Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday again! (TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’d like to participate, a list of the weekly themes can be found here.) This week’s topic is “Best Books I’ve Read in 2018.” Sounds like an easy one, right? WRONG. I’ve read so many good books in the past six months that I don’t even know where to begin.

I actually did a post on my favorites of 2018 (so far) about a month ago, but I’ve read several other great books since then, so here’s the updated list:

The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

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Robots vs. Fairies (Anthology)

The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Reviews: The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (for each book)

The Wayward Children books by Seanan McGuire are a series of novellas about the children of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Each of the children at the school have stumbled upon, fallen through, or sucked into a doorway to another world. Worlds of nonsense, logic, the dead, and everywhere in between.

Every Heart a Doorway focuses on Nancy, a newcomer to the Home for Wayward Children. Like the others who live there, Nancy is having a hard time coping with life back in the real world and wants nothing more than to find the doorway back home to the Halls of the Dead. At her new school Nancy meets Kade (from the land of the Goblin King), Sumi (from the land of Confection), and twins Jack and Jill (from the dark Moors). Tragedy strikes shortly after Nancy’s arrival and it’s up to her and her new friends to get to the bottom of things.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the story of Jaqueline (Jack) and Jillian (Jill). Brought up  by parents who wanted them to be a certain way (Jack a lady and Jill a tomboy), neither of them are particularly close. When they stumble on the door to the Moors, however, everything changes. Both go their separate ways, one to become a mad scientist’s apprentice, the other the plaything of a vampire. In the Moors they are finally allowed to figure out who they are.

Beneath the Sugar Sky brings us back to the school, where Sumi’s daughter Rini falls from the sky. She’s disappearing and her home, the land of Confection (all Nonsense and sugar), is in danger. There’s just one problem: Sumi has been dead for years. Rini enlists the help of some of the other students to help save her mother. The unlikely group, including a boy who can resurrect skeletons and an ex mermaid, travel to the Halls of the Dead and Confection to try and save Rini before she disappears for good.

To put it plain and simple: This series is freaking fantastic. The different worlds that the author has created are full of vivid and beautiful imagery. Each character and the worlds they came from are unique and full of rich backstory. The way they’re all brought together into the present, trying to figure out how to cope with their loss and lean on each other, is rather touching. I hope to learn of some of the other worlds in future books, because they’re all so fascinating that I just can’t get enough.

The reason I didn’t write separate reviews for each of these books was because I was too busy devouring them in quick succession to even stop and take the time.

The next book, In an Absent Dream, will be out in January of 2019! I can’t wait.

Books · Life

It’s Monday. How YOU Doin’?

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How YOU doin’? I hope you are all surviving the beginning of the week. I had a lovely weekend. The weather was a little cooler than our usual 90+ degree weather, which made it more pleasant to be outside. It almost felt like Fall when I got in my car this morning, which made me really happy. Even though it’s a few months away, I’m already looking forward to Fall and all things Halloween! 😀

On Sunday I paid a visit to one of my favorite places: the cemetery. I love cemeteries in general, but especially the one near my house. It’s a peaceful and pretty place to take a walk. Plus, there are usually very few bodies around (except for the dead ones), so it’s always quiet, making it a good place for thinking. I’ve gotten lots of story inspiration during my walks through the cemetery.

So, what is everyone reading this week? I finished up Down Among the Sticks and Bones this weekend (review coming soon) and finally started Daughter of the Pirate King. I also started reading Neverwhere for the second time.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Recently Added to the TBR Pile

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Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

via Goodreads

I’ve been wanting to read this one since hearing Zoraida speak on the panel I attended at BookCon. She talked about the recently released sequel Bruja Born and the history behind it. I was somewhat intrigued by her talk of brujas (witches), superstition, and keeping true to the folklore than inspired her story.

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The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost…

via Goodreads

To be honest, I’d never even heard of this book until everyone started posting reviews of the sequel, Ravencry, recently. Both books sound fantastic (and a bit dark) and I look forward to reading them.

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Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

via Goodreads

This doesn’t sound like one of my usual reads, but it sounds like it could have some potential. I’m hoping J is really a Dalek or The Master in disguise. 😉

Books

That Time I Saw Judy Blume

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Boyfriend and I spent a few days in Key West recently to visit my best friend. (She used to live here in Charlotte, but then decided that she needed some better scenery. Boy, did she find it…)

Only a block away from where she lives is a little independent bookstore called Books & Books, owned by Judy Blume. Yes, the Judy Blume. You can tell how excited I was to visit such a cool little bookstore (and I actually saw Judy!), by the crazed look on my face below:

In addition to my trip (okay, fine, there were two trips) to the bookstore we did some walking around, shopping and watching all the tourist shenanigans. We kayaked, had cocktails at sunset on an old Coast Guard boat, visited the Hemingway house and all the polydactyl kitties, and ate…then ate some more. One of my favorite things about visiting Key West is getting to eat chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. *drools*

(Pictured below is one of the sweet kitties that lives at the Hemingway museum/ cat sanctuary. Look at all his extra toes!)

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It was a lovely couple of days. I wish we could have stayed longer.

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Don’t forget to follow me on social media: Twitter Instagram Goodreads

 

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

This is the second book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. I cheated a little bit though and read the third book before starting this one. Truthfully, I don’t think it really mattered. Given that I already read the first book, I was clued in enough that there wasn’t any confusion about what was happening.

I already expect to enjoy this one, given how much I enjoyed the other two. Jack and Jill were really interesting characters in the first book. I am excited to learn more about their backstory and the weird things that happened to them in the Moors.

I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I can predict with certainty that the world the girls travel to is going to be very different than some of the other worlds mentioned in the first book. Less Nonsense, more logic, and definitely some dark stuff.

 

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Hello! I have returned from vacation, a year older and slightly tanner. Despite all my trepidation about turning thirty, my birthday was pretty good. A huge thank you to those of you who wished me a happy birthday. I really do appreciate it. 🙂 I promise I will be posting pictures and details from my trip soon, but for now you’ll just have to settle for this book review.

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Despite the trepidation I shared during my FIF post about this book, I enjoyed this one. It was definitely not the YA-dystopian-romancey read that I was anticipating. I guess it was kinda silly of me to think that go begin with, given that Victoria Schwab doesn’t exactly stick to stereotypical characters/plots.

Kate and August were great protagonists – flawed, broken, and wanting nothing more than to find peace in a world of chaos. Kate was a difficult character to like at times. She was a bit reckless and naive, which got on my nerves. I suppose this made her more human and more relatable though, so it’s not really a bad thing. Of the two, August felt like the more well-rounded and level-headed one, which was ironic, given that he’d been pretty sheltered for most of his existence.

The way that music was used (as a way to lure victims), was interesting. I do find this tactic slightly impractical though. How are you expected to carry around a musical instrument all the time? Seems like it would be an inconvenience, if you ask me.

One of the main premises of this book is that violence breeds violence. The monsters in the story were all born from acts of violence, only to go forward and cause more violence in the world. It’s such an intriguing and haunting concept, and quite different than the usual monster backstory. There were a lot of villain-type characters in this book, not all of them actual monsters, so you never knew who to trust. I even found myself questioning the main characters a few times.

The horror and bleakness of the world Schwab created definitely made this a unique read. It gets two thumbs up from me.