I love a good rainy day! I’m a big fan of being snuggled up at home on any given day, so sometimes it is nice to have an excuse!
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
This one isn’t out yet, but Kate and I both received early copies and ADORED IT, and the gloomy and atmospheric island setting makes it a perfect rainy day read. It feels like a magical mystery story set on the Iron Islands from GoT!
If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
This is another super atmospheric mystery-style book, and I cannot sing the praises of the audiobook enough. This is a dark, moody story with intrigue, murder, and Shakespeare sprinkled through it, and it would be perfect for a dark and stormy night.
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
I know we squawk about these books all the time, but the Goblin Marketplace just SCREAMS rainy day to me, especially when compared to the nonsensical candyland of Confection from the previous book. Really any of these books would probably fit the bill, but Iike this one best.
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Apparently moody settings with mystery elements are what evoke a rainy day for me, and this story is no exception. It is diverse and gripping and TERRIFYING, and I would die for any of the main characters.
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
I definitely don’t talk about this book enough. It is a French and Asian inspired colonial fantasy where the main character struggles with bipolar disorder, and it is even own voices for the Asian and bipolar rep. This book tugged at my heart, and I would love to curl up with it again on a gloomy day.
Rainy days are best days, especially for a book and a fluffy blanket.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Not to go against Paige on this one, but I think The Moors is the rainiest to me. From the name itself to the events that transpired there, the mood is the perfect rainy day read for me.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Honestly, either would do, but The Cruel Prince just felt right. Something about the forest setting and dark motivations of the characters really fit the mood and aesthetic of curling up to read on a rainy day.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Reading this book always feels like watching a spy movie – it starts in a bright vacation setting and quickly devolves into a dark and twisty mystery. Dark and twisty mysteries are my favorite things to read on dreary days, and the sinister nature of this book definitely fits the bill.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Again, any book in this series would do, but the last one is that special kind of sad that makes you feel every like everything is beautiful and terrible all at once. Talk about a rainy day emotion.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
In my mind, even though I know it’s not true, it was raining for the entirety of this book. Both timelines. Whole thing. It just had that heavy, dark feel from the first page through the last.
What are some of your favorite rainy day reads? There are SO many great ones for this topic, we know we aren’t anywhere near finding them all. Let us know some of your recommendations in the comments.
It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Sam of Thoughts On Tomes announced round eight of the Tome Topple Readathon last week, and we are SO excited to jump in to this event again. Round 8 is running from midnight on April 13 through 11:59PM on April 26 in your time zone. Love it when you don’t have to do any clock math – it just makes it that much easier and more fun!
If you like following along to readathons on social media, here’s the info for the Tome Topple Twitter account and the various hosts for this round.
They all have great social presences on on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or Goodreads, in addition to their YouTube Channels and blogs, so be sure to check them out.
The challenges for this round are:
Read an adult book
Tome that has been on your TBR the longest
A tome in a genre that you don’t usually read
A tome that’s part of a series
Read more than one tome
It just so happens that we’ll be doing this round of Tome Topple in tandem with the Magical Readathon OWLs. Now, we didn’t have time to write a post for that unfortunately, but we’ll include some links and info at the bottom of this post, so you can join in and follow along!
I have done my best to stick to the books I picked for my Magical Readathon TBR, but once this round of TT was announced, I kinda threw it out the window. Such is life. I can’t even follow my own rules. Here are the books I’m hoping to read.
Read an adult book: The Black Prism
This is the first book in a series that my husband BINGED, and he doesn’t tend to prioritize reading over his other hobbies in the same way I do. The last book comes out in August, and I’m hoping I can make time to read them all before then!
The tome that has been on your TBR the longest: Habibi
I’m not 100% on this, but I know FOR A FACT that I’ve owned Habibi by Craig Thompson for a long time, mostly because it has showed up on SO MANY Tome Topple TBRs, and I’ve never done it. It also has lots of red on the cover, so it fits as my Transfiguration book for Magical Readathon.
A tome in a genre you don’t usually read: ???
I don’t actually have a plan for this other than “hop on Scribd/Hoopla/Libby and find a long contemporary.” I know, much commitment.
A tome that is part of a series: The Republic of Thieves
This is the third and latest installment in the Gentleman Bastards series, and I meant to read it last round. I was super sick for basically the whole round, and thus got nothing done, but I am MOTIVATED this round. This is also my Defense Against the Dark Arts book for the Magical Readathon.
More than one tome? I hope so.
I’m also reading On a Sunbeam (because I have it out from the library) and Sky Without Stars (for the Astronomy Magical Readathon challenge).
My TBR for this month is locked, because the readathons I’m participating in have prompts and rules, and I want to complete all the things! I’m also using it as a test to see whether or not I like having a fixed TBR, and so far, it’s actually going really well. Never did I ever think that would be the case.
I’m also doing something new and trying to track my readathon progress in my bullet journal. I’ve used my bujo as my planner for a couple years now, but I’ve never been good at incorporating outside content. What better way to start than books?!
Read an adult book: Vengeful
I know, I know. I’ve been saying I was going to read this since last September, but I really, super mean it this time. Just wait!
Tome that has been on your TBR the longest: The Last Magician
This isn’t actually the tome that’s been on my TBR the longest, but it is the one that’s been on my TBR the longest of the books I chose to complete my readathon prompts. I’m counting it.
A tome in a genre that you don’t usually read: Moscow Rules
I read almost nothing but fantasy and a little sci-fi, so a modern day spy novel is very strange for me. I love this series, though. Definitely excited to continue it, since I haven’t read one in almost two years.
A tome that’s part of a series: Lady Smoke
If Tome Topple wasn’t happening this month, I would have already read this book. I am chomping at the bit to find out what happens next!
Read more than one tome: here’s hoping I finish at least two of those!
