Katherine, Arisone, Mirabella and Jules. Who will survive to rule?
It’s that time of year where we take a look back at everything we have read this year and come up with our best of the year. It’s a tough job but not one we take lightly. It’s been a very diverse year for me.
1.Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi –This fantasy was like nothing I’ve ever read. A little bit of magic, a little bit of adventure and a little bit social commentary. It took me on a wild ride as Zelie discovers her own powers and does what she can to help her people from the evil King who has done all he can to erase her people. It was a breathtaking first book.
2. A Cruel Prince by Holly Black-Holly Black is at her best when she is writing about fairies. It really is her element. The lush world that Black has created is so rich and vibrant that I almost wanted to go if it wasn’t filled with blood thirsty fairies. Looking for a fantasy full of royal intrigue this one is also for you.
3. Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab –Technically I read the first book last year but I finished the trilogy so I’m counting them all as one. It was one wild fantasy series. From truly vile villains, pirates, royalty magic and supernatural forces it really did have everything but never felt too much.
4. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland- This one I think I liked for the very beginning. Jane was born a slave but when the dead of Civil War come back to life, Jane is sent to a boarding school that teaches her and other girls of color how to fight zombies so they may one day work in a nice home as protection. Jane is resourceful, smart and funny. She knows how to kill a zombie.
5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer –Carrie was truly one of a kind and is sorely missed. Her diary that she wrote while filming the first Star Wars was honest, raw and funny. Really what you would expect from Carrie Fischer.
6. Shadow and the Fox by Julie Kagawa- Add a little fox, a trained warroir with a demon infused sword and Japanese mythology and you get one fun book. I really enjoyed the story building and characters as they try to steal save the scroll that will summon the dragon that will grant wishes was great.
7. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake- The third book in the series was definitely a keeper. I mean they all were but it was still great. We finally get to see more of the world outside of Fennbirn Island and how the Queens became to be. The mythology is really coming together and it’s going to lead to an epic finale.
8. Wildcard by Marie Lu – Emika is so cool. As she unravels the mysteries and tries to save not just Hideko from himself but everyone else from an even bigger conspiracy. It was a fun novel and reminder that not everyone on the internet is your friend.
9..Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir- Elias, Laia and Helene are on opposite sides of the fight against the Nightbringer and keeping the balance. It’s a thrilling race against time to bring down the Nightbringer and the Empire and Elias Mom, who is just frightening.
10. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson- I’m still waiting for the last book in her Shades of London series but this filled the void. Who doesn’t love a good boarding school mystery? Stevie decides she wants to go to this exclusive boarding school because she wants to be the one to solve it’s biggest mystery of who kidnapped and killed the daughter and wife of the school’s founder. Twice and turns abound in this one.
It’s that time of year where we take a look back at the last 12 months. 2018 was by far our best year we have ever had here at Stacks. Thank you for all spent their time reading our little blog here. Here are the top ten posts that you all really really liked.
- Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart – I’m surprised by all the traffic from this post but hey I’m glad you came.
- Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – Thanks to the success of the movie for the first book, which I loved. I can’t wait for the sequel.
- Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Another surprise but maybe you are like me and miss Nick so much.
- Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Such a great book.
- Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – Another really great book.
- Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – For a series set in the 20’s, it could not be more relevant for today.
- A Wizard of Earthsea: Chapter 2: The Shadow – Interesting that our read along to A Wizard of Earthsea that Chapter 2 was the one that to the most views. Also this is the only post in the top 10 that is from 2018.
- Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Another surprised entry.
- Quick Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin – Noah Shaw has some issues he has to work out.
- Some of my favorite Quotes from In Other Lands – OMG! So many great quotes in this book.
