TTT: New-To-Me Authors

January seems to hold a lot of book-reflection from the previous year, but I’m not complaining!

Surprisingly, I actually read quite a number of authors who were new to me in 2018. Some were debut authors, but others were those who gained much traction in previous years. And then there are those who have been on the field for a while already and I can’t believe I haven’t read them yet!

In any case, trying to list down all the authors I read that were new to me this year was more difficult than I thought, and I ended up with a top twelve I couldn’t do without!

Top Twelve New-to-Me Authors

Tomi Adeyemi || Becky Albertalli || Roshani Chokshi || Angie Thomas

Catherynne M. Valente || Jenny Han || Nicola Yoon || Marie Lu

Emily St. John Mandel || Karen McManus || Kevin Kwan || Katherine McGee

Who were your new reads of 2018?

Advertisements

Mini Reviews: The Bone Witch, Scrappy Little Nobody

Alright, after this point, I’ll be completely caught up with my reviews of 2018! Not too shabby, considering the last two books were finished during winter break.

I actually ended up reading The Bone Witch in several different mediums: as an e-ARC, a paperback copy, and then the last leg was an audiobook. To be honest, I think the audiobook was the best path in this case, because the formatting drove me absolutely nuts on both the ARC and paperback copies. I wanted to really like it, but eh. At least I finally finished it? It only took two years…

The other audiobook I listened to was a pretty quick listen, but one that definitely ended the year well enough. I do love Anna Kendrick, though, so the bias is there, and this book definitely made me like her more. Not in that creepy stalker-y way, though, Anna! I’m totally harmless. 😀

Have you read either book? What did you think?

2018 End of Year Book Survey

I’ve definitely got some time now to reflect on my reading for the year, and it was a pretty good year! To be honest, there were a lot of great books I read, and some not-so-great, but honestly, I’ve started getting good at dropping books I really didn’t care for. Honestly, most of those were audiobooks, which really were easy to drop. I’ve thrown in my usual set of stats for the year, but this post also doubles up as the End of Year Book Survey hosted by Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner.


2018 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 72
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (but not actually by much, surprisingly!)

BEST IN BOOKS

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

Stand-Alone:


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Series:

The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

Mid-Series:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Graphic Novel:

Rat Queens, Vol. 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

And definitely a good kind of surprise, considering what I thought about the first book.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

And believe me, I’ve told almost every one of my student readers to pick this book up to read at least once, if not twice.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Best series you started in 2018?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Best Sequel of 2018?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Tomi Adeyemi

Best Series Ender of 2018?

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

TOMI ADEYEMI

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

When it took me two days and change to read a 600-page book during a school week, you know that was definitely indication that it was hard for me to put down.

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Monstress Vol. 3 by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

I always feel like I need to re-read the entire series every time a new volume comes out. So many characters to keep track of! Not that I mind, since the artwork is gorgeous.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

It’s the year of the silhouette and badass female covers! I really do love the creativity that goes into fantasy covers these days.

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

RHYSAND, HIGH LORD OF THE NIGHT COURT

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

And it is not just because of his wingspan, I promise you!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Almost everything in this book was background-wallpaper type of quotation. So many lyrical metaphors!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Actually, this was a toss-up of The Hate U Give and Children of Blood and Bone, but both dealt with similar themes, and I figure I’ll favor a non-fantasy for this category for once, haha.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This has been on my TBR since 2016. I just…HOW.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

But for all my plotting and maneuvering, it’s obvious the girl isn’t here. Though there’s no shortage of glaring diviners, her silver gaze is not among them.

I release the throwing knife as something I can’t place deflates in my chest. It sinks like disappointment.

It breathes like relief.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Inan’s self-reflections in the book were some of my favorite bits, especially because you clearly see the internal conflict play out in his mind. There really were a ton of quotes to choose from, and some were more obvious than others. But this one really resonated with me.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest:

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood (36 pages)

Longest:

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker (806 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

Warcross by Marie Lu

Okay, I don’t actually think I was super-shocked about the character plot twist, mostly I was just emotionally crushed because the SHIP, MAN. THE SHIP. *breathes deeply*

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

RHYSAND and FEYRE ARCHERON (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas)

Honestly. With ACOMAF showing up several times on this survey, who didn’t see this coming?

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

SASHA and VASYA (The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden)

Vasya was always closest to her older brother, Sasha, even when their religious beliefs completely differ from each other. Their relationship gets complicated in the last two books of the trilogy, but there’s no doubt about the sibling love these two have. It’s great.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Honestly, I had reservations as to how this trilogy would end, especially since I didn’t care for the OTP, but it came off really well, and I ended up tearing just a little bit. And honestly, that OTP isn’t so bad…I still preferred one ship, but we know that wasn’t going to work out. Ever.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I saw this in a couple of blog and Facebook posts, and pretty much decided it was something I’d have to listen to via audiobook, if not actually read on hard copy. No regrets there.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I’ve named my voice-activated light Rhysand, so….

