Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Wintry Setting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I was originally going to post this a couple of weeks ago for the freebie topic, but, well…time just got away from me 😆 There’s something so atmospheric and whimsical when reading stories with snowy, wintery descriptions and scenes.

25489134._SX318_1. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
This entire series is an enchanting, magical story full of wintry landscapes and Russian history and folklore. From the vivid descriptions to the lush writing to the compelling characters, Katherine Arden writes a mesmerizing story that is perfect for curling up next to the fire during a snowstorm. And because this is a trilogy, it means more cozy nights spent reading this winter.

368968982. SPINNING SILVER
This is one of the most atmospheric, captivating stories full of European folklore and magical elements. It’s a very loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that follows the point of views of three very different girls. Naomi Novik did an amazing job writing this compelling story with its dark wintry setting. From the character growth of the heroines to the two hate-to-love romances, this book is a wonderful choice for a wintry read.

400460303. ECHO NORTH
Joanna Ruth Meyers does a fantastic job of retelling the fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon while blending in elements of Tam Lin to create a unique, whimsical story. I was completely enamored by the magic within the pages. I loved following the heroine’s journey as she attempted to care for and save the enchanted house after making a deal with a mysterious white wolf.

386407294. EAST
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales and this is one of my favorite retellings. The cold, snowy setting is the perfect backdrop and the spellbinding writing does an excellent job of drawing readers into the story. Everything about this book is so well-crafted and wonderful, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to spend a winter night in reading.

378540495. THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD
This is another wonderfully written story based on Eastern European folklore. This book was a story rich with fairytale elements and yet historical aspects were seamlessly blended in. It’s a reimagining of Goblin Market and the setting is so atmospheric and magical. I really adored this story and the complex, loving relationship between the two sisters.

40148425._SY475_6. WINTERWOOD
Shea Ernshaw really excels at writing deliciously atmospheric stories. She does a great job of tying in mystery with magic, and writing it with such beautiful words and descriptions. It’s no surprise, given the title of the book, that this book is set in mysterious, magical forest in the dead of winter snow storm. If you’re looking for some more creepiness in your winter read, then this is the book for you!

398635177. WHITE STAG
This is a much darker book and deals with some tougher subjects, but I really enjoyed this story about goblins and the Wild Hunt. The setting of this novel is placed in colder, harsher climate, but the added element of malicious goblins and the fantastical writing had a certain whimsical feeling to the story. This book would be great for someone looking for a more thrilling, darker fantasy to match a brewing snowstorm outside.

247636218. WINTERSONG
Another really well written story featuring goblins and loosely based on Goblin Market. This book was completely atmospheric and beautifully written. There was such a soft, lyrical quality to the story, and the wintry setting is absolutely perfect for the kind of tale the author was trying to tell. It would be easy to get lost within the pages of this emotional, compelling story.

347264699. SKY IN THE DEEP
Even though the focus of this story is more on the fantasy and fighting aspects, the majority of the book takes place during winter. There are many descriptions of the story’s frigid environment, snowy landscapes, and icy waters, and it’s very easy to imagine yourself fighting amongst the Riki or Aska clans in the dead of winter. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever so I am always recommending this stunning debut!

2695822610. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS
This book is less atmospheric than the others listed, however it’s set in a magical, Himalayan-inspired world that boasts of mountain climbs, blistering snowstorms, and avalanches. If anyone wants a fun, mountainous adventure without actually climbing any mountains this winter, then this is the book for you.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart, Part II

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Last year, I wrote a post showcasing some of my favorite fanart and it was a huge hit. Since it’s one of my favorite blog posts that I’ve written, I decided to do a sequel and show off ten more of my favorite fanarts! I continue to be amazed by all of these talented artists that bring to life my favorite characters and scenes. 


Melanie Bourgeois →  “Strange the Dreamer”

Melanie is one of the most talented artists I’ve seen, and I’m so thankful we enjoy a lot of the same fandoms so I can enjoy her work even more! It’s no secret that Strange the Dreamer is one of my favorite books, and this spectacular rendering of the opening chapter is breathtaking.

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Luciferys  →  “The Mother”

If I could have a gallery of Sansa prints on my wall, I would. This is another fabulous depiction of my favorite female character and a very poignant aspect of her character. 

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Nicole Deal  →  “Cusp”

THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Everytime I look at this fanart I am taken aback by how absolutely gorgeous it is. I wish I could print it out and frame it on my wall.

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Amaati  →  “The Taste of Innocence”

Amaati creates some of the most beautiful ASOIAF artwork that I’ve seen. I debated on whether or not I wanted to include this but #sorrynotsorry I ship Jonsa and this was just too pretty to not post regardless. She has also done an artwork of Robb Stark that is incredible.

amaati jonsa


Alexandra Curte  →  “Akiva and Karou”

There is not enough art and swag for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and it’s a shame. I instantly fell in love when I saw this rendering of Akiva and Karou. It’s so pretty and whimsical!

