Category Archives: Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Read

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Genre

This week’s theme was really hard for me, and if I weren’t already making an effort to read more broadly, this would be a serious kick in the pants for me! I had to cheat a lot with this list, and most of my “atypical” genres aren’t really all that atypical – most of them are just romance sub-genres I tend to avoid. That being said, most of the ways I want to expand my reading focus on exploring different cultures and perspectives rather than genres, and I’m okay with that, at least for now. So with that out of the way, here are my top ten!

Young Adult

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Science Fiction is one genre that I feel like I should love, but I can rarely get into. I definitely did not have that problem with Illuminae. The fascinating format and action-packed plot kept me racing through the story and I finished it in a couple sittings!

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – I’ve reviewed both this book and it’s sequel, so you may have seen them on here before. It’s genre-nonconformity makes this series hard to describe to others, and I was initially hesitant to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – I can be a little wary of YA Contemporary, but more than that, I almost never read books from the perspective of one male main character. This is definitely something I’d like to change!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored this book, and retellings/YA romance aren’t exactly a stretch for me. I’m including this one because it’s also a more diverse YA novel, taking place in historical Persia and having been written by a woman with a mixed-race heritage. We absolutely need more diverse perspectives!

Adult

Venetia  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)  A Spear of Summer Grass  Silver Lining

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – I usually shy away from purely historical romances, despite being a lover of Jane Austen. This is largely because I often run into historically accurate context (like discrimination and xenophobia) that detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I didn’t encounter that in Venetia, though it does crop up occasionally in other Heyer novels.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Here’s another Sci Fi! Just like I mentioned with Illuminae, this one was seriously action-packed, and it sucked me into the story.

Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye – This novella was my first M/M romance, and I loved it 🙂 I was already a big fan of Kaye’s work, so I was more than willing to step out of my box for this one. It’s a good thing, too, because I discovered a new sub-genre to enjoy!

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn – Here’s another Historical Romance. This one did have a couple cringe-worthy historical scenarios, but the African setting was vibrant and engaging, and the story was fascinating.

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne – I have to admit, I only picked this American western historical romance up because it was a book club pick. I won’t be reaching out for the genre again any time soon, but I can say that Silver Lining made me laugh, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Top of my TBR

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For my tenth pick, I’m going with another diverse book that’s on the top of my TBR pile! This is a YA Fantasy taking place in Nigeria, and the blerb sounds fantastic 😀

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Which books shook things up for you? Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

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Series Review: Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)  Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”

“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”

Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.

Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.

I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!

My Weekend Read

I’ve been in a general reading slump for the past couple weeks, but despite that, my weekend reading has actually been going really well! For the last two weekends, I’ve picked a book on Friday with the goal of reading it cover-to-cover over the weekend (because who doesn’t need one more excuse to read instead of study?)

Since this has worked out really well for me, I figured why not post about it? It also seems like a great way to get recommendations if you guys join in the fun! So keeping that in mind, here are the things I’m going to include in the post (and the things I’d love to know from those of you who also have weekend reads):

  • Which book is your weekend read?
  • What is the first sentence or synopsis?
  • Where did you first hear about it?/What convinced you to pick it up?
  • What format will you be reading in (hardcover, paperback, e-reader)?

Or you could go the TLDR route and just share what you’re currently reading 🙂

If you write up your own post, please just include a link back to Amorous Reads, and leave a link in the comments here so that others can find your post, too. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know what you’re reading 😀

I’ll be posting occasional updates on my instagram and twitter accounts  (@amorousreads), so feel free to check in there, too!

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Now that the logistics are out of the way, here’s my first official weekend read:

These Shallow Graves
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

The first few sentences:

Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.

“This is the one you’re after. Kinch,” Flynn, the gravedigger, said, pointing at the name painted on the cross. “He died on Tuesday.”

I first saw this book on another blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday post last autumn – I wish I could remember which blog. The cover immediately caught my eye, and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews since then, so I’m really excited to be giving it a go. I was lucky enough to find a used hardcover copy in pristine condition at my local bookstore, so that’s the one I’ll be reading.

What is your weekend read? I am always in need of recommendations, after all 😉

Minute Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories, Book 1)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

The room had vanished, its walls replaced entirely by arching trees; the ceiling, a sky overhead which shimmered with the light of stars and the moon. The trees rustled in response to a conjured breeze, which carried with it hints of jasmine and the pleasant, spicy scent of loam.

This is a sweet, quick romance, full of the imagery of a Regency English countryside, and I really enjoyed it. The hint of fantasy added a flair to the usual Austen-esque themes without turning it into a full-fledged fantasy novel.

