Ten books on my Winter TBR

Following on from my last post, I thought I’d join in with Top Ten Tuesday and share ten books I’m excited to read over the coming months. It’s a mix of wintry stories and books I’ve been looking forward to reading – some physical copies and some audio books (you know how much I love an audio book!), so hopefully there’s something for everyone on this list.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I’ve been sitting on this book for a while, it calls to me from my book shelf (I mean, look at that cover!), but I wanted to wait until it was appropriately frosty outside and cosy inside before I curl up with Wintersong. It’s a new take on the legend of the Goblin King, and sounds very Labyrinth, so I’m excited to sink into this one in the New Year.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I definitely think Winter is a time for dark, twisting fantasies, and The Hazel Wood is a perfect example. It’s got a hint of Scandi Noir about it, a Hans Christian Andersen kind of vibe that I am here for. Centred around a collection of pitch-dark fairy tales set in a supernatural realm called the Hinterland, which may or may not be fact rather than fiction, The Hazel Wood sounds like the perfect read for those long, dark nights. Just add hot chocolate and a blanket.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land sounds like a lovely Spring read (and let’s be honest, with a young baby it’ll probably be Spring by the time I get round to it!). It’s got elements of The Cruel Prince, The Sin Eater’s Daughter and, to be honest, my novel The Fair Queen – so if that doesn’t mean I’m bound to love it, what does? 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This has been on my TBR (and in my Audible library…) for quite a while, but 2019 is the year I finally jump feet first into this series! Book three, A Reaper at the Gates was released this year and everyone was obsessed, so I’m really excited to start An Ember in the Ashes. It’s inspired by Ancient Rome, similarly to Nevernight, which if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know is an absolute favourite of mine, so I’ve got high hopes.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi

I’ve been dying to read Children of Blood and Bone ever since I took part in Pitch Wars 2017 and Tomi Adeyemi was a mentor. I’ve got the audio book, which I think was a good idea because I’m terrible at pronouncing the names of people and places in fantasy books, so at least I won’t have to worry about getting that wrong – it’s just the spelling I’ll get wrong now! It strikes me as a sort of Throne of Glass X Black Panther, so I’m pretty excited.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands is giving me very City of Brass vibes, which is definitely a good thing. It’s got a sort of Aladdin/Arabian Nights style cover, and is set in a desert nation where djinn and magic abound. It might be more of a summery read, so I’ll probably save this one for later in the year, but it’s been sitting on my shelf for a good while now and I’m looking forward to reading it, especially as the series is complete now so I can binge the entire trilogy.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

If you haven’t read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, then what have you been doing with your life? This is less of a sequel and more of a companion novel, as it follows Monty’s sister Felicity on her very own adventure across Europe as she tries to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. As in TGGTVAV, nothing is straightforward and shenanigans ensue. And we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Gilded Cage by Vic James

So after that brief segue into historical fiction, we’re right back at it with the fantasy. Dystopic fantasy, if we’re being precise. Gilded Cage is set in modern-day Britain, which I think will be fascinating as most magic-oriented fantasies are set in the past or future, or a completely fictional world with little resemblance to our own. With society divided into the Skilled, a powerful, magic-wielding upper-class, and the unskilled lower class who are forced into ten years of servitude to their superiors, two families become entwined as political tensions build to 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic V. E. Schwab

This is my current read, I’m only 50 pages in and already hooked. I’ve been following Victoria Schwab on various social media for a while, but shockingly have never read one of her books, despite knowing they’d be exactly my cup of tea. I decided to rectify that this year and ordered A Darker Shade of Magic, as it seemed like a good place to start. The final book in the trilogy was published last year, and we all know how much I love to binge a complete series! I’m now obsessed and will be ordering the rest of Schwab’s published works immediately. (Did you see her post announcing that her debut, The Near Witch, was finally being published in the UK? Exciting!)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This is my current audio book, and it’s an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, with a paranormal twist. Admittedly, it took a few chapters to get into, but now I’m well and truly gripped. The protagonist is completely unique and the concept is so fresh and original – every day Aiden Bishop wakes up in a different body, and every night Evelyn Hardcastle dies, unless Aiden can uncover the killer by the end of the 8th day. It’s really well executed, Turton has thought about absolutely everything, dropping clues expertly throughout the story, and I’m desperate to get to the end and find out who killed Evelyn, and more importantly, who’s behind the plague doctor mask…

And that’s just a few of the books on my TBR that I’m hoping to get through over the next few months. Have you read any of these? Let me know which one I should read next!

