Monday, December 12, 2016

Best Young Adult 2016

Starflight (Starflight, #1)
Starflight by Melissa Landers

I'm a tiny bit biased on this one because Melissa is a friend of mine, but this is one that flew through the book club ranks as well and was universally loved.  Space pirates.  No more needs to be said.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Phenomenal exploration of the aftermath of a rape.  It's not an easy read, but it's an important one.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
The Raven Boys Series by Maggie Stiefvater

This is quite possibly my favorite of the year.  I listened to the series as a whole over the course of the summer and just fell in love.  It's amazing on audio, once you get past the narrator's accent, and just an absolute delight.  I'm not typically a fan of the "magic in the real world" genre, but this series does it perfectly.  Characterization is everything in this series and it's done to perfection.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Started a reread of this beloved series with a dear friend.  We've only made it through the first one but I'm looking forward to finish it up next year.  It's as good as I remembered.

What are the best YA books you read this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
Consistent with the quality of the first book - I was thoroughly pleased with the efforts from the second book in the series.  I think comparisons to the intrigue and drama of Game of Thrones continue to be deserved and I appreciate the continued intermingling of politics and court life with action and magic.  I think the author does a great job of keeping her characters in order and blending characterization with plot in a way that keeps the story moving but also gives the reader an investment in more than just the story.

Entertainment Value
Lots to enjoy here if you're a fan of fantasy-based courtly intrigue.  I think those who enjoyed Game of Thrones will find a lot to enjoy here, especially those who are looking for a little bit more empowerment for female characters.

I highly recommend this to fans of YA fantasy with a bit more focus on courtly intrigue and politics.  It has more grit that some, so readers should be prepared for violence, including some sexual violence, and harsh language.  I'm looking forward to the conclusion to the trilogy!

Thanks to TLC and the publisher, Harper Collins, for providing me with copies of the trilogy to review.  Click here to see the other stops on the tour.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Like the rest of the world, I think, I've struggled to make it through 2016.  This year has been a particularly hard one in my personal life.  I'm not publicizing it in most places, but I do want to mention it briefly here, as it specifically relates to my reading life.  Luke and I are getting divorced, which is why my blogging and reading life have both greatly suffered over the last six months or so.  I've been so overwhelmed, emotionally and physically, with the processes of moving and legal processes and division of property and working out finances and dealing with life in general that I haven't had much energy for either reading or blogging.

I am finally settled in my new home though, with Pompom, and we're getting into a new routine.  Even though it's been a much slower reading year than I typically have, I've still got some favorites and some least favorites to share this year.  I wouldn't leave my reader friends hanging without a list of best books from the last year to add to your wish list.  As always, I'll have several genre-specific lists posted before Christmas and then I'll follow up with some post-Christmas end of year surveys and wrap ups.  

I love the holidays and I'm really looking forward to a new year and the new beginnings it will bring me.  I think the rest of the world is too!  Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming Best of 2016 lists to see which books were the highlights of my reading year!