Wicked King Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Holly Black

Genre: Fantasy

Published January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336

Rating – 4/5

GoodReads

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You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

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WHOA. Talk about major politics! When most sequels fall into the “second book syndrome,” I felt that Wicked King was a great follow up to the series. While I will say it was not as addicting as the first book, it still kept me intrigued with it’s mystery, character schemes and motives. With the second book, Holly Black expanded on the world but it was not too much that it become confusing. In fact, it actually did the opposite! The characters were always a strong point to these novels since they are very different from any other book series I have read. They are not entirely black/ white or good/bad but I think that is what makes them fascinating to read about. I also expected this sequel to be a long read but I was surprised to find out it was only 336 pages so I ended up flying through it!

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Jude DuarteCunning, Determined, Power Hungry – In the first book, we seen Jude struggle with her status in the faerie world and she wants nothing more to move up the ladder. Now that she managed to outsmart everyone with her schemes, she has to face the harsh realities of being in power but more importantly, how she can still hold onto that power. The aftermath of the first book does leave her questioning where her loyalties should lie and this is what makes the plot so endearing.  We also see her struggle with her conflicting emotions for Cardan but she can’t help but place barriers due to her past experiences with him.

CardanCold, Aloof  – I am a bit on the fence about Cardan at the moment. While it is clear that he is a bit different from his cruel behaviors in the first book, I am not sure whether I can fully be onboard with this character. Again, it may be due to the fact that Holly Black’s characters are not fully black or white so its difficult to classify them as good or bad; yet, there were occasions where I did feel for his character. Holly Black definitely brought a lot more background into his past and I am curious to learn more.

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*Side Note – Well Dayumm. Taehyung seriously gives off major Cardan vibes here*

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Power. Politics.

The major themes within this novel have to be power and politics. While the first book dove into the struggles of acquiring power, this sequel deals with the struggles of maintaining that power, which as we read through the novel we find it is not as easy as it may seem. I think Holly Black did a great job delineating this theme as its not something that is talked about in many novels. For example, a lot of the YA novels talk about the journey in which a main character travels in order to reclaim the power of a nation from a corrupt individual but never fully talks about the aftermath or the struggles that one has to endure within politics. This something I can truly appreciate from this novel.

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As soon as I picked up this book, I knew I was in for a wild ride. This is partially due to Holly Black’s talent for transporting us into worlds which are sure to fascinate us. Is there some world expansion from the first book? ABSOLUTELY! And Holly Black is able to do this which such ease that it doesn’t become too complicated as I have seen with other fantasy series. In fact, it provides us with enough that it keeps us intrigued with  the plot and curious as to what will happen next. This is one of the high points of the novel. The politics and character schemes always keep you on the edge of your seat!

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Overall, I though this was a brilliant follow up to the first book of the Folk of the Air trilogy and I am so curious to learn what happens in the final book – especially with THAT ENDING!! I need to know what happens! How can you just end it like that Holly Black??? Why must you do this to me? While I will say that it was not as much as an addicting read as the original, it definitely peaked my interest in terms of its politics and characters. I believe these two are the main highlights on the novel and it is done so well!

Have any of you read The Wicked King? What were your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Holiday Reads

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Hello everyone and Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! Can you believe it’s already December? I feel like this year just flew on by! Its crazy! But one of my favorite times of the year is December due to the Holidays! There’s nothing like snuggling up close to the fire and the Christmas tree with some hot cocoa and a book in my hands! It just creates the best ambiance for reading, don’t you think? And so for today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt, I wanted to share with you all my Favorite books I love to read during the Holidays!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

So without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

I love stories which incorporate a bit of magic and fairy tale elements for this time of year! I think these genres perfectly capture the wonder and fantastical aura during the Holiday time. Such book include Fairy Tale retellings like Cinder, Heartless and A Curse so Dark and Lonely. I think re-tellings offer a bit of adventure and comfort when we follow our beloved characters through trials and tribulations. Harry Potter is definitely a classic to read during the Holiday Time and Caraval is a perfect example of escaping into fantastical worlds which is a type of story which is great to read during this time of year.

Another set of genre would be contemporary, middle/grade or whimsical novels and mangas. I think the books seen above perfectly capture these elements. Middle grade novels are absolutely fun to read during the Holiday Time since it has a perfect blend of comedy, adventure and a whole lot of heart! Heartwarming contemporaries are also wonderful to read as well since it provides a bit of comfort within a real life setting. Mangas are another genre I love to read as well since they are often a quick and easy read. Since it can be a pretty hectic time during the Holidays (planning parties, attending parties/ get together, buying gifts, decorating the house etc), I feel as though having a manga is a great way to get a bit of reading done during this crazy yet enjoyable time of the year!

