TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKISH GOALS FOR 2023

Hi friends! I hope you had a fantastic Monday — mine was just fine other than a brutal headache. The weather shifted from 20 something degrees in the morning to close to 50 by the time I left work. Whenever the temperature shifts like that, my head just POUNDS. It’s unfortunate, but there’s literally nothing I can do to prevent it! Oh well.

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s prompt is BOOKISH GOALS FOR 2023. I’m going to twist it a tiny bit, and just say that these are books I really would like to get to this year. A good many of these have sat on my TBR for at least a year, if not more.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

The Bridge Kingdom is standing in for all the fantasy romances I want to read this year! I want to read more of that particular genre, as it’s one of my favorites. I want to gather enough books that I can do a massive recommendation list for you all! (So if you have recommendations for fantasy romance, please let me know!) What are your goals for this year, friends?

ARC REVIEW: MYSTERIES OF THORN MANNER BY MARGARET ROGERSON

  • STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 192 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: January 17, 2023
  • PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • WHAT SERIES? Sorcery of Thorns
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Sorcery of Thorns
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 1.5 at the moment
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Child death (in the past, and not shown), Death of parent (in the past, and not shown)
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Literally any of Margaret Rogerson’s books, they’re all fantastic

Thank you to Netgalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!

Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.

I got approved for an ARC of this one yesterday around 3:00 pm. It is now 2:00 pm the next day, and I’m already done with this. Whoops. Destiny and I were supposed to buddy read it, but honestly, Mysteries of Thorn Manner just FLIES by as you read it. Those not even 200 pages barely feel like anything at all by the time you’re done. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all — this was a delightful novella, and I’m so, so glad that I got the chance to read it a little early.

For those you that don’t know, I am a huge fan of Margaret Rogerson’s books (though i still need to read Vespertine!). She’s primarily a YA author, and her books tend to have fairly low stakes, with sweet romances in them. It’s hard to discuss this book without mentioning anything from Sorcery of Thorns, which is the first book in the series. You can read my review of that one here. ANYWAY, Mysteries of Thorn Manner picks up pretty much where Sorcery of Thorns left off, and does not bother to explain to you anything about that novel. It’s just assumed that you’ve read it, and honestly that works 1000% here. No time to waste on that when we have such a short (but delicious) page count!

Elizabeth and Nathaniel are dancing around the edges of what their relationship means, and very quickly it becomes apparently that Thorn Manner wants them to decide what they are and what they mean to each other. There’s barely any plot to this, but I was a-okay with it, because overall, this is a silly, cozy fantasy book. I (like Destiny) was giggling through the whole novella. There’s almost zero stakes really felt, but again, it doesn’t matter. This book exists purely to bring a smile to your face, especially if you are a fan of Rogerson’s past work.

I loved this, and wish it was about 5000 more pages, personally.

MYSTERIES OF THORN MANNER comes out JANUARY 17, 2023.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS I WANT YOU TO GET FOR CHRISTMAS

Good morning, friends! It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is all about your Christmas wishlist books, but I truly do not need any books this year, so I’m doing a twist on this one. These are the books that I WANT YOU TO GET FOR CHRISTMAS. Basically, these are books that I really want more people to read, because I enjoyed them so much.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

You can find my reviews for these books (minus Station Eleven) if you click the names: Book Lovers, An Enchantment of Ravens, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, A Taste of Gold and Iron, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Empire of Exiles, The Drowned Woods, A Marvellous Light, and Captive Prince.

Have you read any of these?

WWW WEDNESDAY – DECEMBER 14

It’s Wednesday, my friends! It’s time to see what I’ve been reading, and I’m proud to say over the last week I’ve actually read two books! WE’RE GETTING BETTER, PALS. WE’RE GETTING BETTER. I sincerely hope that you’re having a great week, buds. I woke up with a cold this morning, so not doing too hot here, but otherwise we’re good.

