The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

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Ever since Lorelai used her magic against her stepmother in a failed attempt to save her family and her kingdom, she’s been running from the usurper queen, Irina. Irina, believing her stepdaughter to be dead, rules the kingdom with her ruthless magic, destroying the hearts of any and all whom she feels may bolster her own power. But, when Lorelai must use her magic in a desperate situation, Irina is alerted to her presence. Using the fate of a neighboring kingdom, Eldr, as leverage, Irina commands its young king, Kol, to find Lorelai and cut out her heart. Lorelai must sway Kol to her own cause and face the evil queen before she loses her kingdom forever.

This one was a pretty good read. Not as good as I thought it would be, but still good. I liked that “Snow White” in this story wasn’t just a weak princess who needed to wait for someone to come save her. I also enjoyed the evilness of the queen, and the little bit of backstory we got illustrating why someone becomes so malevolent. That said, I feel like this book could have been much more polished and put together. There’s a lot of potential here, but it didn’t quite live up to it. Also, the book is quite similar to the T.V. series Once Upon a Time. Coincidence? You decide.

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

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Zoe and Olivia have been friends since they can remember. They’ve done everything together, especially dance for an elite ballet company in Manhattan. But, one day, the girls are unexpectedly cut from the program and their lives are thrown off-kilter. Suddenly, their plans of adulthood are not as clear as they once were, and they are forced to redefine their life goals. On top of that, Zoe learns that Olivia is sick — leukemia sick — and the girls’ friendship is thrown yet another curve-ball. Somehow, Zoe and Olivia must deal with the fallout of the tragic events of their lives, finding a way to be happy.

So if you’re a fan of sad books about terminal illness (like Fault in Our Stars), this one might be a good pick for you. It features a wonderful, strong female friendship, but that’s about all I can say for it. It’s a sad read, but a shallow one. Great for if you want a mindless “beach read” — no so much if you’re looking for something with depth.

Rating: 2.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Kaz Brekker is a world-class thief who has made his name and fortune ruling the streets of Ketterdam. But his success is not enough. Kaz has revenge to exact on a rival gang lord — revenge that, if left unsettled, will drive Kaz to destruction. One day, Kaz and his crew of misfits skilled in illegal and deadly arts are offered a chance to pull off the heist of a lifetime. If they succeed in breaking into an impenetrable fortress and kidnapping a wanted prisoner, their riches are set for life and Kaz can accomplish his life’s goal. If they fail — they die.

Since I LOVED Shadow and Bone (Darkling, duh), I was excited to try out this new series. Of course, I was super disappointed in the lack of the Darkling, but I was happy to see an exciting new setting and some amazing characters. My only problems with this book are that it took some time to get going (but once it did, it was amazing!), and that there are few reminders of the Grisha world from the SB books. Since it had been so long since I read the first series, I’d forgotten a lot and it took some time to remember. Other than that, this is a great book! Definitely give it a try if you loved the Shadow and Bone series.

Rating: 4/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.