Part Two of My 28th Birthday Book Haul

I knew this was going to happen….

            Though I still had a gift card from Christmas, for a while I avoided the current big blowout sale at Barnes & Noble. I had a list of books I wanted to buy that were not in the sale. Except said sale had other titles I also really wanted….

            In short, I cracked. And this won’t be the last part of my birthday book haul, either.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

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I do not think I’m alone in saying I loved Big Mav from The Hate U Give, and was super excited to learn he was getting a prequel novel.

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

The Damned (The Beautiful, #2)
Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5)

These next two books are sequels/companions to series, one I have begun and the other I have not. Tales from the Hinterland is the book of fairy tales that inspired the events of The Hazel Wood. The Damned is the sequel to The Beautiful, a vampire romance series I hope to start at some point this year.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)
Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)

I’ve wanted so badly to read Serpent & Dove and its sequel Blood & Honey. Besides witches, one of my absolute favorite supernaturals, it’s set in historical France and has a hate-to-love romance between a witch and a witch hunter that are forced to get married. I know these books have received some mixed reviews, yet I can’t deny the excitement I feel.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

The Exiles

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Valentine

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Florence Adler Swims Forever

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

The Last Story of Mina Lee

I love adult literary fiction and they had some great selections in the Barnes & Noble sale. I managed to narrow it down to these four as ones I absolutely had to own. Two of these, Valentine and The Last Story of Mina Lee, were previous Book of the Month selections I was interested in. The Exiles is a historical fiction on England sending unwanted individuals to their colony in Australia. Lastly, Florence Adler Swims Forever is a family drama set during World War II that I had high on my radar.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Today Tonight Tomorrow

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

I Killed Zoe Spanos

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo

Most Likely by Sarah Watson

Most Likely (Most Likely #1)

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Punching the Air

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)

The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

The Ravens (The Ravens, #1)

Traitor by Amanda McCrina

Traitor: A Novel of World War II

Smash It! By Francina Simone

Smash It! (Smash It! #1)

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

More Than Just a Pretty Face

Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

Faith: Taking Flight (Faith Herbert Origin Story, #1)

I don’t think my love for young adult literature is going to change any time soon. These titles in particular are what made me blow money on the sale. Especially, The Black Flamingo and Punching the Air, two coming-of-age stories told in verse, and Faith: Taking Flight, which is about a plus-size superhero.

Today Tonight Tomorrow, More Than Just Like a Pretty Face, and Loveboat, Taipei sound like adorable YA romances that will do a good job distracting me until I find a job. I Killed Zoe Spanos, Traitor, and The Ravens sound like thrilling, entertaining YA mysteries and fantasies I will fly through. Lastly, Most Likely and Smash It sound like the empowering young adult novels I wish I had when I was younger.

What is your favorite thing to do for yourself on your birthday?

Part One of My 28th Birthday Book Haul

When I made my reading resolutions for 2021, my primary goal for the new year was to set a limit of buying no more than ten books a month.

            Except my birthday month.

            Fortunately, my birthday is the first month of the year. Turning 28, I’ve reached the stage where people primarily give me money and gift cards. Which is fine, since I have no problem treating myself. There are few times in life when an individual is allowed to be selfish. Birthdays are one of them.  

            I don’t know yet how many parts 28th birthday book haul will be. But after what a crappy year 27 was, thanks to the pandemic, I deserve it even more.

January 2021 Book of the Month Selections

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

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The Prophets is a historical fiction novel following two enslaved men in an innocent romantic relationship. When a fellow enslaved man becomes enthralled in the Christian religion and seeks to please the master, the young lovers find themselves in severe danger. 

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became (Great Cities, #1)

I’ve been itching to get into N.K. Jemisin for years. When I saw The City We Became as an add-on for January, I thought now was my chance. It follows individuals who are the literal embodiment of the boroughs in New York City. When a super-powered “Karen” invades, they have to band together to protect the city. Since The City We Became appears to be a stand-alone, I figured it would be a good place to start with N.K. Jemisin.

