Top Ten Tuesday | Books That Surprised Me

 

Okay, I’m going to play nice for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I want to talk about books that surprised me for the good. I can rant about books I can’t stand, but I don’t see the point right now. So here’s my list of the books that pleasantly surprised me:

Warcross by Marie Lu

Rainbow hair, virtual reality, plot twists. I’M IN HEAVEN. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, but Marie makes me want to be one. I’m still thinking about this book. And that cliffhanger is killing me right. I adore Emika. She’s one of my favourite characters!

If the sequel isn’t called Darkcross, I’ll be salty. Salty, people.

 

Everless by Sara Holland

Okay, I’ve read this book only once, but I want to read it again…and again. I adore the main character, Jules, who fights for the people she loves. She understands and knows of poverty, hunger, and a resentment of people who want nothing more than to push the poor down further. But Sara builds in twists that surprise you. I know I’ll read this book again.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Court intrigue, politics, dark romance, and21 trickery all rolled up into one beautiful book. Can I fangirl any harder? No, I need to buy candles to reach that level (don’t tempt me; I’ll buy them). I know Holly from Cassie Clare, but I wish I found her work much sooner though. Her dark writing is gorgeous.

And can we talk about a certain male character having a tail? 😂 He. Has. A. Tail. I’ve seen it all, apparently.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Grey London. Red London. White London. Black London. ALL THE LONDONS. Okay, maybe not the Black. I loved this book. It’s been on my TBR list for years, but I didn’t read it until last year though. The way Victoria blends in fantasy and sci-fi just makes me love those genres more. I’m all for a time travel story, but she takes it to a different dimension.

 

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

This book is whimsical and enchanting. And it took me a while to get over the story and that ending. I am a huge fan of the Goblin King, Bowie’s and the original version. So I had a high expectation for Wintersong. I didn’t know what to expect or what I’d love, but Sarah didn’t disappoint. Her writing and storytelling for a debut author are superb, and I cannot wait to read Shadowsong.

Monthly Wrap-Up | February 2018

Hi, dearies!

February is gone? Really? I feel as if it flew past me, and I had no time to get anything done. I certainly haven’t put any dent into that TBR pile, which likes nothing than to laugh at me. Okay, I may need a break if I think my books are taunting me (send help).

This part may not be book related, but I absolutely loved the Black Panther. Can I get more Shuri, please?! I’m so happy to see a female character championing STEM. I really do, and I’m counting down the days until I see Infinity Wars.

 

Look at that. I read more than four books in a month. Woo!!! 😅 I wish I had more time to get to more though. They’re too tempting to see on my shelf. And if you know the secret of how to read quicker, teach me your ways, please.

 

 

Everless by Sara Holland

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love, love, LOVE this book. I cannot get enough of it. I don’t always rave about a debut novel, but you need to read it. Please. I need someone to fangirl with. Sara blends together deception, secrets, and political intrigue in this novel. I’m seriously impressed with her writing and storytelling.

 

Romanov by Samaire Provost

⭐⭐⭐

I thought I left vampires behind, but I was reminiscing over the books I loved, so I signed up for this tour. While it has some rough sections, Romanov is a family-centred fantasy with Russian lore mixed in.

 

Devil’s Gold by Amanda McKinney

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This novella is short yet sweet and so steamy. I want to read more mystery and thriller novels, and I’m glad I picked up this one. Amanda draws you in with independent and strong-willed female characters and a fast-paced writing. I can’t wait to see the next story.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I find that writing the review of this book is hard. But The Cruel Prince, by far, one of my favourite reads of 2018. There is a lot of hype surrounding this book, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it. However, Holly knows how to write fae stories. Jude is a ruthless human who can easily rival faeries. Cardan, the broken prince, is a worthy opponent for her.

My review is coming soon!

 

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Am I Kelley fan? Yup. Did she make a stellar thriller? Hell yes. Her Rockton Thriller is burning up the mystery scene, and I cannot wait to read the next book.

If you’re looking for an atmospheric book with a touch of romance and fantastic writing, pick up this series.

 

You can find my review posts linked in the titles above.


 

I think I’ve lost count on how many books I need to read, but I keep adding to my literal TBR pile, without actually tackling it. Am I ever going to see it go down to single digits? HA. Now I understand why there are so many memes to help bloggers lower their list.

I lucked out this month by winning a free copy of The Hazel Wood. Thank you, Indigo Teen! I can’t wait to read it.

 


 

How exciting was February for you? Did you grab your most anticipated book of the month? Let me know in the comments.

Wrap-up: February 2017

february-wrap-up

I loved February. I got to read the books I’ve been dying to get my hands on. And my heart, psyche, and well, mind are all in revolt. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried. So here are the reads that kept me up past midnight!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naturally, my first carnival book is, in fact, my favourite. Yes, Caraval has a insta-love feel to it, but the author makes a nice twist to it. The hype is real, so magically real, and I can’t help but gush about this book.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kelley’s books are always instant buys and instant reads for me. I’ve read most of her work and probably own well over thirty of her books. I’ll warn you now: this book is dark and may trigger some readers. Kelley has an uncanny talent for writing complex and utterly intriguing characters. I can’t get enough of the series and hope to get my hands on the next instalment.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I need a support group, stat. Please. King’s Cage is a vast improvement from Glass Sword. You can feel how much time and effort Victoria put into this book. It’s deliberately slow paced, yet it smacks you with intensely real emotions at the end. The sequrel cannot come soon enough.

