Bookish Ramblings: Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

As 2018 draws ever nearer to a close I have been considering which books I’m looking forward to most in 2019, most of these are series continuations because I have been totally out of the loop with where some of my Indie favs are at with their new projects – I know the ever wonderful Jo Michaels is working on a new series though so that is a big yay! I should add that The Gilded Wolves would have been on my list but I was lucky enough to grab an Arc from Netgalley earlier in the year – It’s a heist combined with historical fantasy and was a total 5* 🙂

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

One of the stand out reads for me of 2018 was State of Sorrow, and after that heart wrenching ending I’m more than ready to step back into Sorrow’s world and discover how things have changed since the revelations.  I have to admit again that I find the cover pretty uninspiring, but hey. It also looks to be only available in paperback in the UK (the hardback I have of State was a fairyloot exclusive) so my copies wont match – Wah.

Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…
Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart

This is the concluding half of Grace and Fury which again topped my 2018 reading list and I’m so relieved that Tracy Banghart has confirmed that this is to be a duology, as don’t think I could be kept hanging for another episode after the way Grace ended. I have the same issue with the Fairyloot exclusive hardcover so I may have to see if the US version is available in that format!

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.
Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.
Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.
The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

Subject Zero by M.A. Phipps

Yes, this was on my 2018 anticipated reads list but M.A Phipps has been hard at work on other projects this year but I’m reliably informed that we’ll get the conclusion to Wynter’s story in 2019! Type X took Wynter full circle and Dr Richter proved himself to be on a whole new level of evil genius. We’ve had a bit of insight in the interim by way of the Richter Files (a newsletter subscriber exclusive) to keep our appetites whetted, but I’m so ready for the conclusion. Plus it totally feeds in to my want to get more dystopia read next year.  There isn’t a blurb as yet but this cover is amazing and will look so pretty with the others!

Betrayal (Love Lies and Hocus Pocus #5) by Lydia Sherrer

This is a series which I utterly adore, cozy fantasy at its finest! Whilst it’s been a while since the last full length novel, the novella Cat Magic, was out this year which I loved and whilst not a must read before betrayal, it certainly gives extra insight and a story just about Sir Kipling was always going to be a winner.  I have to admit that I have had the enormous privilege of having a bit of a sneak peek of Betrayal and lovers of the series will not be disappointed! We don’t have long to wait either as it’s scheduled for a February release, but there’s still plenty of time to get into this fabulous series and you can find book one here – enjoy! Also how amazing is this cover!

Finale by Stephanie Garber

The concluding part of the Caraval trilogy will be out in May, I know this series has been pretty divisive but I love it and it’s a sumptuous world to get lost in. This cover is gorgeous and i’m really hopeful that this will have the same hidden covers as the first two. Also Fairyloot have just announced they are starting special edition boxes (about 2 days after revealing this cover) and given that Caraval featured in a 2017 box i’m really hoping that their first box will be for Finale!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

So I feel a little bit of a fraud adding this one to the list but book one Children of Time is currently at the top of my Kindle tbr pile and I have heard so many amazing things about that book that i’m pretty certain that i’ll be desperate to read book 2 as soon as it’s out in May!  The blurb sounds utterly amazing – apocalypse on a terraformed planet, what could suit me better!

The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet.
Long ago, Earth’s terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitive life forms originally discovered.
Now, thousands of years later, the Portiids and their humans have sent an exploration vessel following fragmentary radio signals. They discover a system in crisis, warring factions trying to recover from an apocalyptic catastrophe arising from what the early terraformers awoke all those years before.

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

My name is Gaynor and I’m obsessed with YA Heist Books. But oh my they are always so good and this one sounds amazing – I mean just READ THIS BLURB – early arc reviewers are raving about it and I was gutted that it wasn’t available on Netgalley when I found out about this, but at least I can grab it in a few weeks when it’s due for release!

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.
The city has always been. The city must finally end.
When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born. Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.
Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.
Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.
Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon

The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising was a surprising read for me, it was very much geared towards a younger YA audience but I found it to be really quite compelling and whilst Rebecca Ross did struggle at times to keep the content on a level with that age. It was a great plot with a strong feminist stand point which I think is incredibly important for younger readers, when there are a sea of books out there where getting into toxic relationships seem all girls are capable of. The Queens Resistance seems to follow on directly from the closing stages which means it’s going to be an exciting start!

