The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

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1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“By you, I am forever undone.”

I can’t believe it’s over. I feel like I’ve been in love with Holly Black’s fae stories my entire life and seeing this series finally close means more to me than I have words for, truly. This series, this world, these characters, have brought me so much unconditional happiness, and I truly am not ready to say goodbye, but I do think this was a very perfect ending.

Also, a few things before I start this actual review: 1.) I vlogged this entire reading experience (and how I wrote this review) and I hope you enjoy! 2.) Jess’s playlist is perfection and you should give it a listen! 3.) This review will talk about events that happened in The Cruel Prince, The Lost Sisters, & The Wicked King, so please use caution while reading! And I will have a spoiler section for QoN later!

After the very heartbreaking end of The Wicked King, Jude is now exiled from Faerie and a crown that no one knows she wears. Madoc is ready and willing to do anything to put Oak or himself on the throne, regardless of what Oak wants while living in the mortal realm with Vivi. Taryn is now married to Locke, for better or for worse, and regardless of what Jude thinks on the matter.

“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”

Everything feels like it is chaos, and at the start of this book we see Jude slowly accept her fate, while also learning the pain of her anger and betrayal. She is taking side-jobs from the fae residing among humans, and she just takes on a job that is about to really test her skills. Especially when she comes out of the job realizing that things might really not be going that great for Cardan in the realm of the fae. But Jude doesn’t care, right? But she gets an opportunity to go to faerie and see for herself, regardless of her exiled status, and the situation is a matter of life and death.

It’s hard to say anything else without going into spoiler territory, but I truly loved this book so much. I can’t believe how much Holly Black was able to surprise me, especially with the amount of theorycrafting I truly believed I did. From the cover, to the title, to the sneak peaks we were given; I was truly not ready for the twists and turns of this book and this entire trilogy is just masterfully crafted.

“I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all.”

And at the heart of this book, I just really enjoyed the theme and discussion of all the different and complex relationships we will have in our lives. We see Jude constantly battling with herself and her feelings; from her past to her future, from her family to her crown, from her feelings to her heart. There are so many wars in this book, but most of them truly are from within Jude, and Holly Black really expertly talks about the human experience and existence.

“But for one final night, he’s the father I remember best, the one in whose shadow I have—for better or worse—become what I am.”

Relationships can be so very hard and so very not pretty. Obviously we get to see Jude and Cardan, obviously we get to see Jude and her sisters, but seeing Jude and Madoc? That’s what kept breaking me. How do you love a father who became your father by killing your own? A father that loves you so very much, but loves power more? Jude and Madoc are truly the kings of this book and this chessboard, and their dynamic is truly unlike one I’ve read before. So heartbreakingly beautiful, truly.

This next section of my review is going to have SPOILERS! Please do not read on if you have not read The Queen of Nothing and all the rest of the books in this series! Also, like always, I’m going to do fangirl breakdowns because it warms my heart.

“It feels good to be fighting someone other than myself.”

Jude Duarte – My actual queen. Seeing Jude realize not only her worth, but that it is okay to hurt and to be angry, yet also that it is worth the risk to let people in sometimes; I don’t even have words, friends. Jude’s pain just resonated so much inside my heart and soul and I truly think she is one of the best literary characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.

“He’s so beautiful, so perfectly, horribly, inhumanly beautiful that I can barely breathe.”

Cardan Greenbriar – My entire heart. All of Cardan’s lines truly broke and healed me throughout this entire book. Seeing him be the king of his people’s dreams, but also the king of his own dreams? Forever crying. Also, we stan an otp power couple for life. Truly, for life; Jude, please never leave faerie again.

Nicasia – We love a good redemption arc, wow.

Grima Mog – Nothing but love and respect for my war general.

Taryn Duarte – Oh Taryn. Listen, her pregnancy was expected, but her actually killing Locke was not. I will say that I think this was the weakest part of the story, and I truly wish we could have seen more, but maybe Holly Black is going to give us another few novellas or something. Especially with a certain bard boy? But seriously, I need so many more answers.

Vivi – My 2019 bi-icon. I was rooting for Vivi and Heather so damn hard, and I was so scared at what Vivi was going to do this book, but she was amazing through and through. When she told Madoc to bring his entire army? The biggest flex in all of 2019 literature and I was quaking.

Oak – Wow, I’m going to love me a good spin-off.

Madoc – Madoc was the character that probably made me cry the most throughout this entire series. Loving people can be so very hard, and each journey is so very different, but Madoc just really amplifies these statements and it hurts (in the best way possible) to read. The parallels between him and Jude, both truly born in blood, and seeing the different paths they take to fight each other, while always loving each other, it’s really something that I don’t have words for, but it is truly heartbreakingly beautiful.

