Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

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Series:
Something Dark and Holy #1
Release Date: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from Wordery.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

Review

wicked saintsWicked Saints is a dark and wild ride of a book! The story follows two warring kingdoms, and the people who will do anything to make sure they are their kingdom are the victors. We follow two people – Nadya, a young woman with divine powers who has lived all her lives in a monastery, and Serefin, a powerful blood mage and High Prince of Tranavia. The two are on opposite sides but are fighting with everything they have for survival.

This book is a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s a dark dark story, full of magic and blood. There are a few trigger warnings for this book, particularly for self-harm so I’d definitely recommend checking that out before picking this up if you feel it might be a problem. The story is full to the brim with adventure, a quest for power and a determination to succeed. It makes for an incredibly intoxicating story, and I definitely didn’t want to put this one down.

I thought the story was really fascinating, and the world building well-constructed. The two kingdoms fighting over religion was really interesting and I thought Duncan breathed some new life into this idea that’s been done many times before. The magic system was really intriguing and I enjoyed learning more about the gods with each chapter.

The story is split into alternating viewpoints with Nadya and Serefin and I actually enjoyed both characters plot arcs equally. I liked Serefin’s back story – the high prince with an incredibly strained relationship with his father – who just wants the war to be over. I did feel like Nadya could have done with a bit more of a back story – it would have been interesting to see more of what life was like in the monastery for her.

Overall the story is well paced, growing more intense and quick as it reaches the climax. There were quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and that certainly made me enjoy the story all the more. I won’t say too much about the ending so that I don’t spoil it for anyone, but I did feel that it was over very quickly. I felt like we were building and building to this big moment and it was over very fast. I am however super excited to see what will happen in the next instalment of the series. There’s already been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book so I can definitely attest that it’s worth it!
5 stars

Top 10 Page to Screen Adaptations I Want to Watch!

Top 10 Page to Screen Adaptations I Want to Watch!

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Today on Top Ten Tuesday we’re talking about page to screen adaptations. I’m forever behind on adaptations so I thought it might be fun to post about some of the ones I’d really like to get around to watching!

MV5BYTMyYmFjYWUtYjMyOS00ZjRlLWIxODUtYjUyYTFkM2ZmMmQxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg3MDMxNzU@._V1_1. American Gods
This is the number one priority on my list – I keep meaning to watch it and just haven’t got around to it yet but it honestly looks amazing.

Love,_Simon_poster2. Love, Simon
Love, Simon is one where I haven’t seen the movie or even read the book but I’ve heard such amazing things that I really just need to get a copy of the book and then watch the movie straight afterwards.

PetSemataryPoster3. Pet Semetary
I was really looking forward to this adaptation and recently went to the cinema to see it only to discover they weren’t showing it anymore (we went to see Us instead). I did enjoy the recently remake of It (though I had thought it would be scarier). Looking forward to seeing how I get on with Pet Semetary.

download (1)4. The Hate U Give
I think I’m the only person on the planet that hasn’t seen this movie. It did so well and I’m sure it’s brilliant – I just haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet.

download (2)5. The Darkest Minds
I heard sort of mixed things about the movie adaptation to The Darkest Minds so I think that’s part of the reason why I haven’t watched it yet – if you have definitely let me know your thoughts!

download (3)6. A Simple Favour
I saw the movie trailer for this and thought it looked really interesting. When I heard it was based on a book I thought maybe I could read the book first and then see the movie, but here we are having done neither – story of my life.

__58210fe56facc-31865cfa71809608b08852b5b1d0c6adb84ddfd7-f0f0e0e0f0f0c0c07. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
I’ve only read the first book in this series and I haven’t had the chance to see the movie yet, but I absolutely love Eva Green so I’m really keen to see the movie adaptation – and to get around to the rest of the books in the series!

The_Perks_of_Being_a_Wallflower_Poster8.  The Perks of Being A Wallflower
I literally have no excuse for why I haven’t seen this movie. I’ve read the book twice (once fairly recently) and I really want to see how the film compares – maybe I need to have a weekend of binging movie adaptations!

MV5BOTI5Y2M3NmQtNDg5ZC00OTQ0LWEzOGYtMjM4Zjg0YzY0M2I0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjkwNzEwMzU@._V1_9. Good Omens
This one is a slight cheat because it isn’t out yet but it looks incredible and I’m determined this will not be one that takes me four years to watch..

