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2019 Books That I Still Need To Read

We’re almost at the end of 2019 and I still have hundreds (probably literally) of releases from this year to read. As it’s the end of the year – and in an effort to motivate myself – I’ve decided to share ten of the books that were released this year that I’m most desperate to read. They’re even in a sort of order to be honest although, as I’m definitely a mood reader, this isn’t exactly set in stone.

The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black

How have I not read this book yet? Seriously how? I absolutely adored the first two books in the series and need to find out how it ends. I better prepare to be left breathless…and get my heart trampled on numerous times though.

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Once again how haven’t I read this yet? It was probably the book that I was most excited for in 2019. It’s vampires in New Orleans and involves murder, mystery and sounds phenomenal. It’s definitely one of the first books that I plan to pick up in 2020.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

How could I resist reading the backstory of Dracula’s brides? I NEED to read this as soon as possible. The gorgeous cover helps too admittedly. But still this book sounds like it’s written for me.

Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Another stunning cover and mesmerizing sounding book. This ones also had fantastic reviews and has a really intriguing start. Plus it contains magicians. So yes this is another that I need to get read in the early portion of the year.

House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Once again this book has spectacular reviews and sounds utterly haunting. A fairytale retelling that follows a family whose daughters keep dying. What’s really going on? I need to know! And soon I surely will as I may have recently treated myself to a copy of this one.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Yet another one that I was itching to pick up but never did. In 2020 I 100% will as I absolutely adore the sound of this one. Witches, witch hunters, an unexpected wedding and this quote from the blurb ‘For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife and a wicked scar.’ What more could I ask for in a book?

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

Wow this one sounds incredible too. Countess Elizabeth Báthory takes a liking to Anna Darvulia, a new scullery maid of hers and gives her the dream job of Chambermaid instead. Of course not everything is quite as it seems. I hope to read this soon but, to be fair, it has literally just come out so I’m not exactly behind in this case. It sounds amazing enough that I need to pick this up immediately though.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

A Camelot retelling where Guinevere is a changeling whose given up everything to protect Camelot? Yes please! Seriously I need this already. Plus I loved And I Darken which gives me even higher hopes for this one.

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields

I honestly don’t know how I haven’t read this yet as it sounds amazing. A world where bones are the source of all power and the central character has to live two potential paths at once? It sounds 100% for me so I need to pick this up as soon as possible too.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

How haven’t I read this yet? Seriously how? I still even need to read book one of this series but I adore His Dark Materials so I definitely want to pick it up soon. I have a feeling this will become an instant favourite. Touch wood.


So those are ten of the 2019 books that I still need to read but it’s definitely not anywhere near all of them! What are some releases from this year that you’re still desperate to get on with?

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.

Other Posts

My Favourite Covers Of 2019

There have been a lot of wonderful book covers this year and I just wanted to take the chance to share some of my favourites with you. I decided, as it’s not really a post that involves much writing (how many different ways can I put ‘it’s gorgeous’ in one top ten?) to try and put them in order instead…which was definitely challenging. Even now I’m not entirely convinced of my order and leaving some books out was incredibly hard. I also still need to read all of these but hope to get to them all in 2020, some of them fairly early in the year too. But anyway here’s my best attempt at picking my top ten covers of the year.

In Tenth Place:
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
In Ninth Place:
A Dress For The Wicked by Autumn Krause
In Eighth Place:
Enchantée by Gita Trelease
In Seventh Place:
The Candle And The Flame by Nafiza Azad
In Sixth Place:
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix E. Harrow
In Fifth Place:
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

In Fourth Place:
Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
In Third Place:
Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
In Second Place:
Descendant Of The Crane By Joan He
In First Place:
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

So those are my ten favourite covers of 2019. What are yours? Are there any major ones that you think I’ve missed? Please do let me know in the comments section below.

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.

Features · Monthly Book Releases

My Most Anticipated December Releases:

Hello and welcome to my most anticipated releases of December. To start with this list was pretty small and I was honestly struggling to even get a top five. Then I looked up books coming out in December and it grew. Although let’s be fair, it’s still small compared to normal. If you’re interested in knowing, the two books that I’m most desperate to get my hands on are Blood Countess and Dangerous Alliance.

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

Lady Victoria Aston has always been just as comfortable in a pair of breeches stolen from her father as she has in satin ballgowns decked in lace. And though she is perfectly capable of minding her manners in polite society, she doesn’t much see the point. With an older sister happily wed and the future of her family estate secure, she is quite content to while her time away in the fields around her home.

