Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

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 of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I’ve had these 10 drafted for the past two weeks now cause they’re simply the books I’m MOST eagerly anticipating! I have a feeling I will be making some of these wishes come true but for now 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

May 1st 2018: Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

🦁 What If It’s Us by Adam SilveraSelf appointed #1 Adam Silvera fan, there really isn’t anything he writes that I won’t read! I go in knowing my heart will be torn to pieces but there really isn’t anyone I’d let break my ♥ like I let Adam 🤷🏻‍♀️ This being a collab with his bff Becky Albertalli makes it easily one of those books I have a feeling will be a 5 star read 🙌🏼

🦁 City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab– Three reasons for which I need this book…. One: being that it’s Victoria Schwab & I can’t stay away from her books…Two: this book is set in Scotland which is one of my FAVE book settings…Three: Ghost-hunters 👻 that is all I needed to know 💜

🦁 King Of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo- Its been a minute since I read the Grisha trilogy but there’s one character that remains fresh in my memory. Nikolai in my opinion stole the show when he showed up & I knew there had to be more to his story. SUPER stoked to see the cover reveal today, EVERYTHING GOLD! I can’t wait to have a copy in hands since from what I’ve heard, there won’t be any arcs in circulation *sobs* haha!

🦁 On The Come Up by Angie Thomas- The Hate U Give had to be one of the most impactful, moving, and thought provoking books of 2017. Soon after I was buying copies for my closest friends & loved ones in hopes they’d see just how important Angie Thomas’ books are. Some have expressed concerns over the date of publication for On The Come Up being pushed back however, I think it’s a smart move. Production on The Hate U Give movie wasn’t without its hurdles & some distance between the projects is probably for the best. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to dive back into this wonderful authors writing.

🦁 Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5) by Pierce Brown-  Having recently read Iron Gold, finding out that book 5 would be out later this year was EPIC news! Can’t say too much about this one since it’s way deep into the series, but I will say that it feels great to be back in this world even when certain characters continue to royally mess things up.

🦁 The Winter Of The Witch (The Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden- Katherine Arden is after my own heart with some of the most beautiful atmospheric writing I’ve ever come across on the page. The MC Vasya is one of my all time fave heroines who reminds me so much of Merida from Brave 💜 This is the conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy & although I’m not ready to say goodbye, I also really need to know what happens next!

🦁 Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie-McLemore- EVERYTHING McLemore writes is a MUST for this bookworm! magical realism at its best, it’s so hard to stay away from these books. I fell in love with this authors writing while reading When The Moon Was Ours & I can honestly say, I’ve never read anything that quite compares. All of McLemore’s books have LGBTQIA+ representation and POC main characters. I know I’ve said this for all the others but this is one I’m SOOOOO ready to get my hands on 🤗

🦁 Holy Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence- Having just very recently read Grey Sister (Book Of The Ancestor #2) I can honestly say this is is my FAVORITE adult Fantasy! although seeing it end will be bitter-sweet, I have felt very much a part of Nona’s journey & can’t wait to see how her story comes to a close.

🦁 The ShadowGlass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rain Chupeco- eeeeK! I can’t even see the title of this book on the screen without flailing with happiness 🤗 this is perhaps the book I’d slay TWO lions for! 😂 It’s just SOOO good! Rin Chupeco’s writing is just a atmospheric as Katherine Ardens & just as beautiful. The main character Tea is one of my fave morally ambiguous MC’s & the ship in this book! *swooooooN*☺ oh & if you’re looking for a fantasy with a necromancer, this would be the book for you! 😉

🦁 Sea Witch by Sarah Henning- Hi! I’m Lilly & ever since I could remember, The Little Mermaid has been my favorite Disney movie of all time! haha! no seriously though, I obsessed over this movie. Did I ever think Ursula would get her own POV story? hell nah! evil sea Queens never get to tell their side of things. That being said, I read To Kill a Kingdom recently & LOVED the ish outta that dark gem! Sea Witch looks just as promising & I’m hoping it slayyyyyys my little ♥️! 


Happy Tuesday Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a wonderful week reading all the great books! What are some of the titles you’d slay a lion to get a early copy of? feel free to drop those links to your Top Ten Tuesday 💜💜💜

Friendly reminder, I have a Giveaway for Dread Nation by Justina Ireland running from 4/30/18-5/4/18. This giveaway is open to International peeps as well (See Here) 💙💙💙


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Spoiler Free Review: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

Title: Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)

Author: Mark Lawrence

Pub. Date: April 3rd 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Ace/Penguin Random House

Pages: 400

Format: Physical finished copy from Publisher

Content Warning: gore, torture, loss of a child

*HUGE thanks to Ace and Mark Lawrence for the early finished copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

    

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
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There will be blood.

