Top 10 Tuesday: Books On Our Spring TBRs

Posted March 19, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 1 Comment

DISCLAIMER: We are not springy people. We don’t read much contemporary, and we have little need for feel good stories. However, we both have hefty TBR piles to be attacked the spring, and we’re more than happy to share those with you!


Looking back on the post Kate and I did a couple of months ago about the books at the top of our TBRs, I’m happy with the fact that I’ve finished two! I read Echo North (loved it) and The Beauty of Darkness (also loved it). So here are the three remaining books plus seven more!

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

As I mentioned, this was a failed attempt during Tome Topple last round, but I’ve heard whispers that there will be a round in April! I can’t wait.

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Last time, I mentioned the terrible reviews for this book. Thankfully I’ve seen someone talk about how much they loved it recently, so hopefully it will make it onto my immediate TBR soon.

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

I honestly have no idea why I haven’t reached for this yet, but SOON.

The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross

This is the sequel to a book I adored last year, and I am so excited to pick it up! I picked up a copy during a weekend trip with my lady friends, but then BATBathon happened, and I was swamped reading ALL of the Beauty and the Beast retellings.

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

This was the debut book I mentioned as my most anticipated debut for this year and I finally have a copy! I got a super awesome edition in my Owlcrate box, so I’m eyeballing all of my April readathon plans and hoping I can fit it in.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

We all know we’re binge-reading series fiends here on this blog, but it takes a lot for my husband to get super sucked in and absorbed by a series because he has 8,000 different interests. He read all four of the available books in this series in rapid succession, and he is convinced I’m going to love it. I gotta do the thing.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Speaking of books that people I love want me to read…I gotta do this thing, too.

A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland

This was a cover buy during the previously mentioned trip (because my friends are dope and we go to bookstores on vacations), and that makes me feel like I need to read it STAT so I don’t feel like a dumbass for impulse buying something I’ll never read.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is partially on this list because, as I’m writing, I’m also obsessively refreshing the Goldsboro website trying to get a shiny signed special edition. It doesn’t come out until May, but you bet your ass I’ll be reading it IMMEDIATELY.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Maybe the best for last? Kate and I, as well as one of our best friends, are going to an event to see Queen V tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see her. I had wanted to be caught up on her works before I saw her again, but I didn’t quite make it. Regardless, I’m excited to hear her talk about her debut baby being resurrected back into the world. I hope we’re ready for it.


Well, if you were kind enough to click through the link at the top of this post, you’ll know that I have achieved none of my announced TBR from the beginning of the year. I’m bad at prioritizing, and really good at re-listening to Throne of Glass. That being said, I’ve been trying to come up with some more concrete goals, and I seem to be doing better. So here we go!

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

We’re going to an event to see her tomorrow, and I was really hoping to get this done. Unfortunately, I barely retained Vicious, so I had to re-read that, and it kinda screwed up my entire timeline. Oh well. I will still be reading it next-ish.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

So, fun fact, I really like Ms. Schwab. She’s my queen. Yet, I haven’t read all of her things. As you can see, I’m working on it, and I’m dying to dig into my super pretty re-released editions.

Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

HOLY SHIT. I finished Gemina yesterday. Technically, early this morning, and my brain is still fried. It was art, but it was dark, horrifying art. I loved every page of it, and I’m dying to find out how it ends.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Psyched you out, didn’t I?! Last one, I promise. I recently read This Savage Song, but I was trying to get to Vengeful, so I didn’t read Our Dark Duet, and now we’re here. Our friend group has a saying that goes, “It’s not a problem if you don’t have a problem with it.” It’s invaluable in situations like these.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Honestly, I’ve picked this up several times this year, and I’m just not ready to be done with our dear Lazlo Strange yet. That being said, my need to know is starting to seriously outweigh my reservations, so it’s time is rapidly approaching.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

I’ve been sitting on a copy of this since it came out, and I still haven’t read it. Since I want to be able to jump on the Kingsbane hype train, though, I figure I better actually read this sooner than later.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

On the list from earlier this year, I said I wanted to read The Way of Kings. And I do! But I also know myself well enough to know that I don’t think I can commit to anything of that girth right now. My brain just isn’t in a good place, and if I push it too hard, it will implode.

In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

I’ve been reading these magical little novellas been my thicc reads this year, and I absolutely adore them. I just finished Beneath the Sugar Sky, and I’m so excited to pick up In An Absent Dream. I’m even more excited that there are four more coming, and a shiny Syfy TV show was just announced, too!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I binge-read Scythe before Thunderhead was released last year, went to Barnes and Noble on my lunch break to get a copy, and then promptly dismissed it from my TBR list for no good reason. Now that the third book has been announced, I need to prioritize getting it read.

The Darkest Bloom by P.M. Freestone

I picked this up when I was England last month, because Waterstones had signed editions, and the British cover is GORGEOUS AND SHINY. Literally. It has multiple colors of foil. Anyway. The premise sounds completely new and original, and I’ve been putting it off in the name of bigger goal reads, but I’m getting sick of that.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Let us know some of your upcoming spring reads in the comments! We can’t wait to hear. Happy reading!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Characters Who Embody Your Hogwarts House

Posted March 13, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

–Discuss some of your favorite characters that you feel would share your Hogwarts house. These don’t need to be Houses that have been confirmed by the author; this is in your opinion 🙂

Hooray! Finally something where we will have separate answers. As you may not know, Kate is a Hufflepuff (with Ravenclaw tendencies) while Paige is a Ravenclaw (with Hufflepuff tendencies).


Queen Schwab herself has sorted almost all of her characters into their proper houses, and I’m happy(?) to say that Holland Vosijk is one of the few and the proud. He is one of my favorite flawed characters, and I’m happy to know him. Don’t @ me.

Matilda Wormwood is 1000% a Ravenclaw, and there is a reason why she has been one of my favorite literary characters since I was a little kid. Mara Wilson as the movie version of her was basically my soul sister when I was a wee Paige.

Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles is, in my mind, a Ravenclaw. She is resourceful and smart, and she thrives from learning new things. It’s really cool to see a Ravenclaw who funnels that knowledge from the theoretical to the practical. I’d love to have a mechanically-leaning mind like hers.

Master Elodin from The Name of the Wind is one of the most eccentric of Ravenclaws. How much more Ravenclaw can you get than Master Namer? He literally seeks to learn the true names of things.

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer is my ultimate Ravenclaw cinnamon bun soft boy. He should be the gold standard for all Ravenpuffs out there. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.


Well, let’s start with the best, brightest, and most obvious. The OG Hufflepuff. Samwise Gamgee. I will never understand why everyone hates him so much. He’s literally the only reason Frodo succeeded. Fight me.

Winter from The Lunar Chronicles. She’s friendly, she’s loyal, and she’s fierce AF. Because of her mental state when we’re first introduced to her, she seems a bit fragile and underwhelming, but she transcends that as she becomes a bigger part of the story, and I feel like that is the prime example of being a Hufflepuff.

Bear with me on this, but Azriel. Like, A Court of Mist and Fury Azriel. They’re all terrifying and loyal, but he is the terrifyingest and the loyalest with the heart of the cinnamon roll. Yep, I’m sticking with it.

Ziri from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for him like you wouldn’t believe, but he is also one of the most dedicated, genuine characters in that series. Hell, he’s one of the most genuine, dedicated characters in ANY series.

Why not finish off the list with another bit of curveball in Elias Veturius. He’s a closet Hufflepuff if there ever was one. Loyal to a fault. Self-sacrificing. Not in it for the glory. Unapologetically genuine even when it gets him killed. Now I’m sad. Proud! But sad.

What are your houses and their headcanon members? Do you think our choices are legit or completely off-base? Let us know down below!

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Top 10 Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need A Sequel

Posted March 12, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 2 Comments

As it turns out, we both have a pretty firm belief that books written as standalones should stay that way. Neither one of us was able to come up with even five books to fit this prompt, so we decided to tweak it a bit.

There are SO MANY great standalone books out there, and many of them live in our TBR piles. So, without further ado…

Top Ten Standalone Books We’d Love To Read Next


Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

“A wise old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality.”

IMMORTAL. DOG. There is nothing more on this planet that I would want than to be able to give my dog, Max, eternal youth.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

This is quite fitting, as today is the day that Queen V’s debut novel is being rereleased! It’s one of the last books of hers that I haven’t read, and I’m truly excited to dive in and read her first novel and marvel over how far she’s come.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Do I even really need to elaborate much here? I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

This is CURRENTLY a standalone, although I’ve heard whispers that it might be getting expanded. Who knows? I’ve only read one Sanderson book, but I’m constantly itching for more.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I’ve technically already started this, but I haven’t gotten very far, and I put it on hold to participate in Beauty and the Beast-Athon this week, so I’m going to count it anyway! Dragons. Queens. Dragons. Female/female romance. Dragons. What else do you want?

A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

This is by the author of The Light Between Worlds, which I did a review for last year, and I am so excited for it! All I know is that there is going to be some sort of creepy manor house, and that’s all I’m allowing myself to learn. I am so ready.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Speaking of books with “thorn” in the title that are coming from authors for whom I did a review of their debut novel…yeah ok that’s really specific. This is another one where I don’t know a ton, but like…there’s a magical library guys. GIMME.

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

“Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?”

I’ve seen so many people rave about this book, and I am chomping at the bit to get a copy and read it myself.

The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

This is supposed to be a paranormal fantasy with some romance, and the main character is a guardian of a portal to the mysterious and dangerous Otherworld. Another main character would very, very much like to go to this Otherworld. Chaos ensues. I love some chaos.

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

This is another one that isn’t out yet, but the synopsis is just so intriguing. Elite boys-only school infiltrated by two girls. A mysterious disease. Female friendship. A SCARY MAZE. I’m excited for it to come out.


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexander Christo

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. I think I got it in a box last spring? Maybe? Anyway, I keep putting it off in the names of shiny new series, so it’s about time I pull it down off the shelf.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

I tried to read Winterspell, and I just couldn’t get into it. From what I’ve read of Sawkill Girls, though, it seems like it’s much more my thing. Horror, thriller, etc. aren’t usually my genres of choice, but whenever Sam likes something, I figure I should probably give it a shot.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

This book was brought to my attention when I started looking up Beauty and the Beast retellings for #BATBathon. It sounds great. Plus, there’s a companion novella, which I have decided doesn’t make it any less a standalone.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Everyone and their mother seems to be in love with this graphic novel. I scored and found it at Half Price Books last fall. I love the art. I love the synopsis. It’s probably time I figure out if I love the content, not that I’m concerned.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I haven’t read anything by Holly Black other than The Cruel Prince, and I love it. Logic would dictate I read some of her other fae creations. I’m holding out for the gorgeous bind up of Modern Faerie Tales this summer, so The Darkest Part of the Forest it is!

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

I grabbed this last fall, and I intended to read it right away. Paige did, and she has been speaking about its value ever since. I don’t know why I seem to be a bit afraid to pick it up, but here I am. It’s on my must read list for the year, and I hope I hold myself to that.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I knew nothing of this book until Paige showed up at my house with a copy. From the synopsis (and Paige’s review), it seems to have some Secret History vibes, and I’m all about that.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

I’m a sucker for a book about books. Plus, it’s GORGEOUS. I was in the UK when it was released, and I didn’t get a copy in the name of frugality and saving luggage space, forgetting that it doesn’t come out in the US to April. Mistakes were made, and I regret it deeply. I’m foaming at the mouth to get my hands on this one.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I think this might be the only orange thing I’ve ever loved. I’m afraid to start it, because of its length in comparison to the rest of my TBR pile, but it’s taunting me from my Kindle screen. Its time is coming.

