2 Jul 2018

#Discussion: Top 5 Reads of 2018...So Far!

Today I’m going to tell you about my top 5 reads so far since we are half way through the year… I had a tough time figuring out which ones I would pick for this since I've actually read a lot of good books so far this year, but these are the ones that have left as lasting impact!


Author: Julia Ember
Series: The Seafarer's Kiss #2
Source: eARC from Author
Publisher: Duet Books, a YA imprint of Interlude Press
Publication Date: September 13, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Review! (To come in late August!)

After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

Why it made the list...

EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS ONE. This was so good. It allowed the characters to grow and change together and apart. 


Author: Amanda Lovelace
Series: women are some kind of magic #2
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
My Review!

2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in the witch doesn't burn in this one — the bold second book in her "women are some kind of magic” series.
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Why it made the list...

This had a great message and flow to it but I felt like it got a little broken up at the end in the last section that pulled me out of the "poetry" and it didn't read as smoothly as the rest of the book. However, I would definitely recommend this one. I think it is really empowering and I am probably going to get the poem I included in my review tattooed onto my ribcage because yes. I can't wait to read the rest of the Women Are Some Kind Of Magic poetry collections that Amanda Lovelace produces.


Author: Adrienne Kisner
Series: N/A
Source: ARC via Raincoast
Publisher: June 5, 2018
Publication Date: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 5 stars
My Review!

In Adrienne Kisner's Dear Rachel Maddow, a high school girl deals with school politics and life after her brother’s death by drafting emails to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in this funny and heartfelt YA debut.

Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she's stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn's archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

Why it made the list...

I am a fan of Rachel Maddow, which is why I requested it when I saw the title on Raincoast Books' mailing list form. It sounded good - and I love books written in different formats - so I was really happy when I saw it was included in my package.

But the book you wrote was better than I could have ever anticipated. DEAR RACHEL MADDOW broke my heart, rebuilt it to whole, only to break it again and leaving me realizing how amazing you are as an author, how important it is to have someone to talk to, and what it means to have someone on your side. Plus there was complex and great f/f relationships that made me really happy to read about.


Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1
Source: ARC via Raincoast
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: 4.5 stars
My Review!

They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Why it made the list...

This was such a fantastic debut that I read all 600 (!!!) pages of ARC in one sitting (sorta - I stopped to watch ice dancing for a bit). I thought there were a lot of elements that were really well done and this was a good character study. However, I had one complaint but it definitely isn't enough to really bother me while reading.

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE has a lot of your typical fantasy tropes in it but it puts them together in such a way that you don't feel as though you've ever read them before. I liked that Adeyemi spun how I thought about all these things I've read before. I knew some of the things and situations that were about to come but they were executed brilliantly and left me breathless.


Author: Alisha Sevigny
Series: N/A
Source: ARC via Publisher
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Rating: 4.5 stars
My Review!

Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?

But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she's ever known.

Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.

Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer's son, Nick Constantine.

As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn't mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father's aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is a story of lost summers, hidden treasure and love written in the stars. It is also a thoughtful reflection on what it means to love --- and leave --- one's childhood home.

Why it made the list...

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS has everything you need to be satisfied with a summer, contemporary, romance novel so I do hope you pick it up. The family relationships were amazing. I loved seeing how much Julia, Caleb, and their mother cared about one another - and how familial relationships went beyond blood to Red. Everyone looked out for everyone and I just realized how grateful I am for a family relationship like that - and how much I wish everyone had that.

What were some of the best books you've read so far this year?

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