Friday Favorites: Fictional Worlds

Happy Friday, my dear bookish people! We are here today to talk about our favorite fictional worlds. These can be worlds you’d drop everything to go live in because they are just *that wonderful* or worlds that straight up terrify you, but are still highly intriguing and well built. Or it can just be a world that is filled with smokin’ hot Fae, because sometimes that’s just what you need. So let’s go world hopping!

If you’ve done your own Friday Favorites post, be sure to drop the link in the comments so I can make a post link list!


The Shire (The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings) – This will ALWAYS be my first answer when someone asks about favorite fictional worlds. ALWAYS. I’m sure there are many nice places in Middle Earth, but The Shire will always have my heart. Though, I’ve recently read Fellowship of the Ring again, and Hobbits can be jerks a little bit. Those darn Sackville-Bagginses! But as long as I have the Green Dragon and a perfectly cozy hobbit hole to cook up my second breakfast in, I’ll be content.

Yousay (LIFEL1K3) – And here is an example of a world that I would definitely NOT survive, but damn is it interesting as heck. Jay Kristoff is becoming one of my favorite world builders. He somehow manages to create rich new worlds without bashing you over the head in the process of building it. Yousay is the USA after some shit went down. It seems very hot, very chaotic, and very interesting. There are half robot dogs FFS! I want a half robot corgi gosh darn it!!

Erilea (Throne of Glass) – I can’t help but love the world from Throne of Glass. It might not be as well built as others, but there is something magical about it that my mind constantly wanders back to.

The World of Scythe – Yes, hi, I need to live forever so I can read ALL THE BOOKS! In Scythe, our world has been stripped of mortality and damn is it interesting to see how Schusterman imagines what we’d be like. It is a little frightening. But I feel like it would be immensely fun to live hundreds of years. Think of all the exploring you could do, not just of the world, but of who you are as a person and what you enjoy doing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – You didn’t think I’d have a Favorite Fictional Worlds list without this did you?? The wizarding world sounds like an absolute blast, assuming you don’t run afoul of any of the murderous dark wizards. There is such awe and endless possibility in the wizarding world. Though, I could use with some less post book world building…

Cosmere (Mistborn/Stormlight Archives/others) – Brandon Sanderson can build one heck of a world. I can’t say I’d want to visit the world in Mistborn until the Era 2 book, but Roshar in Stormlight Archives has some really interesting sounding places. Putting aside the livability factor of Sanderson’s worlds, I really have to doff my hat to the man, because never in my life have I experienced world building as good as his. It seems so effortless, yet I can imagine there is quite a bit of work behind it all. And the way all the differently worlds tie in via the Cosmere kinda blows my mind. Literally, it blows right past my mind sometimes, but in a good way.

Friday Favorites Posts from the Bookish Community:

Aurora Rising: ARC Review

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher at my request. The following review reflects my unbiased opinion of the story and is no way influenced. Thank you to the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers.

FYI: This review is spoiler free.


Aurora Rising
Authors:
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunk mates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from inter-dimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


Rating: Kaufman and Kristoff have once again struck me deep in my Sci-Fi loving soul with their new high stakes space adventure featuring found families and healthy doses of snark.
Stars: 4.5

Aurora Rising is the newest YA Sci-Fi offering from my favorite killers of feelings, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They have once again created an in depth SF world, given us a group of misfits to love, and then put them through many ghastly situations. It’s the kinda of emotional trauma we’ve come to know and love from these two.

While each character is unique, all were well fleshed out with the exception of Zila, which is a damn crime. The few, very brief POV chapters she had were perfection, but I wanted more of her straight-forward observations of the wild situations Squad 312 found themselves in. I almost feel like the authors didn’t know how to flesh her out and just left her characterization to be built through the other character’s POVs. I am certainly hoping for more Zila in the next book. That being said, all the other characters had their own voices and each were extremely lovable in their own right. Squad 312 will easily shoot their way into your heart.

The plot was well paced, and the slower bits were filled with intriguing back story or world building, so they never felt boring. I got some Firefly vibes, which I loved, but this story is entirely it’s own. If Kaufman and Kristoff know one thing, it’s how to write a gripping, hilarious, mysterious, and emotional space adventure.

Did I mention it has super hot space elves?

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book already, I highly urge you to do so. Don’t let your squad down. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Want Now Wednesday: Beyond the Black Door

I don’t even know what to put in this preamble. I just want this book so darn bad.


Beyond the Black Door
Author:
A. M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Synopsis: Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …


Me, reading the synopsis.

This is one of those times when I am thankful for twitter because I stumbled upon this book randomly in my feed. And I damn near lost my mind. I loved Strickland’s book Shadow Call (which she wrote with Michael Miller. GO READ IT! It is criminally underrated!) and I was beyond stoked to see that she had a new book coming out.

