The Friday 56: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Someone you trust has already betrayed you.”

I have a very short snippet from Holly Black’s The Wicked King, sequel to her standout novel The Cruel Prince, but I think it succinctly summarizes this one quite nicely. As our heroine Jude tries to hang on to power in the Faerie world, a traitor lies in her midst. If you like antiheroes and moral ambiguity in your fantasy worlds, this is a series you ought to reach for. You can read my review of this one hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.
      The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
      After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
      When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.”


Can’t-Wait Wednesday: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

One of my most anticipated 2019 debuts is Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire. I am all kinds of excited for this title and have already preordered it. I love that this one tackles immigration issues in a dystopian-type setting and that it will feature a f/f romance. Make sure you add this one to your TBR if you haven’t already! 

 width=Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Series: We Set the Dark on Fire, #1
Pages: 384
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 26, 2019

      “At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
      Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
      And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
      Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?”

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Without Romance

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Favorite Couples In Books.I could probably come up with tons of couples whom I absolutely love, but for this week’s topic, I’m going a completely different route. I’m listing ten of my favorite books that don’t have romance in them. This list was harder to put together than I thought it would be, which does means I need to reach for more books without romance. Always open to recommendations! Covers are linked to Goodreads.


1. Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Illustrated by Sana Takeda

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. Bird Box by Josh Maleman

5. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

7. Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

8. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

9. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

10. Odd & True by Cat Winters

Do you read a lot of books with no romance? What are your favorite books that don’t include a romantic storyline? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Kernels of Nonsense: 2019 Preorders So Far

Kernels of Nonsense is a feature on my blog where I discuss random bookish and blogging topics. It’s my goal in 2019 to put together more of these posts and hey, this is already my third one this year. I recently was trying to figure out how many books I could preorder in 2019 without feeling like I had a problem. Turns out, I think I have a problem. I love preordering books and I don’t think I’m ever going to stop. I often use gift cards I get for my birthday or Christmas to preorder, so it always feels like I am giving myself lots of little gifts throughout the year at no cost to myself. Here’s a little secret, sometimes I buy myself gift cards to use for preorders so I’m not taken by surprised later on when I inevitably forget I used my debit card to buy them. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but my guess is a pretty big chunk of my book buys throughout the year are preorders. We are only a month into 2019 and I have already got a good amount of preorders lined up. So today I thought I’d share with you my 2019 preorders so far. As you can see, I like to get a head start on my preorders, taking advantage of those holiday deals that come around every year. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. The Wicked King by Holly Black (Preordered November 22, 2018/Release Date: January 8, 2019) – I was pretty sure I was going to preorder this one as soon as I finished The Cruel Prince. I was really good at picking this one up right away too, motivated by the need to avoid spoilers and a buddy read, I started this the day after its release. After finishing The Wicked King, I can pretty much guarantee I will be preordering the third novel.

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi  (Preordered November 22, 2018/Release Date: January 15, 2019) – I preordered this way back in November because Roshani Chokshi (that’s it, that’s my reasoning) and I am beyond excited she is starting a new series. I ended up reading an eARC of this one because I forgot I signed up to be a part of the blog tour, but that did not lessen my excitement to finally get my hands on a copy of this one. I could just stare at the cover all day.

3. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Preordered November 26, 2018/Release Date: February 26, 2019) – I got a really really really good deal on this one from Target. It’s my most anticipated 2019 debut. This is one of those occasions when you don’t know someone personally, but you’ve followed them on Twitter for years and are just so happy for their success. I can’t wait to get to this one.

4. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard (Preordered December 10, 2018/Release Date: February 12, 2019) – You might have seen my ARC review of this one (click here!), but before I got my hands on said ARC I had preordered this one. I have been waiting two years for this book. I fell in love with these characters with Truthwitch and Windwitch and have been counting down the days for when I get to return to this world. I can’t wait for everyone else to read this third installment. I’m already thinking about the fourth book.

5. The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton (Preordered December 10, 2018/Release Date: March 5, 2019) – I can’t praise The Belles enough. I loved how subtly creepy this one was. I knew it was about how deceptive beauty can be, but Dhonielle Clayton took it to a whole new level and after that ending, I am desperate for The Everlasting Rose. Also, look at how gorgeous this cover is. Both these covers deserve to be framed.

6. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhouse (Preordered December 28, 2018/Release Date: April 23, 2019) – If you had any doubts about my love for Trail of Lightning, let me extinguish them for one right here. I don’t know how Roanhouse did it, but when I was reading Trail of Lightning, it felt like the kind of book I’ve been waiting my whole life for. The first book I bought after receiving Christmas gift cards was Storm of Locusts. The only way I will survive the wait is by rereading Trail of Lightning.

