Review | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gildedwolvesTitleThe Gilded Wolves (2019)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Read: 19th – 23rd January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fiction;
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“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.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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24in48 | Sign Up & TBR (January 2019)

24in48_v2-03_full-colorHowdy folks, it’s that time again: Emma foolishly signs up for another readathon! This time my foolishness will only last as long as a weekend, this upcoming weekend in fact, which will play host to the 24 in 48 Readathon. For those unaware of the readathon, you aim to read a total of 24 hours within a 48-hour period. That way, it’s not about reading X amount of books or fulfilling X amount of challenges. Instead, the readathon is mainly about focusing 24 hours worth of your time on reading. (For more info, go to the website!)

I’ll admit upfront: I have some misgivings about the 24 in 48 Readathon. Personally, for me, I don’t think it’s healthy. In the past when I have taken part and really tried to make it to the hallowed 24 hours goal, I’ve ended up having an absolute crap week after the readathon ends because my entire weekend was spent cooped up in the house, neglecting errands and housework and any other activity that wasn’t reading. I end up not eating properly, I end up not sleeping properly, and I end up not having the proper break that a weekend is meant to be. Therefore, I’ve recognised that sacrificing the 2-day break I get from work in order to just read isn’t completely healthy for me (but if it works for you, you do you!) so, this round, I’m not even going to try to get to 24 hours. Instead, I’m going to aim for 14 hours since I would work 7 hours a day and still have time to do other things without either being a detriment to the other. So, there we have it, less a 24 in 48 and more of a 14 in 48 – less impressive, I know, but hey, this is my readathon attempt and I’ll do it how I like!

With all that being said, let’s talk TBR. As always with my TBRs, I’m unlikely to finish everything on this list but I just like to have a nice stack of books to pick from which should hopefully cover most moods I might reasonably be in over the course of the weekend. Now let’s stop delaying and take a look at the TBR I’ve set myself:

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease
This is the book that I will likely be focusing on during the readathon. I’ve started reading it this week and it has been super fun so far and I have no idea where the story is going to go next so I’m itching to pick it back up and continue reading – there will be plenty of time to do that this weekend.

The Penguin History of the World by J.M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad
I’ve set myself the goal of finishing this mammoth tone in 2019 so I’m making my way through it slowly. I still have a little bit to read to finish the section I’d like to have completed by the end of January so I’m including it in my TBR so I don’t forget about that!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
I recently read and adored Chokshi’s latest novel, The Gilded Wolves, so I decided to go back and read her earlier books. Whilst perusing the library catalogue recently I noticed the branch closest to my work had a copy of this in stock and, well, I couldn’t resist deciding to add this to my TBR this weekend so that I had the excuse to go and borrow it sooner rather than later. I know next to nothing about this one so I have no expectations and am ready to be blown away! (Though I’ve heard whispers that this is a Hades and Persephone retelling… *King George voice* IS THAT TRUUUUU-E?)

Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgewick, John Higgins, and Marc Olivent
Whilst in the library picking up the book I mentioned above, I scoured the graphic novel section in search of some Loki: Agent of Asgard comic books that were allegedly on the shelves. I didn’t track them down (maybe they have disguised themselves as someone else? Would be about typical given their protagonist!) but this odd little book did catch my eye. I know nothing about it and barely even checked out the art style first to see if I enjoyed it so let’s just follow this whim and see where it takes us, shall we?

The Wicked + the Divine, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles
Whilst scouring through the graphic novel section of the library I also found the second volume of The Wicked + the Divine and remembered that I’d read the first volume some time ago and had been intrigued about picking up the rest of the volumes in the series. I never got around to buying them because I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it and, hey, those bindups are kinda pricey, but I’ll happily take advantage of my library to puzzle out if I do actually want to read the series or not. Hoping to re-read the first volume and then continue onto the second one over the course of the weekend.

Well, there we have it, that was my TBR for this weekend for the 24 in 48 Readathon. Are you taking part? Let me know in the comments if so, especially if you have a TBR because I’d love to be nosy and take a peek at it. Or, if you’re not taking part, still tell me what (if anything) you’re planning on reading this weekend.


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Tag | New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag

I saw this tag recently over on Jenn’s blog and I’ve previously seen it done on Booktube by Heather @ Bookables but I think the original video of the tag has now been taken down? (If I’m wrong and you know the creator/link, please do let me know!) In any case, this is a super fun tag and it’s the perfect time of year to do it so I couldn’t resist joining in.

1. An author you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before).

I’d quite like to read something from Roshani Chokshi this year, specifically her January 2019 release The Gilded Wolves which sounds like everything I want/need in a book, but also her other books: The Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes.

2. A book you’d like to read.

Everything from my Books You Didn’t Get to in 2018 list but specifically The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater because I’ve been putting it off and putting it off for months/years at this point. To be honest, it’s getting mildly ridiculous now because I love the series and need to know how it ends… but I also don’t want it to end, hence not reading the final book. I need to stop being silly and just read this one, maybe I can persuade myself to do so by letting myself re-read the previous three books?

