Friday Favorites: Thing(s) about being a reader.

Hello all! If the space/time continuum is to be believed, it is Friday! I’m not sure quite how we got here, but here we are. I’ve been suffering a blogging slump lately but I’m actually really excited for this post because I’m about to talk about one of my favorite moments from my reading life.

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Friday Favorites: Old School YA

Hello my dear bookish people and welcome to another Friday Favorites! And this week is one of my most anticipate topics: OLD SCHOOL YA!! I decided this was any YA books released before 2000, which honestly makes me feel terribly old. Be prepared for a me screaming a lot about books I loved (and still love) when I was but a young whippersnapper.

Basically anything by LJ Smith

I almost put LJ Smith down at the bottom as a saving the best for last kind of thing. But just in case people don’t make it through the whole post, I at bare minimum wanted the takeaway from this post to be MY DEEP AND UNDYING LOVE FOR LJ SMITH. These books were not only my best friends in high school, but also my introduction to paranormal books. I reread each of the trilogies and the Nightworld books at least 10 times each in high school. I used to come home from school, do my homework, and then I read one of the books before I went to bed. These books are my happy place and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Fearless by Franscine Pascal

Oh my, this series. THIS. DAMN. SERIES. It’s been a long damn time since I’ve read these books but the main thing I remember is the main character, Gaia, doesn’t have the “fear gene” which makes her kind of super powered in that fear never holds her back. That was a terrible way to explain it, but that’s what I’ve got. I also remember a very dramatic and romantically tense scene between Gaia and Sam (the love interest) that involves rain and chess. Hm…I need to go buy this series again (I just looked it up and holy heck the series got up to 36 books. I originally read up to maybe the 20s). Yep, I need rain and chess in my life again. I’m gonna go search for these books.

Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater Rhodes

Another book I read over and over and over again in my teens. It was one of those books that just clicked so hard with me. The main character is a social outcast and secretly published author of paranormal fiction who feels more intune with the demons in her stories than with her schoolmates. THAT’S WHO I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL…minus the published part. This book and the other in the series are wicked short and damnit I want to reread it now…

The Alanna Quartet and Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce

I’m not sure I could call myself a fan of old school YA if I didn’t include some Tamora Pierce books on my list. I recently reread the Immortals Quartet and I was reminded of how awesome Pierce’s books are. I feel like Tamora Pierce was the beginning (at least for me) of strong female characters in YA novels.


The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

This whole series is wild and honestly I am so here for it. I really don’t know what else to say about them. It was a very interesting take on vampires and felt very unique to me at the time.






Fear Street by RL Stine

I legitimately want to know why my mother was okay with me reading these as young as I did. All the Fear Street books are pretty damn horrific and graphic. One of my memoreis from these books is a girl stabbing her sister through the heart with knitting needles. LIKE, WHAT THE HECK?? But I loved them and read a ton of these books. The thing that amuses me the most is I cannot stand horror or graphic violence now that I’m an adult.

Goddess of the Night (Daughters of the Moon Series) by Lynne Ewing

This series was such a part of my late high school years. Each of the main characters had an aspect of who I wanted to be, especially the goddess powers, and I just wanted to be part of this squad. Also, this series has one heck of a bad boy romance and there is nothing I love more than a bad buy falling for one of the good girls.



So, I had to include a couple of honorable mentions. These are books that I LOVED but were technically published after 2000:

Gifted Touch (Fingerprints Series) by Melinda Metz (2001)
Book of Shadows (Sweep Series) by Cate Tiernan (2001)
So Mote it Be (Circle of Three series) by Isobel Bird (2001)

Do you have any old school YA books or series that you love? Let me know in the comments!

And if you have a Friday Favorites post make sure to drop the link in the comments so I can add it to the list of participants! Happy Friday everyone!!

Friday Favorites posts from around the book community!

Friday Favorites: Epic Journeys

Welcome back to another Friday Favorites! This week the topic is Epic Journeys! I am particularly enamored with a good adventure story, so narrowing down my favorite journeys was a bit difficult. So, without any further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorite books with epic journeys:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Well, isn’t this a timely choice from me! But Netflix deals aside, Six of Crows is not only a damn amazing book (see my recent review here), but it has a journey of some epic damn proportions.


