At the beginning of 2018, I went a little crazy with the book buying after Christmas and my birthday in January. I promised myself I was going to cool it, especially once I received my acceptance letter to graduate school.
Since I am going for my Master’s in Library and Information Science, it seemed only fitting I make a point to utilize the library more. For a while, everything was OK. I was only buying books every two or three months, which helped me get my physical TBR under somewhat control. But at some point in May, I went from wanting to read all the books to buy all the books.
Eventually, I got it out of my system. I have added a lot of great books to my collection and, though my bookshelves are currently a little chaotic, I love it more than I thought I would. My bank account will be glad for the break, too….
My Summer 2018 book haul is divided into three parts—books bought between May and July. Part One, the books I bought in May, are pre-orders, sequels to books I read earlier this year, or books I previously checked out from the library but didn’t get to read them before their due date so I bought my own copies to read later on.
Now, on to part one of my enormous summer book haul!
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates is likely my most anticipated release of 2018. The third book in one of my all-time favorite series, it was a pre-order from Amazon that arrived SIX DAYS BEFORE ITS RELEASE DATE!!!
Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
Smoke in the Sun is the sequel to Flame in the Mist as well as the conclusion to the duology. While I know an overwhelming amount of people were disappointed with Flame in the Mist because they expected a Mulan retelling, I still enjoyed it. And I’m enjoying the cover change, too, more than I thought I would.
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, with ghost hunters, the occult, and the author herself, Charlotte, is an actual character. I read the first book, My Lady Jane, earlier this year and adored it, so my expectations for this next novel are high.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Since it came out in May, Furyborn blew up on YouTube. It follows two young women, 1,000 years apart, tied together by a prophecy of two queens, the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen. The first is Rielle, who reveals her affinity for all seven elements while protecting her best friend the Crown Prince and must undergo a series of trials to prove she is the Sun Queen or be executed as the Blood Queen. The second, 1,000 years later, bounty hunter Eliana is on a quest to find her mother, who has gone missing along with many other women in the kingdom, and learns the story of Queen Rielle might not be a simple fairy tale after all.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
In case you didn’t know, Leah on the Offbeat is the companion novel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It follows Simon’s friend Leah, a snarky plus-size girl that has not told her friends that she is bisexual and she so happens to be crushing on one of them. Unfortunately, the reviews of Leah on the Offbeat have been somewhat mixed since its release, but as long as it maintains the fluffiness Becky Albertalli is known for, that’s fine with me.
Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst
Inkmistress is the supposed prequel to Of Fire and Stars, following a bisexual demigod named Asra, who can dictate the future by writing in her own blood. She has lived a happy, peaceful life with her girlfriend Ina, until bandits threaten the village and the king does nothing to help. Asra attempts to use her magic to help, but the spell goes wrong and the entire village is destroyed. Seeking revenge for the death of her family, Ina takes the form of a dragon and Asra chases after her.
While I did not love Of Fire and Stars as much as I thought I would, I still enjoyed it. Between the two, admittedly, the plot of Inkmistress interests me much more, so hopefully I will enjoy it, too.
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
On the surface, Ash Princess sounds like another young adult high fantasy filled with all the usual tropes. As a child, Princess Theodosia witnesses her mother murdered before her eyes and, for the next ten years, she is a prisoner in the palace at the mercy of the kingdom’s new dictator, the Kaiser. When the Kaiser goes too far, she decides it is time to take back her throne. However, Theo of Ash Princess uses her brain rather than a sword to fight. Those are my favorite kinds of high fantasy heroines.
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Another Jane Eyre retelling, but in space on a haunted spaceship. Engineer Stella leaves her dead-end spaceship to work as a governess aboard the Rochester. The captain of the spaceship, Hugo Fairfax, is a broody drunk with everyone else and kind to Stella. However, she begins to suspect someone is after Hugo and he might be involved in a conspiracy threatening the ship.
I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but Brightly Burning is one I could get into.
Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Reign the Earth was a novel Booksplosion read earlier this year and I watched their live show, so I was spoiled for most of the story. Only their conversations surrounding the book intrigued me. After reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, I am in love with magical desert worlds. In Reign the Earth, Shalia, a daughter of nomads, marries herself to the king of the Bonelands in hopes of protecting her people and, right before her wedding, she discovers that she has elemental power over earth—one of the very people her new husband is trying to exterminate. Plus, I have the cover of this novel facing forward on my bookshelves and it’s so freaking pretty.
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
Like Ash Princess, The Queen’s Rising sounds like another young adult high fantasy trying to be unique. In this world, people have a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—and at seventeen a patron selects them. The protagonist, Brienna, has yet to master a passion until she impulsively selects knowledge. Unfortunately, the only patron she gets is a disgraced lord with his own agenda that lures her into a plot to take down the monarch of a rival kingdom.
I was drawn to The Queen’s Rising for three reasons. The first being the reviews on Goodreads, which were higher than I thought. The second is the fact that the magic of this world is rooted in the arts. The last is Brienna is supposed to be another main character that uses her mind as a weapon.
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Wicked Deep has been compared to the movie Hocus Pocus, but I think it sounds much better than that super cheesy movie. Two hundred years ago, in the town of Sparrow, three sisters were accused of witchcraft and drowned. They take their revenge against the town every summer by possessing the bodies of three girls and luring boys to their death in the harbor. Everyone in Sparrow accepts the curse as fact, including protagonist Penny, until new boy Bo comes to town.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
When it first came out, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns turned me off because of the snake on the cover. In recent months, though, I’ve heard some positive reviews of it. I was mainly drawn in by the fact that it is a retelling of the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White inspired by East Asian mythology. The main character, Xifeng, is destined to be empress as told by her witch aunt, but to do that she must spurn the man who truly loves her and embrace the dark magic inside her. Plus, her magic involves eating the hearts of those recently killed to absorb their power as hers.
Oh yeah, this one sounds so cool!
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
I have heard so many mixed things about Girls Made of Snow and Glass that I’m starting to wonder if it will be weirder than I thought. To the best of my knowledge, it is a retelling of Snow White with an element of Frozen thrown in. What drew me to it in the first place was that it is supposed to be more feminist, in which Mina, the stepmother character, and Lynet, the Snow White character, refuse to hate each other. Though made in the image of her dead mother, Lynet wants to be more like her stepmom Mina, whose real heart was replaced by a glass one by her magician father. Lately, I’m hearing it called more of a “ladies loving ladies” story rather than a friendship one.
I haven’t even read Girls Made of Snow and Glass yet and I’m already a little confused….
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
Surprisingly, I like stories featuring expeditions yet I hardly ever read them. Even the Darkest Stars follows Kamzin, who wants to both prove herself as an explorer and protect her sister, when a famous explorer selects her to join him on this important expedition on the most dangerous mountain. Her sister partners with a rival explorer, only that is the least of her problems once she encounters the dark secrets of the mountain. Unfortunately, most people don’t talk about Even the Darkest Stars much, but I have had better luck with under hyped books than overhyped ones over the years.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Strange the Dreamer both fascinates me and frightens me a little bit. It is set in a fantastical world where the main character, a librarian named Laszlo Strange, is recruited by a group of scholars to investigate, and hopefully restore, the lost city of Weep. I like fantasy worlds a little on the weird side, which Strange the Dreamer is said to be. On the flip side, Laini Taylor’s writing is described as being very beautiful, but not for everyone. Hopefully, I will enjoy as much as the majority of everyone else who has read it seems to.
Which of these books have you read and what did you think?