Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | I don’t know how to feel about this book!

I don’t necessarily call myself a Leigh Bardugo fan. I read the Grisha trilogy last year and while it wasn’t the most mindblowing YA fantasy out there, it definitely had some elements that I enjoyed. I still need to read her «Six of Crows» duology, which I hope to like better than the original Grisha trilogy. 

However,  I had very high hopes for «Ninth House». Last year it was one of the most anticipated releases of all bookish community, but then it received a lot of negative reviews – I think people hyped it up more than necessary and were [unpleasanlty] surprised when it turned out to be very different from Leigh Bardugo’s previous work. 

Even after finishing this 459 pages monster and sitting on my thoughts for a week, I still can’t decide whether I liked it or not.

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer | Hmm… not my favorite retelling.

I knew I wasn’t going to love this book. That’s probably why I kept pushing it until the end of the month. Turns out that I don’t have many books that include shapeshifting to pass the Transfiguration exam, and this was one of the most obvious choices. 

Of course, I didn’t go into «A Curse so Dark and Lonely» expecting to dislike it. G from BookRoast, the host and creator of OWLs read-a-thon, spoke so highly of this first book in the series and Brigid Kemmerer’s writing overall that I wanted to believe that this book was going to be for me.

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House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig | An eerie retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”

I finally did it! «House of Salt and Sorrow» came out in August of last year, and I was so upset with myself for not requesting it on NetGalley (I assume it was available on NetGalley?!). Just seeing this gorgeous cover, I knew it would be something I’d like. And then I heard that it was a retelling of rather famous Brothers Grimm fairytale – “The Twelve Dancing Sisters”, which surprisingly I’ve never read! 

When I was little, the leatherbound edition of Brothers Grimm fairytales was one of my favorite books to read and play with. Maybe it didn’t have that particular fairytale? Or maybe I just never read all of them? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The «House of Salt and Sorrow» was a very enticing read. I flew through it in two days and I want more! I hope Erin A. Craig will write more eerie and atmospheric standalone fantasies in the future. Her next book «Small Favors» should come out in 2021 and I’m already excited about it!

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power | All elements I love in one book but…

Ever since the release of «Wilder Girls» in July of last year, I’ve been constantly thinking about this book. The dystopian premise of a School for Girls on an island under quarantine due to unknown illness sounded VERY interesting to me [and it still does, even after finishing the book and seeing that it wasn’t quite what I expected]. After reading «The Grace Year» earlier this year, I expected from «Wilder Girls» something just as bizarre, weird, and utmost mind-blowing, especially since it was classified as Horror! 

This was one of the books I picked for the Reading Rush this year, and while it read very quickly, I wasn’t as surprised by it as I was expecting to.

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The Vampire of Maple Town by Kane McLoughlin | The vampire book you didn’t know you needed!

Once again I’ve proven to myself that a low Goodreads rating doesn’t mean the book is bad or that I won’t like it. With a mere 3.04, «The Vampire of Maple Town» was a very solid and magical debut novel that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves fairytales and inexperienced vampires trying to find their place in the human society.

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The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow | Sadly, Alix E. Harrow’s writing style is not for me!

I think I have to admit defeat and NOT request any future books written by Alix E. Harrow. As much as I want to love her books, and as much as I love the concepts, ideas, characters she creates, the writing style ruins everything for me. Which is so frustrating! 

It would be understandable if I wasn’t a fan of lyrical writing, but I am! In my reviews of The Bear and the Nightingale series by Katherine Arden (which is the BEST series ever!), many people mentioned how beautiful and lyrical her writing was but they couldn’t get engaged in the story, mostly because of the writing. Apparently, I have the same issue with Alix E. Harrow…

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Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden | “At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.”

I became a big fan of Katherine Arden’s work after falling in love with the Winternight Trilogy, especially with the first installment «The Bear and the Nightingale». She released her first middle-grade book – «Small Spaces» in 2018 and I’ve been trying to get my hands on it ever since. 

What I didn’t know going into this book, but was pleasantly surprised by, was that this is going to be a four-book series! With each book representing one season. «Small Spaces» focuses on autumn, it’s set in October and is filled with scarecrows. I assure you, you won’t look the same at scarecrows after reading this.

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The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson | Magic, adventure & Russian folklore!

What an interesting month! It’s the 19th of September as I’m writing this review and only yesterday I finished my second book of this month. Hooray! 🤯 That’s why I love adding books to Goodreads as soon as I start reading them so I can see for myself how long it takes me to finish them. And oh my, I started «The Castle of Tangled Magic» on the 8th! 

