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Top 10 Tuesday: Last 10 Books I Added to my TBR

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish which is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s topic:

January 29: The Last 10 Books I Added to my TBR

Yes, it’s Wednesday. But I haven’t posted in over a week. I have two books reviews I need to write but I just haven’t been feeling it, so in the meantime, here are the last ten books I added to my TBR. divider

The Wide Carnivorous Sky 
John Langan

wide carnivorous sky

This is a horror short story collection described as having a “mellifluous” prose style. The stories appear to be influenced by Lovecraftian horror, which is my jam. I’ve been meaning to read more horror and more short stories.


The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Laird Barron

the beautiful thing that awaits us all

As I’ve dipped my toes into the world of horror writing, it was impossible not to hear the name of this author everywhere. He is apparently one of the most prolific modern horror writers, but I’ve never read anything by him. But he’s garnered such critical acclaim that I must read his work at some point, and this particular collection seems like his most popular.


Cleopatra: A Life
Stacy Schiff

cleopatra

I debated adding this for a while, but then I figured it’s probably something that I should read. For those of you who may not know, I’m Egyptian, but I know absolutely nothing about Ancient Egypt. It’s kind of shameful. This seems like it’s very well-written and focuses on the world outside of Cleopatra as well as her own life.


The Cold is in Her Bones
Peternelle van Arsdale

the cold is in her bones

This is a YA fantasy novel centered on two young girls. I think it’s meant to be a Medusa retelling, somehow. The summary mentions something about demons and there’s just something about the vibe of this novel that feels creepy and disturbing. I have a feeling it’s going to be very atmospheric. Plus, that title is amazing, and that cover, damn!


Gideon the Ninth
Tamsyn Muir

gideon the ninth

I will pretty much read any newly released high fantasy authored by a woman about a woman, so. The description says the book features “a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers.” Honestly, it sounds so fucking weird and new and different and I’m very excited for it!


The Dollmaker
Nina Allan

DOLLMAKER_HB_DEMY.indd

I tagged this as “victorian  vibes” on Goodreads, but I have no idea if it’s set in the Victorian era. It sounds like it might be? There’s a character at “an institution on Bodmin Moor” and “old towns of England” and “potent, eldritch stories” that “pluck at the edges of reality.” This sounds like a fantastically eerie blend of historical fantasy and horror and I am here for it.


Shadowscent
P.M. Freestone

This is a YA fantasy novel about a poor village girl teaming up with a prince’s bodyguard to catch the prince’s attempted murderer, in a world where “scent has power” whatever that means. I don’t know. This could be terrible, standard YA fantasy fare, I’m really intrigued by this concept of scent having power. Plus, the two covers out for this book are both freaking gorgeous.


Empire of the Vampire
Jay Kristoff

empire of the vampire

I’m pretty sure I choked on my own saliva a bit when I read that not only was Jay Kristoff writing a vampire book but that it’s going to be illustrated by Nan Fe who is one of my fave artists!!! I mean!!! This is described “an illustrated dark fantasy epic; the bastard lovechild of Interview with the Vampire, The Road and The Name of the Wind” like???? I’m over here screaming until 2020.


Master of Sorrows
Justin Travis Call

master of sorrows

This is an upcoming fantasy release that I normally wouldn’t be super interested in, because it’s written by a white man about a white man, but the premise caught my eye: “what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?” It seems like a really intriguing riff on the Chosen One trope that I’m actually writing in one of my WIPs at the moment, so I’m interested to see how someone else does it!


The Affair of the Mysterious Letter
Alexis Hall

the affair of the mysterious letter

I don’t even know how to describe this book. It’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired fantasy. It seems to be based on Victorian England but it’s not. It’s got sapphic vibes, vampires, and something about freaking Carcosa. I don’t even know. It seems just weird enough to be really, really good.

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Authors I Want to Read More Of In 2019

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. These are a bunch of backlist authors whose work I keep meaning to get to only I keep getting distracted by shiny new releases. This also works as today’s Top 5 Wednesday post!divider

Emma Donaghue

 

I don’t know if Donoghue has a particular brand, but when I think of her I think of historical fiction and lesbians. I don’t know if her historical fiction actually features lesbians, but it at least features women, and I’ve heard her writing is quite beautiful. I read Kissing the Witch ages ago but I remember literally nothing about it, and I love the sound of her other work, so I’d like to get to her soon!