Locke – Wow, he actually did die and Taryn actually did kill him. The biggest bamboozle of the entire book, and please call me boo boo the fool from now on while I apply my clown makeup.

Okay, let’s talk about some of the big things in this book while we are in this spoiler section, too. Let’s just get the snake out of the bag (end me). You know, with all the buzz about the 2019 YA book snake, I really didn’t expect for Cardan to turn into her. Wow, truly wow. I love a good fairytale twist in my fae stories, and it was truly one worthy of ballads. Seeing Jude realize that she would rather not have Cardan than only being able to have him controlled? I will be forever crying. So beautiful. Also, the sword she did it with? Truly forever crying.

I will forever and always be so surprised that Locke was not the big bad of this series and honestly? He deserved a better death and storyline ender. Like, I couldn’t believe Madoc was truly the endgame villain. This book was still so perfect to me, but this was what truly let me down the most. I wanted a satisfying Locke death and a true villain story, but it felt bad that we didn’t get that.

“Tell me what I must slay, what I must steal, tell me the riddle I must solve or the hag I must trick. Only tell me the way, and I will do it, no matter the danger, no matter the hardship, no matter the cost.”

I also didn’t love how Cardan told everyone that him and Jude got married. I mean, trust me, I screamed and rolled around in my bed like I was thirteen, but I still wanted something more. Also, the exiled scheme he made up? Baby, that’s not it. But whatever, because when he told her that he loved her it was truly the best thing my eyes have ever read for all of 2019 and you won’t hear me complaining. Truly OTP status worthy and the best enemies to lovers I will probably ever read.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they thought I’d find the ending a bit cheesy (no, this isn’t a pizza dad joke), and that’s valid, because it is a bit cheesy. But I just love these characters so much and they deserve so much happiness that I just felt really blessed to be able to experience that with them for an epilogue. Also, I have really high hopes for what is to come with Oak, because there is no way that Holly Black set that up to not masterfully tell what is to come for Faerie.

I will also be honest and say that this was probably my least favorite in the series. Also, these books are always split up in two parts (or books), and the first half of this was six star worthy. Truly better than anything I’ve read this entire year. It was the last half (and cheesy epilogue) that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But again, this series just means so much to me and it truly feels once in a lifetime to me.

Overall, I just believe this is the series of my heart. Holly Black and her fae stories have truly shaped me into the reader and reviewer I am today. I owe her so much, and this concluding novel just felt like lifeblood to me. No other book has made me as happy reading. No other book has had me spam refreshing my kindle app to make sure it downloads. No other book has ever been more my brand. And I’m not sure if any book series ever will. It is a truly honor to read and review this book, and it’s more of an honor that some people correlate it with me. I know that no amount of words that I string together will ever adequately do justice to how much these books mean to me, but I promise to shout about them forever, and keep them in my heart always. And I hope that every reader has a series that makes them feel the way The Folk of the Air has made me feel.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: death, murder, war themes, gore, blood depiction, talk of cannibalism, and torture.

Bonus – Park Jimin, forever and always my Cardan. Bye.

(Bless Annaveeart/Kuhleesee for the best art piece I’ve ever seen in my entire life!)

 

The Lost Sisters (The Folk of the Air, #1.5) by Holly Black

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1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“Fairy tales are full of girls who wait, who endure, who suffer. Good girls. Obedient girls. Girls who crush nettles until their hands bleed. Girls who haul water for witches. Girls who wander through deserts or sleep in ashes or make homes for transformed brothers in the woods. Girls without hands, without eyes, without the power of speech, without any power at all. But then a prince rides up and sees the girl and finds her beautiful. Beautiful, not despite her suffering, but because of it.”

No one weaves words and magic like Holly Black. No one. And I don’t even have words to express how amazing it feels to be back in this world. Not only did it make me appreciate The Cruel Prince more, it also made me emotional because of all the foreshadowing for The Wicked King. This is a pivotal short story that completely immersed me, captivated me, and reinforced that this is my favorite series of all-time.

It was so smart to format this story in a letter, that Taryn is writing to Jude, but in second person. It is eerie, and haunting, and it makes the reading experience feels so much more intimate, real, and unforgettable. Every time I open a Holly Black book, I feel like I’ve stepped right into the realm of fae, and this short story was no different.

“Faeries despise humans as liars, but there are different kinds of lying. Since you and I first came to Faerie, Jude, we’ve lied to each other plenty.”

The Lost Sisters allows you to see small glimpses into important scenes of The Cruel Prince, but we get to see it all unfold from Taryn’s point of view. I see a lot of reviews say that it made them sympathize with her, but it made me feel worse for Jude. This isn’t a redemption arc. This isn’t a happy ending. This isn’t what you’re expecting. This is just an honest look at Taryn’s feelings; and if I’m being honest, they are still really selfish.

