Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Published by: Delacorte Press
Publication date: June 28, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
Lada is described as a princess, but is so far from the literary and historical idea that this book caught me off guard. She’s also based of off Vlad the Impaler, who the author describes as this: “Vlad the Impaler was a national hero, a freedom fighter, a brilliant military mind. Or he was a deeply disturbed psycho-path, a vicious despot who murdered tens of thousands and literally sustained himself on their flesh.”
Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publication date: September 13, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
Sharon Cameron wrote Rook, which was one of my favorite books in 2015. Naturally, when I saw The Forgetting on the shelf at the library, I snatched it up. Cameron knows how to write a suspenseful story and a timely romance. I like that she takes her time with the romances in her books; it makes them more realistic. Her books also keep you guessing about character motives and trustworthiness.
Title: Heir To The Sky
Author: Amanda Sun
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: April 26, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.
When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.
You guys, writing is hard! Especially when writing a YA book and coming up with an original theme with original characters in a saturated market. This has been my mindset lately, and I’ve been less inclined to try new authors or stories because…writing’s hard! It was with this reluctance and sense of duty that I picked up Heir To The Sky. Monsters, mechanical islands, girls falling from the sky – there’s potential here. It’s a sweet story. I thought the romance was sweet, and the hero was sweet, and Kali just wants to save her people. And I thought it was sweet that the book seems to be a stand-alone. Nothings graphic and it’s very clean. If you’re looking for sweetness, and a quick fantasy read with little depth, pick this one up.
My reading list was smaller this year, and I fell behind on reviewing several of my favorites. Several on this list are mini reviews because I never got around to a blog post about them. I also read a lot of sequels to books I read in 2015, which I enjoyed more than most of the other books I read. The last three books on my list this year are sequels to books from my Top Ten 2015 list. Below are my absolute favorites from 2016. Happy reading!
Rebel of the Sands
A gunslinger who turns out to be more than a really good shot. I have yet to officially review this one, but I liked the characters, and world building. There’s a bit of a trend for Middle Eastern mythology in YA fantasy right now. I like it. It’s interesting and fresh. There’s some violence and kissing, but mostly clean. Recommended for everyone 14 and up.
Walk on Earth a Stranger & Like a River Glorious
I love this series. I just finished Like a River Glorious and was not disappointed. The historical aspects of the books are educational, and Lee is an inspiration as the uncertain, but determined heroine.
The Falconer Series
Author: Elizabeth May
The Vanishing Throne
The Fallen Kingdom (Ex. Pub June 2017)
Published by: Chronicle Books LLC
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Romance
Amazon Summary for The Falconer
Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she's spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother. But when she learns she's a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated. The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller blends romance and action with steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
I’m minutes from finishing The Vanishing Throne, and I’m still reeling from Elizabeth May’s cliffhanger! It’s her thing. I was hoping this book wouldn’t end as abruptly as the first; it was only slightly better. Despite May’s less-than-appealing method for ending stories, she writes a really fun series.
Aileana is to fae as Buffy is to vampires—she slays them with super human strength and speed. And like Buffy, Aileana is inconspicuous in her role. A select few know of her gift while she attempts to protect humans from being consumed by faeries. Aileana is fueled by revenge for her mother’s death, but also by love for her friends. She feels responsible for the lives of all mankind, and carries the weight of their protection on her shoulders. But she’s not alone. Kiaran is Aileana’s trainer and partner against the fae, but he’s also an extremely powerful one himself with lots of secrets.
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.