#ARCstravaganza: The Traitor’s Game – Jennifer A. Nielsen

Happy Monday! Unfortunately, the Patriots lost in last night‘s SuperBowl and I’m a little bummed 😭 but that’s okay, we have plenty of other wins under our belts so I guess the Eagles can have their one…😉 Today is my first #ARCstravaganza post and I’m really excited to be joining this meme. #ARCstravangaza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.


The Traitor’s Game – Jennifer A. Nielsen

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About the Book

35238069Title: The Traitor’s Game (The Traitor’s Game #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release: February 27, 2018

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well – and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what – and who – it is they’re fighting for.


Is this book on anyone else’s TBR list? Have you gotten an ARCs you’re excited about? Let’s chat!

2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge

I’ve seen other blogs join this challenge and thought it would be a great way to hold myself responsible for reading more books on my backlist. There are still a bunch of books from last year that I didn’t get around to reading so this challenge is perfect for me. The goal I’m going to set for myself is 20 books. Hopefully, this will help me get to those books that have been sitting on the back-burner for awhile.

If you’re interested in the challenge or want more information about it, head on over to this page. The simple rules are:

  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. You have an ENTIRE YEAR to complete your goal!
  • Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge. Although we love new releases too, this isn’t the challenge for them.

My Beat the Backlist Books:

    1. THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM by Elise Kova
    2. BEFORE SHE IGNITES by Jodi Meadows
    3. THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee
    4. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao
    5. THE LAST NAMSARA by Kristen Ciccarelli
    6. LAST STAR BURNING by Caitlin Sangster
    7. THE LIBRARY OF FATES
by Aditi Khorana
    8. THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
    9. NOW I RISE by Kiersten White 
    10. ONE DARK THRONE by Kendare Blake
    11. PRINCESS OF THORNS by Stacey Jay
    12. RED RISING by Pierce Brown
13. RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer
    14. A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE by Shari Lapena

    15. THAT INEVITABLE VICTORIAN THING by E.K. Johnston

✓ 16. THE SHIP BEYOND TIME by Heidi Heilig 
    17. THE WISH GRANTER by C.J. Redwine
    18. THIS ADVENTURE ENDS by Emma Mills
    19. WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore
    20. WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE by Lana Popović


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Wish me luck! Are any of you participating in this challenge? Let me know!

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2018

Since I don’t write reviews for every book I read, I decided it would be a good idea to bring back my Monthly Wrap-Up posts! At least this way, I can share a few thoughts for all the books I read in a book. My biggest struggle this past month has been in deciding which books to read next, the new releases on my TBR or the backlisted books? But as much as I try to keep a game plan, the heart wants to read what the heart wants to read!

Book Reviews

26032825THE CRUEL PRINCE: I had waited so long for this book to come out and I was not disappointed. This was my first book by Holly Black and now I can see why everyone loves her work. The Cruel Prince was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I loved the world Black created, the Fae courts, the twists, the reveals, the characters; it’s all amazing. ★½

 

32320661EVERLESS: Everless was another book that I had really been looking forward to reading in the new year, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. My biggest issue was that it felt like this was a story that I’ve already read before. The concept of time and blood irons is unique and intriguing, but as for the rest of the book, it followed the same plotline and tropes similar to whole bunch of other YA fantasies and became too predictable. 


23299513THE SHADOW QUEEN:
I’ll be honest: I only picked this up because I wanted to read the other two books in the series. I didn’t have a whole lot of high expectations going in, especially considering all the negative reviews I had read, so it more of a “I just have to get through this” kind of read. Eventually I’ll read The Wish Granter and The Traitor Prince, which seem to have way better reviews, but I’m not in a great hurry. 

 

30694168SHADOWSONG: It seems like a lot of people have been disappointed by Shadowsong, but as for myself, I really enjoyed it! I absolutely love the lush, lyrical writing and descriptions and find it matches the tone of the story perfectly. Shadowsong differs from Wintersong in that the story focuses almost entirely on Liesl and her growth as character, including her changed relationships with Josef and Käthe. Overall, I was ecstatic to be thrust back into the world S. Jae-Jones created and was very pleased with the sequel! ARC received through NetGalley. ★[review]

10572A CLASH OF KINGS: A Clash of Kings was just as page-turning and entertaining as A Game of Thrones, and I actually found myself liking some of the characters’ POVs that I didn’t enjoy reading previously. Arya’s chapters and storyline became more interesting to me and I didn’t mind Catelyn’s chapters as much either, even though my opinion of her as a character more or less remained apathetic. I also really enjoyed reading Theon’s chapters, surprisingly. I despise him as a character, but I couldn’t deny that his chapters were engaging, informative, and full of action. A Storm of Swords is a mammoth of a book, but I’m determined to start it soon! 