“It’s terrible to be a girl trapped in a story. But you can be more than that. You can be the teller. You can shape the story. You can make all of Faerie love you.”

But Taryn really is trying to carve out her own place in a world that she never asked to live in. Vivi, Jude, and Taryn didn’t ask to lose their mother, be ripped from their home, and forced to live among people who will never make them feel like they belong. But all three girls feel and handle things very differently. Vivi feels sadness and wishes to escape. Jude feels angry and wishes for revenge. Taryn feels inadequacy and wishes for love. And all of these things are valid, and none of things are lesser, they are just different.

“His hair was bright in the moonlight, his face as handsome as heartbreak.”

But this book also really shines a spotlight on Locke. And he truly is the gaslighting, manipulative, abusive, royal jerk. This book really shows how easy it for abusive people to be manipulative. How they can twist everything to make it feel like it is all your fault. How they can make you crave their attention. How easy it is to feel like you’re being loved, not abused.

Honestly, the most interesting element of this book for me was the introduction of Edir, and the entire secret party and all the attendees. Again, it really reinforced (to me) that Locke is totally going to end up being the big bad of this entire story. Also, I just have a really soft spot in my heart for bard-like characters. And sometimes we really do need to listen to the songs of the mothers and women that came before us, to know how worthy of a new song we all really are.

“But that night, a pebble struck my window and I saw the shape of a boy standing below, smiling up at me as though he already knew all my secrets.”

My favorite part of the book? A whisper from Cardan. God, I’m so soft and weak and on brand. It’s really pathetic at this point. Seeing Cardan in this book was hard at first, really hard, I’m not going to lie, but seeing how far he’s come? How far him and Jude have both come? Lord, help me. It is almost funny to see them interact in this short story, knowing the storm that awaits them in The Wicked King.

Overall, I loved this. I really was expecting to feel differently after turning that last page, but this was still such an atmospheric ride that I truly never wanted to end. This series, this world, these characters, everything is just a tier above the rest. This is the series of my heart and soul. And Holly Black never ceases to amaze me. I stan one fae queen, and it is her. It will always be her.

“Let’s start with a love story. Or maybe it’s another horror story. It seems like the difference is mostly in where the ending comes.”

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Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, self-harm, bullying, and grey area cheating.

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

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1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★

“Once upon a time, there was a human girl stolen away by faeries, and because of that, she swore to destroy them.”

Many of you might not know this but on this day many years ago, Holly Black’s biggest fan was born. Spoiler: it’s me! And I figured what better way to celebrate my birthday than to finally post my review for my favorite book of the year! I read this back in May, and it doesn’t come out until January, but celebrating my love for this book and series on my birthday just felt right. Also, I’m just that extra, but The Wicked King is perfection in every way.

I love so many different kinds of books; fantasy, romance, young adult, new adult, adult, books with lyrical writing, books that are character driven, books with angsty relationships, books with soul crushing emotions, books that make me feel everything. And I’ve read a lot of books; over 800 according to Goodreads. But every time I pick up a Holly Black book, I feel like she wrote the book for me. And I mean that, because she writes exactly the kind of books that I want to read. Not just key elements or parts, she completely encompasses everything I love in literature. And if I could wish one thing for everyone who reads my reviews, I’d wish for you to find an author that makes you feel this way, too.

The Wicked King is the second installment in The Folk of the Air series, the first being my favorite book of 2017, The Cruel Prince! And this book starts off five months after the heart wrenching events in book one. This review is going to be spoiler free, but I will be talking about some key elements that happened in the previous book! So, please do not read this review if you do not wish to be somewhat spoiled for The Cruel Prince!

“I want to tell you so many lies.”

(The most breathtaking fanart by Loweana!)

Okay, so basically a brief summary is that Jude is alone with the new High King of Faerie. Madoc and her parted on bad terms, Oak is in hiding with Vivi, Taryn is to be married to Locke, Balekin is locked up, and Cardan is *clutches pearls forever* the new king. Yet, he must listen to everything Jude says because of a trick she played on him, but all of us know how quickly a year can pass and things can change. Especially since the Queen of the Undersea, Orlagh, is thinking about breaking the treaty with the fae folk on land, since she isn’t too sure about the new ruler. And she plans to use her daughter, Nicasia, any way that she can to help secure her place of power in the fae realm. And all the courts are coming together to see if Cardan really can lead and protect them.

“Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.”