Finally, Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is settling into her role as the daughter of Davin MacQuinn, a disgraced lord who returned to Maevana to reclaim his house. Though she’d just survived a revolution, one that will finally return a queen to the throne, she faces another difficult challenge. She must prove herself trustworthy to the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s house as well as her country. And then there’s Cartier, a wholly separate but desirable factor in her new life.
Aodhan Morgane, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia as a master of knowledge and his current one as the lord of a fallen house. During his castle’s restoration, he discovers a ten-year-old boy named Tomas, whose past and parentage are a complete mystery. So when Cartier’s former pupil Brienna is as taken with Tomas as he is, he lets his mind wander—what if he doesn’t have to raise him or his house alone?
As the Lannon trial rapidly approaches, Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside to concentrate on forging alliances, executing justice, and ensuring that no one interferes with the queen’s coronation. But resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And nothing makes a person more vulnerable than deep-seated love.

Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifelik3 was a breath of fresh (albeit dystopian) air, it was the first Jay Kristoff book I had read and I liked the snappy writing style and the world building was amazing. I have to say I did find bits of it a little tropey but hey tropes exist for a reason! What really sold book 2 for me though was the fact that the focus appears to be on Lemon rather than Eve this time. Miss Lemon Fresh was one of the most stand out characters for me and I’m certainly excited to learn more of her story!

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.
Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.
And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

Other books that I’m looking forward to is the continuation of Bethany Adam’s Return of the Elves series, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (although my non enjoyment of Ruin and Rising has reduced my excitement somewhat) and I’m also going to throw in Evermore by Sara Holland because although it comes out on New Years Eve I wont get to it until 2019!  In a cross my fingers and hope moment I am also ridiculously excited that Christina L Rozelle is writing a Treemakers prequel called The Keymakers, it’s currently due for release early 2020 but you never know! I’m also wondering when the next Skyward book will be released……

Tell me which books you are looking forward to most next year!

Review of The Mystic (Hate Apocalypse #6) by Jo Michaels

It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place. 
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us. 
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.

With The Mystic comes the end of The Hate Apocalypse series, its a full length novel and combines both Markaza’s story and also the final showdown. Markaza’s story is an emotional one as it is for all the ladies of WSTW.  Dealing with visions that would leave the best of us with PTSD. She also has to deal with growing up and the ostracising that comes when the inevitable failure to find a balance with her peers occurs. It’s explains her drive though and her need to prevent her visions at all costs having failed to in the past.

It’s cleverly written in that the book often feels like it’s going to in one direction only to pull it back and change tack – I was worried that they were all going to end up pairing off at one point, but Jo Michaels never goes in the direction you think and the balance at the end was right in my view. The embracing of their powers can be joyful at times and there was a stand out moment with Coralie which really made me smile. There is a kicker lurking though which took my breath away I have to admit. I want to say a ton about it but I can’t. If you’ve read it I would love to talk it through – I’m welling up though just thinking about it again. The theme of forgiveness runs strong and the ladies must cast the net wider in order to fully develop their powers which is a nice segue back to the first book. It seems like so long ago now that Markaza found herself in New Orleans seeking out Voodoo and a trip back to to the start of book one could be of benefit if there has been a long gap.

The thing that did nag at me though was I wish that more time was spent with the ladies as they forged their plan, I don’t want to say the dreaded montage sequence but I felt that at the times when they should have been knuckling down and really honing their skills, they just went shopping instead. I understand that that had a lot to do with helping them learn to love themselves and also maybe serving as a distraction from the task ahead but it felt like they were perhaps not taking things seriously and I found myself wanting to know more about the monster and what was happening around it. Bronya makes a timely dig though which again made me smile as I knew one of them was thinking like me!

The Hate Apocalypse is a tough and at times graphic read that some may find difficult, but it is tempered by a quick writing style that is alight with humour and inspirational moments. It’s about finding empowerment and owning your flaws and accepting your trauma, rather than letting self loathing consume you. There are parts of the story which may go against some beliefs and parts where you’ll find it difficult to sympathise, but allowing yourself to open your mind and put aside those issues you’ll be in a place grow with the characters and make the ending ultimately all the more satisfying.