This series was originally planned to be only a duology. I’m glad that Kendare Blake decided to extended it two more books because it’s truly delightful. Two Dark Reigns begins a few weeks after the end of of One Dark Crown. Katherine is crown Queen of Fennbirn. Mirabella and Arisone escaped the island and trying to fit in on the Mainland. Jules is reeling from the death Joseph and is back and Fennbirn. The island is shielded by the Mist but the Mist is acting up and turning on the island. Probably because Katherine became Queen without actually killing her sisters and still possessed by the dead queens of the past. Her sisters escaped the Island and Jules is being propped up as the symbol of a new revolution. I still like the original Queens Katherine, Mirabella and Arisnoe and Jules is growing me but she’s still not favorite. Jules is legion cursed. Meaning she has two gifts that will make her crazy because her powers are so strong. This is partly why people think she is also a queen and that the Goddess of the Island is trying to change the bloodline of the Queens and change the course of the island. Of course the Island has another idea. Mirabella and Arsione may have escaped the island but the island isn’t finished with them yet. Arisone is being sent visions about the Blue Queen who created the Mist. She is haunted by her that forces them back. Jules and her new warrior friends are in direct conflict with each other. We still Queens against Queens but the battle lines are drawn and the fate of the island is at stake. Let’s just say, the last book is going to be a doozy.
I don’t normally read two books at once but I’m not feeling Tiger’s Dream 200 pages in so I’m taking a break for murderous Queens.
What books can you not wait to read in 2018? I have lots of course but here are 10 that I really Really can’t wait to read next year.
- War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. (May 15, 2018) The final book in her Red Queen Series. Will Mare and the Scarlet Guard be able take down the Silvers. Will Maven get overthrown? Will Cal stop being a dumbass?
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. (March 6, 2018) This sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to read it. Zelie comes from a long line of maji but the new crown prince wants to banish magic from the kingdom. Zelie has one chance to save magic and her people.
- Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (March 6, 2018) It’s been 4 years since the end of the Shatter Me trilogy ended or so we thought. Restore Me is going to pick up at the end of Ignite Me. Juliette is the Supreme Commander and Warner is on her side but now that she has the world at her finger tips, what’s next?
- Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. (May 22, 2018) It’s been two years since A Torch Against the Night came out and I’ve been eagerly waiting this one. Laia, Elias and Helene are all in perilously situation. I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. (January 16, 2018) I’ll admit I was hoping it would be the next book in the Shades of London series but I’m just so glad that Maureen has a book coming out. I do love a good mystery and good ghost story too.
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. (January 2, 2018) So happy that Holly is back with a new series about fairies because no one does fairies like Holly Black.
- A Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro. (March 6, 2018) The final book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy can’t come soon enough. In true Holmes form, Charlotte has really sabotage herself and Watson can’t forgive her. They try to move on with their lives but someone wants them back together and well I want them back together too.
- Dread Nation by Justine Ireland. (April 3, 2018) The American Civil War is interrupted when the Dead of the battlefields come back to life. Jane is in combat school to learn how to take down the dead and with this comes opportunity but Jane wants more. Soon she is wrapped up in a conspiracies and plots that the dead are the least of her worries.
- Untitled Sequel to Renegades by Marissa Meyer. (November 6, 2018) Renegades was such a great book and can’t wait to read what’s next. Nova has successfully infiltrated the Renegades and her old friends are no longer around to blow her cover. Will she betray her new friends or cement herself as a villain.
- The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth. (April 10, 2018) Carve the Mark may have been problematic but it was still good. I’m curious how things will turn out for Cyra and Akos. Will they be able to escape their destinies or are they running right into them?
- The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. (No set date) I’m not sure this is coming out in 2018 but I really hope so. Strange the Dreamer was so beautiful I can’t wait to find out what happens next, especially after what happened at the end.
- Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas. (September 4, 2018) The final book in the Throne of Glass series and it’s been quite a ride for Aelin and friends. Who knows how it will all end. Well I guess Sarah J. Maas does but for everyone else it’s anyone’s guess.
- Untitled (WarCross #2) by Marie Lu. (No set date) Another one I’m not sure if it’s coming out in 2018 but I’m pretty sure. I was riveted by the first book and I’m looking forward to meeting the “hacker” and all the potential he is inevitably going to cause.