We hope you enjoyed the alternate topic this week! Let us know what some of your choices are – for either version!

See you next week, lovely humans 💜💛

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite SFF Creatures

Posted March 6, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

–Discuss your favorite characters from Science Fiction and Fantasy books! This is a crossover topic with the Booktube SFF Awards Book Babble discussion for this week.

We struggled a bit with how to tackle this week’s topic, because there have been a couple similar ones in the last couple months. But we also never want to miss and opportunity to stan some of our favorite booktubers, so clearly, we weren’t going to skip it.

To see those older posts that have a little more detail to them, check out our Favorite Paranormal Creatures and Favorite Monsters posts from last October.

Also, we’ll have some info about the Booktube SFF Awards, hosts, and shortlist down at the bottom for anyone who might be interested!


  • I lurve dragons. Smaug did nothing wrong.
  • I lurve witches. Manon Blackbeak is my queen.
  • I lurve the fae. Any and all iterations, I am on board.
  • I lurve rogue AI. Ok so they aren’t really creatures, but go read Illuminae and Skyward, and you’ll see what I mean. Um, they totally count as creatures in sci-fi world.
  • I love air bison. Appa, YIP YIP.
Red, black, and white art piece of Manon Blackbeak and Abraxos from Throne of Glass. Artwork by monolime.
GORGEOUS Monolime print of Manon and Abraxos 🖤
Check out Instagram for more great artwork.


I’m barely functional, so I’m not going to be as fun as Paige. Just know that I aspire to be.

  • My number one, all day every day, is dragons. Obviously. Saphira, in particular, is my hero. And Abraxos. And Glaedr. Okay, you get my point.
  • Unicorns. Clearly. They have magical powers, they’re freaking adorable, and I have a llamacorn popsocket on my phone right at this very moment.
  • Mermaids. I don’t care what iteration, be it Disney or Harry Potter or somewhere in between. They’re all great and powerful and mysterious.
  • Witches. And this one I’m just going to copy Paige. Manon Blackbeak is queen of all.
  • Phoenix. The concept is cool, and I find their whole existence to be very inspirational.
Transparent purple phone case with a llamacorn pop socket sitting on a dark wood table.
Lest you think I was kidding.

What are some of your favorite SFF creatures? Kate’s original list had about nine, and narrowing it down almost killed her, so don’t leave her hanging!

Now for some important Booktube SFF Awards deets!

We’re both jazzed about all the great books that made the shortlist this year. For those of you who might not know, the Booktube SFF Awards are hosted by a group of booktubers to honor various categories of Science Fiction/Fantasy books from the past year. The whole process takes about six months, and there are nominations, rounds of voting, and read alongs that bring together a good chunk of the bookish community.

For more details, visit their website. You’ll find info about the awards and the hosts, so check it out and watch some of the videos that go into more detail. There’s also a Goodreads group you can join if you’d like to follow along there.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With

Posted March 5, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 1 Comment

As you’ve probably noticed over the last year, we really love doing tags and surveys. It’s a great way for you to get to know us, and they’re fun to do! When we learned about Top 10 Tuesday, it seemed like a perfect way to expand our content and interact with all you lovely humans.

TTT is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and she does a great job curating the prompts and nurturing the community. She has master posts for each week, takes suggestions for the prompts, as well as participating herself. This week’s prompt is from Sara at A Gingerly Review. Be sure to check both of them out!

For this week’s prompt, we both went about it from the characters you’d like to be angle, as opposed to the characters whose situations we’d like to inherit angle. These ladies are dealing with some SHIT, and while neither of us claims to be able to fill their shoes, it would still be pretty damn cool to be able to be them for a little while and inhabit their worlds.

All right, enough blabbering. Here we go!


Feyre – ACOFAS and Chapter 55 Feyre. I couldn’t survive Under The Mountain, but I would absolutely like to be romanced by Rhys. Not even sorry.

Gorgeous Feyre illustration by Alexandra Curte! Check out her Instagram and Redbubble 🌙

Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I would absolutely like to go to my own wonderland. But definitely a traditional wonderland, not a Seanan McGuire wonderland. Those end so heartbreakingly.

One of Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Ildiko from Radiance – Again…the swoons. Go check out my February wrap-up for more thoughts on this fantasy romance book!

Look how beautiful that cover is!

Jasnah from The Stormlight Archive – Now granted, I’ve only read the first book, so maybe something horrifying happens to her somewhere along the line, but at this point…I would ABSOLUTELY love to be a badass heretical scholar. Sign me up right now. Thanks.

Found this beauty on the Official Brandon Sanderson Fansite, 17th Shard. Check out LittleGreyOwl’sbeautiful pieces.

Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – If you haven’t read Night of Cake and Puppets, you’re missing out on maybe the most adorable romance ever. Also yeah, I’m referencing a lot of romances, but as a fantasy reader…yeah, most of my favorite characters don’t have a great life. I wouldn’t make it!

Zuzana in marionette form by Black Bird Ink. Scroll through her Twitter and Redbubble for more creations!

Isobel from An Enchantment of Ravens – Guess what, another swoony romance! I would also love Isobel’s artistic abilities.

Illustrations of Isobel and Rook by Iryna Khymych. She has a Twitter and Society6 page for you to peruse, at your leisure.

Rielle from Furyborn – Okay, so I know I wouldn’t be able to be as badass as her, but I would absolutely love to be the Avatar of this universe. I want to control all seven elements. I want the swoony romance. I could do without her inevitable future but like…I can’t NOT want to be her.

It’s been out almost a year, and this cover still takes my breath away!

Mia Corvere from Nevernight – Again, I couldn’t actually be her, but I would like my own shadow cat and assassin abilities, thank you.

This was a print in a FaeCrate box last year, and we both fell in love with it. Hard. Check out Gabriella Bujdoso’s other work on her website, Insta, and Society6 pages!

Cath from Fangirl – I would love to be a successful writer! I would love to be friends with her friends! I would love to have emergency dance parties!

