Favorite Fantasy Books: The First Half Of 2019

Hey guys, I meant to post this yesterday. I like alliteration.

Unfortunately, I also like doing absolutely nothing.

Guess which one won out, hahaha….yea I was lazy.

Okay so I decided this was only going to be about books released this year that I’ve read thus far as it’s just over the halfway point so what better time?

Alright, let’s get these down, in no particular order.

 

6. The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston

 


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GoodReads:

Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs? 

Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. 

It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.

 

 

5. The Ice House

 


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GoodReads:

WAR DOESN’T END. IT SLEEPS.

Delphine Venner is old, but she remembers everything.

She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost.

And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her. Hagar, a centuries-old assassin, daily paying a terrible price for her unending youth, is planning one final death: that of her master, the Grand-Duc. A death that will cost her everything. A death that requires Delphine.

Voyaging into this violence and chaos, Delphine must remember who she really is and be ready to fight, before war reawakens. But in the battle to destroy an ageless evil, will both worlds be saved – or will every mortal creature lose everything?

 

 

4. Dark Shores

 

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GoodReads:

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

 

 

3. Soul of the Sword

 

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GoodReads:

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

 

 

2. Descendant of the Crane

 

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GoodReads:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

 

 

1. Crown of Feathers

 

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GoodReads:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

 

All of these books have enraptured me and while delighting me they’ve also possibly broken my heart. *Glares at Joan He and Nicki Pau Preto in particular*

Two of these are the second books in series, the rest are either first or standalone and anyone of these I would highly recommend to a fantasy lover ❤

My gushing fan-girl squeal filled posts can be found by clicking on the links on the titles of the books.

I’ll have some new Charity Finds for you all tomorrow, and closing in on my second Comparing Notes soon-ish, it’ll be over Stalking Jack the Ripper.

In the meantime….what are some of your fantasy faves of 2019 so far? Anything you recommend?

 

Special Post: Cover Reveal

Hey all!

Some of you may not know but I am on the #FirstRidersStreetTeam For the AH-MAZING Nick Pau Preto, the author of one of my fave 2019 reads, Crown of Feathers, I wasn’t on the team for the first book but I am now and let me tell you, yesterday when I saw the cover drop for Heart of Flames I near about squealed like a One Direction Fangirl back in the good ol’ days of One Direction.

But I digress. [Shocking. I know.]

Anyway the purpose of this post is to share that gorgeous cover with you all.

You saw my chaotic Blog Featured Image but here’s some better close ups of what we’re expecting, and let me tell you, be ready to drool…

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Swooning yet? But wait! There’s more!

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Check out the artist, here.

Check out the article from paste magazine, here.

 

Now go forth, swoon, drool, add to GoodReads, do a little dance, I won’t judge!

 

Crown of Feathers eARC Review


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GoodReads: 

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

This book was intoxicating from the first chapter and to be fair I was ready to dive in after reading the blurb, no swaying needed.

I couldn’t believe just how complex and diverse a world Preto built, and I don’t mean just the characters I mean the lush history and even topography and geography. Preto has an amazing eye to detail and one that I really want to harp on while I write this. I love world building. I adore it, so, to me the building of the world and showing things off She used details from the past to enhance the present and interweaving them together flawlessly. We have a history of fierce queens and a past tale of sisters that mirrors a present tale.

I was nothing short of impressed. She made my heart drop to my stomach and soar back up, and it was the best emotional roller coaster I have ever ridden. I would certainly categorize this as one of the best books of 2019 and one of the best reads of the year for myself/ With books like this and Descendant of the Crane coming out this year, my GoodReads favorite shelf is going to be massive by December. 

You want to cheer for the Phoenix Riders and you are sitting on the edge of your seat when danger lurks near -and let me tell you that happens quite often-. You are given multi-faceted views of characters, and no one is left 2D, Preto has given us full characters, they may not always be relatable in what they do but their intentions are; well that’s debatable with Val but I won’t judge you if you uh, find yourself identifying with her…just…remind me not to upset you ever. Not to mention Preto had me nearly crying before I even really hit the 15% mark, I mean, seriously, that’s unheard of. 

Unable to put down the book, I stayed up until dawn, I needed to find out what would happen to ‘Nyk’ or Sev, to know what would happen next in the world,  to wonder what in the world Val was up to. And the ending had my jaw dropping to the floor. I don’t know how I am supposed to wait for book 2.

Seriously, one of the best fantasy reads for 2019 and one to go out and read if you have any inkling too.

U.K. Release Date: April 25, 2019, through B&W Publishing.

Pros:
– Well developed characters
– Amazing and expansive world building
– A perfect person that you love to hate
– Characters that are not always what they seem
– Great character growth as well, seriously, it’s impressive
– Phoenixes
– Baby Phoenix
– TWISTS. SUCH TWISTS.
– Phoenix Riders
– Magic

Cons:
– It’s so hard to not want to scream ‘NO’ or ‘WHY’ while reading
– This will cause you to stay up super late
– You will probably at least get teary-eyed if not full on ugly cry.
– You may not like how much world building there is, so I’ll say beware now
– This is not a relaxing read, please look to points 1 & 3 again.
– WHAT WAIT IS THIS FOR BOOK 2?!

Content Warning: There is the death of animals and people, and violence.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**