First Lines Fridays: June 9th

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


I remember being born.

In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me. I was safe. 


 

 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

16054806What it’s about:

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.

(Cover links to goodreads)

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


This book has been on my TBR so long I can’t even remember where I heard about it first. I’m guessing either booktube or booklr, but I’m really not sure. Anyway, the gorgeous cover and dragons caught my attention right away, and I’m hoping to maybe read it soon(ish).


Have you read it? What did you think of it?

 

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T5W: Favorite SFF Cover Art

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

May 3rd: Favorite SFF Cover Art *Booktube SFF Awards Crossover Topic*
— Show off some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy cover art!

 

Ok, this was too hard, so I decided to narrow my options down to only covers for 2017 releases. There are just too many amazing SFF covers out there, and even narrowing it down to just this year’s releases was a little hard.

In no particular order, as usual…


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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab–love all the Shades of Magic covers, but I think this one might be my favorite of the three.

 

 

 

 

 

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UK cover

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US cover

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor– I couldn’t help but add this one to the list ❤ I love both the US and UK covers, and now that I have a copy, I’m almost wishing I’d ordered the UK edition instead because of the blue edged pages. I’m envious of everyone who has that edition.

 

 

 

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27 Hours by Tristina Wright– I’m not even exactly sure what it is that I love about this cover, but oh well, it made the list. This is also one of my most anticipated books for the second half of the year.

(Expected publication: October 3rd, 2017)

 

 

 

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US cover

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UK cover

Caraval by Stephanie Garber– I just love it. I’m pretty sure even my husband said he liked this book’s cover, and he rarely comments on that kind of thing. While I love the UK edition, I think I like the US just a tiny bit more, and if I buy it, that’s the one I’ll get.

 

 

 

 

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember– This is one of my most anticipated 2017 releases and I absolutely adore the cover! Look at it! I can’t wait to see it in person ❤

(It’s coming out May 4th, AKA tomorrow!)

 

 


What are some of your favorite SFF covers?

 

First Lines Fridays: April 28th

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.


 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

8475505What it’s about:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


This book has been on my TBR since before it came out, but I still haven’t read it. I bought it at least a year ago and I think this was the first time I even opened it :/ Oops. I thought this sounded interesting, in the funny and cute kind of way, I just never got around to reading it because I forgot I owned it. (How many times can I say “oops” before it gets annoying?) Maybe I’ll bump this up my TBR a bit because I feel like I’m getting into a reading slump, and cute, easy books usually help me get out of them.


Have you read it? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Wednesday: SFF Books On My TBR

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*
–Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

 

This topic was so hard because I read so much fantasy, and I’m trying to get into more sci-fi. I basically just chose 5 books at random by scanning my shelves and thinking about which ones made me feel the most excitement.


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#5: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline– This one isn’t actually on my shelf yet, but I’ve wanted to read it for a very long time and I’m getting a copy ASAP.

 

 

 

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#4: Vicious by V.E. Schwab– I’ve only read the Shades of Magic series, but I actually bought Vicious before they came out…and I still haven’t read it 😮 I know, it’s awful! But I kept hoping for a sequel so I could binge read them!

 

 

 

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#3: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco– This book had me at the cover, and then sealed my interest when I read the word “necromancy” in the description. So excited!

 

 

 

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#2: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor– *cue inhuman screeching* I feel like I’ve been waiting a million years for this one.

 

 

 

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#1: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff– Yep, it’s on my shelf and I still haven’t read it. Why? Because I’m hoping the next book will be released this autumn and I want to have to wait the least amount of time possible between finishing Gemina and getting my hands on the next one.

 

 


What are some SFF books you’re dying to read ASAP?

 

First Lines Friday

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 


“There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters–even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you. Of course, considering I once tried to kill someone I loved, maybe I had no right to judge.


 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

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Spirit Bound (book 5 in the Vampire Academy series) by Richelle Mead

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Ok, I’m not actually going to give the synopsis for this book, because spoilers! But, here’s what the Vampire Academy books are basically about:

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess (Moroi are basically vampires that are alive, can use elemental magic, and aren’t evil), and her best friend Rose Hathaway is a hot headed, short tempered Dhampir (basically half human, half vampire). Dhampir’s are trained to be guardians of Moroi, and Lissa and Rose are set on Rose being Lissa’s guardian when they graduate. Why do the Moroi need protection? Well, the Strigoi (like the undead vamps we all know about) seem particularly keen on killing off (or turning) the Moroi royals, and Lissa is one they’re really fixated on getting their fangs on. There’s plenty of drama, action, forbidden romance, heartbreak, betrayal, and more in this series, so don’t let the cringe-worthy original covers fool you like they did me. The books are way better than the covers make them seem 😉

Check out the series on goodreads


Have you read the Vampire Academy series? What did you think of them?

Must Read Monday

must-read-mondays

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When I read it:
I’ve read it at least 3 or 4 times.

