Thursday, January 19, 2017

Theme Thursdays: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This year we're going to try something new that we hope will help us tackle our TBR piles and keep us motivated to complete our #RockMyTBR challenges. We're starting a new feature called Theme Thursdays this year! Each month, we'll review books from our respective TBRs that fit a theme we choose at the beginning of the month. January's theme is MAGIC!

The Bear and the Nightingale
Untitled Trilogy #1
Katherine Arden
Release: January 10, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

I'm going to be honest here. The first half of this book is slow and full of worldbuilding. That doesn't mean it wasn't gloriously good but it took me a bit to get into it. I will say that I knew I was going to love the story as soon as I finished chapter three. The writing is gorgeous and atmospheric and reminded me of Robin McKinley's works which is one of the biggest compliments I can give a book. I loved that the story is full of Russian fairy tales! I was familiar with a few of them but not all of them. Reading this book, you can see that the author did her research and it made the story that much more amazing!

The story's main focus and character is Vasya, the youngest child of the minor nobleman, Pyotr Vladimirovich. She is a strange child who likes to spend all her days in the woods and is always getting into all sorts of mischief. This book isn't just the story of a girl with strange abilities, it's also about the rise of Christianity in Rus and how it starts pushing out the country's pagan beliefs. There are many households in Vasya's village who both pray to God and make offerings to the household spirits until a priest comes and tells them there is only God and no such thing as spirits.

Soon after that the village starts to suffer terrible winters that don't let up. Vasya starts to realize that the fairy tales her nurse told her growing up may not be simply fairy tales. When darkness descends on the village, Vasya may be the only one with the power to stop it.

This book is magical and Vasya is an unlikely heroine in the vein of Agnieszka in Naomi Novik's Uprooted and Aerin from Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown and I fell in love with her almost immediately! That love just got bigger as the book progressed and we watched her grow into a young woman. I'm pretty sure I can't quantify how much I ended up loving her by the end of the book. She's like the heroines of my childhood reading and it made my reading experience even more lovely! I loved that Vasya continues to make offerings to the household spirits and befriends them even though it goes against her Stepmother's views of them being demons.

The overall storyline of the book is very subtle and the story feels more like historical fiction than fantasy in places. But there comes a point about halfway through the book where things start to pick up and the subtle plot that had been laid in the first part comes to light and the conflict becomes noticeable. IT WAS SO WELL DONE! I'm amazed at how everything came together. This is one of those books that I'll be able to reread over and over again and pick up new details every time. Also, the number of Russian fairy tales referenced in this book was amazing and I'm pretty sure I missed a bunch. I need more books that revolve around Russian folklore in my life!

Not only did I fall in love with the story and the atmosphere of this book, but I fell in love with so many of the characters besides Vasya. I want more of them! The book ends on a slight cliffhanger that will make you want for the next book in this series ASAP. This book is definitely going to be one of my favorites of the year which makes Katherine Arden a debut author you don't want to miss! She has gained a place on my auto-buy list after just one book if that tells you how much I loved this story.

Recommended for fans of:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4 / 5 Stars

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Release Day Review: Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill

Phantom Kiss
(Chicagoland Vampires #12.5)
Chloe Neill
Release: January 17, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
In this all-new novella from the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight Marked, Merit, Ethan, and the rest of Cadogan House crew discover that not all undead creatures are kindred spirits…

Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that their being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again...

Chronologically, Phantom Kiss is the novella that bridges the gap between Midnight Marked and Blade Bound, the last book in the series. How is this series so close to being done? Guys, I'm not ready for it to be over! I love Ethan and Merit and the gang so much!

Ethan and Merit are preparing for their wedding when Annabelle, their friendly neighborhood necromancer, calls them to investigate a weird grave robbery. Soon they find Cadogan House has become a haunted house and they have to figure out how to get rid of a ghost who doesn't want to be gotten rid of.

I enjoyed the hell out of this story! It was the perfect length to give us a Chicagoland fix while waiting for the last book. This novella is a nice addition to the series but isn't essential to the overall arc of the series (To my knowledge anyway! I haven't read the last book.) And it was fun while expanding the world a bit past the vampires and shifters we've become accustomed to in the series. 

I loved the ghost story angle and that we got to see more of Annabelle! She's quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in the series and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that she'll get a novella or a book of her own. It was fun reading about Merit and Ethan having to learn how to fight a ghost and I loved seeing another side of the supernatural in this world. The plot progression is well done with surprising little twists along the way with a conclusion that was great while keeping the humor and snark we've come to expect in the series. 

Overall, I loved it and I'd recommend reading it if you're a fan of the series. It'll help a bit with the wait for Blade Bound.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: 2017 Debuts

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 2017 debuts we're excited for.

