Top 10 YA Fantasy Books To Take To the Beach This Summer

There is nothing better than being able to lie out on the hot sand and bask in the sun while reading a gripping book whose world you get lost in.  With summer almost upon us and the height of vacation time approaching, I love getting lost in fantasy worlds.  I created this list for those of you, like me, that love to delve into epic worlds and go on mighty quests at the peak of  your relaxation.

1) The Darkest Minds by: Alexandra Bracken

Follow the Black Betty Crew in this trilogy as they try to help free kids with specail powers from the camps they were thrown into.  With a little bit of romance and nail-biting suspense, this book is sure to have you hooked from the first page.

2) Snow Like Ashes by: Sara Raasch

While it may be the beginning of summer, you cn travel to all four seasons in this book!  The evil king of the kingdom of Spring attacked and enslaved thousands of people from the kingdom of Winter in his search for a legendary mine filled with powerful gems.  A group of Winter refugees must train and round-up more people to fight against the evil ruler of Spring.  The twist near the end of this book had me squealing and absolutely freaking out.

3) A Court of Thorns and Roses by: Sarah J Maas

High fae and faries and beasts oh my!  For lovers of Beauty and the Beast, this retelling is everything!  After unknowingly murdering a fairy, Feyre is taken from her home and forced to live in Velaris or die.  I loved getting to explore the Spring Court right along with Feyre.  Plus, who doesn’t like reading about incredibly sexy High Fae lol.

4) Lady Midnight by: Cassandra Clare

This book actually takes place near the beach!  In this epic new instalment in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters world, Emma Carstairs is set on vengeance for her parents deaths.  While there are some scenes on the beach, Emma is actually afraid of the water, but you’ll have to read this book to find out why.  This is one of Clare’s best works to date!

5) The Falconer by: Elizabeth May

Set in 1844 in a steampunk version of Scotland, Aileana is the picturesque lady that all the suitors are courting.  But things aren’t always what they seem, for Aileana is a murderer.  A year prior she watched her mother be slaughtered by fae and has trained and tracked this faerie to unleash her vengeance.  She is also the last in the line of Falconers which grants her powers that she will need to use as the world is in danger from the fae.  With epic fight scenes and a slow burn romance, this book will have you scrambling for the rest of the trilogy.

6) Shadow and Bone by: Leigh Bardugo

In a world plagued by darkness and war, Alina and her army regiment travel into the Fold, a pitch-black rip in the world filled with unimaginable monsters.  When their little band is attacked, and Alina tries to save her best friend Mal, she unleashes a dormant power that she knew nothing about.  She is the long prophesied Sun Summoner .  Alina is ripped from everything she knows and thrust into training at The royal court of the Darkling to hone her powers.  She soon discovers a truth that could rip the world in two.

7) The Girl from Everywhere by: Heidi Heijig

Where would you go if you could travel to any place or world if you only had a map of it?  Velaris? Narnia? Hogwarts?  Nix can do just this with her father and his ship.  They find so many crew mates and friends in their travels, but the end is drawing near.  For if Nix’s father finds the map of 1868 Honolulu it will mean the end of Nix forever.  With the salty ocean breeze blowing through your hair you can almost imagine you are sailing right alone with Nix and her father.

8) The Waterfall Traveler by: S.J. Lem

Don’t judge this book by it’s cover!  I already made that mistake for you lol.  All Ri wants is to find a cure the Sickness and heal her adoptive father.  What she doesn’t bargain for is getting swept away by a handsome fugitive through a waterfall and thrown into a dirty city ruled by an evil tyrant.  But that is the worst of Ri’s problems for a dark force is lurking in the depths waiting for the right moment to strike.  With its extensive world building and vast cast of characters this book will keep you hooked until the last page.  You can read my whole review here.