And everyone is plotting in this book, I swear. The phrase “twists and turns” doesn’t even begin to describe the events that happen in this book. The political intrigue is so strong in this book. You won’t know who or what to believe, and you surely won’t know who to trust. And all these storylines come together to create something so beautiful. This book was a wild ride from page one to the very last page. Actually, especially the very last page.

And I know everyone has already made a very big deal about the end of this book, and they aren’t wrong. You all thought The Cruel Prince cliffhanger was bad? Oh, sweet summer children. And, obviously, I won’t spoil anything, but there are so many different ways to interpret what happened. I’m going to be vague, but when you love someone or something, you will protect it at all costs. Also, the juxtaposition from book one to book two? Probably the best thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Okay, I’m going to do a little break down for some of the characters in this book. You know, just so I can gush, fangirl, and truly be the hot mess that this book proves that I am. Also, Roiben plays a huge role in this story, which was such a wonderful surprise and I really wanted to mention it!

(My favorite fanart(s) by PhantomRin!)

Jude Duarte – My heart, my true love, my icon, my queen. Jude is my favorite protagonist and I would honestly die for her. Like, all I want in this life is for Jude to he happy, healthy, loved, and know that she is deserving of that love.

“I’ve wanted this and feared it, and now that it’s happening, I don’t know how I will ever want anything else.”

Cardan Greenbriar – And Cardan is probably my favorite character in literature. There, I said it. Are you happy now? Also, this book has a minor scene that really led me to believe that Cardan is pan or bi and the scream I screamed upon reading. (I’m so sorry, neighbors, if you’re reading this!) I thought I was too old or just completely over the concept of “book boyfriends” until Cardan Greenbriar decided to be created.

Nicasia – I’m not even going to waste my finger strength. Bitch, bye.

Locke – Okay, say what you want, but Locke is like the greatest antagonist of all time. I am not sure I’ve ever loved to hate a character as much as I absolutely love to hate him. I also completely believe that he’s going to be the “big bad” of this series, eventually. The half-brother development is going to come into play.

“I wish he hadn’t used me to test my sister’s love for him. I wish she hadn’t let him.”

Taryn Duarte – Friends, I have a lot of feels. But I’m just going to say that I want few things in life as much as I want the novella, The Lost Sisters, that comes out October 2nd, 2018. I think it’s going to completely shatter everything we know about Taryn, and I’m ready for it.

Oh, and in case I haven’t gushed enough, the romance in this series is my favorite romance of all-time. And like, I don’t say that lightly. I thought in The Cruel Prince that it might have been because I just love fae stories so much. But while reading The Wicked King I realized that it’s just because this is the best enemies to lovers in the history of the trope. I mean, sex is great and all, but have you ever shipped Jude and Cardan more than any relationship you’ve ever personally been in? Because, same. I honestly don’t even know how I’m functioning, let alone sitting at my desk typing this review, after reading the Queen of Mirth scene. Seriously, Holly Black is a fae queen, none of us are deserving, and her words are magical.

“You are my dearest punishment.”

But this is also a book all about power, and the ugly things people are willing to do for it. Yet, it’s also about love, and all the beautiful, selfless, hopeful, hopeless, heartwarming, heartbreaking things we are willing to do for it. I honestly feel like the heart of this story is about sacrifice; the things we do for our family, our loved ones, and for ourselves. There is a lot of good on these pages. And I know this is a whimsical, magical book all about fae, but a lot of themes and messages carry over really beautifully.

“It’s easy to put your own life on the line, isn’t it? To make peace with danger. But a strategist must sometimes risk others, even those we love.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever been as happy reading a book as I’ve been reading The Wicked King. Also, I seriously pretty much reread this while writing this review. Like, I opened my book back up to grab some quotes that I tabbed, and I seriously had to stop myself from consuming the whole entire story all over again. Without a doubt in my mind, I will read this again before release. It’s just that much of a masterpiece, in every single sense of the word.

“He looks at me as though we share secrets, although we don’t. We don’t share anything.”

Overall, this review doesn’t do this book or my feelings justice. I have no word combination for how much this book, this series, and this author means to me. Yet, if you peak inside my heart, you might see my loved ones, coffee, video games, tattoos, Frank Ocean, and The Wicked King by Holly Black. Not only is this my favorite book of 2018, it’s one of my favorite things in life. And Cardan and Jude honestly have the best sexual tension in existence. I could read about them forever, with no pay off even, and I’d just ask for more.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, bullying, abandonment, captivity, abuse, talk of past child abuse, and for violence in general.