Lyndsey

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Reading and writing goals for 2019

Happy holidays! I cannot believe 2018 is almost at an end, this year has been an absolute whirlwind. I thought I’d have a look back at my goals and how badly I did at achieving them, and then set some more for next year that I probably won’t achieve either! Ah, new motherhood. It’s all fun and games until somebody drops their biscuit.

So, last January I shared my Reading and writing goals for 2018 and announced that I was six months pregnant so my aim was set relatively low! Well, as you can imagine, I managed to completely undershoot that incredibly low goalpost. I decided to make 2018 the year of self-care and mindfulness, and despite failing to keep up with the journaling, I have tried to be kind to myself since my son arrived in April.

My first goal for 2018 was to journal every day or as often as I could. I also gave myself permission to put my journal down and pick it up later and not beat myself up if it had been weeks or even months since my last entry. Which is good, because I don’t think I have journaled once since I gave birth. But just reading my goals back and writing this post has got me itching to pick it back up again, so hopefully I can get back into it. No pressure though, it’s intended as self-care, not another thing I can berate myself for not being perfect at. 

My reading goal was to read 24 books this year, 2 a month with one being an audio book (proud Audible member over here). So, that didn’t happen. Having a new baby is definitely not compatible with reading for pleasure at length. I’m currently at 13. Yep. 

I did however manage to read the paperback of Tower of Dawn, even if it did take about 4 months. I think all the rest may have been audio books. Let’s look:

If you count 12 there, you’re exactly right. I actually DNF’ed The Lies of Locke Lamora and Goodreads has included it as I clicked Finished. I really thought I’d love this book, but it just didn’t do it for me – or maybe it was the narration, but either way, there are too many great books out there for me to force myself to finish something I wasn’t even enjoying. 

I’m almost finished reading A Court of Frost and Starlight (perfect festive read, very Frozen), so I’m hoping to add at least another 2 books to my list before January 1st.

Ah, my writing goal. I’ll give you a quick recap. In the spirit of self-care, I gave myself permission to not write a single word in 2018. I’m proud to say that didn’t happen, I actually have over 10,000 words of a new WIP. That WIP, however, is neither of the stories I mentioned in my January post. What is it, you might ask? Well, I broke the first tenet of the querying writer – I started writing the sequel.

I know, I know, it’ll probably be a waste of words. If I ever get an agent for The Fair Queen my editor might tear the whole thing to shreds and book two will be a pointless heap of mulch. But I just needed to wrap myself in the world I’d created while writing The Fair Queen, spend some time with my characters and feel at home. I wanted to get the ideas and words out of my brain, even if it only bears a very vague resemblance to the book that ultimately becomes book two in The Fair Chronicles (I’m going with chronicles, saga could work too, but I feel my world has similarities to Narnia, so chronicles it is).

I’ve actually shelved Cockle Shells & Silver Bells. I think I’ll keep some of the characters and themes, but rework them into a completely different story. Later though, right now I’m lost in the Five Kingdoms with Aria and Xander. The Resurrectionist is still tugging at the corners of my mind, so I’ll definitely try and outline something once I’m happy with The Solitary King. 

Goals for 2019

Reading goals

I’m revising my reading goal down to 16 books, so that’s 12 audio books and 4 paperbacks. If I can squeeze an actual physical book in every 3 months I’ll be happy. My TBR shelf is looking pretty jam packed and I even bought myself A Darker Shade of Magic (my very first V.E. Schwab!!!) a few months ago to tempt myself into reading more, but it just wasn’t happening. As soon as I finish ACOFAS though I’m jumping straight into that bad boy. I can just feel that I was meant to be a huge Schwab fan, it’s definitely happening. I mean, I’ve got THUG sitting there giving me a disapproving look – somebody tell my baby naps are life!

Writing goals

I really, really want to finish my first draft of The Solitary King and maybe even do a second draft before handing it over to a few trusted betas. I know it’s redundant at this point, but a couple of friends who read The Fair Queen and loved it have been badgering me for book two ever since, and they deserve to see what happens next for Aria, Xander and the gang. So, that’s at least 60,000 words. That’s achievable right? I’m saying yes. Wish me luck.

