WWW WEDNESDAY — SEPTEMBER 28

Hi friends! I hope you’re having a great day so far. It’s chilly, windy, and rainy here so it’s really feeling autumnal today. Hopefully you’re quite comfortable where you are!

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s super simple — all you do is answer the following questions.

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

I’m about 50% of the way through Empire of Exiles and so far it is vastly different from what I was expecting. In a good way, though. It’s got some very interesting characters, and the murder mystery is definitely keeping me on my toes. I finished up A Strange and Stubborn Endurance a few days ago, and I really, really loved it. My review will be up tomorrow! Next, I think I’ll get into A Restless Truth, which I am so so looking forward to. This is a sequel to A Marvellous Light which I absolutely adored, so here’s hoping it lives up to its predecessor.

What are you currently reading?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week is a BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR. This is, thankfully, a rather easy one for me. Most of these are ARCs that I absolutely need to get cracking on!

In fact, all but two of these are ARCs I have! Have you read any of these / are you looking forward to any of these? Of them, I’m most looking forward to reading A Restless Truth, and The Bone Houses.

A LIST OF SOME THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOKS I’VE EVER READ

Absolutely beautifully written books appear once in a blue moon, and when they do, they tend to give the worst book hangovers. Every single book (or series) on this list seemed to hang around me in a fog for several days after I finished it. Most of these are fantasy or sci-fi, so if you’re looking for an absolutely gorgeous book to dive into, I recommend any of these. Mind the content warnings, though, there are some serious ones that might cause you trouble!

SONG OF ACHILLES BY MADELINE MILLER

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The book cover for Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

SOME QUOTES FROM SONG OF ACHILLES

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”

  • CW: War, sexual content, slavery

THE STARLESS SEA BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

SOME QUOTES FROM THE STARLESS SEA

“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”

“Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets.”

“Far beneath the surface of the earth, hidden from the sun and the moon, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. Stories written in books and sealed in jars and painted on walls. Odes inscribed onto skin and pressed into rose petals. Tales laid in tiles upon the floors, bits of plot worn away by passing feet. Legends carved in crystal and hung from chandeliers. Stories catalogued and cared for and revered. Old stories preserved while new stories spring up around them.”

  • CW: Death, stalking

STATION ELEVEN BY EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The book cover for Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

SOME QUOTES FROM STATION ELEVEN

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“Survival is insufficient.”

She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”

  • CW: Death, grief, suicide

THE RAVEN CYCLE BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The book cover for The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

SOME QUOTES FROM THE RAVEN CYCLE

“She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness.”

“Blue was a fanciful, but sensible thing. Like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party.”

“His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”

  • CW: Child abuse, domestic abuse, murder

A MARVELLOUS LIGHT BY FREYA MARSKE

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

SOME QUOTES FROM A MARVELLOUS LIGHT

“You look like a Turner painting and I want to learn your textures with my fingertips. You are the most fascinating thing in this beautiful house. I’d like to introduce my fists to whoever taught you to stop talking about the things that interest you.”

“It didn’t take long to become so accustomed to something that you could describe the exact shape of its absence.”

“It wasn’t the physical act alone. It was the way he felt watching Edwin read; it was the feeling he had every time his eyes sought Edwin in a room and landed on an angle of the man’s face, any movement of those delicate fingers: There you are. I’ve been waiting for you.

CW: Sexual content, bullying, murder

THE CAPTIVE PRINCE SERIES BY CS PACAT

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for Captive Prince by CS Pacat

From global phenomenon C. S. Pacat comes the first in her critically acclaimed trilogy—with a bonus story.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

SOME QUOTES FROM THE CAPTIVE PRINCE SERIES

“To get what you want, you have to know exactly how much you are willing to give up.”

“When laced into his clothing, Laurent’s dangerous grace lent him an almost androgynous quality. Or perhaps it was more accurate to say that it was rare to associate Laurent with a physical body at all: you were always dealing with a mind.”

“Laurent entered, an edge to his grace, like a leopard with a headache.”

CW: Slavery, rape, sexual assault, pedophilia

I hope this helped you find a gorgeous book to devour! If you have any recommendations that fit this list, please mention them in the comments below! I’m always looking for another book to add to my quotes list on Goodreads!

MONTHLY TBR – AUGUST

Hello my darlings!

Somehow it is already August, so that means it’s time for my MONTHLY TBR that I probably won’t get to. I’m bad at these, aren’t I? I only read FOUR books on my TBR last month. Whoops. Anyway — my hold on Not Your Average Hot Guy will come up at the library this month. Most of the rest of these are ARCs, tbh. I’ll catch up on these somehow, I know I will! I’m hoping to buddy read Small Angels with Becky, and Kingdom of the Wicked with Destiny!

