3 Series to Finish in 2018

I am so bad at starting series and not finishing them, so I’ve been challenging myself to finish or get caught up on my favourite ones. Here are three series that I’ve started and loved – be sure to pick these up! I’ve only listed the synopsis and retailer links for the first book in each series, so as not to spoil anyone.


The Dragon King Chronicles by Ellen Oh

Harper Teen | 2013-2015

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms… is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope…

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

I loved PROPHECY, the first book in Ellen Oh’s Dragon King Chronicles and have been meaning to read books #2 and #3. I own both, so there’s really no excuse. I definitely recommend this incredible fantasy series!


The Nil series by Lynne Matson

Henry Holt | 2014-2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

I’m always interested in books dealing with parallel dimensions and wormholes, so NIL was an instant favourite. I loved the writing and the book had this dystopia feel to it, while still being set in present time. I definitely need to read the rest of the series this year.


Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee

Skyscape | 2012-2015

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

This is one of my favourite sci-fi series – it combines angels with a post-apocalyptic setting. It’s so well done! A word of warning to potential readers, this is a very dark, gritty series with triggering content. I read ANGELFALL a few years ago so I can’t remember exactly which triggers you need to watch for.

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Jan/Feb/Mar. Wrap-Up Post

IMG_6978My first wrap-up post of 2018 combines the months of January, February and March. I didn’t read that many books in January but I am happy with what I read in February. I wasn’t able to read any books in March. I have a lot more free time in April, so I hope to make up for it. One of my favourite reads was Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, which is no surprise. This book is part of one of my favourite fantasy series and I was 99.9% sure I was going to love it!

Sightwitch is an illustrated prequel novella, the next in Dennard’s Witchlands series, and is set one year before Truthwitch. Made up of journal entries, sketches and more, this is one of the most creative books I’ve ever read. The main POV is Ryber Fortiza, who we met in the previous books, and I absolutely loved learning more about her. We also got to see Kullen Ikray and Eridysi, a Sighwitch Sister who lived a 1000 years ago. Reading about Eridysi makes me want an entire book (or series!) about her. The world-building, the history and the character development was all phenomenal. Don’t miss out on this incredible, new release from Susan Dennard. If you haven’t read the series yet, definitely pick up Truthwitch.

January Books Read:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

February Books Read:

Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

Inuyasha Volume 18

Mãn by Kim Thúy

March Books Read:

None 😦

ICYMI:

Top 10 Reads of 2017

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Blog Tour & ARC Review for Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

Three Sequels You Need On Your TBR

Top 5 February Releases

Top 5 February Releases

Some incredible books were released this month! I read and loved SIGHTWITCH by Susan Dennard and can’t wait to start these other ones. You should definitely buy or request these at your local library, if you can. Once you’ve read them, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and other book retailer sites – long, short, positive, negative, it all counts. You can learn more about this feature here.


91QrCSFmO3LSightwitch by Susan Dennard (companion novella to Truthwitch and Windwitch)

Tor Teen | January 13, 2018

Buy: Amazon | Book DepositoryChapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

Synopsis: 

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.
Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before TruthwitchSightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.


37913374Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith

Eventide Press | February 13, 2018

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

A too-young queen must learn to control her powers in order to save her empire, but can she trust the only person who’s taught her to use her gift?

Russalka is a proud empire, frozen and vast, protected for centuries by a royal family who works miracles from the saints. But rebellion stirs in the streets, and its war-hungry neighbors threaten to invade. The young princess Katza has been tormented by visions of her bloodied hands destroying Russalka—a clear message from the saints that she must never rule. So when tragedy places her next in line to the throne, Katza fears their warnings are on the verge of coming true.

Then she meets Ravin, a mysterious young prophet with visions of his own: visions of Katza as a regal empress with unimaginable power. All she has to do seize upon the holy magic of her bloodline. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza begins to wonder whether he has her best interests at heart. With a revolution boiling over and war looming at the border, the greatest threat to Russalka may be Katza herself.


23197837The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 

Disney-Hyperion | February 6, 2018

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.


35297380American Panda by Gloria Chao 

Simon Pulse | February 6, 2018

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


32618983The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta 

Scholastic | February 27, 2018

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

MEET KIRANMALA: INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMONSLAYER

(But she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they’ve kept hidden.