The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George

The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses, #1)

I had The Heiress Gets a Duke added on Goodreads and my excitement was immediately peaked when I saw it as an add-on. I’m especially drawn to historical romances with a strong heroine motivated by something not marriage, which is the main character of The Heiress Gets a Duke. She wants to take over the family business, but when her parents promise her younger sister to a jerk duke, she steps in. Both the heroine and the duke in question get more than what they bargained for.  

Other Books

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike, #5)

I’m aware of the subject matter of Troubled Blood—a man disguised as a woman killing people. However, I am of the belief to separate work from the author, especially in the case of J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith. Unless Troubled Blood really screws it all up, I love the characters Strike and Robin too much and enjoyed the previous books too much to give up on the Cormoran Strike series yet.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

I want desperately to read Kingdom of the Wicked, a romantic historical fantasy about witches and demons in Italy. Only I refuse to read it until I finish the last two books in Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series. If Kingdom of the Wicked is anything like those books, it will be entirely worth the wait.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Lore

I’ve heard Lore described as The Hunger Games with Greek gods. I don’t need to know much more than that. This sounds like the kind of book you need to go into knowing as little as possible for the fun of it.

My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies, #3)

My Calamity Jane is the final novel in the The Lady Janies trilogy and the one that has gotten the least positive feedback of the three. It is a fantastical retelling of Annie Oakley with werewolves. I like the story of Annie Oakley and I want to read more Westerns, so I’m going into My Calamity Jane still optimistic.

Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know is a young adult historical fiction novel set in Paris told in dual timelines with a Muslim main character. Obviously, I’ve wanted to read this book since I heard about it. Actually, all three of Samira Ahmed’s books sound incredible and I own all of them.

The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike

The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Sex Criminals, Vol. 6 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy, #2)
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)
Sex Criminals, Vol. 6: Six Criminals
The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses, #2)
Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)

The second to last batch of books on this haul are sequels, prequels, or final novels to series I’ve either started or have not begun yet. Dear Justyce is the companion to Dear Martin, following a character mentioned that was sent to prison during the first book. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is the prequel to The Folk of the Air trilogy, which I have not read yet. Sex Criminals, Vol. 6 is the last installment in a graphic novels series I’ve only read the first volume of, but now own all the rest and plan on marathoning when I’m in the need of a raunchy laugh.     

The Lost Book of the White is the next book in the series following Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. The Empire of Gold is the final novel in an adult historical fantasy trilogy that includes The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper. The Forgotten Kingdom is the second novel in a historical fiction series set in medieval Scotland, the first being The Lost Queen.  

The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman

The Fallen Angel by Tracy Borman

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The Devil’s Slave and The Fallen Angel are the second and third novels in the Frances Gorges trilogy. The first novel, The King’s Witch, follows a young woman who was a respected healer in the court of Elizabeth I. After the queen’s death, Frances plans to retire to the countryside. Only she gets dragged unwillingly to the court of the new king. Her fondness of the king’s daughter further drags her into political intrigue, leading to the infamous Gunpowder Plot. The trilogy in question supposedly follows that healer, Frances Gordon, before, during, and after those events.

Have you read any of these books?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Will Definitely Read This Year

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

            Why does 28 feel so old and yet so young at the same time?

            I have many books on my TBR pile that I have every intention of reading this year. Books I was so excited for when I got them. Ones by authors I adored. Series I want to start and finish, along with others I am desperately behind on and need to finish. It was hard to keep this list to five, honestly.

            The five books I definitely will read in 2021 are:  

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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After reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase, My Lady Jane, and the Unearthly trilogy, Cynthia Hand is on the fast-track to becoming a favorite author. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a contemporary novel with a more serious edge to it, though. After her brother Tyler committed suicide, Lex has had her grief under lock and key. Trying to forget the text message from her brother that could have changed everything, she eventually realizes a ghost does not have to be real to keep you from moving on. 

