Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blitz + Excerpt, Teaser, and Giveaway: Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks


Fire and Bone
Rachel A. Marks
(Otherborn #1)
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
“Gossip Girl meets Percy Jackson in the glitz and grit of L.A….” 
In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future. 
Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap. 
Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld. 
As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing’s for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.

EXCERPT:
LILY
I try to hide my shivering as I wait before the altar, in my position as the Bonding begins. Around me, shadows dance over the cairn walls from the restless flames licking up the ram’s body—the sacrifice on the pyre behind me—and the smell of sweat and burnt flesh smother the smoky air.
The King of Ravens paints an alarming image, standing almost naked across from me on the other side of the blood circle. He wears the corona radiata, the golden laurel-leafed crown, on his head of onyx hair. His short beard is neatly trimmed, combed with lavender oil for the ceremony. His sharp silver eyes study me beneath a heavy brow.
I try not to think about the past. Or future. I try not to think about what those hard hands will feel like on my skin when he seals this Bond.
I study the stone floor rather than look in those metallic eyes. I feel them on me, though, the same way they have been for the fortnight I’ve been here preparing for the ceremony. He hasn’t touched me; he’s only brought me gifts and insisted I sit with him beside the greatfire in the evening before he goes out for his hunt. Sometimes I smell him in the hallway outside my rooms. But he never comes in, thank the goddess. The scent of blood is heavy on him in those moments. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if he’d attempted anything.
After this is done, it won’t matter. My bed will be his. As will my life.
A druid walks back and forth behind me, tossing rosemary and lavender onto the pyre after each stanza of his spell. He calls to the wind from the east, he calls to the waters in the west, and he pulls the spirit of flame and earth into the cairn with us, asking the Penta to approve the Bond set to be made between the two most powerful Houses, as he pleads for a blessing from our mothers, Brighid and MorrĂ­gan, and thanks the Cast for their permission to seal the Bond between the two very different powers.
A female druid comes to my side with bowl and brush, beginning to paint my skin in blue woad, tracing patterns of knots and runes across my back, then baring my chest and continuing.
The king’s gaze follows the woman’s strokes, and when she’s finished, he raises his chin at me in approval but says nothing. What does he see when he looks at me? My wild copper hair? My simple features? The awkward birthmark just above my heart? I’m round of cheek and hips and not much of a beauty. But however I look to him, I will belong to him.
Determination is set in hard lines on his face, and I wonder if the torque on his neck is working properly. I can see his dark energy lifting in silver and black curls over his shoulders now. It should be tight inside his skin, as mine is. The iron shackle should be holding it in place so that we don’t harm each other in the first merging, before we can get used to the feel of each other’s powers.
The female druid moves to the king next and begins painting the woad in circles over his torso. The druid chanting behind me recites the final section of his spell, walking the ram’s-blood circle painted on the floor. He holds a rowan stick aloft, flicking rosewater over the king and then me as he passes by, mumbling, “A price paid, a covenant sealed, in earth and blood and ash, in spirit and flesh and fire.”
The price is my will, my soul, in payment for the life of the human prince that I took.
In the center of the circle, between the king and me, is an altar with two bowls set atop, one full of salt, one full of rye.
The iron union dagger rests between them.
I stare at it, imagining the blade cutting into my flesh. And I can’t help when my gaze moves to the king. I want to blink and make this moment a dream, perhaps find myself in the thicket with Lailoken, among the bluebells in the Caledonian wood.
I should run from this son of MorrĂ­gan, deny him, deny our mothers, and let the world burn. But my heart twists at the thought. I was running from duty when fate took my heart from me, when the prince succumbed to my fire’s will. It was the childish notion of freedom that tore him from me.
Now it’s time to accept my punishment for allowing the humans to glimpse our world. Time to atone.
The druid’s voice fills the room again. “When moon gives birth to stars,” he says, in a droning hum, flicking more rosewater over us with the rowan stick, “let this Bond be sealed in blood.”
My skin prickles with fear as the king takes the cue, reaching out to pick up the ceremonial dagger by the leather-wrapped hilt. I focus on not moving, not making a sound, as I watch him bring the blade to his chest, tip pricking his left breast. A drop of crimson pearls up at the spot.
With a slow hiss of breath, he cuts across.
Dark blood slides down his abdomen in a thick swath of red. “My blood with yours,” he says. And he turns the knife, holding out the hilt for me.
My hands clench into fists at my side, and I force my shaking limbs to still.
I breathe in slowly again. Then I reach out, taking the ceremonial dagger from him, careful not to touch his fingers.
I pretend not to care about the cage I’m about to be locked in. About the pain in my soul from loss, from the goddess Brighid abandoning me to this darkness, pain from the reality of everything in front of me.
I press the tip of the blade to the center of my chest, the point breaking the skin. I look into the silver eyes of the king in front of me. And consider my fate.
One deep plunge to the heart and the pain will end. One plunge.
One.