Final Life Series Box Set Sales Blitz with Rose Garcia

Title: The Final Life Series Box Set
Author: Rose Garcia
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal
Publication Date: September 17th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
This box set includes the first three books of The Final Life Series: Final Life, Final Stand, and Final Death. A complete story, the saga of Dominique’s quest for survival will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Final Life: For seventeen-year-old Dominique, nothing sucks more than moving across the country during senior year. Angry and feeling alone, she thinks things can’t get worse, until her new neighbor pressures her into playing a psychic card game. The cards spark a vision of a red desert where a malignant presence hints at past lives and threatens to kill her…again. If Dominique is to put an end to the evil pursuing her, she must push through her fears and discover the secrets of her past. If she doesn’t, she’ll be dead. For real.
Final Stand: Dominique is still alive after facing Tavion, the Tainted who’s hunted her for lifetimes. Yet her protectors still fear for her life. They force her to flee Houston and abandon the friends she loves, but they can’t protect her from herself. When Dominique starts hearing Tavion’s voice in her head, she realizes that her personal connection to the Tainted still exists. And when her car is ambushed, she discovers another frightening truth…someone close to her is a traitor.
Final Death: Dominique has conquered the evil within her, only to find her one true love has to kill her. Desperate to spare her friends and loved ones from sharing her same fate, Dominique ditches her companions in an effort to protect them. Her new mission is to kill before being killed. With time running out, Dominique is hell bent on finishing what was started nine lives ago, or finally face her final death.

Buy Link: 


Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other-worlds, fantastical creatures, and life and death situations. More recently she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Final Life Series—a Young Adult science fiction/fantasy series about people who have the ability to control the energy in and around them. Rose is known for bringing richly diverse characters to life as she draws from her own cultural experiences. Rose lives in Houston, Texas with her awesome husband and two amazing kids. You can visit Rose at
Buy Link: 


Review of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. 

In a nutshell I would describe Skyward as Starship Troopers meets the new Battlestar – two things that I absolutely love!

Character wise it’s a strong set up, although I again find myself a little frustrated at the “class by numbers” approach that seems to have not changed since the era of Breakfast Club – we have the Jock, the ditz, the know it all, and the outsider in the mix – although thankfully the intense nature of learning leaves little time for them to fall fully into established tropes. M-Bot is outstanding though and again, whilst there is little unique about a snarky, sassy and pedantic onboard computer, it’s a characterisation that I adore, I laughed so much reading M-Bot and Spensa’s interactions and the mutual snark of their to and fro’s.

The world building is a little sparse but actually the story doesn’t suffer much from it – which for those who know my reviews will find puzzling as I’m a world building kinda gal. The map is helpful, but I think because of the condensed area in which the majority of the book takes place, less is more works well. The ships themselves are helpfully realised in little artistic flourishes throughout the book and that, combined with the cadet status of Skyward Flight, means that I was never just thrown into something and left struggling to understand, by learning the ships in tandem with the characters it made for a much more satisfying read, as when the battles start the quick fire technical prose make compete sense.

I loved the interludes as well and they presented a great way of changing POV in book dominated by the first person view of Spensa – it also brought a way of leaving helpful nuggets of information that the reader would otherwise have not been able to glean. They give a small breather as the space battles are nothing short of epic. it’s a real skill to get a reader to actual feel what is going on but I was able to visualise every aspect with such clarity – the time and effort taken to guide the reader through the finer points in an engaging way paid off in abundance.  and by the closing stages of the book I found I had grown so attached the the characters and the situation that I got quite emotional as things built to a crescendo.

Skyward is a fantastic read and in all honesty I think all fans of sci-fi would love this book, yes it’s YA but but for the most part it doesn’t feel like it and if you loved the new Battlestar you will find a ton to love in this, especially with the mythology of the closing stages. 500 pages went in a flash for me, it was that good!

Unsurprisingly Skyward gets 5*

Review of The Upworld by Lindsey S Frantz

It has been many generations since the Vitium War. In the ruins of what was once Appalachia, the population has split into three groups—upworlders who live in sparse, walled off cities, albino cave dwellers, and a group of savage nomads called the Wylden. Then there’s Erilyn—a telekinetic 17-year-old girl who can see auras and hear thoughts. For three years she lived a quiet, calm life in the woods with Luna, her albino serval cat, until the day Finn—an upworld boy from Sunnybrook—stumbles, injured, into her clearing, chased by Wylden hunters. Erilyn’s once calm life is turned upside down as she guardedly travels with Finn back to Sunnybrook. There she must confront both the secrets of her past—the cave dwellers she ran from as a child and the bittersweet memories she daily tries to forget—and Morrigan, the girl who broke Finn’s heart and who’s harboring her own a dangerous secret.

