What’s on my TBR?

The weather in the UK this last few weeks has been unusually fantastic, and we’ve spent most of that time in the garden with the dogs, enjoying the warm, sunny days together before we both return to work from parental leave. This heat reminds me of being on holiday and makes me just want to sit and read in the sunshine all day long, so I thought I’d share with you all the books on my summer 2018 TBR pile.

(Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I last shared my TBR?!)

What's on my TBR? Lyndsey's Book Blog

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I bought The Hazel Wood last week and am absolutely dying to read it now, but I have a couple of current reads to finish first. It’s a dark fantasy about Alice, a girl who seems to be cursed with bad luck, whose grandmother is the author of a classic book of Grimm style fairy tales. When her grandmother dies and her mother is abducted by a figure who claims to be from the Hinterlands – the fictional world depicted in the fairy tales – Alice is forced to ally with one of her grandmother’s cult-like following and travel to the Hazel Wood in order to rescue her mother.

How good does that sound?? I’ll post a review as soon as I’ve read it, but I can see this one becoming a new all-time favourite!

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic V. E. Schwab

This series has been on my wish list for so long, and I finally bought a copy of the first book last month, so I’ll be initiated into the cult of ADSOM imminently! I haven’t actually read ANY Schwab yet, can you even believe that? This is another book/series I expect to be completely sucked into and fall head over heels. Expect a review full of gushing and flailing very soon.

A Darker Shade of Magic tells the tale of Kell, one of the last Antari (magician) who are able to travel between the four parallel Londons. Raised in Red London, he works as an ambassador travelling between his home and White London, where magic has ceased to exist. On the side, he acts as a smuggler, escorting people with enough cash from one London to another, until he is forced to escape and hide in Grey London. There, he meets Lila Bard and ends up on an even more dangerous and exciting adventure, one that might result in them saving all the worlds.

Literally cannot wait to read.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

ACOFAS Sarah J Maas

ACOFAS is the latest instalment of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, it’s a novella that bridges the gap between the original trilogy and the upcoming new trilogy, set some time after the first three books. I’m excited to read this one, but I’m tempted to leave it until the first book of the new trilogy is released next year, so I don’t completely forget everything that happens!

It centres on the original characters of the Night Court in the run up to the Winter Solstice. It should be a fun little read at 229 pages, I could even read it now (because, impatient) and reread it next year!

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The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass S A Chakraborty`

Set in 18th Century Cairo, The City of Brass is another exotic historical fantasy that I am dying to get round to reading. The blurb gives me And I Darken feels (which I was obsessed with but Now I Rise still isn’t available on Audible?? Just why??), with lots of gorgeous Eastern culture and a badass female protagonist (my favourite thing of ever).

Nahri is a skilled con woman, feigning psychic abilities in order to swindle Ottoman nobles. She doesn’t believe in magic, but when she accidentally summons a mysterious djinn warrior during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magic from her childhood stories may be real. The djinn warriors takes her to Daevabad, the legendary City of Brass, and she is soon embroiled in court politics and dangerous schemes that could have deadly consequences.

Anyone else getting kind of an Aladdin vibe? I wonder if the djinn warrior will be sassy like Genie. Either way, get in my eyeballs, book.

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince Dracula Kerri Maniscalco

More historical fantasy for my reading pleasure, thank you please! I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper when I listened to the audiobook a few months ago, Audrey Rose is exactly the type of ballsy fictional woman I love to read about, plus the Author’s Notes about the accuracy of the medical procedures from the time period were absolutely fascinating. And this is yet another version of the Dracula/Vlad the Impaler legend, like And I Darken by Kiersten White – another favourite of mine.

Book two follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell to the heart of Romania, where a series of bizarre murders have been discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Dracula. Is a copy cat killer on the loose or has someone resurrected the prince?

Kerri Maniscalco’s attention to detail and historical accuracy is so thorough, and her plots and characters are gripping and layered, so I’m really excited about this one.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi

Most of you will know I entered Pitch Wars in 2017, unfortunately I didn’t get in but I did get some great mentoring from one of the agented authors who helped me polish my first ten pages. One of the mentors last year was Tomi Adeyemi, and her debut Children of Blood and Bone was hotly anticipated by pretty much everyone, including me. I finally downloaded the audio book last month, but I’m a little bit behind on my listening so I’m hoping to get round to it very soon.

The story follows Zelie, whose mother is murdered when the ruthless king decides to eradicate magic by killing all maji. Zelie must team up with a rogue princess in order to escape the crown prince who is hell-bent on wiping out all remaining maji, but the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to control her emerging powers.

Excuse me while I drive around for hours just to listen to this (and probably get the baby to fall asleep, two birds and all that.)

