I have been going on and on about not being more active here on the blog, and how it’s easier for me to update both Twitter and Instagram because I can do that on my phone. So I figured I might as well write shorter reviews as bookstagrams and tweets, instead of longer ones here on WordPress. Path of least resistance, my friends. So here I am doing a round-up of books I did bookstagram reviews for. I’ll be doing this on a monthly basis and today, I’m sharing the ones from January. You can also check my Twitter profile where I have an embedded tweet that’s the start of a thread with similar content.
My first read in 2018 was The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which came highly recommended by my friend Kristen (fantasycafe on Twitter). So glad this fantasy debut novel was a Kindle deal a few days ago, and I was able to buy it for just 2.99usd. It started off real slow, I feel like the first half could have been edited better. But the pace picked up and I enjoyed it overall. An atmospheric read that has a fairytale feel, set in medieval Russia, steeped in folklore of that era. I've been itching to read a good fantasy book and this hit the spot. The sequel is already out so I'm going to try a sample before deciding if I want to shell out 13.99usd for it or wait for another Kindle deal. Why are fantasy ebooks so expensive compared to romance ebooks?😭 . . . How about you, have you finished your first book this year? If not, what are you currently reading? Also, what was the last fantasy title that wowed you?
Sagala #1 and #2 by Tori Tadiar
I have been curious about Sagala by @haitori.art ever since I saw that both @itstimeana and @minavesguerra loved it. I wasn't able to attend the last Komikon so thanks to these two ladies for offering their copies! Sagala is a Filipino historical fantasy in comics format, featuring siblings Riel and Constantino. I was surprised at how the author was able to include such strong worldbuilding and character development in the short length of these issues. I really liked the artwork and found it fitting for the story. Good thing I was able to read two issues back to back because one wouldn't have been enough. I'm fully invested in these characters and can't wait to find out what happens to them next. Having said that, I have one minor quibble about the end of the second issue. To avoid spoilers, I will just say this: OMG KUYA, WHHHYYYY??? #KuyaUmayosKa
Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
I'm not a huge fan of Regency romances, I enjoy them while I'm reading them but they all tend to blur together in my mind afterwards. I normally don't read one unless it comes highly recommended, which was the case with Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. @lucyparkerauthor was very enthusiastic in recommending this Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I have to thank her for it because I stayed up until early morning to read this in one go. I was hooked right from the time Christine meets Wulfric! Actually I was laughing so hard. Christine is a smart heroine who is just so vibrant and full of life, a very pleasant character to read about. And she takes the dark and broody Duke of Bewcastle completely by surprise. I really enjoyed how Mary Balogh took elements of Pride and Prejudice but made the story completely her own. Had so much fun reading this book. Highly recommended for historical romance readers and fans of Jane Austen retellings. . . . What's your favorite retelling of a classic? Or Pride and Prejudice in particular, if you have one?
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett is the first book in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series, which came highly recommended by @lucyparkerauthor. She first mentioned it when I asked for book recs similar to my all-time favorite Ilona Andrews, and it was brought up again recently. I'm still in a fantasy kind of mood and this was just 1.99usd so I gave it a try. I enjoyed reading this overall but found some parts of it a bit slow, which can be expected since it serves as the introduction to this world. The magical system involving human magicians and demons with abilities had to be explained. I found the main characters (Cady, Lon and Jupe) interesting and I had fun getting to know them. I really enjoyed the age gap, slow burn romance. Both heroine and hero have trust issues but I liked how easy things were between them, no unneccessary drama. Plus points for the hero being a single dad. A solid urban fantasy title that I think can be read as a standalone. I was curious enough about the series to keep going. Also planning to check out the author's contemporary YA and paranormal romance titles, which I've heard good things about. Have you guys read Jenn Bennett's books? What did you think of them? If you're an urban fantasy fan, please feel free to comment with your fave titles. Included in this shot was my mocha the other day. Fair warning: don't try this pose unless you're willing to spill coffee on your skirt.😂
Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett
Summoning the Night is the second book in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series. I enjoyed reading the first one so I dove straight into this. . . I like how the main characters (Cady, Lon and Jupe) have all developed since the start of the series. And the age gap romance remains strong and drama-free. But I liked this a less than the first book because I found bits of it creepy, it gave off more of a horror vibe than urban fantasy. I'm willing to admit that I'm a huge scaredy-cat, which is why I stay away from the genre in all its forms (e.g. books, movies, etc.) Maybe this was a bit darker than the first one because it's a murder mystery? It never got too much but I was still a bit nervous while reading it. And again, this is probably just me. I'm still waffling on whether I want to continue with the series because I like the characters or give up because the last two books might have a similar feel to this one. . . What about you, do usually finish the whole series once you start it or you're okay with quitting in the middle of it? I usually try the first two books before deciding if I want to quit the series.
I think this is a pretty good mix considering that it has epic fantasy, comics, historical romance and urban fantasy. I have a few other bookstagrams that aren’t reviews and I’m trying to decide whether I should also do a different round-up for these miscellaneous shots. What do you guys think of these bookstagram round-ups? And what were the books that you read in January? Were there any titles that you loved? 🙂