Tag: a curse so dark and lonely

Top Ten Tuesday – Things That Make Me Want To Pick Up A Book

Posted April 2, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 0 Comments

Check out the description on her blog!

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!

Portal Worlds


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.

Fairytale Retellings


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.

Wintery Settings


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! 💜💛

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books We’d Love to Re-Read Via Audio

Posted March 26, 2019 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 10 Tuesday / 0 Comments

This week was an audio freebie, and we were wildly uninspired. Doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun writing it though! We decided to mix it up and both do comments on the same ten items instead of inundating you with 20. We hope you like it!



This one is bittersweet, because I’ve listened to the sample on Audible and just can’t get behind the narration. I have a hard time believing that whoever the narrator of the story is would sound really harsh. If the audio versions were better, I would definitely be using them for my reread before Darkdawn!


What she said. I can’t even bring myself to listen to the sample, because I’ve heard so many bad things about the audiobooks. So I’ll be using up regular reading time to re-read these pre-Darkdawn, unfortunately.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely


This came to mind for me when Kate mentioned getting it for #BATBathon, but then she was very sad to discover the audio version didn’t exist. Maybe if we complain enough, we will bitch it into existence?


HER OTHER BOOKS HAVE AUDIO!!! Why not this masterpiece?! I want it SO BAD.

Spin the Dawn


If you think I’m not pre-ordering this book and immediately tackling it on audio, you crazy.


Same. This book was magic, and July can’t come soon enough.



I binge-read the first two books in this trilogy earlier this year, and now that Shusterman has tweeted about finishing The Toll, I’m already looking forward to revisiting the story and seeing if they can make Citra sound as snarky as she is.


I’ve still only read the first one, but I think I would like to listen to it before reading Thunderhead. I loved it, but I read it before Thunderhead was out, and then I got distracted. Can’t wait to dive back in! I used one of my banked Audible credits to buy this, well, right now.

Sky in the Deep


Why haven’t I reread this yet???


Please see above.



I’ve reread Illuminae via audio before, and Kate and I are both tackling Obsidio right now, but I would love to listen to all 3 back to back and get some of that sweet, sweet space angst.


I’m definitely going to do an audio re-read of these, but it’s going to be a hot minute. Illuminae and Gemina both almost killed me, and I can already tell, just 85 pages in, that Obsidio is going to do the same.

The Ember Quartet


Why yes, I would love to listen to these at work in preparation for Ember 4 and play a game with myself to see if I can manage to not cry. I will lose. YAY.


Yeahhhhhhh you’re definitely gonna lose. I listed to these after reading Reaper last year. It was totally worth it, and I’ll do it again, but it puts you through the emotional wringer.

Throne of Glass


Kate definitely has done this already, but I only own the first one. Someday I WILL have them all and make my way through the series again.


Fun fact: Kate is doing this RIGHT NOW. I owned them all on Kindle, so I sprange for all the Audible addons last year. 200% worth it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone


Have done this. Can confirm it is amazing. Would recommend.


I’m tentatively slating this for sometime in the fall. We’ll see if I make it happen. I want to listen really badly, and I loved the Night of Cake and Puppets audio, but I still haven’t committed to the full DOSAB saga.

His Dark Materials


This is also an excellent idea. Know what would be cool that just randomly popped into my head? Listening to these books being read by Neil Gaiman.


HOLY CRAP YES! They are full cast, though, and that’s pretty damn good, too.

Let us know some of your favorite audio reads in the comments, so we can add to our ever growing lists. Happy Tuesday!

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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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