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle

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Lily Michaels-Ryan is off her ADHD meds and failing one of her classes when she meets Abelard, a gorgeous boy on the spectrum. They bond over their shared love of medieval literature and fall hard for each other. But when things start to get complicated, Lily decides to do what she does best: destroy things. The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily is a novel I randomly found at Barnes & Noble that I have not heard anyone else talk about. Is that for a reason or have I found a hidden gem?

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

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When an atheist is sent to a Catholic high school, he finds a group of misfits who get together to challenge the religious hierarchy at their school. Since Heretics Anonymous came out around 2015 or 2016, I’ve heard good things from those that have read it. I also want to read Katie Henry’s books, as the concepts of the other two she currently has out sound as interesting as Heretics Anonymous. Although, that might not happen in 2021.

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

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What I Lost follows a teenaged girl in treatment for an eating disorder receiving strange packages she presumes are from her ex-boyfriend. These packages are what help her realize why resisting treatment is not a good idea and her mother’s encouraging her obsessive calorie-counting is part of the problem. As I am well aware of how touchy the topic weight and body image can be between mothers and daughters, that aspect of What I Lost has the possibility of hitting a nerve.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Turns out, I’m a magnet for “sick mom” lit. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone follows twin sisters whose mother has Huntington’s disease. When they get tested for the disease, one has the gene but the other does not. This adds further strain on the sisters’ already tense relationship. Rachel Lynn Solomon is another author I want to get into, starting with You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.

What books do you definitely plan on reading in 2021?

21 Books to Read in 2021

2021 is the year I want to take a hammer to my physical TBR. Thanks to my lack of self-control in terms of book-buying and utilizing the library way too much in 2020, I own over 600 unread books.

            There are a lot more than 21 books I want to read in 2021. These are just the tip of iceberg.

            14 of the books on this list are my unread 2020 Book of the Month selections. I would rather get to them as soon as possible. Those are:

The Library of Legends by Janie Chang

The Library of Legends

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

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A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

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One to Watch by Katy Stayman-London

One to Watch

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

The Boy in the Red Dress

The Shadows by Alex North

The Shadows

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Head Over Heels

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

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What other books do I want to read in 2021? For the sake of keeping this list to 21, here are 7 more that are on the higher end of my to be read pile:

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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When Midnight Sun was announced in May, I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to buy it or borrow it, if I even wanted to read it. Now, I’m going into it with very, very low expectations.

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

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The Paragon Hotel is set in 1921, following a young white woman on the run following an drug deal gone wrong. She finds sanctuary at the black-only hotel in Portland, Oregon called the Paragon Hotel, right as the KKK invades the city, and helps the residents find a missing mulatto child no one else cares about.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society

The Jane Austen Society follows survivors of WWII coming together over their mutual love of Jane Austen. Besides the cover alone filling me with such happiness by looking at it, I’m positive I will love this book.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Darling Rose Gold

Years after testifying against her mother’s lifelong abuse, everyone is shocked when Rose Gold lets her mother live with her when she is released from prison. Unknown to Rose Gold, her mother has plans for revenge. Unknown to her, Rose Gold has a plan of her own.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa

I have mentioned My Dark Vanessa in several TBR posts since I bought it. Even though the subject matter is typically touch and go with me, but I’m still hopeful My Dark Vanessa will not disappoint.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Unmarriageable

A retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan where the Lizzy Bennet character is a teacher actually teaching Pride and Prejudice and feminism to her female students? I seriously hope I get to this one in 2020.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Shockingly, I have not yet read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the darling of the book world. But 2020 is going to change that. Time to see what all the hype is about.  

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

When the captain of his ship sells it for a mermaid, merchant John Hancock’s life is turned upside down, in more ways than one. The mermaid’s existence propels him into high society, where he meets a beautiful courtesan named Angelica Neal. This meeting leads to a collision of ambitions that could either make or destroy them.

