Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far!)

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans! 🇺🇸 🎆 Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! I was really excited to see this week’s theme because I’ve already read some great books this year!

34050917THE GIRL IN THE TOWER – I wasn’t as enamored by The Bear and the Nightingale as everyone else seemed to be, so I was initially apprehensive on how well I would like this. To put it simply: this book is stunning and it has become on of my favorites books. The atmospheric setting, lush writing, and vivid imagery all come together to create a magical, enchanting story full of history and elements of Slavic fairytales. I also felt pretty meh about Morozko when I read the first book, but now I’ve seen the light and I’m completely in love with the morose frost-demon. 

34726469SKY IN THE DEEP – This is exactly everything I want in a story. I read the entire thing in one sitting because it was that amazing and I couldn’t put it down; this is is the kind of book that reminds me of why I love reading. The dynamic relationships the author creates is one of the best features of the book; they were capable of evoking emotions in a meaningful and achingly real way. I’m not convinced that this is a debut book because everything was executed perfectly to created a breathtaking, emotional story full of grit and heart. This is my favorite book of the year (so far).

34728667CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE – If you’re nervous about picking this up because of all the hype like I was, don’t be. It’s well worth every ounce of hype and praise it has received. This book was a thrilling fantasy full of adventure, expert writing, and a cast of superb characters. It was very easy to be drawn into the story from the beginning due to a combination of Tomi Adeyemi’s excellent writing and the compelling characters she has created. There’s no doubt that the second book will be one of my most anticipated for next year.

35068705THE POPPY WAR – This is a blessed year of absolutely stunning debuts. This book is a spectacular grimdark fantasy featuring a fierce heroine, addictive writing, and plenty of action. There are so many amazing elements about it that make it a totally engrossing read. My favorite thing about it was the amazing protagonist, Rin. She was such a well-developed heroine and her growth as a character was amazing to follow. Be forewarned: this is a grimdark, so it does contains graphic violence, graphic rape, mutilation, torture, mass murder, drug abuse, and many other things of that nature.

32702487THE BIRD AND THE BLADE – Megan Bannen’s murdered me in cold blood with this ending and completely annihilated my emotions. This was a fascinating, compelling, stunning story that captured my heart and attention from the very beginning. The story was both unique and intriguing in that it blended historical elements of the Mongol Empire with the Italian opera, Turandot, and it did so seamlessly. The story ends in a way that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. An unforgettable, breathtaking, impressive book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.

Have you read any of these books? What has been your favorite read of 2018 so far? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Wednesday: Characters I’ll Always Defend

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! May is going to be Top 5 Wednesday Rewind month, so the topics are open to any that we’ve missed out on in the past. When I was browsing through old topics I saw this and I was SO EXCITED! I immediately thought of three of my characters who I will defend until my dying breath, and then I started writing this post, and realized those were the only three characters I could think of! So this is more of a Top 3 Wednesday haha, but this topic was way too important to me to skip.

SANSA STARKThe North knows no queen but the Queen in the North, whose name is Stark. The amount of people that vehemently hate Sansa Stark is so disheartening. It’s okay to dislike a character, but the reasons people hate her are terrible. She gets blamed over and over for the death of Ned when she was only an eleven year old child who was cleverly manipulated by adults. People seem to hate her for the mere fact that she is more feminine in nature and enjoys things such as singing and fairytales. She’s most often compared to Arya and Daenerys and found lacking because she’s not as “badass” or strong. I think that’s the issue that bothers me the most: if a female character doesn’t show interest in weaponry and fighting, then they’re considered weak and insignificant, even if it’s far from the truth. I happen to like things that are often considered “girly” (such as clothes, makeup, the color pink) and so I like characters that show more traditionally feminine traits because I find myself connecting with them better. And the amount of people that believe Sansa deserves everything that has happened to her – beaten, tortured, raped – and hope she is killed next are absolutely sickening to me and I have no time for any of that nonsense in my life. 

CHAOL WESTFALL – I’m a proud and original member of the #ChaolDefenseSquad. The treatment of his character by SJM is one of the main reasons I cannot stand her. The fact that an author can destroy the characterization of one of the protagonists all for the sake of another ship and to boost affection for a new character, is horrible. And the amount of fans that completely ignore the fact that she basically rewrote entire plot lines mid-series is such a shame. The introduction of Rowan and Rowaelin (which was completely fanservice, but that’s another issue I won’t delve into) gained her so much popularity that wasn’t there with the first couple of books, and so she decided to toss Chaol aside like trash and many fans followed suit. We are a small, but us few members of the #ChaolDefenseSquad will always defend that sweet, loyal Captain of the Guard. 

