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

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

There are SO many books coming out later this year that I’m hype for. From some classic retellings to the conclusions to a couple of series I’ve been following, here are the ten titles that I’m most excited to get my hands on!


#10

The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

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Release date: Sept. 10

#9

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

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Release date: Sept. 3

#8

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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Release date: Oct. 1

#7

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

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Release date: Sept. 24

#6

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

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Release date: Sept. 10

#5

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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Release date: Nov. 5

#4

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

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Release date: Oct. 8

#3

Winterwood by Shae Ernshaw

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Release date: Nov. 5

#2

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

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Release date: Sept. 3

#1

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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Release date: Nov. 19

 


Which new releases are you most excited for? Let me know so I can add them to my TBR!

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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Sabriel by Garth Nix *Book Review*

My first introduction to Sabriel was a quote I came across on Goodreads, completely out of context:

“I love you,” he whispered. “I hope you don’t mind.”

I don’t know what it was about these words that held me hostage but I knew that I had to find out what was going on here. So I checked Scribd, and low and behold, the audiobook was available. I snapped up a copy of the paperback from Thriftbooks for just over $3 so I could read along, and I dove in without looking into it further.

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The story begins with eighteen year old Sabriel bringing a dead rabbit back to life. We learn that she’s just finished up her final term at Wyverly College, a boarding school for young women who wish to be educated in all the usual subjects plus Magic, assuming they’ve been granted special permission.

The land of Ancelstierre is bisected by The Wall which designates the border of the Old Kingdom where magic is more powerful and the dead oftentimes refuse to stay dead.

Sabriel’s father is the legendary Abhorsen, a gifted necromancer tasked with laying said spirits to rest. So when she discovers that he is missing– either dead or trapped in the land of the dead, she must go on a journey to find him.

Sabriel is a fantasy quite unlike anything else I’ve read. While the plot itself is nothing crazy, (young girl must go on a quest to discover her missing relative and also perhaps, herself) the world that the story takes place in is wholly original.

I loved the idea of a wilderness beyond The Wall where magic is unpredictable and danger lurks around every corner.

I was also fascinated by the nine gates in the realm of Death that a spirit passes through before it is truly gone for good. When Sabriel passes over into this world, her body becomes frosted over and she finds herself standing in a river. Each gate is some sort of body of water. One is lake, another is a waterfall, and so on. It creates a fascinating and sort of creepy atmosphere as creatures may remain hidden from sight beneath the surface.

Sabriel wields a bandolier containing seven bells. Each bell has a different name (Ranna, Kibeth, and Saraneth to name a few.), they all make a unique sound, and they all do different things. For example, Dyrim has a clear and pretty sounding tone and can either return a voice to a spirit or silence one that speaks too freely. This is so cool!

Sabriel herself is a really likeable character. Overall, she’s a good person with a kind heart. She’s also incredibly brave. This isn’t to say that she never gets scared, she certainly does, but she fights back anyway and keeps on pushing forward.

Also in the main cast is Mogget, a powerful spirit trapped in the body of a white cat, indebted to do the Abhorsen’s bidding. He reminded me a lot of Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle. (There are actually quite a few elements of this story that had me thinking about Ghibli movies)

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The story gets moving right away and it’s never really dragged down at any point which is nice. I often found myself thinking about it while I was at work or driving somewhere. It just has this way of sinking in and not letting go until the very end. And even then, this book was on my mind for days.

Everything about Sabriel is incredibly subtle, from the magic system, to the story line and its characters. There are very few scenes with all-hands-on-deck action (and those scenes are done phenomenally well), but its no less impactful because of it.

I cried at the end of this book. Partly because it’s very emotional, but mostly because I’d come to feel at home within these pages, and finishing it felt like I had to pack up and move on before I was ready.

I’m so amazed by how rarely I see this book getting the attention it deserves. Sabriel is a highly underappreciated book and I would recommend it to anyone who needs some courage and a little magic in their life.

Oh, and the audiobook is narrated by Tim Curry. Like, THE Tim Curry. So if you really need another reason to pick up Sabriel, there you go.