Kingdom of Ruins by D. C. Marino

I mean, this book has an archaeologist who travels to another world where nature communicates with people. There is much journeying and adventuring in this awesome story!


The Martian by Andy Weir

Okay, not a traditional journey, but there is definitely some epic traipsing around Mars. I have only ever read this book via audiobook and let me just say it is AWESOME! Mark Watney is the space pirate of my heart.


The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Look, I’m going to be honest here: I had to ask a friend if this book counted as an epic journey book because it has been so long since I’ve read it. I had vague memories of journeying, but was unsure if it was epic in nature. I’m not sure why I doubted the epicness in this book. It’s written by Brandon Sanderson, of course it’s epic!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

I loved, loved, LOVED the journey of the Golden Trio in this book. It was such a deviation from the past books and just talking about it makes me want to start my HP reread right damn now!


The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

What? Did you think I was going to leave this one off? I mean, is there any journey more epic than the ones in these books? No, I think not.

So that’s it for my favorites this week! I can’t wait to see what all of your favorite epic journeys are. Remember to drop the links to your posts in a comment and I’ll add them to a post list here! Happy Friday book people!

Friday Favorites posts from around the bookish community:

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Good Morning bookish peoples! Lightning fast post coming to you today because I am way behind in my blog planning (thanks to my back actively trying to kill me) and I’m typing this up on my morning work break.

The theme for today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is Most Anticipated Releases for the first half of 2019. I’m going to try to not scream AURORA RISING, but I make no promises.


The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Release Date: April 2

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?


THIS GIVE ME ALL THE STRANGER THINGS VIBES AND I CANNOT HANDLE IT!


The Binding by Bridget Collins
Release Date: April 16 (though it looks like it released January 10 in the UK and you can bet your butts I’ll be ordering it through book depository)

Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Forever.

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed, and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.


Um, YES PLEASE!


Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins
Release Date: February 5

Seattle, 1913 // Dorothy is trapped. Forced into an engagement to a wealthy man just so she and her mother can live comfortably for the rest of their days, she’ll do anything to escape. Including sneaking away from her wedding and bolting into the woods to disappear.

New Seattle, 2077 // Ash is on a mission. Rescue the professor—his mentor who figured out the secret to time travel—so together they can put things right in their devastated city. But searching for one man means endless jumps through time with no guarantee of success.

When Dorothy collides with Ash, she sees it as her chance to start fresh—she’ll stow away in his plane and begin a new life wherever they land. Then she wakes up in a future that’s been ripped apart by earthquakes and floods; where vicious gangs rule the submerged city streets and a small group of intrepid travelers from across time are fighting against the odds to return things to normal. What Dorothy doesn’t know is that she could hold the key to unraveling the past—and her arrival may spell Ash’s ultimate destruction.


Hi, my name is Kibby, and I’m addicted to Time Travel.


Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter
Release Date: March 19

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries―until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price―and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.


I’m not sure I can describe how much I want this book. Like…damn…


The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
Release Date: February 5

Sera has always felt as if she didn’t belong among her people, the Cerulean. She is curious about everything and can’t stop questioning her three mothers, her best friend, Leela, and even the High Priestess. Sera has longed for the day when the tether that connects her City Above the Sky to the earthly world below finally severs and sends the Cerulean to a new planet.

But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she doesn’t know what to feel. To save her City, Sera must throw herself from its edge and end her own life. But something goes wrong, and she survives the fall, landing in a place called Kaolin. She has heard tales about the humans there, and soon learns that the dangers her mothers warned her of are real. If Sera has any hope to return to her City, she’ll have to find the magic within herself to survive.


Did anyone read Princess Nevermore? I loved that book when I was a young whippersnapper, and this gives me similar vibes.


Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Release Date: April 2

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.


Alex, I’ll take “YA Chinese-inspired fantasy that has been compared to Game of Thrones” for $800.


Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Release Date: February 12

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887. Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.


Supernatural visions to track down a killer? YES PLEASE!


The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 16, 2019

After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.


So, I have yet to read a Cindy Anstey book, but I own like 3 of them and they sound like things I will love. And this one is no different (except for the fact that I don’t own it yet).


Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
Release Date: June 4

A fugitive princess with the power to control blood. A black-hearted conman with no past and no future. An Empire spiraling into darkness. A world worth saving.

