THE WEEKLY WRAP UPS THAT NEVER WERE!

Okay, these are still late. But you know what, these exist. We’re wrapping up the last two weeks in a weird, timey-wimey video that shows that we really did try to have these out on time. The editing just never happened because Michaela and I are struggling to find a new rhythm in our new post-grad lives. Please love us while we fix this kinks!

Monday, May 23

Tuesday, May 24

Wednesday, May 25

Thursday, May 26

Friday, May 27

Monday, May 30

Tuesday, May 31

Wednesday, June 1

Friday, June 3

 

Worth It Wednesdays: “Circle of Magic” series by Tamora Pierce

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

512bc8sybuwl-_sx297_bo1204203200_Title (of first book): Sandry’s Book

Author: Tamora Pierce

Goodreads Description (of first book): With her gift of weaving silk thread and creating light, Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief who has a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. At Winding Circle, the four misfits are taught how to use their magic – and to trust one another. But then disaster strikes their new home. Can Sandry weave together four kinds of magical power and save herself, her friends, and the one place where they’ve ever been accepted?

Why it’s worth it: You know, these books get a lot less love than Tamora’s Tortall books, and that’s always struck me as pretty unfair. Do I like those books better? Actually, yes. But the Circle of Magic books do so many important things that, really, these are just as worth it.

This world is BIG. There are two sets of connected quartets (one with the foursome together, and one while they are apart). Then there is the novel where they all come back together again. Then there are two other novels that are related to Briar and a character that is introduced in one of Briar’s books. PHEW.

But that is the seriously cool thing about this series. For one, Tris, Sandry, Briar and Daja are all very different people. They come from very different backgrounds and go very different places with their future. In the first four books, it’s all about them finding a way through their differences to work together as a team. In the second quartet, they figure up how to grow up apart. While people are going to tend to like some of the characters over others, there is literally someone for everyone. There are so many unique struggles that there is always something to connect to. Reading the standalone novel where they all come back together is heartbreaking because these once close people have their own secrets and scars and they have to figure out what their “family” means to them once again. I love it.

And when I’m talking about struggles, I’m not talking small scale. Sure, there are your typical self-acceptance and self-growth story lines. But these happen while the characters are doing everything from surviving genocide and the resulting PTSD to figuring out their own sexuality. The Circle of Magic books talk about a LOT of topics that, at the time they were published, I hadn’t really seen in young adult publishing.

That’s why these books deserve so much more love than they get. They start off amazing, and they only get better and more intense. They say so many important things, for people of all ages. If you haven’t read these yet, the largess of the series is totally worth it–and, really, not big enough.

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, rotating POVs, LGBTQAI+ novels, long series, books about war, books about PTSD, magic, action, adventure, strong world building, books about family, books without a lot of romance

Worth It Wednesdays: “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen

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

51g7wybv53l-_sx314_bo1204203200_Title: The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen

Goodreads Description: An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Why it’s worth it: First off, I love the murky area of genre that this novel fits into. Is it YA? Is it not? How do you decide what’s YA? Because if you go by age of character, it is. If you go by writing style … maybe it isn’t? I’m not the biggest fan of high fantasy. I usually get bored.However, this included all the things that I love about high fantasy while keeping the action moving and not bogging down the paragraphs with unnecessary genealogies or something. When I tried to convince Michaela to read this in a 30 Seconds to Disagree video, this was one of my key points.

Secondly, I don’t often identify personally with many characters. I like a lot of characters and want to be my friend, but I don’t often read a character and think “that could be me!” The last time was Hermione. However, with Kelsea, I got that sense again. She REALLY is unprepared to be queen, and she has a temper problem that leaves her flailing. She tries so hard to do the queen thing right, but she doesn’t always succeed. She has body issues. She likes books. Watching her grow just over the course of the first book was amazing, and I came to absolutely love her.

Actually, great cast of characters all around. There were so many people with in-depth quirks and characterization that I liked when they were on screen. Even the “Evil Queen” gets to a point where you wonder just how much more there is to her than her “evilness.”

The setting is weird as all get out, especially considering the high fantasy vibe, because I guess technically it’s also dystopian? It’s weird, and it only gets weirder in the second book–and I like that. It’s not your typical Tolkien-esque fantasy world, and it opens up new spaces to think about. In the Drunk Book Club episode we did on this book, this was a point of contention, but I still think it’s cool.

I think the whole thing is cool. And so does Emma Watson, by the way. She’s making this book into a movie!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, high fantasy that won’t put you to sleep, strong cast of characters, interesting world building, believable teenage queen, action, adventure, magic, books without romance

Worth It Wednesday: “A Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

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

dsb_final_6_1Title: A Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Goodreads Description: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Why it’s worth it: I’ll admit that I’ve had a wild relationship with these books, but–at the end of the day–I still think that this series is really worth it. For one, when Imbibliomancy did this (my pick, of course), Taylor and Michaela actually didn’t hate it. In fact, Taylor even liked my idea of reading the second one this summer.