To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

Blog Tour: ARC Review of Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

91QrCSFmO3LSightwitch (companion novella to Truthwitch and Windwitch)

Susan Dennard

5/5 stars

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Publisher: Tor Teen

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.
Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before TruthwitchSightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Sightwitch blog tour and to help promote Susan Dennard’s next book! The Witchlands series are one of my all-time favourite fantasy books. Sightwitch is the third book in the series but set before Truthwitch (book #1) and Windwitch (book #2). Check out my review below and don’t forget to pick up a copy. If you haven’t read the first two books, I talk about my recommended reading order below. This review is also spoiler-free, for those who haven’t read any of the books in the series.

review

SIGHTWITCH by Susan Dennard is a book like no other. The third book in Dennard’s fantasy series, this illustrated novella is set one year before TRUTHWITCH and is made up of journal entries, sketches, maps, letters, notes, and records as well as songs, prayers & rules pertaining to the Sightwitches. There is so much to this novella, but it is never overwhelming. Dennard’s writing skills have reached new heights. SIGHTWITCH is one of the most creative forms of the novel.

This book has two main POV’s: Ryber Fortiza, a character we met in TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH, and Eridysi, a Sighwitch Sister who lived a 1000 years ago. Separated by time and connected by the thread of fate. The character development Ryber experiences is incredible! At the beginning, Ryber wants so bad to be summoned and given the Sight. That desire was so strong and I wanted that for Ryber, so badly. This desire to be summoned by Sirmaya is one of the strongest I have ever felt from a character, in all the books I’ve read. Then Ryber goes on this journey and she grows so much – I loved being able to witness it all. She also meets Kullen Ikray, an Airwitch we first read about in TRUTHWITCH. I loved having him in the book because we saw a deeper, more honest side of him. He is truly a precious cinnamon roll. I don’t think I could ever read a Dennard book and be disappointed – the character development was phenomenal. The development of Eridysi, a character who lived a thousand years ago, was also great because we learn about an actual person, and not a legend or someone’s over exaggeration of Eridysi’s life. I connected so much with this character that I wouldn’t mind an entire book (or series) from her POV.

World-building is always my favourite and I especially loved the way I got to experience it here. The journal entries and sketches made up most of the book and were amazing to read. However, it was the notes and the songs and the Sighwitch rules written to the side that completed my experience. Being able to learn about the Witchlands and Dennard’s characters in this way was undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Here’s a quote from the finished copy that I love re: the world-building:

38. THE RULE OF DISPUTED TRUTH

Oftentimes, Memory Records offer different accounts for the same event. As such, all Memory Records are true and all Memory Records are false, for what is life except perception?

Page 118.

SIGHTWITCH has changed my perception of the Witchlands – both past and future. Which brings me to my final point: we are introduced to a darker, more ominous side of the Witchlands, a side we saw hints of in the first two books. The suspense I felt in this book, the way my heart raced, other books cannot even compare. There are Death Maidens and shadow wyrms and much, much more. Fans of TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH will not want to miss this highly anticipated, new release from Susan Dennard. Sighwitch: The True Tale of the Twelve Paladins. The illustrations in this book were created by Rhys Davies.

My recommended reading order: Truthwitch, Windwitch and then Sightwitch. Although Sightwitch is set a year before Truthwitch, I feel your reading experience will be much more positive if you’re already familiar with the world of the Witchlands. Also, things happen in Sightwitch that would be kind of spoilery to people who haven’t read Truthwitch or Windwitch.

Here are some more of my favourite quotes:

Tanzi had recognized that the stars, the Rules – none of it was real. It was only what we chose them to be.

Page 205.

I rested my hands on either side of his face – that beautiful, lined face that I had grown to love. “This is what the Goddess wills, and so we must obey”. Then, when he had made no move to turn, I murmured the only No’Amatsi words I knew: “Mhe verujta”

Trust me as if my soul were yours.

Page 219.

And if I was being honest, I wanted to find him.

But there is always the sharp, hidden side of Lady’s Fate’s knife, where what we want is not what we ultimately get.

Page 225.

I received an eARC from the publisher. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.

aboutauthor

stdennardSusan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling books Truthwitch and Windwitch, and when not writing, she’s usually slaying darkspawn (on her Xbox) or earning bruises at the dojo.

She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about her on her blognewslettertwitter, or instagram.

November + December Wrap-Up Post

IMG_5798Happy New Year! I have not posted in such a long time, I am so sorry! I was in a bit of a blogging slump which turned into a reading slump, but I’m hoping to make up for it in January. I only read four books in the last couple months, so I’m a bit disappointed. I wanted to at least reach my goal of 75 books. On the plus side, none of the books I did read were bad.

My favourite one was Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. I’d heard good things about this book, but I was not prepared for how incredible it is! TPT switches between the POV’s of three dancers, who all attend a very competitive Manhattan ballet school and who all want the number one spot. Angst and drama, romance and revenge, this book has it all. The ending was also incredible and totally unexpected. Pretty Little Liars meets Dance Moms. TW: Eating disorder, addiction, harassment.

