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    Top Ten Tuesday: Best books I’ve read in 2018 so far

    (This is part of a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)

     

    This one is going to be very short and sweet because I’ve been in such an awful book slump this year, I’ve had to scrape myself through some of the books I’ve read so far. Things I would usually enjoy have been lackluster and dissatisfying (A Court of Frost and Starlight, Spiders in the Grove, Hero at the Fall, Children of Ambition etc.) but there have been a very small number of titles that have pulled through and made me enjoy reading again. These are those stories….

     

    1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman, released November 2016.
    I could not put this down. I absolutely loved it – from the concept to the characters to the plot. Everything. It was just so good and I cannot rave about it enough. A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery – two teenagers must master the “art” of a taking a life and becoming part of the Scythedom.

    2. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, released January 2018.
    This book has been on my reading list for forever and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. Anna Fox hasn’t left her house in 10 months and now spends most of her time spying on her neighbours, when one evening Anna witnesses something she shouldn’t. Can she uncover the truth? Can she trust herself? I found myself glued to this book, and just when you think this might be your standard-wannabe-Gone-Girl thriller the final 10% hits you square in the face.

    3. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, released March 2015.
    I’ve heard a lot said about this book since its publication in 2015 but never bothered to pick it up because non-fiction books about mental health aren’t my thing. I read to escape from my own mental health, not be reminded of it. And boy was I wrong. This book changed me. My mental health took a significant dip this year after I finally thought I’d “fixed” myself. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a quote from this book did I realise Haig was describing things that I had been feeling for months. This book made me feel seen. This made me feel understood. This book made me feel less alone. This book is accessible, moving, funny, and life-changing. If you find yourself struggling, this book is a must-read.

    4. Pet Sematary by Stephen King, released November 1983.
    I’ve been meaning to read a King novel for years and have only found myself dabbling in his short stories from time to time. That was until my boyfriend gifted me with this beaut of a book. When Louis Creed and his family move to the town of Ludlow, Maine, Creed begins to realise that all is not as it seems when he discovers the ancient Indian burial ground situated deep in the woods. King calls Pet Sematary his scariest book and I can understand why. Explaining such would give away too many spoilers so this is one you’ll definitely have to read and find out the answer for yourself.


    What are the best books you’ve read so far this year?
    Dying to read any of the above? Have any on your list that you think I’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Book Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

    Book Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
    Published by Bloomsbury YA on May 1st 2018
    Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
    Pages: 272
    Format: Paperback
    Source: Amazon
    Add to Goodreads
    Rating:

    Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

     
    I really wanted to love this because I am such a big fan of Sarah J. Maas but I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings. I’ve never been a big fan of novellas slotted in between books in a series. More often than not, they’re pointless and nothing exciting happens because it’s just a cute little side idea that the author had. Other times they’re crucial and very much needed. ACOFAS was a little of both.
     
    Maas very obviously wanted to bridge the gap between the old and the new, but at the same time, I was bored. So so bored. A lot of it was just so unnecessary. I’ve read more smut scenes between Feyre and Rhysand than I ever really needed (no matter how much I love them).
     
    But let me bullet point my feels because what are real paragraphs?:

    • Nesta! I was more interested in her chapters than everyone else’s. I am so on board for her character arc and I’m dying to know how it unfolds.
    • Is Elain ever going to get over that douche of a human? I mean, come on, I think it’s time.
    • My feelings for Tamlin are complicated. On one hand he is the biggest of douche canoes and I honestly hate his existence but at the same time I pity him endlessly.
    • I now roll my eyes every time Feyre says “Illyrian babies”
    • What did Mor see at the edge of the forest? What is coming? Answers! I need them.
    • The dynamic between Azriel and Elain is too damn cute. Why couldn’t he be her mate instead?
    • Is Lucien ever going to find out who his baby daddy is?

    Have you read A Court of Frost and Starlight?
    Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

    Anticipated May Reads

    New month, new releases.
     
    I’ve gotten so bad at keeping my blog up to date and have completely dropped the ball on doing my monthly anticipated reads, but we finally have one (almost a year after the last one). There’s a lot of fantasy hitting the shelves this month. Sarah J. Maas is back with her latest novella in the ACOTAR series, and Stephanie Garber is back with the sequel to Caraval (which I’ve just found out is now going to be a trilogy). Ruth Ware, one of my favourite thriller writers, will also be releasing her 4th Thriller later this month.

     

    Click each image below to find out more about each book and add to your Goodreads shelves.

     

    Which book are you most hotly anticipating this May? Let me know in the comments below.


    A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
    Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1
    Release Date: May 1st 2018
    Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

     

     
    Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.


    Legendary by Stephanie Garber
    Series: Caraval #2
    Release Date: May 29th 2018
    Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

     

     
    Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval
     
    A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
     
    After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
     
    The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
     
    Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.


