The Thickety: The Whispering Trees by J.A. White

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The second book of The Thickety series finds Kara and her brother, Taff, fleeing from the town they once called home. As their father is possessed by the evil spirit of the town’s former leader, Kara searches for a way to free her father and return her home to peace. Racing through the Thickety, Kara and Taff must also flee the forest demon, Sordyr, who is intent on using Kara’s power for his own gain. Along the way, the two rely on a perceived enemy, hoping that she is, in fact, a friend. Kara must escape the Thickety and somehow formulate a plan to save her father, before she is trapped in Sordyr’s home forever.

I read the first book in this series, so I was excited to read this one. It was really good! I liked that basically the whole book is Kara’s struggle to get through the Thickety, and the story ends on a great cliffhanger. I also enjoyed that a major character in the book is Mary Kettle, the evil witch from the stories Taff used to hear back in their town. There’s some pretty cool twists and turns as well! Definitely give this one a try if you liked the first book.

Rating: 4/5

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

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The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Sold in marriage to a foreign kingdom for the sake of a peace alliance, Lia, Princess of Morrighan, decides to take her fate into her own hands. Rather than marry her chosen prince, Lia conspires with a castle maid, and the two flee the kingdom the very day Lia was supposed to be married. However, though Lia believes she has escaped court life, her path is nowhere near as simple and freeing as she hoped. Pursued by both an assassin and the prince she jilted, Lia must come to terms with the past she thought she left behind, and the future she must forge.

Meh, this book was just ok. I really, really liked the set-up — a princess who bolts because she doesn’t want to get married to a random prince? Yes. But, once the escaping is done, the plot slows to a crawl. Things pick up by then end, but, by that point, the damage was done. If you’re a huge fantasy fan, give this one a try, but be patient. Maybe the next one will be better.

*Lonestar, 2015

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

 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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The final Infernal Devices installment finds the Shadowhunters of the London Institute once again up against the automaton forces of Mortmain. This time, Mortmain is closer than ever to achieving his demonic plans, for he finally has Tessa in his grasp. While Jem and Will scramble to rescue Tessa from her kidnapper, Charlotte struggles to keep control of the Institute. What follows are simultaneous races against time: Jem’s against his mounting addiction, Will’s mad search for Tessa, and Charlotte’s battle of wits and reason with the Consul. In this epic finale, the Shadowhunters must prevail, or face annihilation.

Wow! What an ending! I’ve always liked this series because it is part Shadowhunters and part historical fiction, and the ending really wraps everything up nicely. I especially liked how this book picked up speed right away and never slowed down. If you loved the Mortal Instruments series, make sure to give this one a try — but I don’t advise reading this one first. For thoughts about my feelings on the love triangle ending, check out the full analysis ;-).

Rating: 4.5/5

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

 

Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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After freeing the fairy courts from Amarantha’s grasp, Feyre returns to the Spring Court to become Tamlin’s bride. But her life is far from the perfect “fairy tale” she may have expect. Tamlin remains distant after his ordeal Under the Mountain, and his fierce protectiveness of Feyre borders on suffocation. Feeding Tamlin’s paranoia is Feyre’s standing bargain with Rhysand of the Night Court. Required to spend two weeks of each month in Rhysand’s court, Feyre must periodically leave the safety of the Spring Court for what she believes will be darkness, torture, and shame — a mirror of her time with Amarantha. But, to Feyre’s surprise, the Night Court is far different than its reputation, just as the Spring Court fails to provide her with the love and warmth she expects. Soon, Feyre must make a choice regarding the two courts, one that may very well change the future of the realm forever.

In the second book of Court of Thorns and Roses, Maas continues her tradition of writing a book that takes FOREVER to get going, but, once it does, it’s awesome. Seriously, this book is far too long (like 200 pages too long), but the extra length is pretty much worth it in the end. The relationships really surprised me, and I was very excited at some of the plot twists. Definitely ready for the next book! Be warned, though, that this book is VERY adult. You may want to skip over some parts if you’re not a fan of more explicit material (more details in the analysis).

Rating: 4.5/5

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

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

 

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The second book of the Infernal Devices series finds Tessa struggling with the betrayal of her brother, Nate. Aside from being unsure of her supernatural heritage, Tessa must now confront the fact that she has lost her remaining blood family. Luckily, Charlotte and the London Shadowhunters will not turn their backs on her. Their support may be moot, however, as Charlotte inches ever-closer to losing the London institute forever. The Enclave, with the urgence of Benedict Lightwood, tasks Charlotte with finding the Magister within two weeks. If she fails, she will be deemed unfit to run the Institute. Once more, Tessa and the Shadowhunters must ban together to solve the deadly mystery of the Magister and his automatons, all while fighting the betrayal that lurks within their ranks.

Though this one wasn’t quite as good as the first in the series, it’s still really good. We find the answers to some burning questions in book one, and the Jessa/Wessa dilemma is in full swing (for more of my thoughts on this, see the spoiler page). This one also has a super-satisfying payback scene, as well, so look forward to that. Also look forward (maybe) to yet another cliffhanger and a ton of romantic drama!

Rating: 4/5

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

 

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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In the second book of the Peregrine series, Jacob has eschewed his once-normal life in favor of helping the peculiar children attempt to save both Miss Peregrine (who is trapped in bird form) and their world. As Hollows abound, the children find out that the Ymbrynes in other loops have been taken captive, and peculiar children are similarly being kidnapped or murdered. As Miss Peregrine is trapped in her bird form, Jacob and the other children must find the last free Ymbryne in hopes that she can help Ms. P turn back into her true form. Along their journey, the children find new loops and peculiars, all while narrowly avoiding Hollows and Wights. They must find the last safe loop and bring Ms. P back to herself, or risk losing the peculiar world forever.

This book had a crazy awesome beginning and an even better ending — the middle, not so much. But, as meh as the middle was, the end was totally worth it. There’s a serious cliff-hanger that’s making me reach for the next book … now. As with the first book, I just can’t get on board the Emma/Jacob ship. Just can’t. Too weird. But, if that doesn’t bother you, you’ll enjoy getting to read their story. If you liked the first book at all, give this one a try. The ending makes everything worth it!

Rating: 3.5/5

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

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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This prequel to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series finds ancestral Shadowhunters grappling with the dawn of a new age. Though accords have been struck, tension still rifles between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. Tessa, who previously believed she was nothing but a normal teenage girl living in 19th century America, receives a letter from her brother, Nathan, asking her to relocate to London. However, Tessa soon finds that the letter was a ruse to get her to England, and that dark forces have plans for her. Kidnapped and tortured into using a power she didn’t even know she had, Tessa must trust the Shadowhunters of the London Institute to help her find her brother and escape the warlocks. As with most dire circumstances of Clare’s making, things are not quite what they seem, and soon Tessa and the Shadowhunters are wrapped up in a deadly cat and mouse game, all struggling to save the London Institute and keep demons at bay.

Historical fiction + Shadowhunters = awesome. If you’re not normally a fan of historical fiction, don’t turn your nose up right away. This book reads more like a fantasy series that happens to be set in 19th century London than it does a traditional history piece. There’s also some really cool steampunk mixed in. While I did feel that Clare hardcore reused some characters (Will = Jace), the book had some exciting, juicy plots, romance, and intrigue. I’m really looking forward to reading what’s next. If you haven’t read the Mortal Instruments series, I recommend starting there. Clare doesn’t do a lot of background information about the Shadowhunter world. BUT, it wouldn’t be impossible to start with this series if you prefer to read prequels first.

*VOYA Perfect 10, 2010

Rating: 4.5/5

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