The Cyrilian Empire: a glittering white sprawl of frozen tundras and ancient, snow-capped forests, where ice spirits roam beneath the flickering northern lights, and where slavers hunt Affinites — those born with powers to manipulate elements.

Born with an horrifying Affinity to blood, Anastacya Mikhailov has never believed herself to be anything more than a monster. Her curse rings true when an accident in the dead of the night results in the death of her father, the Emperor of Cyrilia — and she is sentenced for his murder.

But Ana knows what she saw that night: the scent of poison in Papa’s blood, and the face of a murderer vanishing into the dark.

Alone, hunted, and on the run, Ana makes a bargain with Ramson Quicktongue, a handsome yet dangerous underground crime lord: help her find the true murderer and clear her name in exchange for her alliance.

When Ana’s search lands her in the lair of the most powerful slave trader in the Empire, she uncovers a horrifying truth. A new monarch stands poised to lead the empire to a path of hatred and divisiveness, and Ana must stop her before Cyrilia falls to darkness. But first, she must come to terms with the monster she thinks she is and the heir she was destined to be.

In a world where the princess is the monster, oppression is blind to skin color, and good and evil exist in shades of gray… comes a dark Anastasia retelling that explores love, loss, fear, and divisiveness, and how ultimately it is our choices that define who we are.


I recently got confirmation that I’ll be getting an ARC of this and I most certainly did a ridiculous happy dance. CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS!


AURORA RISING

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: May 7

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 bunkmates
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 interdimensional 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


Look, I tried to not scream about this one again. I really did. But I’m listing to Kaufman and Kristoff’s previous collaboration (Illuminae Files, currently about halfway through my Gemina reread) and I cannot get over how much I FREAKING LOVE THESE TWO AUTHORS! I need Aurora Rising in my life SO MUCH. So. Very. Much.

Friday Favorites: First Book in a Series

Hello, hello, hello! And welcome to the first FRIDAY FAVORITES post! I am so excited to start this weekly blog prompt challenge meme thingy! (I’m sure that’s the technical term for it…)

First, a quick announcement: I updated the main Friday Favorites page but I wanted to say it here too. My original intention was to have a link thingy that people could enter their blog post link in and it would make a list of everyone’s posts. Well, I found out that I can’t use plugins without a business plan (*biggest eye roll ever*). I’m not html savvy enough to know if I can work around this yet, so for now, here is what I’m going to be doing: If you do a Friday Favorites blog post or #bookstagram post, leave a comment with a link to your post and I will manually make a list at the bottom of my Friday Favorites post for people to see! I will do the list for any comments with links left in the first 48 hours after my post. I want to share the love to all, but I also can’t be updating the lists forever. Even if it doesn’t make it on to my list, the link will still be in the comments for people to find. Whew, this ended up being way more wordy than I intended. Sorry! I kinda hate that I can’t do the link thing in the way I originally wanted. If anyone has any insight they could provide it would be greatly appreciated.

OKAY, NOW FOR THE FAVORITES!

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown – Read a book about Mars and an uprising, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. This book is such a fantastic introduction to the brutal, yet brilliant author that is Pierce Brown. I will scream about my love of the Red Rising Saga forever (see my reviews of the trilogy here), but I am really looking forward to Brown starting a new series. I’d love to see what fresh hell he brings with a new book.

The Confectioner’s Guild (The Confectioner Chronicles #1) by Claire Luana – This book was my happy book of 2018. While I sadly haven’t had time to read the next two books in the series, I was blown away with how much I enjoyed the first book. If you want a book that will make you smile the whole time you are reading, then I highly recommend this book! (my review, riddled with Great British Bake Off gifs, here)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives #1) by Brandon Sanderson – The Way of Kings was my introduction to Brandon Sanderson. Because if you are going to start a new author, why not jump into the 1000 page first book in their epic, high fantasy saga? And honestly, it is one of the easiest “high fantasy” books I have ever read. If you are looking to try out some high fantasy, I’d recommend starting with The Way of Kings.

Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce – Tamora Pierce has built a beautiful world in Tortall and there are many different series within this world. Wild Magic was my (out of order) introduction. It has everything I want in a book: awesome female main character, snark, talking animals, grumpy (eventual) love interest, and solid world building. Though I’d consider this a middle grade book by today’s standards, it is still a fun, quick read.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Oh hello, favorite read of 2018! I honestly don’t know if I can fully describe how much I love this book. I read it in March 2018 and then reread it via audiobook at the end of December 2018. It’s just…so perfect to me. This trilogy will be one that I reread consistently for years to come. (read me scream about my love from this trilogy here)

Well that’s it for my first Friday Favorites! Thank you for joining me! What are some of your favorite first books in a series?

Friday Favorites posts from around the book community:

Sabreena @ Books and Prosecco
Alison @ Alison in Bookland
Ainslee @ Jest and Hearts
Brittany @ Bookishly Brittknee
Iza @ That Transylvanian Chick Book Blog
Sam @ Tinted Prose Reviews

Be sure to go check them out!

Beat the Backlist 2019

I have spoken many times about the amount of unread books I own. Frankly, the number of unread books I own is shameful. Enter Beat the Backlist, hosted by NovelKnight. Go check out her blog for all the official info about the challenge, but I’ll sum it up for you…

Basically, read your damn (pre-2019) books!

Me to me…

So, without further ado or abuse of gif posting ability, here is the beginning of my Beat the Backlist TBR for 2019:

  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • The Seven Realms and Shatter Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The final three books in the Jackaby Series by William Ritter
  • The Confectioner’s Coup and The Confectioner’s Truth by Claire Luana
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series by Brian Stavely
  • Hunting Prince Dracula and Escape from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
  • All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
  • Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
  • Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

That’s just the beginning, mind you. On January 1st I will be taking an inventory of my current owned books and making a full blown list of books I plan to read in 2019. I really need to get my ratio of read to unread books in better shape. I will be setting my Goodreads challenge to 100, so I am aiming high next year.

Anyone else doing the Beat the Backlist challenge? And if yes, are you participating in the Hogwarts Houses? And if yes, what house are you in? Just wrapping up with a few rapid fire questions…

Happy New Year’s Eve eve! Cheers to many hours of reading in the new year!

The Backlist: Red Rising Trilogy

Before I jump into this backlist review, I have to apologize for how many times I’ll be using the word “brutal”. Because, damn these books are brutal and Pierce Brown is cruel and capricious and I love him.

Red Rising (Read December 28, 2015 – January 7, 2016)
This is the kind of book that’ll remind people that the science fiction genre is not to be trifled with. For lack of a better term, this book will fuck you up. Brown’s visceral prose digs into you and brutally burrows into your soul. Every sentence is crafted with such care, you can’t help but fall in love with the terrible world Brown has created.

We follow Darrow as he goes from a naive Red (the lowest, or slave, class in the Society) to a vengeful infiltrator of the Golds (the highest class in the Society) and their Institute, where the next generation of Golds compete for the power and prestige that will carry them through their lives in the Society. Darrow must navigate the brutal world of the Institute, gaining the trust of those he intends to destroy and keeping himself alive through the twisted war games the Golds.

Nothing prepared me for this book. I went in with the thought that it’d be a little like Hunger Games but on Mars. And while it had some similar elements (kids killing kids for a messed up society), it was so much more. The world building rivals that of Brandon Sanderson and the cast ranges from delightfully sarcastic to disturbingly psychotic.

Red Rising sets up what promises to be a wonderful and brutal trilogy. Once you finish this one you’ll want to jump straight into the next book.

Golden Son (Read January 8 – 13, 2016)

Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising trilogy, but the brutality and intensity does not lessen as time goes on. Darrow finds himself deep into the Society and begins to start his work of dismantling it from within.

Brown’s writing style continues to be beautiful and brutal. He brings us deeper into the Society and introduces us to a host of new characters. Brown is so good at building solid characters without drowning you in their backstory. The politics are very heavy in this book, but they are interesting so it never bothered me.

But really, what Golden Son boils down to is the ending. And while I will not spoil anything that happens, I will say that it is one of the most beautiful and painfully crafted endings I have ever read.

Morning Star (Read February 12 – 24, 2016)

So, I could have sworn that I had to wait like a year after reading Golden Son before Morning Star was published. Maybe it just felt that way considering the whiplash insanity of the ending of Golden Son. I’ll be brief with this review because I have endeavored to not spoil anything throughout these reviews.

