Finally, after 14-ish years, I own a copy of Daja’s Book. Why is this so monumental?
Daja’s Book was life-changing. It turned me into the book lover I am today. And all thanks to a school project many many moons ago.
What helped with the project was that I got to CHOOSE a book myself instead of being assigned one I more than likely wouldn’t have enjoyed. For part of my project, I even made a board game based on the book – so fun! Choice can make a huge difference when it comes to reading.
I read the book and it was as if a light bulb turned on. I didn’t know stories could be so fantastical, so magical, so spellbinding. That was also how fantasy became my favorite genre.
I’m so glad to have this book on my shelf. It’s been a long time coming. I plan to reread Daja’s Book as soon as I can.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce (Circle of Magic #3)
Outcast Trader Daja, along with her fellow mages-in-training, journeys from Winding Circle to the Gold Ridge Mountains, where drought threatens widespread famine. There, Daja creates an astonishing object: a living metal vine. A caravan of Traders covets the vine, and Daja’s dealings with her former people reawakens a longing for familiar ways.
Daja must choose – should she return to the Traders or remain with the Winding Circle folk who have become her family?
Hello, again! Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! It’s been a busy while relaxing, reading, and just enjoying my time off work. This break was much needed for everyone.
Today’s post is a rewind, reminiscing about all the books I read this year and sharing the ones that stood out and left big impressions on me.
This year seems harder than past ones because I read so many good books! It was difficult to choose just one for some of the categories I’m using below. But we’re book lovers. Choosing just one book rarely is an option.
In 2021, I surpassed my reading goal of 100 books and read 27,146 pages across 131 books.
I’m still reading “Operation Sisterhood” but will be able to finish before the year is over. That review will be posted January 4 (its release day).
Through much deliberation, here are the best of the best books of 2021:
So those were some of my top favorite reads from the year. It’s been another amazing reading journey that I’m going to remember fondly. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my wrap up along with my favorite book, cover, and author of 2021.
Today is a freebie prompt, so I chose to do older reads that I loved and will always recommend.
Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Alanna takes control over her own life by convincing her twin brother two swap places with her: she would go and become a knight and he would go to study magic. Alanna’s story is an alluring epic adventure. She easily became one of my top favorite characters of all time.
The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
A young warrior with the best (and longest) name ever becomes queen after her father falls in battle and works hard to keep her kingdom together and safe. She meets different magical and supernatural beings, which was a lot of fun. It was a cool trilogy that I really enjoyed.
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn
My first foray into science fiction and it was indeed an epic adventure. I loved the way the story was told. I was hooked from the beginning. The concept is really cool. Jack (the thief) forms a symbiotic relationship with Draycos (the dragon) who takes refuge on Jack’s body – kind of like a tattoo, though can at times take a partial corporeal form. Along their space adventure, a friendship/bond forms.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
I didn’t know this was based on a fairytale when I first read this book. It sounded interesting and I ended up devouring the rest of the books in the series – it was so good! This story was so charming and I loved the characters. I also loved the relationship that blossoms between her and her intended, even though he doesn’t know she is the real princess he is supposed to marry. The book’s a good rainy day or beach read. Quick, fun, and pleasant.
The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn
I read this standalone a long time ago and I remember being wowed by it. It’s one of the few books I’ve managed to reread over my long years as an avid reader. A couple whose relationship seems to be kindling out suddenly become the character of an unusual young girl. Little did they know that they would somehow become involved in a long-standing feud between two alien races: the Greens and the Gray. It’s a great sci-fi story that I would love to reread again someday.
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
I love this book and series – cringe and all. I was really into vampires and werewolves around the time I first started this series (thank you, Twilight). I just loved the world-building and the characters. I liked how the main character, Zoey, went from ordinary human to over-powered, goddess-touched, vampire priestess. There were a lot of cringy moments that were just too much. And I do think the series was 12 books too long. But House of Night will always hold a special place in my heart. Marked is the only book of the series I don’t own a physical copy of – one day!
Mister Monday by Garth Nix
I don’t remember why I decided to read this book (I read the whole series forever ago). But what I liked most about this series is that the antagonists were named after a day of the week and embody one of the seven deadly sins. Teen me thought that was a really cool idea for a fantasy story.
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
This along with Twilight were my first introduction to the love triangle trope. I didn’t mind it in this book. I was too interested in the fantasy elements, how the MC was a banshee whose scream signified that someone was about to die. Her boyfriend’s brother Todd was still around, dead but a reaper. I really enjoyed this series and the covers are gorgeous.
Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce
This is the first book in the series but I accidentally read the third book first. My world changed forever. I love all the books equally and all of the characters. I could probably talk about all this for days. This series means a lot to me.
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
I attribute my love of faeries to this book/series. It was as richly magical as it was sometimes decadently dark. I’m not one for dark fantasy – or dark anything – but this book drew me in. It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Love it!
Did you make a list for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? What’s a book you read long ago that you absolutely loved and why?
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time.