However, Vicky’s comfortable, idyllic life is overturned in the course of one night. Her sister’s husband is a terrible cad and now Vicky must marry, or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s season in a flutter of silks, dances, and pretty words.

But Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s particular circumstances: whether the gorgeous and roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend—the much-grown and very handsome Tom Sherborne—is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the bright-orange waistcoat.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her. Accidents that have her wondering if there’s someone trying to prevent a match from being made…or prevent her from surviving until her wedding day

Reputation by Sara Shepard

Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people’s e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning’s handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit’s sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn’t right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to find the truth. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.

The Weight Of A Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

December Sequels:

Cold Heart Creek by Lisa Regan
Children Of Virtue And Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson
Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene
Daughter Of Chaos by Sarah Rees Brennan

Other November Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

In The Dark by Loreth Anne White
The Penmaker’s Wife by Steve Robinson
This Will Kill That by Danielle K. Roux
Trace Of Evil by Alice Blanchard
Scared Little Rabbits by A. V. Geiger
Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Spy by Danielle Steel
The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Hearts, Strings And Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison
The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
Reverie by Ryan La Sala

I can’t believe this is my last of these posts for the year! How are we nearly in 2020 already? As per usual I somehow haven’t read any of the previous books when it comes to the sequels listed here BUT I do plan to get on with Children Of Blood And Bone & the Sabrina books as soon as possible. I’m also pretty intrigued by In The Dark & Who Did You Tell? Both sound like pretty compulsive thrillers!


What are your most anticipated December releases? Have you read any of them yet; if so which would you most recommend? Let me know and, of course, I hope you all enjoy your reading.

Reviews

Book Review: The Pact by Amy Heydenrych

Thank you to Readers First for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This hasn’t in anyway affected my opinion of the book.

What if a prank leads to murder?

When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her new colleague Jay. However, Nicole, Jay’s ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery.

After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . .

Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder – and could she be next?

‘But later, beneath her begging and protestations, one fact remained: while she never meant for her to die, she did want to hurt her, just a little.’

Deciding on a rating for ‘The Pact’ was harder than it generally is for me. Summing up my feelings was simple enough but picking a fair rating for them gave me pause. Why? Because when I was hooked this book felt amazing which makes me want to give it a high score. Yet I can only give it an average one because of the issues that I had with it which is rather frustrating.

Straight away I was interested in ‘The Pact’. It had a gripping opening and left me incredibly curious as to how the scene described could possibly have started out as a prank. The chapters were short but this added to the pace of the story, especially as most ended in such a way that left you wanting more. The writing was impressive, on the whole, and tackled some difficult topics quite well. The central characters mostly felt well developed, with snippets of their past getting shared over the course of the story. And the timeline was interesting with the investigation into Nicole’s death intertwining with scenes from Freya’s previous experiences of her at work. The bullying felt real and left me frustrated on the victim’s behalf due to the difficult position that she was in.

Despite the writing generally being very immersive and fast moving with well painted scenes I did find the dialogue a little awkward at times. Some of the conversations felt slightly unrealistic; especially when it came to Freya’s first meeting her housemates. Each of these encounters started with some rather personal subjects being shared and instant bonding which just didn’t feel real to me. In one case, sure, but not for all three. I think maybe I’d have gotten passed this a little better if we’d maybe got to see a few more scenes of these friendships developing but instead they just felt instant and unrealistic as a result.

These issues did lessen my enjoyment of the earlier half of the book but then something changed and I found myself gripped once more. I was convinced that, despite my earlier misgivings, I was going to end up loving the second half of the book. And I did… mostly. Up until the very end in fact which is why it pains me so much to give this book only three stars. The issues that I had concerning the ending, when paired with my earlier struggles, are too much to justify any higher a rating though.

A lot of the resolution to the story I was happy with. Most of the outcome felt believable and the characters convincing too. The epilogue ruined this feeling for me though. It’s not that I’m completely against what happened there; I’m not. I got the point of the revelation but it didn’t flow with the earlier events. Maybe I’d change my mind if I went back and re-read everything (which I am tempted to do at some point) but as it stands some earlier reactions to Nicole’s death didn’t add up once I’d reached the end.

