Rule Number 32

Enjoy the little things. ~Zombieland

2018 Releases to Read in 2019

There were an insane amount of good books that came out last year.

I failed at reading all the 2017 releases I wanted to read in 2018. I waited too long and ran out of time, so I still have one of those to read. Oops.

So I’m making these five more of a priority this year – it helps that four are sequels to some of the books and series I have enjoyed the most in the past couple years. The last is a standalone that sounds very exciting.

Image result for kingdom of ash goodreadsKingdom of Ash – Finishing this series will be bittersweet. These characters are so amazing and it will suck to leave them behind! I still need to read Tower of Dawn as well, so these two long reads will take up a good chunk of reading time.

Image result for love & luck goodreadsLove & Luck – I really enjoyed Lina’s story and how great of a friend Addie was, so I’m excited that she got her own story. Touring Ireland with with a cute Irish boy sounds like a dream.

Image result for wildcard goodreadsWildcard – Marie Lu writes amazing series, and this duology has kept with that theme. I’m looking forward to seeing how Emika’s high-stakes adventure ends.

Image result for European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman goodreadsEuropean Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman – These ladies are so awesome and the first book was such a welcome surprise. Bring on the Austro-Hungarian Empire!

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The Brilliant Death
– A standalone fantasy full of family, budding love, journeys, and secrets. Teo’s magical abilities sound so intriguing!


Ruin of Stars review

Ruin of Stars (Mask of Shadows, #2)
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

I was so confused by this entire novel… The mystery, awesome relationships, assassin activities, and murder-plotting that I liked so much in the first book was all entirely absent. Instead, this book became choppy and rambled on at odd times about who knows what. It started out quite well but quickly went off-course. (Wish I would have known this and I would have saved myself the pain and given up at 20%…) It felt so different from the first book and everything I didn’t like probably would have worked fine if the two books would have overlapped better. A lot of the issues brought up in this book and the direction of the plot felt like an afterthought. And it was so freaking repetitive.

I still liked Sal at the beginning (they were like Arya from Game of Thrones with their list of names to murder and I was totally ready for a fun romp around the country to assassinate some awful people – lol nope) but by the end I was not thrilled with them or the story they were narrating. Like you can’t think something like, “They’d made my whole world a nightmare. And I would be theirs.” and then just really suck at being an assassin. Like honestly, Sal turned out to be such a bad assassin! They were consistently bested by the people they were fighting and it took forever for the people on their list to pay.

Maud was still great but wasn’t featured or appreciated enough… Emerald and Amethyst were mostly absent and I have no idea what they were up to while Sal was trying to save the day. I thought it would be The Left Hand going on an awesome assassination adventure together, but nope. I don’t even feel like mentioning anyone else – I. was. bored.

There were so many political aspects added in and preachy rants to be had (mostly about gender and power) that I was like okay, I get it! I needed this to be 80% more murdery, 75% less broody, and 100% more team of assassins. Le sigh.

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My Love for Rereads

Even when my TBR grows to uncontrollable lengths, I continue to reread books… I love returning to my favourite worlds and characters to relive some of the best stories I have ever found.

I have a really horrible memory, so I always forget some details of the books I read – if not most details! So while I know the gist of the books I reread (most of the time…), this means I basically get to reexperience them like the first time around. And then I already know that I love the characters and everything about the book from the first time!

Sometimes I reread when needing to refresh so I can continue or finish a series, but most of the time it is to relive the magic. ❤️

I reread 8 books in 2018, one of them twice. (The Scorpio Races!) Don’t look at me like that TBR shelf…

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The Scorpio Races ~ Six of Crows ~ Crooked Kingdom
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City of Fallen Angels ~ City of Lost Souls ~ Pride and Prejudice
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ~ Rebel of the Sands

My 2019 reread goals are a bit higher because I really want to finish rereading the Harry Potter books – it’s been too long since my first read! Hopefully I get through these 12 in 12 months. 😊

Image result for harry potter and the chamber of secrets bookImage result for harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban bookImage result for harry potter and the goblet of fire bookImage result for harry potter and the order of the phoenixImage result for harry potter and the half blood prince coverImage result for harry potter and the deathly hallows bloomsburyImage result for the raven cycleImage result for the night circus goodreadsImage result for eleanor and park cover

Onyx & Ivory review

Onyx & Ivory
by Mindee Arnett

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The world is black and white and all the shades of grey in between.

I quite enjoyed this story and the types of magic it contained. Kate and Corwin had many mysteries to uncover while getting reacquainted after years apart. They had both been forced to change so much from when they were younger, and they helped each other to see the world differently.

The dual POVs of Kate and Corwin were great and made the story really interesting. I loved their views of each other and how clear it was that they cared deeply for each other. There was a lot of resistance and uncertainty when they were first reunited, but their relationship slowly strengthened once again. The secondary characters were awesome and added so much to this book. My favourites were Dal and Raith – I want so much more of them in the second book!

The plot was intriguing and had so many layers. There was a nice balance of dialogue, action, and description. It was just a bit too long, and it took me a while to like Corwin and care about the fate of Rime. There wasn’t much to cringe over, but it definitely happened a few times… This was an amazing world to explore, full of magic and monsters and the promise of more to come in the next book. I’m sure it will have an even faster pace as the stakes are way higher thanks to all that happened in the last quarter of this book.

