Book Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Series: Book 3 of The Winternight Trilogy

Publisher: Del Rey (January 9, 2019)

Length: 384 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Reaching the end of a beloved series is always bittersweet, and sometimes you even put off reading the last book because you don’t want to say goodbye. But in the case of the Winternight trilogy, I was actually really looking forward to The Winter of the Witch because as we all know, endings can be hopeful too—a promise to the reader that the journey was worth it all.

The story finds Vasya in the aftermath of the great fire in Moscow—a fire she accidentally started when she unleashed a firebird to save the life of the Grand Prince. Now an angry mob has descended upon the home of her sister, led by the zealot Konstantin Nikonvich, a priest who has been obsessed with bringing down Vasya since the very beginning. Grieving for a lost friend and distraught over what she has done, our protagonist ends up being captured and is headed for the pyre to be burned as a witch when suddenly, fate intervenes in the form of the Bear demon Medved, who makes Vasya a tempting offer.

However, Vasya is her own woman and refuses to owe the demon any favors. Escaping on her own, she finds herself in the dreamlike realm known as Midnight, where she encounters all kinds of mystical creatures and figures, including her own great-grandmother Baba Yaga. After learning about herfamily history and magical bloodline, Vasya realizes just how much responsibility rests upon her shoulders, especially once she discovers what has become of Morozko, the Winter King, following his sacrifice on her behalf. The Bear has also found a way to create chaos, manipulating Konstantin to do his bidding. To save Moscow, as well as those she loves, Vasya must come to terms with who she is, and embrace her power in all its glory and dangers.

In this satisfying conclusion, we get to meet some familiar faces like Vasya’s sister Olga, who is dealing with her own grief, as well as her brother Sasha, who has come a long way since leaving home for the monastery—though he is still my favorite character. Vasya’s cousin Dmitrii, the Grand Prince, also has a part to play, as he begins to gather allies and prepare for the oncoming threat of invasion. In essence, we are pulling all the threads together in the lead-up to the Battle of Kulikovo, which marked a victory for Rus forces over the Tatars and is considered one of the major steps in formation of what is modern Russia. Katherine Arden blends history with fantasy, entwining medieval Russian politics with fairy tale and folklore to create something amazing here. For while the tensions simmer in the real world, an invisible war also rages among the supernatural beings of the enchanted lands, as Morozko and his brother Medved are locked in their own fierce battle.

This novel sees Vasya caught in the middle, in more ways than one. For one thing, she spends a good part of the story in the realm of Midnight, which should delight fans of the more fantastical elements of this series. This, however, was probably why I liked this volume a little less than the two previous ones; as much as I enjoy the magical aspects of Vasya’s journey, I always preferred it better when she was dealing with mortal conflicts. The one exception to this is her complex romance with Morozko. As Vasya struggles with her place between two worlds, she is also trying to work out her complicated feelings for the Winter King, whose purposes are often hidden but quite vast. As always, I love how the author treated their relationship with a subtle touch, so that it becomes neatly integrated into the novel’s larger themes of choices, sacrifice, and unity.

Like the two books that came before, this one had some slow-moving sections. However, Arden keeps things interesting with all the new things Vasya encounters in the spirit world. I confess some of these parts felt like filler, but there were also revelations that paved the way for bigger developments later on. The prose, too, is beautiful—Arden has clearly been honing her skills over the years, and her writing is now better than ever. Midnight would not have come to life the way it did had she not described the world and its denizens in such luscious detail.

All told, The Winter of the Witch is a worthy conclusion to a beautiful trilogy about changing times and growing up. It is not my favorite of the books, considering how strong the first two volumes were, but it did end with an epic climax and an emotional denouement which is sure to resonate with readers who have been with Vasya since the beginning. Katherine Arden has created something genuinely incredible here: an atmospheric and memorable saga full of imagination and heart.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Bear and the Nightingale (Book 1)
Review of The Girl in the Tower (Book 2)

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Waiting on Wednesday 01/02/19

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Protect The Prince by Jennifer Estep (July 2nd, 2019 by HarperVoyager)

I discovered quite a few favorite new-to-me authors in 2018 (there will be a top ten list coming very soon), and one of them was Jennifer Estep. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Kill The Queen, which was a highly enjoyable read despite the story’s heavy reliance on well-worn fantasy tropes. It was the perfect book to kick back and relax with, and I’m looking for more of that light entertaining good fun with the sequel.

“Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…”

2019 Audiobook Challenge

Here we go again! We love audiobooks here at The Bibliosanctum for a variety of reasons, from distraction while doing chores to just enjoying a good story being read by an awesome narrator. We also love to undertake a good challenge, especially when it coincides with our love of reading.

Hot Listens and the Caffeinated Book Reviewer are once again hosting the annual Audiobook Challenge, which is now in its seventh year of running. This will be The Bibliosanctum’s sixth year participating in the event, and we’re excited to see where 2019’s challenge will take us! If you want to take part, make sure to check out the sign-up page for this year’s challenge, and also head on over to the Goodreads group. We hope you’ll join us!

Challenge Details

  • Runs January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. You can join at any time.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2019 than you did in 2018.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the challenge.
  • Updates plus a giveaway will be posted twice during the year. The first update will be June 30, 2019, and the last update will take place on December 15, 2019.

Levels

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multitasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  • Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+

Mogsy’s Goals

I slacked off a bit with the 2018 challenge so outdoing myself this year shouldn’t be too hard. I’m going to do what I always do when it comes to goal-setting though: set a short term goal of My Precious, with the long term goal of going for broke with Marathoner. My total for last year was 43, so this year I’m aiming for at least as many as that.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Will you try doing the audiobook challenge this year? Let us know your thoughts!

Book Review: City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

Mogsy’s Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of Chronicles of Amicae

Publisher: Tor (November 20, 2018)

Length: 393 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Five hundred years ago, a magical weapon was created in the form of an infestation that ate magic, but it quickly got out of hand and became impossible to control. This power burrowed itself into amulets and would grow and devour everything in its path if not contained. Only individuals with talent and specialized training, called Sweepers, can defuse and dispose of these magical ticking time bombs.

Enter Laura, an apprentice Sweeper who works with her boss Clae to rid the city of these dangerous threats. The problem though, is that the local politicians have been deceiving their people into believing that infestations aren’t really a problem anymore. As a result, Clae’s office is severely underfunded, and no one takes the profession as seriously as they should. All it will take is one mistake—or one act of malice—for a massive infestation to level the entire city.

This wasn’t a terrible book, but it very clearly could have been improved. For one thing, it’s always unfortunate when a publisher description oversells the story. When I read “bomb squad that defuses magic weapons”, I immediately pictured elite armored special teams and lots of suspense and excitement. Too bad this book had none of these things. I was expecting something more akin to a fast-paced thriller, but instead what I got was a somewhat dry and meandering plot that seemed to lack even a main conflict for the first half of the novel. As a result, the early part of the story felt like it had no direction, a problem also exacerbated by too much info-dumping. While the world-building may have been able to capture the reader’s imagination (at least initially), having no immediate hook meant that any interest I had in the plot rapidly faded.

The other problem I had was with the characters. It’s one thing to be progressive and proud to work in a profession not conventionally held by women, but Laura goes through life with an air of superiority I didn’t much care for. Often, she had this attitude of dismissal or contempt for subjects that she doesn’t understand or things that don’t interest her, which drove me crazy. And God forbid we ever forget she’s bucking gender norms and society’s expectations of her, because she never fails to remind us every chance she gets. Then there was Clae, her boss and head Sweeper. He’s tactless, brusque, and incredibly antagonistic towards everyone, reminding me of a more annoying and less lovable version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I feel like that was exactly what the author was trying for, attempting to channel BBC’s 21st-century portrayal of the famous literary detective, except Clae comes across just plain unlikeable, and Laura is no Martin Freeman’s Watson to pull off the part in this double act.