The whole concept of this book sounds so intriguing. Soulwalkers, ominous black doors, COURT INTRIGUE, and a seductive mystery? All under the banner of dark fantasy? SIGN ME THE HECK UP!

October 29th can’t get here soon enough! Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Happy Tuesday, my dear bookish people! The topic of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is Rain Day Reads, which is perfect because as I write this we are having what is likely the last rainy evening of the season. Really, to me any book is a rainy day read, because there is nothing better than reading as the rain falls, but I’m gonna list books I can picture myself reading as a storm rages outside my window.

  • Dark Visions trilogy by LJ Smith
  • Mistborn Era Two books by Brandon Sanderson
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I am so sad the rainy season is coming to an end.

Want Now Wednesday: Darkness on the Edge of Town

If I had to choose one thing I love about Stranger Things, besides the bitchin’ soundtrack, it’d be Chief Hopper. Nothing can shake my love of that character, so you can only imagine how much I want to have the following book in my eager little hands.


Darkness on the Edge of Town
Author:
Adam Christopher
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Synopsis: Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about his old life as a police detective in New York City, confronting his past before the events of the hit show Stranger Things.

Christmas, Hawkins, 1984. All Chief Jim Hopper wants is to enjoy a quiet first Christmas with Eleven, but his adopted daughter has other plans. Over Hopper’s protests, she pulls a cardboard box marked “New York” out of the basement—and the tough questions begin. Why did Hopper leave Hawkins all those years ago? What does “Vietnam” mean? And why has he never talked about New York?

Although he’d rather face a horde of demogorgons than talk about his own past, Hopper knows that he can’t deny the truth any longer. And so begins the story of the incident in New York—the last big case before everything changed. . . .

Summer, New York City, 1977. Hopper is starting over after returning home from Vietnam. A young daughter, a caring wife, and a new beat as an NYPD detective make it easy to slip back into life as a civilian. But after shadowy federal agents suddenly show up and seize the files about a series of brutal, unsolved murders, Hopper takes matters into his own hands, risking everything to discover the truth.

Soon Hopper is undercover among New York’s notorious street gangs. But just as he’s about to crack the case, a blackout rolls across the boroughs, plunging Hopper into a darkness deeper than any he’s faced before.


Accurate reenactment of me finding out there was going to be a Hopper-centric book.

I’m not sure I can properly express my excitement over this book. Not only is the story about Hopper, it’s about the MYSTERIES OF HOPPER’S PAST! I love character mysteries but I’m also impatient about finding answers and I NEED THIS BOOK!

From the moment I first watched Season 1 of Stranger Things back in December of 2016, I have been obsessed. I love damn near everything about the show (*side eyes Nancy*) and when I found out there would be books expanding on the world I was ecstatic. I cannot wait to dive into this book in May!

Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Friday Favorites: Fictional Criminals

Yay, it is Friday! FINALLY! I had Monday off work and for whatever reason, four day work weeks always seem to last for 18 days. But we are not here to listen to me ramble about time and its eccentricities. We are here to talk about fictional criminals and how much we love them! Because let’s face it, a story is always more interesting if there is a good criminal involved.

And if you have your own Friday Favorites post remember to drop a link in the comments so I can add it to the link list!! Happy Friday, y’all!


Captain Mal and the crew of Serenity – Now, before you yell at me about adding TV show characters to my list, let me direct you to the fact that there are a series of Firefly novels currently being published. Let’s just ignore the fact that I haven’t read any of them yet. I just couldn’t imagine talking about favorite criminals without mentioning the crew that brought us the phrase: “Shiny! Let’s be bad guys.”

Nik Malikov – When I first started reading Gemina last year I was worried about having to adjust to all new characters. But then I met the boy of questionable quality aka Nik Malikov and I knew everything would be okay. What does it say about me that I felt that way from a drug dealing, mob boy with a neck tattoo? Let’s not go down that road. Thinking about it, Nik may be my favorite criminal on this list. Oh crap…my desire to reread The Illuminae Files again has been triggered…

Kelsier and the crew from Mistborn – One of my favorite things in the world is a crew of criminals and there is no better crew than the one in Mistborn. Led by the charismatic and stabby Kelsier, this crew of cons run a job that drastically changes the world they live in. There is really no way for me to properly describe how awesome the characters in Mistborn are. It is something you have to experience for yourself. Seriously, GO READ MISTBORN!