But to be fair, I’ve practically crushed on every TDH bloke I’ve read of the entire year, and there were many of them (Morozko, Hideo, Amar, Inan, the Darkling, juuuuuust to name a few XD). All the same, I almost fight off a snicker whenever I say, “Hey Google, turn Rhysand on.” Because WHY NOT?!

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab

Honestly, an end-of-year reading list without including V.E. Schwab is almost unheard of for me now. She actually didn’t make my top ten list this year (whaaaaaat?! Quelle surprise!), but I couldn’t justify putting her in for a meager issue of The Steel Prince. Still, it was very fun to read from cover to cover.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The weird thing is I didn’t start crying over Adeyemi’s book until her acknowledgements page. Her words made me cry, not so much the story. As for Arden’s book, it was a tearful goodbye to a trilogy I adored. And for Bardugo? I mean…it was really hard not to get attached to characters, so…

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

This was one book I didn’t think much of until I actually started listening to it via audiobook. It was definitely a good listen, and I’d recommend it, definitely.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The graphic novel was intense as is, I can only imagine the actual book. I don’t think I could read the actual book, actually, mostly because I already had a hard time getting through the graphic novel. It definitely was emotionally wrecking.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book was…special. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either, and it was just a strange piece of science fiction.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Ghost Slayer by Majanka Verstraete

Oh, this certainly meant I didn’t like it. The amount of times I yelled/ranted about this on Facebook to my friend…yeah.

BLOGGING/BOOKISH LIFE

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

That Artsy Reader Girl. She took over hosting Top Ten Tuesdays after the closing of The Broke and the Bookish as a whole, and she’s pretty fabulous!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

It’s always fun writing recipe posts, though I don’t often take the time to do so. I put together the recipe for mango cake not so long ago, though, because honestly, that looks like something I’d look up and repeat over and over again.

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018?

Anytime several books are involved, but I do love taking pictures of my book swag.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

Finally meeting and speaking to some of my favorite authors, including Brandon Sanderson, Sabaa Tahir, Marissa Meyer, and Katherine Arden.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Creating a feast out of a recipe in Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce. Food and fandom recipes are always fun to do, especially when I can eat the results!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

It’s always been a balancing act between work, reading, and hobbies. I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

The Bear and the Nightingale review got a hefty amount of hits the past few months. Probably because the third book is coming out in a couple days.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

For all the ranting and raving I did of Warcross, that could use a few hits, though I did deviate a lot when I wrote it.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I’ve been getting way into bookish candles lately. So shoutout to Briar Wick at Etsy for supplying me with lovely bookish-related candles.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Goodreads challenge going strong! I’ll probably up my goal to 70 books for 2019, since that’s actually doable if I continue with my audiobook spree along with my hard copy spree.

LOOKING AHEAD

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

Wildcard by Marie Lu

It’s sad that the one student I had reading Warcross got to Wildcard before I did. He wants me to have read this already, so I promised by the new year it’ll be my priority.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Because Nikolai Lantsov is life. He’s not your general TDH, but even I make exceptions when your sense of humor reminds me of Carswell Thorne. Also, eeeeeeee!

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

I saw this being marketed during NYCC, and it looked really interesting, so I’m looking out for it.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

Children of Vengeance and Virtue by Tomi Adeyemi

THE COVER HASN’T BEEN REVEALED YET WHYYYYY.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Keep on fighting the good fight. Whatever that means.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Seriously, you guys. If you like Russian folklore or stories by the fire. If you like slow-burn romance or badass girls. If you like TDHs, history, wars, demons, and midnights. READ THIS TRILOGY.

How did your bookish year go?

TTT: Top Ten Books 2018

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to all the books we’ll read in 2019, but before we do, I want to take a look at some of the books I read in 2018.

So challenge-wise, I hit my Goodreads one again (and I’ll put up an actual stats set for the year in another blog post), but I tanked all the others. I think it’s just the whole “long-term commitment to specific things” that always gets me in the end. Go where the wind blows, I say! Read what I feel like reading! Chaos, bedlam, anarchy!

Okay, now I’m being melodramatic, but it certainly feels that way sometimes.

In any case, I was grateful for having so many good books read this year. In fact, it was really difficult trying to figure out what books to put on this list, but I eventually whittled things down, so there’s that!

Without further ado, in no particular order, and with links to my reviews…

Top Ten Books Read in 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi || A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas || Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden || Warcross by Marie Lu || Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel || Rat Queens, Vol. 2 by Kurtis J. Wiebe

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas || Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli || One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

What was your top ten of the year?

