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A Trail of Books Left Behind

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The Storyspinner
Becky Wallace
Mortal Heart
Robin LaFevers
Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers The description of this it what first drew me in. It sounding dark and dangerous and intriguing. After reading it, I can say that it is all of those things and so much more.

Historical fiction is slowly becoming one of my favorite genres in YA fiction. There's so much that can be done with it. I loved how Robin managed to bring fantasy and mythology into an historical story, giving an interesting and fun twist to it.

This also includes her beautiful writing and easily it flowed. With some books, I've found myself confused and having to flip back to keep certain characters or scenes straight, but not with Grave Mercy. Robin did a fabulous job of weaving everything intricately and clearly for readers so that you don't get lost.

In a time when women are seen as nothing but genteel and the property of men, Ismae breaks the mold. She and her fellow trainees are trained to be handmaidens to Mortain and we get an inside look at that: their lessons and training as well as their first assignments. I loved seeing where she'd started out before going to the convent and how much she'd changed while being there. It really helped to explain her devotion to them.

While we do get intrigue and mystery, we also get a sweet romance that is essential to Isame and her journey. Everything that the sisters taught her at the convent can't prepare her for what the outside world brings, including the handsome Duval. What she thought she knew about Mortain, and men for that matter, was put to the test and I enjoyed seeing it unfold.

I definitely became a fan of Robin's after reading this and can't wait to continue the journey for His Fair Assassin.
The Assassin and the Princess - Sarah J. Maas From the moment I read the description of this I was completely sold. It sounded unlike anything I'd seen... and I was right. Such an incredible debut and a promise for so much more.

Celaena Sardothien is a feared assassin at only 18 years old and after serving time doing hard labor in prison, she finally has the chance at freedom from Prince Dorian.

Celaena has to compete to be the king's champion against other assassins and thieves, who are men. Training with the captain of the guard isn't so bad and even the attention that Prince Dorian shows her makes things a bit more interesting. But when champions start showing up dead Celaena has even more to work toward besides her freedom.

The world that Sarah has created was beyond intriguing, even including the fact that it originally started out as a twist on Cinderella. The different countries and languages, histories and cultures, even the use of magic. Everything was so uniquely created for the reader and felt so real, I almost wanted to live there myself.

And the characters really brought that home for me. Celaena was a tough female character that was beautiful, smart and mysterious. Not everything about her gets revealed in this first book and I loved that. There's no doubt for me that we'll get to learn more about her as the series continues and I definitely can't wait.

I also want to learn more about the two love interests, Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall. Two very different men that play such an important role for Celaena. There's more to them than meets the eye and this is only the beginning of the story!

I loved the fact that there was a little bit of everything for the reader: romance, action, mystery, fantasy. None of it was over done, but it all combined to add so much to the overall world and story. While there is so much more story to be told, the fact that Throne of Glass didn't end on a major cliffhanger was a huge plus for me. I am excited for the next book and can't wait to find out what's in store for them next, but it can be done patiently (somewhat patiently).
Storm - Brigid Kemmerer There are some books that have characters that just pull you in right away and plots/story elements that make you want to keep reading. This debut had both of those and so much more!

Becca Chandler makes the choice to save Chris Merrick from a terrible beating after school. Her life can't possibly get much worse with the rumors and attention her ex-boyfriend began circulating around the school.

At least, that's what she thinks. Then Becca learns that Chris and his brothers can control the elements. And now that Becca knows, she's in danger right along with them. A storm is coming and they all have to decide what side they are on.

From the very beginning Brigid went right into the action and I was hooked. She didn't hold back even in some rather uncomfortable scenes, really pulling you into the world that she created. I absolutely loved that! Any author can kill off certain characters or create a love triangle, but I loved how Brigid managed to pull me into the thick of it and feel what her characters were feeling.

Not only is the overall world pretty cool, but so are the characters. I felt like I really got to know both of the main characters, Becca and Chris, and loved reading their points of view. Brigid gave us characters that we could root for and relate to. Even though I'm not a teenager anymore, I could remember those feelings of not fitting in and butterflies in the stomach that were so adequately described.