Sarah Waters

 

I literally own every single thing Sarah Waters has ever written and yet I’ve only ever read a single book by her: Tipping the Velvet. I really enjoyed Tipping the Velvet, so I’m not sure why I’ve been hesitant to pick up another book by her! Her brand is Victorian Lesbians, which is right up my alley, so I definitely need to get to her work soon!


Nawal El Saadawi

 

El Saadawi is a very controversial Egyptian feminist known for both fiction and non-fiction. According to my mom, she’s controversial mainly because of her irreverence for religion and her dislike of the veil. She’s a seminal figure and as an Egyptian woman myself I really must read Nawal El Saadawi.


Leila Ahmed

 

Leila Ahmed is another Egyptian-American feminist, though definitely not as notorious as El Saadawi. She’s also a scholar of Islam and taught at the Harvard Divinity School for a while. Women and Gender in Islam is thought to be a classic, seminal work on the topic of women in Islam. I read bits and pieces of it for a class in college and really enjoyed it, so I’d like to read the full work. And I own her autobiography, A Border Passage!


Judith Flanders

 

The Victorian Lady! Judith Flanders is a well-known scholar of Victorian England. I bought The Invention of Murder a few months ago and I’m super excited to read it! I think I’ve been putting a hold on all my Victorian nonfiction books because I keep thinking, what if I get the Fulbright I applied for? Then I’ll be getting a Master’s in Victorian Studies and will read all that stuff then. I find out in April whether I got it, so if I don’t, I guess I know what I’ll be reading for the rest of the year.


Megan Chance

 

I read Inamorata years ago and adored it; it had so many tropes I love and it was one of the most atmospheric things I’ve ever read. Chance seems to revel in atmospheric historical fiction set mainly in the 19th-century that is also female-led. Her writing, from what I recall, is absolutely lovely, and I need to check out more of her work!


Megan Abbott

 

I loved Give Me Your Hand even though it was a really polarizing book. It seems like most of this author’s work is really low-rated on Goodreads, actually, but I loved the one book I read. I thought it was brilliantly written and so darkly intriguing. If her other work is anything like that I’m sure I’ll love it.

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Most Anticipated 2019 Releases

I thought I did a post like this for 2018, but apparently not (or I just can’t find it). Anyway, most people have been doing posts like this, and this week’s Top 5 Wednesday features this topic, so here’s a list of the books I am most looking forward to in 2019! Brace yourselves for a looooong post; I could not narrow it down to just five, so…yeah, long post.

I’ll post the title of the book along with a Goodreads link so you can easily add the book, followed by a lengthy Goodreads summary, then my thoughts, and then my thoughts on the cover, because we have some truly amazing covers in this list, and then we have some that are…truly hideous. divider

the wicked kingThe Wicked King by Holly Black
January 8, 2019

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

I mean, I’ve already forgotten most of what happened in the first book, but I remember I enjoyed it very much. I’ll have to re-read the last fifty pages or something…but I’ve been hearing amazing things about this sequel, so bring it on!

Cover Verdict: Very cool. Love the 3D look of it.


king of scarsKing of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
January 15, 2019

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

At this point, I’ll read anything Leigh Bardugo puts out. Nikolai was one of my fave characters in the original trilogy and I hear Nina’s coming back in this one, so yay!

Cover Verdict: I like the design, but I don’t understand why the whole thing had to be so…gold.


the gildede wolvesThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
January 15, 2019

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

I’ve only read one book by Roshani but I love her writing so much. This is 19th-century Paris and a host of diverse characters and magic too? Nice.

Cover Verdict: Not bad. I have no strong feelings about it either way.


unmarriagiableUnmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
January 15, 2019

A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family has destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to school girls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation without dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives for the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible–and rich–bachelors, certain that their luck is about to change. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors. But his friend, Valentine Darsee, is clearly unimpressed by the family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her, quickly dismissing him and his snobbish ways.

But as the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal–and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man.

I have been getting more and more into romance, particularly romance about Muslims. Plus I enjoy Pride and Prejudice retellings very much, especially when they do a culture shift!

Cover Verdict: Gorgeous! Love the vibrant colors and the lacy, henna-like border designs.


39855052Kingdom of Copper by SA Chakraborty
January 22, 2019

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

The first book was one of my favorite books of last year and I am SO EXCITED for this sequel. I still have to re-read the first book, though, because my memory sucks and I can’t remember half of it.

Cover Verdict: I cried when I saw this cover. I am not exaggerating. I literally shed tears. This is one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen in my life.


the familiarsThe Familiars by Stacey Hall
February 19, 2019

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.

