Thursday, March 23, 2017

Books I Want to Read This Spring

I've been seeing so many posts this week featuring everyone's Spring TBRs and it got me to thinking about the books that I want to read this season. I probably won't get to some of these because I'm a huge mood reader who has been stuck in a manga binge read for months now. But there are several new releases that I can't wait to read once I get my hands on them.

I'm going to divide this post into backlist books I want to read, rereads, and new releases. Let's talk about the new releases first.

New Releases

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Jenn Bennett is one of my auto-buy authors so I was already going to buy this book. But I was completely sold as soon as I was told that this book is a YA You've Got Mail. Doesn't that sound amazing!?! I can't wait to read this one!

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
I'm a huge fan of Staveley's debut trilogy, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, so I'm super excited to get my hands on this standalone spinoff about our favorite assassin and priestess. This book is all about Pyrre's backstory and her journey to pass her trial to become a priestess of the God of Death. *grabby hands*

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
I actually don't know much about this one aside from that it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling that has been compared with the genius that is Robin McKinley's Beauty which is my favorite retellings of this classic tale. And of course, it's one of those books that it seems like everyone in my corner of the online book community is loving right now. I was sold on the McKinley comparison alone.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
A Cinderella retelling that takes place at a comic convention? YES! GIVE IT TO ME NOW! I'm so excited to read this book. It's getting a ton of good buzz in the blogging community and some of my trusted book friends have done nothing but rave about it. I'm so ready for it!

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
This book has been one of those books I've been waiting YEARS for. Seven to be exact. I completely adore this series and I've wanted this next book ever since I finished A Conspiracy of Kings in 2010. I NEED MAY TO GET HERE FASTER! I need this book in my hand ASAP!

Backlist Books

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
I'm going to be honest. I went and saw the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie and now I want to read all of the retellings I have on my shelf and Kindle. I actually can't remember what this one is about besides it being a retelling. I've had it on my bookshelf for a long time. Hopefully I'll get to it soon!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
 I had forgotten about this book until it got a new cover for the paperback release. It makes me want to read it so much! It's so cool, right?!? Also, I need more Hogwarts-like fiction and boys falling in love in my life .

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I got this book for Christmas and I'm so excited to read it! The animated adaptation of this book is my all-time favorite Miyazaki film and I can't wait to read it! In my opinion, we all need more Howl in our lives.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
 This book is being adapted into a film and I want to read it! The only things I know about it is that there's something about Oreos and boys falling in love with boys. There is SO much hype around this book in the online book community and I'm really excited to get to it!

Winter by Marissa Meyer
 I have no idea why I haven't read this yet. It's going to happen this year though! I started my audiobook reread of the previous books this week and I'm so happy to be back in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This series quickly catapulted itself into the top five on my favorite series of all-time list. I can't get it out of my head and I haven't stopped reading fanfic since I finished the last book. I NEED MORE OF BLUE AND HER RAVEN BOYS IN MY LIFE! Also, I need to kill time until Stiefvater finishes the Ronan trilogy she's working on. My plan is to reread the series via audio after I finish my Lunar Chronicles reread.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
My excitement over the next book has made me realize it's been awhile since I've reread this series. I've missed Eugenides and his shenanigans and I can't wait to revisit this world!

Beauty by Robin McKinley
I mentioned that the new Beauty and the Beast movie has made me want to read all the retellings, right? It's been a few years since I reread this one and its been tempting me to pick it up ever since I got out of the theater last week. I'm going to have to make room in my reading schedule for it. :)

Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Timekeeper was one of my favorite books last year and I can't get it out of my head. I keep thinking of the mythology and the characters. Especially a certain clock spirit. :) I've been hearing good things about the audiobook that just released so maybe I should add it to my list of books to reread on audio.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
I'm moving next month and I just finished packing my bookshelves. My friend who was helping me asked me what this book was about which lead to me gushing for the next half hour about how good it was. I had the hardest time trying to put it in a box after that because now I want to reread it. I need a timeturner so I can read all of the books I want to this year.

What books are you wanting to read this spring?


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Angsty Romances

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic is Favorite Angsty Romances

We kind of avoid the angsty romances in books but came up with lots of TV and movie ships that bring the dark and broody. I almost called this a TV/movie list, but most of these are actually based on books, I just haven't read them yet.

5. Buffy and Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
He's the ultimate broody boyfriend. He was even the Big Bad for a while. Talk about angst! I'm glad we weren't doing ship names when the show was on, because Bangel? Bungle? Yeah, no.

4. Clace - Jace and Clary from Shadowhunters
First they're a couple, then they're brother and sister, then they're not. Talk about tortured! I'm kind of rooting for them even if they are related.