Ten days to finish a middle-grade book that could be read in a couple of hours!

I won’t be blaming this all on the book, as September has been very busy and I just didn’t read for the most part of it. But at the same time, if the book was a little bit more engaging, I wonder if I would have made the time for it. Hm…

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The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty | 18th century Cairo, Djinns, and lots of political plays!

I had too high hopes for this book, so when I didn’t love it as much as I hoped to, I felt slightly disappointed. That being said, it’s still an amazing Adult fantasy book with a very unique premise and settings, and I for sure will be continuing and reading the rest of the trilogy as soon as possible. 

It’s difficult to say if my low enjoyment was due to the reading slump I kinda have been experiencing, or everything that is going on in the world that constantly occupies my mind, or the fact that I read it in Russian instead of English. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think that reading this book in translation was a mistake, and I will be buying the other two books in English. I might even re-read the English version before I continue (?) [who am I kidding here… when was the last time I re-read anything?! 😀 ]

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Majesty (American Royals, #2) by Katharine McGee | A very good conclusion to the duology!

This is not my usual type of book, but OMG… it was just as addictive as the first installment! «Majesty» picks up right after the events of the first book, «American Royals», which I read and reviewed last year. If you haven’t read it, I wouldn’t recommend reading this review. Even though I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, the blurb for the second book does give away a lot of things that happen in the first one.

I mentioned in my review of the first book that reading this story reminded me a lot of my favorite TV shows – «Gossip Girl» and «The Royals». There was just enough drama to keep me flipping pages as fast as possible without being overly-exhausting to read.

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Home Before Dark by Riley Sager | Should I read more books by Riley Sager?

Will I ever become a Riley Sager fan?

Last year I read my first Riley Sager book – «Lock Every Door» and, to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. The thriller genre is very competitive. There are so many incredible writers whose books I love and who never fail to surprise me with the crazy twists. So far I can’t say the same about Riley Sager. 

Someone who is new to the mystery / thriller genre will appreciate his books much more than I have, and will probably be surprised by the twists and turns.

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Just Like You by Nick Hornby | Literary fiction, romance or social commentary?

Nick Hornby is one of those authors I always wanted to read more. Right after finishing «About a Boy» and «Slam» almost 10 years ago I intended to read his other books, but never got around to picking them up. Seeing his new novel on NetGalley, «Just Like You», made me incredibly happy! Not only because I knew I was going to enjoy the prose, but also because “tender but also brutally funny” sounded exactly like something I’d love!

I need to warn you though that this blurb is very misleading. On one hand, it does capture the bare bones of the story, but on the other hand, it makes you believe things that are not actually in the book. It made me wonder if I would have noticed that the main characters had “nothing in common” without reading the blurb.🤷‍♀️

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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini | Part 1 & all the reasons why I want to read this book!

What a journey! I’ve never read the Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini, although I did hear about it quite a lot, as I’m sure most of you did. «To Sleep in a Sea of Stars» is his new Sci-Fi and essentially a “come-back”, as it’s the first one he publishes in almost 10 years! [The last book of the Inheritance Cycle was published in 2011!]

Even though I have no point of reference to his previous works, I still wanted to be part of the hype and see what this new Sci-Fi is all about. And let me tell you, Christopher Paolini delivered an incredible, well-planned, and emotional science fiction novel!

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The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith by Loris Owen | A Scientific magical school & tons of adventures!

I LOVE MIDDLE GRADE! 😀 Every single time I pick up a middle-grade book, it makes me feel so content, happy, cozy. Basically, everything you want to feel while reading a good book. Middle-grade is the only genre that will ALWAYS accomplish that for me.

I’ve been checking my excel spreadsheet recently (because Goodreads is not enough) and I noticed that this year I read at least one MG book every month. Seeing this makes me very happy. As one of my goals, every single year is to read for fun. With constant blog posts, ARCs, reviews, new releases, and the need to stay relevant, I tend to forget to pick up books outside of popular YA or Adult books.

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The Test by Sylvain Neuvel | The most mind-blowing novella!

If you haven’t read «The Test» by Sylvain Neuvel, what are you doing with your life?! It’s incredible! Mind-blowing! Astounding! And many other positive adjectives that I can’t think of right now! 

The best way to experience this novella is to dive into the story blindly. The less you know the more surprised (and shocked!) you’ll be. The blurb for this book is very precise and I think it’s perfectly on point. How many times have we encountered long blurbs that spoiled half of the story? That’s why I tend to avoid reading them at all costs. (I’m the same with movie trailers, btw. Recent trailers are just a summarized version of movies and I don’t like watching them! 😀 )

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