5. I'm almost afraid this one won't live up to the hype.
Stephanie Garber
Release: January 31
Goodreads Amazon
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. 

4. I've heard so much good stuff about this one already!
Gilded Cage
(Dark Gifts #1)
Vic James
Release: February 14
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

3. Pride and Prejudice and Dragons!
Elle Katharine White
Release: January 17
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters. 

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart. 

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world. 

2.Magical Debutante Balls, anyone?
Blood Rose Rebellion
(Blood Rose Rebellion #1)
Rosalyn Eves
Release: March 28
The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.  
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever. 

1. Because Pirate Girls!
Daughter of the Pirate King
Tricia Levenseller
Release: February 28
Goodreads Amazon
A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure. 
If you want something done right . . .
When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?
Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Bonus pick: I can't decide decide where to rank this one since the author is a friend of mine. But doesn't it sound awesome?
31213086Borrowed Souls
(Soul Charmer #1)
Chelsea Mueller
Release: May 2
Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

Here are 5 more late 2017 debuts that sound amazing but don't have covers, or in some cases even blurbs, yet. Click the titles to add them to Goodreads.

5.Cinderella, Necromancer by F.M. Boughan, September 5
4.Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller, September 5
3.Royal Bastards by Andrew Schvarts, June 6
2.Mirage by Somaiya Daud, November 6
1.Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody, August 15

What debut authors are on your radar this year?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu

The Rise of Io
Wesley Chu
Release: October 4, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Ella Patel – thief, con-artist and smuggler – is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants. The man freezes, leaving the woman to fight off five attackers at once, before succumbing. As she dies, to both Ella and the man’s surprise, the sparkling light that rises from the woman enters Ella, instead of the man. She soon realizes she’s been inhabited by Io, a low-ranking Quasing who was involved in some of the worst decisions in history. Now Ella must now help the alien presence to complete her mission and investigate a rash of murders in the border states that maintain the frail peace.

With the Prophus assigned to help her seemingly wanting to stab her in the back, and the enemy Genjix hunting her, Ella must also deal with Io’s annoying inferiority complex. To top it all off, Ella thinks the damn alien voice in her head is trying to get her killed. And if you can’t trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?

Some of my favorite sci-fi books that have come out in the last five years have been written by Wesley Chu. I absolutely adore his Tao series so I was ecstatic when I found out that he was writing another book set in the same world but with a female character! Chronologically, this book is set after the Tao series but it can also be your first Quasing book if you haven't read the others yet.

I immediately fell in love with Ella. She's scrappy and smart and so unlike Roen who came before her! They both are thrust into the life of the Quasing against their will when they becomes hosts to the Prophus, Tao and Io but that's where the similarities end. 

When we first met Roen, he was lazy with no direction for his life and Tao was well-known for his success. They had a snarky symbiosis that was frankly, adorable. Ella and Io are the complete opposite. Ella is smart but uneducated. She's a street rat that has been using all her wit and cunning to survive while Io has been the quintessential Prophus failure and has been struggling to make a name for herself. Their relationship is confrontational. Ella is not happy having an alien inside and wants Io out of her head. It's a host-Quasing relationship we've never seen in the series and it was an amazing choice. It was nice to see the opposite of Tao and Roen and I loved that Io had to become reliant on Ella's way more advanced survival skills.

I also loved that this book was set in India! It was enough to expand the world a bit more while still remaining familiar. But what I loved the most besides the characters (three cheers for a diverse cast and multiple awesome female characters!) was the writing. It was like reading a summer blockbuster in book form. And the banter was amazing! Chu definitely has a gift for writing hilarious and action-packed stories!

I can't recommend this book (and the prior books in the series) enough! If you're looking for a fun sci-fi romp, look no further than Wes Chu's Tao books. They are absolutely delightful! I can't wait to see what Chu writes next! I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that we get more books in this universe.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 /5 Stars

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 Reading Challenges

Happy New Year! We love when it's the start of a new year! Our reading challenge slates have been wiped clean and the year holds so much potential! 2016 was an excellent book and reading year for us and we were mostly successful when it came to completing our reading challenges. But 2016 is over which means it's time for new reading challenges! These are the ones we're planning on participating in!

Goodreads Reading Challenge

The Goodreads Challenge is a pretty straight forward. You set a goal for the number of books you want to read this year and Goodreads will track your progress. There's no specific genres or qualifications that need to be met; you just read books. We love participating in this one each year and we wish many "you're ahead of schedule" messages on everyone participating in this challenge.

Rose Red: I set my Goodreads goal to 52 books because I know that I can read a book a week. I'll read more than that but I like to succeed so I set my goal to this. My unofficial goal is to read more than 150 books in 2017. I would love to get more than 200 like I did in 2016 but I'd be ecstatic to hit 150. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that I meet my unofficial goal.

