February Wrap-Up: Reviews, Reading Challenges, etc.

Another great reading month for me! I can’t believe I’ve started off this year doing so well with my reading. Usually I have at least hit one or two reading slumps by this time but that hasn’t been the case so far! I think it may be due to the fact that I’ve gone back to posting regularly on my bookstagram account, as well as joining a couple of Instagram groups that have helped keep me motivated. Makes me so happy to be having such a successful reading year so far!


Books Read

  • Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales, #2) by Holly Black – physical book, 4/5 Stars
  • Dark Age (Red Rising, #5) by Pierce Brown – physical book, 5/5 Stars
  • Kingsbane (Empirium Trilogy, #2) by Claire Legrand – physical book, 4/5 Stars
  • The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1) by Kiersten White – audiobook, 2/5 Stars
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – physical book, 3/5 Stars
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch, #1) by Luanne G. Smith – audiobook, 4/5 Stars
  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook, 3/5 Stars
  • Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1) by Sarah Glenn Marsh – physical book, 4/5 Stars

Total Books Read: 8

Overall in 2020: 16

Reading Challenge Updates

POPSUGAR

  • A bildungsroman – The Thorn Birds
  • A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name – Valiant
  • A book you meant to read in 2019 – Kingsbane (Empirium Trilogy, #2)

Goodreads Challenge

Total: 16

Previous Total: 8

Blog Posts

Book Reviews

None this month… Oops!

WWW Wednesday

Discussions/Misc.


Did you get a lot of reading done in February? Were you able to read all of the books on your TBR? Did you read any new favorites? What book did you like the least? What do you plan on reading in March?

WWW Wednesday – February 12th, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  • Kingsbane (Empirium, #2) by Claire Legrand – physical book
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – physical book
  • The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1) by Kiersten White – audiobook

I’m only about 50 pages into Kingsbane so I don’t really have much of an opinion so far but I expect things to start happening very soon. I’m also over halfway through The Guinevere Deception. It’s an interesting story so far but I feel like something is missing. It needs a bit more action and more interaction between Guinevere and Arthur. And I’m still slowly making my way through The Thorn Birds. The story is picking up a bit more and I feel like Meggie has finally found a purpose with her life… how long that lasts though is the real question.

What did you recently finish reading?

  • Dark Age (Red Rising, #5) by Pierce Brown – physical book
  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook

Of course I absolutely loved Dark Age. This series keeps getting more and more complicated with all of the characters trying to survive. That ending has me super freaking exited to see what Pierce has planned for the next book.

Suggested Reading was a bit of a letdown for me. I didn’t particularly care for the main character, nor did I feel very satisfied with the overall plot. I had such high hopes for this one but it just didn’t live up to them.

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – physical book
  • Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners, #3) by Libba Bray – physical book
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch, #1) by Luanne G. Smith – audiobook

What are you currently reading? What books did you finish this week? What are you planning on reading next? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday – February 5th, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – physical book
  • Dark Age (Red Rising, #5) by Pierce Brown – physical book
  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook

I did make some more progress in The Thorn Birds over the weekend. But man, that book was upsetting me so much that I decided to start on Dark Age to help break it up some. Except ever since then, I can’t put Dark Age down. This book has got hook line and sinker. Which I should have known would happen since this series is probably my all-time favorite, right up next to Harry Potter… Yes, you read that right. Seriously people, if you haven’t read it, DO IT.

I also started listening to Suggested Reading, which you can definitely tell is written by someone who loves books. It’s a really interesting story so far, though I do find the dialogue to be a little much. I think Connis is writing like he thinks high school students talk and not how they actually do. Though to be fair, that’s super normal in YA books and reminds me of another writer *cough* John Green *cough*.

What did you recently finish reading?

  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – physical book, buddy read
  • Furyborn (Emipirium Trilogy, #1) by Claire Legrand – audiobook, reread

I really enjoyed both of these books. I had previously read the physical book of Furyborn and really enjoyed it. It was a much different experience listening to the audio version and not sure I really liked it that way. The narrator kind of annoyed me. However, I’m super excited I decided to revisit the story so I can finally pick up the sequel this month.

I loved Lilac Girls. It was a very different kind of WWII novel and I loved that it visited it from a different perspective than the usual.  It was definitely a heavy read in some places and every chapter ends in a cliffhanger so you’re on the edge of your seat the entire time. Definitely worth the read if you enjoy historical fiction novels!