3. Bill and Sookie from True Blood
In this case I have actually read the books. Book Bill is a lot angstier and arguably more romantic, looking after Sookie long after they've broken up.
 tv hbo vampire true blood eric northman GIF
2. Bellarke - Bellamy and Clarke from The 100
I know, technically Clarke and Bellamy aren't a couple, and that's probably a good thing for Bellamy since Clarke's significant others tend to meet untimely ends, but the emotional connection is there if the chaos will stop long enough for them to see it. Who has time for romance when you're trying to stop a war, or save humanity?
 the 100 GIF
1. Veronica and JD in Heathers
If you've actually seen the whole movie, you might not want to call this a romance - it's a little bit Harley and Mr. J. But this movie is the epitome of angst. In fact, every time I see the word I hear Winona Ryder.

Tell us about your favorite angsty romances in the comments.

All images via

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Novella Review: Brother's Ruin by Emma Newman

Brother's Ruin
(Industrial Magic #1)
Emma Newman
Release: March 14, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben's life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn't a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

Brother's Ruin is the first in a new gaslamp fantasy series by Emma Newman.

I'm going to be honest. I'm sad that I didn't enjoy this novella as much as I wanted to. It had the potential to be great (the series still has the potential to become great as this was only the first book), but I was left disappointed by the end. And most of my disappointment revolves around one thing that happens about halfway through. 

Brother’s Ruin started out fantastically! It started with great family dynamics where everyone cares about each other and put each other first. It's not often that you read a book where the heroine is driven to do things in the best interest of herself and her family. I really loved the brother and sister relationship between Charlotte and Benjamin.

I really liked Charlotte at first. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to work for it. She isn't afraid to go against societal norms. And I adored that she was happily engaged to a guy of her own free will and choice. It’s so rare to read a story where a girl is looking forward to her upcoming nuptials and not trying to get out of them. It was really refreshing that she was in love with a guy already when the story starts.

As I said, I loved her at the first. Then the thing happened about halfway and it drained all of my enjoyment out of the story. What's that thing you ask? Charlotte meets this handsome guy and it's like her personality did a 180. She's suddenly a different person from the one that I liked so much at first. She becomes infatuated with this guy and the story just went down hill from there for me. Can fiction quit it with the freaking love triangles already?!? This story would have worked perfectly with a nice guy she doesn’t have any feelings about whatsoever. There are such things as platonic relationships but instead we have to suffer through a love triangle.

Overall, I liked the story. The world and the magic system was great and the mystery was good. This series has potential to become something amazing. I'm just not sure I want to continue because of the borked romantic plot line. I'll probably wait to make that decision after people I trust have read book two.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  3 / 5 Stars

Friday, March 17, 2017

Weres Wanna Know: Monthy TBR, Yearly TBR, or No TBR?

Weres Wanna Know is a new discussion feature where we share a topic that's been on our minds and invite you to share your thoughts as well.

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about TBRs. Specifically I've been thinking about how bad I am about sticking to the monthly TBRs I set for myself. Each month I pick out an average of six books and I maybe read two of those tops. Part of my problem is that I'm a serious mood reader so books that I want to read at the first of the month aren't the ones I want to read by the middle of the month.

Conversely, I do really well with making a yearly TBR list and sticking without. I usually complete 75% of the 100 or so books I choose to read at the beginning of each year. I think the longer time span counteracts my mood reading perfectly so I'm more successful with a yearly TBR compared to a monthly one.

So us Weres wanna know...

Do you like making TBRs?
Do you make a monthly one or a yearly one? 
Do you have any tips or tricks that'll help us stick to a set TBR?

If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed in a Weres Wanna Know post, let us know in the comments, send us a Facebook message, or email

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Betrayed Us

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

Beware the Ides of March!
This week's topic is Books You Felt Betrayed By

5. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
I'm not going to say how this book betrayed me but if you've read it, you know what I'm talking about. WHY, SANDERSON? WHY? -Rose Red


4. The Anita Blake Series by Laurel K. Hamilton
It's not unusual for the later books in a long-running series to feel different than the early ones as characters evolve and worlds get more complex. This series started as a pretty dark urban fantasy. In fact, it's one of the series that defined the genre. And while that paranormal mystery element is still there, it's gotten completely overshadowed by the sex scenes. I have no problem with them being there, but when it's the only thing I remember about the book, that's a problem. - Gretl

3. Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson
This was a different kind of betrayal, but felt like one nonetheless. The first book in the Jessica McClain series was brilliant and the second nearly as good. This third book was just badly written. Even though I finished the series, none of the subsequent books were as good as those first two. -Gretl


2. Iced by Karen Marie Moning
This is another series that just didn't go where it said it would. Iced was supposed to begin a new arc with a new main character. (Since that character was 14 it had lots of people trying to call it YA which is so wrong, but that's a different issue.) But after that book, the series went right back to its original narrator whose story wasn't over after all. Add to that the way the author handled the controversy surrounding the audiobook narrator and I just couldn't bring myself to continue the series even though I loved the earlier books. -Gretl

1. Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
We're not going to tell how this book betrayed us either, but if you've read it you know. The series definitely redeemed itself but the wait for book five was painful. - Rose Red and Gretl

What books do you feel the most betrayed by?


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review and Discussion: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone
(The Others #5)
Anne Bishop
Release: March 7, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.


