TTT: Books I Meant to Read in 2019 That I WILL Read in 2020

Back at the start of the year, I created a 2019 Goals shelf on Goodreads. Within that shelf, I threw 69 (heh) books that I intended to read by the end of the year. And then I kept adding books. And adding them. As of this writing, 97 books are in that shelf, many of them I did actually read, yet many more were shoved aside for the shiny and new. Somehow, I was convinced I would still get to them.

You are a fool, Harry Potter, and you will lose… everything.

It’s turn-over-a-new-leaf time. I want to get back to those older books, so for Top Ten Tuesday, here are my top books I meant to read in 2019 that I will make a priority in 2020.

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ARC Review: The Guinevere Deception

the guinevere deceptionTitle: The Guinevere Deception
Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: LGBTQA+ characters
Recommended Readers: Yo, anyone want a feminist reimagining of Arthurian legends?
Rating: ★★★★☆

Thank you, Net Galley and the publisher, for offering this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Kiersten White’s latest trilogy is a feminist study into the character Guinevere, a figure in Arthurian legends who is often regulated to the sidelines as a prize, an adulterer, a villain, and an opportunistic traitor—but never the architect of her own story. With The Guinevere Deception, Guinevere has found her voice at last, but in true White fashion, her story is full of interesting twists and unexpected choices.

For instance, when we meet Guinevere, she is journeying from a convent to Camelot in order to wed her future husband, King Arthur—and she isn’t truly Guinevere. The real Guinevere died tragically, and unbeknownst to everyone, a changeling raised by Merlin has taken her place. Casting all knowledge of her past aside, including her true name, “Guinevere” intends to be a source of magical protection for Arthur against his enemies, even though Camelot has exiled all magic and ousted Merlin. But exiling magic doesn’t stop the forests and lakes from wanting to reclaim the land, and the ideal of Camelot has as many enemies in man and beast as Arthur does. Perhaps the greatest threat might be Guinevere herself.

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reading challenge

Reading Challenge Update: September & October 2019

What up, y’all? Sooooo, I’ve been all over the place the last two months and totally had no time to do any Reading Challenge updates until now. I’m not too bothered by it, though. I’ve been to some work events, seen some awesome concerts, spent time with great friends at NYCC, moved to a house with some of my best friends, and gotten completely obsessed with Death Stranding. It’s been a good time, but now it’s time to get back to some books.

Let’s give a look at what books I read in September and October!

The Five-Star Favs

final fantasy vii
Finished: 9/8/19| Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story by Kazushige Nojima probably isn’t a LitRPG book in the strictest sense of the word, but it is a book based on the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VII, focusing on the Turks, a mob-like, fictional organization, and a slew of original characters. And Kadaj, let’s not forget that. I’m still stunned by how amazingly written and in-character this translated book was. [Review]

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November 2019 Book Releases

It’s getting colder out there, meaning I’m becoming more and more inclined to stay inside, curled up in a blanket with some hot tea and a good book.

But, if I want any of the new November books, that means I’ll need to brave the cold and get myself to the bookstore (it’s just so much more personal than Amazon and other online shopping).

What books this month are going to be worth leaving the house for?

the queen of nothing
Release Date: November 19 | Goodreads

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Why I Want to Read This: Listen, if you’ve read The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, then you know exactly why I want to read this. (Fae! Politics! Enemies-to-lovers romance! Absolutely steller characters!) Besides, I haven’t read a thing from Holly Black yet that I haven’t liked, and while I’m dying for The Queen of Nothing, I’m going to be so sad when this trilogy is over.

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ARC Review: Fireborne

fireborneTitle: Fireborne
 Rosaria Munda
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 448
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Dragons! …Kinda
Recommended Readers: Fans of slowburn romances, fantasy politics, and complex interpersonal relationships
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Thank you, Net Galley and the publisher, for offering this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rosaria Munda’s Fireborne is probably one of the hardest books I’ve ever had to review. I’m actually troubled about how to go about it because my feelings for it are so complicated. The book has qualities that make it absolutely soar while others leave me behind on the ground, bereft and wondering what I missed.

Inspired by Plato’s Republic, Virgil’s The Aeneid, the French Revolution, and the Blitz, Fireborne is an ambitious novel, tackling bloody revolutions and their aftermath, dangerous politics, social inequality, and the complex relationships between people. Oh, and there’s dragons, but strangely, they’re not the highlight.

We follow orphans Annie and Lee, who are now rival dragonriders competing for the honor to become Firstrider. Born a serf, Annie can now do the impossible by being a dragonrider, something the old regime never would have permitted. However, the person she most has to convince of her worth isn’t government officials, former patrician kids, or her instructor; it’s herself. Lee, meanwhile, is an aristocrat by birth, but he’s managed to keep his identity hidden, his natural confidence and air of power allowing him to rise through the ranks of the very regime that slaughtered his Dragonlord family. No one is prepared when survivors of Dragonlord families, including Lee’s, resurface with dragons of their own, declaring war to reclaim their lost country. Both Lee and Annie have to decide what and who they are loyal to, even as their relationship grows ever-more complicated.