Love this piece of Cath! We weren’t able to find the original source, so if you know, please let us know!

Sabriel from Abhorsen – Necromancy powers and a demonic cat, please and thank you!

Cover art from the Australian edition of Sabriel. By Sebastian Ciaffaglione.


Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows – She’s basically a rogue, and I love it. If I could merge her and Queen of Shadows Aelin Galathynius, I think I’d have my perfect woman crush. Speaking of…..

Inej illustration by Kate Wheeler of Rat Girl Studios. She has a website, DeviantArt, Redbubble, and Instagram for you to follow.

Aelin Galathynius from Throne of Glass – A queen and an assassin. A woman who must learn to humility and strength all at once. I just love her and all of crazy plotting and bravado.

Forever my favorite Throne of Glass cover! Fun fact: I modeled my favorite DnD character after this cover. She, like Aelin, is quite stabby, and doesn’t have a lot of patience for your shit.

Mia Corvere from Nevernight – It’s possible I have an assassin problem, but whatever. They’re fictional, so what does it matter? She’s such a badass, and I love her loyalty to a cause, even when it’s her downfall.

Mia on this PERFECT Darkdawn cover. Out September 3, 2019 – don’t miss it! Art is by Jason Chan.

Feyre Archeron from A Court of Thorns and Roses – I love everything about her, from her artistic talent to her warrior instincts to being mated to Rhysand. Plus, I’d be living with my best friends, which is basically peak success in my world.

I couldn’t pick my favorite, so you get them all. You’re welcome.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast – It’s the library. That’s the whole reason.

I’m a cliche, and I don’t care.

Arya from The Inheritance Cycle – Hello, she’s a dragon rider and an elf a fallen princess risen again. And all of that says nothing of her will of steel. She’s a true queen. In this case, literally.

Arya on a field of green to match Firnen. Check out Ustyzhanina Dasha’s tumblr for more beautiful art!

Lila Bard from Shades of Magic – My original sentence was rife with spoilers, so we’ll go with this: She’s a badass, and she helps save the world. Admittedly something a lot of these ladies have in common, but unlike most of them, she is no queen, she is not some great anointed one, she’s just a girl running from her life in search of something better, and she is INCREDIBLE.

Absolutely flawless Lila art by
Mélanie Bourgeois. You can find her on Twitter, Inprnt, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Cress from The Lunar Chronicles – I think I want to be Cress, because she reminds me of me. I love how she finds herself and leans into her skills even when she feels completely off kilter.

The Russian cover of Cress.

Laia from The Ember Quartet – I spent a long time debating between Laia and Helene or just throwing in the towel and choosing both of them. Ultimately, though, Laia won out. I don’t know why, exactly, it was just a gut feeling. Which I’m sure bodes very badly for me once I read what fresh hell Sabaa has concocted for book four.

Love, love, LOVE this illustration of Laia of Serra. Check out the rest of the artist catalog on DeviantArt!

Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings – It’s Galadriel, people. She is, in my humble opinion, the one true SFF queen. She is beauty, might, and majesty incarnate.

Galadriel is dreamy perfection in this digital art piece. See all of Celtica Harmony’s artwork on DeviantArt.

Well, there ya have it! Who would you want to switch places with? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be back with another great prompt next week!

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Paige’s February Wrap Up

Posted March 2, 2019 by Paige in Monthly Wrap Ups / 2 Comments

February was a weird month – I definitely read some super chunky books, but I also read some of the shortest things ever. I vacillated wildly between “Omg I am reading nothing!” to “I HAVE READ SO MANY THICC BOIS.” It was weird and I definitely struggled to not make myself feel bad when I was slogging through the bigger books. I ultimately ended up reading more things than I thought, so let’s talk about all of those!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

As a Six of Crows six of hoe, I feel pretty bad when I read YA fantasy heist novels and the SoC klaxon won’t stop sounding in my head. I definitely enjoyed this one, especially because the audio was really well done, but I couldn’t help the mental comparisons I was making because SoC is truly the gold standard. I’m definitely interested in continuing with the second book, and I would recommend trying to go into this book blind and don’t compare it to anything else. I know, that can be super hard. 4 stars!

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I recently wrote a full review on this one but suffice to say that, while this book is definitely shaking things up in the YA community, I dug it. Zoya for President. 4.5 stars.

The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

This is the sequel to The Seafarer’s Kiss, although you could definitely get away with reading it on its own. I definitely enjoyed this follow up quite a lot – the Norse inspiration really speaks to me, and there is so much good gender and sexuality rep (at least from a CIS woman’s point of view, please seek out own voices reviews to double check!), and there were also imperfect characters getting themselves checked and learning and growing as individuals, and that was refreshing. If you’re interested in some queer Norse shenanigans, check both of these books out. 3.5 stars

Warm Up by V.E. Schwab

‘Member when I said I read some short shit? This is a tiny little story by Schwab that is a precursor to some of the events of Vicious, and it is OMINOUS. I wish I had known about it before I reread Vicious in prep for Vengeful, but I’m definitely going to revisit it when I reread the series in the future. 5 stars (duh).

Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

This was an eARC I received several months ago, but I was waiting for it to be atmospherically appropriate outside before I dove in. I read and reviewed Jess’s debut novel, Beyond a Darkened Shore, last year, and I really liked it. Naturally, when I heard she was writing a new standalone that had cameos from her first book, I was immediately on board. This is a story steeped in Eastern European myth and based in a magical Russia, and I adored the atmosphere so much. I could take or leave the romance (although I loved a past romance that was part of the main storyline), but the main story really worked for me. If you’re interested in elemental magic, Russian aesthetics, and soft girls learning how to also be tough, check this one out! 4 stars.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I read The Kiss Quotient a little while back, so when I saw that the spiritual sequel was available for download on Edelweiss without need for approval, I was down. While I didn’t enjoy this book in the same way that I did TKQ, I really enjoyed it for different reasons. Esme, our main character, is a total badass who can do absolutely anything, and it was so empowering to watch her make her way. I definitely recommend this book, although it definitely isn’t as smutty as the first one, which was sad. Sue me. 4 stars.