I don’t usually read historical fiction that isn’t set in the 19th-century, but I love anything to do with witches. This promises to be an absolutely spellbinding novel, plus it says these characters were real historical figures? Fascinating.

Cover Verdict: Absolutely gorgeous! Stunning colors and design.


the priory of the orange treeThe Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
February 26, 2019

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

God, I am so excited for this book!! I’ve not read this author’s other series, but the summary of this sounds so incredible. It’s also a looooong book, and sometimes you’re just in the mood for that epic high fantasy, you know?

Cover Verdict: One of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m going to buy this book just for the cover. I mean. The vibrant colors. The dragon. The flowers. The tower. It’s so beautiful.


we set the dark on fireWe Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
February 26, 2019

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.

Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.

And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.

Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

I’ve been excited for this book since the day the author announced her sale of it on Twitter, like three years ago. At this point I’m kind of tired of YA fantasies with this type of structure but I do love boarding schools/academies plus it’s a f/f romance, so that’s promising.

Cover Verdict: Sigh. Could have been worse, I guess.


the bird kingThe Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
March 12, 2019

A a stunning new novel that tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

I’ve not read this author’s other famous book, but this one sounds very promising. Muslim Spain is an absolutely fascinating time period, and the premise of this sounds like a brilliant blend of fantasy and history.

Cover Verdict: Freaking gorgeous. I love this cover so much.


wicked saintsWicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
April 2, 2019

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

Another book I’ve been excited about since the author announced it on Twitter! Actually, I think I also saw her enter a pitch contest too? I don’t remember, but I know I’ve been excited about it ever since I heard it pitched as “Gothic Joan of Arc.” I mean, put the word Gothic in front of anything and I’m there. It’s also based off Poland and Russia, so, I mean. I have an e-ARC of this which I’m probably gonna read in January!!

Cover Verdict: I love it!! It’s so different than so many of the YA fantasy covers you see today. It’s very 90s, very grunge, and I think it’s shiny in person. And I love cityscapes on covers!


the confessions of frannie langtonThe Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
April 4, 2019

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

Victorian era! Murderesses! Female relationships! I mean, this sounds like it could be really amazing or really terrible, depending on how the author handles it, but I’m optimistic.

Cover Verdict: I like it! I like the red and the embroidery.


the devouring grayThe Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
April 16, 2019

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

I don’t think I could tell you what this book is about; for some reason I’ve never managed to read the summary in its entirety. But I’ve heard it pitched as Stranger Things x The Raven Boys, which sounds promising? It’s supposed to be very atmospheric and creepy, so I’m here for it.

Cover Verdict: I absolutely adore it. The smoky, foggy woods. The neverending road. The bright neon pink lettering. Elegant and creepy but super eye-catching.


the doll factoryThe Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
May 2, 2019

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. 

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening.

Victorian era! London! Art! Obsession! This sounds amazing! I mean, I’ll read pretty much anything set in the Victorian era, but I really like this premise.

Cover Verdict: YIKES. This sounds like it’s going to be such an elegant book and that cover is…………not elegant. To put it mildly. It looks so awkward.


we hunt the flameWe Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
May 14, 2019

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing in Arawiya, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Own Voices Arab-inspired fantasy! I’m always here for more of that! I’m not a huge fan of the girl-disguises-herself-as-a-boy trope, but I’m keeping an open mind.

Cover Verdict: I really hate it. Like I acknowledge that it’s not necessarily super ugly, but I just hate it because I feel like it had the potential to be really great, but then it just flopped. Like, I like the design of the blue background and I like the gold edging, but the lettering and the way the title takes up the whole thing is just awful.


the candle and the flameThe Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
May 14, 2019

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

More Arab inspired fantasy! It’s hilarious to me that this one and We Hunt the Flame have such similar summaries, titles, and come out on the same day! This one seems more like a blend of fantasy and historical than straight up fantasy?

Cover Verdict: I don’t like people on covers, but it could have been worse. I like the blue flame thing.


these witches don't burnThese Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
May 28, 2019

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly By Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.

Salem! Witches! F/F romance! This sounds like it’s going to be so much good fun. I’m always looking for something to fill my Sweep void. Here’s hoping!