Gretl: Sometime in the spring (I'm not sure if it was April or May) I lowered my Goodreads goal from 3 books a week to 2 because I was way too far behind. So while I made my (revised) goal, it's kind of bittersweet. I read 107/104 books, which is my lowest total since I joined Goodreads in 2012.

For 2017, I'm shooting for 120, which is 10 books a month. Or about halfway between where I was last year and where I want to be.

Goldilox: I actually followed Rose Red's lead on this one and also set my goal for 2017 to read 52 books. My Goodreads goals in the past few years have been all over the place and some years I've met them and other years I haven't come close. For 2017 I'd like to read at least an average of one book per week though, so I went with 52. I hope to actually read many more books than that, more like 2 - 3 a week, but this way I can ensure that I accomplish my goal.

Rock My TBR 2017

The Rock My TBR Challenge was created by and hosted by Sarah K. from The YA Book Traveler. Basically, the challenge is to read at least one book off your TBR pile each month. If you do that, your TBR will be down twelve books by the end of the year. It's pretty low-key and chill reading challenge and it really helps to make a dent in those TBR piles of ours. Sarah also hosts monthly buddy reads that are fun to participate in!

Rose Red: I briefly played with the thought of upping my goal from what I set last year because I ended up reading 36 books from my pile. I'm going to err on the side of caution and keep my goal the same. My plan is to read at least 2 books per month from my physical TBR list for a total of 24 books. I'll probably read more but that feels like a doable goal to start with.

Gretl: I wanted to read at least one book a month from my TBR and I did that, but since I bought more than one book a month I don't feel like I made any progress. And I'm not sure I read any of the books I listed at the beginning of the challenge that I wanted to read. There's some really good stuff still languishing on my Kindle!

Goldilox: I love the idea of this reading challenge! It's easy to read the new releases that we're all excited about reading and we often forget about the books that have been sitting on our TBR shelf collecting dust. I'm going to go SUPER low key with this challenge and just plan to read one book on my TBR shelf each month because several of them are starters to series and if I like the first one I'll probably read the rest in that series as well.

So we have a plan to make the challenge more fun and help keep us motivated. We're going to have Thursday themes in 2017! Each month, we'll review books that fit that theme. January's theme is going to be MAGIC!

Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? If so, which ones?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: 2017 Goals

We're trying something new for 2017: 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.

We're kicking off the year with our 2017 Goals

5. Be A Better Bookstagrammer.
Not take better pictures, though that would be good too, but participate in more challenges, comment on more posts, and post regularly. I'd also like to do a better job sharing blog content to Instagram. We might even be hosting our own Bookstagram challenge in 2017, so keep an eye out.

4. Plan Ahead For Better Reading Challenge Results.
 I think I completed 2 out of the 4 reading challenges I started last year and part of my failure can be attributed to poor planning. We have an idea to make it more interesting and I'm sure I can make a spreadsheet that'll help. (We'll be talking about the 2017 Reading Challenges we're participating in for tomorrow's post.)

3. Reduce Our TBR Piles.
I'm pretty sure I make this a goal every year. I made great headway last year but it wasn't enough. My personal Mount TBR is still huge. I'm hoping to make a significant dent in it this year so Mount TBR can be demoted to TBR Hill.

2. Read Diverse Books.
This is a pretty self-explanatory goal but it's an important one. Thankfully, a lot of adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance books feature diverse casts and mythologies but I need to be better especially with the YA books I read. I made a bigger effort in 2016 to read books with POC main characters and characters with different sexualities than mine and it was amazing! Several of them ended up being my favorite books of the year. 

If you're looking for diverse books coming out in 2017, check out this list here. For diverse books released in 2016, check out this Twitter thread (Shelly always has the best diverse recs).

1. Blog Ahead.
When I first started blogging, I was so good about reading my ARCs the month before the books released and always having reviews scheduled at least a week in advance. In 2016, it all came completely off the rails! I want to get back to at least reading the books during the month they release if I can't them done ahead.

I hope that by scheduling reviews ahead and doing things like Top 5 Wednesday that can be written weeks in advance, we'll both give our readers more consistent content and manage our workload more effectively, which should make everything less stressful for all of us.

What are your 2017 Reading/Blogging Goals?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Release Day Review: Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

29895106Breath of Fire
(Kingmaker Chronicles #2)
Amanda Bouchet
Release: January 3, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.
Breath of Fire opens a few months after A Promise of Fire with some really intense scenes, both emotionally and physically. But I felt like that intensity devolved into Cat and Griffin acting like horny teenagers any time they weren't in battle. Even though there's sort of an explanation for it by the end, I felt like the author tried to fit three books worth of sexy time into this one. Maybe some people thought there wasn't enough in book one and she overcompensated?

