What’s Ahead: Coven Chat

Most of what I’ll be reading over the next few months is for our Coven Chat discussion posts, so I figured now’s a good time to announce what we’ll be talking about as a group in August through October.

The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater:  I’ve been reading (and re-reading) this series for five years now, so Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, Blue, and the women of 300 Fox Way are some of my most beloved characters. I’ve just started The Raven King (#4), after revisiting The Raven Boys (#1), The Dream Thieves (#2) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3), and I can’t wait to find out how this series ends.

The Remnant Chronicles, by Mary E Pearson: Read The Kiss of Deception (#1) and The Heart of Betrayal (#2) if you haven’t already because The Beauty of Darkness (#3) is out now.



A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2), by Sabaa Tahir: An Ember in the Ashes (#1) was one of our favorite 2015 releases and we’re so excited for its sequel.

We’re only a month away from perhaps our most-anticipated release: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), by Sarah J Maas. You must know by now that Sarah’s books (Throne of Glass (#1), Crown of Midnight (#2), Assassin’s Blade (#.5), Heir of Fire (#3), Queen of Shadows (#4), and Empire of Storms (#5), as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1) and A Court of Mist and Fury (#2)), are our favorites to discuss! We’ve chatted about them here and here and here.

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #1), by Leigh Bardugo: Last year we had a blast discussing Six of Crows and we’re really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Snow Like Ashes series, by Sara Raasch: Another fabulous fantasy series is coming to an end with the release of Frost Like Night (#3) next month.

The Young Elites series, by Marie Lu: Adelina is my favorite villainous protagonist (see my post) and I can’t wait to find out how her story ends in The Midnight Star (#3).


Have you read these series? Which books are you looking forward to the most? 



What I’m Reading: Three Dark Crowns

23207027A couple of months ago, I included Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake, as one of my most-anticipated September releases. Even though I haven’t finished it yet, I can confidently recommend this novel. Especially if you like YA fantasy with multiple characters, worlds, and narrative perspectives.

Three Dark Crowns is told in the alternating points of view of three queens, Katherine, Arsinoe and Mirabella. Every generation, on the island of Fennbirn, queen triplets are born and raised by foster families as “daughters of the Goddess.” Katherine is with the Arrons, a strong poisoner family in Greavesdrake Manor; the naturalist queen, Arsinoe, is with the Milones, the most powerful naturalists in Wolf Spring; and Mirabella, the elemental queen, lives with the priestesses in Rolanth Temple.

The novel opens on the eve of their sixteenth birthday, the beginning of the Ascension Year, when the queen triplets must use their gifts to fight to the death because only one of them can become queen of Fennbirn. “The people of Fennbirn Island grow in strength with the ruling queen. Naturalists become stronger under a naturalist. Elementals stronger under an elemental. After three poisoner queens, the poisoners are strong to the last, and the Arrons most of all.”

Each sister is being trained by her foster family to use her magic against her sisters. But so far only one of the triplets, Mirabella, possesses her gift; the others have been faking their powers. Rumored to be immune to the deadliest poisons,  Katherine cannot ingest even the weakest poisons without getting sick. And Arsinoe, who “ought to be able to bloom entire bushes[,] ripen whole fields” and control the fiercest lions, cannot even “bloom a rose from a rosebud” or call forth her familiar; while her best friend Jules Milone is “the strongest naturalist in sixty years.”

Only Mirabella is truly powerful, able to unleash fierce storms. “Every ship that sails to the northeast of the island returns telling tales of the fierce Shannon Storms besieging the city of Rolanth, where the elementals make their home.” But does this mean that she will be the Crowned Queen?

Alyssa thanks the Boulder Book Store, HarperCollins and Edelweiss for a digital review copy for review purposes only. Please note that the material quoted is from a review copy; therefore, it is subject to changes prior to publication and may not reflect the final edition. These quotes will be checked against the final published edition once that’s available.


What’s Ahead

Most of what I’ve been reading lately is for our Coven Chat discussion posts (previously called Coven Reads), so I figured now’s a good time to announce what we’ll be talking about as a group in April and May.

The Starbound Trilogy, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner:  I’ve been hearing wonderful things about this series for years, so I’m really looking forward to our discussion. I just finished These Broken Stars (#1), and I’ll finish This Shattered World (#2), and Their Fractured Light (#3) this week.  Since each book is about different characters and takes place in a new setting, I’m most curious about how they will relate to one another and bring clarity to the series’ overarching plot.


The Winner’s Trilogy, by Marie Rutkoski: The Winner’s Curse (#1) and The Winner’s Crime (#2) are a couple of my favorite books, so I can’t wait to read The Winner’s Kiss (#3), available tomorrow.


A Gathering of Shadows Final

The Shadowhunters Novels, by Cassandra Clare: I’m now finishing The Mortal Instruments books (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire). Next I’ll read The Infernal Devices Trilogy (Clockwork AngelClockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess), along with the first book in The Dark Artifices Trilogy, Lady Midnight, and The Bane Chronicles. We’ll also compare the books to the Shadowhunters tv show, so I’m really excited for our discussion.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), by V.E. Schwab: Allison and I had so much fun discussing A Darker Shade of Magic last year, and I’m looking forward to talking about its sequel.