Cover Verdict: Okay, I am OBSESSED with this cover. I don’t usually like cartoonish covers like this one but I love the tarot spread! It’s just so unique and vibrant! And it’s set on a purple tablecloth, with gems and candles! It’s so, so pretty and so fitting for a book about witches! I mean, if it were me I would have made the tarot cards less cartoonish and probably not had faces on them, but it’s still an awesome cover I would love to have on my shelves.


sorcery of thornsSorcery of Thorns  by Margaret Rogerson
June 4, 2019

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

I read this author’s debut and really enjoyed it! This one sounds like it might be more up my alley, though. I mean, it’s about a library!

Cover Verdict: I think I like the cover of the author’s debut better, because the face was a side profile and it was a bit more subtle. But it’s fine. Could be worse.


blood heirBlood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao
June 4, 2019

The Cyrilian Empire: a glittering white sprawl of frozen tundras and ancient, snow-capped forests, where ice spirits roam beneath the flickering northern lights, and where slavers hunt Affinites — those born with powers to manipulate elements.

Born with an horrifying Affinity to blood, Anastacya Mikhailov has never believed herself to be anything more than a monster. Her curse rings true when an accident in the dead of the night results in the death of her father, the Emperor of Cyrilia — and she is sentenced for his murder.

But Ana knows what she saw that night: the scent of poison in Papa’s blood, and the face of a murderer vanishing into the dark.

Alone, hunted, and on the run, Ana makes a bargain with Ramson Quicktongue, a handsome yet dangerous underground crime lord: help her find the true murderer and clear her name in exchange for her alliance.

When Ana’s search lands her in the lair of the most powerful slave trader in the Empire, she uncovers a horrifying truth. A new monarch stands poised to lead the empire to a path of hatred and divisiveness, and Ana must stop her before Cyrilia falls to darkness. But first, she must come to terms with the monster she thinks she is and the heir she was destined to be.

I saw this author’s pitch on #DVpit when it went wild!! And I’ve been following her ever since. It’s so awesome to be able to see the development of a book like that. It just sounds really cool, and I’ll read anything with the concept of bloodbending.

Cover Verdict: YIKES. Remember when I said it could be worse, with faces/people on covers? This is a perfect example. I hate this cover so much. And it’s a shame because I love the lettering and the cityscape but GOD that cartoon model.


the dragon republicThe Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
August 6, 2019

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

Loved the first book, very much looking forward to the sequel. Not much else to say. This is probably an anticipated book for a lot of people.

Cover Verdict: I like it much better than the first book’s cover, which wasn’t my cup of tea. Still not my favorite kind of cover, though.


gods of jade and shadowGods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
August 6, 2019

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. 

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan God of Death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City–and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld. 

Mixing the excitement of the Roaring Twenties with Prehispanic mythology, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a vivid, wildly imaginative historical fantasy.

I had been under the impression this was going to be a high fantasy like this author’s last book, which is one of my favorite books of all time, but it’s more historical, which is still cool! It’s a setting I haven’t seen before.

Cover Verdict: Love it! It’s so different than most covers. Plus it’s so colorful!! And I love how the Mayan vibe shines through in the design.


darkdawnDarkdawn by Jay Kristoff
September 3, 2019

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

So this book was initially supposed to be published in September of 2018, but then it was pushed back A WHOLE YEAR. This series has become one of my favorite fantasy series and I’m very much looking forward to the conclusion.

Cover Verdict: Again, I don’t love people on my covers, especially not girls in ballgowns, but it’s not bad.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Read Before 2019

top 5 wednesday

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

November 14th: Books to Read Before 2019
Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year?

I recently went on a mini-spree at my library and requested a whole bunch of books, so, by necessity, I will need to read those by the end of the year, but they also happen to be books that I really want to read! Also, I happened to request six books, so you get a bonus book here.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor — I just finished reading the first book in this series and would like to get the sequel before the end of the year for two reasons. First, I really liked the book and am eager to see what happens next. Second, my memory is awful and I will forget everything if I wait any longer.

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold — I have heard so many conflicting things about this book, but the general consensus seems to be that it is surprisingly dark and adult for a YA book. Because I am morbid and macabre, I will always be drawn to books with dark central themes. I really want to know what everyone is talking about!