MALYEN ORETSEV – This just baffles me. The amount of hate Mal gets is so unnecessary and uncalled for. I honestly believe a lot of people started to hate him when they realized Alina would never choose the Darkling. And listen, I love the Darkling as much as the next girl, but Malyen Oretsev is my boy. Yes, he has his moments of weakness, but he’s human like the rest of us. He walked half the length of Ravka to get to Alina. He was loyal to her above all else. He loved her fiercely. He understood who she was, supported her, and never once tried to change her. He fought for her, risked his life for her, fucking died for her. Goodness, where can I find a man like Malyen Oretsev?

Top 5 Wednesday: Finished Series I Need to Read

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! May is going to be Top 5 Wednesday Rewind month, so the topics are open to any that we’ve missed out on in the past. Lately, I’ve been noticing there are a lot of series that I’ve always meant to start, but never have. So this week I’ll be featuring all the finished series that I eventually want to read!

9780451477538_RebelOfTheSands_JK.inddREBEL OF THE SANDS
Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne, Hero at the Fall
I read the first book in the series when it was released, and I actually own all three books, I’ve just never gotten around to reading the rest of the series. At this point, though, I don’t really remember the plot of the first book at all and would have to re-read it before continuing on with the series. 

These Vicious Masks, These Ruthless Deeds, These Vengeful Souls
Another series in which I’ve read the first book, but never continued with the series. I think the problem was that I read These Vicious Masks immediately after Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, and so spent most of the time comparing the two novels, since their plots and settings are very similar. I definitely plan to re-read the first book before reading the sequels and I’m convinced that I’ll probably end up liking it better the second time around. 

Frostblood, Fireblood, Nightblood
Technically, the series is not finished since the last book doesn’t come out until this August, but by the time I get around to read them Nightblood will be published. This seems to be one of those series in which they get better as the series goes on. I’ll admit that I read a lot of not-so-stellar reviews of Frostblood which caused me to forget about the series, but then I started seeing a lot of positives about the sequel. This series is admittedly not high on my priority but eventually I would love to read them.

The Hundredth Queen, The Fire Queen, The Roque Queen, The Warrior Queen
Again, the last book won’t be released until this August, but as soon as it does I look forward to read these books! I’ve seen some mixed reviews about them, but I find the plot intriguing and those covers are seriously gorgeous. I can’t wait to finally dive into this series.

15839976RED RISING
Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star
I’ve heard so many good things about this series, and one of these days I’m going to read them! Originally when Red Rising came out, I wasn’t sure if it was a book I was going to enjoy, so I put off reading it until more people I knew read and reviewed it. By the time it started gaining a lot of popularity, it was pushed to the bottom of my TBR list and it’s never really emerged. 

Have you read any of these books or series? What did you think? Are there any series you’ve been dying to read but just have gotten to yet? Let me know in the comments!


Top 5 Wednesday: DNF Books

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! May is going to be Top 5 Wednesday Rewind month, so the topics are open to any that we’ve missed out on in the past. This week, I decided to choose the top five books I marked as DNF (Did Not Finish). 

26074181THE CROWN – This book is a mess. I enjoyed the original books in The Selection series and I liked The Heir, but then this book happened. I honestly have no idea what the author was thinking when she wrote it. I was already bored with it because the plot was moving really slow, and then I started to notice a weird shift that seemed out of place. I decided to read spoilers about the ending, and after that I just couldn’t force myself to finish. The romance takes a complete one-eighty and Eadyln’s choice at the end makes zero sense; they have no chemistry and they’ve had less than a handful of conversations, none of which were deep or meaningful. It seemed like Kiera Cass wanted to avoid the predictability with that ‘twist’, but overall The Crown was a huge disappointment and a terrible waste of time.  DNF @ 58%  [review]

29939048ROAR – I was really excited to receive an ARC for this, and I’ll admit that the stunning cover is what first intrigued me. The plot and concept are really compelling and interesting, and there’s a lot of unique elements in the story that should have made it a great read. Unfortunately, the romance ruined it. This book features the epitome of the bad and unnecessary love triangle. Love Interest #1 is introduced almost immediately, and Love Interest #2 enters the story only a handful of chapters later. After I had read about 15% of the book, I skimmed ahead and read other reviews. I didn’t find much to my liking. Although both the love interests were only briefly featured in the small amount I read, enough was revealed about their characters for me to determine I wouldn’t find much to like about either of them; they were both domineering, possessive, and controlling. Those are not cute or romantic qualities. No thanks.  DNF @ 15%  [review]

