Book Haul for February // I Kind of Behaved?
Am I the only person who struggles with how to open book haul posts? Because goodness, it is really tough sometimes to not sound like a broken record. “I bought books again, are we surprised?”
I am actually quite proud of myself! While I bought kind of a bunch of books, 1) the quantity isn’t that bad, and 2) I already read most of them! All of my physical haul, save one book, I read as eARCs and loved them so much that I had to buy finished copies. Since I am super behind on writing reviews, please take this post as a brief screech into the void that I recommend these books. But what am I waiting for? Let’s get into the haul!
As always, I want to reiterate that you do not need to buy and own a lot of books in order to be considered a book blogger or lover. I am quite frugal with everything else so that I can buy books because I love them, but I do not ever want to make you feel bad if you cannot afford to buy books or have poor access where you live.
Physical Book Haul
Night Spinner (Night Spinner #1) by Addie Thorley
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling (Sleeping Beauty)
Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior.
Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees.
Night Spinner was the LitJoy Crate pick for the Once Upon a Retelling box (see my full unboxing here). This is the one physical book in my haul that I haven’t yet read, but I am looking forward to it when the slump leaves.
Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling (Macbeth)
They picked the wrong girl.
Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.
Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. It’s dark and gritty, full of rage and revenge. I look forward to re-reading this one for a close textual analysis, because I am a dork.
Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Vallynne E. Maetani
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling (Seven Samurai)
But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.
Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.
With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.
As someone who hasn’t really read manga or watched anime, this retelling was incredibly accessible and a fantastic read. The characters? I was rooting for them. While this isn’t the horror crossover that I come to expect from Alameda, the writing has that atmospheric terror component through the descriptions that sent me chills.
All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace
Young Adult, Fantasy, Debut novel (2020)
ARC Review to Come
She will reign.
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.
This is the YA pirate fantasy I’ve been waiting for! And as a mermaid fanatic, I have to say 12/10 for Vaetani. The first couple of chapters were a bit rough, but things picked up around chapter 4 and I was hopelessly enthralled.
Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim
Young Adult, Science fiction, Retelling (Count of Monte Cristo), Debut novel (2020)
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
This was the YA Book Club pick for February at Mysterious Galaxy, but I got sick and wasn’t able to attend (and didn’t read the book). Jess really loved the book though, so I am looking forward to reading it… eventually.
Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood #1) by Kim Smejkal
Young Adult, Fantasy, Debut novel (2020)
Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.
Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.
To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.
Tattoo magic? Dark fantasy? A mysterious guy that goes by the name of Plague Doctor? All of this was a big yes for me.
Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers #2) by Nicki Pau Preto
Young Adult, Fantasy
Signed Owlcrate Edition
You are a daughter of queens.
The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.
Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.
Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.
Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.
As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.
I pray you are able to pass through the flames.
So you know my propensity to buy sequels for books I haven’t yet read? Well, here’s another series to add to the list. But in my defense, my friend Haley loves this series and screeches at me about it all the time! I nabbed the Owlcrate edition to make sure my editions match.
eBook Purchases (Kindle deals)
Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid, the unpredictable water spirits, have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
I haven’t read the first book yet, but since I nabbed it on sale last year, I couldn’t pass up the sequel when it was $2.
Electronic ARC Approvals
I behaved! Someone give me a cookie.
Physical Review Copies
Be sure to check out Flapping Pages as I am passing along a few of these to international readers once I finish reading them!
The Claires by C.L. Garber
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published: January 14, 2020 by Big Picture Media
But each is named Claire.
Claire V is Clairvoyant—clear seeing with visions of the future.
Claire S is Clairsentient—clear feeling as she embraces another’s pain.
Claire A is Clairaudient—clear hearing to tap into the spirit world.
Claire C is Claircognizant—clear knowing with 100% accuracy.
Born in 1911, they first died together in 1928 at age seventeen. Two months later, they were reborn. And reborn. THE CLAIRES only live to seventeen and then they’re violently murdered. Somewhere in the world, a woman finds out she’s pregnant with quads. The Claires return to a new family as they try to break a curse that guarantees they die young.
It’s current-day Los Angeles, and once again, their seventeenth birthday is looming. Can they save themselves, clean up the streets in the name of penance, and crash their own prom?
The Claires is the first novel spin-off of the best-selling Ascenders Book Saga. Also available in paperback starting on January 14, 2020.
I am really looking forward to reading this one once I have a chance.You can see my PR unboxing of The Claires and take a quiz on if you have a Clair ability in this post!
Stop Missing Your Life: How to Be Deeply Present in an Unpresent World by Cory Muscara
Nonfiction, Self Help
Published: December 31, 2019
In Stop Missing Your Life, mindfulness teacher Cory Muscara takes us on a journey into the heart of what is required for real change, growth, and happiness. He exposes how the phrase “be present” has become little more than a platitude, imbued with the misguided message to be present just for the sake of being present, and reveals how to achieve true Presence: a quality of being that is unmistakably attractive about a person, and one that only comes when we’ve peeled back the layers of guarding that prevent us from being our full, honest, and integrated selves in the world.
Muscara shows how we build internal walls, what he describes as a “Pain Box” inhibiting us from living a deeply connected and meaningful life. He offers a four-part FACE model (Focus, Allow, Curiosity, and Embodiment) that helps chip away at those walls and builds our capacity to experience the richness of our lives Stop Missing Your Life ultimately teaches how we can find peace in the chaos and become better people for our families, our communities, and our world.
I don’t read a lot of “self-help” books, but I enjoy reading books about mindfulness and meditation ever since undergrad. I read the excerpt of this one on BookishFirst and won a finished copy in the raffle… this might be a good quarantine read, now that I think about it.
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
Adult, Historical Fantasy
Published: March 3, 3030 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
This is the Great Mystery of February, friends. This arrived to my apartment without a letter or indication why I – among so many – was chosen. I haven’t read anything written by Cassandra Clare yet, so I loaned my ARC copy to my good friend Devon so there would be an early review generated from the early copy. I’ll be picking up Clockwork Angel soon though to dive in!, but in the meantime please read Dev’s review for Chain of Gold!
Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!
Let’s go on another adventure together!