Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary (from goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .
Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary (from goodreads): Music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives
My Thoughts: These books were enjoyable reads, but nothing amazing. If you love faeries then you will probably think these books are great. I'm not talking Tinker Bell here though -- I learned in these books that not all faeries are well....nice. On that note I often wondered if I was suppose to be confused by the language (and it would make sense later) or if I should've already known certain things about this genre. For example certain faerie groups or information about them. Probably easy stuff to google, I just did not feel like stopping and googling the differences in faerie groups or mythology. Ultimately it did not matter, it was just frustrating at the time.
I enjoyed the first book more because of the charming Luke. However, both books had many likable characters. James, in the second book, is a real hoot too. He is either trying to get his two (often sarcastic) cents in or he is having to write down words of inspiration that pop in his mind. The kinda character that makes you want to be true to yourself.
I recommend these books to someone who really enjoys paranormal romances, young adult fiction, and of course books about faeries. Overall I give these books 3-4 stars for an enjoyable, different read.