Underhyped Books of 2018

It’s that time of year: the time for the Best of 2018 lists. And while I love shouting about all my favorite reads to anyone and everyone as much as the next reader, there are also a whole bunch of great releases this year that haven’t seen as much hype and totally deserve praise. So I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on some of the most underrated releases of 2018!


DEBUT AUTHORS

30975382BLOOD AND SAND by C.V. Wyk
This historical fiction book set in Ancient rome features gladiators and is (very) loosely based on the legend of Spartacus! It’s fast-paced, well-written, and contains wonderful characters and a heart-warming enemies-to-loves romance. I’ve very picky when it comes to reading historical fiction due to my tendency to latch onto any inaccuracies or unbelievable scenarios (nerd alert), but I absolutely loved this and really recommend it.
Goodreads | Amazon

33413958YOUR ONE AND ONLY by Adrienne Finlay
If you’re looking for a unique YA Dystopian story with excellent execution, skillful writing, and great characters, look no further than this. The synopsis hints towards a book rife with tropes and romance-heavy, but it actually focuses on plot and character growth, with the romance riding shotgun. I highly recommend this book and I think other readers will become as enraptured by the story and characters as I was.
Goodreads | Amazon

31179006SWEET BLACK WAVES by Kristina Pérez
This is such an emotional, wonderful retelling of the legend Tristan and Iseult, set in ancient Ireland and full of Celtic mythology. The stunning worldbuilding and fantasy aspects are combined perfectly with historical elements. Branwen is a wonderful and selfless heroine with whom you can help feeling for, especially with that tumultuous and heartbreaking ending. My stomach is a knot of angst just thinking about it.
Goodreads | Amazon 

32702487THE BIRD AND THE BLADE by Megan Bannen
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 one of my favorites of the year.
Goodreads | Amazon

34842042THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS by Laura E. Weymouth
This is an extremely different sort of book than Narnia, so if you’re expecting a whimsical story full of magic and mythical creatures, this is not that book. This a very character driven book, that deals with important issues and heavy subjects such as familial bonds, war, grief and guilt, depression, and mental illness. The writing is poetic and really quite lovely, and if you give this slower paced book a chance, I think you will find it very enjoyable.
Goodreads | Amazon 

NEW RELEASES

30339493ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE by Makiia Lucier
This is the only book on the list that I haven’t actually read, however I’ve heard such good things about this and it has a decently high rating. And for a YA Fantasy with an intriguing synopsis, I found it really surprising that there was hardly any hype for the book at all I have an arc of the companion novel, Song of the Abyss (which doesn’t seem to have as much hype either), so I look forward to reading this in the near future!
Goodreads | Amazon

36134048WHISPER OF THE TIDE by Sarah Tolscer
This is a the sequel to Song of the Current, and it makes me so mad that these books aren’t more popular. These books are action-packed, fast-paced, well-written, and have excellent worldbuilding. They feature an amazing kick-ass heroine, a spoiled yet charming prince, pirates, assassins, sea adventures, and of course – a swoon-worthy romance. This duology is really fun and entertaining, and it’s such a shame how underrated it is!
Goodreads | Amazon

34640572STATE OF SORROW by Melinda Salisbury
This book was so underhyped, that I had never even heard of it until it arrived in my March FairyLoot box. This is 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.
Goodreads | Amazon 

36099148ALL THE WANDERING LIGHT by Heather Fawcett
This is the sequel to Even the Darkest Stars, and the worldbuilding was just as unique and gorgeous as the first book. The best part about these books is honestly the setting: it’s so different from any other fantasy world and it really made such a difference when reading. The book is set in snowy, mountainous area inspired by the Himalayas. It also features mountain climbing, explorations, dragons, witches, fire demons, and all kinds of other fun stuff!
Goodreads | Amazon

REVIEW: The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi (ARC)

39863498Title: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Roshani Chokshi continues to impress me with her effortless skill and crafting marvelous stories and endearing characters. A lot of young adult fantasy/heist books have been lauded as the next Six of Crows, and so far I’ve been disappointment by the ones I’ve read. And while I’m hesitant to compare The Gilded Wolves to it – they are each their own completely unique story – I truly believe that fans of Six of Crows are going to be as enamored by The Gilded Wolves as I was. 

“I work alone,” said Zofia.
Enrique rolled his eyes. “Most women kill to be alone with me.”
“I have learned that something does not have to be animate in order to use the word ‘kill,'” said Zofia. “Perhaps these women you are referencing are killing their expectations?”

The world created here can only be described as opulent and magical. Roshani has written such a unique story full of dark magic, thrilling adventures, and a diverse cast of compelling characters. From the mysteries and secrets, to the heists and plot twists, there is a lot of good stuff going on in this book. One of my favorite aspects was the interactions between the characters. There are a lot of different dynamics to love and each was written so beautifully and believably. 