Final verdict: ★★★★ (4.5 stars)

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A huge thank you to the following accounts on Bookstagram who assured me how much I’d love this book, and who were absolutely correct:

@takingthejourneh @802manybooks @glittercomet @oceans_of_books @author.r.a.lewis @gen_kenobi @mybestfriendsarefictional @bookmagnolia @forests_and_fairytales go give these folks some love!


Thank you so much for reading. I hope you all have a lovely day.

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2019)

Can you believe 2019 is already halfway over? I know I certainly can’t.

Last year I didn’t manage to get this tag out until August so at least this time I’m little more punctual!

Anyway, we’re six months in and I’ve read 36 out of 80 books and I have some thoughts about them. Let’s talk about it.

1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2019?

This has to be Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. I’ll admit that I 100% bought the book after I saw it online somewhere and thought the cover looked really cool. I don’t think I even read the synopsis. Once I had it in my possession, it sat on my shelf for a couple of months and it slipped my mind entirely.

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About two months ago, I imposed a general book buying ban on myself because I’m running out of both funds and space for this vice of mine. As a result I’ve made it a priority to read books I already own.

It seemed like a great time to pull some fantasy titles off my shelf and give them a go. I made a list of ten books I wanted to read and then asked by boyfriend to pick a number. The number he chose corresponded to Kings of the Wyld and rest is history.

I fell in love with this book from the very first page and I’m so blown away by the fact that I hardly ever see it in my online book communities. If you’re interested in a highly underappreciated fantasy novel that will have you laughing and crying the whole way through, pick up Kings of the Wyld. If you need some more convincing, check out my full review of it here.

2. What is the best sequel you’ve read in 2019?

I’m so surprised to say that this is The Wicked King by Holly Black.

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In January 2018, I read The Cruel Prince and I loved it but in the year since, my feelings for it have cooled significantly. It was a good story but it didn’t blow my mind or anything.

I picked up The Wicked King on a whim one morning expecting to read a chapter or two while I had my coffee. Then I looked up and it was seven hours later and I was nearly done with it.

The ending of this book had me yelling. And I don’t mean that in the way people do nowadays when they see something and it makes them exhale a little harder out of their nose so they comment: “omg im literally screaming” when actually their face looks like :I

I was home alone, and I was LITERALLY screaming at Holly Black for putting me through this absolute crucible of a cliffhanger.

Thank the gods Queen of Nothing is getting an early release this year.

3. A new release you haven’t read yet but want to:

What’s my fatal flaw? It’s that I love huge global-scale fantasy stories with sweeping histories and in-depth characters but I quake at the sight of a book more than 500 pages long.

This is my way of saying that I’m dying to read The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon but I am a weak, weak human with fear in my heart.

IG: @foxingfae

4. What is the most anticipated release you have for the second half of the year?

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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But also I”m excited for: Five Dark Fates, Gideon the Ninth, The Monster of Elendhaven, Ninth House, and Winterwood.

5. Biggest disappointment:

Yikes. Probably Supermarket by Bobby Hall AKA Logic. I like his rap music quite a bit so I was curious to see how well he’d be able to put together a narrative and well…

You’ll hear all my thoughts when Rapid Fire Book Reviews PART II comes out in the next week or so.

6. Biggest surprise:

Similar to my experience with Kings of the Wyld, I’ve owned Sabriel by Garth Nix for quite some time. I never heard anyone talk about it, or anything else by Nix for that matter.

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I posted to Instagram that I was going to be starting it and all of a sudden I got a flood of support from the Sabriel fandom who I guess I just hadn’t been privy to all this time. So many people were telling me it was their favorite book ever and/or that Sabriel was their favorite character.

And wow, this one really caught me off guard. I won’t say too much since I plan to review it fully very soon. Let me just say that since finishing it, I think about Sabriel all the time.

7. Favorite new author– debut or new to you:

Nicholas Eames was a new-to-me author this year and I stan. Anything he puts out from here on, you better believe I’m throwing my money at it. He’s a genius at tone, characterization, and compelling storytelling. These are all things that remind me why I’m a reader.

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8. Newest fictional crush:

Sabriel, my necromancer GF.

Cura my creepy witch GF.

Kaladin, my broody but also gold hearted BF.