The prompt is something I think we can all relate to. When we come across those special reads that make you feel some unnamed feeling that fills your heart, mind and soul. Incredible stories that change you from the inside out. It’s a beautiful reminded of why I love to read.
Here are 10 books I wish I could read again for the first time:
This list would be never-ending if I could list every book that fit this prompt. It’s probably why that when I’m having a major book hangover are such reads I try to find a book similar to it so I can experience the joy, heartache and splendor all over again (also because I rarely have time to re-read books with so many more to read and so little time!).
What’s a book you wish you could read again for the first time that you would recommend I read?
Since we are now halfway through the year it’s a good of time as any to list my top 12 favorite reads – the most A-MAZ-ING reads! – of 2021 so far. This list was super easy to make as all of these titles brought something special and utterly enthralling to the table. I cannot say enough good things about each and every one.
Do I have a number 1 favorite yet? Nope. Too early to tell. Plus, any one of the books below could easily fit that, but there are still a bunch of more books left to read before that decision is even made.
If you want to learn more about these books, I’ve included links to my reviews.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is: Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them.
Sometimes when a book is really good or moves me in a certain way I do try to find books that have a similar vibe or characteristics that made that particular book special. However, these are often hard for me to find even when searching through algorithmic read alike lists.
I wish I could find more books like:
The Blacksmith Queen by G. A. Aiken
strong, assertive women
a matriarchal family of blacksmiths
The Old King Is Dead
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.
Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
black girl magic
supernaturals living among humans in secret
elite defense force
Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?
Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.
Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.
With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Set To Music by Negeen Papehn
strong, family-oriented characters
rock star romance
dedicated ER doctor
beautiful, slow burn romance
Dr. Darya Zameeni doesn’t have time for interruptions—in her ER, or in her life. Especially not from the gorgeous man pacing in her waiting room. With mountains of student debt, an ailing single mother, and a younger sister to support, Darya can’t afford to get sidetracked, even though they can’t take their eyes off each other.
Disillusioned Grammy-winning rock star Anthony Castillo’s night wasn’t supposed to end like this—in the ER, panicked after his little brother’s sudden collapse on stage. The band cannot go back on tour without Carlos, but his brother needs constant medical attention. When the beautiful, no-nonsense Dr. Zameeni treating Carlos shows no interest in their fame, he decides she is the perfect candidate for the job. If only he can convince her—and himself—that he wants nothing more.
Darya can’t imagine leaving her job, even temporarily, to follow a rock star around the globe. She’s expected to be the perfect Iranian daughter, after all. But Anthony’s offer comes right as she needs the money and she cannot deny their attraction.
Family is everything to them both. With so much to lose, the smart thing would be to go back to their lives and forget they’d ever met. But doing the smart thing has never seemed so wrong…
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
magical libraries filled with books with personalities
main character is a book nerd
a darling love interest with a prim but cold demon servant
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Feel the Fire by Annabeth Albert
both MCs work in fire emergency services
mutual respect for each other’s skills
they ACTUALLY TALK about their feelings
MM contemporary romance
When their career paths bring two high school sweethearts together again, the forest isn’t the only thing ablaze…
Fire behavior specialist Luis Riviera goes where his job takes him. But when he’s assigned to an arson investigation in Central Oregon—the place he left his broken heart twenty years ago—he’s afraid of being burned all over again.
Tucker Ryland had planned to join his first love, Luis, in LA after high school graduation, but life got in the way. Now a fire management expert and a divorced father of teen twins, Tucker’s thrown for a loop when he finds himself working side by side with his Luis, now all grown up and more intriguing than ever.
Though consumed by a grueling fire season and family responsibilities, the two men discover their bond has never truly broken. Tentative kisses turn to passionate nights. But smoking sheets aside, old hurts and new truths stand in the way of this time being the start of forever.
The Immortalsquartet by Tamora Pierce
main character can talk to animals
Thirteen-year-old DaIne has always had a knack with animals, but it’s not until she’s forced to leave home that she realizes it’s more than a knack — it’s magic. With this wild magic, not only can Daine speak to animals, but also she can make them obey her. Daine takes a job handling horses for the Queen’s Riders, where she meets the master mage Numair and becomes his student.
Under Numair’s guidance, Daine explores the scope of her magic. But she begins to sense other beings too: immortals. These bloodthirsty monsters have been imprisoned in the Divine Realms for the past four hundred years, but now someone has broken the barrier. It’s up to Daine and her friends to defend their world from an immortal attack.
Snow Like Ashestrilogy by Sara Raasch
the world is divided by seasons
the main character is Winterian (my favorite season next to autumn)
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Keys to the Kingdomseries by Garth Nix
the antagonists who each are represented by one of the 7 deadly sins and are named after a day of the week
middle grade fantasy
Arthur Penhaligon’s first days at his new school don’t go too well, particularly when a fiendish Mister Monday appears, gives Arthur a magical clock hand, and then orders his gang of dog-faced goons to chase Arthur around and get it back. But when the confused and curious boy discovers that a mysterious virus is spreading through town, he decides to enter an otherworldly house to stop it. After meeting Suzy Blue and the first part of “the Will” (a frog-looking entity that knows everything about the House), Arthur learns that he’s been selected as Rightful Heir to the House and must get the other part of the clock hand in order to defeat Monday. That means getting past Monday’s henchmen and journeying to the Dayroom itself. Thankfully, Arthur is up to the challenge, but as he finds out, his fight seems to be only one-seventh over.