Plus there were a few other things that are bothering me from slightly before the epilogue too. Such as how the killer was finally caught; it doesn’t feel right to me. Another character’s ending didn’t feel natural either; not when I think back and consider how different individuals reacted to them and when they appeared in the book. There are also two smaller things that I thought would be revealed at some point but weren’t. Firstly something that was never shared from a conversation between Freya and Jay; I’d assumed the actual context of his revelation was left vague for a later reveal, yet it never came. And then there’s Jess; what happened to her? You may not have met her but considering what was said I really felt that some answers were needed concerning her fate.

Anyway overall I did enjoy reading ‘The Pact’. There was a time in the first half when I started to feel a little fed up but then it quickly became incredibly gripping and left me wanting more. My issues concerning the ending are too much to overlook however. So on balance this turned out to be a fairly average read for me – something that is so frustrating considering how well written and gripping certain parts of the book were. I’d still be interested in reading more by the author however; her writing showed real promise and she did have a talent for throwing in a lot of unexpected twists.

Check out The Pact on Goodreads here.

Trigger Warnings:Sexual Harassment & Assault.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (I seriously feel the need to discuss some things about this one!) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Reviews

Book Review: Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

‘Then Natalie saw the very last thing she was expecting to see here, in The Kiln, in Shanamore.
     A picture of her own face smiling up at her.’

‘Rewind’ is my second Catherine Ryan Howard book but it certainly won’t be my last based on my experience with her work so far. This book was tremendously well written and pretty hard to put down due to its twisty, compelling plot. What really stood out to me in this book though was the characters.

There was quite a variety of people in this book – more than I’d expected, in fact, before picking the novel up – and each and every one of them felt real. In some of these cases this was actually pretty disturbing considering what the people in question were like. There were a number of creepy and unsettling characters in this book and that, in itself, was enough to keep me guessing. Several people had the potential to be the killer who’d been captured on tape and each of them had some sort of motive too. It honestly was a little bit unnerving how realistically written some of these people were but it wasn’t just the more disturbing individuals who felt fleshed out and believable, everybody in this book did. The central character was well written with an interesting backstory and the same applies to the reporter involved too. I honestly didn’t feel like there was a weak character in the book which definitely added to the story.

Considering the unusual way that ‘Rewind’ is written I’m not sure if some people would struggle slightly although if this is the case, and you do feel a little lost when starting the book, I honestly would urge you to carry on. There are a fair few points of view to follow, in varying timelines, but each of them is vital to the story and just incredibly well written. The odd timeline involved really works for the story that is told and I really enjoyed it. It allowed for twists and turns from several points in time to be revealed at various places throughout the story. The way that social media is portrayed in this book was also quite unsettling at times. It felt spot on, considering Natalie’s background, but it really highlighted some of the dangers of sharing too much of yourself online.

As a whole everything came together really well and was tied up wonderfully. I did guess who the killer was but at the same time I wasn’t entirely confident in my guess. I had several theories and there were quite a few big reveals along the way so this didn’t particularly take away from the overall enjoyment of the novel for me. The one thing that did lessen my enjoyment slightly however is a slight continuity error towards the end. There were two, technically, but one was pretty minor and I would have overlooked. The second of these, though, didn’t really impact upon the overall story or change the fact that everything came together well but it did grate on me slightly. It basically comes down to someone claiming not to have a phone and then, several pages later, stating that they do have one. In the circumstances of the conversation it did irritate me that this wasn’t picked up on; especially as, to avoid such an error, all that had to be said instead in the first conversation was that they didn’t have their phone with them (and I did go back to check that I wasn’t mistaken about this not being the case). Still as I said this didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story too much, hence the still high rating.

Overall I’d definitely recommend this book for its compelling storyline and incredibly well written characters. It was a very hard book to put down pretty much from page one and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next; whatever it is I’m sure I’ll be reading it.

Check out Rewind on Goodreads here.

Trigger Warnings:Violent/Graphic Murder Scene, Pedophilia and Stalking.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Reviews

Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

If she’d been a social butterfly, they would have said she liked to drink away her pain. If she’d been a straight-A student, they would have said she’d been eaten alive by her perfectionism. There were always excuses for why girls died.

Before starting Ninth House I wasn’t sure how much magic to expect from the novel. I knew that it mentioned secret societies and occult activities but I wasn’t entirely sure where these would go; whether the magic would be something that you could see or ritualistic; whether the main character would believe in such things or not. So to pick up this book and receive a world where there were many different societies, each specializing in different types of magic, and where ghosts walked the earth was a rather pleasant surprise. The magical and mystical worked superbly within the pages of Ninth House and I absolutely adored the world that Leigh Bardugo created. Academia blended with the supernatural so seamlessly that it felt like a world that truly could exist. The writing was brilliant too although I will admit that at the start of the novel there were quite a lot of references that I couldn’t place and as a result it did take me a little while to get into the flow of the story. Once I was hooked it was hard to put this book down though.

