First up, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
flap copy~ Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.
When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.
This book has been reviewed and featured about a million times and now I know why. It's fabulous. The world building, character development and setting are superb. I read it on my Kindle and will be purchasing the hard back copy to add to my favorites shelf. I loved it.
Second, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
flap copy~ Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.
Ahh fantasy...my true passion. Melina Marchetta knows how to make every word count. I was about 150 pages in and so much had gone on I felt like already read an entire novel. She really packed this book with action and delivered a unique and enjoyable story.
And last, but definitely not the least, Scent of a White Rose by Tish Thawer
from Amazon~ A vampire's love... An innocent's guilt... A secret no one could've imagined...As I recover from my Eric Northman withdrawals and gear up for my Damon Salvator addiction, Christian was gentleman enough to step in to help fill the void. I love vampires and this book is great. Rose and Christian are very likable characters that I became very attached to. If you're looking for a vampire fix, check this out. It is the first in a series and I am definitely reading book two.
What if vampires were the good guys and a human girl was the one to fear?
Scent of a White Rose is a paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire who's love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan who's Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change".
~ ROSE ~ I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident". Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl.... a "white Rose". But I have a secret that no one can imagine. I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks...
~ CHRISTIAN ~ I'm Christian and I'm in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time.I'm a vampire. No, she doesn't know...yet. But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her. Because truly, I can't live without her...