30163661SPINDLE FIRE – I love retellings of mythology and fairytales. The concept and synopsis of this book was unique and interesting, but unfortunately the writing and execution was poorly done, and ultimately caused the story to fall flat. I forced myself to read to the halfway mark before calling it quits. When I read fairytale retellings, I want to be mesmerized and enchanted by the story. The writing was choppy and it felt like someone was just explaining the events of the story to me, instead of being able to read about them happening. This book tried too hard to be like other Young Adult fantasies for it to be enjoyable: instalove, no world-building, info-dumps, and a plot that become a little too far-fetched and ridiculous.  DNF @ 50%  [review]

27161846THE LOOSE ENDS LIST – It really seems like everyone except me like this book. The plot was interesting, but I was so bored while reading. I probably would have kept reading if that was my only issue, but it wasn’t. The main character was selfish, immature, and bitchy. She was completely unpleasant to read about, and therefore I couldn’t bring myself to care enough about her or her story. I was really disappointed by this as I had been looking forward to reading this book.  DNF @ 34% [review]

22299763CROOKED KINGDOM – *dodges tomatoes* Okay, look. It’s not that I didn’t finish this book because I didn’t like it. Leigh Bardugo is the Boss Ass Queen of Writing and I love all her books, including this one. However, I was in a bit of a slump while reading it, and so it was taking me awhile to get through. On top of that, I accidently stumbled upon the spoiler of all spoilers regarding a certain character death at the end, a character who also happened to be my favorite in the series. Needless to say, I was so upset about both the (unnecessary) death and being spoiled, that I couldn’t bring myself to continue reading it for a couple days. Those days turned into weeks, which turned into months, and here we are. I technically still have it marked as hiatus instead of DNF. Will I ever finish it? I want to say yes with all my heart, but honestly – I don’t know.  DNF @ 65% 

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! In honor of Valentine’s day, the topics for February have been centered on romance. I was particularly exited when I saw today’s theme because I am shamelessly addicted to romance novels. I think there’s a lot of negative stigma surrounding romance novels and therefore the genre is severely under appreciated. This is unfortunate because there are a lot of great books out there! I tend to stick to to the sub-genre of historical/regency romance, but I’m really excited to share my favorites with you all! If anyone is hesitant about trying a romance book, or not sure where to start, I would highly recommend trying any of the following on this list!

P.S. After putting together my list, I realized most of these books all have a common theme: hate-to-love. I guess I have a type when it comes to romance books 😆

861326THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME – This is the book that got me hooked on romance novels. The banter and competitiveness between Anthony and Kate is amazing and so is their obvious chemistry and underlying tension. I’ve read this multiple times and I think I love it a little more each time. This is probably my favorite romance book and if there’s just one book you want to try, make it this one; you will not me disappointed, I promise.

– This takes all of my favorite tropes and combines them into one glorious book. Enemies to lovers? Check. Witty banter? Check. Forced road trip together? Check. Fake relationship? Check. In addition to all those marvelous tropes, we have smoldering chemistry, slow-burn feelings, and steamy scenes. Sophie is one of my favorite romance heroines and I think you’ll love her story as much as I do. [review]

– Another wonderful book featuring hate-to-love romance, an uptight British lord, and a rambunctious (American!) heroine. Westcliff and Lillian cannot stand each other, and a majority of the book is Lillian finding ways to get under Westcliff’s skin, and Westcliff struggling to avoid the American hellion. This leads to a tempestuous relationship between the two, marked by heated arguments, wonderful banter, and lots of sexual tension.  


31307650THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS – If you enjoy having your heart ripped to shreds, then this book is perfect for you. Unlike the previous books of this series, which are fun and lighthearted, this is full of angst and heartbreak between Serafina and Haven. Sarah McLean did something in this book that no author has ever been able to accomplish with me before: she took the “villain” of the first book and turned him into a swoon-worthy, redeemable hero in this one, without excusing the infamous mistake. Haven’s transgression would have been a deal-breaker for me in any other book/movie/real life situation, but I forgave him and that says something about this book and the author’s ability as a writer. Be prepared for a heart-wrenching, emotional read. 

– Tessa Dare is the queen of historical romance, and I will fight you on this. I have more of her books on my shelf than any other author (with the exception of J.K. Rowling, of course) and there have only been a couple times when I’ve been disappointed by one of her books. You really can’t go wrong with any of her series. This book follows the same pattern of all of her books: vastly entertaining, supremely funny, and definitely sexy.