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#BeatTheBacklist 2018 - Wrap Up & Reviews


Happy Sunday everyone!  This past year (I can't believe how time has flown!) I took part in #BeatTheBacklist 2018, hosted by NovelKnight.  I had 50 books on my initial tbr and I managed to knock out 44 of them.  I'd say I did a pretty decent job and got in some great reading to boot.  In my wrap up, I will share mini reviews from the reading challenge that haven't already appeared on my blog.  Here we go:




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I loved The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, but for whatever reason I decided to put off the sequel. Now that I've finished The Mime Order, I can officially say I have no idea what I was thinking there. As before the world-building, character development, and writing style are out of of this world - by the way, Paige is still one of my favorite characters. Anyway, I absolutely flew through this because I just didn't want to put it down. I need to get to book three soon since this installment ended on a pretty massive cliffhanger.


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(for Academ's Fury & Cursor's Fury)

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(for Captain's Fury)

I probably should have re-read book one before I tackled book two, Academ's Fury, but I quickly got sucked right back into this Ancient Rome inspired fantasy. I forgot just how much I liked Tavi and Amara. This series is filled with adventure and it's a real pleasure to read. It's easy to speed your way through that's for sure. Kitai quickly became my favorite character in Cursor's Fury.  I might have shrieked with excitement for Tavi at his self-discovery at the end of the third installment of the series.  Captain's Fury, the fourth book, is easily my favorite so far. Tavi really is growing up, isn't he! I love that Jim Butcher can deliver such a sweeping epic fantasy adventure and still take the time to do right by the characters, even those secondary and minor characters I've come to care about. I can't wait to continue this series in the future.



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Ever since I began Robert Galbraith's (aka J.K. Rowling's) Cormoran Strike series, I knew it was something special.  I'm glad I decided to read the next two volumes of the series for this challenge.  Even though they're longer mystery novels, it's entirely possible to get totally wrapped up in the exploits of Strike and Robin.  Recently, the two have become two of my favorite coworkers - their working relationship is fantastic and they really play off of each other well.  The mysteries are both tight and incredibly compelling with solid pacing.  I highly recommend this tremendous mystery series.  Anyway, since I finished the both of these I went on to read the new fourth novel, Lethal White which was equally thrilling.  My reviews of The Silkworm and Career of Evil are also on Goodreads.


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The Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor is one of my all time favorites.  In fact, I loved the first two novels in the series so much that I didn't want to read the finale to the trilogy, Dreams of Gods & Monsters.  I'm sure you could understand - I just didn't want it to end.  Anyway, I finally decided that it was time to go for it.  Luckily for me, this turned out to be a marvelous ending.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  It was fantastic to be back with Karou, Akiva, Zuzana, Mik, and the whole gang again.  As with the previous installments, Laini Taylor has totally managed to blow me away.  Now, I need to catch up on her new series Stranger the Dreamer.


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I loved book one in this series, Blood Red Road, but unfortunately I was disappointed in the final two novels, Rebel Heart & Raging Star. Sabaa feels like a much different character this time around - not to mention the fact that I wasn't fond of the romance angle here. I also had higher expectations for Lugh, the twin brother Sabaa spent pretty much all of book one fighting to get back. To be honest, I skimmed my way through the finale. It did manage to get back a little of what it lost in book two but not enough to get above 3 stars from me. I think I'm just going to pretend this trilogy was a standalone.


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Red Seas Under Red Skies is an epic sequel to Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora. I loved being back to Locke and Jean and further exploring more of their world. The two are quickly becoming some of my all time favorite characters and they're back here in top form. Plus, as I expected, the world-building is fantastic and incredibly detailed. This novel had just about everything I could have hoped for and it all comes together so well. If you like Ocean's Eleven, Pirates of the Caribbean, clever characters and sharp dialogue, and good kitties, I have a feeling you'll want to pick this up immediately. Plus, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook as narrated by Michael Page because the production is brilliant - I could listen to him read anything. Now I just need to get my hands on The Republic of Thieves.




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The Hollows by Kim Harrison is a fantastic urban series (well, at least through the first four books anyway).  I don't have the opportunity to read many stories set in Ohio, and I know that element has definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the series so far.  It was fun jumping back into the world of The Good, the Bad, and the Undead.  Even if it is set in a fictionalized version of Cincinnati.  Of the characters, Jenks is still my favorite - he gets some really great things to do, especially in A Fistful of Charms.  Of these three novels, I'd say my favorite is Every Which Way But Dead.  I'll need to continue on with this series soon with book five, For a Few Demons More, very soon.


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I don't know why, but it seems to me that Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn don't get nearly enough love and recognition in comparison to the first novel of the Lumatere Chronicles.  Luckily both follow up novels are just as good if not better than the series opener.  I enjoyed every minute of seeing where this story would go and how the cast grows and develops over the course of the series.  Froi was my favorite character of the first book, so it was great to see him helm the sequel.  Don't get me wrong, we do get plenty of great Finnikin moments though.  As for the finale, I don't think I could have asked for a better way to wrap everything up.


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I have to admit that Isaac Vainio is one of my all time favorite characters. I mean, he's a librarian and fan of sci-fi and fantasy who can magically pull items out of books. And, he has a pet fire spider. How cool is that?! The tables are turned here as Isaac can no longer access his powers. Given the circumstances, this makes him a little desperate and reckless. Even though Unbound is a bit different than the previous installments, I still enjoyed it just and I particularly liked getting to meet Juan Ponce de Leon here. Anyway, if you can't already tell I love this geeky series so much! I can't wait to read book four, Revisionary.


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As much as I loved the Percy Jackson series, I think the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series is my current favorite by Rick Riordan. Riordan is fantastic at world-building, incorporating classic mythology, fast-paced action-packed scenes, and all with a great sense of humor. His strongest skill, though, is creating brilliant characters, especially Magnus and Alex - plus, it's fun to get to see Percy and Annabeth again. If you haven't met Magnus Chase yet, what are you waiting for?  By the way, Michael Crouch is a perfect audiobook narrator.




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(for Changeless & Heartless)

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(for Timeless)


This steampunk historical fantasy series is so much fun. Madame Lefoux has quickly become a new favorite character.  Of these three volumes, I especially liked that the romance took a little bit more of a back seat in Heartless since we got a little more adventure than before. Also in book four, Genevieve continues to be one of my favorites, and I really felt for Biffy's predicament. Since Prudence has been introduced, she's also become a fast favorite.  Finally, I don't think I could have asked for a better finale. Now I need to read The Custard Protocol series and finish up with the Finishing School novels.


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Golden Son is an excellent sequel to Red Rising, but I still felt a little too distant from Darrow himself. Either way, I still loved this more than worthy sequel and totally sped through it. I didn't want to put it down for any longer than necessary. I'm glad I could pick up Morning Star to continue Darrow's saga for Sci-Fi Month.


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Heir of Fire is the awesome third book in the Throne of Glass series, and I think it might be my favorite volume so far.  That's really saying something since Crown of Midnight set the bar so incredibly high.  Even though this book is over 600 pages, I sped through it and didn't want to put it down for any longer than absolutely necessary.  I'm pretty sure Sarah J. Maas must be some kind of genius.  I can't wait to jump in to Queen of Shadows



Well, congratulations if you made it this far!  Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think of them?  Have you ever taken part in this challenge?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Comments

  1. I am a ToG and Alexia fan. I sort of love all Gail Carriger and have her set the standard for other steampunk books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her take on the genre is brilliant.

      Thanks for coming over, Sam. :)

      Delete
  2. Wow, that's a lot of mini reviews😁 I would love to start the Robert Galbraith series this year, I am determined to read more backlist titles in 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I managed to complete about half of them here didn't I! :)

      Good luck, Tammy.

      Delete
  3. Great job! I love the Laini Taylor trilogy too. And I LOVE the Robert Galbraith books. I got the fourth for Christmas, so I hope to read that soon.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. I'm overwhelmed by all the good books.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  5. Congrats on having read 44 out of your 50 backlist books! You just reminded me of how much I need to read Lethal White. I haven't exactly opened it since I bought it late last year. lol. Hopefully soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations! Oh such lovely covers. I could really do with taking part in this, getting through my backlist of 2018 lol (erm, really, that's not a joke I shouldn't even be laughing...)

    ReplyDelete

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