So I don’t know about ya’ll, but I read a LOT of books during the year, and being a SAHM of 3 + two dogs and all that comes with that doesn’t leave me a lot of time to blog ALL of my reviews. I tend to only write full blog post reviews if I have the time, or if I received an ARC from the publisher and am obligated to do so.
So over the next few weeks remaining in the year, I am going to have a few ‘Mini Review’ posts where I give you short and sweet reviews of some of the books I didn’t write full reviews on this year.
Today, we are going to talk about all the full (finished) series I read this year.
Princes of Valdoria Series by Julia Keanini
This series revolves around 4 brothers (Princes) of the kingdom of Valdoria and each of them finding love. I found this series so charming! I loved all of the princes, and while yes, the writing was slightly cheesy at times, who doesn’t love a sweet and cheesy romance? I loved them all, and was grossly entertained, so that is reflected in their ratings. I think my very favorite was The Captivating Prince.
The Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
This is a YA Fantasy/Dystopian about a girl named Mare Barrow. Mare lives in a world where everyone is divided in classes by blood– Red or Silver. Silver are elite and rule. They also have special powers. Red are the commoners, and Mare is among them. When Mare finds herself working in the Silver palace, she unintentionally discovers that while she is Red-blooded, she possesses a power of her own. Fearful of her power, the Silver’s hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver Princess, now engaged to a Silver Prince. While struggling to find her new place, Mare secretly starts helping an underground Red Resistance, The Red Guard to try and take down the Silver Regime.
This series started off VERY strong for me. I loved the first book, and gave it 4 STARS. However, as I continued on, I felt that each book got slightly more dry and less appealing until the last book, which I found I enjoyed slightly more than 2 & 3. Overall this was an average one for me. I could have used some better character building in the 2nd and 3rd book. One character in particular, I was disappointed in their storyline, and wished they would have had more of a redemption arc. Overall, I did enjoy the storyline for the most part, and definitely didn’t hate the series.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This series starts off with a girl named Lara Jean, who decides to finally put her long-standing crush on the boy next door, Josh (also her older sisters bf) to rest. When Lara Jean gets over someone, she writes them a love letter, puts it in a box, and doesn’t revisit the feelings again. Lara Jean has written 5 such letters. One day her letters go missing, and slowly each of the boys she had written to, start showing back up in a big way in her story, having received her love letter. Obviously chaos ensues.
I really enjoyed this series. I loved the journey of growth as we went along this story with Lara Jean. The last book was my absolute favorite of the series. Such a cute and fun YA Contemporary Romance series.
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
I really enjoyed this series. This is a series about a girl named Kestrel, who buys a slave at auction named Arin on an impulse. Slowly starts to fall in love with him, but must keep it a secret. Arin also has secrets he is hiding, and truths that might be more than Kestrel bargained for.
The first book immediately pulled me in and kept me captivated all the way through the last book. The second book did have a hot minute where it felt slightly slow, but for the most part, these books kept me on the edge of my seat of what was going to happen. I really enjoyed the romance in this series as well.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow, a Red (the lowest caste in a future society), lives underground and works hard all day believing that he and his people are making it possible for Mars to be livable for future generations. Until one day when he discovers that his people have been betrayed and enslaved. Humanity had actually found life on the surface of Mars generations ago. Inspired by a longing for justice, especially for his lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything. Joining forces with a resistance, Darrow must infiltrate The Institute, a proving ground of sorts for the dominant Gold caste’s coming generation. A place where they fight for power and prove their worth. In order to do so, Darrow not only has to compete for his life and the very future of civilization, but he must become one of them to do so.
I highly enjoyed the first book in this series. And that being said, I did enjoy the story of the entire series, but I struggled with Browns writing style. I feel it was very heavy and wordy. Things were said in such round-about and heavily worded ways, that sometimes I had to read them over and over to understand what Brown was trying to get across. For this reason, it took me FOREVER to read books 2 & 3. In these situations I try to tap into audiobook to see if that can speed things up for me, or up my comprehension. Normally this works, but in this case, the accents were so heavy that I still struggled.
Overall, these are fantastic high fantasy/sci-fi. I just struggled with some of the writing style.
Folk of the Air by Holly Black
I did write reviews on the first two books in this trilogy, and you can find them here and here.
Since I didn’t write a review on the 3rd book, I thought I would include this one.
This is the story of Jude Duarte. She was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the far despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
This was one of my favorite series of the entire year. These books are packed with political intrigue, angst, action and trickery. I love the MC’s Jude and Cardan. Both are feisty and fierce. I also really love Madoc and the relationship between him and Jude. I found their relationship to be my favorite of the series. The only negative things I can say about these books are…
1) They are much too short for my liking and…
2) I really don’t like Jude’s twin sister Taryn. She drives me absolutely insane.
Other than that, I highly recommend a read if you love YA fantasy with fae.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price … Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
This is another Fae series for all the fantasy lovers out there. This one is much more heavy on the romance, but has quite a fair amount of action as well. I was recommended this series about a THOUSAND times, so I knew I had to pick it up. While I truly do love this series, and story, be forewarned… this series is NOT YA! It is marketed as YA, but is most definitely NA.
So I am generally not a huge fan of super descriptive sex scenes in books. I am a fan of angsty sizzling romance, and don’t mind non descriptive or fade to black sex scenes or even sexual situations in books, but I don’t necessarily enjoy the detailed stuff. I feel that these kinds of scenes can sometimes actually take me out of a story I was otherwise enjoying. The ACOTAR books have quite a lot of sex scenes that are heavy on the detail, which shocked me for being marketed as YA. This is the only reason I bumped them all down a star in their rating.
Otherwise, these books get all the praise! I love the storyline through all of the books. The characters come to life off of the page, and the story is gripping. I also really enjoyed the novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight. I believe it is supposed to act as a bridge between the original trilogy, and the new books that are coming. I am genuinely excited for more books from this series in the future. I would love to see some of the other characters getting their own storyline in more detail.