What backlist books do you want to read in 2021?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Debut Novels and Books by New-to-Me Authors of 2021

In the last week of December, I wrote a post on my most anticipated books of 2021 by authors I’ve already read from. Turns out, there are more debut authors and authors I’ve wanted to get into for years also coming out with books in 2021. However, I managed to narrow it down to five for today’s post.

            Five of the debut novels and new-to-me authors that make me worry about my wallet in 2021 are:

The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

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When I read in the synopsis for The Wide Starlight it is “for fans of The Hazel Wood and The Astonishing Color of After,” I didn’t need to know anything else. A teenaged girl goes looking for her mother, whom she believes is lost in the Northern Lights. I don’t know if it’s going to be fantasy like The Hazel Wood or magical realism like The Astonishing Color of After, but I’m here for it.

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

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When I read that What Big Teeth was a modern Addams Family, I clicked the “want to read” button pretty quickly. Normal-looking Eleanor returns home to her monstrous family after they sent her away to boarding school years prior. The only person that truly welcomes her home is her Grandmother Persephone. When Grandmother Persephone suddenly dies, to keep her family from falling apart, Eleanor calls on her other grandmother, Grandmere. But when she finds herself under tyranny, Eleanor is forced to finally face the monstrosity lurking inside her. 

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

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These Hollow Vows followsBrie, a human that hates the Fae. When her sister is sold to the king of the Unseelie court, Brie ventures into the faerie world to save her. She makes a deal with the king to collect ancient fae relics in exchange for her sister’s freedom, posing as the potential bride to a faerie prince while working with the leader of a rebel fae group. Both men are dangerous, seductive, and winning her heart.

Does it sound like A Court of Thorns and Roses? Yes. Am I still trash for it? Absolutely.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

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Whenever I find a book with any sort of plus-size representation, especially a young adult novel, it immediately has my attention. Charlie Vega is plus size and proud, with a supportive best friend. When one of the cutest boys in school asks her out, Charlie is super excited…until she learns he asked out her friend first. I didn’t even read full synopsis on Buzzfeed before I added Fat Chance, Charlie Vega to my Goodreads TBR.

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

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Julie Murphy is an author whom I own three books by and still have not read yet. When it was announced she was writing an adult series of fairy tale retellings with plus-size heroines, I nearly jumped up and down with excitement. If the Shoe Fits is a loose Cinderella retelling, following an aspiring shoe designer who volunteers to be a contestant on her stepmother’s dating show in order to jump-start her fashion career. Instead, she finds herself a plus size fashion icon, filled with unexpected inspiration, and even discovers, most unexpectedly, love.

I NEED. THIS. BOOK. 

What is a debut novel you are anticipating in 2021?

New Year’s Book Tag

Was everyone else’s New Year’s Eve as…anticlimactic…as mine was?

            When midnight rolled around, I yelled “Jumanji!” as loud as I could multiple times. Then, I fell asleep on the couch while watching Tiger King on Netflix. Knowing everyone else was probably feeling as much FOMO this year as I normally do on New Year’s Eve made me feel better. But 2021 still feels like 2020, at least to me.

            Hopefully, with a few baby steps, that changes soon.

            I found this New Year’s Book Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. January 3rd, 2021 still feels new to me…and yet still fills me with panic all the same. 2021 NEEDS to go slow!

How many books are you planning to read in 2021?

Happy New Year Nye GIF by Digg

I have no idea. I set a Goodreads goal of 21 books for 2021. I will probably beat that in the first quarter of the year. However, I set a lower goal on purpose. 2021 is the year I want to get back to living more than reading. I also want to read more 500+ page books. If I read at least 50 books in the year, that’s perfectly fine with me.

Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this past year but want to make a priority in 2021

happy new year GIF by The Hills

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

What genre do you want to read more of?