- Heart of Venom by Sherrilyn Kenyon. (2018) It also doesn’t have a set date besides 2018. It’s either the first in the Shadows of Fire series or #9 in the Chronicles of Nick series. However you want to look at it, it’s a switch in tone and focus for Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters. With a duel narrators of the Cyprian Malachai (Nick’s Son) and the Ambrose Malachai (Nick Himself) we find out if Nick truly does embrace his destiny or if the sacrifices he made at the end of Intensity was enough to forge his own path.
- Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes. (February 6, 2018) The final book in the closest YA book to Game of Thrones with it’s epic scope, world building and body count was originally scheduled to come out this month but was pushed back. I’m sure the extra two months will be worth the wait.
- Aru Shah and the End of Times by Roshani Chokshi. (April 3, 2018) The first book to be published under Rick Riordan’s new imprint highlighting stories from authors and characters from around the world. Aru Shah takes on Hindu legends to save her mother and classmates.
- Untitled by Maureen Johnson. (No set date) The Shadow Cabinet, the last book released in the Shades of London series had me on the edge of my feet and it’s been so long since it came out. I’m not sure that the next book is coming out in 2018 but Maureen has mentioned on twitter that she has two books coming out in 2018 so it’s a safe bet. *crosses fingers*
- Untitled by Kendare Blake. (September 4, 2018) I didn’t know that the Three Dark Crowns was originally planned to be a duology. I’m glad that Kendare Blake and her publisher decided to extend it because there are so many things about this world and these character left to be explored.
- Untitled by Traci Chee (2018) The final book in the Sea of Ink and Gold Series. Sefia and Archer continue to fight what is written and defeat their destiny while also staying ahead of their enemies.
- The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (May 1, 2018) I’m interested in this one since this in the first book that Sally Green has published since she ended her Half Bad trilogy two years ago. Half Lost left me broken and in tears. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that again but I can’t wait to see what Sally does next.
According to GoodReads.com I read 20,948 pages from 57 books. So you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down to only 10 for the best books I’ve read this year. There were so many good ones! I think I ultimately went with these 10 was because while I may have liked some of the other books more or given other’s better reviews or more stars, these 10 books stuck with me longer after finishing reading them. I would like to think that our Diverse Lives, Diverse Stacks: Diverse Narrators reading challenge is working for me because half of the books were written by Women of Color and they contain protagonists from very diverse backgrounds. That’s exciting to me but enough of this, let’s get on to the list.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– This book was as heartbreaking as it was realistic. Starr is caught between two worlds but doesn’t really how different they are or how truly different she acts to accommodate both parts of her life until her friend is killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and she is the only witness. This really should be a must read in all schools for generations to come and I’m excited that it will also be a movie coming out next year.
- Pyromantic by Lish McBride– It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s action packed but mostly it is just plain fun. I really hope that Lish returns to these characters because there is just so much weirdness she can do with them.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor-This is such a lush story with great imagery and original concept. There really isn’t another novel out there right now. The ending was such a surprise that I have no idea what to expect in the sequel.
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon-Just like The Hate U Give, this is another heartbreaking but all too realistic look at today’s youth. To strangers, meet and share a life changing day as Natasha fights to stop her family from being deported and Daniel fights the expectations of being a child of immigrants.
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin-How do you describe this book? It has so much going on and it’s not certain how they all interweave but you know they must somehow. It’s truly a powerful book it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
- Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray-The third book in The Diviners series takes place in the 1920’s but with it’s themes of race, gender equality and science it’s more relevant than you would think. Evie, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Ling Henry and Isiah have to overcome the coming darkness but also the social limits society places on those in the minority.
- All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater-People come from far and wide to seek miracles from the Saints of Bicho Raro but even saints themselves need miracles and sometimes those miracles can’t be achieved on their own, sometimes they need a little help from others. That’s the lesson from this one, it’s great to self sufficient but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan-A great ending to a great trilogy and the power of how diversity makes us stronger.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake-It’s dark and mysterious but also cool to read of world where women rule and men play supportive roles. That women are just as complicated and conflicted and are able to be both and still show strength and vulnerability. Here we get three young women who all of those things and more.