Author Bio:
Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. 



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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Blitz + Excerpt and Giveaway: TruthStone by Mike Shelton


TruthStone
by Mike Shelton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 15th 2018

One little lie won’t hurt, will it?

When fifteen year old Shaeleen unexpectedly is given a TruthStone, every lie she hears or tells causes her immense physical pain. As she struggles to control her new power and curb the pain, she learns a powerful truth that could thrust an entire continent into civil war. She must choose: reveal the truth and stop the pain – or sacrifice her own well-being to protect her kingdom.

For two hundred years the five kingdoms of Wayland have been protected by the stones of power. Now those stones are failing and a darker power is trying to take control. With the help of her brother, Cole and a newfound friend, Orin, Shaeleen sets out to gather and restore the power of all the stones.

But will she succeed before the endless lies destroy her?  



Excerpt from TruthStone, Book 1 in The TruthSeer Archives, by Mike Shelton

Shaeleen she felt something in her hand. She had almost forgotten that the woman had given her something. She slowly opened her fingers and found herself looking at a small, green stone. It was beautiful and sparkled in the sunlight, holding her transfixed for a moment. This couldn’t be what she thought it was. That wasn’t possible.
She turned, to give it back to the woman, for she couldn’t accept such a gift, especially from a stranger. But, by the size of it—a little smaller than a chicken egg—she’d guess that her entire family could live forever on its worth, and its value was worth much more than gold or silver if it was indeed what she thought it was. Shaeleen’s mind raced momentarily with the possibilities of wealth it would bring if she could sell it.
But she finally shoved the stone back toward the woman. The old woman pushed Shaeleen’s hand away.
“It is yours now, but not for the riches.”
How could the woman know what I had been thinking?
“I…” Shaeleen tried to speak but felt a tightening of her chest.
“Don’t deny it, child,” Melindra said sternly. “Those types of thoughts will only cause you pain.”
This is crazy. Why did she give me this gemstone? This is…
“Moldavite, a TruthStone,” Shaeleen whispered.
“Hush, child. You don’t want people hearing that, do you?”
All Shaeleen could do was shake her head. Once again she asked herself, Why is the keeper giving me a TruthStone? Only one TruthStone was given to each kingdom—over two hundred years ago. How could there be another?
“What is your name, child?” the woman asked.
“Shaeleen,” she said, glancing from the stone to Melindra and then over at the approaching men once more. They were closing in but still hadn’t seen Melindra. And they would be upon them in less than a minute.
“Well, Shaeleen, you now have a life ahead of you that you had never supposed. Be careful. Be true. And don’t doubt yourself. Kings and queens will clamor for your attention, and lords and ladies will want to be your friends. You will know the ones to trust.”
Shaeleen shook her head. No. No. The nobility paid her little attention. She was only the daughter of a carpenter, a father she loved dearly, but one that surely wasn’t a lord. Glancing into Melindra’s eyes confirmed the truth to her: it was a TruthStone she held in her hand.


About the Author

Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn't reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn't put that great book down). Though he has read all sorts of genres he has always been drawn to fantasy. It is his way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women.

Other than reading, Mike has always enjoyed the outdoors. From the beaches in Southern California to the warm waters of North Carolina. From the waterfalls in the Northwest to the Rocky Mountains in Utah. Mike has appreciated the beauty that God provides for us. He also enjoys hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. He has a lovely wife who has always supported him, and three beautiful children who have been the center of his life.

Mike began writing stories in elementary school and moved on to larger novels in his early adult years. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career. That, along with spending time with his wonderful family and obligations at church has made it difficult to find the time to truly dedicate to writing. In the last few years as his children have become older he has returned to doing what he truly enjoys - writing!

     

GIVEAWAY:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Blast + Giveaway: Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg


Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why. 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Deborah Schaumberg was born in Brooklyn, not far from where her novel The Tombs takes place. She grew up renovating dilapidated old houses with her family. She and her father would walk the rooms, floor by floor, making up stories about the inhabitants that were filled with dark secrets, monsters, and, of course, ghosts. Deborah is a writer and an artist whose work always has an element of fantasy to it, and since she also studied architecture, settings are equally important. It was on a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal that she imagined a girl with the ability to see energy, and the seed of The Tombs was planted. She collects old bottles, and her favorite holiday is, you guessed it, Halloween. Deborah lives with her family and two dogs in Maryland, just outside DC. Visit her at deborahschaumberg.com.