With a weapon-wielding hero and a villain who doesn’t make Mondays any nicer, Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom launch is imaginative and gripping. After an action-packed crescendo to the book’s middle — when Arthur finally learns his destiny — Nix keeps the drama going and doesn’t let it fall. By the end, you might be winded from all the fantastic explanation, but you’ll definitely be salivating for what’s to come.
Zodiacseries by Romina Russell
people are defined by their zodiac sign/house
set in space
At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
The Queen’s Risingduology by Rebecca Ross
people study (“passion”) in art, dramatics, knowledge, music, and wit (important fields of study in my humble opinion)
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?
*images via Goodreads*
If you know of any books like the ones I’ve listed, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Comment below and many thanks!
Happy Tuesday, Bookworms! And Happy Mardi Gras to those who celebrate it!
Today’s prompt is: Purple, Gold, and/or Green Book Covers.
Mardi Gras is a widely celebrated carnival that dates back to the Middle Ages. This festive holiday is known by several names, such as Carnival, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. It occurs the day before Ash Wednesday, the onset of Lent. It is a huge celebration with parties, parades, food (like king cakes), strings of beads, and masquerade balls, especially in places like New Orleans, Louisiana (US). To learn more about Mardi Gras click here.
The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple for justice, gold for power, and green for faith. I chose my some of my favorite, highly recommended books for each color.
This year I read books by many different authors – some for the first time – which made picking just one for today’s post particularly hard. So I chose multiple that I equally loved.
For Author of the Year, I’ve chosen new-to-me authors whose masterful storytelling wowed me beyond belief. I’m really excited to read more books by these wonderful authors in 2021! 😀✏
BOOK SERIES of the Year
This was the easiest choice out of all the categories. I highly recommend this YA Fantasy duology. It’s epic and amazing and feelings and magic! 😊📚
A ton of books I read this year had beautiful covers, but these three stuck out to me the most. Cover love times a million 💙😍💙
Image via NetGalley
The pinnacle of my awesome reading year can be summed up within the books below. These are 100% must reads you’ll want to add to your TBRs 📚🙂❤ My Top 10 Favorite Reads of 2020 are (in no particular order):
Image via Goodreads
Image via NetGalley
Image via Goodreads
Image via Goodreads
Image via NetGalley
Image via Goodreads
Image via Goodreads
Honorbale Mentions:Heartsong by TJ Klune, The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross, Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory, One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
BONUS!(Also In) Top 26:The House In the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala, The Beautifulby Renée Ahdieh, Defy by Sara B. Larson, Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan, Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen, Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell, Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab, Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ashlords by Scott Reintgen, Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
A few months ago I had an idea to make a playlist of songs I associated with my favorite books read in 2020.
Whenever I read I almost always come across a scene or moment that makes me think of a song or post-read I think of a song that kind of sums up the book. Sometimes it’s more the music than the lyrics. And sometimes it’s not literally what’s in the song be an emotional connection I felt from both song and book. (Really hope this is making sense 😅).
This favorites playlist consists of a random assortment of songs mostly from soundtracks and musicals. All of the books list I have reviews for. If you’d like to check those out, click on the book’s title.
So, without further adieu, here is the soundtrack of my reading year:
“Something Wild” – by Lindsey Sterling, ft. Andrew McMahon – Pete’s Dragon & “Unbreakable” by Janelle Monáe & Kelly Clarkson – UglyDolls
“I used to hate the fact that my world is built on half-truths, held together with white lies.”
Alanna: The First Adventureby Tamora Pierce
“‘That is my decision. We need not discuss it,’ said the man at the desk.”
A Countess Below Stairsby Eva Ibbotson
“In the fabled, glittering world that was St. Petersburg before the First World War there lived, in an ice-blue palace overlooking the river Neva, a family on whom the gods seemed to have lavished their gifts with an almost comical abundance.”
Queen of Shadowsby Dianne Sylvan
“The guy next to her in the checkout line looked kind of like a vampire.”
Son of Shadowsby Juliet Marillier
“My mother knew every tale that was ever told by the firesides of Erin, and more besides.”
Glow of the Firefliesby Lindsey Duga
“With every pull and kick of my breaststroke, trails of bubbles exploded around me, disrupting my otherwise perfect view of the opposite end of the pool.”
Erak’s Ransomby John Flanagan
“The sentry never saw the dark-clad figure ghosting through the night towards Castle Araluen.”
Wicked Lovelyby Melissa Marr
“The Summer King knelt before her. ‘Is this what you freely choose, to risk winter’s chill?”