I’m also hoping to read Ringer by Lauren Oliver for Tome Topple, since I am reading it for a Magical Readathon prompt. And, if I’m lucky, this will also be the month I FINALLY read Muse of Nightmares. Plus, ya know, Kingdom of Ash is next up in my audio queue after I finish Ringer, but I’m trying really hard not to think about that emotional devastation too hard.
Magical Readathon Info
So, we had the best intentions of getting a Magical Readathon post out before the first of the month, but it didn’t come to be. Since it’s influencing so many of our Tome Topple choices for this round, we’ve been given this mini second chance to share with you how it all works!
The readathon was started by G of Book Roast, and it’s based on the magical world of Harry Potter. You don’t have to be an HP fan to participate, because you can read whatever you want, but the HP theme definitely makes it something special. The readathon happens in two large parts with several smaller events throughout the year – the OWLs exams occur in the spring, NEWTs in the summer, and then a smattering of chances for extra credit that gain you extra days to use towards your major exams. This year, the OWLs are happening from April 1-30 and the NEWTs are taking place from August 1-31.
There are two major components: complete books for the different classes to pass the OWL and choosing a career based on the OWLs you pass. I’m not going to list out all the careers, because there are a lot, but you can check out the Wizarding Careers guidebook here. It’s gorgeous, and has tons of great little quips and advertisements.
Here are all the links to get started or just follow along.
There’s even a Discord server if you want to chat with fellow Readathoners! Get sorted into your house and join in a variety of discussions in a casual setting.
We hope you join in the readathon fun with us this month! These are two amazing events organized by some of our very favorite Booktubers, and we love supporting their projects. If you’d like to follow along with us as we participate, feel free to check out our personal social media accounts.
Full disclosure: we both tend to take this prompt to mean something more like “Favorite Characters Who Amuse Us”. Nothing we read really lends itself well to the traditional jokester/trickster character, but we do enjoy a good laugh when our dark and twisty favorites bring some levity to the story.
I was looking at who I selected last time this prompt came around, and there is gonna be some overlap, but here we go.
M-Bot from Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
So like…I might have established, at this point, that I adore AI characters that are learning about and exploring humanity, and M-Bot does exactly this during the ENTIRE book. This book is much more light-hearted in its humor than Illuminae is, so M-Bot gets a few more jokes that aren’t quite so dark. I laughed out loud SO OFTEN.
Hypnos from The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I wouldn’t say Hypnos is a traditional jokester, but his levity and self-centered jokes and jabs were one of the main redeeming qualities of this book for me. If he had been a main character, that could have been a game-changer for me. He is an incorrigible flirt, and I am a big fan.
Wit from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Wit is a man, whose name we don’t really know, who is basically a court jester for King Elkohar, and he gets to just insult people and rip into them directly to their faces, and it is EXCELLENT. Wit is a title more so than a name, but the Wit we see in TWOK is extremely my brand.
Matilda, both from the book and the movie
I discovered this story as a pretty young child, and seeing Matilda prank the adults around her who have let her down is truly fuel for the young mind, no matter what. The salamander in the water pitcher? Classic. Bleach in the hair oil? AMAZING. I’m so jealous I didn’t think of this! GENIUS!
The Trickster from Supernatural
This isn’t a book, but I don’t care! The episodes of Supernatural where The Trickster ruins Sam and Dean’s lives are my lifeblood – it’s like the monster of the week episodes, which I enjoy just as much as the ones that further the narrative, but a little goofy and a little dark.
This was a prompt last year, and it was a real struggle. It’s still a real struggle. I find things that are objectively not funny to be hilarious. If it’s dry, dark, and has the potential to rub people the wrong way, I will probably giggle at it uncontrollably. So. Here we go.
AIDAN from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I struggled with AIDAN as a character, but man is that rogue AI hilarious. It doesn’t understand sarcasm or humor, so it either responds to people literally or, later on, tries to make jokes that tend to be more in line with death threats. It tries so hard but just can’t quiiiiite get there, which makes for great comedy.
Nikolai Lantsov from the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo
My favorite thing he does, I can’t say, because I don’t want to be a spoilery bitch. But I love his ability to step back and not take himself seriously. There seem to be an increasing number of characters who think that’s detrimental to his leadership, and he seems to struggle more as his passenger strengthens, but it’s such a cornerstone of who he is. I also think it makes him a stronger character, because it makes him harder to predict. Is he going to be serious? Is he going to go off the wall? Who knows?!
Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Guys, she turns a multi-dimensional war into an excuse to talk about chocolate cake. She’s not only hilarious, she’s a hero.
Rhy Maresh from Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Paige and I both used him last year, and I so don’t care. I think Rhy will always be my favorite in this category, because of the self-flagellation, if nothing else. My only wish is that he realizes his own greatness a little more in the face of everything he has left to face and accomplish. Now that I think about it, he and Nikolai have a lot in common.
Hypnos from The Guilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
We haven’t doubled up in a while, and this answer is simply too good not to use. The Gilded Wolves was not a great book for me, but Hypnos was the bright spot in the darkness. He always knew just who to poke at and how to either get what he wanted to earn a laugh. Or both, I suppose. He was fantastic and is basically the whole reason I’ll read the second book.
So, for those of you who might be (read: totally are) better versed, who are some of your favorite jokesters?
–i.e. skip meals, camped outside a bookstore, broke up with someone because they don’t like books, etc.
This week’s TTT prompt was submitted by Aggie’s Amygdala. Thanks for giving us something so fun to write about!
We aren’t really outrageous people, but we are weirdly dedicated to our craft and have been for a very long time. And now, with husbands who are supportive to a fault, egging each other on, and expendable income, it’s hopeless. We will always find something ridiculous to do in the name of our reading habits.