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I want to read more fantasy, both young adult and adult, in 2021. It is my favorite genre yet I barely read any in 2020. In fact, most of my TBR is fantasy. I also want to get back into classics, as I have several on my TBR that I am still excited to read.

Name 3 not-related-to-book goals for 2021

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Find a full-time job in a library

Move out of my dad’s house

Get into cooking

What’s a book you have had forever and are determined to read?

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It’s not a book that I have had forever and are determined to read. I’ll name a few: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee; Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson; and Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman.

One word that you’re hoping 2021 will be

Progressive

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What is your word for 2021?

Starting the New Year on a High Note: January 2021 TBR

Over the past week, I’ve been getting my 2021 reading plans in order. The idea for monthly TBR piles is to pick books I need to read, mainly the books off my priority TBR. Except I know they won’t be the only ones I read in January. I left room for other books I really want to read that will start my new reading year on a high note. You will hopefully see what those books are in my January wrap-up.

            Here are the main books I want to read in January 2021:

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

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If there are any books that will make me excited to get back into reading for 2021, it would be these two books. For so long, I put off A Reaper at the Gates because of graduate school and I had no idea when the final novel, A Sky Beyond the Storm was coming out. Now, I can marathon the final books in one of my all-time favorite book series. I’m both excited and terrified to finish the An Ember in the Ashes series.

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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The Stalking Jack the Ripper series is another of my favorite book series I’m apprehensive to finish. I put off Escaping from Houdini after it received negative criticism, mostly regarding the development of the romance. Since Audrey Rose and Thomas are one of my OTPs, I decided to wait until Capturing the Devil was released. Then, graduate school and 2020 happened. I’m also extremely excited for Kingdom of the Wicked, but I refuse to allow myself to read it until I finish the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

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The Girls of Paper and Fire series is one I’ve wanted to read for several years. It’s a LGBTQ+ fantasy following two girls in a demon king’s harem falling in love and teaming up to take him down. I thought it was a duology, until I recently discovered there is a third book supposedly coming out in 2021. Thus, now is probably the time to finally get on the Girls of Paper and Fire series.  

Happy New Year! May 2021 be better than 2020!

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2021

If there is anything to look forward to in 2021, it’s all the exciting new releases.

            There are many debut authors or authors I haven’t read yet coming out with the coolest sounding books next year. I’ll be doing a post on that later. For today’s list, I’m sticking to books by authors I have already read and enjoyed that are releasing books in the first six months of the year. I might do one on fall releases later in the year, once publication dates and covers are confirmed.

In order of publication, my most anticipated releases of 2021 are:

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

January 5th, 2021

Lore

I nearly dropped from my chair when I saw Alexandra Bracken was coming out with a new book. The synopsis makes me even more excited: the gods of Olympus are forced to be earthbound as mortals. The main character is Medusa, or the reincarnation of Medusa. I don’t need to know much more than that. I have faith in Alexandra Bracken.  

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

January 12th, 2021

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I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for Tales from the Hinterland. It is the actual book of fairy tales Althea wrote, the stories that influenced the events of The Hazel Wood. These are dark and creepy kind of fairy tales—my favorite.  

Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace

January 26th, 2021

Shine your Icy Crown (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #2)

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I love Amanda Lovelace. Shine Your Icy Crown is the companion to Break Your Glass series. All of her books I’ve rated between 4 to 5 stars, so my expectations are high for Shine Your Icy Crown.

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

February 16th, 2021

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I am not a Nessian shipper. Maybe reading A Court of Wings and Ruin or possibly A Court of Frost and Starlight might change my mind, but at this moment, Nesta can go hang. My precious baby Cassian can do better. It’s partially why I am so apprehension of a new ACOTAR book, among other things. If anything good comes out of A Court of Silver Flames, I would at least hope for a new perspective on the characters.