220px-Insurgent_poster10. Divergent series
I have actually seen the first movie in the Divergent series, but not the other two. I did quite like the first film so I’m interested to see how it continues in film form.

So those are the page to screen adaptations I really want to see! What adaptations are you excited to see? And if you’ve seen any good ones recently definitely let me know what you thought!

Six For Sunday: Books I Want to Reread

Six For Sunday: Books I Want to Reread

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This week on Six for Sunday the prompt is books you want to reread! Rereading isn’t something I do very often and there are loads of books I would love to read again.

110596751. A Song of Ice and Fire Series – George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin is one my all time favourite authors and I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series so much. I did my dissertation on the female characters in the series and that was the last time I reread them. I’d love to dive into the series again and I’m thinking it might be interesting to listen to them as audio books this time around.

book cover - 2019-04-14T091319.2582. Abhorsen Series – Garth Nix
I have a ton of Garth Nix books that I’ve read over and over as I was growing up and my favourites are definitely the Abhorsen Series and Shade’s Children. It’s been quite a while so I’d love to get my old battered copies out and have another read of them.

30114212 (1)3. See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done is one of those books that I still think about even though it was a few years ago that I read it. An imagining of the story of Lizzie Borden – who was accused of murdering her Father and Stepmother with an axe – it was just such a dark and twisted story. I completely loved this book and I want to read it again to see if my feelings are still the same.

cq4. The Sin Eater’s Daughter Series – Melinda Salisbury
This series broke my heart. I loved each book in this series and it’s definitely still one of my favourites. The world building is superb and I completely adored the characters. The series finished in 2017 so I really need to dive back into the world.

nightingale5. The Winternight Trilogy – Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy is (aside from ASOIAF) probably my most beloved series of all time. From book one I knew this was going to be a favourite and I’m so sad that the series finished in December last year. It’s not been that long since the last book was released but I’m really keen to return to the story.

228648426. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen 
The Queen of the Tearling is a book I read a really long time ago when it first came out. I really loved it and was really excited to read the other books in the series, but for some reason I never got around to it. I really want to read books two and three but I’m definitely going to have to reread The Queen of the Tearling to understand what’s going on.

So those are the six books/series that I would love to reread! What’s on your reread pile?

Waiting on Wednesday: Queen of Nothing – Holly Black

Waiting on Wednesday: Queen of Nothing – Holly Black

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Synopsis

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Thoughts

26032912Today for Waiting on Wednesday I wanted to talk about Queen of Nothing by Holly Black – the third and final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy. I had planned to leave this one until later in the year because the book was due for release in 2020. However with the update that Queen of Nothing has been brought forward for a November release – I couldn’t help but get excited that we are only a few short months away from the conclusion of this series. With the exception of reading The Spiderwick Chronicles as a kid I’ve never read anything by Holly Black until I picked up The Cruel Prince but I absolutely fell in love with her writing style and the magnificent world that she’s built. I know The Cruel Prince has a lot of divided opinions but it is honestly one of my favourite series. I’m sad that it’s going to be the last book but I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next. The first two books have ended on major cliffhangers so I have no idea how it will all turn out. This series is full to the brim with magic, betrayal and the best characters. If you haven’t picked it up yet I’d definitely recommend binging the first two books in the series. The Queen of Nothing is publishing November 19th 2019 from Hot Key Books.

Scallywagathon TBR!

Scallywagathon TBR!

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This is going up slightly late but Scallywagathon is a pirate theme readathon that is happening this week May 5th – May 12th. This time around the theme is pirates in space and the aim of the readathon is to follow a path on the map and complete the associated reading prompt. You can find out lots more about the readathon over at their Twitter!

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So I’m starting with challenge number 5 and following a path from there. These are the books I’ve chosen and I’m so excited to read all of them!

book cover (43)5. Navigate the stars – A book that has stars on the cover.
For this I’m going with The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston. I read and loved Geekarella so I’m really excited for this companion novel!

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

wicked saints7. Blow Down the Man: Read a book by a female author
For this I’m going with Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I’ve heard incredible things about this and I recently saw someone talking about it saying if you love the Darkling from the Grisha trilogy then you’ll absolutely love this. Can’t wait!
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

book cover (44)C. Afeared – A book you’ve been afraid to read
I’m going with King of Fools by Amanda Foody. I absolutely adored Ace of Shades and I’ve seen a few people say there are some heartbreaking moments in this. I am not prepared.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

book cover (45)10. Assessing the booty – Read a recently hauled book.
For this I’m going with Aurora Rising by Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I started yesterday and I’ve already read a big chunk of it – I’m loving it so much.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Books On My TBR I Really Need to Read!