To my utter surprise, I got approved for Mysteries of Thorn Manner yesterday afternoon. I wasted absolutely zero time and screamed at Destiny to please buddy read it with me. We’re not doing too hot on the buddy read thing, as this novella FLIES through your fingers. It is such a fun read. I finished up Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries yesterday morning and absolutely loved it. My review will be up on Friday! Next, I’ll finish up my ARC of One Duke Down, which I also started yesterday, but it uh, got pushed to the side by Margaret Rogerson’s latest. Whoops. No regrets.

Happy reading, my friends!

MONDAY MORNING – SEPTEMBER 26

Hi everyone! I’m so sorry I was MIA on Thursday and Friday last week! My husband oh-so-generously shared his cold and I was down for the count. My asthma started flaring up on Sunday, too, so generally I just feel like crap! Hopefully, things will get better as the week goes on, but it is my bad season for breathing, so we’ll see. This weekend was just sort of a clusterf*ck of absolutely everything. I didn’t feel good, Will just wanted to party and play and do everything outside! Saturday, we took him to the park and he had a blast. But it rained allllll Sunday, so we were stuck inside. He has so much energy these days. 😵 Anyway, dears, I hope you all are feeling much better than I am today!

A note — I will be taking a break from my blog starting October 5, and ending on October 12. We’re travelling and I won’t have any time to check the blog or blog hop while we’re away. I do have a few posts scheduled already, but for the most part, I won’t be here!

Today, I’m spotlighting a novella I’m desperately waiting for. I adore all of Margaret Rogerson’s books, and the fact that she’s dipping her toes back into the world of Sorcery of Thorns makes me endlessly excited.

MYSTERIES OF THORN MANOR BY MARGARET ROGERSON

In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!

Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right. 

I hope you have a fantastic week, friends!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – SCHOOL FREEBIE

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 SCHOOL FREEBIE. I went with books that are set in or around schools, colleges or universities!

Of these, Well Met, The Raven Boys, and A Discovery of Witches are my favorites. Which one would you like to go to school in? I think I’d pick time-travel study from Oxford in To Say Nothing of the Dog, myself.

5 BOOKS FEATURING THE FAE

One of my favorite things about fantasy books is the inclusion of the Fae. Especially if they are the classic, try-to-trick-you Fae. The cruel Fae, the fae who you have to be increasingly careful around. I also am extremely into fantasy romance books that feature the Fae. I am nothing if not predictable. HOWEVER, when it comes to this list, I do want to say this: I did not love all of these books. I am including them on this list, because I was requested to do a recommendation list on Fae books. Just because I didn’t enjoy them does not mean that you won’t! Give them a try before you count them out, alright?

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J. MAAS

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

WHY DID I LOVE A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES?

Now I know, this series is extremely divisive. You either love it, or you can’t stand it. It’s been everywhere in the past couple years, and in my opinion, it’s entirely worth the hype. HOWEVER, I totally get it if it’s not for you. I adore this series, I adore the world, I adore the characters, and when I finished reading it the first time, I actually picked the first book right back up and read it through again. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

The first book in the series feels really YA, in the writing sense, but the series is definitely not YA and should never have been classified as such. There are several explicit sex scenes sprinkled throughout. Also — if you don’t like the first book, keep going — the second book feels entirely different in the best way. Feysand forever.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? There are currently four books published, but there are at least two more coming, I believe. The first three – A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin – are a complete story.
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • CW: Violence, death, sexual content, torture, blood

AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS BY MARGARET ROGERSON

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

WHY DID I LOVE AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS?

This book is the sweetest version of insta-love I have ever read in my entire life. The relationship between Isobel, and Rook is just the sweetest. It all starts when Isobel, a master painter, is commissioned by the Autumn Prince, Rook, to do a portrait for him. Everything builds from there. Love and peril, questions about faeries, everything. The world in this book is exquisitely done. It’s also really short, so if you’re looking for a primer on faerie fantasy-romance, try this one on for size!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone.
  • CW: Violence, body horror, death of parent, gore, sexual content, kidnapping

THE LORD OF STARIEL BY AJ LANCASTER

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is.

Everyone knows who the magical estate will choose for its next ruler. Or do they? Will it be the lord’s eldest son, who he despised? His favourite nephew, with the strongest magical land-sense? His scandalous daughter, who ran away from home years ago to study illusion?