She also gave us a pretty fascinating story plot that had me guessing until the end. A little bit was revealed along the way which, at least for me, kept me interested and eager to find out what was going on. Brigid's elemental's were so unique and fascinating, I didn't want the story to end. I loved her take on them.

I'm doing my best not give anything away because, even though the book is out, I'm sure there are plenty who haven't had a chance to read it yet and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. And book 2, Spark, is officially out today. I for one can't wait to continue the journey!
Cinder - Marissa Meyer This is probably one of my favorite debuts this year. I was beyond excited to read this and even more thrilled that I got to meet Marissa Meyer at Teen Con in March. I couldn't put this down!

Cinder is a cyborg and gifted mechanic living in New Beijing. Considered a second-class citizen not only by her stepmother, but also the rest of society, Cinder just wants to live her life in peace.

But when he sister catches the deadly plague and she meets Prince Kai, things end up completely out of control. With the ruthless lunar Queen coming to Earth and Cinder's mysterious past being revealed, she has to decide what path she wants to follow.

I absolutely fell in love with Cinder's story. My sister got to read this before I did, but when she told me how much enjoyed it, I knew that I would too. Marissa made Cinder's character relatable and one that readers will cheer for. Which I definitely did. She was fun and a cyborg! That was pretty cool in and of itself. I mean, what she could do and how easily she lived with it.

At the book convention, Marissa described this book as a space opera. I wasn't entirely sure what that meant or what to expect when I finally got the chance to read this, but now I most definitely do. So much takes place in this story, I can see why she called it that. Each new revelation had my jaw dropping and me scrambling to get to the next to found out what else was in store.

I loved the world Marissa created not only with New Beijing and Cinder, but also with the Lunar people. And as the rest of the series unfolds I'm looking forward to learning more about the rest of it. Since Cinder is just the first book in a four book series, I can hardly stand it waiting for the sequel. Her story most definitely isn't over and I'm excited find out what's next.

So I will sit here quietly twiddling my thumbs as I wait for a copy of Scarlet, book two of the Lunar Chronicles. Who's with me?
A Temptation of Angels - Michelle Zink This was the first Michelle Zink book I discovered that I really wanted to read (along the way I discovered her other series as well). It sounded so interesting and right up my alley and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

After sixteen year old Helen Cartwright loses her parents, she's forced to intrust her safety to two brother's she's never met before. Soon she's discovering the existence of the Dictata and her place in world she didn't anything about.

Though she's been trained for path, nothing could have prepared her for finding the one person she never expected to see again. Will Helen be able to set things right and follow her heart?

I absolutely love Michelle's writing. There's just something so fluid about it that just makes me want to keep reading it. And before I'd even gotten a chance to read any of her work I (and my sister) got to meet her at a Teen Book Con back in March. Just hearing talk about her books, the legends she used, and the research she did only made me want to dig in more.

One of the things that I really enjoyed in this story was Helen's feistiness. There wasn't a clear time-frame for when it was set, but clearly it was during a time of corsets and propriety and you all know how much I love me some historical fiction. So, to have a female character in such a time period ready and willing to fight back was refreshing. She was a lady and was treated as one, but she also didn't allow the two brother's (or anyone really) to keep her out of anything. She was touch when she needed to be, yet gentle.

The intricate weaving of the story details was also another plus for me. So much takes place, but it isn't an overwhelming since of information. It is presented to the readers a little at a time, only adding to the already intriguing bases. YET, there is still so much that can be left to tell. I for one am crossing my fingers that there will be more.

I definitely love this book and can't wait to read more from Michelle, she has ensured that I will keep reading her stuff and I hope you guys will too!
Arise - Tara Hudson I discovered this trilogy last year when Tara Hudson's debut, Hereafter, was set to be released. And I absolutely loved it! So, needless to say, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel and I'm so glad I did.

Amelia's struggle with her inbetween existence is becoming more difficult for her to handle. Especially when she and her boyfriend Josh can only touch so much. She wants answers.

