My Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

The year of 2016 promises some really exciting releases! Although I have way more than the ten on my list for the year, I thought it would be fun to count down my top 10 anticipated releases of 2016! Here they are:

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10.) The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Release Date: January 26th

This book is the only on my list by an unfamiliar author, but it has received a lot of hype amongst the bookstagram community and has an interesting premise. I have heard it is like a contemporary, fantasy, and time travel novel combined into one, and it has a lighthearted tone while still including deep themes. I am looking forward to giving this one a go! Also, look at that beautiful cover!!

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9.) P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Release Date: July 26th

Kasie West has rightfully earned her spot on my “favorite authors” list after I read and rated three of her contemporaries with five stars in 2015. I cannot wait for her new release this upcoming year promising an adorable romance, as usual!

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8.) The Crown by Kiera Cass

Release Date: May 3rd

Although the Selection series is not my absolute favorite, and I find Eadlyn to be rather bratty, I am looking forward to the fifth and final installment of the Selection series to see how things wrap up. And also for Kile, because I do have a particular liking for Kile. I find these books to be quick and fun reads, so I will definitely be looking forward to when May rolls around!

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7.) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Release Date: May 3rd

Morgan Matson is one of my top authors and wrote one of my favorite contemporaries of all time, Since You’ve Been Gone. Matson has a way to tell a compelling story with awesome characters while still conveying a deep, relatable, and inspiring message, which is why I seem to love all her stories. I am looking forward to seeing how she does it again this time!

26252859 6.) The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Release Date: May 3rd

My third anticipated release on May 3rd in a row! Anyway, after being slightly disappointed with Magnus Chase, I was thrilled when Rick announced he would be taking us back to the Percy Jackson canon, but this time, from the perspective of a god! Since Apollo is one of my favorites, I cannot wait to hear his story and see how Rick manages to tie Percabeth in (because that’s definitely going to happen. Right, Rick? Right.).

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5.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 2nd

Although Marissa Meyer did a FANTASTIC job wrapping up the stories of each character in Winter, I am looking forward to this bind-up on novellas to add to The Lunar Chronicles series! I absolutely love these characters and their interactions and I am definitely hoping to see a Kai & Cinder wedding and some of Thorne & Cress’s travels across the world!

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The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Release Date: August 2nd

I read both The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal this year and became completely hooked on The Remnant Chronicles, a high fantasy series following a bride that runs away on her wedding day. This series becomes more complex and compelling with each book and I am looking forward to seeing how things resolve in the final book… Pearson left us hanging!

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3.) Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: January 5th

I am so happy I do not have to wait long for this one, especially since it got pushed back from its original 2015 release date to 2016! Alex is truly one of those authors that I would read anything she writes. She weaves complex characters and intricate storylines into such a beautiful and unique writing style. I absolutely loved The Darkest Minds trilogy that I started back in early 2014 and am looking forward to see what she does with this time travel book!!

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2.) The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: March 29th

When I started The Winner’s Curse last January, I had no idea how quickly the series would climb up on my favorites list. This story of Kestrel is filled with exquisite writing and tangible feelings. This series is absolutely incredible and I am looking forward to the ending of this fantastic trilogy!

1.) Throne of Glass #5 by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: September 6th

Of course, my most anticipated book of the year is the one that is still without a cover. I cannot explain to you how excited I am for this book!! I am so in love with this series and the wonderful world and characters Maas has created. I am beyond excited to see where Aelin’s story goes next!

And that concludes my current most anticipated releases of the year! Which book are you looking forward to the most in 2016? I would love to know! Thanks again for reading!

<3, Brittany

My FAVORITE Books of 2015

It’s hard to believe this year is already coming to a close… its seems like just yesterday I was picking up my first read of the year! I managed to read 47 books this year amidst ACT testing, college applications, and a hectic, fun-filled senior year, so I am definitely content with that. Out of all that I read this year, the following seven books and series have easily elevated to the top of my list and shine above the rest! Here they are:

1.) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles is a quartet of sci-fi fairytale retellings of the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Although I am not an avid sci-fi reader, I love fairytales, and decided to read this series after hearing so much hype about it. I marathoned the first three books, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress as my first read of the year. I am beyond happy I decided to to give them a try!