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • Kingsbane (Emipirium Trilogy, #2) by Claire Legrand – physical book
  • The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – audiobook
  • Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – physical book

What are you currently reading? What books did you finish this week? What are you planning on reading next? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

My February TBR

February is going to be a month where I try and focus on a bunch of sequels/series that I need to catch up on. So I plan to try and get through a few of those this month, while sticking to standalones for the most part when it comes to my audiobooks. I really want to mix up the genres too so I don’t get too bogged down on any one for too long. Let’s see if that keeps me from falling into any sort of reading slump!


February TBR

  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook
  • Kingsbane (Empirium Trilogy, #2) by Claire Legrand – physical book
  • Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales, #2) by Holly Black – physical book
  • The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – audiobook
  • Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy, #2) by Ken Follett – physical book
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch, #1) by Luanne G. Smith – audiobook
  • Dark Age (Red Rising, #5) by Pierce Brown – physical book
  • Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners, #3) by Libba Bray – physical book
  • Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – physical book
  • What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon – audiobook
  • The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician, #2) by Lisa Maxwell – physical book
  • Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1) by Sarah Glenn Marsh – physical book, buddy

What do you plan on reading in February? Do you have a lot of sequels or series that you haven’t caught up on yet? Have you read any of the books on my TBR? If so, what did you think of it?

WWW Wednesday – January 29th, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – physical book, buddy read
  • Furyborn (Emipirium Trilogy, #1) by Claire Legrand – audiobook, reread
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – physical book

 I’m still slowly making my way through Furyborn but I hope to finish it by the end of the week. I didn’t realize just how long this audiobook version is, so its been a bit more of a challenge than I originally thought. I really love the story (as was the first case when I first read it) but I’m not entirely sold on the audio narrator.

Lilac Girls is a heavy read but I’m loving it so far. I really like how we’re getting three totally different viewpoints to follow and I’m excited to see how they all come together. I hope to finish it this weekend but we shall see. My buddy is quite a ways behind me on the reading, haha.

I’m about a fourth of the way through The Thorn Birds. It’s a really interesting setting as it’s in the Australian Outback. However, the story is quite different from what I was originally expecting. I’ve heard soooo many people rave about this story and the miniseries from the 80’s, but maybe I’m just not far enough into it yet to really see what the fuss is about.

What did you recently finish reading?

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  • City of Lies (Poison War, #1) by Sam Hawke – physical book

This was a really interesting and fun read. I enjoyed the murder mystery plot that really propelled the story forward, as you were kept guessing the entire time. I was really engrossed in the overall story but I felt the worldbuilding was sorely lacking. I didn’t get enough description or background history of the world and that had me fairly confused in the beginning of the book. Maybe the sequel will explore the world more?

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden – physical book
  • Kingsbane (Empirium Trilogy, #2) by Claire Legrand – physical book
  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook

What are you currently reading? What books did you finish this week? What are you planning on reading next? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday – January 22nd, 2020

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

  • City of Lies (Poison War, #1) by Sam Hawke – physical book
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – physical book, buddy read
  • Furyborn (Emipirium Trilogy, #1) by Claire Legrand – audiobook, reread

I’ve FINALLY started on my reread (or listen) to Furyborn, so I can refresh my memory on what happened in the first book before moving on to the sequel. I do remember absolutely loving it though! I’m not the biggest fan of the audio narrator so far, but I don’t think it will affect my experience too much.

I also am picking back up with City of Lies after putting it aside last week for The Starless Sea. I think I’m finally able to really buckle down and focus on this fantasy world. I’ve also started on Lilac Girls that I’m buddy reading with Britt @ Geronimo Reads. I’m fully expecting to need tissues beside me at some point. I’m a little over 100 pages into it and am already completely drawn into the lives of these three badass women.

What did you recently finish reading?

  • Iron Gold (Red Rising, #4) by Pierce Brown – audiobook
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – physical book

I absolutely freaking adored The Starless Sea! It was so much more than what I was originally expecting, as I didn’t particularly like The Night Circus. However, this book was so whimsical and basically an ode to the magic of stories, that I connected with it immediately. My full review will be posted tomorrow!

I also finally completely my reread (or listen) of Iron Gold and I’m so glad I chose the audiobook route for my reread of the entire series. The narrators are all amazing and I felt a completely different connection to the story this time around. It was truly a fantastic experience and highly recommend anyone interested to check it out. I can’t wait to dive into Dark Age next.

Side Note: I did attempt to listen to the audiobook of The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, but unfortunately I knew I wouldn’t connect with the writing style within the first 20 minutes. So I’ve decided to DNF that novel for now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden – physical book
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – physical book
  • Suggested Reading by David Connis – audiobook

What are you currently reading? What books did you finish this week? What are you planning on reading next? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

Anticipated Releases Tag

I saw this really fun tag done by Lauren @ Fangirl Fury and just knew that I had to participate.. Because hey, who doesn’t love talking about new books?! Only a crazy person, that’s who. #GimmeAllDemBooks

Original tag created by Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx.