9. New favorite character:

Are you sick of me bringing up Kings of the Wyld? Sorry, hang on. One of the main characters is this f*cking bonkers old wizard named Moog. Oh, and also? He’s gay. I love my crazy gay wizard. I would take a bullet for him any day of the week.

10. What is a book that made you cry?

I reread The Scorpio Races this year, as I do every year. And it made me ugly cry, as it does every year.

11. What is a book that made you happy?

Kings of the Wyld. What’s that? I have to pick something else? …Fine.

Night of Cake and Puppets was really adorable and it made me happy to see these characters having some lighthearted times since the DOSAB trilogy was so emotionally heavy.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you’ve seen this year:

I think the only book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which is a classic.

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13. Favorite review you’ve written this year:

Honestly the Rapid Fire Book Reviews were a lot of fun to write even though they were an exercise I created because I was so horribly behind on my real book reviews.

I think my favorite full review was either Kings of the Wyld or The Way of Kings. Both books easily earned the five star ratings I gave them. Sure, it’s fun to drag a crappy book through the mud sometimes but I much prefer to sing praises for books that were clearly a labor of love.

14. The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received:

King of Scars or The Priory of the Orange Tree— one looks like it’s been dipped in molten gold and the other looks like the art found on some ancient magic scroll. *insert six heart eyes emojis*

 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Children of Blood and Bone, Clash of Kings, East, Gemina, Hex, The Hunger Games, Kill the Farm Boy, Lirael, Muse of Nightmares, Nevernight, Priory of the Orange Tree, Red Sister, Ruin of Kings, Six of Crows, Tess of the Road, Tithe, Watership Down, The Wolf in the Whale, Words of Radiance. …Just to name a few.


What books have you enjoyed the most so far this year? Which ones did you not enjoy as much? Let me know in the comments!

Wishing you all a magical weekend!

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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Rapid Fire Book Reviews Part I

At the start of this year I made it a goal of mine to write at least 250 words about every book I read. I think I did maybe five of those before I completely fell off the wagon and wrote zero words about every book I finished after that. I think 250 words was a bit more than I thought it would be and between work and personal life, it just became hard to keep up. So to make up for that, I’ll be reviewing every book I’m behind on (there’s 23. Buckle up.) and the rule is that I have to write at least 100 words. It can be more, but no less.

I’m calling these “rapid fire” book reviews because I’m going off of my immediate thoughts that come to mind when considering these titles.

*Obligatory disclaimer* These are just my opinions. If you disagree with something I say, that’s totally okay. We can feel differently about books!

Alright, moving on–


Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

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My rating:★★ 2/5 stars

Finished: 1/25/2019

After reading and loving A Head Full of Ghosts, I REALLY wanted to love this one too so it breaks my heart so say I was let down. At the start of this book, Elizabeth’s teenage son Tommy goes missing. After going out to the park with his friends one night and not returning with them, police are set on the case to investigate his whereabouts and figure out what happened to him. People around the neighborhood begin seeing a shadowy figure outside their homes at night. Elizabeth swears she sees Tommy in her room one night and someone keeps leaving pages of his diary out on the living room floor.

This story sets up a lot of great stuff here: a tense family dynamic, a riveting mystery with some great Stand by Me vibes, and allusion to the satanic and paranormal. It’s slow moving suspense to be sure, but I like that. It’s just that I got to the end of the book and sat there thinking to myself, “That was it…?”

I just wanted something really climactic to happen, I wanted there to be some creepy, sinister revelation. Maybe to some the ending is scary and surprising. I did not get that feeling unfortunately.

This story just wasn’t for me. I am by no means swearing off all other Tremblay books though- quite on the contrary. I am a big fan of his writing style. A lot of it brings to mind the likes of Stephen King and Jeremy Robert Johnson, two writers that I admire immensely. I think his pacing is good too. Basically, I’m confident that I would enjoy some of his other books. This one just didn’t do it for me.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater

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My rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Finished: 1/28/2019

There aren’t many books that make my heart lurch with emotion at the very mention of its title. Never Let Me Go does, Daughter of Smoke and Bone does, and The Scorpio Races does.