The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater: I can’t wait to re-read The Raven Boys (#1) and The Dream Thieves (#2)  before The Raven King (#4) hits the shelves on April 26th. I’m glad I waited until now to read Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3), so I won’t have a painful wait between books 3 and 4.


23308084A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas: Last May Allison, Nicola and I had so much fun discussing A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I can’t wait to chat about this sequel with them!

The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh: The three of us loved The Wrath and the Dawn (see my recommendation) and are excited to discuss its sequel in May.

Have you read these series? Which books are you looking forward to the most? 

Happy Spring! – Alyssa 

October Reading

62969177728889O1311291577273ctob15798826er has been overly busy this year, and while I haven’t stopped reading altogether, I’ve gotten into that nasty habit of starting new books without finishing others. I have five books going right now. FIVE. I’ve been traveling and when I’m away from home I tend to need a variety of books to keep me company… Or I’m just feeling a little fickle? So while I am going to actually recommend something on Friday, here’s what I’m reading in the meantime:

Robin Wood Tarot: The Book,
by Robin Wood

I have the Robin Wood tarot deck and though I’ve read other tarot books, I’m finding Wood’s account of her own work and the history of tarot to be some of the most lively and entertaining that I’ve read. She actually goes through the entire deck, explaining why she drew each card the way she did. She also has a big commitment to getting you “off book” for your readings, which I appreciate.

  The Diviners, by Libba Bray, read by January LaVoy

I’m not actually reading The Diviners, I’m listening to it. January LaVoy is such an amazing narrator and I’m convinced that there is no way it would be as chilling as it is if I were reading it to myself. Additionally, I’m really appreciating Bray’s incredible attention to historical detail, including contemporary slang.

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

I realize I am about a decade late to the party and everyone has already read this, but I’m really enjoying this book. I do find, however, that I need breaks from it. It’s length and Kostova’s attention to detail are at times a bit overwhelming. If I ever finish it, I’ll probably recommend it. For now, I look super-cool when I pull it out of my bag to read in public.

The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, by Kino MacGregor

Much like my study of tarot, I am sort of perpetually reading a yoga book. It may take me forever to get through it, but I love MacGregor’s DVDs, and I’m finding her book to be helpful and interesting.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters

I haven’t actually started this yet, but it’s waiting for me and I’m looking forward to digging in.

What’s up next:

  1. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Court of Fives, by Kate Elliot

What’s on my holds list:

  1. Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs (my only male author in about six months!)
  2. Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey (read Nicola’s recommendation)
  3. Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente
  4. Winter, by Marissa Meyer
  5. Walk on the Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson
  6. The Rose Society, by Marie Lu (read Alyssa’s recommendation)
  7. All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders


What We’re Reading


AbbyStitching Snow by R.C. Lewis is another of those fairy tales retold. If you liked Cinder by Marissa Meyer, you’ll like this one too. Essie is a runaway from her home world. She grew-up on a rough planet working on robots, until she is kidnapped by Dane. It’s a fun romp and an easy read for those of you recovering from finals.

Allison13528340: I’ m reading books for some of our group posts later this month right now, but I recently finished The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey and it was fantastic. There’s an awesome race of bird people in an epic conflict with dragons, and a human girl stuck in the middle. People who loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone books will like this one a lot. I also FINALLY got my hands on a copy of Station Eleven and I’m totally psyched to read it.

20345202Nicola: I just finished The Girl at Midnight, too! I really liked the way all the highly fantastical places like the Nest integrated with the real world, as well as Echo’s snark (snark’s a protagonist’s way to my heart).

Melissa: I just started Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I’m only on the first page so no thoughts yet. I’m reading it after reading a recommendation from the Coven!

23399192Alyssa: Lately I’ve been reading a lot of reimaginings and alternate history/reality fantasy new releases. I’ve just started Sharon Cameron’s Rook, which pays homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel and takes place in Sunken City (formerly Paris), where a new revolution claims many lives, except those rescued by the mysterious Red Rook. I’m also reading Heather Dixon’s Illusionarium, a steampunk magical adventure, where illusionists can create alternate realities by taking a harmful drug. I recently finished M.D. Headley’s Magonia: a recently deceased Aza is transported to an airship inhabited by bird-like creatures who claim she’s one of them. Sarah McGuire’s Valiant is a gender-bending reimagining of the fairy tale The Brave Tailor: a clever and courageous tailor’s daughter, masquerading as a boy, must defend the kingdo18114068m from an immortal Duke and his army of giants. Kathleen Baldwin’s A School for Unusual Girls reimagines an alternate Regency England soon after Napoleon’s exile, where misbehaving girls at a “reform school” play an important role in saving England from its many enemies.

Kate: I’m reading Redeployment by Phil Klay. A book of short stories told mostly from the point of view of soldiers about the recent war in Iraq, Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award. Klay, himself, is a former Marine, and he draws from his military service to paint a portrait of the commonalities and differences experienced by both enlisted and officer forces in the post-911 U.S. military. In his book, Klay highlights the growing rift between military members and civilians who are often ignorant of the debilitating stressors of modern military service and yet who spout meaningless patriotic platitudes. As a spouse of an Air Force officer for over 10 years, I have an obvious personal stake in reading this book, but anyone interested in what military service can look like in our post-911 world will benefit from and be made more empathetic by reading this wonderful book.