January Book Haul! | 2021

I actually ended up with a surprising number of new books in January which is delightful, if stressful for my TBR. I did a big pre-order at the end of last year to have something to look forward to throughout the year – meaning I pre-ordered about 10 up-coming releases and naturally a few of those landed at my doorstep in January. I also have started what I’m sure is to become a new tradition: I ordered sequels. It may not sound ground-breaking to you but let me explain.

I find one of the things I’m the worst at is actually continuing/completing series. And when I actually look at my TBR and what’s on my shelves I realised it’s because I don’t often go out of my way to actually get the sequel. So what I did was go through all the books from 2020 (and 2019, actually) that I loved, that were part of a series, and ordered the sequel! This is a brilliant idea, if I might say so, and I’m looking forward to doing it at the end of 2021. But enough rambling, let’s check out the haul!


New Books

Lore | Alexandra Bracken

This is one of the aforementioned pre-orders that has arrived! I adore the cover for this book and I’ve heard lots of good things about this already. I’m really hoping that this will be as brilliant as it sounds because I know Bracken is a very good author!

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Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Cruel Beauty | Rosamund Hodge

I found this for an absolute bargain at my library. They were selling the hardback (in perfect condition) for a mere 50c so of course I couldn’t walk away from it. This is a book that has been on my wishlist for many many years, so it’s exciting to finally have a copy of it!

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Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Kingsbane | Claire Legrand

This is one of the sequels I was talking about! I read Furyborn last year and loved it. It’s a brilliant epic fantasy with so much going on. I can’t wait to see where book two takes the story because it’s sure to only get even more crazy.

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The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

Tsarina | Ellen Alpsten

I confess that this was pretty much just an impulse buy. I saw it in the shops and was so delighted to see it on the shelves that I just had to get a copy. This was a 2020 release and I saw almost no-one talking about it, hence my surprise to see it finds its way to the shelves of a bookstore! That usually doesn’t happen over here unless the book is reasonably popular.

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Spring 1699: Illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of fifteen, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run.

A world away, Russia’s young ruler, Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Tsardom of Russia into a modern, Western empire. Countless lives will be lost in the process.

Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia. But her rise to the top is ridden with peril; how long will she survive the machinations of Peter’s court, and more importantly, Peter himself?

Hunting Prince Dracula | Kerri Maniscalco

This is another sequel I finally got my hands on! I read Stalking Jack the Ripper in 2019 and just never got around to picking up the sequel. Whilst I listened to book one on audiobook and it was good, I decided I wanted to continue the rest of this series in physical format so I could whiz through the excitement at my own pace!

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Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Court of Lions | Somaiya Daud

The third sequel that I ordered and one whose cover I am absolutely in love with. I really enjoyed Mirage last year and don’t think it got anywhere near enough the hype it deserved. But I’m super excited to see where book two takes us, there are many twists and turns in this story!

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In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

The Silvered Serpents | Roshani Chokshi

This was the last sequel that I ordered, and once again I am very excited about it. There is something glorious about looking forward to the sequel of a book you loved (I’m sure this isn’t news to those of you out there who actually finish series). The Gilded Wolves was an amazing book that I think I read in 2019 but there was a bit of a gap between the publication of book one and two!

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No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Wild | Kristin Hannah

I stumbled across this in a bookstore whilst on a little getaway and was thoroughly surprised to see a Kristin Hannah book on the shelves that I was not aware of. I somehow COMPLETELY missed Wild when it came out in 2020 so I was quick to put this to rights and got myself a copy.

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In the rugged Pacific Northwest of the United States lies the Olympic National Forest – a vast expanse of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this mysterious land, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.

Having retreated to her hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates begins working with the extraordinary little girl. Naming her Alice, Julia is determined to free her from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation, and discover the truth about Alice’s past. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice – and find a new one for herself.

The Wolves of London | Mark Morris

This was my Read & Relax blind date with a book for January. I’ve been a rep for these guys for a good six months now (over on Instagram, you can use my code to get a discount!) and I love what they do. I’ve really enjoyed getting some books that sound amazing that I’ve not heard of before. I’m patiently waiting for the day when I pick one of them out of TBR Jar.

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Psychology professor Alex Locke is an ex-convict, forced back into the criminal underworld when his daughter is threatened. After he agrees to steal a mysterious Obsidian Heart, Locke is pursued by unearthly assassins known as the ‘Wolves of London’. Soon he discovers the heart can enable him to travel through time, and while it bestows him with his own dark powers, it also corrupts…


Review Copies

The Island | C. L. Taylor

I spent most of January playing catch up on ARCs to get them read and I’m so nearly on top of things which is amazing. This is a January 2021 release from Harlequin that I cannot WAIT to dig into. The plot idea isn’t super original but I am an absolute sucker for these stories. Click below to check out the blurb! This is already available for purchase at your local bookstore.

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Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

Welcome to The Island. Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

The Moroccan Daughter | Deborah Rodriguez

I was really excited this February release (also now available!) because I’ve been a long time fan of Rodriguez’s books! Big thank you to Penguin for providing me with a review copy. Whilst I’ve still got a few of her to tick off, I managed to find myself on the blog tour team for this beauty which is really exciting. My stop on the tour will be on the 13th February, so quite soon! Be sure to keep an eye out for my review because this was a delight to read.

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Morocco: a captivating country of honor and tradition. And, for these four women, a land of secrets and revelations.

From the twisted alleyways of the ancient medina of Fès to a marriage festival high in the Atlas Mountains, Deborah Rodriguez’s entrancing new bestseller is a modern story of forbidden love set in the sensual landscape of North Africa. Author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and The Zanzibar Wife.Amina Bennis has come back to her childhood home in Morocco to attend her sister’s wedding. The time has come for her to confront her strict, traditionalist father with the secret she has kept for more than a year – her American husband, Max.

Amina’s best friend, Charlie, and Charlie’s feisty grandmother, Bea, have come along for moral support, staying with Amina and her family in their palatial riad in Fès and enjoying all that the city has to offer. But Charlie is also hiding someone from her past – a mystery man from Casablanca.

And then there’s Samira, the Bennises’ devoted housekeeper for many decades. Hers is the biggest secret of all – one that strikes at the very heart of the family.

As things begin to unravel behind the ancient walls of the medina, the four women are soon caught in a web of lies, clandestine deals and shocking confessions . . .


Audiobooks

Infernal Devices | Philip Reeve

Speaking of continuing series, I had forgotten for a hot second about this series, which I am in the middle of. This is book three and I’ve been listening to the audiobooks. I am loving this series, it is so unique and fun. The movie is terrible, like it’s unbelievably bad, please don’t watch it. But the series? Ohh, you NEED to read this.

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“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.

Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. “Look at what your Valentine did to me!” she screams. “Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!” And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.

In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism — and betrayal.


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