On a visit to New Orleans for Christmas, things only seem to get worse and Amelia has to decide what she's willing to do. And after meeting Gabrielle, everything Amelia wants could be possible. But at what cost?

Tara does an absolutely amazing job of telling Amelia's story. The struggles and worries of any teenage girl come across so clearly, but she isn't just any typical girl. I love how she manages to weave all of that in with such an intricate ghost story. It all seems to fit and flow together seamlessly and makes me want to know more.

One of the reasons I fell in love with this series was the relationship between Joshua and Amelia. It wasn't your typical forbidden romance, but yet still had all of those elements in there. Never have I wanted to characters to have their happily ever after than these two. And with the way things went with this story, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

There's still so many answers that are left to be answered and so much left to happen, but I loved what we got in this sequel. Hereafter was about Amelia's awakening and discovering happiness in her existence. Arise was about her struggles and discoveries for more. She's gotten some answers and things she's longed for, but I can't even imagine what will be in store for her and Joshua in their conclusion.

Tara has given her readers a fabulous and amazingly weaved story and has ensured that I'll continue read her work even after this series is finished!
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo Shadow and Bone is one of those books that just drew me in from the very beginning. From the intriguing description to the amazing cover, I couldn't wait to read this amazing debut. And it was that... amazing!

Alina Starkov leaves in Ravka, a once beautiful and great nation, where she's studying to be a mapmaker in the military. But in order to continue she and her regiment have to cross the Shadow Fold which is a river of darkness containing terrifying monsters.

On their journey through the fold, Alina reveals a long dormant power in an effort to save her best friend. Before she knows it, Alina is whisked off into the world of the Grisha and the mysterious Darkling. But what secrets will she uncover while there and will it be too late to discover more about herself.

There is just something so amazing about this world that Leigh has created. I love the fact that it's Russian inspired, but still her design and creation. Even her story of how she came up with Shadow Fold that she told on tour earlier in June really added to it. Everything was just so unique and interesting and ready to be added to.

I was just discussing with me sister the other day how much I loved the fact that Alina never really saw herself as this great amazing beauty, even after entering the world of the Grisha. She still saw herself as plain and short and nothing really special, though everyone else around her didn't t see that. To me it's a clear description of how a teenager, or anyone really, would view themselves when they feel they don't measure up. You can be surrounded by beauty but not feel as though you fit in, and Leigh did an amazing job of portraying that.

Not only are the Grisha and the Darkling absolutely fascinating (and I can't wait to learn more about them) but I also loved Alina's personal journey throughout the story. She would have a moment of clarity, an epiphany about a situation or herself and then it was like the floodgates would open up for her. It really showed her growth and acceptance of what was happening and really added to the story for me.

Even though there's still quite a while until we get the next book in the series, I'm beyond excited for it and am patiently twiddling my thumbs as we wait for it. There's so much about this world that I can't wait to learn about!
Timepiece - Myra McEntire It took me quite a while to finally be able to read the first book in this series, and I fell in love with it. Well, when I found out that book 2 was coming out I was beyond excited to get my hands on it. Myra has completely won me over!

Things for those in the Hourglass organization are starting to change. Especially for Kaleb Ballard when he starts seeing time-travelers. He doesn't know what to do.

In one fell swoop everything goes haywire. Jack Landers, the man who tried to kill Kaleb's father, shows back up. Then the Hourglass receives an ultimatum from a dangerous group. If they can't stop Jack it could have devastating consequences for everyone.

Okay, I'll admit that at first I was a little skeptical that Timepiece was going to be in a different point of view. BUT, my mind was changed the second I started reading it. I absolutely loved Kaleb's character and wanted to keep reading him. We only get a little bit of him in Hourglass, but he comes back with a vengeance in the sequel. There's so much more to Kaleb then we originally get to see and I only wish we got more!

Things are starting to heat up in this interesting world that Myra's created. We are introduced to some of it in Hourglass and finally learn some of Jack's motives in this sequel. It's only bound to get crazier from here and I can't wait. Each power or gift is time related and I love how it's weaved into the storyline and the time continuum.