November Books Read:

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

December Books Read:

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Money-Smart Kids by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

ICYMI:

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Top 5 November Releases

2018 Reading Goals:

My reading goals for 2018 are really simple: focus on books I own, backlist titles and 2018 debuts & sequels. I hate having regrets about my reading choices, so I’m only picking up titles that completely catch my interest. The only challenge I’ll be doing (at this point) is reading some of the books on the 2018 Canada Reads Longlist. I’d love to hear about your 2018 reading goals!

Top 5 November Releases

It’s finally November and some of my most anticipated releases came out or are coming out this month. I am so, so excited to read these and you should definitely add these to your TBR.

Be sure to buy/preorder or request these at your local library, if you can. When I write up this feature, it always reminds me about that one book I forgot to ask my library to get. If you’ve read any of these, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and other book retailer sites – long, short, positive, negative, it all counts. You can read more about this feature here.


speakerThe Speaker (Sea of Ink & Gold #2) by Traci Chee

G.P. Putnam | November 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.


novemberThe November Girl by Lydia Kang

Entangled Publishing | November 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

“Three-dimensional vividness…An emotional and dramatic tale of an otherworldly relationship.”
–KIRKUS REVIEWS


brassThe City of Brass (the Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Harper Voyager | November 14, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for.


jadeJade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee

Orbit | November 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.


roseRosemarked by Livia Blackburne

Disney-Hyperion | November 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

September + October Wrap-Up Post

34076952I didn’t read that many books in September so I decided to just combine my wrap up with October’s. I only read four books in September 😦 but finished nine in October thanks to a lovely invention called audiobooks. I also reached the 50 book mark, which makes me more confident about reaching my goal of 75 books by the end of the year. Recent faves:

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – This anthology of six fairytale-like illustrated stories set in the Grishaverse is absolutely stunning! I’ve only read Shadow and Bone and I didn’t feel like you needed to read every Grisha book to understand this one. My favourite story was Little Knife, mainly because the ending truly wowed me. The illustrations were gorgeous and really made the book. This is also a short read, so it’s a great book to add to your reading challenge.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds – This is the first MG book in the author’s Track series and OH MY GOD it was amazing! I listened to the audiobook, read by Guy Lockard, and both the writing and the narrator were incredible. I don’t think I have ever read a book that actually made me want to run (something I hated in public and high school). I never wanted this book to end, it was so good. I can’t wait to finish Patina, the next book in the Track series and to read Sunny, the 3rd book in the series.

September Books Read:

Vampire Knight Vol. 18-19 by Hino Matsuri

Inuyasha Vol. 16-17 by Takahashi Rumiko

October Books Read:

Defy by Sara B. Larson

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

ICYMI:

Top 5 September Releases

Back to School: 6 Books to Add to Your TBR

Recent Cover Reveals in YA Sci-fi

Top 5 October Releases

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

34076952The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Leigh Bardugo & Sara Kipin (illustrator) 

4.42/5 stars

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Publisher:  Macmillan/Imprint

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Review:

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo is a gorgeous anthology of six fairytale-like illustrated stories set in the Grishaverse. Whether you’ve read every Bardugo book or the Grishaverse is entirely new to you, there will be a story to enchant and frighten you. The illustrations were stunning and truly made the stories.

The format of the book: the writing would be in the usual place, taking up most of the page with illustrations surrounding it.

I loved that as you turned the page, the illustration would be added to, as if you’ve been given another clue as to how the story will end. The more you read, the more hints you’re given. The pages that followed the end of the story would be a completely illustrated two-page spread. It just added so much to the anthology.

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars was because sometimes I get annoyed with that common fairytale narrative “a couple had a daughter but she was boring/ugly/useless so they treated her more like a servant but the daughter became used to it so oh well” or “she was so beautiful everyone wanted to marry her but also very kind”. I know they’re central aspects of a fairytale but they still annoy me.

Here are my individual ratings and thoughts on each short story:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood – 4/5 stars – I liked this one and it was definitely the right story to start the anthology. Bardugo explains in the author’s note where her inspiration for this story came from, but I saw different fairytales and myths in this one.

The Too-Clever Fox – 5/5 stars – This is probably my third-favourite story in the collection. I loved Koja, the “too-clever fox” and I didn’t guess the plot twist until it was too late.

The Witch of Duva – 3.5/5 stars – I’ve read this one before so it didn’t entertain me as much as the first time but I still didn’t guess the ending until halfway through.

Little Knife – 5/5 stars – I absolutely loved this one! This is probably my favourite out of all of them, simply because the ending truly wowed me. I didn’t see it coming and now I’m imagining so many possibilities, of what happened after the ending. Just superb!