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taratjah →  “Helene”

This is such a beautiful drawing of Helene from the An Ember in the Ashes series! The details in this are so stunning and I can’t help but be amazing by the artwork.

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Micheline Ryckman  →  “Legolas”

I didn’t realize it until I saw this work, but we need more Legolas fanart! He has always been one of my favorite fictional characters and I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this artwork. This artist also has a really nice depiction of Aragorn as well.

Legolas2019_Small-e1571264079521


Irina Plachkova  →  “The Third Amplifier”

This scene will never not hurt my soul. But I think one of my favorite aspects of this art is in the details. I love the other two amplifiers present in the background and I think it makes this an even more powerful piece of artwork. Not to mention, he’s one of my favorite characters!

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Gabriel Bujdosó  →  “Cardan and Jude”

THIS SCENE. If you know, you know. And since that part of the book nearly destroyed me, how could I not include this amazing artwork of that iconic scene in The Wicked King? I cannot wait for the Queen of Nothing and the many more fanart that is sure to come following its release.

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Lesya BlackBird  →  “Bridge the Divide”

Apparently this was included in an Illumicrate box a while back, so if anyone has this and doesn’t want it I will gladly take it off your hands. Strange the Dreamer is my favorite book so I love looking at any and all the artwork from that series!

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I hope you enjoyed the list! I love looking at fanart so if you have any favorite pieces or artists, let me know in the comments! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers Featuring Snakes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. In the spirit of Halloween, this week is dedicated to one of my favorite creepy creatures: snakes! There seems to be a trend in books lately featuring snakes and I think they look really cool on book covers. 🐍


snake covers

Alright, alright….I’m totally taking liberties with The Silvered Serpents. But look at that title! I’m will to bet the final cover is going to feature some pretty neat snakes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Cry

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I am not an emotional person, but through the years I’ve come to realize that I am an emotional reader. Years ago, I never would have admitted if a book made me cry, but today I’m here to unashamedly list the top ten books that made me shed a few tears – or just flat out sobbed.


257391881. THE BOOK THIEF
How could a book narrated by Death set during WWII not be a tearjerker? Some books stick with you forever, and for me I’ll never forget reading this amazing story for the first time. The entire book is really poignant and sad, but there’s a particular moment at the end where I lost it. This is one of my favorite books ever and I always recommend it to everyone.

327024872. THE BIRD AND THE BLADE
I read the reviews before I started this, and I familiarized myself with the opera in which the plot is loosely based, and so I knew going into it that the ending was going to hurt spectacularly. And yet even after preparing myself for the heartbreak, Megan Bannen was able to absolutely annihilate my emotions. The story ends in a way that is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and altogether unforgettable. Of all the books on this list, this one produced the most tears.  [review]

254463433. MUSE OF NIGHTMARES
As anyone who’s read my reviews for this series knows, my two favorite characters are actually Erin-Fane and Azareen. And as anyone who’s read these books knows, those two have one of the most gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stories that I’ve ever read. Everytime another piece of their background was revealed, it was like being stabbed in the heart all over again. And then that happened in this book and I became a mess; I went through all five stages of grief. I don’t know what it is about Eril-Fane and Azareen’s tragic love story, but it just gets to me every time. The epilogue nearly put me in an early grave.  [review]

311790064. SWEET BLACK WAVES
Hey, remember when Kristina Perez wrote a beautiful, magical story set in ancient Ireland, based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult, with an amazing, wonderful love story between Branwen and Tristan and then DESTROYED EVERYTHING within the last ten pages? Yeah, me too. If you’ve read this book, you know exactly what scene I am talking about. When I read it I was dumbstruck. I must have yelled “what the fuck” half a dozen times and contemplated throwing my kindle across the room. Even just thinking about it right now, that particular part of the book still makes me sick to my stomach and want to curl up in a ball and sob. And from what I’ve read of the reviews so far, the sequel is just as heartbreaking, if not worse 🙃  [review]

25. ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
This book came out so long ago, and yet I remember vividly reading this for the first time. I also remember exactly when I read about Sirius’ death. He quickly became my favorite character after Prisoner of Azkaban, so his death hit me hard. The book also released a couple months after my grandmother had passed, so I also think that had something to do with all my emotions while reading. Sirius’ death is the worst in the series and I won’t be convinced otherwise.

300400686. A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GIRL NEXT
My expectations of what was going to happen in this book and what actually happened were vastly different. There is a plot-twist that basically comes out of nowhere and sucker punches you straight in the face. Except getting punched in the face would actually have hurt less. My heart broke so hard for the main character, Jared. I’ll admit I cried some ugly tears as I whispered to myself, “oh no” over and over. This is such a touching and emotional story and yet unfortunately a really underrated YA contemporary.  [review]

140619577. RUIN AND RISING
This book only made me cry for one particular scene and – lo and behold, what a surprise – it happened to be the death of my favorite character. I remember feeling so despondent because I couldn’t believe it was happening. All I wanted was for him to have the happy ending with Alina that he deserved and then Leigh Bardugo went and betrayed me.

173476348. ME BEFORE YOU
Reading this was an emotional rollercoaster. I laughed. I cried. I’m pretty sure I screamed obscenities at one point (the ending). The relationship between Lou and Will was so honest and beautiful. The reactions and choices the characters made in the book were absolutely realistic and natural. The book also brings to light some ethical dilemmas and thought-provoking situations that have stuck with me for a long time, especially as someone who works in health care. [review]

118700859. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Some of the most beautiful love stories are wrapped in tragedy. We all knew what was going to happen by the end of this book, and yet it didn’t stop me from hoping and believing in a happy ever after. This is an iconic YA contemporary book that really started a whole trend of other tragic YA stories in a similar vein. This book taught me that anything can happen and to never trust the author.

3673955310. FURY
This remains one of the endings I hated the most for any book or series. Without spoiling too much, I spent all three books rooting for two characters to finally realize their feelings for each other, only for it to happen LITERALLY pages before one of those said characters dies. There was no gratification for me as a reader, which was upsetting, and then we added up the death which was even more upsetting given the story. To put in shortly, I cried in both despair and anger at the last chapter.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Underrated Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is similar to a post I did not too long ago about last year’s underhyped releases, but I was excited for another chance to showcase some books that I think really need for exposure and love from the bookish community. All of the following books have less than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads – which is huge shame!

400460301. ECHO NORTH
Okay, so this was just released last month but I’m still including it because doesn’t even have five hundred ratings and it’s so freaking good. There was also hardly any hype over this book and it took me so long to find an ARC, that I really thought there were none out there. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for an amazing fairytale retelling.

311790062. SWEET BLACK WAVES
This is a YA retelling of Tristan & Iseult that needs more readers. It features a wonderful Irish setting, a lovely heroine, angst, betrayal, friendship, magic, love, and an ending that’s sure to make you feel like you were stabbed repeatedly in the heart.

 

303394933. ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE
I hadn’t read this yet when I wrote my post on the least hyped books that released last year, but I’m glad I included it because I can now say after reading this, that it deserves so much more recognition than what it gets. This was an excellently executed fantasy: the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, a hint of romance, great writing, and dynamic characters. I’m so excited to read the companion novel set to release later this year!

346405724. STATE OF SORROW
I hadn’t even heard of this book until it arrived in my March FairyLoot box. It’s an absolutely spectacular book; the storytelling and the worldbuilding were stunning, and it’s full of political intrigue, breathtaking descriptions, and dynamic characters. The protagonists doesn’t fall under the typical “strong, female heroine” expected of YA fantasy books, but instead is clever, passionate, and possesses a quieter kind of strength.

320729245. GODBLIND
This book was nothing short of amazing, and I have no idea why it is not more popular. I have to confess that this was my first grimdark fantasy book but I absolutely devoured this: it was utterly fantastic and completely engrossing to read. From the compelling characters, to the excellent worldbuilding, I cannot wait to read more in this series.

349649216. THIS HEART OF MINE
A very touching story focused on family, friendship, grief, love, and life. It’s easy to see that this book means a lot to the author by the love and care infused into the writing. The book has a compelling story with an inspiring message. It left me feeling glad I choose to be an organ donor, and can possibly one day in the (hopefully far) future give life back to someone. If you’re looking for a light, fun, uplifting read, I would recommend this one!

369525967. BLANCA & ROJA
Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are something special. She’s so talented at writing magical realism and I love getting lost in her stories. Her books are all extremely well-liked and highly rated, but I still feel like they have hardly any hype? None of her books have over 5,000 ratings which was actually very surprising to me. Why are people sleeping on her?!

250600628. THE WEDDING SHROUD
This is really a fantastic historical fiction series. It’s incredibly well-written and researched, including great characters, complex relationships, and the political and religious intricacies of two very different cultures at a time before Rome was the Roman Empire as we know it. I loved reading about the different political and religious aspects of the Etruscan and Roman cultures during that time period and the conflict between the two civilizations.

204864959. LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY
This is the last book in the Empress of Rome historical fiction series – one of my favorites ever – and it’s such a shame that it has the least amount of ratings. In my opinion, this is the best book in the whole series and one of my absolute favorites. I always recommend these books to fans of historical fiction so if you enjoy that genre and haven’t checked these out yet, please do!

3270248710. THE BIRD AND THE BLADE
After I had finished reading this, I did two things: I ran to the bathroom for tissues since I was a hot mess and then immediately marked this as a favorite book. I really wish more people would read this book because it was truly phenomenal.