George Cooper – Full disclosure, SE White is the reason I remembered to include George Cooper on my list. She is constantly reminding me how awesome all the Tamora Pierce books are and I thank her for it. But back to George, wonderfully criminal George. It’s been ages since I’ve read the Song of the Lioness quartet, but I remember a delightfully sarcastic and cocky (but also loyal and wise) King of Thieves that stole the heart of Alanna and me. I’m still a little bitter George isn’t real and currently my husband.

Kaz Brekker and the Dregs – Did you really think I was going to leave the ultimate YA criminals off this list? The Dregs are the criminals I’d want on my side. They may not go about their lives in a good, lawful way, but they are more honest and trustworthy than a lot of characters I’ve read. No mourners, no funerals.

Friday Favorite posts from around the bookish community:

Top Ten Tuesday: Audio Rereads

Happy Tuesday, y’all! Today is Tuesday and that means a Top Ten Tuesday post (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl). It’s going to be a quick post today because I didn’t get to pre-write this last night and I’m am frantically typing this up on my laptop during my work break.

So, this week’s topic was an audio freebie and I have decided to give you the list of audiobook rereads I’m looking forward to this year. I mostly do rereads via audiobook because then my rereads don’t cut into my regular reading time.

  • A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
  • Mistborn Era 2 by Brandon Sanderson (these books are some of the few I’ve only ever read via audio. Michael Kramer is a master narrator and you should 100% check out the Mistborn series, audio or physical book. Just. Read. Mistborn.)
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • Nevernight and Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
  • Harry Potter by JK Rowling (it’s been 2+ years since I last reread this series and that makes me sad)
  • A Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin
  • Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Mass (the narrator for this book is perfection)
  • The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (because it’s been a while since I ugly cried)
  • The Illumine Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (because it is the greatest audiobook OF ALL TIME!)

Want Now Wednesday: Ninth House

Happy Wednesday my wonderful bookish peoples! I could have sworn I had a Want Now Wednesday pre-written and scheduled for today, but alas, I was wrong. But it works out well because a cover reveal dropped today for a book I most certainly WANT NOW!


Ninth House
Author:
Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Synopsis: 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.


THIS IS NOT A DRILL PEOPLE! Queen Bardugo is dropping a dark academia adult novel and I AM HERE FOR IT! I worship at the alter of Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, so I am beyond stoked about this first foray into the adult realm from Bardugo. I don’t think I’ve read any “dark academia” books, but the concept makes my brain feel some sort of good.

Unsolved murders, mysterious benefactors, secret societies, and sinister occult activities? SIGN ME THE F*CK UP! AND it’s a series! So, we get more than one book of dark adulty goodness from Queen Bardugo. I can’t wait to read this while drinking bitter black coffee, flicking my imaginary clove cigarette (cause I don’t smoke anymore, but damned if I don’t still hold imaginary smokes sometimes), and tugging at the neck of my fashionably over sized chunky knit sweater.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo comes out on October 1, 2019. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

A Disheartened Goodbye to February and a Happy Hello to March

Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by February 2019?

I don’t know what it was, but this little month of February left me feeling empty and forlorn. Which is odd for me because I love the winter months. But March is bringing me the Emerald City Comic Con, so I am shedding my February frowns and prepping for an awesome vacation.

February Wrap Up!

Books Read: 7

Ignore The Fever King in this wrap up. I was a little over zealous when I took this photo a week before the end of February…
  • Enchantée by Gita Trelease Rating: 4 Stars. Beautifully written debut novel by Gita Trelease. Set in revolutionary Paris, the story follows Camille Durbonne as she uses her magic to save her and her sister from their drunkard brother. Though slow at times, I was consistently enchanted by the prose and setting. Read my full review here.
  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (audio reread) – Rating: 4 Stars. When I originally read this book in March of 2018 I gave it 4 stars for reasons that can be read here. While I leave the story at 4 stars, I have to mention that the audiobook gets 5 stars from me. Once I can find myself a proper list of all involved with the amazing audiobook versions of The Illuminae Files I will be writing a very lengthy THANK YOU blog post. Seriously, best audiobooks I’ve every listened to.
  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (audio reread with my Sanderson Sisters) – Rating: 5 Stars. Y’all, this book is hard, but so damn good. I am working on a backlist review of the original Trilogy Mistborn books, so keep your eyes out for that. If you’ve never read Brandon Sanderson, I highly suggest starting with the Mistborn books.
  • Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury Rating: 3 Stars. This was a fun, Anastasia inspired space adventure. You can read my full review here.
  • Heartless by Marissa MeyerRating: 4 Stars. I’m still mulling over my full feelings on this one and there shall be a review soon. In general, the writing was superb and the story was interesting.
  • The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (audio reread) – Rating: 4 Stars. Ah, I do love this book. It is one of the few time travel novels that I love. I missed my grumpy Harte Darrigan. I did this reread so I could finally start the sequel, The Devil’s Thief, and I am so glad I did. I 100% forgot many important twists. I recommend this book if you are interested in early 1900s New York, snarky magicians, and plot twisty betrayals.
  • The Crown’s Game by Evelyn SkyeRating: 5 Stars. This rating may go down when I write my full review, but holy heck did I love this book. WHY AREN’T THERE MORE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS BOOK??? Like, damn. I really hope I find the time to read the second book in March.

