Features · Quarterly Catch Up

Quarterly Catch Up: First Edition

Hello and welcome to my first Quarterly Catch Up; a feature where I’ll give a brief summary of how my readings gone over the past three months along with ten of the books that I’m most desperate to read and five of the series that I want to finish and/or re-read. As the name might suggest the plan is to post this feature at the end of every third month. Additionally each December edition of this feature will contain the top ten books of that particular year that I wanted to read but didn’t get around to.

This first edition doesn’t quite follow the general plan as it A) contains lists with more books than it should and B) has my most anticipated January, February and March releases in it (the original plan was to always include them in here but I’ve since decided to instead make those books a separate monthly feature). As this blog is new and I haven’t read as much as I’ve wanted to over the last few months I’m skipping the summary section for this post but I’ll include that (and strictly stick to my Top Fives and Top Tens) in the next of these feature posts. It’s also majorly late – as I’m only starting this blog off in May – so I’ll most likely skip June’s edition (or possibly post it sometime in July if my readings been going particularity well).

Top Ten Missed Books From 2018 That I Want To Read:

Picking just ten books for this list was hard painstaking. There were so many books out last year that I wanted to read; books that I was itching to get my hands on. So why didn’t I read them? I guess because I already had so many books that I felt like it was wrong to get more. This year I’ve decided to bin that attitude and instead focus on what I want to read, when I want to read it. Readings meant to be done for enjoyment, after all.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

‘There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.’

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

‘Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials’

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Pretties, Beasties and the Haute;
humans, animals enchanted to be human and
an underground magical society!

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

‘What would you give to be beautiful?’

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

‘A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief.
Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands.
Four nations destined for conflict.

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

‘They killed my mother.
    They took our magic.
         They tried to bury us.
                                Now we rise.’

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Magic & Gunslingers
‘ Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client,
but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve
to get them all out alive.’

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The five passions:
Art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge
‘With war brewing between the two lands,
Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to
passion or blood.’

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

‘They called us the Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies.
They said we were shadows, ghosts,
and if you touched our skin we dissolved into smoke …’

Heart Of Thorns by Bree Barton

Touch is a battlefield,
                               bodies the instruments of war.’

Although I’ve listed some books below as my most anticipated sequels I haven’t necessarily read the previous books in their series as of yet. If I’ve included them, despite not reading the previous ones, then it means that it’s a series that I’m itching to get on with.

Most Anticipated January Releases:

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. 

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. 

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history—but only if they can stay alive.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.

Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…

A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

January Sequels:

The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
Kingdom Of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

Other January Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

The Binding by Bridget Collins
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon
The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me by Olivia Hinebaugh
Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

I haven’t read any of the previous books for these final two but I honestly believe that, if I had, they’d be in my Top Five so they definitely deserve a mention:

The Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden
King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Most Anticipated February Releases:

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Slayer by Kiersten White

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

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.

An Affair Of Poisons by Addie Thorley

After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.

Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant Dauphin. Forced to hide in the derelict sewers beneath the city, any hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until Josse’s path collides with Mirabelle’s, and he finds a surprising ally in his sworn enemy.

She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. Together, they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed? 

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them. 

February Sequels:

Watcher In The Woods by Kelley Armstrong
Rebel by S.M. Wilson
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Other February Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier
A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Dark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Darkest Bloom P.M. Freestone
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
The Ruin Of Kings by Jenn Lyons
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes
Tarot by Marissa Kennerson
Warrior Of The Wild by Tricia Levenseller
We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
The Dysasters by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Tell Me Everything Sarah Enni
The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Once again I’m including a series linked to one that I’m yet to read, although it definitely deserves a mention as I’m desperate to get on with the original series. The other book, Dread Nation, came out last year but I’m including it as it has an upcoming Kindle release in the UK (and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it).

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Most Anticipated March Releases:

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young 

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

To Best The Boys by Mary Weber

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Robin of Locksley is dead. 

When news comes that he’s fallen in battle at the King’s side in the Holy Land, Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on. Betrothed to Robin, she was free to be herself, to flout the stifling rules of traditional society and share an equal voice with her beloved when it came to caring for the people of her land.

Now Marian is alone, with no voice of her own. The people of Locksley, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, are doomed to live in poverty or else face death by hanging. The dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sherriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley, and Marian’s fiancé. Society demands that she accept her fate, and watch helplessly as her people starve.