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TTT: Halloween Books – Vibe Check Edition

Hey, everyone! Happy Halloween—almost. The Witching Hour is closing in, and soon trick-or-treaters will be hitting the streets, and cosplayers will be showing off with convention-ready costumes.

It’s a special time of the year that no other holiday can match or imitate—and it gives me an excuse to finally do another Top Ten Tuesday, so thank you to That Artsy Reader Girl for providing a freebie for us this time.

I’ve decided to do a Halloween Books – Vibe Check Edition, where I look at the books on my TBR shelf that give me both intense Halloween vibes and which I’m most excited to read (though in no particular order except alphabetical this time).

vibe check

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Book Review: The Princess Saves Herself in This One

the princess saves herself in this oneTitle: The Princess Saves Herself in This One
 Amanda Lovelace
Genre: Poetry
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 199
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Free verse poetry, Feminism
Recommended Readers: Women especially, but men should read this, too, honestly
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I’ve done it; I’ve finally read The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. You might remember that I actually started my journey with Lovelace’s poetry via an ARC of The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This Onecontinuing with The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One. Yeah, I kinda did this whole thing backwards, but I’m happy to at last experience where Lovelace’s journey of finding her voice through poetry started, even though it wasn’t as strong as the others.

But that’s a good thing in this case. Lovelace grows in her poetry technique, depth, presentation, and subject matter as the Women Are Some Kind of Magic trilogy goes on. In fact, if I hadn’t fallen so in love with The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One and been so similarly impressed with The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One, then I might have rated this collection higher. While I kept in mind that this was the first round and that I read these out of impact order, I still feel what I feel about Lovelace’s poetry here, and reason that—no matter what the timing may be—poetry will always be personal.

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ARC Review: The Library of the Unwritten

\library of the unwrittenTitle: The Library of the Unwritten
 A. J. Hackwith
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 384
Publisher: Ace Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: A book about stories, diverse, LGBTQA+ characters
Recommended Readers: Those wanting a dash of mythology to go along with their adventure
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review—and sorry it’s a tad bit late.

I absolutely love any kind of content about angels, demons, heaven, hell, and the mortals trapped between them. I love written works that are themselves tributes to stories and storytelling. The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith boasted all of the above, with an emphasis on unwritten stories and characters by unwritten authors. While I was overall more in love with the idea of this book than I was with the actual execution, there is still a fair amount of good I’d like to highlight with this review.

Our story begins with finding Claire Hadley as the current Head Librarian of Hell’s Unwritten Wing, one of the few neutral spaces in Hell, where it’s Claire’s job to repair and monitor all unwritten books. When a Hero awakens from one of the books and escapes to the mortal world to meet his Author, Claire leaves in pursuit along with her assistant Brevity and a nervous teenage demon, Leto, who seems more human than he ought to. In pursuit of the character and his book, the group runs afoul of fallen angel and Watcher Ramiel, who accuses them of having pages of the elusive Devil’s Bible. Claire and her motley crew, including the Hero and an old demon Arcanist named Andras, must locate the pages and return them to the library before any other angels or demons can get ahold of them—or risk a cosmic war and power imbalance between the realms.

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October 2019 Book Releases

October is here, and that means creepy decorations, sugar-induced comas, and new books—all in time for Halloween! From a vampire murder mystery set in 1800s New Orleans to a creepy black door that lurks in every soul, this batch of books seems to be leaning into deliciously macabre and ghoulish themes.

Let’s get spoopy!

ninth house
Release Date: October 8 | Goodreads

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Why I Want to Read This: Leigh Bardugo is one of my few auto-buy authors at this point, and I have been intrigued by Ninth House, Bardugo’s first foray into adult fantasy since she first announced it. Not just because it sounds dark and gritty, but also because of this mysterious occult element it’s touting, too. Secret societies have also been a weird fascination of mine, and Alex herself sounds like a protagonist I very much want to get to know. Ultimately, though, I love coming into this book, having absolutely no clue what’s going to happen and where it’s going to go, and from a new series standpoint, that is so exciting.

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It’s Time to Say Goodbye: Books I’m Letting Go

I’m about to move soon, and on principle, I hate moving. Though the settling in is wonderful, the process is never smooth or glamorous, and it’s also the time when I become the most ruthless. Namely, I throw out or give away things I don’t want to waste energy moving. This time, I’ve realized I have a lot of books, many of which I’ve had for two previous moves that I still haven’t read, so I felt it was time to cull their number.

What I’ve done is a speed-round of reading: I’ve picked up books from my TBR shelf and given the first chapter a read. If I liked what I saw, they stayed, and if I didn’t, well… It’s time to say goodbye.

What follows is a list of books I’m finally letting go, with explanations as to why after reading the first chapter. I figured people might like to see, but I also need it for my own records of why I shouldn’t pursue them further. Sometimes, it’s best to just move on and make room for other interests.

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