Séverin – French-Algerian leader of the group, wants nothing more than to protect and care for his friends. He thrives off the idea of revenge and high-key pines after Laila.

“Neither of them could afford to lose sight of their prize, and so one night in each other’s arms stayed as one mistake, and the memory of it was shoved into the dark.”

Hypnos – Heir of a French aristocrat and descendant of a slave on his mother’s side. Definitely grows on you as the story evolves. He has some of the funniest lines in the book and honestly, he just wants friends. 

“You’ll like working with me, I promise! I’m fabulous at parties, have excellent taste in menswear etcetera etcetera,” said Hypnos, waving his hand. “And if you don’t agree to this, I’ll break every bone in their bodies, and etch your name onto the splinters.”

Zofia – Socially awkward cinnamon roll with a few OCD tendencies. Really loves sugar cookies and mathematical equations. 

Séverin rolled his eyes. “Zofia, tell him he’s pretty.”
Zofia didn’t look up from her tea. “I am personally undecided, but if we’re assessing based on objectivity then according to the principles of the Golden Ratio, also known as phi, which is approximately 1.618, your facial beauty is mathematically pleasing.”

Enrique – Spanish-Filipino, bisexual. Obsessed with history and sarcasm (like me) and full of fun facts that people get tired of listening to (also like me). 

Tristan – Like a brother to Séverin, a bit of a recluse with a large pet spider and an affinity for botanical properties.

Laila – Indian made-up girl with a tragic backstory and the epitome of a mom friend. She’s fierce and loyal and likes to bake and basically has earned the role of My Favorite Character. Give her all the happiness.

Hypnos laughed. “I adore you already! So imperious! I bet Séverin likes to be bossed around a little, doesn’t he?”

And speaking of character dynamics, I love everything going on with the romances. We have one romance which is essentially mutual pining and angst, and it’s like Roshani has read all of my previous reviews of books and wrote this specifically for me. I’m also totally on board for the love triangle Enrique has going on, and although I’m already trash for one of the possibilities, I’m also a big fan of the other possibility as well. 

“What on earth are you doing?”
“I am imitating patterns of flirtation.”
“Wait. You’re flirting. With…me?

Basically, this book is amazing and should totally be on your TBR if it isn’t already. I highly recommend this for fans of Roshani Chokshi’s other works or those who love Six of CrowsThe Gilded Wolves is a thrilling book full of heists, loyal friends, and magic. The ending crushed my soul and I have no idea what I’m going to do while I wait for the next book in the series. 

Five Spooky Podcasts to Listen to this October 🎃

Podcasts are my new obsession. One of my best friends had been listening to them for a while and eventually convinced to me to try them. It took a while to find one that really captured my attention, but once I did, I was hooked. I commute an hour to and from work, and the radio can become annoying after awhile, play the same songs over and over. There are podcasts for every genre and subject, and I’ve included some of the more eerie and thrilling series I’ve listened to that are perfect for October!


Season2-Icon_FINAL_NoBrandingSPOOKED – I just started listening to this podcast, and I can’t get enough. This is the perfect podcast for the Halloween season. Each episode features stories about paranormal encounters, or just bizarre and unexplained experiences, told first-hand buy the people it happened to. The stories are always interesting and some of them really make you think. And I love that while these stories are spooky and creepy, they’re not scary enough that I end up turning it off while I’m driving home at night like some other podcasts. 

227305DR. DEATH – As someone who works in healthcare, this podcast is equal parts fascinating and downright horrifying. It’s all anyone on my unit is talking about. Dr. Death is a true-crime podcast about Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon that severely botched 33 spinal surgeries, severely injuring most of them, and killing two. It’s not scary in the traditional sense, but it’s absolutely bone-chilling listening to just how horribly he performed these surgeries, his terrible behavior in and out of the operating room, and how long it took for someone to finally stop him. 

96197UP AND VANISHED – This is the podcast that really got me into listening to them. It’s an investigative journalism podcast following the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. One of the coolest things about this podcast is that while the host, Lindsay Payne, was in the middle of creating his weekly episodes and investigating, her case that had been cold for over ten years was finally solved. The entire production is so well-organized and put together, and some of the details and leads surrounding her mystery are really eerie. 