What are you going to read this month? Do you have any of the same books on your TBR?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS I WISH HAD AN EPILOGUE

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is BOOKS I WISH HAD AN EPILOGUE. I’m going to twist this a little bit, and really make this more…books I wish had shown the characters happy more often. Because that’s what epilogues are, right? A chance to show the characters after everything has gone down, after everything has settled.

Some of these totally have epilogues. Some of these are the very beginnings of series, and thus you do see more of the characters. But like I said — I wanted more with these characters! I wanted to watch them live their lives together happily. I would, without a doubt, read about most of these characters making dinner together, or doing the dishes, or going on a walk.. Slice of life stuff, you know?

What books do you wish had an epilogue?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – QUOTES ABOUT LOVE

Morning. [grumbles] Can someone, anyone, tell my son that he can sleep right through three am without waking up wailing? Poor baby is waking up really whiney and won’t go back to sleep without a big bottle. He’s a year old! He shouldn’t need to eat at night anymore. 😦 ANYWAY, onto my sleep-deprived post…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a QUOTE FREEBIE. Sooooo, because I have a million of these saved — I’m doing quotes about love.

the book cover for The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

“When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’—ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.” — THE FIERY CROSS by DIANA GABALDON

The book cover for Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.” — SONG OF ACHILLES by MADELINE MILLER

the book cover for Shadow of Night by Deborah harkness

“In every moment, for the rest of my life, I will be choosing you.” — SHADOW OF NIGHT by DEBORAH HARKNESS

The book cover for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.” — THE NIGHT CIRCUS by ERIN MORGENSTERN

The book cover for Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“The moment you first called me a prick, my fate was sealed. O, fathers of my bloodline! O, ye kings of olde! Take this crown from me, bury me in my ancestral soil. If only you had known the mighty work of thine loins would be undone by a gay heir who likes it when American boys with chin dimples are mean to him.” — RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE by CASEY MCQUISTON

the book cover for A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

“You look like a Turner painting and I want to learn your textures with my fingertips. You are the most fascinating thing in this beautiful house. I’d like to introduce my fists to whoever taught you to stop talking about the things that interest you.” — A MARVELLOUS LIGHT by FREYA MARSKE

the book cover for To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

“And kissed her for a hundred and sixty-nine years.” — TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG by CONNIE WILLIS

The book cover for His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

“I’ll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you…We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams…And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…” — HIS DARK MATERIALS by PHILIP PULLMAN

The book cover for A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

“I was his and he was mine, and we were the beginning and middle and end. We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.” — COURT OF MIST AND FURY by SARAH J. MAAS

the book cover for Brazen and the Beast by Sarah macLean

“It had been three days since she’d left him alone in his home, having destroyed it with the specter of her presence. He couldn’t do anything in the house—not eat or bathe or light a fucking candle—without thinking of her. Without reliving her, smelling like almond cakes and looking like sin. ……..So, he hadn’t gone home in three days.” — BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by SARAH MACLEAN

What are you favorite quotes about love? Share them below, I seriously want to read them.

TOP TEN TUESDAY — BOOKISH CHARACTERS

Hello my lovelies! I sure hope this Tuesday is treating you kindly so far, because today is my birthday! I’m not expecting much of anything for today — my last couple of birthdays have sucked majorly. Last year, I was 5 days out from a c-section, and hauling my newborn to his first ever doctor appointment. I was in so much pain. The year before that, well, it was mid-pandemic and I was terrified of catching a respiratory disease when I’m asthmatic. HERE’S HOPING THIS YEAR IS A MILLION TIMES BETTER, YEAH?

ANYWAYYYYYYYYYYYY…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is BOOKISH CHARACTERS. I love a good bookish character — I see myself in them a lot. I also am a huge sucker for books ABOUT books.

  • DIANA, from the All Souls Trilogy — Diana is a professor, and spends an enormous amount of time in this book with her nose deep in research.
  • ZACHARY, from The Starless Sea — Zachary wants nothing more than to be a reading major
  • EDWIN, from A Marvellous Light — Edwin researches and researches, and taught himself a great many things from his books
  • LIRAEL, from Lirael — Lirael’s heart’s desire was to work in the Great Library of the Clayr. She gets her wish!
  • JACKABY, from Jackaby — Jackaby is a sort of magical/supernatural Sherlock, and as such, is constantly looking things up. His library is home to several different types of creatures, too.
  • ELIZABETH, from Sorcery of Thorns — Elizabeth is a foundling at a great magical library, and the books end up protecting her when she is in great danger.
  • JESS, from Ink and Bone — Jess is from a society where books are illegal, and ends up working at a library to save them.
  • JANUARY, from The Ten Thousand Doors of January — January finds a book that reveals her power of stepping into other worlds.
  • KIRSTEN, from Station Eleven — Kirsten spends most of her time trying to find copies of / other issues of her favorite graphic novel. I’d be doing the same if I was safe enough, and in a post-apocalyptic USA.
  • CHARLEY, from The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep — Charley can read characters out of books and straight into real life!

