Our Favorite YA Ships!

With Valentines Day fast approaching, I thought I’d take some time to celebrate my favorite relationships in Yong Adult Fiction. Now, not all of the ships we cheer for are based in reality and some have already sunk, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate them, right? So, sit back and relax as I tell you who I want to have a happily ever after and why.

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I feel a bit like I am cheating here, since I know very few people who don’t adore this relationship. Who can ignore those steamy chapters? But, for me it’s less about the sexy times and more about how supportive Feyre and Rhysand are of each other. They are both suffering in the wake of Amarantha and instead of struggling alone they look to each other for encouragement. Plus, how can you ignore the way he says “Feyre Darling.” Someone should really talk to me that way.

“Did you enjoy the sight of me kneeling before you?”

Yes. So much yes!

I should also point out that I was neither a Tamlin or Rhysand fan going into A Court of Mist and Fury. I was firmly on Team Lucien. That ship has sailed, however. And I reserve judgement on Lucien + Elain until after I have read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

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I am sorry to all of you Celaena + Dorian / Celaena + Chaol shippers, but Aelin + Rowan reigns supreme. Celaena’s character progression requires her to outgrow both of her previous lovers. That is not to say that I don’t love them as individual characters, because I do. But when Rowan showed up, I just knew. The fact that he is a sexy Fae Prince doesn’t hurt matters, but what I loved most about him was his desire to push Aelin. She has always needed someone to challenge her to become the woman she could be and he did a remarkable job of that. He also needed her to help him stop living in the past and punishing himself for something that was not his fault. As a pair they just work extremely well together. More so than Aelin and any of her other partners. Dorian was too young and untested, but was able to remind her what it feels like to be happy. Chaol was stability she needed. Safety, but when it came time to push her to become Aelin, he fell short. Props to Sarah J Maas for showing us a realistic representation of how relationships develop!   Now give me more Rowaelin!

He shifted his arm so he could brush her hair back. His fingers lingered along her jaw. “You make me want to live, too, Aelin Galathynius,” he said. “Not exist—but live.”

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Unlike the relationships mentioned above, Kaz + Inej are not outwardly affectionate. It is clear early on in Six of crows that they have feelings for each other, and those feelings develop into Crooked Kingdom. So, if you are looking for sexy times, pick up A Court of Thorns and Roses and have a blast. If you are looking for a well developed, slow building romance paired with amazing character development, Kaz + Inej are for you. Similar to Feyre and Rhysand, Kaz and Inej have both suffered through horrible traumas in this lives and have mended themselves as best they can. Throughout the books they both come to realize how they feel for the other and struggles to find the right way to address it or if they will address it at all. This is a slow burn relationship where the smallest touch will give you butterflies in your tummy. Well, at least it did for me. If you are looking for something a bit more forward, Nina and Matthias (from the same series) may be more your speed. But I just adored this pair!

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

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Pete and Gemma are my only ship that comes from a Contemporary novel. Everything else is Fantasy or Historical Fiction (which is most of what I read) and therefor the relationships, while extremely romantic, are not very realistic. Replica, on the other hand, takes places in present day. Sure, it deals with clones, but it also addresses the ups and downs of being a teenager. And that is what I love about this relationship. Pete and Gemma are just normal teenage kids. It feels real, and it is just downright adorable from the start. Gemma calls Pete “Perv” because the mean kids spread rumors about him. It’s awkward, adorable, and just downright perfect. The same can’t be said for the romance mirrored in Lyra’s half of the book. 72 doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed out character and and was my least favorite part of the novel. But, I won’t get into that. Instead I will think about Pete and him riding to the rescue in his mom’s purple minivan.