You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression by Kate Allan

This was a cute little picture book style ebook that was just full of adorable animals affirming me as I was reading and gave some tactics for managing anxiety. I received it as a gift from my friend Patricia who is DEFINITELY NOT MY SECRET SISTER, and I had a good time reading it. Not giving it stars, though.

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

This was an impulse audio read from Hoopla, and I liked it! We follow Freya, who is more than 20 people down in the line of succession. When everyone gets poisoned at the King’s birthday banquet, she suddenly finds herself being coronated. Sounds like a great time, right? This was almost like a thriller because Freya was obsessed with finding out who was responsible for the mass murder, and I enjoyed that aspect. I didn’t feel particularly compelled by any of the characters, but that was ok. I liked the mystery! I also like that this was a standalone, which makes me feel pretty free and crazy as a fantasy reader. 4 stars!

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

ONE OF MY MOST ANTICIPATED READS OF THE YEAR. I adored Ash Princess last year, and when Laura started divulging snippets of what was to come in this installment, I was practically foaming at the mouth. I love out main character, Theo. I love her friendships. I love the love triangle (WHO AM I) because of the way society is structured in Theo’s world. I can’t go into things too much because this is a sequel, but this book had 0 sophomore slump, and I just wanna die because I can’t have Ember Queen NOW. 5 stars.

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

This was a book that ended up on my radar because I follow Laura Weymouth, the author of The Light Between Worlds, which I love. I snagged a copy of this book during release week at one of my favorite indies, and I knew I had to dive in soon. I have never read East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but it is based in the same things that Beauty and the Beast is, so I immediately adored it. The setting was basically a character in and of itself, the angst was off the charts, and the atmosphere was absolutely A+. I want to acquire Meyer’s backlist STAT. 5 stars.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Have you heard of our lord and savior Beauty and the Beast retellings? This immediately followed up Echo North, and I was definitely in the BATB mood. I LOVED our main character, Harper, who is plucked from the streets of Washington D.C. in order to take part in the traditional beast curse we all know and angst over. There is so much privilege checking because Harper comes from a rough life, there is FAKE DATING, and every decision Harper makes truly feels like what a contemporary person would do in a crazy fantasy setting. I loved that, the epilogue killed me dead, and I am so stoked for another installment! 4.5 stars.

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

This is the sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, which is a book I enjoyed last month! While I think I could have enjoyed this one on its own, I think it had an uphill battle in trying to undo the feelings that the first book worked so hard to instill in us. The first book is an Evil Queen origin story, and this one is 100% Snow White. So while I enjoyed the mythology we go through in this book, I had become attached to and sympathetic toward an evil character…and then I had to read from the good person? Not into it that much, but this is obviously a personal preference. 3.5 stars.

Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene

This was an Owlcrate acquisition, and honestly I read it because I’ve been trying to damn hard to read all of my sub box books, which is an uphill battle. This was much shorter than I thought it would be! Our main character is an orphan from an impoverished area who develops magical powers and, in this world, this heavily implies noble birth. She makes her way to the capital city and, surprise! Finds herself embroiled in court politics. Chaos and a really evil sponsor ensue. I think you should go in mostly not knowing any more than this, so if you’re looking for a fun YA fantasy, snag this one! 4 stars.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

As you might have seen last month, I tend to bump books up on my TBR when I see people being shitty in reviews for terrible reasons, like saying kids shouldn’t be exposed to non-straight characters! Wow! What a shitty reason! Anyway, this book isn’t really post-apocalyptic, but it is near future and set in an America that has been restructured into a variety of kingdoms, and it is also being ravaged by a virus that has a 90% death rate. The survivors, however, develop magical abilities. I really love speculative fiction like this, and I definitely recommend picking this one up! It is fast paced, a little angsty, and the world building is excellent. 4 stars.

Space Boy Vol. 2 by Stephen McCranie

This is a fluffy little graphic novel that I’ve had for a while (so long that I actually just got an email from my LCS saying that the 3rd volume is ready for me to pick up, yikes), and I was just feeling it one night so I devoured it! Amy is our main character, and she and her family get sent back to Earth when her father loses his job on a mining colony. They are held in status for the entirety of their shuttle journey, and when they arrive, 30 years have passed. Switching schools is always hard, but this just adds an extra level! The art style is adorable, there’s a mysterious character, and I really dig the futuristic slice-of-life narrative. 5 stars.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

I lost my goddamned mind when I got a special small copy of this in my February Owlcrate. I’ve had the full-sized copy on my wishlist for about a million years, and it was exactly as cute as I hope it would be. In this adorable fantasy world, there are tiny dragons that grow tea leaves and flowers off their horns, and tea dragon husbandry is an art that is dying out. I don’t even drink tea and I would like a tea dragon now please and thank you. 5 stars.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Have you ever though “Man, I wish The Secret History had more Shakespeare?” You have? Excellent, read this book. The audiobook is phenomenal, the characters are intriguing, and the mystery kept me guessing the whole time. 4.5 stars.

Radiance by Grace Draven

I was feeling a little slumpy, and my friend Alex recommended I snag this book and try it out, and I am so glad I did! Not gonna lie, I’m getting more interested in romance-heavy fantasies – they tend to be super fast, and sometimes your girl likes to swoon. This is set in a fantasy world with human and non-human beings living in neighboring countries, and Ildiko, a human noble, is betrothed to Brishen, a Kai prince, in order to secure an alliance. Kai are wild looking humanoids that live by night, and humans and Kai DO NOT FIND ONE ANOTHER ATTRACTIVE. This is important and hilarious. I love the banter in the relationship in this book – IT IS SO HEALTHY. Like, I didn’t know how much I needed that healthy relationship. If you want a heartwarming romantic fantasy, please read this so we can talk about it. Thanks. 5 swoony stars.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

My heart. Oh my goodness, I adored this book so much. The audio was fantastic despite only being voiced by a single person. She did a wonderful job making each character different and memorable. This is a sci-fi book following Spensa, the daughter of a pilot who was executed for being a “coward.” She is a scrappy young girl who does everything she can to get into flight school and prove everyone wrong about herself and her father. There is a talking ship, there are side characters that rip my heart out, a hilarious talking ship, awesome worldbuilding, and did I mention that I really loved the talking ship? Seriously go read this. Right now. RIGHT NOW. 5 stars!