Did we drive to Chattanooga on a weekend just to see V.E. Schwab at a Barnes and Noble for a casual signing? Did she potentially tack on an impromptu Q&A because people were coming from so far away? Did we impulse buy several more books for her to sign there on top of the giant stacks we had brought? MAYBE.
That was a great weekend. 10/10, would do again. Also, V was a champ. That event ended up being much more than anyone anticipated, I think.
That One Time We Blew A Tire
Once upon a time, Laini Taylor did a signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Napierville, IL. We set out from Indy super early, pre-ordered our pizza for dinner, and were making great time, when my tire blew out an hour away from the store. Over the course of the next hour, we were graced by the kindness of a visitor center host who let us in a minute (literally) before closing to use a bathroom and offer advice on where we might be able to get a tired replaced/repaired after 5PM, the world’s most efficient AAA tow truck driver, and a group of tire shop employees who were willing and able to help out two clearly stressed and maybe-a-little-crazed women. Then, after the event, our waitress took pity on us and comped our drinks and appetizers. We were throwing around $20+ tips like you wouldn’t BELIEVE. The real MVP of that evening, though, was Paige who fronted me the money for my tire, since I had used all of my last check for bills and hadn’t exactly budgeted for my car exploding while I was out of town. Laini was amazing, of course, as well as all the Anderson’s employees as they worked with us to get us our stuff, after we rolled in after the Q&A had already started. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but it makes for a great story.
10/10, would do again. But maybe no explosions?
Bloomington Barnes and Noble Closing
My local Barnes and Noble is closed until next year while they attempt to find a new and better location, and that was just…so hard for me. I like to get the exclusive editions for books I know I’m going to love, and I have no chill, so I can’t just wait for it to come in the mail, because B&N ships SO SLOW. When King of Scars came out this year, my Barnes and Noble didn’t get ANY copies, because they were offloading all their stock of books to other stores. Kate bought me a copy and drove an hour and a half to come bring it to me and have dinner with me. FWIENDSHIP.
And I’m sure I’ll do it again! Happily! Honorable mention in this same vein for meeting in the middle to shop in Greenwood while Jessica picked up her preorder. I’m excited for what other silliness the B&N closing inspires, even while I mourn your (hopefully very temporary) loss.
Harry Potter Reading Rituals
I’m sure everyone had their own ritual for reading the Harry Potter books if they consumed them as they were coming out, and I was no exception! My mother would preorder the book (starting from the 3rd one, I believe) for me from the only bookstore in town, we would pick it up (while I was wearing a HP shirt), and I would hole up in our family room with the book and sustenance. There was a giant green overstuffed chair, and the door directly across from the family room was the bathroom, so I would only emerge for that or to top off my snacks. Nobody bothered me, there were no expectations for me to rejoin the living until I was done, and I am so thankful my parents realized how serious it was for me.
My HP release rituals were much the same. I’d go with my mom to pick up my preorder and then I would hunker down and get to reading. I wasn’t dedicated to doing it in one session, and my summers were usually too busy to allow for it, but I savored the time.
I’m going to add a second one to this section, too. Half Blood Prince came out the summer between 8th grade and freshman year for me, and the week it was released, I was going on a service trip with my youth group. Our housing was at a church with several other youth groups taking part in the same program. Our pastor let us bring our HP books, but it was DEFCON One the whole week, because he didn’t want any of the other youth pastors to know we were allowed to have it. It was ridiculous and more than a little funny.
Staying Up Too Late
I’ve done this A LOT, but there is one instance that feels more outrageous than the rest. I was in high school and City of Bones was new. I had to retake the SAT, because I was 20 points short on my verbal section for some scholarship I was applying for. Well, 17 year old me thought it would be a GREAT IDEA to stay up until 6AM to read my book to catch up to my friends who’d finished it before me before going to take my test. I got those 20 points, though! And since I don’t think she knows this but will probably read this post, sorry Mom.
I can’t think of any exceptional times, but I did read Deathly Hallows in its entirety during band camp during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I told myself I would be responsible and not binge it AND not ruin my sleep, but it was a damn lie.
Time Off Work
I reserve two or three of my PTO days a year for major releases, so I don’t have to wait to read them. It’s totally worth it, and it has the nice side effect of feeling like I’m being a little rebellious even though I’m totally not.
I haven’t done this yet, but it’s happening. Looking at you, Darkdawn and The Starless Sea.
This all started when Ethan finally got around to reading Nevernight. He was reading my UK hardcover, which I had gotten for about $9 at a Half Price Books. I started to realize that those books had a cult following and were long since out of print, so I told him I would buy him his own paperback because he wanted to take my valuable edition to work and read it during his lunch breaks. After seeing his battered NN paperback once he was done with it, I’m glad I did it. He now also has Godsgrave and Vicious to read in a doomed paperback form.
I would do the same thing. 1000%. And I will the first time one of my books comes back with so much as a bent corner.
Shower Audio Listening
I might have gotten my brother to go splitsies on a waterproof bluetooth speaker for our shower so I can listen to audiobooks while I shower. This seems especially important during readathons.
I have two suction hooks on my shower wall, so I can hang my phone in there with me. I’m not giving up 5-20 minutes a day of book listening time. It’s too valuable! Maybe the speaker option would be more responsible, though.
I have…5 copies of The Night Circus? The entirety of Throne of Glass in US hardcover and UK paperback? The Nevernight Chronicle in US and UK hardcover? Don’t get me started on my 4 copies of Strange the Dreamer. It’s a thing.
If you don’t have multiple editions, do you even really love it? I know that’s not actually how it works, but when I love something, I just can’t help it. My Schwab, SJM, and Tolkien shelves in particular are getting out of control. If you wander around my home, I do believe you’ll find multiples up to 10 of everything from Gone with the Wind to The Golden Compass, and that number is only that low because I don’t allow myself to buy anything not published in English or German.