Brown finishes his epic trilogy with many of the things we expect from him: brutality, betrayal, insane plot twists, enough snark to sink a ship, and some damn beautiful writing. Everything in this book drips with intensity, sometimes to the point where you feel as though you are drowning. Some people have complained about the pacing in this series, but honestly, sometimes you need a break. I’m not sure I’d survive non-stop Pierce Brown chaos.

Even though Brown eventually continued the series with Iron Gold, Morning Star is as close to a perfect ending as I could have asked for. The Red Rising Trilogy is still one of my favorite Sci-Fi trilogies to this day.

Want Now Wednesday: Never-Contented Things

Never-Contented ThingsNever Contented Things
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: FAIRIES! (Okay, not a genre, but still…FAIRIES!)
Publisher Website/Pre-order Links

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seductive. Cruel. Bored
Be wary of…

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries―until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price―and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.


Okay, first off: when you use words like “seductive”, “cruel”, and “fairy” that is a sure fire way to get me to pre-order a book. Which is exactly what I did when I stumbled upon this book. I cannot wait until I have this sumptuous looking book in my hands.

I love different author’s takes on fairy lore and I am excited to see what Sarah Porter brings to the table. I’ve never read anything by this author so I’ll be going in with a fresh slate when I get this book.

 

What are some key words that get you excited about a book?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Audiobook Performances

The theme for today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, was basically DO WHAT YOU WANT! And what I want to do is scream from my blog rooftops about my DEEP AND UNDYING LOVE FOR AUDIOBOOKS! I’ll save my full rant for another post next year (yay for future rants!), but I’m just gonna throw this out there: AUDIOBOOKS COUNT AS READING!

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff…THE LIST!

  1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – Narrated by James Marsters
    Storm Front, the first book in the Dresden Files, was the first audiobook I ever listened to. I will admit that the first few books were a little rough with narration, but once Marsters gets into his groove it is AMAZING. His voice has always been highly pleasurable to listen to (anyone else a fan of his from Buffy?) and I will never say no to a chance to listen to a 14 book series read by him. Side note: his voice for Toot-Toot is stellar and never fails to bring a smile to my face.
    10IRmjcGZjPkKk
  2. Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
    The narration of this trilogy is bloodydamn brilliant! The rawness of Tim Gerard Reynolds voice brings such depth to this already fiercely beautiful story. There were moments where I had to stop what I was doing because I was so intensely drawn into the story through the narration.
  3. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney
    Okay, yes…this is book 4 of Red Rising, which went from a trilogy to a saga this year. But I decided to do a separate entry because Iron Gold is told from 4 different POVs and there are 4 separate narrators. Each narrator brings a unique depth to their POV character and once again the intensity of Brown’s words are dialed up to 11 via the narration.
  4. Ready Player One & Armada by Ernest Cline – Narrated by Wil Wheaton
    I mean, was there anyone else more perfect to narrate these books?
  5. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – Narrated by Elizabeth Evans
    The voice of Elizabeth Evans IS the voice of Celeana Sardothian. There is no doubt in my mind. She brings to life the brash, confident, and vulnerable parts of Celeana. I intend to finish my audio reread of the series next year (I only made it through Heir of Fire before Kingdom of Ash came out and I HAD to read that book ASAP) and I am nervous about listening to the final book. Evans brings a lot of emotion to her narration and Kingdom of Ash was hard enough to read.
  6. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – Narrated by Pearl Mackie
    Pearl Mackie’s voice is like butter. Smooth, delicious, emotional butter. I actually couldn’t get into this book when I was trying to read the physical copy. But the moment I tried the audiobook, at the recommendation of Delara over at @bookwnoname, I was hooked.
  7. Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo  – Narrated by Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, Tristan Morris
    This was the first full cast audiobook I listened to. And with the exception of the person who narrates the Jasper chapters, I was thoroughly impressed with the narration in this duology. It was surprisingly easy to track each different narrators versions of all the character voices. My one problem was the narrator for Jasper. His voice was wonderful, but there wasn’t enough distinction in his inflection when he spoke for other characters. Other than that, the performances were spot on and full of emotions that added a whole other layer of “feels”.
  8. Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare – Narrated by James Marsters
    Yes, James Marsters gets two mentions on this list because he is JUST THAT GOOD. Lord of Shadows had one of the most emotionally traumatic endings in a recent YA book and it was made all the more painful with Marsters’ narration. I was full on sobbing in my cubicle. He uses his voice to evoke such emotions. I’ve been listening to Queen of Air and Darkness while waiting for my physical copy to show up and it is tearing me apart listening to the subtle dread and despair he brings to the opening of this book. Also, as always, his pixies voices are spot on and delightful.
  9. Mistborn (ERA 1 AND ERA 2) by Brandon Sanderson – Narrated by Michael Kramer
    Kramer is like a narrating god. According to my friend who got me into audiobooks, Kramer narrates a lot (and often with his wife, Kate Reading). I’ve never listened to anything by him except the Mistborn books and if those are any indication of his talent, then I consider myself a fan. I am partial to Mistborn Era 2, and Kramer really shines with the rawness of Wax and the many accents of Wayne. This is one of my favorite fantasy series, in both physical and audio form.
  10. The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  – Narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain
    Okay, so…this is cheating a little bit because I haven’t actually listened to these yet but I just KNOW I’m going to love them. Illuminae was my favorite book I read this year and I’ve heard the audio is beyond stellar. I also realized as I was looking up the narrators that Olivia Taylor Dudley does some of the narration and I LOVE HER (y’all, go watch The Magicians RIGHT NOW! She plays Alice!). The books are incredibly unique in their format and I can’t wait to hear how it all plays out via audio. These will be my first audiobooks of 2019.