The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo

This was about half an hour long, but I absolutely adored all the stories in Language of Thorns, so it was definitely worth picking up. I enjoyed driving around and listening to Grisha fairy tales, and I’ll definitely be listening to the others! 5 foxy stars.

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

I feel…conflicted about this book. I enjoyed the first half despite it feeling slow, but I stalled out around the midway point. I mostly blamed my aforementioned slumpiness, so I dabbled in a few others book and then came back to this one. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, but the last ~70 pages or so had me so damn confused. It’s like someone threw a brick on the accelerator and jumped out of the car, allowing it to go where the hell ever it wanted to go. I haven’t seen anyone else struggle as much as I did, so PLEASE let me know down below if you enjoyed it. 3-ish stars?

And there you have it! Comment down below if you have read any of these, or if you have any recommendations based on the ones I rated highly!

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Kate’s February Wrap Up

Posted March 2, 2019 by Kate in Monthly Wrap Ups / 2 Comments

I had yet another good month, and I’m quite pleased. Especially since I was on vacation for literally half of it! I read 10 books this month, which was a bit shy of what I was hoping for, but I’m still ahead of my Goodreads goal, so I can’t really complain.

I’ve also really enjoyed the quality of my reading for the second month in a row. I’m starting to wonder when the other shoe is going to drop, but also, I don’t want to start hating things I’m reading. Who wants to deal with that?

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

I have really mixed feelings I’m still trying to deal with on this one. Buddy read with Paige, so I’m not gonna say much, but it just didn’t keep me entranced. The end was enough of a WTF moment that I will be continuing, but the second one better be damn fucking good.

Rating: 3 stars

The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo

I really enjoyed this short story about the Darkling’s origins. For as despicable as he is, he’s a fascinating character, and learning more about where he came from only makes that more true. And I certainly do not envy him his childhood. Yikes.

Rating: 4 stars

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

The only thing I regret about reading this series is how long I waited to start. This installment is all about Jack and Jill and how they came to be, and I drank it up. It was a wild ride, and I loved every second of it. It was so delightfully dark.

Rating: 5 stars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH AND ALSO I WANT TO DIE. I was not ready for any part of this, but I’m here for all of it. I won’t say anything, because it’s new, and I don’t want to be an asshole about it, but please go read it RIGHT NOW.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Everless by Sara Holland

I have very mixed feelings about this book. The story was great, but the pacing and worldbuilding were seriously lacking. I’m definitely going back and forth on how to rate it and how to feel. Sigh.

Rating (for now): 3 stars

Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien

I am a sucker for all things Tolkien. Whether it’s essays, translations, or MIddle-Earth, there’s a better than average chance I’m going to love it on principle alone. This is no exception. I saw it on a Waterstones shelf, and made a beeline from across the section. I’m so glad I allowed myself to buy it. I read it on the plane ride home and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This tiny book packed an enormous punch, and I would encourage everyone to find a copy and take the 45 minutes to experience it.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks

So, after being awake 20 hours, dragging six suitcases through the London Underground, and standing in a customs line for two hours, our flight from JFK to Indianapolis was delayed for almost three hours. I was tired, angry, and ready to sleep in my own bed. Paige, of course, was on the receiving end of all my bitching, and I check my email to THIS. It took me much longer to read than it should, because the art was amazing and hilarious, and it touched on some favorite Star Trek moments. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it great anyway? Hell yeah, it is!

Emotional Rating: 5 hilarious stars

Quality Rating: 3.5 stars

Please don’t ask me to explain that decision. I’m waffling for absolutely no reason.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I loved most everything about this book. The first DC chapter threw me, because I was expecting a fantastical Beauty and the Beast retelling. Thankfully, that’s exactly what I got and more. It stayed true to the story, almost to a T, but it still felt original. Also, the romance was present and real without being overpowering, and the story as a whole was fun as hell to read. TBR this immediately.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

This was a delightful little graphic novel that came in February’s Owlcrate box. I wasn’t familiar with it ahead of time, but Paige was, and her enthusiasm was contagious. I am SO glad I set aside a short amount of time to read this. It, much like Leaf by Niggle, was a short but invaluable read. Both the artwork and story were perfect.

Rating: 5 stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Opinion unchanged.

Rating: more stars than there are in the sky. At this point let’s just assume this is my baseline SJM rating, yeah?

Happy February shelfie!
February Goals Follow Up
  • I didn’t get Vengeful read. I’m hoping to get to it, but since I just start Illuminae, and I’ll (at least theoretically), be starting a new job soon, I’m concerned about making my March 20 deadline.
  • I SUCCEEDED reading four books during my trip. Hooray!
  • I half succeeded in organizing my shelves and office. The shelves are done, the room is not. Turns out, boxsprings aren’t a mandatory expense when you’re down an income. It’ll happen in March or April for sure!
March Goals
  • Vengeful. Ugh. I really want to, I just keep getting distracted by other things.
  • I’d like to read at least 12 books this month.

So there ya have it! February was an absolutely crazy month, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So many adventures, and so many great things to read!

What was your favorite (or least favorite!) February read? Let me know in the comments!