This exclusive edition contains deleted scenes sure to delight fans and give them a special peek into the world of Faerie!
The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince. You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself strong.
After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.
When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.
DISCLAIMER: While we try very hard to avoid spoilers, this one has a few. Since this is the second book in a series and there are so many entwined story lines, I don’t want to ruin any of the many delicious surprises this series has in store.
I’m slow writing this response, because it’s taken me some time to wrap my head around it. I was out of the country for a hot second, and then I came back and spent way too long trying to make this non-spoilery. As you can tell from the disclaimer above, that didn’t work out. Without further ado, let me present my spoilery, spoilery opinions on The Wicked King.
With the way The Cruel Prince ended, I knew that we were in for some type of shit, but I was absolutely blown away by the twists and turns that Holly Black has built into this story. I should have known, really, that she was going to do this. I haven’t read any of her other stuff, but TCP should have taught me that lesson. Apparently, I was too pig-headed to learn it. So we’re going to do this in a brand new format I like to call, “Things That Surprised That Really Shouldn’t Have”.
First of all, we have Nicasia. I knew the was a princess of the Undersea, but for some reason, I didn’t think that would be relevant. But with Elfhame in shambles after Jude’s stunt, of course it would be. These are faeries. They look for any and all opportunity for subterfuge and superiority, and Jude handed them an opportunity on a silver platter. It was a great thing to have in this book, because it demonstrated a lot of the overarching plot lines in tiny little vignette to answer one all-important question: Just how far will Cardan go to save Jude?
Then there’s the Ghost. I’m here to tell you this one really got me. When Jude started asking him questions and trying to determine his loyalties, it occurred to me that everything might not be as it seemed, but after the events of TCP, I really thought he was going to be on her side. OH BOY. It did nothing but drive the story forward, as I noted above, so I can’t be mad, but I was still bummed when I couldn’t love him anymore. It hurt.
Now. For the family dynamics. Obviously, Taryn’s dedication to Locke was going to be wildly misguided, but to the point of betraying Jude? It just seems so unnecessary. I know part of this world is that no one can be trusted, and you have to constantly be on your toes, but it just felt like one thing too many. That being said, I am interested to see how the whole Locke-Taryn-Cardan-Jude-Madoc dynamic evolves in The Queen of Nothing, because my guess is that the answer is “badly”.
And then there’s Cardan’s whole mommy dearest situation. I’m very excited and very afraid to see how that plays out in TQN. Plus, Balekin. He’s the dumbest smart person written in modern YA fiction. How did he not know Jude wasn’t glamored? How did he think any of this played out with a mortal who could be glamored? It just doesn’t make sense, and he’s smarter than that. Not sorry he’s dead, though.
And finally. The big kahuna. The shock of all shocks, and the thing that completely broke my heart. FUCKING CARDAN BANISHING JUDE TO THE MORTAL WORLD. EXCUSE ME. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?! I didn’t even know how to process the ending of this book. I was reading and then that happened and then it was over. I was so dumbstruck that I was completely unable to come up with anything even kind of productive to say. It’s been almost three months since I read it, and that’s still true. So if you ever wanted evidence of a successful shock ending, I guess that’s it. I just have to believe that there’s a reason for it and that she’ll get the opportunity to come back and absolutely wreck Locke. Cardan, however, has lost his right to help.
As I read back through that, it’s kind of five paragraphs of absolutely nothing. That teaches me to mull things over for too long. However, I don’t think anything I wrote in January would have been much better. Holly Black succeeded 100% in turning my brain to mush.
There are a couple of technical bits I’d like to touch on. I think this might just be a problem I have with Black’s writing in general, as I also struggled in TCP, but the pacing feels weird. There are these lulls of world-building or character development that feel a lot longer than they need to be, and then all of a sudden you’re in a mad dash to some tragedy. It wasn’t as bad in this one, but I still noticed it, especially leading up to Hunter’s Moon and between Jude’s rescue and her marriage to Cardan. This could be a taste issue, but it felt pronounced as I was reading.
The other thing is that for as action packed as these books are, they also feel very insignificant somehow. That’s stupid, and I know that, because I can’t stop thinking about them. They infiltrate my thoughts at least a couple times a week. And yet, something about them still feels shallow. I can’t quantify it better than that, so I almost didn’t mention it, but it’s been a very real part of my experience, so I didn’t want to leave it out.
The Queen of Nothing is set to drop on January 7, 2020. The cover reveal was last week, and oh my goodness, look at this thing. SO beautiful! I’m excited and terrified to see how this trilogy wraps up.
If you need a Holly Black fix in the meantime, The Modern Faerie Tales is being re-released as a bindup, and it’s stunning as well. I haven’t read this series yet, but I’m planning to once I acquire this copy.
What were your thoughts on The Wicked King? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below, or find me on Twitter and Goodreads. Happy reading!
March went by SO FAST, and I’m honestly not sure how I survived the whirlwind. I really enjoyed everything I read (again), and it’s starting to wig me out. I haven’t DNF’d anything this year yet, and that’s kinda my thing when I’m not feeling something. I read 11 books in March, and none of them really disappointed me. That being said, the authors and stories I chose didn’t even kind of put me outside my comfort zone. Sometimes you just have to immerse yourself in things you love!
The thing that this year has taught me, though, is that I need to rework my rating system a little bit. I tend to rate VERY highly, because I don’t finish things I don’t like, so my scale ends up being really skewed. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know in the comments! I’ve been actively researching this, and I can’t find a method that really speaks to me.