33413958YOUR ONE & ONLY: If you’re looking for a unique YA Dystopian story with excellent execution, skillful writing, and great characters, look no further than Your One & Only. What seems like would be a typical YA Sci-Fi novel, rife with tropes and romance-heavy, Your One & Only actually focuses on plot and character growth, with the romance riding shotgun, much to my pleasant surprise. I highly recommend this book and I think other readers will become as enraptured by the story and characters as I was. ARC received through NetGalley.  [review]

33555224THUNDERHEAD: I’m glad I reread Scythe beforehand or I would have been very lost and confused. I was so thankful to be back in the world created by Neal Shusterman. I loved following Citra’s and Rowan’s stories as they continued (more Rowan next time please, thanks), but there was a new character added whose chapters I didn’t really care for. Thunderhead ended with a huge cliffhanger (rude) and I cannot wait for the third book in the series! 


26958226EVEN THE DARKEST STARS:
The best thing about this book was the world-building and setting. It was completely magical and unique. Unfortunately, the rest of the book was pretty mediocre and followed the same recipe as many other YA fantasies, unnecessary love triangle included. That being said, I wasn’t ever bored while reading and I am stilled interested in reading the sequel, especially after the final twist at the end of the story. 


32711705-1THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS:
These books are so addicting. I stick to my original assessment that they probably will only appeal to a certain type of reader, but I love them. The drama and web of secrets continues in the sequel. Only this time with new lies, new twists, new secrets, and new characters. Avery, Atlas, Rylin, and Cord are still my favorite characters, but I was glad to see Leda finally redeem herself in this book. I absolutely despise Calliope, however, and I hope the third book involves her downfall. Also, there was definitely not enough Cord in this book (or Cord + Rylin interactions). Dear Katherine McGee: please fix this issue in The Towering Sky

25446297UNEARTHED: Oh man, this was such a fun read. I have a weakness for Sci-Fi books set in space and this was just my bread and butter. Jules and Amelia were amazing characters to follow and they really made the story so much more enjoyable. The setting, writing, and plot were all really well done. I figured out the big twist/reveal at the end when I was less than a quarter of the way in to the book, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment at all and I’m excited for the next book in the series! 


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. 
 [review]

Other

Top 5 Wednesday: Hidden Gems | Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Love to Hate | WWW Wednesday #2 | Blog Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart

Top 5 Wednesday: Hidden Gems

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! This week’s topic has us talking about books in our favorite genre that don’t have a lot of popularity. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read and there are quite a few books that I think deserve more hype!

6581303MISTRESS OF ROME – Of all the books on this list, this one probably has the most ratings and notoriety. Nevertheless, it still doesn’t have the popularity and hype that it deserves. Kate Quinn is an amazing author and the Mistress of Rome series is impossible to put down. The historical aspects are well researched, the characters are complex and lovable, and the plots are intriguing and intricate. Mistress of Rome is one of my favorite books ever and if you pick just one book from this list to try, I highly suggest this one!

 

25060062THE WEDDING SHROUD – I stumbled upon this series when I needed another ancient rome fix and I’m so glad I did! It’s incredibly well-written and full of great characters and complex relationships. 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.

 

27343696FROM ASH AND SAND – Amy Harmon has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her writing in From Ash and Sand is excellent and her portrayal of WWII is so realistic you can feel the terror and pain along with the characters. Not to mention that the story between Eva and Angelo is one of the most heart-wrenching and angst-filled that I’ve ever read. 

 

23014749NAKED: A NOVEL OF LADY GODIVA – This is such a wonderful take on the story of Lady Godiva. I’ve always been intrigued by the lore of her story (and the beautiful paintings) and so I was pleased when I found this book. The romance between Godiva and Leofric was swoon-worthy and I really enjoyed the political aspects that were essential to the story. The legend of Lady Godiva is brought to life in an amazing book that’s totally worth the read.

 

28186322A CURIOUS BEGINNING – If you like Victorian-era England, murder mysteries, a slow-burn romance, a brooding hero with a tragic past, and a smart, independent protagonist then this series is for you! These books are seriously so good and they need more hype. 

REVIEW: The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

34050917Title: The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden
Rating: ★★★★★

“She had a fleeting taste of winter: smoke and pine and deadly cold, and then there was a warmth, too, and a swift, impossible sweetness.”

I greatly enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it last year upon its release, but I wasn’t as awestruck and enamored by the book as everyone else seemed to be. I never expected to love The Girl in the Tower as much as I did. It completely blew me away and I want to sit down and read it all over again. 

“That love of maidens for monsters, that does not fade with time.”

The Girl in the Tower picked up right where the first book left off, but I felt much more invested in the story and characters this time. I was more apathetic towards Vasya in The Bear and the Nightingale, and now she has become one of my favorite female protagonists. She has grown as a character throughout the book and I loved following her on her journey. I’m so excited for where her story is going to take us next. 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 a morose frost-demon. 

“Once in the chaos, he could have sworn he saw a tall white horse beside the bay stallion, whose rider kept the bandits’ blades from finding the girl. But then Sasha realized it was only a cloud of flying snow.”

The setting in these books are totally atmospheric. Katherine Arden is such a talented writer; her lush writing and vivid descriptions create a magical world unlike any other. I have a particular fondness for Slavic folklore, and she does such an amazing job weaving history with elements of Russian fairytales. 

The Girl in the Tower is an enchanting read that has become a favorite of mine. The gorgeous writing easily immerses the reader into this atmospheric world and I highly recommend the series. The Winter of the Witch releases in August and I cannot wait to read the rest of Vasya’s story!