This month I am reading 8 physical books, 2 audiobooks, 1 comic book, and 4 ebooks (The Gilded Wolves in an ARC).
1- Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix
This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels. Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire? Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won’t soon forget.
2- The Reckoning of Noah Shaw
Noah Shaw confesses all in this second novel of a chilling new companion series to Michelle Hodkin’s New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer trilogy! Noah Shaw doesn’t think he needs his father’s inheritance. He does. Noah believes there’s something off about the suicides in his visions. There is. Noah is convinced that he still knows the real Mara Dyer. He does not. Everyone thought the nightmare had ended with Mara Dyer’s memoirs, but it was only the beginning. As old skeletons are laid bare, alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one will be left unscarred.
3- The Resolutions
New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was. From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan. Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything. But not even the best-laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heartbreaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.
4- Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World
Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series of the same name, Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world. With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers. Starting in the fifth century BC and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time. Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.
5- If We Were Villains
Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces. On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it. Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make-believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.
6- The Girl in The Tower
The magical adventure began in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege. Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.
7- Just Listen
Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store. This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
8- Canterbury Tales
The procession that crosses Chaucer’s pages is as full of life and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and others who make up the cast of characters — including Chaucer himself — are real people, with human emotions and weaknesses. When it is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at a time when Latin was the standard literary language across western Europe, the magnitude of his achievement is even more remarkable. But Chaucer’s genius needs no historical introduction; it bursts forth from every page of The Canterbury Tales. If we trust the General Prologue, Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.
9- Delilah: Treacherous Beauty
A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls
Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.
When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.
In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie. Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen? Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.
11- Shades of Magic #2: The Steel Prince
The Prince of Red London reaches the Blood Coast – and meets its infamous Pirate Queen.
12- Lucky Number Eleven
I’ve always been the person that does whatever someone tells me I can’t. Can’t graduate with a four-point-oh? Check. Can’t win a modeling contract without trying? Did it. Check. Can’t make it in the pro football league? Triple check with an MVP Award on top. When my best friend told me to stay away from his little sister, Layla, it didn’t sound like a challenge. Then again, I’d never seen her before. He obviously wasn’t thinking about who he was talking to if he believed I could ignore her. I obviously wasn’t thinking of him at all when I fell in love with her either. Fact of the matter is: I not only fell harder than a quarterback sack on a Sunday night game, but I did us one better. Kind of like that MVP award, only not so shiny. Sort of like my Player of the Year title, except the only thing I’m walking away with, is an ex-best friend and a woman that hates my guts. It’s okay. Just tell me I can’t win her back. I’m Branch “Lucky” Best and today’s my lucky day.
13- Take Me for Granted
Grant Manwhore. Adrenaline junkie. Lead singer of ContraBand. What you see is what you get. I make no apologies for my actions, and by now no one expects any from me. I live my life the way I want and as long as it pushes the demons back, then I’m solid. I’ve never needed a chick for more than a good lay. Why would I need just one when I can have a different one every night? Until she walks into my world. Aribel Mouthy. Perfectionist. Princeton student. Chemistry major. Yes, that pretty much describes me. Oh, and a virgin. But I’m only nineteen and have more important things to concern myself with. What really matters is finishing my degree and getting a good job. I’ve worked hard for what I want, and do what’s expected of me. I don’t need anyone to get in my way. Until he opens up my world. But if I give you my world, whatever you do…don’t TAKE ME for granted.
14- The Gilded Wolves
Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure. Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
15- Always with You
Can friendship survive desire? Jack Woodborough was eighteen years old when he fell in lust with the girl next door. Seven years later, sweet, shy Cassidy Thomas is still in his life—but Jack knows that all they’ll ever be is friends. Until one red-hot, rainy night throws everything into question. Cass didn’t mean to lose control, but she’s wanted Jack for seven long years. The attraction between them feels soul-deep, but with desire clouding her judgment, Cass doesn’t know what to do. Until she’s left to cope without the man she’s always been able to count on…When a relationship is thrown off-course, can it ever recover? Or will always be over before it’s really begun?
I can’t wait to read all these books and see what they are about. What are you reading this month?