Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

ReadingThere are so many great books due to come out in 2016, I know I will not get a chance to read all of them, I’m behind the ones I wanted to read for last year and the year before, but I will add them to my TBR pile all the same.

However, there are a few exceptions, a select few books that I will be snatching up as soon as possible and reading right away. The first is The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman. This has no release date yet and a late 2016 publication is tentative at best, but I have been waiting for years for this book to be finally finished and so far from what I’ve read 2016 seems like the year it is possibly going to happen. There isn’t even a cover yet I can admire either which is entirely unfair.

The next one on my list is Awaken by Heather McCollum. The third and final in The Guardians series I cannot wait to read this. I adored the first two (Siren’s Song and Broken) and I have no doubt Awaken will be of the same exhilarating and captivating quality.

Third is Wish List by Belinda Williams. Fourth and final in the City Love series, I am eager to hear Cate’s story and revisit the amazing group of women and William’s engaging writing.

Finally, The Shadow Hour, the second The Girl at Midnight book by Melissa Grey. I wanted this beside me ready to pick up when I finished The Girl at Midnight earlier last year so I will be ready to grab a copy and keep Echo’s story going and find out where Grey is taking her.

Many of these are due later in the year, but it won’t stop me waiting eagerly for them in the meantime. I have a myriad of books to keep me occupied while I wait though which is a good thing in itself.

 

Top Five of 2015

Top 5 2014This year trying to determine a Top Five was a bit harder than in the past. There were a few standouts but there were also so many that could have made the list based on a five star rating but I felt lacked the right feeling. After a lot of thinking and contemplating I finally settled on my Top Five books of the year.

Many of these books were amazing from start to finish, they grab you from the beginning and don’t let go, others draw you in slowly and tighten the hold as you reach the climactic and emotional conclusions. I recommend you read each book on this list, some of these are sequels and funnily enough the first books in the series made my Top Five list last year. If that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is.

For the first time every one of these books was technically a review request book, or offered to reviewers who had reviewed previous books by the author. These authors are amazing writers and are people I would never have read if I hadn’t started this blog so for that alone I am so grateful I finally took the plunge and started doing this.

Broken by Heather McCollum

This is the second book in the Guardians series and is just as fantastic as Siren’s Song. It deals with the consequences and outcomes of the first book and offers a deeper insight into the strange and magical world of Guardians and the cursed. McCollum captures the transition and consequences of the previous book wonderfully, the writing is expressive and intriguing, and there is suspense and mystery that draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Saltwater Secrets Series by Jade Varden (Song of the Sea + Death and the Deep)

This series is an absolute joy to read. There’s mythology and suspense, and characters that are flawed and complicated and trying their best. I am being a bit sneaky and adding both books in here but when you read them you will understand. Song of the Sea drags you unexpectedly into this hidden underwater world with this ongoing war, complicating the lives of those above land and below. Death and the Deep deals with the consequences and the aftermath and the creation of bigger problems for all involved. Varden balances the mythology and the real beautifully and brings a touch of reality to the fantasy seamlessly. I almost put Death and the Deep on here alone but realised both books have great stories to tell.

The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

This is a book people tend to love or are not too fussed about. Personally I loved it and I eagerly await the sequel. The story is creative and the world Grey has created is divine. Echo is a wonderful character that you can’t help but love and Grey leaves you wanting the next one as soon as you finish. There is magic and fantasy and drama and suspense that keep you turning the pages and gets your heart racing.

Death Wish by Megan Tayte

There is a touch of paranormal with this book, it simmers in the background nicely though and doesn’t take over completely. Tayte’s characters are complicated and whole, and the way she uses the words to bring them to life is stunning. The story is told very much through the characters and their actions and Tayte is a master at simple complexity where it seems simple on the surface but is actual filled with depth and intricacy the further you read.