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And I Darken has an odd love triangle of sorts. Lada, the main character, is infatuated with her childhood friend (and Sultan) Mehmed. The hitch in this is that her younger brother Radu is in love Mehmed. The book focuses more on Lada’s relationship with the young Sultan than Radu’s. Which makes sense as Lada is the main character. That said, I am Team Radu. Lada likes the idea of Mehmed but cannot allow herself to truly love him because of what it would cost her. Radu, on the other hand, would be executed if anyone found out about his feelings and he is still all in. Mehmed, is of course, in love with Lada and not Radu. So, this ship is likely all in my head and probably won’t every come true on paper. Which is sad because I think social schemer Radu is a way better match for Mehmed than hot headed and out of control Lada. All we can do now is wait and see. The book ended with Lada leaving Mehmed with Radu. So, maybe I will get what I want. But, more than likely my ship will sink to bottom of the ocean with all of the Chaol + Celeana ships.

“We cannot always have what we want, no matter how much we want it.”

Which ships are your favorites? Who are you cheering for? Did your favorite character end up with the wrong person? We want to hear all about your ships in the comments!

- The Butcher (1)

Ten Underrated Novels You Should Read

This was a Top Ten Tuesday that I absolutely adored. Since today is not Tuesday, I won’t tag it as such. But, I just couldn’t skip the idea. There are so many books that I don’t think get the attention they deserve. So here are my top ten favorite underrated YA novels. Please give each of them a look. I promise, they are really worth the time.

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Lotus and Thorn by Sarah Wilson Etienne is a fast paced Sci-Fi / Dystopian novel that is full to the brim with girl power. Unfortunately, it suffered from mismanaged marketing and many of it’s 168 ratings on Goodreads are low. Why? Because it was sold as a Fantasy and you won’t find any elves or magic here. It is all Sci-Fi all of the time. So, if you are looking for something new, we here at Shelfie cannot recommend this one enough. We even did a podcast on it that can be found here. Though, if you are worried about spoilers, you should read the book first because that episode is a super spoiler squee-fest. That is usually what happens when you don’t have high hopes for a book and are baffled by how good it is.

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Replica by Lauren Oliver has the most ratings of any book on this list at 3,500. But that seems remarkably low for a book that is so remarkably unique. This is not your average Sci-Fi / Contemporary. No, Lauren Oliver outdid herself with this one. Replica’s unique formatting allows you to read the book in one of many different ways by actually reading one chapter and then physically flipping the book over and reading the next. In reality this gem is two books in one that entwine in ways that I cannot even try to explain. Replica is an experience. An experience that we at Shelfie discussed in detail on our podcast. Check it out here. But again, be prepared for spoilers if you haven’t read the book.

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Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine was a shock. I picked it up looking for a generic Fantasy to get lost in for a few hours and found myself completely enamored. Fine took the “Chosen One” trope and flipped it on it’s head. The main character is marked as a child and chosen to inherit the powers of the Queen when the reigning Queen dies. It doesn’t quite turn out that way. The magical mantle doesn’t pass to Elli and she is accused of rejecting it and threatening their society. I won’t spoil more, but this is a well written story with an interesting take on a common YA theme. It certainly deserves more than the 1,867 ratings it has on Goodreads.

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Hunter by Mercedes Lackey has issues. It is not the perfect novel. That said, the unique setting is what sets it apart. Mythology is bleeding into reality. Monsters of legend pour through rifts and terrorize cities. The Hunters are trained to fight these legends and protect the cities in which they reside. The world building is unlike anything I have seen in the YA genre. The downside is that the main character is not exceptionally well done, though I believe that can be chalked up to this being the first novel in a series and requiring quite a bit of set up. I haven’t read the sequel, Elite, yet. But, I will absolutely review it when I do. If you are interested in hearing more of my views on Hunter, you can find my review here.

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The Reader by Traci Chee is quite the magical debut novel. It is a story within a story within a story. Chee weaves it all together in a way that can’t quite be matched. It is hard to explain without spoiling too much of the story, but the gist is that Sefia lives in a society where books are not common and reading is magic. The story begins when a rare artifact, a book, comes into her possession and she begins reading the tall tales within. There are some far fetched bits, but in the end it’s a wonderful book. If you want to hear more about it you should check out the podcast episode here.  Again, it’s spoilery. So maybe you should read it before hitting play.