The characters in this book were wonderfully well thought out and developed. Alex was a bit hard to relate to at times, perhaps due to how she hid her true self away, but I definitely felt for her given everything that she’d endured over the years. I loved the way that she wanted to stand up for ‘girls like her’. All of her past – everything that made her the person that she is today – was just terrifically well thought out and detailed too. My favourite character was definitely Darlington; somehow over the course of the novel I came to love his character so much. And with time I came to enjoy Dawes character too, along with several other surprising individuals. The villains from this book deserve a mention too because they were just superb. Like the other characters they were well written with fleshed out motivations and, when shared, interesting back stories.

The story itself was incredibly well plotted and thought out. Everything came together in a way that I wouldn’t have seen coming and kept me guessing from page one. As stated above once I was hooked it was hard to put this book down and that’s so true – once the story got going this book was utterly compelling. The plot, the characters, the magic… everything just came together so wonderfully. I loved learning about Lethe and the other houses; I love reading snippets of their history too. This book is incredibly dark at times though too so please bare that in mind and, if you have any triggers, I’d definitely recommend checking out the trigger warnings.

Altogether I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ninth House and found myself glued to its pages, wanting to unravel exactly what was going on. After the ending I definitely can’t wait for book two to come out, I have a feeling that with it’s possible setting it’ll be even more addictive than the first book in the series. So yes I recommend this book if you’re looking for a dark, atmospheric mystery with a surprisingly varied cast of characters.

Check out Ninth House on Goodreads here.

I’m aware that some people may find these warnings potentially spoiling so click the link below if you want to know them in advance. Also sorry if I missed any; I have tried to at least include the ones that majorly stood out to me.

Trigger Warnings:Sexual Assault, Rape (including of a minor), Drug Use, Overdoses, Consumption Of Bodily Fluids, Death, Murder, Drowning & Extreme Violence/Gore.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Features · Monthly Book Releases

My Most Anticipated November Releases:

Hello and welcome to my most anticipated releases of November. I’m back to my usual top five this month after picking ten over the last two release heavy months.

Queen Of Nothing comes out soon and I literally can not wait for it! My top five are always the first books in new series or standalones but if that wasn’t the case it would definitely feature at the top of this page. I prefer to keep all sequels separate however. But anyway, on to this month’s book releases.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago. 

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. 

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Queen Of The Conquered by Kacen Callender

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

The Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

November Sequels:

Hero by Michael Grant
Song Of The Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
Tears Of Frost by Bree Barton
Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan
Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf
Supernova by Marissa Meyer
Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Realm Of Ash by Tasha Suri
The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Other November Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

Sisters Of Shadow And Light by Sara B. Larson
Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell
A Constellation Of Roses by Miranda Asebedo
Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas
Poppy Redfern And The Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen
Across A Broken Shore by Amy Trueblood
A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price
The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand
Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel
Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner
Crown Of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
Coral by Sara Ella
Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
Day Zero by Kelly deVos
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian

As I said above Queen Of Nothing is the sequel that I’m most excited about and I can not wait to read it!!! Unfortunately that is the only series mentioned here that I’ve started so far. I do plan to read GOPAF soon though and, as I keep hearing about Scythe everywhere, hopefully I can get that series read fairly soon. I’d also love to start Julie C. Dao’s series too and… Well most of them tbh.

What are your most anticipated November releases? Have you read any of them yet; if so which would you most recommend? Let me know and, of course, I hope you all enjoy your reading.

Features · Literary Lists

Literacy Lists: Witches

Firstly fingers crossed that I’m back now. They do still seem to have people working on various things in the road on and off though so if I run into any further connectivity issues I’ll keep you all in the loop.

So it’s October and I couldn’t think of a better theme for this month than witches. Admittedly I could also have gone for vampires, especially as The Beautiful has just came out, or scary stories in general but I’m in the mood for a witchy list and am always on the lookout for new suggestions of stories that features them. Here’s ten of the ones that immediately spring to mind for me; if you know any others then I’d love to hear them.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales Of Witchery by Various Authors

What better way to start off this list than with a collection of new witchy tales? These stories include works by authors that I’ve enjoyed in the past as well as others whose books are on my TBR. Plus the stories in it sound so intriguing. How could I not want to read a book that states that ‘Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.’