I’m also planning to dive back into the query trenches, as it’ll be a year since I sent any in January. It was a well deserved break, but I’m ready for the heartbreaking, soul-crushing rejection, and the little frisson of excitement every time I press send. Followed by ice-cold terror as I check my spelling and the agent’s name for the bazillionth time. 

So, there you have it: read 16 books, finish the first draft of my current WIP, and send a few more queries. Pretty low expectations, but if 2019 is anything like 2018 it’ll be enough to know I’m still working towards my dream, whilst also taking care of myself and my new little family. 

What are your reading and writing goals for the coming year? Let me know in the comments!

Lyndsey

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Reading and writing goals for 2019 | what I hope to read and write next year | Lyndsey's Book Blog

Six sequels I’m dying to read!

Hi folks, I thought I’d give you all a little look-see at which book series I’m loving right now and which sequels I can’t wait to read. I’m going to cheat a little bit today, some of these books are yet to be released, some are recent releases, and some are years old, I just haven’t managed to squeeze them into my busy schedule yet.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought!

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Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

How beautiful do those covers look together? I’m not usually a huge fan of people on covers, but these are just gorgeous. I especially like the cityscapes that are blended in, as a big part of these stories is the location they’re set in (London, Romania and a luxury cruise liner to America!). I just finished the audio book of Hunting Prince Dracula a couple of weeks ago and loved it even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper, so I’m really excited for Escaping from Houdini’s release this month! I’ve preordered it using my September Audible credit so I can download it as soon as it goes live.

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Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Probably my favourite series of all time (after Harry Potter, of course) and soon to be a TV series! I’m just about to finish reading the paperback of Tower of Dawn, which has been a new experience after listening to the audio books of the previous five books – I normally get through these in a week or two, but it’s taken months thanks to a new baby stealing all my reading time! Thank the gods I’m back to work and can listen to the audio book on my commute when Kingdom of Ash is released next month.

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Now I Rise & Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

I still can’t believe I haven’t read Now I Rise! At least now Bright We Burn is out I can read both in quick succession instead of dying from the long wait. I listened to the audio book of And I Darken (and loved it!), and for some reason book two never appeared on Audible. I waited and waited, but I guess I’m going to have to get my hands on the paperbacks of these two. I’ll have to hit up the mobile library next time it comes around!

(Do you have mobile libraries in other countries? It’s basically a minibus full of books that drives around rural villages. You can order books like a normal library. They’re pretty great when you live out in the sticks, but might only come once a month depending where you live.)

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Half Lost by Sally Green

Half Bad was such an unexpected joy of a book, I’d never heard of it until a friend who works for Waterstones gave it to me just after it was released, but I was hooked immediately. Green’s got such a captivating way of writing, she throws you straight into Nathan’s head and you barely get a chance to catch your breath until you’ve finished the whole book. I read Half Wild a couple of years ago, and I’ve just never gotten round to Half Lost (clearly putting off ending the series and saying goodbye to Nathan and Gabriel!).

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Fire & Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Graceling was the best YA fantasy I’d read in about a year, and has cemented its position as one of my all time favourites. The story is just so well crafted, with beautifully detailed world-building and fully-formed characters. The whole concept of Graces is fascinating, like natural talents and affinities taken to the nth degree, and I can’t wait to find out more about them in the two companion books, Fire and Bitterblue. They follow different characters in the same fictional world, with some of the cast of Graceling popping up as cameos, and Bitterblue obviously focusing on one of the secondary characters from book one. If you haven’t read Graceling yet, I’d definitely recommend it, I jumped on the bandwagon late, but now I’m practically driving it!

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Lord of Shadows & Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

I’ve been obsessed with all things Shadowhunter since I first read City of Bones about 8 years ago, quickly ordering and devouring all the available sequels, and then The Infernal Devices, and stalking the filming of the Mortal Instruments movie with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. I actually enjoyed the film and was really disappointed when it didn’t do that well, so I was thrilled when they decided to turn it into a TV series. Now Shadowhunters is coming to an end and I’m left with the book series again. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve got Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and Lord of Shadows sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read, and Queen of Air and Darkness will soon be out in the world. Then there’s the fourth series Clare is planning, The Last Hours, and I cannot wait to hear about Will and Tessa’s descendants! So it’s not like I’m struggling for content over here.

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And that is a very non-exhaustive list of the sequels I’m desperate to read and plan to jump headlong into as soon as I get a spare moment (babies, amirite?). Which series are you loving right now and can’t wait to get your hands on the next book?

 

Lyndsey

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