Books On My TBR I Really Need to Read!

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AKA these books have been on my TBR for ages and I still haven’t read them.

1. A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
book cover - 2019-03-21T124821.794I have no excuse for why I haven’t read this series yet. I’ve read and loved so many of Victoria’s books but I still haven’t started this series. I think I might be building it up too much in my head and I’m now scared I’m not going to love it as much as I want to.

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

2. The Extinction Trials – S. M. Wilson
book cover - 2019-04-30T162009.235My boyfriend bought me a copy of this book and I was super excited to read it but for some reason I just haven’t picked it up yet. There’s been a few sequels and I’ve seen tons of people talk about how much they love it  but it still sits on my TBR judging me.

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…

3. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
book cover - 2019-04-30T162337.569So many people love this book and I know I really need to read it. I’ve heard people talking about her new book that is coming out at the end of the year so I would love it if I could read this before then.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

4. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
book cover - 2019-04-30T162549.201This is one of the books that have been on my TBR the longest. I also have Circe to read and they both look like beautiful, stunning reads but for some reason I always seem to pick something else from my TBR.

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

5. Sleeping Beauties – Stephen & Owen King
book cover - 2019-04-30T163206.096Stephen King is an author I really want to read more of. I own quite a few of his books but I’ve only read one or two. I picked up Sleeping Beauties because I thought it sounded really fascinating, but it’s also absolutely huge and I think that’s why it’s been on my TBR so long.

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. 

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. 

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. 

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

6. Invictus – Ryan Graudin
book cover - 2019-04-30T163525.142I got given an ARC of this at YALC one year and Ryan was kind enough to sign my copy. I was super excited to read it and I still haven’t gotten around to it. Why?!?

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

7. Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant
Untitled design (98)I picked this up on a whim in Waterstones one day and then when I went home I saw loads of booktubers talking about it and saw people raving about how good it was. I’ve put it on my TBR for readathons a few times but I always end up reading something else.

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

8. Red Rising – Pierce Brown
book cover - 2019-04-30T164739.535This is one of those series that are so hyped I’m scared to start it in case I don’t love it as much as I hope I will. I’ve seen that my local library has this on audiobook so maybe that’s the way to go? If you’ve read/listened to this one I’d be really interested to know what you thought!

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

9. Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
book cover - 2019-04-30T165114.341I saw this and a few of the sequels in a secondhand bookshop and bought them all because they sounded interesting and they were really cheap. They’ve been sitting there for a while and I’m honestly not even sure what they’re about at this point.

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…. 

10. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
wicked saintsNow this one is cheating slightly because I only got it last week but it was one of my most anticipated releases, I specifically ordered it with the intention of reading it on holiday last week and guess what? I read four books on holiday – none of them Wicked Saints. I’m determined to not let this sit on my TBR forever because it sounds brilliant.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

March Book Haul!

March Book Haul!

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As always I am super late at posting my book hauls for the previous month. Today I’m diving into all the books I got in March. I’m still doing pretty good at not buying too many books which is pretty good! I did however go to NYALitFest so I got quite a few books from publishers!

Books From Publishers:

1. The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman
book cover - 2019-04-28T211234.980On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

2. Star-Crossed – Minnie Darke
book cover - 2019-04-03T105924.120Sometimes even destiny needs a little bit of help.
 
When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars. 
 
Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, STAR-CROSSED is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

3. No Way – S. J. Morden
book cover - 2019-04-28T211117.186In the sequel to the terrifying science fiction thriller, One Way, returning home from Mars may mean striking a deal with the very people who abandoned him.

They were sent to build a utopia, but all they found on Mars was death.

Frank Kitteridge has been abandoned. But XO, the greedy–and ultimately murderous–corporate architects of humanity’s first Mars base made a costly mistake when they left him there: they left him alive. Using his skills and his wits, he’s going to find a way back home even if it kills him.

Little does he know that Mars isn’t completely empty. Just over the mountain, there’s another XO base where things are going terribly, catastrophically wrong. And when the survivors of that mission find Frank, they’re going to want to take even the little he has away from him.

If there’s anything in Frank’s favor, it’s this: he’s always been prepared to go to the extremes to get the job done. That’s how he ended up on Mars in the first place. It just might be his ticket back.