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Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Sheier is not just a good book. It is an important book. It is one of very few books that realistically portrays mental illness. One of the main characters suffers from Schizophrenia. This isn’t a light and happy read. It is truly painful to watch the effect it has on him and the people around him. It also touches on the common issues teenagers face while in high school. I wish there had been a book like this for me to read when I was that age. That said, it still left quite the impact on me as an adult. I really cannot recommend it enough.

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Nemesis by Anna Banks is another Fantasy novel that I expected to be run of the mill. Instead I was enamored. The world is rich and interesting with warring kingdoms, a princess in a foreign land, and serpent like dragon mounts. Just do the best you can to ignore the cover, which in all honesty should never have gone to print. They were clearly attempting to show the silver color of the main character’s skin, but it just doesn’t translate. That said, it is easy enough to ignore. So, if you are looking for a good fantasy that you haven’t already read, I suggest picking this one up and enjoying the ride. Especially if you enjoyed The Wrath & The Dawn.

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Menagerie by Rachel Vincent is one of the more unique books on this list. It is an interesting take on Urban Fantasy. Mythical creatures exist and are held captive in carnivals and menageries for the entertainment of society. Delilah, our main character, discovers early on in the book that she is not human, even if she appears to be, and is sold to a carnival that is passing through town. This book is not for the faint of heart. It contains torture, abuse, and rape. However it is a powerful story and well worth the read. I am truly shocked that it only has 3,000 ratings on Goodreads.

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The Reluctant Sacrifice by Kerr-Ann Dempster is the most hidden of the gems on this list. With less than 1000 ratings on Goodreads this Paranormal Romance is not being read nearly enough! Main character, Aubrey is a child of prophecy. Her culture believes that she must be sacrificed in order for them to return to their home land from exile. However, she has no interest in being sacrificed. The book follows her story as she flees the hunters and falls in love. The romance in charming and Aubrey’s development in wonderful. You can find my full review here. If you’re in the mood for a good Paranormal Romance give this one a chance and then tell all of your friends!

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The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden is a true YA Urban Fantasy and those are pretty hard to come by these days. It’s got all of the right pieces: Vampires, Witches, and a supernatural mystery. I was excited to find that this YA novel falls squarely in the Urban Fantasy genre instead of it’s YA cousin, Paranormal Romance. Sometimes you want sexy vampires and sometimes you want a good occult mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I can’t explain why people aren’t raving about The Casquette girls. It’s an awesome story with an awesome cover. You’d think it would be all over everywhere. Instead it has 1,311 ratings on Goodreads. We can change that, right?

 

So there they are. My hidden gems. Do you agree with my choices? Have you read them? Did you love them or hate them? I’d love to hear your opinions so share them in the comments below. And if you haven’t read them, please do!

- The Butcher (1)

 

The Clone Wars: A Discussion of Replica by Lauren Oliver

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Tune in for a walk down Shelife Lane with Caitlin and Cynthia as they talk about meeting Lauren Oliver, Kendare Blake, Beth Revis, and Victoria Schwab. Then join the pair as they discuss clones, conspiracies, and Lauren Oliver’s spectacular Sci-Fi novel, Replica.

WARNING: This is a not a spoiler free review! If you have not read the book and do not like spoilers, we recommend reading the book before listening to this episode.

Have you read Replica? What did you think? Was it the most amazing thing you have ever read or did it fall flat? Did you agree with Cynthia that flipping the book caused a disconnet or was that your favorite part? Have you gotten to meet your author heroes? Share all of your thoughts in the comments below! We would love to hear them!

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So, just in case you wanted proof there is Caitlin with Lauren Oliver and Kendare Blake! Awesome, right?

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the books mentioned in this episode!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Replica by Lauren Oliver

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

28448287Title: Replica (Replica #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Sci – Fi / Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016

From Goodreads:

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Continue reading “Waiting on Wednesday: Replica by Lauren Oliver”