Recommendation: Read this if you are intrigued by the idea of Regency romance with a touch of fantasy, or if you’re curious about the artistic possibilities of folding glamours.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Surviving Seattle Rain

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books for Surviving Seattle Rain

This week’s theme is a general freebie, so I decided to go with one that is meaningful to me. While the internet has been bombarding me with posts about the American East Coast’s epic blizzard, I’ve been getting drenched each time I set foot outside (dog walks and uncovered bus stops certainly don’t help). This is about the time of year when the constant wet really wears me down. Thank goodness for good books that help us survive the winter.

Without further ado, if you can’t beat it, join it!

Books to BEAT the rain:

No matter the genre, these books will take you to a place where winter rain isn’t even a blip on the radar.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Uprooted  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Venetia

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – For fans of YA contemporary romance – This one features a sunny, pan-American road trip.

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – For fans of quirky urban fantasies- The Heartstrikers series will suck you in with its post-magical-invasion-Detroit setting and amazing cast of characters.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – For fans of fantasy and/or fairy tales – A vivid fantasy featuring a seemingly unstoppable corrupted wood.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – For fans of fast-paced science fiction – This is the start to a really approachable sci fi trilogy with a bit of fantasy on the side.

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – For fans of Regency romances – This one is set in a sunny countryside and is generally lighthearted and goofy.

Books to JOIN the rain:

If you just can’t seem to ignore the rain, these are great books for embracing the foul weather. You can read all about crazy antics in gloomy worlds from the comfort of your own chair, blanket, and hot beverage of your choice.

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)  Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey, #1)  A Natural History of Dragons (Memoir by Lady Trent, #1)  Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)  Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)

Sanctum by Sarah Fine – For fans of YA paranormal/fantasy – This fast-paced trilogy is set in a dark, vivid world – no rain, but LOTS of grey.

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn -For fans of Victorian mysteries with a side of romance – This is a fun, quirky murder mystery set in rainy Victorian London.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan – For fans of historical sci fi/fantasy – As a fictional memoir by the world’s leading dragon naturalist, there are plenty of muddy, wet adventures to be had in this one.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – For fans of YA paranormal/fantasy – The dark, mysterious setting of Prague is, hands down, my favorite part of this trilogy.

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett – For fans of period romance – This is the first book in a paranormal series set in rainy-but-vibrant Roaring Twenties San Francisco.

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What books do you read when the weather gets you down? Link you own TTT in the comments so I can check out your freebie theme!

Minute Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron (Heartstrikers, Book 2)
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This isn’t a game, you know.”

“Of course it’s a game,” the seer said, walking back over to the couch where Marci was standing over Amelia. “Everything’s a game, Julius. It has to be. Life is whimsical, random, and cruel, but a game is something you can win.”

This is a great second in series! It was longer, but read very quickly, and everything was explored in more depth: the characters and relationships, world building, and the magic system. The end result was a great story that had me falling in love with the series even more, and I am dying for Book 3, which isn’t due to come out until the middle of this year.

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you should give this series a try starting with Book 1 (Nice Dragons Finish Last). It’s dragons instead of magicians, but the vivid story and amazing character dynamics remind me so much of when I read HP for the first time.

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, Book 2)
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
(Spoiler Free!)

“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!”

Celaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. “No, there aren’t,” she said. “Because I’m here now.”

I am so overwhelmed by this book! I don’t know if it’s because this is part of a series and not a trilogy, or if it’s just due to Maas’s wonderful storytelling, but Crown of Midnight doesn’t have even a single trace of Middle Book Syndrome. Even though the story achieves everything that a middle book must fight to achieve (world building, character building, and plot advancement without an actual finale), this doesn’t read like filler–it reads like an essential and exciting part of the journey.

Here are some of the aspects that I loved: getting to witness Celaena as an assassin, SO much more action than in Book 1 (TOG), the explosion of culture building, learning about Celaena’s backstory, getting to know Chaol (though I STILL have no idea how to pronounce his name), and more unveiling of the king’s evil plots. And when The Horrible Thing happened, it completely sucker punched me, even though I knew it was coming. I actually had to put the book down for a day before picking it up again and racing through the rest of the story.

The one element I could have done without was the romance-related anxiety of the characters, specifically when it was not part of the main plot. To be extra clear, I’m NOT talking about the main romantic developments of the story, just the side stuff! While this story somehow avoids having a blatant triangle, there are several moments of internally expressed jealousy and/or heartache on the side. There is so much amazing plot happening here (both romantic and otherwise) that I found those moments distracting. They pulled me out of the badass fantasy and made me sad for all of these characters that I love.

As it is, though, I don’t expect this to go away any time soon, so I’m trying to cope by sticking with the mantra from my review of TOG: I am team Celaena all the way! Regardless of any romantic ties Mass makes and breaks along the way, this is Celaena’s story, and I’m just going to keep rooting for her to come out on top!

As I’ve said, this is an excellent sequel, and many others have said they liked it even better than TOG. I love this series on the whole, and I can’t wait to pick up Heir of Fire to see where Celaena will go from here 😀