9) An Ember in the Ashes by: Sabaa Tahir

One a slave, one a soldier.  When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, she goes undercover in the Empire’s prestigious military academy to feed information back to the rebels.  She meets Elias, the school’s best student, yet most unwilling.  He just wants to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce.  As their lives entwine Laia and Elias realize that their decisions will affect the fate of the Empire itself.  Based on Rome, this book has epic fighting and a touch of fantasy elements that will get you lost in this hard-edged world.

10) The Raven Boys by: Maggie Stiefvater

Private school boys, psychics, a cursed kiss, and a quest to find a long-dead Welsh King.  What more could you want?  I may be a little biased as this book is by my ultimate favorite author, but it is one of the best to get sucked into while on vacation.  I just cannot get enough of this book and how fantastic the writing style is.  Set in the mountains of Virginia, we follow Blue and the Raven boys, better known as Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah.  Gansey has this crazy obsession with finding a dead Welsh king with the promise of a wish when he is awoken.  The ending of this book blew my mind!

Now go ahead and gather your books.  You may need a bigger bag to carry them all lol.  And don’t forget the sunscreen as you don’t want to get a burn if you end up laying out for hours on end because you just couldn’t put your book down!

The Waterfall Traveler **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: S.J. Lem | Published: April 19th, 2017 by Carpe Noctem Publishing | Series: The Waterfall Traveler #1 | Length: 439 Pages | Genre: YA Fantasy | Source: Netgalley

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  When I first saw this book, I thought it was going to be a simple middle-grade fantasy read.  Boy, was I wrong and dumb for not reading the synopsis lol.  Can you tell I just judged this book by its cover?

18-year-old Ri wants nothing more than to find the cure to the Sickness and heal her adoptive father, Samuel.  Two strangers appear in her village within hours of each other; one dark and mysterious and the other a charming fugitive.  When dangerous creatures appear she is whisked away by the former through a waterfall and tossed out across the sea to a city run by a oppressive tyrant.  She now not only has to face Samuel’s unlawful past, but a new threat has risked the lives of the men she has grown to care for in her journey.  Ri must gather her strength and fight for her life and those she loves.

Like I said before, I was totally not expecting this epic fantasy adventure.  I did find it a little slow at the beginning, but I think that was my mind trying to process that my expectation was way off.  once things really got moving they went fast and I found it so hard to put the book down and do adult things.  Who needs to sleep or work anyways?  I was so blown away by how well these characters were developed.  There was a large cast of characters, but they all were so well thought out and introduced.  It didn’t confuse me at all like a lot of other fantasy books I have read in the past that also have large casts.  This book had me feeling so many feelings that I almost couldn’t handle it.  I would be laughing one minute and then be sobbing uncontrollably the next.

If you are looking for a quick fantasy read, this is definitely the book for you.  I cannot say enough about this book, but I could seriously go on and on and on about this book.  I need to get a hard copy of this book for my personal library.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series comes out!  I’ll be impatiently waiting until that day comes!

Here Lies Daniel Tate **ARC Review** (Spoiler Free)

Author: Cristin Terrill | Published June 6th, 2017 By Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | Series: Standalone | Length: 400 Pages | Genre: YA Fiction, Thriller | Source: Yallfest | Rating: 5/5 Stars

I can remember almost having to fight tooth and nail in a free-for-all at Yallfest for this book.  This girl even tried to grab the copy right out of my hands lol.  I know got this book way back during November, but I wanted to wait until closer to the publication date to read and review it.  Now I’m seriously kicking myself for not having read this book sooner.  It was absolutely amazing, and I definitely did not see that ending coming.