In alternating chapters told in Erilyn and Finn’s voices, in a style similar to Veronica Rossi, Frantz explores segregated societies and how vitium—the product of hundreds of years of pollution—affects this post-war world, which has startling parallels to our present

Lindsey S. Frantz started her first novel, The Upworld, with a firm hook. The prolgoue immediately emerses the reader into the world of her main protagonist, Erilyn. From the very start, it is clear that this character has power and passion and that she is a survivor. Erilyn chooses to live in seclusion save for the company of her Savannah Cat, Luna, who Erilyn has cared for since she was a kitten. Because the first part of Erilyn’s life is spent in a cave, there is an open invitation to fascinate the reader with the smallest details of what she calls “The Upworld”. Frantz spins a world of sparkling trees and dancing grasses with artful scene structure.
The reader’s introduction to Frantz’s secondary protagonist, Finn, is an immediate heartbreak, and his painful severance from what was clearly an abusive relationship. His discovery of Erilyn, her ability, and her past, reveals a great deal about her character before they begin their travels together. Upon arriving back in Finn’s home village, a mystery begins to unfold, and a raw resource, which Frantz has named Vitium, opens the window to the overarching plot of Frantz’s projected trilogy.
The Upworld has strong female characters abound: Morrigan, Emily, and Erilyn among them. While Morrigan seems a prime example of raw force and sheer power of will, Erilyn’s power remains mostly in her diplomacy and passivity. All the while, Emily is young, brave, compassionate, and the image of the perfect friend. By the end of the book, three clear factions have been established, and more action is on the rise, made evident by an enticing epilogue.
Frantz carries an Appalachian voice into her story, marking the much loved Cumberland, Kentucky as her main setting. Twists, turns, and mystery drive the plotline. The book is clean and has well defined emotional conflict with intention to appeal to young readers, but there are nuances to the story that speak to adult audiences as well. There is one particular character that felt a bit tacked on toward the end of the story, but other than that, Frantz’s character development is genuine, and the suspense leading into the sequel is palpable. The novel was a page turner, and is a great read for fans of dystopian fantasy.
 Frantz nailed five stars.

Bookish Ramblings: My Top 10 Reads of the 2018!

2018 has been a great year for reading!  It saw the conclusion of the Throne of Glass Series and the start of plenty of new adventures!  Full to bursting with fairytale retellings and diverse voices, it’s fair to say I loved A LOT of what I read this year!  How much did I love it? I smashed my Goodreads Challenge of 75 and i’m now well into the 80’s!  I know that it’s not a lot in comparison with other bloggers but I feel like I really devoured every word on every page.  Narrowing down just 10 has been the real challenge though and as with last year these will be books that were new to me in 2018 not all newly published in 2018.

Throne of Glass Series

This is a series that needs no introduction but it’s also a series that I read through all for the first time this year.  I was so glad I did because I was then so ready for Kingdom of Ash when It arrived! Sarah J Maas really pulled on all my emotions again with this series, I have to say I felt pretty wrung out at the end of Empire of Storms. It was a series that seldom faltered and dealt sensitively with a number of issues including mental health and also championed respectful relationships, which I loved.  I’m sad to see the end of these characters, we went through a lot together over many books but ultimately I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out! Whilst I didn’t individually review every book I did do a bit of a wrap up at the end of Empire of Storms which you can find here.

State of Sorrow

This was a real surprise for me, Melinda Salisbury was an author that I had not read before and State of Sorrow came in a Fairyloot box earlier in the year.  I have to admit that it did sit on my shelf for a long time, I didn’t find the cover particularly inspiring and I knew a few people didn’t enjoy it – I shouldn’t have listened! State of Sorrow was a beautifully crafted tale full of twists that I have to admit, I didn’t see coming.  I found it pretty empowering and a insightful take on women picking up the pieces whilst being judged on the things that make us human.  You can find my 5 star review here

Grace and Fury

I had kind of got to the point with fairyloot where I just had to accept that for the most part their selected reads just didn’t float my boat.  When Grace and Fury appeared in my July box I thought it would be more of the same and pretty tropey, chalk and cheese sisters etc  but Tracy Banghart proved me wrong.  Grace and Fury was full of twists and misdirection for one sister and for the other full of dystopian Hunger Games style survival, I loved every page and you can guarantee book 2 will make my 2019 anticipated list.  Click here for my full review


If there is one thing that Bethany Adams can do, it is to write beautifully (she can do many things beautifully of course but for this context lets focus on her writing)  I never fully realise how much I miss being in her world until I get wrapped back up in her books again. Seared is the continuation of her Return of the Elves series and whilst I can’t say too much for fear of spoilers (as a lot has gone on in earlier books) it has plenty of magic and romance and Ralan may even overtake Kai in my affections! My full review can be found here, but be mindful.

Vampire Hearts

Taking me outside of my usual comfort zone this is full on vampire fiction. I never really got caught up in the Twilight generation so vampires were often on the periphery of my reading material. But with Vampire Hearts came Katie M John who is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, so in support of her new release I gave it a go and oh my wow I was blown away. Great characters, fantastic back stories, intriguing big bads and slow burns, everything I love (and I do love a good slow burn romance) To find out more about why I loved it so much you can find my review here.

Infection by M.P MacDonald

Another book that was on my kindle TBR for an inexcusable amount of time. This is an absolutely wonderful example of Day 1 apocalypse. Told from multiple points of view of members of the same family it’s a race to not only find safety but also each other – each party has very different experiences of what is going on in the world and each is told with the same heart stopping pace.  I really need to try and catch up further with this in 2019 as I have missed reading full on dystopia this year, if it sounds like your thing too then you can find my full review here.


Just wow, full of originality and proving that dystopia can still exist in a utopian world, a unique take on an interesting premise – how do you keep a the population manageable in a world where everyone can live forever but yet still procreate? As you can guess from the title there are going to be some tough moments to read but it travels to some very interesting places with how each scythe takes their responsibilities ranging from humanitarian to God complex, there’s a real twist and kicker to it as well which was amazing. Find out more in my review here


I’ve read a few books now by Chantal Gadoury and honestly for me, they either hit the mark or they don’t. Her main focus this year has been on retellings and her take on this Brothers Grimm tale really hit the mark spot on. It’s one of their lesser known tales and I think it did very much benefit from that, for many (including myself) it will feel fresh. This story doesn’t pull any punches and it goes to some very dark places that I actually found pretty shocking.  However those parts are kept brief and the wonderful storytelling then gets to shine through. here’s the link to my review.

The Lunar Chronicles

So a slight cheat in that I did read Cinder in December 2017 but the other 3 in the series I caught up on in 2018. I’m pretty sure that the Lunar Chronicles is now my favourite series of all time, the Rampion Crew give me serious squad goals!  It’s a wonderful series full of fun, yet fraught with danger, focusing on friendship over relationships it really felt like a step outside of a lot of YA fantasy, the sci-fi element of course helped! I didn’t review each book individually but I did write a series round up post which you can find here.

Muse of Nightmares

Beautiful, lyrical, heartbreaking. Muse of Nightmares did not disappoint – I feel that I should have re-read Strange the Dreamer before I started though as it goes pretty much straight in where Strange left off and I found myself really stretching the memory banks in a couple of places. Muse is told in a wonderful parallel that left me lost for words and feeling pretty emotional! You can find my review here, but it’s likely to be spoilery if you’ve not read Strange the Dreamer yet.

There were so many other great books that I and the review team read this year and if you click on the reviews link on the side bar (you’ll have to scroll down a bit) you can find out all about them them and hopefully find your first read for the new year!

What did you think of the list, what made your top reads this year?

Dirty Blood Release Blitz with USA Today Bestselling Author, Apryl Baker.