7. Internment by Samira Ahmed (Preordered: January 5, 2019/Release Date: March 19, 2019) – There’s always that ongoing discussion about which writers should tackle which subjects and I’m usually on the side of #ownvoices because as much as I’d like white writers to write more diversely, I’m convinced that publishing thinks having white writers writing about PoC characters means publishing is becoming more diverse (just check the numbers in kidlit when it comes to how many books with PoC characters are written by authors of color vs. white people). Another author who will remain nameless wrote a book about a teen girl who finds a way to overcome prejudice by helping a Muslim teen escape the government’s internment camps. This author is white and it is this blogger’s opinion that anything dealing with Muslims in concentration camps (which if you have taken the temperature of Islamophobia in this country isn’t as implausible as one might believe) should be written by a Muslim author for several reason. One of which is authenticity, but another is they are more likely to avoid centering the white gaze and playing into a white savior narrative. That was the long answer, but in short, I will be supporting this #ownvoices book instead.

8. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Preordered: January 20, 2019/Release Date: May 14, 2019) – Have I mentioned how much a sucker I am for the enemies-to-lovers trope? It makes me all weak in the knees. I was going to wait a little longer to decide whether or not to preorder this debut, but every time I see something on the TL about it, I get more and more excited. I just gave in to all those feelings. Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind.

Do you preorder books? What persuades you a book is worth preordering? Which 2019 books have you already preordered? Let’s talk in the comments!

The Friday 56: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“In the eyes of the Empire we are less than nothing, Arwa and I. You should never have raised us here. You should have known that no matter what we would do, we would be judged as tainted by our blood. In the eyes of the Empire, we are less than nothing, Father.”

Tasha Suri’s Empire of Sand was my final five-star read of 2018 and it was a good one. I loved the world-building and characters equally and can’t wait for more from this writer. You can check out my snapshot review of this one hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.
      The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
      When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.
      Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…”

ARC Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Title: Bloodwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands, #3
Pages: 464
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 12th 2019

      “Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.
      High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.
      The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

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The long-awaited third novel in Susan Dennard’s The Witchlands series is finally here. Bloodwitch picks off where Windwitch left off as Aeduan and Iseult set off toward the Carawen Monastery in hopes of finding a safe place for the young Owl. Iseult’s Threadsister, Safi, finally finds herself in Marstok, helping the Empress Vaness weed out traitors in her court. Merik has set off with Cam and Ryber, hoping to find answers to how and why his Threadbrother Kullen has taken on the form of the Fury. Nubrevna is now in the capable hands of Merik’s older sister Vivia, who struggles to find her footing as Queen-in-Waiting. Meanwhile the Raider King to the North finally makes his move against the Witchlands and with the Twenty-Year Treaty negated, the Empires distrust of one another may lead to their downfall.

Susan Dennard has excelled at giving each of her characters their own arc. Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do with an ensemble of characters, but Dennard is never afraid to separate characters to test them out individually, to push them to their limits and help them discover things about themselves they might not have learned otherwise. Though the focus of this series has always been Safi and Iseult and the strength of their friendship, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these two on their own. Safi finds herself in a precarious situation, unable to escape Vaness as the Empress wields Safi’s Truthwitchery as a weapon, showing no mercy to those guilty of duplicity. Safi has always had someone to rely on when she makes mistakes, but in Marstok she must learn to rely on herself. Iseult has only ever had Safi to rely one, but through the course of her journey, she discovers an unlikely ally in the Bloodwitch Aeduan. I love how every scene with the two of them feels significant both to their relationship and to them as individuals. Iseult has never felt empowered, she’s always been on the outskirts, but in this novel, she begins to embrace how powerful she is and instead of listening to the voices that tell her she is not enough, she shouts back that she is.

I love how Merik’s perspective continues to be challenged in this third novel. He’s had to take a step back from being his people’s savior. He wants to do what is right, but learns that sometimes that’s not enough if you are blinded by your need to play the hero. We first get to know his sister Vivia in the second novel and in this one it’s hard not to root for her. She’s proven herself to be competent leader, but her father, the King Regent, along with members of the High Council, keep undermining her every chance they get. Still, Vivia manages to stay poised and manages to get things done even when she is doubted by so many. I’d really like to explore how Vivia and Merik’s father has shaped their relationship as siblings. It’s implied that he might be the reason they never found value in the other, why they’ve been resentful of one another. It’s probably the one aspect of these books that I wish Dennard had spent more time on.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the title character Aeduan. When we first met him in Truthwitch, he is the villain of the story, hunting down Safi and Iseult. His arc might be my favorite in the series as he goes from cold-hearted killer to tentative ally. In Bloodwitch we get a little more backstory on why Aeduan has made such an effective killer. His witchery has defined him since he was a young boy. He lost his mother at a young age and only recently was reunited with his father. He grew up seeing himself through other people’s eyes and never had someone see him as anything other than a monster. This changes through his relationship with both Iseult and Owl, but ultimately it is Aeduan who has to learn to see himself differently.

If you’re looking for a fantasy series that keeps you on the edge of your seat with invigorating action scenes, world-building that feels deliberate and intricate, and characters with rewarding character arcs, Susan Dennard’s The Witchlands series is one you should start now. For fans of the series, Bloodwitch feels worth the wait and cements this fantasy series as one of the best out there.