The book opens to the main male character (we don’t know his real name) who just wants some shelter and a warm meal for the night.  He fake calls the cops who pick him up and take him to a shelter.  While at the shelter, he gets questioned as to who he is and where he’s from.  He devises a plan to get away that spirals out of control and leaves him living with one of the riches families in California.  Posing as a long-lost boy long enough to get out of the shelter and away from the nosey cops seems simple until the media catches wind of Daniel Tate’s return.  It’s a miracle. Except for one thing…

This book was a bit slow to begin with as we get to know the main character.  It could also be a bit confusing at times as he switches from present time to past memories a lot in the beginning.  Other than that this book was a fairly quick read as I never wanted to put it down.  I was a little nervous as I got closer to the end as I wasn’t sure how the author would end this book, but, holy crud, that ending though!  I never would’ve seen that coming in a million years.  After now having read the book I can see how I almost should’ve seen it coming with all the little hints posted throughout the story.  I also loved this cast of characters and getting to delve into their seemingly perfect world that isn’t what it cracks up to be.

I really cannot wait for you guys to get ahold of this book and read it for yourselves.  I need someone to rant to about it lol.  If you really like thrillers or books that leave you shocked, this book is definitely for you and you should preorder it today (Preorder link in case you’d like to do just that ;))  Thank you to Rivited and Simon & Schuster for Allowing my th opportunity to read and review this book!

Top 10 Mothers in YA

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
This is a tribute to all the moms in YA literature and all that they do for their childern.  As I was making this list I realized a lot of main characters do not have a mother, father, or any parents at all.  I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my supportive parents in my life.  Without further ado, here are the moms I want to talk about:

1) The Secret of a Heart Note by: Stacey Lee

Mimosa’s mother isn’t always right there by her side, but you can tell that she absolutely loves her daughter and wants to protect her from things that will hurt her.  She can be a bit nitpicky at times, but she is really trying to keep Mim’s best interest at heart.

2) City of Bones by: Cassandra Clare

Watch me try to dodge spoilers on this one lol.  Yes, I know Clary’s mom isn’t really there all the time, but she still has a huge impact on Clary.  She really just wants to shield her daughter from the horrors that she faced in her past.  Also Clary has a really strong bond with her as she was only raised by her mother.  Heres to the strong single moms out there!

3) Immaculate by: Katelyn Detweiler

Some of you may not have heard of this book before as it didn’t get much hype when it came out. But none the less Mrs. Is an amazing mother.  When she finds out that her teenage daughter is pregnant, she doesn’t freak out but rather stands by her daughter and believes what she tells her.  That’s a very supportive mother right there!

4) Divergent by: Veronica Roth

This one is very sad, but I won’t say too much so to avoid spoilers again.  Sometimes mothers will literally give their all to make sure that their children are safe.  Moment of silence for those mothers lost.

5) Passenger by: Alexandra Bracken

I couldn’t make this list and not mention Etta’s mother. Rose isn’t the best of mothers, but you can really see where Etta get her determination and wit from.  Too many spoilers to dodge so I’m just gonna be quite now lol.

6) Hush Hush by: Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora’s mother Is another that isn’t always there, but she pretty much raised Nora on her own which has got to count for something.

7) Cinder by: Marissa Meyer

Now I definitely cannot say this about all stepmothers, but sometimes they can be bad.  I know a lot that really stepped up to the plate and loved their stepchildren like one of their own, but Cinder’s stepmother does not fit that bill.

8) Rot and Ruin by: Jonathan Maberry

This is yet another sad cirumstance.  Benny and Tom’s mother was so protective of her children htat she gave it all for them.  I can remember bawling my eyes out reading a certain scene that dealt with these boys mother.  If you’ve read this book then you know what scene I’m talking about and you can blubber along with me.

9) Marked by: P.C. Cast

This is a shoutout to all the grandmothers out there.  Zoey has one of the best grandmothers in YA that I have read about.  Grandma Redbird is so sweet and kind to Zoey and accepts her for who she truly is.  The world needs more grandmothers like her.

10) The Hunger Games by: Suzanne Collins

Last, but not least, we have Katniss and Primrose’s mother.  You may be asking me why I would put her on this list, but honestly there are so many mothers like this out there.  Ther are there in body, but not in mind and it causes their kids to have to grow up too soon to be able to care for themselves.  It makes me sad that this happens in real life, but they are still mothers even if they don’t do the greatest job at being one.