There were a few things I did enjoy. One was the world-building. It wasn’t as well developed as I would have liked, but I was intrigued by the notion of magical amulets that held infestations that could grow into monsters capable of destroying cities. I also loved the concept of Sweepers. In truth, taken individually, all the ideas in this book are great, but as a whole, they feel like pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together quite right. Perhaps if the plot been clearer and more cogent, the world-building might have reached its full potential.

Overall, I think it was a combination of a vague synopsis and disorganized storytelling that made City of Broken Magic a miss for me. It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this one, as there were many ideas in here that I liked. Sadly, they were unable to carry the plot, which struggled to get off the ground, or make me overcome my initial distaste for the characters. Since this is Mirah Bolender’s debut, I chalk most of these up to new-author problems, and if this is to become a series, hopefully the next book will have many of the issues ironed out.

Book Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider by Stephen King

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Scriber (May 22, 2018)

Length: 561 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Hard to believe, but the last book I read by Stephen King was 11/22/63 (which was one of the most amazing pieces of literature I’ve ever read), but it’s true I’m probably not as keen to jump on every new release of his as I used to be. And quite honestly, I haven’t been all that interested in picking any of his recent stuff. But something about The Outsider caught my attention. There was some of that old-school King flavor about it that looked promising.

The book opens by laying out the details of a horrific crime, setting the scene for a detective story. In Flint City, Oklahoma, a little boy named Frank Peterson has been murdered, his violated body found in a town park. Based on the mountain of evidence available, including multiple eyewitness accounts and DNA and fingerprint samples, Detective Ralph Anderson arrests Little League coach Terry Maitland at a baseball game in front of the whole town. Everyone is shocked that the well-respected husband and father of two could be capable of such an unspeakable act, but it just goes to show, you can never know what’s going on in someone’s heart or mind, no matter how normal they seem.

The problem though, is that Terry Maitland insists on his innocence. And despite everything the police have on him, he also has an airtight alibi. It seems that at the time of the murder, Terry was out of town attending a conference with his fellow teachers, who all confirm he was with them the entire time. There’s even security and TV footage to back up his story. So what gives? How is it possible that a man can be in two places at the same time? Detective Anderson sure isn’t buying it, and is convinced that Terry killed the Peterson boy, but he just doesn’t know the why and the how. But before he can dig any further, disaster strikes, altering the course of his investigation as well as the fates of everyone involved.

The Outsider is one of those books only Stephen King can write. No one else can tease the reader for a third of the book, without providing any real answers or progress, and still have you eating out of his hands, begging for more. The first two hundred pages or so are filled with an outrageous amount of background information, a lot of back and forth conversations and going over what we already know again and again. Any other author would have me cursing their name, but King somehow manages to make it work. After all, long introductions are kind of his thing, and I put up with them for the most part because I trust he’s building up to something big, and besides, no one can create such an intense atmosphere of anticipation quite the way he does.

In truth, we don’t get to the meat of the story until the second part. Enter Holly Gibney of the Bill Hodges trilogy fame, a series a confess I never really got into, but she was fantastic in this book, despite being a supporting character. She gets involved when Flint City gets in touch with her to see if she can follow up on a few leads in Dayton, Ohio, and thanks to her tenacity and smarts, the team gets a huge break in their investigation. From there onwards, it’s a thrilling and unputdownable hunt for a supernatural predator who feeds on violence, pain and misery. Like many of King’s novels, the story seeks to explore the idea of evil in the world that goes far beyond the understanding of mere mortals. It is here that we begin our transition from murder mystery into pure horror territory.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. The plot meanders and languishes close to the end of the second act as we ramp up towards the finale, and the ending felt like it came on and was over and done with way too soon. I also liked the supernatural element, but it seemed to try too hard to be convincing and cover all its bases, when a little ambiguity might have served it better. Trying to over-explain the situation and in general making things more complicated than necessary was why I felt the pacing lagged a bit in the second half, but happily, the conclusion made up for it. While it may have been a little rushed, the scene of the final showdown was dramatic, suspenseful and most importantly satisfying when it was all over.