Random thoughts: I loved the scene of Corwin watching Kate’s Relay trial – it reminded me of Merida from Brave, another fierce and brave young woman! Kate’s pure affection for horses was so lovely and I hope the events of the ending of the book don’t warp this relationship. Dal and Signe need more scenes together in the second book because the development of their surely adorable relationship and guaranteed banter happened off-page in this book and I need it.

Reasons to read:
> super cool magic used by two very different groups of people
> treachery, secrets, and a fight for the throne (and just control in general actually)
> tough main lady who has had enough of everyone’s shit
> creepy deadly beasts that force people to hide within walled cities at night (and during the day?! ~mysterious~)
> magical trials pitting princes against each other to decide who is worthy of the throne

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Red Sister review

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Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

That’s the first line of the prologue, and I was instantly hooked! I needed to know more about these killer nuns that needed two hundred men to kill them… And I was not disappointed by what I learned. Nona’s backstory unfurled throughout her training, truths building upon lies that she told to protect herself. She learned more about who she was meant to be and made some lovely friends along the way. (And a shitty one… Seriously, that betrayal was so obvious and all the novices and sisters were oblivious for way too long.)

I really enjoyed the structure and pacing that provided an awesome framework for the plot. Nona’s progression through her studies was broken up with epically mysterious flash-forwards and some flashbacks of Nona’s. Her classes and days at the convent were quite slow and descriptive and were clearly building up to the points of action that happened along the way. The action-packed scenes were amazing! There were many secrets to uncover and enemies to evade. Learning about the world and the ways of the nuns alongside Nona was great. The writing style was so awesome and fit this story perfectly!

Your death has not been waiting for your arrival at the appointed hour; it has, for all the years of your life, been racing towards you with the fierce velocity of time’s arrow. It cannot be evaded; it cannot be bargained with, deflected or placated. All that is given to you is the choice: Meet it with open eyes and peace in your heart, go gentle to your reward. Or burn bright, take up arms, and fight the bitch.

The character development was so good, but it took me forever to remember who was who. (Thankfully there is a list at the beginning explaining the world and characters for easy reference.) There are way too many characters to talk about them all, but my favourites aside from Nona were Ara, Sister Kettle, and Hessa.

One of my favourite things was the way fight scenes were described. I felt like I was really watching Nona slow down the world around her and move super quickly thanks to her hunksa blood. Another thing is how much information Nona (and therefore the reader) is missing because of what she still has to learn, and also what is deliberately kept from her. Lastly, the dope writing in the flash-forwards. Like the epilogue, seriously:

It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient bravery. For when Sister Cage of the Sweet Mercy Convent steps onto the battlefield courage is often found to be in short supply.

Reasons to read:
> Killer nuns and magical nuns training young girls in their combative and mystic ways
> Boarding school vibes with higher stakes and more punching & poisons
> Girls (and boys, but whatever) with kick-ass abilities thanks to special blood inherited from their ancestors
> A vague prophecy with uncertain origins (do we believe it or not??)
> Sneaking, lying, plotting, and betrayal

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Mask of Shadows review

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Mask of Shadows
by Linsey Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had inherited ghosts, and I would become one.

Sal was such an awesome narrator! I really liked the descriptions they provided, the observations of their surroundings and other people, and the skewed morality they had that showed a kind heart despite being a thief and murderer. It was really cool that Sal was gender fluid and most people fully accepted them for that and asked what pronouns they wanted to use, except for the shitty characters…

I really liked many of the other characters as well. Ruby, Emerald, and Amethyst all had great personalities and trained the auditioners in different areas of murderiness according to their strengths. Maud had such a great personality and was super funny, and I loved her relationship with Sal. I hope she’s in the next book! The other auditioners were only known by their numbers, but based on Sal’s observations, their actions, and the way they interacted with Sal, it was actually really easy to keep track of who was who.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing. It was perfect for building suspense and letting me fall into the action-packed scenes when they came along. I truly felt like I was there alongside Sal fighting to survive, stay awake, and make it to the next morning. I think it worked really well with the plot, which kind of felt like a dual plot because there was the competition that The Left Hand was holding, and there was Sal’s motive of revenge for being there as well.

I’m letting this book be its own thing instead of comparing it to others, because it truly did feel original and it can totally stand on its own. I’m pretty sick of people demanding that writers be comparable to each other for ease of finding books to read and then bashing books when they feel too similar to another…

Reasons to read:
> motive = revenge
> mysterious trio of queen’s assassins holding a competition to replace their dead fourth companion
> deadly competition with murdery training, tons of sneaking around, and no-killing breakfasts
> super soft crush on a girl they previously robbed (hahaha)
> lots of rep without the book being about rep, but still working the MC’s gender fluidity into how people interacted with them

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Most Anticipated 2019 Releases

There are so many great books to wait for this year, but I am most excited for these five:

Image result for king of scars1. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

This is going to be one of the highlights of my year, no joke. I have never pre-ordered a book before, but you can bet I pre-ordered this one! I love Nikolai so much.

Publication date: January 29

Image result for war of the bastards andrew shvarts2. War of the Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

The third book in this exciting and deadly series with awesome characters and a snarky narrator.

Publication date: June 4

Image result for you'd be mine3. You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Country music love story. Resisting falling for someone is my jam – such a fun trope to read. This sounds super cute!

Publication date: April 2

Image result for serious moonlight jenn bennett4. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Another sure-to-be adorable romance from one of my fave YA authors! This plot and these characters sound so intriguing.

Publication date: April 16

Image result for sherwood meagan spooner5. Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

I am so here for Marian filling the role of protector after Robin is gone. Meagan Spooner’s writing should be perfect for this story!

Publication date: March 19

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