Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m on the Fence About Picking Up

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 “Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About.Instead of looking at upcoming releases, I’m going to look back at past releases for this topic. These are books on my TBR that for one reason or another I have hesitated to picked up. Feel free to try to convince me to do so or not in the comments. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Written in Red by Anne Bishop – I’ve been recommended this book and series so many times. I confess I haven’t started because it’s such a long series and apparently I have commitment issues when it comes to longer series.

2. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia – Don’t judge me, but I’ve had an ARC of this one for years and still haven’t read it. In my defense, I won the ARC and didn’t feel as strong an obligation to get to it because it was after the book had been published. 

3. Daughters Unto Devil by Amy Lukavics – I’ve only read one book by this author, but as one of the few horror authors in YA, I feel like I need to read more. I haven’t seen the best reviews for this one though, 

4. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – I know a lot of bloggers love this series and I really wanted to as well, but I wasn’t really that big a fan of the first novel, so I never continued the series. This second book remains on my TBR and the first novel on my shelf. I feel like I might have better luck with this one if I were to reread the first. But how to find the motivation…

5. Vassa of the Night by Sarah Porter – I really wanted to read this one back in the day, but not many people seemed to like it. Every once in a while I add it to my Book Outlet cart, but haven’t bought it yet.

6. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – This is one of those books on my TBR that if you asked me to give you a synopsis, I’d be completely lost. I might have to delete it because I have no reason to keep it, but people say it’s good?

7. An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard – I heard a lot of good things about this one and I want to read more adult fantasies, but I haven’t quite been convinced to pick this one up. I am very much in love with the cover however.

8. Invictus by Ryan Graudin – I feel slightly guilty about this one because I loved her previous work so much, but every review I’ve come across has convinced me I’d just feel meh about it.

9. Furyborn by Claire LeGrand – I remember all the hype for this one and ended up adding it to my TBR, but I feel like I’ve come across as many negative reviews as positive. I might ultimately skip this one as her other YA novel Sawkill Girls sounds more up my alley.

10. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton – I was really excited for this second novel, but I hear it’s not as good as the first novel (which I adored). I’ve put it off as a result.

Which one of these do I need to stop avoiding? Any of these I should just delete from my TBR? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

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Monthly Wrap-Up: January ’19

MonthlyWrap-UPAfter starting the month kind of sluggish, I feel like January ended up being a really good month in terms of reading and blogging. My Kernels of Nonsense feature feels like its been in hibernation for the last couple of years, but I’ve already done two posts for it with a couple more drafts in the works. I’m really looking forward to all the backlist books I have lined up and am hoping in general to get to more of the books I own. With my Goodreads challenge goal set at 50, I feel like I have more time to spend on the books I’m reading and maybe even some more time rereading. This month I read six books which included two rereads. I did another buddy read this month with Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories. We tackled Holly Black’s The Wicked King which was really good and whose review is already up on the blog. I have three ARCs lined up for February and they are all by Latinx authors. I’m very excited to get started. I introduced a different format for reviews called the snapchat review this month, which might be replacing my mini-reviews. I’ve already done two and am kind of in love with the format.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

My favorite read in January was Susan Dennard’s Bloodwitch. I’ve been waiting for this one for ages and it lived up to all my expectations. It’s my first five-star read of 2019 and I’m so happy that I made time to reread the first two books before diving into this one. I forgot so much. My review for this one goes up this upcoming week, so be on the lookout. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book this month received less than three stars.

Reviews Posted This Month:

 

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

2018 Fourth Quarter Book Haul: Is This Self-Control? – My final book haul of 2018 where I actually didn’t spend that much money on books.

2019 Beat the Backlist Challenge TBR – I was a little late getting this out, but here is my list of priority TBR books I’m going to get to this year.

Kernels of Nonsense: I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Book Blogger – In which I showcase all the ways in which I fail at book blogging. Despite the title, this was actually a really fun post to put together.

Kernels of Nonsense: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018 – I’m on fire with two Kernels of Nonsense posts this month. Here I highlight my favorite four-star reads that even though they weren’t five-stars, still deserve a lot of love.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2018 – Let’s also go ahead and highlight those 2018 five-star reads though.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019 by Latinx Authors – There are so many amazing books by Latinx authors coming out this year. Here is a peek at some of them.