ANYWAY. The books! That’s why you’re here, afterall.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This series has been sitting on my shelf basically since Obsidio came out. I had been putting off reading them, because they looked so enormous, and I have so many things I want to read. I am SO glad I finally stopped putting them off! I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I was stressed the entire time, but in a good way. Plus, I’m familiar with Jay’s work, so I really should have expected that. What I wasn’t expecting was how quickly it read. I knew the format was different, but I didn’t realize how few words were on some pages. That really sped up the process. My one note is this: the parts that have grey text on a black background are really hard to read, and I think the publisher needed to make a better choice. Make sure you have good light, kids.
Rating: 5 stars
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Despite the fact that it’s been out for years, I somehow knew nothing about this going in. Which made it great. I love both Kate and August, not only for how they evolve as characters, but for the great lengths Queen V clearly went to to make them completely lyrically independent. They are so different but are able to work together so well, and I love how their relationship evolves to become a microcosm of their whole world and really drives the story forward. I can’t wait to tackle Our Dark Duet, but I understand it’s going to be absolutely devastating.
Rating: 5 stars
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
I bet you can guess everything I’m going to say about this.
Rating: 5 stars
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
So, I sat down to read Vengeful (finally!), and I realized very quickly that all I remembered about Vicious was the last 10 or so pages. Wasn’t really cool with that, so I re-read it. I’m so glad I did. This book ages really well. I enjoyed it so much more this time than I did the first time, and I know Paige had a similar experience. So excited to get to Vengeful now!
Rating: 4.5 stars
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I do believe this was my favorite of the series. Unlike most, I’m not a big AIDAN fan, and I liked the fact that he wasn’t present for a lot of this book. I also just really loved the time we got to spend with Hannah, Nik, and Ella. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kady and Ezra, but the group from Gemina really spoke to me. I also liked the close combat a lot.
Rating: 5 stars
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I’m not gonna say quite as much nothing about SJM as usual here, because I realized that I actually like this book a lot more than I thought I did. It has always been my least favorite, but I appreciated it a lot more this time around.
Rating: 5 (still completely unobjective) stars
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
This has been my least favorite of the Wayward Children series so far, but it was still a delightful ride. The one thing that I did enjoy more than the others was the more thorough glimpse of the different characters and their histories. I also liked seeing some of the worlds these children wish to call home.
Rating: 4 stars
Shades of Magic Vol. 1: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab
As you all know, I’m a sucker for Miss Schwab and for Shades of Magic. Give me all of it, give it to me now. My only real complaint is that the art style of this comic is a little more abstract than I usually enjoy, but it didn’t detract from the story at all for me.
Rating: 5 stars
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
HI THIS WAS AMAZING AND TERRIBLE. I think Paige and I are planning a gush post for this, since we read it together and both just died, but I couldn’t say nothing. So good. I love them all so much.
Rating: 5 stars
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
This has always been my favorite, it will always be my favorite, and Chaol is a little bitch. Questions?
Rating: 5 gajillion stars
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
I got completely sucked in by this book, almost from the very first page. Paige sang it’s praises when I asked her about it a couple months back, and I’m glad I finally did the thing. The unique role of magic in the world, the way the love triangle is structured (I don’t hate them, but I know some people do. For me it’s how they’re handled.), lots of unexpected twists, and a cast of strong characters made this book something really special. Please go read it if you haven’t yet!
Rating: 5 stars
See, I told you I had a good rating month. There are just so many good things! I can’t wait to see what this month brings.
I’m gonna read Vengeful. I promise. Probably.
I started a new job on April 1, so my only real goal this month is to still read at least 10 books again. I feel like this is a good pace for me, and I don’t want to let up.
There ya have it! What were some of your favorite books last month? Were you like me and did a lot of re-reading, or were there new releases you fell in love with? Let me know in the comments, or reach out on Twitter and Goodreads!
March was a busy month for me, and I feel like I tackled some really good books! I finished a couple of series and read a few anticipated ARCs, and even participated in a couple of readathons! Check out my mini-reviews below.
Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
I started off this month on a disappointing note. This book had a lot of flaws for me – the romance was bleh, the descriptions were a little grisly, there was definitely some behaviors that are arguable animal abuse, and the plot wasn’t exciting enough for me to feel like it was redeemed. I gave this one 2 stars.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin. A Craig
THIS BOOK turned things around. Kate had already read and reviewed (linky link) this book when I was approved for a copy, but she was SO enamored with it that I knew I had to read it. It was SO atmospheric. It was SO creepy. Also there were swoons? As strange as this will sounds, Greyjoy-like aesthetics really hold a special place in my heart due to associations with my dorky husband, so just roll with it. I highly recommend picking this one up when it comes out in September! 5 stars.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
This one was just okay for me. It was a pretty unremarkable fantasy, but I was happy to read it due to the f/f romance that was very much at the forefront. The main character is betrothed to a prince, but she ends up falling for the prince’s sister. I know that isn’t really cheating, but it’s weirdly close enough that it didn’t work for me, especially because the prince wasn’t a terrible person or anything, so he just seemed like an unfortunate bystander. 3 stars.
The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
This book was THICK. I read the first two books in this series a few months ago, and I don’t remember why I didn’t pick this one up and finish it off. I really enjoyed it! This series feels like a solid, almost nostalgic YA fantasy trilogy, and I’m super excited to read the next series Mary has written in this universe! 4.5 stars
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
This was a reread because I needed some smutty romance shenanigans. Deal with it.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I read this one on audio right after TKQ because I was still in a romance-y mood, and I’m happy I did! It started off a little shaky for me, but once I got into it, I was very interested. Joshua Templeman is a grumpy cinnaman. 4 stars
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
I’m working on finishing up the last few Schwab works that I haven’t read, and this one was pretty good! Schwab has only gotten better, so it is sometimes hard to go back and read older things, but the bottom line is that I adore her and will read anything she does. 4 stars
Entreat Me by Grace Draven
This was my first read for the Beauty and the Beast readathon that my friend Alex at Booksy Daisy put on! She introduced me to this author as well, so it only seemed fitting. This was one where I kind of had to compartmentalize some of the weirdness and just decide not to be weirded out by it, but once I did that, I enjoyed it! 3.5 stars
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
You know what we’re about here.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
This was an interesting BATB retelling, and I super adored the main characters, Nyx and Ignifex. There was a fun mystery element, and the setting was outside of the traditional fantasy setting. 3.5 stars!