3. A classic you’d like to read.

Aside from finally finishing reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, I would also like to read Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh because I feel like I’d probably LOVE this one and it’s a travesty I haven’t read it yet, frankly. But mostly I’d like to make a decent dent in my Classics Club list in 2019.

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T5W | Top of Your TBR

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Top of Your TBR. I think we can assume this week’s topic is pretty self explanatory: pick the top five top priority books from your TBR. Considering my TBR is in the hundreds, you’d think this would be pretty easy, but I’ve been floundering over picking my next read as of late partly because of the agony of choice and also partly because there are quite a few of my anticipated releases of 2019 that are happening very soon so I don’t want to start too many other books as their release dates are creeping closer and closer. You might notice that theme in this list actually…

5. These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Since you’ll be hearing a lot of my anticipated 2019 releases in the rest of this list, I decided to include a title from last year that is absolutely top of my TBR. I didn’t manage to get to These Rebel Waves when there was the initial buzz around this book’s release and, even though I got a pretty edition in a Fairyloot box, it probably still wouldn’t be priority TBR if my housemate Liz hadn’t recently read it and said encouragingly that she thought I’d really like it. That kind of recommendation is enough to make me prioritise this.

 

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T5W | Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Most Disappointing Reads of 2018: these are books you read in 2018, not only ones released in 2018. 

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Obviously there’s a huge disclaimer that I should state before we even get into this post: these are reads that, for one reason or another, slightly disappointed me. That’s not to say that these books are bad books and that’s not to say that I necessarily disliked them; rather, it’s just that because of a multitude of possible reasons (a big one likely being hype in the bookish community), the books just felt a little short of the expectations I (maybe wrongfully) placed upon them. So it’s not the book’s fault necessarily – it’s not you, book, it’s me, I promise.

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Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2019 | TBR

Hello everyone! As you can probably tell from the title of this post, this is a TBR post for the upcoming Winter Biannual Bibliothon. As I’m subscribed to one of the readathon’s hosts, LittleBookOwl on YouTube, I always see videos relating to this readathon but I’ve never taken part… until now! I’m finding out about this readathon a little late but still in enough time to get together a TBR and participate, even if it does overlap slightly with Bout of Books. Still, let’s see if we can start off 2019’s reading strong, shall we?

(I need the kick up the bum; I’ve only finished 1 book and it’s already 10th… who am I?)

For those who don’t know the Biannual Bibliothon takes place (yes, you guessed it) twice a year, there’s a summer and a winter edition and this is the Winter edition! It’s taking place between 12th until the 18th January – head over to the readathon Twitter for more info.

As well as fun Instagram and video challenges to keep you busy during the readathon, there’s a set of Reading Challenges to help choose your TBR:

Reading Challenges

1. Read the Group Book: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Providing my order on Amazon comes through in time, I’ll try to get to this one which has been on my radar but not necessarily top of my TBR. I don’t know anything about Japan, to be honest, so maybe reading a Japanese-inspired fantasy could be the first step in broadening my horizons?

2. Read one of the hosts’ 5 star reads: Pivot Point by Kasie West, Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choy
Ooo the temptation to re-read The Graveyard Book is SO strong! It’s one of my favourite books too and I’m well overdue a re-read. However I am going to resist (barely) and instead choose to read Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy which is a book I know precisely nothing about. However, it’s available as an audiobook on Scribd and from its Goodreads reviews, I reckon it might be something I enjoy, especially if it is as cynical/bitter as one reviewer said it was!

3. Read a book that got you into reading
Matilda by Roald Dahl. Not only were Roald Dahl’s books some of the first I read, the entire spirit of Matilda champions reading so it’s the PERFECT book to read during a readathon.

4. Read an adult genre
Based on how Christina Lauren’s other books are I’m going to go ahead and assume that Dating You/Hating You is an adult contemporary/romance. It’s also a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since my friend Liz read it and said I’d probably really like the setup of the (inevitable?) couple who are both high-powered agents at competing Hollywood firms that end up merging, meaning they go up against each other for the same job. Sounds fun!

5. Combine your favorite genre with your least favorite format or the opposite
Well, my favourite genre is probably YA fantasy and my least favourite, I guess, would be ebook, so I’m going to pick… hmmm… let’s be prompt and read Enchanteé by Gita Trelease which I was just approved an eARC of and should get to sooner rather than later. It had the magic words in the synopsis “French Revolution” and I was instantly hooked.

6. Read a book with a cover you don’t like
You know, I’m not overly fond of the cover of Emergency Contact, from what I’ve seen of it on Goodreads. The pink and gold thing isn’t really working for me (though I’m sure it could be other people’s jams) so I’ll double-up on challenges with this book, I think.

7. Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
I’ve never read anything by Gita Trelease before… mostly because this is her debut novel but shhhhh, it’s not really cheating to double up on this challenge.