Despite that, there are still lots of things I like about Breath of Fire. It reveals some new aspects of Cat's magic, which I always find interesting. I love the supporting cast, and Cat really makes the case for the Beta Team being her family now. And my favorite thing is definitely the gladiatorial games in the second half of the book. Part of me would have liked the whole story to be set to there, but that would really emphasize the parallels to the Kate Daniels series, and probably not in a good way.

The Greek myth influence is much more prominent in this book, with a quest for items from the gods, a labyrinth and familiar monsters. In the first book in the series, I liked the fact that the familiar mythology made it easy to follow. But now I feel like the gods are way too involved in the story. Cat almost completely lacks agency since a prophesy determines her course and her friends convince her to just accept her destiny. She decides to trust the gods and just go along with whatever happens. Just like in the first book when she was kidnapped, she seems to use the circumstances as an excuse not to be responsible for her own actions. And it's hard to root for a hero whose success is not their own.

This is a story with lots of action, of both the sword and the sexy variety, which is something I usually love. But it's also one of those books where the more time I spend thinking about it, the more things I find that bother me. Like the fact that the big surprise at the end was not a surprise at all. Still, I'm invested in this world and the characters and I want to see what happens next. I'll definitely be checking out book three this fall.

Recommended for fans of: Kate Daniels, Greek mythology

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley


My reviews of other books in this series:
A Promise of Fire

Monday, January 2, 2017

Audiobook Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Release: November 8, 2016
Goodreads  Amazon
Book Depository

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.
Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


Marissa Meyer has long been one of my absolute favorite authors of YA. Her newest release is Heartless, a stand alone fantasy that tells the origin story of the Queen of Hearts.
If you love her Lunar Chronicles series like I do, be prepared to devour the delicious whimsy, romance, and heartache of Heartless. This has some similarities to Meyer's novella Fairest, in which she gave us Queen Levana's origin story. Catherine is a much more likable character in Heartless, but the parallels between their stores are definitely notable. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will be excited to see all of their favorite characters years before Alice showed up in Wonderland. My favorite character in this book was Hatter by far. His story is particularly compelling.
Check out more of my thoughts on Heartless in the video below - all spoiler-free of course!

HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer | Spoiler-Free Review

Email subscribers: Click on the link to the blog post to view the video.  :)
Click on the little red youtube button below to subscribe to the new channel!

You can also view more videos on the channel by clicking here: 

  5 / 5 stars

Month in Review: December 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 is finally over! Actually, it's kind of weird to think that it's 2017 now. But to close out 2016, here's what the Weres were up to in December.

What We Reviewed

  Nice Guys Bite by Jennifer Estep

Goldilox and the Top Ten Lists

We celebrated the end of 2016 with ten days of top ten lists because books are always our favorite things of each year.

Goldilox reviewed the November Owlcrate Box with the Wonderland theme. She also hauled a bunch of awesome Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts themed items. And if you're not wanting the new episodes of Gilmore Girls to be over, Goldilox has some character inspired book recs for you.

Reading Challenge Recap

Gretl read her ARC of Frostblood by Elly Blake to complete her challenge this month.

Rose Red fell into a weird slump where she binge watched a bunch of anime (Hello! Yuri on Ice!) and read borrowed manga volumes. While she read a bunch, she didn't read any books that counted towards her challenge.

What We're Waiting For

Here are some of the January releases we're excited about:

January 3
Wayfarer (Passenger #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2) by Amanda Bouchet
The Cursed Queen (The Imposter Queen #2) by Sarah Fine

January 10
Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard
Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

January 17
Phantom Kiss (Chicagoland Vampires #12.5) by Chloe Neill

January 24
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson #11) by Darynda Jones

January 30 
Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole

January 31
The Ghoul Vendetta (SPI #4) by Lisa Shearin
The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman
Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top 10 of 2016: Top 10 Books We're Looking Forward to in 2017

For week two of our Ten Days of Top Tens, we're participating in Top Ten of 2016 hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, Tales of a Ravenous Reader, and Dark Faerie Tales.
Today's topic is Top Ten Books We're Looking Forward To in 2017

Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard
Releases on January 3, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton
Releases on March 7, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews
Releases on May 30, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1) by Nalini Singh
Releases on June 13, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V. E. Schwab
Releases on February 21, 2017
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The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Releases on June 20, 2017
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Thick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief #5) by Megan Whalen Turner
Releases on May 16, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Releases on May 16, 2017
Goodreads Amazon

Untitled (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas
Releases October 2017

Untitled (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Releases Fall 2017
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