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A poignant tale of a girl falling in love with the Goblin King and finding herself and her music in the Underground. I knew I had to read this story. Don’t expect anything similar to the Labyrinth. Wipe the slate clean and prepare yourself for this gut-wrenching love story. Highly recommended!

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Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Published by: Thomas Dunne

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Extent: pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”

Be careful what you wish for. Haunting, frightening, dark, yet beautiful, Wintersong takes claim on your heart and reveals a realm beyond the veil that you have never seen before. You won’t escape its spell.

Liesl, an 18-year-old inspiring musician, hides her gift from the world. Burdened by responsibility, she gives up her fantasy of composing music and her memories of an enchanting boy who she believes is the Goblin King so that her gifted brother takes centre stage. But when the Goblin King kidnaps her sister, Käthe, and offers her a deal, he doesn’t just fuel her need to find her loved one; he offers her the path to her emotional awakening.

Wintersong is more than just a sister sacrificing her life for another. It illustrates how Liesel discovers who she is and what she can create. It is lyrical, seductive, and whimsical but touching yet tragic. Music anchors Liesl. It encases her soul, but fear entraps her, preventing her from introducing her talent. But she realizes that giving up her life in her world comes with a price. The Goblin King warns her that if she agrees to marry him, she will ultimately relinquish her life. Both worlds live off of the soul and the death of the Goblin Queen.

 

“Life,” he said softly, “is more than flesh. Your body is a candle, your soul the flame. The longer I burn the candle…”

Sarah has an undeniable skill for a debut author. She conjures up a poignant story that sneaks up on you. She integrates music, longing, and nostalgia into her writing and creates a raw and visceral narrative that will simply bewitch you and your imagination.  This tragedy consumed my thoughts. And sometimes it forced me to put down the book so I could process Sarah’s storyline. The characters themselves stand out among the pages, and they captivate your immediate attention.

 

“Your music,” he said at last. “Your music was the only thing that kept me sane, that kept me human instead of a monster.”

Liesl evolves from the heroine who trades her soul for her sister to the Goblin Queen, who will burn both worlds. Her mortality, her soul, and her fire feed the old laws. Her progression throughout the story is heartbreaking but empowering. Her impending death brings a dark allure to an already enticing realm. It haunts the walls of the Underground and creates another character in itself. The love she has for her sister and her brother (who possesses a musical talent of his own), her sacrifice, and her untamed gift are what provide her the strength she needs in this world. Yet you want to scream at her and tell her to run, you can’t help but watch her slow demise. I find her character development tragic, but I couldn’t get enough of it.

 

“What is eternal life but a prolonged death.”

Do not expect the same Goblin King you’ve watched in the Labyrinth. It inspired me more than any other movie, yet I wondered if I’d see a familiar king, but this one is the exact opposite. This Goblin King protects her from his realm. His cruelty and wariness grow into a shield between Liesl and him. He doesn’t wish to be cruel, yet he knows what will happen if they break that wall and let each other in. But inevitably, he sees how quickly the Underworld will claim Lisel. The Lord of Mischief changes from the king who looks to obey the old laws to an enigmatic man who finds love. He has a tortured soul, and he develops into complicated king who may break your heart.

You can’t deny that Wintersong is one of 2017’s most anticipated books of the year, and it lives up to this claim. Since first hearing of it, I knew I had to read it. The author not only takes you on a girl’s journey of self-discovery but also captures your wildest imaginations. So walk through the veil and down to the Undergound, where magic rules, and music consumes.

 

What are your thoughts on Wintersong? Let’s talk about this beautiful book!

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About the Author

125028184.jpegS. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

Book Haul: January and February 2017

I’ve been waiting forever to buy these books. Ah! Okay, clearly I didn’t have a huge haul for these two months, but I’m giddy to see them in the mail.

January

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I’ve read a lot of raving reviews for this book. And each one just solidifies my need to buy Caraval. The story has intrigued me from the first day I heard about it. It is my first carnival-themed novel, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like. I was wrong. I love it. Caraval is one of my favourite books for 2017!

I’m tempted to buy a UK edition, too. The book designs are simply beautiful!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


February

91519King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Queen Victoria, you bless us with another enthralling story….And now I sound obsessed. Great.

I can’t wait for this book! I’ve been waiting for a good year or more. And while I saw the betrayal coming, Victoria’s debut novel just sparked something in me.

Victoria is an outspoken author, but that trait draws me to her books. And I hope that her views will translate into some interesting stories!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I can’t get over that Sarah, aka JJ, expands on the Goblin King universe! And I’ve been drooling over this cover for months. I have huge hopes for Wintersong. And I love how she incorporates German folklore. She also draws a lot of inspiration from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, which is one of my most beloved movies. It contains layers and undertones in each shot, so I expect nothing less for Sarah’s debut novel.

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31338270A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

Not too long ago, I finished reading City of the Lost, but I can’t even enough of it. Kelley weaves in these dark and twisted arcs that just hook you from the very start. This series is a departure from her fantasy realm, but she has touched on mystery, thriller, and crime in her other series, though. So I have a feeling this book will ignite a new love. City of the Lost is definitely one of favourites!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wintersong

WoW4_edited-3

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases that readers are eagerly awaiting.

24763621Winter Song

S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Extent: 448 pages

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.”

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

Why Am I Waiting?

The GOBLIN KING. The freaking GOBLIN KING and the UNDERGROUND! What more can be said when you read this blurb?! When I read that the author took inspiration from the Labyrinth, I almost screamed. My little inner fangirl went giddy, then I saw the cover. This book has been on my TBR list ever since.