A Thread in the Tapestry || The Star-Touched Queen Review

Initial Thoughts:

This book was way too beautifully written. I sighed every time a description came my way because heaven help me, even the DEAD DEMONY THINGS were described beautifully. I really enjoyed this book.


THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN

by Roshani Chokshi
St. Martin’s Griffin, April 2016
YA fantasy, romance, mythology
Rated: 4.5 / 5 cookies

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

So I don’t know Indian mythology very well, but when I sat in on a Chokshi signing, I knew I needed this book in my life. Chokshi injected cultural inspiration and mixed Indian deity myths with the more well-known Hades and Persephone story (because yes to Underworld love XD), I mean, what’s not to love about that, right? I also just came off of a reading of The Winter of the Witch, and this book was definitely along the lines of poetic prose with plot.

Except his voice…

It drilled through the gloaming of my thoughts, pulled at me in the same way the mysterious intruder’s voice had tugged. But where the woman’s voice brought fury, this was different. The hollow inside me shifted, humming a reply in melted song. I could have been verse made flesh or compressed moonlight. Anything other than who I was now.

I mean, if that was any indication of how things are going to be described scenically and romantically, I’m totally down for it!

In any case, what struck me as divine was the description of absolutely everything, including the worldbuilding. The book itself is split into three parts, the same amount as the worlds that Maya ends up visiting. Maya’s life as a daughter of a powerful raja isn’t exactly ideal: she’s mostly ignored by her father because she’s a girl and she’s hated by the harem mothers because of the horoscope attached to her birth, one that connects her specifically with Death. I mean, it’s written in the stars, so it’s bound to happen, right? Frankly the only comfort she has in Bharata is her younger half-sister, Gauri, who she tells fairy tale stories to in order to make life tolerable.

“Tell me about the other realms,” said Gauri wistfully. “I’m going to live there when I grow up.”…

“There’s our world, which has you, and is therefore the best one.” Gauri grinned. “Then there’s the Otherworld, with its Night Bazaar and strange but beautiful beings. And then,” I dropped my voice to a whisper, “there’s the Netherworld, which holds Naraka, the realm of the dead.”

Gauri shivered. “What’s there?”

“Demons,” I said.

And boy oh boy, how very spot-on these stories could be, even without Maya realizing it.

A lot of the story touches upon various ideas that Chokshi integrates well. There’s the idea of inescapable death, of a tapestry that shows the interweaving of fate. I really loved the description of the tapestry, but I won’t get into that because it was pages of exposition and information, and you really would have to read it to get the breadth of the piece.

The whole tapestry and threads of fate thing always reminds me of the Moirae in Greek myth, and so of course I’m biased over this whole idea of knowing one’s life through the length of her thread.

There’s the idea of power and how it gets wielded, especially since much of it is through sheer will and change and sacrifice. Maya, upon entry into the Night Bazaar and Akaran, has no idea what she’s initially doing and balks at the power found at her fingertips. She eventually comes to her own and realizes how she can wield her power, but it took work and I loved that sheer force of will she manages to harness later on.

No amount of captivity could strip the wild from the tiger. Amar was no different. He was feral. He was mine.

This was quite literally the moment I fist-pumped in the air and went: “GEDDIT MAYA”. I do love her as a character.

Then there’s the idea of reincarnation, which totally kaboshed the notion of “insta-love” once the story got under way. There’s a lot that Amar isn’t telling Maya, and eventually we find out that this is actually not the first time the two have met or even got together. But, lo and behold, Amar pretty much goes all “my soul sees its equal in you” (credit to Renee Ahdieh for that one…) and pretty much makes a blood oath the minute he gets Maya into the Night Bazaar.

“I make this bond to you in blood, not flowers,” he said. “Come with me and you shall be an empress with the moon for your throne and constellations to wear in your hair. Come with me and I promise you that we will always be equals.”

Honestly, if a tall dark handsome death god delivers the moon and stars and promises a ruling of equals in his kingdom, I’d totally take the deal, too, insta-love or not.

The romance isn’t hyper-sexually charged, which is actually a welcome sight, but it doesn’t make it less beautiful. The flirting is cute and swoonworthy, and reminded me a wee bit like Khalid from Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn (because of course it would).

“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”

Whisper those sweet nothings, Amar. You be you.

The only thing I was slightly bummed about was how not everything could be tied up at the very end. It wasn’t a very long book, and I understand Gauri gets her own story in the second book, but the end was so rushed! I totally wanted more resolution with Maya and Amar. But it’s a very little caveat. I have more feels in the positive direction, promise!

4.5 out of 5 cookies!


Have you read this book? What did you think?