Animal by Nikki Rae

Despite featuring characters from The Sunshine Series, this story isn’t really a prequel and isn’t presented one. While it does deal with events before those in the series, it’s more a completely new story about one of the minor characters. Rae’s writing is captivating and I could not stop once I started reading this. Her words pull you along, and with characters that come to life on the page it is an absolute joy to read.

Honourable Mentions

I had to have a few because these were also excellent books with fantastic stories that were beautifully and creatively told.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth

The Darkest Part Forest by Holly Black

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (plus some nail art!)

Published: 28th April 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Hachette Australia (ATOM)
Pages: 361
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
★   ★   ★  ★   ★  – 5 Stars

For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

I loved this book from start to finish, from the enchanting beginning where worlds cross over in the dark quiet of a library at night to an explosive story that is filled with amazing characters who you love and hate and understand so wonderfully. From page one Grey’s words take hold of you and bring you into this mysterious world filled with mystical races and an ancient war looming in the background. There is a great mixture of both modern and magical elements and Grey blends the fantasy and the real together extremely well.

With amazing skill Grey has created an exciting and well-rounded world, not just about the Avicen people and their history and feuds, but how their world blends into the real world and the structure of their society. The creativity she has shown, even in the minute detail, is marvellous and the build up is enthralling. As you read it makes you yearn for more, to see more, and learn and hear more about the adventures and past events discussed. Being an introduction to a new world, Grey incorporates descriptions and depicts the world beautifully and through character’s eyes people and places are described and established without ever feeling out of place or clunky. In doing so characters are introduced and described and an understanding of the rules and the society is comprehensible without needing a long explanation. This balance works perfectly and there is never a moment where the story jars or you’re taken out of the narrative due to misunderstandings or confusion.

Echo is a brilliant character, she has the right amount of spark and uniqueness without it being her sole quality and it isn’t something that defines her. Her personality is not what makes her different, Echo is just herself and this is what makes her brilliant. I loved that her tough nature, street smarts and cheekiness did not make her special, what makes her special is being human among Avicens and even then this difference is not that dominating. All of the other characters are just as wonderful though. They are vibrant, colourful, and unique and they really are their own people, not just supporting characters. One thing Grey excels at is able to give a feeling of completeness to her characters, even with just the briefest encounters.

The narrative was compelling from the early pages but by the final few chapters Grey has built up your excitement and fervour so much that as you read your heart is pounding, you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation and you wish you had the next book in the series to pick up the second you finished that final page. I loved the thrill in the final chapters when there are not many pages left and your mind races with trying to work out how the narrative can be resolved with so little space but Grey manages to bring it to a brilliant ending.

There are surprises and mysteries that make you wonder and even when the answers suddenly become clear Grey still manages to surprise you and add another element to what you thought you had already figured out. What makes this another level of brilliant is that things that seem innocent have much more meaning that they appear and when everything falls into place it makes so much sense and it is an incredible experience and realisation.

I seriously cannot praise this story enough, it was an absolute joy to read this book and I wait with eager anticipation for the remaining books in the series. If this book is anything to go by the rest will be just as spectacular and Melissa Grey is definitely an author I will be paying a lot of attention to in the future.

 You can purchase The Girl At Midnight via the following when released (some have preorder!)

Hachette Australia   |     Waterstones

Amazon UK     |     Barnes and Noble

Amazon US/CA     |     Kobo

Amazon Aust     |     Other

Nail art time!

Hachette/Date a Book is running a The Girl at Midnight nail art competition for reviewers which is being judged by the skilled and talented The Bookish Manicurist. My lines are a little wobbly, but it was fun!

Book and nails

Close up of the feather

Nail close up

Nail polish art is not my forte, nor am I much of a nail polish wearer but nevertheless this was quite fun, I may need to attempt it at another point in the future. With a tiny paint brush at my disposal (with no detail brush handy) and an accent nail that’s currently annoyingly short, it isn’t perfect, but not that bad for my first attempt I must say!