Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1.) Beth Revis
I had been wanting to read the Across the Universe series and I even think I bought the first book from Book Outlet. But my first Beth Revis book was Give the Dark My Love which I really enjoyed.

2.) Courtney Summers
Don't tell my friend Michelle that my first Courtney Summers book was Sadie which I read this fall. Courtney is her favorite author. But I loved Sadie so maybe I should read more of her books. Michelle would like that.

3.) Marisha Pessl
Night Film had been on my list for awhile but I haven't read it (yet). I did however read Neverworld Wake and loved it. It was a fantastic mystery with fantasy elements and it makes me want to read Night Film even more.

4.) Martha Brockenborough
The Game of Love and Death had been on my list for awhile but I never read it until this year. And it was a really fantastic read, a great dark historical fantasy.

5.) Stephanie Oakes
The Arsonist is such a me book. A historical mystery about a book and set during the fall of the Berlin Wall. And it did not disappoint. I'm glad I read it (special thanks to Michelle for letting me borrow it), and want to read more of her books.

6.) Dhonielle Clayton
The Belles was one of my favorite books of the year and I am so glad it loved up to the hype. I had wanted to read Tiny Pretty Things and now I kind of want to read it more.

7.) Alex London
At ALA this year I picked up a copy of Black Wings Beating but I wasn't entirely sure when I would read it. But I read it last month and it was amazing and so enthralling. It makes me want to read more of Alex's books.

8.) Nathalie C. Parker 

I loved Seafire and think it is one of the most underrated books of the year. But this was my first Nathalie C. Parker book even though I think she is friends with some authors that I do love. 

9.) Seanan McGuire
In January I marathoned the Wayward Children series and really loved it. Most of McGuire's books aren't really my kind of read but this series is amazing and I am glad I read it.

There you have it. all the authors I read for the first time in 2018 who are not debuts. Some of them quickly became favorites and all of them make me want to read more of their books WHat authors made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Review: In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

Title: In An Absent Dream
Series: Wayward Children #4
Written by: Seanan McGuire
Published: January 8, 2019 by Tor Books (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should. 

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well. 

For anyone . . .

Last January I marathoned the first three books in the Wayward Children series and fell in love with the concept, the characters, and the worlds. I was really excited to see a new novella was coming out and I snagged it almost as soon as it came out. And this book did not disappoint.

One of the things that I loved about this book was the world of the Goblin Market. All of the different worlds have been intriguing and fun to read about but this one is the one I found the most relatable. For one, it’s a logic world. There are clear rules and the rules have consequences both if you follow them or if you break them. As someone who reads a lot of fantasy that is one of the points I am always making, worlds need rules. But there was also some magic to the world. With the idea of fair value and people turning into birds for going into debt. I found this incredible fascinating. You wouldn’t think a world based on fairness and justice would be this compelling for for the right people it’s the most amazing. And honestly if I ever had a door open I think my world would be similar to this one.

Speaking of the world, this book was such a perfect exploration of the themes of belonging that this series explores. One of the things I liked most about Lundy is that she, more than any of the other characters in this series, is trapped between worlds. When her door opens she is intrigued by her world and falls in love with it but every time she returns to where she came from she ends up fitting back in. While she misses her The Market she doesn’t feel so out of place as some of the others. It actually made for an interesting read as she had to decide where she really belongs and where she wanted to stay. I felt for Lundy and that decision she had to made, and I get even more for her when she wasn’t able to decide for herself.

The other amazing themes of this book is about friendship and loyalty. Much of what connects Lundy to The Market is her connection to the people she meets there like Moon and The Archivist. She makes dear friends and she wants to stay with them and help them. She has created a found family. Back home she has her read family. Her father and mother and siblings, especially a sister who was young when Lundy left and doesn’t feel like she got fair value of having a sister. It added an interesting layer to this book about belonging and at the same time made Lundy likable and relateable.

My only criticism is with the plot. I felt like this story was a little disjointed because it kept going back and forth between worlds. And just like I’m sure by was for Lundy, it was a bit jarring for me as a reader. As soon as I connected with one place it would change and then plot elements would fall through the cracks. On the whole, this was a much more character-driven narrative so it didn’t have too much of an impact on the overall story it was just a little confusing from time to time.

But all in all, In An Absent Dream, is a short and sweet portal fantasy that is another great addition to the Wayward Children Series. I loved learning more about Lundy and now I just want to go back and reread the rest of the series.

I give In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of this series then you definitely need to pick up the most recent book. It's another great portal fantasy. And if you have not read this series and are a fan of world within a world fantasies then you need to check out Wayward Children.

Have you read In An Absent Dream? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

White Stag by Kara Barbieri Blog Tour and Review

Title: White Stag
Series: Permafrost #1
Written by: Kara Barbieri
Published: January 8, 2019 by Wednesday Books (Macmillan)

(Buy Links / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home. 

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren. 

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about. 

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

I love YA fantasy and I read a lot of it. So when I heard about White Stag it sounded like an interesting book and I was excited to read it. And while there were some good things about this book, I didn’t quite enjoy it in the way I was hoping.

One thing that I did really like about this book was the world. I’m not a huge fan about books with goblins, they are often too similar to fae for me, and I don’t always find them very interesting. But here, the author did a great job in creating goblins that were the perfect combination of dark, brutal, and compelling. There is a history and mythology to the world, complete with a frost-filled land of magic and a human world destroyed by the goblins. It pulled me in and captured my interested for what was today.

