and Peace to this list. 😛 (All title links go to Goodreads)

1. The First Test by Tamora Pierce

Now, seriously, I’ll let you in on something. When I read this one (the first book in Pierce’s Protector of the Small series) or, say, the first book in her Song of the Lioness series or – erm, really, any of her books up til the Beka Cooper series, I just read the entire series in one shot. As I see it, I own them all – why not? Every single one is a funny, exciting ride that brings back so many memories for me, so that’s just kind of become a tradition with me.

2. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Yet another blast from the past, I know, but a book I just adore. Don’t ask me WHY I own so many Ibbotson books, because after a while they all look very much the same, but A Countess Below Stairs has always been my favorite. Eva Ibbotson is classic and this book is cute. Enough said.

3. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

My favorite of all Moran’s books (so far) is also, sadly, the shortest. Still, rereads happen FREQUENTLY. Nefertari is a very active character I wish was my best friend, and the genuine love story that develops between her and Rameses never gets old. This is also by far my favorite overall cast of characters when up against Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter.

4. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

If you’ve read my review of this book, then you know I squealed in it (and have squealed multiple times since) that this book and it’s predecessor Angelfire read like rapid fire shot guns. It’s AMAZING. These books ARE big, but you just HAVE to read them in a day because EVERYTHING just keeps HAPPENING. It kept me up til wee hours of the morning because there is just no way I could put it down.

5. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The next two books in this series might have been a lot like repeats of this one, but there is a reason for that: this book was pretty good! It’s one of my guilty pleasure books when I’m in the mood for YA romance.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

As much as I try, I don’t think I will ever make any kind of favorites list without mentioning this book. I’m really sorry, guys, but again: HAVE YOU SEEN MY REVIEW? There is more CAPS than I ever care to write with. I just adore this book til the moon and back, and I just can’t seem to stop rereading it. Ever. It still makes me laugh so hard I cry. Speaking of which…

7. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Again, I believe we’ve been over this too. Several times. But GUYS. The ENTIRE Hex Hall series. (No matter what I said about Spell Bound!) I love these books. I want Sophie to be my best friend. I want Archer to be my boyfriend. (SHH, don’t tell my real boyfriend!) I want Jenna to be my best friend. I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I think it’s bad that I live for the end of this book. Nothing gives me more glee than to watch this love triangle set up, knowing what’s coming. I think that’s a sign that I need to either stop reading books with love triangles in them or get therapy. Or, you know, both. But seriously. Check out my book review! And read this if you want a fresh take on a love triangle!

9. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

TIME FOR MORE CAPS. Why? Because why not! I adore this book and I’m not ashamed to say it! (Seriously, have you SEEN my book review?) Anyways. This book is for people who want a fresh new world to explore, people who want to see some interesting characters AND people who want some real romance. It’s like you can’t lose!

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Seriously? Did you think you could get out of one of my lists without a Cassandra Clare book? Because you can’t. Ever. READ THESE BOOKS. Okay, so, her Infernal Devices series is said to be better than this Mortal Instruments series, but these were the first ones I read and therefore closest to my heart.

Relationships and Love Triangles in YA Books DONE RIGHT

Okay, so, if you’ve been following my blog then you’ll know that I’ve been quite angry at YA authors lately. I’ve been annoyed with the horrible way they portray relationships and love triangles and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Therefore, I figured it miiiight be time to do a post that is positive rather than not, because a great many authors DO write amazing relationships and–sometimes–even love triangles. Here’s my list:

Love Triangle Done Right – Will/Tessa/Jem from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy

Seriously, guys. I have NO IDEA how Clare MAKES THIS WORK. Usually in love triangles, there is a clear guy who the author is pushing the torn female towards. Even if, somehow, they don’t, you seem to really start rooting for one and hating the other one. Or, at least, that’s what I think and, erm, do. A lot. 😛 However, I adore Will. I adore Jem. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR TESSA. It’s inconceivable to me that I have just fallen in love with all three characters who have somehow made this love triangle possibly the best I’ve ever seen.

Love Triangle Done Right – Humberto/Elisa/Alejandro from Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Okay, I’m not entirely sure this counts as a love triangle because I never really thought Elisa was actually in love with Alejandro, but still. There was a definite love triangle set up here since she was married to Alejandro but fell in love with Humberto and well you can kinda figure out the plot line from there. OR CAN YOU? This isn’t on this list because of the relationships, or the fact that I totally couldn’t make up my mind which one I loved more, but rather HOW THE BOOK ENDED AND WHAT CARSON DID. GUYS. I want to build her an altar. She took everything cliché plotline I’d already thought up for how the book would end and THREW A BOMB ON IT. And therefore, this is here. See my review for more.

Relationship Done Right – Anna/Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

GUYS. GUYS. I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SPEAK WITHOUT CAPS LOCK. GO CHECK OUT MY REVIEW FOR MORE. Besides this book being AMAZING IN EVERY WAY, this relationship was so real I fell in love head over heels AND THEN SOME. Rarely have I ever seen teen romance done this amazingly. Actually, put this at the top of my list for top teen romance EVER. Sure, the setting is kinda out there, but screw it. Everything else about this book is the best thing ever.

Relationship/Love Triangle Done Right – Dimitri/Rose/Adrian from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

It’s very rare when a series of books goes like this one. You know why? IT’S A REAL RELATIONSHIP PROGRESSION. I don’t want to ruin this for people who haven’t read the series, but trust me this one is totally swoon-worthy. Rose and Dimitri are obviously the couple pushed from the beginning, since Adrian isn’t introduced until about halfway through, but then he’s in love with Rose and you’ve got this psuedo-triangle on your hands because Rose is totally head over heels from Dimitri. But then something bad happens to Dimitri and Rose decides to try to move on with Adrian. And then Dimitri comes back and then HELLO. That’s a really bad description because I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but this point is this is real. Nobody here is perfect. All three of them try to fight the way they feel, do the best in the situation and then they all screw up in their own way. There is a real show of love triangle fallout which KILLED *spoilerhiding* fans, but come on. He came back in Bloodlines and was freaking awesome, so the readers aren’t left completely bereft and hating Mead.

Relationship Done Right – Sam/Ana from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

If you know me, then you know there is nothing that I hate more than insta-love. Well, Incarnate was my answer – THERE IS REAL RELATIONSHIP BUILD UP HERE. I wanted to jump up from reading and shout “Hallelujah!” But couldn’t, because I was, you know, reading. They have a REAL relationship with REAL issues and it doesn’t happen instantly. Other people, take note. For more, see my review.

For sure, there are plenty of other examples out there, but those are my top 5 of the moment! How about you?