See you in March 💜💛

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Review – Spin the Dawn

Posted February 28, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Spin the DawnSpin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 9, 2019
Pages: 416

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Welcome to a fabulous Buddy Read Review! We’ve been trying to read books together over the last few months to try and motivate one another to get things off of our extensive TBR shelves, but this was a different situation! We both got approved for eARCs of Spin the Dawn, so we decided to read it together. The sign of a good buddy read is when you both throw the schedule to the wind and read it in a couple of sittings, and that is exactly what happened here!



One of my favorite things about this book was how steeped in magic and mythology we were, and how absolutely convinced I am that the author has planted countless seeds for future books. Sometimes I have issues with the trope of the main character not getting all of the information they need Because Reasons, but I feel like we were given information in a steady enough way that it balanced between being infodump-y and being too vague and confusing.

I also adored the descriptions. I am notoriously terrible at visualizing things, but I could see Maia’s creations coming to life in front of me. I truly can’t believe this is one of the author’s first novels – it read so beautifully. I read this book in basically three main chunks because the world was so compelling.


I loved the meandering way we were introduced to the world in this book. You found out what you needed to know when you needed to know it, and not a moment before. At the same time, somehow, there are enough bread crumbs dropped along the way that the reader is able to piece things together in a fun, but not “yeah, this is clearly what’s going to happen”, way.

Beyond that, the world was lush. The objects and colors and people and buildings and journeys were all so vibrant, both in their existence and their description. I felt like I was sewing garments, riding trails, and facing monsters alongside Maia, and I absolutely live for that immersive experience.


Yes! Some of my favorite books are ones that take their time with cultivating the world while also making sure enough information is present so, when you look back after a big reveal, you say “Oh, that makes sense” and not “*blink blink* …wait wut?” This sometimes is a hard balance to strike, and I think Lim really hit it out of the park throughout the book. I was also truly immersed while reading – I got legitimately grumpy every time I had to disentangle myself from what was going on and do something else.



Since Mulan is a comp title to this book, I’ll admit that I was waiting and watching a little bit through the beginning of the story to see who would be the Li Shang analog – and I was so not disappointed. Obviously I won’t tell you who they are, but it was excellent.

I adored Maia. She is a cinnamon roll Slytherin and you can’t tell me otherwise. Yes, she wants to save her family as you do. But she knows she is talented. She knows that sexism can be damned and that she has worked hard to become as skilled as she is. She truly believes she can become the tailor to the Emperor.


I LOVED Maia as a character. Just like Mulan, she is strong of mind and body, determined, talented, and still manages to remain human. I loved watching her grow and evolve, but more than that, I love that she starts the book with a backbone. This is not the story of a damsel in distress finding her way but of a talented young woman who wants to make something of herself in a man’s world.


Did someone say ancient magical being wrapped up in an attractive, presenting-as-slightly-older-than-the-main-character package? They did? Sign me up! I absolutely adored Edan, the enchanter to the emperor.


You took the words DIRECTLY out of my mouth about Edan. Perfection.

I honestly don’t know how to talk about the rest of this without ruining absolutely everything, so I’ll just keep it simple.

I loved that every character was treated with care. Sure, there was a hierarchy. You have to have a main character, but the baker’s son in Maia’s village was as well-crafted as the Lord Enchanter, the Emperor, and Maia herself.



We were promised Mulan meets Project Runway, but I feel like we got so much more! These comparisons set me up, in my mind, for something light and dramatic and honestly, kind of fluffy. Mostly incorrect! I got a small part of the way through the book and realized that things were moving too quickly and wrapping up a little too nicely, and I was waiting for things to hit the fan, so to speak. They did, and I was absolutely hooked.


I agree! Plus, I think the fact that it was an eARC exacerbated that feeling. It felt like it was moving fast, and it was, but it was impossible to be sure when you couldn’t see the ratio of read to unread pages. Once you got into it and realized what was happening, the pacing was clearly well thought out, but it definitely threw me for a loop starting out.

The best way to describe the plot advancement I can think of is by comparing it to rolling snowballs for a snowman. It just gets bigger and bigger, building a stronger and stronger base for the books to come in this series. Every bit of info we get builds on itself and truly propels the story forward, instead of just giving the reader a bunch of seemingly unrelated information to be tied up neatly at the end.


I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the romance. Because guys. G U Y S.

Ahhhh, perfection!

Forbidden love. The sweet, sweet angst. The slowest of burns. A character who falls hard while the other character takes their time. SO ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. This romance was crafted for me.


OH GOD THE ROMANCE. I was not going to touch the fishy, but you did, so here I am. I was worried when it started that would end up reading as little on the insta-lovey side, and I have never been more happy to be wrong. It was so angsty and delicious, and I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.


Same, brah. Same.

Gorgeous art of Maia by Alex Castellanos. Check out her Twitter and website for more of her illustrations.

Spin the Dawn is set to be released on July 9, 2019. There is a pre-order incentive, so be sure to check that out if you interested. It includes multiple art pieces, bookmarks, a signed bookplate, and a wearable item. If you pre-order from Books of Wonder, your book will be signed and personalized as well.

You can also follow Elizabeth Lim on Twitter and Instagram for updates and info. Plus, she’s super nice and interactive with her followers!

I hope you’re as excited as we are for this release this summer! This book, this series, and this author have an amazing path ahead, and we are excited to have the opportunity to have an early peek at that.

We were each provided an advance ebook copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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Top 5 Wednesday – Fictional Places You’d Take a Date To

Posted February 27, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

We’re sad to be saying goodbye to these February prompts this week! They were imaginative and fun, and our fantasy date locations were a great way to wrap it up. There are so many great places to choose from! And here we are stuck on Earth.