Photo Content from Deborah Schaumberg

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

25526296Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Pages: 173
Format: E-Book
Published By: Tor
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Series: Wayward Children

Rating:
✮✮✮

Review:
I was really excited to pick up Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. This book is about children traveling through doorways to other worlds, and then coming back to our world and going to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children; and then when Nancy arrives, danger also comes knocking. And by the end of the book it had lived up to my expectations, but there were a few problems with getting into the book.

First problem, the pacing. It just felt slow for a good portion of the beginning of the book, which made it difficult to hold my attention for long. It took me much longer to read through this book than I would have thought when I first picked it up, because I just wasn't drawn into the story. It did pick up a little before the book was halfway done, and at that point, I was hooked by the book - definitely why sometimes pushing through is good.

Another downfall regarding this book initially were the characters. Initially, I didn't like Nancy, or a majority of the other characters, but I didn't dislike them either. I was very indifferent towards them because I was unable to connect with them, which may be due to the fact that I wasn't able to get into the book meaning I never really got the chance to connect. The only characters that really stood out to me from the beginning, and that I really liked, was Jack (whose story I am really excited to read even though I didn't love this novel). Although, after I was able to get into the book, I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, and at times sympathesized with what they were going through during the novel.

I loved the idea of the novel, and being able to travel to different worlds, and I did enjoy Seanan McGuire's writing style. I also liked that Seanan took time to describe the worlds even though you don't get to experience them within the novel. I can't wait to discover those worlds within the coming novels. I also loved that this book was able to evoke so much emotion for being so short of a story. I thought the conclusion was fitting for the story, and it tied it all together really well... and I was happy that I had figured it out earlier in the story (I was suspicious for a while).

I would highly recommend this novel because it was unique and different, and it's a fairly quick read once you get into it. I cannot wait to start the sequel for this series, and look forward to the other books planned for this series.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Cover Reveal: Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R.J. Garcia


Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced
R.J. Garcia
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Suspense, Young Adult
Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with his rebellious neighbor, Finn Wilds.
Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping— they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?


Author Bio:
R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels! 

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal: Alive? by Melissa Woods


Alive?
Melissa Woods
(The Alive? Series, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: October 30th 2018
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Zombies
Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten.
Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either.
Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too…
Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams.
New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.

Author Bio:
Melissa is a Primary School teacher by day and a writer by night. She grew up in a small town in the UK, and spent of her time with her nose in a book. Her childhood was filled with R.L Stein, Jacqueline Wilson, and J.K Rowling, and they inspired her to begin creating her own worlds. Melissa has always been fascinated with stories about living through an apocalyptic event, and with characters who feel so real that they become part of the reader long after the book was put away. She wrote the first draft of Alive? at sixteen, and has been hooked on writing ever since.
When she's not writing, Melissa enjoys reading, playing video games, crocheting, and spending time with her two dogs (and occasionally her husband). 
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tour + Review: Romanov by Samaire Provost


Romanov
Samaire Provost
Publication date: January 24th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
In an abandoned warehouse in Manhattan, two enemies battle to the death, while outside, a malevolent entity watches and waits and plots, eager for blood. On an island in the heart of Seattle, an immortal princess struggles to lead a normal life just as a flood of terrifying creatures starts to pour in through a portal that should not be there. A young man meets a classmate while walking home from the college library, and embarks on the most dangerous adventure he’s ever known – will he survive? A deranged madman hunts the girl he’s lusted after for a century, in a relentless pursuit for vengeance. A prehistoric, mythical beast jealously guards a primeval land, which is leaking into present-day Seattle. A sweet, forbidden passion blossoms between two lovers who steal moments whenever they can, while unbeknownst to them, they’re hunted by a deadly creature.
A royal family threatened at its weakest – yet lethal in its own right – is stalked by an ancient evil that will not rest until they are utterly destroyed: a nightmare incarnate that has waited millions of years for revenge threatens the very existence of the young lovers and their family.
Will they prevail?

Review:
4 stars

Romanov by Samaire Provost would normally not be my go to read on account that it features vampires, which are my least favorite paranormal story to read, but there was something about Romanov that just completely sucked me into the story and the world. This book is unlike any other vampire book that I have read to date.

I just loved the concept of Vampires in Russia because I haven't read many books set in Russia, and there is just something unique about vampires in Russia - maybe because it's different from the usual vampires book that I have read in the past.

I loved getting to know Alix, Lexei, and Anna, and get to see a story that focused more on the family aspect like Romanov did. I also liked the additional romantic aspect with Anna and Eric, and getting to see how their relationship developed as the story progressed.

I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of vampire novels, and/or paranormal novels set in Russia.

Author Bio:
Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son.
Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing. 