Unfortunately, what was to come was not very much. My biggest problem however is with the plot and pacing. Honestly, this felt like two different books. The first half of the book is a character-driven fantasy about a person trying to figure out their place and where they belong despite being torn between to two worlds who distrust here. While an interesting concept, that’s not often the kind of plot that I enjoy. Add to that romantic tension that I wanted nothing to do with and you have a book I think a lot of people will like, but I don’t. But then the last third of the book completely changed course and became more of an adventure. This was the part of the plot I enjoyed with a mission, and a goal, and daring escapes. But in terms of a cohesion, there really wasn’t much. It felt like two different stories, just with the same characters. Personally, I wish the plot lines from the second half were more detailed and took up the whole book. But I know this was originally written for Wattpad and so perhaps it is meant to be more serialized, which would explain this. But I just had to struggle through the exposition.

As far as the characters go, they were kind of hit or miss for me. One of the characters I did like was the main character of Janneke. She had some real strong Sansa Stark vibes as she is help captive in a court she doesn’t want to be in only to be abused by the the king. She was an easy character to empathize with and when she snapped and fought back you were completely on her side. But she was the only character whose side I was on. The main villain of the story was ruthless and terrible, the kind of character who you completely detest. But then there was Soren, who I know I was supposed to like but I didn’t. Even her kinder moments I felt myself not being very impressed. He just felt like a cliche fantasy live interest and I wasn’t interested.

Which about sums up my feelings on the romance in general. I am totally romancephobic and one of my biggest frustrations is when romance is shoehorned into the story without giving it enough build up. This book did exactly that. I knew going in that there was going to be this romance so it wasn’t a completely surprise but I still wasn’t shipping it at all. It just felt so sudden and like a complete flip for the character. I like a hate to love romance but it actually has to show me that there is mutual affection between the characters and not just a few moments where they talk casually and then suddenly they are deeply in love. Maybe people who are bigger fans of romance will enjoy this one but for me, it was a miss.

There were some good aspects of this book but it did not blow me away. It’s not the next great YA fantasy for me, just another okay read that wasn’t for me.

I give White Stag by Kara Barbieri 7 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I would recommend this book to fans of romance heavy fantasy like A Court of Thorns and Roses that is more character-driven. It wasn't my type of read but I feel like in the right hands this is going be a very loved book.

About the Author:

Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.

Have you read White Stag? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Bloodwitch
Series: The Witchlands #3
Written by: Susan Dennard
Published: February 12, 2019 by Tor Books (Macmillan)

Synopsis: Fans of Susan Dennard's New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.
Why I'm Waiting:

I loved the first three books in The Witchlands series and I am super excited for the next book to come out. I loved Susan's debut series and honestly this one is so much better. It is one of those series that has me thinking so much about every little thing that I have all these crazy theories about what will happen next. I know there will be some surprises in this book and I can't wait to find out what they are.

I also really love these characters. Susan is great with developing complex characters that you connect with and I have totally connected with all these characters. I am anxious to find out what happens to Isuelt, Safi, Merik, and of course Aeduan who I am hoping we will find more about in this book. SO PUMPED! Also, ships. The ships.

I am very excited to read this book. I can't wait to pick up a copy when it comes out next month. I should probably do a reread of the series because it's been awhile but I probably won't have time. But either way, I cannot wait to read this book!

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Bloodwitch along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of the First Half of 2019

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1.) The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi - January 15th by Wednesday Books
This is one of the Cassiest books to ever exist. I've been wanting books set in gilded age Paris for years and an author I love writing one that is also a fantasy heist novel. GIMME!

2.) King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo - January 29th by Imprint
I am a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo and the Grishaverse. But seriously, a duology about Nikolai. I have been wanting to read this since the second I learned it was coming out.

3.) Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard - February 12th by Tor
The Witchland series is really fantastic and I am super excited for the next book in the series. I shuld probably do a reread because it's been awhile and I know Susan is going t have some big surprises for us.

4.) Spectacle by Jodi Lynn Zdrok - February 12th by Tor
ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT GILDED AGE PARIS! And this one is a YA murder mystery. I mean come on! Someone has been reading my dream journal.

5.) Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte - February 26th by Putnam
A YA fantasy with strong political intrigue. I am always on board for that kind of book and this one sounds really good.

6.) Children of Virtue of Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi - March 5th by Henry Holt and Co
Children of Blood and Bone was one of my favorite books of last year and I am super excited for the sequel. I am super excited to find out what happens next.

7.) The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton - March 5th by Freeform
The Belles totally blew me away and that ending was such a surprise. I am super pumped for the next book in the series and I am sure there are more surprises in store.

8.) The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman - April 2nd
This book is a fantasy thriller ala Stranger Things set in Upstate New York which is where I grew up. I am super excited for this one because of that and I know it's going to be dark and full of mystery.

9.) Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan - April 2nd by Wednesday Books
I love a YA fantasy inspired by Russian culture and folklore and that is what this book is. I am also assuming that it is going to be a dark fantasy and I am a fan of that.

10.) The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters - April 16th by Amulet Books
Cat WInters is writing a book inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and I am already on my way to the bookstore to buy a copy. No but seriously, this book sounds amazing.

11.) Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - May 7th by Knopf Books for Young Readers
I love me some Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Together or apart they are both great writers and write amazing science fiction novels. I am super pumped for their next series together.

12.) We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal - May 14th by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
I have been wanted to read this book for ages. I remember when Hafsah was writing it. I saw her talking about it on her Twitter and I am so happy that it is finally coming out!

There you have it, my most anticipated books for the first half of this year. Some really amazing books, including debuts, sequels, and new series from favorite authors. It's going to be a great year for books. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!