Before you dive into the hottest summer releases coming out this season, I want to revisit books I’ve read during the first half of this year that you should bump to the top of your TBR pile. While some of these books were released this spring, others came out in 2016 or 2017. They’ve made this list strictly because 1) I couldn’t put them down and 2) I read them between January-June of 2018. It’s so hard for me to pick my favorites, but I basically asked myself which books I read made me want to read other books like it. Because they were THAT FREAKING GOOD. So, without further ado…
CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters.
Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enmy.
First, this cover. If you cannot appreciate the beauty of this damn cover, you’re not human. I love the fierce gaze in the eyes, the wavy white hair, the midnight skin, and the vibrant splashes of red painted above a soft powder blue. I’m all about colors and covers, the two Cs that inevitably make or break my decision to impulse buy books. And this cover is to die for. Even better is the story, which was emotional…gripping….magical.
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I wish I could understand why it took me two attempts to get into ACOTAR, because on the third try I was hooked and couldn’t get enough. It speaks volumes when I am physical and mentally unable to let a book go. I fell in love with this series out of the blue, after a random decision to “give it another whirl.” And it was mostly the main character, Feyre, and the romantic subplot that had me begging for me.
A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
Prepare yourselves, folks. If I could rate the books of this series by the redness of my face while reading, color me FIRE-ENGINE. Between holding my breath, chewing the inside of my cheek, turning on the fan, and clinging to the edge of my seat, ACOMAF had me squirming at the turn of every page. Seriously. I’ve never felt my face so hot or been so drunk on a book.
THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I almost died reading The Cruel Prince. The love-hate trope was strong in this one, but damn. I could not pull myself from this book. I read it in a single sitting, unable to read quickly enough and I even forgot to eat two out of three meals. Hell, I didn’t even pee. The Cruel Prince stole me away to Faerie and I happily ate its food.
TIFFANY SLY LIVES HERE NOW by Dana L. Davis
I’ve got seven days to come clean to my new dad. Seven days to tell the truth…
For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.
Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.
But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks.
So. Many. Complicated. Feels. It’s rare that I enjoy a Contemporary YA so thoroughly, or find myself on the verge of tears, but Tiffany Sly had me on both accounts. For once, here is a YA that does not focus on romantic love or obsess over teenage angst. Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now explores the life of a teenage girl after the death of her mother, exposing the complexity of grief and the impact an anxiety disorder has on her. For once, here is a book that tackles religion (Jehovah’s Witness, to be exact), autonomy, mental health, and racism….all without forcing it between the lines on a page. Tiffany Sly is not shy about speaking up for herself or fighting for what she believes in, which makes her one of the best characters I’ve read this year.
SEA OF STRANGERS by Lang Leav
Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav picks up from her previous international bestselling books including Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, and The Universe of Us, and sets sail for a grand new adventure.
This completely original collection of poetry and prose will not only delight her avid fans but is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new audience. With the turn of every page, Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.
Lang Leav remains one of the most influential poets in my life, and I can’t remember how or when exactly I discovered her works. It’s as if her words existed in my life long before I knew them and one day, I turned a page to discover poetry that resonated with every inch of my existence. Sea of Strangers is not my favorite collection of hers, but reading through it resurfaced old memories, feelings, pieces of connections buried deep.
And it stirred them back to life.