Beauty by Robin McKinley
I struggle to agree that this is a retelling in that it didn’t really change much of the story at all, but it was a good time! I’ve heard that the author has another retelling out there, so I might tackle it in the next round. 3 stars.
The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross
I impulse purchased this during a girl’s weekend with my friends, and I’m glad I did! This retelling was from the Beast’s POV, and the Beauty character had the same name as the Beauty character in Entreat Me – weird, right? I gave it 4 stars.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Yep. You knew I would.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
ANOTHER THICC LADY. This one took me about a week to get through after restarting it so I could give it the attention it deserved. This book has received SO MUCH HYPE for the last year, and while I did enjoy it, it didn’t blow my mind. I enjoyed a particular crotchety male character, but lots of the plot and character facets seemed a little flat or too convenient. I think maybe it could have been served well by being a series. 3.5 stars.
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
This was the first book I read for the Fantasy Adventureathon (team dragon woo!) I substituted it in for the group book because I had already read the one that was selected. This was fine – I’m thinking maybe pirate books just don’t do it for me? The “romance” was weird and the plot was just fine. 3 stars.
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Holy shit, guys. There’s not much I can say about this since it is the 3rd in a series, but it was thoroughly amazing. This entire series is a slam dunk, and finishing it up has fueled my fervent need for Aurora Rising in May. Amie and Jay get 5 stars forever. Also, this was my 500+ page book for the Adventureathon.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
I picked this one up on audio for my “book with romance in it” for the Adventureathon because who can stick to a tbr? I had a lot of problems with this one, specifically with the possessive and predatory dynamic the main characters had. The epilogue was super sweet, but not enough to compensate. 2.5 stars.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
This was a book I received as a gift, and I decided it was going to be my Adventureathon retelling book. It is a modern spin on the Cinderella story, but centered around a geeky girl who loves a Star Trek-like show with her whole heart. It was a good time, but I didn’t fall in love with it. 3.5 stars.
King of Fools by Amanda Foody
This is the sequel to Ace of Shades by Amanda, which I read and reviewed last year a little bit before publication. I was very excited to be approved for an early copy of this book because she refers to it as her “girl gang” book, and she was not wrong! While there were definitely issues with the formatting of the eARC that sometimes caused hiccups in my reading experience, the story was totally worth it, and I’m dying a little bit inside because I have to wait. I read this for my book with a royalty word in the title for Adventureathon! 4 stars.
A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
This last book was an impulse read – I needed a book with brown on the cover, and our main character Leo and her brown hair are featured front and center! This book is about a family of kitchen witches that run a bakery called Love and Sugar. Leo is the youngest member, and doesn’t know that her female family members are brujas until she stumbles across some magic! It was fun and heartwarming, and I’m definitely interested in reading more in the series. 4.5 stars.
Did you guys read any of these? Leave me a comment down below with your thoughts! In the month of April, my reading will be guided by the prompts for the OWLs Magical Readathon, and I am SO EXCITED. I’m not sure which magical career I’m shooting for, so I’m trying to complete all 12 OWLs. Thusfar, I’ve started my Muggle Studies and Charms exams, and I’m so excited to continue. Are you participating? What is your career? I’m having so much trouble picking between Cursebreaker and Magizoologist! Leave me another comment down below. Thanks for reading!
–Discuss your favorite collectibles on your shelf, whether they are special editions of books, funko pops/figurines, candles, bookmarks, etc! They don’t all have to be from the same category; you can mix and match 😊
How on earth is it already April?! I know we say that at the beginning of every month, but come on. Nevertheless, here we are.
This is such a great prompt, and we’re excited Sam included it. There are so many great bookish and non-bookish goodies gracing our shelves, and we love them all. Narrowing down our choices was HARD, but we’re pretty happy with what we ended up with today.
As sappy as this is, I got this on my honeymoon, so it holds about 87 different places in my heart. It used to hold Sherbet Lemons, but now it holds origami stars with the titles of some of my unread books on them! Visiting Harry Potter World with my favorite guy was a ridiculously amazing experience (even though I cried AND punked out on one of the rides), and I am thankful for his patience, because I wanted to see EVERYTHING. And, you know, consume any and all Butterbeer products.
Kady and Ezra Funkos
The funniest thing about these is that Kate facilitated them as a Christmas gift months before actually reading the series herself, and now she’s trash like me! They live in a place of honor on my Kristoff shelf, right in front of my Illuminae Files books and behind and “Am I not merciful?” bookmark. I’m hoping to get myself a Hannah, Nik, and Ella someday! These are not only awesome in and of themselves, but awesome because my best friends got them for me.
City of Weep Snowglobe
There could be entire stores dedicated to merchandise for Laini Taylor’s works, and I would still think there isn’t enough. I received this just a few days ago, and I knew it was coming, but I still couldn’t contain myself. I adore it.
Shades of Magic bookmarks
I have a little line of shiny string across the front of a single one of my Schwab shelves (I’ve been meaning to put up more, but here we are), and it houses the most ADORABLE little magnetic bookmarks I’ve gotten as gifts from friends. I eventually want to do this with several of my themed shelves, but this was the best place to stars.
Hagrid’s Hut mug by Cara Kozik and Owlcrate
This came in one of the first Owlcrate boxes I ever got, and it was even a gift from my mom, so it is extra special. I’ve gotten a couple of other mugs with Cara’s art, but this one is my favorite.