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is one of those books that has been on my radar for about a decade (showing my-and its-age now), but I just haven’t ever bought or borrowed. It’s right up my street and gets absolutely rave reviews from everyone who’s even a little bit into YA fantasy, so I’ve no idea what was stopping me from reading it. None of that matters now though, as I’ve used one of my monthly Audible credits to download the audiobook and I’m so excited to listen to it. I know there are two other books in the series, but as far as I’m aware they’re not strictly sequels, I think they follow two other characters and run parallel to Graceling – let me know if you’ve read them, are they worth a read?

The book follows Katsa, a girl Graced with the ability to kill a man with her bare hands. As the king’s niece, she should be living a life of luxury, but with her skills she’s forced to work as the king’s thug. Until, that is, she finds herself falling in love with the handsome Prince Po and discovers the truth behind her Grace and a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms.

There’s magic, adventure, romance and a cast of unforgettable characters, apparently – what more could you want?

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Gentleman Bastard series is another golden oldie, but this time I hadn’t heard of the books until a year ago.  It’s got a great rating on Goodreads, and loads of book bloggers I trust have loved the series, so I thought I’d add it to my Goodreads shelf, and a few weeks ago I bought it in the Audible 2 for 1 sale.

Locke Lamora is a young orphan boy turned thief, tutored by one of the most gifted con artists on the island city of Camorr. As leader of a band of thieves called the Gentleman Bastards, Locke becomes infamous, even tricking the underworld’s most feared ruler. But when an ambitious and deadly rival initiates a coup, endangering everyone and everything Locke cares about in his mercenary life, he vows to beat the enemy at his own game – or die trying.

It’s giving me Prince of Thorns X Six of Crows vibes, and I am here for it.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’m absolutely living for these fantasy novels set in alternate historical periods and exotic locations – An Ember in the Ashes is set in a fictional world inspired by the brutality of ancient Rome, and I’m expecting to love it as much as my other favourite Romanesque series, Nevernight.

Laia is a slave, living with her grandparents and older brother under the rule of the Martial Empire. They live by the rules, they’ve seen what happens to those who don’t. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia must make a decision that could endanger them all – in exchange for the help of a band of rebels who agree to rescue her brother, she must spy for them from within the Empire’s military academy. There, she meets Elias, a soldier – the school’s finest, but he isn’t there by choice. Neither of them is free. As they discover that their destinies are entwined, they find that their choices could change the fate of the Empire itself.

From the blurb I’m not sure whether this one will be a fantasy, or more of an alternative history along the lines of And I Darken, but either way I know I’m going to love it! Everyone is raving about A Reaper at the Gates right now, so I can’t wait to read this whole series.

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I bought Scythe in the Audible 2 for 1 sale, I hadn’t really heard that much about it but it was on the fantasy list so I thought I’d check out the blurb, and instantly knew I had to read it.

In a world where humans have conquered hunger, war and even death, a group of trained killers called Scythes must end lives in order to keep the population at a manageable level. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice as Scythes, and despite the fact that neither wants to, they must master the art of killing or risk losing their own lives.

It’s dark and bloody and that’s all I need to know. divider-green

Have you read any of these? Let me know if I mentioned one of your faves and what you loved about it, I need help deciding which to read first!

 

Lyndsey

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What's on my TBR? Lyndsey's Book Blog

My Summer TBR

It’s been a few months since I shared what I’ve got on my to-be-read pile, so I thought I’d give you all a little insight into what I’ll be reading and listening to over the next couple of months.

My summer TBR

King of Thorns & Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

King of Thorns Lyndsey's Book Blog Emperor of Thorns Lyndsey's Book Blog

I picked these up from the library today after putting them on hold pretty much as soon as I finished reading Prince of Thorns. I can’t wait to get lost in Jorg’s deliciously dark and bloody world again. If you love adult fantasy like Game of Thrones then you’ll love the Broken Empires series by Mark Lawrence. I think I’ll move onto Red Sister once I’ve finished this series, and then jump back to The Red Queen’s War series.

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Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Tales of Beedle the Bard

I also grabbed this from the kids’ section of my library while I was there (all the best books seem to end up in the children’s section – this, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness, Terry Pratchett…). I got the Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them companion books when they originally came out, so this is the only one I never got my hands on and as soon as I saw it I had to bring it home. It’ll be a nice, heart-warming read after the Broken Empires series. Or, if the Deathly Hallows tale is anything to go by, it won’t be.

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Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Wild Magic

I bought this book on Amazon after coming across it whilst researching similar titles to my current WIP, The Fair Queen. I figured I should give it a read now I’m almost finished so I can use it as a comparable title in my query if it really is similar. I’m excited to read it and see how Pierce has done it – here’s hoping it doesn’t make me hate my own work, either for being too similar or painfully inferior!

On the other hand, I’m always keen to read fantasy authors I’ve never come across before, so I’m looking forward to discovering a potential new favourite!