    Furyborn by Claire Legrand
    Series: Empirium #1
    Release Date: May 22nd 2018
    Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

     

     
    Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
     
    When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
     
    A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
     
    As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.


    The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
    Series: The Smoke Thieves #1
    Release Date: May 3rd 2018
    Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

     

     
    A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.
     
    In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.
     
    As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?


    The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
    Release Date: May 29th 2018
    Genre: Mystery, Thriller

     

     
    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.
     
    On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
     
    Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
     
    Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


    Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
    Release Date: May 3rd 2018
    Genre: Mystery, Thriller

     

     
    This is a love story. This is a tragedy. This is a book about a break up so bad that when you put the pieces of the love story back together, what you get is MURDER …
     

    ***

     
    Mike knows that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us complete.
     
    But he and Verity are different. They have found each other and nothing and no one will tear them apart.
     
    It doesn’t matter that Verity is marrying another man.
     
    You see, Verity and Mike play a game together, a secret game they call ‘the crave’, the aim being to demonstrate what they both know: that Verity needs Mike, and only Mike.
     
    Verity’s upcoming marriage is the biggest game she and Mike have ever played. And it’s for the highest stakes.
     
    Except this time in order for Mike and Verity to be together someone has to die …


    The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross
    Release Date: May 3rd 2018
    Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tales, Retellings, Fantasy

     

     
    A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.
     
    I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.
     
    I am the Beast.
     
    The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.
     
    My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.
     
    My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.
     
    And now I might lose her forever.
     
    Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

    Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

    (This is part of a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)

     
    A Top Ten Tuesday post at last, you exclaim? Yes, yes, I know. It’s been a while. I’ve realised I’ve either got no time to blog or I’ve gotten extremely fussy about what I want to blog about, and I definitely wanted to blog about this. I sometimes feel like I have book titles falling out of my ears, and that’s not just because I work in publishing but because there are so many things I want to read! The ten books below are my most anticipated reads that I’d (metaphorically) slay a lion to get early (don’t hurt the lions, they’re precious!). Every single one of them (bar one) are a sequel, and the one that isn’t a sequel is a book by one of my favs so it’s kind of a given to see it on this list.
     

    1. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab, released 25th September 2018.
    All hail Queen Schwab. Vengeful, the sequel to my all-time favourite Schwab book, Vicious, a masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, and superpowers is finally a thing and will hit the shelves this year!!! Victor is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

    2. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas, released 1st May 2018.
    Does this one still count as it technically come out today? Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.

    3. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, released 23rd October 2018.
    The final installment of the Throne of Glass series. I’m not ready to say goodbye yet! Captured by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin is trapped inside an iron box in a secret location, with seemingly no hope for escape. As Aelin gathers the strength to save herself and fight the ultimate battle of her life, all of their destinies hang in the balance. Some ties will bond even tighter together, others will be severed forever, and mysteries will be revealed. Nope. I’m not readyyyy.

    4. Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, expected for released in 2019.
    Is there a blurb yet? No. Is there a book cover yet? No. Am I still hella excited about this book? Yes. What do we know so far? Priory of the Orange tree is a standalone fantasy that draws influence from Eastern and Western mythology. a war between dragons has divided the world, reducing humankind to a shadow of its former strength. It is told through the eyes of four characters from very different backgrounds.

    5. Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb, released 4th september 2018.
    In the 47th book of this series Eve Dallas must investigate a suicide bombing in the corporate offices of an airline. With the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside two corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.

    6. Muse of Nightmares by Liani Taylor, released 2nd October 2018.
    If you haven’t read Strange the Dreamer then I highly recommend that you do. Right now. This very second. Muse of Nightmares picks up right where it left off. In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. Humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall as a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? I have chills. Do you have chills?

    7. Bright We Burn by Kiersten White, released 10th July 2018.
    Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world. I am here for Lada Dracul and Lada Dracul only. Her rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. I am 100% ready to watch her slay everyone (and I mean everyone – Radu and Mehmed included) that gets in her way.

    8. Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh, released 5th June 2018.
    Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire. I’m definitely intrigued to see how this one plays out.

    9. Rage by Cara Carmack, released 11th June 2018.
    If you’re in need of a bit of feel good fantasy fluff with some added angst then this series is for you. Princess or adventurer. Duty or freedom. Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves. Aurora puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

    10. Legendary by Stephanie Garber, released 29th May 2018.
    Caraval was colourful, mystical, mesmerizing, and quite honestly, enchanting so I’m expecting something equally as dazzling and mysterious with Legendary (especially after that cliffhanger!). Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


    What books would you slay a lion to get early?
    Dying to read any of the above? Have any on your list that you think I’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.