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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn by Claire Legrand
The Empirium Trilogy, book one 
Sourcebooks Fire, 2018 - ARC received from PLA 2018, Signed, Finished copy now owned in my personal collection

Oh, do I love Claire Legrand's writing.  She is a stellar talent that pulls me into her dark, imaginative worlds in the same ways as Neil Gaiman and Laini Taylor.  I already highlighted her book Winterspell (see my review here) this year as one of my favorites that I've read as part of my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge.

This book is a behemoth, but it flew by like I was reading a contemporary two-hundred page book.  I fell deep into the worlds of Reille and Eliana, exploring how each worked and how different they were, though you know from the beginning that somehow they are connected.  Connected, but with 1,000 years, a tragedy, and a takeover separating them.

As the chapters progressed, I found myself desperately turning the pages.  Legrand is an EXPERT at these alternating chapters.  Each would end with just enough of a cliffhanger that I would want to skip the next chapter to jump to the continuation of that particular character's story, but I also recognized how exquisitely she unfolded both stories in a way that tied them together and if you read one girl's story without the other, you would miss so much.  This book was like the best kind of runaway train that I was sprinting to catch! And when it ended?  Let's just say I CANNOT wait for book two.

Highly recommended to readers who like high fantasy, dark kingdoms, strong female characters, and plot lines that intertwine (eventually... LOL).

Claire Legrand is now officially one of my all-time favorite authors.  This is her second book to make it onto my top books read in 2018 list.  I was super excited to get to meet her at this year's Book Expo, and though I already had a signed ARC (thanks Miss Kim!!!), I stood in line to get a signed, finished copy of this book, essentially so I could meet her and gush about how much I loved the book. I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture of HER, just this one of her signature on the title page.  LOL. 

Claire was asking everyone if they were a Sun Queen or a Blood Queen (based on the prophecy in the book) and then signing in the corresponding gold or red sharpie.  When she asked me, knowing I'd already read the book, I told her I couldn't decide as both were created from great tragedy, only for one it became her downfall, and for the other it was her origin... Claire and the woman from Sourcebooks Fire decided I was a Sun Queen... and I think I'm okay with that.  I won't tell you why, but if you read Furyborn, you can let me know if you agree!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Very Belated May Wrap-Up


So, it's been a while since I posted... I realized I only posted once in May, because I was both reading desperately to finish all the cheat books I wanted to try to hit in my cheat month, and also because life just got busy!

If you remember, I took the entire month of May off from my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge to just read whatever I wanted because so many new books I was anxious to read released in May, and because I was going to the Book Expo in New York City right at the end of the month. (IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! Check my Instagram account - ireadtorelax - for photos, etc. from the Expo

Anyway, though I didn't get to everything I wanted to read in May, it felt great to relieve some pressure and just read whatever I wanted for the month.  Now, even though it's June 12th, I'm trying STILL to finish War Storm by Victoria Aveyard, the last book in the Red Queen series, which I started before I left for the Book Expo on May 29th! It's extremely slow going, unusual for me, but I really want to finish it, just because I NEED to know how the series ends!

*sigh* Then, I got four really stellar ARCs at Book Expo that I'm dying to read, so I may be cheating a little bit this month, too. I haven't decided if I can hold out or not.  I'll see how I'm feeling when I finish War Storm...

So, what did I read in May?  
(All titles link to their entries on Goodreads)

Audio Books I Own
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
High Voltage by Karen Marie Moning
The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Physical Books I Own
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Legendary by Stephanie Garber (ARC)
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (ARC) (review post)

eBook I Own
Fic Against Humanity vol. 1 by B.B. Richard

Library Books I Borrowed
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinlay
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Murder, She Knit by Peggy Ehrhart
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Required Reading:
(Work) Dog Dish of Doom by E.J. Copperman
(Professional Review) The Pisces by Melissa Broder
(Professional Review) Gaslight by Dannika Dark 

All in all not a bad month. Sixteen titles. A lot of which I'd been dying to read!
I've also decided to try to read one non-fiction book a month for the rest of the year after my success reading You are a Badass.  Now, to finish my behemoth of a series ender and figure out what I'm doing for the rest of June... 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
NYLA, 2014 - audio book owned in personal collection
The Innkeeper Chronicles, book one

Over the course of March and April, I listened to the first three books in the Innkeeper Chronicles series.  Ilona Andrews has been recommended to me over and over and I'd read two books from her Kate Daniels series and two from the Hidden Legacy trilogy and enjoyed them all, so since I had these in my Audible collection, I decided to give them a shot as part of my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge.

This series is now among my favorites, as well, and I will definitely be devouring whatever else Ilona Andrews does in this universe.  Dina DeMille is a fabulous main character and her growth, plus the world building, over the three books is great.  I was wholly invested in the romance, the danger, and the emotions of the characters as they attempted to thwart one disaster after another.

I devoured the first book then dove straight into the second, Sweep in Peace (NYLA, 2015). Characters that seem to be one-offs turn up again and often in very important ways. It was stellar how Andrews managed to take the events of one book and tie them into new important events in the second and even third books! (One Fell Sweep, NYLA, 2017) The alliances created between Dina, her Inn, and the guests become important ties that influence galactic events.  Strength and friendships are steadily built over time.  Heartaches are revealed and (at least partially) healed.

I'm extremely excited to see where Andrews takes these characters as the series continues!  Recommended to readers who enjoy urban fantasy, high fantasy, strong female characters, and science fiction.