What I Read: February 2017

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Oops… I did it again.  I read 15 books in February.  If I keep going at this pace, I’m going to have to up my Goodreads reading goal!

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Iolanthe is an Elemental Mage 3 with control of fire, water, and earth, but no air.  One day, she brings down a fierce strike of lightening and makes herself a target for the Bane who controls the land and for Prince Titus, who know she is the prophesized Mage to help her bring the Bane down.  Prince Titus has been planning for this very moment but he never realized the Mage would be a girl.  So, Iolathe begins her life as Archer Fairfax at the boys’ school the prince attends and learns what her power really can do.  I gave this book 3.5 stars, and rounded it to 4 for Goodreads purposes.  I loved the premise of the book.  At times, the pacing is a bit slow, but other times you fly through the action-packed bits.  The only thing I didn’t enjoy throughout was the romance, but with Thomas being a romance writer, what did I expect?  I’m not ravenous for the rest of the Elemental Trilogy, but I will read it.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Yelena is next in line to be executed for murder.  Though it was self-defense at the hands of her abusive overseer, no murder is defensible in Ixia.  Yelena is offered her life back when she is asked to become the food taster for the Commander.  Every day she endures poison, learning about them at the hands of a man named Valek.  Any day could be her last.  I’d heard people talk about how much they loved this book and I think I was expecting too much.  There’s a lot going on here with magic that doesn’t really come into play until the very end.  The military world doesn’t feel very fleshed out.  The romance is just not there for me.  I’ve added Magic Study, the next in the series, to my ebook holds in hopes that I like it better.  I gave this one 3 stars.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion.  Does anyone care about the Divergent series anymore?  A friend recommended Divergent right before the book really took off.  I liked it, but not enough to continue the series.  You may notice I read Insurgent last month thanks to the BPL’s amazing ebook lending library.  I figured I might as well finish the series since it was available and there was no wait list.  While I didn’t care much for Insurgent, I really hated Allegiant.  I kind of think it ruined the entire series?  The science went off the rails.  The characters became unbearable.  I gave this 2 stars because I must’ve been feeling generous.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

After a bunch of meh, I was so refreshed to read The Glass Sentence, to which I gave 5 stars.  Okay, there is a LOT going on in this book.  Sometimes (usually) that’s a bad thing, but it totally works here.  This book follows Sophia, whose uncle Shadrack is a famed cartologer, a mapmaker.  Maps in this world are not just ink on paper– they’re clay, glass, or even onions.  I’m not just talking about a map on glass, but a map that when you touch it shows the memories of a place or time.  A little out there?  Just wait.  In this world, an event called the Great Disruption has occurred.  The Great Disruption jumbled up time periods so as you move through the world geographically, you also move into different time periods.  There are also fantasy elements in some of these periods, such as the Mark of the Vine in the Baldlands, where the royalty has plant-like appendages like leaf wings and grass hair.  Sophia lives in Boston, which is part of New Occident (the colonies + some more East coast in to New Orleans).  She comes home to find her uncle kidnapped and sets out on a epic adventure to save him.  I know, it’s a lot, but this book was amazing and compelling and closed with such a cliffhanger.  The BPL doesn’t have the next in the trilogy in ebook form, but I cannot wait to get my hands on it!  I highly recommend The Glass Sentence; it’s my favorite thing I’ve read this year.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

This does not have great reviews on Goodreads, but I ended up loving this book.  It’s definitely not as good as The Glass Sentence, but I did give it 5 stars as well.  It is super weird and uncomfortable, but compelling and a very quick read!  Violet lives in The Lone City, a walled city in circles of poverty.  She is from the Marsh, the outermost and poorest circle.  At the center is the Jewel, the opulent home to the elite.  While the people of the Jewel live a charmed life, they can not reproduce for some reason.  A system in place supplies girls from the Marsh as surrogates, but only girls with a specific genetic mutation that gives them the ability to affect color, shape, and growth.  Violet is one of these girls who is auctioned off to the Lady of the Lake to carry her daughter.  It’s a life of beauty and horror.  There is a crazy cliffhanger that has me dying to read The White Rose, the second in the trilogy.  I love this book in the way we all love watching SVU… we know it’s messed up, but we’re just so intrigued.

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Another library pick since it was immediately available, City of a Thousand Dolls reminded me a lot of my previous read… I guess it doesn’t help that I read them in the same day.  I think I was still feeling that vibe and gave it four stars.  The City of a Thousand Dolls is where the people of the empire leave their unwanted daughters.  There the girls are taught various arts geisha-style from the Houses within the city.  The story revolves around Nisha, who gets involved in investigating the mysterious deaths of several girls in the city.  By the way, Nisha can talk to cats.  The murder mystery is surprisingly enjoyable.  The premise is obviously not the most original and the car stuff is a little kooky, but altogether enjoyable surprisingly less dark that a lot of than many similar reads.

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

At first, this vaguely Russian-inspired world of magic-weilding Grisha felt a little lackluster to me.  Someone asked me the premise of the book and I was sad to say “it’s about a girl who discovers she has magical powers.”  The thing is, there’s more than that.  Alina, the main character, is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her relationship with her lifelong best friend Mal is sweet.  Orphaned at a young age, she and Mal grew up together.  Now she learns that she is a one-of-a-kind Grisha.  The later twist is just so good, I can’t wait to read more!

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Since this is the  sequel to the Jewel, I’ll keep it brief.  Though it did not earn as high of a rating from me, I was pleasantly surprised at the direction this book went it.  I wasn’t expecting it and I’m SO IN.

Check out my Goodreads reviews of The Selection by Kiera Cass, Angelfall by Susan Ee, The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, Stray by Elissa Sussman, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, Burn by Elissa Sussman, and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab.

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