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Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books/Authors I Have Still Yet to Read

So a few weeks prior to this post, I did a post about books that I need/want to read before the movies and tv show come out on the big screen. So because I have already mentioned that I haven't read those (some of which could apply to this post), I will not be mentioning those books again.

As I am writing this, I must say that there is apart of me that is somewhat ashamed that I have not read these books or anything by these authors. So without further ado, let's get to the books that I haven't read.

Since I actually had planned on posting a different topic this week, but I already had this one completed, and because I ended up having two exams today (due to an unfortunate event with one of my professors), I never got around to completing my planned topic. So instead, you get this topic instead, and next week I will plan what was initially planned for today.

#1: Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

This isn't the first time that I have mentioned that I haven't read the Harry Potter Series on my blog, and it's sad because I own the first three books in the series. My friend was disappointed that I hadn't read the books yet, so she actually got them for me as a Christmas gift.

And even though I haven't read this series, I have read the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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#2: Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

This one personally upsets me more than not having read Harry Potter, because I am obsessed with the Lord of the Rings movies, and everything to do with Lord of the Rings. One of the reasons that I never read the books is because I was like 6 when the movies came out, and 7 or 8 when I watched the first movie. I didn't even know these were books at that time, and so I haven't yet picked them up - and I actually own two sets of the books. One set I bought for myself and the other was a gift from a friend.

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#3: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Let me explain about this one - if it's even at all possible to really explain about it. So for this being a popular book that has been made into a movie, I didn't know anything at all regarding this book. Had no idea what it was about, and to be honest, I never really took the time to find out what it was about. I had seen the cover, and was it didn't catch my attention. I also knew it was contemporary, and until recently, I didn't really try to read contemporary. Not to mention, this was recommended to me on goodreads.

So funny story, last year, my friend invited me to see the movie Wonder, and I was like sure. Had no idea what the movie was about, but I knew she would recommend a movie to me that I wouldn't enjoy. I absolutely loved the movie - I probably sobbed the entire movie, my friend who does not cry, sobbed during the movie. It was a mess. I, after seeing the movie, still had no idea that the movie was based on this book by R.J. Palacio.

I apparently lived under a rock when it came to knowing anything at all about this book, so it's one that I haven't read, and definitely plan to get to soon because I know I will enjoy it. And this is a big part of why I am ashamed as a reader right now - and I should be.

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#4: Stephanie Perkins

I have not read any book by Stephanie Perkins. Not that Stephanie Perkins has a ton of books out there that I could have read, but I haven't read the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy, nor have I read her latest YA horror novel (which will actually be the first Stephanie Perkins book that I do get around to reading because I love horror more than contemporary). I looked at the books and was like I'd read those, but then just never got around to picking any of her books up.

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#5: Rainbow Rowell

Sticking with the theme going on right now of contemporary authors that I haven't picked up yet... which includes Rainbow Rowell. I have heard so about her as an author, and I am going to stick with the two contemporary books that she has written, because her YA fantasy, Carry On, didn't peak my attention as much as her two contemporary novels did. I do want to point out that I have borrowed Fangirl from my library, so hopefully, soon I can say that I have read a Rainbow Rowell novel.

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#6: Katie McGarry

So I don't know how popular in the sense of the world these books are, but I am including her on my list because a lot of people I know have read books by her, so they are popular in my circle of readers that I know. And these are another set of contemporary novels that I have wanted to pick up but just never got around to.

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#7: Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a really popular series that I have heard a lot about from multiple people multiple times. I previously read Shiver, and at this point, I am probably never going to finish the series if I am honest with myself. And that was very influential in my decision to not read the Raven Cycle, but after hearing so much, I have decided that I will give this series a try.

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#8: Marissa Meyer

When the Lunar Chronicles first came out, I had no desire to read them, and if I'm honest, I still have a hesitancy in whether I want to read them or not. But I do want to give them a shot after hearing some good things from some people that I know that absolutely love the series. I am also really excited about Renegades which I haven't yet picked up.

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#9: Sarah J. Maas

There's really not much to say about this one. These two series are probably some of the most popular (in regards to what I personally hear about) out of all of the books on this list, of course with the exception of the first two which have been around forever. I have picked her books up before in the pst, but just never got around to actually reading it.

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AND FINALLY...

#10: Leigh Bardugo

Again, another very popular series that I hear about a lot. But it's even worse because I actually own the Six of Crows duology, and haven't read it yet. The reason I haven't yet read these books is because I want to read the Grishaverse trilogy before I read the Six of Crows duology, but I'm not as excited about that series as I am the duology.

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So what are some popular books or authors that you haven't yet read that you want to read? Are any of the books on my list on your list? I would love to hear more from you guys?