Top 5 Tuesday: Books I Want to Reread

img_2290*Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm. A new topic is posted each week.


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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Every once in awhile I come across a book that is so captivating and resonates so deeply with me, and I can’t put into words why. The Secret History was that kind of book. It’s a monster at almost 700 pages, but I still wanted to absorb every single word. I want to reread this someday so that I can pick up on all the things I may have missed the first time around. I can’t wait to revisit these fascinating characters and this remarkable story.

 


The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

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It’s been a couple years since I read this book, and I remember it being so suspenseful and creepy! I’ve kind of been on a horror/apocalyptic kick lately and I would love to read this book again.

 

 

 


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I have a confession: I still haven’t read Crooked Kingdom. At this point, I’m not sure if I would even remember enough important details from Six of Crows to thoroughly enjoy the sequel. I’d actually like to get caught up on all the Grishaverse books before King of Scars comes out, so hopefully I find time to reread the original trilogy. Anyway, this book is a masterpiece, and I know I’ll enjoy it just as much the second time around as I did the first.

 


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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This book is a glorious masterpiece and I adore it so much. From the lovable protagonist to the atmospheric winter setting to the intricate weaving of magical Russian folklore, the Winternight series is everything I want and more. The final book doesn’t come out until January (!!) so I’ll have plenty of time to re-immerse myself in this world before then.

 


Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

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The story is heartbreaking and the romance is swoon-worthy. I loved Ten Tiny Breaths so much when I read it several years ago, so I almost want to reread it just to see if I would feel the same way now. Then again, K.A. Tucker has released many books since this one and I have magpie tendencies, so I’ll probably pick up those first.

 

 


 

Waiting on a Wednesday: Anticipated Sequels

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*Waiting on a Wednesday is a weekly feature in which I spotlight upcoming releases that I can’t wait to read!

This week, I’m focusing on to-be-released sequels that I would give up a limb for.

  1. The Wicked King by Holly Black

  2. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber

 

Can we just take a moment to admire these covers?! They’re absolutely amazing.

The Cruel Prince killed me, it was so good! I can’t wait to read The Wicked King and find out what’s in store for Jude and Cardan. I wouldn’t even hesitate to sell my soul for an ARC of this.

The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower became two of my favorite books. I didn’t think there was any way the second could be better than the first, but somehow it was. Katherine Arden is a phenomenal writer, and I can’t wait to read the third and final book in this magical series. It almost (almost) has me wishing for winter.

Caraval was one of my favorite reads of 2017! This book was so fun and twisty. I was riveted until the very last page, and I’m counting down the days until Legendary hits shelves!

 

Coffee Book Tag

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I came across this book tag from Peaks and Pages, and it was originally created by BangadyBangz. I love coffee almost more than I love reading (what can I say, I’m useless without it!) so I absolutely had to do this.

1. Black coffee: a book that was hard to get into but has a lot of diehard fans

I’m sort of dealing with this right now with Strange the Dreamer. People absolutely adore this book, but I’m sort of finding it to be (don’t throw rocks!) boring. The writing is beautiful, but I don’t have that compulsive need to read like I do with most books that capture my interest from the get-go. But I’m only 37% of the way through, so maybe I just need to give it some more time before the story pulls me in.

2. Peppermint mocha: a book that gets popular around the holiday season

When you read during the holiday season, you want to read wintery books! A few that I can think of are The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (the wintery-est of all winter books, bar none) and All the Light We Cannot See. I would include The Snow Child too, although I haven’t read it yet (it’s on my TBR and I’m hoping to get to it sometime soon). I’m actually always looking for recommendations for cozy winter reading!

Check out my reviews for The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower!

Side note: Peppermint mochas are my favorite.

3. Hot chocolate: your favorite children’s book

Harry Potter definitely takes the cake on this one, though I personally think of them as having an ageless demographic.

4. Double espresso: a book that kept you on the edge of your seat

Most recently, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, which was my Book of the Month pick for January. While it wasn’t anything groundbreaking in the thriller genre, it was the right kind of fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read that I was in the mood for.

You can read my full review for this book here.

5. Starbucks: a book that you see everywhere

I’m still seeing all those hype-y books everywhere, like Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, 50 Shades of Grey, etc. I don’t think they’ll be going away anytime soon.

6. Hipster coffee shop: a book by an indie author that you love

I haven’t really read anything by an indie author lately. Does Angelfall by Susan Ee count? I loved that book when it came out a few years ago for the unique and quirky dystopian fantasy that it was. The last book went a little off the deep end and left me completely underwhelmed, but I still enjoyed the series as a whole.