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

March 2nd, 2021

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The Last Hours trilogy has my favorite Shadowhunters series covers so far. I thought nothing could top Chain of Gold, but Chain of Iron made me gasp audibly when I saw it on Instagram. The fact that it follows the children of the main characters of The Infernal Devices trilogy, my favorite Shadowhunters series thus far, makes me more excited to read this new trilogy. Except I refuse to allow myself to pick up the first two books in The Last Hours until I read Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness.

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

March 30th, 2021

Sunflower Sisters

Lilac Girls was one of my favorite books of 2017. I knew Martha Hall Kelly was writing another book. When I read the synopsis, I was even more excited. Sunflower Sisters follows women during the American Civil War as they join the war effort and deal with conflicting political beliefs. Thankfully, I don’t have too long of a wait. I probably won’t wait until I’ve read Lost Roses, the companion/prequel to Lilac Girls, to read it, either.

Witchshadow by Susan Dennard

June 22nd, 2021

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Witchshadow is the fourth book in the Witchlands series. I can’t go into detail because of spoilers, but this installment will follow one of the protagonists as they embrace their destiny and explore their dark side. After the end of Bloodwitch, I don’t know what to expect from Witchshadow.

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

June 22nd, 2021

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My Contrary Mary is the first book in the authors’ new “Mary” trilogy. This one follows Mary, Queen of Scots. Medieval England and Scottish monarchs are my favorites. However, Mary, Queen of Scots is one I know little about compared to Lady Jane Grey, the heroine of My Lady Jane. Ideally, I’d like to read My Contrary May along with My Plain Jane and My Calamity Jane in 2021. I’m going to need a lot of laughs after this year.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

June 29th, 2021

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After reading Home Before Dark, I’m eager to get my hands on Survive the Night. Even more so after reading the synopsis. The book set in the 1990s, following a young woman in the car of a man that might be a serial killer. Even if I haven’t read Lock Every Door, his remaining backlist book,by then, I don’t think I would wait to pick up Survive the Night.

What are your most anticipated books of 2021?

December/Christmas 2020 Book Haul

I bought more clothes than books in December.

            If I’m being honest, I probably shouldn’t have been buying anything besides strictly Christmas presents for my dad and brother. Then, my favorite stores had sales, more than my favorite bookstores did. After a plus-size childhood of wearing clothes that made me look like I borrowed from my mom, it’s nice to have clothes which are actually cute (thank you, Torrid!). And I needed new clothes for the winter more than I needed (gasp!) new books.

            Believe me—I want to go crazy with the December book-buying. I haven’t given up on finding library jobs yet, but I also haven’t ignored the possibility I might have to turn to other avenues. Fortunately, Santa brought me four books I was eagerly anticipating. I also got a good amount of Christmas gift cards and my birthday is next month. Until then, I have to reign in my shelf-control.

            The books I acquired in December of 2020 were:

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

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My pick for the December Book of the Month box, The Wife Upstairs is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. A broke dog-walker falls in love with a handsome, rich, and elusive man. After a whirlwind romance, the two marry. But when she moves into his house, she realizes there is more to her handsome new husband—like the wife he never told her about.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

The second book I picked for Book of the Month, Legendborn is a modern retelling of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable mixed with Black Girl Magic. If that doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does. Even better, the reviews for this book are glowing.

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Lightbringer by Claire Legrand

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Lightbringer (Empirium, #3)
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These are the four books I was gifted for Christmas. Considering these were the most expensive on my Amazon wishlist, I’m not surprised Santa Dad chose to buy them for me. A Sky Beyond the Storm is the final book in An Ember in the Ashes series, one of my all-time favorites. The Burning God is the final book in The Poppy War trilogy, another contender for an all-time favorite series. Lightbringer is the last novel in a trilogy I plan to read in 2021. Lastly, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is probably one of the most hyped books of the second half of 2020 as well as a book I’m both excited and scared to read. I tend to go into such books cautiously optimistic.

Besides books, what else would you buy for yourself?  