I rode horses for years when I was younger and there really is no bond like the one between a rider and their horse. It’s just so different and it touches your soul in a way no other person or animal could. You put your trust in this huge and powerful animal and the two of you work together through the good and bad, and you look into that animal’s eyes and you know it really sees you.

The Scorpio Races is the most loving and riveting portrayal of this bond and it would probably be a five star read for me even before all of the other stuff I adore about this book.

Stiefvater weaves together Celtic mythology about the graceful and terrifying water horses, that eat human flesh and are born out of the sea. On the island of Thisby, the culture is completely centered around the water horses or capaill uisce. Each November a race is held where riders attempt to capture and ride a capaill uisce to the finish line, but its no easy task when these horses are not really horses at all. They are monstrous and dangerous.

Thisby feels like a real place and the characters within it feel like real people. By the end of the book you feel like you know Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick on a very personal level. You root for them, cry when they’re beaten down and cheer when they are victorious.

Stiefvater has absolutely outdone herself with this story about love, family, loss, and magic. I think about this book all the time. It’s a story very near and dear to my heart and I’m already looking forward to rereading it again.

I also highly highly recommend listening to the audiobook. If The Scorpio Races needed anything at all, it would be a pair of gorgeous voices to bring its main characters to life. Fiona Hardingham and Steve West did just that and then some.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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My rating: ★★★★ 4/5 stars

Finished: 1/29/2019

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years. And now that I have, I can’t believe I waited this long! From the start, this story was enchanting. I wanted to know all about the cast of main characters, who I’ve come to love like dear friends. (Ronan and Adam are my favorites.)

I listened to this on audiobook and I think the narrator, Will Patton, did a phenomenal job bringing this story to life. It has such a unique vibe. The town of Henrietta feels alive with unruly magic, but in a very subtle way. This story sneaks up on you and casts a spell that won’t let you go, even after the final page.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

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My rating: ★★★★ 4/5 stars

Finished: 1/30/2019

I listened to this novella on audiobook and found it to be as cute and sweet as Zuzana and Mik themselves. I fell head over heels in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone last year and it felt so nice to be able to dip my toes back into this world that I’ve come to love so much. It was especially sweet to see Karou from Zuzana’s perspective. The two of them are absolutely #friendshipgoals. Zuzana herself is such an interesting character that I enjoyed reading about in the original trilogy, and I loved seeing the world through her eyes for a little while even more.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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My rating: ★★★ 3.5/5 stars

Finished: 2/01/2019

“Olivia, why the hell would you give HP 1 only 3.5 stars, what’s wrong with you?”

Hold onto your pitchforks for a second. Let me explain. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter. My parents never read it to me, and my older brother wasn’t a reader so I never heard him or any of his friends talk about it. None of my friends at a young age were reading it either so I just wasn’t involved with it aside from watching the first three movies when they came out. What I’m getting at here is that I have no nostalgia to attach to this story. I’m 21, reading a fantastical middle grade novel and I enjoyed it. I thought it was quite good. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all likable characters although I think Hagrid is my absolute favorite.

I found parts of this story a little slow, but I really enjoyed the whole magical boarding school mystery aspect.

Did this story totally blow me away? No, I’m sorry to say that it didn’t. I STILL LIKED IT THOUGH OKAY, AND I’M GOING TO READ THE REST OF THEM, DON’T COME TO MY HOUSE AND KILL ME.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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My rating: ★★★ 3.5/5 stars

Finished: 2/02/2019

YA contemporary is always a bit of a hard sell for me. Most of the time it just doesn’t interest me on any level. I live in the real world, I get enough of it on a day to day basis and I’d rather read about dragons or something. But there was so much hype around this series with the release of the Netflix adaptation, and the books are all pretty short so I figured I would dip my toes in and see what all the fuss was about.

I actually ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would. A few choice words I would use to describe it are: cute, wholesome, and easily consumable. The premise was dramatic enough to hold my attention and I really liked Lara Jean and the rest of the Song sisters. It was all very sweet.

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

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My rating: ★★★ 3/5 stars

Finished: 2/02/2019

I’ve been wanting to read Dolores Claiborne ever since I heard the famous line: “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to.” I was like, true! And also, what’s the story behind this?