4. The Lives Before Us – Julie Conlin
book cover - 2019-04-09T224206.829A beautifully written, sweeping story of survival, community and love …

It it April 1939, and, in Berlin and Vienna, Esther and Kitty face a brutal choice. Flee Europe, or face the ghetto, incarceration, death.

Shanghai … They’ve heard it whispered that Shanghai might offer refuge. And so, on a crowded ocean liner, these women encounter each other for the first time.

Kitty has been lured to the other side of the world with promises of luxury, love and marriage. But when her Russian fiancé reveals his hand, she’s left to scratch a vulnerable living in Shanghai’s nightclubs and dark corners. Meanwhile, Esther and her daughter shelter in a house of widows until Aaron, a hot-headed former lover, brings fresh hope of survival.

Then, as the Japanese army enters the fray and violence mounts, the women are thrown together in Shanghai’s most desperate times. Together they must fight a future for the lives that will follow theirs.

5. The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods – Emily Barr
book cover - 2019-04-28T210931.197A commune hidden from the world. A terrible accident. A lifetime of secrets to uncover. The new YA thriller from Emily Barr. 

I’ve been trapped here for days. What if I die here? I decided to write down my story so that one day, when I’m discovered, they will know who I was and why I was here.

Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she’s ever known, into the outside world she’s been taught to fear.

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can’t fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She’s looking for answers, but what she’ll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past.

Everything is changing too fast for this girl who came out of the woods, and is she running into a trap…?

6. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town – Alex Bellbook cover - 2019-04-28T210736.106
Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death.

If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past…

7. The Harm Tree – Rose Edwards
book cover - 2019-04-03T110546.818An epic fantasy set in a world still recovering from one war, and on the brink of another. 

The resistance is rising and dark forces stir to take back what was once theirs. Belief in the ancient gods runs strong—the sacrificial Harm Tree still stands. 

You’re too young to remember why we needed heroes. You should be glad… 
Nine years ago, two princes waged a bloody civil war for the right to rule Arngard. The younger prince took the throne and outlawed the ancient beliefs, but some wounds don’t heal. New religion replaced the barbaric traditions and finally, there’s peace. 

Torny and Ebba are friends. Sent away by their families, they work together and watch out for each other. Too young to remember the war that tore apart the kingdom, Torny dreams of the glorious warriors of old, while Ebba misses her family, despite the darkness she left behind. 

But when a man is murdered on the street and Torny finds herself in possession of a dangerous message, the two friends must tread separate paths. These will lead them through fear, through grief, to the source of their own power and to the gates of death itself. 

As Torny and Ebba are used as tools for the opposing factions of the war, a deep power is ignited in them both. Can they uncover their own strength to finally heal the wounds of a nation?

8. Watch Us Rise – Renee Watson & Ellen Haganbook cover - 2019-04-28T210549.381
Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

9. All the Invisible Things – Orlagh Collinsbook cover - 2019-04-28T210220.801
Vetty’s family is moving back to London, and all she can think 
about is seeing Pez again. They were inseparable when they were small – roaming the city in the long summers, sharing everything. But everyone’s telling her it’ll be different now. After all, a boy and a girl can’t really be friends without feelings getting in the way, can they?

Vetty thinks differently … until Pez tells her she’s ‘not like other girls’. But what does that even mean? Is it a good thing or not? Suddenly she’s wondering whether she wants him to see her like the others – like the ultra-glamorous March, who’s worked some sort of spell on Pez, or the girls in the videos that Pez has hidden on his laptop.

How can she measure up to them? And who says that’s what a girl is supposed to be like anyway?

10. Monsters – Sharon Dogarbook cover - 2019-04-28T205520.240
1814: Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet – Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron.

But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary’s young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all . . .

11. No Big Deal – Bethany Rutter
book cover - 2019-04-28T205413.589‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

12. The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell
book cover - 2019-04-19T094103.467In 1935, Viktor Kosarek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

13. Suicide Club – Rachel Heng
book cover - 2019-04-28T204859.244Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die. 

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.

14. Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly
book cover - 2019-03-11T210836.240Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

15. The War Within – Stephen Donaldson 
book cover - 2019-04-28T204402.501It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost….

Books I Bought:

16. Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman
book cover - 2019-04-03T110806.863Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

17. The Curses – Laure Eve
book cover - 2019-04-28T203930.091Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.

At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.