How about you? What are your favorite reads during the Holiday Season?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Changes In My Reading Life (Nov 19)

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Hey everyone! Hope you all are having a great start to your week! And since it’s Tuesday, its time for another Top Ten Tuesday!! This week’s prompt is all about changes in our reading life. While I did not have a lot of changes to talk about today, I have listed my top 5! And without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

 

Book Collection 

Initially when I first started my blogging/ reading journey, I began to accumulate so many books into my personal library. The rate at which I had to review books and post frequently on my blog pushed me to increase the stock of novels. Nowadays, I am a bit mindful about this habit since I only collect those which I personally enjoyed or hold a strong meaning to me.

Venture to New Genres (Dystopian to Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Thrillers)

Let’s face it. I think a majority of us have been through the time when dystopian novels flooded the YA genre. We must have all read at least one dystopian book during our reading life. I was no different. In the beginning I found them to be super interesting to read from a character’s perspective who endures the most undesirable and frightening societies but over time, I noticed that the plot points grew very similar and my interest slowly faded toward fantasies, science fiction, thrillers, mysteries and historical fiction and I absolutely loved those stories. Ooooo I have also tried Mangas and graphic novels as well! And they are amazing!

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Faster Reader

I’m not sure if I am the only one guilty of this, but I definitely saw an increase in the rate of my reading over time. Sometimes, the time it takes for my peers to read something would take me half the time!  Hmm. Maybe that’s why big books don’t stress me out . . .

From Series to Standalones

As much as I love series, I also have an appreciation for standalones. Some examples include books like Heartless, Fangirl, Ella Enchanted, House of Salt and Sorrows and Everything,Everything. While it does take a lot to commit and read through a series (especially if all the books are not released yet), standalones offer a reader a full story within one book and the ability to move to another genre/book quickly.

Reading Goals 

When venturing deep into the various novels that the book community/ authors have shared as well life in general, I found myself growing less adamant to sticking to a reading goal. While it is great to challenge yourself as a reader and try to read as much as you can, I think the reading experience grew important to me than having to complete my goal of books for the year.

How about you guys? How has your reading changed over time?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Thrilling and Scary Reads

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Hello my fellow book lovers! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to the week! Guess what day it is?? TUESDAY! And it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post!

For this week’s prompt, we were given a Halloween freebie! And since I do not read too many scary novels, I decided to make a post including books which had elements that were both frightening as well as thrilling. So without further ado, let’s get on with the list shall we?

AngelFall

With a setting based in an post apocalyptic/ dystopian world besieged by fallen angels, I couldn’t help but have to include this in my list. Although I do not read too many dystopian novels these days, this one really peaked my interest due to the stellar reviews. What I loved most about this book was how thrilling and fast paced it was.  There were moments which freaked me out, especially during the end so if you do enjoy reading stories of this nature, then maybe you should give this one a try!

House of Salt and Sorrow

I was so thrilled when I received an e-ARC for this book on NetGalley that I immediately dove right into it. From the very beginning, I was super intrigued; especially since I found out this was a fairy tale re-telling of the 12 dancing princesses. I loved the ambiance the author created throughout the story – a feeling of being in a town by the cold sea. The imagery and experiences which the main character goes through sometimes has you questioning what’s real and what’s not and I found that aspect to be really interesting and at times, utterly terrifying.

172 Hours on the Moon

I think I have mentioned this book a couple of times in my other top ten Tuesday posts but I just had to include it in this one because it messed with my mind. While the whole premise of this novel seems a little far fetched with sending teenagers with NASA scientists to the moon, the cascade of events which take place during the entire expedition had me scared out of my wits! And it did not help that I had an upcoming work trip scheduled where I was traveling solo! I honestly had to chuck the book aside and I did not finish it until I came back from my trip! I know . . . I’m such a scaredy cat! LOL

Dark Inside

Here we have another dystopian book on the list and I was pleasantly surprised by this one! Though there are some scary elements within this book due to the aftermath of an earthquake which causes some people to lose control of their minds and turn on each other, I found the plot to be thrilling from start to finish. It honestly had me on the edge of my seat and at times you would constantly wonder about who is “nothing” and who is not. There were moments where I would be overwhelmed with anxiety since the author is so good in capturing those moments of high tension within those dangerous and horrific scenes.