Escalating Panic tin
I did my college internship at Ministry of Stories in London. This is based off of a US program called 826 Valencia. I highly encourage you to click through the links in this blurb to check out their mission, and if you’re in the area and available, see if they need some volunteers or support them with a purchase. Each of the locations is themed, and the London location is home to Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, and they sell a wide variety of creepy, crawly, scary tidbits, including tinned fear. Each tin contains a short story and some candies. I’ve never eaten them, but I hear they’re good. Anyway, I got this one on my last trip to London, and I gave myself a good chuckle when I put Escalating Panic in Mr. Kristoff’s immediate vicinity. Seemed fitting.
This came in the FaeCrate Kingdom of Ash box, and I love him. I love him SO MUCH. Rowan Whitethorn is never a character I would have envisioned owning a plushie of, but man am I glad it exists! It’s hilarious to see his broody, tattooed face sitting on my shelf every day.
My Mate button
Technically, this isn’t on my shelves, but it’s hanging right next to them, so I’m counting it. This came in the YA Chronicles ACOFAS box, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of merch ever. The artist’s take on Rhys’s face is just pure gold. I can’t tell you why I love it so much or why I think it’s so funny, but I really do. You’ll have to pry that thing from my cold dead hands.
This is a recent acquisition, but I squealed when I opened the box, so I couldn’t not count it. I love maps. I’m always so excited when they are included in sub boxes, and I thought this was a great, original take on that. Plus, it’s so much easier to display on my shelf than another paper item.
Le Cirque des Rêves ticket
I periodically search Etsy for some art or merch for my favorite fandoms, and I found these tickets. I think approximately 2.4 seconds passed between finding them and checking out. When they arrived, there were three instead of the one I was expecting (see what happens when you don’t read the fine print?!), so I gave one to Paige and one to our friend Caitlin, since we are all head over heels in love with this book. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes me smile every time I look at my shelf.
So what do you think? Did we pick well? What are some of your favorite items on your shelves! Let us know in the comments!
We’ll be back with more T5W fun next week! And as always, happy reading! 💜💛
Paige went through her Goodreads, skimming across her favorite books to try and see what they have in common. She also looked at some of her most anticipated releases to see what makes her excited about them! She came up with some amazing things!
This one takes many forms. My first favorite was Alice in Wonderland – I loved the Disney movie as well as this (now creepy-seeming) live action Adventures in Wonderland Disney show back when I was small, and that really took root in me. Some of my favorite books involve travel between worlds: Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children Series, the Shades of Magic series, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, to name a few.
I didn’t know this was something I loved until recently, and then I realized just how much of it I read. Once I started the Wayward Children series this year, it completely sealed the deal. My favorite, forever and always, will always be Shades of Magic, though.
Books About Books
This seems like a given for a lot of readers, but there is nothing more exciting than seeing yourself and your interests reflected in books. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, The Book Thief, and People of the Book are a few of my favorites!
I love this, too! But what really draws me in are specific characters that can’t get enough of books. Or who have to learn to read. Or who find some kind of sanctuary when surrounded by books. Aelin Galathynius has a world to save, but she openly carries and purchases more books than she’ll ever need. That’s my kind of character.
I am a sucker for these – double points if they bend the genre a little. My favorite retelling is Beauty and the Beast, but I’m pretty equal opportunity as long as I’m familiar with the source material. I love to see how cleverly the author weaves the old narrative into the new. Some of my favorites are The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless by Marissa Meyer, A Court of Mist and Fury, and (sadly) Enchantment by Dumpster Fire Scott Card.
I think my love for this has been pretty well established. I did an embarrassing amount of splooshing about both The Lunar Chronicles and A Court of Thorns and Roses last year, and that only scratches the surface. A Curse So Dark and Lonely, The Sleeper and the Spindle, and Ella Enchanted are some of my other favorites.
Red and Black Aesthetics
This is a little more literal, in that I tend to pick up a LOT of books with these darker colors when I’m physically browsing a store. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with V.E. Schwab, who is the queen of these colors, but I can’t help it! Red Rising and The Night Circus also come to mind.
We aren’t as edgy as it probably seems like we are, but we sure do like a good edgy aesthetic. Black and red is good for everything. Decor. Clothing. Bookshelves. Paige covered the bases pretty well in her blurb, but let us not forget the GORGEOUS special edition of Six of Crows.
Assassins and Thieves
Hello, yes, welcome to our brand. I don’t think this needs to much more elaboration, but Celaena Sardothien, Mia Corvere, and Lila Bard have my heart. And I guess Jean and Locke from the Gentleman Bastards series, but the ladies are the most important.
Ditto. My most recent DnD character is Celaena. I don’t mean modeled after her. I mean I did everything in my power to turn my rogue into Celaena. It’s alarming.
Cutesy Art Styles
I read SO MANY middle grade/YA graphic novels because I pick them up due to their cuteness and then discover that I’m actually REALLY interested in the story. My current favorite is Space Boy by Stephen McCranie.
I found something we disagree about! It’s a National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day miracle! And sadly, I’m not kidding about the holiday. Look it up. ANYWAY, the whole red and black thing kinda carries over for me here. I like dark, angry artwork in my graphic novels and cover art. Blacks, reds, shadows, hard angles. I really only want enough light to be able to see what’s going on. Lookin’ at you, Locke and Key.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention these. You probably realize now that we’re a little less Tinkerbell and a little more “dance until you die” when it comes to our fae, but who is surprised? I’m currently rereading ACOWAR.
I think Cardan is delightful, and that’s really all you need to know. And, of course, our lord and savior, Rhysand.
Sentient Non-Human Characters
I won’t get too spoilery, but the Illuminae Files, Skyward by Sanderson, and The Way of Kings are the most recent books I’ve read to fit the bill here.
