The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law by Brandon SandersonThe Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Gollancz on November 10th 2011
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 325
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Centuries after the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is on the verge of modernity – railroads, electric street lights, and skyscrapers. Waxillium Ladrian can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After 20 years in the dusty Roughs, in the city of Elendel, the new head of a noble house may need to keep his guns.

 

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

This book was such a fun ride!
Brandon Sanderson has become a comfort writer to me. Whenever I find myself in a reading slump or I am in that mood where I don’t feel like reading anything on my TBR, I can always count on Sanderson to produce something that I will greatly enjoy.
The Alloy of Law is a continuation/spin-off series of the Mistborn trilogy and takes place in the same world. Although it is set hundreds of years in the future and follows different characters, you still need to read Mistborn before diving into this one.

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The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World by Emily HenryThe Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Published by Penguin on January 26th 2016
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.   That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

This book is almost impossible to rate. Take my 3-teacup rating lightly, because it does not even begin to sum up everything I felt about this different, imaginative, weird romance.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerScarlet (The Lunar Chronicles Book 2) by Marissa Meyer
Published by Penguin UK on February 7th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 464
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This is not the fairytale you remember. But it's one you won't forget.SCARLET BENOIT'S grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive - when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .

“She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.”

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Riders by Veronica Rossi

Riders by Veronica RossiRiders by Veronica Rossi
Published by Macmillan on February 16th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can't remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen--Conquest, Famine, and Death--are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.
They fail.
Now--bound, bloodied, and drugged--Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he's fallen for--not to mention all of humankind--he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
But will anyone believe him?

I’d chosen to serve because I could fight and because until wars stopped happening, people like me were needed. I had zero problem doing whatever it took to keep harm from coming to innocent people. Zero problem. Period, exclamation point, and freakin’ hooah.

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight by Melissa LandersStarflight by Melissa Landers
Published by Disney Book Group on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 309
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Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it's not like the law has ever been on her side. Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school. The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe. It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home—and the eccentric crew that feels like family.

“I guess we’re stuck with each other.”
“Guess so,” she said. “Too bad you make lousy tea.”

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The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. BeagleThe Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Published by Penguin on July 2008 (first published 1968)
Genres: Fantasy, Classic
Pages: 294
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The unicorn wants to find other unicorns. Mage Schmendrick, whose magic seldom works, never as he intended, rescues unicorn from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival. Only some mythical beasts displayed are illusions. Molly Grue believes in legends despite Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. King Haggard and his Bull banish unicorns into sea.

“We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.”

In my mind, the movie The Last Unicorn will forever be known as the first and so far only book, movie or TV show to ever give me nightmares. I think I saw the film for the first time when I was about 5 or 6 and I remember being completely entranced by it. It immediately became one of my favourite movies, despite the fact that I couldn’t sleep for a week after seeing it for the first time. I never realised it was originally a novel, not until now.
Having read the book and re-watched the film after finishing it, I now know why it gave me nightmares. This story is not for children. My grandmother (who gifted me the film) must have fallen into the trap that so many do these days, namely that any cartoon is for kids, just because it’s animated. Anime lovers will know the struggle.

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. StorkThe Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
Published by Scholastic Inc. on January 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 336
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When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had. But Vicky's newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength. She may not have them. She doesn't know. Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one -- about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

Somewhere in me I probably had the strength to not kill myself. But I was tired of looking for strength. Tired of being strong. That’s what I did to make it through… each day, go through the motions of being strong. I put on strong every morning. I’m sick of faking strong.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by Knopf on September 9th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Survival Stories
Pages: 336
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An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of “King Lear”. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from “Star Trek”: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

Confession: I went into this book not really expecting to like it. It’s very hyped and has gotten many raving reviews, and yet I didn’t think I would enjoy it. Why? Because this book can – I believe – be classified as literary fiction and for some reason, I still see myself as not being capable of grasping these kinds of novels. I have the preconceived notion that as someone who reads primarily YA, I cannot appreciate these types of books (which I realize is actually kind of offensive towards YA readers). I thought I would be bored and confused. Fortunately though, it turns out I was wrong. Station Eleven didn’t confuse me in the slightest and I really enjoyed it.

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Penguin on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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For readers of Between Shades of Gray and All the Light We Cannot See, international bestselling author Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

I try, I really do, but Sepetys’s war stories do nothing for me. Yes, I know I’m in the minority. I was one of few who didn’t love her debut – Between Shades of Gray – and much preferred her second book – Out of the Easy. Now she returns to World War II and, once again, I don’t get it.

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Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Not If I See You First by Eric LindstromNot If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Published by Hachette UK on December 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
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Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom's Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Have you ever read a book and not realised you were expecting it to be bad until it’s actually pretty good and you’re surprised? That’s how I felt about this.

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