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab — So, again, I just read the first book and I will forget if I don’t get to this right away! Plus this is one of those books where it’s just everywhere and it’s difficult to avoid spoilers and I want to be in on what everyone is talking about.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory — So, the other night I had a weird dream-revelation where I got this idea for a contemporary romance novel. When I woke up that following morning, I had a really intense desire to read some romance to get a sense of how those types of novels are structured. I have heard excellent things about this one, and it perfectly suits my needs, plot-wise.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand — I really want to read something by this author and this seems like it’ll be right up my alley. I’ve heard reviews that say it’s dark and intense and feminist, which sounds great.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker — This surprisingly short novel has been on my TBR for a long time now, and so many friends and reviewers have read it and loved it that I really want to get to it before the end of the year. I’m not sure if I will, since the library queue is rather long for this book, but here’s hoping.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Longest Books on TBR

top 5 wednesday

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

November 7th: Largest Books on TBR
In honor of #TomeToppleReadathon coming back this month, discuss those big books on your shelf!

I’ve decided to break this up into two parts, those parts being: Classics and Not Classics. I have a lot of classics on my TBR and most of them are ridiculously long, and are probably the longest books on my TBR, but I don’t want them to completely overshadow this post. I want to talk about ordinary books that are also super long! So, I’ll talk about lengthy classics first, and then lengthy not-classics (that I’m prioritizing) second. I’m also choosing not to include the non-fiction books on my list, because I feel like that could be a whole other topic entirely!

Classics

Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson (1534 pages): An epistolary novel detailing the exploits of a young woman who who loses her virtue by running off with an untrustworthy rake who won’t marry her. I’m not generally a huge fan of epistolary novels, which makes this even more intimidating.

The Mysteries of London by George W.M. Reynolds (1176 pages): Originally published as a series of “penny dreadfuls,” these vignettes detail life in Victorian London for the impoverished. It’s a sprawling tale. I will get to this at some point, or at least skim through it, given my interest in Victorian London, but yeah, it’s pretty terrifying.

Cecilia by Fanny Burney (1056 pages): Published in 1782, this is described as a “unusual love story and deft social satire” about a woman who can only keep her fortune if her husband takes her name. Aside from the length, I’m hesitant to read something published in the 18th century; I’m sure the language will be a bit of a struggle.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (904 pages): I have literally no idea what this is about even after reading the Goodreads summary like three times. Something to do with the effects of the 1832 Reform Bill on English society? I’ve never read anything by Eliot before, and I the plot (or what I can glean of it) honestly doesn’t appeal to me a ton, so I’m afraid this will bore me.

Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (883 pages): A tale of two women, one ruthless and determined to claw her way up the societal ladder, the other a romantic who longs only for love. All I know is that Becky Sharp, aforementioned ruthless lady, is supposed to be iconic, so I’m looking forward to that, at least!

Not Classics

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (1007 pages): First in The Stormlight Archive series, very popular, and I have no idea what it’s about! I’ll get to it at some point, but the series promises to be ten books long and only three are out, which makes me hesitant, given my shoddy memory. I don’t want to have to re-read the first three books when the fourth comes out! But I’m also really tempted because I do like Brandon Sanderson’s work.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (848 pages): This book hasn’t even come out yet but I’m so excited for it. It’s about dragons and queens and women and promises to be a rich, sprawling fantasy. Also, that cover is just fucking magnificent.

In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif (816 pages): The Goodreads summary describes this as a story about “a woman who grows up among the Egyptian elite, marries a Westernized husband, and, while pursuing graduate study, becomes embroiled in a love affair with an uncouth Englishman.” Frankly, I’m more interested in the author, an Egyptian woman educated in Egypt and England. I feel like I almost never see English-language Egyptian fiction about Egyptian women; this would certainly be my first! This author’s other book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and I’ve heard excellent things; I think I will love this book, once I get around to reading it.

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman  by Theodora Goss (720 pages): This is a sequel, and one I’ve heard is good but too long, which makes me a bit reluctant to pick it up, as I enjoyed the first book quite a bit but didn’t fall in love with it. The summary sounds fantastic: “Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.” As the first book was more of an introduction to everyone, this one might go more smoothly and be more compelling.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (676 pages): This book made a huge splash when it was published, but I rarely see anyone discussing it now! I believe it has to do with Dracula, and vampires in general, and a researcher (a historian?) investigating her family’s history. Frankly it sounds amazing, though I’ve heard conflicting opinions about it, which is what’s intimidating me. I hope to get to it soon, however, because I’ve been seeking out vampire fiction!

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (666 pages): What makes this book intimidating is that it is the first in a ten-book series. I’ve had the Malazan books on my TBR for years and years, and even though all the books are published, it would take a lot of dedication to embark on this read. Plus I’ve heard that this is the type of fantasy that just tosses you in the deep end, shrugs, and hopes you can swim, so it’s definitely intimidating on multiple fronts.