Kaleb's piece of the story in this series was just perfect and made me love him just a little bit more. He was strong to start out with, but had to find his motivation to really see beyond himself. I'm so glad that I finally got the chance to read this and am excited to see what else Myra has in store of us and her characters!
Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins Sweet Evil was an absolutely amazing debut that I could not wait to get my hands on. Not only did the premise sound interesting, but it also has an amazing cover!

Anna Whit has always been gentle and soft spoken, a good girl to the core. She can also sense to see and feel peoples emotions around her. Something she doesn't question, especially as she struggles with her own pulls.

When Kaidan Rowe comes into her life everything she thought she knew about herself is turned upside down. Anna is introduced to a world she never knew, her very nature put to the test. Anna knows what she wants, but at what cost to herself?

From the very beginning I fell in love with this story. The world that Wendy created was absolutely wonderful. Everything from the character's and story background to the history was interesting and only added to the story. It was clear that so much work was put into it. Yes there is romance and sexy scenes, but there is also a story and world that I want to learn about.

Most of the time, when I read a story, there is generally that moment when I fell like my heart leaps into my throat or I get an ache in my chest. Well, I can honestly say that as I read this particular story, I felt like I spent nearly the entire time that way. Anna and Kaidan were the perfect starcrossed lovers and my heart broke for them quite a few times. This is a testament to Wendy's fabulous writing. I have found myself so invested in these two and I want to see them happy.

I don't want to spoil anything but suffice it to say Kaidan is one sexy, swoony guy. Now, there were quite a few moments when I wanted to smack him, but he doesn't really have much of a choice. I can only hope that there will be a continuation of this amazing story (it hasn't been officially confirmed so cross your fingers) so we can find out more. Who wouldn't want more Kaidan?
Dreamless - Josephine Angelini Josie won me over with Starcrossed and has made an even bigger fan out of me with Dreamless. Greek mythology is possibly my favorite to read about, and the world she's created with it is just phenomenal.

As the Descender, Helen spends night after trudging through the Underworld, trying to find answers. Each day is a struggle when she returns, and with Lucas no longer in her life, making it through is even more difficult.

With the help of a new Scion, Orion, Helen finds her treks through the Underworld a little easier. Only, chaos is slowly taking over Nantucket, and the Furies cries are only adding to it. As time begins to run out, Helen, Orion, and the Delos' endeavor to stop the ancient battle. Will they be too late?

One of my favorite things about the world in this series is the beautiful character building and relationships. Not only does Josie weave an incredible story, but she also pulls you in to her characters lives. I felt like I was really able to connect with them throughout the story. I cried when they cried and I hurt when they hurt.

As you guys know, I absolutely love Greek mythology. It's just so fascinating to learn about new legends and players from that world. And the fact that Josie introduced even more gods and characters from those famous legends made this book even more wonderful for me. I even discovered a few that I wanted to do some more research on.

I don't want to give anything away, but so much happened in this book, especially in regards to Helen and Lucas, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. The build up of character interactions and introductions of new characters have only added to the intensity of the story. What Josie has in store for everybody in Goddess, book 3, is sure to be amazing and heart wrenching. Things have been set up to lead into the conclusion and I have a feeling I'll be on pins and needles until then!
The Vicious Deep - Zoraida Córdova I was beyond thrilled to get a chance to read this debut about mermaids! Not only did the description sound interesting, but there was also an amazing cover (don't you think)! And I'm so glad I did.

For Tristan Hart, life was easy. He knew what he wanted and he went after it. At least until a big storm came to Coney Island and he was taken into the water.

Three days later, upon his return everything goes crazy. What he once knew is completely turned upside down and he has to figure out how to fit into it. Including becoming an heir to a kingdom he never knew existed.

I loved Tristan's voice from the very beginning. He was your typical teenage boy and it was fun to watch everything unfold around him. It was really fun to see it all happen in his point of view and his struggle to make it all work. Becoming a mermaid probably wouldn't be all that scary for a girl, but for a guy... it's a lot more difficult.

