Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

28449207In a Nutshell:  Lazlo Strange aka Strange the Dreamer, was an orphan (foundling) raised by monks. He grew up to be a librarian happily living 24/7 within his books. When opportunity comes knocking, he takes the chance for a real adventure – to come to a place with a forgotten name, and a mysterious past.

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Read this if… you are okay with heavy world-building and weird and hard to pronounce (and remember) names, places and terminologies. If you have read something of Laini Taylor’s, this one’s another testament of her excellence. But if you’re a newbie to her writing style, I’d recommend starting with Daughter of Smoke and Bones series. This one’s maybe not the place to start. Also, as a warning, if you feel bored at the beginning, do NOT let that stop you. I promise you, it gets better. Oh and have I mentioned how good Taylor does romance? She slowly pulls you in until you have no idea how invested and sucked in you are.

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

“The trouble with denial is that when the truth comes, you aren’t ready.”

28243032In a Nutshell:  Marin ran away from home after something tragic happens in her life. She ran and never look back. Until Mabel, her long time friend, catches up to her and spends a few days with her. The entire story revolves around this visit and how they both dance around until they finally acknowledge the elephant in the room.

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Read this if… you like an emotion-driven, rather than plot-driven, read. There’s not much going on plot-wise, as the entirety of the book just paints grief, and how it affects a person. If you’re up to that melodrama, then this book’s for you. Though if you’re someone who has undergone depression or knows a loved one who did, maybe think twice so as not to open old wounds?

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City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

“If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.”

33956433In a Nutshell:  We follow Tina (aka Tiny Girl), an orphaned girl from Congo, who runs around with a gang of thieves. As one of the heists takes her back to the place where her mother was murdered, we soon find out that theft is not the only thing on her mind. Hell-bent on getting dirt on her mother’s murderer, she soon finds out more than what she asked for.

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Read this if… you enjoy reading about a female protagonist, with a talent for theft and a splash of vengeance on the side, a whole lot of fast-paced action and mystery and just a teeny tiny drop of romance. More than the revenge, I think this was a beautiful story of appreciation, love, friendship and inner peace.

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Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick

“Get used to the gossip, darling. Get used to walking into a room and having everyone in it whisper that you don’t belong. Get used to it, but don’t let those whispers defeat you. Strike back when they strike you. Don’t be weak.”

28678119In a Nutshell:
 Orphaned girl Ella Harper has to work multiple jobs just to survive – one of which includes stripping in a shady bar. We get the typical rags-to-riches story as she finds out her dead biological father left her in the care of his multi-millionaire best friend, who willingly takes her in. We follow her adventures as she tries to navigate the lives of the elite, and her raging teenage hormones.

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Read this if… you are no longer a minor.  This has so many trigger warnings (drugs, rape, abuse, etc.) that I strongly feel that this should not be listed as a YA – I don’t care if the lead character is a young adult, the themes and the writing style is not fit for a young adult. So, if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure and don’t mind cliches, then maybe go ahead? But if you’re all for women empowerment, you’re just wasting your time. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

“Sometimes our lives can change so fast that the change outpaces our minds and hearts. It’s those times, I think, when our lives have altered but we still long for the time before everything was altered – that is when we feel the greatest pain. I can tell you, though, from experience, you grow accustomed to it. You learns to live your new life, and you can’t imagine, or even really remember, how things were before.”

7171637In a Nutshell:  Tessa Gray arrives in London expecting to reunite with her older brother, after the death of her aunt. She soon finds herself on the run from two witches (and an entire cult) who seems to believe she has some secret power and threatens to torture her brother if she does not cooperate. She seeks solace from Shadowhunters, nephilims sworn to protect the humans from demonic creatures.

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Read this if… you enjoyed The Mortal Instruments (TMI) – same world different country, same characters but different names. But even if you didn’t enjoy that series, give this a shot. I didn’t like TMI either, but I enjoyed this one so much and I don’t regret giving it a shot.

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In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce

“I dub thee Sir Alan, Knight of the Realm of Tortall. Serve honorably and well.”

8248438In a Nutshell:  Alanna grows up and soon, she’s  ready to take the Ordeal and fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. But keeping her true gender a secret becomes a bit harder as she grows up. No matter how much she denies it, she IS a woman and she experiences and feels things any woman experiences and feels. Add to that, someone seems to want her dead.

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Read this if… you like to see Alanna’s character progression. I like female characters who’d rather pick up the sword and fight. But most especially, I adored Alanna when she starts to embrace her femininity. As I see nothing wrong with a female who fights, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a female who likes dresses and makeup. And Alanna, being both is what makes her a great character.

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Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight – Thom’ll be a sorcerer.”

8248439In a Nutshell:  Alanna is being sent out to the convent to be a sorceress, while her twin brother is being sent to the palace to be a knight. Only problem is, she’d rather be a knight and he’d rather study magic. The twins switch places and Alanna pretends to be Alan and starts her training to be a knight.

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Read this if… you like Arya from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Alanna is like Arya in so many ways. Add to that, she has magical powers and can actually heal.

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