Grey Sister was on my highly anticipated list of sequels being released in 2018 after reading & loving Red Sister (my review here) to pieces last year. The main protagonist Nona still remains one of my all time favorite kick a** females I’ve come across on the page. If you’re primarily a YA Fantasy reader but have been curious & feeling the urge to dip your toes into the waters of adult fantasy then I’d say please start here! If you’ve been looking for more books featuring positive female friendships, please start here! & if you are a lover of school settings where magic & martial arts come together, please start here! If you’re looking for positive LGBTQIA+ representation in Fantasy, please start here! I was one of those readers intimidated by adult fantasy because of the vast world building & discovering Mark Lawrence will always be one of the best reader moments in my bookworm life. The complexities of the world building once again felt weightless when I picked up Grey Sister which speaks to the talent behind the pen. The inclusion (before the prologue) of a quick run-down of the major happenings in Red Sister is a wonderful courtesy to readers & so appreciated by this bookworm!

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Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human)

Gerrant: Physically large & strong

Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale

Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic

*Nona is a rare triple blood having Hunska, Marjal, and Quantal abilities

Novices have 10 years to complete training & take orders as one of the four classes “Holy Sister (entirely religious duties), Grey Sister/Sister of Discretion (trained in assassination and stealth), Red Sister/Martial Sister (trained in combat), Holy Witch/Mystic Sister (trained to walk the path)”

When we pick up, Nona has moved up to Mystic class (she’s completed both Red & Grey Class) and is on her way to becoming one of the illest Red Sisters alive. Sweet Mercy is still her home where she trains alongside friends and foes. Classes are way more intense & so are the rivalries but this time is a little different. Nona has a unwelcome companion that adds a bit of dark humor to the mix & I found myself laughing out loud at his “words of encouragement”🤦🏻‍♀️one thing does remain the same, Nona may be fierce as hell but she is still willing to forgive those who have wronged her. Friendship is once again center stage & is one of the things I love most about this series. Nona has pretty much had to create her own family within Sweet Mercy, her sisters are all she has. We see the return of some favorites while they mourn the loss of others & cope with the betrayal of those they thought most loyal. For Nona, letting go of the past without answers to the questions haunting her every move is just not an option. This book sees Nona take action and go after those corrupt leaders  in the Empire who are thirsty for more power.

We also got to see more of our favorite teachers in action alongside Nona & crew. This time around there’s also more opposition from some of the teachers who’d rather Nona be released from her duties in Sweet Mercy. Nonetheless, Abbess Glass (reminds me a bit of Dumbledore hehe) is fair & just, taking a rather protective stance over Nona who she knows has no ties to the outside world. Revenge is a recurrent theme, Nona is out to get hers while also being sought out for her actions in Red Sister. Nona’s character development is perhaps one of the best aspects of this series. She’s no longer the 8 year old we met at the gallows in book 1, she’s matured into a teenager who is learning how to manage her demons. If you’ve been around my blog for a minute, it’s no secret I admire Nona and  Grey Sister only amplified my love for this character. If she wasn’t dealing with her new Nemesis in Sweet Mercy (who btw made me want to jump through the book and back up my girl Nona), you could probably find her in the caves underneath Sweet Mercy with her friends, plotting her next moves.

My favorite parts were seeing Nona both prep and  actually go through the Shadow Trial, in Sweet Mercy these convent games determine your passage to the next class. The ingenuity she mustered up in the face of truly devious competition had me smiling from ear to ear rooting her on. The action sequences have a cinematic feel making it very easy to picture & get caught up in the moment. Lawrence takes us along on Nona’s journey through the ranks, her victories and failures are truly felt on the pages. The villains in this installment have been identified on the chess board but I have a feeling Lawrence has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the final installment in this trilogy, Holy Sister. The Book of the Ancestor is set to wrap up in 2019 with Holy Sister already completed 🤗 SUPER STOKED to see how it all ends & seeing Nona in all her Red Sister glory!