The storyline was intriguing and left me wanting more. Everything from the new world Tristan discovers to the journey he has to take and even the characters that we got to meet. I felt like I only got a taste and I really wanted to find out just what else was in store for them. Zoraida has built such a fun world and interesting characters.

Even though I will admit that one of my favorite things in a story is the romance, I really enjoyed that it wasn't the central focus of this particular story. Sure there were the typical struggles and moments that young love goes through, but Zoraida didn't make it the main point of her story. We got a little bit of everything, which just made me long for a little bit more.

Zoraida gave us an absolutely amazing debut and I can't wait to read more from, whether it's from the world of mermaids she's created or something else! Oh and be sure to check back here next week for a guest post from the wonderful Zoraida about the world of The Vicious Deep.
Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock This debut was one that I wasn't sure what to expect, but found myself enjoying. Kathleen created a wonderful world with werewolves that we haven't seen before.

Mac's life has been completely turned upside since her best friend Amy was murdered by a white werewolf. It was horrible and Amy's been haunting Mac's dreams ever since.

Lupine syndrome isn't a secret and is becoming ever present across the country. Trackers, extremists who hunt down those with the disease or full werewolves, come to Hemlock and make life for Mac even more difficult. In her search to find out the truth about Amy's murder, she discovers even more than she bargained for.

The tone of Hemlock is pretty dreary in the beginning because of Amy's death and the fact that the town of Hemlock has been haunted by werewolf attacks. This, at least for me, made it even more interesting because I wanted to know what was going on. There are those who side with the wolves and those who want to hunt them down.

I always love learning more about the bad guys and their reasons why they do the things that they do. And in Hemlock, Kathleen gives us a little twist on who the bad guys are. The Trackers definitely gave me the creeps and I could understand why Mac didn't like them either. But there's so much more going on than you first realize.

Werewolves are pretty popular creatures to use, and I found myself getting tired of them, but I really enjoyed Kathleen's take on them. In the world of Hemlock werewolves are viewed in a completely different light than how we've seen them portrayed lately. For one they are common knowledge, and for another they aren't seen as good guys.

Hemlock was a fun, interesting read and I know that I can't wait to read book two to find out just what else is in store for Mac and her friends.
Until I Die - Amy Plum I wasn't presently surprised and thrilled when I read Die For Me, the first book in the Revenants trilogy. The world Amy created was unique and fresh, and she didn't disappoint me in this sequel.

Kate and Vincent fell in love despite their differences and have fought to stay together. As their love and connection deepens they can't help wondering how they will be able to make it work.

In an effort to both find a way to ease Vincent's suffering of not dying, life for Kate and the other Revenants becomes even more dangerous. An enemy they don't see coming surfaces and they have to find a way to stop them.

Again, Amy's unique mythology is what caught my attention and I absolutely loved how she's incorporated it into these books. The Revenants are such interesting characters and we get to learn a bit more about them in this sequel. Die For Me gives us the basics and even how most of them became Revenant, but in Until I Die we get a little bit more about their world and how they work.

Kate and Vincent's romance. They make me want to sigh and giggle at the same time, they're so cute. I absolutely love Vincent's devotion to Kate and his willingness to forgo his natural instincts for her. But they also have problems and arguments that Amy also lets us see. We get it all with these lovebirds.

Until I Die had it all, including introducing some new characters and expanding on some others only previously mentioned. We got so much more for this fascinating world. And after that crazy cliffhanger ending, I'm trying my best to patiently wait for the the third book, If I Should Die. I obviously don't want to give anything way for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but ahh! Next year is going to be a long, long wait!
Angel Eyes - Shannon Dittemore I first discovered this little gem on Goodreads before there was a cover or anything. The blurb that was written sounded so cool, I knew that I had to read it. And I'm so glad that I did!

Brielle's just moved back to her hometown in Oregon. Her dream was to be a ballerina, but after witnessing a tragedy, just wants to forget.