Books Acquired: 7 (14 if you count the different edition books I bought…)

  • AURORA RISING eARC by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (I’m still freaking out that I got this)
  • Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
  • Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (ARC from a Goodreads giveaway!)
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins
  • Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
  • The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (technically I already owned this on my Kindle but I wanted a hard copy. I’m not counting it towards my aquisition number…because that’s how I roll)
  • Vengeance Road by Erin Bownman
  • The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
  • Seven new editions to add to my LOTR/Hobbit collection

I am irrationally disappointed with myself for not reading more this month. I’m not sure what I expected from a short month where I’m working 9-10 hour days, but my dumb brain thought I should have done better. I’m currently 3 books behind on my Goodreads challenge and I want to get back on track. Which is why I have a decently ambitious March TBR…

March TBR

  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
  • Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
  • Never Contented Things by Sarah Porter
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (buddy read with my Sanderson Sisters)
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman (buddy read with @theanimagusblack
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (audio reread)

I’ll be in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con from the 13th-18th, so my only planned book for that time is Never Contented Things because it’s on my Kindle. If I somehow manage to finish it during all the con chaos, I’ll start one of the 80+ unread books I have on my Kindle. But I am truly hoping to get the first 4 books on this list done before I leave on my trip. Oh, and on top of all this reading, I will be working 10 hour days and trying to complete my rewatch of Game of Thrones before the final season premieres in April.

Happy March, y’all!

Friday Favorites: TBR Books

I have been told that it is Friday and honestly I’m not sure I believe it. For reasons unknown to me, I have been totally off with my days all week. I was convinced that yesterday was Friday and Monday was Wednesday and I’m just confused at this point. I suspect the nargles are behind.

But since it is Friday, we get FRIDAY FAVORITES! This week’s topic was the one I had so many issues with my wording on. But you know those books that have been on your TBR for aaaaaaaaaaaaages and you know you’ll love them but you just don’t find yourself reading them? I call them my favorite TBR books.


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I KNOW! The fact that I haven’t yet read this series is shocking to numerous of my bookish friends. For the longest time I refused to pick the book up because the cover just seemed a little cheesy to me (I am insufferable cover snob sometimes and it is stupid of me). But during my time on bookstagram I have been told that I am daft and I need to pick up this fun, easy read. I wont lie, I keep hearing about this Thorne character and I am quite intrigued.

The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima
I have owned the first book in this series since at least September 22, 2012 (Thanks Facebook Memories). DAMN NEAR 7 YEARS and I haven’t so much as opened the book. This is not a widely known series but the few that I know who have read it, RAVE about it. Because I am who I am…I’ve bought the rest of the books in the series. And…the books for the 2nd series in this world. AND I STILL HAVEN’T READ THEM. I have problems, y’all. But I have been told I’ll love the series *fingers crossed*

Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch
I cannot even begin to describe how much I want to read these books. But have I? NOPE. Which makes zero sense because the blurb on the front of this book says “What would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz”. Like…YES, PLEASE! I have a deep appreciation for cop procedural TV series (my most recent favorite is The Rookie with Nathan Fillion!), so I know this book will be well loved by me considering it has magic too. I’m sure once I start this series I’ll be singing my usual tune of “OMG WHY DIDN’T I START THIS SOONER?!?”

Keiko Series by Mike Brooks
Everything about this series screams “READ ME NOW, KIBBY! DO THE THING!” Readers, I have not done the thing. It has smugglers, a ship captain with the name Ichabod Drift, secret pasts, con artists, and Old Earth. What’s not to love about all that?? This is another series that I bought all the books to before even reading one word. I have a tendency to do this because I lack SELF CONTROL and probably a huge emotional void that I try to fill with pretty books I can post on bookstagram. At the end of the day, this series sounds like it could easily crash land its way straight to my heart…if only I’d actually read it.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Apparently, the trees speak Latin. I want to know how this is possible. Hell, I want to know what this book is about. Because it sounds all whimsical and dark and fun. I’ve never read a book by Stiefvater and I am quite looking forward to it. Many people on bookstagram have yelled at me to read this series and I’m thinking this might be the year. Granted…I said that last year.

So what books have you had on your TBR for ages that you know you’ll love?

Friday Favorites posts from around the bookish community: