Dry January is finally over and so is the impromptu social media and blogging break I somehow found myself taking. I have missed interacting with everyone! I just spent the last few hours reading through all the posts that were made in January by some of my favourite bloggers and the creativity and reading vibes has been making me smile all day!
In my part of the world, we are in a strict COVID-19 lockdown with a curfew. I don’t know why but I have found this second lockdown so much harder to deal with than the first one. Has anyone else found that who’ve had to go under a lockdown?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is missing seeing people, going shopping (not online!), getting together with friends and eating a wonderfully greasy meal out… it has been tough, but I do see some slight hope in the future of 2021 *crossing fingers*!
How are YOU? Really, truly, please let me know how you are doing!
In all the quiet in January, I was able to devour some amazing books that I think everyone should read, or at the very least tell themselves they’ll move up on their TBR :p
Here are some books I finished and loved in January:
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
I absolutely loved this book! Without giving a lot away, I will say it was one that kept me flipping pages just to see what the heck will happen next because SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book! The main character Liesl was a bit inconsistent at times, but it kept for an intriguing romance. The darkness in this book was The Goblin King. Everything revolved around him, which was exciting since he was this handsome and mischievous character (my fav!) who we got to learn more about as the story unfolded. If you love a good bargaining with the devil romantic fantasy, you will enjoy this book immensely!
Blood & Honey by Shelby Maurin
Ok… Shelby is an incredible author! Just wanted to quickly add that in for anyone who could have ever had a doubt. This was originally on my September TBR but sadly I did not get around to it until January! I will not go into detail with this book because I am going to dedicate a whole post to it (that’s how good it is!!), but I will say it was the highlight of my January!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This series is soooo close to my heart! I was revisiting my old books that are tucked away in some boxes as I am currently between homes at the moment, and found it perched right at the top. I grabbed it before I even knew what I was doing. It’s an amazing read, and re-reading it made me so nostalgic. I realized quickly why I fell in love with the main character Juliet and how her vulnerableness has been embedded into my soul and lasted with me all these years. I seriously seriously SERIOUSLY recommend you read this book if you haven’t already.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyers
I will now gladly say that anything Marissa Meyers touches is brilliant. This was the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, comes right after Cinder which I absolutely flew through and loved so much. The minute I finished Scarlet, I was looking around, texting anyone who may have read it because I just desperately needed to gush about how incredible this book is. The freaking romance vibes, the power in Scarlet that is subtle at times but still a beam of light, and her heart was displayed so epically as she was concerned for her grandmother and never once deterred completely form her mission. Cinder also made several appearances and the girl power had be waving my fist in the air. Breath-taking read and I highly recommend getting into this series if you haven’t already!
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Another one that is a re-read, but OMG… I remember why I loved it so much. I initially decided to re-read it as I have yet to read the second instalment of this duology and didn’t really remember fully what happened in the first book. As I read, the beautiful world-building was slowly bringing everything back reminding me why I recommended this book to legit everyone who walked through my door years back. Being middle-eastern, this folklore was one I heard growing up, and Renee did it complete justice in her version of it. It was so lush with intrigue and the strong willed Sharhzad made me root for her with every turn of the page. Even the twist at the end, had me shocked (despite me having read it previously). I am diving into the second book as soon as I can!
I’ve also compiled a list of books I plan to read in February! Since February is Black History month, I decided that my TBR for this month will consist of mostly stories featuring black characters and stories written by black authors. I wrote a whole post on what I think about diversifying the world of publishing and story-telling. As a minority myself, and even if I wasn’t one, it is important to have all voices heard.
I also want to note that this does not end here… while my TBR for this month will consist of mostly black stories, I am going to make a conscious effort to include diverse stories in my TBR and champion diverse authors as I have always done and naturally been drawn to. As well, we should make an effort and a positive acknowledgement to black lives and people of colour ALWAYS. Not just during Black History month.
Side note – I have forced myself to not purchase a single book last month, but somehow my TBR still got bigger… anyone else’s?
This is VERY VERY ambitious, but there are just so many incredible stories coming out this month that I had such a hard time not including them all and wanting to read them all!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
First things first… THIS COVER IS EPIC!!! The synopsis does more than it should in having me ecstatic to sink my teeth into it. Already, I know it will be one I will devour within a day. Female heroine with a secret power, immortals, fates, an incredible disastrous world, and adventures filled with surprises… yes please!!!
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
A Song of Wraith & Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
This one had been on my list for a loooong time and I even attempted to read it several times but life got in the way. I don’t even know how or why because the first few chapters I read had me so intrigued that I am even surprised I managed to put it down. Here’s to another try!!
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
THIS BOOK! I am so freaking excited to read this one! It seems like some of the middle-grade books I grasped every chance I could growing up! Also – the cover… like YAAAASSSS!
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson
I have a HUGE feeling I will LOVE this book so much. Reading the synopsis made my heart clench and my eyes water because already this book is something incredible. It is sadly not as common to have black, “plus sized” heroines forefront the story and to have one do it and to have the plot be so promising has given me goosebumps!
When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.
In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
I mean… do I even have to explain this one? I would read Mrs. Maas’ grocery list at this point. The ACOTAR series is one of my favourite all time series I’ve ever read… EVER. And Nesta is a character I have always been fascinated by as her complexity and past is one that is so disoriented and hidden from us throughout the initial trilogy. To say I am excited to read about her and Cassian and all the smutty goodness is an understatement!
They are saying to read the initial trilogy before diving into this one, but if you haven’t read the ACOTAR series, I guarantee you will blaze through them quickly!
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.
One Carefree Day by Whitney Amazeen
Reading the first line of the synopsis, I immediately knew this book was one I had to read, and soon! As someone who suffers with anxiety, I don’t see it written in YA enough. It’s important to address and have mental health diversity in books that can shed a light on things like anxiety and depression and also be something that helps you relate to the world around you. While books are meant for escapism, it’s also important and wonderful to see parts of yourself in the world. I am beyond excited to sink my teeth into what seems like a wholesome and heart-warming book.
For eighteen-year-old Willow Bates, anxiety is just a part of life. With her every decision ruled by intrusive thoughts, she’s worried she sometimes seems a little odd. Despite Willow’s efforts to hide her OCD from those around her, it isn’t always possible. Her rituals are her coping mechanism, and Willow’s past has left her with a lot to cope with.
But when Willow takes things too far, her mother breaks and gives her an ultimatum: Willow must finally start taking meds to treat her obsessive-compulsive disorder, or she’ll have to move out within three months. But Willow is terrified of both options, and can’t afford to support herself as a new cosmetology student.
Only when Theo Tate moves in next door does Willow begin to see hope. Theo might have a way for Willow to avoid taking meds and still resist her rituals. But falling for Theo is definitely not part of the plan. And mingling with him has risks not even Willow could possibly control, let alone be prepared for.
The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
This is the second book in the duology of The Wrath and the Dawn. I’ll spare you the second instalment of my gushing, and just say that I am aching to read this book! The cover is soooo freaking beautiful as well! I can’t stop looking at it!
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
This was a lenghty post, and if you made it this far, THANK YOU! If you couldn’t already tell, I did very much miss blogging that I rambled on for what felt like forever! I’m thrilled to be back and can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading!
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books on either list! Also please link your TBR so I can see what you’re reading! I love adding new books to my lists *hears TBR list crying* :p
I hope wherever you are in the world, that life is turning around and you are doing well and staying safe!