I had a lot of fun compiling this list for y’all!  I hope you had a great weekend and Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers and grndmothers out there!

April Wrap Up (2017)

I really failed this month :(.  I had so much going on and stress was running so high that I just didn’t feel like reading at all.  I’m so sick of not wanting to read when I have so many books that I have to read.  Here are the two books that I was able to get to this month:

1) Caraval by: Stephanie Garber 4/5 Stars

I read this book along with my old book club (long story short; it was created and then all the mods were kicked out, which included me, when the Admin freaked out on us.  It’s nothing we did, she just created a bunch of drama and kicked everyone out that didn’t pity her.)  Anyway, this was the only book we got to read together, and I liked it, but didn’t really love it.  I ended the book with more questions than with any book that I’ve ever read.  Hopefully, Stephanie will be able to answer some of those questions in the sequel to this book.

2) The Waterfall Traveler by: S.J. Lem 5/5 Stars

I got this eARC on Netgalley a little while ago, and I have no idea why I waited this long to read it.  This may sound cliché, but I totally judged this book by its cover, and I thought I was gonna step into a middle-grade fantasy world.  Boy, was I wrong.  I got tossed into this epic fantasy with deep characters and evil monsters lurking around every corner! Plus, who wouldn’t want to be able to travel through a waterfall (besides the getting wet obviously lol).  I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to dive (see what I did there ;)) into a very action packed adventure.  My review for this book will be up sometime this month.

I am wicked bummed that I didn’t get to more books this month, but I do understand why it happened this way.  I have currently broadened my horizons and have started listening to audiobooks, which in turn should help me with this reading funk I’ve got going on.  May is looking so promising for me getting back on track, but I’ll save that for the next wrap up :).

April Book Haul (2017)

So many books!  I’m so glad I got all of these books this month, but I know it will be short-lived as I’m going on a serious book buying ban so I can save money.  Anyways enough of the sad news, let’s get on with the books!

1) Blue Exorcist Vol. 6 by: Kazue Kato

This is , of course, the 6th installment in the Blue Exorcist manga series.  I’m slowly trying to collect this series as you will see as I’ll be getting a few here and there throughout the rest of the year.

2) Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 5 by: Sui Ishida

Again, this is the same case as with Blue Exorcist. I really would like to be caught up on buying the series, but it would break my book buying budget for the rest of the month.

3) Blacksouls by: Nicole Castroman

This is the sequel to Blackhearts, which is a back story to the famous pirate, Black Beard.  I’ve got to read this series as I was able to chat with Nicole and she said Teach is based on one of the characters in my favorite show, Poldark.

4) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Adapted by: Elizabeth Rudnick

I’ve got a crazy thing for pirates this month! I’m so excited for this movie to come out that I just needed to have this book to binge read before I see it.

5) Strange the Dreamer by: Laini Taylor

I’ve been so intrigued by this book as soon as I heard it was coming out.  I have yet to read Laini’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, but I did read Blackbringer, the first book in her Dreamdark series, and I absolutely loved it.  So if this book is anything similar to that I know I’ll love it.

6) The Upside of Unrequited by: Becky Albertelli

I got this book in my April Owlcrate and I couldn’t be any happier.  This book is one of my most anticipated reads for this year, and now I’m glad I can jump into it because I have it!

7) Riders by: Veronica Rossi

I don’t know too much about this book other than something happens to the main character and they become one of four horsemen of the apocalypse.  They had me at horse! I have Veronica’s other series, Under the Never Sky, but I have yet to read them so I’m not sure if I’ll like this book.  But, hey, horses :).

