My November Recap

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November was a month of long-awaited returns.

Like every other YA bookworm out there, I was waiting for the third book of The Cruel Prince series by Holly Black. Since early January, I was desperate to know the destiny of Jude and longing for more Cardan. I felt we were blessed with too happy of an ending, which I thought was a strong contrast to the dark tone of the whole book or at least the last chapters. I am always for a they-lived-happily-ever-after kind of story, and even if I will never ever have enough of Cardan, I thought the way everything was wrapped up was too good to be true, and I almost expected a last surprise from Black.

In a spur of the moment, I purchased The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White just because I was tired of seeing this title on every Twitter feed and I have to be honest I know the gist of the King Arthur story – I secretly loved King Arthur the movie, which I know got just 30% on Rotten Tomatoes – I was keen on reading a YA retelling. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White was not what I was looking for, Guinevere is a sort of whiny and surprisingly not such a strong character, even if she can use magic, so it was a bit disappointing. Until Lancelot came into the story and holy fork! Let’s all praise White, because she is such a genius. Give me book two now!

I also read Stepsister, by Jennifer Donnelly, which was on my TBR for months now. It was a rather interesting retelling of the redemption of Cinderella’s two sisters. Even though I quite enjoyed the plot and the writing it didn’t make me crazy about it.

Finally, I think one of the most awesome reads of this year was Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, the first book of the Dreamer Trilogy, sequel of The Raven Cycle. I mean… I don’t even know where to start describing how much I enjoyed this one, how great and heart-wrenching it was. I miss Blue and Gansey – I still believe they needed a better happy ending – but for the sequel. Stiefvater decided to focus on the Lynch brothers, and we finally get to know more about Declan and Matthew. The writing is marvellous, and reading this story seriously felt like being in a dream – or nightmare, depends on perspective.

To recap:

Stepsister 2/5 stars

The Queen of Nothing 4/5 stars

The Guinevere Deception 3.5/5 stars

5/5 stars

Nevernight Webseries, Kristoff and Kaufman New Projects

Are you still hungover from Darkdawn? Do you need a cure?  The webseries based on Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – adapted by Australian actress and blogger Piera Forde who also plays Mia Corvere –  is now available for streaming on Forde’s YouTube channel. If you haven’t watched this crowdfunded webseries yet, it’s brilliant and you must, together with Forde’s live commentary. I would say, the only problem is that it’s too short, but apart from that it is absolutely fantastic.

Recently, Jay Kristoff also revealed on his social media the cover of True L1f3, third part of the series Life L1k3, which is expected to be published next June 2020.

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. 

Life Like is about Eve, who isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried. I am actually quite looking forward to his next book Empire of the Vampire, which probably will be out at the end of 2020 – fingers crossed.

Another book, from Jay Kristoff, which is coming out next year, written together with Amie Kaufman, is the second part of The Aurora Cycle series – Aurora Burning. The first book, Aurora Rising was a huge surprise for me as I am not a big reader of Science Fiction books, but this one was really an epic read. Amie Kaufman recently announced she is currently working with Ryan Graudin on her new book, a new series with the title The World Between Blinks, which should be out in 2021.

The series follows two cousins who stumble from our world into a magical place where all lost things end up. Amid ghost ships, lost cities, and keys to vanished doors, Jake and Marisol find themselves responsible for the fate of not just one world—but two.

Make sure to follow Monogamist Read if you want to stay up to date about new YA release and news!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

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Today, Children of Virtue and Vengeance is finally out, the super awaited sequel of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. The first book of the West African inspired fantasy trilogy “Legacy of Orïsha” was New York Times Best Seller for 88 weeks. An extraordinary story that made so much impact that it immediately landed what is reported one of the biggest movie deals for a Young Adult Fiction book.

Adeyemi takes us now deeper into the world of Orïsha, maji clans and fans of the series can’t wait to find out what happens to the inspiring characters of this story, Zélie and Amari.