Most Anticipated Release(s) of the Year

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Supernova (Renegades, #3) by Marissa Meyer

I’ve been enjoying this series so much. I think Meyer has done a great job of showing how life is more shades of grey, rather than black and white. I appreciate that her writing has matured as well, compared to The Lunar Chronicles. I cannot wait to see what the end of Nova’s story will bring, especially after that shocking ending of the previous book. I NEED TO KNOW.

A Book You’re Not Anticipating

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Sea Witch Rising (Sea Witch, #2) by Sarah Henning

I never read the first book in this series and don’t plan to. Am I the only person who doesn’t really care about all of this villain origin stories trend going on? I kind of feel like I might be.

Most Underhyped Anticipated Release

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Suggested Reading by David Connis

I can never say no to a book about books and this one just sounds so amazing. I am a firm believer in no censorship when it comes to books, especially in high school. I can’t wait to see how Connis tackles this controversial topic!

A Book You’ve Been Waiting on Forever

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The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Ever since finishing Salt to the Sea, I have been dying for another Sepetys novel. And I feel like it has been forever since this book was first announced and I cannot wait any longer for it. I love that Sepetys always chooses to cover historical events that aren’t usually covered in school or in novels.

A Book You’re Anticipating That’s Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

I’m typically not a big reader of thrillers, but something about the synopsis of this novel sounds too good to pass up. I expect a lot of nonstop action mixed with some twists and turns. Also, I’ve always had small desire to work in intelligence. Those guys are badass.

Your Top Three Can’t Wait Books of the Year

  • Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns, #4) by Kendare Blake
  • The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1) by Kiersten White
  • The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1) by Renee Ahdieh

All three of these books have been on my radar ever since they were first announced, especially Five Dark Fates. This fall is definitely killing it in the new releases department.

Top Five Most Anticipated Backlist Books on Your TBR

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  • When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
  • Defy the Fates (Constellation, #3) by Claudia Gray
  • The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

What are some of your most anticipated releases? Do you usually keep up to date with new releases? What are some backlisted books on your TBR for the rest of the year? Are you excited about any of the books on my list?

My Recent TBR Adds That You Might Not Have Heard Of, Part 3

Honestly, I love doing this series. It’s a great way to introduce all of you wonderful readers to some books that caught my eye on Goodreads. I know we all enjoy finding out about books that we might haven’t heard of yet, or at least I do. I mean, are you really a bookworm if your TBR pile isn’t threatening to bury you alive? I didn’t think so.

Previous Posts:


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The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif

release date: October 8th, 2019

Jessie Archer is an agent for the Athena Protocol, a vigilante all-female organization created to combat injustices around the world. Athena has strict policies to not kill, so when Jessie loses control on a mission, she’s kicked off the team, right before they’re supposed to take down a human trafficking kingpin in Belgrade. Desperate to prove herself, Jessie launches her own investigation—but going rogue means there’s no one there to watch her back as she gets closer to the horrifying truth.

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Suggested Reading by David Connis

release date: September 17th, 2019

Eleanor and Park. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Their Eyes Were Watching God. These are just a few of the books at Lupton Academy that are now considered “prohibited media.” A passionate reader who loves staying up all night to highlight the best lines in her favorite novels, Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers the titles on the principal’s hit list are being taken out of circulation at the school library. In fact, the books aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises, and students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished. Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal, Mr. Walsh, abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.

With the help of her friend and student body president, LiQui, Clara starts an underground library—the UnLib—in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the UnLib books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it. Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?

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Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

release date: July 9th, 2019

At the height of WWII, five idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the OSS, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds–a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer — all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of his or her own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly.
Soon after their training, they are dropped behind enemy lines and take up their false identities, isolated from one another except for a secret drop-box, but in close contact with the powerful Nazi elite who have Paris under siege.
Thus begins a dramatic and riveting cat-and-mouse game, as the young Americans seek to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But…is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?

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The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

release date: March 12th, 2019

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

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A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

release date: May 14th, 2019

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count–and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.

Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night–intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger–and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.

Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.

A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the role played by the turning of Fortune’s wheel.

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The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

release date: May 28th, 2019

Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule. 

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.

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The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

release date: October 2nd, 2019

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

Includes vintage media interstitials, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

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Foundryside (Founders, #1) Robert Jackson Bennett

release date: August 21st, 2018

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new fantasy series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett. 

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving–and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way–Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

release date: June 4th, 2019

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

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The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

release date: August 13th, 2019

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.

While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.


What are some recent additions to your Goodreads TBR shelves? Are you interested in any of the books on my list? Have you read any of the books on my list?