In the end, The Outsider is a Stephen King novel through and through. Even with its warts and all, that’s a good thing. It’s not the best book I’ve read by him, but it’s definitely up there in terms of readability and how much fun I had with it. If you’re a King fan, it’s well worth your time.

Audiobook Challenge 2018: 4th Quarter Update

It’s our final update for the 2018 Audiobook Challenge! Thank you to the challenge hosts and here’s to another year of great listens. Let’s see how everyone did.

Challenge Details

  • Runs January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018. You can join at anytime.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2018 than you did in 2017.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the challenge.

Levels

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  • Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+

   

 

This quarter I listened to 6 audiobooks (counting only those I listened to from start to finish, i.e. not titles where I tag-teamed both formats) for a total of 43 for the year total. I didn’t quite make Marathoner, but that’s okay, as my goal was My Precious and I blew that level away! And of course, 2019 is another year and you better believe we’ll be doing this again. I hope everyone is did well on their challenges this year!

Friday Face-Off: Freebie

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

A FREEBIE!
Choose one of your favorite titles and compare the covers

Mogsy’s Pick:

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Yes, I absolutely adored this book, even though magical realism isn’t typically my thing. Combining religion and mythology to tell a story of two supernatural creatures who find themselves in New York City in 1899, the story plays out like a fairy tale for adults. Chava is a magically-crafted clay golem, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dies at sea while on the voyage from Poland. When the ship reaches NYC, she is left directionless and without a master. Ahmad is a jinni, released accidentally after being trapped in a copper flask for hundreds of years. Through free from the vessel, he finds himself still bound to the physical world by a band of iron around his wrist, placed there by the wizard who imprisoned him so long ago.

The golem and the jinni become two more faces in the crowd trying to seek a new beginning in America. Despite being creatures of lore, their struggles and aspirations make them feel entirely too human. This was just simply a beautiful book, and a great choice if you’re in the mood for some literary fantasy! Now let’s take a look at the covers:

From left to right:
Harper (2013) – Blue Door (2013) – Portuguese Edition (2015)

  

Turkish Edition (2014) – Spanish Edition (2014) – German Edition (2013)

  

Czech Edition (2014) – Russian Edition (2014) – Indonesian Edition (2015)

  

Italian Edition (2013) – German Edition (2015) – Hebrew Edition (2013)

  

Hungarian Edition (2015) – French Edition (2016) – Norwegian Edition (2013)

  

Winner:

So many covers to choose from, and several that really stand out for me this week, but there can only be one! Even though it’s not as atmospheric as some of the others, I’m really feeling the colors of the French edition. At least at this very moment. Ask me another day, and my choice might be different!

But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

Best of 2018 and the Year in Review

It’s once again that time of the year where I look back at the last twelve months and round up my favorite reads! As always, my methods are going to be rather haphazard, but as you know I read a TON of books and having to narrow it down to just “Top 10” or even “Top 20” is a difficult (if not impossible) task. That’s why I’ve opted not to do a traditional list, and instead I’m going to be breaking this post down into different genres/categories to highlight all the books that 1) were my favorites of the year, 2) I thought were most memorable, or 3) I think should be getting more love and attention. The one thing they have in common is that I loved them all.

You can see my reviews and more information about the books by clicking on the images and following the links.

Fantasy

  

  

Fantasy is typically my biggest category, though this year there were fewer contenders for top spots, or maybe I’ve just gotten pickier. Still, 2018 saw some epic releases, including The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, which is also notable for being my favorite debut of the year. There were some great sequels, including Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, as well as King of Assassins by RJ Barker which capped off a phenomenal trilogy. A couple of my favorite authors also dazzled with new projects like Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett and Starless by Jacqueline Carey, and one of the year’s biggest surprises came in the form of Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven, a swooningly scrumptious romance fantasy.

Science Fiction

  

  

This was also a decent year for science fiction. My favorite sci-fi read of 2018 was probably Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. Other standouts include Before Mars by Emma Newman, Artificial Condition (as well as the other novellas in the Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells, Head On by John Scalzi, as well as a backlist book by Andrew Mayne called Station Breaker that I was really glad I got to read. I also got to sneak in one great sci-fi read before the end of the year, in the form of Outpost by W. Michael Gear.

But wait, there’s more! This year The BiblioSanctum once again participated in the month-long Sci-Fi November event, so if you’re interested in seeing a more detailed list of all my favorite sci-fi reads this year, be sure to check out the Top Ten post I put together for the wrap up!

Horror

  

I did not read as much Horror in 2018 compared to previous years, but I did love The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, and I also enjoyed Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey and The Chrysalis by Brendan Deneen.

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

  

  

2018 was a good year for me when it comes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, or just fantastical spec fic that doesn’t really fit neatly into either the high fantasy or science fiction categories. Speaking of being hard to categorize, The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri was one of my most memorable reads of the year. The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller was also one of my biggest surprises. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris and Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse were both gifts to post-apocalyptic UF, and if we’re talking more traditional urban fantasy, we have Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovich closing out the first major story arc of the Rivers of London series. Finally, King of the Road by R.S. Belcher was a book I only finished a few days ago, but it might just be my favorite paranormal read of 2018.

Young Adult

  

  

Like most years, there were a number of highly anticipated Young Adult releases that fizzled for me in 2018, but thankfully there were also a number of amazing reads that balanced out those disappointments. Among them are books by a couple of my favorite authors like Skyward by Brandon Sanderson and Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell. I also discovered a couple gems from new-to-me authors, including Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, and The Hazel Wood by debut author Melissa Albert. In terms of sequels, I had a blast with The Defiant by Lesley Livingston, and Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was a worthy finale to the Illuminae trilogy.

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

  

  

2018 was the year I made a real effort to read more Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller – and it shows. There were quite a few books I loved in this category, including debuts like Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman and The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, sequels like Looking Glass by Andrew Mayne and This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong, as well as a couple of awesome reads by new authors I discovered like Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier and The Winters by Lisa Gabriele.

Overview: Books Read in 2018

We still have a few more days left in the year so these numbers aren’t going to be final, but the below charts and statistics taken from Goodreads should provide a good general overview of my 2018 in books. It would be cool if I could reach 200 books read for the year!

Goodreads Ratings:

On My Shelves…

By a Male Author: 49.2%
By a Female Author: 47.7%
Unknown/Male & Female Co-Authored: 3.1%
Audiobooks: 21.8%
For Review: 95.4%

Genres (some crossover):
Fantasy: 42.1%
Science Fiction: 29.9%
Thriller/Suspense: 16.2%
Horror: 13.1%
Urban Fantasy and Paranormal: 17.3%
Children’s and Young Adult: 22.8%

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Mogsy: Best of 2014 and The Year in Review
Mogsy: Best of 2015 and The Year in Review
Mogsy: Best of 2016 and The Year in Review
Mogsy: Best of 2017 and The Year in Review

Waiting on Wednesday 12/26/18

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan (August 20th, 2019 by Tor Books)

I’m a huge fan of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, and I couldn’t be more excited when I found out about this book. Isabella’s saga may be over, but her legacy will be carried on by her granddaughter!

“As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorian-esque fantasy landscape.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Gifts I Hope I Find Under My Christmas Tree This Morning

toptentues

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, a weekly meme that now resides at That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme first came about because of a love of lists. Who doesn’t love lists? The original creators also wanted their lists to be shared with fellow book lovers and to ask that we in turn share ours with them and connect with other book bloggers. To learn more about participating, stop by their page dedicated to it and dive in!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Bookish Gifts I Hope I Find Under My Christmas Tree This Morning

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to all!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is officially “Books I Hope I Find Under My Christmas Tree This Morning”, but quite honestly, I already have more than enough on my TBR to get through at the moment, so instead of books, I decided to feature bookish or reader related gifts that I think are pretty cool or useful (and wouldn’t mind having).