The reason I never picked it up before this is because, if you don’t already know, the entire book is the main character’s monologue to the police officers interrogating her. There are hardly any paragraph breaks at all and my ADHD brain cannot read that. So when I was able to get a hold of the audiobook on Scribd instead, I was completely on board and I wasn’t let down.

Stephen King is an amazing story teller and the story of Dolores Claiborne is a compelling one. In usual King fashion, there were some slow parts that dragged on for me and I did find the ending a little bit lacking so I had to take some points off for that. But this is a really solid book and I highly recommend listening to it on audio if you can.

Some True Adventures in the Life of Hugh Glass by Philip St. George Cooke

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My rating: ★★★  3/5 stars

Finished: 2/04/2019

There isn’t much to say about this “book” because it’s really a 17 page excerpt from a much longer book that I don’t own. That out of the way though, I still found the story of Hugh Glass incredibly fascinating. After watching The Revenant (2015) I wanted to know the true story (as far as we can tell, anyway) of this resilient man and Cooke’s account offers a nice and succinct timeline of events. Sometimes the language was a bit hard to follow but I was still able to get enough meaning out of it if I took my time and read things over once or twice.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

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My rating: ★★★ 3/5 stars

Finished: 2/07/2019

In general I didn’t enjoy this sequel as much as the first book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before but I still thought it was cute. As usual, the sibling dynamics between Lara Jean, Margot, and Kitty were very heartwarming. I also really love the relationship their dad has with his daughters and how he takes the time to sit them down and have real, mature conversations with them. Being a single dad is really tough but this guy steps up to the plate and that was great to see.

I thought a lot of the drama in this story between Lara Jean, Peter, Gen, and Josh was a bit over the top. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and wishing people could stop being petty and just communicate with one another. And for that I took some points off.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the third book wraps everything up.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta

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My rating: ★★★ 3/5 stars

Finished: 2/10/2019

This was a very sweet LGBTQA+ romance story with an incredible art style. I read it in one sitting and had a good time with it in general.

A few things I had issues with: the ending. Something really dramatic happens pretty much out of nowhere towards the end and I kept waiting for someone to wake up from a dream. But nope, that really did happen and it shifted the tone of the story so much that I found it jarring. In addition to that, I didn’t really get a sense of closure from either of the main character’s story lines. I guess it was a good enough ending, I was just hoping for something a little… more?

Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

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My rating: ★★★ 3/5 stars

Finished: 2/15/2019

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Grace and Sam were one of the first fictional couples that I “shipped” back when I was like twelve. I remember being OBSESSED with this series then and I’ve since read and enjoyed so many of Steifvater’s books that when I saw the audiobook on Scribd I was excited to give it a go again.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t connect to these characters the way I did the first time. I found myself getting frustrated with a lot of Grace’s feelings and actions and Sam just didn’t strike me as swoon-worthy the second time around.

It’s still a good story in general. I guess I’m just more of a Sean and Puck kind of girl these days as opposed to a Sam and Grace girl.


Thank you, first of all, for your patience while I took my sweet time getting these reviews out. And thank you for taking the time to read them now. I’ll have Part II up before too long.

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames *Book Review*

Clay Cooper was once part of a legendary mercenary band called Saga. They went touring through the hazardous Heartwyld, gaining notoriety with every monster slain and princess rescued. They even bested a dragon one time. Well, almost.

Those were the good old days, but now Clay isn’t as limber as he used to be, and he’s quite content to be at home with his wife and daughter dreaming of the day when he can open an inn and hang up his legendary shield on the mantle.

So when the front-runner of the old band shows up on Clay’s doorstep he knows there’s trouble on the horizon. Gabriel needs his help– the band has to get back together for one more tour.

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Kings of the Wyld was such a blast, I can hardly contain my excitement! I’ve been pushing this book on anyone who will listen to me ever since I got to the last page.

The fantastical world of Grandual and the mysterious Heartwyld beyond feel real from the well developed (and super original!) world building that gets seamlessly woven in throughout the story.

In this world mercenary groups are treated like rockstars and these days monster hunting just ain’t what it used to be and sometimes you need a group of four burly dudes and a crazy wizard to come back and show all the youngsters how it’s done.