The Soldier Prince – 4/5 stars – I liked the last half more than the first. I really loved the way it ended. This one was set in Kerch and when I read Six of Crows (hopefully soon) I’ll be looking for hints of this story in the SoC duology.

When Water Sang Fire – 5/5 stars – This one would’ve been my favourite because mermaids! if the ending of Little Knife hadn’t wowed me so much. This story deserves a gold star or something for drawing the most emotion out of me. I felt joy, sadness, anger and a need for revenge!! The ending had closure and I can pretty much guess what a sequel would entail but I still need one.

SPOILERS BELOW

That being said, the more I think about the ending, the more angry I am. I would’ve taken a happy ending over a character who’s fate is basically to become an anti-hero or villain. I actually thought Ulla and Signy would end up throwing the prince away and rule together as queens. I don’t know, that’s what I got from the way they interacted with each other.

SPOILERS END

I would still 100% recommend this book.

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

ghostbrideThe Ghost Bride

Yangsze Choo

4/5 stars

Release Date: August 5, 2014

Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Yangsze Choo’s stunning debut, The Ghost Bride, is a startlingly original novel infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists.

Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price?

Night after night, Li Lan is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, where she must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family.

Reminiscent of Lisa See’s Peony in Love and Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s DaughterThe Ghost Bride is a wondrous coming-of-age story and from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

Review:

I absolutely loved THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo. I ended up listening to the audiobook, read by the author. The writing is really lovely, I couldn’t stop reading/listening to the story and the author did a fantastic performance re: reading the book. Audiobooks are usually a hit or miss for me, but this was probably my best experience yet. Another great thing about the author reading the book, I got to hear how the characters sound to Yangsze, which was pretty cool.

Li Lan was a very interesting protagonist. Sometimes things would happen to her and she’d act totally calm or she’d go do things she probably shouldn’t. Half of it was probably bravery and if she didn’t do them the plot wouldn’t move along but the other half was like curiosity or something. So I’d be like “no don’t do that” but also “why are you doing this *very confused*”. So I liked the protagonist but I also had mixed feelings re: her actions. Li Lan doing certain things that were obviously a bad idea didn’t create suspense but confusion.

I’m torn between giving this a 4 or 4.5/5 stars. I would also categorize this book as historical fiction with fantastical elements. The story was very captivating and I didn’t want to stop listening to the audio. My favourite part was probably part 2 or 3, when the MC was exploring the afterlife. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the ending – it kind of ended on a cliffhanger. This may be an effect of listening to the audiobook so I plan to check out a physical copy; I might get a sense of closure that way.

The book does use the slur c*olie a few times and while technically accurate (the book is set in 19th century colonial Malaysia) I think the author should have acknowledged it’s a slur. I’m not 100% sure if it was necessary, considering the MC doesn’t think of those in a different class as below or less than her.

This book is also told from the POV of an upper class Chinese woman (I think she’s around 18?) living in colonial Malaysia. The family have fallen on hard times, so they aren’t exactly rich but have been able to (mostly) hide their debt and still have a good name. It should’ve probably been acknowledged the sort of privilege the MC has over other classes of people living in 19th century colonial Malaysia.

Mini Review: Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

25318441Two Naomis

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

5/5 stars

Release Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

A realistic contemporary story of two girls, both named Naomi, whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father lives a few blocks away, Naomi Edith wonders how she’s supposed to get through each day a whole country apart from her mother.

When Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi Edith’s dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves. Then their parents push them into attending a class together, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other—and maybe even join forces to find new ways to define family.

Review:

Today I’m posting a mini review of Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick. This isn’t as detailed as my usual reviews, but I really wanted to share the book here.

TWO NAOMIS is absolutely incredible, I was thrilled from start to finish! Reading the synopsis, I knew it’d be super cute but it was also so emotional. From happy to sad to angry to I-don’t-know-what-I’m-feeling-but-I’m-super-emotional. The character development of Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith were off the charts. The authors’ were very good at making sure the reader understood not only both Naomis but their parents, family, and friends. It was like being in their heads’.

I loved both Naomis but I would say I connected with Naomi Marie a little bit more. She loved going to the library and making lists, just like me. She is also a bossy big sister, like me (haha). This is not to say I didn’t love Naomi Edith, because I did, but I definitely saw more of myself in Naomi Marie. Both characters were incredibly unique and brought something different to the story.

This is such an important novel for MG readers with divorced parents, to understand that change is okay. I definitely wish I had this book growing up. Two Naomis is also valuable for MG readers with non-divorced parents, to see from someone else’s perspective. If there was an emoji that was the combination of the heart-eyes emoji and the crying emoji, that would be my reading experience. I love, love, loved this!!

😍 + 😭 = this book ❤