Hetta knows it won’t be her, and she’s glad of it. Returning home for her father’s funeral, all Hetta has to do is survive the family drama and avoid entanglements with irritatingly attractive local men until the Choosing. Then she can leave.

But whoever Stariel chooses will have bigger problems than eccentric relatives to deal with. Winged, beautifully deadly problems. For the first time in centuries, the fae are returning to the Mortal Realm, and only the Lord of Stariel can keep the estate safe.

In theory.

WHY DID I LOVE THE LORD OF STARIEL?

I enjoyed this book, but wanted so, so much more from it. It’s clearly the start of a series — there’s not a lot of room here in this short book — but the romance between Hattie and the fae prince was really cute. Not there’s a lot of it in this book (it grows in the others), but it’s still enjoyable. Hattie herself is the reason why I really liked this book — she is a phenomenal main character. I love a good lead character that doesn’t make you want to shake her. She makes reasonable decisions, nothing that makes you second guess her intelligence or anything — which is surprisingly rare these days!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Four
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Lord of Stariel
  • CW: Sexism, homophobia, violence, death of parent

OF BEAST AND BURDEN BY KELSEY KICKLIGHTER

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The book cover for Of Beast and Burden by Kelsey Kicklighter

A fae girl with a human heart. A Seelie Queen with a penchant for stealing mortals. And an Unseelie King who will have to give up his throne.

On the coast of Georgia rests a small southern town where faeries still take changelings. Faye lost her mother to the Folk, but has she spent her whole life longing for a glimpse—however brief—behind the veil.

When Faye finds her way in, she also finds the truth of why the dark and alluring world of the Folk has always called to her: She’s half-faerie, and heiress to the Dark Court’s throne.

When the rival court steals her best friend, she’ll have to claim her crown to get her back. But that means learning how to use her glamour so she can face three deadly trials—and not falling for the dark and brooding king she’s meant to be replacing, or the nymph-turned-knight teaching her to fight.

WHY DID I LOVE OF BEAST AND BURDEN?

Now this one, I’ve reviewed on the blog, so you can see my full thoughts there. HOWEVER, a short quick version of it is this: This book had so much potential that just fell flat for me. The world that was set up sounds fascinating, but it is not explored to the extent that it should have been. The characters are not one dimensional, they feel real, but they don’t really do much. This is the start of a series, so I hope that the next books improve!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone!
  • CW: Incest

THE CRUEL PRINCE BY HOLLY BLACK

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

WHY DID I LOVE THE CRUEL PRINCE?

I’m going to be real with you — I did not enjoy this series. BUT a lot of people do, so I felt like I should include it on this list. Jude, the main character, was infuriating for me. She’s cool and calculating, and some of the time, almost cruel. Her love interest, Cardan, is fae. He spends the majority of the first book basically attempting to murder Jude as a ‘joke’, or straight up bullying her. I didn’t buy their romance, so the series didn’t work entirely for me.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Three
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Cruel Prince
  • CW: Bullying, Murder, Death of parent

I hope my list helped you find at least one book or series featuring the Fae that you love! If not, I sincerely apologize. ALSO — if you have a recommendation for a Fae book that did not make this list, PLEASE share it with me in the comments. Odds are, I haven’t heard of it and I want to read it!

MONTHLY TBR – JULY

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN — time to pick out a TBR for the upcoming month. Can you believe it’s already July? I sure can’t. I don’t really want to think about that, honestly. Time is going by way, way too fast. ANYWAY — the following is my TBR for the month. You’ll notice its a little shorter than the last couple TBRs bc I know I’ll end up mood reading something that’s not on this list.

The top four books are ARCs that I need to get to, the bottom are backlist titles that I’m looking forward to reading! Hopefully, I can get around to them this month!

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

TOP TEN TUESDAY – SUMMER 2022 TBR

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 ON MY SUMMER 2022 TBR. I have quite a few, but these are the ones I’m really dying to read. Most of these (six of them, to be exact) are actually ARCs or copies publishers have sent to me to get me ready for other books to be released.

Have you read any of my TBR? What are you looking to read this summer?

Wondering who the heck I am? Check out my announcement.

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?