Book Sleeves

The problem with book sleeves is that you only ever really need one or two, at most a few. But all the many amazing and gorgeous designs out there make me wish I could own a few dozen.

Book Quotes Doormat

I love showing my love for fantasy in subtle ways, and having a quote doormat is a nice way to do it for when the delivery people or neighbors come around. I’m actually trying to convince my husband we need these, but I don’t know if I’m making any progress on getting him on board.

Bookish Apparel and Accessories

Speaking of showing off your love for books, another way I like to do it is through the clothing and jewelry I wear.

Book Totes

I can never have enough tote bags, especially in the summers when I visit the local library every week to stock up on reading materials for my kids. Most of mine are from shirt.woot, and I’ve gotten tons of laughs and compliments on them, so I’m always on the lookout for new available designs with bookish themes.

Headphones

Huge audiobook listener that I am, I go through bluetooth headphones like they’re going out of style. I always carry a pair with me wherever I go, and around the house will be a couple more charging, ready to be switched out when my current one runs out of juice. Due to the hard and constant use, I probably replace a pair every few months, so I have a feeling I’ll find some in my stocking this year.

Dictionary bookmark

I’m not really big on bookmarks; most of the time, whenever I find myself in need of something to mark my page, I pick up whatever’s conveniently lying around be it an old receipt or a piece of candy wrapper. I kind of like the idea of an electronic dictionary bookmark, though. Not sure how well this thing actually works, but it’s a neat concept. Something like that would be super handy for when I’m reading a dead tree book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself poking at a word on the page like an idiot, waiting for the definition to pop up, momentarily forgetting I’m not actually on my Kindle.

Art Books

Okay, so maybe there are some actual books I am wishing for today. For those who don’t know, I’m a collector of concept art books, for video games especially. There have been some recent ones I’m hoping to add to my collection.

Replica Swords of SFF

Speaking of collecting random things, my dream one day is to own a respectable collection of replica swords. Not too surprisingly, there are plenty out there inspired by fantasy literature. The best replicas are super pricey though, so if I ever win the lottery or stumble across some outrageous sum in pirate treasure, maybe it’ll happen.

Little Free Library

So you’ve all heard of the Little Free Library, right? It’s basically a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. Commonly, they take the form of a small wooden box that anyone can fill with books to share, or bring one home to enjoy. The ones I’ve seen in my area are mostly around local parks and playgrounds, but some people have also placed them in front of their houses to share with their neighborhood. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, if nothing else because it’s a fun way to donate my books and set them free in the world (let’s hope my neighbors enjoy Sci-Fi & Fantasy). If I had any woodworking talent, I’d make my own, though ready-to-be-assembled Little Free Libraries can also be purchased. Still, chances are it’s all a moot point anyway, since my despotic HOA would probably shoot this idea down faster than you can say BAH-HUMBUG! Oh well, I can dream, and if I ever move, a Little Free Library in my front yard might still be in my future.

New Shelves

I’ve long since run out of shelf space. Currently, the linen closet is doing double duty as a makeshift bookshelf, handling some of the overflow, while my side of the walk-in closet is stacked from floor to ceiling with even more books. If I were to grab a coat just a bit too violently, there’s a real possibility I might disturb something and get crushed to death in a horrible book avalanche. Yes, I am in desperate need of new shelves. My husband, who actually does have some woodworking skill, has promised to install some built-in bookshelves for our family room, but six years later, this project has still yet to get off the ground. After all this time, I’m not holding my breath, but with luck, maybe I’ll get to see some blueprints/plans this year at least!

So those are some of the neat bookish things I’ve stumbled across. What did you get (or are hoping to find) underneath the Christmas tree this year? Hope everyone is having a safe and merry holiday season!