When Marian dons Robin’s green cloak, and takes up his sword and bow, she never intended that anyone should mistake her for Robin, returned from the Holy Land as a vigilante. She never intended that the masked, cloaked figure she created should stand as a beacon of hope and justice to peasant and noble alike. She never intended to become a legend.

But all of Nottingham is crying out for a savior. So Marian must choose to make her own fate and become her own hero…

Robin Hood.

Killing November by Adriana Mather

It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim. 

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

A thief. An officer. A guardian. 
Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

March Sequels:

The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco
Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena
Chrysalis by Brendan Reichs
The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross
The Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest

Other March Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

The Fever King by Victoria Lee
You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Field Notes On Love by Jennifer E. Smith
The Quiet At The End Of The World by Lauren James
Opposite Of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees
Beware The Night by Jessika Fleck
When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry
The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Pérez
The Trial Of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor
Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter
The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Perfunctory Affection by Kim Harrison

Most Want To Read:

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Girls Made Of Snow And Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers
A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab
An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Corset by Laura Purcell
Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
Witches Of The East by Melissa de la Cruz

In my opinion all of the above books sound phenomenal with their varying promises of: Faerie courts, Faeries thirsts and magical kingdoms; 1920s New York City where gruesome murders, with a strange resemblance to a group of tarot cards, are taking place amidst the flappers, Follies, jazz and gin; a time travelling thief who steals magical artifacts from the past (whilst magic is all but extinct in her present); a brutal world featuring a slave and a soldier, neither of whom is free; a Snow White retelling with magicians and glass hearts; various London’s with bloody regimes, magic and mad kings; a tiny blonde wisp of a girl who hunts witches; the chance to live out a violent destiny as a handmaiden to Death himself;  a blue-skinned goddess in a world where all the Gods are meant to be dead; a mixture of classic stories retold with female leads, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation; a girl destined for greatness but only if she embraces the darkness within; and so much more! Not to mention the companion to His Dark Materials which has given me the perfect excuse to read the original series again soon. I absolutely adore those books.

Series To Finish and/or Re-Read:

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White
Read: 1 of 3

I love, love, love the first book of this series so I seriously need to get a move on and read the final two. It was so deliciously dark and told from such an unusual point of view.

Lady Helen by Alison Goodman
Read: 1 of 3

Another one where I read – and loved – the first then failed to read the final two. The setting in this one – and the mix of high society with demons – is delightful.

The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
Read: 2 of 3

After the ending of book two I really do need to get on with the third in this series. I’m honestly not sure if my heart can handle the potential heartbreak…

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Read: 4 of 7

These books are amazing and I just love the characters in them. How do I keep not finishing series that I was so intoxicated by?

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Read: 1 of 3

I’m really looking forward to losing myself in the rest of these books. I can’t wait to read Mira and Tamsin’s stories. The glitz and glamour of these books is intoxicating.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Read: 2 of 7 [Only 3 out so far]

I absolutely adored the first two of these books, and I really must get on and read the third after that ending! After that I guess I’m in with a rather long wait for the rest.

The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris
Read: 10 of 13

I’ve been wanting to re-read – and finally finish – these fantastic books for such a long time.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Read: 3 of 3

I think I’ve only read these books once but they’re absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into them once more. The world that Philip Pullman has created is sensational.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Read: 3 of 3

It’s been a while since I’ve read these books and I definitely want to refresh my memory of the story before Chain Of Gold comes out next year. Plus they’re glorious.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Read: 6 of 6

This is one of my favourite series and I’ve been meaning to get on and re-read it for a while. Firstly because I want to; the story and characters are fantastic. And secondly because I never got around to reading Bloodlines so it makes sense to read these again before I do. I miss Rose.

Currently re-reading these.

So there you have it; a series of lists that all contain way too many books. What books did you miss out on in 2018? Or, better still, which ones did you most enjoy so that I can add them to my TBR list? Are there any exciting January, February or March releases that I’ve failed to mention? Or any that you’ve already read and would recommend? I’d love to know what older (although prior to 2018 is hardly old) books you want to read, re-read or if it’s a series finally finish. Whatever category your book recommendations fit into feel free to share them below.

Just as a quick note: tomorrow I’ll post my April Releases blog, on Tuesday I’ll post May’s and on Wednesday I’ll post May’s Literacy List. After that I should be caught up – other than adding in the first three Vampire Academy reviews – and will basically be posting reviews as I finish books and posting features twice a month.