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Review, Young Adult / July 12, 2016
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee AhdiehThe Rose & the Dagger
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath & the Dawn #2
Publisher: Penguin
Date: April 2016
416 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

This review will have spoilers for the first book in the series, The Wrath & the Dawn, so if you haven’t read it yet then stop here!

The Wrath and the Dawn was one of my favorite books of 2015 and so I had been eagerly awaiting its conclusion for a year. Things started out really good, characterizations were consistent and the language and descriptions as beautiful as ever. I enjoyed both Shahrzad’s story at the camp as well as Khalid’s experiences at the palace, especially his relationship with Jalal. Unfortunately once the story started moving the plot felt glossed over and resolutions came too conveniently.

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By: Diane
Adult, Review / June 21, 2016
Radiance by Grace DravenRadiance
Author: Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date: January 2015
296 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

“You might have a face to turn my hair white, but your honesty is handsome.”

Radiance starts out pretty strong. The characters were emotionally mature and charming.
Their first meeting actually managed to have some swoon, despite the fact that they found each other  physically repulsive. Their reasonable temperaments and lack of self pity or wallowing over their situation was refreshing. I was pretty sure I was going to love this. However as the story goes on, though we are told the stakes are high and much is made out of the awkwardness that comes when these two cultures blend,  there didn’t seem to be enough momentum or actual plot. I never believed in the urgency or lack of safety.

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By: Diane
Review, Teenage Musings, Young Adult / July 29, 2013

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Reviewed by: Jack

The Giver is such a famous dystopian novel, I was really intrigued to see why. The title itself was quite intriguing, so I was looking forward to reading it when I picked it up at the library. I have to say that it took me longer than than usual to read such a short novel, but there was something about The Giver that was special, something that left me wanting more.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / July 22, 2013
Prep School Confidential by Kara TaylorPrep School Confidential
Author: Kara Taylor
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: July 2013
304 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary
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In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

I was immediately drawn to the premise of Prep School Confidential. I love ‘boarding school’ books and mysteries, so it seemed like a great fit! I’m pleased to say that this book is an entertaining mystery read, perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and Night School.

Anne Dowling, a true blue Upper East Sider, is banished to a prestigious boarding school near Boston after she accidentally sets her school on fire. At first determined to get through the year with her head down and be back in Manhattan as soon as possible, everything is turned upside down when her new roommate was murdered. The rest of the school is eerily quiet about the matter, so it’s up to Anne to investigate and find out the truth behind Isabella’s death.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / February 15, 2013
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret StohlBeautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Publisher: Penguin
Date: February 2010
576 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal
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Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. WhenLena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I’ll admit I’m a late adopter. I picked up Beautiful Creatures because of all the hype about the film and numerous references to it on my Twitter feed. It seemed like not having read it was a big minus to my YA street cred, so I rectified that immediately. That and I hate watching movies before I’ve read the book.

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By: Daphne