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The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury

The Scarecrow Queen

I cannot wait to read the conclusion of The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy! I’ve seen some great reviews online, and this has really become one of my favourite series, so I know it’s going to be a great read. I’ve also seen that there’s a new e-book collection of companion stories so I’ll be getting my hands on that as soon as possible when I finish this one.

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

No TBR list is complete without at least one Stiefvater book. I’ve just finished listening to the audio book of The Dream Thieves (review to come) and I’m still absolutely adoring this series, so as soon as I’m done listening to A Court of Wings and Ruin by S.J. Maas I’ll be diving into the third book in the Raven Cycle series.

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There you have it, those are the books I’ve added to my towering TBR and am hoping to read by the end of this summer. I’m sure my pile will continue to grow (I’ve still got a couple of others on hold at the library that haven’t come in yet) and I’m still trying to catch up with some of the books I already had, but I’ve almost finished my second draft and will soon be shipping my novel off to beta readers which will give me more time for reading.

What’s on your list for summer reading? I’m dreaming of reading more YA contemporary, but I keep being sucked back in by fantasy books! There have been so many incredible new releases this year, I’m spoilt for choice, but leave your recommendations in the comments!

Lyndsey

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My summer TBR Lyndsey's Book Blog

Ten things that make me instantly want to read a book

Can you believe I have never done a Top Ten Tuesday? Me neither. So, this is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week’s theme is Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want To Read a Book.

Top Ten Tuesday

Fairy tale retellings

I love any kind of fairy tale retelling, whether it’s set in modern times, olden days, the real world or a completely fictional fantasy setting. It could be a direct retelling like the Twisted Tales series by Liz Braswell, which reimagine classic Disney fairy tales, or a vaguely inspired story, like A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, which is based on Beauty and the Beast.

I just love the familiarity of sinking into a story you already know well, and seeing how authors have tweaked and changed the original to create something new and exciting.

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Doomed love stories

I know, I’m a glutton for punishment, but there has to be a reason why Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s most famous play. In fact, almost all of the Bard’s plays end with someone unhappy and alone – Othello, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice probably…

Modern contemporaries like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and classics like Wuthering Heights just speak to a dark little part of my soul that longs for the characters to suffer and end up miserable. I don’t know how I got this way, I’m very happily married!

Curly blog dividerEpic books that span years/decades/generations

I just really like to know people’s life stories, how the events of their youth can affect them years later, or even their children and grandchildren. Even better if it’s a slow burn romance that doesn’t come together until the very end, a la Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie) by Cecelia Ahern. Flashbacks and other similar plot devices can give the feel of an epic story within a more conventional plot, but I just love seeing the key events as if I was really there, rather than hearing about them second hand.

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Ghosts

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? My favourite kind are suspenseful and bloody, with bonus points if the MC is some kind of supernatural hunter, like the Winchesters. My absolute favourite is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Cas is endearingly sarcastic and witty, and the romance element is unlike anything I’ve read before. Plus, there’s lots of blood and killing and ghostly screaming and such.

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Sassy/snarky characters

Nobody likes boring protagonists who drift along with no agency and very little personality, sobbing and whining and generally being wet blankets. Characters with a little sass and a pinch of snark are my favourite. Whether they’re just dark-humoured or truly damaged, I just can’t get enough of their witty repartee. See: Jace from The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare, Ronan from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater and Jorg from Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.

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High Fantasy

High Fantasy refers to novels set in an entirely fictional fantasy world, like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I love the escapism of opening a book and submerging myself in a completely different world, with new rules of science and magic, strange customs and cultures, and maybe an invented language or two. My favourites are Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series, Six of Crows.

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Mythical creatures

Dragons! Unicorns! Mermaids! Centaurs!

Give me all the mythical creatures and I will be a happy bunny.

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Circuses

This is a relatively new one for me, but I’m almost finished listening to the audio book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and I’m loving the atmospheric and magical setting of the circus. Caraval by Stephanie Garber is also right at the top of my wish list, and I’m open to any other circus book recs if you have them?

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Adorable boys

By this I mean the sweet, kind and gentle male characters that capture your heart and don’t let go. They’re usually tortured souls who don’t think they’re good enough for their love interest, or even their friends. Think Adam Parrish from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater, Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices by Cassie Clare and Nathan from Half Bad by Sally Green.

Who needs bad boys when you can have this lot?

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Food!

Set your story in a bakery or an ice cream parlour and I am there. Make your characters love food and constantly describe the delicious smells and tastes they come across on their travels. Introduce me to new delicacies from around the world, or fictional fancies from your fantasy world. Just give me all the food.

 

 

Those are the ten things that make me pick up a book and buy/borrow it immediately. What makes you read a specific book, above all the others on your astronomical TBR pile? Let me know in the comments.

 

Lyndsey

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Camp Nano word count: 15,914 (45% of 35k)

 

Ten things make me want to read Lyndsey's Book Blog