8, 9, & 10) Chains, Forge, & Ashes by: Laurie Halse Anderson

Way back in my high school years (like 4 years ago lol) I read the first 2 books in this series and absolutely loved them.  I’m a stickler for a good historical fiction, and this definitely fit the bill.  Since then, I kept thinking back to this series and wanting to get it for my own shelf.  It wasn’t until recently that I remembered this series and found that the third book had finally been released.  So, as you can see, I bought them.  If you like anything based around the American Revolution then you’ll definitely love this series.

11) Bloodlines by: Richelle Mead

I read Vampire Academy years ago, but I never really got the chance to read this series.  I couldn’t pass up getting the first book for $3.  I’ve heard some mixed things on this series, but also that it is better than her previous one.  I can’t wait to read it and form my own opinion on it!

12) Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by: Chris Cleave

I’ve really been in the mood for historical fiction lately, and I couldn’t pass up this book set in WWII London.  This book features little known history and a great love story inspired by his grandparent’s love letters.  I’m very excited to read this book, and get my historical fix on!

13) Luckiest Girl Alive by: Jessica Knoll

When Ani FaNelli gets publicly humiliated, she then tries to reinvent herself.  It may look like she has it all, but there is something that still haunts her from her past.  This book delves into the pressures of women to “have it all.”  But will speaking up destroy everything Ani has worked so hard to change?  I got this book super cheap.  Hopefully it’ll be good!

14) My Last Continent by: Midge Raymond

All I know about this book is it’s about two scientists that fall in love while on a trip in Antarctica.  They end up playing tour guide, but the guy never shows up to board the ship before it leaves.  While out on the frigid waters they hear a distress signal come over the radio and as the girl goes from researcher to rescuer, she discovers that the guy is on board the sinking ship.  I thought it sounded really interesting and like a heart-pounding thriller.

15) Go Set a Watchman by: Harper Lee

I read To Kill A Mockingbird back in high school.  I can remember liking the book but I don’t really remember too much about it.  When I found the sequel for sale for only $4 I knew I had to snatch it up.  I may buy the first book and then read them both.

16 & 17) Undertow & Raging Sea by: Michael Buckley

I picked up this series due to it’s covers.  They look very post apocalyptic and dystopian like.  I haven’t read a book like that in a while so I thought why not.  I do know that the main character is named Lyric which I thought was pretty neat.

18, 19, & 20) The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, & The Fatal Tree by: Stephen R. Lawhead

Back this past fall I house sat for some friends of my family.  While there they said I had access to their bookshelves and could borrow/read any books I wanted while I was there.  As I perused their shelves I saw this series and it caught my eye, but I didn’t have enough time to actually read it so I’ve been slowly collecting them ever since.  I’ll probably start them some time around the winter when I’m in the mood for a good fantasy series.

21) Mosquitoland by: David Arnold

I so badly want to bring this book with me on vacation this summer because it’s about a girl who is traveling across the country back to her mother.  She encounters many new people and learns more about herself.  It just has that perfect road trip read vibe going on.

22) The Lightning Queen by: Laura Resau

Due to my want to read more about different cultures and characters I bought this book.  This book takes place in rural Mexico where eleven year-old Teo and Esme, the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, team together to overcome obstacles like death.  This story is inspired by true stories from rural Mexico and highlights two marginalized cultures–the Romani and the Mixteco indians.

23) Nevermore by: James Patterson

I have been a huge fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series for the longest time, but I read them in ebook form so I didn’t have the physical copies.  I’m hoping to get them all in hardcover in matching editions, but we’ll see about that.  This is the last book in that series so I won’t say too much more about it so I don’t give away any spoilers.

24) Echo by: Pam Munoz Ryan

I know next to nothing about this book.  I got it really cheap at a book sale and really liked the cover.  It also has won the Newbery Honor award so it must be good, right?

Holy crud!  I can’t believe that I got that many books last month!  To my credit, I got a bunch for $2-5 at a large book sale so I didn’t spend too much for all of these.  And like I said earlier, my book buying is soon to go down quite a bit with my new budget constrictions, so I won’t have as many books to haul in the coming months.