Reading Challenges:

Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I’m only taking part in one reading challenge.

1. The Beat the Backlist Challenge 2019 is hosted by NovelKnight. I haven’t picked up any books toward this goal yet.

  • Challenge Goal: 10 books; Current Count: 0 books

February Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Month in Review

Did you have a sluggish start to your 2019? Anything new on your blog you’re featuring in 2019? Which January read was your favorite? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

The Friday 56: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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.

Rules:

*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!**

“That’s what you want,” she said darkly. “You want an excuse to go hunting. But you have mistaken the predator for prey.”

Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves is a great combination of historical fiction and fantasy. If you like great ensembles and intricate world-building, look no further than this recent release. You can read my review of this one hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
      Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
      To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
      Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.”

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, #2
Pages: 336
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 8th 2019

      “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.”

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      “I hope it unnerves them to know I am lying.
      After all, if the insult to me is pointing out that I am mortal, then this is my riposte: I live here, too, and I know the rules. Perhaps I even know them better than you since you were born into them, but I had to learn.”

The Wicked King, Holly Black’s highly-anticipated sequel to The Cruel Prince, is as intoxicating and heart-stopping as its predecessor as Jude tries to hold on to power in a world that makes games out of crushing mortals. Five months have passed since the end of The Cruel Prince. As Cardan, the new High King of Elfhame, sits on the throne, his subjects are unaware that it is Jude, a mortal girl who grew up in Faerie, pulling the stings, having orchestrated both his crowing and his vow to obey her every command. But with such a young ruler on the thrown and his older brother Balekin in prison, there are those in Faerie who believe a weak king and an alternate heir leaves room for another coup. Jude must find a way to counter the machinations of those hoping for a power grab while also keeping a vexing, yet alluring Cardan in check. With little allies on her side, Jude is tested at every turn and when she discovers someone in her confidence has betrayed her, it becomes even more imperative that she find a way to hold on to power.

Faerie is a world built on deceit. The Folk cannot lie, but they can manipulate, they can twist the truth and hide their true motivations. Jude has grown up in this world and has had to figure out how to survive when every Fae sees her as weak and vulnerable. She has become a force to be reckon. In this sequel, I loved seeing the shift in her relationship with Madoc, her ‘adoptive’ father. He raised Jude and Taryn to look out for themselves in this world of Fae, but he never quite imagined that either would grow up to influence his world in such a dramatic way. Madoc, like most Fae, puts his own desires first, but since these often clash with Jude’s own wishes, it pits them against one another and I love that they both manage to push the other to their limits. I also really enjoyed Jude’s shifting relationship with Cardan. Black writes the Folk in such a way that the reader is forced, like Jude, to sift through words and actions in order to find the truth underneath. There’s always another layer to a character that I thought I had figured out. After this novel, I feel like I have a better understanding of who Cardan is and what his motivations are. Jude and Cardan’s relationship is fraught with mutual contempt, but also a fascination with one another. In this second book, both take steps to understanding each other better and I see so much potential for an alliance between the two built on actual trust if they could only get there.

One of my favorite things about The Folk of the Air series is how Black continues to raise the stakes. Jude was able to manipulate Cardan in order to put him on the thrown instead of her little brother Oak, but in this novel, she doesn’t have an opportunity to rest. Power is fleeting in the Faerie world, especially for those who can’t stay vigilant. Jude is pushed physically, emotionally, and mentally in The Wicked King. She succeeds only when she is able to stay several steps ahead, but there is always the possibility that as a mortal, she is ill-equipped to the task. Female characters who want power for power’s sake are few and far between in fiction, so it’s refreshing to get a character like Jude whose motivation is to gain as much power as possible and who can’t help but delight in her newfound authority. Also there is something truly satisfying about seeing Jude, a mortal girl, get the best of these mythical beings.

Holly Black’s The Wicked King is a sequel that will no doubt delight fans of the first novel, its twists will keep readers on their toes, and its ending will have them begging for the next installment.

★★★★

(4/5)

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books Added to My TBR

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 “The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List.” I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at not adding every book under the sun to my TBR, but I’d probably be lying. I have a feeling once I start blog hopping for this meme, these will no longer be the last ten books I added to my TBR. Covers/Titles are linked to Goodreads.

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1. One of Us by Craig DiLouie – Recently added this to my TBR after the author sent me Suffer the Children and this title.

2. Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller – I wasn’t the biggest fan of her Daughter of the Pirate King duology, but I did think they were really fun, so added this upcoming release to my list.

3. Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older – I need to pick up more books by this author and so marked this one as to-read.

4. Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter – I feel like I need to pick up more fairy books and I love that this one is about siblings. It also sounds really dark which I really like.

5. Wilder Girls by Rory Power – I heard this is kind of like a female Lord of the Flies and overall sounds really interesting.

6. The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson – I have been adding a lot of fantasy novels to my TBR based on covers alone.

7. The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen – Oh look, another fantasy novel with a stunning cover that I had to add to the TBR.

8. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin – Technically I have this one on my TBR, but I had to add the US edition in order to enter a Goodreads giveaway. Please let me win.

9. Between Earth and Sky by Rebecca Roanhouse – I loved Trail of Lightning, already preordered the sequel, and when I learned she had another book coming out in 2020, I quickly added it.

10. Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco – Rin Chupeco has another fantasy series coming out soon. Automatically added to the TBR.

Are these also on your TBR? Any you are adding? What’s the last book you added to your TBR? 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: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018

Welcome to another addition of Kernels of Nonsense, where I discuss random book and blogging related topics. With all the end of the year lists that came out, I always feel like we miss out on giving credit to books that might not have earned five stars from us, but which were nonetheless amazing four-star reads. In my experience, there are certain four-star reads that might have been five-stars if I had picked them up at a different time or ones that I could potential rate five-stars upon a second reading (at the end of 2018, I picked up Naomi Novik’s Uprooted again, originally a four-star read for me, but after this reread I had to bump it up to five-stars). For this post, I’m listing my ten favorite four-star reads of 2018. This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be because there were some amazing four-star reads in 2018. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series has incorporated so many things that I love with Latinx characters, magic, and sisters at its center. With Bruja Born, Córdova hit her stride, writing a sequel that managed to improve on the first. I am eagerly awaiting (2020?!) the final book in the series.

Read my review of Zoraida Córdova’s Bruja Born.

2. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Marie Machado has a truly unique voice. Her short-story collection Her Body and Other Parties was thought-provoking, eerie, and sometimes shocking. There is an adaption underway for this one and I cannot be more exited to see these stories on screen.

Read my review of Carmen Marie Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

3. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

S.A. Chakraborty’s debut The City of Brass has some of the most vivid world-building I’ve come across. It was also one of the few adult fantasy novels I picked up in 2018 and gave me a hunger for more. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel to this one which is currently on its way to me (hurry up, mail!)

Read my mini-review of S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass.

4. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles is as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside. Clayton managed to appeal to all of my senses with her luscious prose and posed some interesting questions when it comes to how much value we place on beauty. If you haven’t gotten to this one, do so quick, the conclusion to this duology releases in only a couple of months.

Read my review of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles.

5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

I think Lily Anderson is one of those rare writers who can write pretty much write anything. I loved both her previous contemporary novels (The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and Not Now, Not Ever), and when I heard about Undead Girl Gang, which features a fat, Mexican, Wiccan MC, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Read my review of Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang.

6. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

If I had to make a list of the most epic novels I read, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone would be high on my list. This is one of those books that I think will be credited with ushering in a new age of fantasy novels.

Read my review of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

7. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I buddy read N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season with Annemieke @ A Dance With Books and am so glad I did. This book has some of the best world-building I’ve come across and it’s partially told in second-person POV and to my surprise, I kind of loved it. I still need to continue this series, but hopefully soon.

Read my mini-review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

8. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

More people need to pick up Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark. A combination of horror and scifi, this novel left me wanting more. I really enjoyed both of this novel’s leads and wouldn’t mind revisiting this world again.

Read my mini-review of Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark.

9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Kathrine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden was one of the most beautiful books I read in 2018. It’s one of those fantasies that I was completely swept up in. It takes its time unfolding, but once it does, it’s a really lovely story.

Read my review of Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince impressed me on so many levels. I actually picked this one up twice in 2018, buddy reading it at the end of the year with Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories. I loved reading about this cruel, but beautiful Faerie world, but fell in love completely with the ambitious Jude.

Read my review of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Have you read any of these books? Which 2018 four-star reads really stands out to you? Let’s discuss in the comments.