7. Oops, accidentally got decaf: a book you expected more from

I definitely expected more from Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, since it is roughly based off The Labyrinth and the premise sounded right up my alley (I’m using a lot of clichés in this post, I’m so sorry). The first half was phenomenal, in my opinion. I fully expected it to be a five-star read until the mid-way point, when it became an entirely different book. Angsty, confusing romances aren’t really my thing. I had a hard time believing that the two main characters even liked each other.

I received an ARC of the sequel and read it, hoping that it would contain the elements of Wintersong that I enjoyed. You can read my review for Shadowsong here.

8. The perfect blend – a book with the perfect combination of bitter and sweet

I thought the ending to A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab was intensely bittersweet. The entire series was a rollercoaster of emotions, and it concluded in such a satisfying but heartwrenching way. If you haven’t read these books already, do it. Seriously. V.E. (Victoria) Schwab is such a master storyteller, and all her books are phenomenal, but the Shades of Magic series is just amazing. The characterization, worldbuilding, everything.

You can read my review here.

9. Green tea – a book that is quietly beautiful

Maybe The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman? I’m not sure if this book counts as quiet, but there is a melancholic, nostalgic, dream-like quality to it and the writing is beautiful.

10. Chai tea – a book that makes you dream of far off places

I already mentioned Shades of Magic, right? So Harry Potter, the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Caraval, Strange the Dreamer, An Enchantment of Ravens, The Cruel Prince, and The Night Circus.

Three of a Theme: Russia-Inspired Fairy Tale Retellings

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This week, I’ll be discussing a trend in my favorites shelf: Russia-inspired fantasy novels!

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novak
  3. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Russia is a fascinating country, and I love the blend of Russian history with fantasy elements.

Read:

In The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, it is very apparent how much research has been conducted by Katherine Arden on a period in Russian history that is little-known and poorly documented. She blends this historical context with Russian fairytales and the folklore of the time, to create a magical and believable world.

Uprooted is a fairytale version of Poland and Russia. It has a twist of Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel, as well as hints of Slavic folklore. Naomi Novik has built a wonderful world through this clever mix of origin stories and has managed to make it feel like her own creation.

To Read:

I have yet to read Deathless, but I own a paperback copy and fully plan on reading this one over the next couple of weeks. This book mixes the Russian folklore story of Koschei the Deathless with historical events in the twentieth century. I’ve been told that this book contains some heavy topics, so I’m likely to wait until I’ve read something a little lighter (I’m still reeling from The Secret History).

 

 

The Status Quote – January

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*The Status Quote is a feature in which I discuss my favorite quotes from books that I’ve read throughout the month.

The following are quotes from my favorite books that I read in the month of January!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

“What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.”

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks. Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”

“I have lied and I have betrayed and I have triumphed. If only there was someone to congratulate me.”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

“I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”

“The breath hitched in his throat. His hand caught hers, but he did not untangle her fingers. “Why are you here?” she asked him. For a moment she thought he would not answer, then he said, as though reluctant, “I heard you cry.”

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

“Did you know that when you take away a person’s fear of pain, you take away their fear of death? You make them, in their own eyes, immortal. Which of course they’re not, but what’s the saying? We are all immortal until proven otherwise?”

“He wondered about himself (whether he was broken, or special, or better, or worse) and about other people (whether they were really all as stupid as they seemed).”  

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

“Missing girls had a way of working their way into someone’s head. You couldn’t help but see them in everyone – how temporary and fragile we might be. One moment here, and the next, nothing more than a photo staring from a storefront window.” 

“We were a town full of fear, searching for answers. But we were also a town full of liars.”

“The house felt different. Unsafe, unknown, too many possibilities existing all at once. Too many voices whispered back at me from the walls.”

Our Dart Duet by Victoria Schwab

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

“There was a strange place, between knowing and not knowing. A place where things could live in the back of your head without weighing your heart.”  

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Paperback
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

This book captivated me from the first page.

I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tales, and the Bear and the Nightingale is a beautiful, magical mix of Russian fairy tales set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia. It tells the story of a young girl named Vasya, the daughter of a Northern lord, who is too feisty and wild to fit the standard of young women at the time. The entire book spans the first sixteen years of her life, while she comes of age and comes to terms with her special ability to see the mythical creatures that protect her father’s lands.

This book is lovely and atmospheric; a perfect winter read for curling up in a heated blanket while the temperature drops outside.

The characters themselves were fascinating, from the spirited Vasya to the cruel (and sometimes kind) frost-demon, Morozko. The tense is third-person omnipresent, which is a unique way of being exposed to multiple thoughts and perspectives. Each character had their own voice and was intriguing in their own way.

The prose is beautiful and whimsical without being too purple, and it sweeps you along from beginning to end. I found myself unable to put this book down, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

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