Another one where we differ slightly. This time it’s an International Children’s Book Day miracle! Much better, yeah? I enjoy these characters, but they aren’t really anything special to me. I do love how excited Paige gets about them, though. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
Some of my most recent favorites for this particular subset of books are Echo North, Through the White Wood, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
There’s something so cozy about a wintery book! I love them, especially when I get to have a nice warm beverage and read them by my fireplace when it’s also wintery outside. My favorite personal favorite is The Golden Compass, and I’m slating it for an re-read next winter, since I missed my window this year.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Some recent dragon-y reads of mine have been The Priory of the Orange Tree, Damsel, Before She Ignites, and As She Ascends.
We’ve written a lot of odes to dragons over the last 15 months, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! I haven’t read many dragon things lately, but I am re-reading Throne of Glass, so I’m getting a good Abraxos fix.
What are some of your very favorite things that draw you to books? This topic has endless possibilities, which made it such fun to write! Can’t wait to see what everyone else chose. Happy reading, friends, and we’ll see you next week! 💜💛
–The saying for March is “in like a lion, out like a lamb”, so while it doesn’t have to be as extreme as hate and love, discuss books that you weren’t loving in the beginning but then ended up enjoying in the end.
Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
I have a weird relationship with this series – the premise is absolutely intriguing enough to me that, even though I was mostly meh on the first two books, I’ve kept going. I am SUPER glad I did. It was astounding to me how much more gripped I was by the story in this installment of the quartet, and I am cautiously optimistic for Five Dark Fates, which comes out this fall.
You’re a better person than I am. I’m still too afraid to read it.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
So I didn’t necessarily think I was going to dislike this book, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone. My mother-in-law lent it to me, and she has read some of my favorite things, so I figured it was worth a shot. I actually really liked this book! Ove is a grumpy grumpster that I couldn’t help but adore.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman ON AUDIO
So I read this book a couple of years ago and, like many people, absolutely fucking hated it. But one of my favorite YouTubers said that she really recommended the series as a whole, despite not caring for the first book. I tried again on audio. I really enjoyed the first book, but unless you like surprise horribly problematic rape scenes, I would suggest not reading the second. I rage-quit the second one with about 45 minutes left, returned it to the library, and canceled my hold of the third one. It was disgusting.
1984 by George Orwell
Ya girl is awful at classics – most of the time, they just feel like I’m wasting my time while trying to feel smarter than I am. If you love them, I absolutely applaud you and am glad you do. I’m just a dumbass. This book, however, creeped me out in a way that I am constantly searching for, and I wasn’t even expecting it. Fucking yikes.
Obligatory SJM answer.
I thought I could get away without it, but I can’t. I read Throne of Glass a while back, and my meh-ness toward it made me apprehensive to continue the series AND to start ACOTAR. Thanks, Kate. I was wrong.
You’re so very welcome 💜💛
So, here’s the thing. If I don’t care by the time I’m 75-100 pages in, I quit. I’m a big, giant quitter. And I certainly don’t attempt things I know or suspect won’t be my jam. I read too slow and my TBR pile is too large for me to commit to things I’m not enjoying. That being said, there have been some slow starts for me that I either A) finished because someone I know and respect loved them, B) didn’t have anything better to do, or C) didn’t realize how much I’d read by the time I decided to quit and didn’t want to waste the effort already spent. So keep that in mind as I blather on.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I read this for the first time in the fall of 2017. I started it on audio while at work, because I thought it would be an easy read. After the first ~40 minutes, I wasn’t sure why I was still listening. The audio is ROUGH. But I didn’t have anything else from the library, and I still had six more hours left at work, so I let it keep playing. By the time I left work that day, I had had two or three meltdowns to Paige about how much I loved it, and I made a mad dash to beat Barnes and Noble’s closing time that night to pick up a copy, along with Fire and Bitterblue. Still haven’t read either of those, but I’ll get there eventually.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I shoehorned myself into reading this by only bringing Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King’s Cage with me on a 10 day road trip to Florida. In the end, it worked! I’d tried to read Red Queen two or three times before and just didn’t care, but it felt like one of those major YA releases that I needed to at least finish the first one. By the time I got to King’s Cage, I was trash. Still haven’t finished War Storm, and I don’t know if I’ll ever re-read the series in its entirety, but it did win a semi-permanent place in my heart and on my shelves.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I hate superhero stories. I HATE them. I don’t like the tropes. I don’t like the weird holier than thou crap the protagonists tend to spout. I don’t tend to care about the people they’re so desperate to save. I let all of that really cloud my judgment of Victor Vale and co. the first time I tried this, and I just couldn’t do it. To the point that it made me angry. But then, two years later, Vengeful was announced. I tried again, and I loved it. Turns out, even though I detest superheroes, I really love supervillains.
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Given that this is a Asha stan blog, this might seem strange, but here we are. I read this despite actively wondering for the first 60 pages why I should care. I was on the verge of DNF’ing when ~a thing~ happened, that I would usually tell you, but I don’t want to be a spoilery bitch for a series that’s still being written. All that aside, glad I didn’t quit.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This is the big kahuna for me, kind of like Throne of Glass was for Paige. I was sitting in a Subway and finished the first chapter when I messaged her that I really, really didn’t like the mirrored writing style. She responded with something benign like, “Oh, I really enjoyed that.”, and I swear to you I could feel the let down through my phone from 65 miles away. So I kept going. And then I couldn’t stop going. And now there’s a tattoo artist in Bloomington, IN sitting on an email full of my favorite fanart, waiting for me to pull the trigger on a thigh piece that’s entirely too large. Sometimes it just happens that way, ya know? Thanks, Paige!
COOL KIDS HAVE NEVERNIGHT TATTOOS
So there ya have it! All the things we love so much but really thought we wouldn’t. Gotta love when books take you by surprise! Let us know some of your surprise favorites in the comments.