Buddy read with the wonderful Melanie from Meltotheany, seriously bookworms if you’re not following her you’re missing out on some of the BEST EPIC reviews & insight in the blogosphere & Goodreads 💜


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Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

25895524Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

Published by: Ace

Publication Date: April 4th 2017

Genre: Adult Fantasy/LGBTQ

Pages: 432 pages

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★★

HUGE thanks to Ace, Netgalley, and Mark Lawrence for the eGalley of Red Sister in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

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My very 1st Mark Lawrence read & boy was it something! nothing could’ve prepared me for what lay ahead but the first few pages in the first chapter did manage to leave me wide eyed. Right off the bat we are introduced to a 8 year old Nona & the harsh reality of the world she lives in. The opening scene had me asking strangers on the train “oh! so no man, woman, or CHILD is safe under Mark’s pen huh?!?!” well the answer to that is NO! no one is safe & plenty are hungry enough to sell their children to avoid starvation. Nona is literally saved from the noose at the very last second by a Nun from Sweet Mercy Convent which is by no means your typical convent. This also won’t be my typically styled review, I finished this book days ago & have gone above & beyond to avoid a book hangover. I will try my best not to fangirl all over this review, back to the Plot…

Sweet Mercy Convent gave me Hogwarts mixed with a Ludus (like in Spartacus) vibes. The nuns at Sweet Mercy all specialize in one skill or another ranging from fighting to magic. Everyone in this world is a descendant from of the following four tribes:

Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human)

Gerrant: Physically large & strong

Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale

Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic

The students who enter are sorted by the abilities they’ve shown a inherent skill towards or in the case of Gerrant & Hunska, are visibly on display. The girls also attend classes in various subjects pertaining to each skill and go through ranks in the following order: Red Class, Gray Class, Mystic Class, and Holy Class. Nona will have 10 years of education in the convent in order to become a Red Sister. During her time & training in the convent there are outside forces at work seeking retribution for old wounds. Nona has secrets, ones that she doesn’t want her peers to ever find out for fear they will see the darkness within her. Nona has a bloody violent history leading up to the noose where she would be hung for her crime. We follow her progress in Sweet Mercy Convent as she learns to hone her skills all the while dealing with inside & outside threats.

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We follow Nona from age 8 to about age 11 in this first installment in the Book of the Ancestor series. She has only known violence & the need to survive when she is brought to Sweet Mercy Convent. She is shrouded in mystery & likes it that way, often times making up stories for her past. Perhaps Nona’s biggest weakness is her unquestioning loyalty to those that call her “friend”. In Sweet Mercy we are introduced to the Abess & sisters who run the convent & teach the classes. I found myself enjoying some of these characters like Sister Apple for her specialty which I won’t reveal since it is spoilery. Also, Sister Kettle who watches over the library, won me over with her threat to anyone caught folding pages in books. Besides the vast array of sisters, there were three other girls in Nona’s class we get to follow closely. There’s Clera who has a love/hate relationship with Nona, Arabella who fiercely watches over Nona, and Hessa who is connected to Nona & often plays the voice of reason. Friendships play a center focus in Red Sister, we see Nona learning the highs & lows all the while living in a competitive setting. Arabella was hands down my favorite & seeing their friendship unfold was awesome since as a reader of Young Adult, I don’t often see positive F/F friendships. This was a change of pace & there were definitely betrayals & double crossings in the mix but that’s to be expected in this world where violence is the law of the land. I like my characters flawed & complex and Lawrence delivers with Nona as well as her friends. No one is wholly “good” or “evil” & therefore nothing is ever black or white in this world, we get a ton of gray til the very last page.

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I finished reading Red Sister some time last week & was left speechless…so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to write this review. I needed to digest what was my first ever Mark Lawrence book & gather my thoughts. From start to finish, Red Sister held me in its grip for various reasons including the no holds barred violence that follows our main protagonist. The world building at first seemed like it would overwhelm me but Lawrence weaves in the ranks & paths so well, that there really was no need to refer to the glossary. About the glossary LOL! MAJOR points for placing the glossary at the very beginning of the book as opposed to the very end where no one ever thinks to look haha! although as previously mentioned, it wasn’t necessary other than as back-up info to this world. The writing is very detailed but in a useful way if that makes sense, it wasn’t overkill. The fighting/training scenes were the most detailed & I was able to get a vivid picture almost as if I were watching a movie. Told in third person POV, Red Sister’s opening pages starts you off with a glimpse of events taking place in the future. This alone was a HUGE motivator for me as far as page turning goes, I needed to find out what that whole scene was about & how everyone managed to get to that point…WHAT WENT WRONG?!?!?! to say that I loved my 1st Mark Lawrence book is a HUGE understatement, I’m in it for the long haul my bookish peeps! If you’re a mostly Young Adult Fantasy reader & are considering taking the leap into Adult Fantasy, this may be a great place to start. For fans of bad a** female heroines, vivid  fight scenes, positive female friendships, positive LGBTQIA representation and elements of the Potterverse…this book is for YOU! 😉

Some of my closest book blogging buddies have already read Red Sister & I will spend Monday visiting their reviews to finally read their thoughts & complain about the wait til’ book 2 haha! Is anyone else reading Red Sister? If you have a review up, please drop that link in the box below & I’ll gladly swing by for a chat 🙂