- WarCross by Marie Lu-This was fun and exciting thrill of a book. Full of mystery and kind of a spy novel in a way. Emika a down on her luck, hacker/bounty hunter gets a chance to play in the biggest game ever in hopes of finding another hacker trying to sabotage the game. It’s full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
So these are my favorite books of 2017. What are yours?
***The Review has spoilers from One Dark Throne and the first book Three Dark Crowns. Read both books first and then come back. Thank you***
The Ascension year has started and Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella are not messing around. From the very beginning we are deep into plans, schemes and our right combat from the sisters. They are all are pissed and have good reason too. They have all been betrayed in one way or another and that’s after they were raised to kill or be killed. I do wonder, in all of their lessons on how to control their powers and how to kill their sisters, how many lessons did they get about actually governing should they win the crown? I sort of get the feeling that’s sort of an afterthought but I digress. Arsinoe has discovered that she isn’t actually a Naturalist but a poisoner, which should have been obvious considering her name. Right? It looks and and sounds like arsenic. Katharine has survived the Breccia Domain and wants revenge on everyone, especially Pieytr and Mirabella is hurt that Arsinoe sent her bear to kill her at Beltane after she saved her life. This was a very intense read from the beginning which was good. The first book was kinda slow in places as it tried to flesh out it’s world. Now with all of that out the way, it really has found it’s footing. The Sisters are interesting and complex characters. I found myself wanted all of them to win, well maybe not Katharine, she really has flipped her lid. Which is shame since she spells her name right. The fourth girl in the story, Jules, Arsinoe’s best friend and protector is the strongest Naturalist of her generation and maybe she is that because there wasn’t a Naturalist Queen born since both Arsinoe and Katharine are poisoners. She is also legion cursed, which seems to mean she was born with two gifts and that often makes the person go mad and is often killed at birth. Her second gift is War, which has been mostly dorment for many years that people don’t really know what she is capable of. I want to like Jules but I just can’t seem to care that much about her. She seems to be the classic YA character that doesn’t have much of a personality outside of her love interest or in this case, her best friend, Arsinoe. And when she is fretting over Arsinoe she’s moping about Joseph. She still is trying to forgive him for sleeping with Mirabella and honestly, I kinda like Joseph and Mirabella together better. Their relationship may have been only physical and facilitated by Arsinoe’s low magic but to me they had more chemistry and passion in their few scenes together then Joseph and Jules did in their many. I did get their feel that they loved each other but they loved who they were before Joseph was banished and now feel like they have to hold on to that then discover on who they are now. Maybe now that Jules will be on her own without Arsinoe or Joseph we will get to know more about her. I hope so since she obviously has a big part to play in how this story turns out. I like that fact that Kendare Blake is going to drag out their Ascension year beyond this book and that we have a crowned Queen but also the beginning a possible rebellion. What happens when more then one Queen survives? And what is really down in the Breccia Domain? Is Jules really going to be the end of Fennbirn? So many questions that can’t wait to find out the answers to.
The battle begins for the crown.
It’s that time of the year when publishers release titles in bunches so they are out before the Holidays. It also means my to-read list just gets longer and longer. Here are a few books I just can’t wait to read.
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – the sequel to Three Dark Crowns. Three sisters with three different powers but only one will survive to be crowned Queen.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – Book three of the excellent The Diviner’s series. To quote Evie, it really is the Bees knees.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan – It really is a shame that this is the last book in the series because Magnus has been amazing. I do hope he shows up in Rick’s other books the way Percy has.
All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – Maggie is awesome and we love her and have no doubt this will be awesome too. Also Yeah! for standalones!
Renegades by Marissa Meyer – I believe this Marissa Meyer’s first book not based on fairy tales.
The Speaker by Traci Chee –The Follow up the The Reader that both Kate and I loved.
The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin– The first book in the Shaw Confessions series, the companion series to the Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer series.