*sighs* Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with late night reading when I was sure it would disturb my sleep . . . #badchoices

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Well . . . The title is enough to make it a perfect book to include in this list isn’t it? I mean . . . who would ever think of stalking one of the most heinous criminal of all time? I have to say when I first heard the hype about this novel, I seriously wondered whether I would be able to even read it. To my surprise, I found it’s mystery to be quite interesting. I also loved the depiction of the setting in Victorian London and the author was able to capture the haunting and dangerous atmosphere quite well. Since this book also sheds a light on the topic of forensic science, there were a few scenes which scared the living daylights out of me.

(Ahem . . and I would like to thank Thomas Creswell for making this read a bit more manageable)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

I think this novel is a perfect example of showcasing an unreliable narrator. While I cannot recall all the plot details since I did read it a while ago, I do remember some moments which seriously made my blood run cold. There were just so many unexpected moments that were thrown at you and as a reader you were actively trying to figure what were the true moments versus those which were not. That was the major part of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed although it freaked me out at some points!

Hush Hush

This book was also one which I have read awhile ago and it caught my attention since it was about fallen angels which at the time was something that I have never read about so I was eager to pick it up. There is an element of mystery within this novel and you are constantly trying to figure out who to trust. While I wouldn’t say that this novel was scary, I do recall certain scenes which had me quaking in my boots!

Prisoner of Night and Fog

Ok. This one was a seriously well written and well researched historical fiction novel! What I loved most was how the author dove into the psychological aspects of the diverse personalities that people have. What really makes a person good versus bad? She was brilliant in articulating how a person’s mind works and she does so with one of the most notorious historical figures – Adolf Hitler.

An Ember in the Ashes

I absolutely love this series! The best part of it all was the gripping and thrilling plot which had me flying through the pages eagerly anticipating what was going to happen next! I seriously could not put it down. The high stakes, the lurking danger at every corner, the secrecy, the ruthless villains and raw brutality had me shaking!

The Cruel Prince

When it comes to thrilling and captivating reads, I think Cruel Prince would top the list! I am usually quite hesitant to pick up books with a lot of hype since I am worried whether I would enjoy it or not but this one certainly lived up to the hype. The intense politics, the growing tension between characters, the deceptions and secrecy made it so interesting to read. (Let’s not forget all those crazy plot twists!) There was just so much going on that I had a plethora of annotations throughout the book! I can’t wait till I re-read this so I can go through all my reactions!

What about you lovelies? Do you have any scary/ thrilling reads to recommend? Let’s chat!

Until next time, keep on reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Extraordinary Book Titles

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Hello everyone! Hope you all are having a great start to your week ~

It’s Tuesday and you all know what that means – it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday prompt! This week is all about extraordinary book titles. I was not sure of the criteria for selecting these titles but I chose to list ones which automatically drew me to the book. So without further ado, let’s get on to the list!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Eerie/Mysterious vibes – Don’t we all love a spooky/mystery setting? Titles can also play a crucial role in capturing the gripping and thrilling atmosphere. Such examples which left a lasting impression on me are the ones below.

Stalking Jack the Ripper, Truly Devious, Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic, The Darkest Minds, A Curse so Dark and Lonely 

 

Captivating Titles – These titles below immediately peaked my interest since I was so curious to know what the book was about. Once I knew they were of the fantasy genre, I was sold!

An Ember in the Ashes, Children of Blood and Bone, Stolen Songbird, Heartless

That’s all for this week’s prompt! What book titles did you think were extraordinary?  Did we have any similar book titles?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Titles with Numbers In Them

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Hello everyone! HAPPY OCTOBER!!! 🙂 I hope you all are having a lovely week!

And welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post! This week’s was really fun to do since it required me hunting through my bookshelf since I could not recall books titles which had numbers in them that quickly! Now, I was not sure whether it had to be a number as in – 1,2,3,4 – or a number written out such as – one, two, three. But nevertheless, I managed to find a couple below and here they are!

1) 172 Hours on the Moon

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Summary from GoodReads

A terrifying thriller for young adult fans of The Martian and paranormal space adventure that will be devoured in one heart-pounding sitting.

It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space–and change their lives forever. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space…no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true. 

2) A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

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Summary from GoodReads (Since this is the second book in the series, the following is a summary of the first book (Across the Universe) to avoid plot spoilers): 

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship —tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

3) Farenheit 451 

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Summary from GoodReads

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

4) The One

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Summary from GoodReads (Since this is the third book in the series, the following is a summary of the first book (The Selection) to avoid plot spoilers): 

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

5) The Tenth Girl

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Summary from GoodReads

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life. 