My favorite thing about the Lunar Chronicles is the camaraderie of the incredible cast of characters. I love the unique personalities of each of the characters and their hilarious banter. This is especially evident in Winter, the most recent addition to the series! This is also a series that definitely improves with each book. I found myself enjoying each book more and more as I read! And of course, all the couples are so cute! Especially Thorne & Cress, one of my new OTPs… *heart eye emoji* I highly recommend this series!

2.) The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse was a complete cover buy for me during Book Outlet’s Black Friday sale last year, because the *original* covers are absolutely gorgeous! I had no idea I would fall in love with the story inside as much as I did after reading it last January.

The Winner’s Curse is a high fantasy novel that is filled with political intrigue, strategy, an angsty romance, and BEAUTIFUL writing. Truly, the writing is poetic and gorgeous and made me fall in love with Ms. Rutkoski as an author. The Winner’s Crime, the sequel released last March, is even better than its predecessor and is filled with MORE angst, politics, and heartbreak. The Winner’s Crime left us on a massive cliffhanger, so it is an understatement to say I am looking forward to the release The Winner’s Kiss this upcoming year!

3.) The Distance Between Us (and other novels) by Kasie West

I am beyond picky when it comes to YA contemporary novels, so it is always a pleasant surprise when I come across a contemporary author that leaves me feeling fulfilled at the conclusion of each of their books. Kasie West managed to give me this feeling THREE times this year, once for each of her books! The Distance Between Us, however, was definitely my favorite. West writes clean, adorable contemporaries that give readers what they want… the romance! The love interest is always introduced within the first few pages and the endings are never rushed. The dialogue is beyond adorable and I flew through each of her books in a day. Kasie West has easily turned into one of my auto-buy authors, and I know I can turn to her books whenever I am in need of a cutesy romance!

4.) The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

The question always seems to present itself… “If you could only pick ONE favorite book or series from this past year, which would it be?” This one, my friends. Definitely this one.

Marathoning these books over the summer was one of the best choices I have ever made. I absolutely fell in love with the plot, characters, and complex fantasy world Maas has created. Each book expands the scope of the plot and introduces even more characters to adore. This series is easily one of my all-time favorites! Celaena is one of my favorite female protagonists and I admire her strength and vulnerability.  I can’t gush about this series enough. It will make you laugh, cry, gasp, and scream… at least I definitely did!

5.) Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

My favorite contemporary read of the year, among the lovely stories of Kasie West! It was difficult for me to review this book because it was highly emotional for me on a personal level. This book is told from the perspective of the best friend of a country music superstar who goes on tour with her for the summer. When I was younger, I wanted to be a country music singer. In addition, this book really hit me in the feels as a Taylor Swift fan. It’s basically like reading from the perspective of being Taylor’s best friend which was the young Brittany’s dream.

In addition to satisfying my Taylor Swift feels, this road-trip book is also filled with humor, a swoon-worthy romance, and a strong female friendship. I don’t think this book is right for everyone, and might be a mediocre read for some, but for me, it was truly the perfect contemporary read! If you would like to read my review (which I think covers the book pretty well), it is on my Goodreads!

6.) The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception was one of my last reads over summer break and The Heart of Betrayal was one of my last reads of the year. This fantasy trilogy is absolutely incredible! The world building is absolutely spectacular and I love the main character, Lia. The series is written to allow the reader to figure out a lot of the plot points before the protagonist. There is a love triangle, which usually I am not a fan of, but this one is done extremely well. The love triangle is actually important to carry on the story as a whole. I have liked both Rafe and Kaden, the two love interests, at different points in the series and am looking forward to seeing how things resolve in the third book, The Beauty of Darkness. There are so many ways this series can go! If you are a Throne of Glass fan and have not yet picked this up, definitely do so! I have a review of The Kiss of Deception posted to my Goodreads and a full review for The Heart of Betrayal on the blog.

7.) Sekret by Lindsey Smith

Sekret is one of the books I read this year that truly took me by surprise. I met Lindsey Smith at a book signing earlier this spring and picked up a copy of her book as soon as I heard the synopsis. I am a big fan of historical fiction, so a psychic espionage novel set in the Soviet Union during the Cold War completely captured my interest. Secret did not disappoint!

I mentioned in my review (see previous blog posts) that Sekret is written like a puzzle. All the pieces are given to you in the beginning, and as the novel progresses, everything starts to come together in the cohesive picture. I appreciated that Sekret was written for an intelligent audience, and Smith didn’t feel the need to “dumb down” the historical aspects of the novel. I was able to follow well, but if there was something I didn’t know, I was able to research it.

Yulia is an awesome female protagonist and is extremely perceptive, which makes reading from her perspective interesting. The love interest, Valentin, is absolutely swoon-worthy and SO interesting. I would recommend this book to any historical fiction lover, especially if you are a fan of espionage and Russian history! The second book in the duality, Skandal, is also interesting, but Sekret is by far my favorite!

 

That concludes my list of favorite books from 2015! What is the best book you read in 2015? Thanks so much for reading!

<3, Brittany

 

 

Review: The Heart of Betrayal

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The Heart of Betrayal

By: Mary E. Pearson

Pages: 470

Genre: YA Fantasy

Personal Age Rating: 14+

Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis:

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

My Review:

“The rules of reason build towers that reach past the treetops. The rules of trust build towers that reach past the stars.”

The Heart of Betrayal is the exciting sequel to The Kiss of Deception, the first book in a young adult fantasy series that took the book community by storm last year. I read The Kiss of Deception this past summer and immensely enjoyed it, but did not pick up the sequel until now, and I am so glad I finally did.

This book elevates the intensity of the series to an entirely new level. The stakes are set incredibly high now that Lia and Rafe have been taken captive by the Vendans, and Lia must make sacrifices she never imagined possible. Because of this, The Heart of Betrayal takes on a tangible intensity that its predecessor lacked. This book is better than the first in almost every aspect: Extensive world-building, a more intriguing and all-encompassing plot, difficult choices that result in character development, and of course, unforeseen and bitter betrayal. Although the first book was by no means “lighthearted”, it certainly would be considered so compared to The Heart of Betrayal.

What I loved about this sequel was that it addressed all the things I wished for in my review for The Kiss of Deception. Let’s take a look back at my review this past July:

My only complaint about this book would be that the the plot is a bit weighted down by the love triangle. I have no problem with love triangles; I just feel that this story has so much potential to be solely focused on the love triangle. I am hoping that the next book allows a bit more world-building and character development, because the characters and world are already so rich and interesting.

A less prominent romance (focus on the plot), more character development, and fleshing out the wonderful fantasy world Ms. Pearson had created? This book gave all these things and more. I will discuss the romance in the spoilery section, but for now I will say that the romance took the backseat to the plot this time around, even becoming relevant and necessary to drive the plot itself. We were able to see Lia develop as a character, but yet there is still room for development in the last book. She is perceptive, intelligent, and strong-willed, but yet still compassionate and loving. We were able to learn Kaden’s backstory, which definitely makes you understand his behavior and even causes you sympathize with him. The only character we see little development from is Rafe, but I am expecting that in the next book. He got more time in the spotlight in The Kiss of Deception, anyway. And then we get to explore the supposedly savage kingdom of Venda, which is incredibly interesting and drenched with culture and history.

The last thing I will say in the “non-spoilery” section of this review that the history of the kingdoms weaves together in an interesting way throughout this novel. Lia comes to several realizations and it is fun to piece together the information as she does.

My only complaint about this book is that it had a tendency to be a bit slow, unlike its predecessor. I think the book could have included a lot more action or been much shorter, but it was still a fantastic book either way.

Overall, I highly recommend this series, it just continues to get better and better! Please do not read below unless you want to be spoiled or have already read The Heart of Betrayal!

Continue reading Review: The Heart of Betrayal