Title: The Crane Diaries: Dirty Blood
Author: Apryl Baker
Genre: NA Horror/Paranormal
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design
Publication Date: December 18th, 2018
Deep in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, a horrifying secret lies waiting to be discovered.
A legend haunts the bayou, a chilling tale of a beast that is born from a curse…the Rougarou.
When Emma Rose Crane lets hunter Cass Willow convince her to help him on a ghost hunt, she never imagined she’d be trudging through the swamps, let alone stumbling upon a mess of mangled bodies—or running into the creature responsible for the rotting remains.
With no backup available to them, she’s forced to show Cass her demonic side to help them escape, but that’s not the only problem. When the creature attacked them, it infected them with the same curse that drove it mad. There’s only one hope—kill the beast to cure the infection.
Time is not on their side as they race to save themselves and discover the truth behind the legend. But first they have to survive the effects of the curse long enough to find the creature and put it down…
Before they succumb to the hunger eating them alive.

Buy Links:
So who am I?
Well, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.
Now, I live in a small town in West Virginia where I entertain my niece and nephew and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce…lol.
I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.
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Bookish Ramblings: Christmas Book Tag!

I don’t often stray out of my normal 5 things Friday but I’ve really enjoyed doing this book tag on the blog, so I may seek out more of them!  I pinched this one from the lovely Niffler Reads 🙂

1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

Minya, whilst her dynamic changes in Muse of Nightmares, in Strange the Dreamer I absolutely loved her!

2. “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book to you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kauffman – I’ve wanted to read these for ages but they never quite make it to the top of my buy list when i’m in Waterstones (I’m always completing series not starting new ones) I’ve also been toying with wanting them in hard cover.  Either way, it would be lovely to have on Christmas morning although I’m pretty sure Santa has other plans!

3. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles – I won’t elaborate as I know there are a few followers who still want to read this series!

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list?
b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

A) Prince Cardan – sorry to all you Cruel Prince fans, I just think he’s a bit of a dick

B) Lysandra – they’d be lost without her!

5. “Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart.

This is going to sound weird but the Six of Crows Duology, the serious squad goals going on there is amazing and it always makes me smile to think of their achievements!

6. “Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

So by reading pretty much entirely fantasy this is hard as they are mainly made up places, but one of my favourite contemporary’s with a sci-fi twist if The Time Travellers Wife which takes place in the US.

7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy.

I don’t really read holiday themed books but a great quirky, quick holiday read (which I think is also perma-free on kindle) is The Frivolity Fairies by Jo Michaels.

8. “Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)

Carswell Thorne, spending the holidays exploring the galaxy on the Rampion!

9. “Baby it’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

Again I’m sorry to fans of the books, but I really was not a fan at all of the Shatter Me series.

10. “Do you hear what I hear”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

Doing a huge shout out to my girl M.A. Phipps, her YA Dystopian trilogy Project W.A.R is amazing, book one is Ultraxenopia and i’m really hoping for the conclusion in 2019!

Let me know if you pick up on this tag so I can check out your answers 🙂

Review of Winter Dream by Chantal Gadoury

This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse. 
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse? 
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount. 
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? 
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring? 

There is a richness in the language Gadoury uses in this novel. The book is tactile. Every moment is described in tastes and smells and the touch of the world. Clara is a likeable girl from the start. She is a rebel against tradition and a believer in adventure making her a fun protagonist. Though she is most certainly a damsel in distress – fragile, naive, sheltered, but brave upon instinct and holds to her kindness during tragedy. Much of the mystery of the story is revealed by protagonist speculation rather than dialogue or by a turn of the plot. Which means that the reader is left to trust the author and be guided rather than to discover. Thoughts and emotions are often expressed within the narrative just before being expressed through dialogue, making for some redundancy. Many of the scenes can almost be imagined in the form of the classic ballet, which Gadoury quotes as a big inspiration to her in the gratitude at the beginning of her novel. This saves a great deal of the story. Simply by knowing that it is a retelling, much of the convenience of the plot and most of the parallels can be excused by that familiarity. Other ideas still are said over and over again, and sometimes the chronology is off kilter. For example, Clara and a friend are gathering flowers for a wreath. Clara’s internal monologue mentions the purpose of the wreath, but then just a page or two after this thought, her friend says that should like to make a wreath. Clara’s internal monologue then mentions that a wreath would be nice for this particular purpose. This little fluke and the plot hole in Chapter 29 (perhaps an editorial miss) were a bit disengaging. There are also some spots of word confusion and grammar mistakes that tend to pull the reader from the book for a moment to properly interpret what is written. Gadoury’s characters are, however, enchanting. Falling in love with Marzipan, Clara, and the Nutcracker is extremely easy. Entrancing as it was, the story was not entirely solid, even so, it did keep the reader positively immersed within the world. The characters all go through noticeable growth, and Gadoury again embellishes this novel with a very specific charm. The book was enjoyable, so I would give it three stars.

The Mystic Release Blitz with Jo Michaels.

Title: The Mystic
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Urban Fiction/Apocalyptic Fiction
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: December 17th, 2018
It’s one year until the apocalypse of 12.21.12 is supposed to take place.
Burning buildings, screaming babies, and death will surround us.
It will be the end of the world.
That can’t be allowed.
When six powerful women come together with one goal—to save humanity—they’ll get much more than they bargained for. They join forces and learn to use the gifts hidden within themselves to battle a monster feeding off something too many of us feel in our souls: Hate. But they must first learn how to forgive—themselves as well as others.
Hate is birthing a creature dwelling under Central Park in New York, and the fiend is eager to burst forth and sink his fangs into the Earth.
The Fury, The Visionary, The Beguiler, The Siren, The Prophet, and The Mystic are our last hope, and even they aren’t sure if they can win.
The end is coming, but with it, there may be a new beginning.
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The Visionary:
The Beguiler:
The Prophet:
Jo Michaels is…
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding clichĂ©, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
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Chapter One ~ Being Psychic
Markaza sat at the table in The Clementine’s restaurant and chewed her food. Never in her life had she been so afraid of being alone. What if the monster’s description caused the other young ladies of Women Save the World to abandon her? There was no way she could fly solo. She’d die; they’d all die. Goosebumps lifted the hair on her arms, and she shivered.
They were bantering in their easy way, everyone seeming to feel deeply for the other after hearing their stories. Bronya being ostracized for being a lesbian, Lily and her self-image after the accident that left her scarred for life, and the other three, Shelia, Melody, and Coralie, all mangled or abused in some way.
Even though they were all damaged, each held a power that would determine the fate of the human race. Markaza hid her irritation over not being able to tell the ladies how to use their power, only help them discover it for themselves. She smiled as she watched Lily poke Bronya and point out the hottest woman in the room. Markaza’s ladies had a bond that would, hopefully, be difficult to break.
She was staring at her Reuben sandwich and pile of fries when the room went dark.
There’s blood everywhere. It’s on the ground, her clothes, and her hands. Screams shatter the darkness.
A disembodied voice fills the air. “You’re next.”
She woke to someone shaking her. With her butt still in the chair, she blinked and looked around the table. “What happened?”
“Girl, you just fell into your plate. You scared the shit outta me!” Shelia was as white as a linen napkin.
“Oh, sorry.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. I just need to eat. I think.”
Shelia lifted an eyebrow. “You should probably start with the fries stuck to your face. Seriously, you okay?”
Markaza nodded. “Happens all the time.”
“We know. But not usually in the middle of dinner.” Bronya added. “I was about to make a scene if you didn’t come back around.”
Nancy arrived and sat down on the floor. “What is it, child? What did you see this time?”
Markaza threw herself into the woman’s lap, wrapping both arms around her waist. “Oh my God, it was horrible! Nancy, we have to do something!”
Rocking the distraught child, Nancy used an even voice when she spoke. “Calm down. I can’t understand you when you’re hysterical.”
Markaza gulped for air, taking it in as if she was being suffocated. Her stomach settled as her hair was stroked. “Sunny died.”
“Baby, you’ve seen these kinds of things every year since you were just a little thing. What was different this time that’s got you so upset?”
“I was inside her head. I saw what she saw; felt what she felt. I died, too,” Markaza whispered. She pushed away and trembled again. It started deep in her belly and radiated out through her limbs, causing her words to come through chattering teeth. “She went skydiving and got severed from her partner when he pulled the chute open. We hit the ground… What do I do?”
“Oh my God.” Nancy’s eyes were wide and blank, her lips were pressed together, and her hand flitted up to touch her forehead. “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine…”
“It was horrible.” Rapid breathing ensued, and Markaza could feel she was losing her grip again. “What do I do? If I call her, she’ll think I’m a freak! She’s the only friend I have.”