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

This series was often pitched as Black Panther-meets-magic, but I believe these characters have so much more to offer. If you enjoyed Sabaa Tahir ripping your heart apart with Ember in the Ashes series, you will definitely enjoy Legacy of Orïsha and, in case you still have not read the first book, you truly are missing out a lot.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is now available for purchase in both hardback and paperback edition and… what a stunning cover!!!

Sources:

NPR

USA Today

The Book Seller

This week new YA releases

Looking for new books to add to your TBR?

Here you are a list of this week new YA release for UK:

 

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Diamond & Dawn – the second book from the Amber & Dusk series by Lyra Selene is out on 3 December 2019.

Mirage, triumphant in her coup of the Amber Empire, returns to the palais prepared to take her place as empress. With the support of her friends and a tentative, blossoming romance with Sunder, Mirage is on the cusp of taking hold of everything she has ever wanted.

However, her place in the sun is not as sure as she expected, nor is it quite as bright as she imagined.

When the Empress Severine’s body was recovered from the battle, Mirage discovered she was not dead after all. Rather, Severine is in a coma, her every breath a threat to Mirage’s newfound power. Worse, a distant cousin, Gavin d’Ars, appears at court with the challenge of his blood claim. As Mirage uncovers more secrets from her family’s past, she proposes a series of ancient, grueling trials to determine the most deserving heir. But in Mirage’s fight to defend her vision for the empire, she begins to splinter all of her alliances. Will the battle for control leave anyone untainted?

 

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Children of Virtue and Vengeance – the second book from the Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi is out on 3 December 2019.

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

 

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The Weight of a Soul – by Elizabeth Tammi out on 3 December 2019.

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

 

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The Jinni Key: A Little Mermaid Retelling – from The Stolen Kingdom series – by Bethany Atazadeh out on 3 December 2019.

When Arie reveals her Gift, she thinks the worst is over. But she couldn’t be more wrong. The only one who can save her now is a mermaid named Rena.

Rena is the youngest daughter of the Sea King, and she’s dreamed of the surface for years. But her first visit on her 16th birthday isn’t what she expects. She watches a Jinni fall from the sky—and chooses to save him, despite her mother’s warnings that all Jinn are evil.

Once she meets Gideon, she can’t get him out of her mind. And maybe, with a little help from Arie and some magic of her own, she doesn’t have to…

The Jinni Key is a loose “Little Mermaid” retelling. Set in a world that humans share with mermaids, dragons, and the elusive Jinn, this is not the fairytale you remember…

If you enjoy clean romance, adventure, and intrigue, then try the books in The Stolen Kingdom series now! These interconnected fairy tale retellings each feature a different princess who has to fight for her happily ever after.

Blood Heir UK release

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Harper Collins announced on their twitter the UK release of Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao, probably one of the most debated books of the year.

 

The book was ready to be published last year, until the writer received a massive backlash after the distribution of first advanced reader copies. The readers accused

Amélie Wen Zhao of racial insensitivity, plagiarism and so forth. It also opened the discussion about the social media empowerment function on readers’ communities.

What actually is Blood Heir about?

BLOOD HEIR is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the conman she must trust to clear her name of murder.

Princess Anastacya Mikhailov of Cyrilia has lived her life in safety, hidden behind palace walls. But when she is framed for her father’s brutal murder, she must leave behind everything she has ever known to find his killer and prove her innocence. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help her – Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning, silver-tongued crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has his own sinister plans – though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of them all.

You probably guessed by reading the synopsis that, Blood Heir is a retelling of the story of Anastasia but you need to add magic and racially diverse characters.  After the initial brutal backlash, Amélie Wen Zhao decided to cancel her debut novel release. Following a long period of reflection and revision, the book was once again announced to be published by November 2019.

The writer assures that despite the revisions the book is still original to her vision, which wanted to describe the issue of human trafficking and slavery in Asia.

In 2017, prior to publishing date, early reviews accused The Black Witch by Laurie Forest of racism as well as Keira Drake’s The Continent being labelled “offensive”. I am pretty sure that the debate is still not over, and the release of the book in UK will bring more discussion about diversity and cultural representation in the YA.