My TBR

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (#1)
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy (#2, #6)
Matilda by Roald Dahl (#3)
Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren (#4)
Enchantée by Gita Trelease (#5, #7)

 

There we have it, there’s what I will be attempting to read during the Winter Biannual Bibliothon. Are you taking part? Share your TBR below! Otherwise, tell me which book you’re planning on picking up next, I’d love to hear about it!


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TBTB Secret Santa 2018

If you’re an avid reader, you may remember that in 2017 I took part in the 8th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa as ran by the lovely Jamie and Jana. Well, it was back for 2018, and I had to take part, even when the announcement and sign-up period happened when I was enjoying a holiday at Disney World in Florida. So, I dusted off my sign-up email all about me from last year, added a couple of things, and sent it off almost immediately. Then came the waiting game until I got my Santee and got to see their email/letter to Santa.

For those unaware, every year Jamie and Jana host a brilliant Secret Santa event for the online bookish community. The aim of the game is to act as someone’s Secret Santa and send them some presents based on the letter they send to their “Santa”. It’s a super fun way of getting all the community together – book bloggers, bookish tweeps, Bookstagrammers, readers alike – and getting in the festive ‘giving and receiving’ spirit.

After the success of last year, in 2018 I decided to go hard (or go home) and chose option C: 2+ books and goodies, because I knew from my first experience of TBTB Santa that I liked shopping for a fellow book lover and making their gift as brilliant as possible. I always go overboard once I start, so I thought I might as well state from the beginning that I would and let the inevitability happen!

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Bout of Books 24 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello all and welcome to this, the first of the ‘Emma signs up for a readathon with an overly ambitious TBR she abandons almost immediately’ posts for 2019! This is fun, isn’t it? Exciting. Will it be more of the same in 2019 or will Emma actually follow through on the readathon aspirations she has this year? Who knows… only time will tell.

Quite handily for me, however, the first readathon I’m choosing to participate in this year is the Bout of Books readathon, a firm favourite of mine because of its low-key setup and challenges. In fact, there are no reading challenges or prompts that you have to fulfil with you TBR; rather, the main aim of Bout of Books is simply to read. I can get onboard with this. For those of you who haven’t come across Bout of Books before, here’s the schtick:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books team

When it comes to Bout of Books, you are encouraged to be as low-key or ambitious as you like, it really is what you make of it. This potentially comes at quite a good time for me as I’ve been struggling these first few days of the month/year with what to read – sometimes, when you have SO MANY options to choose from, you actually end up struggling to decide on one. (Seriously, it’s a legitimate Thing.) At the suggestion of housemate and friend Liz (you may know her by my frequent mentions of Travel In Retrospect, I’m sure) I’m reading a kinda so-bad-it’s-good romance novel and it’s working as something of a palette cleanser. But I’m still eager to start my reading of other things too which is where Bout of Books comes in as it has forced me to confront the issue of my indecisiveness head on and pick a (albeit tentative) TBR for the upcoming week’s readathon.

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Best Books of 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to the downright obligatory Best Books of 2018. As is often the case with these ‘best books of the year’ posts of mine, the top 10 that make the list may not necessarily be the books that I gave 5-stars when I finished reading them. Because I make my ratings’ decisions immediately after finishing a book, they can be impulsive and would, on reflection, be altered. I make a point of not altering ratings once I’ve set them, but this annual best books list is a good way to “reassess” the ratings I’ve given books in the past year and decide, once and for all, which books were actually deserving of that moniker. The results is that these books are the ones that have stayed with me, for one reason or another, and were, completely subjectively, the “best books” that I read in 2018.

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2018 then please do pop over to my 2018: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

Without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

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2018 | A Bookish Year In Review

As you can see from the title of this post, this is my ultimate monthly wrap up – it’s my year in review for 2018. This means I’m going to look back at the stats for everything I read in 2018, month by month, and there’s some nice visual representations of the books too. If you want to see what my top books of the year were, please see the companion blog post: Best Books of 2018.

But, first things first, let’s take a good look at every single book I read this year, because even the simple graphics and basic statistics are deeply satisfying to me.

JANUARY

jan2018

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin | 3/5 stars | Review
* Princess Diaries: Take Two (Princess Diaries #2) by Meg Cabot | 3.5/5 stars | Review
The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski | 4/5 stars | Review
The Fandom (The Fandom #1) by Anna Day | 3/5 stars | Review
Sourdough by Robin Sloan | 4/5 stars | Review
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert | 4/5 stars | Review
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo | 5/5 stars | Review

Read: 7 books | 2236 pages
Fav: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

FEBRUARY

feb2018

* Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | 5/5 stars | Review
The Power by Naomi Alderman | 5/5 stars | Review
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | 4/5 stars | Review
How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb | 4.5/5 stars | Review
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig | 5/5 stars | Review
Carol by Patricia Highsmith | 3/5 stars | Review

Read: 6 books | 2292 pages
Fav: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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