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This book has been on my TBR forever so I’m determined to finally get on with it soon. I tried watching the show but couldn’t fully get into it but I found the characters and world interesting enough that, despite my experience, it only heightened my desire to pick up these books. Witches, vampires & daemons; how have I not read this already?

Witches Of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

I’m that terrible reader (at least lately) whose seen the show but not read the book in this case. I adored the television series however so obviously I want to pick up this book. With witches in it who can resurrect people from the dead, see the future and cure most any heartache this sounds like an interesting read even if the show hadn’t brought it to my attention however.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I found this within it’s Goodreads description: ‘For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife and a wicked scar.’ How could I not want to read it after that? A world where witches are hunted and burned though; where there’s an ancient war between the witches and the church; where a witch ends up married to a witch hunter… I need to read this!!

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

This sounds like such a thrilling book (and I own a copy of it, along with two others in the series). A world where a genetically engineered virus killed half of the world’s human population and exposed creatures of dreams and nightmares that had lived in secret until then. A witch whose used to confronting criminal vampires, dark witches and homicidal werewolves. A main character whose marked for death unless she can appease her former employers… I need to get on with this one soon!

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Okay so I don’t think this book actually contains witches but I’m pretty sure that they come into the series in later books. At least that’s what I’ve been led to conclude based on the show and, as I haven’t yet read book one, I felt that this had to be the one that I mentioned. If this series is anything like it’s television adaptation I’m just going to absolutely adore it’s witches. They left me addicted to the show and just… someone please tell me they’re similar whenever they appear?

Black Witch by Laurie Forest

This is another book that I own and still need to read! It sounds fantastic though and just like the sort of book that I could fall for. The granddaughter of a famous witch who saved her people is utterly devoid of power. It doesn’t take her long after being given the opportunity to attend a prestigious school to find out that it’s a very dangerous place for her. Just my sort of book! Plus the quote on the cover – what dark power is it in her veins? Another I need to pick up ASAP

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

The time-span of this book sounds incredible; there’s such a range of times and places mentioned in the blurb and just… wow it sounds good. I need to know more about this creation that causes it’s creator’s own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn. I fully intend to read this sometime; although I must confess that if Goodreads is correct then I find it’s size slightly daunting :L

The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston

Part historical romance, part modern fantasy – I’m sure this book will be interesting to say the least. I love the sound of both timelines and can’t wait to learn more about Gideon. A warlock with the power to make someone immortal who then goes on to hunt her across time… simply put it sounds brilliant.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

This book definitely has different witchy vibes than most here but I couldn’t make a book about witches without including this series, could I? It’s easily one of my all time favorite series and I love everything about it so much. The world, the characters, the magic, the danger… everything.


So those are some of the witchy books that I love the sound of. Hopefully I’ll get some of them read soon and naturally I’ve already read the Harry Potter series on numerous occasions. Have you read any of these books? Do you have any other suggestions of witchy reads for me? Or even shows and films… I generally end up enjoying most things featuring witches. Let me know in the comments section below (:

Reviews

Book Review: Hex Life by Various Authors

These are tales of wickedness… stories of evil and cunning, written by today’s women you should fear. Includes tales from Kelley Armstong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon, writing in their own bestselling universes.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery will take the classic tropes of tales of witchcraft and infuse them with fresh, feminist perspective and present-day concerns–even if they’re set in the past. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.

Bring out your dread.

‘They remember their own fathers warning them to stay out of the woods or the witch would eat them up, build herself a bed with the bones.
She has killed those who cross her.
She has scared men to death.
If you’re out in the woods at night and you hear her song, it’ll be the last sound you ever know.
But the stories, they’re all half-truths.’

Although a little different than I originally expected it to be (a lot more of the stories in this collection were chilling than I’d anticipated) Hex Life is probably the best anthology that I’ve picked up so far. To be fair I do generally enjoy short story collections but this one really stood out to me as a particularly good one. Normally with these sorts of collections it’s easy to pick out the tales that you loved best and the ones that underwhelmed you but in this one every story stood surprisingly strongly. I honestly don’t think there was a bad one within the whole bunch. There were naturally some that I liked better than others still but picking out favourites in this collection is incredibly hard.