NoSleep.Podcast.S4.Logo_1400THE NO SLEEP PODCAST – The title says it all. This podcasts takes stories for the NoSleep reddit forum, where people write fictional horror stories. The stories range from severely creepy to completely terrifying. Some are too scary for me, especially at night, and I have to skip them. But if you enjoy horror stories, this is definitely the podcast to check out this October. 

a0b61862cf0ad1e537e571d8ceda97d0161a35f5054288f81429db4182741c91a230e2e16df341a6f1bd7fc059f4551a1bf21c045bff9d72e79e62fa0f7f9fe4HAUNTED PLACES – I like this well enough, but it’s not my favorite. A podcast dedicated to exploring and talking about real haunted places around the world is totally up my alley, but I’m just not a huge fan of the way it’s produced. There’s a lot more fictional storytelling than factual discussion. If the stories were based off of actual encounters instead of made up, I think it would be more enjoyable. The podcast is still pretty cool to listen to, however, and it’s neat learning all about these haunted places and their historical backstories. 


Do you like listening to podcasts? Which are you favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you so much to Literary Huntress for tagging me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! 💕 These questions were so unique and I had a lot of fun answering them!

Rules

  • Thank and link to the blog that nominated you
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
  • Nominate eleven blogs and give them eleven questions to answer

1. What is your favorite folk tales or mythology? Growing up I was always big into Greek mythology (and still am), but in recent years I’ve become very interested in learning more about my ancestry and so I’m really into reading all about Celtic mythology and Irish folk tales. They’re so much fun to read about and I enjoy feeling that connection to my family’s past. 

02. Would you rather be an older or younger sibling? As I am the older sibling, I would prefer to be the youngest considering everything my young brother got away with – and continues to get away with – that I never did. Although I’m sure if you asked him, he would say he’d rather be in my shoes as the oldest 😂

03. What is your most anticipated release for 2019? The book I’m most excited for is The Kingdom of Copper (The City of Brass #2) by S. A. Chakraborty, but at the same time she keeps dropping hints on twitter about it that are making me nervous! 

04. What is your favorite season? 🍁 Fall 🍂

05. Would you rather drop your book in a body of water or left your book somewhere you could never go back to? I don’t know, this is such a Sophie’s choice 😩 I guess if I had to choose, I would leave it somewhere I could never go back to. Then at least it wouldn’t be ruined and if someone found it they could enjoy it (or attempt to find the owner!). 

06. What is your favorite thing to waste time? I spend more time than I care to admit on Goodreads lol. 

07. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owl, definitely! 

08. What is your first language? English

09. Do you like deckled pages or not? Why? Ugh no, deckled edges are THE WORST. I hate both the look and feel of them. 

10. What is your favorite comfort food? A delicious, hot pepperoni pizza. 

11. Which book will you give for your children/niece/nephews/next generation? I plan to pass on my Harry Potter books, my The Magic Tree House series, and my collection of Dr. Seuss books to my children. 


I tag the following blogs for always brightening up my feed! Don’t feel pressured that you have to do this – especially if you’ve already done one – it’s all for fun! 

Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile | The Bibliophile Girl | Another Book in the Wall | Thrifty Bibliophile | A Book. A Thought. | The Book Cover Girl | Synopses by Sarge | That Bookshelf Bitch | The Bibliophagist | Bionic Book Worm | Jenna Bookish 

 

1. What’s your favorite thing about the fall?

2. Which author graces your bookshelf the most?

3. Do you have a favorite animal?

4. What is one country you would love to visit?

5. Do you subscribe to any monthly book boxes?

6. Would you rather meet your favorite author or favorite character?

7. What’s your favorite TV show to binge watch?

8. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

9. Which fall release are you most looking forward to reading?

10. What is your favorite post you’ve written?

11. When you’re not reading or blogging, what are you doing?

 

REVIEW: Beneath the Citadel – Destiny Soria (ARC)

36430924Title: Beneath the Citadel
Author: Destiny Soria
Rating: ★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

I wanted to love this so badly. Beneath the Citadel is fast-paced, full of action, and has a great cast of diverse characters, but ultimately it just felt flat. Other people seem to be loving it, so I really think this is a case of “it’s not the book, it’s me.”

The story starts out right in the middle of action, which was good in that the book jumps into the action and continues at a fast pace from there. However because of the way it’s written, there are moments when a lot of information is dumped on you, other times when I felt like I was missing something, and some parts where the book seemed to jump around. At times it felt like I was reading the sequel to a book I hadn’t read. And since there was so much information being thrown at the readers right off the back, I kept getting confused with the different terms, such as the rooks and sentients, seers and diviners. 

There are four protagonists – and five POVS – which can be overwhelming, but I think the author did a great job of giving each character a distinct voice. There was a diverse cast of characters, and each of them had their own flaws and unmistakable personalities. And while I appreciated them all, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and I think that also had an effect on my enjoyment.

Beneath the Citadel is fast-paced, action-packed, and full of interesting, diverse characters. There are definitely some Six of Crows vibes, so fans of those books will enjoy this as well!