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?

 

June Rewind

 My June Reads

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  1. The Last Tsar’s Dragons

  2. Kennig & Gold

  3. Remeon’s Quest

 

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  1. The Path Keeper 

 

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  1. The Chosen

  2. Kingdom of Exiles

 

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  1. Random Attachment

  2. The Missing Years

  3. The Repenting Serpent

  4. The Sea Refuses No River

  5. Dream Angus

  6. Bride Squad Runaway

  7. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone

  8. The Starter Wife

  9. Akela

  10. The Red Labyrinth

 

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  1. The Disappeared

  2. Without a Trace

  3. The Ice House

  4. Finer Things

  5. Shadow of the Fox

  6. Heart of Stone

  7. Horizontal Collaboration

  8. Soul of the Sword

  9. Something to Live For

    [Review to Come]

Total Tally: 25 Books Read this Month

 

Favorite Posts from around the book blogger-verse

These are most certainly not all the great posts I’ve seen but they’re the ones that I did recall the most, and trust me, I’ve seen some amazing content this month, it was a bit overwhelming to try and pick lol.

 

What I’ve Posted

 

I had so much fun attending my first book event, Cymera Festival! I had a lot of blog tours and I came up with some new things, Thriller Thursdays and Comparing Notes (Comparing Notes will be monthly for now so July will have a new post to roll out on that) I also didn’t post for like 6/7 days out of the month and it was nice to have those days off! I can’t wait to see what July brings!

**And That’s a wrap! I’m off to go nap now. If you click on the pics this time you’ll be directed to my GR review, and clicking on the title of the book will give you my blog post review if there is one for the book. I know I read a lot of 4/5 star books this month, but it was a really good month for reading, and I have no regrets on loving so many reads this go!**

 

 

 

Soul of the Sword Blog Tour

Thank you to Harper Collins HQ for a chance to be part of this blog tour. Below is an honest review in exchange for a copy of the book.

[And….honestly, this is now one of my favorite trilogies and I haven’t even read book three yet]

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Synopsis:
The Time of the Wish Approaches…
Yumeko the shapeshifter had one task: take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple and prevent the summoning of the great Kami Dragon. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, has escaped and possessed the samurai she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.
Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with Genno, the Master of Demons, to break his curse and set himself free. But Genno wishes to overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness. To do that he needs only one thing, the scroll Yumeko is hiding. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross again the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.
And Chaos will darken an Empire
Return to Juli Kagawa’s beautiful and perilous land of shapeshifter, samurai and demons as Japanese mythology and magic swirl together in the New York Times bestselling author’s brand new adventure. 

Book Information:
Title: Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2)
Publication Date:
27 June 2019
Publisher: HQ, Harper Collins
Paperback: £7.99
eBook: £3.99
Audio: £12.99

 

My Review

I could probably fangirl about this and book one for weeks if you all let me, no lie just a post a day for each character and then one a day for each lovely detail…weeeeeeks. But, I will refrain and try my best to give it to you without too much gushing.

I had not read any of Julie Kagawa’s works until Shadow of the Fox and once I did, I realized this was going to be something I was going to love and treasure. Kagawa gives us such a lush and beautiful world steeped in Japanese mythology and descriptions that make you want to go visit so you can help Yumeko and ‘the gang’ as I call them.

While we’re still striving for diversity the fact that Kagawa just pushes out this amazing fantasy book and gives us a main female protagonist and the great creatures from myth which sometimes we forget about with all the books dominated by the Medieval Western inspired worlds [and to be fair, I love those books too].

Yumeko was an isolated and sheltered girl in the first book and though she’s certainly learning the way of the world, our lovely kitsune still retains some of her innocence which makes for some pretty heart felt and chuckle induced moments. Still, the fact that Kagawa has Yumeko reaching into herself and accepting a part of her she’s really kept at a distance is a beautiful thing to watch. Not only that but Yumeko builds her relationships closer with others around her as Tatsumi -Hakaimono are elsewhere. [Not giving away any spoilers other than what’s already given away from the blurb!]

It’s almost as if there are no side characters in Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox books, each one is hashed out and given such attention in the details that you feel as if you really know them all. Especially Okame and Daisuke, Reika, well it fits that she’s still the one we know the least as she keeps her distance emotionally more than the others.

We also get to see more inner thoughts of Hakaimono and those were some of my favorite parts, he’s still this imposing monster in every aspect of the word but even he can see how 400 years has made him change ever so slightly being in the presence of humans, even if it has been in a sword.

Suki is actually one of my favorite characters and I was so excited we got to see more chapters with her this time around. I think she’s so precious and man, Kagawa broke my heart for in like the first three pages of Shadow of the Fox

Like the first book, Soul of the Sword shows us more of the world that our beloved group of characters is in, there’s no revisiting, it’s pushing onwards towards their goals, their mission which is integral to the whole world at this point. Each new city and territory discovered was described so well that it felt like Kagawa might have travelled to this fanatasy world and painted a picture of it all with her words. We encounter some new faces, we get to see more of the Kage clan and more importantly, we get to see more magic.

If you’re looking for a fantasy read that gives you everything your heart desires with world building, great characters, and awesome fighting and magic, then go pick up Shadow of the Fox and then immediately go pick up Soul of the Sword. I’ve never loved the first two books so much in a trilogy before, I couldn’t pick between the two so it’s safe to say Kagawa brings her A game and will continue to do so.

Fair warning this left me with a terrible book hangover. [Don’t believe me? I’ve now had dreams of the characters of Soul of the Sword recreating Rurouni Kenshin in their own style.] This was hands down a 5/5 Cups of Coffee read for me and I’d be happy to write another five paragraphs but I’ll leave it alone for now.

What am I supposed to do while waiting for book 3? Reread already? Seems acceptable…anything to fill the hole in my heart that Soul of the Sword has left.

About the Author

Picture used from her website
Julie Kagawa is the author of the bestselling Iron Fey and Talon series. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart of his own good, ant he latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

Rest of the Tour Schedule

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