Firstly each and every one of the stories in Hex Life are incredibly well written; most of them creating spectacular atmospheres that easily reel the reader in. The settings and types of stories vary greatly – something that makes them quite hard to compare – and all of them left me wanting to check out more of the various author’s works. The range of characters and events in this collection is fantastic. And, as stated above, the chills were a lot greater than I’d initially anticipated. Some of the stories in this collection crept under my skin and deeply unsettled me, playing on my mind hours after finishing them. One had the sort of fierce, feminist heroine that I’d been expecting; another left me quite pleased overall with the warmer route that it took yet still managed to send slight shivers down my spine at times. Others tackled important issues superbly such as racism and homophobia.

Every story within this book is worth a read and, as I’ve already said, picking favourites is incredibly hard but here’s my best attempt at choosing exactly that. Widows’ Walk was a fantastic short story that warmed my heart at places and left me with chills in others. Black Magic Momma is set within Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld and I seriously need to get on and read those books! I adored her take on witches and can’t wait to read more within the world. The Night Nurse is probably the story that disturbed me the most; seriously it was creepy and definitely lingered on my mind afterwards. The Deer Wife was strangely haunting and beautifully written. Bless Your Heart merged baking, magic and vengeance wonderfully and had a wonderfully compelling tone. This Skin, despite being just ten pages long, disturbed me deeply and left me guessing. I honestly can not believe what the author accomplished in so few pages! And The Nekrolog covered events that I don’t know that much about but left a fantastic supernatural twist on them and was just wonderfully written once again.

Those are only some of my favourites though as the collection contained so much more. I enjoyed visiting Morganville once again for instance and there were two other chilling tales that particularly stood out to me. One set in the woods with some majorly disturbing vibes and another involving a figure that I’ve heard of elsewhere which once more was wonderfully written with an incredibly haunting vibe.

Overall I definitely recommend this anthology and will hopefully be checking out more of the various authors’ works in the future. Just as a warning though this collection is a fairly creepy one; there are stories here that truly unnerved me. Several of the stories also involved a bit of gore and others had some very strong language included.  So please do take that into account although I do still recommend this book; it’s just such a fantastic mix of haunting tales by some incredible writers.

Check out Hex Life on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Features · Monthly Book Releases

My Most Anticipated October Releases

This month I’m back with another top ten rather than the usual five but how could I limit myself in such a way when there are so many fantastic sounding book releases coming out this month? Next month I’m back to my usual top 5 though, and December will hopefully be the same… if I can find that many releases out that month. I’ve actually already read the first book listed here (you can find my review for it here), am already set on buying another of these and have another five on order at my local library. So basically this month I may actually get most of this top ten read (fingers crossed, anyway). Now onto the important stuff:

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . . 

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. 

Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun. 

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal. 

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands. 

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame. 

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her. 

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

October Sequels

The Sinister Mystery Of The Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss
Rebel by Marie Lu
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
A Kingdom For A Stage by Heidi Heilig
Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
The Name Of All Things by Jenn Lyons

Other October Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Hex Life: Wicked New Tales Of Witchery by Various Authors
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Words On Fire by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
Cupid Match by Lauren Palphreyman
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques
Glow Of The Fireflies by Lindsey Duga
Untitled by Paula Hawkins
^^ (I have no idea if this is still actually out as it’s still ‘Untitled’ yet listed on more than just Goodreads?) ^^
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
The Giver Of Stars by JoJo Moyes
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
Heart of The Moors by Holly Black
Evermore Academy: Winter by Audrey Grey
Tarnished Are The Stars by Rosiee Thor
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
Rose Coffin by M. P. Kozlowsky
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
The House Of Brides by Jane Cockram
Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair
Supernova Era by Cixin Liu
Beyond The Black Door by A.M. Strickland
Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah
Black Canary Ignite by Meg Cabot

Once again I have some series catch up to do if I want to be able to get on and read this month’s sequels. I have read half of the Spellslinger series but ideally I’d like to re-read and refresh my memory before finishing the series off. I also want to re-read His Dark Materials before finally picking up The Book Of Dust.

Originally Poison For Breakfast by Lemony Snicket was on here but I’m not convinced that it’s out in October any longer. Does anybody know? I doubt I’ll get much from this second section read – I have so many books on my TBR right now – but at the very least I plan to pick up Hex Life (:

What are your most anticipated October releases? Have you read any of them yet; if so which would you most recommend? Let me know and, of course, I hope you all enjoy your reading.