We both set out to write a review for Etched in Bone, but it was one of those books that inspire not criticism or praise so much as a lot of things that make you go hmm. So we're calling this a review/discussion and we hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments.

Gretl's Thoughts
Other than "OMG! Simeg are so cute!" my biggest takeaway from Etched in Bone is that the politics in the series have become much more relatable. It's been there from the beginning but it's disguised enough that I think you could choose to ignore it until now. Things like the humans leasing the land from its original owners and therefore having an obligation not to abuse it are obviously about environmentalism. The Humans First and Last movement is about racism. (Those are both oversimplifications though.) The last book was focused global politics and you could view Namid's teeth and claws as the Others' nuclear option since whole cities are destroyed.

Going from that to crisis on a much more personal level gives Etched in Bone a slightly different feel. This book was about rulers who are out of touch with those they govern. It's a "Let them eat cake" situation. The Elders who have come to observe the Courtyard don't understand humans and their ignorance endangers people. Maybe because it's on a more personal scale, I find it much harder to ignore the politics in this book.

I think setting Meg and Simon's relationship in this smaller, more intimate context makes sense. The big, global events in Marked in Flesh might have overshadowed their HEA. This way we also see the results of the climax from the previous book. And it sets up the characters who are going to be in the spinoff series, which moves away from the Lakeside Courtyard.

It might be better to look at this book as a transition between story arcs, like Allegiance of Honor, rather than a series finale. The latter makes it seem like a really long epilogue showing the aftermath of events in Marked in Flesh, which is much less satisfying. (Goodreads also lists the next book as The Others #6, rather than first in a new series.)

I enjoyed Etched in Bone, especially Simeg, but wasn't blown away like I was with some of the earlier books in the series. It also gave me lots of food for thought, which is never a bad thing.

Rose Red's Thoughts
I agree with everything that Gretl said. The politics and the parallels that can be made to our current political situation hit a little close to home this time around. I especially agree with her observation that Etched in Bone felt like an extended epilogue for Marked in Flesh. As a continuation of the story, I was enthralled with the new details of the world and I loved seeing how the newest members of the Human Pack were settling into the Courtyard. I also loved seeing how the consequences of the Human First and Last movement were being handled. 

One of my favorite things about this series, and it showed up in this book, is how Bishop presents evil and the bad guy. They're not like other big bads in the SFF genres. They're not out rightly evil. For the most part, the bad guys have an attractive face and can be seen as totally reasonable by the humans. Case in point, look at how far the HFL movement got in the previous books. An overarching theme we've seen in this series is that mistakes are made on both sides when you underestimate your enemy. This is definitely the case with the Elders in this book:
“They had needed to learn too much too quickly, and they had made a mistake. They would fix this.”
I found Jimmy to be a fascinating character in all of his horribleness. He acted as a foil that revealed sides to several of our main characters that we hadn't seen before. The thing is I knew as soon as he showed up on the page how his arc was going to play out and it felt like it took forever to get to the resolution. The pacing of the story was slow and felt off in such a way that the climax felt very anticlimactic.

As a series/Lakeside arc ender, this book fell incredibly short for me. I don't feel like the Lakeside arc was wrapped up at all. I didn't get a solid conclusion and it's messing with how I feel about the book overall. Like Gretl observed, this book felt more like a transition book and not a series ender. And this may be an unpopular opinion but there was not enough Simon and Meg in this last book of their arc. Don't get me wrong! What we do see of them is adorable and I loved all of their scenes but it felt like they were already getting brushed to the side to make room for the new arc and I didn't like that. Overall, I was underwhelmed.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4 / 5 Stars

Have you read Etched in Bone? 

What did you think?


Our reviews of other books in this series:
RTFB: The Others by Anne Bishop
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite SFF Books

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic, in collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, is All-Time Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books.

You might notice a lack of "classics" on my list of all-time favorites. I didn't grow up reading fantasy. (I had a bad childhood experience with the animated Hobbit.) Most of my reading in the genre has been since 2010 so my list reflects that.

5. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
Probably my single most reread book. I think it's 8 times maybe? I've lost count.
4. Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
I loved this book so much I finished reading and immediately started it over again.
3. Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
This one was a turning point in the series and just blew my mind when I read it.
2. The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
Epic steampunk romance with airships and sea vessels and epicness!
1. Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews
I just love this book beyond all reason. You can read my review here.

My experience seems to be the total opposite of Gretl's. I grew up reading nothing but fantasy. And I haven't really stopped since but I've added more and more sci-fi to my reading. So my list is going to be a mix of old and new titles.

5. A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

4. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
3. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

2. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
1. The Shades of Magic Series by V.E. Schwab

Honorable Mentions:
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Gentleman Bastards Series by Scott Lynch
Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding
Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

I had a terrible time narrowing this down to just five. Fantasy and science fiction have been my absolute fave genres for several years now. So, I decided to stick to YA for my list. 
Here's my Top 5 Favorite YA Fantasy and Sci-fi Books:

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