I have a lot of issues with this blurb, because I don’t think that it adequately represents the content of this book. One, Laini Taylor is a beautiful writer who crafts prose on a whole other level that your stereotypical young adult fiction. Two, while this novel involves a star-crossed romance, it’s the kind of romance that understand that there are things more important than their “will they, won’t they” back and forth.

This became popular around the time that angels were all the rage, but this world is so much more than that. It’s one of the more unique angelic-based fantasy systems I’ve ever read. Really, every fantastical creature in this book was interesting and unique to me in a way a lot of fantasy settings aren’t.

This series has some weird ups and downs, with the second one being the strongest. I felt like the third one was a bit too bogged down by new information and characters, but it was still a fitting end to the series that was interesting if nothing else. Still very worth it, I promise!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, angels, fantasy, strong prose, strong world building, interesting characters, unique setting, romance, magic, action, adventure, humor

Worth It Wednesday: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

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

77493_originalTitle: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Description: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Why it’s worth it: Alright, listen, I know you aren’t surprised to see this. My love of Sarah’s books is probably going full-on obsession at this point. However, the newest book in this series just came out yesterday, so I couldn’t NOT do it.

This is a pseudo-retelling of Beauty and the Beast plus faeries, so already this was–for me, at least–a rocky sell. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite childhood fairytale, but also one of the most problematic, and I’m not always great with faeries.

I can officially say that there is one version of the Beauty and the Beast that I don’t find extremely creepy. The whole kidnapping turned love thing is touchy, but Sarah makes it work. You really come to understand why Tamlin does what he does, and how much he wishes that he didn’t have to. Feyre is also not some helpless girl who can be swayed by a library. She is constantly searching and pressing buttons and trying to figure out what is going on around her. When they start falling in love, it’s in despite of themselves and what they think is their duty–but not in a bad way. They both get so focused on what they think is best for everybody else that they try to ignore the answer right in front of their faces.

My favorite twist on the tale is the ending, but of course I can’t say too much about that. Let me just say that this is no trifle where “true love’s kiss” can undo everything with a snap, and there is no last minute, too perfectly time save. There are mistakes made. There are battles fought. There are lives lost. It’s no Disney ending. That’s probably what makes this so worth it.

Read it if you’re looking for: fairytale retellings, faeries, magic, action, adventure, romance, strong female characters, strong supporting cast

Worth It Wednesday: “Angelfire” by Courtney Allison Moulton

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

7285498Title: Angelfire

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton

Goodreads Description: First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Why it’s worth it: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That blurb sounds kind of corny. HANG IN THERE WITH ME.

I got into Angelfire kind of on a whim, back when angels were big but I was being seriously bored by a lot of the other stuff out there. I saw the sword on the cover and instantly knew that this was going to be something different, and maybe something closer to what I was looking for. I was right.

Okay, so Angelfire is a bit predictable, especially looking back on it all these years. However, what I also saw as the merits then are still serious merits now. In so many other angel books I was reading, the girl never got to be the hero. She was the human or less-that-the-guy angel who didn’t really get to do anything cool. Ellie isn’t like that at all. SHE is the warrior, and it’s up to HER to save the day. The lore fed into the angels think in a really cool, unexpected way. The books were also REALLY fast paced and action packed. In my review of the second book, Wings of the Wicked, I start off by saying that I had to read that book in one sitting because I couldn’t find a place to put it down!

The romance, while kind of cutesy, also struck me as just … good. I really believed that these guys had a connection across reincarnations and time, and I understood why they struggled because of that. Will and Ellie were partners, not one-over-the-other protectors. Will doesn’t like it when Ellie puts herself in danger, but he lets her do what she needs to because he knows that she’s strong enough to take it. They fight each other, they find each other, and they really love each other. That’s enough for me to be happy.

While I mention in my review of the last book, Shadows in the Silence, that I was a little bit iffy on the ending, the only reason is that it happened too quick. That’s not surprising, however, since these books are SO fast paced. And if that’s my only complaint, it’s still VERY MUCH worth it to read!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, swoon worthy romance, angels, mythology, action, adventure, fast pace, fantasy

Weekly Wrap Up 4/17/16

Hey guys! Sadly, there is neither a “what we read” section to this post nor a video. This is a text only wrap up post, due to the fact that Michaela and I are (technically) currently on hiatus. Michaela left for vacation a few days ago, and she is without time or internet to commit to things such as videos. BUT! There were still plenty of goodies this week that you don’t want to miss, so here we go!

Monday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday: