Quick Review: A Cruel Prince by Holly Black

cruel prince I feel like singing “Hello Dolly” except it is “Hello Holly” because she is back to where she belongs.  No one writes about Fairies the way that Holly does. From the Spiderwick Chronicles to  Modern Faerie Tales to Darkest Part of the Forest, her stories are a mixture of faerie lore with modern twists and not one is the same.  The Cruel Prince is a new spin on the changeling story.  Instead of a fairy leaving one of their off spring with humans to replace their own babies, we have twins Jude and Taryn who are stolen from their home after Madoc kills their parents.  You see, Madoc is the general to the High King in Faerie and has an odd sense of honor.  He married their mother and well she escaped, taking their baby, Vivi, with her to the Human world. Ten years later he finds her married to another and in a fit of rage kills both of them and then out of duty he takes all the kids back to Faerie and raises them as his own.  Jude and Taryn were seven when they come to live and Faerie and have come to think about it as home despite living with their parents murderer.  There are only two ways humans can join the court.  They can either marry their way in or earn their way by becoming a knight.  Taryn wants to the former and Jude the latter.  In Jude’s quest to become a Knight she battles against the cruel and spoiled Prince Cardan and his viscous friends.  Like any kid who has ever been bullied, you come to a point where you can no longer just sit by and let things happen and start fighting back.  Jude is given the opportunity to prove herself to Cardan’s brother, Dain, who is expected to be named King by becoming one of his spies but this is Faerie and things don’t go the way you expect.  The coronation didn’t go as planned, people revealed themselves to be not to who she thought them to be.  Despite all the betrayals and double crosses, Jude takes the opportunity to make her own power play.  I love Jude.  She is smart and brave.  Being a human growing up in Faerie is fraught with challenges but she has found ways to turn those disadvantages to her advantage and outsmarts them all.  That being said, the real conflict as the series is going to be if she able to deliver on all the the promises she’s made.  Will her allies continue to support her? And will Cardan and her ever hook up? Fans of Black’s Modern Faerie Tales trilogy will love the surprise cameos from Roiben and Kaye.  This is a great start to another classic Holly black faerie tale.

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Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

can't wait books 2018

What books can you not wait to read in 2018?  I have lots of course but here are 10 that I really Really can’t wait to read next year.

  1. War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. (May 15, 2018) The final book in her Red Queen Series.  Will Mare and the Scarlet Guard be able take down the Silvers.  Will Maven get overthrown?  Will Cal stop being a dumbass?
  2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. (March 6, 2018) This sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to read it.  Zelie comes from a long line of maji but the new crown prince wants to banish magic from the kingdom.  Zelie has one chance to save magic and her people.
  3. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (March 6, 2018) It’s been 4 years since the end of the Shatter Me trilogy ended or so we thought.  Restore Me is going to pick up at the end of Ignite Me. Juliette is the Supreme Commander and Warner is on her side but now that she has the world at her finger tips, what’s next?
  4. Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. (May 22, 2018) It’s been two years since A Torch Against the Night came out and I’ve been eagerly waiting this one. Laia, Elias and Helene are all in perilously situation.  I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
  5. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. (January 16, 2018) I’ll admit I was hoping it would be the next book in the Shades of London series but I’m just so glad that Maureen has a book coming out.  I do love a good mystery and good ghost story too.
  6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. (January 2, 2018) So happy that Holly is back with a new series about fairies because no one does fairies like Holly Black.
  7. A Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro. (March 6, 2018) The final book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy can’t come soon enough.  In true Holmes form, Charlotte has really sabotage herself and Watson can’t forgive her.  They try to move on with their lives but someone wants them back together and well I want them back together too.
  8. Dread Nation by Justine Ireland. (April 3, 2018) The American Civil War is interrupted when the Dead of the battlefields come back to life. Jane is in combat school to learn how to take down the dead and with this comes opportunity but Jane wants more. Soon she is wrapped up in a conspiracies and plots that the dead are the least of her worries.
  9. Untitled Sequel to Renegades by Marissa Meyer. (November 6, 2018) Renegades was such a great book and can’t wait to read what’s next.  Nova has successfully infiltrated the Renegades and her old friends are no longer around to blow her cover.  Will she betray her new friends or cement herself as a villain.
  10. The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth. (April 10, 2018) Carve the Mark may have been problematic but it was still good.  I’m curious how things will turn out for Cyra and Akos. Will they be able to escape their destinies or are they running right into them?
  11. The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. (No set date) I’m not sure this is coming out in 2018 but I really hope so.  Strange the Dreamer was so beautiful I can’t wait to find out what happens next, especially after what happened at the end.
  12. Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas. (September 4, 2018) The final book in the Throne of Glass series and it’s been quite a ride for Aelin and friends.  Who knows how it will all end.  Well I guess Sarah J. Maas does but for everyone else it’s anyone’s guess.
  13. Untitled (WarCross #2) by Marie Lu. (No set date) Another one I’m not sure if it’s coming out in 2018 but I’m pretty sure. I was riveted by the first book and I’m looking forward to meeting the “hacker” and all the potential he is inevitably going to cause.
  14. Heart of Venom by Sherrilyn Kenyon. (2018) It also doesn’t have a set date besides 2018.  It’s either the first in the Shadows of Fire series or #9 in the Chronicles of Nick series.  However you want to look at it, it’s a switch in tone and focus for Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters.  With a duel narrators of the Cyprian Malachai (Nick’s Son) and the Ambrose Malachai (Nick Himself) we find out if Nick truly does embrace his destiny or if the sacrifices he made at the end of Intensity was enough to forge his own path.
  15. Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes. (February 6, 2018) The final book in the closest YA book to Game of Thrones with it’s epic scope, world building and body count was originally scheduled to come out this month but was pushed back.  I’m sure the extra two months will be worth the wait.
  16. Aru Shah and the End of Times by Roshani Chokshi. (April 3, 2018) The first book to be published under Rick Riordan’s new imprint highlighting stories from authors and characters from around the world.  Aru Shah takes on Hindu legends to save her mother and classmates.
  17. Untitled by Maureen Johnson. (No set date) The Shadow Cabinet, the last book released in the Shades of London series had me on the edge of my feet and it’s been so long since it came out.  I’m not sure that the next book is coming out in 2018 but Maureen has mentioned on twitter that she has two books coming out in 2018 so it’s a safe bet. *crosses fingers*
  18. Untitled by Kendare Blake. (September 4, 2018)  I didn’t know that the Three Dark Crowns was originally planned to be a duology. I’m glad that Kendare Blake and her publisher decided to extend it because there are so many things about this world and these character left to be explored.
  19. Untitled by Traci Chee (2018) The final book in the Sea of Ink and Gold Series.  Sefia and Archer continue to fight what is written and defeat their destiny while also staying ahead of their enemies.
  20. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (May 1, 2018) I’m interested in this one since this in the first book that Sally Green has published since she ended her Half Bad trilogy two years ago.  Half Lost left me broken and in tears. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that again but I can’t wait to see what Sally does next.

Diverse Narrators, Diverse Stacks Results

diverse-narrators-diverse-stacks

So how did I do with this year’s challenge.  Pretty good, I think.  I read a few books that I normally wouldn’t have read and other books I would have because I love the authors.  I didn’t complete the challenge though and I’m sad about that.  Will have to do better in 2018.

  1. A Book with a Trans Narrator: Eddie Izzard in Believe Me by Eddie Izzard
  2. Queer Narrator: Apollo in The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
  3. African American Narrator: John Lewis in March Vols. 1-3 by John Lewis
  4. African Narrator: Did not complete
  5. Narrators from various socio-economic backgrounds: Rainey, Rio and Frangie from Silver Stars by Michael Grant
  6. Asian-American Narrator: Lara Jean in Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and Daniel in The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  7. Disabled Narrator: Call from The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  8. Narrator that survived Abuse: Feyre, Rhysand, and pretty much every character in A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  9. Asian Narrator: Sunja in Pachinko by Mi Jin Lee
  10. Native American Narrator: Did not complete
  11. Mexican Narrator: Cristina in Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  12. Indigenous Mexican Narrator: Did not complete
  13. Muslim Narrator: Kamala in Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
  14. Jewish Narrator: Rainey in Silver Stars by Michael Grant
  15. Atheist Narrator: Magnus Chase in Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

So I competed 12 out of 15, which isn’t bad but I was really hoping to do all 15.  How well did you do this year?

 

Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

silver mask So what do you do when you have the soul of the enemy of death even though you have no memory of his past life and now everyone else knows it and blames you for the death of your best friend but your innocent?  For Call it means you get thrown in jail, broken out and then kidnapped by the very people who’ve been trying to avoid the last three years.  Call’s luck is almost none existent.  Call is also full of self doubt and guilt.  He wasn’t the one to kill Aaron, that was Alex but he still feels responsible for it.  If Tamara had chosen to save Aaron instead of Call it would have been Call who died and not Aaron.  Does Tamara regret that choice?  Call had always assume that Tamara liked Aaron more than him and like most people tolerated him because Aaron did.  Now that Tamara, Jasper and Call are kidnapped by Master Joseph and his crew things get a little hazy.  Call is not Constantine despite having his soul but he’s been having trouble convincing others of this.  He may not be him but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t share some of his ambitions.  Without Aaron, Call feels a little lost and maybe all would be forgiven and go back to what they were if Aaron was alive again.  Master Joseph gives him the chance.  Raise Aaron back from the dead and you can decide whether you want to stay or not.  The Enemy of Death was called that because his obsession with defeating death.  I’m not sure I buy that if Call is able to bring Aaron back that all would be forgiven and that all of a sudden there would be so much support for his cause but we need to find the conflict.  Of course Call is able to bring back Aaron by doing the one thing that Constantine was never willing to do, give apart of himself to do so but you can never go back.  Aaron is not as he was because he was dead and should be dead.  Call’s plan to bring Aaron back and things go back the way they were goes sideways immediately and battle ensues.  If I didn’t know that there is one more book left in the series, I would almost think that this was finale because there was a lot of loose ends tied up.  I’m not sure where they go from here but there is still one bad guy still out there.

This is part of my Diverse Narrator challenge.  Call is disabled with a bad leg from when he was an infant.  While his lifelong injury played more of a roll in previous books it is still a big part of who the character is.  His bad leg has always made him think that he was less capable then those with two good legs and he’s felt this way because of most of his life that’s what people have told him.  Throughout the series, Call has persevered despite being slow to run or walk.  He’s been able to use his other skills and wit to get in and out of  trouble and prove he is just as capable.  May that be a lesson for us all.

Quick Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

bronze-keyI’m a fan of both Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s work so I was pretty stoked about their collaboration.  I just wish it was better.  It’s fine but not great.  Someone pointed out to me that it’s a book meant for middle schoolers so I’m not the targeted audience but Rick Riordan writes for the middle schoolers and those are fantastic.  Holly Black’s Spindlewick Series are also great.  So I don’t think it’s the genre, I think maybe it’s the story itself.  We are now in the third book and Call, Aaron and Tamara are now being honored for killing the Enemy of Death, even though they know the Enemy of Death’s soul is in Call’s body.  Things get complicated when someone tries to kill Call and successfully kill a fellow student.  There’s all the typical kid lit traits.  The adults are clueless.  True, they don’t know Call’s secret but pretty much every time they tell Call he’s going to be safe, he’s attacked.  They allready have had one student and one teacher end up in cahoots with the big bad and they didn’t know it.  Is it any surprise that there would be someone else also in cahoots living right under their noses? No, of course not.  Typically, the kids feel they have do things on their own and typically it gets them in more trouble and typically when the real culprit is revealed the adults aren’t there so they get blamed for everything.  At moments I really enjoy this book but at most times I think “is something going to happen soon?”  I felt like there was a lot going on of nothing really happening until you get to the ending and then there’s yet another big cliffhanger.  I will say this about this series in general, the cliffhangers have been first class.  Too bad the rest of the book don’t live up to them.

Scary and Spooky books to read before Halloween.

 

With Halloween just a few days away, I thought I would revisit some of the more scarier and spookier books I’ve read.  For all the books that I read that have vampires, witches and werewolves in them, not many fall under the horror genre.  So some of my picks don’t really fall into the typical Halloween fare but they are scary nonetheless.

scowler Scowler does fall in the horror category as it was super suspenseful and scary.  I picked this book up because I knew that Daniel Kraus was working with Guillermo Del Toro on Trollhunters.  The fact it takes place in Iowa an added bonus.  Ry and his mother and sister are barely scraping by on their farm and Ry is doing everything to distract him from the pain of the physical and emotional abuse of his imprisoned father.  Everything starts to fall apart when a meteorite falls and his father returns to the farm. Ry must defeat his father with the help of his imaginary childhood friends, including Scowler.  This book is super super creepy. With a scene at the end that still sort of haunts me when I thing about it.  It’s not just a great scary read but also delves into the effects of abuse has on it’s victims.  The fear of facing is ones abuser maybe as terrifying as taking on a monster but being able to face that fear takes real strength.

the-strain I admit that I still have nightmares from this series.  Particularly since I live in New York City and ride the subway through many of the same stations that they talk about in this book and I can’t help but wonder if they are vampires down there.  You may have seen the show. I haven’t so I don’t know how it compares but I can’t imagine it as scary or creepy as the book because I’m pretty sure most of the book is not cable ready material.  New York because the epicenter of a virus that turns people into vampires. Instead of the traditional being bite on the neck by a vampire to be turned, people are turned by little worm like things.  Gross.  Eph and his team at the CDC investigate several mysterious illnesses only to find themselves in the middle of a epidemic that deals with ancient vampires.  As they try to stay alive and figure out what’s going on and how to stay alive and not to mention dealing with family drama.  It’s the perfect scary series to read for Halloween. The ending of the series is truly heartbreaking.

coldestgirl Holly Black is one of my favorite authors.  She’s never boring.  Her books are never the same and truly original.  In the The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, whole cities have been quarantined off because of vampires.  Vampires have let’s say got out of control and in these Coldtowns vampires and humans leave together.  Some humans more willing then others as some had the misfortune of getting stuck inside when the walls went up.  Tana’s mother was bitten by a vampire and later died. After a wild party, Tana wakes to find that only she, her ex-boyfriend and a tied up vampire are alive.  The vampire virus takes a couple of days before it takes hold and Tana is determined to save herself and her companions by going to one of the Coldtowns away from her family.  It’s not your typical vampire story.  It was truly refreshing read and Gavriel is a vampire worth crushing on.

unfortunate-events Ok, so this is scary or spooky as the others but the make no mistake the story of the Baudelaire siblings is truly terrifying.  When their parents tragically die and they are sent to live with Count Olaf. Things get worse from there.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is truly an understatement as the unfortunate events are usually the faults of the adults they are put in the care of.  Violet, Klaus and Sunny are put in one bad situation after another from the very first book when Count Olaf tries to marry 13 year old to get a hold of their fortune.  Is there really anything more horrifying then that?  The first couple of books are a little formulaic but once you get to book five things really start to pick up and things get really scary.

What are your favorite Scary or Spooky books to read?

 

My To Read List Just keeps getting longer

So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls.  I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls.  I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right?  Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind.  I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.  I have waiting in the wings

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out.  The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods.  Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.

I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules.  I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys.  I have so much to read but what else is new.

What books are on your t0 read list this month?