(Thank you so much, Diana. You will never know how much this means to me, but I promise I’ll cherish this ARC forever. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you! 💖)

January 2018 Book Haul

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realize I accumulated so many books until I started piecing this blog post together. Like, I’m not sure what happened, but here we are with too many books! I blame me wanting to use my Audible credits up, and then canceling my membership until I force myself to read those books. Or maybe it was because Netgalley actually had some 10/10 books I’ve been wanting to read. But it’s probably just because I lack self-control, but books make me happy and I won’t apologize for it! Plus, you guys get to read this totally unnecessarily long intro to a totally unnecessarily long book haul! (Friendly reminder that I love you all so much!) 💕

PURCHASED BOOKS:

The Wall of Storms | The Goldfinch | Iron Gold | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | The Cruel Prince | Beneath the Sugar Sky | Reign of the Fallen | The Song of Achilles | A Winkle in Time | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

PURCHASED EBOOKS:

American Queen | Flow | The Black Tides of Heaven

PURCHASED AUDIO BOOKS:

Iron Gold | The Diviners | Renegades | The Collapsing Empire

BOOK OUTLET (BOXING DAY SALE):

Bad Romance | Spindle Fire | The Paper Menagerie | City of Bones | The Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge | River of Teeth | Roar | One Blood Ruby | Certain Dark Things | And I Darken

PHYSICAL ARCS:

Child of a Mad God | With Blood upon the Sand | Lost For You | The Heart Forger

NETGALLEY ARCS:

Circe | The Queens of Innis Lear | Sky in the Deep | Hidden Seams

BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOXES:

The Cruel Prince

Well, there you have it! Maybe it just looks worse than it really is? Hopefully! Maybe? I don’t know. But I hope you guys enjoyed, and we will soon find out if February is better or worse. I mean, depending on how you look at books hauls, it will be either way! Haha! Happy reading, guys! And I hope you all had an amazing January that was filled with good books!

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My 2017 Reading Year in Review

Let’s be real, 2017 was kind of a garbage fire year for our world, but at least we had some good books! I had a pretty good reading year! I’m very happy with the 130 books that I read, and I feel like with each year I get better and better at picking out books, and requesting ARCs, that I am confident I will at least enjoy, therefore, my average rating tends to get higher and higher.


➽ And thanks to the amazing Brock at Let’s Read, here are some other statistics that I was able to gather from his amazing spreadsheet:

And if you’re interested, here is his spreadsheet for 2018! (File>make a copy for your use)


➽These are the five books that were published this year that were a tier above the rest. These five blew my mind, and expectations, out of the water. I truly believe these five are perfect books in every single way. And I personally recommend them with my entire heart, body, and soul.

#5.) The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

“Before the end, you will pluck snowdrops at midwinter, die by your own choosing, and weep for a nightingale.”

This book taught me that girls can be anything they wish to be, no matter the expectations society, family, and everything else in this world puts on them. And to always surround yourself with people that accept you and believe in you.

#4.) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

This book taught the world that we want black stories, from black authors, with black casts, with black people on the covers… no matter how many old, racist, white dudes continue to get published. But this book taught me how much more work needs to be done, and how I need to do more to boost marginalized voices, and how the world needs to change and it can begin with me and our generation.

#3.) Tyrant’s Throne (Greatcoats #4) by Sebastien de Castell

“From nothing we become men and women who write poems and wage wars and conceive of futures both wondrous and terrifying.”

This book taught me that found families with unconditional love is the most powerful force in any world. And that friendship can heal wounds you never thought would stop bleeding. And that your past will never define you, or hinder you, from being good and kind and ultimately becoming the person you want to be.

#2.) The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) by N.K. Jemisin

“But for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.”

This book taught me to never stop moving forward, to always speak up, and help marginalized voices that need to be heard. And that we don’t get to choose how people love us. And how one voice can change the world. And that blood is only blood, and that we should spend our days with people who love us! And that we are always deserving of love. Always. No matter what.

#1.) Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

“Sarai was seventeen years old, a goddess and a girl. Half her blood was human, but it counted for nothing. She was blue. She was godspawn. She was anathema. She was young. She was lovely. She was afraid.”

This book reminded me why I love reading, and that books are magical, healing vessels. This book taught me that everyone has the right to change their future, and that we will never be our parent’s mistakes. And that we can rise up, and become so much more, and that all of our stories deserve to be told. And ultimately, you get to choose who is in your story.

These books mean a lot to me, and I feel so very thankful, privileged, and blessed that I was able to read them all this year. These books have all changed who I am as a person, and I will carry, pass them down, and sing their praises for my entire life. Books like this render me speechless to be honest, but I hope I did a decent job letting you guys know how much they mean, and will continue to mean, to me.


➽ And the rest of my favorite books published in 2017:

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1) by Mark Lawrence

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1) by Nicholas Eames

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 0.5) by Brian Staveley

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3) by Brandon Sanderson


➽ But my favorite book that I read in 2017 happened to be a 2018 title:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!


➽ My Top Five Least Favorite Books Published in 2017:

🙃 Into the Fire (Night Prince #4) by Jeaniene Frost

🙃 Raven’s Mark: (The Raven Queen’s Harem #1) by Angel Lawson

🙃 Blood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion #1) by Rosalyn Eves

🙃 The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

🙃 Bad Habit (Bad Love #1) by Charleigh Rose


➽ My Top 18 Most Anticipated Releases of 2018:

🌟The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – January 2nd, 2018 ★★★★★

🌟Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire – January 9th, 2018 ★★★★★

🌟Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown – January 16th, 2018

🌟The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole – February 20th, 2018 ★★★★★

🌟Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston – February 27th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

🌟Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi – March 6th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

🌟High Voltage (Fever #10) by Karen Marie Moning – March 6th, 2018

🌟The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco – March 20th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

🌟Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – April 3rd, 2018 ★★★★★

🌟Circe by Madeline Miller – April 10th, 2018

🌟The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) by J.R. Ward – April 10th, 2017

🌟Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence April 19th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

🌟Bloody Rose (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames – April 26th, 2018

🌟Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews – May 8th, 2018

🌟The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden – August 14th, 2018

🌟Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edit by Tess Sharpe – August 28th, 2018

🌟Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore – October 9th, 2018

🌟The Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor – No Date (If this gets pushed back until 2019 I’m actually going to be WEEPING for the rest of the new year!)


➽ And the highlight of my year on Goodreads and my blog was just connecting with so many amazing people who love to celebrate their love for reading. I love you all, but these people truly changed my life this year, and I just wanted to give them a special shout out and you should all follow them (if you’re not) to start your 2018 off right!

💗 Paloma became like my best friend this year, and our Snapchat streak is getting pretty intense. She’s beautiful, funny, my book twin, and gives me the best romance recommendations in the world.

💗 Destiny became not only a huge part of my reading life, because we buddy read like 50 ARCs together, but she became a staple in my real life, too, and I love her more than words. She’s also brought me into her bookish community on FB and helped introduce me to so many wonderful people. I have no words to describe how much she has changed my life, but I truly think we will be friends for life.

💗 Elise was totally along for the ride with me and Destiny’s buddy reads, too! She’s my spider queen, my sapphic book recommender, my theater star, and I love her so much!

💗 Em is like becoming the biggest reviewer on Goodreads, so I hope she remembers me and my love for her when she’s famous. Also, she’s the number one person I go to when I gush over any book and we leave each other 100 messages back to back when we love a book, and she makes every book I read that she has already read 100 times better.

💗 Petrik completely buried himself inside my heart and my only wish is for him to move to the US immediately. Not only does he write the best reviews, read the best books, and shows me so much kindness, he also is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met.

💗 Mary completely just blatantly stole my heart and I hope she relocates to Vegas soon so we can be wed. Mary has helped me with so many reviews this year, while also doing some amazing buddy reads with me. She’s also the most beautiful person on Goodreads, but she’s also passionate, and intelligent, and honestly goals in every single way.

💗 Jules was honestly my buddy reading queen in 2017. I read so many books with her, and she made each and every one so much better. Also, we bonded over Nevernight and Godsgrave and now she can never leave me and she must read just as much with me in 2018! I don’t make the rules.

💗 Alexis is my newest book friend of 2017, but I’m completely obsessed with her opinions and content and her BookTube channel. I feel like I’ve known her way longer than I have, but I can’t wait to get to know her even more in 2018. Also, she’s adorable, funny, has amazing taste in everything, and is such a good kitty mom.

💗 Lilly is also a newer friend of mine this year, but I honestly can’t picture blogging without her now. Also, me and her have like every book in common and if my 2018 isn’t filled with buddy reads with her I’m just going to cry the entire year away.

💗 Chelsea is a confirmed angel that I was able to meet this year in person and it was honestly one if the highlights of 2017 for me. Not only is she gorgeous; she’s smart, funny, so kind, and is 100% my go-to for anything and everything Thriller!

💗 Sue completely makes Goodreads for me. She puts in more work than anyone else I know on this site, and is always so kind and giving. I couldn’t possibly make a list without giving her a shout out, because she does so much, and I can’t picture Goodreads without her.


And thank you all for making my 2017 so great! I hope 2018 is filled with unconditional love and good health and happiness for you all! Oh, and a good book always! I’m so very grateful for each and every one of you who gush over books with me and show me so much kindness and friendship. From every molecule of my body, thank you. 💖

My 2016 Reading Challenge
My 2015 Reading Challenge

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My Top 18 Most Anticipated Releases of 2018

Hey lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas yesterday (for those of you who celebrate)! I wanted to do a little some special for the day after it, so these are the eighteen books I am most looking forward to in 2018. Some of these I’ve already read (and five star loved, hence them being on this list)! Some of these I have ARCS for and I hope live up to all the exceptions I’m putting on them! And some of these, I’m just wishful thinking. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy seeing the books I’m most looking forward to, and hopefully I might introduce you to something that wasn’t originally on your book radar!

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – January 2nd, 2018 ★★★★★

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire – January 9th, 2018 ★★★★★

Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown – January 16th, 2018

The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole – February 20th, 2018 ★★★★★

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston – February 27th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi – March 6th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

High Voltage (Fever #10) by Karen Marie Moning – March 6th, 2018

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco – March 20th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – April 3rd, 2018 ★★★★★

Circe by Madeline Miller – April 10th, 2018

The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) by J.R. Ward – April 10th, 2017

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence April 19th, 2018 (I have an ARC!)

Bloody Rose (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames – April 26th, 2018

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews – May 8th, 2018

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden – August 14th, 2018

Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edit by Tess Sharpe – August 28th, 2018

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore – October 9th, 2018

The Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor – No Date (If this gets pushed back until 2019 I’m actually going to be WEEPING for the rest of the new year!)

And like, should I really waste my breath letting you guys know how much I’m praying, hoping, and wishing for Doors of Stone and Winds of Winter to be actually released this year? Or, to just give us a set date for the future, so I can be happy in 2018? Again, I’m not wasting or holding my breath, but a girl can dream. What is the book you’re most looking forward to in 2018? Happy reading, lovelies! ❄☃💙

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The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

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“He looks like a faerie lover stepped out of a ballad, the kind where no good comes to the girl who runs away with him.”

If you guys ever want to see what my true heart’s desires are on paper, read this book. This book is a piece of heaven that was sent from above, this book is the perfection incarnate, this book is nothing short of magical, this book easily makes my top five books of all-time list, and this book is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in 2017. I’m not sure how I’m even going to attempt to come up with a review fitting for this masterpiece, but I’m going to try.

If you can only preorder one book for the rest of the year, please pick The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

Okay, maybe I should start this review off with a personal story. You know, full disclosure and all that. I was a very young girl, at the mall with my mom, and we walked into a Borders Outlet. I’ve always been a rather ravenous reader, but at that time in my reading life I was reading only crime thrillers. Think things like James Patterson and John Grisham. Well, while I was perusing the new releases on this autumn day back in the 2007, a worker came up to me and started talking to me about her love for books, but more importantly her love for fae books. She was so kind and warm and enthusiastic, I couldn’t help but ask her to pick me one of her favorite fae stories. Well, she ended up handing me two, but one of them was Tithe by Holly Black, and this godsend Borders Outlet employee completely changed me and my reading life forever.

After that day, and after I inhale read that book, Holly Black became one of my favorite authors and my parents couldn’t keep unread fae fantasy books on my shelves. And ten years later, I’ve never looked back. I’ve been completely obsessed with fae stories ever since. And if I ever develop magical powers, one of the first thing I’m going to do is track down that Borders Outlet employee and thank her for making me the reader that I am today.

Okay, sappy and heartwarming story aside, this book was honestly perfection in every aspect. You want fae courts? Bloodthirsty fae royals fighting for a crown? Twists after twists and reveals after reveals? Heartwarming scenes followed by heart wrenching scenes? The slowest and most agonizing but also the most romantic and powerful and rewarding hate to love romance in the world? Pick this book up.

“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”

And the writing? I mean, not only is Holly Black the literal queen of all things fae, she is also the queen at stringing together words that make me feel everything in the entire universe. The amount of sticky notes and highlights I have in this book is ridiculous, but Holly Black’s writing is so poignant and lyrical and honestly the most perfect thing my eyes have ever seen. This entire book reads like one giant tragic ballad, yet it is equal parts heartbreak and hope. This book is so haunting, so dark, and so twisted.

“But I will not stand in front of your happiness. I will not even stand in front of misery that you choose for yourself.”

Jude is a very young girl when she witnesses her parents murder. After that terrible night, she and her sisters are whisked away by the murderer to live in Faerie. Now, ten years later, Jude is trying to live among the fae, while constantly being reminded of her mortal human status. Yet, she soon gets wrapped up in a very elaborate game, from many different sides, which will cause a civil war to break out in the Courts of Faerie if the game isn’t played properly.

The High King has ruled for centuries, but people feel like it is finally time for him to step down and give the royal crown to one of his children. In this world, the king chooses his successor; it doesn’t automatically go to the oldest child. And the High King has six children in line waiting for him to make his choice.

Prince Cardan is the youngest son of the High King. He is wicked, and charming, and smart, and maybe even a little cruel. Oh, and he makes Jude’s life a living hell most of the time. He’s also one of the best characters I’ve ever read in my entire life.

And with Cardan, comes his group of friends: Nicasia who likes power, Valerian who likes violence, and Locke who likes dramatics, but they all love tormenting Jude in very different ways.

“That’s what comes of hungering for something; you forget to check if it’s rotten before you gobble it down”

Even though Jude is the only point of view, and is the main protagonist of this amazing story, her two sisters play a huge part of this story, too. Taryn is Jude’s twin, who must watch all the torment that Jude endures, and Vivi is their older sister and one of the best side characters I’ve ever read. She’s unique and defiant and strong and devoted, and her romance with her girlfriend meant everything to me. Also, Vivi is on the page bisexual and that representation meant even more than everything to me.

Oh, and speaking of adorable queer relationships; Ben and Severin, from The Darkest Part of the Forest, make a cameo in this and I was crying the happiest tears! I don’t think I will ever be over THAT whisper, and I’ve just completely accepted that. Be still, my heart.

But Jude is our main character of this story, and you can tell from everything that I’ve written above that she doesn’t have the easiest of lives. See, the fae in this world are very dependent on humans, even though they remind them of their lower status constantly, because the fae women have a very hard and sporadic time conceiving and bearing children, therefore, they rely on humans reproducing for them. Well, Jude doesn’t want that life, she wants to make a name for herself and be one of the greatest knights that the Courts of Faerie have ever seen!

Jude is strong willed and very determined, but she is also one of the most selfless characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading from. She is a very morally grey character, yet she will completely capture your heart. But she’s young and learning that love comes in very different forms, and sometimes we are unable to control what we feel.

“I stand in front of my window and imagine myself a fearless knight, imagine myself a witch who hid her heart in her finger and then chopped her finger off.”

One of the most beautiful things about this book is that none of these characters are perfect. Jude, Cardan, all of them do bad things, and none of them are ever excused of their crimes, but they learn to deal with them and the other ramifications that come from their actions. I mean, none of us are perfect people, and we all make bad choices at times. But this book accepts that and reflects that, but also highlights the importance of growing, and becoming a stronger person, and picking what battles you choose to fight. It’s a truly beautiful message and I really appreciated having a full cast of nonperfect characters that do nonperfect things.

“But we all want stupid things. That doesn’t mean we should have them.”

Also, this is a spoiler free review, but I just have to yell from the rooftops say that Chapter 26 is the best chapter I’ve read in all of literature. I will fight anyone that says otherwise. Chapter 26 tortured me, broke up, killed me, rebirthed me, and gave me new life. The end of Chapter 25 through Chapter 26 was the most romantic scene my eyes have ever witnessed. I feel so blessed to have even been able to read those glorious paragraphs. Like, I’m a different person after experiencing Chapter 26. When I’m sad or hurt or angry, I’m going to reread Chapter 26 so I know the true meaning of this life.

“…like taking a dare to run over knives, like an adrenaline strike of lighting, like the moment when you’ve swum too far out in the sea and there is no going back, only cold black water closing over your head.”

Also, fair warning, this book has a cliffhanger ending that puts all other cliffhanger endings to shame. Just typing that sentence gave me full body goosebumps, by the way! Oh, and the title of this book is absolute perfection, as well.

This book has touched me in a way that very few books have in my life. This is the type of book that reminds me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. This is the type of book that makes me believe words have the most powerful healing magic of anything in this world. This is the type of book that completely sets my soul on fire and makes me feel utterly enchanted. I just know that The Cruel Prince is a once in a lifetime series, because this first installment was everything I have ever wanted in a book.

Holly Black immerses me, captivates me, and makes me believe in magic. I have no words of gratitude for that, and I’m not sure what the world has done to deserve her stories, but I will forever be grateful. Holly Black helps me forget all the actual cruel princes in our world today, and their terrible choices that they are making for all of us. And honestly, I’d be super surprised if she isn’t an actual fae queen, that just escaped faerie to torture us with real stories that went on while she was ruling.

Again, if you can only preorder one book for the rest of the year, please pick The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It’s not only my favorite book of the year, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. And then read the rest of Holly Black’s work, because her books are truly the closest thing to magic and each is a tangible vessel of joy that I have an an unconditional amount of love for.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse.”

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Content warnings for bullying and abuse.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

(Thank you so much, Diana. You’ve completely made my entire bookish life! This book means more to me than you’ll ever know. I am forever grateful and will always remember and cherish your kind note. Thank you for giving me an ARC of my favorite book! 💖)