6) Eight will Fall (ARC) – November 26th 2019

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Summary from GoodReads

In a land where magic is outlawed, eight criminals led by seventeen-year-old Larkin are sent on a mission to kill an ancient evil that plagues their kingdom. Descending into an underground realm full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her party must use their forbidden magic to survive what lies in wait, teeth sharp and jaws deadly.

As she fights for her life, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. Soon Larkin and Amias realize their fates are entwined. The eight of them were chosen for a reason.

But as the dangers multiply and her band of felons are picked off one by one, Larkin must confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return.

Sarah Harian crafts a thrilling, high-octane fantasy adventure that explores the often-thin line between light and darkness, good and evil. 

7) Six of Crows

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Summary from GoodReads

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. 

8) Ready Player One

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Summary from GoodReads

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 

So far these are the books I have found which have numbers in their titles. What titles did you all come up with?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

BYE BYEEEE 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2019 TBR

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Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your week! And since it is Tuesday, I wanted to share with you another Top Ten Tuesday post. I absolutely love this week’s prompt since we are going to discuss our Fall TBR! Ahem . . now if you have been following my blog, I think it’s pretty obvious that I am an absolute mess when it comes to TBRs!

But this time, with all the fantastic releases we have this Fall, I am sure I will definitely be getting through these books. Now whether I will finish all ten is another question altogether HAHA

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list!

1-3) Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash

I have a goal for this year and that is to finish the Throne of Glass series and so far, I am on track. After finishing Queen of Shadows, I jumped right into Empire of Shadows and I am enjoying it so far. I honestly did not think it would be this addicting but I have been captivated by the characters and the plot line and I am so eager to learn whats next in the adventure for the crew!

4) Serpent and Dove

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I am nearly positive that this will be my next read after I complete the Throne of Glass series. Nearly all the early reviews have been praising this book and I am so eager to learn more about it. A witch and witch hunter forced into marriage sounds like a perfect recipe for absolute chaos!

5) Kingdom of Souls

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OK. First of all, can we all take a moment to appreciate this cover? Does it not scream Black Panther vibes? I am sooooo onboard! And secondly, THE Michael B. Jordan is producing this book into a movie. I nearly screamed when I heard the news. On top of that, the premise just sounds spectacular!

6) There Will Come a Darkness

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Another book release which I have heard nothing but great things about! And one which would add to the fall atmospheric read! I was always curious about this book ever since BookCon since it brought together elements which I normally enjoy in a book – dark fantasy, multiple POVs, ancient prophecies, princes, rogues, magic, etc. Early reviews evoked my curiosity for this debut and I can’t wait to pick it up.

7) Escaping from Houdini

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Ok. I think it is clear that I pretty much love the Stalking Jack the Ripper series since I pretty much mention it in nearly all my posts . . . oops! But I can’t help it! It such a phenomenal story with a brilliant and strong female lead accompanied by a charming and witty male lead who embark on gripping journeys solving various mysteries within the Victorian Era. A perfect read for the Fall! After practically flying through book 1 and 2, I just have to pick up the third ASAP.

8) Vicious 

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I have been putting off this book for so long. And now, since it is almost Halloween season, I think this is the perfect opportunity to reach for this series. It sounds like it would be such a great atmospheric read during the Fall. I really hope I get to this series soon since I have heard nothing but great things about it. Plus, it’s Victoria Schwab and I am already in love with her stories!

9) The Bones Houses

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Happy Book Birthday to The Bones Houses! So how do you read the summary of this book and not want to pick it up as a Fall read? I mean this just screams “To Be Read in Fall” with all its spooky vibes. Gravediggers, deadly curses, Welsh mythology – yep, sign me up!

10) Fountains of Silence

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I recently became quite interested in the historical fiction genre with Stalking Jack the Ripper series and Prisoner of Night and Fog. So when I heard about the release of this book in October, I just knew I had to add it to my TBR. Ruta Sepetys is a well known author within this genre and one of my favorite aspects of her stories is that she writes about historical events which not a lot of people talk about. I find that to be such a unique and enlightening method of storytelling! This book in particular takes place in Madrid during 1957 under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco and follows two characters who deal with the repercussions of war. This just sounds so interesting and I can’t wait to pick this up!

What books are you planning to read this Fall?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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