  • Is…is there any way I can start this with anything other than Velaris during Starfall? Because like…I’m not sure there is anywhere swoonier or more romantic in my book. Bonus points if I get an impossibly gorgeous dress. You can’t just steal the clear winner, Paige, geez. I can do whatever I liiiiiiiike.
  • If Le Cirque des Reves was a real place, I would never ever leave. I would eat my weight in chocolate mice and spiced cocoa, get lost in Celia’s illusory tent, and probably spend the night tailing Poppet and Widget while trying to pet their kitties.
  • Dreamer’s Weep (especially if Lazlo is there) would also be the swooniest date. I get butterflies just reading those chapters, and I definitely want fox wings and a moon bracelet of my own.
  • Poison Kitchen in Prague would make a perfect date night dinner location, obviously. I would definitely want to go on a double date with Mik and Zuzana because I TOO am a rabid fairy that bites. It’s true. She is.
  • We’d follow it up by heading to Confection from Seanan McGuire’s Beneath the Sugar Sky, which is basically an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. Maybe there I can finally find enough ice cream to conquer my husband’s sweet tooth. I don’t think there’s enough ice cream in all the worlds combined.
Rhys and Feyre on Starfall.
Original art by Salome. I found on her Tumblr, and she has prints available at RedBubble.


  • Velaris at Starfall is clearly the winner. I just want to be on Rhy’s balcony experiencing it. It would be romantic and beautiful and fun, and I wish with every fiber of my being that it was real place I could visit.
  • Bear with me for this one – the library at the Red Church. From Nevernight. Yeah, there’s the whole monsters running rampant thing and potential for an ugly death bit, but maybe we could just look at that as part of the fun? It might not be the most romantic idea, but the thought of all the books and the memories of libraries visited with the husband-friend make it seem like an excellent idea. Bish you crazy. I’m not getting eaten.
  • Le Cirque des Reves. What could be more romantic than time spent in the life-sized love letter between Celia and Marco?
  • The Chocolate Shop from The Towering Sky. I mean, come on. The perfect chocolate created for you by analyzing your DNA? Sign me up! This is the type of post-apocalyptic technological advancement I can get behind. And I don’t even like chocolate that much.
  • Rivendell. I would kill to go on any kind of romantic adventure in Rivendell. I can’t even image the perfection. I’d like to go too, just for the Lego-lols.
A Rivendell still from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

Which fictional locations would you choose to visit for date night? Let us know in the comments below!

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Review – King of Scars

Posted February 26, 2019 by Paige in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – King of ScarsKing of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Imprint on January 29, 2019
Pages: 528

Face your demons...or feed them.
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Buckle up, y’all. There be spoilers here for…everything. All the things.

Did I want to steal this? Yes.

I am a rabid fan of the Six of Crows duology, but I would be lying if I said I was particularly compelled by the original Grisha trilogy. That ultimately resulted in me being scared-excited for this book – I knew Leigh had become an even better writer, but I was worried that I would feel detached from the setting because of my ambivalence toward the OG books. This was not the case.

First off, I will say that I’ve heard lots of different criticisms about this book since reading it but before writing this review, so a lot of this is going to be rebuttals to things I’ve heard. While this is allegedly the first book in the Nikolai duology, I believe that to be a misnomer. It definitely isn’t primarily about Nikolai, so if you haven’t read it, I would suggest that you manage your expectations and know that it is just as much about another couple of characters as it is about Nikolai. I loved the time we spent with Nikolai, especially seeing the way he has been affected by the events of the original trilogy, and how that is taken toll on the dashing king of Ravka. I also loved the other two main perspectives we got – Nina is my favorite of Leigh’s characters, and Zoya is now giving her a run for her money.

Let’s talk about Nina’s perspective a little bit. If you haven’t read Crooked Kingdom, I suggest you just bail on this review completely. You’ve been warned!

I’ve seen a lot of people trashing Nina for not being her normal self and how it felt like she was just shoved in because she was a fan favorite. UM, HELLO?! MATTHIAS FUCKING DIED IN HER ARMS, GUYS. SHE ISN’T COPING WELL. I WOULDN’T BE. I absolutely loved being in Nina’s head as she navigated her grief while working toward a cause she believed in. She is also learning to use her augmented Heartrender powers now that the effects of parem have changed her forever, and that has to be incredibly difficult. Not to mention every spoilery thing she goes through during the entire book – the shining, flirtatious Nina isn’t gone, but she is learning how to live in a world without the love of her life. That will change anyone.

Now let’s move on to Zoya. WOW. I absolutely adored the direction she took in this book. In the original trilogy, she mostly serves as the beautiful, powerful woman that Alina is almost pitted against in a borderline girl-hate way, which is a mechanic that I can completely do without in books. Now that Alina is gone, Zoya is basically Nikolai’s strong right hand, and she absolutely fucking deserves it. She will do anything and everything it takes to save Nikolai and Ravka and preserve the fragile peace their nation is suspended in, and that kind of ruthlessness is something that I absolutely can’t get enough of in my female characters. I can’t get too specific without spoiling, but this book was truly the Zoya show, and I am here. For. It.

I absolutely adored the additional worldbuilding we got in this story – while I am not into the original trilogy, I love the mythos and the atmosphere of Ravka, and I feel like I was given a gift every time Leigh expanded upon her previous work when it came to both of those things. Sometimes the pacing felt a little bit off, but I am someone who can enjoy a plodding story if the characters are making it enjoyable most of the time. Because I adore all three of our perspectives, it wasn’t a struggle at all.

The ending to this book was one that had me literally saying, out loud, in the car with my husband, “Well fuck.” He even told Leigh as much when we met her later that day. As soon as I closed the book, I absolutely knew that people were going to be divided over it from now until whenever the sequel comes out. While I can definitely see why some people would be frustrated, it absolutely worked for me.

I’m sure this review seems incredibly vague and like I’m skirting several issues, but honestly that’s because I am. This book, while technically the first in a series, is deeply entrenched in an established fandom that it truly relies on to be great. I highly recommend reading all of Leigh’s other books before picking this one up, as I truly believe that is the only way you can appreciate the richness of the story.

That’s all today guys! Leave me a comment down below if you’ve finished King of Scars. I’m also always available for pterodactyl screeches on Twitter!

The Queen herself.


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