10 Series I Hope to Read in 2021

First of all—there are waaaay more than ten series I want to read next year.

            Ironically, I love series. Some, I manage to keep up with, yet there are others I fall behind on. More often than not, I will either read the first book, then take forever to read the sequels, or wait until all the books are out before finally reading the series. In fact, the majority of my owned TBR pile consists of book series, mostly completed.  

The ten series on this list are some that I have had on my TBR for the longest; ones that kept getting pushed aside for graduate school, library books, etc. Those series are:

Grisha trilogy / Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

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I guess this technically makes it eleven series….Ideally, I would like to read the Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows duology back to back in 2021. I know I do not technically have to read the Grisha trilogy before Six of Crows, but I want to have full context of this world. Plus, I’ve wanted to read the original trilogy for years anyway, regardless if the love for it is lackluster.  

The Raven Boys quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

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The Raven Boys is probably one of the most beloved young adult series in the past decade. Despite having read and strongly disliked Shiver this year, I still want to read The Raven Boys series. I enjoy young adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, so long as they are written in a less cringey way.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

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How many times have I had these three series on yearly TBRs? I have no idea. The Gemma Doyle trilogyI’ve wanted to read since high school. The fact that it combines fantasy and historical fiction, two of my favorite genres, makes me more excited. In 2017, I read and loved Heartless by Marissa Meyer. So, I am positive I will also adore her Lunar Chronicles, science-fiction retellings of fairy tales. As for The Remnant Chronicles, I’m not sure what to expect. The hype for this series died down even before the final book released. All I know is what others have said, mostly about the first book, is that it is mind-blowing.

Girls of Paper and Fire series by Natasha Ngan

The Orisha series by Tomi Adeyemi

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I’m excited to read all eleven of these series in 2021, but these next two are ones I’m most looking forward to.

Admittedly, Girls of Paper and Fire I’m going into with medium to low expectations. I was hyped for this series about a girl falling in love with another girl in the harem and they take down the demon king. Even more so when I learned it was going to be a trilogy in 2021. Then, I heard something about the first book that left a bad taste in my mouth. Now, I’m cautiously optimistic.

As for the Orisha series—which consists of Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance—I have a reason why it has taken me so to get to them. I wanted to read Children of Blood and Bone within the year it came out, then I heard about the excruciating cliffhanger. By that point, the publication of Children of Virtue and Vengeance had been pushed back. With all the other books on my TBR at the time and my new library card burning a hole in my wallet, I didn’t mind waiting a little while longer. With the third book possibly coming out in 2021, now is the time to get on it.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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Falling Kingdoms is another series I’m going into cautiously optimistic. It originally came out right around the time I was getting into BookTube and high fantasy. I was looking for anything that sounded similar to Throne of Glass. What drew me to Falling Kingdoms was the concept of warring kingdoms featuring multiple POVs and angsty romance. I bought the whole series right as I heard avid followers declare their ultimate disappointment. I might not have been so excited if Thoughts on Tomes hadn’t said the series is probably better read back to back. Maybe, hopefully, I will get lucky.

Empirium trilogy by Claire Legrand

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The Empirium trilogy—Furyborn, Kingsbane, and Lightbringer—is, from what little I know, an underrated high fantasy series that toes the line between young adult and adult. What drew me to the series was the dual timeline of two women in the same universe, 1,000 years apart, who might be the queens doomed to destroy the world as they know. My greatest hope for the Empirium trilogy is that I get all the girl-power I heard about.  

The Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden

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A series I want to read so, so bad, as well as one I’ve heard such amazing things about since its publication. The Winternight trilogy follows a heroine in historical Russia practicing Eastern European magic during a time women are seen as second-class citizens. That sounds right up my alley. Only the reason I seemed to keep putting off the Winternight trilogy is because they seem to be the kind of books to read in the colder months. Not going to do that again in 2021 (I hope).

What series do you hope to read in 2021?