Who did you come up with this week? Share your links below and I’ll check them out!

LGBTQ+ FANTASY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

As I’ve read quite a few recently, I thought I’d make a little recommendation post of LGBTQ+ fantasy novels! (This is adapted from a twitter thread that I posted here.) If a novel is in this post, it means the core characters fall under the LGBTQ+ spectrum. If you have suggestions that you’d like to add, go ahead and leave a comment! This is by no means an exhaustive list!

WE ALL FALL DOWN by Rose Szabo — There’s not a single straight person in this book. The whole book is about fate, and how the ‘wheel’ will continue to turn regardless of what people try to do to influence it. This comes out in June! Read my review of an ARC copy here.

A MARVELLOUS LIGHT by Freya Marske — This takes place at the tail end of the 1800’s, in an England where magic exists, but is unknown to most. A magical conspiracy is taking place, and its up to our heroes to find out what’s going on! Read my review here.

A TASTE OF GOLD AND IRON by Alexandra Rowland — Conspiracy, romance, and fealty all take center stage here. The prince of Arasht is a cinnamon roll desperate to prove his loyalty to his sister, the sultan. It’s a bodyguard romance, folks. This comes out in August! Read my review of an ARC copy here.

THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon — Your typical chunky (800+ pages) fantasy book with all the old tropes, but with a gay queen and her lady-in-waiting that’s secretly a spy. There’s dragons, magic, and old prophecies that come to light.

FOUNDRYSIDE by Robert Jackson Bennett — This is a tightly plotted fantasy book that takes place in the city-state that is based off of Venice. There’s talking keys, and well, the coolest damn magic system I’ve seen in a long time. Read my review here.

THE MAGPIE LORD by KJ Charles — Set in Victorian England where magic is a thing — this is a mystery trilogy where a man inherits his title and all that comes with it. He hires someone to come help with a magical problem, & well…[waves hands] magic happens. This is a three book series!

WITCHMARK by CL Polk — Set in an alternate/unique version of Edwardian England where magic is both a curse and a boon. There’s gay romance, betrayal, and fantastic world-building. This is on the shorter side at 318 pages, but there are two sequels!

MALICE by Heather Walter — What if Maleficent had fallen in love with Sleeping Beauty? That’s all you need to know, friends. Read my review here. There’s a sequel coming out this year!

PALADIN’S HOPE by T. Kingfisher — This is the third book in Kingfisher’s Paladin series, so keep that in mind, but it’s gay, darlings! There’s a lich-doctor who works to find out who or what killed the dead, and a paladin who’s god is dead. Murder mystery! If you haven’t read the first books in this series, I cannot recommend them enough!

WOLFSONG by TJ Klune — Do you like werewolf pack dynamics? Do you like the idea of mates? then you’ll like Wolfsong. You get huge werewolf family who gather in a lost kid, and welcome him as one of their own. This is a 4 book series.

Have you read any of these? What LGBTQ+ books are your favorite?

BOOK REVIEW: A MARVELLOUS LIGHT BY FREYA MARSKE

Rating: 5 out of 5.

SYNOPSIS

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

Oh, this is an astoundingly lovely book.

I had heard vague things about A Marvellous Light, but going into it, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. I figured I would probably enjoy it, as it had been sold to me as historical romance, plus a magical mystery/conspiracy. Now I love a good historical romance, and anything with magic is right up my alley, so this book was practically screaming my name.

A Marvellous Light takes place at the tail end of the 1800’s, in an England where magic exists, but is unknown to most. One of our heroes is Robin Blythe, a non-magical baronet who has been thrust into a job that deals with magic. Only problem is — he has no idea magic exists. On Robin’s first day at his new job, Edwin Courcey — a man who DOES have magic — shows up to get a report, expecting Robin’s predecessor. Said predecessor has been missing for several weeks, and no one has any idea where he’s gone. Here is where the mystery begins!

These two are such wonderful foils of one another, that it was an immense pleasure watching their relationship unfold. Edwin grew up with minimal amounts of magic, in a household where being nothing less than the best was unacceptable. He was brutally treated by his cruel older brother, and as such, turned into quite an icy, stoic individual who would much rather surround himself with books rather than people. Robin, on the other hand, grew up in a house where public appearances were so much more important than being your true self. His parents die shortly before the novel begins, leaving him and his sister in dire straits, as they have left all their fortune to charities and ‘projects’ rather than their children. Robin is a bright, confident man, who is rather quick to jump on the metaphorical grenade rather than have someone else get hurt. Robin was my favorite.

I’m not going to spoil anything more, other than to say this was such a fun book to read. The mystery is dealt out in lovely, delicious chunks leaving you wanting just enough to keep reading. The writing itself is absolutely gorgeous and just a tiny bit haunting in the best way.

I cannot recommend A Marvellous Light enough. Please go read it.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE