Two years ago, I made a list of books that I definitely had to read that year. It consisted of 15 books, which was half of the books that I read that year. But some of these are still on my TBR shelf. Even though I had the intention to read them, it didn’t happen. Now, two years later, I should probably read them. These ten books I want to read for me, not because I have to review them, or because of a challenge. I want to read them because I’m excited to read them.
I have a physical copy of all of these books (except The Starless Sea since that one isn’t out yet) and they’re begging me to read them. I hope to find a copy of The Starless Sea at the airport before we go to Japan. Then I know that I can spend my time enjoying a good book.
Shadowplay by Laura Lam
Shadowplay is the sequel to Pantomime. I read it years ago and Shadowplay has been on my TBR ever since. My brother actually gave me the book last year for my birthday, so now is the time to read it. I loved the world Laura created and Micah is super interesting. I’m curious to see where his story will go since the first book ended with a big event.
Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?
Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.
Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?
Warcross by Marie Lu
I first noticed Warcross in a flyer from the local bookshop. The vibrant colours of the cover caught my attention first (I will buy a book for its cover) and the summary didn’t disappoint either. My husband actually bought me this book without knowing that I was looking for it at the library. He thought that I would like it and maybe he would too. I haven’t read too much about it, so I’m super curious if the inside is just as pretty as the outside.
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The only book on the list that isn’t released yet, but I have to read this. The Night Circus is one of my favourite books and I still read it to discover new things. The Starless Sea is a book about stories. I honestly hope that Erin succeeds again in creating an intricate world full of wonder.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
One of the writing books that is always on the list of resources for many writers. I’ve had this book for years, but never took the time to read it. That, and the fact that it was boxed up for a long time because I was moving twice in eight months. I hope to learn more about the craft and the writing as a career.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said. ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer’s life. From “Getting Started,’ with “Short Assignments,” through “Shitty First Drafts,” “Character,” “Plot,” “Dialogue.” all the way from “False Starts” to “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses “Writers Block,” “Writing Groups,” and “Publication.” Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive.
If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.
Mythos by Stephen Fry
I’ve already started reading this one, but I have to finish it. This isn’t the first time I’m reading Greek myths, but what I like so far is Stephen Fry’s wit. If you like his humour, you’ll love reading this. I want to finish it soon since I can use that knowledge for my current WIP. It borrows ideas from the myths so it doesn’t hurt to freshen up that knowledge.
I wouldn’t be surprised if experts or enthusiastic amateurs prefer other translations of the Greek myths, but I like reading this version. It might not be the easiest to follow with all the footnotes and references, but the Greek myths were never easy.
The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney.
They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry’s hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies.
You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.
Thoroughly spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I remember buying A Discovery of Witches in Waterstones in Brussels many years ago. If you’ve been reading my blogs you know that big books are my thing and I’m fascinated with witches. I didn’t really need another reason to pick this one up. Now I hope that I won’t be disappointed.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I don’t remember why I bought this one. I wasn’t that into the bookish community on Twitter or the book blogging community so I didn’t know much about it. All I knew was that the name Victoria Aveyard kept popping up. There’s a theory that people have to see a name at least five times before they remember it. Well, it worked. My subconscious was telling me this was a good pick. Was it right?
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.
The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
Oh man, The Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett is something else. It’s nothing like my usual picks (see the rest of this list), but I love it. I also hate Peter V. Brett for that cliffhanger at the end of The Daylight War. The book itself was a demon and I couldn’t hold it comfortably to read. But the ending. Jeez, really? When I got this one, the first thing I did was read the first page to get that ending out of my system. Now I still have to read the rest so I can move on to The Core, the last book in the series.
The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.
Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.
But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.
In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.
In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.
Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton–rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.
All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared…
Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho
Sorcerer To The Crown is one of the books that I picked up at Dutch Comic Con years ago and Zen Cho signed it. And I feel slightly embarrassed that I haven’t read it yet. The second book in the same world, The True Queen, is coming out this year, so it’s a good time to read it.
Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.
But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
When I first started to interact with the bookish community, Caraval was everywhere. And people compared it to The Night Circus. There was no way to forget about this book, especially since it was like one of my favourites. I bought this one last year for my birthday and my sister in law gifted me the sequel during the holidays last year. Finale is coming out this year, so another reason to finish these soon.
Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Have you read any of these? Which one should I pick first?