Sources:

Slate.com

New York Times

Harper Collins UK

October Recap

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How much life events impact the way we feel about a book? I thought a lot about it recently. I disappeared again even if I promised myself to commit to this blog at least once at week. Work was literally making me crazy. No matter how much hard work I put into my job, it felt like it was not enough. I sat down one weekend considering all the pros and cons of staying in the same company and there was only one pro: money. I realised that something needed to change, and I quit. All my friends and even my therapist told me “congratulations” so… Most importantly, my mood changed in better and I am feeling confident about my future again.

I have only one week left to go, I was used to work 46 hours per week and now I feel like I don’t know what to do with my free time. I also adopted a cat from a shelter, and he brings me so much joy and love every day I feel so blessed. I have a lot of reading and watching to catch up and I am almost done with my Goodreads challenge – YAY!!  So, life is good again.

Before recapping what I have been reading last October, I need to go back to my initial point: How much life events and your mood impacts the way you feel about a book? October was a series of unsatisfying reads that I thought maybe I was in such a bad place – mentally speaking – even my appreciation of a book was affected. Do you ever feel like you are in a blue mood and so even the story you are reading loses the sparkle?

Last month the only book that I felt I was really able to enjoy was “Serpent & Dove”. I dived into this story with no expectations whatsoever and I went to sleep way past my bed time every night. This one was amazing, I would recommend this one as perfect Throne of Glass hangover cure. The main character was super sassy and the usual enemies to lovers trope was not too cheesy but with the right amount of smut – as I like it. It was a great read.

After that, I got earlier than the official publishing day “Into the Crooked Place” and it was a DNF. Now, I don’t know if too many deadlines, GOT7 concert and a shelter cat created an evil spell but I could not grasp the world building at all. The world itself felt like a small attempt to emulate “Six of Crows”. And trust me, I say this with heavy heart because I loved “To Kill a Kingdom” and I think Alexandra Christo is the coolest person ever. I also waited for this book since she announced it at YALC 2018. I promise I will give it another chance.

As I said in another post, Into the Crooked Place was one of my most awaited book, together with “Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo. Ninth House is undoubtedly a brilliant story and Leigh Bardugo is a majestic queen. But – it reminded me why I love Young Adult fiction and fantasy book. Great writing and great story, just not my cup of tea. I prefer easy readings. So, even with Ninth House, I was not able to scream “miracle”.

Another book on my Autumn release list was “Wayward Son” by Rainbow Rowell. I finished “Carry On” in one day because it was absolutely amazing, so I was really super excited about this one. Unfortunately I disliked Penelope and I thought there were too many chapters with her POV, while all I wanted was Simon and Baz scenes. Hence, another four stars, great but not “holy moly great”. Still, I wonder if I wasn’t able to enjoy this one just because my boss was in town and I was realising that I was professionally going to the wrong direction.

I think my theory that I was in the wrong place while reading was proven by “The Demon King”. I started this book in the darkest mood ever, and only when I gave my resignation letter I start falling in love with Hanson. Half-way through I started seeing the light and I could not put the book down and the ending with all those twists and revelations brought me back to my happy place – behind a book. The most amazing thing is, I don’t even remember how this book ended up on my TBR, but I will get all the books of this series for sure.

 

The Deathless Girls

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I can’t stress enough, the limited signed edition from Waterstone of The Deathless Girls is just so pretty than it is worth reading it only for the pink sprayed pages.

Book porn aside, this was an interesting reading. It was not what I was expecting but I overall quite enjoyed it. On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. 

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

It is an imaginary discovery of all the events that brought the twins to join Dracula lair and eventually they become two of the three Dracula’s wives.

It was a very dark story, beautifully written but we dramatic tones and probably because of that, I did not really love it. Just not my cup of tea. I loved the f/f romance in the plot and it was an easy read. Honestly, I know this is a stand alone, but I would actually mind a sequel because there is space for more – really trying to avoid spoilers here…

If you like dark and Gothic atmosphere and you enjoy the thrill of a good vampire story, definitely recommend this one.