Upon meeting the new boy in town, Jake, Brielle learns to open her mind to remarkable possibilities. With an incredible gift that makes him a target, Jake's appearance in Oregon and Brielle's life is more than happenstance. Danger looms and hope is on the horizon in a realm that only angels and demons can see... and now Brielle.

Not only is Shannon possibly one of the sweetest ladies I've met, but she also has a wonderful way of telling a story that just draws readers in. Nothing was too overwhelming or skimmed over. We got a beautiful story with flawed but strong characters and a message of hope. It's very easy to put in so much information that you can lose the flow of the story and your characters, but I didn't get that feeling with Angel Eye's and I loved it.

Shannon's world in Angel Eyes is one of fantasy, but uses Christian beliefs. Again it wasn't too overwhelming for the reader and I believed was a wonderful way to draw people in. I loved the take on angels and demons that was given and definitely can't wait for more. We get a small taste of them and I know there will be more in the rest of the trilogy.

It was refreshing to read a story about a girl struggling with feelings of guilt that wasn't dealing with it in a destructive manner. We all deal with tragedy in our own way, and Shannon showed us a girl who just wanted to forget and figure out who she was. Brielle wasn't perfect, but we got to see her grow and discover a strength in herself that she didn't know she had.

This debut was one of my favorites this year and I definitely can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy from Shannon! Her writing is beautiful and real and left me wanting more. Now I'll be sitting back and patiently, or not so patiently, waiting for book 2 (Broken Wings) to come out.
Hourglass - Myra McEntire From the moment I heard about this book I knew that I had to read it. Not only is the cover awesome, but the description was fascinating as well. And I was not left disappointed.

Emerson Cole has been seeing apparitions of people since the death of her parents a few years before. All she wants is for the haunting phantoms to go away. Instead they seem to get stronger.

When her brother hires Michael Weaver, a consultant from a society called the Hourglass, life for Emerson changes. Their connection is instantaneous and Michael helps Emerson to better understand what she can do. But when he asks her to help him prevent a death that never should have happened, it could change... everything.

I absolutely fell in love with this book from the very beginning. Emerson was funny and witty and quickly became one of my few favorite heroines. She'd been through some pretty horrific things, but still did what she could to have a normal life. I loved her fight and gumption and her willingness to protect those she loved.

The paranormal storyline was fresh and new, using a scientific approach. Emerson's ability is pretty awesome, and the others she meets at the hourglass are even more intriguing (I don't want to give any of it away either if you haven't read it). I loved how Myra presented it and I definitely want to know more.

Hourglass was almost impossible for me to put down. The characters, the world, and the storyline were just so wonderfully done and interesting. I had to know what was going to happen next. AND, there wasn't an evil cliffhanger at the end. Which is always a bonus in my book.

With the sequel, Timepiece, set to come out in June I can't wait to get my hands on it. This was a fun read that I highly recommend.
The Temptation - Alisa Valdes I will say right off the bat that I was definitely surprised by this story. The summary sounded interesting and I knew that I wanted to check it out, but once I started reading it I was completely sucked in.

Ending up in a dangerous crash on an empty highway leaves Shane in pretty dire circumstances. At least until Travis, a beautiful cowboy, comes to her rescue out of nowhere.

Shane's attraction and connection to Travis are immediate and strong, even after she learns that he's actually dead. But the rules he has to follow could ultimately keep them apart. The only hope for more is that they are kindred's, but neither is willing to risk the other. And with a threat looming on the horizon will they be able to resist the temptation.

From the very beginning I was intrigued to find out what was going on. Alisa takes her readers on a pretty intense and heart wrenching journey and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during certain parts. A little romance, a little supernatural, a little bit of everything for the readers.

A bit of a change of pace, the male lead in this book is a swoony cowboy. That's not normally something I go for or read about, but it really worked for this story. Travis was sweet and caring and strong. I really wanted to learn more about him and hope that we get to in the other books.

I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this book and am looking forward to more from this author (including the movie based on this book and the rest of this trilogy). If only we didn't have to wait so long for more.