Every single member of Saga is complex and well developed. I would lay down my life for any and all of them. I was pleased to see some LGBTQ+ and PoC rep within the main cast. Everyone has an important role to play.

This book reads like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign rife with hilarious shenanigans and a surprising amount of heart. I’d be rolling on the floor from one page and getting teary-eyed at the next. There’s some incredibly impactful stuff going on within these pages.

Themes of love, loss, sacrifice, and duty all come up frequently and are handled with care and respect. There’s plenty of times where the manliest of men lay bare their emotions and I loved that.

This was a book that I wished went on forever. I had to slow down my reading progress because I just wanted to savor it as much as I could. Otherwise I definitely would’ve downed it in one sitting.

Nicholas Eames has created something fresh and insanely fun. I suspected this was a gem from the very first page when we’re introduced to Clay Cooper and I was not let down at all. This will be a story I return to countless times, I’m sure of it.

If you like fantasy, humor, adventure, and a ton of heart, this is a book you cannot pass on.

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Final Verdict: ★★★★★★★★★★ 5/5, 10/10, all the stars I can possibly give.


Have you read this book? Does it sound like something you’d be interested in? Let me know!

Be kind.

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

Instagram|Tumblr|Twitter|Goodreads|Pinterest|WordPress

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released in the Last Ten Years

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

It’s a dark, rainy afternoon here in New England and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic so I thought it would be fun to look back and check out some of my favorite reads from the last decade.

Let’s take it back to….


2009

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Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

This story is one of my favorites in the horror genre. It has been adapted into a manga and an anime, both of which are incredible. Equal parts mystery and horror, I was invested from the first chilling page as we’re told about the legendary curse of Class 3 where there is always one more student in attendance than there should be.

Honorable mentions for 2009:

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Horns by Joe Hill

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


2010

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I just read The Way of Kings in January of this year and I adored it. It’s a genius first installation to a sweeping fantasy series called The Stormlight Archive. I plan to read the sequel very soon– as soon as I can get over my fear of 1000+ page books. You can read my full review of The Way of Kings here!


2011

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Wow, another chance for me to scream about how much I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone??? I’ll spare you guys the hysterics this time but basically this IS my favorite book series of all time and this first book is magical. You can read my review of it here.

Honorable mentions for 2011:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


2012

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I read this book for the third time earlier this year as part of a book club and it still holds up. Of all the Maas books I’ve read (all of ACOTAR, Throne of Glass, Assassin’s Blade, Crown of Midnight) this one is by far her best. The story is fast paced and Celaena Sardothien is a kick ass protagonist. I’ll be posting a belated review of this one soon.

Honorable mentions for 2012:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor


2013

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

2013 was the year of really good sequels, the best of which I think is Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves. I actually liked this book more than The Raven Boys, a book that I liked a lot. Ronan and Adam are my favorite characters in the cast so I was pleased that this book focuses mainly on them.

Honorable mentions for 2013:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo


2014

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

After scouring lists of 2014 releases, not too many of them jumped out at me. Most of the books I’ve read from this year didn’t really do anything for me. But Dreams of Gods and Monsters… wow. I mentioned that Daughter of Smoke and Bone is my favorite series ever, and of those three books, this one is my favorite. You can read my series review here.


2015

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A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

I read A Head Full of Ghosts nearly two years ago and it still haunts me. It has such an original concept that is executed really well. We follow a teenage girl as she succumbs to a mysterious and disturbing force and a reality show camera crew is brought into her home to document it.

This book feels extra special to me because it was the book that got me into the online book community.

Honorable mentions for 2015:

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


2016

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

I was swept up in this series from the first page of this book. Something about the whole vibe is downright enchanting and I’m so excited for the final book coming later this year. You can check out my full review of Three Dark Crowns here.

Honorable mentions for 2016:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

And I Darken by Kiersten White


2017

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

I have some pretty mixed feelings about this series as a whole but I must say that, all nitpicks aside, this was a really competent finale. I read this book in (nearly) one sitting because I was so invested and I had to know what happened. I posted my live reactions to all the books in this trilogy to my Instagram story. You can find them all in my highlights.