 

Do you listen to audiobooks at all? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

Book Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

PridePride
Author: Ibi Zoboi
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
Okay, I have to start this out by saying that I am NOT a contemporary reader. I just…always want to smack these teens upside the head and tell them they are being dumb. Teens in fantasy or sci-fi are just easier to stomach for me. But this was a Pride and Prejudice retelling, so I decided to overlook my aversion to contemporary for my love of Austen. That all being said, I mostly enjoyed this book.

Let’s start with what I liked: the setting and supporting cast. The author brings Bushwick, New York to life in a way that dropped me right into the streets inhabited by the Benitez family. You can hear it, you can smell it, you can taste it. I truly felt like I had experienced a piece of life in this neighborhood.

Then we have the supporting cast, who were all so perfectly characterized. Specifically, Carrie (Caroline Bingley) and Warren (Wickham). Carrie is snobby and uptight, but also has a likable side that her counterpart lacked in the original story. Warren on the other hand, is somehow more despicable than Wickham ever was. The updated version of his past discretions are so good, but in a way that just makes you sick. The Benitez family is also nicely updated and are just as wonderfully ridiculous.

My main problem lies in Zuri Benitez (Elizabeth Bennet) and Darius Darcy (Mr. Darcy). Darius, while aggravating at times because he is a teenage boy, was not that bad. He just lacked any smoldering or brooding or chemistry. He wasn’t a lovable grumpy rich guy, he was a teenage boy and nothing more. And then there is Zuri. I kinda hated her and it is really hard to like a book when you strongly dislike the main character. Zuri, at first glance, is smart, streetwise, and wants to take care of her family. But the moment the Darcy boys move in to the newly renovated Mini Mansion across the street, all that goodness goes out the window. Zuri is ridiculously rude, judgmental, and hypocritical, in ways that go beyond her original counterpart’s flaws. She gets all twisted about her sister, Janae (Jane), being happy with Ainsley (Mr. Bingley) and constantly complains about how she’ll have no time with her. But then once her sister is heartbroken, Zuri decides that trying to date two guys and spending NO TIME with her sister is what she wants to do. Um, excuse me? The more the story went on, the more I disliked Zuri and it just wore me down because I love the character of Elizabeth Bennet.

As I stated before, I mostly enjoyed this book. I think it is a smart and well-done update of Pride and Prejudice. It is not a carbon copy of the original story, but instead a timely retelling that tackles gentrification and classism. This book makes no apologies in how it portrays the lives of characters that are usually relegated to token ethnic characters and I know that we need more books like this. At the end of the day, I’ve decided to give this book a 3.5 star rating because while I thought the writing was phenomenal for the most part, I felt the two leads had zero chemistry and I didn’t like either of them.

I was blessed to have a reading buddy for this book, which helped immensely, and that buddy was Sabreena over at Books And Prosecco. You should 1000% check out her blog and #bookstagram.

Have you read Pride? What did you think?