Genres: ya; fantasy

Recommended for: If you like the sound of a magical fantasy set in the Victorian era with a secret magical order, young women rebelling against what society expects of them in whatever ways they can manage, female friendships that feel real, and wonderful writing and storytelling, I recommend this!

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 


What it’s about:

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.


I still remember when this book was published, because it was way back when I was in middle or early high school and I first read about it in some teen magazine I was subscribed to. The cover was the first thing that caught my attention, and I then spent about a year trying to actually find a copy. When I finally did find it in a store, I actually attracted stares and embarrassed my grandma (who had taken me to the bookstore) because I gasped and squealed and clutched it to my chest.

I still have to fight the urge to react that way when I see a copy in a store, because this is one of my favorite books, ever. Over the last 13ish years, I’ve read this book again and again, and I always love it. I love the whole trilogy, but this first book stole my heart, and often my breath, and I try to get everyone to read it. This is kind of weird maybe, but I knew I was going to love it when I flipped it open and found an excerpt from one of my favorite poems in the first pages (“The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

Libba Bray’s writing is amazing, her characters are so well developed, the relationships feel real, and it’s just a really great story, in my opinion. There’s magic, adventure, a bit of romance, strong female characters, and so much more! I highly recommend this book (and the other two in the trilogy).


Have you read it? What did you think?

Book(s) Review: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Genres: fantasy; YA

Why I read it: I have a bit of an obsession with Leigh Bardugo’s writing. I think she writes awesome characters, her world-building is fantastic, and she knows how to keep you guessing about what’s going to happen.

Who I’d recommend it them to: If you liked the Grisha trilogy, you’ll probably like this, maybe even more. I think fans of V.E. Schwab might enjoy these, and anyone who likes well-written fantasy and a fast paced plot.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  (each)

Six of Crows: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Crooked Kingdom: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What Six of Crows is about:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


Review:

I’m not giving a description for Crooked Kingdom because ~spoilers,~ but there are no significant time lapses or anything. I think the second book picks up a couple of days after the end of the first. (I don’t know why I decided to review these together, but if I searched my soul, the answer would probably be: because I’m lazy.)

I have never been a big fan of multi-POV stories, but Leigh Bardugo does it so well. The books are both told from the alternating perspectives of each of the six members of this strange group. Each character was so freaking different! I loved that. I loved that I could keep track of who we were focusing on just by the way the language and stuff shifted. Their interactions were so believable, too. There were arguments and clashes of will, sweet moments between friends, struggles with inner demons and taking it on those around them, and there really wasn’t much of the blind loyalty I’ve seen in other books. The others followed Kaz because they knew what he was capable of, and he’d earned their trust to get them through things.

Most people seem to agree that you can read this without reading the Grisha trilogy first, but I think it would be really helpful if you did. I mostly knew what everything meant, and had a vague idea of the layout of this world, but even though I just finished the Grisha trilogy last year, the details were fuzzy and slow to come back. I think you absolutely could read this duology first, but I’d recommend reading the Grisha books to get acquainted with the Grisha orders and stuff. (And there’s kind of a Grisha spoiler in Crooked Kingdom.)

While it took me almost two weeks to read these, it wasn’t the fault of the books. I started Six of Crows and then got caught up in other things for almost a week, so I ended up reading most of both books in about a week. When I sat down and finally had the time to read, I felt like my eyes wouldn’t move fast enough and I had to tear myself away to eat and sleep. I was flying through them, desperate to know what was going to happen next, how they’d get themselves out of trouble, worrying someone was dead, and by the end, I had several new fictional children. I don’t think I could choose a favorite character, though.

Crooked Kingdom picked up pretty much right where we left off, and never really slowed down. It was just off, full-speed ahead, from the very beginning. I had no clue what to expect–from either of these–while I was reading them. I saw a few twists coming, but mostly I was clueless and I loved it (and hated it). These were the kinds of books that made me completely forget I was reading, because they were so immersive. I was sucked in, and it was weird looking around and not being in their world.

The crew got into some serious trouble in Six of Crows, but it was nothing compared to Crooked Kingdom. The group is like a magnet for trouble, and it was coming from all sides, and I don’t think my pulse ever calmed down while I was reading.

Both books have intricately woven plots that always have several smaller plots going on, and I don’t think I ever realized a subplot was unfolding until I was deep into it or at the end. I just didn’t see it coming. This is quite possibly the best sequel I’ve ever read. If it isn’t, it’s definitely in the top three. I didn’t think Leigh Bardugo could top Six of Crows because it was that good, but she did, and my mind was blown.

Throughout both books, I was gasping, squealing, and sometimes trying not to scream, but I actually teared up at least once during Crooked Kingdom. In my head, I’m still screaming, and it’s taking a lot of effort to keep from screaming and fangirling about them to anyone who will listen.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I. LOVED. These. Books! And I desperately want novellas, or another series with some of these characters making an appearance.

 

Have you read this duology, or the Grisha trilogy? What did you think of them?