Honorable mentions for 2017:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


2018

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Circe by Madeline Miller

I read this whole book over the course of a single day, and in that time the real world ceased to exist. Miller became an insta-buy author for me after The Song of Achilles and Circe did not disappoint. I listed Circe as one of my top 10 favorite books of 2018.

Honorable mentions for 2018:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Wicked Deep by Shae Ernshaw


2019

We’re almost halfway through 2019 already, can you believe it?! So while I can’t post my favorite release of the year just yet, I’ll share with you some really solid contenders.

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid —> 5/5 stars

The Wicked King by Holly Black —> 5/5 stars (I NEED QUEEN OF NOTHING)

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer —> 4/5 stars, you can read my review here.


Those are my picks! How do you feel about these books? What would your top 10 be? Let’s talk about it 🙂

Happy reading!

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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Dear Heartbreak edited by Heather Demetrios *Book Review*

I don’t usually feel compelled to pick up a book like this but I found the concept really interesting. Each section of this book begins with an anonymous letter written by a teen struggling with heartbreak in someway. The letters are then thoughtfully answered by YA authors, some you may be familiar with– Becky Albertalli, Libba Bray, Gayle Forman, and Sandhya Menon, just to name a few.

Not terribly long ago, I went though a breakup myself and while it no longer hurts me to think about, I thought I might get some valuable insight to keep me going just in case a bad day sneaks up on me.


The thing about loving people and seeing their souls and letting them see your soul is that sometimes you fall in love with a motherfucker.

–Heather Demetrios, “Love is All, Love is You”

I can tell that this book was a labor of love from everyone involved. A lot of souls are laid bare within these pages, and I know that’s not an easy thing to do.

I’ve learned from my own experience over the years that sometimes love hurts. A lot. At times I’ve wondered why anyone ever puts themselves out there at all.

Then I think of the sound of my significant other’s laugh and it all makes sense again. Because for every moment of hurt, every tear shed in anger or sadness, there’s a time when I’ve laughed so hard I cried.

Late night baking sessions, hands held under the table, warm hugs, deep conversations, a real connection with another human being– these are the things that make it all worth it.

Love can hurt a lot, but it can feel really amazing too.

While I didn’t find any groundbreaking wisdom in this book, I think it’s an incredibly valuable read for just about anyone. I think if it had been around when I was 14 or 15 years old I may have picked up something that would’ve made me realize I was deserving of better treatment much sooner than I did.

I know these things now. I have a great deal of love and respect for myself. It’s an ongoing lesson of course, and there’s always something to get better at.

I have to be honest. If there was one thing I could change about my years in high school and college, it would be to take away this pressure to be WITH someone before we are ever encouraged to be WITH ourselves.

How, in a culture that forces us to think about coupling so young, do we ever form ourselves fully?

–A.S. King, “Who Said I Have to Give My Heart Up for Breaking?”

I do believe that loving yourself is the most important thing you can (and should) internalize. Because the more you love yourself, the less you’ll be willing to put up with disrespectful or downright abusive treatment from others.

We can’t rely on other people to make us “whole” because we are not incomplete to begin with. We are already whole, and while companionship is a beautiful thing, it shouldn’t be our only source of light in life.

I’m so glad that this book is full of wonderful, heartfelt adults that teens (and anyone else) can look up to for such important advice.

A broken heart can and will feel like the end of the world at times. I totally get it, I’ve been there. But it’s so important to know that you’re never alone, not really. And the pain does go away. It takes time of course, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel and you will have good days again.

Nothing lasts forever, especially not heartbreak. Each time we survive it, we come out stronger and more capable.

I would absolutely recommend this book. To who? Anyone. Because everyone experiences heartbreak even if it’s not from a significant other. A family member can hurt you, or a close friend, and sometimes we need to know that it’s okay to take time to feel hurt before we get back up and dust ourselves off.


Final verdict: ★★★★ (4/5 stars)

**Trigger warning for discussions of abuse, rape, mental illness, and suicide.


Resources:

If you are struggling with abuse or thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. You are not alone and you will get better.

These numbers are free, private, and available to help you 24/7!!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453

The Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ+ young adults: 1-866-488-7386


Stay safe out there my friends, I love you all.

.✫*゚・゚。.☆.*。・゚✫*.

-Liv

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